Old Stuff

I kept an online diary of sorts from 2003 to 2015. Bear in mind that a lot of this was written back in a time when people mostly had a sense of humour and before the Rise of the Bedwetters and their pathetic 'cancel culture'.

If moaning, waffle and lots of outdated broken links are your thing, start from the bottom and work up.

If you're one of those types who get all moist at the thought of trawling ancient internet history in order to find things to be offended by, please feel free to fuck off.


18th March '15 - Budget Day again. That time of the year when one millionaire ex-Public School boy who's never done a day's work in his life tells us how much of our own money we'll be allowed to keep for the next year, while another millionaire ex-Public School boy who's never done a day's work in his life tells him he's wrong.
I'm tired of these EU sock-puppets now. It's like watching Bert arguing with Ernie when you know they've both got Jim Henson's hand up their arse.

17th March '15 - Wolves 3 Sheffield Wednesday 0. And in typical Wolves fashion, just as we stick three points in the bag, so do the teams immediately above us.

16th March '15 - Isn't it strange how mushroom soup is an infinitely subtle combination of light flavours and textures for the first few spoonfuls, then boring as fuck for the remainder of the bowl?

15th March '15 - Have you ever seen a movie trailer that screams 'desperation' as much as
this? Just imaging the sort of coke-fuelled marketing orgy that must have taken place for a turd of a concept like this to have been greenlit. This will sweep the 2016 Razzies, no fucking question.

14th March '15 - Brighton 1 Wolves 1. Really should've had this, despite going one-nil down.  I'm starting to get a bit nervous now. Only nine games left and still three points off the play-offs...

13th March '15 - Oo-er, Friday the Thirteenth once more. There are some people in the world who dread this date and stay indoors whenever it comes round.
Strange, but I always get the urge to don an ice-hockey mask and run round with a fucking great kitchen knife. Can't think why.

12th March '15 - Sad to hear that the great Sir Terry Pratchett has passed away peacefully at the age of 66 following a long battle with Alzheimers. I've been a reader of Pratchett's ever since my mate Paul lent me his hardback copy of 'The Colour of Magic' back in 1986.
The forty-something Discworld books have everything you will ever need as a reader. From the child-friendly (but still wonderfully subversive) Tiffany Arching books to the classics of the Discworld series (such as Mort, Lords and Ladies, Feet of Clay and Going Postal), Sir Terry used his Discworld to hold a mirror up to our own in a way that combined the irreverent humour of Monty Python with the biting satire of Douglas Adams.
All through my twenties and thirties, no birthday or Christmas would be complete without the latest Pratchett hardback, although I've long since donated all my hardbacks to the charity shop and moved over to Kindle. 
Gonna miss Terry's style of humour immensely.

11th March '15 - It has been many, many years since I've eaten a Pot Noodle, but today, out of sheer desperation, I tucked into a Chicken and Mushroom one (which had never come within a hundred yards of either a chicken or a mushroom).
Oh dear. I expect it will be many, many years before I eat another Not Foodle. Vile beyond words.

9th March '15 - When I win the Euro Lottery, I plan on buying the house next to a particular person I despise and turning into a sanctuary for Howler Monkeys.

8th March '15 - Although I swore I'd never do it again, I've just put myself forward for one last exam in my professional specialism. If I pass, it won't alter the number of letters after my name that nobody give a toss about, but it will change a couple. It will also enable me to flag myself up on a certain professional charter and offer myself as a consultant for hire should the need arise in the not-too-distant future.
Interesting times ahead.

7th March '15 - Wolves 2 Watford 2. Another point taken against another promotion hopeful. A proper scrap all the way, and it would've been a very entertaining game for any neutrals to watch. Sadly, I'm not neutral and all I can say is 'Bollocks!'. Three points here would've been awesome, but it was not to be. Looks like this season is going right to the wire again. Who can keep their nerve the longest?

6th March '15 - A rare night out up town with the lads to check out the new rock bar, 'Soho Rocks'. Started off in the wonderful (but microscopic) 'Crobar' before heading round the corner to the new place on Bateman Street.
Not bad, but more of a 'pub with guitars on the wall' that a 'rock pub' right now, at least until the atmosphere beds in and it gets a decent regular crowd. It'll do, though. At least it's in Soho, only a few minutes walk from the old Intrepid Fox on Wardour Street. I still miss that place. The new 'Fox is in Archway now, but you can keep it.
None of the London rock pubs are anywhere near as good as Scruffy's in Birmingham, though.  No wonder I return to the Black Country so often.

4th March '15 - Once again, I appear to have too much month left at the end of the money.

3rd March '15 - Bournemouth 2 Wolves 1. I've no idea where Bournemouth got a football team from, but they're flying this season and fair play to them. Fast, flowing football and good passing. These boys will be in the Prem next season; no question. Let's just hope we can join them!

2nd March '15 - The papers this morning are all full of poor Jihadi John and how terrible his life was ever since the evil MI5 tried to convert him from an apprentice terrorist to a British spy.
We are hearing all sorts of sob stories about this murdering scum righ now, and frankly, it's starting to disturb me. Are they seriously attempting to set up the British public to accept the sympathy card when they eventually apprehend this piece of shit?
It's not going to work. No matter how much of a bleeding-heart Liberal you are, this man chose his own identity; that of a psychotic killer hiding behind a warped version of his chosen religion.
Painting him as a victim here will not wash. However, it may serve to point out the more dangerous elements in the media right now. Let's keep an eye on just who rallies to this sick 'cause', shall we?


1st March '15 - Isn't it about time I won the fucking Lottery?

28th February '15 -Cardiff 0 Wolves 1. I wasn't expecting much from this, but it became clear fairly swiftly that Cardiff are not the team they were a couple of seasons ago. Another three points in the bag and only a couple off the play-offs now!
However, there are two really tough ones ahead this week against Bournemouth and Watford. Win those and we will be looking very nice for the run in.


26th February '15 - The true identity of the murdering piece of Islamic State filth known as 'Jihadi John' had been found out. Apparently, his real name is 'Mohammed'.
Blimey. What were the chances of that, eh?


25th February '15 - Absolutely gob-smacked by the meltdown yesterday of the Green Party leader, Natalie Bennett, when questioned by Nick Ferrari on her party's housing policies and how they expected to pay for them.
I suspect the real reason she didn't have a full grasp of the figures in her own manifesto is that she doesn't expect to need any. Under all their warm woolliness, the Greens are faux-Communist in outlook and will probably just seize the land they require anyway.
Can there really be six to eight percent of the populace thinking of voting for them in May? Jesus.

24th February '15 - Wolves 3 Fulham 0. All done and dusted by half time, too. Maddeningly, Watford won 3-0 and Brentford won 4-0 too, so still four points off the play-offs with a worrying trip to Cardiff to come next.
Still, eight goals in two games with two clean sheets shows a decent run of form. Come on me babbies!

22nd February '15 - Another five hour catalogue of creeping misery to get back to London thans to road works and far too many vehicles. A distance of a hundred and fifty miles.
Five hours. Even the fucking Victorians did it quicker than this.

21st February '15 - Wolves 5 Rotherham 0. Two-nil up at half time and totally untroubled apart from one decent Rotherham crack against the post. If only all our games were like this! Still a few points off the play-off spots, though. Keep the nerve, boys...

20th February '15 - Spent the day drinking cider in the Wolverhampton rock pub I first discovered as a shy fifteen-year-old.
Nothing changes.
Everything changes.
Life is a joke and you are the punchline.

19th February '15 - Tonight's rainy day movie was 'Edge of Tomorrow', with Tom Cruise and Emily Blunt. Old Tom comes in for a lot of stick these days, but you can't knock the guy as an actor. He always gives it 100% and never phones it in.
Anyway, this was an enjoyable sci-fi romp and it plays like a cross between 'Starship Troopers' and 'Groundhog Day'. Check it out.

18th February '15 - Someone asked me today who I thought Lucy Beale's killer was. After noting my blank look, they added "You know, Lucy Beale. From EastEnders." I didn't know there was a Lucy Beale in EastEnders.
To be honest, I was amazed that EastEanders was still going. I can't imagine who the viewing audience might be for that tired old load of bollocks. Certainly not real-life East Enders, there aren't any left; they've all moved out to Essex. I work in the East End and believe me, it looks fuck all like Walford these days.

16th February '15 - Apricots offend me.

15th February '15 - Am I the only person on the planet who doesn't give a flying fuck about the new Star Wars movies? The original trilogy have aired so many times I can quote them verbatim, the prequels were dull and this lot are being masterminded by the ponce behind 'Lost', who has already made a chimp's fist out of 'Star Trek'.
Count me out.

14th February '15 - Norwich 2 Wolves 0. It's rare that we get completely outplayed by Delia's mob these days. Oh, the ignominy! Fact is, we just couldn't get going. They closed down everything and, though it pains me to say it, deserved the points on the night. Nice one, Smith. Have a cooking sherry on me.

13th February '15 - I've decided that when I win the Lottery, I'm going to swap the family car for a cement mixer. It'd be a fairly impractical form of transport, sure, but parking the fucker would be a scream. At least until the insurance company cottoned on...

12th February '15 - Every so often, life comes along and smacks you in the face with a time-check. Sega have just remastered 'Abe's Oddysee' for the PC a mere eighteen years after it first hit the PlayStation One. I bought and finished it back then. I can still remember the later levels. Jesus.

10th February '15 - Word is, Angelina Jolie may be called on to direct the next big Marvel movie. It was always a given that 'Captain Marvel' would have a female director, but bagging an Oscar-winner like Mrs. Pitt is a serious coup if it pans out. I'd have preferred Kathryn Bigelow, but I'm willing to be dazzled.
Here's hoping they snaffle the rights to the X-Men's 'Rogue' back from Fox too since it looks like they might've just brought 'Spider-Man' back into the fold!

9th February '15 - I have just finished the latest time-flipping novel by David Mitchell. 'Bone Clocks' isn't nearly as fulfilling as 'Cloud Atlas', but it's a more compact tale and would lend itself to a movie treatment by the Wachowskis far more readily than the desperately shonky 'Jupiter Rising' they've just released.
The story is basically a mash-up of classic Clive Barker mixed with 'Highlander' and 'Back to the Future'. Sounds weird, but it's fucking awesome. Give it a go!

8th February '15 - Caught a re-run of Balamory on Children's BBC this morning. I still want to bone Miss Hoolie...

7th February '15 - Wolves 1 Reading 2. The sleepy fuckers were chasing it after twenty seconds, but eventually got an equaliser. It looked like honours even up until the ninetieth minute, when Reading slotted and put us out of the game.
Meh. Win some, lose some.

6th February - The gorgeous Morena Baccarin (Inara from 'Firefly') has just been cast as the female lead in the upcoming Ryan Reynolds 'Deadpool' movie. Now although I'm a long-standing Marvel Comics aficionado, I can't fucking stand Deadpool (whom I've always seen as a more grounded 'Howard the Duck'), but I can't deny that Ms. Baccarin's involvement here (coupled with
this Reynolds-financed pre-teaser) has piqued my interest. Hmm...

5th February '15 - Recognising talent doesn't automatically mean one is obliged to appreciate it. For example, Joe Bonamassa was recently nominated for a Grammy award. He didn't win though, and those of you familiar with this site will know my thoughts on the lad and his talents.
Still, not bad going for a guitarist nine years younger than me, eh? Just imagine how much more successful he'd be if he played something with a pulse...

3rd February '15 - Far be it for me, as addled a fortysomething as I am, to sling mud at the way the aging process is treating others, but fuck me, Carrie Fisher looks rough.
Not even with yours.

2nd February '15 - Rumours are rife that Neill Blomkamp (the awesome 'District 9', the not-so-awesome 'Elysium') may be about to reboot the 'Alien' franchise. Even better, he may completely disregard the abysmal 'Alien 3' and the lame 'Alien Resurrection' and go straight for a sequel to 'Aliens'.
I like this idea. Have a hypersleeping Ripley and Hicks wake after twenty years with a grown-up Newt to pass the torch to. Even if it turns out to be awful, it's still a far better way to treat the characters than Fincher did.

1st February '15 - As a younger man, I used to worry that George R.R. Martin might die before finishing his 'Song of Ice and Fire'. Nowadays, I'm more worried that I might...

31st January '15 - Bolton 2 Wolves 2. Took the lead, pissed it away, then grabbed a dramatic late equaliser. Oh, the number of times I've sat and watched Wolves do this! Still, a point away from home is never a duff result. Still eighth, and still in with a shout of a play-off place.

30th January '15 - Over eleven decades of domestic electrical engineering and we still can't come up with a toaster that can uniformly brown both sides of a piece of bread consistently. I've bought ten quid toasters and I've bought sixty quid ones. They're all crap.

28th January '15 - Following on from yesterday's post, of the nine VHS movies I chucked out, I already have five on DVD and can get hold of another two easily. Still can't track down R2 versions of either 'Photographing Fairies' or the lost Bill Murray gem 'The Man Who Knew Too Little' anywhere, though...

27th January '15 - Found some old movies on VHS in a box today. Showed them to my daughter and explained that there were several miles of magnetic ribbon in each cassette and on each ribbon was a film which we used to play on a special machine that she's never seen because we got rid of it before she was born.
I don't think she believed me.

26th January '15 - I have something called an EpiPen. I don't know what it's for, but I always keep it with me. It belonged to a good friend of mine who collapsed and died after being stung by a wasp while we were out walking together. As he lay there twitching on the ground and unable to speak, he shoved this pen into my hand with a gasp and an imploring look.
I still don't know why, but it seemed important to him that I have it...

25th January '15 - That time of the year again when we all try to navigate the unfeasibly ridiculous log-in procedure for the Inland Revenue website so that we can spend an hour or two working out what we owe to a department with millions of pounds worth of computer tech and 70,000 staff whose day-to-day job is to do all this for us anyway.
Turns out I owe them twelve quid this year. Wow! That's almost as much as Starbucks and HSBC pay, isn't it?

24th January '15 - Wolves 0 Charlton 0. By all accounts, the game was as dull as the scoreline suggests. I hope we haven't reached that point where we realise we can't go up and won't go down and therefore just coast to the end of the season.

23rd January '15 - Well, that's the last of the mince pies gone. Never mind, they'll be back in the shops again after Easter, no doubt.

22nd January '15 - It's annoying when you get over halfway through a book to find you don't give a toss about the story or anyone in it, yet know you're going to plod on until the end anyway.
The book in question is 'Spin' by Robert Charles Wilson; winner of the Hugo award in 2006 and widely regarded as one of the best sci-fi novels of the last decade. Frankly, it's boring the tits off me...

21st January '15 - One must commend Simon Cowell on his efforts to reduce internet piracy by constantly producing shit music that nobody wants to steal.

20th January '15 - You may be interested to know that I have spent both of the last two rest days wearing nothing but a Jedi robe and letting it all hang out. I cannot begin to explain how wonderful this feels, particularly first thing in the morning before the flat warms up and one is walking round letting the air circulate.
  I think I might wear it for work tomorrow...

19th January '15 - I honestly don't know why I can't seem to find the time to update this thing more than fortnightly/monthly any more. It's not as if my life is one long round of social gaiety and casual hedonism, is it?
  The bottom line is that I'm just too damn tired to sit and type stuff at the end of my working day and so I leave it until the gap days on my shift pattern and then bring things up to date.
  Oh well; the way things are going at work, I may have plenty of free time on my hands in the next eighteen months or so...

18th January '15 - I currently have one of those awful colds that interfere with my tinnitus and makezz everyone zzound like they have zzwallowed a kazoo. Entertaining, if zzlightly annoying.

17th January '15 - Wolves 2 Blackpool 0. Well, we left it late (it was 0-0 until 86 mins), but got there in the end. The new striker Afobe that we bought from Arsenal also scored on his debut, which is always good for self-confidence. Still one point off the play-off spots, but we're not looking too shabby now and should be there or thereabouts come May.
  It was lovely to see all the balloons and flowers for Sir Jack, too. And replacing a minute's silence with a huge round of cheers and applause for the man was a far more appropriate gesture in my opinion. The crowd also spelled out his name in the stands, too. A nice touch.

15th January '15 - If any of you reading this are in your mid-Thirties and thinking of having children one day, here's a word to the wise: Don't.  Sorry, but you missed the boat. The best time for being a new parent is probably your Twenties. After that, you're simply too fucking knackered to handle the experience, unless you can function on a maximum of five hours sleep per night, mostly spilt into ninety minute blocks. And if you're reading this in your Forties and have a baby on the way, then God help you - there's no hope.

14th January '15 - Sad to hear of the death yesterday of Sir Jack Hayward, who passed away in Florida at the age of ninety-one. Sir Jack, a Wolverhampton boy made good, bought Wolves in 1990 for two million quid and over the next seventeen years ploughed in excess of £70 million of his own personal fortune into the club, giving us the amazing stadium and training complex we have today.
  After selling the club for a nominal ten pounds, he remained Life President of Wolves to the end. When the Wolves Museum opened a couple of year back, he was asked to sign the visitor's book. He simply wrote 'Glad to have helped'.
  An amazing gentleman. RIP Sir Jack.

13th January '15 - Just finished reading 'That Close', the autobiography of Suggs from 'Madness'.  Really enjoyed it, and he comes across as a top fella; someone you'd happily go for a pint with. No airs and pretensions about him at all. People tend to forget how young the guys in Madness were when they started (Woody the drummer was only sixteen) and Suggs himself is a mere seven years older than me. There was never any serious falling outs in the band either, they all contributed to writing the songs, and they're all still good mates today. It made a refreshing change from some of the 'star' autobiographies I've read over the years.

12th January '15 - Kraft, the American owners of Cadbury's, have been forced to own up to the fact that Cadbury's Creme Eggs are no longer being made with Dairy Milk chocolate, but with a cheap generic 'cocoa solids' version instead.
  Apparently, a Cadbury's spokesman said thatt new chocolate had been tested on consumers and had been found to be 'the best one for Creme Egg.' Bollocks was it, you're just using cheaper ingredients and hoping no-one notices. Well I did, so these things can join Budweiser, Haribo and Subway food on the list of stuff I'm never buying again.

11th January '15 - Blackburn 0 Wolves 1. Again? This is getting interesting now. Whatever was going wrong back in November, it looks like Jackett has fixed it. Up to eighth place and only a point off the play-off spots. 
  Typical Wolves; just when you write 'em off, they have a resurgence. Not that I'm complaining! 

9th January '15 -
Sick of this year already. Can I have 1997 back instead? At least that was fun!

8th January '15 - Well, that didn't take long, did it? Back to France we go as another Islamist psycho appears to have murdered a female police officer and is currently holed up in a Jewish supermarket with a bunch of hostages. This is not going to end well. Sadly, and though it pains me to say it, I'm bored with commenting on this sort of thing now. Wake me up when everyone else can see the fucking big elephant in the room as clearly as I can.

7th January '15 - Once again, adherents of the 'religion of peace' have butchered a bunch of defenceless people here in Europe. The offices of Charlie Hebdo, a satirical French magazine based in Paris, were stormed by Islamist psychos with automatic rifles who proceeded to murder ten cartoonists and two police officers because they were a bit upset that the magazine keeps drawing cartoons of the prophet Mohammed (you remember him, he's the one who married a nine-year-old girl).
  There will be much anger and hand-wringing about this repellent tragedy, but I'm sure that once the taqqiya machine is in full swing, the perpetrators will be condemned as 'lone wolves' and everyone will be quick to point out that this latest outrage is 'nothing to do with Islam', at which point we can all sit back and wait for the next one to happen.

5th January '15 - Into work for the first time this year and, amazingly, only eighty-seven emails! That has got to be a record for a two week break! I managed to get through most of them by lunchtime, too.

4th January '15 - Back to London. For once, the M42 was fairly quiet and we'd have been home in record time if it wasn't for the fog and my daughter whining for the toilet ten minutes after leaving the last services.
  Managed to get back, unpacked, showered and into bed by nine p.m., only to stay awake staring at the ceiling until sometime after eleven. Joy.

3rd January '15 - Why is it that we can invent a robot that will work quite happily doing laboratory experiments on the surface of Mars - and get it there - yet we're utterly fucked when it comes to designing a toaster that can actually brown both sides of two pieces of bread to an acceptable level every time?

2nd January '15 - I don't know what the Wolverhampton record for lying in the bath is, but I'm guessing I was there or thereabouts today.  I used all the hot water in the house by topping it up every time it cooled off, and if it wasn't for the fact that the Kindle battery died, I'd still be there now. I look like Mr. Grape, the Happy Raisin right now. Splendid.

New Year's Day '15 - Tried to shave this morning without my glasses on. I was previously unaware of the fact that, without them, I scrunch my face up when trying to focus. I probably would've remained blissfully ignorant of this had I not suddenly looked up into the mirror from concentrating on the bristles to find Old Man Steptoe leering back at me.
  Fucking hell, I look old. And tired. I blame the kids. And apparently, I'm forty-seven this year. How the fuck did that happen? It's no good, I'm going to have to win the Lottery soon and get some work done before I get too ancient to pull Winona Ryder when we eventually meet. She will be mine. Oh yes, she will be mine...


New Year's Eve '14 - Another venture into Wolverhampton with Brian the Bastard, this time to watch everyone queuing up to take back all the crap they bought last week.
  Unsurprisingly, 'shopping' grew very old very quickly, so we were practically hammering on the door of the Giffard at 11:30 for some respite. Had a rather pleasant afternoon of cider and metal then home.
  Later on, saw the New Year in with all the fireworks I forgot about last year and a couple of bottles of Cava. I can't believe how quickly 2014 disappeared, nor how utterly bereft of interest it was.

30th December '14 - Today, I had my first cup of instant coffee in over three years. We have a filter machine at home and there's a Costa near work, so it's been a while since I've had a cup of instant.
  It'll be a fucking long while before I have another, too.

29th December '14 - I've just realised that Wolves won both of their Christmas games! One-nil away at Watford and two-one at home to Brentford. I can't honestly remember the last time we came up trumps at both the festive fixtures, so well done to Kenny Jackett and the lads! Whatever changes have been made have obviously had an effect. More of this sort of thing, please!

27th December '14 - Caught up with one of my 'rainy day' movies (Kick Ass 2) and kind of wish I hadn't, it wasn't exactly awful, just...nah, go on then, it was awful.  Don't bother.
  Later on, it was up to Scruffy's in Birmingham for a cider or three and to once again stand around in amazement at the DJ. There have been quite a few DJs in Scruffy's over the years, and most of them seem to struggle with the two basic tenets of being a Rock DJ; namely, A) Play Some Stuff That The Punters Have Heard Of and B) Make Sure It's Rock.
  This guy wasn't exactly the worst one ever (he refrained from playing Def Leppard) but frankly, we could've done without bloody U2. Ah well, at least he redeemed himself with the Anthrax and Slayer.

Boxing Day '14 - They've all gone to that hideous once-a-year monstrosity; the pantomime, so the Widdle Man and I have a full afternoon of entertainment planned: jigsaws, toy robots and watching the new 'Sarah and Duck' DVD. It was either this or three hours with Julian Clary. I think I got the best of that deal.

Christmas Day '14 - The usual family bedlam day, with everyone round Grandma's kitchen table for turkey with all the trimmings. Fantastic! Had a gin and tonic or three, then settled down to this year's Doctor Who Christmas special.  I wasn't expecting much from Steven Moffat, but it actually turned out to be the best one for many a year. Sadly, the twist ending means that the dishfaced bird will be with Capaldi for another season, but hey, at least it's not Adric.

24th December '14 - Ventured up to Wolverhampton with Brian the Bastard to watch everyone queue up to buy crap they don't need with money they haven't got. Bry got caught out by some last-minute food shopping, so we spent twenty minutes standing in line in a packed-out Iceland so he could buy some bread rolls. I bought some gin while I was there, so the time wasn't entirely wasted.
  After that, it was off to the Giffard Arms for ale, mince pies and handfuls of Cadbury's Roses accompanied by some top tunes. Obviously, I was duty-bound to stick Slade on the jukebox. The sheer convivial awesomeness of a few hours of festive fun in the company of drunken Metalheads can never be overstated. Back home via the chip shop and so the Christmas wind-down was complete. Marvellous.


23rd December '14 - Met up with my old school mate Brains and took our daughters to see the new 'Penguins of Madagascar' movie. Great fun! Stuff like this is wasted on the kids. How can eleven-year-olds fully appreciate the sheer brilliance of John Malkovich hamming it up as an evil purple octopus called Dave?

22nd December '14 - Up early(ish) and a nice, leisurely drive back to Wolverhampton for Christmas and New Year. The Fishwife and that daughter thing of ours plan on hitting the shops and doing some last minute shopping. Balls to that, I plan on curling up in my pit and reading 2000AD until it all goes away.
  Actually, that's not true. There are cards to write and cider to be drunk, but I shall gamely try and fit my bouts of doing bugger-all in between.


21st December '14 - Last day at work this year, and what a beauty. Got sent from Mile End to Wembley on a job taken in with no details whatsoever, other than a phone number. Made to wait for two hours once I got there (for a ten minute job) and then, having finished and booked off with the Early Shift Duty Officer at 1400, was phoned by the Late Shift Duty Officer at 1420 with a job in Barking ("you're only down the road, aren't you?")
  Communication is often a tricky thing to get right in any organisation, but when it's one bloke getting into a chair being vacated by another bloke, you kind of expect some sort of information handover to take place. Ah well, not my monkey now until 2015. Whoop!


20th December '14 - Wolves 1 Brighton 1. A barely-rescued point right at the end against ten men. What the hell is going on with this club? The whole air of 'can't be bothered' is palpable even from the radio. Mid-table mediocrity is the absolute best we can hope for this season. Awful.

19th December '14 - One of my favourite quotes is from President Eisenhower, who said "A lack of preparation on your part does not constitute an emergency on mine". I have this on the wall behind my desk at work, and with each passing month, the relevance of it becomes ever more palpable.
  There is a limit to what I can reasonably do, or be expected to do, at my current grade. If my ex-boss's old job still existed and I was doing it, things would be a lot different, but it doesn't and they're not. I'm still spinning those plates, but one or two are wobbling badly now...


17th December '14 - Ginger's Birthday Bash, Kentish Town Forum. My, doesn't this come around quickly? Ginger probably thinks so too, what with this being officially called the 'Oh Fuck, I'm 50' gig. An absolutely belting night as ever, with a fine set list and some great guests (including Saffron from 'Republica' and the ever-gorgeous Vix from 'Fuzzbox', whom I'm still in love with after all these years!)
  Lots of singalong goodness with old friends, and even The Fishwife (at her first Birthday Bash) was well into it. Sad that CJ couldn't make it, and the absence of Victoria Leidtke from the 'Hey! Hello!' stuff was noticeable, but it was a storming night nevertheless.
  'Sick Of Drugs' is fast becoming my favourite Wildhearts song now, and for once, Ginger managed to restrain himself from knocking out the ever-awful 'Geordie In Wonderland' (my designated 'piss-break' song).
  Awesome night! Same time next year, then!


16th December '14 - I have managed to convert my Steam crap into well over 40,000 'gems', and have already won one game and have (hopefully) winning bids lined up on three more. Nice!
  However, the event has already been championed by one sad bastard who bid one and a quarter million gems for a holiday profile page. Basically, his profile gets snow added to it and his name gets a gold font. This will only last until January and then be deleted forever.
  So basically, instead of placing sure-fire winning bids on at least a dozen top games, this muppet has lost out on over £600 worth of Steam funds in order to rent a pretty page for four weeks. One born every minute...


15th December '14 - 40 million people voted in this year's 'X-Factor' final. 29.6 million voted in the last election. Take a long, hard look at the audience next time this programme is on. Those, screaming, whooping cnuts will be the ones running the country when you and I are dribbling in a nursing home. God help us all.

14th December '14 - The Steam Christmas Sale has taken a bit of a bizarre turn this year, as they appear to be having a pre-sale event; namely an auction. Apparently, what you can do is convert all those unwanted profile backgrounds and emoticons you get for crafting and levelling and turn them into 'gems'.
  These gems can then be used to bid against over 2,000 games, each with a hundred copies up for grabs. Auctions last for 45 minutes and the whole evnt lasts three days until the real sale starts on the 18th.
  Looks interesting. I have pages and pages of the sort of useless crap they're referring to, so now might be a good time to have a clear-out and hopefully win a new game or two.


13th December '14 - Sheffield Wednesday 0 Wolves 1. After seven solid hours of football, Wolves finally managed to win a game. Ra ra. Still, the decline has not resulted in the horrorshow I expected. We're still only twelfth, but only nine points off the top. It's damned close this season (isn't it always?), so here's hoping we get through the traditionally useless Christmas period by bucking the trend and stringing a few wins together.
  As long as I'm dreaming, I'd like a Ducati, too.


12th December '14 - Working the weekend again, and amazingly, we had a full crew. This hardly ever happens now because of sickness, leave and the fact that the unit has been strip-mined to oblivion. So there we were - five hard-working, dedicated professionals raring to go from 07:00...and the phone never rang once.
  I'm covering next weekend too, as we're down to skeleton staff. I'll be the only person for the whole of North London. You just know it's going to go tit-up, don't you?


10th December '14 - Once again, Tesco at Liverpool Street are pulling out all the stops to get that festive spirit flowing, yet I for one am not convinced that blasting your customers with a selection of Christmas songs from the likes of Greg Lake and Chris De Burgh at ten past six on a weekday morning is the best way to go about it.
  Far from being tempted to load up with armfuls from the veritable mountain of boxes of Christmas biscuits on display, this unwarranted aural assault made me want to go to the bottle aisle, smash a couple, and start laying about the staff and punters until the nice men with the tranquilizer darts came and took me away.
  Bloody Greg Lake. Where's Shaky when you need him?


9th December '14 - If you're caught short while out Christmas shopping, take the apprehension and self-consciousness out of using a public toilet by engaging the next-door cubicle in a game of Bottom Battleships.
  Simply listen carefully for the 'plop' sound from your neighbour, then shout out loudly "Miss! My turn! D6!" Great fun for all concerned!


8th December '14 - We appear to have misplaced the little baby Jesus from the kids' Nativity set. At the moment, it just looks like a bunch of people praying to some farmyard animals and a small box of straw. Bizarre.

7th December '14 - Wolves 1 Bournemouth 2. Like I said, Jackett out.

6th December '14 - I was supposed to be seeing the mighty Machine Head at the Roundhouse tonight, but as I am still on serious medication and feel like hammered shit, I've had to deck it. Still, seeing as I hate that venue with its crap acoustics and overpriced pasteurised piss, I feel a little better (but not much) about missing the gig.
  Shame, because these guys, along with 5FDP and (obviously) The Wildhearts are the pinnacle of live rock. Watertight and polished to the max. And I missed them. Arse.

5th December '14 - Never be impressed by an 'en suite' bathroom. It is a mere dividing wall away from shitting next to your bed.

3rd December '14 - Yet more 'colossal' cuts were announced by the Chancellor today, with something like a million public sector staff to be thrown on the scrapheap by 2020. Fine by me, just give me my half pension at fifty and you'll never hear from me again.
  Unsurprisingly, I note that despite all the concern about the UK debt, there's still no move to stop borrowing money to give away to other countries, nor any measures to stop the unchecked tide on immigrants coming here to claim benefits and swamp our resources.
  Osborne has promised an extra £2 billion to help the NHS continue to service the healthcare of the entire fucking world though, so that's nice.

2nd December '14 - The Fishwife has bought herself a tablet. She has installed Skype on this to chat to her mate. Both of them seem to think that in order to use it properly you have to shout and talk in monosyllables as if you were a Brit abroad talking to a particularly stupid foreigner. Highly amusing.

1st December '14 - Back to the Doctor, and another course of stomach-wrenching antibiotics. I'm getting worried now. Nothing is working and I'm fast running out of options. I'm tired of feeling shit all the while, there's no joy to life anymore.

30th November '14 - The first trailer for the new Star Wars film is
up. Tatooine, comedy droid, bad guy in black with red lightsabre. So far, so generic.  Wake me up when something new and interesting gets posted.

29th November '14 - Brentford 4 Wolves 0. Jesus wept. Twelve goals against and zero for in the last three games. I don't think this fucker has a clue anymore. Ok, I'm calling it: Jackett out.

27th November '14 - One thing that makes lying in bed feeling shit a bit more tolerable is a good book, and I am hallway trough a set of twenty-three of 'em. Patrick O'Brien's 'Aubrey & Maturin' novels are simply wonderful, and I highly recommend them.
  The writing style is like Jane Austen doing 'Sharpe' at sea. Very authentic and utterly compelling.

26th November '14 - I've only been off sick three days and already I've had enough of Children's television. My God, there isn't half some shit churned out for the little ones. You know it's bad when even a two-year-old starts turning his nose up at it. Toby's Travelling Circus, Bananas in Pyjamas, Tree Fu Tom, Ticketty Tock - all utterly dreadful.
  Bring back Brian Cant.

25th November '14 - Steroids it is then. Whoopee. Five days of stomach cramps and shitting rusty water. And these stitches are still a bitch, too.

23rd November '14 - It occurs to me that I haven't done any Christmas shopping yet. I also occurs to me that I don't care.

22nd November '14 - Wolves 0 Notts Forest 3. Another shit performance and now three defeats on the trot. I'm not convinced that Kenny Jackett's tactics are working anymore. The fans are beginning to turn as well. We have got to turn this slump around or we will be looking at another season of mid-table mediocrity
or worse.

20th November '14 - Stitches are a bitch. Never had 'em before. They don't half make coughing a memorable experience.

19th November '14 - Sorry about that. I've had a lot on and most of it weary. Not going to bore you with the details, but hospitals and doctors are involved yet again. Blood tests and a biopsy, not to mention a course of antibiotics and the threat of a course of steroids if nothing improves. Lovely.

10th November '14 - Is it too early to order in some Christmas beer yet? This is always good for a cheeky snifter or two.

8th November '14 - Derby 5 Wolves 0. Appalling. Lacklustre and disinterested from start to finish. Let's hope the international break gives Kenny and the team some time to recharge their batteries and things pick up for the home game with Forest. The last thing we need now is a poor run of results on the run-in to Christmas.  


7th November '14 - Yet another day run off me bleedin' feet as half our staff were attending a meeting about their financial exit packages. Effectively, this brought the working strength on the Early Shift down from five to three (it was seven two months ago and eleven back in 2010.)
  Right now, I'm spinning so many plates I no longer know if I'm coming or going. I'm doing my new job (which seems to be an amalgamation of my old boss's job, a training manager's job, my old job and my opposite number on the South site's job) and at the same time picking up the shortfall on occasions like today when we run out of ground-floor troops.
  Look, it's not my place to knock the way this process is panning out, but all I will say is that if I'd have organised this change, I'd have made sure the replacement staff were all fully trained up before letting the original staff go. I mean, when you replace your car, you don't get rid of the old one and walk everywhere for a few months before you buy the new one, do you?
  Ah well, at least it ain't dull here at the End of Days...


6th November '14 - Old King Thistle is a very old king, and he's one year older today. Old King Thistle is old and grey. Happy Happy Happy Birthday!


5th November '14 - Blimey, Tooting is even less interested in Bonfire Night than Streatham was. Barely a flash or a bang all evening here. Either everyone's too skint to afford fireworks these days or there's not enough of the indigenous population round here to commemorate the event anymore.

3rd November '14 - Gutted to find out Wayne Static has died. He was only a bit older than me. Static-X were one of those bands who finally pushed me into Industrial Metal after years of dipping my toe in the water. 
  'Wisconsin Death Trip' and 'Machine' were amazing albums, and although Static-X faded after that (for me, anyway), Wayne's recent 'Pighammer' project had rekindled my interest.
  Sad to think there'll be no more of his full-on sonic mayhem. R.I.P. man.  

2nd November '14 - Back to London and for once the motoway was a joy to drive with nary a roadwork in sight. I always like an evening drive at this time of year, as the copious burst of fireworks are a joy to see as you pass each town.  
  Got back in time to see the repeat of last night's 'Doctor Who' (another convoluted Moffat mess), had a shower and off for an early night. Work tomorrow. Bleh.  

1st November '14 - Wolves 0 Birmingham 0. A yawn-inspiring snooze-fest courtesy of them bluenoses up the road who got hammered eight-nil last week.
  Ah well, a point's a point. At least we're still in the play-off spots  

Hallowe'en '14 - I don't usually do anything for Hallowe'en. Not because I don't care for it, but mainly because I'm either working, working the next day or skint. However, here I am on leave with a few quid in the wallet, so it's off to The Giffard Arms with Brian the Bastard to drink draught Hobgoblin and stuff the jukebox full of coins. Awesome!  

Devil's Night '14 - A nice lazy sort of day. Went bowling with my mate and our offspring, and was amused and gratified to see him taken to the cleaners by his ten-year-old daughter. Had a Nando's lunch then home to chill out.  
  An early night watching 'The Crow' (what else?) again on my laptop, and unboxed a rare unusual Hallowe'en hat on 'Team Fortress 2'. Sweet.  

29th October '14 - Had my twice-yearly trip to the dentist today and was gobsmacked (get it?) to find my old mate Robin had retired! I now have a new dentist; a Muslim lady who is very polite and thorough and didn't stab my gums too unduly. All good for another nine months and didn't damage the wallet too much, either.  

28th October '14 - Took my Darth Maul money box into Barclay's and dumped the contents into their rather brilliant coin machine (yes, folks - I am that strapped for cash these days!) Was chuffed when it totalled £163, two dimes and a house key (the machine spat those out.)  
  All I do at the end of every working day is stuff anything that isn't a pound coin into Darth and when he gets full, take him along to the bank. Amazing how this mounts up! Looks like I can treat now myself to a Steam voucher in time for the Team Fortress Hallowe'en event! Yay!  

26th October '14 - Back in Wolverhampton for a week. Ok, so we got so fed up of building shot and unpacking crates that we decided to cut and run to Grandma's. Most of the heavy stuff has been done, but we could still do with another wardrobe and a small bookcase/storage unit, so it looks like another trip to Ikea at some point. Yay for meatballs.  
  Stuff all that for the moment though, I've got eight weeks of 2000AD to catch up withand Kingdom is back! Tougher and tough. Get whet!  

20th October '14 - Oh what a joyous couple of weeks I've had! Moving house for the first time in two decades is not what I'd call fun and neither are the endless trips to the charity shop and Ikea as we try to jettison the stuff we no longer want and make extra room for the stuff that we have.  
  Apologies for the delay, but it takes three weeks to reconnect phone/internet these days (yeah, right!), so I've been off the grid. However, I'm back now. Sort of.
  The new flat is somewhat smaller and has less storage space, but then again it isn't damp and it isn't in Streatham, so on the whole it's a result. The downstairs neighbour seems like a nutcase (more later), but for now, we're in, skint and surrounded by boxes.  
  I will write again in a few days when I've got the PC sorted (only on the laptop here)


9th October '14 - In twenty years, I seem to have forgotten how much I fucking hate the process of moving house. It's all coming back to me real quick though...  

8th October '14 - And yet another day passes where I didn't use algebra. If I'd have known Mrs. Dennis was lying to me in 1985, I'd have taken Home Economics 'O' Level instead. I still can't make bread to save my life.  

7th October '14 - Apparently, the Liberal Democrats (whom I find to be neither liberal nor particularly democratic, but I digress) are promising to significantly cut taxes if elected next year.  
  Frankly, they can say what they like at this point, can't they? It's not as if they have a fucking hope in hell of forming a government or even part of one. If I were Clegg, I'd at least try and go out in style. 'Vote LibDem, Get A Free Blowjob Off Kylie!'  
  Why not? It's just as valid at this point.  

5th October '14 - Another weekend at work, partly because I need the money, but mostly because I wrote the new shift pattern and cocked up the transition weekend. The person whom I thought was on had pre-booked leave which had to be honoured and there was no-one else to fill in, so I bravely volunteered to fill the gap.  
  Hero or mug? Bit of both on this one, I suspect.  

4th October '14 - Wolves 2 Wigan 2 - Worrying. A loss and two hard-fought draws is not the way I'd envisaged the early part of this season panning out. Down to seventh now just as the top teams seem to be finding a run of form. We desperately need some shoring-up at the back.  

3rd October '14 - I happened to glance at the telly this evening for the first time in months. Alas, nothing has changed; It's still all cookery, dancing and karaoke programmes. Surely even the most intellectually-challenged licence fee payer must be getting bored with this fodder by now?  
  If it were up to me, I'd combine them all in one and have an hour of 'Strictly Celebrity X-factor Cooking On Ice In The Jungle' each evening and then free up the rest of the scheduling for re-runs of The Professionals. Far more entertaining! 

2nd October '14 - First Christmas Selection Box spotted in Tesco.  

1st October '14 - Wolves 1 Huddersfield 3 - What a load of old bobbins. Had we won this, we'd have gone top. As it is, we're now sixth. Lacklustre in the first half and downright crap in the second, this was a game that must be extinguished from all memory by a resounding win over drop-zone Wigan on Saturday. Anything less and Kenny Jackett has cause to be worried.  

30th September '14 - ...and now a Tory backer has given up helping them bankroll the EU and decided to finance UKIP instead. Not only that, but Aaron Banks was so insulted that William Hague said he'd never heard of him that he upped his original £100,000 donation to a million for Nigel Farage. Sweet.  
  There'll be a lot more mileage in this between now and next May  

29th September '14 - Apparently, the new £700 iPhone bends if you put it in you back pocket. Heh.  

28th September '14 - Reading 3 Wolves 3. We blew a chance to go second behind Delia's lot thanks to a last-gasp equaliser from Reading. Both teams were good value, though, with five goals in the second half.  
  Oh well, still third and within touching distance of both Norwich and Forest. Early days yet, but looking good. We still look like we've got the clout to do well this season, so long as our defence holds up...  

27th September '14 - Another Tory MP defects to UKIP and the best their press office can come out with is the trite old 'a vote for UKIP is a vote for Labour' bollocks.  
  No, not anymore. It'd be niceto think that both Miliband and Cameron would find out next year that a vote for UKIP translates as, hey, a vote for UKIP and that quite a lot of their lying, self-serving cronies will be out on their ear.  
  As for the Lib-Dems, I'm predicting that they'll simply cease to exist after the election. Good.  

25th September '14 - Wasn't there a big news story running recently about a high-powered paedophile ring running at the very top of our society; possibly with connections to Westminster? That's gone rather quiet, hasn't it? Hmm...  

24th September '14 - Apparently, Hollywood is about to 'revisit' the property known as 'I Am Legend', as if Will Smith's insultingly poor CGI vampires last time didn't sully it enough.  
  It might be a bit of a wild, off-the-wall idea, but how about making a film based on the actual story that Richard Matheson wrote, rather than pissing about with it time and time again? It's been sixty bloody years since he wrote it and, since he was a screenwriter, it pretty much reads as a good-to-go screenplay anyway. The bloke couldn't have made it any easier to film if he'd put camera notes in the margins, and yet we've yet to see the damn thing done properly.  
  Maybe this will be the one? Or more likely, a dozen 'writers' will once again cobble something awful together over a lunch of coke and hookers. They'll probably make the vampires sparkle this time, too.
23rd September '14 - I do love LBC talk radio of a morning, but if I hear one more advert about how Aldermartin, Baines and Cuthbert can help me maximise the income from my property portfolio, this DAB is going out the fucking window  

21st September '14 - Scarily, I have just worked out that the last PC game I bought was 'Bioshock Infinite' in April 2013 and that I've been wrapped up in 'Team Fortress 2' ever since. I've still got two lots of DLC to play for 'Infinite', as well as all those games I bought in last Christmas' Steam Sale, such as 'Dishonored', 'Rome II: Total War' and 'Tomb Raider'.  
  I really should leave TF2 alone for a while, except it's almost time for the annual Halloween 'Scream Fortress' event and then it'll be Christmas again. I'm just addicted to it, I guess. Ah well, the new 'Alien: Isolation' game is out soon. Maybe that will tear me away from Teufort  

20th September '14 - Just found out that seats were removed at two of the recent Kate Bush gigs in order to allow video cameras to be placed. This obviously means that the whole thing is going to be released as a DVD at some point in the future.  
  If I'm honest, I'm not sure how this would work. To me, this is one of those things where you kinda had to be there, but I'm sure people would've said that about the 'Tour of Life' in '79, and that made a pretty good video. Either way, I'll be buying it, if only as a memento of an amazing night.  

19th September '14 - Well, the hunt for a new flat is over and in a few weeks time I'll be saying farewell to Streatham, where I have accidentally spent nearly half my life. I shall not miss the place in the fucking slightest having watched the area where I live transform from 'run-down English High Street' to 'Third-world Somalian ghetto' in two short decades. Goodbye, SW16. I won't be back.  

18th September '14 - Just spent a happy few hours re-reading 'Y - The Last Man' by Brian K Vaughan, one of the best comics of the last twenty years. If you've never come across it, it's all about what happens after a sudden catastrophe wipes out every male creature on the planet apart from one guy and his pet monkey.   Brilliantly written (and illustrated by Pia Guerra), it is entertaining and thought-provoking in equal measures. The whole run is available digitally in collected form. I highly recommend checking it out.


17th September '14 - So now all three main Party 'leaders' are now offering to bribe Scottish voters to say 'no' with English taxpayer's money. I don't recall being asked my thoughts on this as a 40% tax-payer.
  Our masters in Brussels have obviously told them to do everything necessary to keep the 'union' together, otherwise the residents of the Catalan region of Spain might start to get ideas.  
  This is why I'll be voting UKIP at the next election. Frankly, I couldn't care if I was ticking a box for the Monster Raving Loony party in 2015 so long as it wasn't any of these three showers of shite.  

16th September '14 - Saw a guy in the bus-stop this morning (at 05:40) swigging from a can of lager (and carrying several more) wearing a t-shirt proudly bearing the legend 'Scottish Freedom? Yes!'  
  I don't think he quite realises the implications for his current choice of lifestyle should his wish be fulfilled  

15th September '14 - The realisation that winter is on its way put a smile on my face this morning. For the first time in months, it was still dark when I had my morning run to the tube station. 
  I always prefer running in the dark, it keeps passers-by from being frightened by the chunky red-faced baldy puffing and grunting as he goes by.  

13th September '14 - Contrary to rumour, tonight's Doctor Who wasn't half shite. Unlike many, I have no problems with Peter Capaldi. I like the idea of an older, angry Doctor. However, like Matt Smith before him, the stories are not doing the actor justice.  
  This was a Steven Moffat one, too. The guy who gave us 'Girl in the Fireplace' and 'Blink'. Those were both masterpieces, but this was a right fucking mess.  
  A completely unexplained 'monster' under the bed? The TARDIS visiting Gallifrey when it's quantum locked? WT actual F? The bloke is the show's frontrunner and it's getting obvious that he doesn't give a toss anymore. Lazy writing on the BBC's flagship family drama is inexcusable.  

12th September '14 - The new iPhone. The new iWatch. The same old hype-train. The first person waving their Apple-sponsored wrist in front of me is going to get their shiny new bit of overpriced technology inserted where the sun don't shine.
  Right up their aNus.  

11th September '14 - Things seem to be getting rather heated in the run-up to the vote for Scottish Independence, with the leaders of all main parties heading north of the border to try and bolster the 'No' campaign. 
  Frankly, anything that has Cameron, Miliband and the other one united is something I am going to be suspicious of on general principal, so I'm firmly of the opinion that there should be a resounding 'Yes' vote throughout the whole of Caledonia. For too long, the Scots have existed in their socialist paradise (mainly funded by English capitalism) so it'd be good for them to stand on their own.
  Not sure how their economy is going to work once it's solely based on whisky and shortbread though, but hey - it won't be our problem, will it?  

10th September '14 - So far this year, I have gathered a hundred and eighty-six virtual Steam Trading cards with which to level up my Steam profile. By Christmas, I hope to have well over two hundred and fifty, which will be enough to boost me up by twenty normal Steam levels in one go, provide me with twenty-five bonus Christmas levels and hopefully award me the chance of a rare item like last year's Caribou.  
  You have no idea what I've just said, but you know it's probably really, really sad, right? Right.  

