Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas

Having Christmas at my brothers this year, which is where the X-Box and the Wii are, so that should help with the boredom.

Shalln't get the present I wanted for Christmas: a new job, which in many ways would've been a classic Christmas present - because I'd have been bored of it come March.

Still there's John Lewis, still, still waiting to hear back about that, and maybe there's work for me at Dixons, Playstation, Amazon or even IG Index - a spread betting company (I don't even really understand what that is). So there should be something on the way in 2009.

Hope you have a nice Christmas, whoever you are.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

How Life Mocks Me...

While I still wait to find out whether I have a job, or even a second interview, with John Lewis, I've still been cracking away at the applications in the desperate hope of finding new leads that might leave me with a new job for Christmas.

Having applied for a content producer/copywriter role, I got a call from an agency saying, "great, we like your application, we think you might be suitable for this role. Can you come down to the office today, as they finish interviewing at the end of this week?"

So I get my little skates on, iron my shirt, pick-up my portfolio and make haste across London towards Liverpool St. A dash of panic comes over me as I struggle to find the right building with only minutes to spare, but I find said place, fill out some forms and am prepared for the chat.

So I sit down with this guy, and he tells me the vacancy is at a high street rival of Marks & Spencer, a certain department store called John Lewis...

Still, he thinks I've got a good chance of getting the job. They're looking for someone who they won't have to pay as much...

Monday, December 08, 2008

On Tenterhooks

Well it seemed to go quite well. The agency recruitment guy (who called me the day before the interview to see that I had everything ready and everything I needed for the next day, text me that morning to wish me good luck, and called me afterwards to see how it went - how good is that!) called me with feedback and said they'd been very impressed with me in the interview and my copy test.

Now I just have to wait and see. They're interviewing this week still so I won't know for a little while yet.

Other than that, I might be up for a job in Skincare and Cosmetics - sounds good!

Anyway, check out my interview with important documentary making types.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

I find the irony of this article both amusing and depressing. It's not only like the pot calling the kettle black, it's like the pot calling the kettle a black, untalented has-bean.

Of course both acts have done lots of crack, so that's what clearly makes them rock 'n' roll.

Interview with John Lewis on this coming Tuesday. It'd better work out, because the only other option so far is an interview with an as yet unnamed electronics retailer that's based up in Hemel Hempstead, which is bloody miles away, and there'd be no pay rise.

I'm also interviewing the people who directed this film after the interview at JL on Tuesday. I hear it's Oscar shortlisted now.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Quite A Mouthful

Got an interview with John Lewis next week for what seems to be exactly the same job. And they're M&S's closest rival, oh yes, if I get the job, they will be crushed!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The Progress So Far

...Yeah there's not really been any. The recruiters who've at least kindly taken the time to actually speak to me, have been very nice and positive about my experience, but have said that I'll probably struggle to find any work until next year.

So I'm on a none paid holiday until next year. I think I'm going to spend it eating crumpets and becoming an alcoholic.

After I've been to Germany this weekend. Finally going abroad and I can't even afford it now. F*****g typical.

Click here to find out more about Russian master surgeon Serge Voronoff.

And here to read my latest album review.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Bitten by the Credit Crunch

I was confident about my job. Felt I was secure; the website was the only area of the business that was doing well and that I was making myself very useful. I was the only one of the copy team who knew anything about technology, and as technology sales were up by more than 100%, I knew I was making a positive contribution to the site.

I was very confident about my job - right up until I entered the office, was sat down and told that my contract was being terminated.

Why? Well they're cutting costs all over the company, and they used to get by with only three copywriters and now they have four. And as clothing is more high profile, and no doubt has a bigger profit margin, who should go? The menswear copywriter, the womenswear copywriter, or the homeware/technology copywriter? And I would've been there a year in a few weeks and become entitled to benefits too - another way to save money.

So I need another job. Anyone need anything writing?

Oh and they've put my rent up, so if it paid more that would be nice too.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Damn Reality!

I had a good week on the stock exchange this week. I shrewd investment in Coffee Republic paid off big when there stocks value exploded, earning me a over £100,000, causing my portfolio to rise in value by 104%.

Was I happy, yeah a little, unfortunately this investment was in fantasy shares on the bullbearings website. My real investments, my money in an HSBC share saver account, they're... well they're not doing so good. Not very good at all...

I hate reality.

On an unrelated subject, I don't think I'm doing enough to promote my other writerly wares*.

Here's an album review I made

And a film review

Best Fact I Learnt Today The man who invented the Dolby sound system is called Ray Dolby.

Best Headline of the Day...

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Too Soon To Take Advantage?

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Visit To Ireland

I went to Ireland recently, here are some pictures that I took.

Went over on the ferry.

Some bridge or other...

Can't remember who these people were.

Dunno what this is.

One of Ireland's many statues that makes you feel really bad about being English.

Apparently they have beaches in Ireland too.

The famous Dublin spike

We went to several of these pub places.

Would've pushed him over, but he owed me money.

Oh and we passed that station with the long name on the way back.

Friday, October 03, 2008

Right Poster, Wrong Station

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Recently Seen Movies

The Dark Knight (2008) Christian Bale, Heath Ledger, Gary Oldman, Aaron Echhart, Maggie Gyllenhal. Dir: Christopher Nolan

Batman and DA Dent’s crusade against the mob is disrupted by the Joker. It’s lengthy and the continuing Batman beats Joker, Joker pulls rug from under him, plot is a little wearying. But it’s powerful and gripping, with top notch performances and fascinating themes of good and evil , order and chaos.


