~link~ 30.07.2002 - Blogging for the busy...
- work - bloody awful
- bought - this and that
- weather - beautiful
- read - tom
- thanked - him
- watched - news
- laughed - watford fc (thanks dave)
~link~ 29.07.2002 - Touch-a, touch-a, touch-a, touch me... Scientists have discovered a special network of nerves that stimulate pleasurable responses to stroking. So it seems like a little cuddle or a light bit of frottage is good for us. You may have noticed that I've changed the title graphic - I got sick of the clouds. This current graphic is a detail of the bf's parent's jewellery. Anyway... On your marks, get set, stroke!
~link~ 28.07.2002 - The faculty of making fortunate discoveries by accident... I came to the word serendipity rather late in life. Several years ago I remember an ex of mine using it in conversation. We talked about what a wonderful word it is and, by coincidence, within the hour we overheard some people in a shop using it. A short while later we passed a hairdresser's shop of the same name. It struck me then an odd name for a hairdressers; when you go for a haircut, presumeably, you hope that the end result will involve more design and forethought than merely a fortunate discovery by accident. I like serendipity (the word and phenomenon); it's a splendid word which, incidentally, I think makes an excellent name for a blog. It's odd though, isn't it, how elements that play a small part in your life one day come together the next and everywhere you go you're bombarded by them. Today I seem to be hitting shit at every turn. This morning I read Marcus' excrutiating story about letting himself down just at the wrong moment and then I stumbled upon this social faux pas shortly after by Charlie. Looking at a list of referrals to my blog I found this entry for yesterday. I visited the page that the link comes from but can find no link to me (thankfully). I'm just so full of shit at the moment.
~link~ 27.07.2002 - Hold the frontpage... Oh my gob, Jade. This was the Sun's headline story yesterday. Obviously, the fact that BB3's Jade can fit her fist inside her mouth is of huge national interest The sad thing is that it's probably true. Despite the Sun's backing (along with Graham Norton and Johnny Depp) she didn't make it into the top three. For those who don't know it, the Sun claims to be a newspaper.
~link~ 26.07.2002 - Big split at the BBC... The BBC's news site has been split in two so when you first visit the relaunched site (if you've not already done so) you'll be prompted to choose between news with a UK focus and news with a global focus. The BBC claims that, "We've organised our content to make it more relevant to you - wherever you live. You have two choices ..." Such a British outlook - two choices; the UK and the rest of the world. I hate having to make decisions like this:
- The UK Edition gives prominence to UK news, business, and sport along with programmes from domestic radio and TV. All international stories are also available in this edition. You are likely to use this edition if you live in the UK.
- The World Edition gives prominence to World news, business, and sport along with international radio and TV. All UK stories are also available in this edition. You are likely to use this edition if you live outside the UK.
~link~ 25.07.2002 - Doctor, doctor... I've just watched a BBC documentary on Dr Rowan Williams, soon to be Archbishop of Canterbury in October. I've written previously about him being tipped for the top job and this was confirmed on Tuesday. Judging by the interviews I've just witnessed he should shake things up a bit at the C of E Synods. As if being Welsh were not provocative enough in itself, he's also in favour of ordaining lesbian and gay clergy and women Bishops. Many of the right wing reactionary Anglicans see Hitler's views as a bit of a soft option so to describe Dr Williams as a liberal is a bit of an understatement. However, for the likes of any fair minded individuals, myself and Prince Charles (Defender of the Faiths) he will come as a breath of fresh air blowing through the stagnant chambers at Lambeth Palace.
