Sunday, December 17, 2006

mark is away

Going home for Christmas today then.

It's an odd place. You don't get woken up at 4am by drunks passing by your flat, the street's are seldom covered with sporadic patches of vomit, and - most bizarrely - they haven't even got the internet yet.

Bizarre notion I know. But as a consequence, I'll be taking a couple of weeks holiday from the whole blogging thing. Tune back in January to see if dad really did get his hand stuck up the turkey, if my brother drank too much sherry at new year and came on to a distant relative, and if my mum farted again and blamed it on the dog. Which would work one hell of a lot better if we had ever had a dog. Or any pets for that matter.

Merry Christmas everybody!
Mark x

Saturday, December 16, 2006

the christmas blog

I'm feeling festive today, I have to admit.

Last night was set up to be something of a big deal: we were off to The Warehouse Project to see Zane Lowe's Hope Taping Tour.

The night didn't start well. It was a wet night and, following a spate of bickering with the guys, I was stupid enough to fall on my arse while walking across some cobble stones. I wouldn't realise for another 2 hours, but my debit card, drivers licence and University ID card all fell out at the same time.

When we got in the warehouse and I realised, a frantic search was followed by me calling up Natwest to cancel my card (makes me glad at least that I was geeky enough to save the 24-hour emergency number in my phone ages ago). I wondered back inside to join in the fun, where Simian Mobile Disco were doing a good disco set. In good time The Futureheads came on to do an appropriately short, but also pretty dull, headline set. The three or four well known singles got me dancing, but it wasn't enough to get me out of what by then was a pretty foul mood.

Wasn't it a joy and a relief therefore, when 5 minutes into Zane Lowe's DJ set it became very clear that it was to be something very special indeed. It was without question the most intelligently constructed, finely executed DJ set I've ever witnessed. Just about every track was a masterful selection, as he cut and spliced them in to each other with breathless pace and often ingenious results.

Mmmm, thanks Zane. On the way home I took a detour to see if I could find my missing cards amongst the aforementioned cobbled stones. I found my now useless bank card, but there was no sign of the others, somewhat ironically.

simon saves christmas

So today I headed into town at 4 o'clock to do my Christmas shopping. Wouldn't normally do it on a Saturday, but Manchester's shops stay open until 8, so there was plenty of time to wonder about in fairly quiet surroundings. There was though, the problem of having no access to money after last night. Luckily Simon said he could meet me in town to give me the £67 he owes me for various tickets over the last few weeks.

3 hours later, and that was Christmas shopping 2006 done with. I reckon I've done pretty well this year too, which is nice. The other thing about having no money is that even if Gamestation pull their fingers out their bottoms and get my i-pre-ordered-it-ages-ago Wii console in stock, I won't actually be able to buy it. Not that they actually will, I go home tomorrow. It's looking like I'll have to get the train back to Manchester next week for a day to pick it up. The hairy pig swill drinking mongooses.

christmas in the muldoon household

It should be a weird one this year, namely because the small company my dad has worked for the last God-knows-how-many-years, and that he happens to own 20% of, is about 2.4 centimeters from going bankrupt. As a consequence, it's going to be a pretty lean Christmas.

And on that note, I'm going to remove my plump cinnamon flavoured head from my festively seasoned arsehole. Gosh, to think my poor middle-class fingers and toes might come briefly close to getting a couple of degrees colder then I would perhaps wish this yuletide.

Meh. This was my Christmas 2006 blog. And to you I say: Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

i have never...

Based on the popular and excellent drinking game.

I have never...

...bungee jumped
...been in a helicopter
...seen a Terminator movie
...been to Scotland
...taken a class A drug
...enjoyed a Christina Aguilera song
...liked my hair
...smoked a cigarette
...brought anything from Starbucks
...played Pro Evolution Soccer
...dated anybody non-white
...disliked ITVs program output more
...given a homeless person on the street some money
...felt poverty-stricken
...felt truly at ease in the company of a gay guy
...been in an Ikea store
...been in a casino

Friday, December 15, 2006

current fun things

statistics are fun

So a couple of days ago I found out a fun blog fact. Somebody somewhere Goggled ‘Abduls Kebab’ the other day, and becauseI posted a blog once about the fast food chain, he then clicked on to my blog, which I find out is now the 7th result Google gives you when you conduct that search. Which seems a bit mental really.You’ll have to excuse me that such geeky stuff gets me excited.

2007 should be fun

I’ve been going through a flurry of ticket buying for next year lately. It’s shaping up to be pretty damn good, as so far I’m off to see in Manchester: Ricky Gervais, Damien Rice and The Feeling at the Apollo, Razorlight at the Arena (standing tickets too, yippee), Little Man Tate at the Academy, and Stephen Fretwell at the Northern College of Music. All very very exciting. Especially Gervais and Rice, oh yes. I imagine they will be special.

rescue rooms is fun

I’m back working in Nottingham over Christmas, and I’ve put myself down for these shifts at Rescue Rooms next week: Tuesday (19th), Wednesday, Friday and Saturday. I’ll definitely get that Saturday shift, probably the Friday one and hopefully the other two as well, so yeah come in and visit me Nottingham people. ‘bout time we caught up. (text me beforehand if you want to be doubly sure, mm?)

essays are defiantly not fun

Seriously, I know we all suffer from last minute essay panic every once in a while, but trust me, you haven’t ever had it as bad as this. Unless I'm freakishly mistaken, I just handed in the worst assignment of my uni career. And trust me, I turned in some real crap in first year. It's almost as if I want to screw up my final year. Which I don't. Gah.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

readers comments 2

the blog has been getting loads of comments recently, thanks for them all – they're always very much appreciated. Indeed, it's probably about time I dug some of them up for a proper replying to...

Speaking of my Top 10 Singles of 2006, Paul, 29, from
Luton wrote

ive only heard one (of the ten)!
have i been living in a cave?
is it you that has obscure taste in music or you?

Paul are you trying to tell me that this year you haven't heard both of these two tracks: Scissor Sisters - I Don't Feel Like Dancing and Muse - Starlight this year? Really?

Anyway, either way go and find Little Man Tate - House Party At Boothey's, and proceed to rub it all over your face in gleeful joy.

Minutes later Julie, 19, from Stowbridge, Kent wrote

numbers 1 and 10 - yes I agree, fabulous
6 the most dreadful song of 2006 (or possibly the decade)
Where is Crystal Ball by Keane or indeed anything by the Kooks or Suzie by boykillboy....?

Those who do not appreciate that Scissor Sisters track have CLEARLY never been drunk in a club dancing to it. It's far and away the best song they've done. If Keane were going to make it into this list it would've been the sublime Nothing In My Way. I might've included Boykillboy on the list, but to be honest I'd rather stamp on each individual band member's throat. Because they're appalling. And probably smell a bit funny.

On an entirely different subject, Krystina, 34, from Swansea wrote

I can't say I'm amused so much by the video, as by the fact you're listening to the Lion King soundtrack.

Yes Krystina. And damn special it was too.

Helen, 14 and a half, from County Wexford wrote

hey hey hey dont give up on marketing my dearest muldoon! once u have a yrs experience behind ya u can come to my agency and i can get u a new job! its what i do u know!

Helen, in time I feel you may become my favourite person ever. Any chance you could sort me out job job wise without this niggling 'experience' thing getting in the way first? Hmm? Come on, you and me go way back.

Lucy, 10, from Clydesnoch near Dundee wrote

mark, is that a dunlop hip flask... odd.

Yes I thought it strange too. Sadly there's just no room to be brand-conscious in random Ebay purchases.

Right, then came my blog a couple of days ago, asking if any of you lot had any skills in dream interpretations. Instead came a response from Parthena, 50, from Oklahoma, who'd clearly been indulging in the joys of blog search engines

Dream One ~

Bridges usually connect two places, but they can be rickety and dangerous. You can fall off or the bridge can collapse. You are "unable to control yourself" - I take this to mean stumbling, correct? You are trying to get from one place to another but may not make it because you've lost your foundation, your bearings. Then you're attacked. In waking life, where are you trying to go that is difficult for you, that you don't feel you have the strength or stability to get to? Bridges can also symbolize the journey from one world to another - such as the spiritual world.

Dream Two:

Is a bouncer the same in your culture as ours? Basically, someone to keep out the unruly hooligans? You are being offered an opportunity but you don't feel right about it. You are carrying what might be an illegal substance. This would represent your conscience - are you being asked to do something in waking life that is against your set of personal ethics, values or conscience? You may need to stand up to this person and say "No" even if there's a risk involved. You may be simply considering such a thing, or it may be on the horizon.

Dreams speak in a symbolic language and often make no sense; i.e., the jacket, stream, etc. Water or a stream can represent the emotions; a stream is a moving body of water, again, movement here. You hear sirens and being chased, running from something. The police symbolize societal values and conscience, you're busted. Not only that, you're put out of commission altogether by the tranquilizer dart.

These two dreams seem to be related to the same issue - this is common and this is why it's a good idea to write them down. What issue might you be struggling with in your waking life? Seems like a signal from your unconscious and conscience to consider things carefully before proceeding - maybe even to stop altogether. The advancement may not be worth the journey.

If you have a reply, please message me and let me know. That blog notification thingamagig does not work properly and subscribing to blogs doesn't help me. It won't show that there's a new comment, only a new blog.