Hellboy 2: The Golden Army (2008) Ron Perlman, Selma Blair, Doug Jones, Seth McFarlane. Dir: Guillemo Del Toro

Hellboy must stop an elf prince who’s trying to awaken an invincible army. The anti-thesis of the Dark Knight – shallow, two-dimensional and showy. The old characters motives are frequently questionable, the new characters barely drawn out, and the plot feels like it was made up as they went along.


Donnie Brasco (1997) Johnny Depp, Al Pacino, Micheal Madson, Anne Heche. Dir Mike Newell

An undercover FBI agent struggles to stay detached from his new life amongst the mob. Solid gangster thriller that shows the mob without glamour. Pacino excellent as the lifelong, slightly pathetic gangster, and Depp on top form as the cop who crosses the line and struggles to find his way back.


Oliver Twist
(1947) Alec Guinness, Robert Newton, Francis L Sullivan, John Howard Davies. Dir: David Lean

Dicken’s classic tale of an orphan caught who escapes and orphanage and joins a gang of pick-pockets. Stylistic and dynamic, every shot is perfectly framed, the action always exciting, and the dark smokey streets perfectly echoing the period. A tour-de-force on both sides of the camera.


The Vengeance of She
(1968) John Richardson, Olinka Berova, Edward Judd, Colin Blakely. Dir: Cliff Owen

The sequel to Hammer’s She, the now immortal ... discovers the reincarnation of his former love. Being blonde and attractive is not enough to encourage the audience into caring what happens to a character. It’s also very dull, which never helps.


Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Royal Holloway, University of London

After four years plus away, I decided to bite the bullet and face my past – I returned to Royal Holloway, University of London. The place where, seven years ago, I embarked on a three year odyssey of Media Arts, a degree which, four years later, I have still yet to put to any practical use whatsoever.

It was a strange experience, did I feel nostalgic? All fuzzy inside for drunken nights out, house parties, essay writing all nighters and crazy, crazy pranks? Err, not really, it was more a sense of bitterness, mixed with an unhealthy amount of loathing.

Mostly infuriating, it has how much nicer the whole place looks. Huge new residential blocks have been erected, with glorious modern kitchens, double beds and large spacious bathrooms (several residential blocks were condemned the year I left). In fact the buildings where I spent my final year are now amongst the worst on campus, and also where I would now be housed if I were to return there as a postgrad.

Security is still top notch. The main university building is Founders Hall, a stunning building (just on the outside, not so good if you live in it), a building which has at least, off the top of my head, six doors on the outside, and ten more from the two courtyards . Only one of these doors has a security window. All these doors are open from 8 in the morning till 8 at night. So it’s pretty easy to walk right in. All the bedroom doors were open to, granted there’s no one staying there at the moment, but had I wanted to pinch a bit of cheap furniture, there was nowt to stop me.

All the bathrooms remained unrefurbished, still just six toilets to provide for a floor of 70+ plus rooms. Still probably aren’t cleaned during the weekend, which made always them nice to visit on Saturday morning, and even nicer Sunday morning. I remember the time I found a begger asleep in one of the cubicles – love that security.

Student Union is apparently even worse than it used to be. Once upon a time Radiohead played, there. It was one of only two places Bill Hicks played at in England. When I was there, who did they have? The Cheeky Girls, half of garage group the Artful Dodger and Bubble from Big Brother (twice). But there were lots of RNB nights, and lots of dress up theme nights, even more now...

While there, I always generally got the impression, that as a student, I was the least important person there. Somehow, I doubt that’s changed. I always be bitter at just how shit the student life was and just how generally alienating it felt just to be there. It was a good thing I made a lot of really good friends or else I’d have pretty much wasted a lot of my time.

Oh well, Egham’s got five charity shops now. That makes it 40% more worth visiting than it used to be.

Shelley Von Strunckel’s Pearl O’ Wisdom of the Week:

Knowing that others would misunderstand tricky situations, you said nothing. Having learnt about your behind-the-scenes manoeuvres, certain individuals are now upset. Even if you’ve nothing to apologise for, simply say you’re sorry. This will heal wounded egos and allow everyone to move on?

I think she been watching The West Wing again...

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

David's Week Off

So I’ve had this last week off. Nine whole days away from work, it was wonderful...

Shame I didn’t go anywhere, but as I live in London now, I decided I would have a week of ‘fun’ and try to enjoy the many wonders and activities that the city has to offer. It was a fun time, I went to the Notting Hill Carnival, where I learnt a valuable lesson – don’t go to the Notting Hill Carnival, went to the Comedy Store where I learnt just how much my brother can drink and how quickly he can get it down him.

This is a quick account of some of the places I visited. There are pictures to go with places that I remembered to take my camera to.

The Tower of London
Pricey (£17.50!) but not too bad for the money. There’s regular short tours which were worth listening to, several small museums to visit. Me and my brother spent three hours there and could’ve spent longer – there was a museum that cost another pound to get in, naturally we weren’t having any of that.

Sanjeev Bhaskar wasn’t playing the King that evening, and we were sat so far back and so high up... But it was very funny, not just all jokes from the film, there were plenty of new gags, with a new plot (not that it was very important) and some great songs that send up all the bad musical clichés. A great night out.

Return Visit to Royal Holloway University
To be covered at greater length at some other time....

