Friday, October 31, 2003

Get a Grip Lads
Is it just me or are the contestants of this reality TV show wildly over-reacting? "SIX SUE SKY OVER SEX-CHANGE SNOGGER"
So they kissed a bloke - big deal, he's a bloody pretty bloke if you ask me. Youngsters have no sense of adventure these days.

Wednesday, October 29, 2003

School's Out
It was the last episode of the 3rd series of Teachers this evening. I've been disappointed with this series as the first two series were brilliant. I've missed the last couple of weeks as Channel 4 suddenly decided to change the start time from 10pm to 9pm. It ended on something of a high tonight not relying quite so heavily on swearing and falling over as previous episodes. I noticed that it was directed by Andrew Lincoln who previously has starred.
Apparently it's coming back for another series. I hope it can return to former glories. DVDs of the first two series are now available.

Tuesday, October 28, 2003

New Brighton Boss Named
Mark McGhee, ex-Millwall, Reading, Wolves and Leicester manager has been named as the new Brighton boss. I would have prefered someone a bit more glamorous - Jean Tigana, Gianluca Vialli, Paul Merson or perhaps Kate Moss, but actually I reckon McGhee is a pretty safe bet with loads of experience at this level.
Good Luck Mark, and come on you Seagulls!

Monday, October 27, 2003

Robbie and Duffy
Stephen Duffy and The Lilac TimeThe Sunday Mirror found it hilarious that Robbie Williams is supposedly recruiting Stephen 'Tintin' Duffy to replace Guy Chambers as his writing partner, but they are not so different. Chambers was undoubtedly an excellent partner for Williams and left when he was asked to work exclusively with Robbie.
Prior to working with Robbie, Chambers was in Karl Wallinger's World Party (hence the note-perfect cover of Wallinger's "She's the One") and before that in a band called The Lemon Trees who used to slog around the same grim venues at the same time that I used to.
Stephen Duffy has been writing and recording excellent songs for years since his moment of pop stardom with "Kiss Me" in 1982, both as a solo artist and with the fantastic Lilac Time.
I think (if the story is true) it could be a pretty good move for everyone. I love Duffy's songs and maybe with a bit of Robbie's pop fairydust it could work out.
It's no certainly stranger than Andy Partridge working with Cathy Dennis. Also, I seem to remember Stephen turning down the chance to work with Madonna at one point (though maybe I dreamt that ). Anyway, I hope Stephen makes a million.

[update] sorry about all that - what a load a waffle!

British Winter Time
I'm feeling really gloomy today. The only obvious reason is the clocks going forward. I hate this. Why should we spend half the day in the dark? What's the point? Who benefits? The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents
believes that British Summer Time should be two hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time and the rest of the year one hour ahead of GMT. Apparently during the last war they had Daylight Saving Time which did something similar
and I have a hazy recollection from my Primary School days of walking to school in the dark one year as part of some experiment in DST.
If it's a big problem for people in Scotland, why can't they have their own local time - Scottish Mean Time? (ha-bloody-ha). We all had local time until the railways joined the country together and timetables needed to be
standardized. Seeing as the rail system is crumbling, lets have local time back and put an end to Seasonal Affective Disorder and misery for us all.

Saturday, October 25, 2003

Dogs and other Good Things
saffyThis is the del Fuego family dog - Saffy - she's a Bearded Collie. She likes running along the beach, she likes chasing cats and she especially likes sitting on the sofa, looking out of the window, watching the world go by. She doesn't like fireworks. At all. They make her bark a lot, very loudly. So I wish there weren't quite so many going off all the time. So does she.

Just got back from shopping in my local Lidl supermarket. Lidl is a fantastic place. You pile loads of unusual European chocolate, cakes, coffee, biscuits and booze (some of the most important shopping, I always think) into your trolley, the checkout people are incredibly fast, and when they've totalled it up they charge you £13.49 when it would have cost £30 in Safeways or equivalent. Lidl's motto is "Lidl is cheap!" Hats off to Lidl!

tecstormI bought a printer last week which uses a USB port. As I have a scanner and a modem also using USB ports, I needed to get a hub that splits the ports. I found a fantastic one in my local computer shop, KC Computers. It's called a Tecstorm USB HUB 1.
It cost £5.00, it's powered via the PC USB port and best of all it has a really cool blue glow. Tecstorm seem like a really good company. I like things that are well made, nice looking and good value for money.

[update] - There's a real danger that about a hour after going to Lidl, you're going to start feeling pretty ill - but it's not their fault really, is it?.