9th September '14 - Smile and the world smiles with you. Wank on the bus and you'll only get two or three joining in at best  

8th September '14 - Caught up with Saturday's 'Doctor Who' on the BBC's iPlayer. Three episodes in and I'm finding myself warming to Peter Capaldi's angry and grumpy incarnation. I did like Matt Smith, though felt he was shamefully let down by three years of iffy stories. I hope Capaldi doesn't suffer from the same fate, but of the three I've seen so far, one was good, one ok and one 'meh'.  
  Word is that this Saturday's episode is very good indeed. We shall see 

6th September '14 - Still blown away after last night. Well worth a thirty-four year wait!  

5th September '14 - Kate Bush, Hammersmith Odeon. Now there's a heading I never thought I'd get to type, although technically (and according to the lights outside) this was 'Before the Dawn' at the Eventim Apollo. Balls to that, I'm old skool. It'll always be the Hammy O to me.  
  As I've mentioned previously, I was lucky enough to have scooped stalls tickets in the middle of Row E. That was amazing enough and the Fishwife and I were more than happy with that seating allocation once we looked at the venue plan. However, what nobody told us beforehand was that Kate had extended the stage and taken out Rows A to D. We got there and found ourselves right in the middle of the front row. Unbelievable!  
  The show had already been widely reviewed the week before, and we did know what was coming, but even so it was still a complete shock to experience just how meticulously planned this was. It started tamely enough, with Kate and the band (including two drummers and four backing singers - one of which being her son, Bertie) kicking off with 'Lily' and running through 'Hounds of Love', 'Top of the City', 'Joanie', 'Running Up That Hill'  and 'King of the Mountain', which is where everything went crazy.  
  One of the drummers started whirling a bullroarer around and everything went dark with thunder and lightning and then suddenly Kate was there on a giant screen wearing a lifejacket and staring up from a black ocean. 'And Dream of Sheep' began and we were into the full half-hour of 'The Ninth Wave', an astonishing piece of theatre intermingled with dance, masks, conceptual stages and live music as Kate gave us the second side of 'Hounds of Love' in its entirety. There was even a 'helicopter' with a searchlight flying over the audience at one point! The whole thing was utterly mesmerising and occasionally disturbing, especially the fish-headed monsters who carried her off at the end.  
  If the gig had finished there, I would've been more than content, but after a brief interval, she was back with another forty-five minutes of extraordinary rock theatre as the band gave us the whole of 'A Sky of Honey' from 'Aerial', complete with back-projected sky-scapes, flying birds, birdsongs, a Basil Twist puppet show and even a song from Bertie. Kate turned into a crow and took off as trees crashed down from the ceiling, shattering her piano and bringing this amazing cacophony to a close.  
  A minute later, Kate and the band came back on for a final encore of 'Among Angels' and 'Cloudbusting', by which time the whole place was on its feet and singing along joyously.  
  A delirious end to a spellbinding night! I shall never, ever forget this!   
4th September '14 - I've only had three days back on eating bread and already I'm bloated up like Jordan's left one. I've got to stop eating cow food. Anything made from grasses and grains is no good for you. Unless it's distilled, of course  

2nd September '14 - They're talking about making another 'Pirates of the Caribbean' film. No, ok? Just no. Even if you bring back Orlando Bieber-slapper, the whole Depp comedy-pirate thing is well past its sell-by date now.  
  Not that it will stop them rolling this into production. Or the next Transformers/Ninja Turtles/Power Rangers abomination, either. Meh.  

1st September '14 - I recently ordered some high protein chicken soup from the place I buy my protein shake mix from. It sounded really tasty from the description, but as soon as I'd pressed the order button, I had a horrible thought: What if it's just a cheap cup-a-soup knock-off with a serving of flavourless protein powder lumped in?  
  I've just made one up and am sitting here sipping it after my workout. I can confirm that it is indeed just a cheap cup-a-soup knock-off with a serving of flavourless protein powder lumped in. Bleh.  

31st August '14 - I always tend to say 'Morning', rather than 'Good morning' as a greeting. If it was a good morning, I'd still be in bed instead of having to speak to people.  

30th August '14 - What's got four legs and goes 'Aaaah'? A sheep with no lips. Sorry, but that's had me chuckling all day. What a sad man I am.  

29th August '14 - As something of a connoisseur of Cornish pasties, I would just like to point out that the Pasty Shop on the concourse at London Euston does a blinder. 
  Forget all their lamb & mint and steak & ale nonsense, the large traditional they offer is very good indeed and leagues ahead of the ones offered by the West Country Pasty Shop on the terrace outside.  

27th August '14 - I ventured back onto Facebook this evening for the first time in ages and was immediately confronted by almost a dozen 'friend' requests to play Candy Crush and some other pointless fucking Java games.  
  Quietly logged out again and went for a nap.  

26th August '14 - The splendidly cheesy 'Battle Beyond the Stars' is just about to be released on Blu-Ray. If you've never caught it, it's one of the raft of late 70's/early 80's Sci-Fi films that were rushed into production to cash in on the huge success of 'Star Wars' and 'Close Encounters'.  
  It's basically 'The Magnificent Seven' in space and worth watching if only for Sybil Danning in her Saint Exmin outfit, which Neil Gaiman obviously remembered when creating Angela for the Spawn comics. Seeing as Angela is now a regular in Marvel's  'Guardians of the Galaxy' continuity, she may well pop up in the next film.  
  Who the hell are they going to cast to fill
this costume?


25th August '14 - Another Bank Holiday at work, and thankfully it pissed down all day. I'm not sure that all the punters at the Notting Hill Carnival had a good time, but I sure did.
  No urgent calls and no weary jobs to go out to, just a chance to catch up with some long-overdue paperwork whilst earning some premium pay.

24th August '14 - It's almost September, can you believe it? I have no idea where the year has gone. This is how it goes when we take our holiday early in the year, it throws everything else out for me. My holiday last May in Cornwall seems like a decade ago and Christmas seems like it's just around the corner.
  Actually, it probably is when you consider the shops will start stocking festive tat as soon as Halloween is over. And that's another thing - it'll soon be time for the Team Fortress Halloween event once more! Jesus, somebody stop the clock!

23rd August '14 - Wolves 1 Cardiff 0. All three teams who fell from the Premier League last season have now handed over three points to the boys in the Old Gold and Black!
  I would've been more than happy with a point off Cardiff, as they're a quality side and if it wasn't for their last minute own goal, that's exactly what we'd have had. However, sometimes football does that and we've been on the wrong end of this sort of luck before, so I ain't moaning too much.

22nd August '14 - Went to see 'Guardians of the Galaxy' with my daughter this afternoon. Quite possibly  the most enjoyable film I've seen in years. Great fun, and has the sort of vibe that came off the very first 'Star Wars' all those years ago.
  This movie has it all; a brilliant cast that gel together, a sharp script and some top-notch characters and set-pieces. By far the best Marvel film to date, especially for a younger audience (yes, I know 'The Winter Soldier' was awesome, but that's almost a full-blown political thriller for grown-ups.)
  Go see it on a big screen in 3D now and take the kids. You'll all love it!

21st August '14 - Fulham 0 Wolves 1. The scoreline here flatters Fulham as they were bloody awful. For a team that have just dropped from the Premier League, they look on course to repeat what we did a couple of seasons ago and drop down again next May.
  Wolves should've won this by two or more, but hey, a win is a win and three points are in the bag.


20th August '14 - Another of my rainy day movies this evening, and I had high hopes for 'The Amazing Spider-Man 2' since the first one was such a pleasant surprise. Once again Andrew Garfield proved to be a natural Peter Parker and Emma Stone was wonderful as Gwen Stacy.
  Sadly, everything - and I do mean everything - else was just awful.
  From the piss-poor script (apparently scribbled on the back of a fag packet) to the embarrassing turn by Jamie Foxx (who would've disgraced a school pantomime), it was even worse than Raimi's third offering. I can't even begin to describe the gaping plot holes and leaps of faith required to piece the 'story' together, as it just fails on so many levels. At least Sam gave us a decent Sandman even if he did ruin Venom.
  Do yourselves a favour and avoid this, it's a fucking abomination from start to finish.


19th August '14 - An afternoon of shopping in Wolverhampton. Although my home town is slowly dying (aren't we all?), it is still infinitely preferable to the place I have to return to next week. Would I ever choose to live here again if I had the choice? Probably not, but a lottery win would definitely see me planted in one of the nice outlying areas.
  Sadly, theres about as much chance of this as me being abducted by an alien collective of Isla Fisher clones who want to use me for breeding stock...


18th August '14 - One of the joys of a week off is getting a bit of peace and quiet with which to catch up on some rainy day movies. 'Captain America: The Winter Soldier' is fantastic; a conspiracy thriller at heart wrapped up with lashings of Marvel mayhem. If you haven't seen it already, make sure you do, but definitely rewatch the first Cap film again to refresh your memory - there's a lot of back-referencing that you may have forgotten about. Recommended!

17th August '14 - Proof, should you need it, that there is too much money and cocaine in Hollywood: Mere days after a thoroughly underwhelming 'Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles' remake died on its arse at the box office, a 'Power Rangers' reboot has been given the go-ahead.
  Who, exactly, are they aiming this stuff at? The kids today couldn't care less and the nostalgia crowd from back in the day would need access to some of the very Bolivian Marching Powder that got this shit green-lit before they'd take it seriously.
  Hollywood, if you're going to throw money down the toilet, at least punt some my way!


16th August '14 - Up extra early and headed on back to Wolverhampton for a week away from London. A trip to the cinema to see 'Guardians of the Galaxy' with my daughter is called for, as are several ales in Scruffy Murphy's with Brian the Bastard.
  London is dead to me. It's just somewhere I work and sleep...for now.


15th August '14 - It was Great British Beer Festival day today, but not for me. Something else that I have left behind, I guess. I hardly ever drink these days and I just can't face being in Olympia again without Steve as a wingman.
  It's been three and a half years since he died, yet all my Beer Festival memories of us are as fresh as if we'd just come back from there. I guess the problem is I don't think I'd be able to take it anymore; both the beer and the emotions...


14th August '14 - Looks like we'll have to find somewhere else to live, as the landlord has finally sold our house for development (meaning they'll turn the four flats into six bedsits and charge twice the rent.)
  Looking around at the housing market now, it's just ridiculous. How can we go from average property prices being three times one's salary to over ten in a decade? How can London homes accrue in value by £500 per day? Utterly unsustainable. 
  I'm alright, I'll be out of here within three years, but I can honestly see a time when all the working infrastructure in London will collapse. There'll be no bus drivers, no street sweepers, no nurses, no policemen, because the way this is going, the only people who'll be able to live here soon will be the super-rich and the dole scroungers.


13th August '14 - And it's a very Happy Birthday to my Big Sister, along with a timely reminder that I am still considerably - considerably - younger than yow. XXX

12th August '14 - The news is full of the Middle East and its latest wave of atrocities. Lots of photographs of bearded religious maniacs holding up severed heads or playing football with them. I won't name the particular religion, but you know the one I mean - the 'religion of peace'.
  I don't even know why they bother reporting this stuff now. The area has been a war-torn basket-case for two thousand years and won't be changing anytime soon. The words of Ellen Ripley spring to mind: 'Nuke the whole site from orbit, it's the only way to be sure'.


11th August '14 - Blimey! The new football season started yesterday and I completely missed it! Still, Wolves beat Norwich 1-0, which gave Delia an excuse to hammer the cooking sherry again, so I guess everyone came away happy...

10th August '14 - When I glanced at the headlines yesterday and saw 'Brady and Rose among new Life Peers', I had to do a double-take. For a split second, my brain was insisting that Ian Brady and Fred West had been elevated to the House of Lords, but of course closer inspection revealed it to be former Birmingham City Chief Executive Karren Brady and Sir Stuart Rose from M&S.
  Still, absolutely nothing would surprise me about the depths to which cronyism pervades the ruling classes these days. It was only the fact that I knew Fred was dead that stopped me running with my initial conclusion.


9th August '14 - The Kate Bush tickets arrived this morning. I still didn't believe she would actually go ahead with it until I opened the envelope, but..."it's really happenin' to ya!"


8th August '14 - Sometimes, the collective stupidity of 'People In Charge' is enough to take my breath away. I've just read that Spain and America have flown victims of the Ebola outbreak back to their own countries for treatment. I simply cannot get my head around the sheer, mindboggling idiocy of this.
  Ebola is a Level 4 Biohazard (all the Hepatitis ones are Level 2, HIV is Level 3). It is a horrific disease which pretty much turns you to soup from the inside out. It kills in a matter of days and there is no vaccine and no cure. The only thing that has stopped it from ever becoming a pandemic is the fact that it is (for now) contained to very poor areas of the planet and anyone with it dies before they have the chance to spread it very far.
  What you do in the event of a Level 4 breakout is lock down the affected area and let the disease run its course. You do not - simply DO. NOT. - do the virus's job for it by taking it out of the containment area.
  Like I said, this is precisely what Spain and America (and possibly Saudi Arabia) have already done. Seeing what this disease does to an isolated African village is bad enough, just imagine if it got a toehold in a major city.
  Thanks to the irresponsible actions of some People In Charge, you may not have to imagine for much longer.


7th August '14 - I noticed this afternoon that the branch of Gregg's Bakers on Streatham High Road has closed down and is all boarded up.
  I don't know how long this has been the case, but I'm absolutely convinced that half the population of SW16 will have starved to death by September.


6th August '14 - Pandemonium at the local funeral parlour today. You may have read that the man who invented the Hokey Cokey died recently. Well, today the family were all there choosing a fitting casket for the old chap.
  Things were going fine right up until the moment when the undertaker put the left arm in...



5th August 14 - I'm starting to find the BBC's anti-Israeli bias utterly repugnant now. I don't particularly have a flag to wave for either side of this tedious Palestinian thing, but for a publically-funded organisation that demands my money on pain of imprisonment, the least I expect is some impartiality for my £145 a year.
  Jesus, how I fucking hate Lefties.  

3rd August '14 - Our Widdle Man is two today. I have no idea where this time has gone, but it seems like only moments ago that I could carry him around with one arm with his head in my palm and his bottom in the crook of my elbow and all he could do was sleep.  
  Now he's almost up to my waist and climbing on all the furniture like a little goat and pushing toy trucks or footballs into my leg.  
  They grow up so fast, don't they? Slow down, son!  

2nd August '14 - There's now a cease-fire in Gaza. Oops, too late, you missed it.

1st August '14 - Thanks to five years of this coalition government, the take-home pay on the payslip I've just opened with two weekends of overtime on it is almost exactly the same as the basic payslip I was picking up in 2009.  
  The bank of England has just announced that Britain's finances are just about back to where they were before the big collapses that brought these austerity measures into play, so I reckon we'll be seeing VAT reduced and some inflation-busting pay rises in November's budget tweak.  
  Oh, look! A flying pig!  

31st July '14 - There seems to be a big push to turn people onto goat's cheese all of a sudden. I even saw goat's cheese (and onion) crisps today. Why? Have you ever had goat's cheese? It's vile.  
  Taste-wise, it's not much different from normal cheese, it just smells like it has sat in a dish of old man's wee for several weeks.

30th July '14 -
I've just finished Patti Smith's autobiography 'Just Kids' about her time with Robert Mapplethorpe and the New York art/music scene in the early Seventies.  
  A great read; lyrical, beautiful and honest. Very much recommended. 

28th July '14 - Each time I drive back to London, it gets harder. Partly because of the traffic, but mostly because I hate the place and the urge to stop the car, jump out and wave frantically at the sky hoping to attract the attention of a nuclear-armed Russian military satellite is becoming almost irresistible.  

19th - 27th July '14 - Wolverhampton. Being an overpaid public sector worker with a massive salary and a huge gold-plated pension pot easily allows me to afford several amazing holidays a year, and this year it's looking like one week in a small chalet in Cornwall and two more at my Mum's house back home.  
  This trip was not so much a holiday as a 'get away from London and recharge the batteries' trip, and much needed it was too. We all went out for a nice carvery meal at one point, but apart from that, I simply chilled out and caught up with about four months worth of 2000AD (yes, I'm still reading it) and a few rainy day movies. 
  I wonder if Richard Branson's income allows him this sort of hedonistic lifestyle, too?
17th July '14 - Reviews from the advance screenings of 'Guardians of the Galaxy' have been very positive. As in 'Best Marvel movie so far' positive. I can't wait!

16th July '14 - Who buys 'vegetarian sushi', for fuck's sake? What sort of a sad individual do you have to be to find the concept of paying through the nose for bits of chopped cucumber wrapped in rice and seaweed remotely appealing?  

15th July '14 - How can I have bastard hay fever in a bastard heatwave in the middle of bastard July?  

13th July '14 - Some of the kid's programmes on telly these days are just awful. No, scratch that; most of the kid's programmes on telly these days are awful. Most of it appears to be cheap, badly animated crap designed solely to sell cheap, badly made toys.  
  Back in the mid/late Seventies, children's TV started at 16:00 and finished at 17:45 and there was two hours of 'Tiswas' on a Saturday morning (the highlight of my week, and still sorely missed!) 
  It's 24/7 now, with several dedicated channels, but I can honestly say if I were ten years old again, I would rather sit and watch the test card than 99% of this dreck.  

12th July '14 - The trailer for the third (and thankfully final) part of the Hobbit adaptation has hit the intertubes. Yawn. 
  I just can't muster any enthusiasm for this bloated mess. The first one was ok, but dragged like a seal's arse and the second one was decidedly 'meh'. Here's hoping they get this one out of the way and then some bright spark whittles the whole nine-hour mess down to 100 minutes or so.  
  I've no doubt there is an excellent film in there somewhere, it's just that Peter Jackson is too up his own arse to find it.  

11th July '14 - Apparently, the original 'Bioshock', one of the finest PC games ever created, has been successfully ported to the iPad. This is an interesting development and I hope it becomes wildly successful.  
  Not because I think any more of crApple products than I did previously, but because it might just encourage a few sheeple to look elsewhere for their gaming fix once they realise the sort of thing they've been missing out on. Here's hoping...  

10th July '14 - Only 167 shopping days to Christmas. Are we all ready yet?   

9th July '14 - My local branch of Barclays has just completed a (no doubt ludicrously expensive) modernisation programme. Before, we had to endure small queues of people at each teller's window at pretty much any time of day. Not ideal, but certainly not perfect.  
  Now, all the tellers have been replaced by a wall of machines and are patiently standing in front of each unit attempting to instruct all the bewildered, mostly non-English speaking customers how to operate the new technology.  
  The resulting queues are at least twice as long as they ever were before they attempted to solve the 'problem'. 21st Century Britain in a microcosm.


7th July '14 - I have come up with an answer as to why so many cyclists on London's roads ride like they're utterly immune to any injury that colliding with half a ton of speeding metal may inflict. It's because they think they are.  
  I reckon if you dress in lycra long enough, your brain starts saying things like "Hey, Superman wears this stuff and he's invincible! I bet you are, too! Go for it, man!"
  It's the only explanation I can come up with for some of the riding I've seen over the years.

6th July '14 - My computer's hard drive died today. For most people, that spells disaster, but since I built this thing myself (and ain't stoopid), it's a minor, if annoying, setback.  
  You see, I have four hard drives in my machine, and this was only the 'programs' drive - all my content (photos, music, files, etc) is on another drive (and backed up again on the RAID ones). Sadly though, I can't see any of them right now since this was the one with Windows on it.  
  I was dreading the expense here. This was a 128GB Solid State Drive and cost £300 when I put it in. I needn't have worried though. Memory prices have tanked so far in four years that I picked up a 240GB SSD forwait for it£90.  
  Yup. Twice the size and a less than a third of the cost. Why can't the cost of everything follow this pattern?   

5th July '14 - Now's about the time I should be thinking about the Great British Beer Festival, but I just can't seem to be bothered anymore. I went last year in my Noddy Holder get-up, but I was the only one who bothered to dress up and it felt weird being back at Olympia - the home of so many great memories before it moved to Earls Court - without Steve.  
  I don't think I'll be going this year. To be honest, I don't think I'll be going ever again. My drinking days seem to be over now. Hell, my going-out days seem to be done and dusted full stop.
  I have no-one left to play with anymore and little inclination to play.  

4th July '14 - Independence Day today, when all Americans celebrate being freed from the yoke of British rule all those years ago.  
  I expect a similar holiday to be enshrined in English law once Nigel Farage finally frees us from the clutches of Brussels. 


3rd July '14 - We have a pair of big fuck-off steel bins in the yard at work. You know the type; huge square steel things on wheels about five foot high. They used to have differend coloured lids on them; black was for general waste and green was for recycling. Not anymore.
  I've just noticed that, although the bins are the same, the lids have been replaced and are now both bright orange. Added to this, there is now a big sticker on the front of each one bearing the words 'Co-Mingled Recycling'.
  Someone is having a giraffe here. 'Co-Mingled Recycling', my shiny helmet! Why not just say 'Landfill' and be done with it?


2nd July '14 - I have decided on a cunning plan. I'm going to collect some big spiders from the back garden and shove them in the microwave. When they're all nicely pissed off and irradiated, I'm going to prod them with my finger until they bite me and then I'll become Spider-Man.
  This will mean I can then spend my time swinging around the city taking photographs and selling them to the Daily Bugle, which, frankly, is the only way anyone's going to make any fucking money out of this photography lark in the future now that every bellend on the planet has an umpteen megapixel camera on their phone...


1st July '14 - Why do people refer to attractive women as 'foxes'? A fox is nothing more than a mangy dog who spends all its time yapping and hanging around rubbish.
  Actually, thinking about it, I've known one or two foxes in my time...


30th June '14 - Rolf Harris guilty. That's my Stylophone trade on eBay knackered, then...

29th June '14 - I went back to bed three times today. Some days, that's about all that's worth doing. Usually, those days are Sundays.
  The bible calls it a day of rest. For me, it's more like a day of 'meh'.


28th June '14 - Just watched Metallica tearing up Glastonbury. Far from being the washout that the nay-sayers predicted, they absolutely ripped the place up and the crowd loved it - students and hipsters alike!
  Good. Now that the sheeple have been broken in, how about giving them Rammstein next year?


27th June '14 - It was half past five this morning when I woke up. Awesome! A lie-in!


26th June '14 - Up at half four on a Rest Day once more. My body clock is fucked now. I'm just so grateful I'm not one of the poor bastards who's still on a shift pattern.
  Nothing - and I do mean nothing - is worth destroying your sleeping pattern for. I just wish I could get mine back in synch again. I'm tired of feeling like shit at work all day and blacking out on the tube on the way home.


25th June '14 - I have no idea what there is waiting for me in old age that will require copious amounts of two-inch long white ear hair to deal with.


23rd June '14 - It would've been Ian's birthday today. I've been thinking about him a lot lately with all this change at work. There are a lot of meetings coming up where we could really do with the input of someone like Ian who was keen on doing his job properly, pushing new things forward and who always knew exactly what he was talking about.  
  Happy Birthday, Geezer.


22nd June '14 - I appear to have become a fat whack once more, due to going back to eating bread, having Lucozades in the fridge and generally being a bit 'meh' about doing any serious weights for a few months.  
  Not good. Time for a change.


21st June '14 - Equinox. Good. Now we start losing three minutes of daylight every day until the clocks go back in October.  
  Bring it on. I can't stand the heat, I can't stand the light and I can't stand the sight of all that pasty, blotchy flesh constantly on show; my own included.  
  In the words of the Starks, 'Winter is Coming'. Good!


20th June '14 - After three days of trying and a mightily bruised and slightly bloody left tit, I have to admit defeat with trying to get my left nipple ring back in. This, once it's healed, will warrant another trip to the piercing studio, this time to go through scar tissue. Lovely.  
  How the hell can a fully stable, two-and-a-half year old piercing simply vanish as soon as the ring was removed? It just doesn't make any sense...


19th June '14 - The SteamSummer Sale began today just as I realised I am skint again for the rest of the month. Thankfully, apart from two games that I won't buy unless they're heavily discounted, there is nothing around that I really want.  
  This won't stop me from selling a few TF2 Keys and going mad with the trading cards to up my Steam level, though. I have no idea why this is so addictive, but it's just like being ten again and collecting football stickers.


18th June '14 - England 1 Uruguay 2. England are out of the World Cup having failed to qualify from the Group stage for the first time since 1958. Shameful. The wildly-overrated Wayne Rooney had a slightly better game, but Steven Gerrard was a donkey throughout and cost us the match.  
  There will be much made of this in the press, I have no doubt, but the bottom line is that England simply do not have enough English players in the Premiership to choose from to knock together a decent English side, and I can't see that changing anytime soon.  
  Football will not be 'coming home' in my lifetime, I fear.


17th June '14 - Just when I thought that Valve had lost interest in Team Fortress 2, along comes the whacking great update 'Love & War' featuring new weapons, hats and taunts. They've also created a fifteen minute movie to launch it, too.
  Watch it
  My favourite quote in any medium so far this year has to be "I have done nothing but teleport bread for three days!" Marvellous stuff. More please!


16th June '14 - Took my nipple rings out to clean them today and found I could only get one of them back in. The other one appears to have healed at the speed of Wolverine, as there isn't even a trace of a hole on either side a mere thirty minutes after removal.  
  I shall try again in a hot bath. This is weird. (The missing hole, I mean, not the fact that a middle-aged bloke is moaning about his pierced norks, although that is somewhat disturbing.)  
  I really hope I can get this thing back in. I don't fancy having it done again through scar tissue...


15th June '14 - Do you have an Iceland near you? If so, you really have to try something from this range. The pulled beef is awesome, especially if you tart the sauce up with a few drops of naga...

13th June '14 - Two days after the boss informed me that one of the fleet vans from each of our four sites will need to be given up and offset against cost reductions, I get an email from our fleet manager telling me that two brand-new '14' plate replacement vans are to be delivered next week...


12th June '14 - The electronic tennis racket/fly-killer thing we have in our office is by far the most fun gadget I've ever bought, up to and including the remote controlled electronic fart machine.
  Today's score: Billy 40 Flies 0. Eat your heart out, Andy Murray!


10th June '14 - I missed a good mate's birthday the other day. That's one of the problems with no longer being on Facebook. However, the benefits of no longer being text-spammed to death by adverts far outweigh the occasional downside, so I guess I can live with it.  
  Happy Birthday, Rob...and quite possibly Chris!


9th June '14 - Well, that about wraps it up for another season of 'Game of Thrones'. Did we all enjoy it? Good. I thought the Red Viper was awesome, though I was slightly disappointed by the Children of the Forest. That little girl should have had green slitted cat's eyes and mottled skin like a deer. As it was, she simply looked like an urchin extra from a Mad Max film.  
  Still, a minor niggle. I'm really looking forward to next season. Loads of great characters being (hopefully) introduced: Euron Crow's-Eye, Damphair, Victarion Greyjoy, Doran Martell, Arianne Martell, Areo Hotah, Wyman Manderly, Quentyn Martell, Young Griff and The Duck to name but a few.  
  The next two series are being made back-to-back this time. Is it too much to ask that we get some longer episodes?


8th June '14 - The packet of McCoy's Bacon Sizzler crisps I ate at 14:00 yesterday afternoon continues to make its presence felt despite three vigorous teeth-brushings, two lots of mouthwash and a stick of Doublemint.


7th June '14 - Effortless. That's one thing I'm going to miss about this job, the effortlessness of working with other professionals.  
  Had a job this morning of a type I'd not personally done for six months or so. It took place at a venue I'd not been to for two years at least and involved a couple of guys from other units whom I'd not seen for about the same amount of time either.  
  The minute we got going, it all fell into place as if we were simply carrying on from the last time we were there all those months ago.  
  I'm going to miss this sort of professional teamwork, but not as much as I fear the company as a whole will...


6th June '14 - Just finished another cracking book on the Kindle. Try 'One By One' by Chris Carter, which is a very readable serial-killer tale with a difference - the killer hooks the victims up to a webcam and gets the audience to vote on a choice of deaths.  
  Short chapters too, so it was ideal for the morning bus journeys. I shall look out for more from this guy!


3rd June '14 - Any mathematicians out there? I need to know how you can take six from twenty-one and come up with a result which is simultaneously divisible by four and has a mean value higher than six.
  No? This shift pattern is going to get very interesting after October, then...


2nd June '14 - The landlord has finally decided that he's had enough of not doing anything to our property and simply pocketing the money every month ad has put it on the market for a quarter of a million more than he bought it for three years ago.  
  In that time, he has shelled out for a retired decorator to paper my daughter's room and arranged for the lawn to be mowed once (I say 'mowed', what actually happened was a bloke came round and strimmed all the weeds higher than four feet and then trampled down all the long grass so it stayed flat) and that's it.  
  I have no doubt whatsoever that he will sell the place for a massive profit and quickly, because this is London and when it comes to property, everyone is currently wandering around like moon-struck calves splashing money around like cheap after-shave.   None of this makes sense to me anymore, especially after reading in the Metro that within ten years; a third of people currently working in London will no longer be able to afford to live there.  
  Time bomb, people. Thankfully, I will be out of this toilet by the time it goes off.


1st June '14 - This poster is all over the London Underground advertising the first solo album from Chrissie Hynde. Does this woman ever age?


31st May '14 - Not quite sure why I dreamed last night that my Uncle John had broken into my house and stolen the jet pack I don't have, nor why he would choose to be accompanied in his endeavours by Miss Hooley from Balamory and several monkeys. 
  All I can say is that a cracker with peanut butter on just before bedtime seems to make an ideal money-saving alternative to hallucinogenic drugs.


30th May '14 - Once again, I find myself facing the prospect of applying for a new job. In 2010 when I transferred out to the East End, there were four 'foreman' grades like me. This was halved to two last year when two of them took a voluntary exit package, and now they're looking to drop it down to one.  
  My opposite number has already said he's had enough and is going, so that just leaves me to decide whether or not I want to stick this out or take the money and run. If I were three years older, it'd be no contest. I would simply stuff half the lump sum into the pot and start taking my pension immediately.  
  Sadly, I'm too young and gorgeous to do this right now. Pants.


29th May '14 - Huzzah! We've passed Tax Freedom Day, meaning we've now finished paying the Government to live in this utopian Socialist paradise and can now start earning for ourselves.
  I say 'earning', but as I haven't had a pay rise for five years due to being one of those 'gold plated' civil service parasites and have seen an extra £50-£80 taken off my monthly pay each April since (cumulative, that is - not one-off payments) to pay for a pension I won't live to collect, I'm now at the point where one more extra monthly expenditure will mean I can no longer afford to live and work in London.
 This might not be the end of the world. Frankly, I don't care anymore.
 Bring it on.


28th May '14 - I simply cannot believe some of the things I'm reading following UKIP's trouncing of the mainstream parties in the local and EU elections. The way fascist Socialists label anyone who isn't a Socialist as 'Far Right' is odious enough, but to have the BBC trot out Tony Blair on Radio 4 to call UKIP 'nasty and unpleasant' was beyond parody.
  Tony obviously feels that people having the audacity to want to vote for a party in favour of sovereign rule and a curtailing of interference from Brussels is 'nasty and unpleasant' and that's his prerogative.
  Me, I happen to think that lying, self-serving war criminals are 'nasty and unpleasant' too, so I guess he and I will just have to agree to disagree on our respective criteria here.
  By far the funniest thing (apart from the very visible demise of Nick Clegg and his lot) was the way a party of 'fruitcakes, loonies and closet racists' took 27.5% of the votes with, amongst others, seven female candidates, a Pakistani Muslim candidate and an openly gay candidate (all elected on merit and without a hint of tokenism.) Oh, and they grabbed a Scottish seat from under Alex Salmond's nose, too. Hilarious!
  So, LibLabCon and the mainstream media - please feel free to carry on with your smear and spin campaign against UKIP. Carry on demonising what a vast amount of people outside the Westminster bubble and Islington intelligentsia really think, won't you? Because it's working a fucking treat.


27th May '14 - Well, I can see again. Things are still a little blurry, but it's getting there. Allow me to explain where the last couple of days went...
  After getting back and unpacking from Cornwall, we didn't really fancy cooking, so for Sunday lunch, the plan was to go out for a carvery and very nice it was too, right up to the point where my daughter accidentally poked me in the eye. Hard.
  Very hard.
  Now you may not know this, but, like Gordon Brown, I only have one good eye anyway following a childhood operation on the other one. Guess which one my daughter poked? Exactly. So in extreme pain and pissing tears, I was driven off to A&E where, as luck would have it, a member of the W'ton Eye Infirmary team was on duty.
  Long story short, my daughter's nail had scratched my cornea which meant drops, ointment and an eye patch for 48 hours. I'm now on the mend and my vision is getting better each day (it can take up to a week to fully recover, they said), but apart from a little blurring, all is good.
  It was fucking scary though. I've been managing with one eye for so long, I'd forgotten how crap the other one really is. Had there been any permanent damage, that would've been it - white stick and Labrador. Not exactly ideal for one who makes his living in the field of imaging (though I've seen enough work from other pros over the years to make me wonder about their visual acuity, too!)
  Still, all's well that ends well. Once again, I manage to confine my illness to a time when I'm on holiday from work. Deep joy.


17th-24th May '14 - St.Ives, Cornwall. A bit hit and miss with the weather this time, unfortunately; but even pissing down, it's preferable to being in London. The drive down was great (as it always is out of season) and it's always a joy to be able to park in St. Ives. Give it another week and there'd be no chance.
  We managed to get a couple of beach days in. (I was even to be found flying a kite at one point.) Walked the Widdle Man all across the causeway at St. Michael's Mount, watched him scoff a scone with jam and clotted cream and walked him all the way back. Had several pasties and the odd fish and chip dinner (as well as one or two pints of Rattler) before finally calling it a day and heading home laughing at all the nose-to-tail caravans coming the other way for the Bank Holiday.
  Happily, I still have a relaxing week in Wolverhampton to come before I have to go back to London and make my big decision. Right now, just the thought of that city making me physically ill.
  Anyway, if you fancy trying the best Cornish pasties in Cornwall, click
here. Philps of Hayle now do deliveries! I recommend...well, everything on the menu, really.

16th May '14 - The new 'Star Wars' film has barely started shooting and already I'm sick of it. So far, we've had three 'exclusives' leaked to the media; a shot of the cast at a script reading, a shot of the clapperboard and - I shit you not - a photo of a 'thank-you' on a Post-It note from J.J. Abrams to the crew.
  Let me know when you have a full trailer to show us. Otherwise, jog on and do a bit of filming, eh?


15th May '14 - These bloody road running trainers have fallen to bits and I've not had them a year! You try to buy British and this is the result.
  Fuck you, Karrimor!


14th May '14 - Unbelievably, I appear to have spent over three thousand dollars on Steam in the past year! I really panicked when I read this, until I realised that it was 'turnover', not 'spend'.
  All those 5p - 50p microtransactions I make buying and crafting weapons in Team Fortress 2 and selling them on really add up, don't they? Perhaps I should consider a career on the Stock Exchange...


13th May '14 - Big meeting at work today to decide the future of the people in our unit when the unit folds next year. There are opportunities on offer and a role that looks to be something I could make a very good job of.
  There is also a £70k redundancy package and a way out of London forever.
  Too much to think about right now. I need my holiday...


11th May '14 - I think the awesome Peter Dinklage has just sewn up another Emmy with his portrayal of Tyrion Lannister on trial this week. This season, despite having ever increasing viewing figures, is still getting moans from some quarters of the interweb for being too talky and slow.
  What I guess that means is that the ADHD kiddiwinks aren't getting enough dragons and battles because of all this boring 'plot' and 'story' stuff.
  Having read the books many times, I can assure them that the final three episodes will provide more than enough excitement.
  Keep watching. Television doesn't get any better than this!


10th May '14 - For ages now, I've been buying Heinz's 'reduced salt' tomato soup (the one with the blue label) and it's been great, but today I had to slum it an go with a normal can.
  Jesus, you can really taste the difference, can't you? It was almost inedible. I had to leave half of it as it was just too salty. It's amazing how your palate changes once you take steps to knock salt and sugar out of your diet wherever possible.
  I once had a couple of weeks on those crisps with the little blue bag of salt in, only I didn't use the bag. Give it a go yourself and then open a bag of McCoy's Ready Salted. Your tongue will feel like you've set light to it!


9th May '14 - Ok, so early screenings of the new X-Men movie 'Days of Future Past' have been pretty damn good, but as far as I'm concerned, there's only one movie on my radar this year.
 Bring it on!


8th May '14 - It's great to have Jack Bauer back! The new season of '24' is just what I wanted it to be - more of the same! Not sure about Chloe's new 'Girl With The Temporary Dragon Tattoo' look, though...

7th May '14 - I dropped my bloody mobile phone today. It still works (sort of), but only the bottom half of the touch screen is operational. I can use the little typewriter bit to text, but I can't expand the screen or retweet anything on Twitter.
  It's a pain in the arse constantly having to rotate the damn thing to use the good bit of the screen, but the alternative is a new contract or £300 I haven't got to replace it. Looks like I'll have to just keep farting about with it until I can renew the thing in December.


6th May '14 - I'm hearing rumours that Metallica may be the headline act at this year's Glastonbury Festival. I'm not quite sure what to make of this or exactly who they think the audience will be.
  On the one hand, none of the wanky hipsters who frequent this annual celebration of shit and students will have the faintest idea about Metallica's music and on the other, no self-respecting metalhead would be seen dead at fucking Glastonbury.
  Still, at least it's not Jay-Z or Bruce Forsyth, eh?


5th May '14 - Curses! Try as I might, I find I there is no room in the flat for another three-piece suite, fitted kitchen or bathroom. I don't need any more Scandinavian self-assembly furniture, either.
  What a waste of a Bank Holiday.


3rd May '14 - Wolves 3 Carlisle 0. Promoted as Champions, eleven points clear of Brentford and with a record points total of 103, overhauling the previous record of 101 set by Charlton in 2011/12. Not a bad season, eh?
  The last dozen games were ten wins and two draws. Let's hope we can continue this sort of form when we're back in the old fizzy pop league in August. In the meantime, congratulations to all the lads at Molineux! Have a fantastic and well-deserved Summer break!


2nd May '14 - Sad to see that Wolves have let George Elokobi go. I follow Big George on Twitter, he's a top bloke and was a fantastic defender for Wolves, having helped get them up to the Prem last time and keep them there for a couple of seasons, even scoring against Manchester United back when they could play!
  George terrified attacking players. He takes his weight-training very seriously and not many strikers relish the idea of running toward a guy whose physique could stand comparison with most heavyweight boxers. It's a blow for the team to see him go, no question. I hope another club snaps him up quickly because he's a class act. It would be brilliant if he ends up with a Championship side next season, as the reception he'll get at Molineux will be immense!


1st May '14 - I have been banned from the Steam discussion boards for calling out the Moderators and accusing them of deleting any discussion posts that criticise Steam. The reason they have given for my ban is 'posting fake info', which kind of flies in the face of the evidence...except there is no evidence anymore because they've deleted it.
  Amusingly, there's no way I can appeal my ban either as I can no longer post anything because of the ban. This sort of mentality would probably earn them a fortune in North Korea.


30th April '14 - Had a day out at a job-related trade show today. All the latest developments in my own particular professional sphere of professionalism were on show from the latest almost pocket sized portable lasers right up to military spec aerial drones. It was nice running in to a couple of guys from my old unit, too, who were there checking out some new kit. 
 I was there checking out stuff at a much lower level and it came as a bit of a surprise to find there wasn't much of it. The entire industry now seems to be all about chasing the money at the very highest end and catering for the most elite of work, which I estimate only accounts for about 15-20% of the jobs in this field.
 The vast majority of the bread and butter stuff is still bumbling on with the same equipment and techniques they've been using for the last decade or more. It got me thinking (always a good sign) and I shall be making a few enquiries in the near future.


28th April '14 - Didn't particularly want to go for a run this morning, but seeing as there's yet another tube strike all day tomorrow and Wednesday, I thought I'd better get my cardio day in early. 
 There is no reason whatsoever for this latest dispute, it is merely the new guy flexing his muscles to show that he's as much a tough guy as Bob Crow was. 
 Is Boris going to be Maggie enough to stare down this latest little Scargill? I'm not holding my breath...


27th April '14 - For the benefit of the people in my organisation's out-of-hours tasking office, could I just point out that, although they sound similar, Eltham and Feltham are, in fact, quite some distance apart from one another. 
 Still, it made a change getting out of the office and I quite enjoyed the round trip. All seventy-five miles of it.


26th April '14 - Coventry 1 Wolves 1. Boring for eighty minutes until a last-gasp flurry of interest brought us the point that took us to a hundred points. 
 One last home game to go for the League record. Come on me babbies!


25th April '14 - The nearer we get to the European elections, the more the other main parties are attempting to smear UKIP. To me, this just illustrates how utterly out of touch politicians are. Do they really not see how sick the public are of their tired little games of spin and counter-spin? 
 For many, many people right now, UKIP are the party of the politically-disillusioned man in the street; the person for whom there is no difference at all between the troughers on the Left and the troughers on the Right. 
 UKIP are very much the underdogs (and God knows, the British love an underdog). By all means sneer and give them a kicking, you pompous Westminster prats, but don't be surprised if they turn round and bite you
on the 22nd of May.


23rd April '14 - Zach Snyder ('300', 'Man of Steel', 'Watchmen') has been confirmed to direct the eventual 'Justice League' movie once the next Superman, Batman and the forthcoming Wonder Woman films have been and gone. 
 Meh. Does anyone care enough about DC's desperate attempt to grab some of Marvel's 'Avengers' market to shell out money for this? Unless they take it in the direction of the fantastic 'Kingdom Come' storyline, I've got absolutely zero interest in anything the DC pantheon has to offer.


22nd April '14 - Research shows that I am fast approaching the thousand hour mark in 'Team Fortress 2'. One thousand hours. That's nearly forty-two days solid spent gaming. A month and a half. Three times what I put into 'Skyrim'. I have got to get out more. 
 Actually, no I haven't. Where's my stickybomb launcher?


21st April '14 - Leyton Orient 1 Wolves 3. I was supposed to meet up with a couple of friends for this one, but had to take Grandma back to Euston. Never seen the old girl move as fast as when she could see the train and her escape from London was in sight. 
 Anyway, another away win against a fairly lack-lustre Leyton, which is frankly a bit disappointing as they we going great guns up to Christmas. Oh well, there's always the play-offs for them.


Easter Sunday '14 - Everyone else went to church. I played football with the Widdle man and then we both went back to bed for a nap. 
 Not a very good Catholic, am I? I shall probably burn in Hull for this.


19th April '14 - My daughter isn't speaking to me. She found the nine fags left from the packet of ten I bought at the Wildhearts gig (yeah, I know, but when you've had a few ales and are buzzing after a great gig, you just have to have a toke on something. Sorry, but there it is.) Anyway, she promptly crushed said ciggies and binned them (again) and quite right too, which has given me pause for thought. 
 See, here's the problem: I like a smoke - one smoke - when I've had a drink. However, I only have a drink every two months or so these days, so clearly buying a pack to have one and see the others destroyed is a bit of a false economy. I used to smoke Old Port cigars, but you can't get them anymore and a tin of Café Crème will turn to dried-out rolling tobacco at the rate I smoke them, so what to do? 
 Long story short, I found this. It comes in vanilla too. I shall let you know how I get on.


Good Friday '14 - Wolves 6 Rotherham 4. An end-to-end exhibition match against a feisty Rotherham team that just wouldn't lie down. Definitely one for any neutral fans out there to check out on You Tube. 
 Slightly marred by the idiots running onto the pitch at the end (four times, once for a side-netting miss) which almost caused the referee to abandon it, but this win and Brentford's draw means we're promoted as Champions.


17th April '14 - The Wildhearts, Electric Ballroom, Camden. Mistimed the support set, as we firmly believed that Ginger's side project 'Hey Hello' would be taking the guest slot like they did at the last Birthday Bash. Sadly not, as there were two support acts with Ginger and Victoria on first, meaning we only caught three songs. 
 There then followed what can only be described as an unfortunate bit of booking, as the 'Von Hertzen Brothers' took the stage. Now I know jack about this band, and frankly, I'm keeping it that way, but if you're a fan of mid-Eighties Euro Metal and think 'Wind of Change' by The Scorpions is the greatest song in the history of Rock, then maybe you ought to check them out. As for me, their set was simply an excuse to drink cider and reflect on how underrated Kai Hansen and Helloween were before the headliners appeared. 
 As ever, The Wildhearts continue to prove that they are far and away the best British rock band of the last thirty years. A fantastic set delivered with the usual wit and flair we've come to expect from Ginger and the boys. 
 I am so looking forward to his Birthday Bash again this December. It's his fiftieth, so it's bound to be even more amazing! Can't wait!


16th April '14 - It's always a pain in the hoop to have to get up for work at half past four after a few days of not having an alarm go off. (I still wake at half four anyway, but at least I can go back to sleep or try to.) 
 However, for this morning's amusement, there was also a teething baby to be taken into consideration, as well as an eleven year old that doesn't 'do' lie-ins and also knows how the digibox works. 
 It's all getting too much. I think I'm going to do a Reggie Perrin...


15th April '14 - Back to London once more and kidnapped Grandma to look after our vile hellspawn when the Fishwife and I have a rare night out at a gig this week. 
 It's the Wildhearts again on Thursday night. Looking forward to this!


14th April '14 - Went for a jog round the park to clear my head and bugger my ankles. Mission accomplished on both counts. Ow.


12th April '14 - One of my rare nights out, as Brian the Bastard and I paid a visit to Scruffy Murphy's once again. Now that the Intrepid Fox is no more (or moved to Archway, which is the same thing), Scruffy's is the last rock pub in my world. 
 A great night as usual, but once again the entire M6 between Birmingham and Walsall was shut for roadworks, meaning a ninety minute, badly-signposted detour home and no chippy open at the end of it. 
 The transport infrastructure, like so much else in this country, resides somewhere between embarrassing and pitiful. Remind me to have an extra go on the Lottery next week.
 I desperately need to spend my retirement in Japan.


11th April '14 - You're not going to believe this, but there was nothing that needed doing to my face following this morning's trip to the dentist. Even Ms. Whiplash the hygienist was happy with my oral arrangements.
  Blimey! I'm not used to leaving that place with money left in my wallet!


10th April '14 - Got up early and had a wander round Wolverhampton town centre this morning (yes, 'morning' - I can't do shopping once all the dole-scum have woken up and decided to venture out of doors. The Mander Centre is like the mall mission in 'Left 4 Dead 2' once it gets past midday.) 
  I digress. Anyway, the decline in my city shows no sign of abating. Half of Victoria Street is still boarded up and I'm convinced that when Beatties folds, the town will go with it. However, it was a pleasant enough morning so I decided to walk home to Bushbury, a distance of three and a half miles. I grabbed a Costa and ambled back.
  It was amusing to think that the last time I walked back from town must've been a quarter of a century ago after a night in Scruples when I would've been in the company of Big Chris, Little Bry and half a pound of Lazzez' finest steak kebab.
  Happy days...


9th April '14 - Bliss. A few days off work, so back to Wolverhampton to recharge the batteries. Grandma gets to make a fuss of the Widdle Man, the girls get to go shopping and I get to loaf around and catch up with many weeks' worth of 2000AD in one go.
  I have been intimate with Tharg the Mighty's organ since 1977 and it's one of the few familiar comforts in my sad and sorry life. No matter how far away from home I am, no matter how grim things get, I always know that comfort can be found inside the pages of the latest prog every Saturday catching up with old friends like Joe Dredd and Johnny Alpha. 
  A Great British institution. Long may it continue!


8th April '14 - I am officially a pansy. Today, I had my first curry of the year, a humble Madras and spent the next twenty minutes sweating like a sow in a sauna. This startling revelation comes hot on the heels of the one I had last time I went drinking and only managed eight pints of Blackthorn before declaring myself 'full'. 
 Dear God, what have I become? Oh yes, a lightweight.


7th April '14 - There seems to be something of a Britpop resurgence going on at the moment, with more than one radio and TV programme waxing lyrical on the virtues of Blur, Oasis and Pulp. 
 Please don't let us get to the point where they resurrect the Spice Girls. Please.