~link~ 24.07.2002 - Christmas treats... Peter tells a truly horrific story at Naked Blog. It reminded me of an equally horrific incident that happened to me as a child:
- I must've been about eight years old and during the run up to Christmas my Grandmother, who worked in a shop, used to supply my younger brother and I with festive treats such as foil wrapped chocolates intended to be hung on the tree. Of course, they were never hung on our tree; they never made it that far - my brother and I would greedily devour them when we got home after school, ignoring my mother's warnings that we'd ruin our appetites. On one miserable and grey afternoon in December we arrived home from school and rushed to the cupboard to share out our chocolate spoils. It was sheer heaven; sat there on the floor infront of the telly ripping at the foil to reveal the hollow chocolate bells, balls, snowmen and santas. We didn't stop to savour this cheap confectionary, we ate it quickly and mechanically while our attention was almost wholly focused on Scooby Doo or Hong Kong Fooey. Occasionally we might pause slightly or relax our feeding frenzy as my mother's voice echoed from the kitchen, "I hope you two aren't eating those chocolates yet?" My brother and I would grin at each other for a brief moment before picking up the pace again. During my trance-like state I'd half noticed that one of my chocolate santa's foil wrapping had been punctured. I thought no more of it. I tore off his shiney red dressing and bit his head off. I then lifted his decapitated body to my mouth and tapped so that any chocolate debris that had fallen into his body fell into my mouth. I swiftly followed this with two bites at what was left and the whole santa was now in my mouth. I chomped away at it, the chocolate melting away between my teeth. However, this one tasted a little odd. It was an alkaline taste; the taste you get from silver paper. Rather than pull the paper out of my mouth I decided to chew at it a bit more and suck the melting chocolate out of it's folds. After a few more seconds I decided to retrieve it as the taste of the metal was beginning to spoil my enjoyment. With my fingers I reached into my mouth to remove the chocolate sodden foil that had become mashed on my molars. I held it up so that I could have a better look at it. However, grasped between my thumb and forefinger was not the foil I'd been expecting to find but instead the biggest, blackest beetle I had ever seen. Its body was pretty much mutilated, crushed by my teeth, but there was enough of the animal left to identify it. Two of its legs were still twitching. My brother had stopped eating and looked on in silent horror. This silence was eventually broken by my hysterical screams as I tried to retrieve any remaining beetle body parts from my mouth. I cried and cried and continued to cry for the rest of the evening. Eventually, my mother lost patience (and any sympathy she might've had) and smacked me so that I'd shut up.
~link~ 23.07.2002 - Coming together... Two things that have occupied my mind over the last few days have been my blogs on What Is The Best British Weblog...? and A Taste Of Wales. They've both generated quite a bit of chatter on other blogs and now, at last, I can marry the two seemlessly. Today I got an e-mail regarding my blog, A Taste Of Wales, from Nic Dafis:
- I certainly agree we should grow a thicker skin and not fly into a tizzy everytime someone in London says something rude about 'us', but you only have to look at how English media images of Irish people have changed since the 70s to see that being insulted is not a necessary condition of Welshness. Kicking against the pricks who routinely make 'sheepshagger' jokes on English telly and radio doesn't mean we lack a sense of humour, just a sense of inferiority.
~link~ 22.07.2002 - To sleep, perchance to dream... Yesterday I spent sleeping or in a semi conscious state. I drifted repeatedly between my bed and surfing the net; websites visited were confused with dreams dreamt. I found myself searching for things on the net which had been prompted by dreams and I found the impetus of my dreams originating from things I'd found online. Here's a selective log:
- The Brick Testament - My favorite is the chapter on Sodom & Gomorrah.
- Frank Gumola - finding Frankie back online has been a huge relief.
- Rannie - sad to see this blogwhore evicted.
- Dr Rowan Williams - supporter of gay clergy and soon to be a member of the pagan Gorsedd and (oh, did I mention) hotly tipped to be the next Archbishop of Canterbury.
- Here Inside - seems like I've generated a bit of interest in national stereotypes and humour after that comment I left at Swish Cottage.
- Hair salon owner wins Hemingway contest - whatever next..?
- Brand naming - have you noticed a gap when it comes to product names; every superlative in the book has been exploited. However, one is missing in the English speaking world. Yes, you don't get many products with master in their name because people always associate it with wanking.
~link~ 21.07.2002 - A taste of Wales... While reading some of my favorite blogs on Friday I came across this description of a night spent in Wales by David at Swish Cottage:
- We spent several more hours in a godforsaken karaoke pub, wincing while peroxided perma-tanned bimbos duetted with beer-bellied bruisers. You haven't lived till you've seen a full-back bellow out "I Am What I Am". Grinning shrivelled company directors danced puppet-like with blowsy coarse women. Is it a Welsh bye-law that all women must bleach their hair in a tribute to Helen-From-Big-Brother?
