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Tuesday, 31 October 2006

Twickenham Green...

Passing the site of the summer's impromptu floral tributes to Amelie, the wind picks up with an invigorating rush. Unburnished copper leaves scuttle across the road, brittle and sheenless commuters late for a train, or scurrying from the rain that will soon drench them to mulch. Perpendicular contrails slash the clear blue sky, shooting stars frozen on still frame. I recall the face of the kitsch Christ on a card of remembrance for the family, tacky and touching at the same time - a quiet sob hurled out in space from unknown to unknowns. The shock and sadness ongoing.

The Light of the World.

As a young child I played football here with my father, Dad a reluctant but patiently indulgent goalie as I played out the matches in my head, with team-mates unseen, sliding in to tackles with invisible adversaries to achieve the desired muddied shorts and socks effect. Lost in my own little world, innocent and safe.

Further on I pass the Red Lion pub, once a sorry dive inhabited by quiet old men, idling over their Ben Truemans. Now it's home to Filthy's rock club - a carefully manicured dive contrived to bombard the young with speed metal and fleece them for weak lager served in a plastic beaker. Pictures of Pete and Dud, Sammy D. Jr. and a collection of actual guitars are pinned to the walls - selling them a scene, off the peg. Happy now? Poor, poor 'yoof'. Poor, poor youth. There's a poster in the window for Rick Buckler's band - The Gift. Yes, that's The Gift as in the Jam LP of the same name, just subtly hammering home the pedigree, the name that's being traded on. The glories now long gone. The past casts long shadows. And I consider now what once seemed unthinkable - the thought of one day dying alone and unknown.

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Monday, 30 October 2006

By Popular Demand: The Return of the Much-Loved Staple the Artichoke to Samantha Morton Game!!!!!...

Regular readers will recall with fondness the hours of harmless fun this whimsical parlour game has provided them over the years. So, by popular demand, here's a welcome return of everyone's favourite vegetable/versatile actress recently acclaimed for her compelling portrayal of the Moors Murderer Myra Hindley match-up game:

Playing Staple the Artichoke to the Samantha Morton couldn't be simpler: just staple one of the artichokes onto Samantha to comic effect and see if your effort agrees with that of our celebrity panel - Roger de Courcey & Nookie Bear, Judith Chalmers, Newt Gingrich and The Brotherhood of Man. A fortnight's luxury squatting outside Heather Mills McCartney to our 416 lucky winners...







As usual we'll be posting up the most hilarious entries over the next few days....

Good luck - and mind out for those spikes!!


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By Popular Demand! The Return of the Ever-Popular Pin the Marrow on the Sophie Ellis Bextor Game!!!...

Regular readers will recall with fondness the hours of harmless fun this whimsical parlour game has provided them over the years. So, by popular demand, here's a welcome return of everyone's favourite vegetable/rhomboid-faced singer and daughter of the sauciest ever Blue Peter presenter match-up game:

Playing Pin the Marrow on the Sophie Ellis-Bextor couldn't be simpler: just insert one of the marrows into Sophie to comic effect and see if your effort agrees with that of our celebrity panel - Derek Underwood, Norman St. John Stevas, Bishop Desmond Tutu and Clannad. A fortnight's luxury accomodation in Jordan's Smeg oven to our 119 lucky winners...






As usual we'll be posting up the most hilarious entries over the next few days....

Good luck - and mind those seeds!!



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By Popular Demand: The Return of Pin the Marrow on the Vorderman!!!...

Regular readers will recall with fondness the hours of harmless fun this whimsical parlour game has provided them over the years. So, by popular demand, here's a welcome return of everyone's favourite vegetable/Numbers & words quiz presenter match-up game:

Playing Pin the Marrow on the Vorderman couldn't be simpler: just insert one of the marrows into Carol Vorderman to comic effect and see if your effort agrees with that of our celebrity panel - Buster Mottram, Lily Savage, Patricia Hewitt and Englebert Humperdinck. A fortnight's luxury cruise around Cardigan Bay to our 134 lucky winners...






As usual we'll be posting up the most hilarious entries over the next few days....

Good luck!!

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Friday, 27 October 2006

Longford...

We've been rather spoilt for excellent terrestrial TV of late, what with the superior Jane Eyre adaptation, the fantastic Prime Suspect: last orders at the bar please*, not to mention the continuing brilliance of Extras and Curb. But last night's Channel 4 recreation of Lord Longford's much-derided relationship with and campaign on behalf of moors murderer Myra Hindley possibly topped even that impressive list.

It's rare enough to see prime-time TV that raises questions worth answering - namely, in a nominally Christian society, what are the limits forgiveness? Are some acts beyond redemption? and so on - let alone being able to do so with as light a touch and without ever appearing to be didactic or moralising. The performances of Jim Broadbent - an uncanny doppelgager for ("Fur-wank") Longford - and Samantha Morton - compelling and just subtly ambiguous enough as Hindley to garner sufficient sympathy for the drama to work. Andy Serkis was equally convincing as a more diabolically portrayed Ian Brady.

The film may well have attracted a lot of more opprobrium (see March BBC item linked at the title) by refusing to completely demonise Hindley in the tabloid fashion we're familiar with. Instead, it sought to view her as Longford, a devout Christian committed to the redemptive possibilities of his faith had, and this brave move worked. Indeed, Graham Greene came to mind as Longford's obdurate belief that human justice, inconsequential as it is sat next to that of divine origin, was not sufficiently equipped to judge


*Please, please, please ITV - give us Prime Suspect: oh alright, just one more for the road.....


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Longford...

We've been rather spoilt for excellent terrestrial TV of late, what with the Beeb's recent superior Jane Eyre adaptation, the fantastic Prime Suspect 26: last orders at the bar please*, not to mention the continuing brilliance of Extras and Curb. But last night's Channel 4 recreation of Lord Longford's much-derided relationship with and campaign on behalf of moors murderer Myra Hindley possibly topped even that impressive list.

It's rare enough to see prime-time TV that raises questions worth answering - namely, in a nominally Christian society, what are the limits forgiveness? Do some acts put the perpetrator beyond redemption? and so on - let alone being able to do so with as light a touch and without ever appearing to be didactic or moralising. The performances of Jim Broadbent - an uncanny doppelgager for ("Fur-wank")** Longford - and Samantha Morton - compelling and just subtly ambiguous enough as Hindley to problematise the surprising degree of sympathy for the character her performance otherwise elicited. Andy Serkis was equally convincing as a more robustly diabolical Ian Brady.

The film may well have attracted a lot of more opprobrium (see March BBC item linked at the title) by refusing to completely demonise Hindley in the tabloid fashion we're familiar with. Instead, it sought to view her as Longford, a devout Christian committed to the redemptive possibilities of his faith, had and this brave move worked brilliantly. Longford's obdurate desire to see the best and not the worst was tested to the limit - first by the hatred and anger generated by his prison visitee, then by Hindley herself as she undermined his Lordship's years of patient work to win her a probation hearing. You could have been excused the belief that someone had unearthed a hitherto unknown dramatisation of the story by Graham Greene. Indeed, the evil conjured up by Brady & Hindley made Greene's own evil incarnation in Brighton Rock, Pinky Brown, seem tame.

Longford presents a chilling thesis: without faith in a redemptive, Christian God, life is absurd and meaningless. Forgiveness is the cornerstone of that faith and yet how to forgive Hindley and Brady - assuming even that we could/should. The Moors Murderers Hindley's personal betrayal of Longford represents the

*Please, please, please ITV - give us Prime Suspect: oh alright, just one more for the road.....

**"Who's this speech impedimented tosser??" asked a clearly worse for wear and tear S. when Broadbent uttered his first line...(that grammatical lapse is most out of character, btw.)

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Longford...

We've been rather spoilt for excellent terrestrial TV of late, what with the superior Jane Eyre adaptation, the fantastic Prime Suspect: last orders at the bar please*, not to mention the continuing brilliance of Extras and Curb. But last night's Channel 4 recreation of Lord Longford's much-derided relationship with and campaign on behalf of moors murderer Myra Hindley possibly topped even that impressive list.

It's rare enough to see prime-time TV that raises questions worth answering - namely, in a nominally Christian society, what are the limits forgiveness? Are some acts beyond redemption? and so on - let alone being able to do so with as light a touch and without ever appearing to be didactic or moralising. The performances of Jim Broadbent - an uncanny doppelgager for ("Fur-wank") Longford - and Samantha Morton - compelling and just subtly ambiguous enough as Hindley to garner sufficient sympathy for the drama to work. Andy Serkis was equally convincing as a more diabolically portrayed Ian Brady.

