Friday, October 23, 2009

Lazy Blogging, Part 15.

Not been posting much recently. Sorry. I just haven't seen, read, done or drank anything worth blogging about. Life has been ploddingly predictable. I'm sure you didn't want to read about me painting the bay windows of our house.

Anyway - here's Jake Thackray. He's a bit forgotten these days, but he was one of those rare singer/songwriters who had the gift of writing songs that were at the same time beautiful and funny.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Lazy Blogging, Part 14.

Harry Nilsson: 'Jump Into The Fire'

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Broon tale

So, Newcastle Brown is (probably) off to Tadcaster. Much as I'm all for region-specific products I can't bring myself to feel anything about this, unlike the demise of Tetley. If the scary factory shown on Oz And James Drink To Britain is anything to go by, 'dog' has been made by scientists with clipboards rather than brewers with shovels since it moved over the Tyne to Gateshead in 2005. I can't remember the last time I saw anyone order a Newky, and I haven't touched the stuff in years - it tastes like cold 2p coins to me.

However, I have a bit of a history with Newcastle Brown. It was standard-issue kit when I was a footsoldier in the Grebo Wars of the late 80s. The three or so bottles I consumed every saturday at the much-missed Bradford indie club Tumblers always guaranteed a decent kip on the night bus back home. So decent, in fact, that a couple of times I woke up in the Keighley And District garage being driven through the bus washer.

Monday, October 12, 2009



The picture above is one of the three Evening Standard pitchers near Monument tube station, taken on the day London was awarded the Olympic Games, and the day before the 7/7 bombings. Until April one of his neigbouring sellers was Ian Tomlinson.

Hard to imagine, but the day may be at hand when London no longer has its Standard vendors. From today, the 182-year-old paper will be a free sheet, with the vendors handing it out, rather than selling it. Along with the news, they'll still be dispensing their famously robust opinions (whether you want them or not) , weather forecasts, betting tips and directions to tourists - but for how long remains to be seen. This is a huge experiment which could easily see this dismal newspaper's collapse. By far the best thing about it is the paper's public face - the vendors - some of whom have been trading from family pitches for most of the Standard's existence.

Friday, October 9, 2009

The Darkness


Despite the minicab drivers, boy racers, weekend millionaires in hired BMW M3s, hooded yoofs who think it's wussy to use pedestrian crossings, the weather, stray dogs, falling branches, bendy buses, pizza delivery mopeds, phone-yakking Audi drivers, spilled diesel, National Express coaches and cyclists without lights, riding home on my PX is stil preferable to the Kafkaesque bureaucratic hoops my employer makes you jump through to get a cab home, even when working very late.

The ride last night was a quiet one, but I had more near-misses than usual, and the pavements were full of shouting drunks. Near my house a silver Golf missed me by inches, as it cut the corner of the junction I waited at. There was more shouting from a group of Eastern Europeans saying their goodnights nearby. A couple of minutes from home some nutcase also had a rant, this time jumping off the kerb to point at me with both hands. I gave him two fingers and carried on.

Hang on. What did he say?

"You haven't got your lights on"

I stopped, turned around and trundled back to the bloke, apologised for my two-fingered salute and thanked him for the warning. Fortunately he was OK about it.

So - sorry to all those "shouting drunks" and sorry to the group of Eastern Europeans. And sorry to all those drivers surprised by a dark blue Vespa looming out of nowhere. Oops.

Friday, October 2, 2009

40 Beers, Part 5

In the interests of blog-advancement TIW will drink anything. Even beer of the type not supped since I could convince a rightly-dubious Mr Chad that I was old enough to buy 4 tins of teen party-tastic Gold Cross Lager, Challenge Bitter or some other product from the likes of the Federation Brewery. I soon grew out of it - Timothy Taylor was just down the road. Even at college I couldn't drink sub-budget beer. When my mates and I were surviving on boiled veg flavoured with Bovril we would club together for McKewans or Tennents. One night we cut the bottom off the sofa, and along with a 1985 Hoseasons Boating Brochure found enough change to buy two bottles of Hook Norton.

So. Here we are with:

16) "Produced In UK": Tesco Value Bitter (tin). Greenish copper body, tight off-white lasting head. Fairly unpleasant 'rubber' nose with the merest hint of unwashed socks. Very, very thin - almost tasteless. Faint metallic finish with wrong-end-of-telescope traces of hop bitterness. Ironically, this tastes more like a very cheap lager than a very cheap bitter. Not really disgusting, and at 2.1% just a bit pointless. I'm not somebody who drinks to get drunk, but it would be nice to have some flavour if there's no chance of getting even slightly merry. I mean, what can you expect much at 94p for four cans? Probably comes into its own as a slug catcher and I've heard of its efficacy for making sunflowers grow.


Lazy Blogging, Part 13.

Flight Of The Conchords: 'We're Both In Love With A Sexy Lady'