Archive for November, 2004

romeo and juliet

I attended the theatre last night. This is not something I normally do, but free tickets for Romeo and Juliet at The Playhouse enticed me into the West End for a rare slice of high culture.

To set the scene: the production is performed by an Icelandic theatre group, and much of the action takes place on trapeze (much as it would have done in 13th Century Verona, I expect). Now I’m no expert, but I thought I’d compare some ‘professional’ opinions with those of my own.

‘Wonderfully irreverent, richly comic & physically daring… hot in every sense’ – The Guardian

‘Achingly sexy. Surprisingly moving. Enormous fun’ – Daily Telegraph

‘Gob-smacking. Irreverent. Invigorating’ – Time Out Critics’ Choice

‘Bold, brash, fabulously energetic &, above all, fun’ – Financial Times

‘Romeo and Juliet is something else. Hugely enjoyable’ – Sunday Times

‘This carnivalesque & risque production is a blast.’ – Evening Standard

‘Dizzyingly and beautifully moving… the production from Reykjavik brilliantly captures the reckless, hedonistic passion that makes this play such an enduringly resonant metaphor for youth’ – Metro

‘A load of old bollocks… akin to being forced to witness auditions for clown college whilst being bullied by a third-rate amateur dramatics society reciting lines they quite clearly do not understand. Unbearable’ – blogjam

Thankfully, technical problems bring about an unscheduled break in proceeding after less than an hour, and three out of the five of us choose to head for the exits, never to return.

Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

crap with ladies

I’m feeling a bit smug today, for a couple of reasons.

Two months ago I gave up smoking, and have been keeping tally of the money saved ever since. Today I walked into the new Apple Store on Regent Street and purchased myself a gleaming 40GB iPod with the cash I’d accumulated not dancing with dastardly Dr Death. If this weren’t enough, I’d spotted the following passage on the Apple website prior to visiting the store:

Aha, I thought. Amazon sell their iPods much cheaper, probably as loss leaders. So when I finally get to the till (surprisingly – what with this being Apple – the queuing system at the store has been badly designed), I ask for £31.00 off the retail price, explaining that Amazon are selling the 4G models at much cheaper prices. I’m asked for proof of this, and present a printout of a Froogle search results page showing Amazon’s (and several other company’s) discounts. The nice gentleman on the till looks a bit startled by this turn of events and calls his manager. There’s a bit of chat on the walkie-talkies about whether Apple’s promise applies to online retailers but in the end, and only slightly begrudingly, I’m given the full reduction. So, I suggest that everyone buying iPods for Christmas gets down to Regent Street armed with printouts, before the company changes their position and limits the offer to high street retailers.

The second reason I’m feeling a bit smug today is because of a strange couple of minutes spent in Cricklewood last night. Myself and evil animation genius Bowers have convened for our weekly selection of pints at the Crown Hotel, and Bowers has gone to the toilet. At the table next to where we’re sitting is a girl Ron Atkinson would probably describe as a “fit looking bird”. She turns to me and says, somewhat surprisingly, “You’re sexy. Are you single?” Now, I don’t mind admitting that this comment throws me somewhat. I can only remember being chatted up once in my life, and that was the best part of twenty years ago. So instead of making the most of the situation, by offering to buy her a drink or returning the compliment, I just mumble a thankyou. And she repeats the compliment: “You are. You’re sexy. What’s your name?”. So I tell her mine, and ask hers, and she asks how old I am, and looks disappointed when I say I’m 38. She’s 26. I keep looking round for signs of people snickering, suspecting that I’m the unwitting victim of some cruel prank or bet, but no, there’s no hint of subterfuge. Bowers returns and I fill him in, then trot off to the gents myself. By the time I return, my mystery woman has vanished into the night.

Those few moments confirmed three things I already suspected, and one thing I didn’t.

1. I’m crap with women and need to polish up my social skills.
2. I’m a sucker for compliments. I’ve been walking round all day feeling like some kind of handsome geek lothario.
3. I probably should have had my hair cut years ago.
4. I may have to start lying about my age.

tom baker

I had a dream last night in which I met Tom Baker. I asked him if he’d do an interview for b3ta (dunno why, but I called b3ta BThreeTA, which I never do in real life). He agreed, and I asked him how I should contact him.

He roared back at me “It does not work like that. I will contact you. You will wait for my call”. I gave him my mobile number, and he shouted at me again: “This is a premium rate number. Are you trying to con me, boy???”

Then we got into a shouting match.