- We are, it's true, an ugly, a coarse and cultureless nation but at least we're not English ;-)
~link~ 20.07.2002 - Trust me... An official inquiry has reported that Dr Harold Shipman probably murdered 215 of his patients over a 23 year period and he is more than likely responsible for killing a further 45. Given the sheer numbers murdered, Shipman is up there with those who commit crimes against humanity; the dictators and despots of the world are his equals. Other killers, your murderers and serial killers pale into insignificance if you only count the numbers. Why then has there been, relatively speaking, little coverage, interest and outrage around this case? Yes, it has dominated the news from time to time but not to the extent the Yorkshire Ripper, Fred West or Moors Murders cases did. I believe the answer to this question is because the vast majority of his victims were old. ...215!
~link~ 19.07.2002 - What is the best British weblog...? OK, let's go back a few steps first and ask, "What is a weblog?" I defy anyone to come up with a concise answer that doesn't exclude. And herein lies the first difficulty in holding a competition; you have to know what your judging. Tom at Plastic Bag did a presentation recently where he examined weblogging and in trying to define a weblog he painted a picture using broad brush strokes only. Any narrowing of the definition and he'd ignore certain important sites. Quite sensibly, he does not narrow the defifntion; instead all he offers are examples for inclusion. Weblogs form such a large, self defining, ever shifting and multifaceted community (can I call it a community?) that as Grayblog points out, this is like saying let's judge the best foodstuff. It's totally meaningless. And then there's the judging panel. What are their definitions of best when it comes to blogging? It's so subjective. If the competion was for the biggest, oldest or reddest blog then you've got one finishing post but where's that line for the best weblog? Anita Roddick's finishing post will not be the same as Jon Bains' - whoever he might be. I'm not sure I feel comfortable with that. Even if The Guardian could judge fairly the best British weblog, I ask you, do we want to be judged? Doesn't a competition such as this go against the grain somewhat? This is not what blogging's about. And if I did decide to enter this competition, am I foolish enough to deny that it would not change the way in which I go about my blogging? Would I not subconsciously (and consciously?) change the design, the writing style and the originality of the links - the very criteria they're using to judge the winner. What then am I left with; my blog or a competition entry? I don't want to be part of a blog race let alone win one. The best thing the Guardian could do is to continue to support and promote weblogging through their weblog page but admit that they've made an error of judgement in launching a competition for the best British weblog. This competition is, as Tom puts it, a bloody stupid idea. A blog can't exist in isolation and blogging is more than merely the sum of it's parts. Let's quit trying to find a winner and instead celebrate the whole movement.
~link~ 18.07.2002 - The mother of invention... The Guardian reports on a new exhibition that charts inventions and innovations that have rocked the world over the last 50 years. Many we now take for granted such as the TV dinner and the TV remote control, both invented and developed during the 50's. Some of the latter ones still haven't filtered down to widespread usage, such as electronic reusable paper invented in 99. I was surprised by the years in which some were invented; who the hell was using text messaging in 92 and was it as recent as 67 that breathalysers were first used on motorists? I well remember sitting maths exams during the late 70's where the use of calculators (invented in 1972) was considered cheating and therefore banned. Instead we were allowed to use slide rules and logarithm tables. Whilst I hated the log tables I loved my slide rule. You don't see them nowadays and I'd love to have one again - anyone know where I might get one? I can remember buying one of the first Sony Walkmans in 1980. I'd spent most of that hot summer confined to a hospital bed; my leg in traction after dislocating my hip by falling off the bonnet of a car travelling at 30mph (a story for another time, I think). I'd not had the opportunity to spend much money and so I thought I'd treat myself when I was discharged. The Walkman cost me £50 and it came with a free cassette - Grieg's Piano Concerto on one side and something bland by The Eagles ot Dire Straights on the other. What a wonderful machine and such a beautiful design. Thus began my lifelong favorite time waster of making compilation tapes and also my ability to forecast rain when my hip aches.
~link~ 17.07.2002 - The black dog... I don't really feel like writing anything today. It's only force of habit that has got me this far. My mood is dark and bleak. Running through my mind are all the lines of encouragement and optimism I've doled out to others in the past and they all sound so cheap; so worthless. I've visited other blogs looking for something interesting, something to capture my attention; but there's nothing. How can the world look like such a bucket of shite all of a sudden? How come everything seems so dull and flat? I've rewritten this post so many times and almost decided to pull it completely but blogs are supposed to be an honest reflection. I'll leave it up although I know I'll hate it later when my mood changes. I don't care right now - not enough anyway. Dr Johnson used to call his depression the "black dog." I suppose it represents a frame of mind that's unshakeable; a constant companion that follows you everywhere. It sits low at your heel, always remaining in your peripheral vision. You can't lose the black dog, it leaves when it decides to leave not when you decide. And if you try and shut it outside, it'll wait for you until you re-emerge; a small black mongrel, damp from the drizzle, looking up at you with those doleful eyes.
