EDitorial ± 20-Apr-2006

B, C And NR

Way back in the mists, me & Jeff went to see the pretty obscure even back then I, Ludicrous somewhere in London, who were on the same bill as TV Smith, him from the Adverts (not to be confused with the TV Personalities). Still here?

It was at this gig that I saw a poster for an event just gone, a rare UK appearance by Thomas Dolby. That's a great shame, I thought, would have loved to have seen him play, but there'll be other times. So I waited, as did others. Then I waited some more.

Over a decade later, and TMDR is back. Back! BACK! Thank you, Smash Hits writers. He's been touring in the States for about a week -- tonight it's hello Portland -- with one solitary UK gig announced, and that as part of the much bigger Wireless Festival. I've been hitting the offical website most days waiting for other this-side-of-the-pond appearances to, well, appear. Last night, idling in the forum, spotted an entry headed London, and within that mention of a solo warm-up gig at The Scala. Book it, Danno!

This, after all, is the man who:

  • recorded My Favourite Album
  • still has a summer place at nearby Shingle Street
  • wore those glasses and that white suit back in the early 1980s
  • and who hasn't released any new original material for yonks, alas
Confirmed my booking this morning, and I am very, very pleased. All that and the dishwasher is doing once more. Hussah!

EDitorial ± 19-Apr-2006

My Washing Up Hell

Yesterday was a day off, slackly supervising sixteen kids celebrating the final 24 hours of their eggy break, of which a fair chunk was frittered away prodding that triumphant time-saving device, the dishwasher.

Was about to load up on Monday evening when my eagle eye made out a thwacking puddle of mucky water in the base of the machine. Bother. The manual, easily found in the Big Brown Box of Instruction Books, natch, helpfully suggested a blocked or kinked hose or filter problems or a jammed pump -- so no clues for the uninitiated. Strictly need to know. So was resigned to finding some squirty Fairy and plunging my never-seen-a-day's-work hands into the foam. Good chance to catch up on more Mark Radcliffe than I'd usually hear.

Come the harsh light of Tuesday am, let's see what Google "bosch dishwasher troubleshooting" reveals. A-ha, could be Un Objet (a foreign object) under the filter. Step one: sponge away excess water, done. Step two: remove Torx 20 screws. You what? I talk flat head and Philips in this house, and that's it. Pop to friendly neighbours for manly discussion of appliance depreciation, returning with a shiny set of Torx thingies. Out they come, but filter doesn't want to pop out. Bother again.

Long story short-ish: phoned a professional -- blah blah integral blah blah splishy water blah blah help -- who turned up today, did his special stuff and now it *should* work once more, heavens be praised.

Phrase came up in a lunchtime discussion today which resonated, struck a chord and rung a bell. Those four words:

More To Go Wrong
Ain't that the truth.

EDitorial ± 15-Apr-2006

Prepare For Disinfectant

'sall been happening. Kiddies (x3) returned from Hampshire hols, the land of wild horses, and were handed back from in-laws to natural born parents. Really we missed them. Like I said on my postcard to them (featuring a fine shot of the Orwell Bridge), everything was where we left it and there were no lolly sticks next to the bin, stuck on the carpet.

Cajoled smallest into accompanying me to this afternoon's footy -- thanks, Mum, for winning the tickets -- where we witnessed a terrible, terrible game. Highlights were probably The Boy's comments: "Here comes the fixer-upper man," as the physio took to the field, and "Bring on the horses!" as we discussed the black and white mascots replacing a couple of Town's ineffectual players. He seemed to take rather too much pleasure in Brighton's ginger players (x2) being yellow-carded, and thought the ref should tell their mums.

Two-nil down to the (bottom-of-the-league) Seagulls with a couple of mins to go, and Ipswich score. We've been looking forward to this for the whole match, the chance to jump up & down to the tune of Tom Hark. And over the speakers comes ... nothing at all. Have they stopped doing this? Do they not play that funky music if there's virtually no time left? More groans from the two of us.

And great to have a full sofa for tonight's return of Dr Who: big event for all at Broom Acres. Huge thumbs-up for the new fella and Billie, and what a series opener: snazzy megalopolis effects, cat people, and enough infectious zombies to give The Boy disease-ridden nightmares for a while. Straight into Dr Who confidential for more of the same, where we watched the two leads being soaked, dried and covered with talc repeatedly. And the prospect of werewolves next week: hoooowwwwwl!

