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: (All cops are not nice)
Banjaxed. That just about sums me up at this precise moment. Hectic. That just about sums up the day I have had, albeit in a good way.

With a ticket to the League Cup final secured, a 5:35 kick-off decreed by the Sky Sports cameras (FA Cup weekend so they're really hard up for live matches) and a bunch of Intermediate Cup matches kicking off at half one I decided, for reasons I have long since forgotten, to attend two separate matches in one day. I had two choices - Bloomfield or Immaculata - and I reasoned that east Belfast on a Saturday is a write-off warzone and it is nowhere near Windsor Park so the only option was Immaculata v Islandmagee. High end stuff.

Rolling out just after midday I took the bus down to the city centre but was forced to alight early to get to a Post Office and fire off a late ebay sale. Getting off at Shaftesbury Square I ran into the Sandy Row massive on their weekly pilgrimage to the City Hall, hauling all manner of union jacks along with them. SO much for the filth supposedly taking a harder line with road blocks as the mob marched along the road the whole way and the PSNI did sod all except provide an escort for them. Traffic couldn't move of course - if that's not blocking roads then I don't know what is.

Immaculata play on the Grosvenor Road in what is essentially an all weather pitch in a leisure centre. No covered standing or nothing, which was a real pity as it pelted with rain from start to finish. Islandmagee, meanwhile, is a cacky little place on the Antrim coast between Carrickfergus and Larne and known only as the scene of the last witch trial in Ireland. They are however at a higher level than Immaculata, playing in the Premier Division of the Northern Amateur Football League, with Immaculata two divisions down in the NAFL 1B. For all the good it did them, mind you, as the Grosvenor mob triumphed 2-0 to advance to the fifth round, much to chagrin of the actually quite large crowd of Islandmagee supporters and associated culchie hangers-on, many of whom had made the trip because the lousy weather had wiped out a huge chunk of the card on the local football scene. The standard of play was appalling (particularly Islandmagee's number nine, a portly chap who seemed completely incapable of staying onside) but I suppose it is to be expected at this level.

With match one done and dusted a strolled back down the Grosvenor to Great Victoria Street train station and hopped the rails up to Balmoral, as the boys in black had decreed all Cliftonville supporters had to access the ground via Stockman's Lane and the Boucher Road rather than the more usual (and easily accessible) Lisburn Road. Balmoral station is about a mile and a half from Windsor's North Stand, nothing to me normally but a hell of a trek in torrential rain. Having steadfastly refused to yield to the smartphone craze I was effectively bereft of all information and thus was riddled with anxieties about postponement as I wended my way along the bland and featureless pedestrian-hating eyesore that is the Boucher Road. When I finally made it the match was still on but the rain was still pissing down non-stop and the two goalmouths were already glue pots. Things weren't helped by the on pitch compère, whose attempts to force the atmosphere for the cameras was unwelcome and annoying. It was a north Belfast derby at Windsor Park, we really didn't need some tosspot to create atmosphere the place was heaving on its own.

The game kicked off in atrocious weather conditions, with things slippery underfoot and parts of the pitch throwing up spray. Things were fairly evenly matched in the early going with both teams having half chances but then it all went wrong for the Crues as Diarmiud O'Carroll and Joe Gormley scored in quick succession to put Cliftonville 2-0 at half time. Bad to worse for the Shore Road shites not long into the second half as Paul Heatley got a straight red for a brutal tackle from behind on George McMullan. I've not seen it since but it did look a TV red card to me i.e. the sort of challenge that would see you sent off in a Sky Sports match but in the Irish League would normally be a yellow. I could be wrong of course as I just saw it in real time but by local standards it looked a bit harsh. Crues were toast by this point with two sweet strikes, one from Gormley and one from bald-headed midfield stopper and unsung hero Ryan "Cats" Catney, killing them off. Gormley, who had a belter of a match, might even have completed his hat trick late on but in the end there was to be no more as Crusaders surrendered meekly in losing 4-0. Given that Crusaders are second in the table behind Cliftonville a more competitive match was anticipated but they never got going and in the end the Reds were more than worthy winners. As the final whistle blew the rain, which had continued bucketing down throughout at levels that abandonment seemed a distinct possibility at times, suddenly stopped as if God himself had looked on and saw that it was good. Verily if this Cliftonville team does not go on and add the title to this League Cup triumph then something will be seriously wrong as they were at times imperious here.

