2015 thing

Jan. 1st, 2016 09:03 pm
keresaspa: (Lester and Eliza)
Two days running? God, it's been years since that sort of rot. Anyway:

1. What did you do in 2015 that you'd never done before?
Left the Atlantic Archipelago (that's British Isles to you imperialists).

2. Did you keep your new years' resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
Never do, never will.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
No.

4. Did anyone close to you die?
Two of the Donegal Celtic mob died - one from cancer, the other took his own life. To be honest though I didn't know either of them that well.

5. What countries did you visit?
France, Scotland and England. I actually visited a personal best of 24 towns and cities this year, with Larne, Newry, Dun Laoghaire, Banbridge, Paris and Dunfermline all new to me.

6. What would you like to have in 2016 that you lacked in 2015?
Cash on demand, same as every year.

7. What dates from 2015 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
I'm very stereotypically male about remembering dates so none.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Dunno.

9. What was your biggest failure?
Dunno.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
Usual haemochromatosis plus my vertigo has kicked into overdrive to the point where massive turns are now a daily occurrence and some can last for several hours. I've started having the odd fall as well.

11. What was the best thing you bought?
As noted recently, Mirel Wagner albums.

12. Whose behaviour merited celebration?
Oh, you're all great.

13. Whose behaviour made you appalled and depressed?
Here's a shock - Sinn Fein. I'm not sure if I mentioned that at any time last year.

14. Where did most of your money go?
Music as ever. Trips and that too I suppose.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
Don't be silly.

16. What song will always remind you of 2015?
"The Road and the Miles to Dundee" by Jim Reid And The Foundry bar Band or "Pasties and Cream" by Brenda Wootton. Neither are available online though so I can't link to them (is it just me or has YouTube removed about half of its music videos in the last week or so?).

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
a) happier or sadder? about the same
b) thinner or fatter? ditto
c) richer or poorer? ditto

18. What do you wish you'd done more of?
Nothing in particular.

19. What do you wish you'd done less of?
Again, nothing springs to mind.

20. How will you be spending Christmas?
It's already over so....

21. What was your favourite month of 2015?
No idea. August maybe.

22. Did you fall in love in 2015?
Don't be daft.

23. How many one-night stands?
Mind your own business.

24. What was your favourite TV programme?
I've pretty much given up on TV these days. I don't even bother watching the football on Saturday nights sometimes any more.

25. Do you hate anyone now that you didn't hate this time last year?
I don't think so, although my opinion of Simon Danczuk is really starting to harden.

26. What was the best book you read?
No idea. Been mostly short stories and non-fiction this year. Of the former William Beckford's "Vathek" was probably the best.

27. What was your greatest musical discovery?
Mirel Wagner, as discussed yesterday.

28. What did you want and get?
A new article to get published in When Saturday Comes (in shops 14th January).

29. What did you want and not get?
The new Extreme Noise Terror album, although a copy is winging its way to me from Germany. I'll believe it when I get it and not before as it's fast becoming the new "Things may Come and Things May Go, But the Art School Dance Goes on for Ever" for me.

30. What was your favourite film of this year?
I think I saw a total of two films on TV this year (Midnight Run on ITV Four one night and Despicable Me dubbed into French in Paris) and none in the cinema. Any interest I ever had in films has long since died off.

31. What did you do on your birthday?
Watched Nortel defeat Mossley 4-2 at the Mossley playing fields in the second round of the Border Regiment Cup. It was even less glamorous than it sounds.

32. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
As ever, isn't this essentially the same as question six?

33. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2015?
I wouldn't. I haven't changed a lick of my image in years but to call it a "fashion concept" would be completely ludicrous. If pushed I'll go with "man who looks a lot older than he is dressing to his wrongly assumed age".

34. What kept you sane?
Assuming I am sane, then the match.

35. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
Demi Lovato. I may have the makings of a dirty old man. But come on, eh?!

36. What political issue stirred you the most?
The quiet death of Irish republicanism and its rebirth as Tory collaborationism, all with the tacit approval of the victims of this development.

37. Who did you miss?
Cigs as ever.

38. Who was the best new person you met?
Can't think of anyone. I've not really met anyone new this year.

39. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2015.
No.

40. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.
"Poor old horse, he must die".
keresaspa: (Brigitte Bardot)
All I seem to have been doing on this thing recently is leeching ideas off [livejournal.com profile] caddyman in order to fill up entries. Well, today is to be another instalment in that rip-off sequence as the man himself has presented another of his memes and I'm jumping on the bandwagon. The basic plot of this one is to provide eight facts about yourself. Apologies in advance for the boring nature of these but I'm a boring chap I'm afraid.

1) I had only just started walking when I toddled my way through a glass door in the house in which I was born. Whilst I cheated death that day it had been by a whisker as had the cuts gone an inch in either direction I would have severed major blood vessels and most likely carked it. The scars left behind on my forehead were very prominent until fairly recently but now the deep worry lines that have sprung up on my forehead have largely merged with them, rendering them almost invisible.

2) Around the age of five I took part in, and won, a foot race against other children from my school. I was rewarded with a bag of sweets for my trouble. Hardly a big deal in itself, but it must be balanced by the "bulky" frame I have sported ever since and the complete aversion to running that has dominated my thinking. I reckon Douglas Bader with have a chance in a foot race against me these days.

