Tuesday, February 27, 2007

heavy hit after heavy hit

I swear, if one more big thing happens to me in the next few days, I will spontaneously combust. I'm half expecting Hannah Spearritt (ahhh, she got me through many several difficult teenage years) to turn up at my flat tomorrow, offering to leave that attractive Primevil co-star boyfriend of hers and shack up with me, in her penthouse apartment in Mayfair or somewhere, licking strawberries and gin off each other for a living.

Over the last couple of days there has been all sorts of crazy, amusing and fun gossip running round my mates up here, which is making life utterly surreal. And then, but half an hour ago, I get an email through from a particular unnamed company saying they liked the test piece of work I did for them, and would I like to come down south next Wednesday for an interview.

Now, if you'd asked me about the kind of job I'd like to do upon graduation, I'd probably dither between something marketing based, and something creative-writing based, before refusing to answer the question and running off to cry in the corner. The fact that this job is a combination of both, and also in an area I am well known to have a very strong interest in, makes the whole prospect stupidly exciting.

It also creates one hell of a three day monster in the middle of next week:
  • Tuesday - Do my 40 minute class presentation on International Store Operations
  • Wednesday - Attend said interview
  • Thursday - See Arcade Fire for the 1st ever time in Manchester, the band responsible for my favourite album of all time, Funeral.
Hear that? That's the sound of my brain falling out the side of my head.

Oh well. Wow, what a self-indulgent blog post. If you like, why not print out a copy, fold it into a paper aeroplane, and use it as luxury kitchen roll or toilet paper or something?

your 4am food habits are disgusting

Ladies and gentlemen, there is a plague besetting our nation. A cancerous virus-like travesty, that is threatening to ruin the medium of food forever.

It's fairly well known that I'm not the greatest fan of the post night-out visit to the kebab house. Apart from the fact that it's where all the desperate girls seem to hang out, of course. The food's not exactly high quality, whether it be the chicken and chips that looks like it's been purposely syringed with extra dollops of fat, or pizza's that look like the house pet monkey vomits on each base in the back room, before it's time to put them in the oven.

Still, that's not my beef. If you want to eat such food, fine by me. I must confess that on occasion (when younger, perhaps), I have thoroughly enjoyed such meals.

No, my beef is thus: why, after obtaining your nutritious and delicious meal, do you then pick up the large bottle of mayonnaise (or ketchup, etc), and squeeze the thing until every square centimetre of your food is covered in the stuff?

It's foul. The sight of a pizza with mayonnaise covering it is utterly disgusting, and yet every time we go out, you know that's how the night will end. In the local takeaway (Pizza Co. on Oxford Road, incidentally) chomping down a meal that resembles an elephant's wet dream. Urgh.

5th Av - In Review

As I mentioned in the last blog, we went to 5th Avenue Saturday night. And it was pretty good. Not as glorious as our visit the other week, as this time around the music choice was the same old stuff they always play. There were highlights though:

  • Embrace - Ashes
  • Arcade Fire - Rebellion (Lies)
  • Faithless - Insomnia
  • Prodigy - Smack My B**ch Up
  • Coldplay - Fix You (inexplicably chosen as the final track of the evening. Who thought that would be a good idea? Not that I'm complaining, I love the song)
Mr DJ scores 6.6/10. He would've scored higher, but he refused to touch my bottom in the toilets. The girl.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

irish arms be raised

Well, it's been a long time since I enjoyed a game of rugby quite that much. Yes, I am of course talking of Ireland's 43 -13 obliteration of England. Great fun, sitting watching the match, Guinness in hand (naturally), cheering along, and trying to sound like I know what I'm talking about.

Brilliant stuff. Also, just got my exam timetable for my finals, and it's all set out pretty well. 1st one is on April 26th, 2nd one (more importantly) is nice and early on May 11th, and none of them are happening the day after gigs I've already booked or anything. Result. Well done Manchester Met Business School exam people.