The hike back to Balmoral was a little easier in the dry although in the dark the Boucher Road seemed somewhat interminable and the long wait on the lonely platform was a tad eerie and the train only left me two miles from home but the walk back up was easy as I had a spring in my step that comes only from the communal sharing of triumph. This was only the second time I personally had watched Cliftonville in a final - the first being the anti-climax of the Irish Cup defeat to Glenavon in 1997 - so to finally see them taking a trophy in a one-off match in the flesh was elating to say the least. Certainly a hard old slog but well worth the effort for a bit of early grass roots fun followed by a historic and emphatic win for the Reds.
keresaspa: (Cartman)
So is that it then? Can we finally hear an end to the unseemly scrap between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney? I'm sure it was $2 billion will spent as I can't think of anything else that the money could have been used on but really US elections just do my head in. There's nothing I can do about who wins and it only has a passing impact on me who wins yet the TV over here seems to think I want to hear about it twenty four hours a day as does the Anglophone internet (which, let's face it, assumes everybody is American anyway). Whoever wins it will still be the same old capitalism and invasions (despite the frankly ludicrous claims that Obama is a socialist) and the global free market economy largely functions independent of governments now so as far as I'm concerned they might as well have had a bro-down to determine the winner and saved us all the hassle and the expense. Still, if only for the facts that he seems a disciple of Karl Haushofer who is hell-bent on a new Cold War and that I can no longer see him without thinking of this piece of inspired lunacy, I will hope that Romney disappears to the scrapheap of history and Obama, despite proving a total liar about the war on turr, triumphs.

Heck finally I might soon be able to turn on the BBC without seeing either of their mugs constantly. Well, if I ever watched the BBC I would but let's not split hairs.
keresaspa: (Robb Wilton)
You wouldn't miss Blockbusters back in the day would you? You could feel like a smarty pants by shouting out the answers or even saying "knew that" after they had been given and you could always look forward to the day when you would appear as a contestant. It never happened of course as other things got in the way like teen-aged insecurity, the realisation that only showbiz wannabes made it on the show and painful remakes starring Jimmy Tarbuck's wee girl but still it was Blockbusters and it was super-duper. Above all though was the newly late Bob Holness, who did bestride Central Television like a colossus, a wonderful avuncular figure whose hair was made out of feg ash and who had a whiff of faded jet set glamour about him, given his South African origins and his history as a radio James Bond. A suavely debonair man about town who slipped comfortably into the role of television gentleman and who somehow didn't make you cringe when he started quizzing contestants about their interests in white water rafting or Ned's Atomic Dustbin. How can the world survive without the easy charm of a man who would be equally at home sipping cocktails in St Tropez or flogging high seat chairs on early afternoon HTV? And name me somebody else who could just about manage to maintain his dignity whilst sandwiched between two hyperactive bits of cloth with Irish accents?



RIP Bob you old legend.

Bored

Apr. 25th, 2011 08:06 pm
keresaspa: (Ivy the Terrible)
Bored. Earlier futile attempts to discover the source of a rotten smell in the kitchen cannot disguise the fact that I am as bored as bored can be. Good lord but bank holidays are pigging! They may be the definition of excitement and freedom in proper cities but in my neck of the woods everything comes to a standstill and you are left only with a crushing, interminable ennui. None of which is helped by our internet connection being as weak a malaria victim on hunger strike and cutting out every lot of minutes for some reason. Blasted Virgin Media and their slapdash service. Even the telly is no release as it seems determined to serve up a choice between God-awful film versions of ropey 70s sitcoms and fluffy nonsense about two over-cosseted shits who happen to be getting married. I get it, some geezer from Bahrain can't come but please stop telling me every five minutes in excruciatingly boring detail.

So in summary - bored.
keresaspa: (Nina looking a tad pertubed)
FA Cup Third Round day - it's not what it was is it? We're often told that there was a time, somewhere in the distant past when football meant big ears, bad teeth and Brylcreem and people had suet-fried National Service smothered in condensed milk and polio for breakfast every day, that the FA Cup was the very pinnacle of football and that people as far afield as Oubangui-Chari, the Kingdom of Tavolara and Gondwana spent every waking moment with their teeth gritted in envy at the Little Tin Idol and the exploits of the Wanderers, Battling Barnsley and Bruddersford United. Unfortunately that was then and somewhere along the way the Premiership, the Champions League, the Club World Cup and the Steel and Sons Cup all pushed the glorious old fellow aside to the point where these days it is difficult to get truly excited about a competition where the top clubs field players who would struggle to even get into their Pontins League teams. Of course try telling that to the good folks at the Buena Vista-Miramax Sportssssss Network who have shelled out mucho dinero to screen it and so need to remind us constantly that the FA Cup is still specialTM.

I don't mean to be flippant about the grand old competition (what was that last paragraph about then?!) but one thing does need to be brought to book and that is the overuse of the phrase "giant killing". Now there was a time when this actually did mean something and, whilst no hard and fast definition has ever been agreed upon, generally it meant the winner should be at least three divisions below the loser and the loser should either be a big club at the time or have an impressive recent history. These days Bury beating Exeter is apparently an act of giant killing despite the fact (a) Bury are only one division lower, (b) they were playing each other in league games a mere two seasons ago and (c) Exeter, with their no major trophies and their stubborn refusal to ever enter into the top two divisions, are about as far removed from giants as one can get. Today I heard Sheffield Wednesday's win over Bristol City described as a giant killing despite Wednesday being a much bigger club than the Robins by every possible measurement except current position and Southampton's win over a third string Blackpool made out to be one of the greatest results in the history of a club that was wiping the floor with Manchester United only a few years ago. Feel free to correct me if you are a Saints man and happen to be passing this way (you never know) but I doubt a win against a club that you faced in the league as recently as 2009 and who prior to that you finished above every season since 1977 will join that 6-3 win over United at the Dell as an all-time great club performance.