3) I was about 12 when I first decided to become politically aware but I didn’t fully embrace communism until the age of around 19. As a youngster I was a firmly moderate social democrat whose political allegiances belonged to the Labour Party and the SDLP. I began to move to the left around the time Blair took over Labour (the two occurrences were not connected however) when I was about 14 and from then until about 17 I looked more to the likes of the SWP and the IRSP, whilst maintaining a strong admiration for the authoritarian Left in the developing world. By the age of 17 I was more open to communism and finally declared for it around 19, following a very very brief flirtation with anarchism.

4) At GCSE I was put forward for the Additional Mathematics exams but, after getting a B in my one year normal maths, I completely lost the thread of what was going on and effectively gave up. As a result in both papers for the subject, which were two hours long, I was finished after about fifteen minutes and had an hour and three quarters to just sit there bored (my school wouldn’t permit you to leave when you were done). The fact that I got an E in the subject (a fail in my day, not so sure now) rather than the U I deserved probably pinpoints the exact moment when they started marking GCSEs too easily.

5) Although I now find it impossible to go a Saturday without attending a football match I didn’t actually go to my first live match until the age of 16 (Cliftonville v Standard Liege in the Intertoto Cup) and I was absent entirely between 1998 and 2011.

6) I once brought a half bottle of whiskey with me along with my standard haul of several bottles of ale and a bottle of Buckfast to a goth carry-out disco. The resulting levels of drunkenness that ensued on my part became legendary in the local scene for several years to come, although for my part I have little memory of it.

7) Having said that, although my hell-raising reputation was well-known once upon a time I did not taste a drop of alcohol until the legal age of 18, which was the same time I first smoked a cigarette. Incidentally I had smoked at most ten cigarettes before I made cigars a regular part of my routine.

8) Despite being a heterosexual adult male with no children, and despite not liking cats, I possess several toys and pieces of ephemera of Hello Kitty and I feel absolutely no shame in admitting that fact.
keresaspa: (Cookie Kwan)
I believe, gentle reader (whomever you are), that I have mentioned the Highfield estate before. But for those who weren't present or who share my strange obsession with the sectarian geography of Belfast I shall briefly run through it again. Highfield is a loyalist housing estate lying beyond the Shankill Road near the foot of Black Mountain, bordered on the north by the Ballygomartin Road, the south by the Springfield Road, the east by the West Circular Road and the west by the Springmartin Road. Generally a UDA stronghold, it is one of the most deprived areas of Belfast with some of the worst housing stock in the city. Its entire west side is crushed up against equally low grade republican areas such as New Barnsley and Ballymurphy and the area was the site of some notorious inter-paramilitary gun battles in the early 1970's. Even now it gives off something of an unwelcoming vibe with strangers regarded suspiciously and for a Fenian like myself passing through the Highfield estate always gives one a slight nervous thrill.

But a lack of options forced my hand. Well, I could have taken a quick stroll over to Daddy Winkers Lane and watched the mighty Orangefield Old Boys in action and I did toy briefly with a run out to Bangor to watch the match there. There was also the Irish Cup semi-final between Cliftonville and Crusaders at the Oval but I suspected (wrongly as it proved) that in the Ulster People's Forum stronghold that is the lower Newtownards Road a repeat performances of the protests that forced the abandonment of the same fixture at Seaview might be in the offing. So with those options shitcanned all that was left was Paisley Park Highfield estate to watch the erstwhile West Belfast Rangers (Albert Foundry as they are now called) in action against the famous Ardglass.

Paisley Park (which may or not be named after Ian Paisley, I really don't know) is better known as a bowling club but includes a few football pitches. Although the mercury touched ten degrees Celsius today the high, open, windswept location meant that as my made my way to Paisley the following sight greeted me:



I did take the thicko option of Single Award Science at GCSE so I claim no expertise in these matters but I was taught that water freezes at oh degrees so how the hell can snow exist at ten above nowt? Mind-boggling.

But I digress. I arrived at Paisley Park at ten minutes to two (two o'clock kick-off) and was surprised to be charged three quid for entry. Games at this level tend to be gratis but so be it. I was even more surprised to find that with a mere ten minutes to go I was the only paying customer there. Yup, just me. Given how full of their own self-importance Shankill roaders are (a trait they share with Falls roaders) and the fact that local favourites Linfield had no match today I expected a decent crowd to turn out but not a bit of it. I counted nine paying customers in total, augmented by about another twelve or so comps who came in late for a bumper crowd that was lucky to break twenty people.

As to the match itself it was frankly a bit of a mismatch. Although other clubs have games in hand Albert Foundry currently sit on top of the Northern Amateur League Premier Division (fourth tier overall) with Ardglass anonymous in mid-table. I don't claim to know much about this league but if this game is anything to go by there must be quite a gap between the top sides and the rest as Foundry were grinding Ardglass like so much horse meat from the word go. That they went in at half-time only 1-0 up was due to Foundry's inability to score rather than anything on the part of Ardglass. It would have seemed a really long journey home for their travelling support had it not been for the fact that they appeared to have no supporters. Fourth tier don't forget. The attitudes to health and diet are a little different at this level though. Every member of the Foundry coaching staff had a feg on at one point, including one old stager who was eating them, and when an Ardglass player was substituted off injured he sparked a tab on the touchline a few minutes after coming off.

