Tuesday, 28 February 2006

You Belong To Me

I love the Kate Rusby version of this song, and would like to hear the others. Beautiful (Baby).

See the pyramids along the Nile
See the sunrise from a tropic isle
Just remember darlin' all the while
You belong to me

See the market place in Old Algiers
Send me photographs and souvenirs
Just remember when a dream appears
You belong to me

I'll be so alone without you
Maybe you'll be lonesome too.

Fly the ocean in a silver plane
See the jungle when it's wet with rain
Just remember 'til you're home again
You belong to me

I’ll be so alone without you
Maybe you'll be lonesome too

See the pyramids along the Nile
See the sunrise from a tropic isle
Just remember darlin' all the while
You belong to me

You belong to me
You belong to me

Monday, 27 February 2006

That’s Entertainment

Last night’s gig was massively enjoyable. The Ministry of Mirth - a group of Oxford students - hosts a regular comedy evening in the Wheatsheaf pub, and they were kind enough to invite me along. It was a joy from start to finish.

They had a really friendly, buzzy, laughing loudly crowd, and Charlie the MC had it all running smoothly. The quality of the acts was OUTSTANDING – I laughed heartily from start to finish. We hung out afterwards, and I was struck by how unpretentious they all were – student performers are often unbearable - but I hope these guys will become good friends of mine.

I was very happy with my own set. I was terribly nervous in the build-up, as I decided with strong resolve that I had to have a looser plan and ad lib more. That is a bit of a reach from delivering pre-prepared stuff, indeed to a certain extent a whole new challenge. I don’t think my delivery has been exceptionally wooden in the past, but I felt it would be more fun for the audience, and especially for me, if I didn’t know exactly what was going to come out of my mouth when I got on stage.

It worked splendidly, and kudos to the Ministry of Mirth gang for putting me in a good frame of mind, and all those friends who made the effort to come and support me. I’m very lucky on that front, and indeed several others.

Oliver’s tangible disappointment that I didn’t bomb, allied as it was with praise for not doing so, was one of the highlights of the night.

Saturday, 25 February 2006

Ministry Of Mirth

I will be one of the acts at the Ministry of Mirth on Sunday night. It takes place at the Wheatsheaf, which is on the High Street in Oxford, and starts at 8pm. It would be good to see you there.

I had an interesting time at Capital Radio yesterday, and my set will be podcast next month.

Microkinnock

Another glorious post from Nate Rusby:

I've always quite liked Neil Kinnock. This doesn't sit entirely comfortably with some of my other beliefs. I don't like ginger people, I'm not that keen on the Welsh and I think the European parliament is a waste of time and money. In fact I concede that my liking of Lord Kinnock is somewhat irrational and I'm surprising myself by coming to his defence. My hatred for imperial measurements however, is entirely rational. They are a nonsense.

I have a reasonably mathematical brain, a sound capacity for mental arithmetic, and an average memory, but I am unable to quickly tell you how many feet or yards are in a mile. I have to look it up on the Internet or, more usually, give up. I have just checked and the answer is 1760 yards in a mile. Hardly surprising that I can't remember this. 1760 is a stupid number. Even with this information to hand, it takes me at least 30 seconds to work out that 3 miles (my journey to work) is 5280 yards. If I want to go on and discover how many feet in 3 miles, I have to multiply this figure by 3. It doesn't take that long, but it does require some mental effort on my part to reach 15840 feet in 3 miles. I should continue this further and attempt to calculate the number of inches in 3 miles, but I went to school in the 80's and therefore don't know my 12 times table, so this whole thing is beginning to seem like quite hard work and I have inevitably given up. Hard work is to be shunned at all times, so I'd rather, as Neil Kinnock suggests, somebody else did some hard work and changed all of our roadsigns into kilometres. I like multiplying by 10, 100 and 1000. All you need to do is put zeros on the end. Piece of piss. I know my journey to work is roughly 5km and I can therefore tell you it is also roughly half a million centimetres. Easy. The process took seconds.