Doctor Who Exhibition – Earls Court
An exhibition for kids, not that that stopped me from going mind. Pricey, very pricey, especially for a relatively short walk around the props and costumes from the new serious. £10 for an hour look around, and that was panning it out a bit. Yet, I can’t possibly even conceive of regret for going...

Brief Encounter
Now this was a performance... Funny, tragic, nostalgic... They took the anachronistic elements of the play, sent them up, but kept the main plot intact. They created a real vintage atmosphere with old fashioned ushers, a live band playing before the performance and during the interval; they handed out the cakes used in the performance. They brilliantly made use of the stage space. Highlight of the week.

Jack the Ripper Exhibition at Docklands Museum

Not bad for the money, £7 to see the exhibition and the rest of the museum. A really interesting history of the murders and its lasting effect on the East End. The history of the Docklands, which makes up the rest of the museum, was probably interesting but I’d read all about boats and industrial redevelopment when I was in Liverpool, so I kind of glossed over it.

REM Live at Twickenham Rugby GroundWell we missed the Guillemots because the pub we went to wasn’t serving food, despite the menu on the door, and we had to go somewhere else. They weren’t serving half the beers they had pumps for either and the toilets looked like a bomb had been dropped on them. No wonder it was empty. Caught most of the Editors, which was pretty samey.

But REM were great as they always are live (I’m a fifth timer) and they made a real difference by jettisoning the usual set list template and playing quite a few unusual numbers and a couple of reworked tunes. There were moments when it would’ve been better in a smaller venue, but it was hard not to come away smiling.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Office of Wonder

One of the many problems with modern living is that many, myself included, must face a working life that takes place solely behind a desk in front of a PC monitor. A place which becomes our home from home. The spot where we spend more time than anywhere else each week, except for maybe our own beds.

But fortunately I am spared much of this modern drudgery, for my work place is unique. The Point at Paddington Basin is a building like no other, as described below in the architects very special design brief.

TFP were commissioned to design the fit-out and the brief focused on sharing of information. The core concept for this is a volcano. The lower ground floor is the 'magma chamber' of ideas, and the atrium the vertical focus of communication and activity, with ideas fountaining out into the wider world. This energy manifests itself on the outside by a ripple of colour up the centre of the entrance façade, culminating in a coloured glass sculpture on the top.

Some days I have so many ideas, I feel quite like throwing myself down the vertical focus of communication and activity

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Delightfully Inappropriate

Now this is ASDA Priceless...

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Now this is Cheap

Now if Budgens is expensive, check out how cheap M&S is. I know the share price has taken a bit of kicking, but still, we're not worth much.

This is on all the store signs, so the website has to have it up.

Went to see American nutcase Daniel Johnston for an exceptionally short instore appearance over at Brick Lane. Then on my way back I happened to go through Tottenham Court Road station where people were being stopped and searched and I happened to be a man with a bag. And to top that, I had a beard. Women with handbags were fine, after all, there were only men searching so they couldn't check the women. Female terrorists were free to wire up and explode at their leisure.

It wasn't being searched that I minded, as I wasn't wired what did it matter? But it was the part where he took down my address, personal details and wanted to see proof of my ID. And now what happens to that data? Does it go onto my file, because I was searched once does that go on my permanent record? If I try to get on a plane, will it come up when they scan my passport that I was caught with a manbag and a beard and was worth searching at a London tube station once. I was suspicious then, he must still be trouble now? Am I officially more suspicious now than I was before???

Am I????

He didn't look in the plastic bag I was carrying. Not possible to hide explosives in a thin plastic bag. Good job he didn't make me it empty it out, or else everyone would've seen me with a particularly gay looking Bryan Ferry record. It's the one that lists credits for Cover Design, Photography, Clothes & Make-up, Hair and Artwork on the back, when the cover actually features him wearing a t-shirt next to a blue background

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Budgens Finally Goes Too Far

Shelly Von Strunckel Pearl o’ Wisdom of the Week:

Trust your instincts over what seem like hard facts. They may run counter to logic at the moment but with two powerful eclipses approaching, what seems unlikely now could soon be a commonplace experience. Once everything has taken place, you’ll realise that those instincts were pointing the way.

It's like she leapt behind my eyes and saw exactly what was going to happen.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008


Not much going still. Granted I did go back to Stoke for the weekend - so nothing interesting there. I did get a replacement laptop and my brother is kindly retrieving my hard drive from my old one, so that’s fine. And I shall be paying for my new laptop with my £825 tax refund - oh yeah...

I saw the newly reformed Cornershop.

And the rescheduled Ladytron gig...

And here are some more review type things…

Sunset Boulevard (1950) William Holden, Gloria Swanson, Erich Von Stroheim. Dir: William Wilder

Down on his luck screenwriter Holden gets caught up in the twisted web of a former silent screen goddess. Iconic film noir with Wilder’s trademark sharp dialogue, but it’s the loaded performance of real life former icon Swanson that steals the show. OTT but with the bitter pill of truth


Theatre of Blood (1973) Vincent Price, Diana Rigg, Ian Hendry. Dir: Douglas Hickox

Shakerspearian ham actor Price takes revenge against his critics with a series of bard inspired murders.
Price is having the most fun in this entertaining spoof, but the narrative is very bitty, and the tension never seems to really build up. But the set pieces are very memorable.