During the second half there appeared to be a rather large fire raging behind the ground with smoke billowing but in fact it may just have been Foundry on fire as they turned the screws on a woeful Ardglass side. Four goals were scored to add to the one they already had, including two near the end that appeared to be scored within a minute of each other. To be honest they probably could have had a three or four more as this was an absolute hiding from start to finish.

It's difficult to assess Albert Foundry. On the pitch they are every inch a Championship 2 club in waiting and they would more than hold in their own in that division playing to the standards they did today. Their ground wasn't the ritz, although if Brantwood maintained senior status with their pit and Sport & Leisure Swifts do with their shoebox then this might just be good enough. The views are quite something as well as there are few places in the city where you can see the Holy Cross church on Crumlin Road, the shipyard and the City Hospital with just a slight turn of the head. Their only stand could probably stand to be a little larger and they would need to rip off the crumbling wooden slats and replace them with proper plastic seats but I could see Paisley Park as a third level ground without too much effort being needed. The big problem however would be the crowds, which are clearly woeful. This was a fine day for football and there is a big slice of population, all high on their own identity, for them to draw on but with Linfield not playing they still failed to break double figures on the gate as far as I could see. A lot of clubs in Northern Ireland fail to engage properly with their local communities in order to attract support (not least Donegal Celtic, whose PR is non-existent, a fact reflected in their own terrible crowds) but Albert Foundry are missing out badly as they could be drawing in decent crowds if they got their arses in gear. It remains to be seen if they will win the league and even if they do the system for promotion to the Irish League is arcane in its complexity but the raw materials are there. Cliftonville and Crusaders have shown what community engagement can do as they both attract bumper crowds now and whilst Albert Foundry aren't near that level yet they could do worse than looking to their northern neighbours for pointers in attracting those from the Greater Shankill who have an interest in the game but don't care for Linfield, can't afford the prices at Windsor Park, can't find transport to Blues games or just can't be arsed going. If they manage that they could thrive a couple of levels above their current position but if not they'll continue busting a gut in front of the sort of "crowds" that most of us could comfortably squeeze into our parlours.
keresaspa: (Beatrice smoking)
I had a doctor's appointment today to get the results of some random tests that I underwent recently. Nothing major to report but I happened to sneak a peak at my records on her computer screen and I noticed that I am registered as an ex-smoker. It subsequently occurred to that today is exactly four years since I had my last smoke. Not since I stopped smoking as that particular anniversary passed a few weeks ago without comment but since my last smoke. I didn't mention it at the time on here but after my dalliance with hypnotism I slipped and had a small cigar on the 21st March although it was just a one-off and a long phone call to the quit helpline convinced me to write it off as nothing and resume the warhellride that was cold turkey quitting.

So yeah, four years. I don't mention this as any great achievement or as a plea for congratulations because, whilst it was undoubtedly the toughest thing I ever had to do, I chose to to do it just as I chose to smoke in the first place and my smoking status makes not a blind bit of difference to any of you. Of course if the anti-smoking propaganda is to be believed I should now be jumping out of my skin but to be honest it never happened. The mythical increases in energy and feelings of well-being failed to arrive as my health spiralled in the months following my stopping smoking. Of course that turned out be a dodgy liver caused by the at that point undiagnosed scourge that is haemochromatosis but to this day I'm convinced that said illness manifested itself early because of the hammering giving up gave my immune system as it is a condition that tends not to be noticed earlier than one's mid-forties.

Easier breathing was also promised and I'm still waiting four years later. I remember one night when I was a smoker for some reason I was on Regal King Size, which I never smoked, when suddenly I found myself missing breaths. This continued for the rest of the night until I switched to Benson & Hedges (a brand I was more used to) when it stopped. I never lost another breath before or after that one night as a smoker but since stopping it happens regularly. I can be sitting minding my own business when suddenly the breath leaves me. It returns quickly and I've been told it is nothing to worry about but it's a pain in the arse that I could breathe better as a smoker than an ex-smoker.

If I look at it logically I suppose there have been long term benefits that I don't notice (although who knows what the four stone - thankfully now shed - I gained from a combination of quitting and the haemochromatosis will have done to me long term) and I did gain some stamina that I didn't previously have (although again that may be a combination of bringing my walking up to levels I hadn't been at since about aged seven) but if I'm being honest I miss it every day. I get a waft of a feg and it takes me back. It may not be a full craving any more (although occasionally it is) but it's more of a pining for what is lost. In the propaganda quitting smoking is presented as a joyous occasion, akin to getting the all-clear from a particularly nasty STD or hearing of the untimely death of a particularly nasty tormentor but in truth it is nothing of the sort. I didn't so much quit smoking as break up with smoking. I hadn't become jaded yet, I still had a lot of love for my fegs and when I think about it I shared the opinions of Bebe Glazer when I gave up and probably still do. It didn't help that I've always been one of those who likes to go against just for the sake of it, so leaving a persecuted minority to become part of a smug majority was always going to throw me off kilter. As much as I missed smoking from a chemical dependency level I reckon I missed, and miss, it more from the status of being a smoker, an outsider, a rebel, somebody prepared to dice with death and live on the edge outside the rules and norms of button-down, health fascist society in the grand traditions of Guevara and Castro.