The film may well have attracted a lot of more opprobrium (see March BBC item linked at the title) by refusing to completely demonise Hindley in the tabloid fashion we're familiar with. Instead, it sought to view her as Longford, a devout Christian committed to the redemptive possibilities of his faith had, and this brave move worked. Indeed, Graham Greene came to mind as Longford's obdurate belief that human justice, inconsequential as it is sat next to that of divine origin, was not sufficiently equipped to judge


*Please, please, please ITV - give us Prime Suspect: oh alright, just one more for the road.....


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Let's Hear It For Rush Limbaugh!!!...

About time that someone stood up and told it like it was. Right-wing American broadcaster Rush Limbaugh has delivered a blow for freedom of expression and performed a great service to us all by fearlessly mocking Democratic candidate and former movie star Michael J. Fox's Parkinson disease (clip here)

Honestly, what's the world coming to if you can't take the piss out of a crip when all your other arguments are demonstrably pathetic and patently wrong?

Really - it's political correctness gone mad!


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Thursday, 26 October 2006

Kate Silverton Appeal/Desperate Attempt To Get More Hits From Pervs...

Seasoned Swipe readers (OK, Spinny and Ro-Mo) will remember a time, sadly long gone, when there was occasionally the odd post up here that could almost be described as amusing. I'm referring of course to the now legendary (well, as close as this blog will ever come to that, anyroad) Kate Silverton is Turning into Ollie Beak post from several decades ago. Not only is that piece the single most amusing thing we've ever managed to come up with (...I know...) it's also proved our most popular, turning up as it does with alarming frequency on google searches along the lines of KATE+SILVERTON+TITCLAMP+BESTIAL+BEAK-JOB and similar.

Obviously we will never scale such heights again, but I thought it might be fun (well, you know what I mean - less painful than yesterday's post) to show you some of the searches that we come up on - they invariably concern Kate and a variety of sexual peccadilloes and scanty costumes etc.

Here are some of my favourites:

# 1

# 2

# 3

# 4

Or this just in - I'm sensing the hand of the Dickster here - least, I *hope* it's his hand....

Those of you who've enjoyed this might want to check out the site meter box - that's not rude, it really *is* just, like, a box - at the bottom (...steady....) of the page. You won't find anything interesting there, obviously, but if enough of you do have a look then it won't do my hit counter any harm as you'll have to scroll through several pages to get there. We're closing in on 100,000 page views and I'm sure once we pass that there'll be even more perv hits than ever to keep things ticking over. I just wish a few of you filthy-minded bastards would actually read the fucking thing every now and then.

Regarding the Appeal: am I the only person who would pay money to see Kate's legs in all their glory?? Come on Beeb - bugger Children in Need: what about us bloody adults, eh???


********UPDATE*************

Tim's current post quotes closet Swipe fan and Shadow Morton afficianado Stewart Lee as describing blogs as consisting of "pornography and descriptions of going to the shops".

Well Stew, you're probably wondering where the usual description of me going to the shops is, having had your daily dose of porn (see above). Obviously, I have to be a bit careful here as, unlike the hard-working funnyman, I quite literally *do* have more money than sense and I'm a bit wary of scaring off my chavvy readers with bragging accounts of my latest Elton-esque spree. You know, I don't want people to run away with the idea that just because I *can* quite easily afford to buy expensive, non-essential items such as crowns, leisure centres, vintage motorcycles, tickets to The Arsenal, unlimited call girl facilities etc. on a weekly basis, that I actually *do* this. I tend to only go up the Arsenal a couple of times a month. And once you've bought one leisure centre...


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Wednesday, 25 October 2006

The Letters Game...

What would we do without the Grauniad, eh?

Yesterday's crossword bailed us out when we had absolutely nothing of interest to communicate to the world at large. So today it's the turn of the Letters Game. The rules are quite simple - you just have to make the biggest word you can out of the letters below:

C U D I L P E H L

It doesn't say anything about not using bad words, so presumably if there were an N and a T there, it would be quite admissible to use the word CUNT, although admittedly that's not a particularly long word. You'd probably be better off waiting until the option of combining it with O H O & K presented itself, the word CUNTHOOK doubling as it does the size of the word at a stroke and almost succeeding in using up all the available letters. In fact, if the remaining letter was an S - BINGO! You've managed to use *all nine* of the words to achieve the maximum score - although Christ in a PVC catsuit only knows what a SCUNTHOOK is.

Tomorrow: Part One of our cut out and keep, full-colour, inch by inch mosaic of Bob Swipe's eggshell blue living room. Just collect all 28,967 identical squares to create your own astonishingly life-like replica of Bob's living room wall. Part 2 comes free with the first intallment!

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Tuesday, 24 October 2006

This Twat...

...was complaining because he's been turned down for inclusion on this list - it's a list of political blogs, yeah, and he's submitted one where the two most recent entries are a Weird Al Yankowich video and a picture of his (I'm assuming) family....I know the personal is political, but....

So, fair enough - it's a free world and all that. But then I look down the side bar....and they're all there: Scary, Ro-Mo, Istvanski, JDA, Dickster.....you know, the usual suspects.

But no me.

So you can imagine my feelings of exclusion - the little boy that nobody loved, the last Christmas tree in the shop. And there's him moaning about not being on some politico's blog-wank listing? Like, *he* should worry! I mean, what have I done to upset him? Or is *he* the husband of the bird I've been banging behind his unsuspecting back for the last 6 months (...although, to be fair, she's not known too much about it herself, what with the drugs and blindfolds and everything...) Or has he picked up on all my bad karma - I'm still paying for the things I wished on van Nistelrooy during The Battle of Old Trafford, and he doesn't even play there anymore... - and thought, steer well clear of this one? Or is it just that this blog's crap?? Well, which is it, Mr. "I'm so upset because Julian wouldn't let me play politics with him, paltry 38,000 hits even though I've linked to everyone else in the world (except for Bob Swipe, obviously...)", huh??

But then I just happened to pop back there (you know, research, like) and what do I find?

I'm there.

Right at the bottom....

Which sort of invalidates all the other stuff really....


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An Even More Boring Post Than Yesterday's...

That's right folks - the only enthusiasm I can work up for this now is to see *just* how mindlessly boring and futile I can make the posts. Well, I've tried the funny* stuff. I've tried the serious stuff, had a go at the intellectual stuff, even tried to tug the old heart strings in a cynical and manipulative attempt to prove that beneath the shallow, mercenary exterior there might beat a warm and sensitive heart**....In fact, I've tried every-fucking-thing to get a short, weekly satirical columnn on the Grauniad so I can give up working and spend hours at a time in the Groucho club getting off my box with fellow "serious journalists and commentators" (and Jane Moore***). But all to no avail. So why not do the obvious and put up stuff that's so dull you can't even bring yourself to look at the headline without feeling the urge to vom? Well, it worked for Lucy Mangan...

So here goes. This is as far as I've got with today's Grauniad crossword (quick; no. 11,378):

1 across: Barnaby Rudge

10 across: Radiant

12 across: On the air

18 across: Alsatian

20 across: Oven

23 across: Raven

24 across: Magnetic pole

3 down: Nark

6 down: Drama

7 down: Entertaining

13 down: Sentence

16 down: Revival

21 down: Grip


Not anywhere as dull as Lucy's usual efforts, but come on - I've only just started. She's been at it for months.

I will, of course, post up any other clues as soon as I get them. So that'll give you all something to look forward to. Or not.

Tomorrow:

The Letters Game: make the longest word you can from the nine letters shown - R,T,Y,D,W,M,N,P,Z...



* for want of a better word...

** There doesn't, btw...

***It should shame me, I know, but....*would*


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Monday, 23 October 2006

Ian Dury Solar-Powered Memorial Bench Update Update - Update...

I received this reply from Mil at Pavillion Design (the designer of the bench) on Friday:


HI John*
Thanks for getting in touch with me. I am disappointed to hear that 'REASONS TO BE CHEERFUL' is in need of repair again, but perhaps not altogether surprised: it was my first prototype of this product - designed as a student at the RCA in 2000, installed in early 2002 - and I think it has lasted quite well in the circumstances! Consider the problems that Apple are continuing to have with the iPod - so many returns within a year's ownership due to 'technical issues' - and a 3.5 year life-span, albeit with occasionally interrupted service, doesn't seem so bad.


