A big long music and radio rant

Here’s a thing, the 1999 hit Drinkin’ in LA‘ by the never seen again group Bran Van 3000 contained these words: arse and butt-kiss.

When Radio 1 plays the song (as it has been playing a cover version of the song as part of Radio 1’s forthcoming birthday celebrations) these words aren’t faded or bleeped out.

We get them.

Yet when Radio 1 plays any single by Eminem or Dr Dre with the same words…

Yep,  they are faded or bleeped out.

Why’s that then?

Is someone at the BBC being censorious?

Moving on…

As mentioned, Radio 1’s 40th birthday is up and coming and as part of the celebration HardFi have covered Britney Spears Toxic‘.

You’d have thought it would be rubbish, huh?

A crappy group and a rubbish song previously sung by a relatively mediocre female vocalist with an over-inflated sense of self-importance?

Yeah, bound to be a terrible song.



They’ve put together an excellently rocky guitar part and brilliant drums. Sadly the vocals are slightly weak and ropey but HardFi still managed to turn a mediocre song in to something worth listening to.

Which brings me to something totally not worth listening to:

Sean Kingston and Beautiful Girl‘, a record I can only describe as part rap, part rubbish so we’re going to call it Craporama!

I was tempted to do a full lyric analysis but instead here’s an overview:

You got me suicidal
when you say
it’s over.’


What do these lyrics say about the mental state of the author?

How about the verse that goes:
It was back in ’99 watching movies all the time when I went away for doing my first crime.’

Fantastic, but it doesn’t end there, oh no!

And then when I came out they moved me down south’

They presumably meaning the legal/justice system?

What can this first crime have been to get a custodial sentence?

Violent rape?


How about stalking the beautiful girl? Think this is why it isn’t going to work, maybe?

It could be.

So let’s look at those lyrics we have Sean Kingston getting dumped by his beautiful girl and then he’s feeling suicidal.

He spends his day watching movies and he stalks the girl who dumped him to the point where he becomes a psycho stalker and he gets locked up.

When he gets released it’s on condition that he has to live in a different part of the country.

And people are buying this complete and utter crap?


As if that’s not bad enough here’s another rant…

Oh c’mon radio people!

If I wanted to listen to ELO’s Mr Blue Sky‘ (but I don’t, OK?) I’d get it out of the collection; I wouldn’t spend money on a very poor cover version Goodbye Mr A‘ by the startlingly unoriginal The Hoosiers.

Who are they trying to kid?

And who are BBC Radio 1 and Radio 2 trying to kid by playing this pap?

While I’m in full rant mode…

Here are some more brilliant lyrics this time from the chorus of a song by Reverend and The Makers that’s getting a lot of Radio 1 airplay…

E said e loves me
E said e needs me
E said to Keeley
E finks I’m special.

E didn’t love me
E didn’t need me
Got off wiv Keeley
She finks she’s special.

If these words aren’t the epitome of our age I don’t know what is.  We have here the ultimate anthem of chavdom.

Be afraid people, be very afraid.


The silver screen

We’ve been to the cinema twice in the last couple of weeks.

The first time we watched Transformers.

It’s a good film in a ‘beat ’em up’ ‘screenful of boys’ toys’ kind of way.

Even if the whole film was one long euphemism for gridiron (American football).

There was one awful cut towards the end sequence of the scene where the two lead robots (names) were one moment trading blows and then, after a brief glimpse away to some off-centre action, the good robot was down (and temporarily) out. I wonder if the missing sequence was deemed too violent for the certificate?

There were slightly less than a dozen sequences of set-piece action but, oh boy, what action!

But on the dumbing down front:

Sadly the entire synopsis of the film could have been summed up in less than 20 seconds.

And why do the Americans feel the need to detail a location (e.g. ‘Qatar, the Middle East’)?

That’s as opposed to some other well-known, desert-ridden Qatar – the location of which Americans might get confused over?

But don’t get me wrong.

It wasn’t a bad film, in fact some of the cinematography was excellent âand most of the CGI was below the intrusive level.