5th April '14 - Wolves 2 Peterborough 0. It looks like we are cementing our grip on the title just at the right time. Leyton have fallen away, and Rotherham have left it too late for a challenge at the top two slots. Brentford and Wolves have got promotion sewn up. 
 Woo hoo! Back to the old fizzy pop league, or whatever they're calling it these days.


4th April '14 - 'Game of Thrones' was back last night, and the viewing figures were so good, HBO instantly commissioned not one, but two more seasons there and then.
  This season is predominantly the events of the second half of 'A Storm of Swords' (Book 3), but even at this early stage, I can see that the screenwriters are adding things in from the later books and mixing up the storylines beautifully.  
  There's a wedding next week. We like weddings in Westeros. They're always good for a laugh...


2nd April '14 - Today is the Fishwife's birthday. She has asked me to point out that for all intents and purposes, she is thirty-one again. You are kindly requested to go along with this, as it will be both easier and less painful in the long run.


1st April '14 - I'm normally good at spotting the obvious April Fool gags, so when this new game appeared on the Steam market, I had it down straight away as an obvious spoof. Except it isn't. This is a genuine game where you pay £6 for the privilege of playing as an indestructible goat laying waste to a whole town in an orgy of explosions and rag-doll physics. Weird.


31st March '14 - Got a Kindle? Like comics? Check out Google for a free app called 'Calibre Ebook Management'. It will convert all your .cbr files into .mobi ones, enabling you to read comics on your device.  
  You're mostly screwed for colour stuff (unless you have a Kindle Fire), but good monochrome monthlies like 'The Walking Dead' look the biz! I currently have 'Maus' on the go. Excellent stuff.


30th March '14 - Don't be alarmed by the disclaimer thing on the front page. Work are having a bit of a clampdown on people using social media to slag off colleagues, managers and the company in general.  
  I have never referred to the company I work for, or specified exactly what it is what I do (or more importantly, 'did', since my professional skills are no longer wanted) but I thought I'd show willing with the enterprise nevertheless.


29th March '14 - The Kate Bush ticket (strange) phenomena was all over the news. Apparently, she's annihilated the likes of Lady Gaga and Beyonce the Monty Python reunion in terms of interest and the gig is now being cited as the live event of the year.  
  Viagogo, the ticket reseller site, has tickets in the same block as mine (though further back) going for £1,495 EACH. I knew there'd be some serious interest when she announced the shows, but I never imagined this level of frenzy. There were people interviewed on the radio crying that they couldn't book.  
  Man, I am one lucky dude!


28th March '14 - The big day. The day that tickets to a Kate Bush gig went on sale for the first time since 1979. The online Booking Office was due to open at 09:30 sharp.  
  By 09:00, I had the laptop up and running.  
  By 09:10 I had registered with Eventim, the corporation who now run the Hammersmith Apollo (Odeon).  
  By 09:20, they had my credit card details.  
  By 09:25, I had fifteen tabbed browser pages open on my first choice date. 
  At 09:29:55 I started spamming the Booking Office.  
  The first two browsers got as far as the verification symbols before going down due to the volume of traffic. Browsers three to nine also went down one by one as soon as I clicked on them. Then, by some awesome quirk of internet fate, the second browser acknowledged my verification code and I was in. Two tickets booked and confirmed.
  I then went clicking between each of the other browsers trying to get another two tickets for my second choice date (the total allocation was four), but no joy. 
  After about twenty minutes of this, I heard on the radio that all 88,000 seats for all 22 nights had sold out within fifteen minutes. That was when I shut down the browsers and went to take my first look at the tickets I'd bought.  
  Front stalls, centre stage, five rows back.  
  Oh. My. God.


27th March '14 - Don't you just hate it when you sleep through your alarm and have that mad ten minutes of shower/dress/out before finally waking up (coming to?) on a bus somewhere in Stockwell? No? Just me then.


26th March '14 - Steel Panther, Brixton. I like to consider myself a windswept man of the world, but I have to admit that I saw more tits on show this evening than in all my previous forty-six years of existence.  
  There was a queue - a queue - of nubile young ladies desperate to get up on stage and flash their mammaries to everyone in the venue based on nothing more than the shared appreciation of a spoof Eighties Hair-Metal band. 
  I'm not sure if this constitutes any form of social progress, but I definitely approve.
  In another, less successful, vein of perceived improvement, I noticed that The Academy is now following the Wolverhampton Civic model of offering beer in two-pint plastic glasses. However, instead of getting a couple of pints of gorgeous Banks's Mild for a fiver, you get two pints of pass-weak Tuborg for a tenner. Hmm


25th March '14 - Word on the street is that the latest Marvel film 'Captain America: The Winter Soldier' is good. Very good indeed. More a political thriller than an out-and-out superhero movie, but all the better for it by all accounts. 
  Any movie that brings in Robert Redford to shout down Samuel L. Jackson is going to get a pass in my world on premise alone, so I'm really looking forward to this!


24th March '14 - Oh noes! Gwyneth Paltrow and That Boring Bloke From Coldplay Whose Name I Can Never Be Armed To Recall have announced that they're splitting up.    Apparently, they are 'consciously uncoupling' after ten years of marriage and despite being 'closer than ever', have decided to go off and sham other people.  
   Well, she has.
   Both of them are firmly in my list of 'Three Slap' people. They each merit a slap in the first instance for simply being themselves. They get another for naming their children 'Apple' and 'Moses', and they warrant a third for infecting my perception once more with their oh-so-pretentious little announcement this morning.  
   Go away, Whiny Bloke and Tedious Ginger Bird. Stay there.


23rd March '14 - Only a fortnight to go until the new season of 'Game of Thrones' begins. I don't know about you, but I am almost moist with anticipation and I know what's coming!  
  Joffrey's wedding, the Red Viper of Dorne, Wildlings at the Wall, Queen Daenerys of Astapor...man, you virgins are going to get spoiled this year!
  Make no mistake, this is Tyrion Lannister's season, and Peter Dinklage should and will stroll off with pretty much every award going after this.  
  Also, they absolutely have to end this season with a reveal of Lady Stoneheart. People will just freak!  
  Can. Not. Wait.


21st March '14 - The new trailer for Bryan Singer's 'X-Men: Days of Future Past; has been released. Have a look here. This is definitely not the 'Days of Future Past' storyline that I know (and love) from the comics, but it might just be something I can live with.  
  The horrendous costume stills pretty much killed my initial interest in this movie, but I have to say this trailer has almost resurrected it. Almost. Michael Fassbender's Magneto still looks far and away the best thing here, and watching everyone get killed one by one in the alternative future timeline should be entertaining enough (you did know that's what would happen, right? I mean, 'duh!'), but somehow, I still think the whole thing will end up feeling far less emphatic than the story told in those two comics back in 1980. 
  Still, no matter how much liberty Singer takes, he can never overtake the damage done by Brett Ratner's stab at the 'Dark Phoenix' storyline. Dear God, I still shudder when I think of that travesty.


20th March '14 - I had toothache last night. Not altogether unheard of in a bloke of advancing years, but when you consider the pain was coming from a tooth I had out last year, it's a tad perplexing.  
  Further investigation this morning revealed that I appear to be sprouting a wisdom tooth in the gap left by the molar I had extracted last year.  
  Groovy. Teething at forty-five.


19th March '14 - The professional body to which I belong to has just been awarded Royal Charter status, which in turn grants me another set of letters after my name to add to the half-alphabet I already have, should I feel inclined to use them.
  To be honest, it makes no absolutely no difference to my current working life, since I have been bullied into a dead-end job that takes absolutely no account of my professional skills and abilities.
  However, the headed notepaper on my company stationary is going to look lush next year...


18th March '14 - The ridiculously hot little Japanese lady in Costa made my day today as I handed over my Loyalty Card. "Wow!" she said, "You've got the biggest one I've ever seen!"  
  She was talking about the amount of points I'd accrued over the years, but I chose to interpret it differently. Bless you, doll. You made an old man very happy


17th March '14 - Is it April 1st yet? I only ask because apparently Kate Bush has announced that she's doing a bunch of live shows at Hammersmith this Summer for the first time since 1979.  
  Tickets go on sale - at £135 - on Friday 28th. The wife and I will each be online at exactly 09:30 trying to book, but obviously we we're not going to get any because of the fact that we're both life-long Kate fans who met through the fan club.  
  Gotta make sure those disinterested corporate bods get their jollies first, haven't we?


16th March '14 - Oh, the joys of skeleton-crewing at weekends for a pan-London service. Most of the time, being based in the East End, we are pretty much on top of our core client base, so to speak. However, today, the only jobs requiring our attention were way down in Croydon and Wimbledon respectively.  
  There's nothing like the feeling to be had from driving past your own house on your way back to the office to pick up your car before heading home to really emphasise the enjoyment of your working day.


15th March '14 - This whole 'me not winning the Lottery' thing is really getting on my tits now...


14th March'14 - Whilst filling out my CV at work today (as mentioned on 22nd Dec - come on, keep up), I noticed from recent correspondence that our professional development manager spells 'professional' with two 'f's.
  In days gone by, I would have commented most eloquently on this, but I find I no longer care


13th March'14 - In the absence of anything decent to watch on the telly this evening, we decided to start going through my old 'Doctor Who' boxsets. My daughter was only three when Christopher Ecclestone first stepped out of the TARDIS, so she has no memory of him at all. 
  What becomes apparent very quickly is how well the writing stands up - even the early Russell T. Davis stuff - and how well paced the stories are, particularly when compared to the last couple of seasons with Moffat at the helm. I'm even more convinced now that Matt Smith was poorly served by the quality of material he had to work with. 
  Let's hope Peter Capaldi is given some quality stories on a par with the Ninth Doctor stuff I'm rewatching, shall we?


12th March '14 - As I'm on a rest day, it was my turn to do the school run this morning. Foolishly, I decided on a lie-in instead of having breakfast, meaning that as soon as I'd dropped Madam off, I was straight into Tesco's looking for something to eat. Came back with eggs, bacon and sausages only to find that Herself had already stocked the fridge with the same supplies yesterday. 
  Looks like a couple of huge fry-ups are on the agenda in the very near future.


11th March '14 - What's the first thing that comes into your mind when you hear the name 'Dolly Parton'? If you say Country Music, you're lying.


10th March '14 - Back to work again. Here's how my early morning panned out, and not for the first time...

Streatham, Bed, 02:35:  
Brain: Hey!
Brain: Hey!
Brain: Hey!
Brain: Hey!
Me: (sleepy) Whu?
Brain: Hey!
Me: (awake) What is it? What's the matter?
Brain: You want to get some sleep, man, you've got to get up for work in two hours!

Dear God I can't take much more of this


9th March '14 - Handy Parenting Tip No. 267 - Never give a toddler still in nappies banana and sweetcorn in the same twenty-four hour period; or, if you do, ensure some other bugger is the one changing the nappy.


8th March '14 - Walsall 0 Wolves 3. A club record equalling eight wins on the trot, three 3-0 wins on the trot and five clean sheets in a row. 
 Ok, I'm convinced. I am now officially interested in my home team again. Watch it all go tits-up now.


7th March '14 - It is somewhat galling for a man who counts writing as one of his favourite pastimes to discover he is completely incapable of spelling 'separate' correctly. 
 It is even more annoying to find that his ten-year-old daughter has no such problems with the word and has been getting it right since the age of seven.


5th March '14 - Feeling a bit better, but not really well enough for a mile run at half five in the morning in the pissing rain. I did it anyway though. What a hero/idiot (delete as applicable)


4th March '14 - Apparently, the Royal Bank of Scotland has paid out £588 million in banker bonuses this year. This would be the same Royal Bank of Scotland that suffered losses of £8.24 billion and had to be immediately shored up by the oh-so-Scottish Gordon Brown with taxpayer's money whether we liked it or not, would it?


3rd March '14 - In case you were wondering, the word is that the RoboCop remake is a much milder and far less interesting version of the original. Blimey! Who'd have thought it, eh?  


2nd March '14 - I spent most of today in bed. Apart from getting up to microwave another mug of Lemsip and lemonade, I was in my pit catching up with several months worth of 2000ad and feeling poo. Oh, and coughing my lungs up, too. Mustn't forget that! Bleh.


1st March '14 - Apparently, Facebook has just bought out What'sApp for $19 billion, so I've just deleted What'sApp from my phone. I wonder how long it'll be before that's all full up with shitty ads too?

28th February '14 - I'm ill. Again. I shall go to the doctors. Again. She will give me Erythromycin. Again. It won't work. Again. I shall soldier on for a few weeks. Again. I shall then feel ill. Again.


27th February '14 - Finally caught up with 'Thor: The Dark World', and for the most part, it's a better film than the original. However, I don't like the way they recast Fandral (the guy in the first film had the Errol Flynn vibe off to a tee) and I still don't see why an Asgardian God would fall for Natalie Portman when Kat Dennings is in view.
  Apart from that though, it's a blast with Tom Hiddleston yet again strolling away with every scene he's in. Roll on the next wave of the Marvel world domination, with Ant-Man, Dr. Strange and possibly Black Panther movies all in the works.


26th February '14 - If I were to ask you which English football team had the best defensive record in all four leagues right now, who would you go for? Shockingly, the answer is indeed Wolves, who have gone from strength to strength since Kenny Jackett took over and are now almost top of League One and looking like a cert to go straight back up.
  I may just have to take an interest in them once more, if the old blood-pressure can take it...


25th February '14 - This caught me out. After Emmerich's hideous abortion of a Godzilla movie back in 1998, I thought the big lizard was buried for good, but apparently it looks as though this version is pretty much a sequel from the original Toho Studios film of 1954. 
  They appear to be going down the route of the original Godzilla rampage on Tokyo in the Fifties being hushed up and written off to the world as a natural disaster (easy enough in a time without the internet), and now here's the big fella back again. Interesting approach. I like it.


24th February '14 - My new holiday t-shirt, especially ordered to annoy the PS4 and Xbox low-life this the summer...


23rd February '14 - I bought the Fishwife a heart-shaped wrought iron letter-rack gift set thing as a wedding anniversary present along with a large box of chocs. Apparently, the sixth one is 'iron or sugar', so I figured I'd hedge my bets and cover both.   
  My first thought, a nice new Morphy Richards steam jobbie, would not have gone down too well and I'd probably have ended up wearing it.


22nd February '14 - Last night I went out to Scruffy's for the first time this year and had my first alcoholic drinks of 2014. This morning, I feel like a pig shat in my head. That's it for me, I just can't do it anymore...


21st January '14 - I don't watch motor racing on account of Formula 1 boring the living shit out of me these days. Consequently, I never pay attention to anything to do with the thing. However, I happened to glance at the TV listings in the paper earlier and thought to myself 'theres an awful lot of F1 on these days'.
  Closer investigation revealed that this wasn't the actual Grand Prix, but the time-trials. They are televising the qualifying laps now...and people are actually watching it. How fucking sad is that?


19th February '14 - It must be awful being a DC Comics fan. I mean sure, you have the odd decent (if overly intense) Batman film, but apart from that, what is there? A hit-and-miss Superman film, talk of a Wonder Woman movie (maybe) and the less said about Green Lantern, the better.  
  Meanwhile, Marvel continue to knock them out of the park with pretty much every release. Take a look at
this. Even I, a rabid Marvel comics reader all through my teens and twenties had barely hear of Guardians of the Galaxy and now this is THE movie I want to see this year.
  When even the opposition's 'C' list characters are capable of carrying a film, you've got to wonder what the fuck the people in charge of movies at DC are playing at. Especially when their games division are producing absolutely fantastic Batman 'Arkham' games year after year...  


17th February '14 - Sometimes, the creativity and invention of my fellow Black Countrymen causes my heart to swell with pride. Not content with giving the world the Balti, the local gourmands in this neck of the woods have come up with another winner.
  The local Indian takeaway here in WV10 is offering the awesome sounding Naan Bread Pizza. Closer investigation reveals this to be a circular keema naan topped with tomato puree, cheese, green pepper, chilli and spicy beef and the whole thing baked to perfection.
  It's no wonder this area was the birthplace of the Industrial Revolution. Ingenuity. It's in the blood up here...


16th February '14 - And that's about it for work for a whole week. It is now half term once more, so a jaunt back to sunny Wolverhampton is called for. Balls to London.
  On a different note, I've just realised that I've not had a drink since that second glass of fizzy at ten past midnight at New Year. For years the old girl has been telling me how much better I'd look and feel if only I'd give up alcohol for a month. Well, I have and I still look like a shaved ape and feel ghastly, so that's another one that can be chalked up for Mythbusters


Valentine's Day '14 - I can't afford roses anymore, so this year the Fishwife got Roses instead. Interflora 0 Cadbury's 1.


13th February '14 - I only realised this evening that the Winter Olympics are on. Precisely one point six seconds after I had that thought, I also realised how little I care. For some reason, all I can ever picture about winter Olympics is a team of shouty butch women tossing bedpans down a skating rink while a pair of idiots vigorously brush the ice in front of it. Either that or a lunatic on a tea tray going head-first down a bobsleigh run. Frankly, the word 'meh' sums it up perfectly for me.


11th February '14 - Talking of anniversaries, this month also marks twenty years since I last bought a single - a real physical single on vinyl, namely an American import of 'God' by Tori Amos. It wasn't a bad song (she's released a lot worse), but it was pedestrian enough for me to end my love affair with her.
  Had I known I'd also be ending my involvement (such as it was) with the pop music charts (American or otherwise), I'd have commemorated the occasion; bought a cake or something...


10th February '14 - It's been twenty years since Tarantino sprang 'Pulp Fiction' on us and thirty-five years since Ridley Scott's 'Alien' was first released. What in the actual fuck? Time, you are one evil bastard...


8th February '14 - Someone said to me today "You don't think much of politicians, do you, Billy?"
  I was genuinely taken aback by this because it simply isn't true. As an adherent of the code of Bushido, I would be honoured - truly honoured - to act as kaishakurin for any one of them.


7th February '14 - Bloody Foreigner, coming over here, wanting to know what love is...


5th February '14 - Carter USM have just announced that they will be doing their annual Brixton Academy gig again this November after missing 2013. The sad news is, it's going to be their last one ever. That's a damn shame, but I shall most definitely be there to bid Jim Bob and Fruitbat a fond farewell.   I think the '30 Something' t-shirt will have to be worn for old time's sake. I bought my first one when I was twentysomething and shall retire this one at fortysomething. Seems almost poetic somehow...


4th February '14 - Three years since you left us, Mon-keh. Rainbows still make me cry


3rd February '14 - They're apparently re-re-booting 'Knight Rider' again. Dear God in heaven, will this madness never end?


2nd February '14 - Fox has just cancelled 'American Idol' after two seasons. Could the Simon Cowell shitpop gravy train finally be derailing? Have people gotten sick of sob-story karaoke wankers at long last? Let's hope so...


1st February '14 - And this is the month where I have to live off plain pay, since I was sick back in November when I should've had some weekend rates to go on this payslip. This is bad enough, but the thought that another chunk of money will start coming off my take-home in April as the Government forces me to add even more to a pension I won't live to collect just makes me sick.
  In real terms, I'm taking home an eighth less than I was five years ago, yet it's just been on the radio that - once again - the banks have handed out record bonuses.
  This can't go on. Something has got to give...


31st January '14 - With uncharacteristic good timing, I got a letter from the taxman this morning containing the pass code I needed to access my account and complete my tax return. Took me about half an hour to discover that, after all the to-ing and fro-ing, all the calls and emails and all the general hassle, I owe Her Majesty's Revenue the colossal sum of thirteen quid.
  Next year, I swear to God I will have the paper form filled out within minutes of it landing on the mat. I'm not going through all this again.


30th January '14 - I'm all for Scottish independence. The troughing safe-seat Scots MPs currently infesting Westminster cannot piss off quick enough as far as I'm concerned.


29th January '14 - I've just watched 'Thunderball', which was apparently Sean Connery's last 'proper' James Bond film ('Never Say Never Again' doesn't count, alright?). At the time, it got rave reviews for being the biggest and best Bond ever, but oh dear, it has not aged well at all.
  Lots of interminable underwater 'action' sequences, a lame one-eyed pantomime villain and embarrassingly poor speeded-up special effects render it pretty much unwatchable. Sorry, but for me 'You Only Live Twice' is the pinnacle of old-skool Bond films; this was just lame.
  Having said that though, Claudine Auger's Domino is definitely the hottest Bond girl ever!


28th January '14 - In case you don't have access to a dictionary, it's worth noting that the word 'celebrity' has been updated. It now means 'someone who was in a soap/on a reality programme/once had sex with a footballer.'


27th January '14 - There was a time when I was passionate about movies. I'd buy Empire and Total Film religiously every month. I'd download trailers for forthcoming films as soon as they were announced. I'd pre-book tickets weeks in a advance for first day showings - all that carp. 
  Now, I've just realised that a whole host of movies I would have previously seen straight away at the cinema are either on DVD already or about to be released. 'Thor 2', 'Rush', 'Gravity' and 'Hunger Games 2' to name but a few.
  I used to love films, how did I get so jaded about them? How did I get so jaded about everything?


26th January '14 - I'm following Ed Milliband on Twitter, purely to read the flaming he gets. I don't think the poor bloke ever puts out a tweet that attracts less than a dozen follow-ups of "Fuck off, Beaker."
  Favourite so far: "Fuck off, Beaker. And when you get there, fuck off again."


25th January '14 - Up all night wondering whether or not Cate Blanchett likes pork scratchings. You can't tell from studying her acting. It's most annoying...


24th January '14 - The remaining members of Monty Python have decided to tour again. The tour is called 'One Down, Five To Go' since Graham Chapman is no longer with us.  
  Given the amount of money John Cleese has had to shell out in the divorce courts over the last few years it's no wonder the tickets are £170 a pop. Not sure I'd want to pay that much to see a bunch of sweary pensioners knocking out hit-and-miss sketches from the early Seventies, though


23rd January '14 - It's just occurred to me that, so far this year, I haven't had a drink. I'd like to say that I've felt so much better for it, but in truth, I haven't noticed a scrap of difference.  
  Oh well, at least I've clocked up more gaming hours than usual. It's hard to play TF2 when you're wankered.


21st January '14 - Definitely time to come off the 'maintenance' training (read: two months of only doing light weights, a bit of cardio and generally eating bread and sugary shit) and get back into some serious iron-pumping again.  
  The 32" waist is starting to get a little tight again. Not good.


20th January '14 - Looks like I'll be going to see Steel Panther at Brixton in March, then. That ought to be a giggle. If you've never heard of the band, Google them. Not while your missus is around though.


19th January '14 - Once again, I appear to have too much month left at the end of the money...


18th January '14 - The Tax Office sent me my new online ID today, so I was straight on the computer to fill out my tax return. I keyed in the new ID with no problem. Then I came to key in my password and - quelle surprise - it didn't work.  
  I then spent half an hour trying every password I've ever used on every internet site ever to no avail, so I had no alternative but to request another password. I now have to wait another seven days for a new password to arrive to go with the new ID. When this fails, as it surely will, I shall probably be made to assume a new identity (but only after they've charged me £100 for missing the deadline with my old one). 
 There was a Marx Brothers sketch like this in 'A Day at the Races'. It involved Chico scamming Groucho by selling him various betting 'code books'. It always used to make me laugh. It's not so funny now.


17th January '14 - Whilst flicking through the channels earlier, I came across and episode from one of the later series of 'Red Dwarf'. I watched it for a few minutes to see if my old conclusion that anything after Series 3 was crap still held up.  
  This was Series 6. It did.


16th January '14 - I got asked today when I would be returning to Facebook. They seemed perplexed when I said 'never', as if I was simply having a bit of a break from the constant bombardment of adverts, games and offers.  
  Nah, I'm sticking with Twitter. Twitter is all about saying what you want, when you want to. Facebook has been reduced to saying what you feel you ought to when you think it may be appropriate. With adverts and targeted marketing.   
  Count me out.


15th January '14 - My teeth grind every time I hear a Labour politician banging on about how they will reign in the fat cat energy companies when they get re-elected again in 2015.
  For the record, between 1997 and 2010 while Labour were in power, gas prices rose an average of 133% while electricity prices rose 69%. Remind me again why we'd trust you on...well, anything, Ed?


14th January '14 - Hearing a rumour that a Pantera comeback may be imminent with Zakk Wylde replacing Dimebag Darrell on guitar. 
 I'm liking this rumour. I'm liking this rumour a lot.


13th January '14 - In case you hadn't heard, Wetherspoons is about to open their first pub located within a motorway service station. Cue huge amounts of uproar from the usual Lefty banmeisters about 'irresponsibility' and 'encouraging drink-drivng'.
  They've just interviewed Wetherspoons' Chairman Tim Martin on the radio about it. He couldn't see a problem, pointing out that 'All our pubs are on roads'. Game, set and match to Wetherspoons there, I think.


11th January '14 - Only three more months until Season 4 of 'Game of Thrones' starts. This will be the second half of Book 3. Woo hoo! The Red Viper of Dorne arrives! I can't wait!


10th January '14 - I still can't log on to complete my tax return, so I've had to email them for a new 'Government Gateway' ID. I have to admit, this is getting bloody annoying now. 
  How is it they can figure out how much tax I owe them every month and deduct it at source, yet it's down to me - under threat of a £100 fine - to tell them how much Child Allowance they're giving me so they can claw some of it back? Madness!


9th January '14 - Once again, my patented cold cure seems to be keeping the worst of it at bay. Take one can of lemon flavour Relentless, pour into a mug and stir all the fizz out. Add a sachet of Lem-sip. Stir again, pop in the microwave and zap until molten. Sip slowly then go to bed at least two hours earlier than you'd normally do.
  You'll wake up in a much better state than when you turned in!


8th January '14 - Feeling a bit poo this morning, so I rang the doctors to make an appointment. The first question I got asked was 'What's wrong with you?
 Amazingly, I refrained from using either of my stock replies ('Are you medically qualified to ask that?' or 'If I knew, I wouldn't need to see a doctor, would I?') and was eventually told that the earliest appointment I could get would be next Tuesday.
  What's the betting I'll feel better by then and won't need the appointment?


7th January '14 - I hereby solemnly swear that the moment I win the Lottery, I will never set foot on a London Bus ever again.


6th January '14 - Work again; where I spent a leisurely day typing up rosters and catching up with leave requests. In between doing these chores, I pondered the oncoming zombie apocalypse and made my definitive list of who I'd save, who I'd humanely put down, and who I'd lop the arms and lower jaw off and keep around as an amusing pet.
  I came to the conclusion that I'd have quite the menagerie when it all goes a bit George Romero...


4th January '14 - The highlight of my weekends now is when I am happily full of breakfast and am ready to slope off for a late-morning nap. 
 There is nothing nicer than to slide back into the pit you left a few hours earlier and grab another hour or so, all warm and full of sausage. Marvellous!


3rd January '14 - Good job I'd done all my bargain-hunting on Steam, as some toe-rags took it down with a DDoS attack today. Unlike proper hackers, who put some serious effort into bringing down an internet giant, these clowns simply set up a server to spam Steam's Market with multiple access requests every second, thus swamping the store front and making it unusable for almost eighteen hours. 
  Basically, a DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) attack acts like a fat bloke sitting in a shop doorway; not doing much except blocking the access for everyone else. Hardly the pinnacle of internet crime, yet these two had the audacity to pop on Twitter and inform the world what they were doing.
  I give it a matter of days before some real hackers give them a lesson in the finer points of cyber-chicanery by posting their names and addresses all over the web.


2nd January '14 - Through no fault of my own, I find myself back at work. Happily, the usual deluge of emails was not in evidence due to the festive calm-down, so I only had to wade through 67 of the buggers this morning.   After that came dealing with the fallout of my unit being forced to adopt another units' paperwork in the interests of simplification with little more than a 'here's your bundle of new forms, crack on'.
  Actually, it's not all that complicated and, once you get your head around it, not much different to what we do now. I'm not going to let that get in the way of a good honk, though...


New Year's Day '14 - Up at 04:15 for no other reason than I'm totally institutionalised now thanks to this poxy job. I can remember looking at the clock and thinking 'I'd better get up now, as the alarm will go off in ten minutes anyway', yet the fact that I was on leave and not due to return to work until tomorrow didn't register until I was in the kitchen with the coffee machine running.
  I cut my losses, played a game of 'Team Fortress 2' until everyone else got up and then promptly went back to bed until eleven. Woke up again at noon not knowing who or where I was. If this is an indicator as to how 2014 will pan out, it can go and get stuffed.


New Year's Eve '13 - Drove back to London on a thankfully empty motorway and got back at a reasonable time for once. That said, if it wasn't for the fact that Herself had invited her mate and her bloke down from upstairs to toast the chimes, I'd have happily gone to bed at nine.
   As it was, we all had a pleasant glass or two of fizzy, watched the fireworks on the telly and generally remarked on how much better they were than the so-called 'River of Fire' that Blair trumpeted prior to the Millennium. After that, Gary Barlow came on and started singing so we hastily said goodnight and headed for our respective beds.
   Goodbye 2013, you were fucking awful and will not be remembered with any fondness whatsoever.


30th December '13 - I'm completely immune to gin and tonic now, by the way. I reckon it must be all the quinine in it, innit?

28th December '13 - Last visit of 2013 to Scruffy's in Birmingham, the last decent rock pub in my ever-diminishing world. The place was absolutely rammed for some strange reason, which is always a treat if only to hear Brian the Bastard moan every time someone jostles him. Since he always plants himself right in front of the main doors, this happens quite often and his sweary scowling never grows old.
  Headed back home and miraculously remembered the half bottle of Tanqueray I had left; the decanting of which felt like the very thing after a whole night on the cider. Turned in at half one with the room spinning and my ears still ringing from all the top metal tunes we'd been listening to earlier. 
 There are worse ways to spend an evening...


27th December '13 - 'Batman: Arkham Origins' for £19, 'Natural Selection 2' for £1.49, 'Borderlands 2' for £4.99 and 'Mortal Kombat Komplete' for £8.49. Saved well over seventy notes and sorted out my gaming for the whole of 2014. 
 Also, several hours of subsequent 'trading card' levelling has finally put my Steam profile rating into three figures. This won't mean jack to you, but it officially makes me a high-tier online gaming geek, or 'sad bastard' as we're known in the real world.
 The only ball-ache is that I can't actually play anything until I get home, as the Alienware laptop, though capable, doesn't have a big enough screen to appreciate the awesome graphics that these games have.


Boxing Day '13 - After a nice, family Christmas with a full house yesterday, it's just me and Widdle today, as Aunty has taken everybody to the pantomime (oh no she hasn't!). 
 He's asleep, so I have the laptop opened up for the Steam Holiday Sale. Everyone got me Steam Wallet tokens yesterday, so there's some serious sales shopping to be done!


Christmas Day '13 - As Shakin' Stevens would say, 'Oh God help me, I'm Welsh!' No, 'Merry Christmas Everyone!' - that's what I meant to type!

Christmas Eve '13 - Couldn't be arsed to travel all the way to Birmingham this year, so Brian the Bastard and I simply went round Wolverhampton for an hour and then retired to the Giffard Arms for ales.
  Normally, there's only around six people ever in the Giff these days, so it was a nice surprise to see the joint packed with people all listening to classic rock from Rainbow, Sabbath and Maiden.
  I think even Brian managed a smile at one point, but it might just have been the way the light was hitting his beard...


23rd December '13 - Drove back to Wolverhampton for Christmas despite the warnings of severe weather. In reality, apart from the car being buffetted by wind once on the M40, the 'severe' weather turned out to be 'a bit of heavy rain'.
  Expect more of this in the future. The media will increasingly ramp up the severe weather warnings to justify the shutting down of services in order to save money. I don't think we're too far away from the streetlights being turned off in the small hours now, as the foreign-owned energy conglomerates seek to maintain their ever-increasing profit margins.


22nd December '13 - One of the emails I picked up yesterday was a survey sheet from Management asking me to detail what skills I had so that they could try and find me a role in the future.  
  I would have thought that any organisation spending significant time (and money) encouraging the personal and professional development of one of their staff to the point where they became their sole externally-accredited expert in their particular professional field (with eleven letters after their name) would take immense pride in that person and be falling over themselves to retain their skills and expertise for the company.
  Apparently not.


21st December '13 - I do not ever want to go through what the last forty-eight hours brought again. Called home from work by the Fishwife on Wednesday afternoon, so she could take the baby to the Drs, as he had diahorrea and vomiting. Not long after I got home, he started convulsing and his eyes rolled up into his head, which is when it all went slo-mo and a bit Holby City for us.  
  The paramedics were there in less than three minutes (three of them!) and were utterly brilliant. Calm, professional and unflappable, they got him and the missus to hospital while I stayed back with the Minifish and tried to keep it together.  
  Three hours later, I picked them up. After tests and observation, the diagnosis was 'febrile infant convulsion' due to infection. Fairly common, but oh boy, if you've never experienced it before, it brings your whole world to a halt. Luckily, the 48 hour window has now passed with no repeat performances and Widdle Man is up and about and getting back to his old self (though his nappies are still a horror).  
  I am due back to work again this morning, no doubt to a further raft of emails about problems in my professional area that I could easily solve if only they gave me the grade to do so. As they won't and never will, all this has suddenly become utterly meaningless to me.


19th December '13 - I'm not sure why the death of Ronnie Biggs is such high profile news this morning, nor why so many Londoners still appear to see him as some sort of working-class celebrity; someone who bucked the system and stuck two fingers up to the man.  
  In reality, the bloke peripherally helped rob the Mail train, bungled his small role, contributing to the coshing and subsequent early demise of one of the drivers, got caught, escaped and only managed to live as a fugitive for thirty years because he sired a child on a Brazilian national while on the lam.
  Not so sure where the 'Great' is with regard to this Train Robber. The hero-worship baffles me...  


18th December '13 - Ginger's Birthday Bash, Koko. I wasn't expecting to go this year, but my awesome mate Marc bought me a crafty ticket for my birthday and so I ended up in the old Camden Palace for the first time in twenty-odd years. 
  A much more eclectic line up and set than last year (which was basically a Wildhearts refresher course prior to the tour), but still a blast, with legends like Alex Kane and Frank Turner joining Ginger and Victoria Liedtke for a two hour tear through various Wildhearts numbers.
  Guests were dropping in from everywhere, with Jefferson Angell, Bernie Torme and Nathan Connelly from Snow Patrol all taking a turn and even Ray Zell getting some time in front of the mic! 
  The highlight for me though was seeing the great Rat Scabies behind the drum kit again while Beki Bondage belted out a four song medley of Damned hits. Man, that was just insane! I can't believe that I appeared to be the only one in the immediate vicinity who knew the words to 'Smash It Up', 'Neat Neat Neat' and 'New Rose', though. Some of these kids' educations are sadly lacking.  
  Roll on next year, and Ginger's 50th. That is going to be quite something!


16th December '13 - I have done no Christmas shopping yet. I have written no Christmas cards yet. Ask me how much I care.


15th December '13 - Are 20th Century Fox seriously retconning the next 'X-Men' movie so that they can introduce Apocalypse? (who turns out to somehow be a future version of Magneto?) If so, why? Just...why?  
  There's a reason why 'Days of Future Past' is widely regarded as the classic 'X-Men' story. It's because it is very, very good.  
  The reason it is very, very good is because it was written by Chris Claremont and illustrated by John Byrne, both of whom were unquestionably at the top of their game at the time, so what makes a random collection of Hollywood hacks and suits think they can come up with a better story by fucking with it?
  Too much Bolivian marching powder, presumably.


14th December '13 - Reflection on last night: Why are so many twenty-something blokes now sporting the 'sensible haircut with full thick beard' look? A pair of slacks and a woollen sweater seem to be de rigueur in completing the ensemble, too.
  (Memo to self: Invest in folk music memorabilia with redundancy money.)


13th December '13 - Had a Christmas drink at the pub next door to our old HQ in Elephant & Castle in order to say goodbye to both it and my career. It was nice to see so many old faces popping up for a pint or two, though our old local is decaying quicker than I am.   
  Wandered up to Kennington with the idea of making a night of it, but after an hour, the charm of drinking overpriced lager out of vases in a room full of braying wankers began to offend me, so I called it day and went home.   
  This is the last time I will instigate or participate in a works drink. I'm done with being sociable now.


12th December '13 - One thing I don't need at 06:15 on a Thursday morning is for Tesco's at Liverpool Street to bombard me with high volume Christmas songs when I'm just trying to grab a coffee from their machine.    Today, it was Chris Rea 'Driving Home for Christmas'. By the time I'd gotten to the till, I'd have happily agreed to chauffeur the bloke myself if only he'd shut the fuck up.


11th December '13 - I've just realised that the Fishwife hasn't bought me a Marvel Comics chocolate advent calendar this year. I think a trial separation is called for in the New Year. (I can't afford a divorce.)


10th December '13 - Microwaving yesterday's lasagne was not the greatest decision I made today. Eating the resultant tomatoey cardboard was an even worse one.


9th December '13 - If your job is to tell me how to do my job, first make sure you know how to do my job. Generally, when managing specialists and professionals, a policy of laissez-faire is the way to go. Where's the fun in that though? Why let people who know what they're doing get on with it when micromanaging is an option?

8th December '13 - This. Loved the first one, which has some of the best 3D of any movie you'll ever see, so this is awaited with great interest in our house.

6th December '13 - Talking to a mate about tattoos today. He reckons that, far from being excruciating, he zones out to the point that he has been known to fall asleep while getting inked.  
  Such a laid-back attitude could be seen as the epitome of cool. Were I his tattooist though, I'd consider it the height of rudeness and he'd find himself waking up to a picture of Rod Hull's Emu where his Biohazard symbol was supposed to be


4th December '13 - I still haven't filled in my online tax return. The form they sent me in October has a reference number which - surprise, surprise - isn't being recognised by the website that generated it. I have tried calling the various amusingly-titled 'helplines', but after half an hour of going round in circles, I have had to admit defeat.
  I shall henceforth pretend to be a migrant from elsewhere until they let me off and start giving me money instead.


3rd December '13 - Want to know how English I am? I hurt myself walking into the kitchen doorframe earlier, yet I automatically apologised to it


2nd December '13 - I have to admit, there's a strange, warm comfort I get every December from getting up at 04:30 and sipping my morning coffee all alone by the light of the Christmas tree. I wouldn't say it makes me feel particularly festive; it's just...nice somehow.


1st December '13 - The Fishwife put the Christmas tree up this evening once Widdle Man had finally flaked out. Tomorrow will be her first chance in eight years to relive that most magical of games - keeping a nosy toddler away from the big shiny thing in the corner of the room. 
  I shall turn it on tomorrow morning at silly o'clock before I leave for work. I reckon she'll be bald by the time I get home.


30th November '13 - Since Wolves are doing so well at the moment, I thought I'd break my embargo on them and listen to the match again - just this once. They lost. Back to cheerful indifference for me, then


29th November '13 - Like his sister before him, my son seems to consider sleeping all night as something of an option and so, for the sake of a quiet life, the missus has taken to lifting him out of the cot and dumping him in between us on the bed, hoping he'll settle off for another few hours on the occasions that he decides 03:15 is the perfect time to get up.  
  Most of the time, I'm so out of it I don't even notice but it was hard to remain oblivious this morning when he decided that being relocated to our bed offered him the perfect stage to try out his breakdancing skills.
  Just so's you know, there is quite a thriving gaming community on Team Fortress at four a.m. and you can easily get on a Mann Up server. Shame I wasn't able to focus on the screen properly though.


28th November '13 - Watched 'Star Trek into Darkness' this evening. I wouldn't say it's a bad film, just an utterly pointless one. It's as if the writer watched 'Wrath of Khan' at the age of twelve (as I did) and then tried to rewrite it from memory thirty years later. They sort of got the story across and sort of made it entertaining, but ultimately it failed Billy's Golden Rule For Hollywood Remakes; namely, if you can't improve on the original, don't bother.  
   Some nice set-pieces, some decent performances (though Chris Pine is NOT captain Kirk by any stretch of the imagination, and Simon Pegg still has no business here whatsoever) but overall, a big 'meh' from me.
   They should definitely stop with the 'sort-of-mirroring-the-old-Trek' thing now though. You have an entire rebooted new universe to play with, J.J. - go do your own thing. I will give you the benefit of the doubt for number three...just.


27th November '13 - Major panic this morning as I got to the bus-stop and realised I couldn't find my work pass. Ran all the way back home and searched frantically for it to no avail. Ran back to the bus-stop (now hideously late) and fretted all the way to work, where I promptly found the thing in my desk drawer at precisely the same moment that I remembered leaving it there for safe-keeping last Friday in case I lost it on the way back to Wolverhampton.   
  I can't decide whether this is indicative of early-onset Alzheimer's or just me being a dozy sod. 


26th November '13 - England cricketer Jonathan Trott is on his way home from Australia suffering from stress and will miss the second Ashes Test. 
   I have absolutely no wish to mock Trott or anyone suffering from this awful affliction - it must be very distressing to fail to perform so publicly at a high profile sporting event - but I'm not sure he and I share quite the same interpretation of stress in our working lives.  
   Me, I'd be only too happy to go to Australia First Class all the way, knock a few balls around in the sunshine and pocket a six figure salary regardless of how many people mocked my ability.
   Mr. Trott could, in turn, have a few weeks of working for a company that places no value in his professionalism, is making him redundant after 2015, tells him his qualifications and quarter-century of experience are replaceable by anyone given a seven day in-house training course and yet still expects him to roll out to unpleasant and potentially distressing jobs at a moment's notice.  
   I guess it's all down to perspective...


25th November '13 - My latest wave of dental treatment is complete. I now have one less molar, two new gold teeth and an overdraft that would make Bill Gates weep.
   By contrast, my dentist has added another wing to his Tuscan villa.


23rd November '13 - On the whole, I enjoyed the Dr. Who 50th anniversary episode. One or two minor niggles, such as David Tennant's increasingly OTT performance (he definitely left at the right time) and why they bothered wrecking the canon by inserting John Hurt into the timeline when Paul McGann would've been a far better - and deserved - option.
   Apart from that, it was huge fun all round. Great to see the Zygons back, nice to see Rose's Bad Wolf incarnation getting another airing (am I getting less picky as I get older, or is Billie Piper getting hotter with age?) and the Tom Baker cameo was lovely.
   I think Matt Smith's quirky Doctor will be better appreciated a few years down the line and it's definitely time for him to go. I'm quite looking forward to Peter Capaldi's incarnation now. As John Hurt proved, a bit of gravitas and seriousness makes all the difference with this show.
  Roll on the Christmas regeneration, and here's to the next fifty years!


22nd November '13 - Yet another programme on the JFK assassination. There are enough versions and theories out there now that I'm sure the truth can be distilled and interpreted from all the excess if only we look hard enough. 
   My theory? Oswald was a stooge who fired two shots (the third casing found on scene was his 'stopper' to keep the barrel clean). The first shot missed, ricocheting off the road and clipping the President (when JFK cries "I'm hit!") The second shot takes him through the throat and hits Governor Connally in the front seat. No 'magic' twisting bullet, just a failure by the Warren Commission to realise that the floor plan of the vehicle's seating had been altered - the trajectory was always a straight line. Both Oswald shots are 6.5x52mm from a Carcano carbine.
  The third shot is not. It's a hollowpoint fired from somewhere in front of the motorcade. It explodes on impact, which results in a good portion of JFK's brain matter exiting the back of his head (see Jackie crawling out over the back of the limo instinctively trying to retrieve it on the Zapruder film). Who fired it? We won't know until the statute of limitations runs out in 2038, if then (a lot of contemporary records are missing or were conveniently destroyed) but it's a fair bet to assume the hit was planned by people with enough clout to set up a stooge, convince the limo driver to slow down, steamroll the doctor at the autopsy, lose the autopsy films, alter the x-rays, misplace what was left of JFK's brain, kill the stooge before he talks, and set up a fact-finding Commission that cheerfully ignores or refuses to call a number of key witnesses. 
  Who could this be? I have my suspect(s) but it's not my place to name them. Take a look at the legislation that JFK was about to push through in his coming term and work out which groups of people would have been adversely affected by it. Then look at the people within JFK's administration who had ties with these groups. You'll come to the same conclusion that I did. 
  It's hard not to be a conspiracy theorist when you look at this particular case.  


21st November '13 - My little girl is ten years old today. This 'time' thing is getting scary now


20th November '13 - I rarely discuss work on this site and never in detail, but one or two have you have gathered that I am occasionally engaged in undertaking certain forms of photography in what I shall refer to as 'challenging' conditions.
 Take today for example. Have you ever had to photograph items of interest to scale in the middle of a busy road during a thunderstorm? No? I have to admit, it was a new one on me, too. Getting the camera squared off with a spirit-level whist trying to keep hold of an umbrella desperately attempting to turn itself inside out provides no end of amusement, I can tell you. Especially with an audience. 
 This was one of the trickier things I've had to do in my quarter century of professional photographic work and I look forward to seeing how this particular aspect of technical competence is incorporated into the seven day training course that those replacing me and my unit will be undertaking next year. 
 Incidentally, when you find yourself cleaning water droplets off the inside of your camera lens's UV filter, you know it's been raining!


19th November '13 - I hereby wish to formally indict 'Bittersweet Symphony' by The Verve onto my list of Songs I Never Need To Hear Again, Ever
  Come on down, Richard Ashcroft. You find yourself in esteemed company among such musical luminaries as Sting, Alanis Morissette, Paul McCartney and that wank shaft from U2. Congratulations.


18th November '13 - Back to work after a week's leave and ten days off sick. Two hundred and thirty six emails. I should get through them by about Thursday...


16th November '13 - Posters on the Underground for the remake of 'Carrie'. Couple of points here: Firstly, I didn't even know they were remaking this, did you? Not that I mind. The original seems horribly dated now (70's split-screen and all) and, good as it was, it's not as if it has ever been considered a masterpiece of the genre.
  Secondly, what genre? Carrie is constantly flagged up as a horror film when actually it's about a girl with telepathic powers. Surely this is more sci-fi than horror, no? Ah well.
poster looks good anyway, even though they blatantly stole it from an old X-Men comic. Perhaps if Brett Ratner had done the Dark Phoenix storyline properly in 'X-Men - The Last Stand' instead of royally ballsing it up, he could've sued them for a few quid here

15th November '13 - Cadbury's Crème Eggs in Morrisons. Really.

14th November '13 - Amusingly, someone tried to scam me out of some items on my gaming account today. He told me he was interested in a couple of my unusual TF2 hats (I can't be bothered to explain - read this) and if I clicked on this link to his alternate account, he could arrange to pay me for them with real money via PayPal!
  It took me all of two minutes to track him down via SteamRep, find out his real primary account details, check to see if he had any form (turns out he was already on probation for scamming allegations) and to flag him up.  
  Just checked on Steam and, bless my soul, young 'XXAvengerXX' seem to have disappeared completely! Bye bye, little boy. Next time, try scamming someone who didn't used to be a forum moderator. 

13th November '13 - Hurrah! The antibiotics are working at last. I no longer look like the Singing Detective anyway...


12th November '13 - The Team Fortress Halloween Event finished today. I feel like I'm in mourning. Never mind though, I did get a couple of nice Unusual Halloween hats out of it. An all-class green bats one and a sexy Demo number with fizzy green spells. Now to sell them on for lots of Buds before the hype dies down.
  You have no idea what I'm talking about, have you?


11th November '13 - Round Two of the dental work and another interesting fact. Did you know that it's possible to break a diamond headed dental drill on some old crowns because of the composition of the metals used in their make-up? No, neither did I until today. What fun!
  Still, all done now though. I have two lovely temporary crowns in place for the next couple of weeks while the new gold ones are built. It's like sucking on a pair of tombstones.


9th November '13 - Wolves are apparently top of the league! Only two leagues out from being relevant, but encouraging nevertheless. Whatever Kenny Jackett is doing is obviously working. Here's hoping they manage to hold onto one of the top two slots and can bounce straight back up at the end of the season. 
  Also, following on from yesterday, I have rediscovered the joys of soup. Heinz Organic Tomato is lovely. Much nicer and less saltier than the normal one, and well worth the extra wedge.