Still, it's all ate bread now. As I think of the nightmare months I endured in 2009 I know I could never go back on the smokes as, inevitably, it would mean having to quit again and I wouldn't go through that again for love nor money (and just in case I ever forget I only have to read a book that a smoker used to own in order to experience a mini-cold turkey even four years on). So my status is thus set as an ex-smoker for life. No longer one of us, but not quite one of you either. The ultimate outsider, as it were. I reckon I can live with that status.

So I'm not sure what the moral of this story is really. Giving up is hard, dog hard, and the rewards are nowhere near what they claim on TV. But I suppose it has to be done eventually unless you really are prepared for the big casino. To anybody giving up I can only say the very best of luck to you. I wouldn't take back my time as a smoker as nearly all of my finest hours happened with a feg on but all good things must come to an end and for me the affair ended four years ago today. Gone but not forgotten. Keep smiling won't you.
keresaspa: (Jimmy Jewel)
I was perusing the fine website of that august journal the Ballymena Times recently (your one stop shop for Raceview results, Orange Order investitures and heroin prices) but I was forced to leave in abject shock. The reason, nobody asks? I found myself in agreement with the malevolent Ian Paisley junior. Baron Bannside's wee lad may have built his political career solely on being Baron Bannside's wee lad but he is spot on about this latest round on "consultation" (for which read "we are going to do it no matter what") on yet more draconian laws against smoking. Although the days when I enjoyed my beloved nicotine are sadly over (daddy still misses you, sweet fegs) I have eschewed the John Reid path of becoming an anti-smoker just because I choose to deny myself the pleasure of wonderful tobacco. However as an ex-smoker I do know that one thing that never ever made me want to smoke was the pretty colours on the packet. Do the law makers think smokers are magpies or something that they would actually decide not to smoke because the box was a bit dull? Good Lord, you could have wrapped my fegs in brown paper with the words "this paper was previously wrapped round used syringes and shite" and I would still have happily bought twenty of them so who this is aimed at, other than counterfeiters, is lost on me. Enough is enough. The medical profession has got its way with the smoking ban and the constant tax increases, it's time for these unelected moaning minnies to stop dictating the policy of every successive government. Besides with all this "pension timebomb" crap we keep hearing about is it not time for governments to stop discouraging things that lead to early death? Either way, well done Little P - you may be a spoilt arsehole and the very epitome of nepotism but you've nailed this one dead on.
keresaspa: (Mrs Mack)


In the interests of showing solidarity with my oppressed sisters the world over I have started today with an image from my collection in your honour. Yup, nothing says International Women's Day like a mural in honour of a bunch of big culchie sorts squeezed into fuzzy green uniforms tramping through the streets of some godforsaken County Laois village in their sensible walking brogues. But seriously for their strong work in support of the radical left I am happy to doff my non-existent hat to Winifred Carney and Nora Connolly, two fine females. I am normally critical of the arbitrary assignation of dates to a particular event seemingly based on nothing but International Women's Day was good enough for me la Lenin and so it is good enough for me. Mind you the "days" seem to be coming thick and fast in March - drunken tossers days on the 17th, Mother's Day on the 18th, Polish-Hungarian Friendship Day on 23rd (mustn't forget that one), clocks go in some different direction on the 25th, Reba McEntire Day on the 28th, the list goes on. Heck even yesterday was that most arbitrary and pointless of observances No Smoking Day, a day on which a former smoker like myself who nevertheless retains a pro-smoking agenda and who misses his fegs a lot more than he enjoys improved breathing (in fact my breathing is actually somewhat worse now than it was when I smoked) really has to marshal every fibre of his willpower not go and buy a deck of Dunhill International just to stick two fingers up to the health fascist mob. I didn't of course but No Smoking Day really grinds my gears as part of that insidious anti-smoking attitudes that is now trying destroy old films and even photographs with its twisted nannyism - mind your own bloody business and you'll have enough to mind, you whiny little bitches.

For my own part International Women's Day included a visit to Clonard Martyrs Memorial Garden, a visually very impressive Garden of Remembrance situated on Bombay Street in the Clonard area of west Belfast, ran by this mob. Given that the burning of houses by mobs from the neighbouring Shankill Road in 1969 helped to galvanise local support for the IRA and essentially begin the Troubles in Belfast as well as the large number of people from the area to die in said Troubles and the fact that it is right beside the peaceline it is a well-chosen place to house what must be the finest of these sort of gardens in Belfast. Its slightly unusual location (because of the peacelines Clonard leads nowhere and it is actually a little far from the main Falls Road) means that it is not as often viewed as some of the other similar attractions in west Belfast but I must say it impressed me and the availability of a (highly partisan) booklet produced by the ex-prisoners association was a very nice touch. And apropos of nothing here's me standing therein:



See I told you I had huge feet! So in conclusion Clonard Martyrs Memorial Garden is worth a visit and I salute my sisters in the struggle on this day.
keresaspa: (Scrubber Daley)
I stand before you as a man firmly in the grip of ill health. Nothing life threatening but rather a dreaded bout of summer cold. A winter cold is bad enough but when the cold sweats have the inevitable summer heat sweats added on top of them the whole thing becomes very debilitating, whilst the streaming nose and a throat rougher than that of Blind Willie Johnson himself certainly don't help either. There was a time when this wouldn't have fazed me much but alas I have become unused to colds of late. When I smoked I got a cold every couple of months and even when I didn't officially have one low level versions of the symptoms were usually present but since I packed in my one true love (Daddy still misses you, my darling sweet fegs) two years and five months ago I haven't had an actual cold at all. As a result this one has levelled me as my previous tolerance for the effects has gone and I now feel like a used dishrag that the dog has done his business on. Woe is me, terrible time.
keresaspa: (Bucket)
"Drinking is evil". "Smoke and we'll jail you". "Exercise or else". "Five a day or it's the ducking stool for you". "If you even think about being fat we'll take away your balls". The government sticks its collective oar in constantly, seemingly intent on establishing its own version of the Nationalsozialistischer Reichsbund für Leibesübungen and demanding a health-obsessed country of nonagenarians. Then it turns round and cries "everybody is living longer for some reason and we can't afford them. Wahh!" Was David Cameron not paying attention to all that bla-fum about "joined up government" that we have been force-fed for years? If you don't want to pay for people in old age stop forcing everybody to live so long! Of course I'm being flippant but if you spend all your time effectively criminalising ill-health you can't complain when your policies produce an aging population.

Meanwhile when people unite to strike against the government's determination to suddenly shift the goalposts Ed Miliband's so-called Labour Party refuse to support them, only a couple of weeks after he launched his bold new policy initiative of savaging the unemployed at a time of rampant unemployment. Labour will probably be scratching their heads at why they lost so much support in Inverclyde but they need look no further than Miliband who has been a bloody disaster as leader, seemingly forgetting that the purpose of being Leader of the Opposition is to oppose rather than support. If they don't buck their ideas up soon, preferably by bucking Miliband out PDQ, Cameron just might nab an overall majority next election and unleash the sort of evil monetarist onslaught not seen since the days of Augusto Pinochet.

Liberal democracy - waste of sodding time!
keresaspa: (L7)
"Music was my first love" opined John Miles in a song that everybody thinks is ghastly but I personally believe to be a fine piece of work and on a day that Big Cards says is about love rather than the martyrdom of an early Christian what better topic than the one Miles crooned about? Of course we all have our own opinions of what constitutes good music but it is interesting to think of why we ended up with the opinions we hold on that score. Thinking about it I believe that in my time I have encountered a few albums that have proven seminal in the development of my taste. Whilst these might or might not be my favourites they are still pivotal for the impact they had on my taste. I've managed to isolate eight that I think have had a big impact on my taste and they are:

Bad Manners - Height of Bad Manners The first album I bought and as such an important part of framing my future taste. I was about seven when I bought this gate fold vinyl best of from Woolies and it marked the beginning of me caring about music at any level beyond taping the charts off the radio. I still have it to this day and it was from there that I first became interested in music.

Small Faces - The Complete Collection I lost interest for a while in my early teens (even though that's supposed to be the age you go gaga over pop music) until I started to get the notion of listening to music again. Then one day at about 14 I wandered into the recently opened HMV and picked up a copy of a cheap no-name compilation of Small Faces hits, despite the fact that I was still a few years away from owning my own CD player. Either way it meant I was a music fan once again.

V/A - Progressions This prog compilation was doing the rounds in our house for a while before I took an interest in it. To say that it sparked what has become a lifelong enjoyment of progressive rock would probably be true as once I heard "Living in the Past" I was hooked.

Bal-Sagoth - Battle Magic I had dabbled slightly in metal but it was not until I was about 18 that my passion for that wonderfully ludicrous genre really kicked in when a slightly odd little chap I went to school with taped me a copy of the Bal-Sagoth classic. The extreme metal kick that dominated my early 20s and that is still a part of my musical taste began there and then.

Frank Zappa - Son of Cheap Thrills One of those days of undergraduate poverty where you were hanging about Virgin Megastore determined to buy some sounds but unable to afford nearly everything in the days when "2 for £20" was considered good value. I spotted a copy of this Zappa sampler lingering for around a fiver and decided to take a chance, having only previously encountered Uncle Frank as a name on TV. Again hooked from the word go and "We're Only in it for the Money", which remains my favourite album, was bought soon afterwards on the strength of this purchase.

L7 - The Beauty Process Similar scenario to above, only this time I had sank a few pints earlier in the day and, as I recall, it was nearing six o'clock closing time in the self-same Virgin Megastore. They had a bit of a sale on and I noticed a copy of this album and felt that I had to buy it. Given that I was none too sober at the time I suspect that cover image may have appealed to me as dark-haired women with a feg on were my thing at the time! Whatever the reason it was a decision well made and the genesis of my love of all things riot grrrl.

Fats Waller - The Centenary Collection I had flirted with jazz as a youth but left it aside early on. Then another big sale at Virgin Megastore saw me touch for a three CD set of Fats at the knockdown price of three of your quid. Suddenly I realised that jazz wasn't just for old farts (or perhaps that I was becoming an old fart) and I widened my mind not only to it but also to blues, country and other things that I had hitherto considered music for the elderly.

Shonen Knife - Let's Knife A couple of years ago this one and in fact I covered it here at the time but given how much Japanese nonsense I listen to now this was definitely a seminal purchase.

So what of the rest of you? I don't for a minute imagine that you all woke up as proggers or goths one morning by chance and indeed you all must have certain albums that helped to mould your various tastes. Do tell.