The second film we’ve seen recently was the third in the Bourne trilogy.

And I was, frankly, disappointed.

I know it’s not intended to be high art but I did feel that the ending was lacklustre, unimaginative and as predictable as yesterday’s cricket score.

Transformers: Not a bad film, what you see is what you get.

The Bourne Ultimatum: Lacking ambition, could have been so much better.

Bookish reviewish

I received an email last week from an author asking me to review his second book – shortly due to be published.

He’s given me some passage excerpts which look very good; based on the little that I’ve seen so far it seems safe to say he has a flair for the descriptive and the ability to capture the moment.

I hope the promise lives up to the end product.


A different slavery

Here’s an interesting thing that comes to you from one of my colleagues who mentioned an event that occurred a couple of hundred years ago.

In 1631 almost all of the inhabitants of Baltimore, Ireland, were captured by African pirates.

The captives were taken back to Africa and sold in to slavery.

Apparently one of my colleagues is related to a survivor.

In the years between 1500 and 1800 the African slavers regularly raided towns and villages from Sicily to Ireland (Devon and Cornwall being particularly regular targets).

How many people were abducted isn’t known but one academic estimates that between 1,000,000 to 1,250,000 might have been taken.

What a story lies here waiting to be unpicked!

If I were a historical novelist I’d be very interested in this; but I’m not, I’m just inquisitive.


Sweet dreams

I’m so lucky.

The Lovely S is back.

On Thursday evening -her first night back – we fell in to bed I don’t know when and slept at I don’t know what time.

But I do know that she fell asleep in my arms and I held her, kissed and stroked her for a while afterwards until I let sleep overtake me.

When the alarm went of at 05.15 I felt great.

I slid out of bed ten minutes later (having spent the time just holding her, listening to her sleep-filled breathing) still feeling great -but the time I’d showered and eaten I felt as though I was going to explode.

Two hours later I arrived at work.

And I felt unbelievably excellent.

The Lovely S is back.


As if that doesn’t take my personal satisfaction levels to previously undreamed of heights…

The evening before yesterday I arrived home to a prepared candle-lit dinner, a bottle of chilled champagne, dimmed lighting and softly playing music.

The Lovely S was in the kitchen serving our beautifully cooked meal -though she was dressed so… well just so… that I could hardly keep my hands off her.

Not my birthday, no.

Not our anniversary either.

Not any kind of a red-letter day – just because she wanted to.

That’s how lucky I am!


I’m sitting on the couch pondering the injustices that life has dealt me today.

Injustice the first; I have just realised that my wife belches better than I do.

I mean, how pathetic am I to be bettered in the belching department by one as young and beautiful as she?

After the fantastic meal she cooked me this evening we sat on the couch and watched Studio 69 60 on Sunset Strip while we finished the remains of yesterday evening’s bottle of champagne – mixed with lemonade.

So I should be well stoked up with nature’s little bubbles, yeah?



And that brings me to…

Injustice the second; I stupidly left behind a work of blogging art that I squandered laboured over in my lunch break today.

My own fault really.

I was a little hyper, went upstairs for a large latté and my afternoon tin of Red Bull, came back down and just plowed in to it.


Or so I thought at the time.

But right now I’m not so sure that an observation on flushing the toilet after urinating has quite the literary appeal – or wit – it had earlier today.

Injustice the third; actually this isn’t an injustice, more a case of stupidity brought on by…

Oh I don’t know…

Yes I do!

Brought on by a case of genetics!

Yep indeedy!

This thing was an active of stupidity that I can quite clearly blame on my… (pauses whilst mentally searching the family tree for a suitable victim)…

Cousin Llewellyn.

Yeah, this one’s because of my cousin Llewellyn because if it hadn’t’ve been for him I (probably) wouldn’t have got in to that indelicate situation at the convent in Abergavenny that involved me, a first-floor window, a large bottle of Quink (black, I seem to remember, half a pint) and Sister Mary Joseph walking underneath.

