// September 2007
Apparently men with deep voices are more likely to be more fertile according to a recent study.
Obviously I’m stymied in the reproductive stakes by the complete lack of interest in breeding and rearing (in any sense) children at all, but it’s nice to know all the same.
As I take the bus to Liverpool Street Station each morning, I do tend to mentally flatline I will admit. Sitting there with the latest recently-released BWO and Dragonette albums playing whilst I think of pretty much nothing is, as far as I’m concerned, one of the most sacred parts of the day.
However, there are two names that tend to spark some level of awareness as we motor recklessly past them which – if truth be told – make me smile no matter how many times I see them.
The lesser enjoyment is the mere existence of a place en-route called “Newington Butts”. Sadly the reason for the name is less amusing than the name itself, but there we are. I smirk, therefore I am.
The other – and to my mind far superior – diversion is a little earlier on the Brixton Road towards Oval. At first glance it appears to be nothing more than a small shop, part of a row of non-de-script frontages which can be found in any of the more urban London areas. But the name screams out to my admittedly puerile mind and has brightened up my day on several occasions.
It’s called the “Reggae Jerk Centre” and, frankly, the first time I saw it my mind boggled.
Naturally I have so far come up with three possible uses for the said centre and they are, to be fair, far more interesting to my mind than the truth.
But the imagination is always more interesting isn’t it?
I have, I regret to say, issues with heat. Not the magazine, you understand (although, now you mention it?¢‚Ç¨¬¶) but actual temperature in that I become physically unable to function when the thermometer reaches about 29 degrees.
So it was slightly unfortunate that my jaunt to Barcelona for last weekend and the early part of this week coincided with an unseasonably warm September where 35 degrees was pretty much the standard for much of the day.
Still, it was a very nice trip otherwise. There was a difficult period of adjustment where I ?¢‚Ç¨‚Äú as a decidedly morning person ?¢‚Ç¨‚Äú was essentially being forced into the continental late-night dinners and clubbing experience (it didn?¢‚Ç¨‚Ñ¢t really work I?¢‚Ç¨‚Ñ¢m afraid ?¢‚Ç¨‚Äú again I just sort of physically shut down at 12) but aside from that it was all rather lovely.
Many large meals were indulged in (one, in the Olympic Village, saw our party joined by a rather handsome puss-cat who was after the pickings of the fish), lots of the city?¢‚Ç¨‚Ñ¢s architecture and labyrinthine streets were explored, and I finally caught up on some reading, which was rather gratifying.
It was also Poblenou?¢‚Ç¨‚Ñ¢s Fiesta Mallora which meant there was a certain amount of local colour too ?¢‚Ç¨‚Äú I gather it was a bit of a trial run for this weekend?¢‚Ç¨‚Ñ¢s big Barcelonan Fiesta so there was a slightly WI feel to it all, but it was rather charming – and actually had one of the best fireworks displays I have ever seen.
Needless to say, a certain amount of oddness occurred – this is my life, after all. For one I managed to end up being pounced on by some hopeful Nigerian hooker in Las Ramblas who literally grabbed my arm and tried to drag me off (talk about barking up the wrong tree). Then there was the meal at a table next to some rather terrifying Sardinian Separatists, who then later turned up on a stage in one of the side streets doing some appalling rapping as part of the Fiesta.
Oh, and there was the odd coincidence of meeting up for evening drinks with someone who had befriended Mark and John on the beach while they were sunning themselves on the beach. Turned out we already knew each other through Other Rob, but there was a lot of ?¢‚Ç¨?ìI know you don?¢‚Ç¨‚Ñ¢t I? Where do I know you from??¢‚Ç¨¬ù before we figured it out. (It?¢‚Ç¨‚Ñ¢s always a worry that sort of thing ?¢‚Ç¨‚Äú I?¢‚Ç¨‚Ñ¢m fairly certain I remember 90% of past lovers but you always fret you?¢‚Ç¨‚Ñ¢ve blocked one out, don?¢‚Ç¨‚Ñ¢t you?)
But yes, it was all rather lovely, and definitely much needed. I think next time I go I shall make sure it?¢‚Ç¨‚Ñ¢s even more off season though so it?¢‚Ç¨‚Ñ¢s just that little bit cooler.
Some photos are here if you?¢‚Ç¨‚Ñ¢re interested.
Those words are four I never thought I’d use, but I just discovered that they’ve put five episodes of Metal Mickey online.
