EDitorial ± 28-Jul-2003


There wasn't a great deal of Latin (it killed the ancient Romans, doncha know) taught at my comprehensive. Westbourne, where Broom, E was a pupil aged 11-18, believed in footy and metalwork, not prep and dead languages. F'rinstance there was culture shock all round when Mr Fairweather arrived, ex-the local grammar school, and insisted that we all stand when he entered the classroom. You what?

So quite how me and Bob, who I'd known since infants, got into the Molesworth books, I couldn't say. Got an idea we found Back In The Jug Agane in Smith's, then at its former premises opposite the Crown & Anchor in town, around the time I bought the Armada Book Of Fun. Years later I'm still cracking the jokes from that Armada book and still using phrases straight from Molesworth. I checked some earlier EDitorials, and sure enough there's some pure St Custard's speak at the start of one of the paragraphs here.

Ought to explain this week's title:

a chiz is a swiz or swindle as any fule kno
— Nigel Molesworth, Down With Skool!

What brings all this to mind is some serendipitous surfing a fortnight back which landed me upon a really funny work by Alice Dryden called "ho for hoggwarts!" (see link on right). Quick, some comprehensively educated modern maths set theory!

  • let P be the set of people interested in Harry Potter
  • let M be the set of people interested in Nigel Molesworth
  • then P U M is the intersection of these two sets

Very happily, I find myself in that weirdly shaped shaded area right in the middle, big on both HP and NM, and consequently best placed to enjoy this piece. Despite exchanging a couple of chatty emails with the author, I'm having trouble believing this was written by a 24-year-old female since, as Nigel says:

hitherto my conviction hav been that GURLS are uterly wet and weedstruck

One moment last week I realised that my quality of life would be much improved if only I had:

  1. a Spider-Man ring tone (60s cartoon theme tune) on my mobile
  2. a T-shirt with a picture of Nigel Molesworth

Behold one of the above:

Slightly the worse for wear having been dug out from the bottom of the washing pile

Take one scanner, one copy of The Compleet Molesworth, one sheet of transfer paper, one £3 T-shirt from Tesco and a hot iron, and bingo! BTW, that writing at the bottom says "Advanced, Forthright, Signifficant", which is NM's opinion of Colin Wilson, the new philosopher, when asked by Fotherington-Tomas.

If You Take Away With You Nothing Else

In fact any skool is a bit of a shambles:

  • hullo clouds, hullo sky
  • Geoffrey Willans wrote the words, Ronald Searle did the drawings
  • and my Spider-Man ring tone is rather cool too

Be seeing you!


EDitorial ± 21-Jul-2003

Box Of Delights

Envy of another man's lunchbox is an unfortunate condition. His was capacious & sturdy with designer curves, perhaps the result of extensive testing in a wind tunnel. And the contents! Have I mentioned the plethora of compartments, each yielding a tasty surprise?

I couldn't stand it any more. One lunchtime I found myself in that fancy kitchen place at Woodbridge, and beheld the Lock & Lock, 2.2 litres of stackable airtight container. Barely enough change out of a fiver for a KitKat Chunky, though well worth it: boot, foot, other, I feel.

...absolutely air tight ...liquid tight ...dishwasher and microwave safe, and it's mine, all mine, I tell you!

Of course, with 2200 cubic centimetres on display in the coffee lounge, I get more than a few admiring looks. Alas, him with the oh-so-90s curves has turned slightly catty, pointing out a paragraph in a recent Sunday Times: apparently the head teacher of a school in West Yorkshire believes that her staff could easily fall over some of the larger lunchboxes that make their way to school, and is consequently advising parents not to send packed lunches. It's true, it was also in The Super Soaraway Sun.

I found a way to break through this cellophane bag
Cuz I know what's goin' on
In your mind
I'm a livin' in a box
— 1987 single Living In A Box
— by the group Living In A Box
— taken from the album Living In A Box

They're not built to last, you know. Here's a potted history of eldest's packed lunch containers and why each has been replaced:

  1. (in reception) Mr Men — catch stopped working on the hard yellow plastic
  2. (year 1) Winnie The Pooh — another box, another dodgy catch
  3. (year 2) Pokemon — velcro wouldn't hold on the otherwise nicely designed upright bag with lower zipped pocket
  4. (year 3) Harry Potter — sturdy single zipped pocket is still going strong

See, made it to the end without a single mention of that now-retired champion sprinter.

If You Take Away With You Nothing Else

Today — tuna & mayo sarnie, chicken crisps, choc cake bar and a nectarine:

  • Bionic Woman lunchbox went for £26 last week on ebay
  • now popular on lunchboxes.com: Scooby Doo, Terminator 3 and Kim Possible (???)
  • help, there are Voices In My Lunchbox!

