Saturday, December 27, 2008


You know when you first et a dishwasher its exciting, and you actually look forward to opening it up and unloading all the nice clean shiny dishes that you no longer need to wash by hand..?

And then, eventually, the novelty wears off, and it becomes a real chore to unload the machine and put everything away...?

Well, I've just reached stage 3.

The other day I found myself wondering if it was possible to but mugs with totally flat bottoms (unlike the every-so-slightly concave ones I currently have) so they won't have collected ANY water at all when you open the machine after it stops its cycle.


Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Motorway Service Stations

How come only miserable ugly people stop at motorway service stations? I know stopping at one is a soul destroying experience in itslf, but you stop on the M1, M6, M5, M40 - any service station you choose looks like it's turfing out time from the Jeremy Kyle Show.

Do rich, good looking people simply not need to pee as often? Maybe they just pay someone (a butler maybe?) to hold an empty champagne bottle for them to pee into whilst they carry on driving?

Or maybe there is a totally separate network of secret service startions with nice food and clean toilets that only good looking rich people get to stop in.

Perhaps thats what Works Unit Only signs aually mean? It's a secret code, only understandable by the great and the good?

But Service Stations are one of the few places in Britain you can be guaranteed of hearing the local accent. Thats because they are so god-forsaken that even East European Economic Migrants don't want to take the jobs on offer.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Global News

A man has been convicted of an indecent act with a horse on the island of Guernsey - a small semi-autonomous British dependency located off the coast of France.

With a population of just 50,000, local news on Guernsey is usually pretty, well, "local". However a trawl of Google News shows the story has been picked up by the local Guernsey press, a couple of UK newspapers - all of which you;d expect - but also Ghanaian TVs web news service, Australia's "Live News" website and a news website for Indians living in Thailand.

Given the connected, 24-hour multi-media globally ever present monster that is global TV and internet news and its voracious appetite for any sort of new content, it's simply mathematically unlikley that any story would be picked up and repeated by just 3 international networks.

And its even harder to see why this story has only been picked up by these particular three.

Isn't the internet a wonderful thing?

Monday, November 10, 2008

East European Waiting Staff

Every waitress and waiter in London is not only East European, but the were training to be a Doctor in Eastern Europe before they came over to London.

Now, call me a cynic, but I can't quite see it.

Is there a specific lecture about 2 years into every Eastern European medical degree in which the lecturer accidentally slips in "...oh, and by the way, you could earn more as a waiter in London than you ever will as a Doctor in Eastern Europe..." at which point the entire class ups sticks and heads off to the nearest airport served by EasyJet, clutching a pair of black trousers and 2 clean white shirts?

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

The Ryder Cup

This years Ryder Cup was played at Valhalla in Louisville, Kentucky.

Wouldn't it have been so much better if it was actually played at Valhalla, home of the Viking Gods and chosen destination for great war heroes slain in battle ?

"Padraig Harrington lofts his tee shot up high, high into the air here at the fifth. Its looking good, looking straight - but whats that? A big fat Norwegian bird with pigtails riding a flying horse has swooped down and plucked the ball out of the air and is carrying it away off the course!" That's a very unfortunate dropped shot for the Europeans on what could turn out to be a vital hole.. "

Saturday, September 20, 2008


Now, as a modern man, having a pureed fruit based drink isn't in itself a problem for me.

Ordering one says "I care about my health"

It says "I know the government guidelines and I am trying to have my 5 portions a day"

It says "I have the originality to order something that is not coffee or tea"

It says "I am not a slave to corporate global marketing and Ican choose not to buy overpriced branded soft drinks sweetened with excessive amounts of sugar"

However, there is still something that I struggle with.

When I get to the counter and survery the list of ingredients up on the board , its relatively easy to choose the one I actually want even though the choices are legion.

But often I end up ordering something I don't really want, just because it's the only one one onffer with a name I would be prepared to hear myself speak in public...

After all, who wants to ask for a "Peachy Smooch", or a "Summer Passion Burst" - or a "Creamey Delight" ??