8th November '13 - The second of my trips to the dentist and out with the naughty molar. Now, did you know that when a tooth has an abscess underneath, there's a chance that the anaesthetic won't work properly and you'll feel every fucking tweak as the tooth is pulled?
  No, neither did I until after he'd twisted it out in a fine demonstration of advanced Victorian dentistry. Jesus, I knew back teeth went deep, but it felt like this one was connected to my big toe.   
  Still, it's out now, so hopefully, the pus-well in the abscess will drain and the antibiotics will clear up the poison in my blood stream (you weren't eating, were you?)
  As an extra treat, Robin showed me the x-rays and pointed out two crowns on the other side that need replacing and would I like him to do them since I was off sick anyway? Yes, why not? I'll come back after the weekend when I've stopped bleeding and my swollen face has gone down and I'll bring my wallet with me, shall I?


7th November '13 - I watched the new Wolverine movie in bed on the laptop this evening. Although the ending is a bit paint-by-numbers and they've taken royal liberties with Frank Miller's Japan storyline, it's nevertheless not a bad film at all.
  Famke Janssen's ongoing cameo is fairly pointless, and the CGI on the Silver Samurai isn't the best, but Yukio (Rila Fukushima) is a joy and the fighting choreography rocks. The Shinkansen scene in particular is awesome!
  All in all, it just did enough to banish the memory of that hideous Origins movie.  
  The big surprise to me was how buff Hugh Jackman is now. I thought the posters for this showing him with his shirt off were all Photoshopped. They're not, he's absolutely ripped to fuck in this. Damned good physique for a fella my age!


6th November '13 - Ra ra. Another birthday. I spent it in bed with my present. In an alternate future reality, this would've been a Winona Rider fembot. In this one however, it was a new Amazon Kindle.  
  Oh well, reading is about all I have the energy for right now...


5th November '13 - Thank God for rain. I don't think I could've stood outside letting fireworks off tonight, so I've told my daughter we'll save them for her birthday later in the month.
  Luckily, there were enough explosions elsewhere in the street to make up for it.


4th November '13 - For the first time in almost nine years, I've called in sick. I'm not sleeping well, I'm coughing like a dog and now I have a blotchy, swollen face.
  I called the dentist to book the extraction and went back to bed with a Lem-sip. Bleh.


2nd November '13 - The lefty comedians at Lambeth Borough Council have issued everyone with miniature pig bins so that we can all recycle our food waste. I have absolutely no idea what planet these Marxist fools are on. How much did all this cost? Did anyone ask for it? What - precisely - are they going to do with all the cold tikka masala scrapings and banana skins, hmm? I would genuinely like to know.
  There are families of foxes living in the overgrown area at the back of our house. The neighbours and I have reported this numerous times and been told there's nothing the council can do (unless I shot it with my crossbow, in which case I'd be prosecuted).
  We've had mice in the house in the past (it's an old building) and you honestly think I'm going to install a slop bucket in my kitchen like some kind of medieval serf? How does 'fuck right off' sound?   
  The neighbours and I have flipped the lids on these pails and left them by the regular bins. They will no doubt fill up with rainwater in due course.
  I'll allow foxy a drink, but I draw the line at feeding the bastard...


1st November '13 - Today, I had my six-monthly dental check-up. Turns out the reason why I still feel lousy despite a course of antibiotics is down to the massive dental abscess under my back tooth. Didn't hurt in the slightest, and I assumed it was a wisdom tooth on its way like the one on the other side did a few years back.   
  Nope. It's a big nasty abscess and it's got to come out. Looks like I'll be damaging the overdraft again this month. Marvellous.


Hallowe'en '13 - Giving it large on this year's Team Fortress Halloween Event. I like the game mechanics this year. Instead of everyone fighting each other and then teaming up to defeat the big boss when he appears, they've gone for a team vs. team race with a last man standing battle at the end. Great fun!  
  TF2 is normally running on around 300 servers at any given time. I counted 1270 this evening. The new Batman 'Arkham' game was also released today, but frankly it's got no chance while the Halloween event is going on...


Devil's Night '13 - Normally, this is the day of the year where I give 'The Crow' its annual airing. However, I've opted for an early night instead. I don't know what your cold remedy of choice is, but I always find that tipping a Lemsip sachet into a mug of lemonade and microwaving it for a minute does wonders just before bedtime.  
  I've just read that last line back and now feel depressed.
  Coming soon: Billy reviews the new recipe for Werthers Originals and lists his favourite brands of support socks in order of comfort.


28th October '13 - The start of a week's leave and once again, with depressing regularity, I find myself sitting in the doctor's surgery. Cue another course of antibiotics and being unable to have a few ales until I've finished them.
  Henry Weston shareholders will be getting worried.  


27th October '13 - Terrific. Just gearing up for a nice week off and I'm feeling crap. It's like my body knows what's coming:
Body - "A week off? Excellent! I shall close everything down for repairs."
Brain - "But I wanted to go out and party!"
Body - "Shut up and have a Lem-sip."
Oh well. At least I have five weeks worth of 2000AD to catch up on.


26th October '13 - This is the new Lamborghini Veneno. Evil. We like!


25th October '13 - I heard 'These Are the Days of Our Lives' by Queen on the radio today for the first time in ages. That guitar still sends a shiver down my spine. I still can't get my head around the fact that it's been over twenty years since Freddie died.
  An amazing song, sung by a maestro, with lyrics to tear your heart out. Simply beautiful.


24th October '13 - How embarrassing! I didn't even realise the hit counter for this site had rolled over the magic 100,000 mark until I looked at the Guest Book (thanks Young Stan!). Hard to believe that I've been spouting drivel here for over a decade. 
 This works out at ten thousand hits a year, which officially makes this a low mileage website. Anyone want to buy it? I'll throw in a new set of tyres...


22nd October '13 - The Minifish has been told to come into school in fancy dress for the last day of term. The theme, apparently, is 'Famous Londoners'. Cue much worrying and consternation here at Fish Towers, as everyone was suddenly strapped for ideas that didn't involve forking out money.  
  The Fishwife finally came up with the idea of dressing her up in my suit, making a bowler hat and creating a Chaplin. I'd long since been banned from the conversation by that point though, as my suggestion of shoving a pillowcase over her head and sending her along as the Elephant Man didn't go down too well.


21st October '13 - I find it ridiculous that, yet again, there is no mention of it being Trafalgar Day anywhere in the media this morning. Today should be a Bank Holiday, if only to bring the number of English ones up to match the rest of our 'united' kingdom. It won't be though. So long as we're all at work, we're generating money to pay for the free prescriptions in Scotland and Wales. 
  It's depressing. Our history and tradition is slowly being eroded in the name of European appeasement and Socialist agendas. Pretty soon, there'll be a generation of kids who refer to Nelson's Column as 'the man on the pole'.
  I'm glad I won't be around when this happens.


19th October '13 - The creative process behind Katy Perry's new song apparently involved taking the four note coda from the 'Cloud Atlas' theme, sticking a drumbeat over it and then shouting a lot. Who said musical innovation was dead, eh? 
  And before you start about us old gits always saying the music of today is too loud, I listen to Five Finger Death Punch, Gojira and Lamb of God, ok?
  Loud, I can handle. Shit is another matter...


18th October '13 - One week until the 'Team Fortress 2 Halloween Event' kicks off! Woo hoo!


17th October '13 - Quireboys, Islington Academy. My, this took me back! I've not seen Tyla for about twenty years and I swear he was still wearing the same scarf I saw him in at Wolverhampton Civic back when I had hair. A top evening of embarrassing fortysomethings singing along and bouncing about to some great sounds.
  The support band played a blinder, too. Check out Bonafide if ever they're up your way.  


16th October '13 - Acceptance is a beautiful thing. When you come to accept that the worst they can do to you ain't so bad after all, it brings on a whole new level of peace and serenity. Life is good. It may be challenging, it may be difficult, but on the whole it's good.  
  They will never break me now; I have reforged myself into fucking steel. Tetsujin ichi-ban, neh?


15th October '13 - Management meeting today. Not with my management, but with another unit who requested my input as an expert in my field.
  I got to play with some funky new tech that is going to be introduced throughout the company next year. Sadly, my own staff won't see any of it, but it was great having a fiddle with some new shinys and offering my input to our IT people, who were both receptive and appreciative. 
  It was nice to be taken seriously as a professional again, even if it was only for one day.


14th October '13 - Bought my first poppy of the year (I tend to buy at least three on account of them getting rained on or lost). Make sure you do too. No excuses.


12th October '13 - It's depressing seeing Sophie Ellis Bextor on the telly.
I used to fancy her mum...


11th October '13 - The Fishwife really likes this 'Miranda' person on the telly at the moment. I can't say I'm that impressed. Drag acts are fine in variety shows, but I don't think they work very well in a sitcom.


10th October '13 - I shall be booking tickets to see this in 3D at the London Imax next month. I couldn't give a toss about the story, it's got Sandra Bullock in it and it looks absolutely jaw-dropping.


9th October '13 - Even after all these years, I still can't hear Rod Stewart singing 'Do Ya Think I'm Sexy' without picturing Kenny Everett's inflating arse...


8th October '13 - There are one or two people at work who seem to become confused by the most rudimentary aspects of grammar when framing questions in the English language.
  For example, there is a subtle yet vast difference between asking "Can you deal with this, Billy?" and "Will you deal with this, Billy?"  
 This is a common occurrence at the moment, and it's amazing the number of people who seem to be implying the latter when stating the former.
  Let's hope they become stoical enough to deal with the inevitable disappointments that life can bring, as indeed I have.


7th October '13 - Interesting debate on the radio about Muslim women and the wearing of the burqa, but once again the argument boiled down to whether the garment was a cultural item worn out of necessity or a symbol of oppression against the women wearing it.
 I've heard a third argument; that it is worn as an act of provocation in much the same way as an Orangeman wears his sash. However, this wasn't offered up for discussion...


5th October '13 - Not mentioned them for a while, due to the disgust I felt at the whole set-up, but Wolves appear to be doing rather well at the moment. Then again, it's the bloody Third Division and if they can't turn over the likes of Shrewsbury and Crawley Town they might as well plough the pitch up and plant spuds. 
  I will regain my interest in the club if they maintain this resurgence of spirit and pride and get themselves back to a proper division. Until then though, Saturday afternoons will be spent gaming.


4th October '13 - A rare evening out with the works crew, Curry in Brick Lane first, followed by a trip up to the Intrepid Fox. I don't know whether it's me mellowing, but the place is starting to 'bed in' now. The posters are getting ratty and the toilets are coming along nicely in their atrociousness. 
  It'll never have the atmosphere of the old place on Wardour Street, but at least it's starting to feel like a proper rock pub at last.


3rd October '13 - It must really annoy Tesco and Sainsbury's having to stack their shelves with all this cheap Hallowe'en crop when what they really want to do round about now is start flogging expensive Christmas stuff...


2nd October '13 - Funny to read about over a hundred long lost 'Dr. Who' episodes from the early sixties suddenly turning up in a private archive in Nigeria. I wonder how they got there?
  Perhaps they can weave that in to one of the stories in the next series. It couldn't be any more tedious than having Alex Kingston mugging at the camera and hamming it up again.


1st Oct '13 - The National Lottery goes up in price this weekend. Instead of being a pound to play, it will now cost two. This, Camelot tells us, is due to them wishing to offer 'bigger jackpots' and a 'new raffle with guaranteed winners in every draw' and not to further inflate their profits at all.
  I have played the Lottery since it began. Now, I'm stopping. Everyone I've spoken to about this will be stopping too. I'm looking forward to seeing how well this amazing strategy of doubling the price works out for Camelot...


30th Sept '13 - Payday, and for the first time in eighteen months, I got a weekend of overtime on it! Sadly, I also got the reminder that my Prescription Apartheid Tax is due for renewal, as is the annual broadband contract.
  Swings and roundabouts are all very well, but when it's all bleeding swings, it tends to get you down.


29th Sept '13 - The rumour mill has started on Steam about this year's annual Team Fortress 2 Hallowe'en Event. For the first time in my entire life, I find myself actually looking forward to October 31st.


27th Sept '13 - I've been looking into potential Christmas presents for the Fishwife and the one thing that really took my eye was the thought of a spa visit. Sent away to a country manor overnight to relax and unwind with no distractions, it sounded ideal. Sadly, when I rang up to book it, they told me I couldn't send the kids with her so I had to rethink my plans.  
  I'm going instead. I've bought her some chocolates...


26th Sept '13 - I do like this time of year. The clock has finally reached the point where I can get up and do my morning run in the dark, which is always handy to avoid scaring the locals.  
 Sadly, the same won't be true for the afternoon trot home until about November, so there's still plenty of time to catch me in all my puffing red-faced loveliness as I lurch along Tooting Bec Road three times a week.


25th Sept '13 - 'Dr. Pepper - what's the worst that can happen?' Err...realising you've just spent your money on a can of brown sugary liquid full of additives and cloying mock cherry flavouring?


24th Sept '13 - In the office today, we had the old 'if you could be a superhero, what powers would you have?' conversation. In previous conversations, I have regularly championed the teleportation ability of Nightcrawler from the 'X-Men'. I still do, only now for different reasons. 
 As a youth, I reckoned that the best thing ever would be to teleport into bank vaults, grab a holdall full of notes and teleport out again.
  Nowadays, the aspect that appeals to me most is grabbing hold of people I don't like, teleporting five hundred feet straight up, then teleporting back down again without them.


22nd Sept '13 - The telly is currently full of those annoying 'Stoptober' adverts again. If you want to stop smoking, you will stop; end of story. Psyching yourself for a run-up at an arbitrary starting date just shows that you lack the required incentive (and therefore willpower) to quit by yourself.
  Forget the gum and the patches, simply distract yourself sufficiently and you will no longer crave a cigarette. Take up a new hobby and occupy your mind elsewhere.
  I recommend


21st Sept '13 - Rockstar say they have 'no plans' to release 'Grand Theft Auto V' on the PC anytime soon. That's unfortunate for those of us who have no time for the limitations of console gaming.  
  Given that the (heavily delayed) release of 'GTA IV' on the PC ultimately ended up accounting for a fifth of that title's overall sales, I believe the technical term for their marketing strategy here is 'fucking ridiculous'.
  Still, at least they haven't followed EA's example and created their own oppressive DRM-ridden distribution system. I've tried to find out the sales figures for 'Mass Effect 3' on Origins to compare with those of 'Mass Effect 2' on Steam, but for some strange reason, EA haven't disclosed the numbers.   
  Funny, that.


20th Sept '13 - McDonald's are doing their 'Flavours of the World' thing again, which always cracks me up. Over the next five weeks, punters will be treated to (amongst others) the scintillating and exotic flavours of Mexico, Spain and Switzerland. 
  So that'll be the usual bland burgers only with a dollop of salsa, a sliver of chorizo and a slice of Swiss cheese then. Wow. Epic.


18th Sept '13 - Forty-three years since Jimi Hendrix died. He would've been seventy now. I can close my eyes and picture him as he would be now - still the same, only with a mad grey afro and still attacking that Fender like a loon.
  Gone but never forgotten.


17th Sept '13 - 'EE', the Kevin Bacon-advertised telecoms company who took over 'Orange' have been slated over their appalling 4G system. Many, many complaints have gone in to Oftel regarding poor service, lousy download speeds and non-existent connections. 
 The Fishwife is still with them, but I jumped ship to '3' a year ago. 
 Up in Scotland last month, I was merrily playing online games on my laptop through my phone connection in a cottage four miles from the nearest town, while the missus, who was in the next room, couldn't even get a signal. Oops.


16th Sept '13 - An evening spent looking at secondary schools. If there's anything wearier for parents than shopping around for places to take your offspring off your hands for five days a week, I don't know what it is


15th Sept '13 - When a person is dead, they don't know they are dead; the difficulties only exist for other people. 
 It's the same when a person is stupid.


14th Sept '13 - Another Floyd Mayweather victory. Is anyone surprised? Surely this guy is the greatest boxer of all time now? I can't think of anyone who can lay a glove on him. 
  Feed him full of pies up to Heavyweight and he'd still win. Impressive.


13th Sept '13 - Ooh, Friday the Thirteenth! A day of terror and misfortune! Actually, mine was alright. I got a nice vanilla coffee bought for me and won enough on the Euro-Lottery for a bottle of wine. Superstition? Pah!


11th Sept '13 - The good news is, I have taken wholeheartedly to soda bread. It's very good for you, as there's no gluten in it to bloat you out, so there's me; eating healthily!
 The bad news is, I smear it with Brussels pate, peanut butter, or, on occasion, both - otherwise, it's like eating a slab of moist cardboard. Still, it's all good...


10th Sept '13 - Finally caught up with 'Iron Man 3' (missed this at the cinema) and I really enjoyed it. I managed to dodge the reason for all the fanboy outcry about how the character of The Mandarin was treated at the time, but I did gather they weren't happy.
  I, however, thought it was a brilliant bit of misdirection that worked beautifully. I mean, it's not as if The Mandarin is such a well-loved and iconic villain anyway, and he got treated far better than Dr. Doom did in those awful FF4 movies.
 All in all, a great fun Marvel movie and loads better than IM2. Roll on the next chapter of Thor!


9th Sept '13 - You can tell the kids are back at school. Everyone has a cold and everyone is coughing, sneezing and dripping slot. Lovely.


8th Sept '13 - Today, I shall mostly be lying in bed with Bernard Cornwell. I've often gone to bed with old Bernard over the years and I can honestly say I've never been bored or disappointed by him. Not bad for a seventy-year-old, is it?

7th Sept '13 - For some strange reason, I volunteered to cover a Saturday at work at the last minute. The reason why utterly escapes me. Still, it gave me a chance to catch up on some stuff I've been helping out with that is nothing to do with me and will be dropping back in the lap of its real owner on Monday. That'll be a nice surprise for them.
   Since their contribution to the company is valued and mine isn't, I'm sure they won't mind taking responsibility for a chunk of their own workload again, will they?


6th Sept '13 - Fascinating read here. Have a read through. Still think old Lee was working alone? According to the polls, over 70% of Americans now believe there was some form of cover-up. Based on that careful breakdown of those infamous 500 frames, I'm inclined to agree with them. 
 Then again, I'm a bit of a conspiracy nut. I still don't believe the fuckers landed on the moon. If they had, they'd have a McDonalds on it by now...


5th Sept '13 - Telling an angry woman to calm down is like washing a cat.


4th Sept '13 - Back to work and surprisingly few emails. Normally after a week off, I get around 130 or so, but today it was a mere eighty. Perhaps the news that me and my team are all Dead Men Walking has gotten around and I am being rowed out of things that I would normally be expected to have an input into?

3rd Sept '13 - Foolishly decided to drive back to London at four o'clock as opposed to the usual half two. I thought that, since it was a weekday and not a Sunday, the roads would be a little quieter if I left it a little later. Wrong.


2nd Sept '13 - Sensational Space Shifters, W'ton Civic. Now before you start, this was the Fishwife's idea, ok? Me, I could never abide Led Zeppelin (whiny wailing and never-ending songs aren't my idea of 'rock'), but even I have to admit that old Bob put on a pretty good show for his home town crowd last night. The fact that I put down eight pints of gorgeous Marston's Oyster Stout helped enormously with the enjoyment level, too.
  I gather this was a brief stop off for him in between his Australian and US tours, but he certainly gave it his all with the minimum of wailing and hardly any tambourine. The Fishwife enjoyed it, but was disappointed not to come away with the nice hippy Robert Plant top I'd promised her. There was only one t-shirt for sale and it was a plain black number. Frankly, he missed a trick with the marketing here, but it's not as if he's short of a few quid is it? 
  All in all, a decent enough evening and it made a pleasant change for me to be one of the youngest rockers at a gig for once!


1st Sept '13 - Today, I found my first 'unusual' hat in Team Fortress 2, which has made me ridiculously happy and will probably be the highlight of my September. Let me explain: Every so often when you play this game, a crate will appear which contains a random item. Most of the time when you open this, it's a weapon or a normal piece of headgear for your character, but every so often there's a 1% chance of uncrating an 'unusual' like the funky jester's cap with the orbiting flames I've just found.
  I shall show it off for a bit and then sell it on Steam (unusuals go for anything between £20 and £300 depending on the hat and effect) and put the money away for Batman: Arkham Origins next month.
  A small victory...


24th - 31st August '13 - Peebles, Scotland. This didn't really turn out to be quite the break I wanted (or needed), since I spent most of it driving. What with my uncle arranging a couple of excursions for us all, my sister wanting to see the pandas at Edinburgh Zoo and the Fishwife desperate to see her old schoolfriend over in Kelso, not a lot of time was left for your poor humble narrator to engage in what he really wanted to do, namely lounging around reading and taking the occasional stroll up a hill with his camera.
  Still, it was great to see Michelle and John again (after fifteen years), and we found a wonderful pub in Kelso (
this place) where I had the best burger of my life and the one of the best pints. It was called Cresta Black and was a session stout with a taste somewhere between St. Austell's old Cornish Cream (long since discontinued) and Rogue's Chocolate Stout. Utterly divine. Check out the wonderful beers of Tempest Brewery if ever you're up that way.
  Sadly, we never saw the pandas on account of the panda enclosure being shut because they suddenly discovered that Tian Tian may be pregnant. Happily though, I did see enough cuddly pandas in the Zoo shop to satisfy my curiosity for the fluffy little blenders for the rest of my natural.
  Apart from that, my holiday was spent behind a steering wheel. Not great. Next time I'm up that way, I shall drop everyone off in Peebles and then go find a cabin on my own in the Hebrides somewhere.


22nd August '13 - One of those wonderful mornings where I'm not woken up by the alarm at 04:30, but instead get to have a lie-in until 05:50 when the baby decides it's time to tell everyone all about his morning.
  In medieval times it was not unusual for a man to suddenly jack everything in and go and live in a monastery for a bit of peace. Frankly, this sounds more attractive by the month. It's not as if the hours would come as a shock and not having to talk to anyone for days on end would be wonderful.
  Damn you Henry VIII for denying me this dream!


21st August '13 - Last day at work for a while. Good.


20th August '13 - Found out a mate of mine died suddenly over the weekend. He was only my age. A hard working bloke who always went that extra mile, Ian was dedicated and professional and didn't give a rat's arse for bureaucracy or bullshit.
  I can recall doing many jobs with him where others would have done the minimum and walked away, but not Ian. It was a personal challenge to him to get as much detail out of his task as he could. 
  He was on a training course I delivered last year, which involved him volunteering to do lots of extra work for no extra money. Ian didn't bat an eyelid, he was one of the first people to put his hands up for it. 
  I'm going to miss you, geezer. It was a pleasure to have known you and a privilege to have worked alongside you.
  God bless...


19th August '13 - Spent most of the day at work adding up all the things I'm currently doing that aren't actually within my job description. Since I been deemed superfluous to requirement and offered up for redundancy, then there really isn't any point in putting myself out anymore, is there? Especially since I'm only in this post in the first place because the management asked me to come out and help train people up. 
  There's an awful lot of stuff on this list here. I'm sure they'll find someone to palm it off on, though. I wish them all the best...


17th August '13 - Another weekend at work. Thankfully, the roads were free of lycra-warriors this time, so I was able to get around fairly easily. A good job too, since I'm in Mile End and my first job was in Southall. Travelling time three hours, job time fifteen minutes.
  Glad I had my 'Faith No More' CD.


16th August '13 - The good thing about the day after drinking copious amounts of Real Ale is that you wake up fresh with no chemical-induced hangover. The bad thing is that your arse is dangerously radioactive...


15th August '13 - Great British Beer Festival, Olympia. A somewhat subdued one this year, as not many of those who said they'd turn up actually came. Maybe after yesterday's announcements, people didn't want to come drinking with the unclean in case unemployment became catching? Whatever, it was their loss. 
  Apart from the agony of walking round in platform shoes, I found it very liberating to be Noddy Holder for the day. I got to relax my accent and talk broad Wulfrunian all day as well as drink lots of lovely milds and porters. Loads of nice folks wanted a photo with The Nod, but no-one took me up on my offer of a nice refreshing Cup-a-Soup stirred into their pint. Oh well, no accounting for taste. I managed to give the ciders a miss this year, but did some serious damage to the pasty stall and even risked my teeth on the spicy scratchings at one point. Marvellous.
  What wasn't so good was the organisation this time. Gone was the regional layout where you roughly knew where every brewer was by the floor plan. Instead, they gave all the bars fancy names and lumped in brewers from all round the country on each one. A crap idea and I hope they bin it for next time.
  By a curious coincidence, the last bar we found was the one with West Midlands on it. Naturally, we finished with a pint of Batham's to toast Steve's memory. He'd have loved this one


14th August '13 - Called into a meeting at HQ to be told what our future was. Turns out, there isn't one; not for me and my team, anyway. My old specialist team are fine (naturally) but all of us on this one are now on the scrapheap. 
  Were I in charge, I'd want to make sure I kept my best staff and would therefore run a selection process for any remaining jobs based on skills, experience and ability rather than, say, lazily adopting a 'bums on seats' approach, but what do I know? 
  There 'might' be other roles we can apply for in the future (no-one actually believes this), but for now they expect us to carry on in our normal roles until the redundancy packages are announced.
  I personally think doing away with a professional standard of work is going to backfire on them, but since they don't care, why should I?


13th August '13 - We got my sister an Amazon Kindle for her birthday. I love my one, but apparently hers is half the thickness and has a backlight so she can read in bed.
  Awesome. I want another one now!


12th August '13 - Not even a month after the big Steam Summer Sale and rumours abound that there'll be some sort of tenth anniversary sale in September. And then in December, it'll be time for the Steam Holiday Sale again. 
  I'm going to need another computer to hold all the games soon.


11th August '13 - Everyone always says how great 'Fawlty Towers' was and they're right. Even though only twelve episodes were ever made and they're repeated endlessly, they're still classics and just as funny the twentieth time as the first.
   But you know what? So's 'Father Ted'. And it's getting better with age, too. I know a lot of people never watched it in its day, so if this is you, please catch up with it now. You won't regret it!


10th August '13 - This looks like it might be worth a go


9th August '13 - We were supposed to be out for a curry and a night up the Intrepid Fox this evening, but everyone's skint and can't be armed. Pity.
 Then again, not sure a load of lager and a dirty Lamb Naga is the right way to go in these sort of temperatures


7th August '13 - Old news, I know, but I was tickled on hearing the comments made by Willie Nelson when asked what he thought about Lance Armstrong. Apparently, old Willie thought it was terrible how they treated Lance after winning seven Tour de France races whilst on drugs. "When I was on drugs", he said, "I couldn't even find my bike." Classic.


6th August '13 - The problem with this 'sort-of-a-shift-pattern-but-with-no-money' thing that I'm on is that by the time of my second Rest Day (today), I've just got used to the idea of not automatically waking up at 04:30 just in time to be rudely forced awake at 04:30 again in the morning.
  Oh well, not long now until my company decides to take a scythe to their professional grades and I can wave goodbye to this shithole city and go look for another job in another town. Preferably one with a decent beer...


5th August '13 - Well, the smart money was right and Peter Capaldi will be the 12th 'Doctor Who'. I think we may have just said goodbye to all the fourteen-year-old fangirls with this decision, but sod 'em - there's always 'Twilight'.
  It was nice seeing Janet Fielding on the announcement programme, too. I has a SERIOUS crush on Tegan as a lad, and the lady's still got it! Grrr!


4th August '13 - What a wonderful day at work I've had. There were road closures through most of Central, West and East London, plus eleven bridges shut and all down to the 'Ride London' cycling event. Thousands of lycra-fascists disrupting the journeys of Road Tax-paying motorists, only this time with the Mayor's approval and assistance. He even cycled the event himself. 
  As for me, well:
  Home - South London. Work - North East London. Distance - 14 miles.
  Total commute: Four bus journeys, two tube rides and a mile and a half walk totalling three hours twenty minutes. 
  Cheers Boris, you flopsy-haired plum.


2nd August '13 - I'm tired of the lousy excuses for storms we get here in England. Days and days of thirty plus degree heat and when it finally breaks, we get two flashes of lightning, a bang of thunder and a five minute downpour before it's back to the heatwave.
  Pathetic. Where are the tornadoes? I wanna see Oz!


1st August '13 -'Pacific Rim' debuted in China to the biggest opening weekend box office the country has ever seen, eclipsing the previous best (a Harry Potter film) by almost a third.
  It has yet to open in Japan. I predict even bigger gates over there!


31st July '13 - The new Doctor Who will be announced this Sunday in a special live programme on BBC1 at 7pm hosted by Zoe Ball, Where she will announce the new Doctor and interview them.
  Zoe seems to me a bit of a 'left field' choice to present something like this. I hope this isn't a twist and she turns out to be the new Doctor because that would bewellweird. 
  Smart money seems to be on Peter Capaldi at the moment. We like this!


30th July '13 - The new Five Finger Death Punch album was released today. Or rather, the first part, as the second half will be released later in the year. When Guns N' Roses tried this trick with 'Use Your Illusion I & II' they needn't have bothered, as there was just about enough material to make one killer album. 
  5FDP's 'The Wrong Side Of Heaven' will be followed by 'The Righteous Side Of Hell' in November and on the strength of my first play through of the first half, it looks like this will be getting a lot of airplay on the Fish sound system over the next few months.
  Hardcore of the highest order. Very impressed!


28th July '13 - I really like the look of Ben Stiller's next film (trailer here). It's a remake of the 1947 Danny Kaye film and has apparently been a pet project of Ben's for quite a while. There's a lovely subtle feel to this and a very definite 'Northern Exposure' vibe running through it. Count me in!


27th July '13 - I remember not so long back when water was free but you had to pay for porn. Strange how times change...


26th July '13 - Paid a rare Friday night visit to Scruffy Murphy's in Birmingham (I'm usually a Saturday patron) and was absolutely blown away by the DJ. I don't know who she is, but her choice of tunes was exemplary. She took it from classic to doom to hardcore and back for four whole hours.
  Excellent stuff! Top lady!


25th July '13 - Apparently, my mate was all set to take his son to see 'Pacific Rim' in 3D yesterday too, but the poor lad bottled it at the last minute at the thought of all the giant monsters, so they ended up going to see 'The Smurfs 2' instead.
  If that'd happened to me, I'd have taken the kid for a DNA test.


24th July '13 - Took my daughter to see 'Pacific Rim' in 3D. I was initially worried that a two hour PG-12 movie might be a bit of a stretch for an easily-distracted nine-year-old, but she loved it! And so did I!
  Not the most challenging pieces of cinema you're ever likely to see, but it's spectacle on a massive scale and huge fun! Some of the critics have been a bit sniffy about it and the acting certainly won't trouble the Oscar panel, but if going to the flicks is supposed to be entertaining and enjoyable, this has certainly got to be the Summer's best film so far!
  Get yourself to the cinema and catch thisand whatever you do, stay for the end credits scene, it's a hoot!


22nd July '13 - The Steam Summer Sale drew to a close today. You don't want to know how much money I've sent Valve's way over the last ten days. Suffice to say I will not be stuck for a game to play between now and about 2019. Oh, and I now have a Steam Profile Rating of 35 whatever that means.


21st July '13 - Eric Clapton is the guitar god. The finest guitarist who ever plucked a string. See, as a rocker, I've been hearing this for years and always taken it at face value having never actually listened to a whole Clapton album.
  Everyone knows 'Layla' is a classic (the first bit as opposed to the much longer and terminally boring piano-driven second part) and it's good fret-work, but it's never struck me as particularly brilliant or 'god-like'. I just always assumed there was other stuff on his albums that justified the legend. Since his music was never to my particular taste, it was a label I was happy to leave the bloke with. Until now.
  I've just downloaded a handful of Eric's albums from his Cream days to the late Eighties and am struggling to find any other description for the bloke than 'alright'. I can name a dozen guitarists of the top of my head who are at least as technically proficient, two dozen who are faster and a whole battalion who are more entertaining.
  Sorry Eric. You may have stood out like a beacon in the days before Hendrix, but to me as a metalhead, you ain't all that and you never were.
  (By the way, feel free to amend the same sort of argument in your head re: Bruce Springsteen and songwriting. It'll save me some time...)


20th July '13 - A survey conducted by Habitforge shows that 52% of British men with a gym membership use it once a week or less. If this is you, you're wasting both your time and your money.
  Get some ankle weights and a 10kg vest and jog round the block a couple of times a week instead.


19th July '13 - Right, that's it. Time to ride off into the sunset for a nice long weekend in Wolverhampton. It looks like the weather will be staying ridiculous for the foreseeable future in the West Midlands, too, but hey, I can take this heat so long as I don't have to work in it.
  Anyway, it's nothing a nice cold bottle of Henry Weston's finest can't cure. Cheers!


18th July '13 - The final part of my Noddy Holder costume arrived today. I'm not sure that tartan bootlaces add anything particularly impressive to the whole ensemble, but we might as well be hung for a sheep as for a lamb, eh? 


17th July '13 - I'm not good in this sort of heat. My brain tends to start short-circuiting at temperatures above 25°c. It's a real pisser to be tired all the while and unable to sleep because it's too bloody hot. What I really need is a walk-in fridge that can accommodate a hammock.


16th July '13 - I've just played Bono's solo album. It's the same as his U2 stuff, only much less edgy.
  I thank you. I'm here all week. Try the veal.


15th July '13 - This evening's family meal consisted of chicken strips, mini quiche, sausage rolls, bite-size onion bhajis, chips and a handful of salad.
  You will deduce from the menu that the Fishwife considered the weather 'far too bleeding hot to dance about in front of the stove' and simply opened the freezer drawer and filled the nearest baking tray with whatever came within grabbing distance.
  And very nice it was too!


14th July '13 - Nabbed this little gem on Steam this evening for less than the price of a pint. A very educational and informative look varying aspects of our solar system and the wider galaxy. I intend to make great use of this and improve my knowledge of all things celestial. 
  After I've had some fun crashing the moon into Europe, swapping the Sun with Antares and creating a black hole next to Neptune for a laugh...


13th July '13 - It probably doesn't stand up to close scrutiny with a colour-wheel and a spectrometer, but I'm convinced that the colour a bottle of Evian goes when drop a Berocca tablet in it is exactly the same as the resulting exit flow an hour later.


11th July '13 - Aw crap. The Steam Summer Sale has just started. That time of the year where I wave goodbye to handfuls of money and large chunks of hard-drive space.
  If only I had the free time to play all these fantastic games I keep downloading. Sadly, 'Team Fortress 2' has me in its loving embrace again and refuses to let go...


10th July '13 - I discovered this the other day. I can highly recommend it, especially with a tuna steak and a truck-load of spinach.


9th July '13 - Yes, yes. Andy Murray won Wimbledon. He's quite clearly the greatest sportsman who ever lived and deserves to be President of the World.
   Can we move on now?


8th July '13 - As it's knocking thirty degrees here in London, I finally succumbed to wearing the white muscle vest today. It does not look at all how I imagined on me.
   Ok, no problems with my size and bulk, but I'm not as defined as I'd like and only the top two abs are visible. Not quite Vin Diesel yet...
   Actually, not Vin Diesel at all. I look like I've just 'come out'...


7th July '13 - Just forked out the balance for next month's holiday in Scotland and got stung for a £7.50 credit-card charge. I thought they'd made this illegal? Bastards!
   And talking of all things Scottish; young Andy appears to have actually won Wimbledon. Since we reward the most routine of sporting achievements with knighthoods these days, I fully expect Her Maj to abdicate in favour of the House of Murray with immediate effect...


6th July '13 - I was at work again today, all alone in the office. I've said it before, but it's astonishing how much you can get done on a weekend when people aren't ringing you up and hassling you all the time.
  In terms of productivity, 'time-and-a-half' is management money well spent when it comes to yours truly. It may be a different story when the premium rates are abolished though.


5th July '13 - That professional Scotchman tennis player that we're all supposed to be supporting has made it through to the Wimbledon final, I see.
  Good for him. Don't expect me to join in the inevitable celebrations of British success if he wins though. Given his previous comments, the bloke seems to value his 'British' identity about as much as I do. 
  At heart, he's a Scotchman and I'm an Englishman. There's nothing wrong with that...


4th July '13 - I was out of the office at a seminar today in our West London headquarters. At lunchtime, I had an American-themed meal in their canteen to celebrate Independence Day.
  This was highly unusual for me. Firstly, I managed to have an actual lunch break and secondly, I was in a building with a canteen. It was a heady feeling to sit down with a knife and fork for a change as opposed to pushing a sandwich into my face whilst hunkered over a keyboard.
  I kept thinking I was doing something wrong and my boss would catch me...


2nd July '13 - I have belatedly discovered the joys of Team Fortress 2. It's not the prettiest of games. It's not the most complex of games. It is, however, ridiculously fun and insanely addictive. What's more, it's absolutely free to download and play and will run on the most meagre of computers - even Macs!
  Get this booted up now! You won't regret it!


1st July '13 - It's July. Ju-bleedin'-ly. How the hell did this happen?


30th June '13 - My pre-ordered 'Cloud Atlas' Blu-ray arrived a day before the official release date. We love Amazon!


29th June '13 - Dear Paramedics. Please explain what's so urgent down the empty three lane one-way street where I live that you need 'blues-and-twos' for at half past two on a Saturday morning. Not amused.


28th June '13 - My Noddy Holder costume for this year's Great British Beer Festival is now complete. All I need is a selection of Cup-a-Soups to hand out on the day and I'm sorted.    If you're in London on the fifteenth of August, why not head over to Kensington Olympia and get down and get with it? Bostin'!


26th June '13 - A rare visit to Wetherspoons with the Fishwife and a sleepy Widdle Man for a full English breakfast. Once again, I was amazed and slightly in awe at the number of old boys with a pint of lager on the go at half past nine in the morning.
  That'll be me soon, if my organisation has anything to do with it.


25th June '13 - Now that the foreman grades at our place have halved, there's just me and one other bloke for the whole of London, which means as well as my own patch on the North East, I've also inherited control of the South East unit too, so, today, I jumped on the DLR and went down to have a look at my other team and their set-up.
   The round trip when added to my normal daily travel costs from Streatham to Bow took nearly thirteen quid off my Oyster card. I'm hoping this can be claimed back, otherwise sightings of me in Lewisham will be rarer than those of Bigfoot.


24th June '13 - I've started noticing lately how hairy my arms are getting. I wouldn't normally concern myself, as blokes tend to get more grizzled with age, but it's starting to turn lighter now, with the hairs on my wrist being noticeably white.
  I have to admit, of all the looks I could've considered in later life, 'Bald Morlock' wasn't the first that sprang to mind...


22nd June '13 - The Wildhearts, Kentish Town Forum. Part two of the 'Earth Vs.' 20th Anniversary Tour, and this time we're in London and without the benefit of Banks's beer. The trade-off, however, is that the old Town & Country is somewhat better than the Wulfrun, with good bar staff and a better view.
  With this anniversary tour, I knew exactly what Ginger and the boys would be playing for the first half, but it once again amazed me how tight and crafted they're sounding after all this time. I swear, two decades on and I've never heard them sounding so good.
  The second half of the set was again of the 'shout out which of these two songs you want' variety and was, sadly, nowhere near as good as the Wolverhampton gig owing to some very obscure tracks being offered up. The sound was better in my home town, too, but not by much and I'm probably being overly-picky. I'm sure when the DVD is released, it'll look and sound the biz!
   Let's hope there's a 20th Anniversary Tour for P.H.U.Q. in 2015!


21st June '13 - First day of the British Summer. You can tell by the grey skies, muggy climate and regular lashings of warm, misty rain...


19th June '13 - The last of the voluntary redundancy leaving drinks took place this evening, with another one of my old team taking the money and running.
  The wealth of knowledge and experience that has strolled out of our organisation's door this month in the name of cost-saving is breathtaking. I hope we don't come to regret it, but I fear we will...


18th June '13 - One of those annoying days at work where crap you think has gone away suddenly comes back and dumps all over you.  I'm getting a bit tired of this new regime already and it only started yesterday.


17th June '13 - Metal Hammer Golden Gods Awards, IndigO2. There's no such thing as a free lunch. However, there are such things as free gigs, and yours truly scored a pair to this prestigious event, so Jesus and I were to be found queuing up in Greenwich on a warm, sunny Monday evening. 
  Sadly, due to having to be up at 04:30 for work the following morning, I couldn't stay for the Motorhead set at the end, but in between the actual awards and some choice banter from Devin Townsend, I did get to see mini-sets from Coal Chamber, Paradise Lost and - the real reason I was there - the mighty Five Finger Death Punch.
  Good to see Tony Iommi picking up his award, and the cheer that greeted the news that Black Sabbath's '13' was the UK's Number One album brought the house down.
  A very enjoyable evening, if prematurely curtailed. I will make sure I give this event the attention it deserves next year!


16th June '13 - Spent the day lounging around with Banshees songs flowing through my head. There are worse ways to pass the hours.


15th June '13 - Siouxsie, Royal Festival Hall. Five years since her last solo UK gig and eleven since the last Banshees one, all was forgiven the moment Our Lady stepped onto the stage in a shimmering white PVC dress. No-one knew what I expected in terms of a set-list, but when she opened with 'Happy House', I certainly didn't think we'd get a full beginning-to-end performance of the Banshee's third album.
  For me, 'Kaleidoscope' has always paled against its follow-up, 'Juju', which is why the songs felt almost unfamiliar (hey - it has to be twenty years since I last stuck 'Kaleidoscope' on all the way through!) yet the whole thing was utterly compelling and even 'Red Light' and 'Skin' felt like new material due to the length of time sine I last heard them!
 After the break, Siouxsie returned and whipped off her dress to reveal the white PVC catsuit underneath (still damned hot for a woman of fifty-six!) before tearing into 'Israel', 'Arabian Nights' and (a brilliantly Marlene Dietrich-esque) 'Careless Love'. Further treats included 'Cities In Dust', 'Dear Prudence' (a nod to Yoko Ono, whose Meltdown festival this was) before she finally closed with 'Into A Swan' from 'Mantaray'.
 An amazing night. I was 'Spellbound' even though that wasn't on her setlist... 
 UPDATE: Apparently, 'Spellbound' was on the setlist, but for some reason Siouxsie chose not to perform it. She did it on the Monday gig, though!
  Boo Sioux! I still love you, though!


14th June '13 - Another leaving do. It's getting a bit depressing now. Partly because all these great people are off out the door and won't be replaced, but mostly because I won't be joining them. Yet...


13th June '13 - I'm loathe to speak too soon, but looking at this international trailer, it may be that the upcoming Wolverine movie is actually worth a go. The basics look right, though they appear to have made Viper a blonde and given Yukio red hair (presumably because American audiences would have trouble differentiating between her and Mariko if both actresses were dark haired). However, the shinkansen sequence looks impressive and Silver Samurai is spot on.
  Colour me interested...


12th June '13 - Either someone is interested in purchasing my domain name or my provider is trying to frighten me into paying more in hosting fees each quarter. Watch this space. If it gets too silly, I've already cloned the content and can drop it into a Wordpress blog format in ten minutes flat.


10th June '13 - My old boss has played a blinder. He's just taken Voluntary Exit too, and almost the last thing he did before he left last week was to sign over all his staff to me on the work's intranet. Guess how much I knew about this? Exactly.


9th June '13 - I found a lone bottle of Henry Weston's Vintage Reserve cider (8.2%) at the back of the fridge this evening after a particularly weary day at work.  I'd forgotten all about it.
  Lovely. It's the little things like this that keep me going.


8th June '13 - Quick tip: when bunging a fresh pizza in the oven after working all day and being too tired to come up with anything more creative, always remember to take the polystyrene base out from under the thing first.
  It really doesn't improve the flavour of your large thin-crust Mexican to any great degree.


7th June '13 - The end of an era. This evening saw a massive leaving do for eight colleagues, all of whom have been tempted into early retirement through the company's Voluntary Exit scheme. None of them are being replaced. either, which means that myself and the other 'foreman' grade have absorbed responsibility for the staff  left behind on the other two teams where their foremen have just gone. Lovely.
  But I digress. Tonight was a brilliant time, and I caught up with many, many old friends and colleagues; some of whom had been gone twenty years and more but came back for this 'do'. This will almost certainly be the last time our long-defunct department will all be together in one place. Quite a sad thought.
  It wasn't all maudlin though. They'd put up loads of old photographs of us all, including one of me from 1990 sporting a fantastic mullet. I caught one of the old bosses looking at it. "Is that you?", he asked. "Yes, John", I replied. "You were a funny-looking bugger, weren't you?", he opined. Awesome.


5th June '13 - Get in! I appear to have won tickets to the 'Metal Hammer Golden Gods  Awards' at the O2 later this month!
  Live sets from Five Finger Death Punch, Coal Chamber, Paradise Lost and Motorhead? I think so!


4th June '13 - I'm thoroughly addicted to a game I bought on Steam recently. I'm not  normally into driving games, but 'Need For Speed: Hot Pursuit' is great, especially with the Xbox controller.
  Great fun. And also the only way I'm ever going to drive a Maserati Quattroporte, sadly...


3rd June '13 - Tonight's film was 'Anchorman' again. Classy. I love lamp!


2nd June '13 - Ok, so what's the most boring pop song ever recorded? I have it down to 'Good Enough' by Dodgy, 'There Must Be An Angel' by Annie Lennox or 'Dancing in the Moonlight' by Toploader.
  I would rather eat my own head than hear any of them ever again.


1st June '13 - Found the new wheels. A little garage down in Cannock had a nice red Citroen Picasso 1.6 that was just immaculate. It'd only been on the forecourt for a day and the salesman was still cleaning it up when we got there.
  Six years old, two owners, full history and immaculate inside. With a bit of haggling, I got him down to £3,750. 
  The thing's only got 37K on the clock. I practically bit the bloke's hand off.


31st May '13 - I watched an amazing film this evening. If you've not seen it, I cannot recommend 'Cloud Atlas' highly enough. Basically, it's six interlinked stories that take place over several hundred years with the same actors popping up time and time again. It goes from drama to sci-fi to farce and is beautifully acted, with even Halle Berry stepping up her game. 
 The editing is sublime, the soundtrack gorgeous and the whole thing just blew me away. I'm guessing from its lack of box-office impact that you can definitely file this one under 'Marmite' - you'll either love it or hate it - but for me, it's nothing short of a masterpiece.
  Highly recommended!


30th May '13 - Looks like the time has come to look for a new car. The Fishwife's little Fiat Punto is on its last legs after nine years of loyal service, and the recent addition to our brood combined with the rapidly-growing daughter, mean that a bigger set of wheels are called for.
  Drove all round the local garages from Stafford to Sandwell and sat in any number of different makes and models until we finally decided on either a Citroen Picasso or a Vauxhall Meriva. Now to start looking for suitable models.


29th May '13 - Hmm. It appears I had a better time yesterday than I thought. Apparently, on the way home, we must've raided the Pound Shop. I've just discovered twenty-four packs of McCoy's crisps hidden under the kitchen table.
 It probably seemed like a good idea at the time.


28th May '13 - I love these days. Met up with Brian the Basket (who is also off) and spent the afternoon in the Giffard Arms drinking cider and playing tunes on the jukebox. The Giff was my local in Wolverhampton and the only rock pub I knew before I moved to London (my initials are still carved into the wood just behind the gaming machine, barely hidden by nearly three decades of varnish) and the place hasn't changed. I mean 'at all'. Even the carpet is the same one Stan put down in '87 (though there's barely any pattern visible now).
  Ah, memories!   Anyway, a great afternoon. Only a dozen people in, but the cider was cold and the tunes were loud. We'll do it all again in August. Can't wait!


27th May '13 - My Bank Holiday consisted of not getting up until midday, lounging around all afternoon and then heading back to my pit and reading the Kindle until it was time to turn in. 
  Life on the edge, baby.
  In case you give a toss, Ken Kesey's 'One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest' is a great read. J.D. Salinger's 'Catcher In The Rye' isn't.


26th May '13 - Back in sunny Wolverhampton. I woke up to find the back of my arm bleeding from a three-inch long partially-healed friction burn I never knew I had. I got it last week at a kids play-barn throwing myself off a near vertical slide into a ball pit.
  It was worth it.