Very interesting stuff I have to say, bless her.

Amy, 27, from Belgium then wrote

maybe its just your subconscious telling you to stay away from drugs!

Amy learns comic timing. Amazing!

Thanks for the comments guys x

Saturday, December 09, 2006

is there a dream interpreter in the house?

Think I may need one. Allow me to recount the last two dreams I remember having.

Dream One - Last Week

I'd been on a night out in Nottingham at Stealth. It was a fun relaxed evening, so I'd decided to experiment a little by taking a pill of something or other.

Cut to later on, and I'm stumbling home unable to control myself. I'm walking over Trent Bridge falling about all over the place. On the final stretch home, two guys approach me, kick me to the floor and mug me, then running off.

At this point, I woke up.

Dream Two - Last Night

I've finished work at Rescue Rooms, and a couple of the bouncers (one of which is Kev, can't remember the other one) ask if they can have a word. They take me aside, and suggest that they might have a bit of extra work they can throw my way. They want me to deliver a small white container to some place in south Nottingham the next afternoon.

They pass me the white container. I peer inside, it's full of a fine white powdery substance. I have my misgivings about the idea, but they then proceed to offer me £15 (!) for the job, and so I accept.

Cut to the next day, and I'm jumping across the stream behind my old school's playing field, with the container in my jacket pocket (there's problems here. First: I don't currently own a jacket, and second: there is no stream behind my school's playing field. Just a whopping big dual-carriageway). The two bouncers are ahead of me shouting at me to hurry up. At this point, I hear something behind me in the distance. The sound of sirens. I look around and sure enough, a big police van is racing over the moor-ish land towards me. I run, but it's no good. As they get closer and closer I chuck the container in the stream. The bouncers have managed to run off. The police shoot a tranquiliser dart in my leg.

At this point, I woke up.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

my top 10 singles of 2006

The Top 10 Singles of 2006. you can disagree with me if you like, but you'd be wrong.

1. Liam Frost & The Slowdown Family - Mourners of St. Pauls
2. Little Man Tate - House Party at Boothey's
3. The Pipettes - Pull Shapes
4. Starsailor - This Time
5. Muse - Starlight
6. Scissor Sisters - I Don't Feel Like Dancin'
7. Yeah Yeah Yeahs - Gold Lion
8. Thom Yorke - Harrowdown Hill
9. Robbie Williams - Sin Sin Sin
10. Captain - Glorious

They're all worth seeking out if you're unfamilar with them. Mmm hmm.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

observation of the day

Only just noticed this today, but number keypads are rubbish.

They're upside down depending on what you're using. On phones, cash machines: the top left number is 1. Keyboards and Calculators however: it's 7. Which prat is responsible for that? Makes no sense, at all.

This blog post was brought to you by an overtly geeky feeling Mark. He offers you his apologies.

Monday, December 04, 2006

blog where mark goes all dolly parton on you

This time last week I had made a pledge to myself. Faced with the need to knuckle down and make real progress with all those lovely final year assignments, I decided that I was going to try and go 9 – 5 all week, working beaverishly to get some of this mountain of work done.

Long term readers of the blog (hello indeed to both of you) will recall me asking how people had got the strength of mind to get their work done in these situations. First thing I learnt from the exercise?

1) I cannot work at home.

Seriously, there are just too many distractions. Be it flicking around Teletext, eating bowls of cereal, taking overlong showers or organising the DVD collection first by genre and then alphabetically (yeah, I know, true story), I’m unable to resist the continuous distractions my flat offers.

So the idea for last week was thus: wake up early, get into Uni for 9 o’clock. Work like bitch until 5pm, breaking only for lunch and to occasionally catch up with pretty coursemates.

And what a wonderful praise-worthy success it turned out to be. If, by ‘success’, you meant to say ‘abject failure’. And by ‘wonderful’, you in fact meant ‘horrific’. And by ‘praise-worthy’ you actually meant ‘bottom jolting’.

It started off with a good, strong intention. It’s a Sunday night, it’s 11 o’clock, I’m fairly tired. I’ll just swallow a couple of these herbal sleeping tablet things I brought and go to bed in an hour. Which I did do. It turns out sleep was not as forthcoming as I’d hoped though.

4am. That’s when I got to sleep. Four hours of struggling to get to sleep, trying every method in the book with no success.

Even worse, this was the case for the next three nights. Horrifically, 2 and a half hours was the least amount of time it took me to get to sleep over those four nights. Thursday night was better. After a heavy night out, we got in at half three in the morning, and I was asleep within 20 minutes.

This is not a healthy situation to be in is it? The only way for me to get a good nights sleep is to drink like a fish beforehand.

So as you might have guessed, the 9 – 5 plan didn’t really work out. I’m trying the same thing again this week anyway. Banging my head against the wall until I’m sprawled out unconscious on my floor has not yet been ruled out as a falling sleeping method.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

videoblog: matt loses his door

So this last weekend our flatmate Matt went home for a couple of days, not realising as he did that he had left his keys in his door.

The resulting fun is up on Youtube. Click here.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

in support of an overlooked manchester landmark

There are certain iconic images one associates with Manchester: The Urbis building. Hulme Bridge. That stupid place Man United play their home games at. Tramps swearing and kicking cats across the street. Every city has them, and Manchester doesn't seem at all lacking.

There is one Manchester sight though, that I can't help feeling has been overlooked. One that deserves to be up there with those aforementioned greats. I used to pass it in my 2nd year of uni when I was going to or from Asda in Hulme. Yesterday I passed it again for the first time in 20 odd months. It is a beautifully crafted work, that highlights the modern inclusive British culture we have worked hard to cultivate in this country. It is, of course:

The legendary Bingo Jesus sign. It is just there, on the side of a random dilapidated old building, wasting away.

But it doesn't have to be this way. And so, with your help, I'd like to start a campaign here. You know, like The Sun and The Daily Mail do, except with actual worth. And not with the eventual intention of banning asylum seekers from all public places. Or trying to ensure our next Prime Minister is Sarah, 21, from Norwich. No, here is something worth fighting for. We need to install this landmark in the hearts and minds of Manchester's faithful.

Bingo Jesus. We salute you.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

youtube killed the video star

Have any of you gone sharing certain videos of me with the entire population of the internet or something?

I only ask because Teresa brought to my attention the statistics my Youtube videos had received.

Dublin videoblog one: 93 views. Favourited: 0 times.
Dublin videoblog two: 44 views. Favourited: 0 times.
Mark's a girl: 1,261 views. Favourited: 19 times.

What?! Is this as standard for crap ever-so-slightly amusing Youtube videos? Mental.

Leeches. on Eyeballs.

Saw Jackass 2 last night. It's well worth seeing if you enjoyed the original. Suffice to say: they've ramped up the extreme factor yet again.

There are a couple of things that don't work, namely the two big sketches that make up the last 10 minutes (The terrorist skit was slightly cringe worthy, and not in the usual fun Jackass manner). I came out of both it and the original thinking how great they both were, but after the first one I knew straight away that I'd be getting it on DVD too. After this one, I don't know, seeing it once was enough.

But yeah, go see it if it's your kind of thing. Most of it's AAA stuff. It scores 7 and a half pork pies out of 10.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

boring career based pondering

It struck me last night: I've been coming across as far too self-assured in these blogs. What's needed here is a good old dosage of indecision and panic about where life is heading to make me not sound like I'm attempting to squeeze my clearly sizable head up my unnervingly lax arse.

Coincidental thanks must therefore go to two of the people who know me best: My brother and my ex-girlfriend, who have both pointed out within the space of a fortnight that I might have ventured paddle-less up the delightful scenic waters of Shit Creek.

Both of them have advised me recently that maybe I should pursue journalism instead of this marketing lark. My brother going as far as to say that I'd be crap at marketing, as i haven't got the 'creative spark' required.

Gee thanks. Do you reckon i could've been informed of this when I wasn't in the last 8 months of a four year degree on the topic?

Journalism's all well and good, but:

A) I don't reckon I'd actually be good at it.
B) The pay is crap
C) It's ultra competitive

So yeah. Admittedly this isn't a brand new issue per se, as failing to get a placement in the industry probably got things rolling. But still, that was over a year ago, and I thought I might be back on track.

Oh well. I suppose its not exactly unusual to be coming to the end of a degree and not be sure of where's next. Still, all (25 of) my coursemates seem to be sorted out for their post-graduation moves. Admittedly thanks in part to the fact that half of them were offered jobs by their placement companies. Oh wait, self revelation: I'm just jealous of my coursemates. Because they are better than me. The intellectual little parsnip faces.

Hurrah For The Addicts

So last night I watched Trainspotting for the first time. Took my time, I know. It feels like i'm the only person of our generation not to have seen it.

T'was great anyway. Really enjoyed it. Although I'm amazed I didn't go on to have nightmares about baby zombies that night.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

funniest thing i read this morning


· The Sun should probably have thought twice about using the headline pervhunt .com on its splash about convicted paedophiles being named on a website. The paper didn't buy the name (the official site's name,, is rather less catchy), so a Popbitch user did it for them. For the next few days visitors to were then automatically rerouted to a section of the Sun's very own, featuring topless 18 and 19-year-old models.

Monday, November 20, 2006

blog where i post my thoughts on casino royale

So Casino Royale is great. Go see it.

