Sunday, 31 July 2011


Some clever person has taken typical Ikea instructions and moved them back in time 3500 years...

Friday, 29 July 2011

Manual handling

As I am officially based at home with my job (though I am out seeing clients - i.e. Financial Advisers, most of the time), my employer wants me to complete a long questionnaire on my 'home working environment'.  It covers many things such as the space I have to work, wires on the floor, position of computer etc.

I chuckled when I got to this question:

Are you aware that you are not permitted to carry out significant manual handling activities?

I did not know this and have therefore broken the rule many many times since the age of about 12.  Is this fact going to get me in trouble?

Thursday, 28 July 2011

Kind hearts and Coronets

When I was young and I mean early teens, I saw a film called Kind Hearts And Coronets.  I knew that this film made many decades earlier was something very special. It is an Ealing comedy unlike their other offerings.

So how could this movie, released in in 1949 and obviously in black and white, have entertained me to the extent that I can still class it as one of my all time favourites?  The answer:... this is near perfect cinema. 

The art of making a black comedy is a tough area of film and one that has produced more duds than successes.  There are no laughs as such, yet you know that this is a comedy from the start, despite it being dark, moody and serious.  To be able to turn the topic of jealousy and death into comedy is an amazing feat and it is not until you realise that Alex Guinness is playing multiple parts that you fully understand that this is not your typical film.

I wont give anything away, but I urge you to watch and enjoy this masterpiece.

The digitally restored film will soon be available and I hope that I get to see it at a cinema.

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Post weekend

On Saturday night, a few of us went out for Pete's brothers birthday. We went to the 'best restaurant in town' and after the debt of a small African nation to passed to the waitress, we left very full and also a bit drunk. 

On Sunday morning, on the spur of the moment, we decided to go to Cambridge and spent virtually the whole day looking round in the lovely sunshine.  The cute guys were out trying to flog punts.  We had a beer and read the papers while watching the punters.  There were a few good buskers worth stopping to watch and we had a voucher lunch - a bargain!

I bought a new camera - it was 'sort of' planned and I didn't really have the money set aside, but I realised that technology had moved on so quickly, that my camera was looking a bit tired.  It's a great piece of kit. I have found that amateur photographers don't have cameras, they have 'kit'.  I will sell my old camera and a few lenses on eBay I think.

I don't want to dwell on the sad events from the weekend in Norway. We were all shocked by the evil acts and I hope that the nation will never stop leading the way in promoting peace. 

Anyway, here is the famous Cambridge Uni... taken with that old camera:

Monday, 25 July 2011

So much... too much

I have lots to blog about at the moment and need to get my thoughts down on the page.  While  I think about the content, here's a little joke that made me laugh...

Alien couple come down to earth and go to a swinging party.

They swap partners and go to respective bedrooms. The alien man takes his clothes off revealing a one inch willy. The woman says I'm not impressed!

The alien then twists his right ear and his willy grows to ten inches.

Now I am impressed says the woman.

The alien then twists his left ear and his willy becomes two inches thick and he gives the woman
the best seeing too she has ever had.

She meets up with her husband later and asks "how was it for you?"

Her hubby said 'f***ing shite, all she did was keep twisting my f***ing ears!"

Saturday, 23 July 2011

Kings Cross to St. Mary Axe

A little longer than the usual 30 second movie, here is the journey I took on Thursday afternoon from Kings Cross station to 30 St. Mary Axe via the Underground.

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

A conversation with... #2

A long time ago, Andrew and I took a Facebook conversation and shared it with the world.  It seemed to work, so here we go again...

SC - The perfect man...

AB - I think the concept of the The Perfect Man, or indeed, The Perfect Person is deeply flawed. No one is ever going to be perfect.

SC - Indeed, but what about Perfectland where everything is perfect - what do the guys look like?
AB - Hmmm… I suspose they would look like they'd just walked off the set of Kylie's Aphrodite Les Folies show. Which probably betrays an element of body fascism in me.
SC - Its the only good fascism! Despite the fact the Abercrombie & Fitch shop floor helpers are employed because they have good genes, they are a welcome sight in their shops.

AB - Good Fascism?! Hmmm... I've never been to an A&F. Have tried going into Hollister twice but just find it too weird!

SC - Hollister is a strange place - you cant actually see the stock it's so dark. That makes me sound old! A&F is better, though there you have to sometimes shout to be heard over the music!

AB - I was thinking I sounded old complaining about Hollister - and that was without mentioning the music! Or the ridiculous facades. But this is in danger of turning into an edition of Grumpy Old Men...