So injustice the third/stupidity the first; I paid a lump of money in to somebody else’s account.

Well der, of course it was supposed to go in to somebody else’s account.

Just not the one where I ended up sending it.

That bloody Llewellyn.

All his fault.

So in the absence of a slightly dubious piece that I worked on whilst chomping on my sandwich, here’s a blog brought to you through the power of mime…
















Thank you.


Why is it now OK not to flush the toilet after one has had a pee when if I had failed to flush as a child I’d have been battered to hell and back?  Is this really the power of environmental change or does someone’s deity have a really malicious sense of humour – possibly involving Sister Mary Joseph, a first floor window and a half-pint bottle of Quink? Black?

Horses: chiropractor, vet’s bill and competiton news

After last week’s ‘sticky but got gradually better’ experience at Bissell Wood cross country course, schooling young Vinnie, I felt things weren’t quite ‘right’ with the boy wonder (in a ‘can’t quite put my finger on things’ kind of way).

So on Tuesday afternoon Richard Maxwell came to the yard – and Vin and Beech were on the list.

With Vin he found a slight tightness in both shoulders but his poll (neck/head joint) was so far out of alignment the people in the next county could hear the ‘crack’ when it all slipped back in to place.

Max said it would have affected his way of going because he’d have been so uncomfortable – not enough to make him noticeably unsound or lame, just enough to make him reluctant to work.

Which sums up his performance at Bissell Wood.


Yesterday we schooled lightly – flatwork – in the arena and he felt good, back to normal.

Today we went to Allenshill for two dressage classes; Prelim 10 and Prelim 18.

And the judge I sat with last Sunday was judging today!

Bottom line: Vinne was a superstar and we have two more rosettes for our collection; a third for Prelim 10 and a fifth for Prelim 18.

In fact the three horses that went to Allenshill today from my yard kind of cleared them out; we came first, second and third in the P10 and first and fifth in the P18.

Pretty good, huh?

At the moment I’m toying with the idea of taking Vinnie cross country schooling next weekend at Bissell Wood again.

Meanwhile back at the yard – when we arrived from Allenshill – slightly (!) annoyed that I couldn’t put Vinnie’s dressage saddle and bridle away.

Some total numpty had managed to put the combination lock on the wrong way round so that one can’t get the correct numbers (or see when the correct numbers) are in position.

And no, turning the lock around doesn’t help because turning the lock around is impossible – the lock being encased in a five-sided cube to protect it from nasty people with bolt cutters.

So Vinnie’s dressage saddle is sitting on the spare chair in the lounge, his bridle is hanging up in the cupboard under the stairs and the girth to his saddle is in the car.

What is it with some people?

Are they incapable of working out the correct way of threading a lock through a hasp?

Back to Tuesday again…

I also asked Max to look at Beech because he’s crabbing sideways again.

Surprisingly he found nothing significant, a slight tightness in an off-hind hock. So I don’t know what the hell to do to correct this; need to think about it.

Meanwhile the bank manager will be rubbing his hands with glee; Beech’s bill for his broken leg treatment has arrived.



Anyway, I’m off to bed now.

With the competition at Allenshill it’s been one hell of an action packed day.

And we managed to watch all of Saturday evening’s ‘catch up’ episodes of Heroes!


This month’s book group

I never fail to be amazed by the capacity of our species to induce surprise.

Two things astounded me so much at this week’s brookgroup that for what seemed like an age when each was revealed I was actually lost for words.

The first related to something that happened last time out when a member of the group said that she had been reading a novel which sounded very interesting.

After her summary I mentioned that it sounded right up my street and made a point to note the author’s name and the title of the book.

So surprise number one occurred when, at this week’s meeting, she produced a copy of the book and gave it to me, saying I could borrow it for as long as I needed. From anyone else this would be generous enough but the person in question usually comes across as one who is slightly aloof, a tiny bit prickly and very formal.

It seemed such an unexpected gesture of… friendship?… that I was quite staggered.