It's weird though. Right from the outset they lay it down for you: they're trying to make the exact opposite film to Die Another Day here. No horrific CGI, no cringe worthy one-liners, no bloody mega laser beam satellites. Obviously, who could blame them. Things needed to change this time round, and straight away you're made aware of it. Even the traditional first three seconds of every bond film is not in place (you know, familiar theme pipes up, gun-eye-view white spot scrolls across the screen...). There's also fewer big action scenes, and at 2hrs 20 minutes it's longer than your average action film.

Although crucially, it never feels like it's too long. If you've always held a distaste for the bond formula, this may well be the film that brings you back in to the fold.

So then, every movie critic and his wife is trumpeting that Daniel Craig is to usher in a new golden era of Bond films. Not so fast you po-faced film buff freak. Pierce Brosnan's apparently so forgettable period as bond started fantastically, with Goldeneye. It wasn't the Sci-fi nonsense that his films gradually descended into.

Once again, people are excited about the future of Bond. Let's hope those in suits have learnt their lesson and keep up this high standard.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

everything is unhealthy

Seriously, you can't eat anything anymore. I just thought what about what I'm going to have for dinner tonight. Tomato Soup perhaps, I thought. Nice can of that lovely stuff. A couple of today's 5-a-day fruit and veg portions.

Who'd have thought that a can would be 50% of your daily guideline amount of salt. And that's before you've dipped some bread in it, which is apparently also a bit of a health risk nowadays. As well as, inexplicably, milk.

I brought a Ceaser Salad from Tesco for dinner on Thursday. 70% of your daily guideline fat amount. Seventy percent! And that was before I'd cooked off some bacon and peppers to add into it. It's mental. And I feel like I'm going to die of a trio of dietary related illnesses.

Anyway, off to see the new Bond film now, which is exciting. Opinions: soon.

And one further thought on food: have you ever got halfway through eating a horse, and thought "you know, I'm not as hungry as I thought I was."

i should be my brother's PA

The level of rubbishness my brother displays these days is getting rather silly. He calls me about the most inanely daft things. "how do I get these mp3s into iTunes, Mark?" "Can you find out when this program is repeated please?" "Help Mark, I'm getting confused between my backside and this knobbly thing half way down my arm..."

I swear he'd collapse in a crumbled heap if he ever couldn't get hold of me. I live 120 miles away for a reason damn it! I swear he's become the most unreliable person on the planet. Last weekend I gave him and his excellent and gorgeous teacher wife extensive telephone help on how to get hold of a DVD recording of that weekend's Planet Earth, and then get it to work properly on their rubbish school TVs, for her class of primary school kids to watch. A couple of days later, and I text David in between lectures to ask if it'd been successful.

No reply. Fair enough, I thought, he could be at work and too busy to respond. Later that night and I was still curious, so I text again. No bloody reply again.

Typical of him. He's flaky replying to texts at the best of times, but when somebody went to all the effort to help, and then can't hear if it went okay or not, it's downright annoying.

Anyway, I'm considering alternative career paths. If he becomes rich (and there's every chance he will, the fat faced adept little goat) then I might be his PA (personal assistant). I'm practically performing the role right now, only unpaid.

It's a job I wouldn't mind doing in general actually. I'd be damn good at it.

It's important to have a Plan B anyway. Anybody know how you get into such a career?

Oh well. Oh, I'm reading a great book at the moment - The History of Glue. Honestly, I can't put it down.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

some things that have been happening in the last few days

None of which a worthy of their own blog.

1) Saw Muse at MEN Arena. And very good they were too I would say. 8/10 good. I was going to do a review, but then realised that there was nothing to really say about it. It was just good, solid gig fun.

2) I pre-ordered one of these Wii videogame console things. Should be fun.

3) Random purchase from ebay:

A hipflask. Feel free to inform me on whether this is awesome or really quite sad.

4) In our thursday lecture there was a competition for everybody to pair off and try and guess where a branch of WH Smiths located in the West Midlands, based on the reams of data they provided. And me and Jenny won, being the only ones to guess the correct answer: Cannock. Couple this with the fact that I often feel like a filthy underachiever on my course, and I was pretty chuffed to be honest.

5) You might recall that I should right now be coming towards the end of a work slog to complete a 1st draft of the proposal for my final project? Well it's getting there, slowly. Here's hoping it's half decent by tomorrow evening, when I have to email it tutor-wards. The speccy faced git.

And that was some things that have been happening in the last few days.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

clearly getting old

Last night (following a classic night out for Helen's birthday, it should be noted) I had a donor kebab. First time in ages. In fact, I can't recall having one at all on my year out, so it might be 20ish months since my last one. Not sure though.

I didn't actually pay for it, mind. I was drunk, and so, for the first time, I used an old trick where I notice Abdul's kebab house is particularly busy, and so go in and stand amongst the people waiting for their orders. And look increasingly impatient as time goes on. Sure enough, I get asked what my order was, and a couple of minutes later a fresh meaty donor kebab is served up to me. Great, I used to love these things. Haven't had one in ages.

And you know what? I hated it. It tasted all greasy and grotty and disgusting. And yet I realised that it was tasting no different to every other kebab I'd ever eaten.

Maybe it's a sign I'm getting old now. Or maybe it just serves me bloody right for getting it free.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

i'm a girl

Conclusive proof. Me and Teresa in battle. Sorry about the quality.

Clicky here


Wednesday, November 08, 2006

how to fail a degree

Willpower. Most annoying subject in the world.

When it comes to doing a degree it's something I also find I don't possess. You can be sitting down at 7pm for a night's hard work, and then before you know it it'll be 11 o'clock and you'll have done nothing but casually browse the net, talk on MSN, and spending too long picking out tracks to listen to on itunes.

And you know what? It's bloody annoying. I've been gifted with the discipline and willpower of George Best at happy hour.

So your suggestions please. How do/did you knuckle down to work when it needed to be done?

Obviously, things like writing this don't help. To think, this thing was originally started to save time. People who knew me coming to one place to find out what I was up to whilst abroad, instead of me having to tell them individually.

Anyway, the gauntlet has now been well and truly thrown down. By Wednesday night I've got to have written in full and emailed to my project tutor a first version of the proposal. All 3000 words of it.

All this in a week where I'm already going to see gigs from both Muse and The Feeling, out two other nights, and am popping back to Nottingham to see about 7 people I used to go to school with.

Fun fun. Anyway, yes: advice please. How do you avoid the alleyway of distraction to carry on driving down the dual-carriageway of productivity towards the town of graduatingsville?

Monday, November 06, 2006

i was supposed to talk to dave pearce today

So Radio 1 were running a competition this weekend across all it's Dance music shows, to go and see a Moby DJ set, in Valencia, with 3 mates, hotel and flights paid for. All you had to do was name the six Moby tracks that were featured in the 13 second (difficult) clip, fill in the form on Radio 1 Online, and then you might be on Dave Pearce's Dance Anthems Sunday night for the final.

So I entered, and was then bloody excited when I got an email this afternoon from Ben at Radio 1 asking for my phone number so they could call. An hour later, Producer Megan calls and talks for 5 minutes about what'll happen, that they would want me to sound excited on air, and that they might be calling me back about 8.15 for the final. A few hours pass where I don't really know what to do with myself, and I get the phone call from Megan again. I'm told i'm on line 52 out of 100 callers going to be put on hold, and if Dave calls out my line number on air then I've won.

(This, I'm pretty sure, is crap. Think about it, if you were producing a show for Radio 1, would you go to the effort of calling 100 individual people for a competition, or would you just call a few and pretend on air that you had 100 on the lines?)

Anyway, I'm there with Radio 1 playing down my mobile at me, and who should come on the line to talk to me...? Megan again. 'Line 52?' she asks, and I sound excited like I'm air. Because I momentarily think I am. Not so apparently, she's just rechecking i'm still there.

A couple more minutes later, and Dave is talking on air. He's going to go to a line, tension is mounting, and the winner is line... 38.

Bugger. About a minute later my line is cut off. Some hyperactive girl won. Bitch.

You rate my movie film?

To console the loss, we went to see Borat: Cultural Learnings of America For Make Benefit Glorious Nation Of Kazakhstan (phew!) tonight. And you should go see it too.

Avoid the hype, avoid the press and the reviews on it, avoid the Youtube videos, and just go see it. It's great.

Friday, November 03, 2006

dan's a girl

Dan is my flatmate. A few other things you should know about him:

1) he's a good person
2) he likes things clean
3) he's a girl.

The last of those three things is a relatively new discovery. Do you recall adverts Nivea and Loreal were running a few months back encouraging men to use anti ageing and anti-wrinkle creams and such other things? Did you settle back comfortablely pondering which guys would actually buy into such blatent corporate crap? Well wonder no more: he's been found.

I mean you practically hear the board room discussions from here:

Director of Sales: Shareholders are getting tetchy folks, where's our growth going to come from this season?
Strategy Director: [bangs hand on table] I've got it! Let's try and flog this bollocks to men now!
Diector of Sales: Brilliant! Break out the cigars, boys!

Anyway, this is Dan's Bathroom window:

And on it we see such delights as:

L'oreal Anti-Tightness Gel
Skin Renovator Clensing Exfoliator Skin Renewer
Hydra Energetic Anti-Fatigue Moisturising Lotion

For a guy. For a 22 year old guy. Mental.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Zero 7 gig review, fun times at new clubs, and name that dance track

Went to Manchester club Satan's Hollow for the first time last night, for their Punk/Ska night. T'was fun.

