EDitorial ± 31-Jan-2005

Windows Update

Middle of the night, last Thursday. There's a noise in the house that's screaming for my attention. Head off the pillow, I realise that one of the kids is actually screaming. Stumbling onto the landing, I switch on the bathroom light, and The Boy emerges, shaking and sobbing: there was a witch in my window, he says.
Witchy, witchy, witchy
Hallow'een is coming
Round and round the starlit sky
Witches on their broomsticks fly
— Sarah-from-down-the-road's spooky song

He'd had bad dreams before, of course, one of which (!) also featured a witch, and, bizarrely, Milo from the Tweenies. On those previous occasions I'd hear him moaning in his sleep, or you'd hear his patter on the carpet before he appeared by the side of the bed. But this one shook him up. Perhaps, as Great Aunty Linda suggested, the witch was returning for her/our black-and-white cat?

Next day he wouldn't go to the loo upstairs alone, and insisted on having the blind lowered. So what did his loving parents do at bedtime? Well, we went out for a lovely meal at Aldeburgh and left some responsible babysitters in charge, who showed him a Godzilla film. As you do.

A long forgotten memory popped into my head today, that I had a thing about witches when I was a nipper. There was a dramatisation of Helen Cresswell's Lizzie Dripping on children's telly, and I bought the book in town. This included a few pencil drawings, and one of these showed the witch looking out of the page, at me! That and the odd shaped head at the end of Star Trek freaked me out.

Anyway, after I-don't-like-my-curtains and more tears and they're going to cook me in a big pot (that's called a cauldron) then put me on a plate, he went to sleep peacefully this evening, thank goodness. May we all have a crone-free night.

Be seeing you!


EDitorial ± 27-Jan-2005

650 Watts

Coo, I had me a good one two nights ago. There was I in my dream kitchen, 10.45pm, dishwasher thrumming into life, Radcliffe & Armitage rabbiting on the radio, thinking I'd have a slurp of hot choc before hitting the hay. Slop some milk into a Sidebottom mug — not too full, mind, we're not made of money — and into the microwave for 88 seconds.

Pause to listen in on the R2 banter for a min, then back to the oven's LCD numbers. Hold it... hold it... hit cancel! Poor thing never had a chance to sound its universal "I'm done" signal of four elongated beeps. Like Linford, I was in there by the B of the beep. Such a simple yet subtle pleasure.

Sure, I could have aborted the milky mission with a few seconds left, but those tiny time periods hang around on the display like an old work colleague who keeps talking and talking and won't let me leave. Sorry, where was I? You want to see the clock redisplayed on the microwave? Then you need to re-press that cancel button: imagine all that wasted tactile energy over a week, a month, a lifetime.

What are these waves?
They're coming over me
It must be my destiny
— Blancmange, Waves

Equally I could have waited for that droning quartet of tones, but kids and wife and cat were all in the land of nod, zzz-ing away. Perfectly acceptable during daylight hours, like a car's horn; much less so post the watershed, esp. in a neighbourhood watch area like mine.

If You Take Away With You Nothing Else

Auto start, auto defrost, auto cook:

  1. used earlier this evening for swelting sweetcorn and steaming spuds
  2. also, at 7.55pm, two minutes on high for the boy's microwaveable bedtime teddy
  3. if we didn't have the 'wave, where we put the felt tips, fish food and Frosties freebies?

Be seeing you!


EDitorial ± 17-Jan-2005

Nothing Happens In This Town

Still numb from the news that Busted had, well, busted, and observing a proper period of mourning before falling at the feet of McFly, a stunned and stupefied Saturday night Steamboat Tavern turnout gradually found its senses working overtime thanks to the arrival of one man and his guitar (and his fiddler): ladies and gentlemen, MJ Hibbett is in the building.

(picture reproduced with permission of VC25)

Playing his most easterly gig yet — a residency at Lowestoft's Claremont Pier is surely his for the asking — the professional and competent MJH warmed the congregation with his tunes of fraternal cares (the Rolf-esque Leave My Brother Alone), showbiz sadness (Eric & Ern, Little & Large in Dino At The Sands) and the almost too close to home I Come From The Fens. Heck, even the bar staff were listening in.