On a third note, this last week I've thoroughly enjoyed gigs from Just Jack, Stephen Fretwell and Little Man Tate. Haven't done any reviews of them mainly because I haven't really had time, and they wouldn't have been that journalistically interesting anyway.

Right, time to start getting ready, as we're all off to 5th Avenue tonight. May well blog about it tomorrow. Especially if - I dunno - I get drunk and end up telling a girl she looks like a bear or something.

Friday, February 23, 2007

childhood memories round 3

I was reminded of yet more childhood japes today. Around the time when the inevitable teenage rebellion streak was starting to kick in, some of the bigger boys at school were starting to dabble in a bit of light shoplifting here and there. Not something I'd ever indulge in, you understand.

Instead, we would go into shops and try to act as suspiciously as possible - without actually stealing anything - and see who could get security collaring them outside the shop.

Oh the fun we used to have, the poor security men would be baffled as to just how our pockets weren't brimful of Tipp-ex, cheese slices and dental floss.

We played this game on and off for a while, some of us upping the stakes by putting things in our pockets before depositing them elsewhere in the store. This continued until once, one of our group left the store forgetting to deposit one last item from his deep combat-trouser pockets. Security stopped him outside, the police were called, and he was escorted down to the station for an official shoplifting warning. His mother was not best pleased upon hearing the news.

The item he accidentally stole? A tube of KY Jelly. His mother was not only displeased, for months she was convinced her well brought up 13 year old son was sexually active.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

baldy spears

I feel sorry for Britney Spears, the Golum-esque Shepard's pie flashing fruitcake. She's not had an easy time of it recently. And everybody just stares at her whilst giggling to themselves and clutching their latest copy of Heat magazine.

Sure, it seems pretty obvious she's up Mental Creek without a paddle, but it's not like it's her fault or anything. It seems she's just the latest in a line of people who have gone stir crazy after becoming famous as a young child. Michael Jackson and Macaulay Culkin are the obvious other examples.

You could also make a case that the other newly-rehabed celebrity Robbie Williams falls into this category, although he was 16 when Take That launched, which is a bit different. Plus all those Class A drugs were probably a bigger contributing factor.

And what about that weird posh 8 year old boy that appeared on Terry Wogan's chat show in the 80's? You know, the one that later had the op to become a lady?

It's a bit scary what finding fame young seems to do to a person. Should something be done about it? Should young souls be protected from such spotlights? Should auld acquaintance be forgot, and never brought to mind?

I don't know the answers to any of these questions.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

every song i downloaded yesterday

Happy Chinese New Year everybody. Not something I'd usually pay all that much attention to, but last night we were invited to enjoy fireworks, eat dinner and debate the finer nuances of western culture at our flatmate's friend's flat. And jolly good craic it was too.

In celebration of the new year (well not really, but it's a tenuous way of linking these two points) i went a little crazy on iTunes yesterday. Here's the list of every song I downloaded:

Good Morning Sunshine - Aqua
Heat Of The Night - Aqua
Doctor Jones - Aqua
Turn Back Time - Aqua
Barbie Girl - Aqua
Let's Go (The B*witched Jig) - B*Witched
Blame It On The Weatherman - B*Witched
C'est La Vie - B*Witched
To You I Belong - B*Witched
Rollercoaster - B*Witched
Viva Forever - Spice Girls
Spice Up Your Life - Spice Girls
Stop - Spice Girls
Too Much - Spice Girls
Saturday Night Divas - Spice Girls
Never Give Up On the Good Times - Spice Girls

Sorry everybody.

Friday, February 16, 2007

5th avenue and our flatmate matt suffers again

God, I haven't been to 5th Avenue in ages.

5th Avenue is the Manchester indie club I practically used to live in. We always used to end up there at the end of the night, having a great time dancing to the same songs every time: invariably Pulp - Common People, The Killers - Mr. Brightside, Oasis - Don't Look Back in Anger and Kaiser Chiefs - I Predict a Riot.