Marnie (1964) Sean Connery, Tippi Hedren, Martin Gable, Diance Baker. Dir Alfred Hitchcock

Connery is smitten with Hedren, a frigid kleptomaniac who‘s robbed him, so he determines to set her straight. Lesser Hitchcock - hard to believe that Connery would keep patience with such an unlikeable lead, the audience certainly won’t and the ending doesn’t vindicate it. Mother is sympathetic for once


Bestiality Case of the Day...

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Good News

Due to some reorganisation of my department, that's all four of us, my work responsibilities are no longer certain defined tasks, I now am responsible for certains departments, all the ones that aren't clothing!!!

No more trying to pretend I know anything about fashion, no more struggling to come up with different outfit names for different shirt and tie combinations and no more giggling at outfit names I'm would never be allowed to call the plus size outfits (jumper-lumper, All-round style, etc).

Bad News

Non-clothing departments include beauty and cosmetics, and flowers. Anyone know what SPF 15 means?

News Story of the Day: Rabbit Killer!

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

I Think They Started From That End Deliberately

Monday, June 30, 2008

Damn Yahoo To Hell!

Anyone else having problems with Yahoo at the moment?

I'am, I can't read my emails. It'll let me log-in, but it insists on me re-entering my password and but won't accept it. It's just an endless on going loop.

I have 15 emails that are unread. Granted most of them will be asking for my credit card details or detailing great offers on Viagra, but damn it those are my fraudulant and pervy emails. Amongst them there may well be upto two messages that are important-ish.

Furthermore, I've wasted money going to a net cafe to confirm that it's not working, because I was assuming, as usual, it was just the crappy work internet. I could've of course found out at home if it wasn't for the fact that my laptop is also fucked!

The light comes on and then it very rapidly goes off again. No start-up sounds, just the lights on and then quickly off. This is very, very inconvenient, I need that laptop. Fortunately I saved my essential files to my iPod the week before, so I better save them to another computer before that fucks up too.

I can't help but feel this is the tip of the iceberg. Somethings coming, a personal calamity to end all other calamities. What will go wrong next?

Wednesday, June 25, 2008


Yeah, not much happening at the moment. Managed to skilfully fail to get some freelance work, played football a couple of times (badly), went far up north for a christening party (there was no actual christening. While I was there I played the ultimate game of Jenga – 40 minutes long, gained an audience. It was soooo tense – and naturally I was the one who goofed, but I was part of something. Part of something special…

Anyway, here are two possibly interesting things to read which may well happened. There’s this and this…

Samuel Goldwynism of the Day:

“I don’t want any yes-men around me. I want everyone to tell the truth – even though it costs him his job.”

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Not Even He's That Bad

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

More Films

Scars of Dracula (1970) Christopher Lee, Dennis Waterman, Christopher Matthews, Patrick Troughton. Dir: Roy Ward Baker

A young rogue disappears and his brother and his fiancée track him down to castle Dracula. Sharp pacing can get you through shakier Hammer films, but this drags and is too derivative. The male lead dies early and is replaced with a blander one and the bat effects are awful.


Touch of Evil (1958) Charlton Heston, Janet Leigh, Orson Welles, Marlene Dietrich, Akim Tamiroff. Dir: Orson Welles.

Mexican (?) honeymooner Heston clashes against detective Welles as they investigate a murder. How great direction can turn a good film into a great one: dramatic, arresting and told with visual flair further enhanced by great performances and cracking dialogue. A near perfect thriller.


The Raven (1934) Bela Lugosi, Boris Karloff, Lester Matthews. Dir: Lew Landers.

A poe-obssessed surgeon plots revenge against those who deny him the woman he loves. Though shakey round the edges and dated in places, this is an absolute riot with several stylish and memorable sequences that stick in the memory. Lugosi hits the right note in his over-the-top performance.


The Big Steal (1949) Robert Mitchum, Jane Greer, William Bendix, Ramon Novarro. Dir: Don Siegal.

Soldier Mitchum pursues Novarro who framed him for theft while he is pursued by cop Bendix. I wasn’t engaged, it seemed unsure of whether it was a comedy or drama and would’ve been over quickly if anyone in it used their brains, but it’s generally highly regarded by critics.


Timber Falls(2008) Josh Randell, Brianna Brown, Nick Searcy, Beth Broderick. Dir: Tong Giglio

Beautiful twenty-somethings take the wrong route hiking and naturally meet a house of psychos. Counting the clichés is about as much fun as you’ll have with this derivative affair. Script is wooden, hard to tell whether it’s tongue in cheek or trying to be serious, it is unintentionally funny.


The Spy Who Came In From The Cold (1965) Richard Burton, Claire Bloom, Oskar Werner. Dir: Martin Ritt.

A disenchanted agent takes on one final mission before retiring. The first anti-Bond film. Le Carre’s excellent far-fetched thriller is given a suitably cold edge by stark photography and an excellent performance by a perfectly cast Burton as the weary spy. Excellent and unsettling.


Friday, May 23, 2008


I have had the immense pleasure of seeing a number of wonderful bands during the last two months. I'd like to share with you some photographs from these special evenings.

Clinic at the 220 club.

Portishead at Hammersmith Apollo.

Supported by A Hawk And A Hacksaw.

Bjork, also at Hammersmith Apollo.

Elbow at Brixton Empire (feat Richard Hawley).

Nick Cave And The Bad Seeds at Hammersmith Apollo.

Jonathan Richman at Shepherds Bush Empire.

Ladytron at London Astoria

Sparks at Islington Academy

Einsturzende Neubauten at London Forum

Monday, May 19, 2008

Can't Believe It Closed Down

Yeah, I bet they sold 'camping gear'.