18 - 25 May '13 - St. Ives, Cornwall. Every year, this feels like coming home. Every year, the time goes too quickly. This holiday seemed to fly by, even with me dragging my sorry carcass out for a mile run most mornings. I keep thinking we ought to go for a fortnight next time, but every time we've done that, we find we're bored by the second Wednesday and want to come home. Oh well, at least there's Scotland to look forward to in August. Get me with my two holidays a year!


17th May '13 - It seems a bit churlish to return to the site only to say 'see ya!' for another couple of weeks, but the fact is it's time for the annual Fish pilgrimage to Cornwall once more and frankly, it's about time.
  The last few weeks have been mental and I have never needed a break as badly as I do right now. There will be more shit to come back to but at the moment, all I can concentrate on are pasties and cider.
  See you in a fortnight...


16th May '13 - I really ought to be doing something worthwhile like packing for holiday, but I find my time is far better spent playing 'Need For Speed: Hot Pursuit' on Steam. I'm not normally into driving games, but this is a hoot. Ramming bad guys off the track in my souped-up Police Maserati is ridiculous fun...

15th May '13 - Back to work, and the first of my mates to take early exit checked out this evening with a few drinks in Lambeth. Over the next month, eleven colleagues of varying years standing are leaving our organisation under the 'voluntary exit' scheme.
  Not one has said to me that they're sad to be going. Not one.


13th May '13 - A Rest Day and a flying round trip to Wolverhampton as I'd cracked a filling once more. Sadly, Robin informed me that my wisdom tooth was forcing it inwards and that he'd have to yank it, which he proceeded to do there and then. Ow. That kind of knackered the day, so I went back to the old girl's and took myself off to bed. Sore and fifty quid lighter, too...

12th May '13 - Surprisingly, there was nothing on my area today, so I took a look at the new shift pattern that came in while I was off. A rotating twenty-two week pattern for twenty-two people. Ok, so the 15% shift payment is intact for the troops, but anyone looking to book a decent spell of leave from now on is going to be screwed. I really hope they don't expect me to start telling people that their shifts are being 'shifted', as that will seriously get old quickly...

11th May '13 - The good thing about managing the base at Mile End is that North east London is a shit hole and there's always something that needs doing work-wise, whereas my colleagues at the other bases often have to drive miles and miles to pick up work.
  I did three different jobs today and yet only put eleven miles on the van. Doubtless they next thing will be management taking that vehicle off us for being 'under-utilised'...


10th May '13 - I was looking forward to the fact that it was Friday until I realised that I was down to work the weekend and there was only three of us on (minimum cover is four). So it looks like I'll be busy then. Arse.

9th May '13 - Back to work, only to find I'd forgotten my password and had to wait for a reset from our IT people. Once I finally got activated again, there were 218 emails waiting for me and the knowledge that they'd gone and adopted a completely new shift pattern while I was away.
  That's the rest of the week fucked then...


22nd April - 8th May '13 - Jury Service. See? I told you there was a good reason I was off. Mostly. Anyway, that's me all done and dusted with my civic duty for the next three years or so. I'd love to be able to tell you all about it, but obviously I can't or I could end up doing time for contempt.
  Suffice to say that everyone I've ever spoken to who has been summoned has told me all about how they sat around for ages and were bored to tears. Me, I get called second out of sixty-odd people on day one and stuffed into a complex not-quite-three week trial involving many witnesses and a couple of evidence files at least four inches thick.
  It was interesting to a degree, but there was an awful lot of repetition and referring back to things we'd been told twice already and by the middle of the second week, I was beginning to wish they'd send me down so I could get away from the tedium. Still, could've been worse. I could've been at work...


15th - 21st April '13 - Wolverhampton. Rare to have a whole week back in the ancestral pile doing nothing but chilling out and catching up on stuff, but here we are. Actually, there was quite a bit going on, as the old girl insisted on me clearing out a load of my old clobber and one or two clapped out bits of furniture prior to her having new wallpaper and carpets put in, so I was a bit busier than I wanted to be but hey, at least the charity shop did ok.
  I did come across a load of old Commodore 64 games though, which did make me smile. I reckon there was about a grand's worth of stuff in the back of the wardrobe. All on tape and all of it worthless. Games that took half an hour to load and now could be run by a £5 mobile phone. Technology, eh? Ah, the memories...


13th April '13 - Alan Carr: Twatty Man.

12th April '13 - Meat Loaf, Birmingham NEC. Well actually, it's the O2 or something, but you know what I mean. One last time to see the Main Man before he calls it a day and it was with mixed feelings that I took my seat. The NEC has always had shite sound and the crowd are notoriously wank; never standing up and generally being crap.
  So I was somewhat unprepared for the fact that it was a damn good show all round. The sound was miles better than I've ever heard it here before - really loud and well-mixed. The visuals were brilliant and the crowd were nearly all up on their feet (apart from one fat cow in front of me who sat there with pizza and chips on her lap, for fuck's sake!)
  And what of the man himself? Well, his voice is pretty much shot now, but he gamely made it through on determination and spirit with Paul Crook and Patti Russo carrying him (figuratively, not literally - he's porked again) through the high notes. There was an emotional send off at the end of 'For Crying Out Loud' (He performed 'Bat Out Of Hell' in its entirety) and all in all, it was a great way to bow out.
  Enjoy your retirement, big guy!


11th April '13 - Apparently, Wolves aren't doing too well at the moment, but since I've given up talking about them on this site, I couldn't possibly comment...except to say that perhaps pissing away fifteen million quid on a new stand when your team is shite and you're looking at Third Division football next season is probably not the wisest move that could've been undertaken this year...

9th April '13 - I seem to be addicted to Pound Shops. I cannot walk past one without going in, and this always results in me coming out with a bagful of tat I never knew I wanted until a few minutes earlier.
  Case in point today, when I came out with two white Toblerones, some masonry glue and an A4 picture frame. What the fuck?


8th April '13 - Dragged Jesus up to the pub again for an early morning fry-up and bundled him on the train back to London. I think the delicious Banks's nectar was a bit to cultured for his under-developed London palate. Either that or he's a lightweight...

7th April '13 - The Wildhearts, Wulfrun Hall, Wolverhampton. I've no idea how many times I've seen Ginger and co. over the last twenty years, but I can honestly say that the last two times (Ginger's birthday bash and this gig) have been frighteningly good. Tonight's gig was in two parts, the first being a run through of 'Earth Vs...' to celebrate its twentieth anniversary and the second a 'shout out which of two song options you want to hear' affair which was mostly successful but did mean we had to choose between 'I Wanna Go Where The People Go' and 'Sick Of Drugs' at one point when we should have had both!
  It was great to have my old mate Jesus down from London to share this, too. What a night! CJ back in the line-up, a sell-out crowd with everyone singing, two tracks from 'Mondo-Akimbo-A-Go-Go' (wa-a-y back!) and to cap it all, Banks's served in two-pint glasses!
  I have never, ever heard the Wildhearts sounding this tight. Just fucking awesome!
 A legendary gig!


6th April '13 - For the first time in my life, I can now run a mile without stopping. I'm angry it took me to the age of forty-four to be able to do this; to be able to believe I could do this.
  From my first days at infant school, I was conditioned to think that because I was asthmatic, I would never be able to play sports or run because my chest would get tight and I'd need my inhaler. No-one ever told me "just ease off for a few minutes and try again, it'll gradually improve".
  All those wasted years when I could've been playing football or rugby instead of sitting on the sidelines watching. Never mind. It's a small consolation, but I reckon all those kids who gave me a hard time at school for being ill and puny are probably all fat bastards now, while I have a six-pack and am buff as fuck, so 'nyer'!


5th April '13 - I watched the first of Peter Jackson's 'Hobbit' trilogy today. It didn't drag quite as much as I'd feared, but there is an awful lot of filler in the two hours forty-nine running time. If this is the template for the pacing of the next two, I'd say the whole thing could easily have been done in a couple of movies as was originally intended.
  Still, nice to see Sylvester McCoy in work again.


4th April '13 - Just caught up with the Season 3 opener of 'Game Of Thrones'. Awesome, although one slightly disappointing omission: why no Fat Belwas? I guess the way Ser Barristan comes back into the story doesn't really need the assistance of a huge fighting eunuch with the demeanour of a spoiled eight-year-old, but Fat Belwas is such fun in the books!
  Oh well. At least the giant looked ok. Shame the CGI couldn't stretch to a mammoth or two though...


3rd April '13 - The BBC's website currently has a 'class calculator' on it. I keyed in my details and was horrified to discover that I'm middle class.
  Me! Middle class!
  I nearly choked on my sun-dried tomato and olive focaccia.


2nd April '13 - The wife's birthday. I think perhaps I ought to consider buying shares in Pandora...


April Fool's Day '13 - There were a couple of good ones today. The one about Peter Dinklage being replaced by Warwick Davies in the next series of 'Game Of Thrones' managed to get a few of the fanboys riled, but I liked the one that MyProtein spun about having developed a low-calorie, high-protein 5% beer.
  Funny, but at the same time just a little bit cruel...


Easter Sunday  '13 - I may have had one or two extra ciders last night, which is why I didn't surface until after eight. I was still the first adult up though, so was able to make a round of teas and climb back into my pit before anyone noticed how bleary-eyed I looked.
  Moral high-ground secured and flag nicely planted...


30th March '13 - 'Doctor Who' returned this evening. Perhaps it was wrong of me to expect a season of classics as this is the Time Lord's fiftieth year, but I did think we'd get something a little better that this one; another typical Moffat 'Deus Ex Machina' filler with a hint of some big bad behind the scenes. Yawn.
 The new companion's definitely crumpet, though...


Good Friday '13 - Today, I did absolutely fuck-all. No really, not a stroke. After months of interrupted sleep and half four starts, I simply lay in my childhood pit and dozed to my heart's content.
  I occasionally woke up, read for a bit and once I even managed to squeeze a bath and shave in before retiring under the duvet once more. You have no idea how much I needed this...


28th March '13 - I played a blinder in avoiding the Bank Holiday traffic by leaving London at nine o'clock this evening. The roads were utterly dead and we got to Wolverhampton in a little over two and a half hours! This is the fastest I've ever done it on four wheels.
  Definitely the time to travel!


26th March '13 - If I had to be a god, I think I'd like to be that Egyptian dog-headed one. That way, if ever I got bored with being omnipotent, I could just sit down and lick my knackers for a bit...


25th March '13 - Gave it large on the early morning run seeing as how I won't be taking the 15kg vest back to Wolvo with me when I go. Managed to do the mile and a quarter with only three little walky bits, but bloody hell it was knackering. I'm not sure my left leg was supposed to do Elvis impressions for the rest of the day every time I got up, either. Ow.


24th March '13 - On a whim, I decided to tidy my desk up a bit. Somehow, this became a bit of a purge and I ended up filling three confidential waste sacks full of shit, most of it either pertaining to the technical nature of my job (which they won't let me do anymore) or the managerial side (which they won't let me do either.)
  All my drawers are nice and clean now, and there are no longer piles of meaningless paperwork all over my desk.
  I should've done this months ago...


23rd March '13 - Working the weekend once more. I've often said how much I enjoy this, as it's the only time I get to do the job I was actually employed and trained for. However, today, with not much going on, my day mainly involved making sure that all my databases and paperwork were up to date ready for me to disappear for five weeks at the end of the month.
  I'm not entirely sure my anyone realises I'm out of the game for five weeks, but then again, I doubt they'd give a toss if they did.


21st March '13 - If there are any old farts reading this who are still idiotically into fitness training at an advanced age, there's a few supplements I can heartily recommend for the crumbling over-40 body.     Firstly, Omega 3. An absolute no-brainer. An essential fatty acid that everyone's body needs to maintain good health. Too may positive benefits to mention here, so just get on it! If you have the money, Krill Oil is the way to go. The absolute Holy Grail of Omega 3 and well worth the extra outlay. I have not had a single creak or click from my joints since I've been on this stuff! 
  Next up, Glucosamine. Absolutely essential if you're lifting. Keeps your cartilage in good working order and reduces pain and fatigue the next day. 
  Finally, make sure you're taking some good quality Branched Chain Amino Acids before and after training. Your body doesn't manufacture these, so it's up to your diet to provide you with the proper stuff to assist in tissue repair and muscle growth. It won't, which is why you need 'em.
  Get yourself on these supplements, drink water like a fish, eat well, train well and get lots of rest. Job done!


20th March '13 - Budget Day. Time to find out how much worse off I'm going to be next year as George Osborne tells us how much he wants to steal from British workers to give out in Overseas Aid. Hey, that Indian Space Programme isn't going to fund itself, you know!
  Still, I've just looked and he's taken a penny off the price of a pint of beer, which is nice. Buy three hundred and sixty Stellas, get one free...


19th March '13 - A bit of a zombie day. As well as catching up with the last few episodes of 'The Walking Dead', I also started playing the PC game on Steam.
  Both were excellent. If you've not gotten into this fantastic programme yet, you really are missing out. Go buy the box sets
  It's rare to see a comic-book franchise done as brilliantly as this


17th March '13 - I have just totted up the points on my Costa Coffee loyalty card and after three full years of regular purchases, I have enough for thirteen free coffees or a drink, a sandwich and a cake for three people.  
  Ra ra. My life is now complete.


16th March '13 - Quick tip for any couples out there thinking of having children in the near future. If either you or your partner are over thirty-six, don't bother.  
  Parenting in your twenties; fine. Parenting at thirty; do-able. Parenting at forty; sheer unadulterated hell.  
  You never realise the importance of sleep until you're no longer getting any. Trust me, save the money you would've spent on raising a kid (about £200k at the last count) and go on lots of nice holidays instead.


15th March '13 - Anytime Richard Branson fancies popping over to Streatham and offering me a percentage of his bank account is fine by me.
  Nothing too excessive, you understand. Five per cent or so would be fine.


14th March '13 - So we have ourselves a new pontiff. Pope Francis 1 was formerly a Cardinal named Jorge. We've already had a couple of John Pauls, so I reckon were due for a Pope Ringo next time...

13th March '13 - Women are full of shit. They're always saying they want a man who is 'fun and spontaneous', yet whenever I put on my clown outfit and follow them home, they call the police...

12th March '13 - The tax on beer has apparently risen 42% since 2008. If that's not enough of an argument for emigration, I don't know what is.


11th March '13 - For those of you not familiar with a Papal Conclave, it goes something like this: if there's black smoke coming out of the chimney at the end of the day, they have failed to elect a new Pope. If there's white smoke, they've decided; and if there's grey smoke, they've given it up as a bad job and are toking the weed.


10th March '13 - Interesting headline on my phones 'BBC News' app earlier. It said 'Savile failings could happen again'. That could be taken to mean that there's a general lack of confidence in the current channels for reporting such cases, but I'm choosing to read it as concern that the old perv is about to spontaneously reanimate.


9th March '13 - If you'd have told me twenty years ago that I'd be the boss of a highly dedicated team of forensic professionals by the time I was forty, I'd just have stared blankly at you.
  Then again, I was on a lot of medication in those days...


8th March '13 - A lazy one, as most post-gig days tend to be at my age following large quantities of alcohol the night before. Still, I was up by eight (which is technically a three-and-a-half hour lie-in for me) and decided to do a bit of electronic spring-cleaning by tidying up my Kindle.
  Removed most of the stuff I'd read and some of the crap I'd tried to read but couldn't (owing to it being crap - looking at you, Tom Clancy) and finally dropped in a load of new books all ready for the next few months of reading.
  Not sure what I'll start with. I quite fancy another run through 'The Hobbit', though. I don't think I've read it this century...


7th March '13 - DevilDriver/Cannibal Corpse, Kentish Town: These double-header tours are always a bit hit and miss for me, as I never know which band is taking the stage first until I get there and, being all the way up the other end of the Northern Line, I have to be out of the door just before the last band start their encore in order to get home.
  So I was hoping that Cannibal Corpse were headlining so I'd see the full DevilDriver set, but alas, it was the other way around. Now don't get me wrong, I've got nothing against CC - great music and some killer riffs - but the one accusation that tends to get laid at the door of Death Metal bands by the uneducated is that the vocals are all 'Urgh! Urgh! Urgh!'. Though this is rarely the case, I have to admit that George Fisher's voice tends to fit the description.
  No such complaints about Dez Fafara (or is it 'Bradley' now?), who tore it up like a demon here. This is the fourth time I've seen DevilDriver (not counting the time I missed their set at Wembley) and they're getting better each time. Their albums are improving with each release, too, and it's always hard for me to reconcile the fact that the guy churning out this awesome noise was responsible for the god-awful Coal Chamber. All in all, a pretty good gig with the sound at the venue being spot-on as usual. Shame I had to bug out early once more...


6th March '13 - I've been summoned for jury service. Not quite sure what to make of this, to be honest. On the one hand, it's a fortnight out of work (and God knows, that's fine by me right now), but on the other hand, I just know I'm going to be bored out of my mind.
  I've never been good at sitting still and listening, and since I turned sociopath a few months ago, I don't make good company anymore. Oh well, at least the court is only half the travelling distance that work is.
  A lie-in is always welcome.


5th March '13 - Work is driving me nuts at the moment. It's my job to manage our shift pattern (well actually, it isn't. Some other bloke is being paid the grade to do this but doesn't, so in the interests of trying to provide a coherent service, I ended up volunteering to cover it. But I digress...)
  Anyway, our shift team consists of 32 staff and 4 foremen (like me) working from four bases. From this, we have to provide 24/7 cover for the whole of London. However, that 32 is a 'paper strength' and you can knock off a couple for sickness, light duties and other abstractions straight away. Added to that, we've also lost another four staff over recent months to other units through redeployment and transfers. Sill, people are being great - swapping shifts and making it work. We're just about coping..
  The fun has come with the realisation that, in June, we will lose eight staff in one go to Voluntary Exits; two of which are my foremen colleagues. This means I will now have to try and put together a workable shift pattern with 22 operational staff. I've been scribbling for a week now and can't come up with anything that won't be a bastard to work.
  It's like trying to play a game of chess with only two-thirds of the pieces and chunks of the board missing. Not fun...


4th March '13 - Today sees the start of Climate Week, Britain's biggest Climate Change campaign in which, and I quote, 'thousands of organisations, businesses and individuals take part to create awareness of the growing challenges and impacts climate change will have'.
  The purpose of this national campaign, we are told, is to 'help individuals understand the importance of making behavioural changes to become more aware of our energy use to ensure all resources are used sustainably'.
  Which is why you will no doubt be able to drive through any city centre after dark this week, look up at all the buildings after everyone has gone home and see nothing but darkened windows, as every single unnecessary light will have been responsibly turned off in all those thousands of empty offices as Britain's businesses strive to set the example for you, the little people, in safeguarding our future...
   Yeah, right.


3rd March '13 - Groovy. One of those days that start off shit and get progressively worse. Woken up at just after midnight by the baby resulting in yet another night on the sofa, which was cruelly cut short by pins and needles in my left arm (thought it was the big one for a moment) and cramps in both legs.
  Just got comfy again at half four when my daughter came in bright as a button and wanted to turn the computer on to start her homework (read: look at toys on Amazon and eBay).
  Went down to try and grab an hour in her bed and no sooner had I done so than the blackbird started having  a good old sing in the tree outside and that was pretty much that.
  Read for what seemed  like forever before finally getting up and making a coffee.
  It was five thirty-eight.
  I've got the whole day ahead of me and already I've had enough...


2nd March '13 - I'm back. No, let' s just roll with that for a minute: I'm fucking back. For the last year and a half, I've not been myself. Dragged under by circumstance, lied to, taken for a fucking idiot - I've not had a great time. It changed me. That was unacceptable.
  I trusted. I let my mask slip. I showed that I cared. Stupid.
 The last few weeks have been...illuminating. I've found out one or two things that I wasn't previously aware of. The thought of 'friends' laughing at you behind your back kinda alters your perspective somewhat.
  Long story short, I'm done with 'all or nothing' people. From now on, let's make it 'nothing', shall we?
  Fuck you.


1st March '13 - If anyone plays the National Lottery, allow me to save you a few quid and improve your odds. My numbers are 6, 8, 11, 19, 34 and 42.
  They've won cow-all in the fifteen years I've been playing them, so do yourselves a favour and leave them out of whatever selections you make from now on...


28th February '13 - Apart from two small spells of walking, I jogged the entire one and a bit miles from my house to the tube station wearing my 15kg vest this morning. This was due to me having headphones and playing Biohazard as I went. Instead of counting my steps and regulating my breathing, I simply zoned in on the aggression and powered on, panting like a bull.
  It worked, too. Until about three hours later when I found I'd seized up and couldn't get out of my chair at work. Ow...


27th February '13 - The new 'X-Men' film 'Days Of Future Past' is about to go into production and will link the Brian Singer X-franchise with the rather excellent Matthew Vaughn 'First Class' film in a time-travel story that fans of the comic will recognise immediately as one of the classic Claremont tales of the early Eighties.
  Most of the cast past and present are linked in, but still no word about Storm and whether Halle Berry will be reappearing.
  For me, it's a case of Storm, yes - Berry, no. Storm is a great character, but Halle, bless her, although easy on the eye, cannot act her way out of a paper bag.
  I wonder what Gina Torres is doing these days?


26th February '13 - A friend of mine passed a comment at work today; "You're always so angry-looking", she said. "You always look like you're just about to punch someone."
  Yes. And?


24th February '13 - Green tea is apparently very good for you. Green tea is full of antioxidants. Green tea has thermogenic (fat-burning) properties. Green tea lowers lipoprotein (cholesterol) levels.
  I've just tried some. Green tea is fucking disgusting.


23rd February '13 - According to statistics, the United States is the most medicated nation on Earth, consuming some 68% of all pharmaceutical products produced worldwide. It is literally a nation of pill-poppers.
  I've just come across an episode of a programme called 'Keeping Up With The Kardashians'
  I think America needs to take more drugs.


22nd February '13 - If I get half as much fun and escapism out of 'Bioshock Infinite' as I did out of its predecessors, it'll be thirty quid well spent. Have a look at this.


21st February '13 - Go take the kids to see 'Wreck-it Ralph'. It rocks!


20th February - Hot on the hells of news that the Government's sell-off of the 4G network raised almost a billion pounds less than expected (shit, I could've told them that!) comes the heartwarming tale that the clowns at EE (formerly Orange) have had to - *gasp* - lower their prices since the uptake on 4G has been 'significantly' less that they anticipated.
  Considering the way they treated me, a loyal customer of eleven years, and a number of others I've spoken to, I'm not surprised. An attitude of 'fuck you, we've already got your money' is not a terribly good business model with which to address your existing customers, especially when trying to attract new ones who are obviously going to talk to, dur, existing customers to find out what sort of service they're getting.
  Add this to the laughable presumption that anyone spending thirty quid for a barely adequate 3G service will naturally want to spend fifty quid for an untested 4G one and it's no wonder they're struggling. Times are tough and although £400 handsets on two year contracts at £600 a year might look great to the accountants at EE, they don't look quite so attractive to the bloke looking in through the EE shop window and suddenly realising that his current iPhone isn't so bad after all.
  Like I said before, this is the 'ITV Digital' business model all over again. You're going under, boys...


19th February '13 - Another trip to see Robin, my trusty dentist and his new hygienist, whom I shall refer to as Miss Whiplash from this point onwards. Robin graciously replaced my loose crown and even left me with enough money in my pocket for a paper to read on the way home.
   Not that I could read it though. The tears of pain from the new girl's 'Marathon Man' routine saw to that...


18th February '13 - Although I'm on annual leave this week, the job phone has gone off twice and it's only Monday. Each time I was assist to help the person on the other end and point them in the right direction after they both said they'd been given my number by someone who reckoned I'd be able to help.
   My fault for keeping the thing on, I guess, but I'd love to know who's giving out my number...


16th February '13 - An evening in Birmingham with Brian the Bastard as we once again braved the so-so offerings of Spud, the 'rock' DJ in Scruffy's. Now don't get me wrong, I like Spud, he's a top fella, and he'll generally play something if you ask him nice, but left to his own devices, there's altogether too much hippy bollocks for my taste.
  I mean, Led Zeppelin I can understand, but Fleetwood Mac? Jethro Tull? Bry and me are easily in the upper third of the age demographic in that place on a Saturday evening and even we think this stuff is old fogey material.
  Ok, so I'm not advocating an all night Blink 182 and Killers marathon, but would a bit of Biohazard hurt? Or some 5FDP? You know, hard rock in a hard rock pub, that sort of thing...


15th February '13 - I have managed to escape from London for a week. Back to Wolverhampton, my cold, empty, dying town. I feel an affinity to the place more now than I ever have, though I doubt I'd want to live here again. It doesn't feel like home anymore.
  Nowhere feels like home anymore...


Valentine's Day '13 - If a man tells a woman she's hot, he's talking about her body. If a man tells a woman she's pretty, he's talking about her face. But if a man tells a woman she's beautiful, he's talking about her soul.
  All three want to knob her though. Love is for poets.


13th February '13 - I have given up Facebook for Lent. Partly because I was spending too much time on it, but mostly because it has now become a tedious corporate marketing tool.
   Depending on how much I miss it (or don't) over the next month, I may or may not be back. There are one or two people I'm sick of the fucking sight of on there right now, so I'm erring toward the latter...


12th February '13 - I rarely dream, so to do so last night and to see - quite vividly - a set of five numbers was something I took as an omen. I put all five on a Euromillions Lottery ticket on the way to work this morning thinking that Fate had finally intervened in my sad little life.
   I've just stayed up late to watch the draw and note with a wry smile that I've got one correct. Memo to self: never mistake Fate for simply having eaten jalapeno crisps a bit too close to bedtime...


11th February '13 - The papers are now talking about a 'triple dip' recession. Frankly, I'm getting a bit tired of this. I'm no economist, but I look at my pay slip every month and wonder what's going on. On paper, I'm earning more than I've ever earned in my life, but, though my overheads have barely changed, I had more disposable income fifteen years ago when I was barely on two thirds of what I'm on now.
  Like I've said before, if the solution to recession is to get more money circulating, then surely lowering VAT and cutting Income Tax is the answer? Leave people with more in their pockets each month and they'll buy more things, thus stimulating the economy. It ain't rocket science.


10th February '13 - Normally, when I work a Sunday, it's at the end of a seven day stint. This weekend though, is one I've swapped with a colleague meaning that I've still got a full week ahead of me.


9th February '13 - Playing 'Bioshock 2' at half three in the morning because your six-month-old baby woke you up an hour and a half before your alarm was due to go off adds a wonderful dream-like quality to the rest of your day. 
  Especially when you find yourself working in an empty office where every sudden background noise has the potential to be mistaken for an attacking Splicer...


8th February '13 - I'm not sure why everyone's getting so worked up about this 'horsemeat in ready meals' fiasco. From a nutritional point of view, horse meat has about the same protein as beef and slightly less fat, so where's the issue?
  If it's being sold something that wasn't what you expected, I can sort of see your argument, but if it's righteous indignation at unwittingly chomping down on poor Dobbin, I can't. No-one spotted it from the taste, did they?
  If you're that concerned about what you're eating, you could always do something radical like, er, cooking?


7th February '13 - Thank-you 'Transport for London' for not blocking my Oyster Card when I reported it lost last week, and thank-you to the kind soul who ran up a further £60 of travel at my expense in the meantime which I only I spotted on my online Barclaycard bill this morning.
   I'd like to think what goes around comes around, but karma is a load of cods, isn't it? The bastards always win...


6th February '13 - Had a nice evening at a surprise party thrown for a friend's fiftieth. It was great catching up with some colleagues from my old team whom I hadn't seen for a few years.
  With all the voluntary exits and redundancies coming up over the next few months, I doubt there'll be too many of these things in the future. Sad.


5th February '13 - So it was Richard III buried under that car-park in Leicester after all. He might not have been a very popular monarch, but he certainly was the tits at hide and seek!


4th February '13 - Two years today. I miss you, Mon-keh. God bless.


3rd February '13 - Five hours a night sleep is starting to take its toll. I can barely see as I type this at five a.m. For someone weight-training on a high-protein diet, I should be getting eight hours minimum. Sadly this just isn't possible due to a combination of a six-month-old baby and having to get up at half past four.
  I can't keep this up, something is going to give. Even caffeine doesn't work anymore.


2nd February '13 - With a mere nine weeks left on my contract, Orange have charged me £108 to terminate my dealings with them and move across to Three.
  Boys, it was worth every penny. I hope your poxy company goes under. With two or three 'EE' premises on most High Streets and their top 'all-you-can-eat' data package costing fifty-odd quid a month, I'm quietly confident they'll do just that.


1st February '13 - My perceptions at work have undergone numerous changes over the last eighteen months or so. I have gone from feeling sad, angry, depressed, betrayed and several other bitter and pointless emotions to the point where I am now - back to square one. I no longer give a toss about anything or anyone because none of it matters.   
  My mask is in place once more and I will not let it slip again. It's just a shame I had to utterly waste a year and a half of my life to get back here. Still, live and learn...


31st January '13 - One down, eleven to go. Soon be Christmas, eh?

30th January '13 - Although I usually despise what laughably passes for chocolate in America (Hershey's smells sickeningly like breast-milk to me), I have to admit these Reese's Peanut Butter Cups are more addictive than crack...


29th January '13 - It's just occurred to me that, come March, I will have been flying this sorry excuse for a website for a whole decade. I don't know whether that should be seen as laudable or just plain sad.


28th January '13 - Shaved another minute off my previous best time jogging down to the tube station this morning. I'm still walking parts of it to recover, but these get shorter as the jogging bits gets longer. I might try it without the 15kg vest one morning to see how much quicker I am.    Then again, why bother? Things are going well and I reckon I'll be doing the full mile soon!


27th January '13 - 'Spider Man 3' was on telly this evening. I thought I'd give it a watch for a bit to see if it was as howlingly bad as I remembered. It was.


26th January '13 - Wolves 1 Blackpool 2. Defeat snatched from the jaws of victory once more, as the fantastic new managerial reign of Dean Saunders continues. Played three, drawn two, lost one. Four places off the drop zone now.
   I am sick of following these overpaid, under-performing jokers and so this will be the last time I comment on them here this season unless there is a spectacular turnaround of form.
   Bored now.


24th January '13 - The latest bit of DLC for 'Skyrim' went on Steam pre-release today. Needless to say, I ponied up. I'm looking forward to another three hundred hours in Tamriel, but only when all the DLC has been released.  
  In the meantime, the long-rumoured 'Elder Scrolls Online' is on the horizon. I'd love to sign up as a beta tester for this, but thing like work, home life and eating would probably intrude.


23rd January '13 - Work is not much fun right now. Some of my people have put themselves forward for the Voluntary Exit packages that were offered recently, but I'm not sure it'll be enough to stop the axemen coming back for more.  
  Worrying times ahead...


22nd January '13 - Weight-training again, and I decided to try out a bicep-tricep routine I'd found on the internet. It involved going silly with low reps of heavy dumbbells and it hurt a lot. Apparently, slowing your reps right down on the downward part of the lift (like, four seconds) will promote better muscle growth. 
  It should also assist in weight loss too, since I had trouble holding my bastard fork when eating afterwards...


21st January '13 - On reflection, staying up until three in the morning playing videos and seeing off a second bottle of Shiraz was not one of my brightest moves. There are better uses of a rest day than lying around with the Kindle on the go. Still, I did the school run without slipping on the snow, and even managed to drag two armfuls of shopping back from Sainsbury's.   
  This rock n' roll lifestyle of mine is a non-stop blast.


20th January '13 - I really ought to be sitting at home playing 'Left 4 Dead' on my PC, but sadly I'm at work...playing 'Left 4 Dead' on my laptop. Just kidding! I did however, try out the concept of 'tethering' on my lunch break and I must say I am mightily impressed with 3. When I think of all those £15 top-ups I've bought for my Vodafone dongle over the years, I could weep.  
  And I'm still paying £9 a month less than I did with Orange!


19th January '13 - Sheff Wed 0 Wolves 0. Hello again Yawnsville. Another uninspired performance, another point. One of those games that was almost called off due to the weather and probably ought to have been. Staring at an empty snow-covered pitch would've been more entertaining.


18th January '13 - The new software update for the Amazon Kindle allows you to replace every instance of a certain word with another of your choosing. I have no idea why you'd want to do this, but on a whim, I've changed the word 'Wand' to the word 'Dick' on my machines' database.
  The Harry Potter books are fucking hysterical now...


16th January '13 - Camelot have just announced that the cost of a National Lottery ticket will be doubling from the autumn. Wow. So it'll now be two quid down the khazi for the chance at winning a weekly pot of money that has been steadily decreasing year on year since the thing was invented.
  The dole-scroungers will still lap it up though. They might as well up the cost of scratch-cards too while they're at it.


15th January '13 - A day off. Just me and the Widdle Man. First we had a play on the playmat and grabbed a few elephants, then we had a bounce in our bouncy chair and watched the fairies. After that we looked out of the window and counted cars before going for a little nap until Mummy came home. Nice.


13th January '13 - One of my mates accused me recently of being 'over-opinionated' and having 'something to say on bloody everything'. Guilty. I'll gladly take that over the alternative of being cowed into indifference by the shite society we now live in.

12th January '13 - Spent all day lounging around in my Jedi robe and reading my Kindle. The only reason I got up at all was the fact that it started getting dark about half three and I couldn't see the screen anymore.
  I might have to invest in one of the new backlit models. Then again, if I do, I might also have to employ a nurse to check me for bed sores...


11th January '13 - Wolves 1 Blackburn 1. A very bright start for the first twenty minutes until some sloppy defending caused Sako to give away a needless penalty. After that, it was a bit of a war of attrition until a lovely Roger Johnson header levelled things up. We were all over them for the last ten minutes, but to be honest, both teams were all mouth and no trousers with neither goalie breaking a sweat.
  A draw and a point for Saunders' first home game  and my judgment is still reserved. The Owls away next...


10th January '13 - Rest Days again, and a chance to open and set up my Christmas present; a new Razer Anansi keyboard. Smaller than the old Tarantula, but the keys are beautifully responsive and I like the programmable F keys.
  Let's see how the bastard holds up with a few late night 'Left 4 Dead' marathons, shall we?


9th January '13 - I think changing my closed-loop nipple rings for horseshoes was a bad idea. The end has already worked its way off the one on my left tit and I've no idea where it's gone.
  Luckily, I bought some new loops as a back up. Blue this time. That ought to be amusing the next time I stick my white training vest on...


8th January '13 - Ridiculously, I forgot at half five this morning that today was a weights day, not a cardio day and was halfway down to the tube with the 15kg vest on before I realised the error. I blame having a five-month-old waking me up twice between midnight and half four. Anyway, not to waste the effort, I decided to do a weights session after work as well. Result? I could barely haul my knackered old carcass into bed at the ludicrously extravagant time of eight forty-five.  
  Thank God tomorrow is an 'off' day from this hellish routine...


7th January '13 - Back to work. That in itself wasn't so bad, but the jog down to the tube station with the 15KG weighted vest on was a bitch. It was even more evil coming home all the way up Bedford Hill. Ow.  
  Still, no pain, no gain, eh?


6th January '13 - Nope. He's gone. That's the only bit of good news though, because Steve Morgan has gone and hired Dean Saunders from Doncaster. Hardly the greatest achiever in the game at the moment, especially when you consider Wolverhampton-born Sean O'Driscoll was available.
  I shall reserve judgment on the bloke until he's got a few games under his belt, but I'm not optimistic...


5th January '13 - FA Cup: Luton Town 1 Wolves 0. Comprehensively thrashed by Blue Square Premier outfit. There's no way Solbakken can survive this, is there?


3rd January '13 - A pleasant, leisurely day spent playing with my new gadget. Shiny thing make it all better...


2nd January '13 - Went shopping for a new phone to replace my dead HTC Titan. Initially, I was going over to 3 on a SIM only contract, but you kind of need a phone for that, so I bit the bullet and signed up to one of the new Windows 8 babies. HTC again, natch; the 8X. Very nice.
  Hopefully, it won't take me too long to get all my favourite apps downloaded again.


New Year's Day '13 - Crystal Palace 3 Wolves 1. Absolutely fucking embarrassing. Get that Norwegian prick out now.
  And on the subject of embarrassing, just look at the Honours List this morning. 'Sir' Bradley Wiggins? Now I'm not knocking the bloke's achievement, but come on! A Knighthood for winning a few pushbike races? I thought 'Dame' Kelly Holmes was bad enough, but I reckoned that was a one-off. Now it looks like we're so obsessed with over-celebrating any sort of moderate success that achievements which may previously have warranted an MBE at best are now automatically fast-tracked to the top of the tree. What the hell has this country become? These gongs used to mean something...
  I also note with wry amusement that Kate Bush picked up a CBE, too, presumably for not being a tax exile these last thirty years. Ah well, good on her. I'd personally have given her the job of monarch for filling that pink leotard back in '78...


New Year's Eve '12 - As the regulars will know, I'm not the biggest fan of New Year's Eve (or 'Night of the Wankers' as I've taken to calling it) for two reasons. Firstly, you can either go out, in which case you're forced to pay a tenner to get into your own local, only to find it full of twentysomething fuckstains desperately trying to make up for their lack of personalities by being extra loud, or you can stay home and be subjected to that no-necked little shag, Jools Holland for three hours.
  I've just noticed that this year is particularly grim, seeing as the alternative to Holland is Alan Carr on one side and Graham fucking Norton on the other.
  Fuck this, I'm going to bed. See you next year...


30th December '12 - Today marks an entire week without a mobile phone. Seven days. That sounds scary, but, to be fair, I've been dehydrated, ill and/or floating on Diazapam for three of them. I must admit, I've not missed  it as much as I thought I would. Ok, so I usually check the damn thing for texts, Facebook updates and Twitter every twenty minutes, but once the option to do so had evaporated, I quickly returned to normal.
  If this goes on much longer, I may actually have to start talking to people again...


29th December '12 - Wolves 0 Ipswich 2. Mick McCarthy's return to Molineux. I don't even know why they bothered to pull the gold shirts on, everyone knew exactly how this was going to go down.
  And talking of going down, it's looking a very real possibility after this. Appalling.


28th December '12 - Apparently, my mobile phone will cost £169.99 to have repaired, or I can attempt to replace the water-damaged screen myself by buying a Chinese replacement from Ebay for £45. The latter sounds the more tempting option, but only if the screen is the sole problem.
  Good job I'm out of contract next month, isn't it? The easiest solution is to simply move across to 3 and get a new HTC that way, but I love my Titan and the new flagship model has a smaller screen. Ah well, I reckon the best plan is to go for the new shiny and repair  the  old one just in case...


27th December '12 - I was only commenting on Friday how rare it was for me to be off at Christmas and not be ill and then, at three o'clock this morning, I had a mad dash to the khazi where I promptly threw my lungs up and almost collapsed my rectum as the entire contents of my upper and lower intestine suddenly needed to be free.   
  Cue an entire day of shivering, shitting, barfing and wanting to die. Ironically for a bloke on steroids, statins and beta-blockers, I rarely get ill, but when I do, it tends to lay me out. Still, I managed to catch up with a few 'rainy day' movies on the laptop. I highly recommend 'The Grey'...


Boxing Day '12 - Wolves 0 Peterborough 3. So a home match against a team adrift at the bottom of the table who have never won at Molineux. One of those all too frequent times where you can pretty much predict what's going to happen...and it did. We were abysmal in every way here. Almost as if all eleven players had a bloody good Christmas blow-out yesterday and a few drinks too. Frankly, given the commitment this team is showing, I wouldn't have put it past them.
  I'm just glad I didn't succumb to the urge to go an spend forty quid to watch this farce. Shameful.


Christmas Day '12 - On the down side, I dropped my phone down the bog. Don't ask. On the up side, Santa brought me a rather funky Jedi robe, which I intend to live in. Just that and nothing else, like a modern day John the Baptist.
  Sadly, the Force was not strong enough to resurrect my HTC, it's well and truly fucked...  
  Merry Christmas.


Christmas Eve '12 - Back to Wolverhampton for the festive season. Laters, people. Hope you all have a fab n' groovy time...

23rd December '12 - Last day at work before Christmas, and I took advantage of the empty office to go fucking nuts and clear out all my drawers, files and folders. I filled three confidential waste sacks with all the management and development shit that used to be so important to me, and pushed almost a hundred CD-ROMS through the shredder.
  Start as you mean to go on, Fish. Next year - whatever happens - I ain't being anything other than streamlined and minimalistic when it comes to this management malarkey...


22nd December '12 - Blackpool 1 Wolves 2. Two from Ebanks-Blake did the job and helped pull us up to the lofty heights of thirteenth. With bottom of the table Peterborough at Molineux on Boxing Day, we might even be a top ten team for the New Year.
  Things could be looking up!


21st December '12 - Not a great deal happening on the work front today, so my opposite number on the South London plot came over for a meeting and  a coffee. I thought I was having a tough break right now, but it turns out he's not eligible for the Voluntary Exit package as he's too young for it by five weeks.
  I could see how gutted that made him so I bought him a mince pie.


19th December '12 - Went to Westfield at Stratford in my lunch break to do some Christmas shopping. Saw the amount of people there. Bought a sandwich and came straight back.
   Bah humbug.


18th December '12 - I really ought to think about doing some Christmas shopping, but I don't seem to be able to get motivated for it this year.
  I don't seem to be able to get motivated for anything right now...


17th December '12 - Ginger's Birthday, Kentish Town Forum. For years, my mates have asked me to come along to one of these things and, although I've seen The Wildhearts more times than I can count, I always imagined the set-up here to be Ginger indulging himself by playing his favourite songs, possibly with some mates joining him and maybe an acoustic number or three. 
  How wrong I was.
  Basically, I got treated to a three hour blast of sheer rock brilliance. In the first half, it was all Ginger's side project stuff (Supershot 666, Clam Abuse, Silver Ginger 5) which saw, amongst others, the mighty Alex Kane join the throng on stage and the second half was a full-on Wildhearts 'Best Of' set that tore the place up.
  Easily one of the best times I've ever had at a gig. I will definitely be doing this again next year!


16th December '12 - Shoot me now


15th December '12 - It has to be said that I am a drunken text-Muppet of the highest order.


14th December '12 - Rancid/Cock Sparrer, Kentish Town Forum. This was touted as a double-header, but none of my mates gave a stuff about Cock Sparrer, so we all stayed drinking in the pub until nine. Bad move. I was too full of cider to properly enjoy the gig and kept either going for a wash or nipping outside to join my old mate (who I'd not seen for two years) for a fag.
   Still, what I saw of Rancid was pretty good. Just a shame I wasn't fresh enough to go down the front for a pogo.


13th December '12 - Passing the Shard on the 133 whilst half asleep every morning, I am convinced its actually the Tower of Barad-Dur. I keep looking for the huge, red glowing eye of Sauron...


11th December '12 - Met an old mate for a few drinks today. I'd not seen him for a couple of years, so it was good to catch up. He's got one of these high-pressure international jobs and never knows what country he's going to be in from one month to the next, which sounds terribly exciting but was brought into sharp relief when our 'session' suddenly became 'a couple of beers' owing to him having to catch a flight out the next morning. Ah well, an early night never hurt...


10th December '12 - Had a day off for the hell of it. Took my daughter to school, went shopping and had coffee and cakes with the wife, relaxed, read a book, went and picked the daughter up from school again, hit the weights and then dinner, relax and bed.
  This must be what life is like for normal people.


9th December '12 - The mighty Meat Loaf is rumoured to be taking to the road for one last 'Farewell' tour. Oh go on then, I guess it would be rude not to


8th December '12 - I have downloaded a 'workout builder' off of the interweb in order to maximise my self-inflicted pain levels and hurt myself in a more targeted and effective manner. Lovely.


7th December '12 - Went for a curry in Brick Lane after work. For once, I decided to dress normal so we could go to a normal pub afterwards, rather than spend the evening yelling at each other in the Intrepid Fox.
   Turns out all pubs have the same volume level these days, so we just yelled at each other at some sprawling dive in Spitalfields instead. Heigh-ho.


5th December '12 - Been years since I had a Heinz 'Big Soup', but today was the fucking day! At work, I bought an extra large tin of 'Angus Steak and Potato' and ate the lot. In a mug. Slurping loudly.


4th December '12 - First reviews of 'The Hobbit' are coming online and they are not kind. Apparently, it's slow as duck and nothing much happens for well over an hour. This is what you get when you let a successful director indulge himself utterly.
   The book is a third of the size of 'Lord of the Rings', yet Peter Jackson still feels there's a trilogy of three-hour movies in it. Result? Yawnsville.
   Oh, and the new 48 frames per second trickery is supposed to be jarring, too.  
   There are two more to come, thus guaranteeing further disappointment for Christmas 2013 and '14, too. I think I'll leave well alone until someone sticks a two hour fan edit on YouTube in a few years time. That'll be the one to watch.


3rd December '12 - Doom and gloom at work today. The powers that be need to cut 800 jobs out of 4000 of us. The voluntary exit packages that were announced this morning look pretty good and I would be off like a fucking shot if I was six years older.
   Sadly, at my age, the early retirement option is non-existent (unless I go live in a tent and eat beans until I'm 67), so I have no option but to roll the dice and see what happens next March when the cuts have to be made.
   Worrying times ahead...


2nd December '12 - My legs have decided they hate me after yesterday's punishment. Unusually, my knees are fine. However, the same cannot be said for my thighs, calves and bizarrely, shins. Ow.

30th November '12 - I have just done a broadband speed check on my new TalkTalk package compared to the old Orange one. The best I ever got with Orange (at 0500 on a Sunday morning) was 2.6Mb. Usually, I'd be lucky to get 1.2Mb and drop-outs were frequent.   
   I've just checked this new set-up at peak time (1700 on a Friday) and got 6.8Mb. Impressive!


29th November '12 - Let me tell you a sorry tale of woe. It goes like this: I got back to London on November 4th after a week in Wolvo expecting to have to find a new broadband ISP since Orange told me they'd be binning my contract on the 22nd. Upon turning on the Livebox I found nothing. Nada. Dead as a wossname.  
  So I called India and after ten minutes of listening to Burt Bacharach's finest, I spoke to 'Paul', who informed me that, although they were closing my account on the 22nd, they'd actually switched the Livebox off on the 2nd. Still, all was not lost and Paul informed me, once again, that I could be back up and running in less than a week if I agreed to sign over the phone line.
  I told Paul to shove it and his mobile phone contract, too.
  Cue a couple of days running around comparing ISP providers before finally settling on TalkTalk. Couldn't have been easier. Unfortunately, there was a three week connection and transfer period to sit through. Never mind though, here we are, all up and running again. Goodbye Orange, or 'EE' as you are now. With your new prices and 'customer service', you'll be swallowed up by Vodafone in less than a year...


2nd November '12 - It is with much regret that I have to announce that today, I got roaringly drunk for the first time in years. The original plan was for a day out in Birmingham with Brian the Bastard, then home for a few hours before heading back up to the second City for the evening session.  
  However, Brian felt (quite rightly, I thought) that it would be too much travelling, and as he was the one driving, we decided to do Wolverhampton for the first stage instead. Unfortunately, the jukebox in our old pub had Biohazard on it, not to mention loads of other great stuff, so we stayed there drinking until five o'clock, by which time I was blowing cider bubbles. 
  The subsequent jaunt to Birmingham didn't help, and most of it was talking shit and necking more cider until I finally started falling asleep vertically at about nine o'clock. Slept in the car all the way home (much to Bry's amusement and disgust) before crawling through the door and up the stairs to bed.  
  I think I can safely say this is my last Leo Sayer. I am wa-a-y too old for this shit now!


1st November '12 - Cyclists. If you're one of those lycra-clad heroes who refuse to put their foot down at traffic lights and do all that handlebar-twitching, bunny-hopping nonsense until the lights turn green, may I suggest you look somewhat less than the pinnacle of manliness?  
  On reflection, we should be grateful though. At least you stopped!


Devil's Night '12 - Once again, I watched my favourite movie on the day it is set (and at roughly the same time, too). I will never get tired of 'The Crow'. Sure, it may not have the best effects or be the greatest movie ever made, but I love it to bits.   
  Two more years to go before the twentieth anniversary. I hope they do a decent Blu-Ray transfer to mark the event because the current one isn't all that...