We turned up there last night with just 50 minutes to go, but what a 50 minutes of music is was! From what I can remember:

  • The Pipettes - Pull Shapes (which I never thought I'd hear there for several reasons)
  • Scissor Sisters - I Don't Feel Like Dancing
  • Pendulum - Fasten Your Seatbelt
  • Bloc Party - The Prayer (as regular reader's will know, I've been very keen to here this track in such a setting)
  • Oasis - Stand By Me (see, even the choice of Oasis track was off the beaten track)
Well done 5th Avenue. I'll be back soon, promise.

Home we went then, to our flat where our long suffering flatmate Matt was asleep, having to get up as he does at 5am every morning to go to work in Liverpool. Sadly we woke him up as we came in, which must have been annoying.

More annoying though was the decision to then put a box in front of his door as a nice surprise for when he woke up in the morning. And then we added another few boxes on top of that one. And then some other stuff. Resulting in this:

Sorry Matt.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

obligatory brit awards opinion blog

So I assumed that there would probably be people expecting me to pass comment on tonight's Brit Awards ceremony. Here then, is my comment: Trousers!

Oh, you were expecting more? Witty dialogue and thought out prose, you say? Pffft, go on then I suppose...

I thought it was dull. What part of it will people be discussing tomorrow round the watercooler at work tomorrow? None I bet.

(incidentally - me not working in an office and all - do people actually congregate around watercoolers? Or is it a term ITV made up to sound like they've got their finger on the pulse or something?)

Where was the show-stopping mega-budget performances? Remember Kanye West's 387 Golden Girls last year? Or the £600,000 that was spent animating Gorillaz for a four minute performance of Clint Eastwood? Scissor Sisters were probably primed to fit such a bill, with that nice little people-dressed-in-black idea. Shame it worked better in theory then practice, the black minions were so visible on TV screens it ruined the effect.

Or the unique duets they used to put together... Robbie and Joss Stone nailing Angels. Justin Timberlake practically having on stage sex with Kylie...

Oh and memo to ITV: next time you decide to employ someone to mute the microphones during naughty words, can you make sure they're not an OCD suffer? I mean, what swear words really needed bleeping out at quarter to ten at night? Sections where nobody was even talking were even inexplicably muted.

I'm a fan of the Brit Awards, inflated searing sack of hot air that they admittedly are. They were always good for throwing up spectacular moments. Not necessarily of controversy, but just of real quality. Sort it out for next year please.

obligatory valentines blog

Somewhat unsurprisingly there were no Valentines cards in the post for me this morning. No declarations of secret burning desire for me. Then again I've never sent a Valentine's card either (apart from within relationships of course), so maybe it's nature's way of telling me I need to be braver with regard to such things.

It's not that I'm against the idea, I've just never before been in the situation around February time of wanting to reveal a previously harboured, unspoken admiration for somebody. Well except one year, but the middle aged guy at the laundrette across the road later insisted that he had been staring at the sales-assistant behind me, and that I should stop following him back to his flat muttering something under my breath about nipple-clamps.

My parents know how to make me feel better though. They called me up last night, having been watching that bloke Mika on TV via the red button, to tell me that he really reminded them of me, that we looked quite similar and seemed to have similar personalities and that.


Next time they'll be calling me to let me know I resemble David Dickinson, or Margeret Thatcher or something.

Monday, February 12, 2007

being in the eye of the storm

This week:

Monday – Be in uni for 9am. Ensure have the necessary two bags full of equipment for project focus group with me. Continue search for final two participants of project focus group. Find out if there’s an 11am final project lecture. There isn’t. Attend Ethics in Business seminar instead. Attempt to give impression I’ve done the required reading. Meet International Retailing coursemates to kick off plans for Carrefour presentation on March 5th. Print out slides for this week’s lectures. Conduct final project focus group. Complete Marketing Communications strategy for Strategic Marketing Management group coursework.