Okay, so it is a bit lame. And I was, oddly enough, far too young for it when it was broadcast (I would have been three when it started and I think I only ever saw one episode when I was a kid) but my early childhood scrapbook contained innumerable pictures lovingly cut out from magazines because they thought a comedy robot would be just the sort of thing a young boy would like when he was older.
Life was much simpler when I was interested in robots. Now I’m interested in men it all seems so much more complicated.
You can’t switch them off for one thing.
I have now paid off the last of my Student Loan. I stopped payments back in April having realised that I was actually within sight of the end and have been luxuriating in the additional cash this has freed up ever since.
But yesterday I got home to find a letter saying that there was ?Ç¬£84.10 outstanding and so I ran them to pay it off by card.
Interestingly, though, it appears their computer system couldn’t actually tell them how much I owed. I had various figures suggested ranging from ?Ç¬£120, ?Ç¬£85.16 and ?Ç¬£84.16, but I stuck to my guns and pointed out that the letter said ?Ç¬£84.10 was valid until 10th September and that’s what they could have.
So it’s done. I’m all paid up and officially my student days are behind me (as indeed is a sizeable bottom) I’m now officially free!
Or at least moderately priced.
There are, I fear, few more pitiful sights than that of the commuter whose routine has been disrupted.
But since Bob Crow ?¢‚Ç¨‚Äú arsehole in chief of the RMT – has called his members out on strike, the streets are once again full of confused stumbling zombies, their brains having shut down and their patience chips temporarily suspended. Liverpool Street Station this morning was swarming with armies of mentally-flatlining individuals who, in at least one part of the station, were taking solace in an attempt to create the worlds biggest queue.
When in doubt, form a line. It?¢‚Ç¨‚Ñ¢s a terribly British response.
I am somewhat irked by all of this I must say. The militancy of Crow and his cronies always exasperates me since he comes across as a bullish, uncompromising and arrogant individual, drunk on the power that calling a strike regularly gives him. And in a television interview last night I really wanted someone to slap him one since, in my opinion, anyone who says ?¢‚Ç¨?ìthe reality is?¢‚Ç¨¬ù as many times as he did probably has a very shaky hold on what they?¢‚Ç¨‚Ñ¢re trying to define.
No, Bob, the reality is that what you?¢‚Ç¨‚Ñ¢re calling for is unreasonable. It?¢‚Ç¨‚Ñ¢s one thing for the current administrators to guarantee that they will continue to honour jobs and pensions during their administration ?¢‚Ç¨‚Äú and quite right that is too ?¢‚Ç¨‚Äú but to assert that they can demand the future purchasers (whoever they may be) do the same is utter nonsense.
Clearly no purchaser is going to want to take on a very publicly failed company without making changes, so if the administrators put such conditions in place you?¢‚Ç¨‚Ñ¢d be bloody lucky to get any interest at all ?¢‚Ç¨‚Äú which screws over both the tube network and also the Union members whose interests the RMT is pledged to protect.
But there we are, reason is a foreign country and so the commuters must be subjected to a cruel and unusual punishment indeed.
That said, my journey in today was relatively smooth. Admittedly it fell apart a little at the end when the driver of the 133 didn?¢‚Ç¨‚Ñ¢t realise that due to a road closure there was a diversion, but hey. Somehow he missed all the huge signs indicating this and ended up having to do a three point turn where South Place and Eldon Road meet (confusing the hell out of a hundred or so zombies), before heading back along Moorgate, the London Wall and back up to Liverpool Street Station.
The only irritating thing was that having made the mistake and deciding to correct it he wouldn?¢‚Ç¨‚Ñ¢t let anyone off despite the fact that we were all pretty much where we wanted to be.
I sometimes wonder if Bus Drivers go on ?¢‚Ç¨?ìBloody Mindedness 101?¢‚Ç¨¬ù training before starting their jobs.
What with the new job, I have taken to popping into WHSmith of a morning to stock up on Pepsi (Max, that is, not the full fat) and a couple of bottles of Lucozade Hydro-Active which, I must confess, I have rather taken to.
And every morning I suffer the onslaught of offers you can get from around the till-point. At the moment I am declining, on a daily basis, the offer of a pack of Haribo at half price. This is not, you understand, because I don’t like Haribo, but simply because at the moment I am trying to eschew sweets and anything too dangerously calorific.
Today, however, there was an additional trap. Having picked up a copy of some random periodical I also got an offer of a tube of Pringles too – again one which I politely declined for the sake of my somewhat amorphous waistline.
It does occur, however, that WHSMith’s current desperate touting of sweet and potato-based temptations is maybe not entirely in line with the current Government panic about obesity and making sure you get your five a day and so on.