28th October '12 - My little boy was christened today. It was a lovely day and I'm sure he would've enjoyed it if he'd woken up.   
  Alongside Mawgan, there was another baby getting dunked. His name was Jensen. I think I was the only one who spotted the classic car reference though.


27th October '12 - Wolves 1 Charlton 1. Another disappointment at home. Bakary Sako gave us the lead in the first half, only for idleness and complacency to creep in for the second half and predictably, the other lot score.   
  It's probably too early to say, but I reckon his is looking like relegation form at the moment.


26th October '12 - Another letter from Orange Broadband today telling me that my 'free' broadband (it's not fucking free, it's part of my exorbitant £45 a month mobile contract) will be coming to an end on November 22nd unless I pony up an extra £14.99 a month or hand over my phone line.  
  Er, how about 'bollocks'? And no, I don't want a £56 a month 4G contract, either. Time to look at alternatives...


25th October '12 - Caught a rather good Spanish time-travel movie today. Check out 'Los Chronocrimenes' (Timecrimes) here. Not only is it an excellently plotted tale of paradox and recrimination, it probably cost less than the catering budget on the last Michael Bay shitfest.  
  Oh and Barbara Goenaga's tits are possibly the finest ever to be captured on celluloid.


23rd October '12 - Wolves 2 Bolton 2. Normally, I'd take a point from Bolton and be happy with it, but this Bolton side are not the bruisers of old and we really should've had more from this.


22nd October '12 - I got sent on an all-day seminar at work today. It was all about how the future is going to be challenging, how we need to save an enormous amount of money and what could we do to resolve this?  
  There were five hundred of us in the (privately hired) venue and they'd laid on coffee, sandwiches and cake. Hmm...


21st October '12 - That Evan Davis bloke of 'Dragons Den'. They ought to have him on Doctor Who next series since he always reminds me of an anorexic Sontaran.


20th October '12 - Huddersfield 2 Wolves 1. I'm starting to get a bit worried about this Solbakken bloke now


19th October '12 - Three weeks until Bonfire Night and I still have most of last year's fireworks stuffed away in the cupboard. It pissed down last time, so I put them away thinking to have a display at New Year, which I then forgot about.  
  Oh well, at least it'll save me a few quid this year. I hope they'll still work or at least not explode as soon as I light them...


18th October'12 - Forensically, I am what is known as a 'non-secretor'; I don't leave fingerprints because the pores in my fingers never sweat. There are pros and cons to this. 
  On the one hand, I could easily murder you and get away with it scot-free, but on the other, I can never open a carrier bag at the supermarket checkout and trying to peeling a black bin-liner off the roll can keep me occupied for hours...


16th October '12 - Marvel have just announced that 'Ant Man' will be the next property to get the big screen treatment. About time too, since Hank Pym was one of the original Avengers anyway. 
  Hopefully, with Thanos revealed at the end of 'Avengers Assemble' and the next Thor movie going all 'cosmic', audiences will have no problem absorbing some of the more incredulous aspects of the Marvel universe, such as good old Ant Man and his alter ego, Giant Man. 
  Let's now have Scarlet Witch, Quicksilver, Black Panther, Vision and Doctor Strange in the mix as well, please!


15th October '12 - 'Skyfall', the new 007 movie, is proving to be very popular with the critics. Frankly, it could win all the gongs and plaudits going and I'd still be wary of seeing it because, for me, Daniel Craig is simply not James Bond.
  Daniel Craig is Sid James. With a stick up his arse.


14th October '12 - Glued to the telly this evening as Felix Baumgartner threw himself out of a weather balloon twenty-four miles up. Sixty-five years to the day since Chuck Yaeger became the first human to break the sound barrier, Baumgartner did it without a plane in less than thirty seconds.
  Real, jaw-dropping live television and history in the making. Unfortunately, I had to watch it on an internet stream because there was fucking ballroom dancing on BBC 1...


13th October '12 - As I was all alone in the office this afternoon, I found myself listening to a radio talk-in about the ever-rising costs of what used to be public utilities, such as gas, electricity and my old friend, the rail network. 
  I was utterly astounded at the number of people phoning in to call for the re-nationalisation of this, that and the other. I'm not sure if these people realise that re-nationalisation actually means that the government gets to run things directly once more.  
  Is that really what they're asking for? Because I wouldn't trust this lot to run a sausage trolley down the high street, let alone be a coherent national service provider, would you?


12th October '12 - A letter from Orange officially telling me they were cancelling my Home Broadband unless I stump up an extra £14.99 a month came today. It had a printed award logo at the bottom from Uswitch for offering 'Best Customer Benefits'.  
  Presumably in relation to the very service they're now withdrawing, the bastards...


11th October '12 - "Foreign Aid may be defined as the transfer of wealth from poor people in rich countries to rich people in poor countries."- Douglas Casey.


10th October '12 - Is it too early to pitch this for the Christmas No. 1?


9th October '12 - And another one! Today, we read about Edward Archibald, 32, who dropped dead shortly after winning a cockroach-eating contest in the good old U.S. of A. Apparently, he was desperate to win the first prize; a live Python.  
  Whether he was going to sell this or have it for dessert in not known, but once again, in true Darwin Award spirit, the collective human gene pool is improved by one idiot's voluntary abdication from it


8th October '12 - Darwin Award time again, as a twenty-year-old woman from Lancashire is hospitalised following her mind-boggling decision to neck a trendy 'foaming' cocktail before all the liquid nitrogen had boiled off.  
  Result? One surgically-removed stomach and a diet of soup and pureed food for the rest of her life. This reminds me of the time I had to stop a friend of mine necking a flaming sambuca because she thought it was a 'special kind of fire' that didn't burn.  
  And people wonder why I stick to beer...


7th October '12 - St. Austell Brewery have now gone live with an internet shop. This is extremely good news. Go here and stock up for Christmas!


6th October '12 - Blackburn 0 Wolves 1. The mighty Bakary Sako seals it once more! What a bargain he's turning out to be. Almost makes up for the knowledge that Steven Fletcher is currently the Premier League's top scorer.  
  To be honest, I wasn't expecting much here, so three points pretty much makes up for the disappointment of the Palace game the other night.  
  Third going into the international break. Not bad at all!


5th October '12 - Started off in the Royal George this evening with the good intentions of going for a pizza, but somehow I kind of decked that idea as too much hassle and ended up chugging bottles of Red Stripe in Crobar instead before rolling over to the Intrepid Fox to work my way through their Koppaberg stock.  
  The best laid plans, eh?


3rd October '12 - I'm no fiscal expert, but surely if you tax people a little less, they'd have more disposable income which would enable them to buy more stuff, thus stimulating the economy we're all so worried about.  
  Or is that being too simplistic?


2nd October '12 - Wolves 1 Crystal Palace 2. I shouldn't really be surprised by this result, seeing as Palace are managed by Dougie Freedman. As an ex-Wolves player, this bloke had a habit of winning games against us with whoever he played for after and it looks like his mojo is holding in his management career, too.  
  Ebanks-Blake opened the scoring, but Palace slotted twice in the last fifteen minutes to nick the points. Disappointing; especially with Blackburn away on Saturday.


1st October '12 - One of the highlights of being this weird 'non-shift' shift is having the odd Monday and Tuesday off after working a weekend. I still wake up at silly o'clock, but now there's the option of a full English breakfast in Wetherspoons to consider.  
  Drop the Mini-fish off at school, collect the Fishwife (and Junior) and hit the pub at half nine for sausage, bacon, egg, beans, hash browns and black pud. Excellent!   
  Still, walking into a boozer at that time to be confronted by half a dozen pensioners already on their second or third pint is somewhat disconcerting. On the one hand, I think it's sad that this is all they have to do with their twilight years. But on the other, I'm jealous, as, thanks to this government, there's no way I'll ever be able to afford to drink like that even if I do reach retirement age.


30th September '12 - Apparently, the IQ of the average American is eighty-five. Having sat through an Adam Sandler film the other night, all I can say is 'that high?'


29th September '12 - Wolves 1 Sheffield Wednesday 0. That was surprisingly easy. Once Bakary Sako had broken the deadlock just before half time, that was it. The Owls showed no desire to take the game to us and we simply sat back on a one-nil lead and waited for an onslaught that never came.  
  Four wins on the trot and up to third now. This is looking worryingly good...


28th September '12 - A quick bit of calculation on the back of a fag packet shows just how this governments targeting of us 'gold plated' civil servants has panned out for yours truly.  
  Basically, from now on I will be paying an extra hundred quid a month into my pension pot in order to get three grand a year less out when I retire, which will now be two years later than I was expecting.  
  Still, we're all in it together, right Dave? Oh, I forgot. He can't hear me as he's gone to America to embarrass himself on Letterman.


27th September '12 - I've always liked music that combines anger and pain. I find it cathartic, especially if the lyrics reach a certain level, too. Growing up, I could never understand my mates listening to Joy Division and The Smiths when they could've bought a Marillion album. Why suffer misery on its own when you could add a good dose of targeted rage and deflect your agony a bit?
  Perhaps that's why I eventually drifted away from New Wave and Punk (which didn't take long to go mainstream) and ended up a Metalhead. Oh sure, I did the whole big-hair MTV cock-rock thing, but in the end the angry stuff started calling and I found the Hardcore genre.   
  Pantera opened the door, Biohazard showed me the way and now Five Finger Death Punch are running on ahead, carrying the torch.  
  Check out
  Monumental. For me, there is comfort in channelling aggression through the music I listen to. I find peace at the other side of my rage; serenity through pain. I understand that most of you won't get this, but take comfort in the fact that as long as I'm listening to stuff like 5FDP, you're less likely to turn round one day to find me sprinting after you with a fire axe wearing someone else's face...


25th September '12 - Chelsea 6 Wolves 0. I can't really comment on this game as I turned the radio off after the third goal went inon sixteen minutes. All I can say is that having had three games in six days and with another three in the next seven, Stale Solbakken made ten changes to the first team, presumably because he knew he'd be getting fuck-all from this one.  
  Quite right too. Thank God it was only a cup match!


24th September '12 - Back to work and feeling grim. I never go sick unless I absolutely have to, but I was forced to split the difference and wuss out at lunchtime today. Back to bed with truckloads of paracetomol, Red Bull and hot lemon.  
  With a bit of luck, I'll be back on form again tomorrow. Either that or dead; either will do right now...


23rd September '12 - Ick. Last night in a somewhat advanced state of refreshment, I succumbed to the lure of a cheap cigar. Before the smoking ban, I used to get through a packet of Old Port every time I went out on a sesh. Once the ban came in though, I knocked it on the head as I couldn't see the attraction of standing outside in the cold without my pint every time I fancied a toke.  
  However, on the way back to my mate's car last night I merrily fired up the Hamlet I'd grabbed on the way out for old time's sake. Not a good move. I only got halfway down it before chucking it out of the window in disgust, and now this morning my mouth tastes like a camel's litter tray.
  Somehow, I don't think that particular nostalgia trip is going to be repeated anytime soon.


22nd September '12 - Peterborough 0 Wolves 2. Normally, when the stats throw up things like the opposition never having beaten us or them not winning a game so far this season, fortunes suddenly get turned around and we get a stuffing.
  Not so today. Another away win, another clean sheet and all of a sudden we're fifth! A bit of a turnaround from this time last week. As to the game, poor Peterborough were as dismal as their form suggests. A cast-iron penalty slotted by Ebanks-Blake and a late strike from Sigurdarson and that was that.
 The team is starting to gel, and Stale Solbakken is moving things around nicely to keep the mix fresh. Three wins out of three for the first time since April 2009. I like the look of us this season now...


21st September '12 - Taking a seven week old baby on a three hour train journey in a carrying harness is not recommended.
  Trust me on this.


20th September '12 - I've never been much of a horror fan, but the early Stephen King classics went down very well with me back in the day. Towards the end of my school days and through college, I greedily devoured the likes of 'Salems Lot', 'The Shining', 'Carrie', 'Dead Zone', 'Firestarter' and the excellent 'Christine'. The one King classic I missed back then was 'It', so this week I thought I'd remedy the situation via my Kindle.
  I don't know if it's a combination of age and cynicism or what, but I'm over a third of the way through the thing now and it still hasn't grabbed me yet. I normally like the way he can switch between characters and timelines (masterfully done in 'Christine'), but here it's a bit OTT. And the Big Bad? A sarcastic killer clown/eternal demonic force from beyond the universe? Hmm. Not really selling me there.
  I'll try and plod on to the end though. I haven't given up on a Stephen King book since the cringe-worthy 'Dark Tower' series, and this is nowhere near as bad as that. Yet. 


19th September '12 - Ipswich 0 Wolves 2. Wow. Two wins on the trot and a clean sheet! Not a bad result against the yokels, who've had form in the past as one of our bogey teams. After a scrappy first half hour, they scored an own goal and then fell over. Once Doumbia hammered a second on seventy-six minutes it was game over.
  Bottom of the table Peterborough up next, who've never, ever beaten us. Dare I be optimistic?


17th September '12 - A lot of the old hardcore 'bloggers have drifted away from their sites and onto 'Twitter' over the last couple of years (Mr. Eugenides, Obnoxio the Clown and the great Old Holborn to name but a few.)  I've been dabbling myself recently, and can definitely see the attraction. It captures the zeitgeist and lets you swap insults in real time, but I'd still much rather lay down a couple of paragraphs of drivel for posterity that one or two quick lines of text speak.  
  Still, if you must, I'm listed as _BILLYTHEFISH_. Don't expect anything too profound though.


16th September '12 - Wolves 2 Leicester 1. Impressive. We soaked up loads of pressure from these guys and would've walked away with a clean sheet if it wasn't for a superb thirty-yarder from Paul Konchesky on seventy minutes.
  This is going to be a long, tough season for all of the teams down here in the Championship, but a bit more of this (and a bit less of the Cardiff performance) and I don't feel that a play-off place is too much to hope for.
  Let's see if the boys can knock on from this. eh?


15th September '12 - "These Muslims kicking off all round the world, killing and burning because they're pissed off with a film reminds me of the time all the British Catholics went on the rampage and burned down the Channel Four building because they were angry about 'Father Ted' disrespecting Jesus."
  ...said nobody, ever.


14th September '12 - To commemorate the first topless photographs of Kate Middleton, Royal Doulton are proud to announce the release of two very small jugs.

13th September '12 - Noel Edmonds' hair always looks lovely, doesn't it? I wonder where he buys it from.


12th September '12 - Went back to my old place of work today down at the Elephant. One of my old team was organising a group photograph in the car-park, as the building is due to be sold off in a few months.  
  Was I moved by this solemn occasion? Was I sad to see the old place go? Was I 'taters.   
  I had some very good years there, but they were all distant memories by the time I left. An entire century-old profession dismantled by uncaring career climbers.
  A sad day.


11th September '12 - Eleven years on, and time once again to remember the 2,996 who died in the terrorist attacks in the US.  
  And also the countless thousands who've died since in the so-called 'War on Terror', when George Dubya realised that fifteen of the nineteen hijackers were Saudi and decided to kick the shit out of Iraq and Afghanistan instead because that wouldn't interrupt the oil supply.


10th September '12 - Now that Andy Murray has won his first Grand Slam, watch him suddenly go from being a 'British Contender' to a 'Scottish Champion'...


9th September '12 - Well, that's it. No more Olympics. Amazingly, everything went off without a hitch, especially for my team who are based one tube stop from Stratford.  
  I'd anticipated loads of long days and traffic nightmares, but it was pretty much business as usual for the whole thing according to the guys on the ground.  
  Nice to be pleasantly surprised. It doesn't happen very often.


8th September '12 - Took myself off to see 'Dredd 3D' this morning, and boy does it rock! Ok, so the budget meant that the sets and FX were as stripped down as possible, but the story - a simple day-in-the-life of old Joe - worked well, and the 3D actually added to the movie, which is amazing considering how crap it usually looks.
  Yes, you've seen this before. It's 'Die Hard' meets 'The Raid' meets 'Assault On Precinct 13', but it's worthy top sit in such company. Actually, now I think of it, this film does kind of feel like an old John Carpenter flick - grimy, hardcore and violent as fuck.
  I'd urge you to catch this in 3D while its on. Well worth your time!


7th September '12 - Either the woman I saw cleaning the Halifax offices at Liverpool Street this morning was very tall and statuesque or Penn Jillette has fallen on hard times...


6th September '12 - It looks like the new 'Dredd' movie is getting lots of good word of mouth from the advance screenings. I shall go and see it this weekend. Partly because I'm a life-long 2000AD fan, but mostly because it's an 18 certificate comic-book movie and these things have to be supported if we're not going to drown under a tidal wave of weak PG-13 'Spider-Man' movies.


4th September '12 - Sometimes, you just have to face up to reality. It's a bitter blow, but I have come to realise that I will not own a Maserati in this lifetime.
  I'd been in denial for years, confidently predicting a lottery win at some point in my future, but I now accept that this will never be.
  I'm still going to cop off with Famke Janssen at some point, though.


3rd September '12 - Regrettably, I indulged in carbohydrates today. Four slices of white bread. Bad move, as I'm now sitting here with a stomach like Mr. Creosote. It's amazing how quickly your body adapts to a high-protein diet, and how much it rebels against processed junk once you lapse.  
  Looks like a mighty abs session for me tonight!


2nd September '12 - Cardiff 3 Wolves 1. After the woeful defensive display at the end of the Derby game, I jokingly commented to my mate that they ought to bring back Mick McCarthy. Going on the performance today, it appears that they heard me.


1st September '12 - I've just found out that a friend of mine has bought her first cat. This is always a cause of worry for me as far as single women are concerned. One cat isn't a problem, and I can (just) see the merits of two to keep each other company.  
  However, more than two tends to trigger off some sort of 'Cat Event Horizon' in women of a certain age, which generally leads to a fourth, then a fifth and before you know it, she's inundated with the things, knitting her own clothes and standing in the road in fingerless gloves and carpet slippers with a mog under each arm, shouting at the traffic.  
  This situation requires careful monitoring, I feel...


31st August '12 - Well, the transfer window has closed and Wolves appear to have done some excellent business. Business, that is, in a business sense, seeing as they've spent just £4 million on new players after selling the likes of Jarvis, Fletcher and Kightly for a colossal £27 million. 
  Let's hope this excellent business translates on the pitch this season, eh Jez? No point having twenty-odd million in the bank and a massive new stand if we're slipping down toward Division One by Christmas.


30th August '12 - Russell Brand and Geri Halliwell? Really? Bwa-ha-haa!


29th August '12 - The Paralympics start today. Only another eleven days of this overblown tomfoolery to go and then we in Britain can forget all about the Five Rings for another six or seven decades. 


28th August '12 - Two things you may not know about me:  
  Firstly, my old chap is exactly the same length as three sticks of Superdrug lip balm.  
  Secondly, I'm banned from Superdrug.


27th August '12 - Back to work on a Bank Holiday Monday, and there was over a hundred and forty emails waiting for me in my in-tray. That'll teach me to take Paternity Leave, won't it? Good job it was relatively 'Q' (we never say the 'Q' word on Bank Holidays!), so I managed to get through most of them.  
  I was amazed at how tired I was when I'd finished, though. I mean, it's not as if I was busting a gut sitting there reading emails and typing spreadsheets, is it? Probably something to do with the three paltry hours of troubled sleep. Yeah, that'll be it.


25th August '12 - Wolves 1 Derby 1 - Oh dear. Back to the old, old story. Winning one-nil all the way, referee gives five minutes of injury time from nowhere and the other lot equalise after four minutes of it.  
  Still, there was enough to cheer in the rest of the game, so I'll let old Solbakken off here. So long as he gets it right at Cardiff next weekend, that is.


24th August '12 - The lens I have on eBay is doing really well. Two days left, and the current bidding price is a good twenty quid above what I was prepared to let it go for.  
  Shame I've forgotten where I've put the fucker...


23rd August '12 - Those of you with young kids, brace yourselves. The next wave of 'Moshi Monsters' are out this weekend. Anyone who can start a collectable craze out of bits of plastic you'd usually find in a Christmas cracker deserves would normally deserve my utmost respect. However, as it's my wallet he's picking with this tat, I'm somewhat less than enthused.  
  Sadly, 'not telling my daughter' isn't an option since she was the one who informed me and has been counting down the days for about a month. Boo!


22nd August '12 - Guillermo Del Toro's new film 'Pacific Rim' concerns an invasion of Japan by undersea monsters that has to be stopped by Idris Elba and his friends piloting a bunch of armoured six-hundred-foot tall robots.  
  This is just about the epitome of cultured and sophisticated entertainment as far as I'm concerned. Bring it on!


21st August '12 - Wolves 3 Barnsley 1 - Now that's more like it! A comprehensive game of football from Solbakken's new line-up, with Ward, Ebanks-Blake and Edwards all getting on the score-sheet (the latter with and assist from Jarvis, who has almost certainly kicked his last ball in an old gold shirt.  
  Only a late consolation goal took the shine off an otherwise excellent performance. More of this sort of thing please!


20th August '12 - According to the packet, this epoxy resin stuff bonds metal, glass, plastics, ceramics wood and rubber.
  No mention of human skin there, though. I had to find that fucker out for myself.


18th August '12 - Ahh, Scruffy's! How I've missed you! There's just something about this Birmingham dive that's soright. London has the Intrepid Fox and Cro-Bar and they're fine, but Scruffy'swell, Scruffy's is just that little bit better.  
  It doesn't have the impersonal feel of the 'new' Fox (the old - far superior - place on Wardour Street has been gone now for six years, can you believe that?) and it's less cramped than Cro-Bar. In fact, it's about the last 'proper' Rock Bar I know of and the only one left in Brum since Costermonger's bit the dust. 
  If only I could get back more often...


17th August '12 - I hate sending stuff back that I've bought online. It's such a chore with all the emails and reference numbers and jiffy bags. Doubly so with the new jeans I've just bought. I ordered a pair of 32" and they've sent me 28" by mistake, so back they go.  
  To Thailand...


16th August '12 - Almost time for the new football season to kick off, and it looks like Steven Fletcher will be doing it somewhere else since he's just slapped a transfer request in. 
  I can't say I blame him, after having watched as two bids for his services from Sunderland for £10 and £12 million respectively were turned down. It would seem that Steve isn't so sure that we'll be bouncing straight back this season.
 After taking a hundred and twenty minutes and seven penalties to beat the mighty Aldershot the other day, I can't say I blame him...


15th August '12 - I must say, as I head merrily into my third week of Paternity leave, that the life of a feckless dole-scrounger does rather appeal. I am no longer waking up naturally at half four (that'll be fun when I start again) and am feeling a lot more refreshed, despite the three-hourly night disturbances.
  I also find myself strangely drawn to Noel Edmonds most afternoons, too. Not good. I'm going to have to get back to work soon!


14th August '12 - I've discovered a liking for Schweppes Bitter Lemon. It's really rather refreshing of an evening, especially  in this heat. It's even better with a Gordon's in. Gin'll Fix It!


12th August '12 - In a remarkable turnaround, the Olympic games ending on a polar opposite from where it started, with a three hour yawn-fest of the 'best' of British pop music. It started off with Madness, who made a reasonable fist of it, but then went downhill rapidly.
  I checked out about the hour mark, after seeing the great Ray Davies humiliate himself. This was apparently a shrewd move, since bay all accounts viewers were treated to The Spice Girls, George Michael, Take That, Jessie J (who?) and One Direction. Yawn.
  The barrel-scraping continued and at one point the likes of Kate Moss, Naomi Campbell and Russell 'Will Work For Food' Brand all graced the stage for no apparent reason.
  The BBC later reported that David Bowie, Kate Bush and The Rolling Stones all declined to perform.
  Quite right too. What an embarrassment.


11th August '12 - Well, the Olympics seem to have been something of a success, don't they? I must say I'm surprised, as I really didn't think there'd be that much interest, but I guess wall-to-wall coverage in every medium together with us actually winning some stuff seems to have raised enough interest to make the thing work.
  Still, it's over now. No more circuses, bring on the bread. Oh, hang on, we've still got the Paralympics to come, haven't we?


10th August '12 - I'm now finding the advert where Sue Barker shoots the 'Go Compare' guy more annoying that the ones it replaced. Not quite as annoying as the one with four pretty hipsters murdering an old Buzzcocks song in the back of a cheap Korean car, though...


8th August '12 - According to the trailer, the new series of Doctor Who will feature...wait for it...Daleks. Again. And Weeping Angels. Again. And River bloody Song. Again.
  I do hope Steven Moffat knows what he's doing. I remain unconvinced after last season, for me, only had two real standout episodes in it. With the fiftieth anniversary next year, he really needs to be on top of his game with the writing about now...


7th August '12 - Funny how our big hopes at the start of the Olympics were Rebecca Adlington in the swimming  and Victoria Pendleton in the cycling, yet both of them arsed it up to varying degrees when push came to shove.
 Oh well, perhaps that funny little orange fellow will come good in the diving...


6th August '12 - I think these alcohol hand-gel dispensers on the walls at the entrance of hospital wards are fantastic. Everyone who comes in looks like they're hatching a dastardly plan!


4th August '12 - At 09:25 this morning, my son Mawgan was born weighing 8lbs 2oz. Both Herself and the Lil' Man are doing fine. More will be revealed on his own page in due course...


3rd August '12 - Well, we arrived at the hospital for a pre-booked caesarean only to be turned away and told to come back tomorrow as an emergency birth had just come in. Two trips up and down four floors carrying suitcases with a fat bird in tow.
  On the bright side, that's the arm and calf routine done for the day...


2nd August '12 - Big day tomorrow!


1st August '12 - Just back from seeing the new Batman film, 'The Dark Knight Rises'. Amazingly, I'm going to have to swallow my pride and admit that Harry Knowles wasn't far off. It's good, but it's nowhere near the masterpiece that the critics are making it out to be.
  For one thing, it's half an hour too long, for another, Tom Hardy's Bane is nowhere near the elemental force that Heath Ledger's Joker was. A ludicrous subplot involving a desert prison takes you out of the movie completely and anyone who's ever read a DC comic and knows who Talia Al-Ghul is will see the telegraphed 'twist' ending coming a mile off.
  Don't get me wrong; it's good. Just not THAT good.


31st July '12 - And that was July. Wet, wasn't it? Unfortunately, it looks like there will be some hot weather from now on, which means my hay fever will get a chance to shine once more this year. Marvellous.


29th July '12 - Weird. Lying in bed at night, I can actually feel my muscles repairing. This Creatine stuff is the tits! Either that or the BCAA tablets. Who cares, it's obviously working...


28th July '12 - I've rediscovered the joys of 'Left 4 Dead 2' again. I'd forgotten how much fun online 'Versus' mode was, especially at midnight when all the hardcore European gamers are on and kicking the arses of the American school kids who've just finished their tea!


27th July '12 - Well that was actually better than I expected! The Olympic opening ceremony managed to be fun, surprising, irreverent and, above all, 'British'.
  I had nightmares of Danny Boyle giving us something along the lines of the opening montage from 'Austin Powers', but no, the boy done good. Let's hope our athletes can live up to it...


26th July '12 - I've just realised that I'm way past the nine month mark in the creation of the 'new me', so time to bring you up to speed. To be honest, the changes from March are not that noticeable, but then again, I've not been doing anything more than I was three months ago. Although I bought the Creatine and the BCAA tablets, I haven't been taking them. Partly because I wanted to see how much improvement I would continue to make without, but mostly because the change to split-sets took a bit longer to get used to that I'd expected, which meant I tended to miss out a day here and there with muscle fatigue.
  So the last three months have been 'maintenance' rather than 'building' and I've pretty much maxed out with my current routine. Hey, I'm still bigger than I was in my Twenties, but I reckon I can push it a bit further still, so to take it to the year mark, it's pills, potions and a high-protein diet from now on.
  Bye bye, carbs! See you in September!


25th July '12 - In order to celebrate its impending Blu-Ray release, 'Raiders of the Lost Ark' is getting a very limited Imax re-release next month. Hmm...interesting.
  Although I could probably recite most of the script for  Raiders, I'd love to see this classic on a really big screen!


24th July '12 - I had about two and a half hours sleep last night. My working day passed in a kind of dream-like haze which culminated in me locking up the office and taking the keys home with me.
  Not a problem in most workplaces, but when your team are on shifts and the late bod is out and can't get back in to get her house keys, then there's going to be issues. Fortunately, she found the spare set or I'd've been lynched.  
  Screw this, I'm off to bed. I don't care if it's only half seven, I'm dead...


23rd July '12 - What a lovely sunny day! More of the same tomorrow, too. Two days where my working life consists of sitting behind a desk and typing up loads of stuff in an office with no air-conditioning.  
  On Wednesday though, I shall visiting one of our other bases, which involves me taking a total of four buses and walking about a mile and a half all told. I bet it's throwing it down then...


22nd July '12 - Speaking of offal, I've started reading Jeff Lindsay's 'Dexter' novels. Excellent stuff. It's all about a Miami blood-pattern analysis scientist who has another career on the side as a serial killer. Very dark and very witty. 
  One or two of friends have said that the TV series is really good too. I may have to investigate the next box-set sale that Play.com have.


21st July '12 - Bad Fish! I paid a visit to Calumet to have a 'hands-on' look at that new 18-300mm Nikon lens and ended up buying it. It's good. There's a little more aberration at the 18mm end than I get with the18-200mm but I can adjust for this in Photoshop. However, it's sharper than the 18-200mm once you get out past 50mm and at the 200mm end (and up to 300mm), it's very, very good.  
  I can't afford it, but I reckon if I stick both my 18-200mm and 55-300mm on eBay this week, I should get most of the wedge back before the Barclaycard bill arrives. Either that or I'm selling a kidney. Again.  
  Still, it is a lovely lens, and well worth a few ounces of my own personal offal.


20th July '12 - The reviews for the new Batman film 'The Dark Knight Rises' are pretty much five star all the way. Apart from chubby funster Harry Knowles over at 'Ain't It Cool' that is, who pronounces it "Profoundly Disappointing".  
  This is the bloke who didn't rate 'Inception', but thought that the recent, pointless Spider-Man reboot was "almost nearly impossibly amazing" and raved about the atrocious 'Green Lantern', too. He also gushed over 'Twilight'.  
  Hmm...I think I'll follow the herd on this one.


19th July '12 - Unbelievable. I was having problems with my Orange broadband connection yesterday. The whole router went down and nothing I tried brought me anywhere nearer fixing it. I did a hard reset, swapped out the ADSL filters, changed the wiring - even dug out my old Wanadoo Livebox and rebooted that. Nothing.   
  So with a heavy heart, I dialled Orange Customer Services expecting to hear an Indian voiceand I did. However, that's where the cliché ends. Not only did the guy get my connection working again, he did it in less than ten minutes and that included the time I spent on hold.  
  Nice one, Orange!


17th July '12 - Ooh, look at this!
  I currently have the 18-200mm at home as my 'walk-around' lens, but if I buy this baby I'll be able to flog that one along with my 55-300mm and raise most of the difference. Better still, swapping two lenses for one means more room in the kit bag and less to carry.  
  Ok, so it might weigh a third more than my 18-200mm, but come on. It's still a 'pro-sumer' lens and not one of the meaty professional Nikon FX things I work with all day anyway. Yes, I think this warrants further investigation - especially as the IQ ratings seem to be more along the lines of the 16-85mm (excellent) than my 18-200mm (acceptable). 
  Now who's going to lend me some money?


16th July '12 - Happy Birthday Mon-keh. I miss you...


15th July '12 - We tend to bandy the term 'star' about all to easily. Get your face on the telly for fifteen minutes and hey, you're a 'star'. I think the cult of celebrity that the shallower elements of society worship these days has diluted the concept of what it means to be a star and I think that's a shame. 
  Hollywood has been no exception to the trend, with modern day audiences referring to the likes of Scarlett Johansson and Ryan Reynolds in the same terms of reverence that were once reserved for Liz Taylor and Richard Burton. I'm not knocking these two in particular, just observing that the bar that represents what passes for star quality has dropped several notches since the Golden Age.
  In this era of addictions and rehab; of entourages and whooping hysteria, I began to wonder whether there was any true star quality left in Tinsel Town. 
  And then I read
  Now THAT, ladies and gentlemen, is a star. God bless you, Mr. P!


14th July '12 - Wouldn't it be awful if, after all these years of hype and preparation, the London Olympics were a complete washout due to the abysmal weather we're having this Summer?  
  And by 'awful', I mean of course 'hilarious'.


13th July '12 - Just seen an advert for a new £4 Million scratchcard from the swindling jokers at The National Lottery. It costs a tenner. Ten. Quid. For a scratchcard. 
  I wonder if the underclass will manage to leave the Post Office with any dole money at all from now on?


12th July '12 - Blimey. I wasn't expecting the first reviews of the upcoming Dredd movie to be anywhere near as promising as they are, but fair play - it looks like Alex Garland has pulled a lean, mean 18 certificate movie out of the ashes of the mess left by Danny Cannon and Sly Stallone's embarrassingly awful 1995 train-wreck.   I will definitely be checking this one out!


11th July '12 - I think it's amazing that there are so many hot single women in my area ready to meet me for some adult fun. It must be something to do with all those iPads I apparently keep winning...


10th July '12 - Faith No More, Brixton Academy. I've waited eleven years for this! I thought I'd blown it too, since it had sold out by the time I heard about it. Fortunately, my old mate Jesus had a spare so off we went.  
  For some bizarre reason, the entire set was draped in white sheets with about a grand's worth of fresh flowers scattered everywhere and the band themselves were dressed entirely in white (including a Panama hat for Mike Patton). That was the only concession to strangeness though (apart from Patton starting the set with a rendition of 'Delilah'!?) and they belted out a magnificent ninety minute set plus a couple of encores.  
  Finally seeing classics like 'Epic', 'Midlife Crisis' and 'We Care A Lot' performed live some twenty-five years after having them in my head all through college was a fantastic and strangely moving experience. I even took a few pictures with my funky new Fuji compact which weren't too shabby either. 
  All in all a top night out. Shame I had to be up at half four the following morning!


9th July '12 - I'm back playing 'Batman: Arkham City' again after a two-month self-imposed exile (couldn't get past Ra's Al Ghul, the bouncy little bastard). It really is a superb game and, as big a fan as I am of Christopher Nolan's take on things, I would love to see The Bat done like this on the big screen.  
  Mark Hamill makes an awesome Joker, too...


8th July '12 - So Andy Murray finally gets to do something that Tim Henman never managed. Lose in a Wimbledon final. Yawn.


6th July '12 - I wish people would stop referring to Romeo and Juliet as a 'classic love story'. It's the tale of a three-day obsession between a seventeen year old boy and a thirteen year old girl which results in the deaths of six people, including the two protagonists. Also, everyone in the story - and I do mean everyone - is whiny, self-absorbed and shallow as fuck. 
  There. That's that particular literary colossus put to bed.
  Coming up next - James Joyce: drunken purveyor of the biggest pile of pretentious drivel ever written...


5th July '12 - The legendary John Lydon is on 'Question Time' tonight. Now this ought to be a giggle.

4th July '12 - Normally, to celebrate Independence Day, I toddle off to Parsons Green for a few beers in this lovely place, as they generally hold an annual two-day USA Beer Festival.  
  Sadly though, this year I'm beyond skint. To make matters worse, all this weight-training has completely destroyed my ability to hold my beer. Shocking. 
  Still, looking on the bright side, I now fit in nicely with the rest of the shandy-drinking southern softies down here.


3rd July '12 - Surreal. Just surreal. This afternoon I had a forty minute job interview for a technical post where none of the questions were specific to the job I was going for. I had boned up on legislation, technology, training, future-proofing and all the other role-specific goodies and didn't get to offer up a single word of it.   
  After about ten minutes, I began to feel like I'd walked into a Monty Python sketch. It all went downhill after that...


2nd July '12 - Large bags of Giant Cadbury's Buttons and Wispa Bites are on offer for a quid at the Tesco by my bus-stop. They have been for a couple of weeks. I bring a bag of one or the other (or both) into the office every morning.  
  The women on my team are starting to hate me


1st July '12 - Hello! I'm back! Well, as you've no doubt realised, June didn't happen. Nope, we went straight from May to July as far as my calendar is concerned, so here I am back again with a new layout.  
  I'm shifting some things around, bringing back a new version of the Fish Tank after a four year break and starting up a sub-page for the lil' man who's about to drop into our lives. 
  Hope you like the new look. And if you don't, tough. It's staying.


31st May '12 - Rest Days once more, and the depressing realisation that I get to help out with all the hoovering, shopping and trips to the washing line and back since the Fishwife has now mutated into something half woman, half porpoise. I shall therefore get my chores out of the way early and spend the rest of the day on the bed reading.  
  If I can get Flipper out of it first, that is.


30th May '12 - I'm reading a fantastic book at the moment. It's called 'Shit My Dad Says' by Justin Halpern and it's hilarious. It's all about a kid growing up with a no-nonsense, foul-mouthed father who absolutely took no crap from his offspring, but taught them how to think for themselves, be independent and ensured they grew up into decent people.   
  The world needs more blokes like him. This is my new parenting bible!


29th May '12 - I have just found out what happens to your shoulders when you're away from a full-size bench-press bar for a week and then come back and try to carry on exactly where you left off.  


28th May '12 - The drive back to London was actually pretty painless this year. Normally, it's six or seven hours of hell between Penzance and London, but we did it in five this time and that was with two quick stops!   
  That's it. I am never again travelling down to the South West in August, it simply isn't worth the hassle. From now on, all the holidays in our house will be taken in May. The weather's usually better anyway, there's less wankers on the road and fewer tourists cluttering up the place when you get there. Sweet.


19th - 26th May '12 - St. Ives, Cornwall. Back to civilisation for the first time in two years. The weather was glorious and the accommodation superb (I mean, come on, look at it!). In a unique and quirky twist of fate, I didn't have a single pint of Cornish ale this year. Not because of my diet and weight-training regime, but simply because I didn't have any room after rediscovering this. Nectar. 
  So I guess it's back to normality on  Monday. Actually, no it's not. We've got all the Diamond Jubilee shenanigans to come, haven't we? Oh well, better get my shit together.
  Hey, look on the bright side, it's Summer! You can tell by the rain...


18th May '12 - And that's it for a week. I'm off to the ancestral stomping ground down south. A week of relaxation and walking in Cornwall. I shall be taking the camera down there and putting my 8mm fisheye lens through its paces, so hopefully I'll come back with some stunning images.
  Assuming it doesn't piss down, of course. Otherwise I'll be photographing pasties...


17th May '12 - This low-budget Indonesian movie is way under the radar but is getting terrific word-of-mouth reviews. People are saying it's the new 'Die Hard'.  
  That's an awfully big benchmark to live up to, but I'm liking what I see and will definitely be shelling out for a ticket. What do you reckon?


16th May '12 - One-handed press-ups? Easy! I might even do another one tomorrow...

15th May '12 - While my new phone is away being swapped for one that actually works, the Fishwife has given me her old BlackBerry. I can't say I'm impressed with all these stupid little buttons. It's like a 'Hitch-hiker's Guide to the Galaxy' for the under fives. Very fiddly indeed.
  Good job this is only a temporary measure. there's no way my fat sausage fingers could cope with this bloody thing for any length of time...


14th May '12 - For some reason, my lungs seem to have decided they'd like to see how life is on the outside of my body, so this morning was spent in the doctor's waiting room with assorted other half-dead people.  
  Once she'd examined me and listened to my chest thoroughly (this seems to take a lot longer these days. Not sure if it's the abs or the nipple rings), I got prescribed the obligatory course of Clarithromycin. Partly because I definitely have a chest infection, but mostly because I'm allergic to everything else and this is pretty much all they can throw at me.  
  So no drinking for your poor Fish for the next seven days. Still, I should be ok for a pint or two of St Austell by the middle of the holiday...


13th May '12 - Wolves have appointed Stale Solbakken as their new boss. No, I've never heard of the bloke either, but apparently he guided FC Copenhagen to five league titles in six years not to mention a place in the last sixteen in the Champions League.  
  Of course, after that he went to Cologne, made a complete chimp's fist of it and got them relegated.  
  So basically, a damn good second division manager who hasn't a Scooby when it come to the top flight. Hang on...haven't we done this already?


12th May '12 - It seems that fate hasn't quite finished pissing on my strawberries yet because, after two full days of setting my new mobile up, I've just come to make a phone call and no bastard can hear me on account of the microphone being dead.  
  Big hairy bollocks. Back it goes...


10th May '12 - My replacement mobile arrived today. It's one of these. I've stuck it on charge and will no doubt spend all day tomorrow replacing all my apps and getting the thing up and running. First impressions? Awesome. I love the huge screen , I love the way that Mango is pre-installed this time (Windows 7.5 for the uninitiated) and the constantly updating live tiles are brilliant.  
  All in all, a nice bit of kit. Not that the Apple junkies will agree...


9th May '12 - Oi! How the hell did that happen? The mighty 'Faith No More' announce a comeback tour and sell-out every ticket without me even knowing about it?
  I am gutted. Absolutely gutted. Especially as they're playing down the road at Brixton.
  There's only one thing for it. I'm going to have to get scalped...


8th May '12 - I have come across a fantastic piece of Mac software that has been converted for us normal people with PCs. As a frustrated writer, Scivener is exactly the kind of thing I've been looking for for ages, as I have reams of scribbled notes for a screenplay and a sit-com that I've never got around to typing up. 
  I did originally have
Final Draft, but it was a nightmare - not very user-friendly at all and frankly, the thought of typing in Word and then adjusting typefaces and spacing just didn't float my boat This thing looks the biz though!  
  I've just downloaded it and will let you know how I get on after I've had a play...


7th May '12 - So while France wakes up to a new President this morning, Carla Bruni wakes up next to an unemployed midget. I give it six months...


6th May '12 - It's been five years since the smoking ban was implemented in pubs in England, and it's interesting to see how reality compares with the hype of the time.
  Remember when we were told that those naughty, filthy smokers were the only thing stopping a rich, diverse influx of latte-drinking urban professionals from descending en masse to every high street boozer in order to eat foccacia and chat away animatedly all evening?
  Did that happen in your local, because it certainly didn't happen in the pubs near Fish Towers that I used to frequent when the urge for a pint and an Old Port cigar came a-knocking?  
  One pub has now been converted into a backpacker hostel with a bar which only opens at certain times of the day and of course there's the obligatory Wetherspoons, but I've never seen either of them anywhere near as full as they used to be before the ban.  
  The other three local pubs I used to pop into? They've all long since shut down.


5th May '12 - So Boris Johnson and his lovely floppy hair are back in the London Mayor's office for another stint after narrowly beating Ken Livingstone who, thankfully, will now hang up his political boots and disappear into the sunset to do whatever it is that old Socialists do when they're no longer in a position to run everyone else's lives with someone else's money.  
  Only thirty-eight per cent of the voting public turned out for this one. Public lack of engagement with British politics has reached the point now where I can only see one way to turn things around and that is to follow the Australian model and make voting compulsory.  
  While we're at it, adding a 'None of the Above' box to the form wouldn't hurt, either. It might focus their minds on who it is they're supposed to be representing.


4th May '12 - Took myself off to see 'The Avengers' today. Or rather 'Avengers Assemble' as it's being marketed here in the UK just to clear up any confusion there might be for anyone turning up and wondering why Steed and Mrs. Peel aren't in it and who all those men in funny costumes are.
  Bottom line: go and see it - it's a blast! Finally, someone's put a proper comic-book movie on screen and it rocks. Joss Whedon has absolutely nailed it in terms of characterisation, team-dynamics and even the bickering and in-fighting. The first hour is a little restrained as it's pretty much all set-up, but then it just goes nuts with the last forty-five minutes being a non-stop action rollercoaster. Oh, and Mark Ruffalo's Hulk absolutely walks away with the movie. His encounter with Loki is worth the ticket price alone.
  I took the 3D option, but it didn't really add much to the experience. Just make sure you catch this on a big screen while it's on! Highly recommended.


3rd May '12 - Every so often, Fate likes to play a little game called 'Up Yours, Billy' and today provided a particularly fine example of this when I lost my mobile phone a mere two months after deciding to stop five years worth of regular monthly phone insurance payments owing to the fact that I never lose my mobile phone.  
  Oh, how I laughed!


2nd May '12 - Up at our training school again today. Assessing, marking and signing off on the skills and capabilities of twenty of the bods I've been training since last November.  
  I've put a hell of a lot of work into this, and it was really good seeing all of it coming together. I'll be sad to let this project go when the time comes.


1st May '12 - Eighty-seven days to go until the start of the London Olympics. How excited would you say you are, on a scale of one to two?


30th April '12 - Three weeks today I shall be back in Cornwall again for the first time in two years. I'm really looking forward to this, but it's going to feel very strange without Steve to have a pint with. I don't think I'll be walking into the Dolphin in Penzance this time. I just don't reckon I could keep it together if I did. 
 The two of us had so many laughs in that place over the years. Dropped off by our good ladies and left to play pool and neck St. Austell Cornish Cream until we couldn't shoot straight anymore that I think I'm going to leave that particular pub as a happy memory.   
  There are plenty of other places that aren't so wired into my conscience that this shouldn't be a problem, and maybe I'm wrong; maybe it's maudlin to think like that, but I like the notion of leaving the Dolphin alone now and encasing the memories in amber.
  Good times...


29th April '12 - It's a very quiet Sunday here at Fish Towers. Herself and the Minifish have gone to a children's party leaving yours truly all alone with only 'Arkham City' and a bag of Chilli Heatwave Doritos for company.  
  I read somewhere that the average human utters sixteen thousand words a day on average. This is probably true of the missus, but me being a surly bleeder, I reckon I make do with a quarter of that.
  My daughter, however, must easily double it.


28th April '12 - The latest bit of silliness in my fitness regime is the addition of kilogram ankle weights under the old strides whenever I'm at work. It doesn't sound like much, but the mile to and from the tube station and numerous trots up and down stairs all day doesn't half add up.  
   It's always a bizarre sensation to get home and find myself big-stepping like Neil Armstrong for a few minutes after taking them off. They seem to be working, though.


25th April '12 - I am really enjoying 'Arkham City'. If 'immersive' is the key to a good video game, then this one has it in spades. It's a little disconcerting to suddenly switch from playing as the Bat to playing as Catwoman, but the atmosphere, visuals and sheer quality of the storyline more than make up for it.
  Excuse me, gotta go. I have to deal with Bane. The real nine-foot tall version of Bane, that is. Not the mumbling comedy dwarf Christopher Nolan is about to subject us to...


24th April '12 - The Chief Secretary of the Treasury, Danny Alexander yesterday ordered ministers to come up with £16 billion worth of extra cuts, with us 'gold-plated' Public Sector workers again looking to bear the brunt.
  Mr. Alexander claimed that Britain's deficit remains a 'clear and present danger to stability' and he ordered government departments to set aside billions of pounds in 'rainy day' funds to tighten financial management.
  Well yes, that's one way of clawing some cash back, Danny. Alternatively, you could simply kill the 'ring-fenced' Overseas Aid budget and save the nation a fucking fortune that way...


23rd April '12 - The annual St. George's Day embarrassment. As usual, I wore the red and white and kept a look out for like-minded souls willing to acknowledge England's patron saint in England's capital. As usual I was disappointed.
  One flag on the local church, one bloke in an England football top and that was it.


22nd April '12 - Wolves 0 Man City 2. Relegated with three games to go. Shameful.

21st April '12 - Well, that's it for the 'Mass Effect' trilogy. Apparently, there was a huge outcry from gamers (read: American kids) about the 'unsatisfactory' ending. Me, I thought it was ok. Nothing earth-shattering, just a neat ending that could possibly be referred to as vaguely 'spiritual'.
  It worked for me in the same way that the ending of 'Battlestar Galactica' did...and obviously pissed off huge swathes of people for precisely the same reason. Whatever. Anyway, it's goodbye to Commander Shepard and hello to Batman.
  'Arkham City', here we come!