Be seeing you!


EDitorial ± 14-Jul-2003

Rhythm Is Gonna Get You

Motoring to work this morning - heck, if I'm going to fork out the big money to get the thing fixed, I might as well use it - an idle thought popped into my head: wonder how my biorhythms are today? Been a while since that particular synapse had fired; no idea what chain of associations set it off today. Below is half-inched from a web page:

My state of health, it says, is momentarily good: that _momentarily_ sounds a little ominous

Interpretation of the above bar chart (that a histogram?) from the web says:

  • physical: your efficiency is high - use it!
  • emotional: back down, if you can; avoid contacting people you have plans with, because you won't make the best impression
  • thinking logical? no problem! just finish the pending tasks in time so you don't have to do them when things are worse

Back to basics - there are three rhythms of differing lengths: physical is 23 days, emotional is 28 days and intellectual is 33 days. They start at zero when you're born and intially head upwards. Your emotional wave, for instance, peaks at 7 days, then dips down, goes from positive to negative after 14 days, and is at the bottom after 21 days. Then, although still negative, up it comes again to be back where it started once 28 days has elapsed. Get the idea?

Since they vary in duration, on any given day, in theory, you could be up physically, down emotionally, and up intellectually. Like me today. I suppose that physical and emotional speak for themselves, while intellectual is meant to govern your sharpness and decision-making skills. Although you might think it must be worse when all three are negative, attention is paid more to when any rhythm crosses from positive to negative or vice versa. Those are the days to stay under the covers.

Sometimes I'm up
Sometimes I'm down
— Serious Drinking (not sure of the track: Jeff's borrowed my CD)

Of course, like Henry Ford's history, it's all bunk. Look no further than other titles in the same Amazon sub-sub-category of Mind Body & Spirit, Thought & Practice, Disciplines & Techniques:

  • Indian Head Massage: Discover the Power of Touch
  • How to See and Read the Aura
  • Cunningham's Encyclopedia of Magical Herbs

I learned about the subject yonks ago, and even had a chunky paperback from a guy named Bernard Gittelson full of anecdotal evidence — "has helped airlines to avoid crashes" — plus charts to calculate your own highs and lows. We didn't have no PCs back then, our kid. Which brings me nicely to...

...my O-level Computer Studies class, where each of us had to devise and code a medium-to-large BASIC program. I was ahead of the game, and chose biorhythms as my topic. Can't be sure what went wrong: too ambitious? Too lazy? Either way I struggled badly, so much so that when Mr Fairweather had to select three projects to send to the examining body to demonstrate top, middle and bottom of the class, mine was bottom. As Morrissey said, I can laugh about it now but at the time it was terrible.

Be seeing you!


EDitorial ± 7-Jul-2003

Ludicrously Polyphonic

One week. Two gigs. Three days. A social whirl and then some. Keep music live and all that. See, I could have been a music journalist if only Smash Hits hadn't rejected me in 1987. Must dig out that letter sometime. Maybe there was a phone number that still works.

In the left-hand corner we have The Polyphonic Spree, "a shot of orchestral serotonin", according to the NME last year. In the right-hand corner we have I, Ludicrous, those "football-obsessive and all-round smart alecs", or so said the NME back in 1992.

Slightly less than half of The Spree   Surrey's number one punk-pop duo, it says here

Not that it's fair to compare:

who The Polyphonic Spree I, Ludicrous
when Thursday 3 July 2003 Saturday 5 July 2003
where Corn Exchange, Cambridge Bull & Gate, Kentish Town, London
est. audience 1500 100
home at 12:25am 03:15am (admittedly inc. a deliberate diversion over both Tower Bridge and London Bridge)
cost £15 £4 (with flyer)
total in band 24 on average 2 plus drum machine
cost/total 62.5p £2
formed 2002-ish 1987-ish
from Dallas, Texas London
chatted with band pre-gig no yes
encore change of kaftans & cover of Five Years by Bowie use of keyboard & cover of Glad All Over by Dave Clark Five
set highlight Soldier Girl We're The Support Band
support Mull Historical Society Doll's House
number of albums 1 5 - bought the new one, Museum Of Installation, on the night
played at Glasto' yes no
been in John Peel's Festive 50 no yes, in 1987
bad review "it is hard to tell where one pale copy of something ends and another one starts"
— Guardian
"dirty middle aged men thrashing out pointless and souless diatribes"
— BransbyCentral
good review "a magnificent, life-affirming musical experience"
— Washington Post
"Fall-like songs had me tapping my feet and chuckling"
— Spinach Records
often mentioned with Flaming Lips The Fall
met Jools Holland yes, on Later yes, didn't like him

Shall we call it a draw?

Be seeing you!