Of course I can't ignore the elephant in the drawing room any longer and therefore must recognise the fact that apparently Albion were giant killed today as well. By Reading. Now I don't have the exact figures to hand but I would imagine that the two teams probably cost about the same and Albion are the consummate yo-yo team whilst Reading are a club that fairly recently managed a top half finish in the Premiership. OK, so we are a division higher this year but the way both teams are playing at the minute there is a fair chance that the reverse might be true next year. If I'm being honest I personally reckon that Reading are one of Albion's peers these days as they are fairly similar sized clubs and even given the difference in division this season the only resulting difference in size might be that Reading are golden retrievers to Albion's Labradors. A disappointing defeat by a good team who happen to be a division lower yes but a giant killing - come on! If Albion are giants then Reading are at least ogres!

Still the magic of the cupTM rolls on and tomorrow we can look forward to an epic clash between two true titans in a game that we only normally get twice a year, except with better players. I must admit it is set up to be a good one with Roy Hodgson slinking out in disgrace in favour of a man who hasn't actually managed a club since his debacle with Newcastle United way back when and I'll be keeping my fingers crossed tomorrow that we get to see Nathan Eccleston knock Liverpool's winner past a despairing Conor Devlin in the United goal. Meanwhile I'll be keeping my fingers crossed (on the other hand) that we don't get the inevitable ad break during the goal or sudden loss of picture in the style of Image Movers Mammoth Records Football and Soccer Broadcasting's coverage today. The magic may have faded but the gremlins remain more powerful than ever. Or is it just that these TV companies recognise that the FA Cup is not the draw it once was and so are scrimping on the money for these shows?

And interesting to note on the day that Dalglish returns to management the most shameful episode of his reign at St James Park, the bullying of Stevenage Borough, came back to bite the Magpies on their voluminous backsides with Stevenage (not Borough) putting them to the sword. Now that actually is a giant killing so well done to Not Borough on a famous win (although I rather suspect that their promotion to the Football League was a bigger event, despite what the [insert name of defunct Disney franchise as a woeful attempt to make a joke at the expense of ESPN] commentator said). Were I more romantic I would put it down to the aforementioned magic of the cupTM but perhaps a more sensible reaction would be to put it down to the tragic of Alan Pardew, a man who is to defeat what George Osborne is to supercilious boobery.

Oh and this again as reminder of the days when I knew what comments were - Who comments the most on this journal? )
keresaspa: (Miki Sugimoto)
Two points about the changes in Sky Sports News. The departure of the channel from Freeview means that the only reasons I have for keeping the blasted thing are weekly showings of King of the Hill (which will be ending soon anyway having been axed) and Important Things with Demetri Martin (and I'm getting a bit bored of him anyway). Given that I never watch DVDs now it might be time for my TV to hit the road soon. On the other hand the revamped channel remains on the main TV on Virgin Media and I have to say it looks bloody awful. Horrid widescreen format with all the writing on-screen tiny and illegible and too much flashing and movement going on. The only thing Rupert Murdoch got right and now they've naused it up. Bloody change!

And now because I can think of nothing to talk about but still feel a determination to keep this thing going I will go old school and roll out a survey, as taken from [livejournal.com profile] queenmartina.

Read more... )
keresaspa: (Trotsky)
It seems like only yesterday that the damp squib of the millennium was the whole fuss. Now in the blink of an eye we are faced with the end of another ten years with a name (rather than the end of a decade as I'm not a believer in the notion that there was ever a Year Zero in anywhere but Cambodia and so reckon decades to end when the year ends in 0). Obviously you can't blame the supposed decade for events that took place during it but when I sit down and think about we have lived through a grim ten years on many levels.

It is astounding to think that the UK has had a nominally left wing government for the entire decade and yet the lurch to the right has continued apace with more privatisation, poverty and inequality being heaped on us by a ruling class who now seem to treat corruption as a matter of course. Meanwhile the extreme right has prospered at levels not seen in decades as we have been force-fed a diet of blaming immigration for all society's ills. Perhaps most worryingly of all this decade has been one in which society has been overtaken by the pervasive sickness of militarism. There was a time when Britain prided itself on its sense of irony but where "our brave boys" are concerned this has now died a death. To criticise the army is now beyond the pale and instead people are happy to participate in mini-Nuremberg rallies where not only is the army paraded through city streets after coming back from their illegal wars but they are paraded on TV, at football matches and even in the frigging charts. Even during the Second World War people had a laugh at the army but now the notion that they are all unquestionably heroic and should be adored at all times is treated as fact rather than just an extremist position. This, after all, is the decade where we started hearing murmurs about an "Armed Forces Day" in a deliberately concerted attempt to further fuel the cult of the soldier as archetype. Chilling stuff and no mistake! Meanwhile for almost the entire decade the so called free world has put itself at a state of war with Islam and the UK has happily made itself the lapdog of a regime that tortures people held without charge in its concentration camp in Guantanamo Bay. If the end of the Cold War in the 1990s was supposed to be a great new age this decade has certainly put paid to that daft notion by finding a new enemy and waging constant violence and degradation upon it.

