Tuesday, December 31, 2002

Text message of the day

A new regular feature, which may hopefully give readers of this 'ere blog an insight into the weird and wonderful minds of my associates...

"'Fairytale Of New York' really is the only good Christmas song. Really" - Dan
Nightmare at Christmas

Last night I watched 'I Love 1989' in its entirety and at one point exclaimed "Oh yeah, 'Challenge Anneka', I remember that!". I hate myself and I deserve to die.
Alan's quote of the day


Friday, December 27, 2002

Trampled on by the Trotters

Bolton's players must have been VERY FUCKING WELL-BEHAVED this year, given the generosity of our Santa Claus back four yesterday. I can just imagine Sam Allardyce's pre-match team talk... "OK, so it's one win in 15 games, lads, but hey - Newcastle are in town and they're in an even more charitable mood than normal! Make sure you say thank you!" So, what with gifts for the Bolton fans and players, any neutral onlookers (in the form of a thoroughly entertaining match) and the pundits (who hardly need any more invitations to criticise our defence), the only people who come away from yesterday afternoon's debacle empty-handed are the Toon fans like yours truly. Brute fact: Championship contenders do not lose at Bolton.
Alan's quote of the day

"Needless to say, I had the last laugh"

Thursday, December 26, 2002

Quote of the day

"It's hard to decipher the difference between a sincere entertainer and an honest swindler" - Kurt Cobain

There I was, wracked with feelings of guilt to perhaps a laughable extent, wanting to read Kurt's journals and yet resisting the temptation to buy the book according to some kind of principle - and my parents go and bring about a resolution by buying it for me. So far, I've only briefly skimmed through it. First impressions? The writings of a passionate, intelligent, sensitive and frequently quite disturbed young man which document how he was fucked over from all sides. And whatever anyone might say about whether or not we should have access to the journals (and I'm still dubious that we should), they're a fascinating read.
Alan's quote of the day

"[My pecs] are more or less the same, they're just fractionally more flaccid. Apart from that, I've just got a smooth chest, with a ring of hairs round each nipple and a thin line that sort of builds towards the usual place. ... Bye"
A Song For Whoever

3. Jesus Christ: 'Birthday Boy' - The Geraldine Fibbers

Happy Christmas y'all (yeah, I know it's technically 26th December, but then I'm a slack bastard...).

Tuesday, December 24, 2002

Joe Strummer RIP

The Clash: an impassioned yet sensitive critical voice balancing out the wrecking-ball onslaught of the lustily nihilistic Sex Pistols. I'll leave the eloquent obituaries to others - but I would like to say, in the face of an imminent and almost inevitable American-sponsored attack on Iraq, that the words of the Clash song are more relevant than ever. I, for one, am so bored with the USA.
Alan's quote of the day

"Let's start with some petting"

Thursday, December 19, 2002

The New World Order

I finally finished Noreena Hertz's book 'The Silent Takeover' last night. A fascinating companion-piece to 'No Logo' and Eric Schlosser's 'Fast Food Nation', it is another book which has managed to take some of my intuitive feelings and beliefs, substantiate them with meticulously researched factual evidence, offer a rigorous analysis of the issues on a global scale and forge a compelling and reasoned argument. Like Naomi Klein, her subject is global capitalism and multinational corporations, but her interest lies more specifically in exposing the increasing degree to which companies influence and impinge upon the sphere of politics. Her tone is not uniformly critical and despairing - she acknowledges, for instance, that some corporations and individual entrepreneurs do seem genuinely benevolent in their attempts to benefit the disadvantaged when the state is unable to meet their needs, and that ordinary people, in their role as consumers, can hold corporations to some kind of account and put pressure on them. However, the bottom line is that, as Hertz puts it, the business of business will always be business first and foremost, and in any economic downturn philanthropic projects will ultimately be jettisoned to protect profits. Despite efforts apparently indicative of the contrary, capitalism is an inherently exploitative economic system. The idea that in a deregulated capitalist economy financial gains "trickle down" to the lowest strata in society is not borne out by the facts, and a genuinely neutral state is needed to redistribute the generated wealth and counteract the inegalitarian excesses of unfettered capitalism.