Which brings me on to where myself and Lord Kinnock differ. I want to go further. Seconds, minutes and hours are stupid as well. I'm not too keen on there being 365 days in a year either, but I begrudgingly accept that altering the number of times this planet rotates on its axis while it makes one full rotation of the sun, is probably not a valid use of taxpayers’ money. So 365 days in a year has been unfortunately thrust upon us and even the mighty Lord Kinnock can't do anything about that. After that though, it's up to us. Who decided a day should be divided into 24 equal hours and this then further subdivided by 60 and 360 to give us minutes and seconds? Well, 360 seconds spent on Google tells me it was the Babylonians. A civilisation too backward to invent the zero and who based their entire numerical system on a base of 60. I don't know whether the Babylonians were so inbred they had 60 fingers and toes, but 60 is clearly another rubbish number. Google had some stuff about it being a great number because it has lots of factorials or something, but I didn't instantly understand it, so I gave up.

My new proposal is the day being renamed the neil, divided into 10 kinnocks and then further divided by 10 and 100 to give us 100 cenitkinnocks in a neil and obviously 1000 millikinnocks in a neil. The smallest practical unit of time is the microkinnock (of which there are 1000000 in a Neil) and is equivalent to 0.0864 seconds.

Now, I realise there are financial implications for adopting such a radical new system. But I think we can afford it if we are able to adopt both km's and kinnocks before the Olympics. We will lull Johnny Foreigner in to a false sense of security and familiarity when he is driving to the Olympic stadiums and sees speed limits signs displaying 200km on our motorways. The police can then lie smugly in wait with their newly installed speed traps, to extract money from our unsuspecting guests when we inform them that the limit is in fact 200km per kinnock, not their antiquated and backwards system of km per hour. We will cover the £75million it costs to change the roadsigns in a few neils and maybe even raise enough to do something about that irritatingly imperial planetary orbit of ours.

Thursday, 23 February 2006

Kilometrestones

I saw this thanks to Conservative Home.

To paraphrase the timeless words of Oz in Auf Wiedersehen Pet:

I have two words for Lord Kinnock and Lord Howe. The second one is "Off".

Wednesday, 22 February 2006

Cutting All Ties

This is an engaging article.

You may be surprised to learn that I hate ties. Certainly I have mocked the Tory modernisers for the rather cack-handed way they have ditched theirs. Indeed a suit without a tie can look a little incomplete (although maybe we will cease to feel like that soon). And yes, if one is getting dressed up for a big event a tie looks good. But I hate wearing them as a matter of course. Always have.

They serve no essential function. They are foppish. They are uncomfortable (I despise having my top button done up). They can be hazardous. Apparently they are also harbingers of germs. And aesthetically, I actually think an open collar looks best.

And why should men only be considered to be adequately attired if they are wearing a suit and a tie? Women have a much greater range than men in terms of office wear; they also get away with being much more informal too, in my experience. (And they’re also more likely to get away with being thick.) We men shouldn’t have to resort to the kaftan or some ethnic minority garb to break free of the suit and tie.

I’m not talking about regulation here, but I do believe that people should be allowed to wear what makes them happy and comfortable, so long as it is not obscene. I’ve always opposed school uniform for that reason. I am much happier with a beard, and I have decided that I will never shave it off for work (unless for some f-ked up reason I end up being drafted into the armed forces). I’m pleased to say that the sort of middle management types who would try to insist that I shave could not now afford to hire me anyway!

Wearing a tie because you have to is a sign that someone else is your master. Celebrities wear what the Hell they want, and so do rich businessmen like Bill Gates and Richard Branson (who I suppose are celebrities too). The tie, when imposed upon one, is a noose around one's neck. As for establishments that insist on the wearing of ties, or the absence of trainers, 9 times out of 10 they are populated by chavs, and it is a desperate measure to try to civilise the place. A truly classy joint will welcome you with a warm smile as you swan in bedecked in a tracksuit.

The final point is this: dressing up REALLY smart is fun. Gordon Brown is an oaf for refusing to wear white tie, and so are people who want to ban black tie. I love getting on the proper gear, including the tie, for special occasions. (By the way, clip-on ties are vulgar. Security guards and others for whom a real tie is a hazard should not be expected to wear ties at all.) We should relish the wearing of ties as the sign of a big event. But as a day to day garment the tie has nothing to recommend it. It seems to be on the way out as an instrument of repression, and I for one am delighted.

YEAH!