To get to the second surprising thing I need to go further back than last time.

At a meeting a few months I mentioned one of the works I had just finished reading ‘off the reading list’, was a novel by Adam Hall.

The Lovely S later told me that I’d raved about this novel in a (for me) typically overenthusiastic manner.

I do like Adam Hall’s style. He wrote under two names -his real identity of Elleston Trevor and the pseydonym: Adam Hall. And he wrote completely differently in the guise of each author.

Adam Hall author wrote sharp, detailed, punchy espionage/thriller novels.

Elleston Trevor wrote slightly flowery, very literary, a little over-grammatical works.

Ironically one of Elleston Trevor’s novels was turned in to a hugely successful Hollywood film with an international cast that included Ernest Borgnine, James Stewart, Richard Attenborough, Peter Finch, Hardy Krüger and George Kennedy. And how’s that for a top rate cast?

So imagine my surprise when another bookgroup member, one who I’d viewed as slightly prickly and a little aloof, told me that she had tracked down one of the out of print novels by Adam Hall from a supplier in London, had ordered it, received it and finished reading it and wished to thank me for introducing her to a work and a strand of genre that she wouldn’t normally have picked up.


And then she said that she enjoyed the author so much she would be ordering other copies of his work.

How cool is that?

How cool are both of these things?

And also, how cool are these people?

Anyway the bookgroup evening -with me sitting in for The Lovely S who was being all academic in Wales.

Went really well.

They indulged me and (figuratively) held my hand.

No-one walked out, no-one threw food at me or booed me.

So in terms of how it went I’d say it was a moderate success, except…

Black Swan Green -the book of the month.

It took a bit of a pounding from the group; I’m not going to do a full review.

I’ll just say that the consensus of opinion was that Black Swan Green was over-long, carried too many bookmarks and could have been written more sympathetically.


Counting the cost of miles

Despite any impression to the contrary you may have gained, I am a leaden-footed, hyperactive, high-octane fuelled, petrol-headed speedfreak.

I do, I’ll admit, think that those who dawdle along the roads constitute a risk almost as large to the rest of the road-using community as the 17-25 age group of male motorists do.

But no, I’m not a speed-junkie.

My daily commute to Wiltshire takes me down the local mostly-dual-carriageway ‘A’ road for a few miles and then on to the M5 for a while.

When I leave the M5 I use a couple of other dual-carriageway ‘A’ roads.

And I don’t hammer it.

In fact I’m very restrained – I average 60mph for the whole trip but, if I’m honest, I like to keep the speedometer at the 56mph mark; it’s the most fuel-efficient speed for my car.

So I’ve begun plotting my miles and fuel used to calculate cost per mile and miles per gallon.

And it’s interesting reading.

Look, have I ever done anything to give you the impression that I’m not nerdy?


Over the last three refuels I find I’m averaging 41.55mpg, at a £/mile cost of £0.10p…

Which really isn’t bad at all!

There’s a notice up at work from someone with an LPG-converted Rover for sale…

If I had the dosh he’s asking for it I’d probably snatch his hand off; the prospect of reducing my fuel purchase price down from £0.92/lit to £0.41/lit whilst increasing the range of a gallon beyond 45mpg is very attractive.

But the bottom line here for me is…

Keep driving consistently; don’t hammer the speedo; avoid over-rapid acceleration.

I’m aiming to better the performance indicators I’ve collected so far.


Baby I got your number

Sit down.

It’s a rant.

I won’t be long.

And yes, I know I’ve done this one before.

This rant is subtitled: People shouldn’t fcuk around with their vehicle registration plates!


Stop it folks.

Stop it, stop it, stop it.


At a well-known traffic-halting bottle-neck in Gloucestershire I was ‘parked’ next to a lorry.

I looked at the number  plate.

And did a double-take.

I had to do a double-take because at first glance I couldn’t work out what the number plate was.

Oh, I could read it easily.

I just couldn’t understand what it was supposed to be.

Can you?

Can you tell what it is yet (as Rolf Harris would say)?