How about "Hello, I'd like a Tropical Dream please" ? You may as well admit you also have a paid of George Michael white speedos in your back pocket ...

Even worse are those that try to be constructive. The type you get in those healthy shops where you can add blended grass to your drink, and all the customers fight over the copy of the Guardian on Saturday magazine. Why in the middle of such a place would you publicly admit you want to buy something called a "Go Faster Master" or a "Brain Booster" ??

If you ask for a Brain Booster as a take-away it's basically exactly like asking the shop assistant to short change you.... as you will be half way down the street by the time it kicks in and you realise.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Running The United Nations

Once upon a time the UN was led by the wonderfully named Boutros Boutros Ghali.

More recently it was Khofi Anan. (thanks commentee)

Who presumably was just "Khofi An" before he realised that his suitability for the post would be enhanced by doubling up part of his name.

So, given this all seems quite obvious and easy, why did anyone bother with a petition on the Downing Street website to make Jeremy Clarkson Prime Minister of the UK?

Surely it would just have been easier for him to change his name by deed poll to "Jeremy Clarkson-Clarkson" and then he'd have been a shoo-in for the top job at the UN ?

Would have made the Georgia situation a lot better than that French bloke managed. Instead of Sarkozy faffing around ineffectually trying to organise a Russian withdrawal, Clarkson-Clarkson would have just pitched up in his stonewashed jeans and said "Right Putin - its me, you & Hammond, we take one T80 tank, one 8-wheeler armoured personnel carrier, and one 1976 1.1 litre lime green Skoda Favorit with beige interior and no air conditioning (for the Hamster) - first one back across the border into Russki-land wins enough petrol to burn a hole in the Ozone layer!"

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Safe Places to Live In Modern Times

With Global Warming causing hurricanes, floods, and all round Biblical levels of devastation across the globe, the choice of where to live is becoming rather more important, and - lets face it - somewhat tricky.

However I can offer advice. Its simple, easy to remember, and is Guaranteed to keep you, your pets, and your belongings, totally safe in these meterologically challenging times

Simply make sre to choose your home on the basis of its proximity to either:

a/ A School

or (even better)

b/ A Community Center

(Ideally actually live in a converted School or Community Center.)

Barn conversions - no good. Converted Churches - maybe, but still no.


Well, you muist have noticed that these two types of buildings are ALWAYS where people evacuated from their homes due to natural disasters end up being temporarily housed. So, they must be safe, dry, above the flood waters...... so presumably if you live in one, or near one, you can be fairly sure that you will also be safe from whatever Mother Nature can throw at you ...

Invest in buying up old Community Centers and turn them into luxury flats - thats the sure fire way to beat the property crash!

(I think I must have missed the period in world history when the edict went out from the United Nations to tell all member states to make sure their Schools (and "Community Centers") were built to higher specifications than most nuclear bunkers.)

Sunday, September 07, 2008

What goes......

Father, Son, Father, Son, Father, Son, Geek;
Father, Son, Father, Son, Father, Son, Geek;
Father, Son, Father, Son, Father, Son, Geek;
Father, Son, Father, Son, Father, Son, Geek;



The audience in a Cinema showing Star Wars - The Clone Wars animated feature.

(thank you Martin & Joe)

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Plastic Bags

British supermarkets are waging war on the plastic bag

In ever more fervent efforts to be Green, they all now encourage you to re-use bags, or they sell you high quality reusable ones.

But, being a bloke, this causes immense problems. Because I am unable to remember to take a bag with me to the supermarket. Its a biological impossibility for a bloke to leave the house with a bag that contains anything other than his sports kit or dirty laundry (sometimes both).

So, whenever I now get to the checkout, I have some namebadge-wearing till-worker looking down her nose at me as my shopping piles up at the end of the conveyor and I look frantically for the plastic bags.

Inevitably she then asks me "do you need a bag?"

But thats not what she means.

Oh no.

