In a perfect world...

Attention, people of South London!

Today, I regret to announce, scientists made a discovery that could change our very way of life. Irrefutable proof has been found of a link between listening to a genre of music that they have termed “shit R&B” and ear cancer. Worse still, there is strong evidence suggesting that secondary exposure to “shit R&B” can also lead to an elevated risk of developing this particular strain of cancer.

The exact causation of the cancer remains unclear. It has been termed cochlear sarcoma moronica, and is thought to be triggered by certain rhythms and tones heard only in this genre of music.

In response to this news, the playing of audible “shit R&B” music will be banned on public transport, and will be punishable by fines of up to £500. In addition, the government has stated that it will support vigilante action against transgressors, and actively encourages members of the public to severely kick anyone playing “shit R&B” through the tinny little speakers of their mobile phone, or who has turned up their iPod so loud that people sitting at the other end of the damn carriage can hear them.

Workplaces are to introduce “shit R&B” rooms, where those who need to listen to the awful cacophony can endure their monotonic drones and homophobic lyrics in the comfort of a soundproofed environment, without disturbing their co-workers.

Special car parks, far from civilisation, are to be opened, where those who have adapted their cars to allow the booming, relentless bassline to be heard several streets away can congregate and compete to see which of them has installed the largest, noisiest, egregious bowel-churning subwoofer.

Finally, the government is to introduce a special “shit R&B” tax on sales of CDs and digital downloads, to ensure funding for the NHS, in order to cope with the additional burden these inconsiderate assholes are placing on the population.

Scientists have been asked by music-haters (surely “music-lovers”? Ed) for further clarification about the nature of “shit R&B”, who have demanded to know the names of examples of musicians in the genre. “Can you give an example of a non-shit R&B artist?” pleaded one enthusiast, desperately hoping to find a musician whose work it would be safe to listen to.

Scientists have, so far, been unable to provide an answer.
  • Current Mood

uggggh. brainz.

Four Years Of Turbine Hall Art

Ugh. Tired. Must eat brainz.

This little jar of sweeties came from Heal's department store on Tottenham Court Road - part of the confectionery display near the entrance. I don't recall that they used to sell confectionery, so I assume it's a Christmas addition... despite the apparent non-festiveness of the brains!

For my non-existence audience's benefit, I highly recommend going to see Faust performed by the Punchdrunk Theatre Company at a warehouse in Wapping mystery location. Tickets are still available for all of the dates in December at the time of writing. I went to see it last week, and it has to be the most amazing, immersive theatre experience I've witnessed ever. You wander around the rooms, dipping into and out of the lives of the various characters - or just exploring the sumptuous, rich locations built just for it. The attention to detail is incredible, down to the musty smell in the cinema and the strong pine smell in the forest. I don't want to say too much, because a lot of the experience comes from the anticipation.

Four Years of Tate Modern Turbine Hall Installations

Four Years Of Turbine Hall Art

Since I changed over to digital cameras in 2002, there've been four visually impressive art installations in the Turbine Hall of London's Tate Modern. Here's a mosaic of my photos of them. The title's a bit of a lie, because it implies four consecutive years - Bruce Nauman's 2004 installation, Raw Materials really wasn't quite as impressive visually, so I've not included a photo. Pictured are:
2002 - Marsyas - Anish Kapoor
2003 - The Weather Project - Olafur Eliasson
2005 - Embankment - Rachel Whiteread
2006 - Test Site - Carsten Höller

(no subject)

Look here - not at the text
See what happens when you don't pay attention. huskyteer has nominated me as someone that she'd like to know the six current favourite songs of.

Clumsy sentence construction am a master of the also.

This will need some thinking about - a list of six songs without explanation won't ever be interesting... Stand by. In the mean time... enjoy the photograph of Chelsea pensioners at play.
  • Current Music
    Where I Find My Heaven - Gigolo Aunts

Oh... My... God...

Look here - not at the text
Holy living shit.

I think I'm going to be referring to it as Nonentity Rut Club. I cannot believe it. Z-list celebrities get sent out to a tropical island for what amounts to little more than a holiday where public votes occasionally thrust two of them together on a contrived date, with the hope of ultimately witnessing some on-screen ruttage.