They played lot's of such music sure, which was fun as always. What was really appreciated though was the token nods to other genres. Just one song from most, but they were all very well picked. Any club is a welcome destination in my book when its playlist includes such choice cuts as these:

Muse - Supermassive Black Hole
Girls Aloud - Biology
Andrew WK - Party Hard
Bombfunk MCs - Freestyler
Decepticon - Le Tigre
All-American Rejects - Dirty Little Secret
Fratellis - Chelsea Dagger

Quality. Their nod to dance was fantastic as well, but unfortunatly I don't know it's name. Which leads me to:

Name That Dance Track

Because I really really want to get a copy of it. And heaven knows I've heard it enough times when out at Stealth and that.

Now it's not as if I can just recount some of the lyrics to you, their isn't any. So instead I've had to do this - record a 15ish second long mp3 of me humming it, then upload it.

First person to tell me what it is can win a prize. I'll email them a photo of me in a thong or something. But if you know do tell me, I'm desperate here.

Stream or right click and save-target-as here

I'm a quality hummer, me.

Gig Review: Zero 7, Manchester Academy

This review's longer than usual, as it was written for The Independant instead of Teletext. Not that they printed it, they plumped for a review of some BBC Opera thing in Milton Keynes instead, the spanners.

Like such similarly melancholic acts as David Gray and Starsailor that won over middle Britain back nearer the turn of the century, Zero 7 followed initial debut success with an unimaginative comeback LP. Then once again mirroring said acts, they returned with superior third efforts, only to discover that the ever-rolling music bandwagon has since moved on, now uninterested by their offerings. However strong they may be.

One would suspect that Zero 7 would typify the style of band that work better on record than live. Anybody who's seen the purveyors of Radio 2 friendly indie music Keane live will understand the phenomenon. Some music just doesn't lend itself well to the live arena. Unlike Keane though, Zero 7 to their credit, have an innate understanding of this issue.

Whether it be the sumptuous three minute guitar solo that sits at the heart of This Fine Social Scene, or the multi layered seven person jam-session feel to Throw It All Away, the first five songs alone seem built to face the aforementioned preconceptions head on.

Such a sensory assault is the opening gambit of tracks, one almost forgets star album contributor Jose Gonzalez is also billed to appear. The let up in pace he brings to proceedings is both entirely necessary and warmly intimate, and yet ultimately short-lived.

Four minute radio friendly slices from the album (ironic, given their absence from radio station playlists) are pulled apart to become upward-swirling epics, no more evident than in the mammoth nine-minute version of album opener Futures, which builds under expert pacing to a romping, hedonistic musical peak. It's typical of a performance that looks to surprise and invigorate its source material wherever it can. Whether by necessity or ambition, the result remains highly effective.

Much of the credit for all this energy should be levelled at long-term collaborator Sia Furler, a naturally endearing front woman thanks to her kooky onstage manner. She's justifiably given chance to spread her wings on her own classic single Breathe Me, an enjoyable surprise for those in the audience familiar with its raw, affecting charm.

It's not flawless; Jose's star appearance enhances, rather than revolutionises, a gig format that would sail with or without him. Meanwhile, any relapsed fans will have been put out by the overwhelming focus on the current album. Tellingly, previous back catalogue stalwart Destiny seems limp when surrounded by its reworked younger brothers. And after the bounding energy of the main set, the 1,500 strong crowd struggles with the entirely down-par, acoustic nature of the encore. It's such an uncertain end to a self-assured night, one wonders what logic could underpin it. It only slightly manages to subtract from a delightful show.

Monday, October 30, 2006

god bless phil

Phil: What a legend.

Phil was a coursemate of ours in 1st and 2nd year. He's 40 years old, gay, and worked at well known off-licence chain Threshers for 12 odd years before starting the degree. I assume he's graduated now, as he didn't do a placement due to being old and that.

Favourite Phil memory has got to be in 2nd year when we were all giving five minute presentations on chosen sub-groups of society for the Consumers & Society module. Naturally Phil chose the gay community. Then in his presentation went on to explain in really quite unecessary detail what him and some of his pals get up to on cold winter nights. Latex suits, anyone? Some light sadism perhaps? Leathermen? Rigging? Spreader Bars?

Those are what I can recall being explained to us, a group of 25 students and one middle aged female lecturer at ten o'clock that morning. Yum.

Anyway, I spotted Phil when I was at Piccadilly Train Station on my way home for the weekend. More specifically, I spotted him exiting the Piccadilly NHS Walk-in Centre.

Shouldn't really have been surprised. I neglected to say hi to him though, for some reason.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Reader's Comments

Richard, 27, from Nottingham, writes:

Mark Muldoon. You are a terrible dirty-student cheapskate. Next time, buy real Weetabix instead of trying to fool people with your 'Wheat Bisks.' I bet you also buy Puffin bars instead of Penguin because they are 2p cheaper. Amidst the delerium of saving tuppence, did it never occur to you to ask what a 'bisk' actually is?

Sad as it presumably sounds, most own brand purchases I make are based on having tried the real things, then tried their lewd shop branded equivalents, and deciding that there's no flipping difference to tell between the two of them. In that particular case, Wheat Bisks are half the price of Weatabix. £1.29 instead of £2.50 or something. Which is mental. They are probably both made by the same company anyway. That's a wee little retail titbit for you. It often happens, the same company will produce both the supermarket own brand and their own super expensive branded version.

By the way, a free pack of Oatabix is now available if anybody wants it. It's still disgusting, but if anybody wants to give it a go let me know and it's yours.

Paul, 14, from Galway, writes:

what a nob you are

despite being a convenience store, it is primarily a petrol station, im sure you'd find that, if you wanted petrol it would have it. they dont need lots of food cos 5 minutes around the corner there is a tesco metro.

Charming. Thanks for highlighting a useful point though: there's another Tesco just five minutes walk from that one. Indeed, on my day-to-day walking around of Manchester, I pass no less than five Tesco small format stores.

For clarifications sake, they are: Tesco Upper Brook Street, Whitworth Park, Fallowfield, Piccadilly and Market Street. They are everywhere, and growing more and more each day. And my conscience can't really take it anymore. I'm thinking "how can I stop shopping at Tesco?"

It can be bloody difficult: part of the appeal is the easy familiarity nipping into Tesco brings. A plus, now they are everywhere, I can only think of one other food outlet, a Spar, that's on my walk back home from uni.

Still, I want to try. Before Tesco have a little store inside everybody's house, or something.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

self-harm (of sorts)

A couple of days ago dearest friend Paul was asking if I wanted to come along to see a couple of films. Namely: Saw 3 and The Grudge 2. My answer? Hell no. And the reason is this: Why on earth would I want to do something that I know I'm going to find unpleasent?

I don't get the point in going to watch scary films. It's like eating bloody hot curries. Why do it? You enjoy going through pain, big man? Is it some sort of bloke test you have to pass to prove your alpha-male credentials? Why not go the whole hog and run down the centre of Oxford Road, gun held to head, trousers round ankles, dodging cars and shouting "help the chickens are coming! Beware killer poultry!"

Somebody clue me in on this please.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

new age supermarket shopping

See, online supermarket shopping is excellent. If you don't own a car then it's a great way to, every couple of months or so, stock pile up on all the bulky/heavy stuff one could wish for.

As an example, when we did such a shop last week I got 40 cans of Fosters, 4 Kronenberg Blancs and 4 Smirnoff Ices. Along with 16 cans of tomato soup and 12 cans of Beans.

And breakfast wise? Oh I love breakfast, me:

I decided to buy 7 boxes of the stuff. That's 2 packs of Weetabix, Honey Nut Cheerios, Weetabix Bitesize Chocolate, the previously disgust - sorry, discussed - Oatabix, Raisin Wheats, and Syrupy Porridge.


This here is the local Tesco Express

It's 5 minutes up the road from me, which is very convenient. Shame then, that it never has what you want in stock. Ever.

I've not once been able to buy a 4 pint bottle of semi-skimmed milk from them. It's just never in stock. Also only sporadically in stock is wholemeal bread and cartons of Orange Juice. Which is ridiculous, I mean what's the point in offering a convenience store if it's going to be inconvenient? Tesco, lets not forget, £1 in every £7 that is spent at British retail is spent there. And they can't even keep the bare essentials in stock. Pfffft.

Anyway, this is all a bit retail geeky, sorry for that.

Gig Review: Keane, Manchester Apollo

...which was up on teletext yesterday you'll be somewhat astounded to here.

Tom on acoustic guitar! Poetry readings! Liam Gallagher baiting!

Keane certainly seem to want to shake things up on this tour. Plus, a newly appropriate line in self deprecating humour means Tom Chaplin's between song banter is no longer solely a steady stream of insencere sounding audience compliments.

By their nature still unable to whip the crowd up to frenzied status, it's a valient effort nonetheless. 7/10

Sunday, October 22, 2006

The Live 8 thing again, a good podcast, and a crazy thursday night

Thursday night was mental. In no particular order it included a £20 curry, getting a best friend pulled by the most sexually aggressive girl in the bar, crazy dancing to 90s dance music, dirty dancing with some unclean looking girls, and playing volleyball in our courtyard with a big exercise ball thing. At 3am. Until somebody complained a little.


