Monthly Archives: September 2004

Now what shall I do with this?

Now here’s something I never thought I’d get round to getting.

A Passport

Not that I’m necessarily going to use it in the near future, you understand. But I might get round to it. Might come in handy if I need to flee the country.

Running down…

One more post before the batteries die in the Tosh. I’ve been installing software and posting from the little beastie for quite some time now, and the little icon tells me I have less than 20 minutes left. It’s done quite well, really. It’s been running for about three hours now, and that included some fairly heavy file copying and downloading over the wireless connection. And I’d used it on battery quite a bit at work on Monday, too – and that included using a PC card wireless connection[1], so it looks like the total battery life might not be too far off the claimed six hours. Certainly six hours of more normal application use and moderate web and email work seems feasible.

Have I mentioned what a nice machine this is? :grin:

[1] New 3G data card from Orange, which actually works with the VPN, which makes it potentially very useful. At least one of our senior people wants one. I’ve told him he’ll have to wait until I’ve tested it some more, though :smile:

London Calling

OK. Confession time. In 1979, when this album first appeared[1], I was deeply uncool. I had no interest at all in popular music, so The Clash completely passed me by. Sorry. I made up for it a few years later, and by the mid 80s, I was much better. :grin:

Anyway, what we have here is a really rather tasty 25th anniversary edition of possibly the definitive Clash album. It’s presented in a tasteful fold out sleeve which includes a nice little booklet with archive photographs, articles and notes on the original album, and a reproduction of the original 12″ lyric sheet. Good so far. But if (like any discerning music fan) you already have London Calling on CD, why would you buy this? Well, apart from its general gorgeousness and style, the package also includes a CD of demos, alternative versions and the like, culled from the long lost Vanilla Tapes[2] and a DVD featuring a documentary by the ubiquitous Don Letts[3] and some original promo videos.

Much has been writen by far more coherent people than me, so I’ll jsut say that this is a glorious album, from the opening blast of the title track through to Train in Vain. Get it now. Not necessarily this edition (the standard one should be available for not a lot at all), but certainly the original album.

[1] In the UK, that is. It didn’t appear in the US until the following year, which goes some way to explaining Rolling Stone magazine’s labelling it as the best album of the 1980s.
[2] It had been thought that the only copy had been lost, but apparently Mick Jones found another while moving house. :eek:
[3] Who made the quite excellent Westway to the World and was in Big Audio Dynamite with Mick Jones.

Off the boil….

Hmmm. Can’t seem to get it together to do much exercise. Again. Took longer than usual to recover from the last London trip, then had a night out. This evening, I got involved with some other things[1].

That wouldn’t be so bad, but I didn’t even walk to or from work today. This morning I was feeling a little fragile, and this evening it was raining just enough to make warning a little too unpleasant to contemplate.

Ahhhh well……

[1] A future post will reveal all :shock:


Well, I had a night out. I might have had a wee drinkie or two. This probably accounts for this morning’s scary figure of 203.0 pounds (14 stone 7 pounds, 92.1kg).

Should be better tomorrow……

Knees Up Mother Earth

Robert Rankin is, of course, completely Dagenham[1], and has been for quite some time now. Well, strictly speaking, he’s more Brentford, but you know what I mean. He’s been writing some of the funniest, oddest, most unclassifiable fiction around for a long time now. A typical Rankin book is likely to feature the impending end of the world, talking sprouts, unlikely inventions, copious quantities of alcohol, Elvis, Evil Forces, pre-decimal currency, and running gags that even I wouldn’t attempt to get away with. All good fun, and all highly recommended.

You could start at the beginning with The Antipope which is the first in the legendary[4] Brentford Trilogy in which we first meet such characters as Neville the part-time[5] barman and the even more legendary Pooley and Omally. Later books include the fictional detective Laszlo Woodbine and many more weird, wonderful and downright odd characters. But to be quite honest, you could pick up any of the books in any order and not really miss anything. There is something of a cumulative effect as the gags pile up, the situations become more and more unlikely and the silliness reaches unprecedented levels. Very good for reading on the train, provided you don’t mind getting funny looks from all the people who are wondering what you’re laughing at.

Anyway, here we have the latest Rankin novel, Knees Up Mother Earth, billed as the seventh novel in the Brentford Trilogy[6] and also the second novel in the Witches of Chiswick trilogy.

Set (as is generally the case) in Brentford, it sees the return of Pooley and Omally and their associates. There’s an evil conspiracy to release an ancient evil power[7] that is buried under Brentford football ground, which for reasons that make sense[8] in the context, can only be defeated if Brentford win the FA Cup[9]. With a rather unusual team….

It’s all very silly, and makes remarkably little sense. I loved it. Rankin is one of very few authors whose books I’m prepared to buy in hardback as soon as they come out. If you haven’t read any of his work yet, either get this one, or maybe pick up a paperback of one of the earlier ones.

[1] Three stops past Barking[2]
[2] Old joke[3]
[3] This site might help if you don’t get it
[4] Legend in its own (liquid) lunchtime, most likely
[5] But ever-present
[6] Who says trilogies should be limited to three books?
[7] In addition to Cthulhu, who’s hanging around….
[8] In as much as anything makes sense in a Rankin book
[9] Some kind of ritual sport thingy, I believe. I really wouldn’t know.