Posts archive for: December, 2005
  • Merry Christmas one and all

    Are you hanging up a stocking on your wall
    It’s the time that every santa has a ball
    Does he ride a red-nose reindeer
    Does he turns up on his sleigh
    Do the fairies keep him sober for a day

    So here it is merry christmas, everybody’s having fun
    (it’s christmas!)
    Look to the future now, it’s only just begun

    Can I just wish everyone a very Merry Christmas, see you all on the other side.

    I wish you a brave new year
    All anguish pain and sadness
    Leave your heart and let your road be clear
    They said there’ll be snow at christmas
    They said there’ll be peace on earth
    Hallelujah noel be it heaven or hell
    The christmas you get you deserve

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  • The return of the Sun

    Return of the Sun King

    Now is the solstice of the year,
    winter is the glad song that you hear
    Ring out these bells
    Ring out, ring solstice bells
    Ring solstice bells

    Today is Yule or the Winter Solstice - after today the sun will climb a little higher in the sky each day and the days will get longer. Time to celebrate the rebirth of the Sun King, the Giver of Life that warms the frozen Earth, a time to look forward and make plans for the year ahead.

  • 'tis the season to be busy

    Wow nearly a week since my last blog - must have been busy!!

    Friday night was the firms Christmas party which was held up in London at a restaurant called Papageno's - it's a themed Turkish restaurant with Opera singers as "entertainment".

    Bob Dylan said in his biography that there is no such thing as good music and bad music just different types of good music - Opera is the exception that proves the rule! And anyway this Opera caberet thing has been done to death on the conference circuit which we spend our lives in so it was a bit of a busman's holiday. In the end though you could hardly hear it - should have got us to do the sound!!

    Papageno restaurant

    Some of us started drinking early at the Coal Hole on the Strand and I'd drank a pint or 4 of "Santa's Little Helper" before we got to the restaurant. One of the lad's had made us all little badges with our South Park Character on it, which has replaced my picture on here. I left to get the train at about 11 and finally got home just after 1.

    Sunday we went off to France on Eurotunnel to do some Christams shopping. It was worth the money to do something different. We went into Calais but most of the shops were shut so we had something to eat then went to Cite D'Europe. It was nice to escape the tradional Christmas music that gets piped into shops at this time of year and listen to the sounds of a French Christmas. At one point a band of people wearing Pere Noel costumes came past playing bagpipes and drums (I assume they were Breton pipes but I'm not an expert - nice sound though)

    We stocked up with wine and beer for the forthcoming festivities and generally wandered round the shops. It made a nice change and I'm sure I would rather have been there than in Bluewater. We had a problem with Eurotunnel on the way back and we missed our train and had to wait an hour for the next one.

    Monday was my eldest daughters 15th birthday - the third birthday this month, mine then my brothers then my daughters. I bought her an MP3 player for her birthday and she spent the evening loading tracks from Blink 182 and Green Day onto it. We didn't go out but got Pizza and Cake. The girls had to go back to their mums until Christmas eve this morning but at least they'll be with me on Christmas Day again this year.

  • Reasons to hate Christmas Part 4

    Sprouts- the Devil's vegetable!

    The Devil's vegetable

    That's why people put little crosses on the bottom

  • But is it art?

    Ok ever since I was challenged by Scoffle to produce a Dada-ist image I've been to busy to put my mind to it. I'm not sure if the following images are Dada or not but I like them

    Life after death
    Life after death?

    The vanity of high office
    The vanity of high office

    What do you think?

  • Zen and the Deep Pan Pizza

    Ok I feel much better now - been for a pizza and read a book on Zen - Not sure which helped the most.

    Oh and I got my Dad a Christmas prezzie - obviously can't say what it is but I did mention something about it in a previous blog. If he doesn't like it I'll buy it off him and if he does I'll borrow it!

    Oh and apparently (and without her reading my previous blog) I'm told by Sarah that under no circumstances whatsoever am I to even think about buying a CD before Christmas (bugger HMV is next door)

    Oh and still no e-mail from my brother - must be busy policing things.

  • Bored, bored, bored!!

    I've got five hours to kill in central London and I'm bored already. I was working this morning doing camera at a conference for the signing of an agreement between Israel and Palestine where Gordon Brown was speaking. The camera wasn't needed after the opening session so I thought Woohoo early finish. However it turns out that they need me to come back for the de-rig at 5pm so now I've got five hours to kill. I've ended up with a Starbucks Gingerbread latte in an internet cafe on Oxford street.