Had there been one good thing to come out of the decade it would have been the collapse of the banking system. Finally an opportunity existed to tear down capitalism and start all over again. What did we get? A brief dose of corporatism intended only to weather the storm and ensure that capitalism could continue unfettered as ever. Meanwhile the vanguard of the revolution in the working classes were replaced with the new chav stereotype and led to believe that as long as they had their bread and circuses of alloy wheels, Big Brother, sovereign rings and pit bull terriers then there was no need to agitate for change or develop consciousness. Effectively the so-called Labour Party has oversaw the decimation of the working class and its replacement by a castrated, unmotivated and virtually shit-canned lumpenproletariat happy to roll over and have its belly scratched by Ant & Dec. OK, I'm seriously oversimplifying things there but the emergence of the chav and the effective death of the old working class has been a seriously depressing aspect of this decade and one that has helped to ensure the continuing survival of a system that has been clearly shown up as rancid. And how much must the masters be rubbing their hands with glee at the growth of gangs and knife crime and the young working classes taking out their frustrations on their own kind rather than the leaders who deserve their anger? Put it this way - twenty years ago the working classes would have had far too much dignity for tripe like The Jeremy Kyle Show but the chavs trip over themselves to appear on it and tell their leader what colour their last bowel movement was. Horrible!

Of course tied in with emergence of the chav as a means of keeping the proles down has been the explosion of reality TV. The promise of cheap fame has led deluded idiots to forsake true reality in favour of thinking that they will become a sensation based on their ability to sing Mariah Carey songs at karaoke or their ability to shout loudly whilst sitting on a settee. Gone are the days when you actually had to accomplish something in order to achieve notoriety as now all you have to do is be filmed on a pointless television show taking a crap and your fifteen minutes are guaranteed. Of course, the whole thing is self-perpetuating as once you have been on one you are now a "celebrity" and so you can appear on all the various celebrity spin-offs. Meanwhile all those who have taken on the chav mantle are kept further in their place by taking their minds away from important things like why bankers continue to get massive bonuses despite being crooks and instead focusing them on wholly unimportant trash like whether or not Jedward are better than the guy with the afro.

One of the side effects of the whole reality TV boom has been the effective death of the music charts as a thing of any significance. Of course it is undeniable that the charts as a whole always tended to represent the middle of the road a tad but in the past it also consistently threw up some good or at least different stuff. Even if you compare this decade to the previous one it was perfectly possible for acts like Iron Maiden and Blondie to go to number one and for groups like Oasis, Blur and the Manic Street Preachers to gradually build huge followings for themselves from humble beginnings. Whatever your personal opinions of them they were at least real bands who made it the hard way. Goodbye to that this decade! It has either been the onslaught hype of reality TV fame that convinces people that they can't live without some middle-aged Scottish bint warbling dreadful show tunes or the contrived "overnight sensations" that are actually being driven by massive marketing budgets like the Arctic Monkeys, Lily Allen and Sandi Thom. As entries passim have indicated I would not suggest that this decade has had no good music but, for the first time since popular music became the biggest selling style, little if any of it has featured in the hit parade.

But of course, reality TV didn't stop there in its bid for world domination. There can be little doubt that the whole thing started with a certain Diana Spencer in the 1990s but the ridiculous hyperbole surrounding the deaths of very ordinary people has been another rotten aspect of this decade. The culmination of this public grief fest of course came when Jade Goody, a woman whom the new cathedral had shown to be unequivocally a bully and to my mind a racist, died of cancer. For the people who knew her I'm sure it was a tragedy but for everybody else it was completely meaningless. She was someone known for precisely nothing and for people to go into wantonly Pharisaic displays of mourning was more than a little disturbing. It's not like you can even say that there will never be another - take your pick from Kerry Katona and Nikki Grahame for a ready made replacement. Even Michael Jackson, who at least was known for something other than existing, was treated as a saint when he died despite all the extremely shady aspects of his life that had been played out in public. Yes somebody died whose music you enjoyed but it has little real bearing on your day to day life as you did not know him on a human level. Mourn your own by all means but so called celebrities are not your own. This decade we seem to have entered a phase where death equates to redemption and where one's sins are immediately forgotten and one's non-existent achievements are lauded as soon as the Grim Reaper takes a shine to you. Would I be flogging a dead horse if I suggested that we were looking at another easy way to keep the lumpen in their place? Sorry, Desert Orchid but another whipping is coming!