And what makes it worse? They're paying the "celebrities". Not just a small amount of money either - Abi Titmuss is getting £100,000 just to appear. The others are getting less, but I think the lowest wage is £15,000 to go on two weeks of tropical holiday.

Oh, and there's a winner at the end of the show. Christ knows how that's determined. Probably notches on bedposts to judge from the way the show's being promoted. They get £100,000 on top of their salary.

But the fun doesn't stop there. The show's presented by Patrick Kielty and Kelly Brook. You've not heard of them, have you? Good. Keep it that way. Vacuous doesn't even begin to explain it.

Ugh. Look at the kittens... not at my words of hate here, or, as though you'd think of doing so... the show. *shudder*
  • Current Music
    something angry...


Alice's Vespa
So, another week on, what's happened?

Well, I discovered a fault with my camera, which meant that a discoloured blob appeared on images with large blocks of single, non-white, colour - in one specific place. It might well have been dust on the CCD - but if it was, I wasn't prepared to start jabbing about inside a brand new camera to clear it, so I took it back yesterday. The staff at Digital Depot in Stevenage were immensely helpful and obliging - and the new camera is just fab... and pictures are discoloured blob-free.

Of course, I've discovered that digital SLR photography has the potential to be an incredibly costly hobby. I'm now tempted to spend large sums of money on new lenses... I reckon I'll manage to hold out for a couple of months, but in all likelihood, I'll have bought a 28-135mm lens before my trip to Mongolia (52 days to go!).

It was a sad week at work - we bade forewell to Matt and Freddie, who left to emigrate to New Zealand. They're a lovely couple - Matt's a British guy who met Freddie, a Kiwi, out there while travelling, and they came back here to work for a couple of years. They're heading back overland much of the way - taking the Trans-Siberian train to Mongolia, then taking trains down through China. I'm going to really miss the two of them, but hopefully, I can catch up with them if I get to Australia and New Zealand at the end of the year.

Otherwise, not a great deal happened with work... other than the usual frantic pushes towards deadlines.

I went to see The Cosmonaut's Last Message To The Woman He Once Loved In The Former Soviet Union at the Donmar Warehouse on Tuesday night, which was pretty good. Fantastically well staged, and incredibly well acted - some really beautifully-observed dialogue. But overall, the plot seemed a little disappointing to me - suffered from a fairly recurring theme of recent dramas, featuring lots of characters with asynchronous lives, either with similar backgrounds or speaking similar phrases. The highlight of my evening, however, was seeing Christopher Eccleston in the audience, and going up to him in the bar to get his autograph and shake his hand. I thanked him for improving Saturday night television infinitely.

Yesterday, I met up with huskyteer in the Apple Store in London, and went down to Bromley with her for dinner, in the rather lovely flat that she shares. After Doctor Who, she cooked up a rather lovely chicken biryani, with minimal assistance from me - essentially just the occasional agitation of wok contents. And then, we sat down to watch Laputa. I'd forgotten quite how much fun it is - lovely scenery, and an only slightly heavy ecological plot.

After sleeping on their futon, I watched huskyteer clean her Vespa, and varnish some shelves, before heading back home. En route to Bromley South station, I tried calling another friend, who is currently fostering some kittens, but didn't get a reply from her home or mobile phones... so I said my goodbyes to huskyteer, and got on the train to Victoria. A couple of stations along, my phone rang - my friend was returning my call, and said she'd come and pick me up from Kent House station. So, I spent the afternoon playing with five adorable little kittens. Aww...

  • Current Music
    Chicago - Surjan Stevens

Dandelion in London Colney

So, yesterday, I invested in a Canon 350D camera... and have already taken several hundred photos on it. Also, I've discovered that Flickr lets you post directly to your blog! So, expect all sorts of photographic joy over the forthcoming weeks... that is, until I get bored of the novelty.

Anyway, so this is one of my first photographs - of a dandelion in London Colney. Amazed at the level of detail, and am a complete digital SLR convert.

Election fever

Well, today was quite uncomfortable pain-wise... probably the worst it's been for a week or so. But I still felt better than I had a couple of weeks' earlier - I think it's better to know that I'm not suffering due to anything particularly serious, but all the same I'd far rather be well.