Anyway just to ensure that the usual quotient of misery is met here I will move on to that meme that is doing the rounds where you describe five things that everybody else loves and you don't and say why. I've tried to think of something a bit different here as I have riffed on a lot of popular stuff that I hate in this dusty, unloved corner of the web before. As such:

1) Coffee - All you hear from people is how they can't function without their coffee. I don't know how many times I have drunk the fetid stuff in my life but I can tell you this - it has bugger all effect. Not only that but no matter which version it is they all taste like crap. Americanisation at its worst if you ask me. Give me a cup of tea any day.

2) Mixed Martial Arts - I follow professional wrestling from time to time but I can't for the life of me fathom what the appeal is of two men hugging each other on the floor with the odd rabbit punch being thrown. Well, perhaps I can but I know for a fact that the audiences for this rubbish aren't ALL frustrated women and gay men. At least pro wrestling can be a bit exciting even if it fake whereas MMA is as dull and tedious as amateur wrestling. For me MMA is no better than dog fighting and I look forward to that craze falling by the wayside.

3) Science fiction - I can't really justify my dislike of this on any level other than "it's crap because I say so" but really the appeal of the genre, be it TV, film, books or comics, has always been lost on me. It's just greasy kids stuff trying to pretend that it is intellectual and worthy as far as I'm concerned. No, actually it is just a case of it being crap because I say so!

4) Cannabis - I might like me reggae but I don't care for collie at all. Why people rave so much about not being able to walk properly (the only impact I ever experience) is beyond me and, just like coffee's mythical properties, I found it no more relaxing than building a house of cards in a hurricane with Lizzie from the Football League Show yammering in my ear.

5) The Rolling Stones - Sad old tramps making pedestrian blues rock. Please just lie down. I may have defended listening to old man music above but an exception is made for these useless granddads.

Happy Communist Martyrs Day people!

and stuff

Nov. 12th, 2009 07:21 pm
keresaspa: (Blazing Saddles)
So it's time for a by-election again apparently, as somebody looks to replace that repulsive Martin person for a couple of months. I'm not personally sure that it is worth all the expense given that this current mob will be out in the not too distant future but I suppose it is another opportunity for them to take a bit of kicking. Or not seeing as the electorate in that constituency were moronic enough to vote the Speaker in last time despite a perfectly reasonable bunch of other candidates being on offer. For my part I'll never understand people who bother to vote for the Speaker when they know rightly that they only exist because of the silly little conventions in Westminster. I suppose they're the same sort of people who mouthed off about banning smoking in bars despite not having set foot in one in their lives. You know - morons! Voting is pointless enough as it is without voting for a candidate whose sole purpose is to never express an opinion and instead to act as a glorified Jo Frost to a bunch of overgrown toddlers.

But what of the candidates on offer? No surprise to see the standard issue thug running for the BNP. Let's hope that Scotland continues its good record and hands him the usual derisory vote that his mob are used to getting up there. Disappointing meanwhile to see the SSP and Solidarity both standing, as well as a Socialist Labour candidate. Like the left wing vote will not be thin enough to start with it then has to be broken up even more due to personality clashes. Shame. The TILT chap appears to be trumpeting his left-wing credentials too, although judging by that website he is not so much on the left as round the left bend.

I also notice that this by-election is bringing about the previously threatened outbreak of celebrities against people taking money for nothing that I previously ranted about. Mind you, my earlier assault on Esther Rantzen notwithstanding, I didn't realise that the campaign would run out of people so quickly and be forced to go for the real z-list rather than the ultra-famous like the great Esther. We might have expected at least a Tony Roper or a Paul Coia but some Big Brother reject?! I had assumed that the whole point of the initiative was that the slebs were already super-rich and so would not be corrupted by the offer of fringe benefits but, unless he has a secret billion pound business empire that he failed to mention whilst trading his dignity in return for a shot at 100 grand (or whatever the prize money is), I rather suspect that Mr. Hughes would canvass voters with the catchphrase "vote for me...give us your odds, then". And whilst we're at it that baggage handler has had his fifteen minutes of fame and the whole Jury Team business has already ran its course. Ideology and values might be out of fashion in this age of showbiz politics but I don’t think even this society is po-mo enough to vote for a party that has a complete lack of policies as its only policy.

Meanwhile, one guy who certainly doesn't deserve any votes is the ridiculously named wannabe Action Man Mev Brown. According to Mev’s brilliant interpretation the Troubles was just about the Provisional IRA. So all those people killed by the loyalist paramilitaries, the RUC and the British Army were something completely different, I suppose. Nothing more appealing than a Tory Scotsman pontificating about Northern Ireland, is there? I don't know about you, but I rather get the feeling that his two favourite haunts are Murrayfield and his local Loyal Orange Lodge. Still, there is some sanity left as he is yet to attract a single comment on his daft little election blog. I bet he calls his bicycle Desert Storm!

Well that's all I can say about it. Realistically an SNP win will be a decent result, even if the man in question only ends up getting a couple of months of paid mortgage arrears and free plugs. Nice work if you can get it, I suppose.
keresaspa: (Eric Sykes)
Hello there. Lazy Sunday night leads to a post about little in particular.