It’s left me feeling a little uneasy.

acne favour

Today I received lots of spam. There is nothing unusual about this, apart from the fact that I decided to buy everything the messages told me to. I now wear an imitation rolex, have a ten-inch penis that stays hard all night long, and have brokered myself a mortgage deal with extremely favourable terms based on future monies earned from a little business deal I signed with a Mr Larry Odogwo of Lagos. I also paid close attention to the following:

I am the volunteer administrator for the Acne Resource Center, an informational resource about Acne; how it develops, the science behind it, and how to cope. In our efforts to promote awareness about acne, we have been looking for websites to exchange links with. I have taken a look at your site, and it seems as if it would be a resource that people might also be interested in viewing.

If you will link to “The Acne Resource Center”, located at (our website) and send me an email listing where the link can be found on your site, I will add your reciprocal link to our site within 24 hours. Please just let me know what you’d like us to link to (if you would like to include a short byline for your site, please include that with your email and I’ll be happy to include that as well). You will get free traffic to your site and we would get a database of quality sites to offer our viewers.

If you desire, but certainly a simple link alone will do, a sample byline for our site would be:

Come to the Acne Resource Center for acne information, treatments and the latest research. Get plain english answers to all of your acne questions and breakdown the misinformation and myths about acne.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to ask.

Kind regards,

Travis Whitley

This sounds like a good deal. Acne can cause sufferers a great deal of social stigma, and the service that Travis suggests I promote certainly seems like a worthwhile option.

So I built a page like he suggested. I hope he likes it.

I’ve also written to Travis, as he requested.

Dear Travis,

Thanks so much for your e-mail. I don’t know how you got my e-mail address, but I’m certainly glad you did LOL!!!! I have made a special page on my website linking to yours. – it’s at I really hope you like it!!! If you could link back to me I’d be REALLY HAPPY!!! Please use the phrase “for all your aquatic needs, visit blogjam” I’d be really, well, ecstatic. Do you have a sister? Last time I played football I scored a hat-trick.



Needless to say, I shall keep you informed of any further developments.

charity appeal

I’ve always admired those people who set up online campaigns to raise money for themselves to purchase breast enhancement surgery or buy their way out of debt. They must be tremendously thick-skinned folks, I imagine. The very idea of publically drawing attention to any lack of financial acumen is a no-no, and the arrogance involved in thinking that people will actually care enough to donate simply beggars belief.

Suffice to say, you’ll never catch me involved in any scheme that crass. No way. Never. Not me.

Damn. My will broke.

letter to america

This site is generally a place of light-hearted, knockabout banter, but today’s news from across the pond puts something of a dampener on affairs. Eventually the laughter has to stop, and a more serious approach adopted. It’s with this in mind that I’ve decided to write an open letter to America, expressing the doubts that many will feel about what increasingly looks likely to be a Republican victory in the Presidential election. It’s time to stand up and be counted. Time to to raise our voices and not be beaten down. Time to make a difference.

Here it is. Please feel free to pass this on and encourage others to do the same

stadio delle alpi

Back in London again. I had a tremendous couple of days in Turin, during which I learnt two things from Italian television:

  • The Pope sounds incredibly similar to Marlon Brando playing Don Vito Corleone during his Sunday broadcast from The Vatican.
  • To be a successful comedian in Italy, it helps if you’re able to mimic the mentally ill.

It wasn’t all televisual treats, mind – I spent much of the weekend being given an in-depth guided tour of the city by my host Claudia, one of the highlights being a visit to the Stadio Delle Alpi to watch Serie A leaders Juventus take on Chievo. While the stadium is architectually magnificent, a vision in concrete and cable, it’s a lousy place to watch football, processing none of the gladitorial feel of other great European stadia I’ve visited like Barcelona’s Camp Nou, Madrid’s Bernebeu, the San Siro in Milan or Northampton Town’s Sixfields Complex. Built to replace the aging Stadio Communale in time for the 1990 World Cup finals, the running-track surrounding the pitch means that the nearest fans are a good forty metres away from the action, and any atmosphere generated tends to evaporate into the alpine sky. Ironically, both Turin teans are now anxious to return to the original city-centre stadium, which has simply been left to stagnate, never redeveloped. The game itself never really gets off the ground, Juventus winning without ever breaking sweat, and Chievo never looking likely to score, even when presented with chances to do so. After a first half in which Marcelo Zalayeta gives the home side a scarcely-deserved lead, things liven up a little after the break, with Pavel Nedved pulling the strings all over the pitch then hammering home from 25 yards to put the result beyond doubt. Zlatan Ibrahimovic, a footballer of rare and startling brilliance on his day is having an absolute nightmare, hopelessly miss-placing pass after pass, but even he gets on the score-sheet before the game is over. 3-0.

There’s a few pictures here.

Next? Ajax, I think. Does anyone know how I get match tickets without buying a hotel/travel package?