I completed a first draft of my PMP (performance management plan) for the year 2005/06 at work today. Management, in their infinite wisdom, decided that we won't be eligible to receive our performance related pay and retention bonus for 2004/05, until we'd submitted finalised versions of our plans for the new year. The deadline they set for this was the end of this week - and, of course, my manager is on leave until next week... which means I can't get my PRP and retention bonus until June's payslip at the earliest. Frustration.

A good day for post - the National Theatre tickets I bought the other night arrived, my BUPA membership certificate, and my annual travel insurance documents... oh and a request from the Old Vic to remain a friend for a further year. Friendship of the theatre entitles me to priority booking - I'm wondering how big a deal that is, after the deserted theatres when I went to see Cloaca and National Anthems in the current season, even though I really enjoyed both plays. But, having said that, Aladdin was absolutely packed... and next season sees Kevin Spacey playing Richard II in the Shakespeare play.

I saw Richard II once before, when Ralph Fiennes played the part in a production in a vacant set of studios in Shoreditch, which were about to be renovated into luxury flats. That was a really good production, and Fiennes was superb as the foppish king... so Spacey has a lot to live up to.

I voted on the way back home tonight... will this be the year that Clappison finally loses Hertsmere? Almost certainly not. Shame. Will probably stay up to watch some of the election coverage, but intend to have a pretty early night.
  • Current Music
    That's Not Really Funny - Eels

Back to the daily grind

So, after a couple of weeks' off work, today saw my triumphant return. Still a little uncomfortable, but overall, have been feeling quite a lot better. I'm going to try to take it reasonably easy - and work are fairly supportive about that... or at least, some of them are.

Impressively, I probably read more of the book I'm currently reading; Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell, on the train journey to and from work than I had in the previous two weeks. At this rate, it should be finished by the end of the week.

Also, booked tickets tonight to see Henry IV, Part 1 and The UN Inspector next month at the National Theatre. Both shows only cost £10 per seat thanks to the Travelex £10 season!
  • Current Music
    not listening to music


Hm... so I admit, my flirtation with this whole Livejournal thing hasn't exactly been fully entered into.

Mostly, I put the blame down to the increased pain I've been experiencing in the groin area. It came on before I went to Sweden back in February, and got steadily worse. Countless trips to doctors, and several nicely invasive diagnostic tests in hospital, have led medical science to the conclusion that "we don't know" what's actually wrong with me. Most likely explanation is that I had infection of the prostate, and then passed a kidney stone, which damaged my urethra... and now I'm dealing with the slow-and-steady healing process. It seems there's no way to actually accelerate it - though I'm drinking tons of water each day, and taking more antibiotics to make sure that the prostate's completely cleared up.

The whole thing has got me down somewhat - you don't really notice how much you take your health for granted until something goes wrong... Irritatingly, I had to cancel my trip to Morocco, which I was scheduled to have returned from yesterday - and that bothered me a lot. Particularly because I didn't have travel insurance to cover its cancellation. Don't ask.

Some good has come of this whole experience though - my experience of the NHS, with its glorious 12-week waiting times (if you've not got something really serious), has prompted me to sign up for BUPA membership. They don't currently cover me for my existing problem - but once it's cleared up, I can get medical certification to prove I'm well, and add it back into my policy.

I've also made sure that I'm covered for my trip to Mongolia in July by taking out another annual travel insurance policy. I honestly hope I'm going to be properly well again by then, the thought of this discomfort dragging on that long is too grim to contemplate.

Not a great deal else has happened in my life lately. I went to queue up to get the latest release of Mac OS X at the Apple Store in London... and somewhat tragically, was second in the queue. Perhaps more tragically still, I was photographed playing with my PowerBook. Met some quite cool people in the queue though - the guy at the front of the queue was a student at LSE, there was a journalist from Barbados who was celebrating her first opportunity to attend an Apple event (their Caribbean events being somewhat thin on the ground), and a student studying Japanese at SOAS who'd spent some time in Japan (ickoonite).

Last night, I went to a barbecue at a friend's house in Islington, which was really nice and relaxing. The weather remained good, and my friend managed to collect a fascinatingly eclectic bunch of guests... a musician, a photographer/reflexologist, a music festival co-ordinator, and so on. A nice way to welcome in springtime on May Day.
  • Current Music
    The Only Living Boy In New York - Everything But The Girl