~link~ 16.07.2002 - Excuse Um Wah..! Prompted by yesterday's post, I did a search on a cure for homosexuality. The absolute shite that this throws up is quite amazing - funny and disturbing at the same time. Most of the cures for homosexuality are almost medieval. These people live in a flat world where the sun orbits the earth; the renaissance never happened. The Lambda site offers a list of cures, none of which have worked:
- Prostitution Therapy - sex with prostitutes.
- Marriage Therapy - when presented with the option of courting and marriage, the "deviant" would naturally go "straight."
- Cauterization - homosexual patients are cauterized at the nape of the neck and the lower dorsal and lumbar regions every ten days.
- Castration/Ovary Removal - aside from believing that removal of the testes would eliminate the sexual drive of the homosexual, many doctors also thought homosexuality to be hereditary.
- Chastity - if homosexuality could not be cured, then homosexuals had no moral choice but to remain chaste.
- Hypnosis - cure through hypnosis of "unnatural passions."
- Aversion Therapy - reward of heterosexual arousal and punishment of homosexual attraction, often through electric shock.
- Psychoanalysis - find the cause, such as resentment toward a domineering mother, and you find the cure.
- Radiation Treatment - x-ray treatments were believed to reduce levels of promiscuous homosexual urges brought on by glandular hyperactivity.
- Hormone Therapy - steroid treatments would theoretically butch up the boys and femme out the girls.
- Lobotomy - by cutting nerve fibers in the front of the brain. Lobotomies for homosexuality were performed until the 1950s in the U.S.
- Psycho-Religious Therapy - combination of religious teachings with psychoanalysis to inspire heterosexuality.
- Beauty Therapy - all a butch lesbian needs is a good make-over.
~link~ 15.07.2002 - Honesty, the best policy... Welsh Assembly Member, Ron Davies, former Secretary of State for Wales, is to remarry. He met his present girlfriend, Lynne Hughes, at an intensive Welsh language course they were both attending. Widely recognised as the architect of devolution, he resigned his Cabinet position in the Labour Government after a "moment of madness" on Clapham Common in '98, which saw him robbed at knifepoint. At the time, Mr Davies denied newspaper allegations that he had gone to Clapham Common seeking gay sex. The following year saw him divorce his wife and admit his bisexuality among press allegations that he frequented public toilets for sex with men. Mr Davies has since undergone psychotherapy for a "compulsive disorder" which saw him place himself in high risk situations. He said, "I have acknowledged that I am bisexual. I have never had what most people would understand to be a gay relationship. All of my primary feelings, both physical and emotional, have been towards women. The bisexual influence has, however, been an element in some of the risk situations in which I have found myself. This together with other impulses has put me in places where I have been at risk." The BBC's news item quotes Ron Davies as claiming 'to be "cured" after seeking psychiatric help from one of the UK's top specialist clinics.' What is unclear is whether he is claiming to be cured of his compulsive disorder or his bisexuality. Ron Davies has, over recent years, paid the price for a closeted lifestyle. He has twice resigned from high flying positions and come under great pressure to withdraw from public life altogether. I hope for his sake he's not referring to being cured of his bisexuality because, as sure as eggs is eggs, it'll come back to haunt him.
~link~ 14.07.2002 - Where will it end...? The Welsh pride themselves on their friendliness. We are typified as a people holding out a welcoming hand to everyone. This image has been tarnished further (see my post for 10.07.2002) with this story. It does feel that we are fast becoming the ugliest nation on earth. Croeso i Gymru (Welcome to Wales).
