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Take That China!
The Continuous Descent Into Madness
You've Been Cancelled
Sort Yourself Out eBayers
The Art of Not Writing
Give Me Your Voice
Not Another Virtual Choir
Demented Reality
My Way of Losing My Mind is Quite Constructive
I'm A Cilla Black Fan On Bike

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Friday, August 30

My thanks go to Enay of ENAYSOFT. He was responding to my letter to Walkers Crisps, with a story all his own. Apparently, Mr Enay has a dispute about Walkers Packaging - a compelling argument not relating to colour.

Tuesday, August 27

Did my weekly Wednesday weigh in today... so it's a tetchy Tuesday torque test (assuming that the scales measure force that sort of way). Anyway. The score, after a week's walking round Edinburgh, occasionally peppered with food (albeit scant), beer (albeit some, not lots) and Starbucks coffee (gallons), is...

-6 bringing the total to a bizarre -32

So, in the space of 2 weeks, it appears that nearly a half stone has vanished into the ether. I must do more festivals. Anyway, the grand total of -32 is good, but there is no room for complacency. I would hope for a negative two for next Wednesday... and then it will nearly be time to break another stone barrier, and I'm really keen to break the next one. Plus, I'm rather keen to lose more waist size too. This is proving to be quite good fun!

I'm back... and this time it's personal!

Well, I'm home anyway.

Friday, August 23

I arrived in Edinburgh at 8:20 on Monday Morning. Now, it's around 18:20 on Friday... that's 106 hours I've been in Edinburgh. I have recently left my 25th show (or other event-type of thing). My current average is seeing one show every 4 and a quarter hours. That's ludicrously intense. Yesterday was an 8 show day, the day before a 7 show day... I'm not sure that Mal has any idea what's about to hit him.

I am holding my sanity in something of a vice-like grip... the sort of grip that needs one's fingers to be prised away one by one... and with a minimum of 14 more shows to go, before we leave on Monday night (and I have a few pencilled in which may add to this total), I have a funny feeling that my metaphoric fingers ain't safe.

Still, I've seen "Kebab, the Musical", "Jerry Springer, the Opera" and "Geoffrey Hayes in Over The Rainbow" (that's THE Geoffrey, you know!). I would never have had a chance to see them if I'd stayed in Newcastle. Admittedly, I might have had the chance to see "Zipp - 100 musicals in 90 minutes", if I'd not come to Edinburgh, since it's in Newcastle shortly... but that's cool, I could go to see it again!

This is Edinburgh's foremost Internet Cafe from which I address you all - it's run by the same company that run EasyJet - it's called EasyInternet, but is known locally (by at least me) as EasyPorn.

Have fun... be seeing you.

Saturday, August 17

I've just watched not one, but two American Pie movies... yeah! I've cringed and giggled and laughed out loud, felt like a teenager and now I'm spent. I'm just glad I've not got any of those fatherly chats to look forward to (at least, not as recipient). For me, the star had to be Michelle - the band camp girl - she does some serious stuff with instruments!

Hot and bothered, aching, cold-symptoms and I'm preparing to go to the Edinburgh Fringe festival in a couple of days. Not a good combination. However, I'm going to win. I'm less convinced that I'll win my fruit race, mind.

I think it is a great gift to be able to visit your home town as though you were a tourist. So, as part of my dog walking today, since the dog couldn't make it, I attempted the Tyne Bridge challenge. Can you cross the 4 city centre Tyne Bridges that have pedestrian access? Of course you can! I did High Level (Newcastle to Gateshead), back along the Swing Bridge, over to the Millennium Bridge and back across the Tyne Bridge. Easy!

Then it was time to see what else they say on the City Sightseeing bus. This bus goes past our office every day, and all I'd learned from it was that our street - "Side" - has the shortest name in Newcastle. Not as interesting as the myriad other facts I've now picked up about my adopted home.

Wednesday, August 14

Discover whether one of your friends is a Mysteron. Or maybe find out why they were so damned pissed at earth in the first place.

I now have a latin motto:

"Tune sororem habes?"