19th April '12 - The Sinclair ZX Spectrum is thirty years old this week. Oh, the hours I put into that blocky little bastard whilst still at school. Hours spent round my friend Dominic's house trying to get through the next level of 'Jet Set Willy'.
  I still don't think we ever got to the end of 'Valhalla' or 'The Hobbit'. Ah, memories...


16th April '12 - Kudos to my old workmate Michael for pointing me in the direction of this one. Click here to read some of the comments made about 'Veet For Men' hair-removal cream on Amazon. Absolutely priceless. I haven't laughed so much for ages!
  And if you like this sort of thing (and missed it the first time I posted it) click
here for the cult of the 'Three Wolf Moon' t-shirt on the American Amazon site. Hilarious!


15th April '12 - A hundred years today since the Titanic sank. What should have been a worthy cause for thought and reflection was ruined, like so much in modern society, by overkill; namely the fact that it has been wanked dry for the last month on virtually every media outlet.  
  It's over now though. We can all give the vicarious outpourings of historical grief a rest for another few years. Probably until June 2016 and the centenary of the Battle of the Somme, I reckon.

14th April '12 - Grand National time again, and thoughtfully this year, both the Fishwife's choice of nag and my own decided to drop on their arses at the second fence, thus minimising the amount of our day wasted on entertainment and expectation and leaving more time for bitterness and crushing disappointment.  
  Junior, West End Rocker - we salute you.


13th April '12 - Friday the thirteenth. Unlucky for me; I can't have an ale as I have to be up for work again in the morning. Pants.


12th April '12 - A rare moment of indulgence today as I took myself off to the pictures to see 'The Hunger Games'. Not too bad as far as adaptations go, but it did suffer from a lack of identity. For a start, there wasn't enough blood and violence to give the required level of weight to the story (which is essentially about children killing each other for sport), but I guess that was deliberate to keep the rating at PG-12 (and get more punters in.)  
  Secondly, only one side of the 'love triangle' was shown (and overplayed) for the Twilight crowd and finally, a relentless use of shaky-cam yet again ruined pretty much all of the action sequences of an otherwise decently-shot film. 
  Why won't directors realise that what looks exciting and kinetic on a monitor when checking the rushes always, always looks blurred, confusing and sick-inducing when projected up to fill a cinema screen?  
  Still, even with those niggles, it was an entertaining and decent enough waste of a couple of hours, with Jennifer Lawrence making a very convincing Katniss. I look forward to 'Catching Fire', when hopefully they'll get a bigger budget and have a bit more confidence to go for it with the carnage.



UPDATE - And just before I disappear into the sunset (well, Wolverhampton) for a couple of days, here's the big news from last week. Yes, the Fishwife is spawning again, and this time it's a proper one. Sorry I couldn't spill the beans earlier, but I had to tell the gaffer first and lots of the work crowd drop in here from time to time.
  Anyway, the announcements have been made and I will have a son in August, so the family tradition of suffering all the lows and lows of being a Wolves fan will continue into another sorry generation.
  Look at him sucking his thumb! Awww!
  No names as yet. I quite like 'Pubert'...


10th April '12 - Through careful use of my rostered Rest Days, a bit of switching and a couple of days Annual Leave, I find myself with a bunch of three-day weeks for the rest of this month and well into May.  
  Good. You have no idea how much I need a break right now. My brain hurts!


Easter Sunday 2012 - As a rule, I'm not one for chocolate, but so far today I've eaten two mini Milky Ways, a two finger Kit-Kat and a Cadbury's Creme Egg.
  Ick. I don't think I've pushed this much cheap, sugary cocoa paste into my face since I was at school.
  Then again, I don't think I've been this bored, either. Guess I didn't realise just how much time texting and Facebook surfing was taking up. Still, I'll probably get back to it at some point...
  In the meantime, it looks like I'll have to squeeze in an extra few sets this evening to burn off the evil influences of Mister Cadbury's parrot. Grim.


7th April '12 - Stoke 2 Wolves 1. After forty-three years, I have to confess to getting a bit tired of being a Wolves fan. Practically every other football team in England goes through phases; crap for a few years, then good for a few. With Wolves, it's just a steady. relentless slog of mediocre underachievement year in, year out. Poor tactics, disinterested players and lousy management. I'm sick of it now and I'm not the only one.
  The new stadium is almost finished and the extra capacity will mean that Molineux goes from being a 29,000 seater stadium to a 36,000 one just in time for Wolves to be confirmed as a Championship side again with average gates of 22,000.
  Still, what's forty million quid? Apart from more than we've spent on players in the transfer market for the last eleven seasons. Jesus...


Good Friday 2012 - The sun is shining, It's a Bank Holiday and I'm not at work for once. So I fully took advantge of the free time, put my feet up and read 'The Hunger Games' from cover to cover. After all the publicity the movie is getting I thought I'd give it a go. Turns out it was not a bad read at all.
  I wonder if the target audience will get the subversive Randian subtext or will it just pan out as Battle Royale for the Twilight crowd? Time will tell. At least it kept me out of my own head for a while, which is always a bonus and doubly so at the moment...


5th April '12 - Just caught up with the first - and second - episodes from the new season of 'Game Of Thrones'. The good? Loads of it - Tyrion (as usual), Arya, Joffrey, the CGI (a dragon, two direwolves), Jaqen, Davos, Castle Pyke and Melisandre (no red eyes though - boo!)
  The bad? Too much pointless nudity again (I know! Me, a prude!), Shae (I still think she's totally miscast) and Daenerys's shonky wig. Apart from that, it looks like it's going to carry on in the same tradition as last season. Awesome!
  I hope to God the viewing figures of those fickle Americans don't tail off, because if we get through this and into Season 3, people are going to freak at some of the things that go down! Can't wait!


4th April '12 - Today, I had some big news. Will divulge after the Easter break...

2nd April '12 - The Fishwife's birthday. Usually at this time of year, I'm always at a loss to think of a suitable present. This year, however, it was a doddle. She's gone and discovered these things, which are apparently a craze right now with women of a certain age. (Hey, it could be worse! She hasn't start reading the 'Twilight' books yet!)
  Frankly, I don't see the attraction, but I guess it's a bit like the little plastic 'Hello Kitty' trinkets the MiniFish collects. Only wa-a-y more expensive.
  Still, at least I wasn't strapped for prezzie ideas this time round.


April Fool's Day 2012 - I scanned all the online newspapers this morning trying to spot the obligatory spoofs, but I got bored after a while. To be honest, with the current Coalition Government and the previous thirteen years of NuLieBore, I can no longer tell the joke news from the real stuff...

31st March '12 - Wolves 2 Bolton 3. Before the kick-off, the press were building this up as a 'six-pointer', but that was never strictly true, was it? 'Six-pointers' are between two teams desperate to grab a win in order to bolster their chances of survival.  
  Despite the two goals, that only applied to one team at Molineux today. We've already given up.

29th March '12 - Meanwhile in Queensland, Australia, the Labor party has suffered what the Aussie press is describing as a 'pulverising' defeat in the polls, after losing 44 of its 51 seats.  
  This is the worst result for the Left-wing party down under in sixty-two years, and there is now a very real worry that they will no longer hold on to enough seats to be considered a legitimate political party if, as expected, these results are reflected at a Federal level.  
  Funny, but I haven't heard a peep about this from the BBC...

28th March '12 - Some television 'celebrity' I've never heard of called Tulisa is apparently 'fleeing to the US to escape her sex-tape shame'.  
  Right. Because they obviously don't have the internet over there, do they?


26th March '12 - At around a quarter past eleven this morning, I had a poo. As it turned out, this was the highlight of my day...


25th March '12 - Bugger. I was caught out once again by the ridiculous twice-yearly 'dicking-about-with-the-clocks-for-no-apparent-reason' charade. Staying up very late playing on the computer somehow became being up very early playing on the computer. I didn't go to bed until the time I usually get up and that was pretty much it for the entire day.  
  What a senseless waste of human life.
  Still, look on the bright side. Wrex, Garrus and Mordin are now back aboard the Normandy, so all those hours weren't completely lost!


24th March '12 - Norwich 2 Wolves 1. No passion. No commitment. No hope. We are now three points adrift at the bottom of the Premiership and the only way is down.


23rd March '12 - Thirty years ago today, Iron Maiden released their third album 'The Number Of The Beast' featuring their new vocalist Bruce Dickinson. People at the time wondered whether this well-spoken ex-public schoolboy could ever step into the shoes of the mighty Paul Di Anno.  
  I think we all know the answer to that one by now.


22nd March '12 - and talking of masterful Science Fiction, the first full trailer for Sir Ridley Scott's 'Prometheus' has just been posted. Is it a prequel to 'Alien'? Well, that's definitely the Weyland-Yutani logo in there and what looks suspiciously like the 'Space Jockey' from the original movie. Ok, I'm intrigued!


21st March '12 - So it's with a heavy heart that I hang up my quiver and arrows in Tamriel as I put the mighty 'Skyrim' to bed for a while, at least until the first wave of DLC appears. It turns out I've put in three hundred and twelve gaming hours since November. Man, that's some commitment!
  Still, no use mourning for what's gone before, I have recoded the gamepad and am about to dive in to 'Mass Effect 3'. I'm really looking forward to this. If any video game is worth considering for a movie treatment, then surely it's Mass Effect? I'd love to see the Commander Shepard and the crew of the Normandy on the big screen!
  It'd annihilate anything George Lucas has put out in the last thirty years.


20th March '12 - What a glorious day! The sun is shining, the birds are singing, the weather is mild and I am on a lovely Rest Day. Think I'm going back to bed...

19th March '12 - I'm now at the six month point in my new lifestyle. Phase One (drop some weight and sort my health out because the Cardiologist is looking worried) is long gone and I am happy to report that Phase Two (get myself back to the shape I was in in my mid-twenties) has been a complete success.
  Tale of the tape? I now wear 31" (and occasionally 30") jeans and trousers. Before I started I was almost a 36" waist. I have gone up a whole chest size and half a collar. I have put two inches on each bicep. I can now do three sets of ten pull-ups (when I bought the bar I could barely manage three single ones). My dumbells are now evil 18KG bastards where six months ago they were 10KG and I can now blitz through 250 crunches in five sets of fifty when a total of twenty almost ruptured me back in September.
  The moobs are now pecs; the flab is now abs.
  In short, I'm in shape. Still short, but definitely in shape!
  Time then to move into the unknown. I am starting Phase Three tomorrow, which I can only descibe as 'I want to look like Vin Diesel for the Summer'. Intensive split-bodypart training will now be the order of the day. A three-in-five day rotating plan with truck-loads of protein shakes, Creatine and FCAA supplements, an even more sensible diet and lots of sleep and water. Things like Renegade Rows, Zottman Curls and Incline Hammer Curls will be added to the routines, and I will now be doing my final sets to failure.
  I will report back in July. I may even post 'before and after' photos.
  And before anyone asks, there really is no secret to any of this. Eat less crap, exercise more (and intensively) and get lots of water and sleep. End of.


18th March '12 - Wolves 0 Man Utd 5. Season over. Relegated. Good! Maybe now we can have a good clear-out of the rubbish and start again. Bye bye Stearman, Ward, Doyle, Ebanks-Blake, Berra and one or two other make-weight chancers. Get a decent, hungry manager in and bounce straight back.
  Or, more likely, carry on as before and fart about in clueless mid-table Championship mediocrity for half a dozen seasons moaning about 'sleeping giants' and mistakenly telling ourselves that we're a Premiership outfit...


17th March '12 - St. Patrick's Day once more and, with tiresome predictibility, the whole of the pub was full idiots in of those stupid green foam hats supping Guinness when everyone could see they don't really like the stuff. I can't honk too loudly though, since Scruffy Murphy's is an Irish pub and both Gaffer and his missus are from Cork.
  I was just grateful the DJ kept the Thin Lizzy to a minimum and didn't succumb to the temptation of sticking U2 on, though. I did try to convince him that Hatebreed were from Dublin at one point, but he didn't go for it...


16th March '12 - What a strange day. My mobile phone almost melted earlier...


15th March '12 - My new camera has GPS on it and I can't for the llife of me figure out why. GPS is able to pin-point your location anywhere in the world and is extremely useful if you're lost somewhere and haven't got a Scooby where you are, but why would you need this in a camera?
  Surely if you're on holiday taking photos or at a gig or out with your mates, then you're going to know exactly where you've ended up, aren't you? And if you d happen to find yourself lost in the Amazon Basin or the middle of the Alaskan Tundra then the last thing on your mind is going to be popping off a few happy snaps of the surrounding countryside, wouldn't you think?
  I don't think I'll be availing myself of this particular feature anytime soon...


14th March '12 - Watched 'Puss In Boots' this evening. Brilliant little movie, and far better than any of the increasingly tired Shrek films for my money. More please!

13th March '12 - I'm absolutely astounded that Apple have announced the imminent release of yet another iPad. The posters from the big pre-Christmas push on the iPad 2 are still all over the Underground, yet now, apparently, that was a £500 pile of toss and everyone must rush out and get the new version, which will be better than the bestest thing ever. For another six months, then rinse and repeat.
  No-one can be that gullible as to fall for this again, can they? I mean, will there really be people queueing up at midnight on Regent Street for one of these? Especially if they already own an iPad 2?
  With depressing certainty, I think I know exactly what the answer to that question is...


10th March '12 - Wolves 0 Blackburn 2. As predicted. Booed off once more and protests after the game against the Chairman and the Board. Game over, man.  
  Man United up next. I foresee an embarrassment of record proportions.


9th March '12 - Camera arrived. Am in full-on 'fiddle with shiny thing mode'. Groovy!

8th March '12 - Why is it that whenever I have a Rest Day and turn my alarm off, I always end up waking up at half past four anyway? There is absolutely no reason for this, but it happens every time without fail.  
  I've learned from bitter experience that the worst thing I can do is lie there and try and go back to sleep, so I tend to get up straight away and sneak off to the computer for a couple of hours of gaming. Then, once the Fishwife and Mini-Fish are up, dressed and off to school, I can go back for another couple of hours of blissful kip, content in the knowledge that no bugger is going to wake me up.   
  Until the sodding postman comes half an hour later.


7th March '12 - Based on what I saw yesterday, I've ordered one of these from Amazon to replace the old Olympus I lost at Christmas. Amazon were forty quid cheaper than the cheapest trade price at Focus - go figure.  
  Basically, I wanted a compact that shoots in RAW, has full manual control and a long optical zoom so I can sneak it into gigs. This was the cheapest of the limited options by quite some way.  
  The only problem is the colour. Still, seeing as the red one was twenty notes cheaper than the black, I think I can live with it.


6th March '12 - Focus On Imaging, NEC. It's that time of year again where I, as a professionally qualified photographer and accredited expert in imaging spend my own time and money to get to the annual industry trade fair only to meet several senior work colleagues there on a company-funded jolly.  
  Although there was the usual full quota of old idiots with their cameras round their necks, they were all outshone this year by one bearded buffoon who'd brought along every scrap of photographic equipment he owned, (which appeared to be most of the Canon catalogue) with whatever didn't fit round his neck being pulled behind him in a custom-made wheeled trolley liberally plastered with Canon stickers from about 1978 to the present day. 
  I had a brief but comprehensive look round, checked out the various RAW compacts on the market, had a look at the new Nikon D4 (the specs - and price tag - of which are so OTT, it's frankly ridiculous) and also got 'hands-on' with the ludicrous little Nikon V1, which comes in a number of colour options and is clearly aimed at the Apple crowd - lots of style, big price ticket and not much else. After that, I came home.  
  Not sure if I'll bother with it next year. What's the point of me keeping up with the latest imaging technology when all the relevant imaging decisions at work are not mine to make?


3rd March '12 - Fulham 5 Wolves 0. After rallying around to scrape a point last week, the usual suspects revert to the usual form. Absolutely nobody looked interested in giving it anything other than a pedestrian kick-about, and why should they? Their wages roll in whether they win or lose and everyone knows that, regardless of whether or not they stay up, a new manager next season will come in and show most of these clowns the door.  
  I can see nothing but abject defeat following abject defeat from now on. Next week is a six pointer at home against fellow strugglers Blackburn. I reckon it'll all be over by half time.


2nd March '12 - A rare Friday night out, starting with a Brick Lane curry after work and ending up in the Intrepid Fox. It's always great to descend into a smiling drunken haze with old friends, but I'm not sure how much longer I'm going to feel the need to do this.  
  Perhaps it's my age, but every Fox night out these days only serves to remind me of how much I miss the old place and how little character the new pad has. More tellingly, as the years move on and I see fewer and fewer of the old faces each time I'm here. Most of the people in the place now probably don't realise that there ever was another Intrepid Fox before this one. This makes me sad.
  What a miserable old fart I've become...


1st March '12 - Avengers trailer is finally here! Oh yes! 3D cinema ticket sold!


29th February '12 - A Leap Year once more. I wonder how many poor single blokes will have their lives ruined today by an impertinent question from their significant other?


28th February '12 - I'm hooked on an amazing new drug. If I take it half an hour before bedtime, I have the most amazing, vivid dreams, boat-loads of REM sleep and wake up refreshed and ready to go even if I've only had four or five hours kip.  
  Lemon Lucozade.
  I kid you not. Half a small bottle before popping off to dreamland and all is right in my world. Bizarrely, it's only the lemon flavour that does this for me. Orange, apple or original? No reaction whatsoever. 
  Best I hit the cash & carry and get a pallet in before other people discover its medicinal value!


26th February '12 - Newcastle 2 Wolves 2. To be honest, I'd washed my hands of this one. By the time I'd remembered we were playing and bothered to check the score, it was half an hour in and we were two - nil down. So much for Terry Connor's promotion, I thought.  
  Imagine my surprise this morning when I found out we'd not only pulled it back for a much-needed point, but also that we'd played some solid football for the whole second half and were well worth the draw by all accounts. I'm not sure that Terry will become the permanent manager (time - and results - will tell), but he's been Coach for ten years and knows the club and players inside out, so I reckon this is not a bad start at all.  
  A point away against the fifth place team is not to be sniffed at!


25th February '12 - Beth Hart, Shepherd's Bush Empire. As you've no doubt surmised, this was one of the Fishwife's gig choices. I'd never heard of Beth Hart and being told that she'd worked with the excruciatingly dull Joe Bonamassa (a gig so boring, I didn't even post about it last October) didn't inspire much confidence.  
  Wrong. Ms. Hart is really rather good indeed with a voice that is pretty much Janis Joplin reincarnated. For two solid hours, she belted out everything from Southern Blues to full-on Rock and it was all excellent. I'd love to hear here have a crack at Metal with lungs like that on her!  
  All in all, a great gig in one of my favourite venues. I'll definitely see her again!  


24th February '12 - Another week at the training school draws to a close. I must admit, I do quite enjoy being here despite the fifty stop round trip on the Underground. It's always nice teaching people who are willing and eager to learn.  
  Trouble is, at some point we're going to get to the people who really aren't interested in what I'm teaching and couldn't give a monkey's about learning new skills. I'd like to think I'll be otherwise engaged by the time those courses require a trainer, but knowing my luck.


23rd February '12 - If, like me, your pitiful existence is one long round of bone-crushing tedium, here's a little tip that will help you make it through the bleak, week-long periods of drudgery forced upon those of us who have to work for a living:  
  Buy tat from eBay.  
  Nothing too expensive, just some random small-value item.  
  For maximum pleasure, make sure you buy something whenever you roll in steaming from a Saturday night drinking session. That way, you'll quickly forget all about it in the ensuing alcoholic daze. 
  What this means in practice is that when your purchase arrives sometime in the middle of the week, it's like getting a surprise present and will often put a smile on your face that will last until the weekend, when you get to do it all over again.  
  Obviously, stick to inexpensive things like a t-shirt or a small toy. Coming home and finding a vintage Ducati on the front step is thrilling for about three seconds until you realise whose Paypal account has been docked for it...


21st February '12 - I will always lament the fact that we will never know the answer to one of the true great questions of our time:
  Just who would've won in a cage-fight between Thora Hird and Beryl Reid?


20th February '12 - So the saga of the search for the new Wolves manager goes on, with Alan Curbishley (my choice) ruling himself out of contention citing 'differences' with the Molineux board. Oh dear. Looks like Steve Bruce could be a shoo-in, then.
  Which means we'll be looking for another manager in the Summer following our relegation. Still, Mick McCarthy's free. He's aces in the Championship!


19th February '12 - Words fail me. Apparently Hollywood is gearing up for yet another crack at one of the classics of Sci-Fi literature, Richard Matheson's 'I Am Legend'. Three times they've tried to do this on the big screen with Vincent Price, Charlton Heston and Will Smith all stepping into the role of Robert Neville and three times they've messed it up royally.
  It's not hard to do correctly, either. Simply follow the story as it's written and don't dick about with the ending because your infantile 'test groups' think it's too depressing. There's a reason why this short story is a classic. Try making it properly and you might just get a classic movie out of it, too.
  And for God's sake, no shitty CGI vampires this time, either!


18th February '12 - Another jaunt to Scruffy Murphy's in Birmingham for an evening of cider and heavy metal. Normally, I can think of nothing better as an evening's diversion, but my mate Brian the Bastard ruined the whole experience with the compilation CD he'd burned for the drive up.
  He'd gone and done an absolute classic mix of old skool late Seventies/early Eighties Ska and Two Tone. Specials, Madness, Selector, the Beat...you name it, this CD had it. Fabulous stuff!
  Sadly, by the time I got to Scruffy's and walked in to the sound of Van Halen, I really wasn't up for a rock night anymore. The DJ did stick a Mighty Mighty Bosstones track on at one point, but it just wasn't the same...


17th February '12 - Unreal. Went for my six-monthly dental appointment and old Robin couldn't find anything that needed doing this time. Perhaps he's had enough holidays in Tuscany for one year.
  No, hang on. Isn't it coming up to the end of the tax year? That must be it. He's probably pencilled me in for a couple of root-canals and a handful of X-rays next time...


16th February '12 - If you're ever in the Midlands and you like a good curry, you've simply got to try this place. A family favourite of ours for quite a few years now, the food is excellent and the service sublime.
  Go for the Assamese Murgh Jalfrezi. Your tongue with thank you for it...once it's got the feeling back!


14th February '12 - Not much love going round for Mick McCarthy in Wolverhampton this Valentine's Day following his sacking yesterday. Lots of speculation about who's going to replace him in the local rag, with Alan Curbishley, Steve Bruce and Neil Warnock all being flagged up as front-runners for the Molineux hot-seat.
  I don't really fancy any of them (though I'd take Curbishley at a push) I'd personally go for someone with a bit more flair and dynamism. Gianluca Vialli's been out of the game for a while, hasn't he? I'm sure he'd be cheap enough, too. Just a thought.
  So long as it's not Kevin Keegan...


13th February '12 - Aah, a glorious and much-deserved week off! So why the hell have I just woken up at half past four as if it was a sodding work day? Balls...

12th February '12 - Wolves 1 WBA 5. No way. There's just no way Mick McCarthy can survive this. Comprehensively taken apart by the scum up the road. Same old uselss team selection, same tired old tactics. This was as bad as it gets.
  If he's still here for the Newcastle game, we're relegated...


11th February '12 - Mastodon/Dillinger Escape Plan, Brixton Academy. I don't know who booked this gig, but it was a weird one. The idea of putting on a full-on Mathcore band like DEP as support to a fairly straightforward Metal act like Mastodon struck me as somewhat baffling. I don't think a lot of the audience got it either, but since quite a few of them appeared to be there for the supposed cred ('Yah, I love Mastodon! I saw them on Jools Holland, you know?'), the lack of extreme moshing didn't surprise me
  Anyway, Dillinger rocked, Mastodon were disappointingly pedestrian and the second support 'Red Fang' sounded like they were pretty good, though we only caught the last couple of songs (I shall investigate further). One good thing came out of it, though. Tired of the wankers downstairs and bored by the main act, we decided to see what the view from the Upper Circle was like. What a find! The sound balance up in the gods was excellent, the views were good and there was hardly anyone at the bar!
  I shall definitely return to this little ocean of brilliance next time I hit Brixton!


7th February '12 - I'm taking a few days off. There's some heavy stuff going down in real life and my brain's too fried to do stuff like this right now. Back soon...

4th February '12 - One year on. I miss you, Mon-keh...

3rd February '12 - Biohazard, Camden Underworld. The first Biohazard gig on these shores for over six years and it was a blinder. Sadly, the dudes I was supposed to be going with wimped out one by one, which meant for the first time in my life I went to a gig on my tod.
  Didn't matter. Once the boys from Brooklyn fired it up I was gone. Flailing away like a loon and having a ball. The new stuff is just awesome and even without the great Evan Seinfeld, they tore the place down.
  Great gig. Don't leave it so long next time guys!


2nd February '12 - I've always hated February. There is so much sorrow and loss associated with this month for me. The cold and greyness I can normally deal with; indeed, I quite like wrapping up warm on a winter's day most of the time, but the first week of February will always be an exception.
  We are all of us shaped by our memories and experiences. Mine for the first few days of this month have never been good


31st January '12 - Wolves 0 Liverpool 3. Mick McCarthy was in the paper today quashing rumours that Kevin Doyle would be going to Everton before the transfer window closed. "I'd be mad to sell him", said Mick. Statements like that and the thinking behind it are the reason we are now in the relegation zone. Again.  
  As for the game, 'woeful' is about the kindest word I can come up with. Apart from a late stab at goal by Sylvan Ebanks-Pie-Eater, this was a listless and tired performance all round. I'm not entirely sure how much longer the board think people are going to continue to shell out thirty-odd quid to see this shower, but unless things start turning round very quickly - like nine points from the next four games - then it's Championship football again next season...


29th January '12 - I quite enjoyed the BBC's adaptation of 'Birdsong'. Ok, so they lopped the 1979 storyline out and the Somme sequence was severely restrained, but overall I think it still just about worked.  
  However, if you did enjoy it and haven't read the book, please do so. You will get so much more out of it and the ending - the true 1979 ending - will have you blubbing like a girl. I was!


28th January '12 - There's a weekend offer on at Domino's right now whereby if you spend fifty quid or more on home delivery, you get fifty percent off.  
  I thought it would be virtually impossible for a dieting bloke, a skinny woman and an eight-year-old girl to get through fifty quid's worth of pizza, garlic bread and assorted side dishes.


27th January '12 - My, doesn't time fly when you're hurting yourself on a regular basis? I've no idea how this all started, but I'm into the fourth month of this new lifestyle regime, where I've been eating sensibly, training regularly and taking free-chain amino acid tablets with my main meal.  
  So far, so good. Since September, I've shifted four inches off the waistline, my cholesterol level now at 3.9, my BMI is fine and the old blood pressure is completely back to normal. Good, eh?  
  Time to knock it up a gear, then, I think. So from now on, instead of an all-round workout three times a week, I shall be blasting individual body parts on a day on, day off basis and gulping down Creatine shakes like I did in the Nineties.
  Let's see if we can't get this old wreck of a carcass back to where it once was ready for the Summer.
  One last time before the sun sets, eh?


26th January '12 - Whoopee! Training School again. Bizarrely, today was spent in a very productive training meeting where a lot of things were discussed, some definite timelines were agreed, outcomes projected and which ultimately resulted in all of us coming away having felt like we'd achieved something worthwhile that could actually be delivered.  
  I wondered how this could possibly be the case until I realised that everyone round the table was someone who actually did the job they were making decisions about.  
  More of this, please. It works!


24th January '12 - The first trailer for Season 2 of 'Game Of Thrones' has been posted here. Stannis! Melisandre! Ygritte!  
  Oh man, I can't wait!


23rd January '12 - I made a conscious decision to do something productive with this particular rest day. Something other than sitting behind the computer playing 'Skyrim' all day.   
  Imagine my surprise when I looked at the clock, saw it was late afternoon and realised that I had, in fact, been sitting behind the computer playing 'Skyrim' all day.  
  This year is twenty-three days old and according to Steam, I've spent just under eight of them in Tamriel. Worrying


22nd January '12 - Looks like things are bad all over; not just for photographers, but for photography in general. The legendary Eastman Kodak company has just filed for bankruptcy protection in the US.  
  Not the first of the big companies to start the long slide into oblivion this year, I'll warrant, but what a sad way for a giant like this to bow out...


21st January '12 - Wolves 2 Aston Villa 3. Heroes to zeroes in twenty minutes. Karl Henry stupidly sent off when we were 2-1 up with twenty minutes to go and that was it. Dead and buried.  
  We are now second from bottom and Liverpool are next. Terrific. Another relegation dogfight all the way in. Like we really needed that after last season.


20th January '12 - One of my team retired today. He tried to slope off with no fuss, but I wasn't having that. I arranged for a lovely buffet to be put on at lunchtime and got a few bottles of fizzy stuff in. He knew absolutely nothing about it until we sprung the surprise and a few of his old mates from other units rolled in to see him off.  
  Cost me the last of this month's pay slip, but it was worth every penny to see the look on his face! I wonder if there'll be anyone left to do this for me when it's my turn?


18th January '12 - I don't believe this. George Lucas will very soon be re-releasing Star Wars again, this time in 3D. Please, George. Please tell us why you're doing this?  Who the hell is left on this planet that hasn't seen this movie at least a dozen times?  
  It was awesome in 1977. It was still good when you cleaned it up in the mid-Nineties, but since then it's been shown to death on telly and then the prequels came along and soured everyone's memory just a little further.  
  No more, fella. Just give it up gracefully, will you?


17th January '12 - One of the tell-tale signs of becoming a sad old man is thinking you can do everything you did when you were twenty and get away with it. When I was twenty, I was repping 40kg on the preacher bar. Tonight, I was curling full preacher sets with 42kg, which I never managed to do in the Nineties.  
  I'll no doubt be shaking like Mohammed Ali tomorrow morning, but hey! A small victory in my midlife crisis!  
  (I wonder if anyone will get that?)


16th January '12 - An email today confirming the date and time of my Long Service Award. Yeah, you read that correctly. I've clocked up over twenty-one years of employment with the same organisation. Surreal.  
  Five others from my intake are still around, too. I remember going for a drink in Covent Garden with two of them mere weeks after we started in July 1990. I can still clearly hear one mate telling me he would only be giving it five years max before moving on.  
  Time flies, Pee-terrr.


14th January '12 - Tottenham 1 Wolves 1. I'll take a point here, thank-you very much. Spurs are on a roll right now. They have a great team and with Chelsea slipping up and Arsenal in the doldrums, Tottenham could easily finish in a Champions League spot and even nick the title if the gods are smiling.  
  Wolves on the other hand...well, let's just say I'll settle for survival!


13th January '12 - Friday the Thirteenth. My mate Jesus has called the banners for a rare night out up the Intrepid Fox. Meanwhile, right now I'm about as surly and anti-people as I've ever been for a number of reasons so getting lashed up and listening to aggressive music probably isn't a good idea.
  Not that it's going to stop me.
  I hope I don't end up doing something silly like telling people what I'm really thinking, because that would be bad. Amusing, yes, but definitely bad...
  UPDATE: Just got back. Seems I'm not the only one with the blues right now. One of my mates is thinking of jacking it all in and going off round the world, another is counting the months until he heads off for a new life in Spain and another...well, she's worrying about whether to dye her hair pink or not.
  These big life decisions are a pisser, ain't they?


12th January '12 - I'm not sure what it means when you wake up with blood in your palms from where your nails have dug in after you've been sleeping with clenched fists all night.
  Time to cut your nails, perhaps?


9th January '12 - Another week teaching up at our training school. We all know the drill by now, don't we children? Twenty-five stops up the Northern Line there, twenty-five stops back. Cricked neck, arse-ache and a fucked up sleeping pattern at the end of it.


8th January '12 - The first "The Winds of Winter" sample chapter is up! Good news, as it means that George R.R. Martin is officially hard at work on Book 6 of the 'Game of Thrones' saga!
  Obviously, if you're only familiar with the HBO TV series, then stay well away from this link, but if, like me, you're gasping to find out what happens next after 'A Dance With Dragons', then fill your boots!


7th January '12 - Time for some new jeans, The last pair of fat-boy 34" waist ones went to the charity shop in November, the 32" waist ones hang off my arse like some teenage R&B twat and I currently have only one pair of 30" Levis 501s, which still have the tags on, are bluer than a Ron Jeremy film and therefore unwearable.
  So I've just bought a couple of pairs of rather fetching stone-washed Diesels, because no-one seems to want them in my (new) size and the shop couldn't get shot of them.
  Ooh, get me! The heighth of fashion!


6th January '12 - Now hang on, this isn't fair. What happened to Christmas?
  For some reason, our decorations didn't get put up until the middle of December, then the minute I finished work on Christmas Day, we went back to the Midlands. We all come back for New Year and are instantly ill, then just as everyone starts to feel better, it's time to take the pretties down for another year.
  Bollocks. Right, I intend to make the most of it next time. I shall be putting this year's decorations up in October.
  Like all the fucking shops do...


5th January '12 - I have just clocked up my two hundredth hour on 'Skyrim'. Sad.


4th January '12 - Dear Hollywood... 
  Having just sat through 'Harry Potter and the Lazy Digital Colour Correction Part 2' could I respectfully ask that in future, if you must wash the screen out with one particular hue, you consider any colour other than bloody teal?  
  Because, frankly, you've milked this dry now and the whole 'teal and orange' thing really needs putting to bed. It's like watching a sixteen year old photography student with his first Cokin graduated filter; it gets weary after a while.  
  Look, bottom line? It's not big and it's not clever so just stop it, alright?
  Thanks ever so.


2nd January '12 - Back to work and the first rostered Bank Holiday of the year. As you know, I no longer work shifts and so am broker than a broke-dick dog for huge swathes of the time, but unlike last year, 2012 has me rostered to do four separate Bank Holiday duties!  
  I like this year better already!


New Year's Day '12 - Woke up at an almost unheard of seven a.m. and had a laugh watching the lurching dead outside the window making their way home from wherever they'd spent the night.  
  Funny how having a good time always leaves some people looking and walking like they've just shit a weasel, doesn't it? 


New Year's Eve '11 - Drove back to London to see the New Year in, but quite honestly, I don't know why I bothered. Everybody is still poorly and none of us in our family have ever given a good Goddamn about fucking Hogmanay, except my nephew who for some strange reason has gone up to Newcastle for the celebrations, which is obviously due to a hitherto unknown predilection for fat orange women in too-tight sports clothing, but I digress.  
  Said 'Happy New Year' to everyone at midnight, dashed out to light the obligatory firework and was tucked up in bed by 00:15. This is absolutely the last time I'm even bothering to stay awake for this pointless exercis
  Next year, I plan on sleeping through the whole stupid affair.


30th December '11 - Thankfully, the sick fairy has finished with me so I was able to steam on out to Scruffy's for one last session in what has undoubtedly been a truly awful year. Not that I was able to take my mind off it with a rocking night out, either. There was a new DJ on and he was, quite frankly, hopeless. Even the barmaid was helping him at one point.  
  Now don't get me wrong, I love Scruffy's, but why they insist on a DJ every Friday and Saturday night is beyond me. Surely installing an internet jukebox would be so much easier and infinitely more profitable?  
  And while I'm on the subject of pub entertainment, those ridiculous '50-Games-In-One' machines can be slung as well. Bring back the Addams Family pinball!


29th December '11 - Well I'm almost match-fit once more and the Mini-Fish is tearing around like a loon, but the Fishwife is still bed-ridden and looking like death, so the two of us went out shopping.
  Very enjoyable! A few more trips like this and maybe my daughter will grow up with the shopping instincts of her father rather than her mother. We managed to visit the bank, shop for everything we went out to get and still managed to fit a visit to the coffee shop all in under an hour. Daddy even bought a comic for a good little girl.  
  Had Mummy been with us, we'd have still been nosing round the fifth or sixth charity shop about the time we came home. Some bloke's going to thank me for this in twenty years


28th December '11 - As everyone's still ill, I decided to nip out and brave the thronging hordes to pick up a few groceries. The supermarket was dead for once, so I stripped the shelves of milk, Lucozade and paracetomol and came home.  
  Everyone else curled up on sofas and watched whatever brain-dead inanity was on the telly. I meanwhile, had a long bath and an early night with the Kindle.  
  I'm starting to hate this time of year now  


27th December '11 - The man-flu is slightly better in that the cramps have gone. Unfortunately, now everyone else in the house is shivering and barking like a Harp Seal. Drove everyone over to my sister's for a lovely meal, but no-one was drinking and everyone was too ill to stay late, so I drove us all back and we were all tucked up again by 11 p.m.  
  Oh, almost forgot - amazingly Arsenal 1 Wolves 1. Stole a point from the Emirates, which was unexpected but not unwelcome. I still reckon we'll be battling all the way in again though


Boxing Day '11 - I don't believe this. Actually, yes I do, since it seems to happen every single year. I'm ill again. Full-on man-flu, which meant that the Fishwife had to drive us back to Wolverhampton this morning since I was too busy shivering and suffering from muscle cramps to be able to work the pedals.  
  As soon as we reached the family pile, I went straight to bed while the girls went to the pantomime. Apparently, I missed seeing Linda Lusardi parading around in a black negligee. Don't care. She could've been pole-dancing at the end of my bed and I couldn't have raised the energy to get near her


Christmas Eve '11 - Well, I got the short straw and so this weekend I get to go to work and deal with whatever urgent stuff comes in. Hopefully, I'll get a couple of hours grace to catch up with my paperwork, load the van and find a petrol station, but once I've done all that, I'll be raring to go.  
  Every time I've worked Christmas before, it's either been ridiculously busy or completely dead. Personally, I hope it's a lively one, if only to get me away from the office radio. It may indeed be Christmas, but there's only so much Shakin' Stevens I can take in one year


23rd December '11 - It occurred to me earlier that I have no beer at all in the house for the festive season. It then occurred to me that I couldn't drink any anyway as I'm working both Christmas and New Year Bank Holiday as well as travelling in between.
  Looks like it'll have to be a dry one this year, then. Apart from a very quick libation after work, that is! Ho ho ho!


22nd December '11 - In Jane Austen's 'Pride & Prejudice', a man was considered rich and therefore a 'good catch' provided he had a disposable income of around two hundred pounds a year.  
  Just call me Mr. Darcy then, ladies...  


21st December '11 - Wolves 2 Norwich 2. I didn't even realise Wolves were playing last night, but it doesn't look like I missed much. Same old story, behind in under twenty minutes, equalise, go behind again, equalise again, booed off.
  Doyle playing, Ward playing, yada, yada, yada.
  Bored now. Sod off, Mick.


20th December '11 - To my mind, the first offence for which they should bring back the death penalty is putting empty After Eight wrappers back in the sodding box.  
  It's a crime which ought to rate higher than manslaughter in my humble opinion.


19th December '11 - Ok, I've now been at it for three months and the tale of the tape is that I am just about back at a sensible size again having lost about thirty pounds since September. If I'm honest, those 30" 501s are still a bit tight, but I have to keep yanking my 32"s up, so let's go with 31" and call it quits.  
  Not sure how much I've added to the chest, shoulders and biceps so far 'cos I didn't actually start off with a measurement, but my shirts are getting tighter just as my trousers are getting looser, so on the whole the silly amounts of weights/protein thing appears to be working.  
  I am also beardless for the first time in five years, partly because I fancied a change, but mostly because I've only got the one chin now. It ain't much of one admittedly, but it deserves an airing.  
  What's really sweet is, for the first time ever, I appear to be sprouting abs. I will keep an eye on these and report back later, but something's going right!
  Anyway, I'm still enjoying the workouts and the diet, so for the foreseeable future I shall carry on with more of the same. The cholesterol is under 5, the BMI is fine and on the whole I'm feeling good.  Now if only I could find a job where I don't have to get up at half four every bloody morning, life would be groovy!


18th December '11 - There are lots of big films coming our way next year. The final episode in Christopher Nolan's 'Batman' trilogy looks interesting, as does the huge Marvel 'Avengers' team-up movie.  
  Unfortunately, given my juvenile sense of humour,
this is the only thing I'm really looking forward to in 2012. Nyuk! Nyuk! Nyuk!  


17th December '11 - Wolves 1 Stoke 2. A game of two halves. The first one where we were all over these jokers and one-nil up, and the second one where we came out after a half-time binge on crack cocaine and whisky and went to pieces.  
  A standing ovation saw the players off the pitch at half time. It was replaced by the usual chorus of boos on ninety minutes. Another game lost (four out of the last five) and another place dropped. We're now only one point and one spot off the relegation zone. Again.  
  But it was nice to see Kevin Doyle score again at long last, wasn't it? Maybe he can try it in the other team's net next game...


16th December '11 - Ow, me tits.


15th December '11 - Every so often when life becomes too tedious, predictable or stressful for words, I do something crazy. Usually, this involves alcohol, but this morning, whilst engaged in my annual Birmingham Christmas jaunt, I decided to dive into Oasis and get my nipples pierced.  
  The 'why' of it utterly eludes me for the moment, but I have to say of all the piercings I've had so far, getting the old lils done was by far the easiest. For one, nipples don't bleed. At all. I'm not kidding, we went strolling round the Bullring afterwards and by the time I got to the pub, I was expecting to be bleeding like a stuck pig, but nope. Not a drop. They also don't appear to bruise or, for that matter, even throb like you'd imagine they would if someone had just shoved a blunt 1.6mm steel ring through both of your norks.  
  The woman who pierced me said that she'd got hers done top to bottom as well as left to right. Interesting, but I think I'll call it a day with what I have. For now...


14th December '11 - Back to Wolverhampton for a few days. This evening presented me with my first look at the new bus station, which appears to have been built for a nation of basketball players. It's basically a glass and steel structure to keep the rain off while you wait for your Number 33, but why they made the roof three storeys high is beyond me.  
  Given the impressive scale of the architecture, you'd expect all the signs directing you to your stand to be big and clear as well, wouldn't you? Er, no. Tiny orange LEDs and bog-standard timetable print are the order of the day here, meaning the overall effect is one of a bunch of squinting Mr. Magoos shuffling found inside an airport terminal.  
  The under floor lighting in the access bridge is pretty, though...


13th December '11 - Seeing as I'm working Christmas week, I'm taking my holidays early. Lots to organise, lots to do. Which is unfortunate, as I've just spent the last three days playing 'Skyrim' on the PC.  
  Oh dear. It's 'Oblivion' all over again, isn't it? I may as well bid you all sayonara until March. Still, it's not like I'm wasting my time or anything...
  And speaking of 'Oblivion', the Game of the Year special edition with all the add-ons and downloadable content is currently on sale at Steam for the ridiculous price of £3.74. If you need to save money, lose weight by not eating or sleeping and feel you have too hectic a social life, why not give it a go?


10th December '11 - Man Utd 4 Wolves 1. Come on, a result here was never really on the cards, was it? United have just been dumped out of Europe and someone was going to pay. It got interesting when we pulled it back to 2-1, but in the second half, they simply knocked it up a gear and rolled us over.  
  Stoke at Molineux next. Should be - and has to be - three points in the bag!


9th December '11 - Final day at work before my week off. As I'm working Christmas and New Year Bank Holiday this time, I thought I'd have an early break this year. This will, of course, include the obligatory jaunt to Birmingham with my oldest mate Brian The Bastard for ale and sausages. It is the law.  
  Back to today though, and we had a lovely sit-down Christmas lunch in our conference room in the afternoon, followed by a couple of swift sherberts on the way home. That's it for my festivities for another year, though. There's only so much hedonism I can take at my age. Especially after Wednesday nights' shenanigans.


8th December '11 - Well, I'm almost three months in to the new regime and shocked at how well it's going. I'm now at the stage where I have to constantly keep yanking on my 32" trousers to keep them up. One more week until I officially take stock and report back.
  No longer a fat fucker! Love it!


7th December '11 - Christmas meal time once again. In a radical move away from the pie and ale fare of the last couple of years, we decided to go to a Brazilian-themed place this time round. The food was excellent, but the place was dead. No dancing girls in feathers and hardly any other punters.
  Whether this was the credit crunch in effect or the fact that every place seemed to want payment up front this year, I don't know, but once we'd eaten, the lack of atmos forced up out to nice pub in Holborn where we chatted and drank until it was time to go home.  
  And that's where it all went wrong for me as I time-slid back to 1997. On the Central Line for four stops, change to the Northern Line and home by half eleven. That was the plan. Of course, it all went south (unlike me) as I fell asleep and woke up in bastard Ruislip.  
  So a sixty quid taxi ride home and  on top of that, I lost my compact camera. A good night tarnished


6th December '11 - Survey time again! I LOVE these things! The latest one I've found is all about how scientists have isolated another function-specific human gene. What does this one do? What significant medical breakthroughs could it imply? Well, the gene ABCC9 has been positively identified asindicating whether or not you're predisposed to fancy a lie-in.  
  Awesome. Like, never mind that cure for cancer or replaceable teeth - let's really get to the cutting edge of genome mapping!  
  Anyway, ten thousand Europeans took apparently part in blood trials for this and, after years of research, scientists are now happy to state that anyone possessing the ABCC9 gene will, on average, sleep half an hour longer than someone without.  
  So obviously Einstein, who slept for eleven hours a night had it, but Maggie Thatcher, who slept for four, didn't.  
  From a personal perspective, it's fairly simple for me to deduce that my daughter (who's never slept past six a.m. in her life) doesn't have an ABCC9 whereas I probably had one at college but it has been destroyed by twenty years of shift work.  
  The Fishwife, on the other hand, obviously has three sets of this gene...


4th December '11 - Wolves 2 Sunderland 1. So there we were, one-nil down after another Doyle start when Mick McCarthy finally sees the light and swaps him for Ebanks-Blake on sixty-six minutes. Ten minutes later, we're winning two-one and that's how it ended.
  Every week I make this point: Doyle is crap. He's listed as a  'striker' yet he is currently averaging a goal every seven games. Take him off, the play opens up and lo and behold, three points in the bag.
  Come on Mick, you're not daft. Get shot of him in january and get a couple of hungry new kids in. They can even be Irish if you really must!


3rd December '11 - Machine Head, Wembley Arena. When my mate Jesus asked if I fancied Machine Head with DevilDriver supporting, I instantly said yes. Had he mentioned that it was a four-band tour (Darkest Hour and Bring Me The Horizon being the other two) and that it was at Wembley Arena, which is possibly the worst concert venue I've ever been to (and I've done Birmingham NEC more times than you can shake a warm plastic bottle of Becks at), I might've thought twice.
  Had he also metnioned that the sets would kick off at half-six, that DevilDriver would be on second (meaning we'd miss them by having a pre-match ale), that Bring Me The Horizon were an un-listenable bunch of Emo wank and that a 330ml bottle of cider would cost £4.40, I would definitely have decked it.
  But then Machine Head came on.
  I honestly can't think of a better, more polished bunch of musicians in Metal today. An absolutely flawless set and well worth the entrance fee on its own. Just as well, really!


2nd December '11 - A bloke next to me at the bus stop this morning was standing there eating takeaway microwave porridge from a plastic bowl. I don't know why I took offence at this, but all I could think of for a minute or two was taking it off him and pushing it in his face.  
  That doesn't make me a bad person though, right?


1st December '11 - It's a cliched saying, but I really don't know where this year has gone. It's fair to say it's been a bad one for me and mine. Losing dear Steve in February has left us all in a daze. There's times I've felt like I've not been 'here'; like I'm a ghost drifting through a play where all the characters are played by people I know.
  Work has gone from bad to worse, my health has suffered and home life has felt the strain too. The only thing to do is to see out the rest of 2011 and start over again in the New Year.
  I'll be clearing away the extraneous baggage. Lockdown mode for me from now on. I will have nothing and no-one around me that doesn't belong. Life's too short...


28th November '11 - I forgot to tell you. I've given the iPhone to the Fishwife on account of it being shite. Microsoft has released a new OS for Windows Mobile called 'Mango' and it's like having a new phone. I'm not kidding; this HTC thing is like a different machine now!  
  So two hundred notes down the Swanee, but at least the missus can hold her head up high in the coffee shop with all the other school-run mums now!


29th November '11 - Two rest days on my shift pattern, a total of forty-eight hours off, and I appear to have spent thirty-one of them playing 'Skyrim'. Oh dear...