Given the chance to choose or pick
Between despairing of life or taking delight in it
I'll take the latter
Because it makes me happy
And surely that's what it's all about?
— MJ Hibbett, Easily Impressed

Returning after a short but perfectly formed set from the charming Mike Summers & The Doons (thanks for The Last Picture Show-inspired title, chaps), Hibbett introduced ex-Sikorsky Tom, the singleton string section, and launched into his "uber" set. Never Going Back To Aldi's raised smiles while Rock And Roll Mayhem, "written on tour", depicted the full MJH RNR lifeontheroad in Alan Moore graphic detail. Inevitably there was The Hit, apparently big in Norway and popular with Canadian choirs, the viral Hey Hey 16K, immortalising the ORIC-1: listeners should be aware that other home computers are available.

Antepenultimately we had the wonderfully optimistic Easily Impressed with optional audience participation: you can either join in and spread the love, said MJH, or don't and you'll never feel clean again. There followed mid-song madness as the crowd, particularly the Hull and Sheffield contingents, shouted their "you don't really mean that" line. Lyrics were still being voiced at volume, rightly and wrongly, during Boom Shake The Room, a fab and fun finale. Farewell Charlie, James and Matt: thanks to MJH, I think I can make it now, the pain is gone.

Be seeing you!


EDitorial ± 10-Jan-2005

It Has Been A Quiet Week

Waiting for me upstairs on the bedside table, together with my not terribly reliable purple mini Maglite, is a book with ISBN 0571210147. Read it? Does that number reveal that it's a hardback? Not usually keen on HB format; my upper arm strength came on leaps and bounds when I was working my way through De Lillo's Underworld.

Title of said book is Lake Wobegon Summer 1956, and the author is one Garrison Keillor. I've been a fan of Mr GK's works since way back when, and remember lying on the beach on hols around 1989 in Rovinj, Yugoslavia, lapping up his gentle humour. Apt title, that book: Happy To Be Here.

Welcome to the Lutheran world of Lake Wobegon, Minnesota, where:

...all the women are strong, all the men are good-looking and all the children are above average.
— Sign-off from the Lake Wobegon news

And what a voice. I'd heard the great man reading from his books a few times on the wireless before being lucky enough to see him in person at Norwich (start at Ipswich, find A140, follow the tractor), again some years ago. He sang and told stories to a rapt audience.

Thanks to the Beeb and the Internet, I've recently discovered Garrison Keillor's Radio Show over on BBC7. It's (currently) on Saturday afternoons, but hit "listen again" and you can catch up with it at your convenience. Truly this is the 21st century.

Be seeing you!


EDitorial ± 5-Jan-2005

Five Past Eight In The Evening

Returned from The Match (hugely disappointing 0-2 defeat to the 'ammers in front of 30003 fans) with The Rose late Saturday afternoon to find The House suddenly devoid of festive bling: lights extinguished, tree felled and the door bereft of a wreath. Wifey, if asked to express a preference, likes the decs not to outstay their welcome.
All is quiet on New Year's Day
— U2 (been a while since they appeared here)

Invigorated, revitalised and motivated by the year they're calling 2005, there occurred a maelstrom of activity over the w/e as things were tidied away, other things (inc. the Nordman) were recycled, and still other things were lined up to be returned to their rightful owners, such things comprising CDs, tupperware, videos, lasagne, kid's medicine and a DVD of Shaun Of The Dead.

So, NY, new resolutions, no order:

  1. make a Baked Alaska
  2. locate trumpet, clean it, then play a scale on it
  3. attach bike carrier to car (don't ask)
  4. visit Brighton
  5. memorise an Animaniacs song: Presidents, countries or US states
  6. redo this website using table-less HTML
  7. give up coffee for one day: prompted by me leaving my newly dishwasher-ed Billy Nomates mini Bodum at home, managed this today and with a clear head too
  8. arrange and play 5-a-side footy match
  9. read Moby Dick or Don Quixote or both
  10. deal with paperwork in the This Week folder That Week
  11. sell toys or donate to charity and generally tidy loft
  12. get a letter published in The Guardian
  13. watch classic films The Leopard, Rashomon and Bicycle Thieves
  14. stay in Freston Tower
  15. bike to work for a solid fortnight in the summer
  16. go running with wifey just the once
  17. locate unicycle, pump tyre, then practice on it

We shall see.

Be seeing you!