EDitorial ± 9-Apr-2006


Well started The Weekend That Was with a visit to HSBC's latest retro cashpoint -- heard about these things? -- which, having asked it nicely for £50, coughed up ten fivers. Much like my college days but with eight more notes.

Weller chez WHSmith's cute Costa Coffee: ordered my usual extra medium white Americano from the girly barista, who then said the words every man wants to hear: Did You Want A Free Extra Shot Of Espresso? Oh yes. Took my tray, took over a table, and sipped: FBI Special Agent Dale Cooper would have approved. Then watched as the unsuspecting folk of the town, some en route to that afternoon's match, also succumbed: if it's free, I'll have it. Pitied the anxiety levels of these spectators a couple of hours down the line as they surveyed the less than mighty ITFC crash at home to Stoke.

Wellest over the border in Colchester late pm: after a most agreeable feed in the Dutch quarter (not to be confused with the French fifth or the Egyptian eighth), off to the Arts Centre, once a church, to pay homage to the always entertaining and headmasteresque in appearance Mr John Hegley. A dozen years have passed since we saw him at the same venue on National Lottery night: scary. To quote him:

Poetry can be fun
But not tonight.
After a brief limerick about Bracknell came a short poem set in Ipswich: boo!, said some of the Essex crowd. Sensing the mood, JH asked if there were any other nearby places that people disliked: two minutes hate ensued with Braintree, Chelmsford and Messing cited. Turning it around, he asked where folk loved: Fingrinhoe!

EDitorial ± 5-Apr-2006

Barry Norman's 100 Best Films

Sitting on my desk now is my QPD edition of a book by Mr Barry Norman, entitled 100 Best Films Of The Century. In which he sets out his, er, 100 top films up to 1992, the year of publication.

And some years back I vowed to watch each and every one of 'em. I admired Spencer Tracy in Black Rock, tittered at WC Fields in the Bank Dick, and failed to ever get round to watching my taped-off-the-telly VHS of Birth Of A Nation.

Here's the complete list, as much for my handy reference as for you:

  1. The Adventures of Robin Hood
  2. The African Queen
  3. All About Eve
  4. All Quiet on the Western Front
  5. Apocalypse Now
  6. Bad Day at Black Rock
  7. Bambi
  8. The Bank Dick
  9. The Battleship Potemkin
  10. The Best Years of Our Lives
  11. Bicycle Thieves
  12. The Big Sleep
  13. The Birth of a Nation
  14. Bonnie and Clyde
  15. Breathless
  16. Bringing Up Baby
  17. Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid
  18. Cabaret
  19. Casablanca
  20. Chinatown
  21. Citizen Kane
  22. The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie
  23. Dog Day Afternoon
  24. Double Indemnity
  25. Duck Soup
  26. Les Enfants du Paradis
  27. E.T. - The Extra-Terrestrial
  28. Frankenstein
  29. The General
  30. Genevieve
  31. The Godfather
  32. The Godfather Part II
  33. The Gold Rush
  34. Gone With The Wind
  35. La Grande Illusion
  36. The Grapes of Wrath
  37. Great Expectations
  38. Gregory's Girl
  39. Hannah and Her Sisters
  40. High Noon
  41. His Girl Friday
  42. I Know Where I'm Going
  43. It Happened One Night
  44. It's a Wonderful Life
  45. Les Jeux Interdits
  46. Kind Hearts and Coronets
  47. The Lady Eve
  48. The Lady Vanishes
  49. Laura
  50. The Lavender Hill Mob
  51. Lawrence of Arabia
  52. The Leopard
  53. The Maltese Falcon
  54. M.A.S.H.
  55. A Matter of Life and Death
  56. Mean Streets
  57. Modern Times
  58. My Darling Clementine
  59. Napoleon
  60. Nashville
  61. The Nights of Cabiria
  62. Ninotchka
  63. Oh! Mr Porter
  64. On The Waterfront
  65. Orpheus
  66. Pat and Mike
  67. Pather Panchali
  68. Paths of Glory
  69. Psycho
  70. Pygmalion
  71. Raging Bull
  72. Ran
  73. Rashomon
  74. Red River
  75. The Red Shoes
  76. La Regle du Jeu
  77. Richard III
  78. The Searchers
  79. The Seven Samurai
  80. The Seventh Seal
  81. Shane
  82. Singin' In The Rain
  83. Sleeper
  84. Some Like It Hot
  85. Stagecoach
  86. La Strada
  87. Sunset Boulevard
  88. Taxi Driver
  89. The Thief of Baghdad
  90. The Third Man
  91. The Thirty-Nine Steps
  92. To Be Or Not To Be
  93. Top Hat
  94. The Treasure of the Sierra Madre
  95. 2001: A Space Odyssey
  96. Whisky Galore
  97. The Wild Bunch
  98. Wild Strawberries
  99. The Wizard of Oz
  100. Z

