are the stars out tonight?

life and stuff


i am now exhausted beyond belief. as is traditional, i had a last minute essay panic which ended with me having to run halfway across campus to get my last essay (the problems of biography in natalia ginzburg's lessico famigliare and carlo levi's cristo si è fermato a eboli) in before the deadline. go me.

the bonus is that now i only have the shakespeare and his contemporaries essays to do in the exam, and my york days will pretty much be over. actually i'm not sure how much of a bonus that is.... but i'm quite excited about going to city. and also, the new snicket book was in waterstones, so i got that, and i ordered the essential eloise while i was there.

it's all about a little girl who lives in the plaza hotel with her nanny. but even better, it was written by kay thompson who played the editor of quality magazine in funny face. pretty much my all time favourite film. and yes i'm reading a lot of kids books at the moment, but my brain has turned to mush over the last few days. normal service will be resumed imminently. honest.


continuing the craze for limericks

a young boa known only as feather
lamented the change in the weather
said she, "in the rain
i don't feel so urbane
and i'm nigh at the end of my tether".

well i very nearly am (although i like the caesura in the third line there).

a gal who was fond of a stunt
decided to give lent a punt
for days numb'ring forty
she did as she ought'y
and now she can't seem to say... well, you know.

if i had a blogger pro account, or if i was using moveable type then i'd have a headline ready made for this post

b&h remind me of not giving up but giving in

i think it might be a problem when you have a proustian moment when you light up your first fag in months. it took me back to the river.

i am not a smoker. i am not a smoker.
repeat ad nauseam.


all those years ago when i was at the open air theatre for the last time, half our show was at london zoo. what i had almost forgotten (until i was reminded by the commments to this post on little red boat) was that at the start of the second half (when we'd all got to the zoo, and i was usually struggling into my fat suit in a hut backstage), we had an animal onstage. or rather there were two of them: orinoco and tobermory. orinoco was a bit vicious so he was replaced by tobermory after a few performances. tobermory turned out to be a fine actor, playing the part of orinoco extremely well. i think they were coartis, but i can't find any information on what that might be. they had sharp teeth though, i remember thinking.

apparently they were later adopted by danny from hearsay. and it was all going so well.

updated - i realised that i was spelling it wrong - coatis are the racoon's more sociable cousin, apparently.


ok, i seem to have got in trouble for this post. let me say this i'm not an indie snob i like tatu, i'd shag britney, i own the steps best of. i don't care if people get into bands i like, i usually think "hey, that's really great for them, because this time last year they were living in a box". right. so that post below, i didn't mean "mine, d'you hear me, mine" literally. in fact it was a bit of a tongue in cheek reference to indie snobs.

as it happens, i really really liked bandages by hot hot heat, and i needed cheering up, so i bought make up the breakdown on import from tower records. thus i know that not many people had it in this country because it wasn't out in this country, so unless people were fairly keen, like me, they almost certainly wouldn't own the album.

now, the nme. i have a feeling the nme is due to go the way of melody maker fairly soon, unless it can get its sales up. have you noticed it getting smaller until it's almost a4? have you noticed that they're putting posters in the middle? have you noticed the price going up and up? all of that happened to mm. i mentioned this during my city interview, and they said "everyone's saying that this year", which suggests of course that i'm not very original, but also that i'm not alone in thinking this. i bought the nme a couple of weeks ago for the first time in quite some time. it was the one with the white stripes on the cover. it contained the worst piece of writing i have ever paid money for (the interview with the white stripes), as well as a very nice album review by ian watson, but that's kind of irrelevant.

so - they realise they have to boost sales (that's why they got mr mcnicholas in anyway isn't it?). they discovered that during strokesmania, sales did in fact "go up slightly for the first time in four years", so they try it with some other bands. like hot hot heat and yeah yeah yeahs. that's what i object to - the meaningless hype. i mean we all remember terris and embrace don't we?

oh and to answer your question mr (i assume) s no i wouldn't take a job at the nme because i'd rather have a bit of job security. wouldn't mind going there on work experience though.


very good news yesterday i've been offered a place on city's periodical journalism course. of course i couldn't really enjoy it because i was nursing one of the worst hangovers in the history of the world, for which i would blame s lord, for encouraging me, except for the fact that i only just saw his comment, so i have no such excuse.

i've just donated £15 online to tommy's campaign to make up for swearing during lent. in actual fact, i didn't swear 30 times, but i wanted to make it a rounder number than £12.50. apparently that will buy a pot of ultrasonic jelly. or something.

as it's easter sunday, and because we had something to celebrate, sarah, stu and i went to city screen to see a double bill of french films - à la folie... pas du tout and le placard. both were wonderful in very different ways (à la folie gets really quite tense, where le placard is pretty lighthearted. although it does deal with some important issues to do with political correctness and homophobia.) sarah and i decided we'd like to live in france.

oh yes, and mike now has a powerbook to go with sarah's ibook. i was feeling left out until i remembered that i too have a powerbook. the fact that it's almost ten years old and has a black and white screen does not detract from it's innate macciness. there may be pictures up here of macs through the ages before the week is out.