As if all that was not enough we have been hit with the growth of such rubbish as text messaging, Twitter and Facebook. This really has been the decade where every tiny event that takes place in somebody's life, no matter how insignificant, has had to be shared with as many people as possible. To an extent I am walking a tightrope here as I am sometimes guilty of it myself but it really has gone too far. There was a time when we were promised super technology that could cure all diseases and make life so much better but instead all we have got is the ability to tell people that we are doing a piss whilst taking that self same piss. It's surreal that we now communicate so much yet in a real sense we are more alienated from each other than ever. Community is virtually dead and has been replaced by nasty atavism and indeed much of the communication that goes on now is less about staying in touch and more about feeling self-important. I won't deny that technology has made getting in contact easier but equally it has made it impersonal and cheap and somehow less real.

So that's the decade then. Corruption ignored because a retired news reader is eating a wombat's nadgers on the telly and even the footy has been ruined by the bloody big four. Not only that, but the whole decade has been so cruddy that it doesn't even have a proper name. The "noughties", I ask you! Good sodding riddance I say and let’s hope that whatever this next ten years is to be called (the tens, the teens?) it is a darn sight better than the ten we have just live through.

And relax....
keresaspa: (Wil Cwac Cwac)
So, Christmas then. Too much food, as always, combined with a surfeit of absolutely abysmal television1, a bit of a cold and the unwarranted intervention of a Sunday into the proceedings2 has left me feeling more than a tad sluggish. A run out to Sainsburys yesterday to break the monotony did not help due to the rain and my footwear letting in water (as per usual). Still some nice presents to soften the blows, involving books of the Broons and Wil Cwac Cwac3 and music from the Lunachicks and the wonderfully named Seagull Screaming Kiss Her Kiss Her courtesy of [livejournal.com profile] queenmartina. A trip to what used to be the January sales may be in order tomorrow, assuming this bout of the dreadfuls doesn't lay me low, so as I can waste some money on a pile of tat I don't need. You can't beat the sales and their once in a lifetime chance to own stuff the shop doesn't want any more!

1. It says it all about the quality of television over the Christmas holidays when the best show on TV was a Morecambe and Wise special from nearly 40 bloody years ago. Far too many soaps, crap films and overhyped trout like Doctor Who and that Gavin & Stacey shite for my liking.

2. I mean fancy sneaking in a Sunday right after Saturday like that - talk about a dirty trick.

3. Well if you can't be a big child at this time of year and enjoy the antics of huge Scottish families and anthropomorphic Welsh ducks then when can you?!
keresaspa: (Rubberduckzilla)
I'm not altogether sure how long I have been threatening this but I have finally got round to getting a freeview box. Not altogether impressed I must admit although a lot of that has to do with the terrible reception that infests my place and that is denying me quite a few of the channels to which I am entitled. Hopefully the stronger aerial that I intend to purchase tomorrow should iron out some of the kinks and allow me full access as I don't know how much longer I can take constant reports about whatever the heck 20:20 cricket is on Sky Sports News or those daft mares mouthing silently into what appear to be television remotes on that ghastly Smile TV and its God awful Babestation strand (and am I the only one a little unsettled by the use of another word for infant to mean a hey-hey?). I know I'm a man who is noted as something of a fan of smut (thanks in no small part to [livejournal.com profile] burkesworks besmirching my good name at every wheel and turn) but even I draw the line at that load of old nonsense. Still, if nothing else I have the promise of Harry Enfield on Dave in under an hour to while away the time. At least that should help nurse me through the pain of today's session of acupuncture, a process that I have decided hurts quite a bit yet appears to be working at removing pain simultaneously. Well that's all from me as Kirstie Allsopp has just bounced onto More4 and I feel I should give her my undivided attention. Bye for now.
keresaspa: (Cookie Kwan)
I was watching The Simpsons on Channel 4 earlier (specifically the episode The Ziff Who Came to Dinner) and it struck me how far the standard has sunk in these more recent series. What was once a generally excellent show has come to rely too much on the ludicrous and the incredulous. In the past such devices were used only occasionally but now none of the characters or anything they say sounds remotely believable and the whole thing has become too cartoonish. I know it is a cartoon but in the past it felt like a drawn sitcom but now it is trying too hard to follow the Family Guy fantasy template. A shame.

It then got me to thinking about some of the grand old episodes of the past and that further got me to thinking about what I would constitute as the best ones of all time. So in that spirit, and because I have always fancied doing this and committing it to posterity, I present:

Keresaspa's All Time Simpsons Top 10 )

Well, that's my take on it anyway but maybe I'm talking out of my hat. What do the rest of you think?
keresaspa: (Lucy Liu)
It's been a funny old day as once again I have returned to the mixed blessing of medical research. I've mentioned before that I've been diagnosed with Plantar fasciitis and, whilst I've been attending physiotherapy, the results have been low quality to say the least. As a consequence I was put onto this study, the details of which I will not bore you all with but which involves investigating the use of ultrasound and steroid injections as treatments. So after my physio told me about it I volunteered (rather like all the saps in 1914 really) and today was the day. The thing involved a schlep out to a place called Musgrave Park Hospital, a place in the middle of nowhere that rather resembles an airport and which hates pedestrians so a rather expensive taxi there and back was the only option. Odd place it was, the facade looking like it was built last week but the inside really rather decrepit.

