Archive for August, 2004


Bollocks to this, I’m off back to London. Tremendous weekend in Cornwall, the main highlight being Bevstock, a mini festival organised to celebrate a friend’s fortieth birthday. Highlights included the delivery of 100 pasties, sharing Lithuanian moonshine with The Aphex Twin’s sister, delicious scrumpy (’tis Cornish) and a live performance from the county’s best bluegrass troupe, Kissin’ Cousins. I’m very pleased to report that no evidence remains of my moments onstage with the band, singing ‘Sylvia’s Mother’ by Dr Hook and (rather less embarrassingly) playing maracas on a never-ending version of ‘Will the Circle be Unbroken’. Lush.


Bollocks to this, I’m off to Cornwall. Today I’ll be attending ‘The Gig In The Park’ in Truro, an annual event organised by Zebedees, a local youth organisation. Last year’s event was just about the best thing ever.

On Saturday I will be mainly singing bluegrass.

Back on Monday.

kick out the blogjams

I’ve always wanted to use the line above as a post intro, but never really had the chance. Last night I saw the reformed MC5 perform, which is the perfect opportunity to do so. End of entry.

new additions

I’ve introduced two minor enhancements to blogjam today. The first is for those of you (Claudia in Turin, Italy) who’ve written into complain about the fresh new zesty lemon look. From today two further choices of jam are available, lime and cherry. I hope that at least one of those fine fruity selections is suitable for your browsing needs.

Update: I’ve added two more flavours of jam, strawberry and pork pie.

OK. I realize that pork pie is not a flavour of jam found in most supermarkets, but if it were, I’d be buying in bulk. So just let this one go.

The second new feature is a far more geeky affair, a section devoted to blogjam related statistics. These relate just to the weblog, not to the entire site, and apart from the usual bumpf (number of posts, number of comments etc), regular commenters can also track their own commenting history. Three things that immediately become apparent are the following:

And there you have it.

gmail invites

I realize this is all rather old hat by now, but I’ve got half-a-dozen gmail invites to give away. Leave a comment if you’d like one, listing both your first name and surname. Hooray.

Update: All invites now gone. If I get any more, I’ll post again.

the ritchies

My elusive mate Bowers is currently working secretly in West London on a new reality TV show, ‘The Ritchies’, based on the domestic lives of Mr and Mrs Madonna. Although the series doesn’t hit the small-screen for several months, Bowers has sent me a teasing snippet of the show to share exclusively with you, the blogjam reader. It’s truly gripping stuff (audio very nsfw).

best thing since sliced bread

I was considering today how Last FM is quite possibly the best thing since sliced bread, when a thought struck: what happened to all the other things that were previously the best thing since sliced bread? What were they? Let’s take a look, shall we?

This last link is most interesting of all, detailing one of the many obvious reasons why sliced bread has remained the yardstick for innovation — as the product reviewer ably demonstrates: “wire clamps are the best thing since sliced bread for hooking up a duct collection system.”

Sliced bread. More useful in more ways than you ever thought possible.


I went to the Proms this evening. It’s not that I know a great deal about classical music, but seeing Stravinsky’s Rite Of Spring is a genuine rite of passage, something no man can seriously avoid going through life without tackling and still claim to be a man, much like getting a tattoo, spending money on a prostitute, or starting a weblog. Conducting the affair was the legendary Russian Valery Gergiev, general and artistic director of the Mariinsky Theater/Kirov Opera in St. Petersburg. Now Val, as I shall call him, is a bit of an oddball. Aside from the stereotypical conductors hair, which he sweeps spectacularly from his line of vision throughout the performance, he waves a baton not much larger than a toothpick. And then there’s the grunting. During more excitable moments, as the music leaps from one towering crescendo to the next, he lurches from side to side, making a noise like a tomcat attempting to cough up a particularly defiant hairball. Most unusual – I’d look out for it when the show is broadcast later this Summer on BBC1.

Gratuitous, name-dropping aside: my mother was briefly Stravinsky’s secretary in the late 1950s. So there.

blogjam version 7.0

So here we have it. Kind of. The main reason for this lovely new design is that I wanted to switch publishing systems from Movable Type, which had developed into a clunky, processor-intensive nightmare, to the much sleeker and sexier WordPress. This design was only meant to be a temporary measure while I played around with the templates (it’s not even my own work – we’ve got one Chris Vincent to thank for the lemony look), but now that it’s up I kinda like it, so I might stick with it for a while, tweaking as I go along.

Still, there’s plenty of work to do. None of the old site URLs are pointing to the new pages yet, so I need to play around with mod_rewrite and .htaccess, and all of the static pages still have the old look. Although the code used in the site’s contstruction validates as XHTML 1.0 transitional, much of my own post mark-up doesn’t, and I need to play around with the CSS to get some other features looking as they should. I also hope to figure out a way to display my audioscobbler rss feed online. Oooh, what fun.

So bear with me over the next few days/weeks/months as I sort all this out – blogjam may be up and down like a whore’s britches till I’m reasonably happy.

For those of you not in the slightest bit interested in any of the above, here’s a lovely picture of a baby elephant.

odd erection man

I’ve been meaning to post about Odd Erection Man for several months now, but others seem to have beaten me to it. Every night when I leave work he’s standing by the same fountain on the corner of Piccadilly Circus. Initially he held a picture in front of his eyes, a ghostly white shape on a blue blackground with the words ‘Odd Erection’ scrawled beneath. After a few months he dropped the picture and started wearing a t-shirt adorned by the same picture and phrase. More recently he’s gone a step further, and has taken to holding a banana in front of his groin, which he can often be seen tugging at in a rather suggestive fashion. He seems to have been noticed by others too (check out the second photo down, which shows Odd Erection Man’s regular fountain haunt), or at the bottom of this page, or even on the anti-war march earlier this year (scroll down). Who is he? What’s his dark secret? What does he do with all those bananas?

Answers on a postcard…