~link~ 13.07.2002 - Where to begin...? In The Independent today: a seven year old boy drowned a two year old toddler in the bath, an inquest has been told. The boy's mother, a friend of the two year old's family, found the dead girl after the two children had been taking a bath together. She described her son as "a bit of a bully." God, where do you begin to unravel this one and where d'you start to try and put things back together again? The mental state of all those concerned must be so raw and confused. Can you imagine what must've been going through the boy's mother's mind when she discovered the scene. What are the thoughts of the dead girl's parents and how do they begin to return to anything resembling normality? And the boy: what's his future? What memories will he have when he's 12, 16, 21...? One thing's certain: more than one life has been taken in this incident. What a bloody can of worms...
~link~ 12.07.2002 - To bring you up to speed on the laptop saga... As you're probably aware (if you fall into that small but select band called regular readers) my laptop was returned on the weekend fixed, at last. It only took them 48 hours from collection to delivery. Amazing uh? No, not really, as I'd spent four days of constantly ringing them and begging them and harrassing them and badgering them to come pick it up. I've subsequently written a complaint to the company suggesting that I should be recompensed for all the agro it has caused me. The manufacturer and retailer have both replied. The manufacturer has totally ignored my request for some sort of ex gratia payment and the retailer has insisted that they require "full substantiation for the costs that [I] have incurred." I was only looking for a gift voucher for ten or twenty quid, nothing much. However, if they want proof then that's what they shall receive. Do you think it fair if I send an invoice based on my hourly rate for the day I took off work when they failed to collect as they'd promised and, in addition to that, a claim for all the time I spent in work trying to sort it out when I should've been working? I mean... if they're gonna be bloody minded about it... Also... I know I'm way down the list but this counts as big in my book.
~link~ 11.07.2002 - Oooo, suits you, sir... We know that he's extremely interested in fashion, to the point of obsession. Over the years we've seen the various trends that he's started himself. We've seen the sarong and the diamond earings and we've heard him talk with pride about getting in touch with his feminine side. It's even been alleged that from time to time he wears his wife's knickers. But now, he's been caught wearing pink nail polish at a family christening. David, tell me: am I just one of those queens that think all straight men who show a little sensitivity must have something to hide or ...is there something you want to get off your chest, love? Put's a whole new slant on the film, Bend It like Beckham.
~link~ 10.07.2002 - We'll keep a welcome in the hillsides... Scanning the news making the headlines in Wales today really does make you proud to be part of this aggressive, barbaric, racist, backward, excuse of a country. Who cares - as long as the pubs are open, the rugby's playing and we're able to sing. Who cares..? Proud to be Welsh..?
~link~ 09.07.2002 - In his anecdotage... Following on from the Frank Bough and Geilgud anecdotes, here are a few more to get your juices flowing:
- Actor and director, Victor Spinetti was working in Paris when Marlene Dietrich rang him to ask if he wanted to meet up for dinner that evening. He agreed, warning Dietrich that his mother and sister were visiting from Wales and would it be alright if they came too. Dietrich agreed and they arranged to meet in the lounge of a rather fashionable hotel that evening. Later that afternoon Spinetti had to attend a production meeting which dragged on and on. He managed to escape for five minutes so that he could warn Dietrich that he was going to be late. Dietrich was fine about this and offered to entertain Spinetti's mother and sister until he arrived. The meeting dragged on further into the night and by the time Spinetti arrived at the hotel, Dietrich and Spinetti's mother and sister had been sat there for hours. Spinetti was horrified to learn that his mother and sister (identically dressed in homemade frocks from material bought in Pontypridd market) had spent the entire evening advising Marlene Dietrich on fashion and beauty tips.
- Each session of the House of Commons is officially opened and overseen by the Speaker who processes to the chamber each day wearing the ceremonial horse hair wig and red and gold robes of office. On one such day the then Speaker, Sir Quentin Hogg, Lord Hailsham, was making his way to the chamber when he found his path blocked by a large group of American tourists being given a backstage tour of Westminister. The Speaker's procession came to a standstill and there followed an awkward situation as both groups tried to figure out what to do next. Some way off, Lord Hailsham spotted Neil Kinnock, Leader of the Opposition. To elicit some help in saving the situation and to break the impasse, Lord Hailsham shouted over the heads of the Americans, "Neil! Neil!" There then followed an embarrassed silence, as all the Americans obediently fell to their knees.