When I got there I was a tad lost and initially nobody knew the person I had to see but ultimately she came along. Nice enough lady but by God I wish she hadn't eaten garlic for lunch as her breath was fair strong. She then disappeared and a big lass came along to do a bunch of rudimentary tests in which she adjudged me flat-footed. She then took me off for a weigh-in and a height-in (or whatever you call it) leading to a comedy moment in which she determined I was 5'9" in height. Those who have met me in the flesh will realise how ludicrous that reading is and when I challenged it she stated "I'm 5'11" and you're a bit smaller than me" despite the fact that I could see over the top of her head without difficulty. A second go was demanded and a saner rate of 6'2 and a half was found this time. Scared the hell out of me as I'm told rapid height loss can indicate bone marrow cancer but luckily it was a goof and I found it rather hilarious after getting over the initial shock. Quite a bit of sitting around followed although the special chairs in the ward were the most comfortable my arse has even been on so it was all good. Finally I was taken for the ultrasound and then the injections. On the minus side the injections were hurtier than normal as my feety-dozies are very sensitive to pain. However on the plus side the Chinese doctor who administered them was a hey-hey of the first water and not unlike the photocopying little minx in that Mikado ad. Indeed I reckon I would have been happy to pay her to fiddle with my feet in any other circumstance ;D

But I digress. That was about it really, in fact. Mikado lady made an appointment for me in the middle of June (as I have to go four times altogether to discuss results) and I was sent on my way. The only problem now is that I have to stay off the foot for the next few days as much as possible, no easy feat when you consider the practicalities of toilet use and me living in the garage. A crutch has been pressed into service but I'm not sure I like it as I don't know that my arm is up to supporting my monumental bulk at the moment. Still if it gives me some relief (a big if as I have a 1 in 3 chance of the injection having been water) then so be it.

And before I go a new feature entitled "This is How I Live". Or to put it enough way, your hero went through with this threat of getting a digital camera and is now going to torment you all with some pretty pointless pictures.

Might be a bit big )
keresaspa: (Piggy Banks)
It's an odd old day is Easter Day. On the mainland Sunday is now a day like any other and I suspect that Easter seems different but in the occupied six counties Sunday is still a day when everything comes to a standstill and as such it is difficult to notice that Easter is upon us as things are just as dead as they are every week. The fact that we have been offered the usual diet of soap opera omnibi and repeats of repeats of repeats adds further to the feeling that this is little more than another Sunday. For me, it won't be until tomorrow that the difference becomes obvious as the onslaught of tedium that is a Bank Holiday Monday is foisted upon us. With the possible exceptions of "interpretive dance performance" and "featuring Piers Morgan" I can think of no three words so guaranteed to suck the life out of a situation that that ill-starred triptych. For those of us who have always done what they are now sometimes telling us to and forsaken car ownership (I say sometimes as that advice seems to have gone to the wall now that there is a car industry to save) there is absolutely no prospect of venturing outside ones own area as the bus service is effectively halted and even when one does arrive the prospect of sharing it with hordes of laughing emo kids makes the whole thing impassable. The upshot is that tomorrow will be spent confined to barracks, nursing my myriad aches and pains whilst doing my utmost to avoid the horrors of High School Musical 2 and that bug-eyed barsteward and his Eastenders reject sidekick in that god-awful science fiction broadcast. This being Northern Ireland I suspect the same will hold true for Tuesday, meaning that my next big highlight will be a trip to the physio on Wednesday. A veritable whirlwind, my friends. Do have fun, wont you!
keresaspa: (Albert Gladstone Trotter)
Of course I don't watch I'm a Celebrity...Get Me Out of Here as such shows are an anathema to me. However, even amongst such chavtastic balderdash it is heartening to see that the Great British Public can sometimes rise against the bread and circuses, lumpenproletariat mentality into which such nonsense lulls them and give a git what he deserves. I'm speaking of the recent elimination of Robert Kilroy-Silk which must be applauded as a good piece of work by the millions of text-monkeys he lap this stuff up. Good riddance to this megalomaniacal idiot who will hopefully now realise that nobody can stand the look of him and will take the hint by entering the Order of Cistercians of the Strict Observance forthwith. If I never see his silver-haired, orange-faced smugness again it will be too soon.