Perhaps the one single argument with which I most strongly agree is her suggestion that ever lower voter turnouts, particularly amongst the young, should not simply be condemned as apathy. Political issues are just as important to us now as they ever were, if not even more so - what isn't as important to us is the evidently inadequate political system. Exploring new methods of registering your vote is to be commended, but this can be at best a preventative measure. What we need is for politicians to engage with a sympathetic and curative analysis of the problem, like that offered by Hertz. WHY is it that voters are increasingly disillusioned with what is traditionally conceived of as "politics"? WHY is it that people feel increasingly marginalised and ignored? Books like 'The Silent Takeover' and 'No Logo' have some of the answers.

I read with interest a recent New Statesman article which suggested that the anti-globalisation movement has been stagnating over the last year or so, its progress stalled by infighting among all the ideologically disparate factions which originally grouped under a common cause. This may well be true - but with 'Fast Food Nation' and Michael Moore's 'Stupid White Men' still lodged firmly in the bestseller lists, and Hertz's arguments fresh in my mind, I hold out some hope for change.

In the meantime, go to Make Trade Fair and tell Nestle what you think about them trying to reclaim $6 million from Ethiopia when the country has millions of people starving to death.
Shock value?

While browsing around Selectadisc yesterday for what felt like the first time in ages, I picked up a copy of Vice magazine, newly launched in the UK and with ex-NME scribe and Bizarre editor Andy Capper at the helm (they've also got NME's dance boffin Piers Martin onboard). On the surface (and there is a LOT of surface...) it's a blunt and brutal cross between style mags, Bizarre and 'Jackass'. Whereas Bizarre positions the reader as a "normal" person looking on voyeuristically from a distance at the freakish and perverse extremes of humanity, Vice presents all this as the norm - real people need to know how to fight those bigger than them, real people will relate to tales of wanking to homemade porn in aeroplane toilets etc etc.

Anyway, its status as a self-appointed provocatively controversial cat amongst the corporate pigeons is compromised somewhat by the glossy ads - OK so they help to keep the magazine free, but do we really need Ben Sherman and Sony filling up space? I for one would be prepared to pay if this meant no corporate bullshit - and if the content was worth reading. Aside from the entertaining and educational guide to "getting reamed up the cake" (that's Vicespeak which translates as "getting fucked up the arse" for you and me), there's precious little in the issue I've seen to merit any attention - too many sketchily trivial articles presumably included because they are about (hee hee) violence and female masturbation. What Vice lacks in wit, inspiration and intelligence it thinks it can make up for with pornography. 'Fraid not.

When all's said and done, the lack of any real substance means Vice buckles under the weight of its own amorality and is ultimately as vacuous as any of the publications against which it sets itself. Being "shocking" is fine, but it's got to lead somewhere, as in the work of Chris Morris. If it's an end in itself (as it seems to be in Vice), it quickly becomes tedious. OK, so Magazine World is currently a bland and safe place, but on this evidence Vice ain't the answer.
Not particularly festive feel good hits of the festive period

From both Christmas Present and Christmasses Past...

1. 'Non-Zero Possibility' - At The Drive-In
2. 'Cave-In' - Codeine
3. 'Fairytale Of New York' - The Pogues with Kirsty MacColl
4. 'Karma Police' - Radiohead
5. 'PDA' - Interpol
6. 'The Jean Genie' - David Bowie
7. 'Classic Girl' - Jane's Addiction
8. 'Crystal Gypsy' - Sebadoh
9. 'Overhead Metal Erection' - Burning Brides
10. 'Big Exit' - PJ Harvey
11. 'Geno' - Dexys Midnight Runners
12. 'Black Snow' - Ten Benson
13. 'Here Comes My Man' - The Pixies
14. 'In Love' - The Datsuns
15. 'I Wanna Be Your Dog' - The Stooges
16. 'Somethin Stupid' - Frank and Nancy Sinatra
17. 'The End Of You' - Sleater-Kinney
18. 'Cherry Pie' - Warrant
19. 'New Disco' - Radio 4
20. 'Fight For Your Right To Party' - Beastie Boys

(NB In the case of the Burning Brides track, never was a song so aptly named - listening to it, you feel as though you're being wanked on by a priapic Black Sabbath...)
Alan's quote of the day

"How can you set fire to your hands?"