    I had a cool birthday yesterday and got some great prezzies

    A rat - I've named him Garcia
    Dumper truck racing
    The Dead 60's CD
    A cookery book
    A christmas tie (not sure about that one)
    A mug with sweeties in it

    The point of coming into the internet cafe was I'd just been in HMV and remembered my brother said he'd e-mail suggestions of what to buy his kids for Christmas to me last night, so I thought I'd come in here , find out and buy them. Paid £2 for an hour - no e-mail.

    I could have spent a fortune in HMV. It's amazing but with all of the CD's I already own (the rack in the picture next to the piano below is only a fraction of them) I can still find so many I would want to buy. Some of the artists I looked at were

    Miles Davis
    Manu Dibango
    Jah Wobble
    Jackie Leven
    Fairport Convention
    KT Tunstall

    I put Jah Wobble's Mu on my Christams list so I better not go and buy it just in case Sarah has gone back on her pledge not to buy me anything round and silver. She did say that she wouldn't buy me any CD's by people who were dead or had grey beards and Wobble isn't either of those so there is hope.

    Now what to buy my Dad for Christmas? Maybe I'll log off and go and do the last of the Christmas shopping and then come back later.

  • Happy Birthday to me!

    You know sometimes growing up I think I'm getting wiser
    And then other times I think I'm getting old

    It's my birthday today and it's nice to see that my profile has already been updated :## One of the good things about having a birthday in December is that you have had all year thinking you're 44 before you actually are so it comes as less of a shock. This is particularly useful for the big ones!

    Lookin' back on where I was one year ago today
    Laughing at the shape I'm in now.

    And what a change from last year. This time last year life sure was complicated.

    I was still facing 2 court battles with my ex-wife. I had the finance one looming after Christmas and the one for the kids had been put off until April. I had no solicitor and was representing myself.

    Sarah and I were still living in different houses.

    My ex-wife was living in the same house as me after the court had ordered that she should be allowed to move back in with me and the girls.

    The house we were meant to be buying had just been sold to someone else and we were just about to lose the people who had made an offer on the Former Matrimonial home.

    I was skint

    Sarah was pregnant and not only did very few people know we didn't even know if we would be together by the time the baby was born.

    What a difference a year makes :D

    (lyrics by Todd Snider)

  • You can tune a piano but you can't tuna fish

    Busy weekend - during which the living room furniture was rearranged twice and I was made to strip off outside the back door!

    Saturday morning Beth went off to her job at the local sandwich shop only to return 20 minutes later - turns out the woman who owns it has decided it's not worth opening on Saturdays until February. So that was the shortest lived Saturday job I've ever known - I hope she phones her up and offers her the job back in the new year.

    At lunchtime we went off to get a Christmas tree, we chose a nice looking one which cost us £30. The man offered us a bigger one for the same price but we declined. We got the tree back to the house and passed it in through the window. It was only when we put it in the stand and cut off the netting that we realised that it was bigger than it had seemed in the yard where we bought it. It wasn't too bad but we did have to cut about two inches off the top to get the fairy on. We did however have to move the sofas forward to accommodate all the branches. Still it'll look nice when we get all the lights on it.

    The rest of the day was spent shopping - for Christmas prezzies and food. I did have an awful moment when I went to pick up a quilt we had had drycleaned. I handed over my card and it was declined - aaaarrrgggggghhhhhh! I quickly handed over a credit card. How could I be overdrawn it was only the 10th - had someone taken money out of my account - worry worry worry. It was made worse by the fact that I had to go and pick one of the girls up so it was another 45 minutes before I could go to a cash point and check. Thankfully there was still money there - maybe I'd tapped my pin in wrong - phew!

    Sunday morning I had the wonderful task of trying to unblock a drain. I'd bought some rubber gloves and I tied a scarf round my nose to block out the smell. Unfortunately for me the water was deeper than the length of my gloves and so it wasn't long before it has slopped over the top - ugh. I tried everything but it still wouldn't budge. I was cold, wet, smelly and I'd banged my head on the tap. Sarah made me undress outside the backdoor and put all my clothes into a bin bag.

    Just time for a shower and a quick cuppa before I had to set off to go and pick up the piano I bought on ebay. I had to drive up to the office and pick up one of the vans and then go and collect it. Bloody hell they are heavy and to make things worse the bloke I bought it off wouldn't let us roll it across his polished wood floor. Luckily he let us slide it on his rug and once we got it out the front door and onto the trolly it was ok. Thank goodness for taillifts is all I'm saying.