There could be several possible causes of the problem:


1. water in the headphone socket - rusty: replace, although the particular component, which had a very handy integrated 'switch', is no longer in production
2. rusty solder connections: strip and redo
3. rechargeable battery out of life: replace (I replaced them both about 18 months ago)
4. MP3 players dead - hmmm: these particular players were ideal for this application but are not made anymore. Each player has its own particular 'hacking' potential/suitabilty - it would be better not to have to replace the whole system


You can see that while the solution may be simple, it may not, and I regret to say that I cannot volunteer myself to undertake it again: I really wish that this memorial could be 'guaranteed', but the truth is that I have repaired it myself 3 times now, and passed on all the technical info to the folk at Richmond Park at that point. I have to say that they took quite some convincing to accept the bench in the first place, and were wary of assuming ownership of a somewhat uncertain entity - vandalism being their most obvious concern, although to the best of my knowledge this has not been a problem. Although obviously I wish there was a kindly 'guardian of the flame' on hand, I do not really expect Richmond Park to endlessly keep it up, so am somewhat at a loss as to how to resolve the issue (although I would love to). Having said that , I have just had an enquiry about supplying some for an application abroad, so am going to think around this particular problem and see if there is a way to deliver the content in a different and more stable way, which perhaps could be retro-fitted to the bench in Richmond Park, but this will likely be some time off, if indeed I can come up with something. The sad truth is that when one is dealing with such small scale batch-production of one-off pieces, it is difficult to engineer a really stable system, as I am doing it all myself with off the shelf, 'hacked' technology - not the best way, but the only way open to me. I hope you understand.


When the issue of continuous performance malfunction was raised during my initial discussions with the Royal Parks Dept, I did point out that if the worst came to the worst, they would still have a very nice, inscribed teak bench, and that I might infill the void left by the solar panels with 2 plaques telling the story of what/why etc... Its not the best solution, but it is a solution.
Another option might be to post a request on your blog for someone with a better technical solution to get in touch?


Warner Chappell never really engaged with the project in the first place, so I am not surprised that they are not expressing interest now. Ian's lawyer leaned on them to get some money to pay me for the bench, but that was about the extent of their involvement and I wouldn't expect any more.


All of this is not really a way forward, but maybe the start of a further dialogue: I understand that the idea of the bench appealed to a lot of people (I think the day we installed it with Ian;s family etc was one of the proudest days of my life), but the sad truth is that these kinds of technology do not last forever, particularly when they are left outside for years - I assume that is understood? In the meantime I hope you will take this as an expression of sincere interest to reach a happy and appropriate solution and am sorry not to be able to offer an immediate fix.


Yours
Mil


So, there you go. There's no doubting Mil's sincerity and it would be great if he can come up with something that Richmond Parks people might be able to fit. Failing that, it would seem that, as Mil says, there is at least a nice bench there for people to remember Ian by. Just a shame if such an innovative and appropriate memorial as the musical bench can't be fully restored. Let's keep fingers crossed and maybe Baxter will have a bit more clout regarding getting Warners or the Parks people to do something. I suppose we could always try to think of something else, another way of reminding future generations of Ian's work - something like one of those trees in Lost in Translation with the message bearing ribbons attached to it, featuring our favourite Dury lyrics? Just a thought - I'm sure there's a better idea. Any thoughts?


* How many times??? IT'S **BOB**!!!!!!


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Thursday, 19 October 2006

Ian Dury Solar-Powered Memorial Bench Update - Update...

Train driver to the stars* and all round sexy-mo-fo-former-postman to the stars**, Howesy has posted up an update on the state of Ian's memorial in Richmond Park.

It seems that, although there's been an improvement, things still aren't quite as we'd want them.

Anyroad, I wrote the following to Pavilion Design, the people who came up with the idea for the bench:

Hi Mil and Bob,

I’m writing on behalf of a few cyber friends (as well as music lovers the world over) to advise you that the bench you created to honour the memory of much loved singer Ian Dury has fallen into some state of disrepair. This is a post a friend put up recently describing the current condition of the memorial:

This is an update as to the condition of the bench in Poet's Corner, Pembroke Lodge, Richmond Park, where Ian Dury liked to go in the last stages of his illness.... The last time I visited, one of the feeds was working, the other headphone socket had been damaged. This time, both headphone sockets were okay, but something else was wrong and the audio wasn't running. I don't know how it works exactly, but I wonder if the solar panels feed batteries which power the audio loops? Could the batteries be knackered? The bench is decorated with little plaques saying the bench is sponsored by Warner/Chappell music, I contacted them to report the damage about 2 years ago and heard nothing. Maybe we should try them again to get this fixed? It's a lovely memorial in a lovely part of the park, and it's such a shame that it hasn't survived very well.


(Please click on the link below to read the full post and see a recent photo of the bench.)


http://bignotesfromasmallmind.blogspot.com/2006/10/ian-durys-memorial-bench-update.html

There was a lot of interest from readers of our blogs concerning the lack of upkeep of the bench. A friend spoke to Richmond parks department a few weeks back and they promised action which may well have been forthcoming as some of the initial problems seem to have been resolved, but there is obviously still a problem with the audio content of the installation.

I realise that the bench is a long way from your base in Glasgow and probably no longer the responsibility of your company, but I would ask you on behalf of the many people who expressed an interest in the memorial to do anything you can to help restore the bench to working order through liaising with Richmond parks department or other relevant agency.

I am enormously grateful for you taking the time to look into this.

Yours sincerely,

Bob


Let's hope that they can come up with something...

* i.e. Vince Hill, Bamber Gascoigne, and other well-known celebrities who might conceivably "let the train take the strain", as we all used to say - you know, he doesn't drive a train that goes to, for instance, the crab nebula or anything. Well, not yet, anyroad.

**Well, Kate O'Mara...

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Rip It Up and Start Again...

...was a crap post so I've deleted it.


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Tuesday, 17 October 2006

Sgt. Bobster's Lonely Hearts Club Band...

Well, if you'd told me all those many months ago when I first posted up some inconsequential ramblings concerning Patrick Vieira's putative move to Real Madrid* that I would one day be reduced to this - to soliciting in these very pages for a good man, true of heart, stout of liver and supple of limb to soothe the tumultuous, heaving breast [steady! Overwrought Pre-Raphealite prose Ed.] of our beloved goddess of blog, The Divine Spinster....well, frankly, I'd never have believed you.

Sadly, things have, it seems, come to precisely that pass and there seems little option after reading this enormously candid and moving recent entry from the Spinster.

I know the more salacious among you have for some time now harboured fantasies that The Spinster and your humble servant might one day forge a union and unite our two formidable blog houses to form a nuptial alliance that would surely strike terror into the heart of the mainstream media (and Hello! magazine) Sadly, this can never be. Firstly, The Spinster, with a discernment rarely to be found in this era of dumbing down and instant gratification, has outlined a number of criteria - age, looks, lack of physical impairment etc. - many of which, unfortunately preclude me, a 58 year old calliper-bound Nikki Lauda lookalikey, from plighting my troth to Ulster's foremost singleton. As if these deficiencies were not enough, we also live in the shadow of heartless sectarianism - even if we wished to, we could never surmount the wall of bigotry and intolerance that separates me, an orange bastard killjoy proddy from the feckless spud-munching bead juggler of my dreams. And then there's the cockrot.

But fear not, this story will, I'm sure, end happily. If you happen to be (in no particular order of importance) male, aged between 25 and 40, not hairy, sentient, single, not too tall, not too short, handsome, into indie rock music (whatever that is), Catholic, literate, alcoholic, "liberal with a small l", a sexual gymnast of earth-shudderingly wonderful proportions, living within easy access of Bristol, please contact me here at:

Bob's Lonely Hearts
Swipe Towers
Tw**kenh*m
Middlesex

Please enclose a cheque/postal order for £15.00 and a passport sized photo. (And make sure it's of someone reasonably fit or you'll have no chance...picky? You betcha!)



* he didn't leave Arsenal that summer, as it goes.


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The Biggest Blog in History...

Well, I was going to post up an appeal for a knight in shining armour to come and weep the poor lonely and beloved Spinster off her feet today, but that will have to wait now this has come up. (Sorry Spin - I figured *one* more day wouldn't make *that* much difference...)

Anyroad, the deal is that this lot called History Matters are inviting all of us to record our activities this very day (Tuesday 17th October, 2006) and eventually upload our diary entries to their site, thus helping create a social history of life as 'twas lived today and (hopefully) the world's biggest blog. Much as I'd hate to see my 500th post eclipsed as the most monster post-up of all time, I guess I can only bow to the inevitable. So here goes - there'll be regular updates throughout the day (assuming anything worth recording occurs....), so keep tuning in. I'm sure it will be riveting.