Well maybe not strictly true as I did happen to catch something of interest on that ghastly Football League highlights show last night. That's right the whole Crystal Palace disallowed goal debacle. As a team I have no specific feelings about Crystal Palace. They exist and that's about it as far as I'm concerned. However it is unfortunate that in Simon Jordan they have one of the scummiest, new money, loutish chairmen around and that in Neil Warnock they have the shittiest arsehole in football as manager. I suspect I would have had quite a bit of sympathy for them if anybody else was in charge but slap it into Warnock as he is a past master at cheating from the Battle of Bramall Lane. Git! Oh and by the way that BBC show is ghastly because there is far too much talking, the presenter gets on like a frightened rabbit, he wears jeans to present a TV show for no apparent reason (a cardinal sin in my book), Steve Claridge can't sit a peace and has nothing whatsoever of interest to say other than rephrasing any question that he has just been asked, the girl with the fans' texts is more superfluous than an electric toaster on a diving suit and the bald man who goes around doing the human interest stories has the sort of voice that makes Dakota Fanning sound like Lee Marvin. Apart from that it's great.

Meanwhile for those looking something pointless to do mosey on over to the million giraffes project. I have no idea what the purpose of it is but in another way it is surely the very thing that the internet was invented for in the first place. That's mine by the way. I'm dead good at drawing and when I grow up I'm going to be a ninja.

And because I'm somewhat bored (and I have that camera now) I now present the second in the series "This is How I Live".

More silly pictures of this and that )

And good night.
keresaspa: (All cops are not nice)
Funny old day, the sort where it is difficult to get one's brain in gear really. As such I'll give a couple of random thoughts before a meme then out of here.

Thought 1: The McDaid murder sums up all that is wrong with this place. Don't let anybody fill your head with bollocks about how great this place is since the peace process - the cops are still the same biased force of old and people can still get kicked to death just for supporting Celtic. Still my main thought is to the newsreaders in the perfidious Albion - it is pronounced "cole-rain" not "collah-rain" the way you people seem to think. If you are reading the news at least check things like this in advance.

Thought 2: I notice from a couple of you that Byzantium fell on this day in 1453 so in that spirit a big well done on your foundation to my Turkish reader or readers. I'm not sure who you are but your location keeps turning up in my live feed so well done to you.

Anyway here's that meme that I threatened, as stolen from [livejournal.com profile] clytemenstra:

Music and that )
keresaspa: (Tiger Jeet Singh)
Not much happening at this end really. My hi-fi went to the wall again not long ago as man with moustache who fixed it last time suggested that it probably would. A fault in the design was what he diagnosed last time and he suggested that it would be only a matter of time before the problem cropped up again. Mind you I'm a lot less bothered this time than I was last time. The emergence of good old laptop has meant that I can continue listening to CDs with impunity whilst the fault being purely in the CD part of the hi-fi has not stopped me playing records. It had been sometime since I listened to any records which was really rather daft of me. Given that nearly all my Spanish guitar stuff is on vinyl I have been unnecessarily denying myself some fine music and it has been good to reacquaint myself with the greatness of Juan Martin, Paco Pena and the rest.

Elsewhere I'm off to the doctors again tomorrow. I've been feeling pretty ropey overall recently and since giving up the smokes old injuries like the cartilage have reared their ugly heads again. Tomorrow is going to be my last attempt at getting help as I have been to various medical professionals in the last few months and have been met with a slew of patronising tosspots who cop a deaf one when you tell them that their treatments are not working. If nothing is done tomorrow they can shove it as so far they have helped me not a jot and the chap I have to see may well be facing a bit of hell-raising to that effect. After all, they are the ones who badgered me about smoking and how giving up would make me feel better. Well, after six weeks it sure as hell hasn't and I want answers why not otherwise official complaints procedures may be in order. After all, there is only so long you can take being treated like a liar by some sanctimonious tosser with a God complex before you snap.

Still, that's for tomorrow and there is little point worrying about it now so if you'll excuse me I'm off to eat my dinner!

So

Mar. 19th, 2009 06:12 pm
keresaspa: (Kendo Nagasaki)
Not much to report today - another trip to the doctors was had as my post-smoking symptoms were becoming unbearable. Pretty much a waste of time as there appears to be nothing wrong with me, although they did decide to send me for a bunch of tests about cholesterol, glucose, etc next week just in case. Ready for the knackers' yard, folks!

That's all I have so I'll finish with that meme [livejournal.com profile] burkesworks is peddling:

Would have been more relevant yesterday )
keresaspa: (Idi Amin)
If there's one thing you don't need during a quit attempt (feeling a good deal better physically but craving them more than ever today, thanks for asking) it is unnecessary annoyances. With that in mind I really should not have ventured to Sainsburys today. In and off itself food shopping is already quite annoying but today was a whole new kind of annoying. My own fault of course that I decided to arrive there around half three just as the schools were out. I have no children for a reason - they get on my wick! So trying to shop in a place crammed full of middle class mothers and their over-indulged offspring was hardly a nice experience. Add to that the blasted teenagers arriving with their rapid-fire, breathless, inane chattering and my head was ready to explode. Still it could be worse - I reckon I'll have an attempt at the town tomorrow!
keresaspa: (Huffy beardy weirdy)
Hello all. Sorry about the lack of updates but I really haven't been arsed. I still haven't touched a smoke but, despite the hypnosis, it has been Hell, Hell, HELL, Hell, Hell and I'm going back tomorrow for a top-up session. I'm now fairly convinced that I wasn't actually hypnotised as I can remember everything about the session (including the bit where he told me he would only have to touch me on the forehead to return me to a suppose state of relaxation - aye right!) and I fully intend to tell him all this tomorrow. Except it is a morning session so I'll be my usual morning vegetable self and will probably agree if he tells me the capital of Ecuador is Brian Baird. Sheesh!