SC - At what age do you become old and grumpy? I quite enjoy complaining about things!

AB - So what's your favourite thing to complain about!

SC - People! I despair of society sometimes - the selfishness of people saddens me.

AB - Yes but not everyone is like that - or like that all the time. For example, the British public, through various means, raised £102m for Comic Relief this year, at a time of apparent austerity.  I think we should be positive and celebrate the good as well as attack the bad.

SC - You are correct of course, but when I see individual acts of selfishness, I get pretty angry!

AB - Perhaps we should get you some anger management courses!

Sunday, 17 July 2011

Dutch courage

My old friend Jan (pronounced Yarn), his wife and 2 kids came up for the weekend and we had a great laugh.  We basically ate and drank and chatted. We ended Saturday with the film 'Paul' as recommended by his oldest son Anthony. It's a really funny film, with loads of 'in jokes' based on science fiction classic movies.

Anthony is almost 16 and is extremely clever (not sure who he takes after!). I have no doubt he will go to University and be very successful. Pete and I have already suggested that he should be aiming for a place at Cambridge... mainly so that we can get on a train and be his guests are the student bar where beer is £1 a pint!

Jan's wife is Dutch and Jan has picked up a lot, having lived in Assen for a number of years until recently. The boys are bilingual of course. So this weekend I learned how to pronounce 'Beach' and 'Turd' in Dutch. It wasn't planned that way, but my pronunciation of the word 'Strand' sounded more like 'Stront'. At least it gave the Dutch speakers in the room a laugh. I am not sure how I will work either word into conversation though.  Perhaps it would go something like...

Er is een stront op het strand.

Saturday, 16 July 2011

Classic jokes

In the newspaper today, they listed a few classic jokes. I thought some were so brilliant, I had to share them with you...

You see I'm against hunting, in fact I'm a hunt saboteur. I go out the night before and shoot the fox.
(Tim Vine)

A man loses his dog, so he puts an ad in the paper. And the ad says: 'Here boy'.
(Spike Milligan)

They laughed when I said I was going to be a comedian. They're not laughing now.
(Bob Monkhouse)

Thanks for cheering me up. I needed cheering up. I loaned a guy 8000 dollars for plastic surgery and now I don’t know what he looks like.
(Emo Philips)

I have kleptomania, but when it gets bad, I take something for it.
(Ken Dodd)

Friday, 15 July 2011

Hangover and out

A quickie blog posting today...

Last night I went out with 2 guys I work closely with - Dan and Adrian. As we cover a large region and drive everywhere, we had all commented that in 3 years we had never really socialised.

So we started at 4.30 in the City with many beers, followed by a curry and even more beers! We learned a lot about each other - it's amazing it took so long.

I got the 12.05am train from Kings Cross, which stopped half way home and we had to wait for ages due to faulty points. I made it home at 1.50am and today feel rather delecate. Thankfully I am "working from home" today.

One significant event for me... I am now OUT at work. Not sure who knows, but I am really pleased that Dan and Adrian now know. It's a weight off my mind... if that's the right cliche to use.  Now to sort out a couple more people I work with sometimes.

Wednesday, 13 July 2011


We watched a very interesting film last night called Tetro.  Filmed mainly in black and white, it's about two American brothers reunited in Buenos Aires after many years apart. One brother has some 'issues' and his little brother (there are 18 years between them) wants to get to know the brother he once idolised.

The style is often moody and dark, but it's a fascinating film (I give it 8 out of 10).  If you like Almodovar films, this is very similar in terms of storyline and action.  The obvious difference is that Almodovar loves vivid colours.

The film was written, produced and directed by Francis Ford Coppola and I am surprised that I missed the release in 2009.  The younger brother is played by Alden Ehreneich who is pretty cute.

Monday, 11 July 2011

Rhythms Of The World 2011

For the 4th year running, Pete and I spent the weekend at our local music festival, the Rhythms Of The World. The music included African, Balkan, South American, folk and beyond and also local groups and indie bands - an amazing mix of sounds.  Most were professionals, but there were plenty of up-and-coming acts too spread across the 6 stages.  

A few thousand watched top folk 'star' Jim Moray in the hot sunshine yesterday and he even incorporated a rapper on the screen behind.  Clever stuff.  On Saturday, one highlight was a Kora player (second picture) - a beautiful sounding instrument, but potentially a pain in the arse to transport around the world.  One thing that made me laugh was a local trio of lads (aged about 18) who played on one of the small stages - they seemed to be the hero's of their school as loads of girls turned up who knew all the words to their songs.