"Do you want a bag" is really a form of retail shorthand for :

"If I handed you a club instead of a plastic bag right now, I bet you'd be straight off to Canada to hit some baby seals on the head with it.
And on the way you'd probably stop off to inject CFCs from your old fridge into the eyes of some dolphins.
Dolphins you'd catch in a net whilst fishing for whales.
Using nuclear waste as bait.
And you'd leave all the lights on at home when you went.

You evil PLANET KILLING SCUMBAG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

Its actually like that - I swear..

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

King of Shaves

My choice of shaving gel, King of Shaves, proudly claims it has not been tested on animals

Whilst the thought of diligent researchers removing the facial hair of monkeys, rabbits and sad looking dogs does sound a little unnecessary, my suspicion is that the real reason went something like this:

Researcher 1 " So, what shall we test this on then?"

Researcher 2 "You mean, what animals should we shave ?"

Researcher 1 "Yes. maybe dogs - or perhaps rabbits ?"

Researcher 2 "How about Guinea Pigs?"

Researcher 3 " Its a no brainer. Beavers"

(lab collapses ino childish hysterics, never to recover.... )

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

save food!!!

The world food crisis is now part of the great environmental disaster overtaking the world...

Everywhere food prices are rocketing leading to mass startvation and an upturn in sales in LIDL at the expense of Waitrose.

To help save the planet we are being told to throw away less food and reduce wasteage.

I guess that means as organic stuff goes off really quickly, the people who told last week to buy organic to save the planet were different to the people telling us to throw less out this week then...?

(maybe they are? maybe they will get together and have a fight?)

Guantanamo Bay Trials hit the mark


A jury of U.S. military officers convicted Osama bin Laden's driver on charges of providing material support for terrorism on Wednesday.

Later this week they will be convicting his pilates instructor for providing lumbar support, the man who sold him an X-box for providing IT support, his underpants for providing athletic support, and a small brass band lost on the way back from Pontefract for providing musical support.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Andrei Arshavin

Zenit St Petersburg in-demand midfeild dynamo and playmaker Andrei Arshavin is attracting much interest from the top clubs around Europe at present following his match-winning displays for Russia in the recent European Championships.

However, its worth noting that his name does sound a lot like "Arse Shaving".

So whoever he ends up playing for needs to be careful which squad number they give him.

Imagine if its Chelsea, and they buy him to replace their midfield dynamo No4 Claude "that Makelele role" Makelele - which is entirely possible.

Each week when the team lineup is read out over your average dodgy premier league tannoy system, you may well hear....

"Cole arse shaving Essien"

(Ashley Cole - Chelsea No3, Micheal Essien, Chelsea No5)

Monday, July 07, 2008

Friends (the TV repeats)

There are 10 full series of the US sitcom "Friends"

The show is in near constant syndication around the world

Wherever you go , whatever time of day or night, switch on the TV and keep flicking - you will always find that one channel will be showing an episode of "Friends".

238 separate episodes were produced in total.

That means you could watch one every day and it would take you nearly 9 months to get through them all.

So why, whenever you flick onto any channel showing "Friends" anywhere in the world, is it always showing the episode where Ross dresses up as a potato and has a fight with Chandler - who is dressed as a pink rabbit ?

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Germany vs Spain

78 minutes

Euro Final


Gomez comes on

For Germany................

63 years aftr the fall of Nazisizm, and 21 years after Red Wedge, Racism is now finally dead in Europe

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

totally unacceptable

being caught taking either a book or a newspaper into the toilet with you - on an aeroplane.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Coast 103.2

The latest in the Radio Stations with the Playlist From Hell series is Dubai's Coast 103.2

This amazing back-to-back sequence was on the early evening show

Yes, uber-contemporary Coldplay the darlings of the Wallpaper* reading classes, followed immediately by 80's cash-in tour refusenick and internet phenomenon Rick Astley.

Not so much a playlist, definately not a rickroll, more the sort of malfunction in a 200Gb iPods shuffle function that would make you throw it away.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Surely not an ideal shop to work in?