Tuesday – Remember to pack calculator. International Retailing lecture at 9am. Meet Strategic Marketing Management group to pull together what we’ve all written and start to bash it into its final form throughout the day. Attend Strategic Marketing Management lecture and tutorial which requires access to a calculator. Subtly sneak away from Strategic Marketing Management group to see Ricky Gervais’s stand up show at Manchester Apollo.

Wednesday – Ensure The Brits and Never Mind The Buzzcocks (it’s the Preston hissy-fit episode, natch) are set up to record, as there’s no chance I’ll get to see them go out live. Get into uni early despite having no lectures all day. Put finishing touches to Strategic Marketing Management group coursework throughout day. Meet Project Supervisor to review all the research I’ve done and plan what’s happening next. Research International Store Operations for International Retailing presentation. Decide that accepting offer of a night out is impossible, however tempting the offer might be. Make damn sure that I’ve applied for those two post grad jobs I keep putting off.

Thursday - Get into uni early. What do you mean Strategic Marketing Management coursework still isn’t finished? Work on it until it is. 1pm meeting with International Retailing coursemates about presentation. 2pm meeting with Ian Grime about how on earth my Locational Planning & Place Marketing coursework managed to go missing for two and a half weeks after being handed in back in December, resulting in me getting the late penalty mark of 40/100. 3pm Locational Planning & Place Marketing lecture. Hand in Strategic Marketing Management group coursework. Get highly drunk on course night out.

Friday – Crack on with the Final Project write-up and Ethics in Business assignment that have been sorely ignored throughout all of this.


Sunday, February 11, 2007

a weekend in the city (of nottingham)

It was my mum's birthday over the weekend, so I nipped home to Nottingham to surprise her. T'was nice and that.

Well, all except the transport. With the country apparently set to grind to a halt on Friday due to a little bit of snow, I was expecting the worst. Weird then, that that leg of the journey was fine, but for today's planned return every scheduled departure from Nottingham instead seemed to be operating as - and here are the three little words every train traveller dreads to hear - Rail Replacement Buses.

Which meant what should be a nice speedy 1hr 50min train ride home becomes a nasty sounding 3 hour effort. Half an hour into it and I abandon the reading for uni I needed to get done, as that familiar childhood feeling of car sickness sets in. I'm always fine reading on trains, damn it, but car sickness gets me everytime.

To be honest as coach journeys go it wasn't that bad. Instead of reading I listened to three Damien Rice albums on the trot (B-Sides, Live from The Union Chapel, and '9', in case you were interested), which was special enough, but when it's accompanying a journey that's just entered the peak district, and you see some of the lovely, still snow-tinged sights you just don't get treated to along the trains route, and it's all suddenly worthwhile. I even took photos as we drove past, but I doubt they've come out.

I'll stop now, lest I start to sound anything more like a girl.

Actually - talking of buses - I'd only just got used to having CCTV installed in every corner of the damn things. Whilst on my old local service in Nottingham (The West Bridgford No. 10, bus fans), they now have a TV upstairs on the bus, that flicks through the live video streams of every on board camera. Useful for catching the girl downstairs picking her nose, pretty much useless in every other way. Nottingham City Transport clearly has too much money knocking around it's grubby, bulging pockets.


Back to the topic of music then, as people such as the BBC Manchester Blog seem to think I'm an authority on it. Whilst in Nottingham I dropped by to see super-cool bizzare-o-dance band CSS play Rescue Rooms. Here's the review I've just written up for the usual other sources.

Gig Review: CSS, Nottingham Rescue Rooms

Coming on stage covered in black sheets, before leading a mass dance along to 2 Unlimited's 'No Limit'. If the aim is getting people dancing from the off, it's well thought out. If the aim is to endear people to them, it's wildly successful.

The real benefit though, is that Lovefoxxx is in the privileged position of no longer has to work her audience. This is a crowd that would dance to James Blunt were it the lone option. Instead, they're given rare glimpse into the gospel of intelligent, knowing dance music, as written by CSS. Amen to that. 8/10

Friday, February 09, 2007

childhood memories round 2

The nostalgia of the weekend has led me to think over other times from my largely forgotten childhood. For some reason one memory sticks out: Me and David Golledge getting hold of a box of matches when we were 11 and then becoming overcome with terror of what would happen if any of our parents found them. None of us wanted to take them home again, so a cunning plan was hatched.

