Wednesday, July 27, 2005

galatea is away

i'm away for the next month... learning everything there is to know about 7 word intros.

Sunday, July 17, 2005

if you have tears, prepare to cry them now.

if it were possible for a blog to wear a black armband, this one would.

terrible news: Eminem to retire from rapping.

Saturday, July 16, 2005

makeover

as you can see, the blog has had a sparkly new makeover, mainly in order to distinguish it from this one, and also because I felt guilty that I used to be a proper internet geek, who understood hexadecimal colour codes and whatnot, and I had forgotten it all.

Later today, I am off to a world music festival (improbably in Elephant & Castle) with a friend. Given my intense dislike of world music and latent antipathy to festivals, it should be a fun day.

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I don't know why, but summer always gets me reading. Actually, I do know why: it's so that I can hide inside with a book, rather than sunbathing. The rest of my family put out chairs on the patio in March, and don't come back in until October, but I was (and am) a pale, sun-fearing type. My excuse is that I will look 30 when I am 50. Unfortunately, I am currently 21 and look like a vampire.

I toyed with the idea of buying Harry Potter as I ambled, drunk, past the 24-hour Tesco's last night. Luckily it was only 11.40pm and the prospect of a 20 minute wait with people sad enough to go to Tesco's in the middle of the night was a deal breaker. Instead I went home and read some Hazlitt (what's the point of feeling smug if you can't share it with anybody?)

But I have been mostly reading books from Amazon's summer paperback sale & Border's 3 for 2 offer. These include Watching the English by anthropolgist Kate Fox. She attempts to find a grammar of English behaviour, the hidden rules of Englishness. It's fascinating, and terrifying, to realise that your use of words gives your precise class away, as does your attitude towards Mondeos and Mercedes.

There's a great bit on the "Seven Deadly Sins" of word use, words which will immediately make clear your class prejudices. Example: do you wince when you see the word 'serviette' used instead of 'napkin'? You're middle-middle or upper-middle. Do you say 'lounge' or 'sitting room'? The first is working class, the second middle (although uppers might even venture into 'drawing room'). Like I say, it's not a pleasant experience to be deconstructed along such simple lines, but it makes you realise how class-obsessed the English still are.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

weird crushes




Any readers of this blog who have been (un)lucky enough to speak to me recently will know how much I love Top Gear, and specifically the pocket-sized gasket of love, Richard Hammond. Now, it seems, everyone is getting in on the act... including these very scary people.

From the Daily Mirror:

MIRRORMAN RICHARD IS TOP HUNK
By Reid Sexton

MIRROR columnist Richard Hammond has topped a sexy man poll.

Our motoring guru beat rivals including Sir Bob Geldof, Ray Winstone and Boris Johnson in a "weird crushes" vote by women aged 18 to 30.

Lucie Cave, of Heat magazine, said: "There are some odd people in there, but Richard is more a mainstream hunk." Heat readers reckoned Richard's "cheeky grin" and snappy dress sense made him adorable.

Lucie added: "It proves that girls don't always just go for Brad Pitt and Robbie Williams looks."

Derren Brown was second, Nick Knowles third, Art Malik fourth and Boris Johnson 12th.

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In honour of these brave souls who dare to attract women without Brad's cheekbones or Robbie's ambiguous sexual signals, I reproduce a newspaper article I wrote on the subject....

[POST ARCHIVED]

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

sleeping with the enemy


i'm back from france, as you can probably surmise from the fact that you're reading this. bugger.

i left for france on thursday (or 7/7 as the Times dubbed it). the train pulled out of waterloo at 0909, and so i was in a cocoon of newslessness for several hours. my first intimation that something was wrong was when i checked my phone on arrival in paris at one. i have five messages asking if i was ok... one mentioned the tube, another an explosion...

i spent the hour before my connection to dijon walking round train stations, desperately trying to find a TV screen or an evening newspaper. no one was replying to my texts (in turns out my housemates were all tucked up in bed) and my parents, when i met them at 4, hadn't even heard anything.

when we got to the hotel, the only channel which wasn't showing a badly-dubbed daytime TV show or the women's gymnastics was CNBC Europe, a business news channel. This was pretty instructive: it might be human tragedy to you, sunny, but to us it's a waste of a day we could have spent making money.

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the holiday was good, and was exactly the right amount of time to spend with my parents. by the last night, as my mother made theatrical fanning movements and spluttering noises because someone had the temerity to smoke near us in a restaurant, i had had enough. i even managed to conceal the piercing from them (couldn't be arsed to have that conversation) with the help of swimwear from the Marks & Spencer "By God, you've got big jugs" range, which features the sort of cantilevering and buttressing more usually found in medieval cathedrals.

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i am enjoying the last final fling of freedom before giving up student life forever and starting my job. i am even contemplating starting paying into a pension, even though i am resigned to having to work until I'm 70 (or dead). one thing i am looking forward to about getting older is the opportunity to place an ad in the spectactor's lonely hearts column. it attracts the most excellent sounding middle aged chaps, for example:

Cashmere voiced tactile teasable tall gentleman, an unusual traditionalist, wltm slim shapely poised n/s 50+ London lady for conversation and uncoy romance.

See? What could be better than uncoy romance (I am sure this is toff-speak for rampant sex) with 'an unusual traditionalist'. think what unusual traditions you could uphold together.

And they're all like that. It's astonishing. Another one reads, simply, "I want you to make me laugh, share a bottle of wine, lay by a log fire and look into my eyes." Sounds do-able, although I would be obliged to point out we were lying by a fire, not laying. "Music student, 31, studying opera, not yet had a relationship, has Aspergers syndrome," proffers someone who hasn't quite got the hang of how to write one of these. There are even two which use the phrases "young 70" and "young 74".

Simply genius.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

holiday

well, isn't this odd. i'm on holiday... i have always been one of those spoddy kids that chose to do extra homework rather than play outside, and consequently i have a problem with being on holiday: i'm not very good at it.

I think that my entire school and university career has indoctrinated me with the belief that fun is something you have when you should be doing something more important.

I have three weeks (well, two and a half now, strictly) before i have to leave the big smoke and spend a couple of months in sunny yorkshire. Guttersniper and I have resolved to spend our spare time (when not writing headlines like 'Do Breasts Cause Death?' and 'Did Diana sleep with Shergar?") in contemplation and poetry writing.

i hope to grow as a human being, a wish that will probably be fulfilled as i turn to Monster Munch and cake in place of friends and fun.

in other news, i finally got my first proper national newspaper byline on monday (a groundbreaking story on yak-skiing), appropriately just days before i give them up forever...

in saddest way to end a blog post ever - i'm off to tidy my room. my parents are staying on our way back from france (did i mention i'm going to france on an eating holiday? no? oh good) and i have to hide all my contraband. over and out.