Catherine Deneuve is 60
CatherineCatherine Deneuve, still one of of the most beautiful women in the world, has qualified for her bus pass.
Vogue has an interview (wow, I linked to Vogue!),"she also has a reputation for being somewhat cold - one that she is keen to dispel. "I am a reserved woman but not a cold woman," she says. "People who really know me know that. I am, alas - and I mean alas - a woman with a heart." .
Now where's my video of Repulsion?

Wednesday, October 22, 2003

Elliott Smith
Elliott Smith Bloody hell! I was going to write something hilarious and clever about Paul Burrell and the royals and Liza Minnelli beating up her husband, but then I looked at BBC News and saw that Elliott Smith has died. He was 34 and had apparently committed suicide.
I don't know too much about Elliott, but I liked his music. Like a lot of people, the first I heard of him was the song "Miss Misery" from the soundtrack of of the film 'Good Will Hunting' and him performing it at the Oscars.
All music guide has him down as "Weary, Somber, Reflective, Wistful, Poignant, Autumnal, Restrained, Intimate, Nocturnal, Melancholy, Brooding" which is pretty well on the mark. I guess thats how I like my music.
I'm sorry that he felt the need to end it all and I'm sorry for his family and friends and I'm a bit sorry for myself and his fans.
I'll play "Everything Reminds Me of Her", "Happiness", "Rose Parade" as a tribute, then some Sparklehorse to console myself. Cheers Elliott.

Friday, October 17, 2003

Hope you like my new direction.
DeborahI saw some of Top of the Pops this evening for the first time in months. These are the things that occurred to me...
1). Deborah Harry still makes me feel the way she did when I was 17 and this is a good thing.
2). Kylie still looks like she's playing "dressing-up" with her mum's clothes.
3). She's looking a bit like a cut down version of Jerry Hall, this is a bad thing.
4). Deborah is dead sexy, Kylie isn't, neither is Sharleen out of Texas, but she's sexier than Kylie.
5). I didn't notice what any of their songs were like.
6). The Stroke's Tron-style video is great.
6). Black Eyed Peas are still number one. They were playing 'live' (to some or other extent). The song is actually very good.
7). In the old days the TOTPs cameramen were always trying to look up the skirts or down the cleavages of female performers - these days they are trying not to show too much, and this isn't easy for them. Kylie's dancers had their arses hanging out and the cameramen "hardly knew where to look".

I like looking at women - they're great, but even I am getting a bit pissed off with the extent to which female singers are parading themselves or being encouraged to parade themselves. Everyone has a "Sexy New Image" - Rachel Stevens, Emma, Kylie, Britney, Louise, Sugarbabes, Beyonce...
It's getting embarrassing - where will they draw the line - On CBBC's Chart Show, when Konnie Huq said "Will Beyonce and Jay-Z enter straight in at Number one" I thought they probably will. They'll just be fucking. As it was when the video came on Beyonce seemed to settle for some light masturbation. (This is on "Children's BBC" remember) I wondered what her parents must think?"
then I remembered - her father is her manager!
Maybe I'm just getting too old, but I still like a little subtly and it all seems so cynical and unimaginative.

Wednesday, October 15, 2003

Fireworks Photos
D on the beach with fiery wandOn Saturday, the youngest del Fuego - D - and I went down to Hastings beach to watch the bonfire and fireworks. I don't know if it's the same everywhere, but in East Sussex, Bonfire Night seems to be spread out from mid-September to November 5th to allow different villages and Towns to attend each others processions and celebrations. The final display is at Lewes, where things can get quite weird in a "Wickerman" type of way.
The Hastings fireworks are always great and although we can see them from the comfort our front room, it was so mild out that we were happily sitting on the beach at 9.30pm.
We took some photos of the fireworks that hopefully you can see here.

Tuesday, October 14, 2003

Life in the Lower Leagues
Bloody heck! I'm going to have to get used to this if Sven takes over at Chelsea and I have to boycott my top team and support my second team.
According to The Daily Mirror, "New Reading boss Steve Coppell is set to raid former club Brighton for captain Danny Cullip and striker Leon Knight" - Not content with pinching our Manager, Reading are going to nab our best players too.
I guess it's a football fact of life outside the top teams.

Good and bad news
Which is which depends on your point of view "Caffeine perks up sluggish sperm but cannabis can affect fertility, particularly in women".