... to Alex for linking to my blog.

Tuesday, December 17, 2002

If it wasn't for those pesky kids at Central Trains...

... I'd have seen the last episode of 'I'm Alan Partridge'. As it was, I was deprived of the inordinate pleasure this would have afforded me. I'll persist with the 'Alan's quote of the day' slot, though, even if they are a bit stale, just to prove that Alan is cone but not forgotten...

"You can drown in a cup of coffee"
Quote of the day

"For me to say I've never been arrested is an admission that I've not been as responsible a citizen as I should have been by now" - Michael Moore

Monday, December 16, 2002

Dumb and dumber

Frank Sinatra once said that rock 'n' roll is music "sung, played and written for the most part by cretinous goons; and by means of its almost imbecilic reiterations and sly, lewd - in plain fact, dirty lyrics - it manages to be the martial music of every sideburned delinquent on the face of the earth". Man, he would have just LOVED The Datsuns and The Hellacopters at the Wolverhampton Wulfrun Hall on Friday.

Like a worryingly large proportion of bands around at the moment, The Hellacopters seem to have appointed ZZ Top as their style gurus. In musical terms, they resemble Guns 'N' Roses - if getting rubbed down in diesel oil had been their next move after Appetite For Destruction, instead of all the pomposity and pretension of the Use Your Illusions double album. That they're very hairy goes without saying.

The Datsuns followed - an exceedingly tight-trousered Kiss if they'd had a brief hot 'n' sticky dalliance with punk. The fiddly solos, the complete lack of irony, Dolf de Datsun's remarkable duck-bill lips - it's all so WRONG. But then 'In Love' or the chorus to 'Super Gyration' smacks you repeatedly round the head and you start to feel the dumbness spreading downwards to your extremities until you, like everyone else in the room, are a dead-eyed zombie chanting such nonsensical mantras as "Harmonic generator, intermodulator!" like some kind of braindead Hare Krishna.

Anyway, I quite like being a sideburned delinquent.
Oh we don't like to be beside the seaside

By all accounts a solid performance at Southampton on Saturday - but we STILL can't win there. Our last three point haul away to the Saints was back in 1972, I think.
Alan's quote of the day

"Dangerous dogs should simply have their teeth replaced with strips of rubber"

Thursday, December 12, 2002


No lengthy autopsy of NME this week - I'll leave that in the more capable hands of Simon at No Rock 'N' Roll Fun. I could bang on about the barrel-scrapingly lame and drawn-out coverage of Liam Gallagher's little German fracas which signals the ever-increasing tabloidisation of the news section, and about the fact that even the supplements are now possible only with corporate "support" (hello V***phone!) - but I won't. Two observations on skimming the issue briefly, though:

1. Re: the news item about nothing more than the fact that "hot new Aussie band" (copyright NME for the next six months) Jet don't want any hype. Someone in the news team has a SERIOUSLY developed sense of irony.

2. Re: Piers Martin's review of the Burning Brides' EP Glass Slipper. Apparently they sound as though they think Sonic Youth's Sister is the pinnacle of modern cultural production. The fools! How misguided! It's Sonic Youth's Daydream Nation, of course!
The Spanish Inquisition

Did Tuesday's downpour just delay the inevitable? Well, in a sense, yes. OK, Barcelona chalked up their tenth successive Champions' League victory against us - but it was the manner of the defeat which will have come as little surprise to anyone who's been watching us over the last year or so. No disgrace whatsoever. A goal down after seven minutes and Overmars tormenting our defence all night, it would have been tempting to fear the worst for a team with an average age of 24 - but these lads have got real heart, and Ameobi seemed intent on taking them on on his own, turning in a sensational display. Three things stood between us and at least a point: a couple of defensive lapses, Robert's shooting (again...) and Dyer's John Inman-esque efforts to clear Motta's header from a yard behind the line. So, a great deal of pride to be taken from the performance, and the Spaniards' visit to St James' should be quite special.
Alan's quote of the day

"The man is mentally ill. I've seen him eat a plastic pie"

Did anyone else think the 'Bono' Lynn found at her Baptist church looked remarkably realistic? Oh, just me then.

