Sunday, July 31, 2005

At last we have put up a fence! The fashion these days seems to be to put up 6 feet fences to turn your back garden into a box, or walled prison. Why? What's the point? Sue says that she should prefer to have high fences as she doesn't like being looked on by the neighbours. For a start, our neighbours never use their garden except to go from house to car and they never sunbath (this may be because they are too old to do that (in their 50s?) or rather they are afro-caribbean and really don't see the point). Secondly, WE hardly use our garden either - whenever we have a god summer's day, it will be too hot to stay outside anyway. And BBQs are few and far between. So I managed to get some nice, cheap stick fencing. Easy to put up - cable-tied to the neighbour's rusty chain-link - and does the job.

Hardest job was digging up all the ivy that had grown from the back of the garden along the chain-link. It was incredible how insiduous that damn stuff was - like a grid of interlocking roots just under the surface. I'm sure there is tonnes I've missed that will pop up to annoy me next spring...

Worst part of the whole exercise were the blood-sucker flies that I noticed having a go at my leg. Small little bastards but, boy, did the blood flow!

Friday, July 29, 2005

Lovely selection of Gargoyles at Hampton Court:

Pity I didn't snap any more.

Sunday, July 17, 2005


GuilFest 05 Comedy Tent

Bit of a change to the published line-up so no Pierre Hollins (a pity as he was brilliant last year); also started late, finished early and removed the hour interval so 6 comedians instead of 7.

Martin Davis (MC)

"Groan", I thought. "Not you again". Luckily we also had Alfie from last year (sans green mohican), the kid who wanted to be a policeman so he could have a license to kill. Can't wait to see what Alfie comes out with next year, although it does mean I'll have to sit through Martin Davis to find out.


Christian Reilly

Christian wasn't bad at all although his Wookie impression for his Star Wars musical needs a lot of work. Of course, it is hard to be good when the benchmark is Phill Jupitus but Christian's Tommy-Cooper-with-a-cough just didn't cut it for me.

His "Batman" theme tune was a lot better.



Jovanka Steele

Californian comedian who was here last year although I didn't see her then. I'm sure I've heard her act before, though, as some of it sounded familiar - or maybe they are easy targets like how to pronounce Leicester Square. I did enjoy the idea of French people covering their ears and admitting they could speak English rather than listen to her taught-by-a-Texan French accent.

Nick Revell

The trouble with writing these things up later on is that you forget what some people did.

Tim Clarke (MC)

So ugly and not particularly funny that I didn't bother taking a photo of him. Pretty useless as an MC too. Have a stock photo.


Dougie Dunlop

If you closed your eyes, you could think you were listening to Billy Connolly. Thankfully, the similarity ended there as Dougie did not spend half the time laughing at his own jokes.



Danny Butler

One of the obvious benefits of being a magician is that you can, without much fear of refusal, pick drop-dead gorgeous girls out of the audience and have them stare into your eyes. What a bastard. And his tricks were naff. Mutter, mutter...

Seriously, though, he was quite funny although if I had chosen to see a magician I would have liked some more interesting tricks - the rope that you cut and reconnect is a bit old hat (even I know that one). 

Jack Cowley

I had mixed feelings about his performance.

Highlight - after a bit of a rant by Jack about terrorism, somebody way at the back queried if Jack knew the relevance of the guy on the comedian's T-shirt and what he had done. After some verbal sparring, the heckler walked off. Jack then had a spark of madness and said "shall we go and follow him?" Needless to say, half the tent got up and followed Jack out of the tent in hot pursuit (to no avail).

Apparantly, if Jack was a suicide bomber he wouldn't want 72 virgins - who wants 6 dozen innocent women who don't know what to do? No, Jack would much prefer to trade them in for one good old slut who could show him exactly what to do.

I must be getting old as I was slightly surprised by the number of people in the audience who wanted to take advantage of the offer of a joint. Jack found a volunteer to roll one up from Jack's supplies and pass it round. Political protest? Maybe. Comedy? Not really.

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Thursday, July 07, 2005

Not the best of days to talk about great films. I could say "life goes on" but, for many today, it doesn't.

Sin City
I'd been looking for an opportunity to watch this comic adaption since I saw the trailers. I'd never read the Sin City comics - in fact I don't read too many comics as I can't justify the expense - but this film is definitely an advert for looking them up. The whole movie reeks of style - the use of touches of colour in a black and white film is excellent. And the acting - I just love Bruce Willis, definitely a modern replacement for Clint Eastwood in my books. Mustn't forget the babes - a good-v-evil conflict with an Anne Summers wardrobe. Perfect.


A sad day for London and the people who live there. One day they are celebrating the future hosting of the olympics for the world, the next they are mourning the results of the world's unfinished business.

It will take a while for it to sink in - just like at the time of the destruction of the World Trade Centre, there is a feeling of disbelief that only fades when the news reports start putting real faces and names to what are currently just statistics.

I feel selfishly fortunate that I don't know anyone affected. To realise that a loved one you last saw at breakfasttime is never coming back must be heart-breaking. Maybe this tragedy will make me and others understand that you can never have too much time with your friends and family. When they are gone, you can't go back and do a part-exchange on the times you decided to do something else instead of visit or phone. But you make your choices and it is sad that at times you need something close to home to make you think about them.

Thanks to my friends in the US who asked out of the blue if my family and I were OK. Strangely I was travelling on the Circle Line a mere 9 hours before the explosions. I had been travelling down from Liverpool last night after a successful customer site visit and a cancelled train meant I had to go via Euston instead of the more direct route back to Reading. My only worries then were the little shits in Slough throwing stones at the train windows.

So it looks like we will have years of paranoia and fear ahead of us to make up for the absence of the IRA. Maybe if we call the bombers the Islamic Revolutionary Army it will be like they never went away.

Sunday, July 03, 2005

Southlake and Highwood seem to be havens for criminals on the run. Every now and then there will be the drone of a helicopter as it circles and circles and circles...

Just got back from the Microsoft Summer Party - makes you think twice about working somewhere else sometimes :-)

Introduction of champagne and canapes whilst being entertained by musicians, stilt-walkers and jugglers. Then after a few minutes, from the MD, an evening of live music from Madness and Basement Jaxx, and not-so-live music from the DJs.

As a growing teenager I had chosen the "other path" away from the music and styles of the Nutty Boys but I must admit that they weren't bad tonight. The staunch resistance to liking the wrong music is starting to break down. I must be mellowing in my old age...

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