6.10 a.m. Alarm goes off. Stumble downstairs. Have a dump - reasonably smooth delivery - middling clean up operation: 6.5 on the Red Adair scale.

6.15 a.m. Shower.

6.25 a.m. Empty bin, make tea, two slices of toast (Hovis organic wholemeal) make cheese and cucumber sandwich for work.

6.35 a.m. Read last chapter of The Polysyllabic Spree, occasional glances at BBC Breakfast in the hope of catching a glimpse of Kate Silverton/Jules Wilson thigh/ankle/cleavage etc. Unsuccessful. It's that bloody desk.

6.45 a.m. Rouse S. from deep slumber. Hide in wardrobe until her rage passes. Dress. Take off dress and put on trousers and t-shirt.

7.00 a.m. Brush teeth.

7.10 a.m. Leave house. Walk to St. Margarets Station. I-pod highlight - 'England's Glory' by Ian Dury ("Peculiar Clark").

7.35 a.m. Arrive St. Margarets Station. Board minibus. Start reading A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius by Dave Eggers. Magnanimous of me, I'm sure you'll agree.*

9.00 a.m. Arrive at work. Brief chat with Cheryl from O.T., whom I've not seen in ages. She has to drop her nipper off at toddlers' school and so can't get to the minibus pickup in time. Consequently, she has to endre the 2-hour bus trip surrounded by effing and c-ing schooolkids. Not nice.

9.05 a.m. Sign in at work (as having arrived at 9.00 a.m.. Endure hostile comments regarding personal appearance from work colleagues. Pay £2.00 into "Corporate" Tea/Lunch Fund (current balance £164.87)

9.35 a.m. post this.


*The bastard rejected one of my stories.

*************UPDATE*************

10.30 a.m. Coffee at Rococo's (why oh why oh why is it not Rococoa's??)

11.00 a.m. Had another dump. Clean up operation 8.8 on the Red Adair scale. Where does it all come from??

11.26 a.m. finished writing this:

Sgt Bobster's Lonely Hearts Club Band...

Well, if you'd told me all those many months ago when I first posted up some inconsequential ramblings concerning Patrick Vieira's putative move to Real Madrid** that I would one day be reduced to this - to soliciting in these very pages for a good man, true of heart, stout of liver and supple of limb to soothe the tumultuous, heaving breast [steady! Overwrought Pre-Raphealite prose Ed.] of our beloved goddess of blog, The Divine Spinster....well, frankly, I'd never have believed you.

Sadly, things have, it seems, come to precisely that pass and there seems little option after reading this enormously candid and moving recent entry from the Spinster.

I know the more salacious among you have for some time now harboured fantasies that The Spinster and your humble servant might one day forge a union and unite our two formidable blog houses to form a nuptial alliance that would surely strike terror into the heart of the mainstream media (and Hello! magazine). Sadly, this can never be. Firstly, The Spinster, with a discernment rarely to be found in this era of dumbing down and instant gratification, has outlined a number of criteria - age, looks, lack of physical impairment etc. - many of which, unfortunately preclude me, a 58 year old calliper-bound Nikki Lauda lookalikey, from plighting my troth to Ulster's foremost singleton. As if these deficiencies were not enough, we also live in the shadow of heartless sectarianism - even if we wished to, we could never surmount the wall of bigotry and intolerance that separates me, a genocidal orange bastard killjoy proddy from the feckless spud-munching bead juggler of my dreams. And then there's the cockrot.

But fear not, this story will, I'm sure, end happily. If you happen to be (in no particular order of importance) male, aged between 25 and 40, not hairy, sentient, single, not too tall, not too short, handsome, into "indie-type rock music" (whatever that is), Catholic, literate, alcoholic, "liberal with a small l", a sexual gymnast of earth-shudderingly wonderful proportions, living within easy access of Bristol, please contact me here at:

Bob's Lonely Hearts
Swipe Towers
Tw**kenh*m
Middlesex


Please enclose a cheque/postal order for £15.00 and a passport sized photo. (And make sure it's of someone reasonably fit or you'll have no chance...picky? You don't know the meaning of the word, mate!)



** he didn't leave Arsenal that summer, as it goes.

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Monday, 16 October 2006

Todd Blogney - an Apology...

If things had gone to plan, instead of what you're about to read, there would have been something interesting in this post. The idea was that last night I was supposed to go and see Todd Blogney's band Grand Union (I think that's what they're called) showcasing material from their forthcoming LP "Aloha from Isleworth" at one of West London's finest Real Ale Specialist Emporia. I was looking forward to it too, you know, rubbing shoulders with the great and the good whilst trying in vain to interest a bunch of suited cocaine sniffing wide boys of the merits of reviving some of the great lost works from the Bob Swipe Songbook using the tried and tested vehicle of a bunch of scantily clad strumpets gyrating provocatively as they lip-synch to a varispeeded demo tape sung by me - well, it worked for The Sex Pussy Kittens (I think that's what they're called...) I'd even collated a handful of copies of The Very Best of the Robert Swipe Show to handout to the various worthies and movers and shakers - the idea being that it would make the girl group with the varispeed thing sound like a good idea in comparison - as well as a good luck gift for Mr. Blogney himself in the form of a 1st ed. paperback copy of Time's Arrow. So good intentions were present in abundance. It's just that...

.......well, as the time for me to get freshened up and head off drew nearer, S. started looking at me with those big doe eyes of hers....and, well, to cut a long story short, one thing lead to another and before I could put up any resistance.....I was promptly despatched to the Offy to purloin a crate of 'Buie B's and a packet of Thai Sensations for her to consume in my absence. Now, as you'll no doubt be aware, I'm firmly of the opinion that a drink drunk alone is the height of bad etiquette. Just one to whet the whistle, surely could harm no one and would be the perfect accompaniment to my reading Nick Hornby's The Polysyllabic Spree* before heading out to do the cheerleading thing for me mate's group. Picture the scene, gentle reader - Elvis is playing in the background as S. drunkenly go-go dances in an equestrian manner, arranging various household items to form an extemporised gymkhana whilst I skim nonchalantly through Britain's finest's lit. crit., 'buie breezer cradled delicately in my palm, relaxed and secure before a roaring fireplace....

Well, it couldn't have gone any other way really....one 'buie leading inexorably to another....and before you know it, I'm halfway through the Hornby, only putting it down to watch Curb Your Enthusiasm....

A good job I didn't make it, probably, as you know what I'm like Todd - I'd have only got drunk and hacked off all your friends before barging on stage to pester you to perform an impromptu version of On Remand* But, I did try, honestly Todd. It's just that in the end, the lure of the cosy hearth and writing as funny and pertinent as this, won out I'm afraid..

If you write books — or a certain kind of book, anyway — you can’t resist a scan round the hotel swimming pool when you go on holiday. You just can’t help yourself, despite the odds: You need to know, straight off, whether anyone is reading one of yours. You imagine spending your days under a parasol watching, transfixed and humbled, as a beautiful and intelligent young man or woman, almost certainly a future best friend, maybe even spouse, weeps and guffaws through three hundred pages of your brilliant prose, too absorbed even to go for a swim, or take a sip of Evian. I was cured of this particular fantasy a couple of years ago, when I spent a week watching a woman on the other side of the pool reading my first novel, High Fidelity. Unfortunately, however, I was on holiday with my sister and brother-in-law, and my brother-in-law provided a gleeful and frankly unfraternal running commentary. “Look! Her lips are moving.” “Ha! She’s fallen asleep! Again!” “I talked to her in the bar last night. Not a bright woman, I’m afraid.” At one point, alarmingly, she dropped the book and ran off. “She’s gone to put out her eyes!” my brother-in-law yelled triumphantly. I was glad when she’d finished it and moved on to Harry Potter or Dr Seuss or whatever else it was she’d packed.

So, by way of an aplogy to you, me old mucker, here's a shameless plug for your new recorded work:

"Aloha from Isleworth" by Grand Union (I think that's what they're called...) is now available in the shops.

Please buy this record.


There, can I get up off my knees now?

* Back issues of the Believer containing extracts of Hornby's Stuff I'm Reading articles are avaliable here...

** Lyrics:

I'm on Remand
I'm on Remand
Her name was Jill
Thank goodness she
Was on the Dole.


© Blogney/Swipe, 1978

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Saturday, 14 October 2006

Joyce of Colour (Slight Return)

As it's Mollster's birthday, I had no option but to dredge this hoary old chestnut out of the vaults. Apologies to those of you who've already seen it - I'm sure it'll be every bit as unfunny as it was the first time around....

