Archive for February, 2004

brian wilson – smile

Not mad anymore
Brian Wilson, this evening

I’m not sure what to write about seeing Brian Wilson tonight, apart from the fact that a) middle of the front row is a nice place to sit, and b) I’m hardly surprised that Smile affected him the way it did.

From start to finish, it’s a breathtakingly lunatic piece of music. At one point (during ‘Vegetables’ of course), the string section can be seen banging carrots and celery together, but this is merely the most visible sign of the delirium on show. Most of the songs sound like snippets of dazzling concepts rather than fully-realized visions, as if Brian had created a series of thirty second symphonies to showcase his most brilliant ideas (and there’s no denying the brilliance of this music – in some parts there’s so much happening it’s almost ludicrous, yet the basic melodies are never anything less than beautiful), then faltered when he realized he actually had to finish the songs.

Having so many ideas bouncing around your head would be enough to send anyone off the rails. Truly staggering stuff.

week four flash

Episode four of the Flash animation course has passed in the usual blur. This evening I learned how to use animated gifs in flash, how to use different scenes, and some very basic action scripting. This can be seen in my latest extravaganza, which I’ve entitled “Life: from the Sea to the Serengeti (with added geese).” It probably works best if you have speakers, and turn them up really loud.

too much nastiness

Every time i cheat on you i feel a little bit better about myself and these other sorry fucks on this website.

Hoo-bloody-ray. Vent has been updated with 73 fresh slices of rancor, repugnance, repulsion, revenge, retribution, revulsion and lots of other things beginning with the letter ‘r’. It’s a particularly unpleasant batch, if truth be told. Why is there so much hate? WHY?

25 bloody years

Happy Anniversary to me. It’s 25 years to the day since I stepped off the good ship Leonid Sobinov at Southampton docks after a six-week haul from New Zealand, where I was born and spent my pre-teen years.

The ship was scrapped in 1999, but I figure I’ve got a few good years left in me yet.

pret a danger

It appears as though my battle against Pret a Manger is not yet over. Having received a voucher to enjoy a free cake and coffee combination on the company, I was most distressed to discover something amiss. And so I wrote back:

Much as I appreciate the voucher which arrived this morning, and baring in mind that I don’t want to appear ungrateful, I’ve still got to ask… when you say “we’ve taken on board what you say and changed the recipe”, what do you mean?

The main thrust of my original mail was that you’d changed the original (quite delicious) banana cake recipe to include nuts – something I wasn’t at all happy about – and yet the banana cakes lining the Pret shelves at lunchtime today still appear to feature a high proportion of nuts.

What have you changed?

Two days later, I received a reply:

One of the main issues about the change of the cake was that it was dryer than previous. This time around we’ve altered the recipe to make it moister and also added natural banana essence as well as more sun dried bananas.

I’m sorry you don’t like the addition of the nuts but the team decided that the change in texture they wanted could only be achieved with the addition of the nuts.

Hope this answers your query and I’m sorry that in the main you still don’t like the cake – I will pass your comments over to our food team.

Well, that’s all very well and good, but it doesn’t alter the fact that Pret are denying me what had developed into my favourite after lunch treat. I havn’t been this angry since Marks & Spencers removed their almost ambrosial flapjack from the shelves for a period in the early 1990s. I gave it one last shot:

Thanks for the response – the increased dryness was another thing I complained about, and I’m very pleased to see that this has been resolved.

Any chance of getting the recipe for the original?

This time the response was almost immediate:

That’s Ok!

I’m sorry we can’t send you the recipe but I can send you the ingredients

Wheat Flour
Banana Pulp
Free Range Eggs
Vegetable Oil
Cream Cheese
Bicarbonate of Soda

Happy re-creating!

Happy re-creating indeed! I think it’s now time for the guerilla warfare element of my campain to kick in. What I suggest is that all blogjam readers take the ingredients listed above, practice with the quantities until a fair copy of the original cake is attained, then picket their local Pret a Manger store, offering passers-by the opportunity to compare and contrast their scrumptious creations with the nut-stuffed charlatans sold within.

We shall prevail.

shape tweening

Well Hallelujah. Week three of the animation course has passed in a blur, and I’m fully on the road to becoming the next Walt Disney. The technique mastered this evening is known as “shape tweening” or, as I prefer to call it, the “Psychedelic Animal Melding Process“. I may even expand on this theme before next week’s lesson to provide a full A-Z of animals, complete with realistic wildlife noises. It would be a valuable educational aid for children, I feel.

annual valentines day misery


Another Valentine’s Day passes, and once more the postman has nothing for me. It’s turning into an annual non-event. Even Google are mocking me, with their ‘romantic’ toolbar skin. Bastards.


Valentine’s Day factoid: Glaciers are formed from the tears of lonely penguins.

i am triumphant

Regular readers will recall my one man campaign against sandwich chain Pret a Manger, a crusade made necessary by the company’s move from a superior – some might say Godlike – recipe for banana cake to a markedly mediocre monstrosity containing nuts. It’s been a bit quiet on the campaign trail of late, but I’m very pleased today to be able to report a major development. I’ve received an e-mail from Pret’s Head of Customer Services, Janet Prescott. She writes:

We’ve taken on board what you’ve said and changed the recipe. As a thank you for taking the time to contact us I’d love for you to have a cake and hot drink on us.

Please could you send me an address and I will pop a voucher in the post to you so you can enjoy this by the end of February!

Well, this is terriffic news indeed! I can return from the front, victorious in battle, triumphant, objective achieved. I feel like Michael Moore after he stopped Walmart from selling handgun ammunition. But without the weird American kids in tow. Or the subsequent Oscar.