"Yes sir, we have a new arrival of stock expected later today"

My TV Makes its Own Political Comment

My cable box has channel information on it.

This means you get a blue bar at the bottom of the screen for a few seconds each time you change channel.

It tells you which channel number you have selected, the name of the channel, and - usually - what programme is on now, and what is coming up next.

But for some it takes a more hardline editorial stance.

Consider its views on CNN for instance:

lets see that again....

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Dubai Kitchen

this is my kitchen in Dubai

the hood for the cooker is rather low.
in fact it's almost perfect eye poking-out-height for someone of my not unusual six foot height
which puzzled me for a while, as it doesn't seen the best design idea
until I realised that it's probably been built like this on the assumption that most cooking in Dubai is done by a small phillipino lady who also looks after your kids and irons your shirts as well.

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Skiing in the Desert

This is Ski Dubai

It's in a shopping center

There is a cafe next to it calles The St Moritz Cafe, decorated like a ski lodge and which is dotted with 42" plasma TVs set into stone fireplaces showing a loop of video of a roaring log fire.

Apparently - according to the local paper - its very energy efficient, as it is extremely well insulated. This means it only used 2% or 3% more energy to chill it down to -2 inside during the summer when compared to the (20 degrees cooler outside) winter!

Really, there's nothing more to say about it!

Burj Dubai

from Defence Roundabout (AKA The Roundabout of Doom)

Dubai Traffic Signals

Dubai has more than a few oddities in its road layouts and traffic signals.

There is the common, high tech invisible roadsign which says "to turn left, start in the right hand lane and swerve across 5 lanes of traffic HERE"

The classic "the exit you needed was the last one" - often combined with the "no, I know we signposted the exit 5kms ago, but now you are nearer you just have to guess"

But this is one of my favourites, as it has a strong visual identity, clean meaning and is so common.

Yes, these high visibility red and white barriers cum signs are everywhere in Dubai, but most usually along both sides of 6 lane 120kph (+) highways.

Their meaning is always the same.

"If this red and white sign is in a lane adjacent to you car ON EITHER SIDE, the lane you are travelling in may - or may not - end suddenly, without any other warning sign or indicator, and at any time. It may merge with the next lane, or it may simply terminate. The precise location at which the lane terminates may change at random, and on a daily basis".

Monday, June 02, 2008

Not in an 80's & 90s hour Radio !!

This might actually become a regular feature.

Radio stations that play 80s and 90s tracks wthout any comment, "that was the year" theme time quiz, historical anecdote, band-member related contextual item.. or indeed apology.

They just turn up unnannounced as just a regular song in the playlist.

Today, this beauty made its way onto the breakfast airwaves of Catboy & Geordie Girl on Dubai 92.0

Republica.... !!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

view from my apartment in dubai

Living in Old Town Dubai

Old Town is a brand new development, still under construction.

It's separate - and nowhere near - Bur Dubai, which is the old part of town.

(And I suspect "Bur" actually means "old")

It's also at the foot of The Burj Tower

(Which isn't the building usually called as "The Burj", that's technically the Burj al Arab - the worlds most expensive hotel. This Burj is just The Burj)

Which means it's rather depressing to try and get back home.

Because every day you think "ah - I can see the Burj - I must be close now!"

And then you remember that its the worlds tallest building. So its probably still just a little way off....

Monday, May 12, 2008

you know you are on the edge of civilization when

The local radio DJ utters the line...

"Now for a song about a Big Marine - yes, its Stan Ridgeway and CAMOFLAGE !!"

(Re-live the moment yourself....)

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

you know you spend too much time in hotels when...

You stay at a friends house and feel an overwhelming urge to take their soap, shampoo and toothbrush home with you

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Are Led Zeppelin Toast ?

Looking on for a new toaster (ours has broken) my eye was drawn to the Russell Hobbs 10617 Glass Toaster

I was attracted to the listing not for its innovative and unusual design

But because there were 22 (twenty two) customer reviews of it.