- Sir Robert Helpmann and Dame Margot Fonteyn were rehearsing a new ballet, the climax of which was a pas de deux between them. Helpmann was known for his practical jokes and was always trying to make Fonteyn corpse by whispering comments in her ear while they were dancing. Despite numerous attemps throughout rehearsals he never succeeded. Fonteyn told him that she was thoroughly professional and he would never be able to make her laugh whilst she was in character. At the ballet's premier they both used their first night nerves positively and the show was going very well. Their pas de deux was a triumph and during the rapturous applause which followed it, Fonteyn was seen to collapse in a fit of uncontrollable giggles. When they left the stage Helpmann was asked by other members of the company what he'd said to her. He replied, "Nothing, I did not utter a word" and then he closed his eyes and written in make-up on his eyelids were the words, fuck and off.
~link~ 08.07.2002 - 15 minutes... Some people will do anything for a bit of attention:
- The city of Denver's official cable channel is to begin showing a programme featuring mugshots of prostitutes and their clients. The idea is to shame the women and their clients. Denver Mayor Wellington Webb said, "If we can't convict you to get you to change your ways, maybe we can embarrass you and get you to change your ways."
- A dozen animal rights activists have run naked through the streets of the Spanish city of Pamplona to protest against the annual running of the bulls fiesta. Many residents and tourists applauded the bravery of the protest, but not all Spaniards were sympathetic. "You should let the bulls loose, then you'd see them run," said 58 year old Jose Ignacio.
- Estonians have run off with the world wife-carrying title for the fifth year in a row despite new rules on the weight of the spouse. Thirty-six couples from eight countries took part in the event but Meelis Tammre, 24, and Anna Zilberberg, 21, were fastest round the 254-metre course on Saturday.
~link~ 07.07.2002 - Finally... I've got the laptop back. It's quite good going given that it wasn't collected until Thursday afternoon. OK, that's enough of the praise bit. What we're forgetting here is the fact that it would never have been collected at all if I'd not spent a lot of my time, energy and money in arranging its collection. I have spoken to so many of the manufacturing company's staff over the first four days of last week and they cocked up at every opportunity. I've written letters and I've complained to company managers over the phone and their response is to get defensive and shift the blame to the couriers, to the reception desk at my place of work, to anyone but themselves. It feels like I'm pissing in the wind. It's so frustrating when you complain and you're met with agression or a wall of silence. It makes you more and more determined to be heard and, if you're not careful, it becomes an obsession. It fills your every waking moment and pervades your dreams. You become fixated with it and you let it control you. But when letting go feels like giving in, what do you do? This is what has happened to Dave Lapsley. I disagree with Cameron's view (5th July) and can quite understand where this guy's coming from even if I fear where he's going to. On another note, it's lovely to see Jerwin back up and running. You tell 'em (Golu)boy!
~link~ 06.07.2002 - Destiny...? Henman out? But it's a jubilee year...
~link~ 05.07.2002 - The Love That Dares To Speak Its Name... In 1976 Gay News published the above titled poem by James Kirkup which portrayed Jesus as a homosexual. Next week will see the 25th anniversary of the successful prosecution of the magazine under the UK's blasphemy law in 1977. This prosecution was the first time the blasphemy law had been successfully used since 1922. To mark this anniversary, the poem is being published and read outside St Martins-in-the-fields Church, Trafalgar Square at 11am, Thursday 11 July 2002. Kirkup's poem is being published by Iain Banks, Edward Bond, Zoe Fairbairns, A C Grayling, Darren Johnson, Ludovic Kennedy, Sir Harry Kroto, Alice Mahon MP, Ivan Massow, Jonathan Meades, George Melly, John Mortimer QC, Professor Richard Norman, Philip Pullman, Claire Rayner, Tony Reeves, Geoffrey Robertson QC, Peter Tatchell and Laurie Taylor. They are challenging the authorities: "arrest us or abolish the blasphemy law". As the law currently stands I could be arrested for posting the poem on this website and over the last few years numerous people and organisations that have published or provided links to the work on their websites have been forced to remove them. Interestingly, this completely anachronistic 17th Century law extends only to blasphemy against Christianity and so, for example, I am quite at liberty to quote Salman Rushdi's Satanic Verses; a book that many Muslims find blasphemous. Isn't this a ridiculous position in a modern multicultural state. If you are interested in reading this poem (artistically, it's not that good) I'm afraid I am unable to provide a link to it without risking losing my web hosting for this site along with the services provided by my ISP. However a keyword search should find it soon enough.