Wednesday, December 11, 2002

The golden age of Impact magazine RIP

Everything in this world is transient, fleeting, ephemeral. All love must die, and sadly that includes Impact Love (OED definition: 'the pathologically obsessive fondness for and devotion to the University of Nottingham's student magazine, which results in a dangerous disregard for the wellbeing of mind and body'). In the space of the last month, editor-in-chief Dean and editor Kate have both quit, due to a fundamental lack of support from the editorial team in terms of sharing the workload, and indeed a campaign apparently aimed at actively undermining their leadership. Kate's departure was particularly undignified, forced out and faced with staff changing computer and door access codes. According to Olav, there was a suggestion that I might be approached to help steer the rudderless ship. Well, they can go fuck themselves. I've got neither the time nor the inclination. Impact Love has been stretched to breaking point. And the straw that finally broke the camel's back? This, from the most recent mailing list posting: "issue 150 in the new year is going to relaunch the magazine with a new design layout, editorial content and largely changed editorial team". I hope you fall flat on your smug fucking faces, you cunts. You know who you are.
Arse adventures

Newsflash: teenage boys caught tampering with Kylie's bottom.
The rain in Spain

After last night's washout, the re-arranged Barcelona v Newcastle match hopefully goes ahead tonight. Not a problem for all us supporters back in Blighty, and I wholeheartedly agree that the pitch was unplayable and any attempt at staging the game last night would have been farcical - but spare a thought for those Geordies who travelled over in anticipation of a magical night in the Nou Camp, and who have had to return home before the game has even kicked off due to work commitments. It's a generous gesture on the part of our slimy and piggy-eyed chairman Freddy Shepherd to offer compensation to those who travelled with the club's own travel scheme - but anyone who made the trip independently will be left up to £300 out of pocket only two weeks before Christmas. And given the state of our depleted side, the players could have done with all the support they could get. The cruelty of the elements, eh?
Alan's quote of the day

"That was the best full English breakfast I've had since Gary Wilmot's wedding"

Tuesday, December 10, 2002

One giant leap (of faith)

Barcelona in the Nou Camp without Shearer and Bellamy? Tonight is going to require one almighty dollop of that good ol' mindless optimism!
Alan's quote of the day

"Beefeaters do not live in caravans. They live in the Tower of London and they are restaurants"

Monday, December 09, 2002

What a refreshing change

An away win against Villa, and a clean sheet - yes, unlike myself and the vast majority of right-thinking people in this country, it seems my beloved Newcastle actually ENJOY visiting Birmingham. Just when it looks like the game might be petering out into a creditable draw, Shearer comes up trumps again and bags us all three points. No rollercoaster ride this time, no fingernails bitten down to the bone - no alarms and no surprises. Same time next week, lads? We've got that horrific Southampton hoodoo to break...
A Song For Whoever

2. Michael Jackson: 'Bad Babysitter' - Princess Superstar
Alan's quote of the day

"I prefer David Attenborough. At least he's honest - he interviews real mice"

Friday, December 06, 2002

Found: young soul rebels

ITV's 'Rock Legends' programme was last night dedicated to Dexys Midnight Runners, and deservedly so. The narrative traced the sheer hard work of their beginnings in Birmingham, before moving on to consider their three albums (I think there were only three...), devoting particular attention to the record which was regarded as a 'great lost album' almost as soon as it had been released, Don't Stand Me Down.