    Back at the house we had to rearrange the furniture again to get the piano into the living room via the conservatory. I was helped in this endevour by a friend called Graham and afterwards a cup of tea seemed to be inadequate as a reward - may have to buy him a bottle of something. Still the piano looks nice, needs tuning obviously but seems to work - not bad for £31.50.

    In the evening we went out for a meal at a little pub in a village near Faversham. We had booked a table for 8:30 but arrived a little late. I've been going here for 7 or 8 years on and off and they've always been lovely so it was a little upsetting to be greeted with "You're late" and be told they weren't sure if we could still eat - if we had been half an hour late I could have understood but 10 minutes!?!

    In the end we have a lovely meal and as we left the door was held open for us by Shaun Williamson (Barry from Eastenders) as it is his local - nice man! The reason we went out for a meal - see my next blog!

  • Taking the piss

    Had lunch today while working at the Jumeirah Carlton Tower which is apparently acknowledged as one of London's finest hotels, situated in Cadogan Place Knightsbridge. We were doing a conference for Tranport for London - the congestion charging people.

    From room service we ordered

    3 Burgers
    1 Salmon with rice and vegtables
    3 Becks
    1 Orange Juice

    I got a few pence change out of £102

    Now it may just be me but I can't see how they can justify charging £19 for a burger and chips, especially when they add 12.5% service charge on top of that. The one that got me though was £4 for a OJ and only (I use the term losely) £3.50 for a bottle of Becks (on which duty is due.

    Who was it who said about posh hotels "Just because I'm rich doesn't mean I enjoy getting ripped off"?

    And on the subject of Transport for London I had to be in London at 9am. Normally it's either stupid o'clock in the morning which means I either have to drive or get an early train or I'm heading for a meeting at 11 o'clock. Either way I usually miss the rush hour. Today I was slap bang in the middle of it - how do people do that every day?

  • A Working Class hero is something to be

    I can't believe that it's 25 years since John Lennon died. In true JFK fashion I can remember exactly where I was when I heard the news. It was my first year at University and I was woken with the news in hushed tones by one of my housemates. I couldn't believe it and dug out the only radio I had to listen to the news.

    The hushed tones were out of respect for one of our housemates Richard, a final year accountancy student who was a huge Beatles fan. He had told us that one day when he was young his family had been in a restaurant when the Beatles came on the jukebox, his father took two pieces of cotton wool out of his pocket and put them in his ears - he'd loved the band ever since!

    Lennon on OGWT
    John Lennon on OGWT

    My earliest memory of John Lennon was on his Old Grey Whistle Test special in 1975. There were two programs I loved as a kid, OGWT was one of them Monty Python's Flying Circus was the other. My parents hated me watching both of them. I remember watching the Lennon show in the Bedroom, I suspect I wasn't meant to be watching it. I'm not entirely sure I knew who Lennon was or how rare the interview was. He played Stand by me and Slippin' and a slidin'. I also remember taping the songs with my brothers little mono cassette recorder and cheapo microphone - probably the first time I remember taping music from TV or radio.

    Many years later I was lucky enough to be in the Studio during a live broadcast of the OGWT. Sadly it was no longer presented by Whispering Bob Harris but it was still a great experience. On the show that night were the Pet Shop Boys (playing live for only the second time) And We've Got a Fuzzbox and we're gonna use it. Also that night the first showing of Peter Gabriel's Sledgehammer video.

    Pet Shop boys

    The reason I was there was that the Pet Shop Boys wanted a bank of monitors (this was still pre-video walls) behind them as they played. I was quite senior at that time within the company and pulled rank to do it. We set up the wall and some of the monitors had the output from the cameras and some from the Fairlight computer that the band were using. If you look on the video of the show you can just see my toolbox sticking out from behind the monitors.

    Forgot to add picture credit which came form this site

  • Sad Deadhead stuff - please ignore

    Fillmore boxset

    My 10 CD boxset from the 1969 Fillmore run of concerts arrived today - number 7381 (not 9613 as posted somewhere else earlier!) of a limited run of 10,000. That'll keep me busy for a while!!

    Also the aforementioned dispute regarding the downloading of live concerts from the Live music archive seems to be sorting itself out amid much finger pointing and backtracking.

    So all in all a good day for an old hippy :)

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