Weekly Wednesday Weigh-in gives us a -1 this week. I like that. Now I have an aggregate difference of -26. No weigh in next week, since I'm in Edinburgh. So, I should hope for a difference of 0, that's zero, in two weeks' time; in other words I'm hoping I can just about behave myself in Edinburgh.

Tuesday, August 13

Prize for most surreal Google hit:

SHIT NASTY Scat Girls movies young shit covered girls nasty shit ...
... clothespin clothing cloud clove club ... curler currency current currently currents curry ... neural
never nevertheless new newcastle ... running runny runs runway rupali ...

I was searching for a review, from the Curry Club, of the Rupali in Newcastle - you wonder what the owners of the above site, were trying to say there...

The trees had clearly sent some sort of telepathic message - perhaps using tree mind-bullets - to the hairdresser, who has scalped me quite seriously. Any closer and I may have passed out.

I've just started my second race of this week. The first race, the traditional "eat before they go off" fruit race with Safeway, is still under starter's orders, since the fruit in question is not ripe yet. However, when the two-for-the-price-of-one punnets of plums and nectarines (one of each) hit that critical edible state, we'll be off. The winner is declared when all the fruit is eaten, or when too much of it has gone off to warrant attempting to eat any more. The human wins if he eats all the fruit and doesn't find himself remarkably ill. The fruit wins by default. So far, I've won my fruit races, but it requires dedication.

The second race is a trouser race. I bought trousers that I wanted, rather than trousers which were the most comfortable. This means I have to lose some of my waistline if I want to be comfortable before such a time when I need to wear the trousers... so, time to suck in the waist, get as hungry as possible (a slight conflict with the fruit race) and maybe do some exercise.

Monday, August 12

It's a big responsibility giving the holly trees outside my house a trim.

"You know that's how your house got its name." said a neighbour.

"No shit. Our house, called The Hollies, is named after the great big holly trees in its front garden. Well, I'll go to the foot of our stairs.", said I (well, I didn't actually, but I thought it).

So, with the figure head of my house under the knife (or, in this case, electric garden shears) I have to be careful. One of the trees has been somewhat decimated by my over-exuberant trimming. I may need to rename the house "The Holly" if it doesn't grow back, but it probably will. The other tree looks good. I had to stand on the garden wall and lean over the prickly bits to get to the tops... this was fun, but not as much fun as trying to get down from a small patch of garden wall between a holly tree and next door's rhododendron. Luckily, I'm indestructable, and I can fly, so I simply flew down... a slightly hairy but otherwise comedy moment.

The neighbour came out to ask me what I was doing. "I'm training to be a Monkey." said I... and he went away none the wiser. Sometimes I wonder if I'm too clever for people, or simply completely off my head.

This is what the net's all about. I already mentioned (after someone told me about it) the Save Karyn website: some lass who's decided credit cards are expensive and that she's in a lot of debt and wants to beg people to help dig her out. Well, a counter-site has been set up: Don't Save Karyn... well, it's a site about not falling for Karyn's sob story. Personally, I can't help but not give a toss.

Bad news folks, I cannot count. I said -3 for my week's weight delta... I miscalculated. It was actually -5 (wahey!) bringing the grand total (at least since these records began) to -25. What an oversight. I still don't know how it happened (the delta that is) and I was so shocked to see that I'd crossed the boundary between one stone and the next that I completely forgot the number of pounds in a stone (it's 14, not 12!). I don't believe it! But I'm glad to have written evidence to suggest that it happened... or at least appeared to happen.

Sunday, August 11

Having met a fantastic chap this weekend, I thought I'd research some pop trivia.

1. What song did Edison Lighthouse's "Love Grows" knock off the number one slot in the UK in 1970?
2. What was the 9th top selling song of 1970 (based on combination of sales in UK, US and Australia)?
3. What was the top selling song of 1961 (based on combination of sales UK, US and Australia)?

The answers:

1. Two Little Boys, by Rolf Harris. Check it.
2. Love Grows (of course). Check it again...
3. Runaway, by Del Shannon. Proved here - my favourite bit of pop trivia (for no good reason).