I was having an interesting conversation with a friend today, and got to thinking about how Israel is perceived in the media. I’m no expert, but I’m sure that media coverage wasn’t so hostile ten years ago. If I’m right, why the shift? I don’t think it can be fully explained by changes in policy. Here’s the conclusion I’ve reached.

The British mainstream media, far from being controlled by large corporations, as the Left contends (or Jews, as lunatics contend), is dominated by left wingers. That’s true of the BBC, and the fact that the Beeb genuinely doesn’t believe it makes it all the more annoying and yet hilarious. It’s also true of papers like The Guardian and The Independent, which have, of course, every right to be left wing.

This is the deal with far too many on the Left: they take to its absurd limits the English tradition of always cheering for the underdog. Although in the Left’s case, it’s whoever they PERCEIVE is the underdog. This explains some extraordinary positions, and apparent inconsistencies.

This perception is often informed by base prejudice. Thus the fact that people who work in the countryside are among the worst paid in the nation matters not. Those who hunt or tend the land are thought of as wealthy Tories, and hated by the Left. Bone idle striking Tube drivers meanwhile, who actually earn more than I ever have, are the future heroes of the proletarian Marxist revolution. As such they are to be lauded.

Islamic fundamentalists, as I hate to call them (it suggests they are the true keepers of the faith, which is an uncomfortable conclusion) are being courted by the likes of Ken Livingstone (whom I think we can still call a Leftie, even though he’s basically a populist). The two groups wouldn’t seem to have much in common.

On the one hand we have Lefties, who are preoccupied by gay rights, who are often or even usually atheist, who purport to believe in free speech, who rabidly call for “abortion rights” and sexual liberation for women, and who claim to support diversity. On the other, we have a group of people who say they want to impose a faith on everyone, who want to kill all British and American troops and all Jews, who condemn homosexuality in the strongest manner possible, and who want to force women to wear burkas. Why do they feel common cause?

The fundamentalists are happy to be given a platform by the Lefties so that they can spout their poison. That explains that. But why do the Lefties give them that platform? Because the Lefties see the fundamentalists as the underdog.

This actually explains everything, I reckon. Sixty years after the Holocaust, Jews do not look so vulnerable to the Left. They have built a successful country in the middle of the desert, which contrasts markedly with the poverty stricken nations next door. Jews DO perform disproportionately well – not because of a conspiracy, but because Jewish societies teach the importance of secular learning and achievement as well as religious learning. It should be a source of inspiration to the rest of us.

People who would report you to the police for making a silly joke about the Welsh will make remarks about Americans that they would condemn as grotesquely racist if made by someone else about someone of any other nationality. This is because America is overwhelming more successful than any other nation. It is sheer inverted snobbery and bigotry.

“No”, you may cry. “I dislike America because they interfere with the rest of the world.” Bollocks. You’re the first to blame George Bush for the AIDS crisis in Africa, and the first to say he should have done more to help the Tsunami victims, and you’d be the first to moan if America reverted back to her old isolationist ways. And if America hadn’t broken free of isolationism in the nick of time, you’d be speaking German right now. Oh yeah, and if we tried Islamic terrorists according to the "norms of their culture", then we'd end up cutting their hands off.

Perceived power is why people will make the most outrageous remarks about the Church of England, but seek to ban me from asserting that I think refusing to eat pork, or refusing to mix milk and meat, or chanting when slaughtering an animal is sheer superstition. The fact that white middle class Christians are seen by the Left to hold the reins of power in this country is why the Police, who are in the grip of left wing terror, persecute a little old man for holding up a banner condemning homosexuality, and refuse to round up people in Trafalgar Square openly calling for British subjects to be murdered.

We need to stand up and say a collective “F-k You” to the Left. (Sorry I have to censor myself, but if I don’t your firewall will do it for me and you won’t see this at all.) We won’t stand for this nonsense.

We don’t believe that Israel should be wiped off the map, although we don’t applaud every action of the Israeli state. We don’t think that anyone should be able to shield themselves from any and all mockery, even if they do have strong beliefs – free speech is more important than reverence. We agree with Dennis Miller – it is obscene to call Bush “Hitler” and be indifferent about an evil dictator with a moustache who murdered as many people as he could, and who is only awaiting trial thanks to the war on terror. We deprecate the abuse of Iraqi prisoners, but we reject utterly the notion that such behaviour is par for the course, unlike with the old Iraqi regime, where it was a matter of state policy.