Surely they should be pushing apples and bananas instead? Or just not be so heavy handed with the promotions?
I bought a pot-plant today.
This has never happened before. I feel quite faint.
But there was a space, you see. A space on a side-table in the new living room. A space which had previously been occupied by out-of-date phone-books and catalogues which I came to clear out yesterday in a frenzy of recycling.
And then it all looked so empty.
So I bought a red Bromeliad in Tesco.
I am, it appears, becoming a perfect housewife, damn it!
Okay… it?¢‚Ç¨‚Ñ¢s been a long time coming, but with the release of the final three episodes of season three on DVD I thought it was finally time to commit my thoughts on the last two episodes of Series Three to the web.
And it?¢‚Ç¨‚Ñ¢s got to be said, very mixed thoughts they are too.
Now, although it started with a terribly convenient resolution to the “Utopia” cliff-hanger, “The Sound of Drums” screamed “instant classic” from the off. It was, to put it simply, a bouncing-on-the-edge-of-the-seat-athon of dazzling proportions, and the cliff-hanger – with the Doctor aged to the point of frail infirmity, and the Master fully in control – was such a strong one that I wondered at the time how the hell they could top it.
Now… Last of the Time Lords isn’t irredeemably awful ?¢‚Ç¨‚Äú although various people I know refuse to watch it ever again ?¢‚Ç¨‚Äú and with the inevitable repeated viewings (and once taken in context of the series) everything is cleverly layered, pointered and it is on the whole a logical progression from its predecessor.
The first time I started to feel a little cheated was the Doctor being aged into a – rather less successful than you?¢‚Ç¨‚Ñ¢d have hoped – CGI critter. Execution aside (for which I will only say ?¢‚Ç¨?ìmeh?¢‚Ç¨¬ù) it is just a re-use of the same plot device used earlier, something which is a surprising lapse from a writer of Davies?¢‚Ç¨‚Ñ¢ indisputable experience.
The moment I really started to cringe, though, was the rejuvenation of the Doctor. Now, I’m not going to whinge about overt religious iconography in Who – although this was about as unsubtle as you can get – but whilst the Master putting it about as if he is Lord and?¢‚Ç¨¬¶ well, you know?¢‚Ç¨¬¶ having the production team make the same comparison makes me feel very uncomfortable. For me the more mythical and Godlike the Doctor seems to become the more his intelligence and his (for want of a better word) humanity are eclipsed. Give him more and more amazing alien superpowers and you diminish his heroism to a certain extent, so the fact he suddenly surrounded himself in a glowing mist and was reborn was, for me, the absolute nadir of the series.
Then, following these two blows, the subsequent blatant steals from Flash Gordon and Return of the Jedi just annoyed me further. And as for the Face of Boe revelation, that just seemed to be another ?¢‚Ç¨?ìhow funny would this be?¢‚Ç¨¬ù thing that would have better been left alone. (Telling I think that even RTD says it?¢‚Ç¨‚Ñ¢s just a theory and he doesn?¢‚Ç¨‚Ñ¢t believe it.)
But of course, these are precisely what the production team dismiss out of hand: the opinions of someone who has loved the series for years. But I would point out my 12-year-old stepbrother (who has only really come in from Series One) independently didn?¢‚Ç¨‚Ñ¢t like the episode for much the same reasons, so I feel a little vindicated on this score.
Still, there were some marvelous moments too: CGI Doctor aside, the first thirty minutes were just stunning, particularly for Martha. And I hate that once again I have to praise the performances – since the series as a whole does pull stunning ones out of the hat from every cast member it ever has – but Last of the Time Lords was no exception. Martha?¢‚Ç¨‚Ñ¢s exit, too, was a real shock, but so incredibly truthful that, whilst I so wanted her to stay, I could understand why she didn?¢‚Ç¨‚Ñ¢t.
In fact if anything, the plus points of the episode are what Davies always excels at: characterisation, motivation, emotion and a real sense of sparkle and fun. It?¢‚Ç¨‚Ñ¢s just sometimes he does push things a bit too far (either for a guffaw-type joke or for his view of what counts as ?¢‚Ç¨?ìepic?¢‚Ç¨¬ù) and in this one it pushed a lot of wrong notes for me.
Still, even with the (for me) chronic let-down of its last episode, Series Three has generally felt like an improvement over Series Two which somehow now feels a bit flat by comparison. And even at its worst, it’s still one of the best things on telly. (Second best, in my opinion, but a good second.)