Woah Swipesters,

Anyone who's ever had the great privilege to have passed through the corridors at Swipe Towers will have noticed two things. Firstly, the heads down, no-nonsense, nose to the grindstone work ethic of our fabulous staff. Secondly, the faint aroma of baby lotion and Drambuie emanating from the head honcho's lair. (There may well be the odd bout of animal-like grunting and an unnerving wrenching noise too, but I can't say too much about that in case Rowan is actually reading this....) But there's a third factor that's intrinsic to the bustling and hustling environs we've created over the years and one that I think has a lot to do with the high morale we always seem to exhibit, no matter how many rejection slips we get from the Grauniad Ulnitimed and a variety of other smutty jizz mags to which we are constantly sending submissions only to have the MSs come back soiled, dog-eared and carrying a feint aroma of...(well, you can probably guess the rest...) I'm referring of course to the jukebox here at S.T. When we're not grooving down to some vintage Cilla Black or spinning the latest offering from that well tuned cello of a vocalist Roger Whittaker, we're never happier than putting on one of my very own soul compos in order to try to forget the latest rejection (and the rather unpleasant pong...)



It was just such a tape that was drifting around the office the other day, giving out the sweet and tender love vibes of one of our favourite all-time artists, Mr. Curtis Mayfield. As I emerged from the inner sanctum, licking the last droplet of resinated Dram. from a crafty fingertip, I heard the following words breathed out exhorting us all in that mellow whisper of his to remember that, beneath it all, we are all pretty much the same:

If you could have your choice of colours
Which one would you choose my brothers?
If there was no day or night,
Which would you prefer to be right?


And then it clicked! Why not update Curtis' vision for the noughties? Sure enough, we all know it doesn't matter anymore if you're black or white. The Racial Descrimination Act, Ainsley Harriott and New Labour between them have banished racial prejudice from the face of the nation to the extent that many are probably asking what relevence the songs of Curtis Mayfield and the Impressions could possibly have for a contemporary audience. But, alas, the same is not true for all areas of our society. There are still those who are despised and degraded for no other reason than that they are experimental Irish writers who published enormously lengthy tomes consisting of what many regard to be, at best, pretentious tossdrips and at worst meaningless gibberish barely deserving of the term 'literature'. But not for long if we here at Swipe Towers have anything to do with it. In collaboration with our friends at The BBC, each week, we will be asking an attractive high profile news journalist to make an appeal to all our readers to forget their prejudices and see that behind the ceaseless references to the Ancient Classics, made-up words and inscrutable wordplay there is a human being, not too unlike any other.

So, this week we are proud to introduce BBC Breakfast News Presenter Mishal Husain with this appeal:




Hello,

I'm Mishal Husain. At the BBC, we like to think that all people, no matter how pretentious or Irish they are, have something to contribute. Why else would we have employed Donal McIntyre or Germaine Greer otherwise? And as for Bill Turnbull... So, when I was asked to contribute to this appeal I had no hesitation but to say my Joyce of colour is...




...sort of electric blue, wouldn't you say?


Thank you,


Mishal Husain




So, Sisters, brothers, let's see behind the dense prose and the elitism and try to love one another, OK??


Love on y'ALL!


Bob

Happy Birthday Mollster!! Yay!!

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Friday, 13 October 2006

Girl With An 8-Track Cartridge...



That's right! What better way to enjoy the cock skills of some near-mythic Master Shagger indulging in his hour-long devotion to cunnilingus as he prays religiously at the temple of my punany, before pounding me senseless for several hours with his multi-functional cock than a nice blast of Clapton? Particularly when he was with Blind Faith. Blimey, it's a turn on! I have it on 8-Track cartridge you know - aren't they brilliant? [For younger readers - most of you, I'm guessing, as anyone with even a vaguely developed mind wouldn't be seen *dead* reading my astonishingly bad sex phrases like "multi-functional cock" or "temple of punany". Well, what did you expect? Belle de Jour?? - the idea of 8-Track Cartridges was that they would play continuously in a figure of eight fashion - on and on and on, ad infinitum - a bit like my puerile sex witterings, in fact....]So you won't miss a second of the ginormous seeing to you're being given by some hefty, well-hung Best Boy because there's no need to get up halfway through the LP to turn the tape over as you would with a conventional compact cassette - Corking, eh?

Now all I need is an 8-Track Cartridge Machine to play it on....

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Thursday, 12 October 2006

Croatia 2, England 0…

….Well, I couldn’t keep away – despite Saturday’s lacklustre bore draw with Macedonia*. Besides, there was the enticing possibility of a mass terrace conflagration between the Italian-restaurant-table-cloth-check-shirted Croats and our away fans. Rumours that the Croatian fans had been deploying themselves in swastika-shaped battalions had whetted my appetite for the fray – I searched as the camera panned along the terraces for the massed ranks of our plucky lads, formed with iron discipline into the red white and blue concentric circles of the RAF symbol, but to no avail. The nearest we got to a bundle was a few unsavoury types, quite possibly on the Sky payroll, still being penned outside the ground as the match neared half-time, who had been reduced to playing keepy-uppy with the rather unwieldy steel barriers being used by the ever-thoughtful former Stasi-operatives to spare them from having to endure the dire events occurring inside the stadium on the pitch.

Fortunately, I too was delayed on the way to the Prisoner of War by a particularly bad case of west-London congestion** and so had also managed to avoid the first forty minutes of the match altogether. Hardly had I bid a good evening to Des, Strangely Brown and Stray Radiographer who were all stooped in grim penance beneath the wall-mounted screen nursing their pints of Crane Sundancer, than the second half began and England fell behind to a soft goal – the bizarrely positioned Ashley “the people’s favourite” Cole colliding comically with captain John Terry in order to allow naturalised-Croat, Brazilian-born dwarf Da Silva*** the chance to send a speculative header looping like an overly cautious parent’s underarm delivery to their two year-old plastic bat-wielding offspring and over the head of the hapless Paul Robinson. We’d barely had an opportunity to pick ourselves up off the floor than Wayne “Gazza” Rooney had sprinted beyond the last man to fire a wonder shot right into the top corner of.... the stand. Matches, like disgusting, greasy kebab columns, can turn like that.

No sooner had we removed our heads from our hands, the Croatian advantage was doubled. England conceded one of those comedy goals that we’ll all be bored rigid of seeing endlessly replayed until the next Ronaldinho v. Seaman-style calamity eliminates us from a major tournament at the quarter final stage. A harmless back pass from Gary Neville cruelly sought out the only spiteful divot to be found on an otherwise baize-like pitch to send the ball hopping over Paul Robinson’s oversized comedy boot and into the net, leaving the even-more-hapless-than-he-was-before keeper with nothing to do but stand with his hands on hips whilst a baldheaded accomplice poured jugs of water into his oversized trousers, and wiped the rivulets of tear and make up from his red nose, the crestfallen 'keeper scratching his ginger curly wig as though thoroughly perplexed by the cruelty of fate. Cut to Steve McLaren, bereft on the bench, looking for all the world like a man who has gone to a fancy dress party as Mike Bassett: England Manager and even taken the trouble to perfect his disguise right down to all the despondent sweeping of the hands through the hair gestures and the terrible cheap and nasty suit and everything. All that was missing was the 'tache - but that too can be worked at on the training pitch, no doubt...

Des, an inveterate England away fan disappeared right on the final whistle. He still cares, I think – whereas I just can’t take international football seriously any more. All that was left of the evening was for Stray to continue his defamatory “Turnham Green is not on the bladdy Circle Line” campaign, pointing out to me at at some length the distance that the tracks would need to be moved in order to facilitate a stop on that particular branch of the London Underground network at the esteemed West London Station immortalised in song.

In my defence, how can anyone in their right mind possibly argue that the lines

She was born on the Circle Line in 1973
Her mother joked that she’d go far,
As far as Turnham Green –
(provided she changed at Gloucester Road and proceeded to take the Westbound Richmond service calling at Earl’s Court, Baron’s Court Hammersmith, Ravenscourt Park, Stamford Brook and Turnham Green…)****


remotely scan.

The debate rumbles on….





* National beer of Macedonia? Vergina. Enough said.

** That’s traffic – not a bad case of dysentery…

*** So much for the old racial purity then, eh lads?

**** Sorry, it's a *very* in-joke....



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Wednesday, 11 October 2006

Whoops! No Apocalypse...

I was born on August 25, 1949: four days later, the Russians successfully tested their first atom bomb, and deterrence was in place. So I had those four carefree days, which is more than my juniors ever had.... Even as things stood, I was born in a state of acute shock.