you know that alanis morissette song, and you know how people love to say how things in it aren't really ironic. well what if she'd sung "it's like you finally do some work on the essay you really really need to do and then all the printers on campus go down all at the same time so you can't print it and it's easter weekend so they won't be fixed until tuesday" does that count as ironic?


i feel very vindicated now: "...make up the breakdown by hot hot heat... the absolute highlight is the totally crazed single (out march 10) bandages. i'm sure come the end of the month the nme'll be all over them, but for the minute, they're mine, d'you hear me? mine." hot hot heat on the cover of the nme. and of course to (kinda) quote them "they're not a secret now, and i don't care", weirdly enough. i still think bandages is a great song. and the fact that the nme is pawing at them, like a small child who's fallen into a well and is grasping desperately at anyone who might save him, doesn't change that.

and speaking of hot hot heat (oh i'm smooth) according to my weather pixie, it's 22 degrees centigrade outside, which is about 72 degrees farenheit. in april. i can't find out what the average is, but i'm fairly sure it's nowhere near 72 degrees. damn essays, otherwise i could be out making hay while the sun shines. gah.

by the way, i've used this thing called tiny url dot com to make the unwieldy adresses more palletable, it seems to have worked well. whoot.


soooo, had an interview yesterday at city which i think went reasonably well. there was the easiest general knowledge quiz in the history of the world: "which american artist wanted everyone to have 15 minutes of fame", well he didn't exactly want people to have it, he just thought they would. i wasn't sure about the "why might it not be a good idea to go to guangdong", so i guessed it was sars, and hey i was right. whoot.

but then in the actual interview bit, they asked me to pitch a feature to them. and the only thing i could think about was blogging. which has pretty much been done to death. i babbled on about hidden gems like the modern age. but then as i was just about to go i realised what my feature should really have been about - scrabble! so i dragged in richard herring to combine the two. not sure how successful that was. anyway, apparently we'll hear tomorrow, which is, er, soon.

still, the other people at the interview were really nice, including the woman who runs this site. i was probably the youngest person there though - and certainly the only person who was planning to come to city straight out of a ba. it would make a nice change to be a youngster though.


saw my first ducklings today - york being built around a man made lake, there will be quite a lot of the little blighters soon, but for the moment it's still quite exciting seeing them.

dickon wrote quite a lot about this guardian article about "curated mix albums", and then mentioned the hilarious concept of the date tapes. the basic premise of these are that they are supposed to be tapes made by a bloke called stokely makepeace to his bird, beginning with the first date and so on. it's not a bad idea i suppose, but i rather find the idea of taking something that people do anyway and making money out of it a bit weird. there's a bit in high fidelity where rob's talking about mix tapes and how personal they are. when you sit down and make one you are thinking of the person you're giving it to (unless it's for the sinister tape tree, in which case you're just picking songs you like or which make you look cool). the idea of listening to someone else's tape is just sort of strange. a bit like reading someone else's love letters. that said, i did once set up a blog just to keep a note of tracklists to tapes i had made. so possibly i'm guilty of the same thing.


when chris started going out with verity it was agreed that they were absolutely adorable together. i coined the phrase "box of kittens" (or at least changed the meaning of the phrase to suit my ends) to describe just how cute they were. kittens in a box, intended to represent chris and verity.  that's chris on the left.
last night, sarah, dave and i realised that you needed to be able to quantify just how cute a box of kittens you were talking about. thus, i give you

the box of kittens scale There are four variables in the cuteness scale here:

number from 1-8 (obviously the more kittens, the more adorable).

selection going from siamese (by far the least cute kittens) to a mixture of black and white kittens, plus one ginger kitten with white socks and a pink nose (the optimum cuteness level), with pretty much infinite choices in between.

age between 1-2 weeks and 6 months old (in general the younger they are, the cuter).

state - this tends to be more to do with the "kind" of cuteness under discussion - options include: sleeping, looking up at you with big eyes, crawling over each other, mewing for food and playing with string.

a normal person might be 1 kitten, 6 months old, tabby, playing with string. (if you're feeling geeky this might be expressed as 1k, 24wk, ta, str)

a really nice couple would tend to be 4 kittens, 6 weeks old, mixed (all kinds), crawling over each other. (4k, 6wk, mix, cra), as you can see, together their cuteness is far higher than the average person in the street. in this example you can see how the state factor can be used to describe a touchy-feely couple.

in case you were wondering, we were quite drunk.


are you bored? actually don't answer that. but i'm currently waiting in a computer room and i am. so i've been playing twenty questions against a computer - it's amazing, and really addictive. also guess the dictator (or sitcom character weirdly) [via little red boat]. i went for hawk-eye from mash which it got pretty quickly, and then hotlips, which it didn't get so fast (for the record neither of these were dictators). oh yes and you're not me which is grate if you want to do the dave gorman thing - although you don't get their addresses or anything, 'cos that would be weird. there are currently two of me out there. wow. maybe i'm a clone.