Friday, October 10, 2003

So what exactly is 'lucky'?
she wouldn't model the shortsThursday night is my 5-a-side football night. I've missed the last two weeks owing to family illness and confusion, respectively. When I last played, I made the exciting discovery that I had a 'lucky' T-shirt
that enabled me to play beyond my natural ability. This is fortunate as my natural ability is nothing to write home about.
Being the contrary character that I am, I decided to test this theory by wearing my unlucky shirt (last season's yellow and blue Chelsea away shirt (modelled left by the gorgeous Meredith)), coupled with my very unlucky light blue shorts, but countered with my favourite yellow and blue hooped socks.
As you can probably imagine this is a pretty lurid get-up. However, against all expectations I played rather well - scoring an excellent (oh, how kind of you to say) volley and the deciding winning goal.
I was puzzled until I thought about what had actually happened this evening. I had played well, but also at one point I had been paralyzed in a heap on the floor following the unconventional method (sadly neglected in the professional game) of saving a fierce shot using only my groin to stop the speeding football.
I also had a huge purple bruise on my shin from when I had deftly slipped the ball past an opponent only to feel the full force of his hacking boot chopping me down.
So I've decided this lucky/unlucky business is a bit more complex than I had at first thought. Next week I'll try wearing my lucky shin-pads, assuming of course, that my testicles have returned to a managable size thus allowing me to take part at all.

Thursday, October 09, 2003

Coppell off to Reading
Sorry to see Steve Coppell is leaving Brighton & H.A. to manage Reading. He's done a pretty good job, leaving Brighton top of the second division. Cheers Steve!
There was a rumour going round that Brighton might offer Paul Merson the job as player/manager - I reckon this would be a good move - for his faults, he's an inspirational player and although he may not be keen to move South (God knows why!) he may fancy the chance to be boss. I really hope so.

Monday, October 06, 2003

Derren Brown Mind Control
Derren BrownI'm not too sure about the moral issues of playing Russian Roulette live (or as live) on television. Maybe if you're stupid enough to try to copy it, you're not going to live too long anyway. I don't know if it was a trick, an illusion (I wouldn't have thought it would be too hard to fake) or if Derren Brown did read the mind of the guy he'd chosen to load the gun.
The thing is, it was an amazing bit of television. It was better than Eric Cantona attacking a Crystal Palace fan, better even than Vanessa Feltz losing her marbles during Celebrity Big Brother.
When Derren pointed the revolver at the straw target instead of his head and fired the empty gun it really looked like he had lost his way. He slammed the gun back down on the table and there was an agonizing wait while him decided what to do. (or depending on your opinion it was a bit of showmanship to build tension - it worked)
I was completely captivated - 'just stop you stupid f*cker!'. He suddenly picked the gun up held it to his head and pulled the trigger - empty - then immediately fired the live round into the dummy.
He had probably done more difficult 'mind reading' along the way while choosing the guy to load the gun than he did in figuring out the number of the chamber from 1-6 the bullet was placed - but obviously the stakes were dramatically higher.
So you can call me a sucker, tell me I've been tricked, fallen for the illusion, whatever, I don't care, it was great.

Thursday, October 02, 2003

But if he had no brain, where was his mind?
This story in the Guardian makes my head hurt.
"There's a young student at this university," neurologist Professor John Lorber of Sheffield University told Science magazine in December 1980, "who has an IQ of 126, has gained a first-class honours degree in mathematics, and is socially completely normal. And yet the boy has virtually no brain."
It sounds too mad to be true.
"A scan revealed that the student had only 1mm of brain tissue lining the inside of his skull - fluid filled the area where the rest of his brain should have been. "
Maybe this is why I keep bumping into things?

The Curse of del Fuego
Oh Blimey! yesterday I happened to mention what a fine job Steve Coppell's doing as manager at Brighton and Hove Albion - next thing you know he's packing up the old kitbag and heading for Reading.
Brighton have had some excellent managers in recent years who for one reason or another they haven't been able to hang on to or have foolishly let go - Peter Taylor, Micky Adams, Brian Horton, Alan Mullery and now maybe Steve. I guess that's just the way it is for the smaller clubs - if you do well, the big clubs will want your manager and best players. hey-ho!

Bongo jazz a speciality
I'm not a fan of jazz - in fact it's rubbish really isn't it? however there's an interesting interview with Courtney Pine in todays Metro.
He's had two albums in the Top 40 - unheard of for a jazz musician. He's Britain's number one-selling jazz artist and nobody wants to give him a record deal.
"Take this whole 'urban' thing now. That's what they call it because they don't want to call it 'black' music". Record Companies can't sell him because he's black? They're not really very good at their jobs are they?
Metro asks him, "MP3s. Killing music?"
"No! Killing record companies. For years, out of a CD selling for £15, the artist has been getting 70p if they're lucky. So now that artists can bypass that, it can only be better. Hopefully the punters out there will realise what's going on. If you're not going to buy my album and download it from the Internet, come to my gig and support me then."
I like Courtney, he talks sense. Maybe I'll try one of his gigs?