Thats two whole football teams (as of 27/4/08) of people who have a strong enough opinion about a toaster to go online and share that opinion with the world.

Well, I do like a bit of toast myself, but I really can't see how a toaster creates that much strength of feeling. I mean, you put bread in it, it comes out browner and warmer than it went in, thats about it really.

But 22 people!!

This means that there are four more people in the world with opinions about this toaster than there are who currently have an opinion on the digitally remastered version of Led Zeppelins seminal live album "The Song Remains The Same".

Led Zeppelin's live re-union gig at the O2 arena was a world-wide instant sellout, with reports of tickets selling for hndreds of times face value.

A rumoured re-union tour might be the biggest grossing rock tour of 2009 should it take place.

Led Zep live appearances are exactly the sort of things that A LOT of people care A LOT about, big time.

But the Russell Hobbs 10617 Glass Toaster creates more buzz, in fact over 22% more buzz than Led Zeppelin's best ever live performance.

Imagine then what sort of response a series of live dates from a Russell Hobbs 10617 Glass Toaster might create.

"Tonight, please welcome to the stage here at Madison Square Garden - the Russell Hobbs 10617 Glass Toaster!"

"HELLO New York - We're gonna Toast Some BREAD TONIGHT"

Monday, April 21, 2008

Breakfast - why?

The British seem to the the only nation in Europe to favour the "full-English" style hot food fryup for breakfast.

The French occasionally heat up the odd croissant, but its hardly griddle-fresh bacon, sausage, eggs and a fried slice.

The Spanish may push the boat out with a touch of egg & potato based warm tortilla, but it's not "fried, scrambled, poached or boiled sir?" is it?

The Scandinavians basically have a platter of museli, and if they are feeling especially adventurous they spread it on some bread made from cardboard and museli.

But the most puzzling of all are the Germans. Becasue they are basically museli, with a bit of stale bread and - if you are lucky - a thin slice of processed ham and a marginally thicker slice of rubberized cheese.

For a nationality who's culinary approach to every other mean of the day seems to be "we'll have hot grilled, fried or boiled meat for starters, and mains, and desert, and we will have all three with a side order of hot boiled, griled or fried meat on the side please" how did they miss the possibility of a hot meat based breakfast?


Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Air-conditioned bus shelters for Dubai

From Gulf News: Published: May 10, 2006, 00:00

Dubai: Air-conditioned bus shelters, the city's next landmark development, will be ready before next summer.

"Dubai will be the first city in the world to offer the luxury of air-conditioned bus shelters for passengers," said Mattar Al Tayer, Chief Executive of the city's Roads and Transport Authority (RTA), at the launching ceremony of the prototype shelter.

"The aim is to lure people into using the city's public transport, and ease the pressure on its crowded roads," he said.

Well, I guess taking more cars off the roads will help the environment.........

Lets just hope that the energy saved is enough to aircondition 800 bus shelters...!.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Anti-Chinese Protests

Britain and France have both been swept by a wave of anti Chinese protests in recent days, linked to the arrival of the 2010 Olympic Flame.

Now, speaking personally I would probably - if pushed - express a slight preference for Curry or Pizza. And I am quite partial to a Thai every now and then.

But even so, actually taking to the streets and protesting against Chinese seems to me to mean that someone is taking it all a bit far.

And particularly for the French to do so is even more bizzarre.

Whilst your average Chinese in France is probably a touch bland, Curries in France are uniformly atrocious - the French should get their priorities right and protest against Indian food if anything.

Monday, February 11, 2008

If Primal Scream lived in Chiswick

Spoken section at the beginning of the Track : "Loaded"/Album : Screamdelica

"Just what is it that you want to do? "

"We want to be free! We want to be free to do what we want to do!
We want to be free to ride.
And we want to be free to ride our machines without being hassled by The Man.
And we want to get loaded.
And we want the District line to stop at Turham Green at peak times as well as late nights and early mornings.
And we want to have a good time!
And that’s what we’re gonna do.
We’re gonna have a good time.
We’re gonna have a party!"