I did something on Saturday that I've never ever done before... I ate at a chinese restaurant, and actually quite enjoyed it.

In the fine chinese tradition, or novelty chinese stereotype tradition at least, I cracked open a fortune cookie, and thus learnt this insightful and wise piece of advice:

"Please someone at work by remaining clam and impartial".

I shall remember it always.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Somethings Shouldn't Exist

A few years ago I remember watching a particularly good episode of South Park. The episode featured Cartman looking for more mature friends and he decided it was best to do this on the internet. Unfortunately his new friends kept getting arrested moments after they met, so he was advised to join NAMBLA – the North American Man Boy Love Association, where he would meet lots of interesting mature friends.

Jealous, all the other boys also joined, it was only when the lights went out and the FBI showed up did we discover it had been a mistake and Cartman had joined the wrong association, he was actually recommended to join the North American Marlon Brando Look-a-likes Association.

Anyway, it was a really great episode that even my Father, who never liked any comedy post 1982, liked. But I had assumed it was all just made up, so imagine my surprise when I found this out…

Fact about the Federated States of Micronesia of the day: The FSM is a sovereign, self-governing state in free association with the United States, which is wholly responsible for its defense. The Division of Maritime Surveillance operates a paramilitary Maritime Wing and a small Maritime Police Unit. The Compact of Free Association allows FSM citizens to join the US military without having to obtain U.S. permanent residency or citizenship.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Sunny Liverpool

I'd firstly like to congratulate Virgin Trains for providing me with the opportunity to visit Liverpool and for returning me home only an hour late, which is a whole half-hour less than journey which resulted in me receiving this ticket in the first place. That's progress*.

Firstly, Liverpool town centre is beautiful, granted it was a pretty grey weekend, but it's a much more beautiful town centre than any I've walked through in London. Mostly beautiful old building, with the newer ones, in most cases, seamlessly added in.

The waterfront area was very nice too, although much of the construction work detracted from all it's glory (shouldn't this have been done before it became city of culture?)I visited the Liverpool Museum, took a look at the slavery exhibit, the Liverpool Tate Modern. Interesting stuff.

Unfortunatly the outskirts, the suburbs, are not so, well, nice. My B&B was a little out of the way, I knew that, but I didn't know quite how far away. On my multimap printout it seemed just a short walk. But my map was across two different pages each piece only showing the turns of the journey. They did not show the very, very long road that connected them.

The maps were also wrong. They didn't mention that the elongated Prescott Road, stopped being Prescott Road and changed to Kensington Road, before reverting back to being Prescott Road (It was actually Prescott Street, but that was wrong too). So after deciding to continue on to Kensington, having decided it was probably the right way, I went on. And on. And on. I'm going for miles on a road that might not even be the right road.

Eventually I asked someone and it turned out I was on the right track, but by this time I'd entered the wilderness. Boarded houses, metal shutters, curry house after Chinese after Indian after betting shop. Passed a 24 hour off-license called 'Not Drunk Enough'. And there were chavs and scallies and they were everywhere!

And the people were ugly. I was waiting for a bus, a dozen people there with me, and I was the most attractive person there. This was a unique experience for me. Granted, it was a bit like getting the 2nd prize at a beauty contest card in Monopoly when you're playing with your Gran, but it was a unique experience nevertheless.

So in summation, visit Liverpool, but stay in the town centre, dear god, don't leave the city centre.

And try not to take the train if you can avoidit.

*It was a track power failure so I suppose that's not their fault, although I'm not sure who to blame for the farcical misinformation that was a great deal less funny to all the people who got on at Birmingham, sat down, and were then told to get off again.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

David's Day Out

This weekend I’m spending a day away in Liverpool.

Why am I going to Liverpool?

Well, after Christmas I was treated to the usual kind of anarchy that only Virgin Trains can provide. I was caught up in the New Year rail works problems and arrived back in Stoke one and a half hours late. Naturally I was determined to be compensated.

Before I filed my complaint I received an email. I receive emails all the time, but this one was from Virgin Trains, offering their sincere apologies and offering, in compensation, a free first class return to anywhere I wanted.

I was excited. I could go anywhere, so automatically I thought Edinburgh: that was far away and I’d never been there. I didn’t rush into anything, I thought about it, decided when to go, how long to go for: just the weekend, I didn’t want to use too much of my minimal time off.

However, I had not read the small print. As I came to book the ticket, I discovered that there were conditions, that bookings were on a first come, first served basis, and I was not the only one who had that of going to Edinburgh. There were tickets to get there, but not to get back, and a massive diversion due to rail works to further reap the piss.

So I would have to go somewhere else. But where?

It was then that I discovered the second major clause, something I really ought to have realised on my own. The tickets were only valid across the Virgin Trains network, thus my options were quite, quite limited. There were no tickets available to Glasgow, and none to place next furthest place away, Holyhead.

So I’m going to stay overnight in Liverpool. A not full-expenses-paid short holiday.

Oh how I shall live it up…

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Sunday, April 13, 2008


There Will Be Blood (2008) Daniel Day-Lewis, Paul Dano, Dillon Freasier. Dir: Paul Thomas Anderson

Fascinating story of the rise of oil entrepreneur Day-Lewis at the cost of his soul. Lewis is phenomenal in his role, playing his characters disintegration with brilliantly timed subtlety, sadly upstaging the also superb Dano as the zealot who stands in his way. A bit long, but worth it.