Podcast Recommendation

This is quite interesting. Radio 1 have always done quite excellent 30 minute documentaries as part of it's evening output. They still are, but now they're podcasting them as well. This week's is about aliens and that, which is pretty mental. If that doesn't float your boat, there's also about 40 previous documentaries spread across this page and in this archive.

That Live 8 debate again

So that post about the whole Live 8 thing a few days ago stirred up a fair bit of interest. First of all was the response from that Biffo chap himself. Which was rubbish.

Muldoon: Ok. Interesting read. I have to say that you've totally missed my point, however.

The point I'm making is not that Live 8 was a crap way to run a charitable campaign (though it was certainly a wasted opportunity to make a lot of money for good causes in ADDITION to the main Make Poverty History cause).

What I'm saying is that Live 8 was a misguided ego trip which got in the way of far bigger issues.

Also, saying "Countries are neither corporations or charities, they are democracies" is, frankly, ludicrous.

I didn't miss his point at all. Why split the focus of the event, thus taking it away from the simple need to get people behind the cause? By charging people ticket prices, it also would've stopped a lot of people having that initial interest in taking part in the whole event. Which then would mean they were less likely to pay attention to the actual cause.

Much better than that, and much better than anything I could ever write, was the response that came in from an old friend Tom Bangay.

mulders. what.

firstly, bono getting bush to write off $5bn of 3rd world debt achieved more than both live aids did, and it's still a drop in the ocean. not that i'm defending bono, he's a cunt. i'm guessing that this blogger's ire at geldof stemmed from the fact that he was nominated for the nobel peace prize, which is so horrendously offensive i don't even know what to say. the banker who won it probably has less porsches, sunglasses, emission-orgifying tours etc than 2 rock stars, for a start.

"I can think of one issue that could, subjectively, be seen as a bigger issue here, obviously Climate Change. Now I believe that's something to worry about as well, but what is it about us that we only care about a death if it's in our own back garden?"

The deaths that come from climate change won't occur here. well, they will, but only on the scale of the 40,000 or so deaths in southern europe from the heatwaves in 2003, for example. the countries that will be hit the hardest, and first, by climate change will be third world countries, who won't have the money to build flood defences (i.e. bangladesh where in 40 years, 20% of the habitable land will be underwater, displacing tens of millions of people and causing massive death due to sanitation, destruction of agriculture etc), won't have the resources to sustain agriculture (kenya), etc. that's the main reason behind US indifference to climate change; they can afford to protect themselves, they can literally buy themselves some time. climate change, like it or not, IS bigger deal than african poverty because it will compound it hugely and have a global effect. and there is NOTHING we can do about it (to a certain, initial, extent), even if we stop emissions tomorrow temperature is going to rise about 6 degrees, which is about the same magnitude of temperature shift that caused the last ice age, so you can appreciate the gravity of the situation.

now i'm not slagging off live 8 per se, it's commendable to do SOMETHING. but as far as changing attitudes goes; what's changed? have we become this altruistic caring society where people give all their surplus income to stop famine? have we bollocks. people turned up, enjoyed the great live acts and went back to dodging charity workers with clipboard in the streets. have you got a standing order to oxfam mark? when you talk about 'the movement', you don't actually think that the global audience of millions are now card-carrying poverty activists who go collecting door to door? the people who care enough to be activists were activists before bob geldof said 'hey let's get keane and dizzee rascal to cover do they know it's christmas'.

"A Government in a democracy will do the will of its population to stay in power. This is why the theory behind Live 8 worked so well: it was about getting everybody to stand up, and tell their own leaders that this is what they want to see happen."

gaaaaah. taking the US as an example, sure they loved the live aid concerts, but did it make one iota of difference to the Bush administration's attitude toward foreign aid? US military spending in 2006 totals 441.6 BILLION dollars. if the US gave 10 percent of that to write off 3rd world debt it would be a start, the reality doesn't come anywhere near to that. ours is much lower at a trifling $66bn, and our travails in Africa are woefully inadequate too. assuming (and i'm conceding a lot here) that the nation now apparently cares more about dying africans than it does about x factor and ipod nanos, how exactly is that democratic will being put into practice?

regardless of all that live 8 did generate what £5m? if every act who played donated 10% of their cash from their record deals instead we'd have had a lot more money with a lot smaller carbon footprint. i'm not saying there's anything wrong with a concert to raise awareness; but to think that in REAL terms it actually made a shred of difference is hopelessly naive.

He puts up a farely convincing argument doesn't he? That's why I like Tom. Well, that and he let me have sex with him once. Still, I see some things I can argue here. I don't see what people's beef is with Bono. Unless it's his music of course. For starters 20% of the money U2 make between them goes straight to charity, So there's one rock star act doing exactly what you suggest. Oh, and ego? The band have been doing it for years, and the fact that they give this money was brought into the public's domain against their will.

Whilst I agree that there's been no huge massive global attitude change, on one day one hell of a lot of people stood up and told their Governments that they want this thing to happen. Is the public fickle? Sure. Did they return to voting in Strictly Come Dancing instead? Sure. But that's why the idea of a short, sharp event to put the issue on the agenda was logical. That's how the zeitgeist works.

So some good was done in working for the fortunes of Africa. Not enough, sure. But I see Live 8 as something done by people who wanted to do the good thing, and that they did it in the best way they could go about it. And then people call them c**ts.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

In Defence Of: The Live 8 Movement

Today my favourite blogger (yes, geeky I know) posted a scathing, and really quite horrific, attack on the whole Live 8 movement. Some of you, I know, will agree with him. But i'm about to get very angry in disagreeing with his usually excellent ramblings, so first it might (I say might, I mean will) be beneficial if you go read his post on the matter. His name is Mr. Biffo, and his blog is

Done? Good, then I'll start at the start. Live 8 only made $5 million profit for charity, you say? Well what's your point, guy? Around the time, dear old Geldof was saying that any profit made off the text lines would then go to charity, not all our lucrative profits will go to them. From the start we knew that our texts were primarily to fund a show and a movement we believed in. And if you didn't believe in it? Then don't text Clive.

Also, as we were told countless times on the day itself, "we don't want your money, we want you". Live 8 was never about money, it was about getting the political opinion of as big a percentage of the population to change, and support something, as possible.

I admire Geldof, and I'll tell you why. He sees something that desperately needs help, and he's willing to go to lengths nobody else would bother with to see it happen. Some of the things he had the downright cheek to do in setting up the original Live Aid were brilliant: eg. Announcing the full list of participating acts to the media when half of them had only tentatively expressed interest. Richard Curtis had a go at him, he replies "well they'll bloody have to play now, won't they?" Brilliant. Brilliant because: the ends justified the means.

I think you should feel free to question his methods, but it takes a particularly soulless person to question his motives.

"there are far bigger issues facing the planet, and our species". Excuse me? I object to (a) the use of plural, and (b) the use of the the word 'far' in that sentence. I can think of one issue that could, subjectively, be seen as a bigger issue here, obviously Climate Change. Now I believe that's something to worry about as well, but what is it about us that we only care about a death if it's in our own back garden?

What has Live 8 achieved? Apart from you know, increasing aid to third world countries, reducing the debts they pay, and breaking down some of the trade barriers that they face? Okay, how about changing the psyche of the populations of the world's richest countries. For one short spell in July last year, everybody gave a damn about someone in a different continent to them. The possibility that some people are too selfish/short attention-spanned to still care is a fault that can hardly be dumped at Geldof, Bono et all's door is it?

A free concert (correction: nine free concerts) staring all the major names of the time is the perfect way to run the campaign. And selling the tickets at the profit maximising point wouldn't have exactly been in the spirit of the day, would it? That would've garnered a whole raft of other criticisms. Plus, it would've got less people involved in the movement. Plus, as I said earlier, it wasn't about the money was it?

Give a man a fish, and he'll feed himself for a day. Teach him to fish, provide aid so he can get himself a rod, drop trade barriers so he can sell some of the slippery buggers, and give him hope that people actually give a damn about his plight, and he'll be in a lurid, fishy heaven feeding and earning money for his family for years.

This is where my friend Biffo really shoots wide of the mark: saying that it's "such an obvious, and simplistic view of the world to think you're going to improve it by putting a bit of pressure on world leaders to cut debt. It isn't going to happen. And hasn't happened, in fact. Countries are corporations - not charities. And corporations don't do anything unless there's a way for them to make more money." No no no no NO. Countries are neither corporations or charities, they are democracies. A Government in a democracy will do the will of its population to stay in power. This is why the theory behind Live 8 worked so well: it was about getting everybody to stand up, and tell their own leaders that this is what they want to see happen.

You can't just throw money at the problem, it needed a change in policy, and that could only come from those leaders, seeing that that is what people wanted.

To be a rock-star (or I suppose, any celebrity), you've probably got to have a massive ego. But if they are going to use their energy to do good things in the world, then good for them. Because what have you done? Gotten up off your arse to try and change the opinion of 2 billion odd people? Or sat down and tried to pick holes in it? You call it self-obsessed fame hunger, I call it trying to be that person that made the difference that changed everything. And God bless the person that does.

Monday, October 16, 2006

feel sorry for the following famous people:

One thing that provides amusement is the wide variety of famous people I get told I look like. It's a surreal, and mostly over-kind kind list. Which I though I'd detail here.

