31 March 2006

a good idea

My mother ranted about the council today. With good reason; Hounslow Council are fucking awful and there should be a complete audit of their spending and practices. But the ranting got kind of excessive and sowed the seeds of an idea.

For the most part, I hate complaining. Kind of. I love to rant every once in awhile, because it's fun to cut loose and eviscerate something that bothers you with wit, obscenities or sometimes both. But complaining, at its essence, is whining. And that bugs me. Especially as it's necessary. There are loads of people and organisations of people doing fucking badly at their jobs and they need to be brought to account. As people we have to not stand for their shit, call them on it, tell them they suck and it's just not good enough, or they'll just keep on doing it.

But it still irks me. Because threat of complaint is a shitty excuse to do a good job, or to fulfill responsibility. It should be done for a purpose, not for fear of complaint.

So I've decided, every time I complain about something - even on this blog - I'm going to come up with an idea. It doesn't have to be directly related to the issue I'm complaining about, but it has to be proactive at heart. I have to write it down. It can be anything: from an idea for a story to an idea for new forms of local government. It doesn't have to be feasible, but it helps: extra credit for feasible. Ideas balance whining. That's my theory.

So that's my idea. And it wasn't even me that bitched this time, so I'm going into this thing with credit.

30 March 2006

renaissance, sliced onions and oil

It's not that I haven't been doing much, it's just that I haven't been writing about it.

So I jumped on the tube Tuesday morning, seeking enlightenment. Not in the traditional religious sense though; more of an intellectual aesthetic sense. On the way I discovered personal prejudice. I don't like bugs on the underground. I was standing, gripping the overhead rail listening to Aerosmith (weird, huh?) on my iPod and the guy on my left, trying to be macho and avoid holding on to the handrail, had a massive bug crawling over his back.

It may not have been that massive, but I thrive on hyperbole, so deal with it.

Anyway, I thought at first it was a spider. They tend to crawl on backs more often than normal bugs. But only six legs confirmed it was a bug. A strange bug; it looked like an ant but had a weird tortoise-shell pattern. I've not seen an ant like it. They're normally shiny. In any case, as Steve Tyler sang about love in an elevator (as cheesy rock as it is, any band that sings about fucking in an elevator kicks fucking arse in my book) I considered tube etiquette regarding fellow passengers and bugs. Should I tell the dude? Should I tap him on the shoulder and be like, "Dude, you've got a big bug on you - thought it was a spider but it looks more like an ant in camoflage" or should I keep my mouth shut?

I kept my mouth shut.

And then the love in an elevator became a dude lookin' like a lady. Weird fucking band.

But it struck me as terribly out of place, this ant. If it was an ant. Whatever it was, it looked more like it should have been scurrying from behind a garden plant and not on the tube. I don't know why, but it began to irk me. I'm sure there's an ecosystem within the London Underground - rats play a big part certainly - but I think this ant wasn't part of it. I think it had hitched the wrong ride. It must have been uncomfortable; about as home as a giraffe in the Yukon. It didn't belong.

But enough of ants.

The British Museum's Michaelangelo exhibition - more examples of true genius than you can shake an easel at - has generated a massive amount of press and has pundits falling over themselves to praise and pillory. I thought I'd check it out for myself, to see if the world's greatest interior decorator's (go fuck yourself Lawrence Llwellyn-Bowen) sketches were worthy of the heaps and heaps of praise they are receiving. Or, if in fact they were mostly fakes, as one iconoclastic critic has suggested. Well, they are indeed works of true genius, born of an incredible time of history. And the iconoclastic critic is more of a total moron IMHO.

Who am I kidding? My opinion's not that humble. The guy's a fucking idiot.

But go and see the exhibition. It's remarkable and humbling to see sketches that exhibit more genius than the finished work of many artists considered brilliant. His retirement project was designing St Peter's Basilica. Most people these days play golf and spoil their grandchildren.