We were to go to the woods near David's house, and Genie them. Now, I had never heard the phrase 'to genie' a box of matches before, and I never have since. But I was assured that it meant you take a match out, light it, and then set fire to the whole box of them. Of course being 11 I nodded along trying to give the impression I had been Genieing boxes of matches for months now, and was in fact developing something of a psychological reliance on it. I'm pretty sure David fell for it.

Anyway, we sneaked out to those woods to do the terrible deed, widely anticipating it to be the coolest thing we'd ever seen. It did - of course given such hype - turn out to be a big let down. And I didn't think of it ever again. That is until yesterday, when I was browsing the BBC News website and saw that David had been sentenced to four years in jail for burning down an East London match factory.

Imagine if the (admittedly fictional) fire had killed him! That would've been a match made in heaven I tell you...

Tuesday, February 06, 2007


I thoroughly enjoyed my weekend. Not for any special occasion, or because I was more lax with uni work than I perhaps should have been, but because I acquired a few episodes of a kids adventure gameshow called Knightmare. That I hadn't seen, or indeed remembered, in 15 years.

Go and watch this video for a quick reminder

And it was just an incredible trip down memory lane. It's still entertaining to watch, if now for slightly changed reasons. If things like the 'Helmet of Justice', the 'Eyeshield' and the phrase "Spellcasting D-I-S-M-I-S-S" ring a bell for you, then you'll know exactly what I mean.

Anyway I watched about 5 episodes over the weekend. And it was IMMENSE.


I was walking to uni a few days ago, and a unicyclist rode past me. Like it was the most normal thing in the world.

People should go about their daily commutes using such methods more often I think.

Other stuff

Booked tickets to see The Pipettes at Manchester Ritz in a couple of months. Wanted to see them live for yonks (what an underused word) so looking forward to that more than Jade Goody looks forward to her copy of BNP Monthly.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

some opinions about music

The new Kaiser Chiefs single - Ruby - is excellent

The CSS album is great fun and more addictive than marzipan.

I brought The Avalanches debut album a couple of weeks ago, and inadvertently did a little dance move whilst walking down the street listening to it. I noticed what I'd done and checked that nobody had seen. Think I got away with it.

God damn that new Damien Rice album is good.

The Prayer by Bloc Party is the kind of song that makes me desperate to hear it full volume, at 3am, in a chaotic overcrowded room I've never been in before, dancing with a girl who might possibly know what's going on, but certainly has zero intention of telling me until the song is over.

Gave The Hours album Narcissus Road it's first two listens today. Early indications are it could be more special than a pornographic edition of Neighbours.

Like many other people every time I hear Grace Kelly by Mika I want to tear open my skull and rip out whatever part controls the short term memory.

The fact that I hate that track but fully enjoy the music of The Feeling is not contradictory, thank you.

The new single from Snow Patrol sounds like they sat down with the specific intention of copying Fix You by Coldplay.

I think my favourite album of all time might now be Arcade Fire - Funeral. Which would replace Coldplay X&Y. More on this story as I get it.

People keep telling me the new Arcade Fire album is a big disappointment. Stop it you are scaring me.

Joanna Newsom's album is far too weird for me to have an opinion on yet. Sit tight.

Gigs I'm booked to see over the next 3 months: Just Jack, Stephen Fretwell, Little Man Tate, The Feeling, The Hours, Arcade Fire, Damien Rice, Razorlight, Ricky Gervais (not technically music I know), CSS and The Sunshine Underground.

If you're a fan of any of those in particular let me know, as I'd rather go to a gig with a fan then one of the indifferent tasteless weirdos I usually drag along.

Go and download this song from your chosen reputable e-retailer: Sia - Breathe Me. It's beyond essential.

And that ladies and gentlemen, was some opinions about music.