I think the big problem is that it is all based around the concept of relaxation and I have come to realise that I don't actually know what that means. Until now I have never had a reason to specifically label any state of being as "relaxed" and I'm a fairly tense individual anyway so much of what is required is beyond me. Certainly the follow-up CD has yet to put me into a state approaching the definition of relaxation that the whole thing is based on. After all, the last time I tried it the CD told me that my arms were now so heavy that I couldn't lift them and my response was to scratch an itch on my face. I really hope tomorrow nails it and I don't turn out to be one of those people who can't be hypnotised (and I'll not be surprised if I do as a lot of my ailments - the chest, the foot - have proven untreatable) as surviving on willpower is more pain than I can be arsed enduring for much longer. Let's put it this way, I really must have reached the final straw as when I went to Sainsburys today (which was my first time out of the house since Wednesday) I actually found myself getting a craving from a bloody chimney!

Admit it – you all love these sunshine posts of mine!

Day Two

Mar. 4th, 2009 07:06 pm
keresaspa: (Jabberjaw)
Feeling strangely fine seeing as you ask (or didn't, whatever the case may be). I would be lying if I said I'm not having the odd twinge where the smell or taste of tobacco returns to me and I think "God, but I would love a hit of that" but, unlike Allen Carr's super-duper easy-peasy quit in ten seconds then start dancing method (which is a load of old bollocks), I feel reasonably alright, my hair doesn't ache and I can go good chunks of time without thinking about smoking. All in all, hypnotherapy is looking like it was a good idea for a chap with no willpower such as myself.

Of course not everything can go right as evidenced by last night's result. OK an Arsenal backlash was due and all that but a team that has recently drawn against the likes of Fulham, Sunderland and bloody Cardiff should have held little fear and there is no excuse for conceding two goals to blooming Bendtner. Even the king of delusion Tony Mowbray is now admitting how we crap we are and questioning how much of it is his fault. Tone - you are the biggest spending manager in Albion history but you wasted the money on a lot of rubbish. Go now whilst you still have a bit of dignity left (too late). Considering how the league winners are already decided and Albion are going down could the powers that be not just end this crappy season early and put us all out of our miseries?
keresaspa: (Signor Rossi)
So, I did mention I had something to do today regarding smoking. Well the actual deal was mesmerism! Having failed with previous attempts I decided to give hypnotherapy a go. So far so good. OK, it was only a few hours ago but I have yet to feel any specific cravings and I do feel a bit more relaxed and happier. Time will tell but fingers crossed.

Anyway, that'll do for now as I just wanted to show that I was still around and point you in the direction of two of the funniest, creepiest videos ever. Enjoy.
keresaspa: (J Wellington Wimpy)
Little to report. Something fairly big will be happening on Tuesday although I don't want to get into that now in case it fails to live up to expectations but it involves my latest attempt to give up smoking. I'll say no more on that as I don't want to sound like I'm moaning about something else on top of evereything.

Well, that's about it - just checking in. I'll end by giving out hugs to all who need them as quite a few of you on here seem to be crossing the desert at the minute, so keep going and keep strong.
keresaspa: (Piggy Banks)
So anyway, this BBC Gaza appeal business. I'm not going to give my own opinion on the matter as you can probably guess where I stand on the whole issue now. However in response to the excuse that it would compromise BBC impartiality I would just like to bring to mind the following incidents:

*In the middle of a war that a number of people opposed and which could be construed as an illegal invasion the BBC remained totally impartial by allowing their then-darling John Simpson to rabbit on about an uninvited invading foreign army "liberating Kabul".

*Impartiality is upheld again when the BBC employs an elected official with a history of racist outbursts to present a show on Christianity and Islam rather than perform the duties of the office of mayor that he busted his (considerable) gut to win.

*It consistently allowed the same Boris Johnson to raise his political profile and construct the image of the loveable oaf on its main satire show.

*On The Hairy Bikers, a show ostensibly about cooking, UK Independence Party leader Nigel Farage was given time to prattle on about his own crazy ideas without any criticism from the two idiot hosts.

*As much as I dislike them, a truly impartial broadcaster could not justify denying access to the BNP.

*Make Poverty History and Live8 were treated as great events worthy of the highest praise despite the inherent contradictions in billionaire musicians jetting all over the world to tell ordinary saps that poverty is their fault.

*The fawning tone adopted over the Royal family by that little Dimbleby twerp is about as far from impartial as it is possible to get.

*BBC Northern Ireland News consistently uses the politically loaded term "Londonderry", even though the council officially made the name Derry years ago, rather than alternating equally between the two terms like their counterparts on UTV.

*An extremely draconian anti-smoking law in Bhutan was presented by the Beeb as a positive thing with no voice given to possible dissent or the fact that it was a ploy to get more money by taxing Indian imports.

*A hostile reception for Tony Blair was covered up on smugfest Newsnight and, let's face it, after Hutton Blair's agenda was constantly pushed by a castrated Beeb.

Let's be honest, BBC impartiality is as much a myth as the Vegetable Lamb of Tartary. If they choose to present an agenda that is pro-Israeli then at least be upfront about it and stop trying to hide wimping out of supporting aid for a humanitarian nightmare by a load of nonsense abut impartiality. This channel has insulted our intelligence enough without resorting to downright lies.

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