Zimmer For Four Minutes

In lieu of something more important, like today's UNISON strike and/or our French neighbours doing it that bit better, here's a link to some video of The White Stripes doing a cover of Bob Dylan's 'Love Sick'.

It's good too.

Although a proper pension when you're old would be gooder.

Here Today, Garner Tomorrow

Another Saturday in front of the television.

Here we see a POV as I watch the third Rockford Files of the afternoon, with a refreshing glass of apple juice artois.

Since getting back from a little exterior venture I've kept my 'outdoors' clothes on instead of reverting to the 'slopping about the house' ones donned here.

This in a vain attempt to force some significant activity out of me in the last 6 hours of the day. To little avail.

I am however enjoying listening to a playlist I burnt for my brother recently; a hastily thrown together hotch-potch to help his Virgin Train journey back to the provinces:

1. Finlay - 'Rad Wagon'
A cracker from the "ragged and wonderful...London noiseniks." (Kerrang!)
2. Akira The Don - 'Clones'
Obscure 80's Alice Cooper sampled by modern DJ whatsit.
3. The Band - 'Up On Cripple Creek'
Makes me want to be American. Yodel, odel, odel, ooh...
4. Frank Zappa - 'G-Spot Tornado'
You mad bugger, you. Still excites me as much as the first time I heard it.
5. Hayseed Dixie - 'Roses'
Outkast by men with dungarees and Mandolins.
6. The Humblebums - 'Rick Rack'
Billy Connelly before he was a stand-up. And sober. With Gerry Rafferty.
7. Steve Earle - 'Time Has Come Today'
A Chambers Brothers cover with Abbie Hoffman samples. Don't mention Chevy.
8. Ike & Tina Turner - 'Proud Mary'
Wife-beating never sounded so good on this famous Creedence cover.
9. LCD Soundsystem - 'Daft Punk Is Playing At My House'
Just there so my brother didn't confuse me with our Dad
10. Led Zeppelin - 'Going To California'
Slowing the pace a bit without going as far as 'No Quarter'.
11. Little Richard - 'Tutti Frutti'
Seriously, listen to Little Richard now. Unbefuckinglievable.
12. Richard Thompson - '1952 Vincent Black Lightening'
Makes my mate Kev cry. The most requested song on US public radio.
13. Nick Cave & Bad Seeds - 'There She Goes, My Beautiful World'
Nick, Nick, Nick. Gimme a kiss you big moody sod you.

Hopefully more music stuff (but with the actual music) over at IdiotWind when it eventually get's up and running.

I know you just can't wait.

In the mean time visit Finlay here and for more on James Garner, here.

First 'Cunning Plan' Headline?

Oh blimey.

Tony on Tony action as Mr Baldrick of the NEC (not Birminghams) comes out and calls for Blair to stand down.

I'll post a Blackadder or Time Team related joke as soon as possible.

Do doo, do do, do do do dooo...

This Wagon Wheel's On Fire

An unnamed friend of mine is currently on the wagon.

For various reasons, all of which are perfectly sensible, he's off the booze until Friday. His 59th birthday.

Now I've made the mistake of going down this slippery slope before.

After all, the reasoning behind periods of abstinence (even mini-ones) is indeed sound. The effects of a too-boozy lifestyle are all too familiar, a random six of which are:

1. Waking at 3am, de-hydrated, confused and a with a black depression nailing my head to the pillow.

2. Loss of memory other than 'I think I spent the entire party in the kitchen arguing the non-existence of god'.

3. A fleshy lifebelt around my waste pushing at every shirt that isn't part of my 'knocking around the house' attire.

4. Loss of sense of self after forgetting the last time I didn't have to keep aforementioned stomach held in while in company (or even passing own mirror, alone).

5. Attitude to career that would be helped by being a little more verse, verse, chorus, verse and not the Captain Beefheart covers band that informs mine.

6. The inability to see the money that turns to beer then too piss as the same money that should buy fresh vegetables.

So being on the wagon isn't a ridiculous place to be. For a little while, anyway.

Because all that being said, as I sit hear listening to Bongo Fury with a pint can of the Artois for company I feel perfectly happy.

At least as perfectly happy as it's reasonable to feel.

But one thing I'm determined not to do, and it's a stronger feeling than any paternal inklings or career wrigglings, is to confuse healthy, quiet, focused sobriety with happiness.

Because considering I reckon I'd be an on and off miserable bugger with an expanding waist anyway, I might aswell have a little drink while I'm at it.

Snooty Loopy

Of the hours and inches of news devoted to the ongoing Party funding issue I've hardly seen any mention of what to me is a key part of the arguement.

The increased availability of important roles that have no democratic responsibility not only encourages dodgy practice but was set in train to accomodate it.

Un-elected seats in Parliament, un-elected media advisers and the selling off of schools, prisons and hospitals to (un-elected) private firms.

All handily placed to allow the pimping of public services to your mates - securing them subsidised income and you enough money to get re-elected and keep the whole shitty little loop going...

You Say Liberation, I Say Occupation... Let's Call The Whole Thing Off.


A very strong turnout on the London anti-war demo today. Tony Benn seems to be getting younger, Salma Yaquub was as inspiring as ever and George pushed a pram round the entire march...

The route was different this time - starting at Parliament Square, heading up past the back of Buckingham Palace, Hyde Park Corner and Piccadilly to Trafalgar Square.

On a personal note - the Chandos is undergoing a refurb so my usual cheap swift half before the speeches got a little pricey.

But, walking round in the late winter sun I thought about what all this achieves - after all, if the biggest demonstration in British history didn't stop us going to war what's the point? A few things kind of answered the question:

1. These lunatics really are going to attack Iran. And I make a good guess that Tony's crapping himself that this time we'll make him pay. Or Brown gets left with a real hot potato and a lost election.

2. When members of the SAS refuse to fight, leave the army and attend anti-war demos, something is shifting.

3. Actually hearing significant figures from the organised Muslim communities calling for humanitarian solidarity regardless of race, colour, religion, gender or sexuality is a nice reminder that the press has a lot to answer for in terms of the public perception of Islamic folk.

4. If we hadn't been out on the streets making a noise - things would be a whole lot worse.

And can you imagine the impact if everyone who came out for the massive demo three years ago was out everytime? Because if anything it's more important than ever but I hardly hear it mentioned anymore amongst 'educated' company.

I don't know. Collectively, we really do have the power to turn the world upside down. And if I spent half the time I spend dribbling over technology doing something constructive - then maybe that would inspire one more person etc.

But I probably won't. I'll probably content myself by thinking this post is somehow 'doing something'.

Which it isn't. Just makes me feel a bit better.

Which isn't really the point.

Smith & West End

It's been nearly a month since I last posted - I'd love to say I've been so busy that a mere blog lost it's importance.

But that clearly would be crap.
I'm just a lazy, lazy man.

And so, in lieu of anything anywhere near interesting, I give you this morsel of truth:

Sam Smiths pubs are great little 'proper pub' havens from central London bar and themed madness.

They're cheap, most of their beer is organic and all are vegan.

Their food is for the most part well priced pub-fare which always does the job and you can more often than not manage to get a seat.

However the wind inducing qualities of the Old Brewery Bitter is a serious flaw and one from which I've spent the entire day suffering from.

There's a friend from the USA of America who can attest to this, who having merrily consumed the myriad spicy delights of Olde London town, spent two days shitting through the eye of a needle after two pints in The Fitzroy Tavern.

Consequently I propose that all nights in said pubs will thus be known as 'Sammy Smiths Detox Evenings' (SSDEs).

All those in favour?