Martin Amis, in Einstein's Monsters.



With unerring (although, it has to be said, unwitting) prescience, I bought a first edition hardback copy of Einstein's Monsters on ebay last week, little knowing that before I'd even have a chance to unwrap the thing from it's jiffy bag, the Richter scale would begin to reverberate with the latest demonstration of virus-like proliferation as North Korea joined the not-quite-as-exclusive-as-it-used-to-be nuclear club. Weird too, that my (as it turns out) hubristic smugness towards Mardy when, a mere two years after the book was published, the Cold War that had sustained his and my nuclear nightmares for so long, began to thaw should start to look a bit premature. A good time then to revisit the book's stunning opening polemic - as I duly did last night. [note: I've searched for an online version but I'm afraid I can't see it - the paperback should be readily available if people want to read the essay - anyone who comes across a link to a full text version, please let me know....]

Anyone who was fortunate enough not to grow into consciousness under the obvious shadow of nuclear extinction may suspect on reading 'Thinkability', the introduction to Einstein's Monsters, today that they are partaking of Amis' usual blend of hyperbole and flashy pyrotechnics when he describes the paranoia he experiences at his writing desk in a flat a mile from his home at any loud noises or unusual urban whines and explsions. These lead Amis to picture the grim walk home, through the nuclear fire storm, back to to his wife and children to wrestle with the grisly business of killing them and putting them out of the miseries awaiting them in a post-nuclear world. Put like that, it does sound preposterous and overblown. But that really was the deal - it *was* scary in a way that - and here, I know, I will sound like my father did when he used to go on about living through the blitz - the current "terror" is not. Some things may well become collateral in the war against terror. In our war, the cold one, *everything* was liable to be lost.

As Amis is quick to point out, the very premise of global extinction seems beyond language itself. The ludicrousness of the very idea is enshrined in concepts such as "retaliating first"; "deaths in the lower tens of millions are called acceptable". And then there's AWDREY - not quite as nice as she sounds, I'm afraid - "Atomic Weapons Detection, Recognition and Estimation of Yield". (The yield doesn't quite sound right when applied to corpses, does it?) It is "as if the language itself were refusing to co-operate with such notions", much as Orwell demonstrated how words and sentences could be mangled by dogma.

Amis's prose, whilst not free from his trademark swagger - it's sometimes as if he's puffing himself up in the face of a punch-up with a much bigger and more powerful adversary - is bang on the moral money. The bomb (meaning "the lots and lots of bombs") is "an anti-baby device. One is not referring to the babies who will die but to the babies who will never be born, those that are queueing up in spectral relays until the end of time". And the still pertinent question, and one which might almost function as an encapsulation or distillation of the grand theme he has been pursuing throughout his career - "how do things go when morality bottoms out at the top?" Nevermind the "instant fascism" that would accompany the post-apocalpse. Think of the damage these things are doing just sat there, secure in their silos.

The missiles are almost humanised - "with what hysterical ferocity; with what farcical disproportion do nuclear weapons loathe human life." But then we as much as they are Einstein's Monsters.

There's an intriguing illustration of the generational divide occasioned by the nuclear era in the insight we're afforded into Amis's arguments with his father Kingsley on the subject. "I suppose you're against them", deadpans KA, before Mardy lets us in on the standard denouement of their exchanges:

MA: Well, we'll just have to wait until you old bastards die off one by one...

KA: Think of it. Just by closing down the Arts Council we could significantly augment our arsenal...


The mercifully brief and - given the might of the weapons - understated description of the likely effects of an all out war (even a small local exchange is *unthinkable*) gives pause for thought still. But I concurred most with Amis's analysis of the *real* effect of the contents of all those silos, that "Manhattan of missiles" in which we stumble around. Amis quotes Jonathan Schell: "the anxiety, the suspense, is the only experience of nuclear war that anyone is going to get". And that was grim enough. For Amis, nuclear weapons take morality "out of our hands". "I believe", he says, "that many of the deformations and perversities of the modern setting are related to ....this massive pre-emption." And then the emotively simple question that seems to get right to the heart of it all: "since when did we all want to kill each other?"

But not many would argue that the "deformations and perversities" have gone away, even as the weapons have (seemingly) receded. And this, I suppose, is what intrigues me - *have* they gone away? Or have we all grown, as Amis declares himself to have become by the age of 38, when he wrote the book, "sick of them". Only our sickness is not the visceral one Amis envisages as he rushes back to his nuked-out home with his attitude of "suicidal defeatism" to do away with his loved ones. No, ours is a sickness of boredom, of tuning out, of being unable to go on with the effects of the nightmare on our nervous systems and psyches - saying "whatevah" to it all. Rather than the stark choice Amis posited in pre-fall-of-wall 1987 between nuclear conflagration or nuclear disarmament, have we not - in a manner typical of our times - opted for a third way of our own? Out of sight is out of mind. And as seems to be the way with third ways, isn't this current nightmare, if anything, worse than that it replaced?

So, have a look at the introductory essay, if you can track it down, and ponder whether we really ought to start getting scared again. How many localised theatres and limited exchanges are "acceptable", and that's before we even look at issues like the security of the big boys' arsenals and our vulnerability to opportunistic nuclear terrorism. For some, there's a political dividend to be had by sustaining a climate of fear and, like many of you I would imagine, I've spent much of the last 5 years attempting to innure myself to this process. But that doesn't mean there's nothing to be scared of. As Howard Devoto sang in "Because You're Frightened", "maybe it's right to be nervous now?"



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Tuesday, 10 October 2006

French Lesson...

This came up at work - apropos of nothing, really. (Just goes to show that we obviously have too much time on our hands, I suppose.) Anyway, someone mentioned someone's boudoir so I asked did that person who'd mentioned it know the origin of the word and they said no...so I told them but they were in the middle of chatting to someone else, so I cut and pasted it from the Oxford Hachette English/French Dictionary (online edition) and emailed it to them.

And then I thought why restrict myself to boring my work colleagues with French lexical trivia, when I have an audience of ....ooooh, half a dozen....who could be just as easily involved in the tedium with a mere click of the mouse?:

bouder / bude / ├× verb table: aimer
I verbe transitif to avoid [personne]; to want nothing to do
with [├ętudes]; to stay away from [spectacle]; to
steer clear of [marchandise]; il ne boude pas
le vin/les distractions he never turns down a
glass of wine/a good time.
II verbe intransitif to sulk.
III se bouder verbe pronominal not to be on speaking
terms.


So there you go. The sulking room.

p.s. Doesn't the word boude just capture the meaning in sound? You can just picture the bottom lip cantilevering out as you hear it.

I wonder if Thierry Henry has got one......?




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Monday, 9 October 2006

What the Papers Say...

Most of my regular readers (thanks to both of you for checking in btw...) will know my views on the mainstream media (....a cynical world populated by overpaid liars who thanks to mumsy and dadsy's connections have managed to overcome the the fact that they are barely literate and secured themselves a platform from which to distort and mangle the world we all see before us into a barely recognisable hellhole populated by perverts, immigrants and corrupt politicos. And don't get me started on the Daily Mail....) So it will come as some surprise to some of you that I spent most of yesterday scanning the pages of the Observer newspaper. (Well, S. has had the flu, so the usual bout of rowing and acrimony has had to be postponed. Why she insists on making me sit shivering in that bloody boat all weekend, I'll never know....)

So, what's going on in the world then Bobster?? I hear you cry. Well, important world events first; there's a new Scorcese film out with Jack Nicholson in it. Phil French gives it the thumbs up - and he should know. It's got lots of swearing and violence in it - so fans hoping for a return to Kundun territory will be severely disappointed. And a chap called Richard Ford has a book out - last in his The Sportswriter trilogy - that sounds worth a look. Elsewhere in the review section, inspired by the New York Times who voted Toni Morrison's masterpiece Beloved* as the best American book of the last 25 years, they invited a select panel of writers (for which read "a bunch of hacks with little better to do...and Sarah Waters") to select the best British novel of the last quarter century. Fabulous Brit. author J.M. Coetzee (yes, I know he's a voortrekker - I was being ironic) wins out, his apartheid novel Disgrace just nudging my old mucker and literary guru Mardy Amis' Money into the runners up slot. I too was surprised that Tony "Awight?" Parsons' Man and Boy/Apples & Pears/Richard & Judy trilogy had been overlooked by the judges. Literary time moves slowly, but will eventually judge him kindly, no doubt... Oh, and according to the Wimmin's section, we are having less and less sex, apparently. News to Spinny, I'm sure.

