EDitorial ± 26-Jul-2004

Fixing A Hole

Me, I like to get jobs done. Amend and renew car insurance? Bish. Post cheque to Inland Revenue on receipt of final distraint reminder? Bosh. Make a will? Heck, 66.6 per cent isn't bad. So on Saturday lunchtime, faced with a loo seat that (a) wobbles from side to side and (b) has to be forced down when the lid is raised, I became the existentialist hero and acted.

As much as I both want and need to use the facilities now, I thought, I'll hang on until this job is jobbed. Won't take more than 20 minutes. Ha! And laying down my Word magazine on the toddler step — note to self: why is this still there? — I darted under the stairs to fetch my natty red toolbox.

Given that the worlds of EFB and DIY rarely intersect, you might be surprised how plentiful and heavy is my box of tools. Explanation: I'm endeavouring to stay one step ahead of my four year old, equipment-wise.

Half an hour later and I've applied my one-stop solution: lashings of WD40. That smell is wafting downstairs while I wrestle with a wrench trying to unscrew a thread that's awash with lube.

An hour gone and I'm removing the fixings that attach the lid and seat, cursing some past-their-best crosshead screws as my screwdriver fails, like myself, to get a grip.

Ninety minutes elapsed and having tracked down some replacements, admittedly not countersunk, events turn typically flatpack as I encounter Ingvar's Law:

If it can be assembled incorrectly, it will be

4pm, and after 2.5 hours of directing the kids to the downstairs toilet (we do have another one, you know?!), everything is finally hunky dory. Job's a good 'un!

If You Take Away With You Nothing Else

Carry on up the khazi:

  1. take your best estimate, triple it and add ten minutes
  2. lucky I had one of those things you can adjust to grip other things
  3. he who dies with the most tools wins

Be seeing you!


EDitorial ± 19-Jul-2004

If It Ain't Busted

A mellow Friday evening in Christchurch Park, Ipswich's homespun version of Central Park minus the zoo, the ice rink, and so forth. You'd be guaranteed to find kids running around the playground, dogs and their owners out for a stroll, and folks generally ambling aimlessly enjoying the parklife.

Tonight is different: about a quarter of the park has been fenced off. Admission past "crowd security" is by ticket only. Within, up and down hippy hill, are some 15,000 people, largely kids accompanied by parents, here to see the beat combo known as Busted.

I'd guess that having had three number one singles already is good for business, though undoubtedly part of the attraction for those present is the return of 19 year old Charlie Simpson, another local boy done good, born in the town and who went to Ipswich (public) School, opposite the park.

McFly on stage   James in hat

Top Ten Signs You're At A Busted Gig

  1. video screen warms up crowd by showing Balamory highlights
  2. mosh pit replaced by a soft play area
  3. Teenage Kicks assumed to be original material
  4. warning notices saying No Fruit Shoot Bottles Within Sight Of The Stage
  5. band's set list kept on the official Etch-A-Sketch
  6. McFly forced off early by parents turning off amps saying I Thought I Told You To Get to Bed!
  7. complete absence of lighters during slower songs
  8. plenty of tour T-shirts left in sizes M and L but 9-11 sold out
  9. those things being passed around that look like Smarties? they're actually Smarties
  10. final number: Creched The Wedding

Be seeing you!


EDitorial ± 12-Jul-2004

Eliminate The Negative

Be afraid, be very afraid, said the tagline to — which film? Answer at the foot of the page. Admit it: it's healthy to be scared. Is it spiders or snakes for you? Claustrophobia or clowns?

Watching a BBC4 feature on Nigel Kneale on Sunday, they showed clips from a John Mills version of Quatermass made for ITV in, I think, the late 1970s. I remember being pretty spooked at the time by the hippies chanting as they mindlessly followed the ley lines.