What was really pressed home by the programme was the incredible chameleon-like changes the band's sound and image underwent over the space of only a few years - they were constantly redefining themselves to the extent that even David Bowie's career seems far more coherent in comparison.

Dexys Mark I - Searching For The Young Soul Rebels: black jackets and hats inspired by the film 'Mean Streets', awesome horn-driven single 'Geno' propelled to Number 1 in May 1980.

Dexys Mark II - Too-Rye-Ay: gypsy chic, dungarees and neckerchieves worn as a marker of group solidarity, lots of fiddles, another Number 1 in the shape of 'Come On Eileen'.

Dexys Mark III - Don't Stand Me Down: serious, difficult, mature, ambitious, inspired by Irish rebel songs, suits and ties, no singles.

It's a shame that, as Kevin Rowland admitted, 'Come On Eileen' "became bigger than the group", and that Dexys will seemingly be forever known for the song that has inebriated wedding guests falling around on their arses up and down the country every week. Whereas on Too-Rye-Ay Rowland confessed they "sold out a bit", 'Geno' in particular has a real uncompromising purity and purposiveness about it, common to both Searching... and Don't Stand Me Down. In the end, a classic tale of "contrary buggers" (Rowland's words again) who, in their fierce independence and perverse adherence to a vision, became the inadvertent architects of their own destruction, leaving in their wake a legacy of great music.
A Song For Whoever

(This hopefully might become a regular feature...)

1. Winona Ryder: 'Been Caught Stealing' - Jane's Addiction

It ain't drug-dealing, it's as simple as that.
Next week in NME

Following on from this week's free New Rock Revolution badges, next week's issue of Hot New Revolutionary Rock Mag NME will come with one of a range of New Rock Revolution lollipops, flavoured like the genitalia of your favourite New Rock Revolution stars - yes, you too can find out what they taste like! Will you get Nick from The Beatings' musky aroma? The cheesy tang of Dolf de Datsun's foreskin? Or Karen O's fragrant pantyjuice? You'll have to suck it and see!

Next week's issue also comes with even more self-congratulatory wankslop and absolutely no shame.
The end is nigh

The demolition of Wembley began in earnest today, and I've got mixed feelings. On the one hand, it was a fucking awful ground as far as spectators were concerned - if, like me, you're anything over about 5ft 5", you found your legs crushed against the back of the seat in front. There are also personal footballing reasons to be glad of Wembley's demise - having shelled out £90 in successive seasons (1998 and 1999) to watch Newcastle capitulate in pathetic fashion to Arsenal and then Man Utd in the FA Cup Final, helping both secure the domestic double, I think it's understandable. Add to that our 4-0 humiliation at the hands of Man Utd in the 1996 Charity Shield and the agonising and wholly undeserved 2000 FA Cup Semi-Final defeat to Chelsea, and I could perhaps be forgiven for positively rejoicing at the fall of the twin towers. On the other hand, though, as a fan of football in general, and one embarrassingly prone to bouts of wistful sentimentality, it's hard not to feel some sadness.

Anyway, here's to the future - a brand spanking new national stadium to rank alongside the fantastic Millenium Stadium in Cardiff. And let's hope Ken Bates's involvement is minimal - what a horrible little gnome he is.
Alan's quote of the day

"Well, now you've got Norfolk's maddest man. I wanted to watch Roger Moore necking with Fiona Fullerton - but instead I have to watch a giant Michael Bolton lookalike throwing an oven over bales of hay"

Thursday, December 05, 2002

You advent seen nothing yet...