My hands, no matter how many times I wash them, smell of garlic and onions at the moment. I chopped 3 kilos of onions yesterday, and crushed 3 heads of garlic. I have used a lot of soap. I am a clean individual. But I still smell of garlic. And onions. They reek.

Everyone should go and see Syriana. Exceptional, frightening and thought-provoking, it struck me far more than I thought it would.

I'm tired. And smell of onions and garlic.

27 March 2006

back in white

Back to the old school style. No idea why. But that's just the way it is. Some of you may prefer the previous, more colorful style. Some may be glad it's returned to its more subdued tones. Most won't give a shit.

stealth-like daylight and some other nonsense

There's all sorts of weird stuff to mention.

While my mind wanders without direction much of the time, so too did my feet the other night when I walked to Fulham to see a mate. Yeah, walked to Fulham. From Chiswick. Those who know London might look at that and think "what the fuck?" but it wasn't that far. And with my limited knowledge of bus routes it made far more sense than public transport. Especially the tube, because it would have taken the same amount of time and I would have been more lost than I already was. Because I was lost. Not originally, mind. I pretty much made my way spot on until some weird nagging doubt told me that I'd taken the wrong turn off of Fulham Palace Road. So in correcting my imagined mistake I wandered aimlessly through that weird Hammersmith/Fulham no-man's-land where the street signs seem to be scattered W6 and SW6 with no apparent pattern or reason. Thousands of houses, council estates and mansion blocks, but no lights on in any of them and no people about. I noticed the lack of people because I didn't see anyone I would be too emabarrassed to ask directions from anyway (I am a guy).

In retrospect, it was very creepy. But at the time, The Best of The Proclaimers was pumping out of my iPod, and nothing's creepy when listening to The Proclaimers. Honest. You could be in a crypt watching the lid of a tomb slowly shift, powered by whatever cadaverous occupant within and be delighted that someone else was coming for a boogie.

Powered by The Proclaimers, I made my way back to the street I had been on and should have stayed on and made it, eventually to my mates flat. Where there was beer and a massive projector and a vast collection of DVDs.

So we drank beer and watched The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou. Considering the film, some other form of relaxant narcotic may have been appropriate, but beer worked pretty well. Neither of us had seen the movie and I can say without hesitation that it's genius. It exists in its own reality and for those 2 hours, you believe in that reality. There's also the whole David Bowie in Portuguese thing running through it - and that rocks. The CD is in my shopping basket at Amazon. Funding issues have not brought it to check out yet. Maybe I'll go up to Fopp today and buy it. I feel kind of in a Fopp mood.

Anyway. Rock on Steve Zissou. Watched Team America: World Police after that and chuckled heartily. Can't believe I hadn't seen it before.

By this point it was 20 past 2 in the morning and it was time for me to walk home. Now, I thought that as I knew where I was going my journey time would be drastically reduced. Fool that I was. I got home in no time - 40 minutes. Or so I thought. Unable to resist checking email before I went to bed, thinking it was about 10 past 3, I was shocked to see my computer clock saying it was 10 past 4. What trickery was this?

British Fucking Summer Time. Or BFST for short. I'd totally forgotten about losing an hour. I felt like a total moron.

So waking up to give mom her Mothers' Day card was harder work than it should have been. And then I had to tidy the Belfry for yet-another-fucking-pop-star that wants to buy the house. And they seemed to really like it. Which is terrible. I don't want them to like it. I certainly don't them to buy it. I want to win the lottery so I can buy it from my folks. That's actually my plan at the moment. As much was winning the lottery can ever actually be a plan. Which isn't very much, really.

If I did though, I'd go back to the Capital Hotel, the place dad and I took mum for lunch yesterday. Two very well-deserved Michelin stars and an awesome menu, bar, dining room, wine list, digestif list as well as superb service combined for an almost religious culinary experience. It also meant dinner was half a steak sandwich. I was going to have a few beers, but mom drank them all. I didn't begrudge her.

It was Mothers' Day after all.