Fear leads to anger.
Anger leads to hate.
Hate leads to suffering.
— Yoda, The Phantom Menace (1999)

Entirely for your pleasure here are some peculiarly personal irrational fears:

  • loo door isn't locked:
    multifarious issues bubbling away here, no doubt, inc. insecurity, personal hygiene and deep-seated (ha!) anxiety; see also "run out of Andrex"
  • car tyres are way under or over pressure:
    once you get it into your head that you're feeling the speedbumps far more than you should, it's difficult to shake; plus I resent paying 20p to use the air, which limits my choice of garage forecourt to check the pressures once and for all
  • missed another company deadline:
    being directory of my own extremely limited company, natch, entails numerous financial responsibilities w.r.t. the Inland Revenue and Her Majesty's (gawd bless 'er) Customs and Excise; they wants their monies and they wants it now!
  • PDC:
    you see in the listings that there's a film on late night telly; you've been waiting to see it for yonks; you know it won't come around for ages; should you entrust the correct taping of said film to the whims of PDC? Case study: when I saw that Battle Royale was being shown on C4, I made sure to press the REC button myself.
  • employers will catch up with me:
    only a matter of time before I'm found out, whatever it is I have or haven't done; that same awful feeling from juniors whenever the head got up to address the school
  • sporadic bacon shortages:
    one day the streaky's there, the next day there's no back, then there's nowt but lardons: I foresee an irrational rash of rasher rations
  • cotton wool:
    little fluffy clouds, my bottom: this stuff is fit for Beelzebub only; that texture and the noise made when you squeeze it (urgh!) set my teeth on edge
  • mean to the kids:
    I pretend to be mean to them, pretending to drive away and leave them, f'rinstance; they say I'm mean to them, switching off Neighbours and The Fresh Prince; am I pretending or not?
  • bike underpass en route to work has a trip-wire:
    there are two sections through Grange Farm where the cycle path dips under the overhead road; hurtling down one side and up the other, you may observe that I keep my head down on the ascent for fear that some darn kids have, for a laugh, set up a washing line at neck height; seen too many bad westerns?

Would be delighted to hear any of your own if you'd care to share. Go on, we won't laugh. Probably.

Be seeing you! Oh, that film was the The (Goldblum) Fly. Swat me!


EDitorial ± 5-Jul-2004

List We Forget

I wouldn't usually buy a Sunday paper — I have trouble enough throwing them away to want to add further to my unread stack — but a Pavlovian response kicked in when I saw this tag-line:
The 100 Greatest British Albums: The Definitive Poll

This list has provided musical fodder for the last three weeks:

  • trying to listen to Sticky Fingers without thinking of Stella Street,
  • hearing Bryan & Brian's For Your Pleasure for the first time,
  • feeling an obligation to own Here Come The Warm Jets, as you do.

Keeps me off The Streets (controversially in there at number 75).

Which nudged me to recall an earlier Hornby-esque period that began in February 1987 when the inky NME printed their All Time Top 150 Singles, crowned by Aretha Franklin's wonderful I Say A Little Prayer, one of many tracks I'd never heard (of).

In what could be seen as an obvious move to avoid anything to do with my finals, I set out to get on cassette each and every one of these 150. After all, I was familiar with Aretha, Booker T and Chic, but a complete stranger to Ann Peebles, Hamilton Bohannon and Culture.

A man with a mission, I doorstepped friends, friends of friends and anyone else on that corridor. Wasn't at all difficult to begin with, slowly filling up one TDK AD90 after another, my photocopied list becoming increasingly dog-eared as I trooped round second-hand vinyl specialists and bric-a-brac boutiques in and around Exeter.

Exams intervened and partially interrupted my quest, then I started full-time work. With money came the chance to plug some more gaps, buying the odd complete album to obtain one three-minute track by the likes of Johnnie Allan, Gil Scott-Heron and Tyrone Davis. Yet still some tracks proved elusive, such as:

  • (7) King Tubby Meets The Rockers Uptown by Augustus Pablo
  • (50) Complete Control by The Clash
  • (71) She Is Beyond Good And Evil by The Pop Group

This being the NME, perhaps some of their choices were wilfully obscure. Plus there was no world wide web, MP3s or iTunes in those days, no sirree.

Possibly my first ever use of the Internet was way back in May 1990 when I posted a query to a newsgroup, rec.music.misc, asking for info on The Pop Group. Answers were helpful though I was no nearer to finding a copy of the long-deleted single. Years later, in 2001, I was in Virgin idly browsing when I saw a compilation entitled In The Beginning There Was Rhythm, inc. track 8, She Is Beyond Good And Evil. There, that only took 14 years.

Be seeing you!