Seth Cohen

Aka that guy off The OC. I've been told I look like him twice, most recently of which was from a girl on Saturday night in our local pub. The first time it happened I ran it past my OC-obsessive friend Kerri, who proceeded to practically laugh in my face. Which ensured I didn't get carried away with the suggestion.

Ralph Little

Aka that guy from The Royle Family. This is the one i've had most often. Never watched more than 5 minutes of that show though.

Pete Doherty

Maybe this one was made when I was high on heroin or something. Mental.

Iain Lee

Aka the occasional unfunny Channel 4 presenter. I hear he's also a bit of a geek though, which would make sense.

Elijah Wood

Yes, wee Frodo Baggins himself. Have had this one several times, though not as much since I lost my stupid long hair.

Johnny Borrell

Aka lead singer of Razorlight. This is definatly the most baffling one, though it's only been made once, by a guy on the bus back from seeing Faithless at Dublin Marley Park. I don't know if I was more baffled or smug, as i've always quite admired the guy.

Screech from Saved By The Bell

Yeah, thanks. This one is always appreciated.


We did online supermarket shopping yesterday, from Thought I'd take the opportunity to try some new things, which included that new cereal not-made-from-wheat-made-from-oats-instead-abix. Suffice to say: its disgusting. Steer well clear. I was expecting it to taste like Hob-Nobs or something, so you can imagine my disappointment.

Worse than that though, was the multi-pack of 8 nutri-grain bars I bought. The pack was already open, there was only six bars left in it, and the discarded wrapper to the seventh. Eugh.

There's some weird people working at the Stockport Asda store.


Embrace's rousing back catalogue should make for a joyful gig experience. It's a shame therefore, that after 6 months Danny McNamera is still suffering from voice problems.

It's been worse, but he also hides it better now - his mic is kept tellingly quiet throughout - and fellow bandmates sing every line with him.

He's the only weak link in a band otherwise performing and their peak. 7/10

Friday, October 13, 2006

i got "7-balled"

Quick Poll of blog readers: What, if anything, must you do if you lose a game of pool without having managed to pot a single ball?

Apparently it's called being 7-balled, and it's what happened to me last night.

Let me know, because if I find out they were lying then I'm going to be a very upset man...

Thursday, October 12, 2006

I'm such a geek

So as is typical for ones' final year of University, I have to do a big research project thing, which put simply, is a dissertation by another name. This week then I had to submit my one page plan for what I planned to do for it. If you're interested have a read, if you're not I don't blame you, I'm fairly embarrassed by what a geeky endeavour it's going to be.

Final Project Draft Proposal – Brand Perceptions of Nintendo in the UK

On December 8th 2006, videogame hardware and software manufacture Nintendo launches a new home videogame console – the Wii – in Europe. In a marketplace of two manufacturers (Microsoft's Xbox division and Nintendo) playing catch up to one dominant brand (Sony's Playstation), Nintendo in particular faces a brand perception issue. Videogames are usually (but increasingly less so) aimed at males aged 15 – 24, whereas Nintendo's consumers are typically younger than 16. Following a largely unsuccessful attempt with its last home console (The GameCube) to increase its penetration of the male 15 -24 age group, the company now intends to market the Wii at non-traditional age groups, i.e. the family, females and casual game players, mainly using a similarly non-traditional control method based around motion-sensing technology.

Nintendo is (in the West) perceived as a children's brand. Around the launch period (typically up until a year after launch) of Wii, how best can Nintendo communicate its new vision to its target audience?

This project will aim to find out how best Nintendo can market its new product to a challenging new set of potential customers. It will do this using, amongst other techniques; Surveys of both current and potential videogame consumers, focus groups that will investigate consumer perceptions before exposure to the project, having learnt about the product, and after using the product, interviews with anybody who can provide in-depth ideas/insight, and observations of buying habits. It will then make recommendations and a potential marketing campaign for the product.

Spooks Is Awesome

Got round to watching Monday night's Spooks episode tonight. Dear God it was good. This series has been absolutely fantastic so far. A step up from the already great run last year. If you're not watching it, can I ask: why not, Clive?

OMG Simon Amstell

Just this second I found out, whilst browsing Wikipedia, that Simon Amstell is the new permanent host of Never Mind The Buzzcocks. This is literally the greatest news ever. Or at least from today. Well I say today, it was apparently announced back in July. I blame Tenerife for keeping me out of the news loop while I was there, the swine.

Series apparently starts this month anyway.

Yay for Broadband

After what felt like 27 delays (thanks to rubbish BT engineers), our net connection went live today. And it's not just any net connection, oh no: We're talking 24mb, wireless broadband here, folks. I've been so excited today that my face literally fell into a some random elderly lady's arms on the bus this afternoon.

Well I say fell, really it was more of a forceful barge. And maybe it wasn't her arms, I suppose it was actually her crotch. And technically she wasn't random, she was Grandma Josephine. Hey, we weren't even on the bus, we rented out The MEN Arena for the performance!

It may be disgusting, but it's also financially lucrative. Mmm hmm.

Monday, October 09, 2006

The New Manchester Scene

As I think I've whined on about in the past, it's a little weird being back in Manchester. Not because of the city, and its ludicrous overwhelming size and that, but because of the change to group dynamics, and other such gay sounding things.

You see, in the last 18 months the group has inevitably lost a few members. What's odd though, is that it's the girls who have disappeared off to other parts of the country (and the world, come to think of it), whilst it's all the guys that have stayed in Manchester.

Take nights out as an example. A night out used to be great here, everybody out having a good time, drinking, chatting and dancing amongst ourselves. This year however, it's different. The focus of each night is solely on meeting, and chatting up, women.

Not something Mark's used to. Or indeed very good at.

Take Thursday night for example. Mark was chatting to the girl he quite fancies. I won't go into the details of the conversation, suffice to say that it concluded with me calling her a man. Oh yes.

She then proceeded to pour her drink over me, then get security to throw me out the club, remove my trousers, and get passers by to throw flour and eggs at me whilst filming the whole thing for a Greek television special on the inept social skills of Manchester students that look a bit like Screech from Saved By The Bell.

Not really. The evening gave me the impression though that it's probably something I need to work on.

So I'm trying to look at this year as an opportunity. I randomly saw a picture of Tim Henman yesterday, and figured that he's really good at Tennis, probably due in some part to the fact that he plays every day.

I imagine there's plenty more room for accidentally insulting pretty girls before I improve. Perhaps I'll inadvertently call one a prostitute, or accuse her of being a Al-qaeda terrorist or something.

Friday, October 06, 2006

The Grand Un-veiling

Sometimes it feels like I'm the only white male in the country to hold opinions like this, but hey here goes:

I see today’s big news story is about Jack Straw’s anti-veil comments. If any veiled-up Muslim ladies attend his constituency surgeries he asks them if they would mind removing said headwear. Apparently it’s seen as threatening.

Two questions:
Why does it threaten you so?

And: So what?

I'm sure Muslim women feel threatened by lairy drunken men in England shirts. Can we ban those first please? As, you know, there would actually be some justification in feeling threatened by that 'tradition'.

This is a cultural aspect of a community that’s now being rallied against, and seems as preposterous as that occasional issue about not being allowed to display Christmas trees as they’re deemed offensive. When a news story about that comes around, people are up in arms. The Sun throws it across its front page in disgust.

Oh I would love to go into a newspaper rant at this point. That’s for another blog though. Plus I’m too busy chasing those nasty Muslims down the street, pitchfork in hand, hoping they’ll go back to Egypt or Belgium or wherever they all came from.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

blood, screams and lookalikes

There were some interesting characters at the blood donation session on Tuesday.

There was the student nurse who was determined to go through with her first ever donation, despite being petrified of even the thought of it.

And then the girl who gives blood regularly – every 4 months – despite the fact that it means she has to take iron tablets every day to replace what the blood donations take out.

How nice some people are. Or crazy. I'll let you make your own mind up. And if you've never given thought to giving blood before, mull over the idea here.

I Don't Wish To Scream

Was somehow at another Scream Bar – The Footage – Tuesday night. It was two deep at the bar, and it took 30 minutes to get served. It's just part of the reason why I hate the places.

Me And My Shadow

In said bar though, the boys pointed out that a guy standing none to far from us looked damn near identical to me. I was sceptical, but still willing to have this photo taken in the name of comparison.


Tuesday, October 03, 2006

i was supposed to talk to jo whiley today

Long-term readers of the blog will recall that I have a taste for getting myself on the radio. Remember the story of me getting on Chris Moyles earlier this year as that day's One-Road-Travel expert?

Welllll on Jo Whiley's Radio 1 show they do a feature called the Seven Song Shuffle. Call in, listen to a montage of seven songs, name as many as you can, win a CD for each one you guess correctly.

Sounds simple enough I thought. So yesterday morning lying in bed I figured I'd call in for said feature. Did so, and got through to speak to a friendly sounding girl called Pippa who works on the show. She took my details and said they'd possibly give me a call to be on the show tomorrow morning (i.e. today).

What I didn't expect is that she'd call back today before 10am, while I was stuck in an International Retailing lecture unable to answer my mobile.

So yeah, I was going to be on Jo Whiley's show today. Maybe they'll call me back tomorrow as well, I dunno. Wouldn't count on it.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

so how have you been?