The Raven (1963) Vincent Price, Boris Karloff, Peter Lorre, Jack Nicholson. Dir: Roger Corman.

Parody of the earlier Corman – Poe films finds Sorcerer Laurie enlisting Price to go up against the all powerful Karloff. Tad too meandering and although there’s pleasure in watching ‘The Triumvirate of Terror’ at work, it’s not as much fun as it should be. Final duel is worth the wait.


House on Haunted Hill (1958) Vincent Price, Richard Long, Carol Ohmart. Dir: William Castle

Millionaire Price and his wife hold a party at a house notorious for its many murders. The survivors will be rewarded with money. Gimmicky and rubbish probably even when it came out, but its stupidity is what makes it an amusing diversion and Price is always good for a laugh.


The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes (1970) Robert Stevens, Colin Blakely, Genevieve Page, Christopher Lee. Dir: Billy Wilder.

Comic yet touching portrayal of the real man behind the stories and his relationship with women as Holmes follows a case involving midgets and the loch ness monster – with a surprisingly lucid solution. Perhaps too comic in places, but this is a very elegant and perfectly staged production.


Fact about The Federated States of Micronesia of the Day
The country has seven official languages: English, Ulithian, Woleaian, Yapese, Pohnpeian, Kosraean, and Chuukese.

Sunday, April 06, 2008


Oh the horror. This week I was given an error list. There were over two hundred products on the M&S site with errors in their selling copy. Each with my name written next to it…

My jaw dropped, I was just about to prevent myself from peeing my pants as I logged the item numbers in to discover what mistakes I had made.

What I soon discovered, to my total relief, was that my name was attached to each because it was my responsibility to correct the mistakes in the item copy, not that I had made them all.

Then on further examination I discovered that many of these mistakes were words the spell-check didn’t understand like Steadycam or HD. Then there were lots of trademarked names that should to begin with a capital letter and lots of names that aren’t trademarked and shouldn’t.

After I went through all these, what remained were the genuine mistakes… not all of which were made by me.

Yes, out of the literally hundreds of items I’ve written selling copy for I’ve made a total of 6 mistakes or at least, 6 mistakes that were detected.

Either way, I can live with that.

Monday, March 31, 2008

Some Stuff

I don't have time to write anything, so here's a few of my favourites new trivia/news discoveries:

Saved by television...

Death by sofa...

Terror by gnome...

Monday, March 24, 2008

More Reviewey Type Things

DDDDDD – Exceptional and unparalleled.
DDDDD – Excellent, a special film.
DDDD – High Enjoyable, recommended.
DDD – Worth watching, but unexceptional or flawed.
DD – Bland, dull and average.
D – Celluloid Crap

The Devil-Doll (1936): Lionel Barrymore, Maureen O’Sullivan, Frank Lewton, Robert Grieg. Dir: Tod Browning. Convict escapes prison and comes across a method a shrinking people into tiny zombies he can control and then sets them on those who framed him. Could’ve been delicious fun but the premise is spoilt by a dragging plot and by making the lead too noble. Effects stand up well.

Horton Hears a Who! (2007) Jim Carrey, Steve Carell, Carol Burnett. Dir Jimmy Hayward & Steve Martino
Elephant discovers a whole world on a speck and tries to protect if from harm. Textbook bold, bright and bland CGI animation complete with irritating pop-culture reference. The premise is cute though, and it builds up to a fun climax with a sweet message for kids, who should enjoy it.

A Man For All Seasons (1963) Paul Scofield, Leo Mckern, Wendy Hiller, John Hurt, Robert Shaw. Dir: Robert Zimmerman.
Excellent adaptation of Robert Bolt’s play about principled Sir Thomas Moore, who refuses to show support Henry VIII’s divorce. Brilliant script and sharp dialogue is brought to life by a superb cast lead by the deservedly Oscar winning Scofield. Sumptuously staged with engaging themes that still ring true today.

Doctor X (1932) Lional Atwill, Fay Wray, Lee Tracy, Preston Foster. Dir: Michael Curtiz
Gruesome serial killer must be one of the University’s surgical teachers; Doctor X has a unique method of flushing him out. Daft but entertaining, yet surprisingly dark, great sets and fun set-pieces are bothered by an irritating sub-plot between kooky journalist Preston and Wray. Rare example of two color techni-color.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Space Mutiny

In a galaxy far, far away, mankind is in danger and its very survival is at risk.

Fighting on through hordes of space pirates, the Southern Sun, and definitly not the Battlestar Galactica, is searching for a new home for mankind, a journey that has already taken generations.

But not everyone is willing to make the journey. Face-stretchingly evil Commander Kalgon has grown weary of the wait

He's the head of security and is using his men to take control of the ship from under the noses of its dynamic leaders, the bearded fat man and the other bloke.

Who can save them? Why only beefcake Captain Dave Ryder, that's who. He's already survived one attempt on his life and now he's going to kick some ass.

By his side, helping fight against this skinned-tightening evil, is his tempestuous, and curiously much older love interest, Jenna.

Watch as together they fight through the shipes industrial factory inspired interior.

Grip the edge of your seat as something with pirates happens. And there are these dancing mystical women and a sinister man with a limp and some frozen soldiers as well who I think all have something to do with the plot, But it's all thrilling action all the way through, culminating in a high speed go-kart race out.

