Friday, December 31, 2004


Words just aren't enough. I can't even begin to comprehend the misery enveloping Asia at the moment.

I feel inadequate and impotent. But then, I'm lucky that's all I have to worry myself about.

And it feels hollow to wish the world a happy new year.

So I wish it peace instead.

Garden State

I've not seen so many movies this year. Maybe I've been selective about them. Or just not inclined. However, the movies that I've seen include The Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (on DVD, I confess, but it was so DAMN good - I saw it twice in a row), The Incredibles, Festival Express, Shrek 2, The and Bourne Supremacy. Without feeling too smug (a difficult propostion for me), I think I have chosen well. But all of them fade when compared with Garden State. Jim told me it was good, but I had no idea how good. I would love to explain it, but I would struggle. I am just not that good with my first language. Suffice to say that it has elements of Rom Com, Gen X (or Y, or whatever), slapstick, a World War 2 motorbike with sidecart, Natalie Portman, an amazing soundtrack featuring Coldplay, Simon and Garfunkel and Frou Frou, a knight in somewhat tarnished armour, a big hole, a man with 'Balls' written on his forehead, and a dead hamster. It is extremely funny and very moving. How funny? I actually slapped my thighs with laughter several times.

This is one of the best movies I have ever seen. I know it's a comment we make a lot, especially when we have only seen it yesterday, but this time I mean it.

Thursday, December 23, 2004

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Testing, 1, 2, 3.. Check

It was about a year ago I stood in St Gemain and had this photo taken. I only put it up to see if I could get images up onto me blog. It turns out I can.

A Tosser in Paris Posted by Hello

Monday, December 13, 2004

A Great Man has died

Arthur Lydiard, an athletics coach in New Zealand has died, aged 87. You've probably never heard of him, but in NZ in the sixties, he came up with a new coaching technique that resulted in four gold medals for men in the black singlet.

You can read a lot more about him at the New Zealand Herald's website.

A genuinely great man.

I'd like to meet this man

The Observer Magazine has a regular feature called 'These Things I Know' where someone is 'interviewed' but where the interviewer remains anonymous. This week's interview has been one of the best. You can find it here, but highlights include:

What do I really want for Christmas? Nothing. It's not that I don't want anything. There's always going to be some stupid object I think I can't live without. But, at the core, nothing is what I most need. Do you get me? I need nothing - the sense of nothingness. Wouldn't everyone be happy with a little nothing in their lives?


There's no mystery left in sex. It's shown so much, discussed so much, and every woman's shuffling off for a shave. I say to hell with the Brazilian and bring back the Bolivian. Let's have a bit of mystery


When I was about nine, I really wanted an Action Man for Christmas. One that had a big hair on his chest that, when pulled, provoked him into barking, 'Awaiting further commands!' and similar daredevil nonsense. Instead I got a huge set of encyclopedias. Who wants to swot up on the digestive habits of antelopes when they've got a bedroom full of Nazi stormtroopers that need immediate quelling with extreme prejudice? You'd probably surmise that now - with time and experience, the onset of maturity, my temper tempered - I would appreciate the encyclopedias. But if I had the choice today, I'd still go for the Action Man.


If there is such a thing as a God, he's one hell of a joker.

Thursday, December 09, 2004

An open blog to radio DJs (especially you, Wogan)

Dear Radio DJs
I don't like to moan.
I like to accentuate the good things in life.

But would all of you stop talking over the end of songs? I would much rather hear the song than your bloody voice. I've noticed that you encroach further and further into songs at the beginning (here's a rough guideline, if the singer has started, you should have stopped by then), and as for the end, at least have the decency for the last verse to finish and the chorus to start before talking at us again. After a stressful day, I happened to be listening to Oxford's Fox FM on the way home, and they played the rather beautiful 'Don't Dream it's Over' by Crowded House, and it was making me a little bit more at peace with the world, except one of you started talking before the third verse had even started. What's that about? I mean, really? It wasn't even close to the news, so that couldn't have been it.

If I wanted to listen to people speak I'd listen to Radio 4. At least what I'd be hearing would be intelligent, rather than the verbal diarrhoea you lot spit out.

And Wogan, I like the music you play on your show, but hearing you do bird whistling in the middle of a song tends to make me turn off. That is after all, my choice. That's not all. Playing a song that starts at 7.55, then cutting it out at 7.56.33 so the song you play next fits exactly into the gap before the 8.00 chimes isn't exactly demonstrating a masterery of music programming.

You've all been mourning the passing of John Peel and holding him up as an inspiration as a DJ, and rightly so. But he could hold his tongue, why can't the rest of you?


Music I Love

The Go! Team.

The exclamation mark says it all. Music with a pulse.

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Buddy's List

Last night at Hammer and Tongue Buddy Wakefield referred to a list of documentaries that he recommends. These are:

Swimming to Cambodia
Life & Debt
The Corporation
Manufacturing Consent
Power and Terror in Our Times
Roger & Me
The Big One
Bowling For Columbine
Fahrenheit 911
Control Room
Bush Family Fortunes: The Best Democracy Money Can Buy
Hearts and Minds
Uncovered: The Truth about the Iraq War
Going Upriver: The Long War of John Kerry

There is more on these films here

The rest of the Fred Dagg Lyrics

Because I live a long way away from home, it's good to be reminded of my roots.
Fred Dagg is defined in New Zealand as a 'kiwi icon'.

We don't know how lucky we are. The New Version.
By Fred Dagg.
(Thanks to these people)

At the dawn of the day, in the great Southern Ocean
Where the world’s greatest fish was being landed
And the boat they were pulling it into was sinking
And the sea was quite lumpy, and the weather was foul
And the bloke with the map was as pissed as an owl
And the boys called out “Maui, ya clown, let it go”
In the noise he reached down for his grandmother’s jawbone
and he winked at his mates and he said
“Boys, we don’t know how lucky we are”
“I have a feeling I have stumbled on something substantial.”