Of less import, but making a bigger splash (well, it was on page 2) is Jack Straw and his outrageous assertion that he actually likes to have facial contact with attendees to his MP's surgery for "one to one" meetings. Canny Jack, despite exhibiting a huge degree of cultural sensitivity and having couched his critique of the severest form of veiling in moderate language, surely knew full well that he would ignite a seething debate into this highly emotive issue. Sure enough, in wades lovable catholic mentalist Reeeeeeuiuuuuurrrrrggghhhhhth Kelly to say that Straw is wrong to pick upon Muslim women who, of course, are entitled to wear what the cunting hell they like (I'm paraphrasing here, obviously) so long as they don't have explosives strapped to themselves or are wearing femidoms, stuff like that... She argues, quite sensibly for an Angus Dei** mental, that if you want to pick holes in Islam's treatment of women, you should start with the domestic violence doled out to them and the fact that many young women, veiled or not, aren't allowed to leave their homes to integrate with their dope smoking, binge drinking non-Muslim counterparts at University and College. These poor women are being excluded from being allowed to better themselves (which, in Corporate Blair's Britain is far more important than their standing with Allah, of course it is...) Can of worms duly opened...

I couldn't really give a fuck what women wear if they are choosing to do so themselves. What I do object to is cant. And hypocrisy. The same people who are saying that it's their human right to wear as many layers of clothing as they choose would not extend the same courtesy to women who choose to wear as few (and as scantily revealing, we should hope) as they like. This is the problem - Straw has begun an argument that he can't win. It's unusual for me to quote directly a moderate Muslim cleric, but here I feel I must make an exception. Hasan Yousef Eshkevari was hounded by the Atatollahs of the Iranian Islamic Revolution for expressing his revulsion at the regime's street enforcers who would greet unveiled women with the cry "Ya ru-sari, ya tu-sari!" It roughly translates as "either a headscarf or a head smack..." You pays your money....

So, now you know why I never read the papers...

* a wise choice - if you haven't read it, you'll have to go a long way to find better, more moving and provocative prose.

** I know, I know - it's Agnes really...

*******UPDATE**************

Almost forgot:

Wonderful to hear that "Green" Tory/Celebrity Charity Poker Scamster Zac Goldsmith's wife ("or whatever fuck she is"***) is called Scheherazade.

I bet she could tell a tale or two...


*** © Spinal Tap.

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Thursday, 5 October 2006

Boy With A Two Track Mind...

So, there I was, minding my own business, just changing the roll on one of the big, heavy camera-type things that they use on the sets of films - I work in the film industry, you see, which explains how I'm always getting off with actresses and make-up artistes and costume women and the like (sort of comes with the territory, like) - and next thing I know, this rather attractive Swedish actress bird's sidled up to me and is giving it all the big come on...."hello zere big boy...I vish you could be inserting zere zomezing *beeek* into *me* instead of zere camera-type zing..." you know, the usual cliches that horny, sex-mad Swedish birds come up with when they're trying to cop off with an assistant camera stud with a schlong the length of Hattie Jacques haunches after a marathon Battenburg binge. Well, you know how it is. I'd barely unzipped when she's writhing beneath me on the floor of the store cupboard where we keep all the empty film cannisters and that (well, it looks good doesn't it? It's all digital now, but a cardboard DVD slip on doesn't have the same romance as a tin with a few frames poking out....)"

.....nyer-a-ha...ha...ha geddid...ow...oh...oh...Bar-bee!!...ooooh...

You know, the usual. Well, cut a long story short, she's making such a racket down there that I start to lose concentration on the job in hand and my mind wonders on to the forthcoming England qualifier against Macedonia. Will Rooney rediscover his best form in time? Will Wright-Phillips get a chance to shine for his country now that Beckham is no longer hogging the right flank. Is McLaren the right man for the job. I mean it's all very well having had a good start - which he has - but will he be able to turn a game with a deft substitution when a major tournament reaches the knockout phase? You know the sort of thing.

So, where was I? Oh yes, I'm pumping away for what seems like hours when I suddenly remember that I forgot to post off the television licence. Which starts me wondering if they'll send the detector van round. You must have seen all those adverts with the threatening "we know where you live..." type voice over and do you know something? I've never seen one! Never met anyone who's ever been paid a call by them either. In all these years. It starts you to thinking, doesn't it? I mean do they even exist? It's like the tax office. I just got a demand in from the Tax Office (IHT section) for the remainder of the inheritence tax we owed them. We sent the revised estimate back in May and they've just sent us the adjusted calculation now - beginning of October. So that's 5 months to process one form. I mean, do they employ *any* staff at all in that place? It was the Belfast office. They're probably too busy bickering with each other to get any work done. You know - pass this to the arrogant fenian in the corner there would you? Bugger off you orange arsed wanker. Fisticuffs ensue. And who suffers? The taxpayer as always. 300 quid in interest it's cost us - just because a few Catholics and Protestants can't put the past behind them. Still, can't be much fun working in a workplace riven assunder by sectarian hatred and age old animosities, I suppose.

Anyway, I'm digressing. What was I talking about before? Oh, that's right - the spunky Swedish bird. Yeah, in the end, I must've banged for about 20 minutes before withdrawing and jizzing all over her tum. Nice one.

Well, beats working, doesn't it?



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A Post For Our Provincial Readers...

Cover headline of today's London's freebie Metro newspaper:

Global Warming is Fault of Man.






Unfortunately, it doesn't say who though.


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Wednesday, 4 October 2006

A Communication Has Been Received...*

Dear John**,

I have been a regular reader of your column since last year, when you first began to post insinuating and importuning pieces concerning me vis-a-vis the possibility of my procuring for you a variety of pornographic materials featuring my good self variously attired in the uniforms of several branches of the emergency services. Much as I was initially amused by this novel (although scarcely effective) attempt to increase the traffic passing though your (supposedly) humourous webblog, the joke has now worn *very* *very* thin indeed and I have had no recourse - especially as you now seem to have taken to observing a rather pathetic and ignoble round the clock vigil outside my plush Knightsbridge residence - but to seek legal advice.

I know it must be difficult for you, what with the rotting cock and the mildewed calliper - but *please* stop pestering me. I have a very busy (not to mention unpleasant - do you think I *enjoy* working 15 hours a day on dreck like Deuce Bigalow 2: *Not* Just a Gigolo??? Give me a new series of Teachers anyday...) schedule at the moment. And what of my husband and small infants - don't they have a right to leave the safety of their own home without seeing you waving your diseased and pestilent member in their faces whilst mouthing a stream of Drambuie-based alcopop-fuelled obscenities at them? It really has to stop, immediately. They are starting to enjoy it. Especially Miranda. She's six, Bob, for fuck's sake.

I'm a reasonable woman. I am prepared to make concessions if it will stop the living *hell* that you and your bizarre peccadillos have forced me to endure. Will this do??




So kindly move your pathetic protest elsewhere or I will have no option but to apply for an exclusion order.

Yours sincerely,


Zoe Telford (the actress.)



(...)***



* © Brian Damage, R.I.P.

** ...so it's *that* sort of letter, is it?

*** also © Brian Damage, R.I.P.


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Tuesday, 3 October 2006

What Happens In a Library Run By Dyslexics?...

I ma Tboy nad I wrok ni a bLairry. Is’t a rlealy gdoo jbo – I rlealy nejyo wroknig whit poelpe nad bkoos nad copmtures nad predoiclas. I wrok fro a nUivrestiy ni west Lnodno. Is’t very mutlicutullar nad htey ahve a vrey gdoo plociy no melpoynig poelpe fomr eth thecin nimriotise nad poelpe whit dibasiliets kile mnie.

uoY ese, I ma dsyelicx – I ahve borplmes ditsingshuinig cahrcatres; orf nisatnec, wneh uoy wtire a wdor kile adraravk, I ese ti sa aardvark wihhc mekas on snese ta lal, dsoe ti? Btu, sa I asy, they era vrey frowrad tnihknig ehre nad catlualy dnoig fra more tnah htey era qeruider ot od yb alw ot mtee hte ndees fo poelpe kile em. uoY ese, ni hte dab dlo adys, ti wloud ahve eben misopsbile orf omseneo kile em ot ahve a jbo kile htis. I wloudt’n neev ahve tog na tinveriwe, osmt kileyl. eSems tsargen, dsoet’n ti? Btu taht’s waht ti wsa kile back tneh. owN, htouhg, veryhetnig si os fifdernet. eW dsyelicxs gte xetar tmie ni uor axems nad htey ahve sepical raderes wihhc anc akme etxts aesire ot rdea. orF nisatnec, hte cbakrgnoud anc eb dmae ot lkoo eyllwore htan nromla; ew dsyelicxs fnid eyllwo mkaes cahrcatres apepar lcarere tnah a pnail wtihe cbakrgnoud.