Still got a few to go though: how are you doing?

EDitorial ± 3-Apr-2006

What Dads Do

Kiddies, esp. The Boy, have been big fans of the Dr Who comeback: got the DVDs, done the Brighton exhibition, know the lines. So was interested to see their reaction to this week's BBC4 broadcast of 1973's The Green Death.

There's Worzel Gummidge himself, Jon father of Sean, dressed at his most theatrical, and that's just his hair. And there's his not-Rose assistant with the Brigadier, a poor man's Captain Jack.

I thought they'd find it all a bit talky and slow-going, but they seemed to enjoy it. Liked the fluorescent green paint effects, the Doctor's funny little yellow car ("looks like Brum"), and his hand-to-hand combat skills. And they were intrigued by not knowing who was behind the strange computer voice.

Best of all they were grossed out by the maggoty ending. And to help them stay in their own beds tonight -- we shall see -- I secretly daubed some green poster paint on the back of my hand before presenting their bedtime digestive. Ugh, I don't feel too well, I lied, clasping my face. 'Tis what being a Dad is all about.

Update 4-Apr-2006 Two nights of retro sci-fi, and two nights of Doctor Who (bad) dreams for The Boy who's ended up in our bed. Haven't had the will or the energy to take him back so wake up pushed to the edge of the mattress with his elbow in my face.

Update 5-Apr-2006 Final instalment tonight, everyone enjoying The B.O.S.S. ("I am the computer!") and the wriggly maggots. Ten minutes to go, wifey gets a phone call, but never fear, we can pause live TV in our house, natch. In the break Boysy gets his jams on, I do the dishwasher, etc. Call ends -- now gone 8pm -- and someone manages to press the wrong button on the zapper. Telly whips forward to real time and the BBC4 news. Can we rewind? No, we can't: aaarrgh!

EDitorial ± 1-Apr-2006

Dolmio, Mar 2006

It's already April 1st -- no joke -- so time for another end-of-month Dolmio (Doings Of Last Month Innoparticular Order) non-weedkilling round up.

That is to say, an attempt to capture past(a) events before they slip... my... mind. March 2006 was spent:

  • opting for the chai steamer to back up Robert Crampton's Meaning Of Life-esque theory that "people just aren't drinking coffee any more"
  • mourning the sudden loss of Carrot Cake, the unique bakery stroke cafe stroke juice bar in downtown Ipswich: as they kind of used to say in the James Bond end credits, Avi will return
  • gagging on my Omega 3 fish oil capsule, as big as a bullet, and slapping on the Sudocrem in a dual salvo against the eczema
  • gawping at and failing to guess the locations of the country piles used to film the latest Poirot episodes
  • appreciating the subtle layout of the cutlery baskets in the site canteen: leftmost has forks, next has knives, then forks again, et cetera
  • holding out the sickbowl for Eldest in the bathroom at 3am
  • listening to favourite lyric of the month: "We're not all blood-sucking leeches, for we all have families too", by The Dears
  • instigating the Friday film with the kidlets: Curse Of The Were-Rabbit ("arson!"), Pirates Of The Carribean ("more guidelines than rules"), and Charlie & The Chocolate Factory ("Good morning, starshine")
  • turning the pages of Cloud Atlas: you wonder where it's going, then you get lost in it
  • consuming tiny, tiny packs of Asda's own brand yoghurt raisins
  • marvelling that The Boy could spell each of the numbers from tee-ee-en down to oh-en-ee correctly
  • feeling distinctly queasy watching the recent CSI episode about the man who ate himself to death while trying to digest a chocolate muffin

And that was March 2006.