Thought I'd post a random blog with how things are generally going now I've been back in Manchester nearly a fortnight.

First week was amazing. Really hit the ground running. With not much else to do was out drinking every night for 8 nights straight.

Things have settled down now though. People are starting to decline the thought of a night out in favour of working or seeing their other halves. All very well and good, of course, but when like me you've not got much of either of these two things on your plate at present it leaves you at a loss at night, listening to The Smiths or writing aimless blog posts or something.

Conclusion: I need more of the aforementioned two things in my life.

It's not all doom and gloom though. In fact, barely anything is doom and gloom right now really. Indeed, if doom and gloom were a fruit, it'd be a ripe squidgy half eaten melon, sitting atop our kitchen counter. And I'd be thrusting a baseball bat in it's mushy face, beating it to the point of liquidation whilst jumping about, trousers 'round ankles, chanting Pro-BNP slogans.

Yeah I reckon things are okay and that. For one, there's the luscious thought of our impending broadband connection, which goes live tomorrow. Wireless, 24mb broadband no less.

And there's deciding what the focus of my final year project (project meaning 'dissertation', pretty much) is going to be. At the moment it's looking like it will probably be about, no shit, Nintendo's UK brand perception. Sad I know. More about that later on this week I imagine.

Was weird seeing coursemates again, having not seen most of them for 18 odd months. There's that petty underlying sense of competition there when much of them talk to you. All very well and good if you had a fulfilling and vital placement experience, not so good if you're one of the 13 people between yours and your sister course - Marketing Management - who failed to get a placement at all. You can see the wretched, wry smile crack out all over their stupid pink faces.

Need to check what time I'm in Uni tomorrow. Out at Queen of Hearts tonight (it's part of the Scream chain of pubs) and if I'm not in early tomorrow then I'm pretty keen to make a night of it.

Coming soon to the blog: Why I hate Scream bars.

Buying The Killers album tomorrow. Mm hmm. And Thom Yorke's album perhaps. Exciting times.

And that's how things have been going now I've been back in Manchester nearly a fortnight.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

bernans is a legend

Bernans is a legend. Most of you don't know Bernans, but he's a dear old friend up here in Manchester.

Monday night and several of us are in 5th Avenue, my long-standing favourite Manchester club. Bernans, as is not at all unusual for him, eyes up a - shall we say - significantly plump girl. He goes over, has a bit of a talk, bit of a dance, things are going pretty well.

The end of the night arrives, and things are going well enough for them both to be heading back to her flat together.

They get a taxi there, and walk up to her front door. She opens, turns around, and says: "You're Bernans aren't you?"
"You shagged me in first year and never called"

And she slams the door in his face.

As I said, Bernans is a legend.

I want the new Killers Album

Having not really cared up until now, I am now really looking forward to the new Killers album. The reason? In Planet Sound's 8/10 review today, it says "it's too hysterical to be concerned with notions of cool", which just about sounds like the blueprint for my ideal album. I'll have a painful, probably illegal, love for them if this is true.

Hot Fuss was an odd album, The first half as good as music can get, the second average and painfully dull. To be honest if this one has six more classic indie-rock tunes I'll be more than happy. And it sounds like it might have.

Who's On Orange?

Housekeeping time. Orange, my begrudged choice of mobile network, has launched some random feature called Magic Numbers, where I can call one other Orange customer of my choosing for an hour at a time for only 15p. For ever like. I would very much like to do this, but have no idea who's on Orange. So please do let me know if you are. I like to keep in touch and that.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Read or die in horrific plane crash tomorrow

OMG! You've opened this Blog post!! That means that you must email it on to 10 people you know or else you will have bad luck for the next 5 years!

Not really. Please God don't forward this on to anybody. Unless you hate them or something daft like that. And if you do hate them, you can probably think of better vengeance then via forwarded emails. Maybe try slapping them round the face with a kipper? Or doing a dirt in their shoes?

Anyway I digress. Everybody gets them don't they? Chain emails and Myspace bulletins saying you should forward them on so your crush will ask you out, or so you can avoid a plane crashing on your head tomorrow or something.

Or maybe ones that threaten you'll have your Hotmail/Myspace account deleted if you don't repost the message? Or maybe those ones that like to pull on your heartstrings a little? "Forward on this email to 30 people to help save the life of Little Sarah, a 15 year old from Richmond, Virginia that got tragically hit in a car crash whilst 8 months pregnant with her boyfriends baby who is now dead after being killed in the Iraq War 2 years ago. Please forward this on as it will somehow help to pay the $30,000 needed to pay for her operation"

My current favourite is this Myspace bulletin. I've had it 5 or 6 times to date...

For those who are on my friend list...I totally have to agree with all of you who say people are getting fake In here. So I gave in and let's see who really reposts this. This is a test to see who's paying attention. It serves to eliminate people who are desperately trying to add "friends" like its a popularity contest in High School. This is a test to see how many people in my friends list actually pay attention to me. Copy and repost in your own bulletin. Lets see who the true friends are and I think I know who you are.. Repost this if you are a friend.. if you don't, you get deleted.. Don't reply... just copy and paste this in a new bulletin as BYE MYSPACE!!

Now it may be too early to tell, but I suspect that this could actually be the worst Myspace Bulletin of all time.

I mean that's really going to upset the typical 12 year old girl that posts that isn't it? She sends out this bulletin to 60 odd people saying do this to prove you're my friend or you'll get deleted, and she only gets 4 people who are bothered/stupid enough to actually do it. Not going to do wonders for the daft eijit's confidence is it? She's going to have to get started on some serious friend-deleting tonight.

Now of course the real genius/stupidity (I can't decide which it is) behind this bulletin is that it gets you to repost the bulletin as it's method of response. Thus everybody thinks you're being a complaining spanner when you post it, when actually you're probably just hoping not to get deleted off the person who you knew's list.

But why not just send the bulletin poster a quick message instead? Will that somehow be less effective in letting them know you're their friend?

Course not. If I ever meet someone who makes up these things in the first place, I'll do a dirt in their shoe. And it will be big, and it will smell. That'll teach the little pricks.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

In defense of Myspace

Joe is a friend of mine, that has a blog. Recently on said blog he wrote this:

Myspace My Arse 17/09/06

I hate Myspace. I hate almost everything about it. Firstly, I hate the way it looks. Fact: no matter how much you customise what little HTML they let you play around with, your Myspace page looks like shite. It offends my eyes. Secondly, you listen to music when you're on the net, right? Yeah, me too. So why on earth did Myspace have the bright idea of
resurrecting the ghost of embedded audio? Thirdly, there are as many people on Myspace as there are living in Mexico. And Rupert Murdoch owns all their personal profiles. Does that not creep anyone else out a little? The man's a lizard.
If you hate Myspace as much as I hate you- sorry, as much as I hate Myspace, then join the
Myspace Kills Webring. We're going to take the fuckers down.

Now Myspace sure has it's critics, but I think a lot of what's thrown at it is a tad unfair. A simple but overlooked fact to begin with: if you don't like the embedded audio on the site, there's an option within Myspace's settings menu to stop it from playing when you open a page. Now that's fair enough for Joe, as he's not (I presume) a member, so he wouldn't of known that.

But I don't necessarily buy into this "OMFG Rupert Murdoch ownz me!!!11" stuff either. I don't recall everybody being so hesitant to open up a hotmail account back when every man and his filthy dog was doing so. What's the difference, guy? From where I'm standing Myspace is just the easiest and most enjoyable way of keeping in contact with all my favourite people.

Meanwhile, you can read the lewd ramblings of the usually very logical and interesting Joe here.

Gig Review: Liam Frost & The Slowdown Family, Manchester Academy 2

This gig review is a bit special, as right this second it is on air as the gig review of the week on Teletext's Planet Sound, netting me a crisp £10 prize for my efforts. Read hither:

It's unnerving, you see Frost & Co in any other city, they'll be lucky to garner an audience bigger than 70.

Set the gig in his home city of Manchester though, and it'll be pull in 700.

Playing like it's all he ever wanted to do, there's a rich jovial talent here that seems wasted on smaller venues. Surely it's only a matter of time before the rest of the country catches up? 9/10.

Friday, September 22, 2006

awful film knowledge and me

My filmbuff friend and I were on Wednesday night discussing films. More specifically: Films I haven't seen. The resultant off-the-top-of-my-head list scared her into loaning me two such films: Pulp Fiction and Trainspotting. This also set me off thinking about some of the other classic films I'd never seen. And so, with the help of the Channel 4 Greatest 100 website, here's an entirely non-definitive list:

Jaws, Top Gun, The Godfather Trilogy, E.T., The Shawshank Redemption, Citizen Kane, Apocalypse Now, Jackie Brown, Reserviour Dogs, Gladiator, Schindler's List, Goodfellas, Alien, The Exorcist, Terminator 1 or 2, Back To The Future, Four Weddings And A Funeral, Psycho, Get Carter, The Usual Suspects, Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, Bambi, Mary Poppins, Beauty And The Beast, Jerry Maguire, Being Erin Brockovich, Lethal Weapon.

Shocked? Appalled? Sympathetic? Let me know using the comment button below.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Saturday night hijinks

You know when you're at a party and you hardly know anybody? Good opportunity to have some silly fun I always thought.