Friday, February 08, 2008

If Star Wars was set in West London - Part Deux

The Death Star slowly moves behind the massive yellow surface of Yavin in the foreground, as many X-wing fighters flying in formation zoom toward us and out of the frame. Light from a distant sun creates an eerie atmospheric glow around a huge planet, Yavin. Rebel fighters flying in formation settle ominously in the foreground and very slowly pull away.

INT. RED LEADER STARSHIP - COCKPIT.Red Leader lowers his visor and adjusts his gun sights, looking to each side at his wing men.

RED LEADER : "All wings report in"

INT. ANOTHER COCKPIT.One of the Rebel fighters checks in through his mike.

RED TEN : " Red Ten standing by"

INT. BIGGS' COCKPIT.Biggs checks his fighter's controls, alert and ready for combat.

RED SEVEN (over Biggs' headset) " Red Seven standing by"

BIGGS : "Red Three standing by"

INT. PORKINS' COCKPIT. PORKINS : "Red Six standing by"

RED NINE (over headset) : "Sorry, I'm still stuck on the M4 just coming up to Heston services right now. The traffic's horrendous, but of course John Prescott's bloody bus lane is still empty. Why on earth they wasted all that money to set it up when all it does is create more traffic problems is beyond me!!"

INT. WEDGE'S FIGHTER - COCKPIT.WEDGE : "Red Two standing by"


RED ELEVEN(over headset) : "Red Eleven standing by"

LUKE : " Red Five standing by"

EXT. LUKE'S X-WING FIGHTER. Artoo-Detoo, in position outside of the fighter, turns his head from side to side and makes beeping sounds.

INT. RED LEADER'S FIGHTER - COCKPIT.RED LEADER : "Lock S-foils in attack position - and Red Nine, if you want to risk the cameras in the bus lane, its your call"

EXT. SPACE. The group of X-wing fighters move in formation toward the Death Star, unfolding the wings and locking them in the "X" position, with one fighter still missing from the formation.

If Star Wars was set in West London

A long time ago in a Galaxy just off the Chiswick roundabout...


The evil Darth Vader stands amid the broken and twisted bodies of his foes. He grabs a wounded Rebel Officer by the neck as an Imperial Officer rushes up to the Dark Lord.

IMPERIAL OFFICER : "The Death Star plans are not in the main computer."

Vader squeezes the neck of the Rebel Officer, who struggles in vain.

VADER : "Where are those transmissions you intercepted? "

Vader lifts the Rebel off his feet by his throat.

VADER : "What have you done with those plans? "

REBEL OFFICER : "We intercepted no transmissions. Aaah....This is a consular ship. We're on a diplomatic mission. "

VADER : " If this is a consular ship...where is the Ambassador? "

The Rebel refuses to speak but eventually cries out as the Dark Lord begins to squeeze the officer's throat, creating a gruesome snapping and choking, until the soldier goes limp. Vader tosses the dead soldier against the wall and turns to his troops.

VADER : "Commander, tear this ship apart until you've found those plans and bring me the Ambassador. I want her alive! "

The stormtroopers scurry into the subhallways.

VADER : "And when you've found them, I know a really good Polish bloke you can call - get him in to re-plaster and re-decorate. He's very cheap and does a great job, much quicker and better than those decorators from the Alderbran System we used on the Death Star. Actually, while you are at it, ask him if his mate Stanislaw - Stan they call him - is free to do a bit of plumbing too. This ship is in a great location, but I really think the resale value would go up significantly if there was another toilet, and if that bathroom on Deck Three had a walk-in shower unit instead of a sunken bath - they are sooo 1980's now"

The commander nods, opens his mobile phone and starts to dial a Hammersmith number..

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Welsh Hotel Plumbing

Welsh Hotel Plumbing leaves a little to be desired.

Unless the toilet overflow emptying straight into the bath is normal.....?