We don’t think people who are already well paid should have carte blanche to throw the country into chaos by striking on spurious grounds. We don’t think the Government should devote hundreds of hours of Parliamentary time to banning the hunting of vermin whilst launching assault after assault on people in the countryside. We don’t give a shit whether the UN delegations from Cameroon or Luxembourg vote in favour of or against us taking the action necessary to defend ourselves from our enemies. And we don’t think that calling a book Stupid White Men is big or clever.

A-WHOO!

Monday, 20 February 2006

Another Milestone

I have some exciting news. Capital Radio have invited me to their studio on Friday, where I will be recorded in front of a studio audience. This session will then be podcast over the Internet. I must say it’s pretty funking cool, and I am rather excited. Thanks to Mac for greasing the wheels.

I believe that the podcasting begins in March, so watch this space. I will, of course, put up a link when it’s out there.

I am on at the Wheatsheaf in Oxford this Sunday night. Steadily, I am making progress.

I have just realised that each of these paragraphs begins with “I”. How frightful I am becoming. How are you?

Sunday, 19 February 2006

The Spy Who Loved Them

Sometimes it’s good to do something absolutely crazy. Like working in an environment that should be utterly hostile. I did that last week.

Ruskin College, alma mater of my old friend John Prescott, has very strong links to the trade unions and is a hotbed of Leftism. Inevitably I ended up there last week doing some temp work! I am about to start a new and very exciting full time job, and so I was just keeping the old cash flow flowing.

Everyone there was delightful. I told them about my political background, and they were charming about it. I brought in the Daily Mail, and they didn’t bat an eyelid. They were welcoming, polite, funny and all round great eggs. Which just goes to show – you should keep an open mind, even when being stridently confident that left wing politics are the cause of most that is wrong with the world!

Tuesday, 14 February 2006

Heads Up

Gentlemen,

Even if the lady in your life assented to your proposition that "Valentine's Day is just a big commercial exercise that has nothing to do with romance, and so we shouldn't bother sending cards or buying presents", SHE DIDN'T MEAN IT. She was testing you. This is true in all cases.

Do not fail that test.

Sunday, 12 February 2006

Good Job

Hogwash at the Hogshead went well. It reaffirmed what a great guy Mac – the compere – is, and for the first time I enjoyed myself on stage. For my first two gigs I was inevitably rather nervous, and as the second one didn’t go as well as I’d hoped (although the more I listen to the tape the more I realise it wasn’t that bad), I was a bit disappointed. However, I have bumped into people who were at the Oxford gig, and they have been generous with praise.

It really came together in London. A great crowd of friends came, and having fun with them and watching the other acts got me really geed up. I also made a decision not to over prepare this time, but also not to be afraid to recycle some material, given that hardly anyone has heard it already. Mac, who lest we forget is inexperienced himself and yet did a splendid job as compere, created a very warm atmosphere, and once again the other comics were universally agreeable. I knew it was going to be a good night, and so it was.

One of the best acts on the night was a guy going under the name Jethro Tull. He was wildly funny and outrageous, and I look forward to seeing him again. It is only through checking through some old emails that I have realised that he is also Aaron Barschak. Little did I realize that I was on the same bill as someone so famous!

Wednesday, 8 February 2006

Funny Ha Ha (Hopefully)

I am on stage again tomorrow (Thursday) night. Do come along if you fancy a night of comedy. It is at the Hogshead on Lisle Street, off Leicester Square. Get there before 8:30 to get a seat.

I’m going to try and be a bit punchier than I was in Oxford. “Less is More” is my new motto. Fewer reps in powerlifting, fewer words on stage. That – and not being so scripted – is the plan.

Good Result

He had this coming.

It is not necessary to be a Koranic scholar to form a view on all of this. How faithful to the original texts violent and peaceful Muslims respectively are is irrelevant. There is plenty of blood and thunder in the Old Testament.

If you’re peaceful, you’re OK by me. If you’re not, I want to see you either jailed or deported. Religious belief per se is irrelevant.

Tuesday, 7 February 2006

I Have Something To Say

Freedom of speech should extend up to but not include the point where terrorist violence is advocated. Anyone who breaks this rule should be arrested.

That is all.
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