And speaking of racist idiots, am I the only one who has always disliked 118 118? The fact that they think walrus moustaches are the funniest thing in the world always suggested to me that there was conformity in there that did not like anyone marching to a different drum. On top of that their refusal to bung poor old David Bedford a couple of quid suggested a begrudging mean spirit whilst the ghastly image has taken over Halloween and given fodder to bais who don't have the guts to grow a real lip fungus. Add to their list of crimes that jokes service that they offer. When I first saw that I thought "what a waste of money" but what I certainly wasn't expecting was that it would have a racist strain running through it. Well, that is indeed the case as it turns out 118 118 want people to pay for rehashed Only Fools and Horses lines given an anti-Asian twist. What a delightful company they are. God, but privatising directory inquiries was a good idea...not.
keresaspa: (What do you think of it so far)
The interminable round of slotting things into the thesis goes on. I'm almost there but for some reason I just don't have the energy to be arsed today. Perhaps it's the slight stomach upset that I woke up with this morning or perhaps it was the late hours that I kept when I decided that a re-run of Gloria Hunniford helping Janet Ellis to sell her was much more important than bed at 4 in the morning but either way my vim and determination to crack on have cracked off. For today I think enough is indeed enough although hopefully tomorrow can be more productive and the thing can be killed off by the end of the week.

That's my lot then as I must go and do nothing in particular.
keresaspa: (Eric Campbell)
An odd weekend all round. I did very little as I intended to put to bed all the remaining work that could be completed at home before the trip to the British Library next week. By and large I just about managed to complete the necessary stuff, although shoehorning it into the thesis looks like it might prove more complicated than I would have wanted. The bees also seem to have been taken care of as I noticed a hole that they could still get into and so I plugged it up with an oily rag, something that apparently puts them to the sword. Touch wood I have heard not a peep since doing that so sleep was back on the agenda, although, this being me, I failed to take full advantage of that opportunity and so I'm still wrecked.

In between work I took some time off to get reacquainted with my old friend television and found him to be just as unsatisfactory as always. The varying joys of Virgin Media's on demand service continue to provide a somewhat frustrating way to kill a few hours. The music section is still overpopulated by too many carbon copy American "r'n'b" singers and whiny indie bands with the same Cockerney/ecky thump/Jamaican patois hybrid accents for my liking, although it did throw up a few gems that I would otherwise have missed, notably A Fine Frenzy and Terra Naomi, both of whom I shall investigate further, as well as old friends who you never see such as the Wonder Stuff. Access to episodes of Karen Taylor when you want them are also a plus - the show is about as funny as trodding on a rusty nail whilst wearing tabi but the buxom lass fronting the show is a holiday for the eyes.

Meanwhile normal TV continued to throw up its share of oddness, not all necessarily good. A Frasier weekend on Paramount was the perfect excuse to avoid work (just what I didn't need really) as it is the sort of show that you can easily dip in and out of out. 3 in the morning repeats of 3-2-1 were also hard to ignore, largely because it is surely one of the worst shows ever committed to film. Where else can you be met with a woefully bumbling presenter, that old school trick of turning contestants' microphones down much lower than that of mien host, Nigel Lythgoe shaking his non-existent thang and Sinitta belting out covers of popular American hits of the time in a "we couldn't afford Whitney Houston but she's a bit like her" sort of way. However the greatest horror show of all was reserved for the sudden appearance of Duncan Norvelle. We often hear people lamenting the death of variety and I have been known to spout about how comedy in the past was much better. Mr. Norvelle, however, proves that such a theory is not universal in its application. His act seemed to consist of laughing at nothing whatsoever and giving a flower to a male patsy in the audience who proceeded to follow him to the edge of the stage and make fist gestures in what was one of the most cringeworthy moments of TV I have ever witnessed. Norvelle then proceeded to mumble a load of gibberish which I assumed was a sudden stroke but then realised was actually an impression of Sylvester Stallone as the maestro said "Sylvester Stallone". Oh Lord! In despair I turned over and chanced upon Jerry Springer where a man calling himself Gary Spivey was doing the old psychic routine. I will pass no comment on the man - sometimes a picture says it all. 100,000 sperm and he was the fastest?!

Well anyway, enough from me. I have been avoiding work more than enough these last few days so I think it is time that I got something constructive done. Cheerio now.
keresaspa: (Nina Wadia)
Something of a derby week this week as, following on from yesterday's post, we had the Old Firm derby last night. Managed to catch it most of it on Setanta, although I missed the first goal. However when I turned over there was only one team in it and it looked like Celtic could easily have bagged a hatful. They didn't of course as the days of Jorge Cadete (pronounced "George Cadet") or Henrik Larsson are long gone and there is nobody left to take the easy chances. As such, no advantage was taken and the inevitable happened when the wholly unpleasant Nacho Novo equalized. "That's it" I thought, until suddenly a penalty came to make things right. A shame really that Scott McDonald is to penalties what Ann Widdecombe is to physical pulchritude but it set up a nice finish for the stupendously monikered Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink to nick it at the last minute. And finally credit must go to Gary Caldwell and David Weir for their half arsed bit at the end where they indulged in a spot of handbags in a contractually obliged sort of way. Cripes, the whole thing had been too damned friendly up to that point! Of course the Teddy Bears are still runaway favourites to take the title but at least the match, as well as the prospect of another meeting to come, opens the possibility that the SPL run-in will not be the procession that it usually is. Good show.