We don’t know how lucky we are
We don’t know how lucky we are
We don’t know how lucky we are
We don’t know how lucky we are

I was speaking to a mate of mine, just the other day
A bloke called Bruce Bayliss who, lives up our way
He’s been round the world on an 8th army do for a year, more or less
I said “Describe the global position, Bruce”
He said “Fred, it’s a mess.
We don’t know how lucky we are in this country.

We don’t know how lucky we are.
We don’t know how lucky we are
We don’t know how lucky we are

There’s a guy I know who lives in town
I see him about once a year I suppose
He’s had a coronary since Easter
He’s got a haemorrhage in his ear
He went bankrupt a couple of weeks back
And now his wife’s left him too
I said “You’re looking hot mate, You’re looking clear, what are ya gonna do?”
He said “We don’t know how lucky we are
To live in this joint mate"

We don’t know how lucky we are
We don’t know how lucky we are

So when things are looking really bad
And you’re thinking of giving it a way
Remember, New Zealand’s a cracker
And I reckon come what may
If things get appallingly bad
And we’re all under constant attack
Remember, we want to see good clean ball
And for god’s sakes, feed your backs

We don’t how fortunate we are to have that place
We don’t know how propitious are the circumstances.

We don’t know how lucky we are, mate
We don’t know how lucky we are
We don’t know how lucky we are, get it right
We just don’t realise how fortunate we are
We have no idea, the luck, we possess, collectively
We just don’t know how lucky we all are.
Full stop.

Sarah and Craig and Alice

You are loved. More than I could hope to put into words. And I wish I could make your life easier, as you have so often made mine.

Hammer and Tongue - They're the people that you meet, when you're walking down the street

We don’t know how lucky we are, mate
We don’t know how lucky we are
We don’t know how lucky we are, get it right
We just don’t realise how fortunate we are
We have no idea, the luck, we possess, collectively
We just don’t know how lucky we all are.
Full stop.
(Fred Dagg)

A week or so ago I wrote about how much I was struggling. And to some extent that is true. I still don't like being single. Last night I was talking to my flatmate Emma and recounting a story that involved my ex-girlfriend, and I thought that I have so few stories that involve a girlfriend. The story has to do with a battleship and a girl. If you want to know more you have to ask me. But my point is that I don't like being single, and most days I am not prepared to live with that. Desperate, desperate man. But, to paraphrase Mel Gibson/William Wallace/whoeverthehellsaiditfirst, not this day.

Tonight I have come from a Hammer and Tongue poetry slam (look to your right - it says links there somewhere and then when you've finished here, click on where it says Hammer and Tongue Poetry Slams. Oh, to hell with it. Stop now and click there. You won't regret it.) and it has made me realise just how blessed I am. In Oxford alone I have communities based around Home, my flat, my cricket team, my street and Hammer and Tongue. And these are communities that are so astounding that just one would be enough, and yet I have five. FIVE!! Or just one bloody great community I call Oxford.

Crickey Dick.

The Hammer and Tongue slam tonight was as good as it has ever been. And not just for the poetry, although that was really good. And Abe, I am so sorry you went over time and I had to deduct a point, but we'll all be bastards together. It was more for the sense of community and the love there. No, not the bullshit love you find under the Argos Christmas Tree (TM) or the equally bullshit love that Elton (TM) spits out, but the warmth and the belonging that sits in a community where no matter where you come from and no matter what you believe, you are accepeted. Having just written that, I do wonder if Mr Bush or Mr Howard would have felt so welcome there tonight. And in the spirit of me ranting and thinking without speaking. Sorry, speaking without thinking, Steve, as much as I love you and your work, and as much as I love what you've done, I didn't like your poem about the human race being a parasite, but then, that's just me and I believe we're bigger and better than that. Fuck it, if we're all gonna be parasites, stop the world, I want to get off.

Where was I? Oh yes, the love. Tonight it was as if the spirit was flowing through the place. We Christians will probably put it down to the Holy Spirit, the rest of you can call it what you like. But whatever you wanna call it, it moved me. Sometimes it picked me up and slammed me against the wall (like, when, like Buddy Wakefield asked, like, if I'd ever dreamt about living for a living - and yes, it did feel like he was asking me, rather than a hundred other people), and other times when I watched an American girl in front of me completely lose it with laughter as Steve Larkin talked about fat sex. Or what provoked me to ask the guy I deducted points from 'cos he went overtime if I could make him dinner (he turned me down, but he did hug me), and let me call myself a cunt (he amended that to Mr Cunt). Or when the last post, Angela, was shaking with nerves as she read out her two poems. Whatever, I have never so badly wanted to embrace a hundred people at once. Hammer and Tongue is just an embodiment of my sense of community, but I know that it's not limited to the firsttuesdayofthemonthattheZodiac, just like church is not limited to evenings at the Phoenix bar
or the secondthursdayofthemonthatStAldates. It's more than that.

I dunno how they've done it, but by jimminy, it is a Good Thing.

Ok, the lyrics are waxed now but I believe that if you believe in something and it's that good, damnit you're obliged to tell the world. And you're especially obliged to tell the people who put it together. You see, Steve, whe're not bloody parasites, we are so much more than that.

I didn't even mention the other communities that I count special, the people in London, Edinburgh, Auckland, Dallas, and my beloved, but never told, family. And my God.

Tonight, this morning, whenever, I am still single, but with what I have, it is more than enough.

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Out my window

Today one of these evil bastards flew past my window. Being the liberal lefty I am, I know I shouldn't be excited, but I was and I am.

Last year it was one of these and one of these.

I plead 'I'm a boy, your honour'.