Yes it's thrills all the way with Space Mutiny, a film that definitly wasn't filmed in a factory and doesn't recycle all its effects from Battlestar Galactica. And if there's one lesson you'll learn from it all and that's to not stand next to some railings in a factory, you'll only got shot and tumble over.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

More 50 Word Reviews

How to Murder Your Wife (1965) Jack Lemmon, Vira Lisi, Terry Thomas, Eddie Mayehoff, Claire Trevor. Dir: Richard Quinne
A sort of love letter to man’s right to be irresponsible and care free. Lemmon is a famous bachelor cartoonist until he gets drunk and marries a beautiful Italian dancer who doesn’t believe in divorce and doesn’t speak English. Not politically correct, but very funny. Support cast is excellent.

Inside Man (2006) Denzel Washington, Clive Owen, Jodie Foster, Willem Defoe, Christopher Plummer. Dir: Spike LeeCunning Owen is robbing a bank, Washington is the negotiator trying to outwit him, but there’s more to it all than meets the eye. A great twisting suspense thriller marred only by a meandering final quarter which is hard to understand or swallow. Usual Lee race commentary doesn’t add anything.

Sherlock Holmes & The Secret Weapon (1942) Basil Rathbone, Nigel Bruce, Lionel Atwill, Dennis Hoey. Dir: Roy William NeilHolmes goes up against Moriaty as he tries to steal secret weapon and sell it to the Nazi’s. Fun and well paced as usual, but Holmes as a secret agent is too hard to swallow. Cast on top form with Atwill and Hoey making good additions to the team.

The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951) Michael Rennie, Patricia Neal, Hugh Marlowe, Sam Jaffe. Dir: Robert WiseAbsolute classic about intelligent alien with a message to deliver to mankind, but will we listen. Bag loads of charm and intelligence with strong special effects and something to say, few sci-fi films are this savvy and have dated this well.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Under Fifty Word Film Reviews 2

DDDDDD – Exceptional and unparalleled.
DDDDD – Excellent, a special film.
DDDD – High Enjoyable, recommended.
DDD – Worth watching, but unexceptional or flawed.
DD – Bland, dull and average.
D – A cinematic turd.

Mad Love (1933) Peter Lorre, Colin Clive, Francis Drake Dir: Carl Freund.

Obsessive surgeon Lorre is in love with Drake. When her pianist husband Clive’s hands are destroyed in an accident, Lorre replaces them with the hands of a killer. Surprisingly dark even with censorship. Lorre’s performance and the expressionistic style of master cameraman Freund makes this a creepy and sinister classic.


We Are Together (2007) Dir: Paul Taylor

Phrases like life affirming and genuinely touching are thrown about often, but you’d have to have a heart of titanium not to have your heart warmed by this documentary about a South African orphan’s choir, whose success may decide the future of the orphanage. You couldn’t write a script this poignant.


Sherlock Holmes and the Voice of Terror (1942) Basil Rathbone, Nigel Bruce, Henry Daniell, Evelyn Ankers. Dir: John Rawlins

Holmes and Watson are inexplicably transported to ww2 to fight the Nazi’s. It may be unsubtle propaganda, but a fast paced plot, an excellent cast and some stylish direction makes this still worthwhile. And Rathbone is just unstoppable…


Saturday, February 23, 2008

Damn Their Eyes!

I thought that Waddesdon Manor* was a bloody rip off, but I hadn’t been seen nothin’ till I went to Cheddar Gorge.

Well actually I have been to Cheddar Gorge before, when I was but a boy, and now I realise why we didn’t go to see the caves or do anything exciting there**. Because it’s f@&^~#g expensive that’s why.

£14 it costs. Of course there are several activities you can do, you can see the caves, go up to the observation platform, take a woodland walk, go rock climbing, but what if you don’t want to take the woodland walk, what if you don’t want to go rock climbing. What if you’re too old to go rock climbing? There’s a perfectly good free walk on the other side of the gorge, why would you pay to go on their special walk?

Observation platform? P#$s off.

The olive branch offer they give you for this extortion is that if you don’t do any activity you can come back and do it again any time over the next ten years. That’s a fat lot of good if say you’ve come from abroad, or if you’re too old to do the rock climbing. What if you’re coming down with different people than you came with the first time - they’re going to want to see the cave, what are you going to do? Wait for the while they go into the cave, and meet them later on the observation platform, presuming you could resist the temptation to go up there the last time you were there?

To hell with you Cheddar Gorge. F@%k you!!!!!

*Apparently it’s the Rothschild family who demand such high fairs to see their fancy home. But that doesn’t stop the Nation Trust from advertising the prices properly at the entrance, nor does it justify the excessive numbers of restaurants contained within!

** We went to the cheese makers. That’s still free! Bless em.

Quote of the Day: "It's a sad day for American Capitalism when a man can't fly a midgit on a kite over central park" - publicist Jim Moran.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Under Fifty Word Film Reviews

DDDDDD – Exceptional and unparalleled.
DDDDD – Excellent, a special film.
DDDD – High Enjoyable, recommended.
DDD – Worth watching, but unexceptional or flawed.
DD – Bland, dull and average.
D – An insult to the eyes and ears.

The Devil Rides Out: 1968, Christopher Lee, Charles Gray, Paul Eddington. Dir: Terence Fisher
Daft story about devil worshippers is given bite thanks to the dynamic Lee as he tries to save two souls from the superbly evil Charles Gray. Great direction and fine set pieces bring in the thrills, although a low budget spider attack is inexcusably bad, but is easily overlooked.