There were around 30,000 people attending over the 2 days and the age range was impressive again.  Of course, it brought out a few weirdos!

The picture of the guy at the mic is Dominic Perez-Silva from a band called The Otters (or perhaps The Astronauts, it didn't seem clear) - pretty crazy music but the band were great and I could watch Dominic all day!  :-)

Saturday, 9 July 2011

The diary of Zac

Zac Efron has featured on this blog a few times - he's one sexy guy!  Here is an hilarious parody I caught on YouTube:

Friday, 8 July 2011

It's the end of The World as we know it

Yesterday it was announced that the News Of The World newspaper is to end publication after 186 years due to the phone hacking scandle (plus other questionable practises). The Murdoch empire has destroyed a piece of newspaper history.  I have shared my views on it's sister newspaper before and I wont go over that again.  Suffice to say that I wont be missing this newspaper - the News Of The World and The Sun represent the worst of this country in my opinion. 

Closing the 'paper is a cynical attempt to fool the public into thinking that News International is a caring business. They have closed the newspaper just days after management had mentioned merging some operations of the two papers anyway.  And with 2 fingers sticking up, they have already registered and the .com version!  They have no intention of losing their share of the Sunday market.

They have one agenda - to make money at all costs.  Making money is good - "at all costs" is bad.  If I owned a major business that wanted to advertise, I would have avoided these publications anyway and found other ways to meet my audience, but will they now return to the NOTW2?

I doubt very much that other newspapers are whiter than white and after years of self regulation, perhaps it's time to get really serious.  With websites dedicated to listing the lies and mistruths in every issue of The Sun, The Mail etc, it shows that something is wrong with our tabloid press.  Have we now had enough of being treated like idiots and laying there and accepting it?

Thursday, 7 July 2011


I saw this in a magazine and it raised a laugh, so I thought I would share it with you...

Tuesday, 5 July 2011

Five on the fifth #25

Welcome to the 25th month of '5 on the fifth', a posting where you share 5 photographs taken on the days leading up to the 5th of the month. Remember to mention my blog on your own blog, so that your visitors can find the other contributions. You can take 5 random pictures or follow my suggested theme: SILVER.

You no longer have to leave a comment with your details (though comments are welcome) - just complete the form below including your name and location in the 'link title' field and like magic, you will appear in the list of contributors.

My images are all macro shots and all a little bit silver...

Monday, 4 July 2011

Sunday surprise

Yesterday Pete and I visited his Godparents in the morning. His Godfather was 84 yesterday and as spritely as someone 20 years younger. To say that his vegetable plot is perfect would be an understatement.

Pete's 81 year old Godmother was discussing funerals and how she refuses to go into a church. She said that she wants the Bees Gees played at her funeral - yes, she wants 'Staying Alive'. I couldn't quite decide whether she was being serious or not, but she thought it was funny anyway.

We then went into the local town to grab a couple of bits of shopping and had the intention of finding a cheap lunch somewhere. We failed. We ended up in the most expensive restaurant in town for a full blown 3 course meal with beer! Now this is not something we do that often, but it was refreshing to do something surprising. I took a couple of iPhone shots and linked them:

Tomorrow is the 25th '5 on the fifth' - I hope you will be taking part.

Saturday, 2 July 2011

At the Hop'

Yesterday I spent the day with my brother at the 4th Hop Farm festival in deepest darkest Kent (well actually, 10 minutes drive from my parents house!).  Pete couldn't attend due to an appointment with the fracture clinic and my friend Sonny had serious work commitments.  So I spent the day socialising with my next oldest brother - not something that we ever do.  I know we should.

Anyway, we got there around 2.30 and so began an introduction to several bands that I had never heard of, plus the classic 70's band 10cc (of which I think only 1 original member survives).  I then got to see Death Cab For Cutie, one of my fabvourite bands.  They were "OK" but the sound was a bit mushy.  The presentation for later acts was spot on.  We caught a little of Brandon Flowers before a slick and professional set by Bryan Ferry (plus about 10 musicians, 3 backing singers and 2 dancing girls).  Towards the end of his section, a huge hot air balloon flew over the crowd - and the people in the basket waving and having tens of thousands waving back.

The main event closed the day - The Eagles (I assume a helicopter landing during Bryan Ferry's show was them) played the last show of a European tour. The production was stunning, considering it was a festival, with stunning visuals behind the group and on the screens. 

Here are some pictures from the day, surprise surprise, plus a section of Hotel California that opened the Eagles 1 hour 40 minute show.