yM mnai repsonbisityli ni hte bLairry si ptutnig the bkoos bcak no hte hselves. hTis si a vrey miprotnat tsak ebcasue fi hte bkoos aner’t ptu bcak ni hte crorcet pacle ti anc eb amlsot misopsbile ot fnid htem. uoY ese, ew ahve a garet mnay bkoos ni uor bLairry – puwdras fo neo hnudder nad svenyet htounasd. Os bovoiulys ew ahve ot eb vrey craeflu hwere ew ptu htem! tOhrewsie, ti wloud akme ti vrey fifdiclut orf uor bLairry uesrs ot eb albe ot ptu hteir hnads no hte etxtkboos htey wnat ot rdea.

nI order ot fatclitiae htis, ew sue a calssificiatoni yssmet clalde bLairry fo nogCress. Is’t na mArecian nocpcet, ewll, bovoiulys ethy sue ti ni hte bLairry fo nogCress orf a tsart! Is’t neo fo hte bgigset msot erwonden bLairrys ni hte wrold. tA frist is’t a ilttel mopclitadec, btu uoy osno teg hte hnag fo ti. tI wroks kile htis: htree si a lnie fo tletres – ofowldle yb a lnie fo munrebs. hTe munrebs era a hwole munreb, otn a demicla munreb, sa ti si ni Dyewe Demicla calssificiatoni. hTere si smoeemits a demicla munreb no hte xten lnie, btu htat mopclitasect tnihgs osmewtah. Fnillay, htere si a lnie wihhc si clalde hte ctutre. hTis lnie si sued ot ditsingshui ebwteen bkoos no hte smae sjubcet nad is’t bsaed no hte atuohr’s itinails nad hte mnai wrod fo hte tilte. lAl ni lal, htey lkoo kile htis:

HB
21
P5J6

hTis munreb – ro calss mrak sa ew clal ti - si orf a bkoo no hte plihsohpy fo rat – no eathsteicas ot eb perscie.

owN, sa uoy mya ahve ntoidec, I ahve a hbati fo ptutnig tletres ni hte rwnog odrer – nad I ahve on noctlor orve htat, nuftornutaley. Btu ti si akwrawd no cocssanio, pratciluaryl wneh ti cmose ot ptutnig tnihgs ni aphlatebcial odrer. orF nisatnec, fi osmenoe wnatde a bkoo no hte polihsohpy fo rat, I wloud dricet htem ot hte munreb bavoe: HB21.P5J6. Btu qtuie a efw lcetreurs nad sutdnets ahve mopclinade htat htey cnaont fnid hte bkoos htey wnat ni hte setcoin I tlel htem ot lkoo ni. Fro nistanec, hte tohre ady, an rat lcetreur acme bcak form hte hsleves whit a bkoo no enocomics nad sdai ti smilpy wsat’n gdoo genouh nad ti swa a csae fo loptilac crorcetsens gnoe mda.

fO croues, htere wlil lawyas eb poelpe hwo wlil rsesit cnahge. oSme fo htem era nsatire htan ohtres, antuaryll. Btu I tnihk htat htey wlil cmoe raoudn ni hte ned. Uoy ese, hte pnoit si htat veryenoe ese hte wrold fifdernetyl. Uoy ese na aardvark, I ese na adraravk; uoy asy toptao, I asy toptao. Btu wnoadyas, ew on olngre ripvelige neo vwie pnoit baove nay ohtre. oS ym evrsoin fo hte wrold si jsut sa vlaid sa nayneo esle’s.

Nad fi uoy dno’t kile ti, m’I fraida htat uoy wlil ahve ot ptu pu whit ti orf uqtie smoe tmie. eBcasue lal hte tmie htey lalwo em ot ptu hte bkoos no hte hsevles, I wlil noly eb bale ot ptu htem bkac hwere I tnihk htey uohgt ot og. oS, nuftornutaley orf ouy, ouy wlil jsut ahve ot laren ot ese the wrold htrouhg ym esy. Ohtrewsie, uoy mya ahve a lnog wtai orf yuro bkoos.



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Monday, 2 October 2006

More Bob's One Word Book Reviews...

....Come on!! Admit it - it's a great idea!!!!

The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera: Lifechanging

Underworld by Don DeLillo: Long

The Long Firm by Jake Arnott: Bespokearsebanditgangster

Trainspotting by Irvine Welch: Pishflaps

Beloved by Toni Morrison: Phantasmagoric

Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte: Clammy

Portnoy's Complaint by Phillip Roth: Memberable

The Tales of the Brothers Grimm: Grim

One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich by Alexander Solzhenitsyn: Grimmer


**********UPDATE***************

realdoc has chimed in with these:


The Da vinci Code - Bollocks

Pride and Predjudice - *Would* [I added the *s, btw - it's what she would've wanted...]

A Brief History of Time - Eh


Excellent stuff Realster!!

.....and a couple more from me:

Lolita by Vladimir Nabakov: Jamesmasonlysmarmingkiddyfiddler

Time's Arrow by Martin Amis: flahybrevelcooT

The World According to Garp by John Irving: Inpenetrablefellatiomishap



Come on - let's be 'avin you. More please, Swipesters - you know it makes sense....






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Bob's One Word Book Reviews...

Obviously, having been invalided out of the blogosphere with a frozen right shoulder for the last week, my recreational activities have been somewhat curtailed of late. Archery has been completely out of the question for a kick off, as has been my daily anaerobic javelin/discus session down at LA Fitness (by appointment to the Late Diana, Princess of Wales, no less..) So, deprived of my usual quota of libidinous self-pleasuring (I *so* wish I'd paid more attention during those triple ambidexter lessons now...) I was last week reduced to the pitifully swottish activity of - yes, believe it and weep - reading.

For those of you who've never tried it, there's not much to commend it - although it certainly beats daytime telly into a cocked hat. It's a quite a simple procedure - the only difficult part occuring when you come across a word you aren't entirely sure as to the meaning thereof - grimplestanchion, for instance caused me no end of brow wrinkling until I realised that I'd actually been trying to read a squished insect that had tragically been caught between the pages. Fortunately, there is no such word. However, such instances are thankfully few and far between and, incipient readers take note, there is help at hand should that eventuality ever arise. Most homes nowadays come complete with a gazeteer-style tome often referred to as a dictionary. These marvellous things are clearly and logically arranged - sometimes even in alpahabetical order - so that without too much stuff and nonsense, one can readily access a definition of the troublesome word in question - although it must be said that this procedure may well entail a further series of cross referencings as those of us not overly blessed in the vocabulary department frequently will need to look up the meaning of a word that has been used to define the word that required one to access the dictionary in the first instance. Persevere though - you'll soon get the hang of it.

A final tip for the novice: one is often forced to curtail the process of reading in order to pursue some unavoidable household chore/bodily function - shelf assembly/nail clipping/owl sealant application etc. In such instances, it is easy to lose track of the precise point of the book you've reached when you are forced to temporarliy cease scanning the text - especially with longer books which don't have many easy to recall pictures in them, for example. For a nominal sum, it is possible to purchase a specialist marker - or bookmark, as they are often called in professional circles - which can be inserted into the book at the relevant point - much as golfers use a small spot to mark the place where their last shot landed in order to facilitate their partner taking a putt. For those more impecunious souls or the willing amateurs among you still not sure that they wish to commit a financial outlay on such a scale during their early flirtation with their new hobby, I would suggest that the informal use of a bus ticket, discarded shopping list or travel card can function in much the same way and incur less of a cost. Apart from the travel card, obviously. It's probably unwise to buy one specifically for this purpose. Try combining your reading with a long deferred trip, perhaps? It is also worth noting that such recycling is, on the whole, kinder to the planet.

So, here's what I've been reading - with a short explanatory note which I hope will be of use to prospective readers of the books in question:

Me:Moir by Vic Reeves: Surreal.

Yellow Dog by Martin Amis: Funny.

Double Fault by Lionel Shriver: About tennis.

An Accidental Woman (unfinished) by Jonathan Coe: Intriguing.

Al Quaeda and What it Means To Be Modern by John Gray (unfinished): Baffling.

The House of Meetings by Martin Amis (unfinished): Sober? Sombre? (OK - sober *and* sombre)

Has anyone else out there ever tried reading? If so, do tell...



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