The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes: 1939, Basil Rathbone, Nigel Bruce, George Zucco. Dir: Alfred Werker
Holmes becomes a sort of boys' comic book hero in the 2nd Rathbone/Bruce film. The cast is first right; Rathbone, Bruce and villain Zucco are a delight to watch. Great fun, but it’s let down by script cuts that leave too much of the mystery unexplained.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Not Again...

Well, it’s not quite on the same level as the time I bought a scotch egg without an egg in it, but it’s close.

Last week I bought a handful of cheap chocolate for the purpose of stuffing my face full of it.

Imagine my horror then as I opened the wrapper of one such chocolate bar and revealed what was inside.

A straight Curly Wurly.

No twists, turns, holes or nobbliness. 0% Curl and 0% Wurl. It was totally straight…

The world’s gone to s**t man, the whole things f**ked up.

Bizarre News Story of the Week:

Scarlett Johansson to record Tom Waits tribute album. What the hell?!?!?

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

I definitely didn't have anything to do with this...

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Oh Crap

Because we had a lot of work to do at the beginning of the year, the woman I'm employed to work for (not my boss) is trying to justify the employment of extra staff for the copywriting team. To that end, we (me and the other copywriter) have to fill out a little form each day which states how many different bits of copy we've written.

This will end in one of two ways:

1: They will realise how excruciatingly long it takes to write copy and bring on new people.

2: They'll realise how much work I'm actually doing and administer a severe bollocking.

I wonder which it'll be?*

But whatever happens there are worse things out there. When I was making up product names earlier this year, I never dropped a clanger like this...


Sunday, January 27, 2008

Damn you National Trust!!!

This week I almost sent off some copy with the words reliable and efficient spelt incorrectly. But only almost…

I haven’t written* about my visit to Waddesdon Manor yet. It was a cold but bright day in December and we had travelled many miles to the Manor, home of the Rothschild family, out towards Bicester – home of Oxfam.

I am not a National Trust member, so I had to pay to get into the grounds. I was prepared for this. I paid my £6 and we were advised that there was an hour wait to see inside the manor, founded by Baron Ferdinand De Rothschild to display his collection of art.

So we enter the grounds, looks nice. Most of the sculptures and statues are very striking in their stunning tarpaulin wraps. But one of the things that really struck me about the grounds, one of the things that really jumped out at me, was how many great places there were to eat.

A plethora of eight different restaurant and cafés existed in the grounds, a venue to cater for all of my dining needs. There were some interesting features on the grounds map but they were in much smaller print.

We decide to book entry to the grounds as early as possible. Unfortunately I’m not a trust member – entry will be another £8 please. Now that they’ve got me they’re going to fleece me for every £ I’ve got. Was there any warning of this on the way in? Of course not. Their card machine is broken too, so if I didn’t have the money I would just have to go home. Not that seeing the beautiful grounds in all its tarpaulin weather-protected glory wouldn’t have been enough.

Admittedly the Manor is beautiful, very beautiful in fact. It’s just that you only see about 20% of it. We see it all in under 40 minutes and there’s no re-entry. Still, I can always comfort buy myself something in the gift shop, by far the biggest room we’ve seen so far. And I could always enjoy one of their many, many restaurants.

So in summation, Waddesdon Manor is a rip off and the National Trust are a bunch of c***s. Don’t go unless you’re a member, and even then, only if you really don’t have much else to do.


Monday, January 14, 2008

The Curse Continues...

The year I began working at Alton Towers was the year of the first petrol strikes, heavy rural flooding and the foot and mouth crisis, during which a number of animals at the Towers farm were rather callously slaughtered and small protests were held outside the gates. Profits fell…

The year I started working at WHSmith was the year they experienced a massive slump in profits and after Christmas 2002, had to significantly rethink their business strategy and streamline the company.

Then of course there was the Oxfam Books & Music store which I helped to open and then managed, which closed with massive loses 18 months later (6 months after I left mind, cutting my wage from the budget didn’t seem to help).

And now there’s Marks & Spencer.

How was it put in The Metro? “This isn’t just any drop in profits; this is an M&S drop in profits”.

I’ve doomed them all…

Shelley Von Strunckel Pearl of Wisdom of the Week: “Ever since Tuesday’s new moon, you’ve been trying to piece together certain perplexing insights. Now ironically, difficulties with others are helping you to clarify their meaning to you. Understanding will take patience. Continue to reflect, though, and gradually the puzzle pieces will come together.”

Changed my f**king life I can tell you.

, have a look at what I write for a living.

Thursday, January 03, 2008


I’ve been sick for about three weeks now, and am finally virtually back to normal. I haven’t taken any sick days because, as part of my intricate contract (I work for Marks & Spencers, but I actually work for someone else), I only get statutory sick pay. So if I phone in sick and I automatically lose £90!

What I should’ve done is buy Vicks Cold Protection. It’s proven to prevent people from catching a cold. 77% of people tested said they didn’t catch a cold.

A whole 77%, that’s what? Three quarters of people almost. So if you buy said formula, you’ve still got a 1 in 4 chance of actually becoming ill.

And of course, that’s the only stable statistic in this equation. Just because you haven’t developed the symptoms of a cold doesn’t mean that it’s protected you from catching one. You might just have been fortunate and not been exposed, not everybody catches every virus or cold that does the rounds do they?

If only I’d taken Vick’s special brand of Mickey Mouse placebo, then maybe, just maybe, I might have slightly reduced my chances of becoming ill.


I bet it’s not cheap stuff either.