... if you advent taken a look at the Framley Examiner's festive 'Advert Calender' and had your mind warped and brain washed by the power of surreal advertising. Today's advert for an ideal Christmas gift from Newby's of Molford? 'Goose Fight' Top Trumps, of course, in which various geese can be pitted against each other with respect to their unladen weight, their fear factor and the newspaper they read. A fine stocking-filler. I also liked yesterday's advert for a plum cosy - cold plums are such a nightmare.
Partridge: "da bomb", not "a bomb"

Thus far I've avoided commenting on the 'debate' about whether or not 'I'm Alan Partridge' is having a damaging influence in its depiction of Norfolk and its inhabitants, but remaining silent is no longer an option, given the content of yesterday's Eastern Daily Press newspaper. Following in the wake of claims by West Norfolk councillor Charles Joyce that the series does indeed have a detrimental effect, UEA academic Victor Morgan wrote, in all seriousness: "This type of thing can destroy individual lives or damage economies just as surely as can unfounded allegations on the internet or the terrorist's bomb". WHAT A FUCKING COCK. And all this despite the fact that 86% of respondents to an EDP online poll dismissed the programme as harmless. So, Mr Morgan, The Facts:

1. Alan Partridge is the finest comic creation for years.

2. He is not in any way explosive and does not pose a threat to the lives of innocent Norfolk civilians.

Almost equally baffling, though, are the comments of some of those who are defending 'I'm Alan Partridge' as harmless. Independent councillor Andy Pearmain has been quoted as saying: "At the back of my mind I'm honest enough to accept that Norwich is a bit of a cultural backwater". Now, forgive me for being defensive, but I've loved the place ever since I first visited, and Norwich is NOT a "cultural backwater". It is a beautiful, friendly, historic and yet vibrant city, and if all this escapes the attention of even its own councillors, it strikes me that the debate should centre on them and their perceptions, not on how the city is depicted in a comedy series.
East Country delights

Norwich really is a magical place. It's got a puppet theatre, for fuck's sake! What more could you possibly want?
Quote of the day

"George Bush is more a corporation than a human being" - Ralph Nader
Are you listless?

Is your life currently devoid of quality lists? Why, you want to get yourself over to Troubled Diva, where they're compiling a mighty fine list of songs whose lyrics basically consist of lists. I was going to suggest Le Tigre's 'Hot Topic', but someone's beaten me to it. Not just a big list but also a fantastic song, that reminds me of prime pre Stock, Aitken and Waterman era Bananarama.
Alan's quote of the day

"I hate archers, 'The Archers' and Jeffrey Archer. You're all deceitful cowards. I've just realised that only applies to archers and Jeffrey Archer, but not 'The Archers', who, to be fair, are a mixed bag"

Wednesday, December 04, 2002

Shearer sticks it to the Toffees

My slightly belated comments on Sunday's win over Everton - nearly an hour and a half of tension and frustration building and building, and then five minutes of sheer bliss at the end. (I could have made that sound even more sexual, but I abhor gratuitous vulgarity, as I'm sure you've realised by now...). Kevin Campbell scored against us at St James' YET AGAIN and after Yobo was sent off I must admit Everton did defend with admirable resilience (although ably assisted by some wayward finishing on our part), but anyone claiming we didn't deserve the victory is quite frankly talking out of their arse. Apart from the goal, Everton had no chances - we had ALL the opportunities and made ALL the play. OK, so we huffed and puffed but in the end Bellamy's fortuitous winner was just desserts. Shearer's equaliser though - WHAT A GOAL! He's got a foot like a traction engine. I'm sure I'm not alone among Newcastle fans in thinking that UEFA should let him off his Champions' League ban for elbowing Cannavaro purely on the strength of the quality of that strike...
Ben Elton

Saw Ben Elton on 'Liquid News' the other day. He is a cock.
Laid low

Unhappy news for fans of It Makes No Difference. Olav, the man behind the angry and often fantastically entertaining rantings, has been hospitalised with a "piloidinal abcess", whatever that is - doesn't sound too pleasant, though. So, blogfans, it may be a few days until he's able to write, but when he is you can be assured he'll describe the experience in the most gruesome detail. In the meantime, get well soon buttmonkey.
Alan's quote of the day

"Oh, butter my arse!"

Monday, December 02, 2002

An incomparable experience

There really isn't anything like winding up an evening's carousing with a round of Ladyboys in the nightclub voted the worst in Britain by both FHM and Mixmag. There really isn't - I tried it on Friday. Oh my God.
Alan's quote of the day

"If a bomb went off in here, society would collapse ... in Norwich ... for a bit"