Friday, August 9

If Marc Almond is to be believed, Christmas in Vegas is rather miserable. I don't believe him!

Ooooh... bitchy... handbags at dawn for this reviewer and the Newsnight team.

Thursday, August 8

Blackpool beckons... we have 3 lads sharing a "family room" which will have a double-bed, two bunk beds and a rollaway bed. Now, we're all straight lads and no-one wants to share a bed, and I'm not convinced we'll be physically capable of using the top bunk. It should be just about okay. However Harry's comments this morning made me feel a bit odd:

"Get dressed with the lights on, there's nothing worse than accidentally putting on someone else's pants and socks"


Then Steve pointed out:

"Hmm. Don't know - there's nothing worse than waking up to see some other bloke putting his skivvies on..... "


So, here's the plan from me:

"There's an en suite bathroom... I suggest we take it in turns to enter it/leave it fully clothed (doing any necessary changes behind its doors)"

I don't speak sense often, but in this case, I've made an exception.

1 hour 20 to restring and tune a 12 string guitar... probably some sort of world record. It WILL be completely out of tune by the morning... and my back hurts... but it is probably all in a good cause.

Wednesday, August 7

I rarely bring work stuff up on this site. However, the following letter is something that came from my hepta-diurnal encounter with the newton-meter (or Weekly Wednesday Weigh-in), so I ought to share it. By the way, it's -3 this week, thoroughly undeserved, meaning a grand total of -23.

Hi folks,

I need to ask for your help. I've lost a bit of weight this week, which is nice, and it has helped me cross the barrier between two stones (I'll not say which ones). Therefore, I'd first like to ask you all to help me celebrate.

Secondly, I need to continue losing weight and I need to ask for your help in doing so. I have this theory, you see. It's a bit like the "conservation of mass principle" in physics. I reckon that there's only a certain amount of body mass to go round, and if other people gain weight, I must, conversely, lose it.

Therefore, to combine these two things (celebration and helping me). I have gone out and bought the equivalent of the weight I just lost in chocolates: Cadbury miniature heroes to be precise. There's a pot at reception and a pot at John Stephenson's desk. Please visit one of these two and help yourself. Each of you need only gain a couple of ounces in weight for me to keep going...

Plus, chocolate is rather nice, and I haven't treated my work colleagues to some since I bought my circular saw a year or so ago.

You know your mission... what are you waiting for?


An old favourite: the internet anagram server from

Good night's work. I have put 12 guitar strings on... that's two 6-strings' worth, not the 12-string, which also will get the string replacement treatment shortly. I even got keen and oiled/cleaned the guitar which has never been oiled or cleaned since I bought it 11 years ago.

I am also on the correct side of my mammoth article (don't ask me for 4000 words, I will write 5000). Total editing time in Word comes to over 6 hours, but I'm not sure that Word knows I spent some of it playing guitar along to Pink Floyd. I'm ready for bed now. I'll just do some laundry first...

Tuesday, August 6

I'll never look at Dave and Cath the same way - it seems that they get results the same way as it can be said of these two that they fight crime.

Having been shamed into buying new guitar strings by Dave... well, I think I wasn't actually shamed, but I felt that it was completely unjust to continue allowing my guitars to sound like their strings were out of tune and rusting. So, a few pounds worth of investment in bronze later and I'm looking forward to tuning, tuning and more tuning, with a side order of cleaning.

Sadly, I have a tight deadline for my next article for Micro Mart, so I may have to ration myself on the restringing activities. D'oh!

Sunday, August 4

A686: I saw one sign which made me laugh it looked like a red-indian wrote it "Long descent many bends" it said.

Friday, August 2

Generate a random obscure name here.

Thursday, August 1

Get off your seat now! Wander over to the nearest mirror and look yourself in the eye. Study your features and then give yourself a little smile, or a wink. It's impossible not to smile back when someone's smiling at you (especially if that someone is your reflection). Allow this moment of cheer to develop and then remember to share your special smile with others. It's free and legal!

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