Speaking of TV (which I was in a roundabout way) I happened to catch a thing called Comedy Sketchbook last night. Personally I've thought Auntie should have done something like this years ago as they have a tonne of stuff lying in the vaults which is mostly too crap to be broadcast again but which has a few gems worth harvesting from it. Thus doing so is largely a good idea, although Angus Deayton needs a much better script writer as some of his links were painful. Plus, I think the days when he could trot out jokes about drug abuse are well and truly over. Also on the negative side, I could definitely have done without seeing Little & Large or Hale & Pace again, there should be an end to showing skits from modern stuff like Man Stroke Woman and Little Britain because they are either not funny or on constant rotation anyway and there is a reason why nobody has heard of TV To Go or Velvet Soup - they were crap! However on the positive side the two Ronnies are always welcome, whilst it was good to see bits of Naked Video again and surprising to see that Benny Hill and Russ Abbot were actually capable of being quite funny when they put their minds to it. Overall, a good idea but definitely a need to be a bit more selective and to go further back into the vaults. Still above all else Nina Wadia was in it looking devastatingly voluptuous as always. Fuelled my dreams for the night I can tell you, although in the interests of taste and decency I'll draw a veil over that thought!

Anyway, must dash. Shopping to do later so I'll bid you all farewell until tomorrow.

O

Apr. 3rd, 2008 03:00 pm
keresaspa: (Idi Amin)
Well, finally after years of misery and corruption one of the world's most disgusting dictators is to go. I mean Bertie Ahern of course, who else did you think? What, Mugabe? No, sod that! He's just the "bongo-bongo land" hate figure du jour that the British media always needs now that Saddam Hussein is dead. Besides once Mugabe is gone the news will just start obsessing on Omar Bongo, Omar al-Bashir or Than Shwe and we'll hear no more about Zimbabwe as the big black hate figure wont be around to sell papers. No, it's Ahern I'm glad to see the back off, a man for whom financial corruption came as naturally as breathing but who will, no doubt, face the same level as censure as Charles Haughey. The prospect of the peaceful transition to a united Ireland, as now espoused by Sinn Fein, and being forced to live under the domination of a bunch of sleazy no-marks like Fianna Fail chills me to the bone.

Anyroad, as taken form [livejournal.com profile] clytemenstra: Empire Magazine has revealed its list of the "50 Greatest TV Shows" ever.

1. Bold the shows you've watched every episode of
2. Italic the shows you've seen at least one episode of
3. Post your answers

Thus )

Oh and just so as you can all laugh at my own crappy taste here are my fifty faves, albeit in alphabetical rather than numerical order.

Warning: May contain nuts )

Actually I found it nearly impossible to pick 50 TV shows that I really like and a few of the named ones I can take or leave. So why do i watch so much bloody telly?!
keresaspa: (Oliviera de Figueira)
The TV networks seem to have come to a decision - let's plunk a bunch of absolutely dire shows on in the early hours but make it so that weirdo insomniacs will watch them anyway with the sound off. What else could be the mindset behind Loose Women, a show where a bunch of middle-aged woman in too much make-up shout at each other. A show that would be completely unbearable were it now for doe-eyed busty delights of Coleen Nolan. The BBC, of course, are no better, thinking that insomniacs like me will want to watch a show about dealing out dead people's dosh but then hooking you in anyway with the doe-eyed busty delights of Nadia Sawalha. Perhaps they've finally decided that TV as an instrument of information is dead and should now serve only to appeal to the eyes. That, or they just can't be arsed coming up with good programmes again. Still, on the plus side it allows me something to watch on TV whilst providing ample time to listen to music, so I can't complain really.

Anyway, all for today as I feel the tobacco cravings kicking in. Until next week, fare the well.
keresaspa: (Eric Sykes)
Virgin Media has its problems and no mistake. The constant cutting out, the incremental but consistent price increases and the lack of Simpsons to name but three. However one half decent thing they have is their free on demand service. So now if there's nothing to watch on the telly there is a load of other shows you can't be arsed watching available at the touch of a button (well a few touches of a few buttons). Within this is a service allowing you to watch music videos on demand, a rather interesting way of keeping in touch with the modern scene without having to listen to the radio or sit through music channel dreck. I finally availed myself of this service at some length on Saturday and I have to say that it confirmed my suspicions that the modern scene is a made up of a bunch of whiners with fake cock-er-ney accents who have very little to say but do so by shouting. A good 30 or so videos were part watched and I came away wanting to hear no more of any them, apart from possibly Amy McDonald whom I may investigate further (notwithstanding the rubbishing she took on [livejournal.com profile] burkesworks recently). All in all the modern scene can be kept by the modern peeps as it says nowt to me.

Sunday, as is traditional at this time of year, was given over to the darts final. A rather enjoyable game of nip and tuck overall, although given that I was rooting for the Aussie with the worst hair since Russ Le Roq the result was less than satisfactory. A shame it's now over but at least we have the Snooker Masters to take its place, although I know [livejournal.com profile] queenmartina will be gutted to hear that her favourite snooker player has been eliminated in the wild card round. Still, at least we can look forward to his incisive punditry and killer one-liners.

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