One such occasion was Saturday night, and my friend Julie's housewarming party. Knowing as I did only two people there, when asked how I knew Julie I said I went to University with her. In 1996.

To back up this lie I then had to make up a further backstory of how I was a English Lit graduate, and had been working in a crap library job for the last few years.

Next person who asked how I knew Julie? She's was my Aunt. They were suprised, but still brought it wonderfully.

Next person? She was one of the handful of groupies of my promising local band.

After 5 minutes of discussing the band an aforementioned party-goer comes to me and announces what a liar I am. Cue everybody finding out everything to a probable 50/50 mixed response of glee and puzzlement.

I had a fun time at the party anyway. If by 'fun' you mean 'sexy', and if by 'the party' you mean 'filthy Joe's crack 'n' whore house'

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Yeah so I'm poor

That's how much money I spent this summer. Not ideal I'll admit.
Still, I haven't actually been paid yet for the work I did in Dublin (thanks to the enormous amount of difficulty I had setting up a bank account there), which I worked out the other day should probably total about £1100. Which will make things less bad. Still a bloody expensive summer though.

Elsewhere in life, last night I had the pleasure of spending my evening in, of all places, Walkabout bar. There's a strange aura to that place, one that makes me feel both 17 and 27 at the same time. Certainly, there's that moment when you're on the dancefloor, you take a look around, you realise you're the only male in the room under the age of 25, and you feel your heart sink a little bit.

Still, any bar where the DJ attempts a segue of Arctic Monkeys - When The Sun Goes Down into Micheal Jackson - Black Or White is all good by me.
Anyway, this whole blogging thing went well this summer, I thought. If it proved a similarly exciting experience for you, then prepare your loins for good news: I'll be keeping it up. Keeping it up, and settling into a more traditional format of mixing posts on what i've been up to, with opinons on what's going on in the news and that, and general day-to-day musings.

Sounds dull? Well it won't be. It'll kick off when I'm back in Manchester, which is all of 3 days away.


Wednesday, September 13, 2006

you find me in a reflective mood

It's Day 84, and the penultimate day of the trip.

Tomorrow morning, 10am to be exact, I'll get a coach out of here back home. And so, I find myself reflecting on how this summer's gone.

I could bore you on what I've been up to since the last blog (and trust me, bore is the operative word), but I'll be merciful and condense: quit two jobs, had a couple of nights out to celebrate the fact, spend a couple of days in Galway, visit my godmother who I hadn't seen in 18 odd years. Instead I'll do the aforementioned reflecting.

Mostly this summer was a success I think. Finding work and a flat were the two most important things, and (2nd time lucky, admittedly) I did both. The problem, though, is that I was actually having more fun before I set out, working in Rescue Rooms. Whilst I've enjoyed this summer, I would've presumably enjoyed it more if I just hadn't gone anywhere.

That's not to say I wished I hadn't done it. To do so would be to forget the other reason I did this. Back around the start of the year, I was faced with the possibility of this being a year where I sat around and achieved nothing, while my coursemates were off on their placement years earning sackfuls of experience and CV-boosting goodness. In short, I wanted something to show for this year. And rocking up in another country on my own and making something out of it? That might do it.

Plus of course, there's the issue that I was born in this city, and yet, previous to this summer, had barely any memory of it. And now I do. Which feels good.

So: a 7.2/10 success I'd say. Which I'll take, thank you.

And on that note, that's pretty much it for the trip, and so that's pretty much it for the accompanying blog. Except for one thing. There was another aim for this summer: Not lose shit loads of money. So, did I achieve that? Well I have no idea. I've long forgotten the login details for my online banking, so the last time I checked my account balance was the day before I left for Tenerife back in June. Then, it stood at this: £2000. Money earned from working at Rescue Rooms, and to be saved for getting me through the final year of uni.

Logic suggests that 2 and a half months of this, combined with just over 5 weeks of work, means that I've probably lost a sizable chunk of money. To find out if I have, there'll be one last blog post in the next few days detailing just how bad it is. Suffice to say, I'm bloody scared...

Monday, September 04, 2006

Yes yes, it's the second vBlog in a series of two. Marvel at live Daft Punk footage! Chortle at hilariously named local landmarks! Gawp at incredible hair loss issues!

Actually, it's not very good. Once again lots of stuff filmed in dark noisy pubs and such places was unusable. Watch it anyway though, if only to amuse me.

For extra enjoyment remove clothes before viewing.

Scene rundown...
1 - Back at Marley Park for Daft Punk
2 - Entrance
3 - During Daft Punk part 1
4 - During Daft Punk part 2
5 - My amusingly named local fishmongers
6 - Hanlons, the pub where I work(ed)
7 - Amusingly named local street
8 - What happens when you get drunk regulars to talk on camera
9 - What happens when you let drunk regulars have your camera for half an hour
10 - Young co-workers
11 - Before...
12 - ...and after
13 - Flatmate Tom says hi


Sunday, August 20, 2006

A day in the life: A videoblog

So yeah, last thursday was exciting. It was my first day proper at the new telemarketing job I've got here, and I saw Faithless for the first time, at Dublin's Marley Park.

I thought I'd take the opportunity to try vblogging for the first time. So I took short videos throughout the day, and whacked them together into a 6 minute video. Sadly, what with this being a first attempt, some of the best stuff I filmed was awful quality and therefore unusable, but still, here's what you can find in the vid:

Scene 1 - Tired Introduction
2 - Tour of flat
3 - The morning walk to work
4 - Workstation. Eek!
5 - How the first day went
6 - Annoying innocent Subway employee
7 - Pretty gig ticket
8 - What Marley Park looks like
9 - Awful quality video of faithless. Especially the sound.
10 - On the River Liffey
11 - Bye then


Sunday, August 13, 2006

The bar work, the phone work, and the final lull in work

Day 54 of Super-Mega-Travel-Adventure-2006.

Interesting week. So when last I blogged I was putting myself up for charity work, yes? Well the next morning I got a call from a bar very local to me named Hanlons, asking if I could come in for an interview the next evening (Saturday). Turned up, chatted with one of the managers, Marie, and 5 minutes later she told me to come in for a trial shift the following Friday.

Excellent stuff, even if the further six day wait was frustrating. Now, remember that interview for the telephony job I had, that I thought I'd ballsed up the interview for? Skip forward three days to Tuesday, and my interviewer calls me and offers me that job too. After giving it some thought, I accepted it, and told myself that it'd be good to have two jobs for a spell. Hedge my bets or something. I'm going in on Tuesday to start training for it. After that the hours are Monday - Thursday, 9.30 - 7.30. The main (some would argue only) plus of the job is the earning potential. It's minimum wage, but with generous bonuses for those who are good at it. We'll see.

Friday night and the first shift at Hanlons then. It's basically a very well known pub/bar/club in the centre of it's community. They're just coming to the end of a huge renovation (hence the taking on staff) which will see it reopen as a really quite flash young-upwardly-mobile-attracting type joint, comprising of a main bar, a nightclub upstairs, an old man bar, function rooms and smoking terraces. I'm reliably informed that it will be constantly rammed full once it all opens up, but in the meantime it's quiet as sin with 30 customers at the busiest point on a Saturday night

For other aspects of the job, here are some scores out of 10:

Female manager, Marie - 6.5 (usually nice but introduced herself to me my explaining that she's "really anal, swears a lot and everybody thinks she's a bitch". This so far appears not to be hugely inaccurate.)

Male manager, Bernard - 7.0 (Seems a lot like my boss in Tenerife. Harsh but fair type)

Male colleague, Carlo - 6.1 (half irish, half italian, and quite reminiscent of Boycie from Only Fools And Horses. Quite scares me.)

Female colleague, Janice - 8.0 (lovely 25 year old single mum who started on my 2nd shift last night. It's her first job in ages, and she's v v sweet)

The bar - 8.0 (will look very nice once it's finished)

The pay - 7.0 (It's Ã??10 an hour, (equals about Ã?7) which is the going rate for bar work in Dublin apparently)

Overall - 7.2 (It's better than the Tenerife job. If this is all I'm doing until I come home I'll settle for it.)

And they've agreed to have me only work Friday and Saturday nights for the meantime. They do think I'm staying in Dublin for 6 months though. I'm not going to let the cat out the bag on that one just yet.

Not literally. Please be assured that if there was any furry feline creatures being held captive in some sort of satchel or backpack or something, I would be there fighting to get it freed from it's awful prison. I'm not some sort of crazed, kitten hoarding mentalist or anything.

Anyway, that's enough job talk. Bar a couple of good but un-noteworthy drinking sessions this week there's not much else to report. Worked out that in preparation for these interviews and jobs I've spent Ã??115 altogether on clothes. That hurt. Discovered the Ipod alarm feature that allows me to wake up to any song I want to, instead of my mobile's ultra-annoying standard alarm. Found out that Keane are playing a secret gig in Dublin on August 31st for the Vodaphone TBA series of gigs. Them being one of my favourite bands, playing in this city, for that TV show is a particularly saucy coincidence, so I'm doing what I can to try and get to go to it. Which probably won't be easy. Seeing Faithless on Thursday night which has got me very excited.

I feel like these are my last couple of relaxed days, then come Tuesday it's all hell-for-leather until I come back home.

Lord knows, I've had enough relaxed days up till now though. Probably shouldn't be ungrateful.