~link~ 04.07.2002 - The Iron Lady loses her head... The head to the recently commissioned statue of Lady Thatcher has been decapitated. The Lord Mayor of London, Alderman Oliver, said: "This act of wanton vandalism is utterly deplorable and I find such behaviour deeply saddening." And I'd agree with him; such violence does nothing to help those who are still suffering under the laws that the Thatcher regime pushed through back in the 80's. It does nothing to heal the wounds and divisions still evident in a society damaged by over a decade of Tory mismanagement. What it does indicate is the profound and detrimental impact that she had on Britain and how deeply the pain is still felt. Mr Blair and his New Labour have the power to heal some of these wounds and should, perhaps, move a little faster than they are presently moving to counter the years of abuse and their consequences that many people still suffer. How many clues do you need Tony?
~link~ 03.07.2002 - And the beat goes on... Yesterday I made lots of new friends. First there was my friend Daniel who assured me after his company's cock-up yesterday that the couriers would pick up my knackered laptop from work before 3:30pm yesterday. Then there was my buddy Jamie who confirmed at 3:30pm (the time I was due to leave work) that the couriers were on their way and would be there by 3:45pm "at the very latest." At 3:45 I spoke to my old pal Dias who was "treating the matter very seriously", and he confirmed that they would move heaven and earth to get it picked up from my home address after 4:30pm, once I'd got home. Next I spoke to Stu (only his close friends get to call him that) who confirmed that the couriers had already picked up my laptop at 3:00pm. I felt sorry for poor old Stu as I informed him that they had not done this. He asked me if I was sure they'd not collected it and I confirmed that, at that precise moment, I was standing in the street with the laptop in my hand (it's hard breaking bad news to a close friend, isn't it). I then spoke to my old mate Dias again who has arranged for it to be collected before midday today from my work place. He'll be calling me to check up on this later today. We'll see... It's quite ironic, don't you think: with all the opportunities and potential that were available to me through my laptop to make new friends via chat rooms and instant messaging; it's only now that it's completely fucked that my social life takes on this giddy whirl of new acquaintances. Life's like that sometimes... I don't want to turn this into a competition of who's got the shittiest deal in terms of customer service but, Jhames, I think I'm winning babes.
~link~ 02.07.2002 - Don't make me angry ... you wouldn't like me when I'm angry... My laptop's dead and the bloody manufacturer is closed all weekend, so I ring them first thing yesterday morning and I'm told that they'll send a courier round to pick it up between 2:00pm and 5:30pm. Yesterday was my day off, so I'm stuck in the house just waiting - but hey, it's worth it if I can get my laptop sent back to be fixed. At 4:30pm I ring them again to ask if they'd check that the courier will actually collect before 5:30pm. No doubt, the more astute, experienced, world weary, poor sodding victims of lousy customer service will have guessed where this story's going. Yup, you got it; I'm told that it's booked for Tuesday afternoon and not Monday. So, I stayed in all day, waiting - and for what? Jack shit, that's what.
~link~ 01.07.2002 - Oooh, I've gone all multicultural... Well look what Cardiff's got planned for the coming week; the first Worldport Festival, celebrating music from around the globe. With performances from Bob Geldof and Courtney Pine it should attract decent press coverage. This will be a welcome boost to Cardiff's bid for European Capital of Culture in 2008 but whether this is enough, who knows. Cardiff's got a lot going for it; in addition to this festival it hosts the Cardiff Singer Of The World competition, has a world class collection of Impressionist art at The National Museum of Wales, boasts many fine examples of Victorian and Edwardian architecture, has the UK's premier sports venue in the Millennium Stadium and has an excellent communications and media network. However, despite being the capital of Wales, the so called "land of song", Cardiff is not very good at singing its own praises. Just look at how well other cities promote themselves; Cardiff needs to learn from them and learn fast. It continually seems to blunder when it comes to securing international interest. Consider the cock up over Zaha Hadid's acclaimed design for an internationally renowned opera house and centre for the arts or, indeed, that other recent blunder over the Centre for Visual Art at the old library. There are many who will argue that Cardiff deserves to host European Capital of Culture in 2008. I'd agree with that but only when they pull their ham-fisted fingers out and start behaving like a European capital.