26th November '11 - Chelsea 3 Wolves 0. No, fair's fair. I've been moaning like a drain for weeks that McCarthy ought to leave Doyle out and give Fletcher and Milijas a run, and that's exactly what he did today.
  Turns out we're just as shit with this line-up, too. Balls. 


25th November '11 - Sincere apologies for the lack of posts, but I have had a very tiring week. As mentioned earlier, I was up at our training school delivering a course for six bright-eyed and bushy-tailed students.  
  Normally this presents a weary enough day in itself, as the depot is twenty-four stops on the Northern Line each way, but when you add in the fact that I still hadn't been sent the 'standard operating procedures' for the course on the morning I was delivering it, you can appreciate the stress I was under.  
  This week has pretty much been sleep, work and travel for me.  
  It'll be almost a relief to get back to doing my own job tomorrow. At least the bit of our organisation that I'm in charge of makes some sort of sense!


20th November '11 - What's the best thing you can do when you're slightly hung over from an awesome gig the night before? Yes, that's right, a children's birthday party for a load of hyperactive eight-year-olds! 
  I am definitely getting too old for this...


19th November '11 - Carter USM, Brixton Academy. Just like a Motorhead Christmas gig or Ginger's birthday bash, it looks like this one may finally become an annual fixture after all.
  I was gutted when they weren't around last year! After 2009's performance of '101 Damnations' and '30 Something', Jim Bob and Fruitbat decided to go for a 'greatest hits' package this time, and boy, did they rock!  
  Support from Sultans of Ping FC had the crowd leaping from the off and the bite of the recession made sure that, for once, the organisers hadn't oversold the venue.  
  A fantastic night!


18th November '11 - Wolverhampton. I've done more walking today than I have for many a year. I walked to the dentist to give him my payslip and then I walked to Wolverhampton town centre to do a spot of early Christmas shopping.  
  After walking all round that Ghost Town from Hell for two hours, I decided to walk all the way back to the ancestral pile as well.  
  I must've done ten miles today. Not bad for an office-bound desk jockey!


17th November '11 - For once, I'm travelling back to Wolverhampton on a Rest Day instead of the usual Friday evening trek. This is much nicer. There are only eight people in the whole carriage. There's still the obligatory bell-end using his mobile in this designated 'Quiet Zone' though.
  It's a shame these new trains don't have the old sliding windows like the old BR rolling stock used to. A white iPhone would look quite picturesque sailing out into the Aylesbury countryside with the sunlight glinting off it...


15th November '11 - With tiresome predictability, my own gob conspires, once again, to knacker my wallet. One of my crowns fell out this evening, meaning that another trip to see my dentist, Robin B'stard, is on the cards.
  That should cheer him up. He's only had four holidays in the South of France so far this year. Well, there is a recession on


13th November '11 - Aw, no! Is that the weekend over already? Well, it's now half ten on Sunday night and the last time I looked it was Friday evening. It's fair to say that 'Skyrim' is everything that 'Oblivion' was and more. Wa-a-y more.  
  Given that 'Oblivion', with all the mods I added to it, ended up eating almost a year of my gaming life, I think it's a fair bet to assume that this particular adventure in Tamriel will be heading the same way.   
  If only real life were like this. So many of my problems could be sorted out by firing three foot of goose-fletched willow through some bastard's eye...


11th November '11 - Tits. This was supposed to be my belated birthday drinkp, only it's all gone wrong. One of the crew is ill, two more have got tickets for some boring female-fronted Disney-metal Emo band, another is on holiday and two more forgot all about it because I only told them a month ago.  
  Friends? Who needs 'em. I'm going to start playing 'Skyrim' instead.


9th November '11 - A BBC survey has found that the average age of a Radio One listener is thirty-two. I don't know whether to be amused or dismayed by this.  
  On the one hand, it's funny that people who really should be old enough to know better are still happy to be spoon-fed whatever crap is flavour of the week with Louis Walsh these days, yet on the other what does it say about the collective taste and intelligence of the generation behind mine?
  And these people are breeding! Baaa!


7th November '11 - I see the usual blame game is on in the press trying to find someone or something to finger for Friday's horrendous crash on the M5 near Taunton in which thirty-four vehicles were trashed and seven people left dead.  
  The latest theory is that a firework event nearby caused smoke to drift into the fast lane which caused the crash. Well, yes, that's one possibility. Another might be that people were simply driving too fast and too close in what were already wet and foggy conditions.   
  That one probably won't fly though. There's no compensation in it.


6th November '11 - Wolves 3 Wigan 1. A timely birthday present, Mr. McCarthy, thank-you very much! I'm not sure if we can add to this with a trip to Everton next week, but it was nice to see and an end to eight games without a win!  
  Up to thirteenth place too. We'll be getting a nosebleed up here!  


5th November '11 - Remember, remember the fifth of November. Over four hundred years since Guy Fawkes entered Parliament and he still remains the only man ever to do so with honourable intentions


4th November '11 - Flogging Molly, HMV Forum. I don't care what they're calling the place this week, but I'm a grumpy old fart and this is still the 'Town & Country Club' in my book and always will be!  
   Anyway, having said that, it was great to meet up with some good friends and have an ale or two in Kentish Town. Not been up this way for ages. The gig was awesome (as usual) with just the right size of crowd. I'm so used to Brixton overselling the venue that it's a pleasant change to see a 'packed, but not too packed' venue!   
   Had one too many and came home nursing the world's worst bag of fish and chips. Still tasting the bastards now. Bleh!


3rd November '11 - I feel the urge to rebel again. What else can I have pierced?


2nd November '11 - A quick review of how my 'regime' is going. (Remember those dumbells? Well, I bought some more. And a bar to go with them.) Anyway, I've been tossing my orbs about on and off for two months now and tonight I tried on a pair of 30" Levi 501s that my sister bought me for my birthday somewhere around 1994/5.
  I never even took the label off them back then, as I was already beginning to work my way up the waistlines. I got the bastards on tonight and just about did them up, though sitting down was a no-no.
   Still, I could well be in them by Christmas. Yay me!  
   As for the weights, I'm nowhere near the size and shape I was in the early Nineties, but it's going well so far. I've just added another couple of discs to the preacher bar and am now curling 32kg. This hurts and leaves me shaking like an old man. Good! 
   I'm enjoying this! I will see this year out on my current routine and in 2012, I will knock it up a gear. I may even go back on the protein shakes, too. Starting to feel alive again, people!


1st November '11 - Ooh, goody! We're in November once more. Being a Scorpio boy, I like November a lot. Astrologically (try saying that after a few ales) it's my time, where all the power of the cosmos is channelled toward making my life a happy and harmonious place for the next month.   
   Well, that's the theory anyway. I can't see how this year will be any different from the last forty-two, but fingers crossed


Hallowe'en '11 - Maybe it's me being a miserable old fucker, but I really don't get anything from Hallowe'en. You'd think I would, wouldn't you? Any excuse for women dressing as Elvira and all that, but whether it's the way this pathetic nation of ours assimilated the Yanks' 'trick or treat' in less than a decade or the rampant commercialism that starts just after the summer school holidays finish, I don't know.
  The whole thing just leaves me cold...


30th October '11 - Devil's Night. I'm looking forward to watching my favourite film again tonight. For some reason, I missed giving it its annual airing last year. I think I might've been out.  
  Anyway, '
The Crow' blew me away when I first saw it at Chelsea Odeon in 1994 and it has remained untouchable to me since. A dark and brutal tale of death, loss and vengeance. In other words, the perfect Scorpio love story!  
  If you haven't seen it, do. If you have seen it and it didn't get to you, you have my pity.


29th October '11 - Man City 3 Wolves 1. We equalised when they went down to ten men, but then they simply knocked it up a gear and powered through us. Still, a decent enough performance from Wolves despite McCarthy starting with Doyle and Ward yet again.  
  Unfortunately, this is seven losses on the trot now and we're hovering over the relegation door once again. Mick really needs November to start bringing in a few points or both he and us will be gone.


28th October '11 - Next up on the Real Life Channel, another episode in the long-running sitcom 'They Saw You Coming, Fish', where our hapless yet loveable hero finds out that agreeing to help deliver some training next month has miraculously been transformed into helping shape and write the course, deliver it, facilitate it and help with the marking for all five five-day courses running from November to March next year...

27th October '11 - Lots going on in my head today and nothing I want to talk about. Doctors and stuff. Insert your own witty comment here:

26th October '11 - Wolves 2 Man City 5. This was their second-string side. To be fair, it was mostly ours, too, but since I don't rate several of the jokers that Mick puts in the first choice team each week, its still worrying to think that we'll be up against their big guns on Saturday...

25th October '11 - Back to work. It's always grim having only two days off. You still come back to a huge swathe of emails but you haven't quite had enough relaxation time to prepare for them.  
  And the dawning realisation that it's your weekend on coming up as well only adds to the misery. Arse.


24th October '11 - Rainy day movie time once more; and this afternoon's cinematic extravaganza was none other than 'Captain America: First Avenger', which turned out to be not quite as good as I was expecting and about twenty minutes too long.  
  I kept being reminded of one of Director Joe Johnson's previous movies, 'Rocketeer', which also had a wartime setting but was more fun and had more heart despite being twenty years old. Still, 'Cap' wasn't too bad, all things considered.  
  However, 'Rocketeer' also boasts a pre breast-reduction Jennifer Connolly too, which automatically makes it cinematic gold in my book and trumps any recent offering from the Marvel stables.


22nd October '11 - Well, as its half term, I thought a long weekend back in the Midlands was called for. For one crazy moment, I even thought about popping along to see Wolves thrash Swansea, but since we were two-nil down at half time and booed off, I think saving the thirty quid was the wiser move. We did salvage a point, but come on. Swansea? We've got Man City twice next week (cup and league), which could end up being embarrassing.  
  Still, not my problem. I think a trip to Scruffy's is called for. It's been far too long!  


21st October '11 - Trafalgar Day. You can tell by the euphoric outpouring of national pride and general air of celebration, can't you? Apathetic wankers...

20th October '11 - Today's Rest Day was spent getting to grips with my new iPhone. Two things immediately sullied my experience with the thing. Firstly, the screen is woeful compared to the Windows Phone and secondly, having a bunch of Apps on there that were immune to being deleted.
  I mean 'Stocks', for fuck's sake. Who the fucking fuck needs an app to check on their non-existent shares at a moment's notice? I call bollocks on this one.
  Gonna take me a while to get used to this thing. Jury's out for the moment...


19th October '11 - Another armful of blood taken down at St.George's. I have to go for routine blood tests every six weeks, which involves me fasting for a minimum of twelve hours. This effectively means I eat at five the previous evening and then have to starve until gone nine-thirty when they finally remove the fifth vial-full of claret.
  So with that in mind, I'd just like to thank the entrepreneurial soul who opened a Costa Coffee franchise right in the waiting room and forced a room full of hungry and thirsty people to sit there smelling hot coffee and warm pastries for over an hour without being able to do anything about it.


17th October '11 - I'm getting a bit concerned about the new Batman game. It's out next week and there's not even a sniff of it on Steam yet. Usually, big games are available for pre-order a month or more before release, but in the case of 'Arkham City', there's nothing.
  Looks like the PC crowd getting the shit end of the stick compared to the console-jockeys yet again. Ho hum.


16th October '11 - Scum 2 Wolves 0. Ward in the back four, Doyle all alone up front. Again. Five losses on the trot now and one point off the relegation zone. Same old, same old. We're in for a long and gritty battle once again and all because McCarthy refuses to drop his chums.
  I'm getting really tired of this now.


15th October '11 - I've just finished Dave Mustaine's autobiography and it's well worth a read. He comes across as a decent bloke these days, although he was a tool of the highest order in his youth.
  Nice to see the other side of the Metallica fallout story. Dave's version just confirms what I suspected all along. Lars Ulrich is a git.


14th October '11 - I really wish I had some money. Do you have any you don't want?

13th October '11 - I'm still not quite sure how it happened, but I appear to have organised a Christmas meal here. I mean, this place just screams 'me', doesn't it? What am I playing at?
  Get in, neck a drink, eat really quickly and then rush off to the Fox while the rest of them are dancing seems like the best plan...


12th October '11 - That's it. After my Windows Phone once again downloaded and installed a firmware upgrade without my consent (once again wiping all my contacts), I have decided that enough is enough and ordered an iPhone.
  This has cost me two hundred notes, but everyone I know with an iPhone is happy with it (even the non-Apple zombies), so why not?
  It can't be any worse than this HTC thing...


11th October '11 - The first 'Avengers' trailer is finally up. Check it out. Bit too much like 'The Iron Man Show' for me at the moment, but I liked Hawkeye and Scarlett Johansson as Black Widow is still going to be worth the entrance fee alone! Grrr!

10th October '11 - For the first time in over half a decade, I almost phoned in sick this morning. Life is throwing shit at me from three different directions right now, and that's just a bit more than I can usually handle.
  I can sort one of these out, but the other two are out of my hands. Not fun.


9th October '11 - I didn't get up today as I simply couldn't be arsed. Head's too full of shit right now, so the only thing for it was to lie in my pit and start re-reading 'A Dance With Dragons' again.
  By a staggering (well, not really) coincidence, most of the casting for Season 2 of HBO's 'Game of Thrones' is now complete. Have a look
here. I especially like Ygritte. Spot on!

8th October '11 - Well, as Penfold has pointed out, Kate Bush has a new album coming out soon. It's called 'Fifty Words For Snow' and it'll mean that she's put out two new albums in less than a year. The last time she did this was back in '78 and '79 with 'The Kick Inside' and 'Lionheart'.
  Hell of a benchmark to live up to there, lady!


4th October '11 - Oh Sam, Sam...what have you done? Two Rest Days blown away watching Season One of 'The Wire' (which Samboway has been on at me for years to check out). What can I say? Utterly amazing television, and I've no idea why I never got round to starting it before now.
  If the next four seasons are as good as this one, it's going to be a high-water mark of tv drama for me, and given that I've watched both 'The Shadow Line' and 'Luther' in the last few months, that's saying something!
  Sheer class, this!


1st October '11 - Wolves 1 Newcastle 2. What a bag of shite. Thankfully, we were a bit better than the QPR game, but once again, the curse of the wank referee appears to have been our undoing. A blatant penalty denied and a ball which had clearly crossed the line brought back into play to score really didn't help our cause.
  Four losses on the spin now, and a mere two points off the drop zone. Familiar fucking territory and I'm getting a bit sick of it. I do not want another six month long relegation battle, Mick, and neither do the twenty-eight thousand other idiots who pack into Molineux each week, so how about upping the ante before the Christmas slump this year, eh?
  Still, at least we ain't Bolton. Yet.


30th September '11 - It's 'Yay Friday' once more. I get one of these every four weeks on my works pattern. It's where I work all week until about half two on Friday afternoon, think 'Yay! Friday! Time for a beer!' before realising that, oh noes, I'm working the weekend.
  Never fails to catch me out, this...


27th September '11 - One of those weird days we seem to get every so often. Lots of scrappy little bits and pieces to be done that seem terribly important at the time and are forgotten about an hour later.
  I genuinely couldn't tell you what I did today if my life depended on it, but I seemed to be busy for the full nine hours. Like I said, weird.


26th September '11 - Nikon have finally releasd the long-rumoured 'mirrorless compact' they've been keeping not-so-secret for the last six months. Basically, what they've made is a tiny sub-DSLR camera with matching tiny interchangeable lenses and a tiny flash to go with it. Have a look here.
  The price though, is far from tiny. One of these little darlings costs as much as my D7000 despite having an absolutely microscopic 1:2.7 crop factor. Basically, for all you old farts out there, this is the digital equivalent of a 110 film camera and about as fucking useful.
  Who the hell they think is going to shell out eight hundred notes for this is beyond me. Saying that though, it does come in a range of colour options. Perhaps the Apple crowd will be tempted?


24th September '11 - Liverpool 2 Wolves 1. A game ruined by a blatant Andy Carroll foul which led to their first goal, quickly followed by a second and us chasing the game after that. The second half was much better, and an impressive Hunt/Fletcher one-two cut the defecit. After that it was end to end and by the ninety, we really should've had something from this.
  Far better than the previous week's performance (let's face it, it couldn't have been much worse) and a bit of hope for the next game or two...


23rd September '11 - Flying visit back home to meet my new Great Nephew. Wow! I'm a Great Uncle! What's that all about, then? I never let my sister's boys call me 'Uncle', as it made me feel too bloody old at the time, but now I am too bloody old, I think little James can call me 'Uncle Bill'.
  Not for a year or two yet, though, as he's brand new at the moment. Awww!


22nd September '11 - Rest Days. Spent a lot of time in my own head. Partly because there was nothing much to do and partly because it needed a bit of a spring clean. Loads of old crap in there. I mean, honestly. Why was I holding onto that? Tch!
  Anyway, things are slowly being put into perspective again and I am re-assessing my priorities once more. Right now, the most important thing appears to be to go shoot some mutants in the Mojave Desert...


21st September '11 - Wolves 5 Millwall 0, but it was a cup match and therefore irrelevant. Still, shows you what can happen if you don't play your chums all the time, eh Mick?

20th September '11 - It's that time of the year again when I look round for something to do by way of a Christmas meal for me and my crew. This is always hampered by several factors. Firstly, not all of my lot are socialites. Secondly, everyone's on a different shift. Thirdly, most of the Christmas-themed restaurants are crap, and finally, I'm not prepared to pay up front when someone will inevitably drop out and leave me short.
  This year, however, there is a ray of hope. The Southbank has a month-long German Christmas thing going on. All open-air lager tents and bratwurst, with craft stalls and sundry other tat. I think I'll just get everyone to congregate there and fill them full of Becks instead. After four pints and a sausage or two, everyone'll be suitably festive and we can all go home for another year.
  Bah. Humbug.


19th September '11 - Sometimes a friend makes all the difference...

18th September '11 - After the recent spate of huge Euro-Lottery rollovers, this Tuesday's jackpot, according to my mate today is 'only' twenty million quid.
  Is that all? Jeez, Paul, it's hardly worth having, is it?


17th September '11 - Wolves 0 OPR 3. As abject a performance as I've ever seen from a Wolves side, and that's saying something. The clue was in the team sheet, frankly. When I saw the names Doyle, Ward and Kightly, I honestly though someone had put out an old Championship list for a giggle. Sadly, this wasn't the case.
  I don't know whether Mick McCarthy is starting to believe his own publicity, but if so, this ought to be a lesson for him. QPR had their first corner within ten seconds and were two-nil up by ten minutes. Jarvis looked dreadful, Elokobi worse and Berra didn't know what planet he was on. Rightly and properly punished by a sharper, hungrier team who were a yard quicker to everything for the full ninety minutes.
  Liverpool at Anfield next. God help us...


15th September '11 - The Fishwife has persuaded me to watch this thing she got hooked on last year. I'm not normally one for telly, so wouldn't have watched it at the time, but her collected Season One of 'Luther' is really rather enjoyable.
  It's pretty much '
Cracker' for dummies, but an awesome Idris Elba and some tight scripting work wonders. Best of all though is the gorgeous Ruth Wilson as the psychopathic redhead Alice.
  I think I'm in love...


14th September '11 - Word from Hollywood is that yet another sequel is to be churned out next year. Only this one could be well worth a look.
  Mike Myers has apparently signed on for a fourth 'Austin Powers' movie and while I can take or leave the second and third ones, the first one is a riot.
  The fourth one though, will apparently feature Austin being given a 'Casino Royale' style makeover, which is already enough to get me giggling. Sound promising!


13th September '11 - The 'Firefly' t-shirt I ordered from the States arrived today. Apart from the logo, it says 'Dear Buddha, Please Bring Me A Pony And A Plastic Rocket' on the front.
  This is now my new favouritest thing in the world ever.


12th September '11 - Caught this weekend's 'Doctor Who' on BBC iPlayer this evening, and it's a thing of beauty. I've been hit and miss with the last two seasons if I'm brutally honest. Steven Moffat's idea of having a link running through all the episodes and tying everything up at the end is nowhere near as enjoyable for me as a series of decent standalone one and two parters.
  'The Girl Who Waited' is a standalone episode, and it is easily the best of Matt Smith's run so far. It isn't even his episode, as Karen Gillan (both of her!) carries this one and proves once and for all that she is capable of far more than the 'bunny-in-headlights' acting that she's usually called on to display.
  Witty, moving and sad, this is everything I love in a 'Doctor Who' story and is right up there with 'Blink' and 'The Girl In The Fireplace' for me. Catch it on iPlayer
here before it goes if you haven't already...

11th September '11 - I remember, as I'm sure you all do, exactly what I was doing when the first plane hit the first tower. I was in a photographic darkroom knocking out some B&W prints (See? Some things have evolved, haven't they?) I came out into the light to check them and bumped into one of my colleagues watching our little office telly. "A plane's just flown into the World Trade Centre", she said. I think my initial resonse was something along the lines of "Now there's a shit pilot...", before heading back into the dark to make another print.
  I came out a few minutes later and this time our whole team is standing round the telly and, as I walk closer, the second plane goes in. There was a sick, dropping feeling in my stomach then, and that was as much work as was done for the rest of that morning.
  And so now here we are.Ten years on.
  A decade since the trigger for the 'War On Terror'. A decade of reflection on exactly how much has been achieved since then, what with this world of ours being so much safer these days.
  Pointless wars and huge loss of life, both military and civilian, in Iraq and Afghanistan on the back of the New York atrocities and no-one seems to question the fact that all the money and planning behind the attacks came from Saudi Arabia.
  Kind of like kicking the dog when the cat's eaten all the fish in your pond if you ask me...


10th September '11 - Wolves 0 Tottenham 2. Like this is ever going to get old with most of my mates at work. Christ, Mick, couldn't you at least have tried and shake things up before we went two-nil down?
  Still, Harry looks to have purchased wisely in the transfer window and Spurs will knock on from this. We, on the other hand, have to dust ourselves off for QPR.
  No reason why we can't grab another three points next time round...


7th September '11 - Finally got the shaver out for the first time this year. I now look 'different' according to one of the nice ladies I work with.
  She was very gracious...once she'd stopped laughing.


6th September '11 - I don't watch telly, we've established this before. However, what I do enjoy is cracking open a DVD boxset and ploughing through the episodes at my own pace without having to wait for next week's episode. This only works in the latter part of the year when the nights are drawing in and I don't have the bloody sun blaring through the curtains at half eight at night.
  So, it's with no small amount of joy that I can happily state that this year's boxset season is finally upon us and I can look forward to enjoying all the stuff I've stockpiled since last year, as well as revisting some old friends.
  Tonight, we kick off with another run of 'Firefly'. Shiny!


5th September '11 - Rest Days again. Woke up at a quarter past five. These days, this constitutes a lie-in for me. Which was nice...
  Nothing else for it but to fire up Steam and go frag some zombies. At least until it's time for breakfast...


3rd September '11 - Ten hour days on two hours sleep is never fun. Then, to get sent from Mile End to Morden on a Saturday afternoon...well, that just upped the ante. Finally, booked off at five to find the District and Circle Lines closed and all the buses diverted as well because of an EDL march that had closed the Mile End Road.
  Ended up walking from Liverpool Street to Charing Cross to get a Northern Line train home with a mile and a half walk up Tooting Bec at the end of it.


2nd September '11 - Broke my own cardinal rule today. I let the mask slip. Stupid.

31st August '11 - Well, that was August. Riots, rain and rat-fuck politicians talking rubbish. Who knows what September will bring? Apart from the release of all the little shits that were sent down for looting earlier on in the month, that is...

30th August '11 - Just confirmed a booking for next year's summer hols.  Have a look at this.
  Even better, as we're going in May, it'll work out a grand cheaper than our usual July jaunt. More money for ale and pasties. Nice!


29th August '11 - A survey by some society of 'mortgage lenders' has said that the majority of Londoners will be renting their homes by 2021 due to the average property price being so far beyond them. Indeed, this sage group of individuals have predicted no less than a total 21.3% rise in property prices over the next five years.
  I smell a rodent.
  Isn't is obvious that these people have a vested interest in keeping the artificially-inflated market where it is? What happens if the few people still buying houses sudden stop? Exactly.
  These blokes are counting on there being enough dopes around to fall for this tripe and keep them in a job. They're probably right, too.


28th August '11 - Aston Villa 0 Wolves 0. You know what? I'll take that.

26th August '11 - Memo to self: When it's your turn to take the minutes at a management meeting, always write the things up as soon as the meeting's over. Otherwise you come to look at them a week later and can't make head nor fucking tail of who said what.
  Oh well, Plan B. Leave it a month before emailing the first draft out and every other bugger will have forgotten what was said, too...


25th August '11 - I have powered up 'Left 4 Dead' on my PC again. I feel the need to repeatedly put a shotgun into the faces of a load of brain-dead zombies, pull the trigger and splash their brains all over the wall.
  Actually, I feel like this most days, but it's been especially intense today...


24th August '11 - It's just occurred to me that I've not had a go on the National Lottery for ages. Oh noes! What if my numbers have come up and I've missed the chance to be as rich as Simon Cowell's left ear?
  Well, I reckon not spending a couple of quid a week for the last month or two has saved me enough for a night out on the piss, which is exactly what I'm going to do with it.
  Right now. Bye!


23rd August '11 - 'Skyrim' is now available for pre-order on Steam. Get in!

22nd August '11 - Shockingly, yesterday saw my first ever trip to the Black Country Museum, which for a Wulfrunian is a bit like a resident of Blackpool never setting foot on the Golden Mile. Very nice it was too, especially the pint of authentic turn-of-the-last-century Mild and the proper fish and chips (fried in dripping) that I put away.
  Shame we weren't paying 1900's prices, though. Still, well worth a visit...


21st August '11 - Wolves 2 Fulham 0. Blimey! Two wins on the spin!. For a moment there, Wolves were even top of the Prem, which is absolutely unheard of. I think following the win against Blackburn last week, there is definitely some teeth to the team again. We are sharper than last season for sure, and with Hunt and Fletcher firing on all cylinders, I really can see us avoiding a relegation dog-fight for the first time this season.
  Now all we need to do is keep the injury list as small as possible. Fingers crossed!


20th August '11 - Best Man time again. That's the third time my services have been called upon for this demanding and highly stressful undertaking.
  You don't think it has anything to do with the fact that I'm a professionally qualified photographer, do you?
  I think I might turn Mormon and get another couple of wives so I can call these favours in. That'll teach them to keep asking me!


19th August '11 - My last day before a lovely week off. At least, I think it is. Is this Friday? I've been up at 04:30 every day so far this month and my brain has turned to Swiss cheese.
  I plan on doing absolutely sod-all next week. Apart from two nights out, a trip to a museum, writing two business cases for work and re-installing everything on Steam after my gaming hard drive crashed.


18th August '11 - For the last fortnight at least I've been wearing a jacket to work and then carrying the thing around because it's been so bloody hot. Today, I left the jacket at home...and got drenched.
  Oh the delicious irony!


16th August '11 - I've decided I want one of these. I can't afford it, I've no idea where I'd put it and, to be honest, its juvenile vulgarity offends me ever so slightly.
  Still, it's the absolute tits, isn't it? Dark Phoenix! Grrr!


15th August '11 - Ah, Monday morning. How I love thee! Arse.

13th August '11 - Blackburn 1 Wolves 2. Unfinished business now finished. Despite doing us 3-2 at Molineux in that unforgettable nail-biter at the end of last season (I still wake up sweating over that one!), the Blackburn side that rolled out today looked second-best from the off,despite going one up in the first half.
  We equalised in minutes though, and after that we were never really troubled. Mick McCarthy has tinkered with the team, but it's prettymuch there now, and new boy (and captain) Roger Johnson looks fantastic at the back. Could this be the season it all finally comes together and we don't find ourselves in a relegation dogfight next May? Here's hoping!


11th August '11 - Lots of big noises being made by Cameron and the rest of the sock puppets about how all the naughty yoofs will be going down for a long time once they've been found guilty at these hurredly convened magistrates courts.
  A fiver says the first one will be out by the end of the month...


10th August '11 - Surprisingly, work was still there when I got in at ten to seven this morning. It looks as if the East End escaped the heavy-duty trashing that other parts of London endured. Then again, we haven't got any mobile-phone or trainer shops by where I work.
  However, if kebabs suddenly become high-end items overnight, we'll all be well and truly screwed here in E3....


9th August '11 - If your sole source of information on the riots has been Sky News, or worse, the BBC, then pop over to the great Inspector Gadget's 'blog and have a read of the comments coming in from the front line.
  What the hell has happened to this nation? Look what they've done to us...


8th August '11 - I'd normally be in bed by now, but for once I'm staying up late. Part of me can't believe what I'm watching on these live news broadcasts. Sadly, another part of me is amazed we haven't seen things like this before.
  The feral underclass we've spent thirty years breeding and encouraging has finally come out to play en masse.
  Devil's Night in the UK and it isn't even October 30th.
  They're not going to stop. They've got a taste for it now.


7th August '11 - Had to abandon my post and drive into our Duty Office today, as no-one on this morning had enough knowledge of our working practices and capabilities to supply the appropriately-trained cover following last night's shenanigans. Took a couple of hours of frantic ringing round, but in the end, we got it sorted. For now.
  I've a horrible feeling it's all going to go bent very soon...


6th August '11 - Only a week to go until the Premier League kicks off again. We've got Blackburn in our first game. You remember; the team who went three-nil up at half time against us in the final game of last season.
  Oh well, it could've been worse. Imagine having Man Utd as your opener...like the scum have got! Go on, Sir Alex! Give 'em some 'ommer!


4th August '11 - The Great British Beer Festival once more. The first time I haven't had Steve alongside me for twelve years. It felt strange. It felt sad.
  Ironically, it was also the first time ever that Batham's (Steve's favourite brewery) hadn't bothered to send a couple of barrels of their finest along. It's almost as if they knew there wouldn't be much point.
  Missed you, Mon-keh...


3rd August '11 - My resolution for August was not to buy any more cheap games on Steam, owing to the fact that I have twelve of the buggers on my hard-drive that I haven't even booted up yet  
  Today, the bastards are selling 'Fallout: New Vegas' for £7.49. Arse.


2nd August '11 - Shamefully remiss of me, but there were two big news items while I was on holiday not giving a toss. One was some lunatic Norwegian Freemason shooting up the youth wing of the country's Labour party, killing sixty-nine people and the other was Amy Winehouse finally joining the 27 Club.
  Seventy people dead.
  Sixty-nine people will be forgotten about by the rest of the world inside a week and the other will become a legend. Not quite sure how this works, but it can't be right...


1st August '11 - Back to work once more. One hundred and thirty-eight emails waiting for me. That and bringing the shift patterns and annual leave up to date again pretty much took care of the day.
  One amusing thing though. I found out I'd received a commendation for the good work that my old unit had done. Seeing as I left four years ago, I had to drop a line to the brass thanking them for the nod, but letting them know it would be inappropriate for me to take any credit for the efforts of others.


31st July '11 - And this is London. The city that promised it wouldn't do that again, but then did it anyway. Yesterday, it took me four and a half hours to get from Peebles to Wolverhampton, a distance of 265 mles. Today it took the same amount of time to get the 142 miles from Wolves back to Streatham. Forty miles an hour on the M42. Fabulous.
  Why so many people are so desperate to come here, I'll never know...


23rd - 30th July '11, Castle Hill (nr Peebles), Scotland - For a number of different reasons, we decided to give Cornwall a miss this year. Frankly, this was just what I needed. The place where we stayed was wonderful. Four miles away from anything and sporting a ruined sixteenth century keep right there in the back garden (the dungeons and part of the ground floor were still intact. Another month or two of London and even this would've been a tonic).
  Went for walks along the River Tweed, up into the woodland, climbed a hill or two. Divine. For the most part, we were lucky if we saw a dozen other people all day. No sirens, no shouty types, just hills, trees and rolling fields. And sheep. Lots and lots of sheep.
  The weather was glorious. Six out of the seven days were hot and sunny. Even the locals seemed vaguely apologetic that it wasn't raining. The nights were beautiful, too. With no street-lights for miles, I was able to sit out at midnight with a glass of wine counting the constellations and watching the satellites pass overhead. I even had my very own shooting star to wish on.
  I like Scotland. I shall definitely return.


22nd July '11 - I'm taking a week off from everything once more. I'm not sure if it's even worth coming back. This no longer seems to have the charm that it used to.

21st July '11 - A day of camera contrasts. Took my new works Nikon out for the first time and put it through its paces on a couple of 'live' jobs in the daytime, whilst in the evening I photographed a mate's retirement 'do' with my own shiny new toy.
  The work D700 is the lowest model in Nikon's 'professional' range, whereas my D7000 is their top 'amateur' camera. In reality, apart from the autofocus being slightly slower on the professional camera, I couldn't tell you the difference in actual useage. I can tell you the difference in price, though. Mine cost half what the work one did.


19th July '11 - Ironically, it was the hatchet-faced redhead Rebeka-ka-ka-ka-ka that came across as the most forthright and convincing in the Commons Select Committee inquiry into phone-hacking at the News of the World this afternoon.
  Who'd have thought it?


18th July '11 - So the trailer for the relaunch of the 'Spider-Man' franchise has been released and, blow me down, they're going with the origin story again. Because, you know, I've kind of forgotten how he got his super spider powers, haven't you?
  I mean, it's been a whole three years since the last movie. I think I recall, though. He was coughed on by a radio-active shrew or something, wasn't he?
  What was the kid's name again? Paul Porter or something, wasn't it?


17th July '11 - Wolves have just finalised the £7 million purchase of Roger Johnson from Birmingham. With Jody Craddock signing for another year and Dorus De Vries as reserve goalie, things are slowly coming together at the back.
  About time, too! Somwhere between twelfth and fifteenth place this season if you please, Super Mick


16th July '11 - Happy Birthday, Steve. I miss you, bro...

15th July '11 - Finished the book. Wow! The executives at HBO better hope that interest in all things 'Game Of Thrones' wanes after Season 2 next year because there's no way they'll be able to afford to screen some of the things I've just read on $5 million an episode. Not unless they use sock puppets for the dragons, anyway...
  On a completely diffent note,  the £161 million Euro-Lottery Jackpot was finally claimed by non other than Shrek and Princess Fiona! Who says there's no such thing as a fairytale ending? Bastards.


12th July '11 - Going dark for a couple of days, owing to the fact that 'A Dance With Dragons' will be dropping through the door tomorrow morning. Well, actually, the postman will probably ring the bell seeing as this fucker is a thousand page doorstop.
  I've waited over five years for this baby, so it will be getting my full attention. See you again on Friday or Saturday...


11th July '11 - Although, after 'The Dark Knight' and 'Inception', I'm prepared to give Christopher Nolan the benefit of the doubt on pretty much anything cinematic, I'm getting a little bit nervous about his casting for the final film in his Batman trilogy.
  Tom Hardy will make a fantastic Bane, no question, but Nolan's apparent insistence that Hardy will not be digitally enhanced for the role is worrying. See, in the comics, Bane looks like
this. In real life, Hardy, though fairly ripped, is a good three inches shorter than Christian Bale. Whichever way you cut it, a five foot ten bloke in a vest is not going to convincingly take down a six foot one bloke in body armour, is he?
  Then again, I did think that a film about dreams within dreams sounded a bit woolly too, so what do I know?


9th July '11 - Looks like 'Game Of Thrones' is up for four Emmys. Best Drama, Best Individual Episode ('Baelor'; the one where we said ta-ta to Sean Bean), Best Adapted Screenplay ('Winter Is Coming'; the Pilot) and Best Supporting Actor (Peter Dinklage as Tyrion Lannister).
  If the former and the latter don't win hands down, there's no fucking justice!


8th July '11 - Can someone please explain how something ordered from an eBay seller in South Korea can arrive three days before something ordered from an eBay seller in Tyneside when both were PayPal cleared within minutes of each other?
  Damn Geordie posties. Bizarre...


7th July '11 - Right, so Colin Firth has just been given the Keys to the City of London to go with his CBE, while Helena Bonham-Carter gets...sod all. Reading between the lines, it's obvious that Her Majesty very much approves of how Daddy was portrayed in the rather excellent 'The King's Speech', but is apparently less than enamoured with the way Mummy came across.
  Poor Mrs. Burton...


6th July '11 - When I first watched 'The Matrix' I thought how awesome it would be to live Neo's life. Not once he'd met Morpheus, but before, right at the start of the movie when he's an underground hacker. That bit.
  I remember seeing him in his room with the lights dimmed and two or three PCs on the go; each machine doing weird and wonderful things. What was going on behind those screens? What fabulous techno-wizardry?
  Tonight, I had a moment of deja-vu, for I had become Neo. The lights were off, I had my main PC up and running and the laptop on the go right next to it. Wow! Cyber-guru at last! So what sinister and complex underground machinations was I involved in running two computers at the same time?
  The laptop was defragging and the PC was downloading 'Portal 2' off Steam.
  I don't think the CIA will be pushing the panic button on me just yet...


5th July '11 - I sometimes think...nah, let's leave it at that, shall we?

3rd July '11 - Finally finished 'Fallout 3'. Andy was right. The ending was crap.

2nd July '11 - One of the benefits of being on a 'conditioned hours' (non) shift pattern is that I can see what my working weeks look like months in advance. This means I always know where my 'short' weeks are and can book the train back to Wolverhampton early in order to maximise the savings.
  And the savings are often huge. To be quite honest, I don't know how Virgin Trains stay in business looking at some of their prices. I've just booked a First Class Saver out of Euston on a Friday evening in late August and it cost me twenty-seven pounds. This will include food, a complimentary lager or two, a newspaper (well, the Telegraph), and free broadband for my laptop. Were I to turn up on the day and take the same train, I'd be looking at a hundred and forty-three quid.
  Spontaneity? Wildly overrated...


1st July '11 - Payday. I like payday. I liked it even more when I was picking up a 15% Shift Allowance, but you know what? It's worth the pay cut not to have to do nights anymore. Don't get me wrong; I didn't mind them when I was on them, but now I'm not, there's no way you'd get me back!
  The trick now is to stay as close to the tax cut-off point as possible. My days of flogging myself to death simply to hand 40% over to the Government for them to supplement India's space programme are long gone...


29th June '11 - Although it still pisses me off royally that I can't have a nice Old Port cigar with my pint anymore, I can't fault my local as a greasy spoon.
  A Wetherspoons
large breakfast is absolutely phenomenal, and every time I eat one, that's pretty much it for me food-wise for the whole day.
  Good job, too. There's sixteen hundred calories in that fucker!


28th June '11 - Sometimes, I have a Rest Day where I jump up at the crack of, organise a list of things that need doing that day and systematically work my way through it accomplishing many wide and varied tasks like a true hero.
  Today was not one of those Rest Days. Today, I lay around like a bloated warthog carcass slowly decomposing in the Serengeti sunshine.
  Man, it's just too damned hot...


27th June '11 - Wimbledon again, then. Yawn.

26th June '11 - It occurred to me earlier that I hadn't heard Kate Bush's Christ-awful version of Elton John's 'Rocket Man' for twenty years. It couldn't really be as bad as I remembered, could it? So I found it on 'YouTube'. Fuck me, it is!

24th June '11 - Early screening reviews appear to suggest that Michael Bay's third 'Transformers' movie isn't quite as bad as the previous two. That's like saying horse shit doesn't smell as bad as cow shit. There's still a rather pungent odour, isn't there?

23rd June '11 - You'd think being disabled and in need of constant medication, they'd give me a bit of a break, wouldn't you? Not a bit of it. Today, the renewment for my annual Prescription Pre-Payment Card dropped through the letter box. £104 quid to stay alive for another year!
  Now, sure, it's good value in theory - I dread to think what all those inhalers, beta-blockers, statins and painkillers would come to over the counter, but on the other hand, if I were Scottish, I'd get them free. It really gets me fired up when I think about this health apartheid, which is why I try not to very often.
  They'll be putting me on blood-pressure medication next, and that's really expensive!


22nd June '11 - Some very interesting Dr. Who rumours flying round the intertubes right now. Apparently, next year's third Matt Smith season has been scrapped in favour of the 'four ninety-minute special' approach David Tennant did a couple of years back.
  The reason behind this? Well, 2013 marks the fiftieth anniversary of the good Doctor's first appearance on telly (23rd November 1963), and the BBC are keen to really ramp it up to celebrate. Naturally, this will be expensive, so in effect, they're going to divert half the 2012 budget into 2013 and go silly.
  I just about remember the tenth anniversary, when 'The Three Doctors' aired. Having Hartnell, Troughton and Pertwee team up to defeat renegade Timelord Omega was a wonderful concept, and one which they've stayed away from since the 2005 relaunch. How about them doing it again with Ecclestone, Tennant and Smith? They could even add Paul McGann into the mix and really give everyone a geekgasm!
  I think whatever they do, we'll be in for a treat!


21st June '11 - Yee-ha! Summer Solstice at last! Now the dark nights can start drawing in and a few months from now, all this sun blaring through my fucking curtains when I'm trying to get to sleep will be just a bad memory.

20th June '11 - Final episode of 'Game Of Thrones'. Told you it was good, didn't I? Only three weeks to go until Book Five is released. Can't wait!

18th June '11 - On the one hand, we should all be grateful for the lack of Simon bastard Cowell on the box right now, but on the other, there's no bleeding football.
  Swings and roundabouts. Ho hum...


17th June '11 - Took me long enough, but I'm now wholly won over by the London curry scene; mainly due to a fabulous little place called 'Aladin' halfway up Brick Lane. Last night's dish - as recommended by the waiter - was a lamb chilli naga with coconut rice.
  The nagas had been pickled to take some (but not all) of the pain out and were both bitter and hot, but not brutally so. The sweetness of the coconut rice, however, combined with the sauce and made it absolutely divine.
  One of the most flavoursome meals I've eaten for a long time. More please!


16th June '11 - I'm toying with the idea for a new lens for my camera. It's a toss up between an 85mm Macro, which, apart from letting me photograph small objects at 1:1 would also double up as an incredibly useful short telephoto/portrait lens.
  Or, I could buy a completely inappropriate 8mm Fisheye, which would allow me to sod about, push it right into people's faces and make everyone look like Sophie Ellis Bextor.
  Decisions, decisions...


15th June '11 - Ooh, we like! My local Sainsbury's have started stocking these. Keep an eye out for them, they're rather good. Especially with a Guinness!

14th June '11 - BOOM! I knew the uninitiated would be in for a shock at the events of last night's 'Game Of Thrones', but I wasn't expecting the sheer outpouring of disbelief, anger and incredulity buzzing round the intertubes right now. Twitter is in meltdown.
  Quite simply, TV audiences - American TV audiences - aren't used to seeing the main character of a show killed offhand in the first season and it's thrown them into a bit of a tizz. Check out
this guy. Priceless!
  Wait until he gets to the 'Red Wedding' in Season Three. He's going to shit standing at that!


13th June '11 - Got Biohazard's 'State Of The World Address' on the go once more. It's doing my head in that this album is seventeen years old. I remember going into Tower Records in Piccadilly especially to buy it the day it came out!
  Still vital, still punishing. Their best by a mile.


12th June '11 - This is most unlike me. I'm playing a game that I can't wait to see the back of. I have been plugging away at 'Fallout 3' for what seems like years now (I'm one of those saddoes that always has to do everything in a game before I sign off on it, as opposed to simply steaming through the main quest and shelving it.)
  I don't know what it is about this game. It's the same open-ended sandbox that 'Oblivion' had, but I found that my interest was waning after a fornight and now, a couple of months in, I'm sick of the sight of it.
  Another week or so and I can put it to bed. My mate Andy says the ending is a disappointment, too. So there's something to look forward to...


11th June '11 - Squeak! Hear that? That's the sound of Alex McLeish swimming away from newly-relegated Birmingham City and paddling furiously towards Villa Park as fast as his little ginger paws can carry him. Not impressed.

10th June '11 - Normally, I tend not to be bothered about missing out on hitting the town at the weekend like I did in my twenties, but there was just something about this afternoon that brought me down. Knowing that it was Friday, and that I could really have done with an ale, coupled with the fact that I'm down to work Saturday and Sunday, felt like a kick in the swingers.
  Oh well, there's always next week. I feel a Brick Lane curry coming on!


8th June '11 - Just watched this week's episode of 'Game of Thrones'. Wow! Two to go, and this is simply brilliant television. I'm utterly amazed at how this has taken off, particularly among those who've never read the books.
  They are starting to read them now, though. All four are back in the best-seller lists and the fifth one is due out in hardback on July 12th.
  I've booked time off work to read it. Yes, really. That good.


7th June '11 - "Arizona, noon, on the seventh of June..." Every year for the past thirty years on this date, I have the lyrics to the theme tune from 'Convoy' rolling round my head.
  This is what pissing about with a CB radio at the age of thirteen does for you..


6th June '11 - Went for the feedback session today, where one of the bosses told me where I'd gone wrong in my application to go back to the job I'd previously done at the same grade for four years. Apparently, my application was full of 'negative indicators'. This was explained further, and it looks like what let me down was using phrases like "I had no alternative but to..." when I should've said "I considered the options and then decided to..."
  In other words, semantics are now the tool by which skilled professionals are judged in my organisation. I mean, perish the thought that helping to create the unit in the first place, having a proven ability at doing the work and being the only one with professional letters after their name in the operational specialism should influence the panel's thinking. Or maybe it did?
  Frankly, this whole business has merely served to remind me why I walked away from that team four years ago. I think I'll stick with what I've got in my new post. I'm still very much enjoying the refreshing change it makes working with grown-ups, even if my skills aren't being utilised...


5th June '11 - Decided to see if driving back to London in the evening would be any less soul-crushingly weary that an early afternoon run. No, it isn't.

3rd June '11 - Faced with the option of traipsing round the Merry Hill Shopping Centre for three hours and then waiting while the wife had a live fish/pedicure treatment (trust me, don't ask) or pissing off on my own to watch 'X-Men: First Class' with only a tray of nachos for company, I wisely chose the latter. I wasn't expecting much from this to be honest, seeing as 'X-Men: The Last Stand' was dull and 'X-Men Origins: Wolverine' was absolute fucking bollocks, so it came as quite a pleasant shock to discover that this is easily on a par with 'X2' and may even be judged better on a second viewing. Great acting (!), a watertight script and top-notch SFX. Give it a go.

2nd June '11 - A trip to Birmingham with my oldest mate, Bry. We do this twice a year, and it basically involves looking round all the shops and moaning about how crap they all are compared to how it was when we were teenagers, followed by an ale or two, another look round the shops in case we'd misjudged how shit they were (we hadn't), another ale or two and home for tea.
  Routine. It can be very comforting. Especially where ale's involved.


1st June '11 - Today saw me and the family parked in front of the first advance showing of 'Kung Fu Panda 2' in 3D. Sublime. A really good family film that tops the first one (there's some kung fu in this one for a start) and possibly the best 3D I've seen so far, up to and including 'Avatar'.
  A surprisingly moving story at times, too. Especially when Po's father tells him he's adopted. There were actually gasps in the audience as a skinny, slightly camp Chinese goose told a Giant Panda that they weren't in fact related.
  Catch this while you can. It really is...awesome!


30th May '11 - The thing I love most about having a week off is the chance to catch up on some rest, which basically means not getting up at four o'clock in the bastard morning and going to bed around eight to watch a movie on the Alienware laptop while the girls stay up late watching whatever Simon Cowell wank is on at that particular time of year.
  For this purpose, I deliberately stockpile cheap 'rainy day' movies to check out in these little oases of relaxation. Sometimes these films are good . Mostly though, they're dreck and I simply mourn the two hours of precious life I'll never get back. This evening's visual treat was the recent remake of 'The Texas Chainsaw Massacre'.
  Now I don't know if you've seen the original, but it can be filed under 'mildly-entertaining low-budget bollocks'. This one has a higher budget and slightly less entertainment value. The only thing that kept me watching was the possibility that we'd get to see Jessica Biel's tits. We didn't. Ho-hum...


28th May '11 - Slight change of plan. Instead of driving back to Wolverhampton as usual on a Friday evening all shagged out after a long day at work, I decided to come home, go to bed, get up as normal at 05:00, bundle the girls in the car and hit the M40 early this morning.
  Result! Left at 07:00, breakfast at Oxford at 08:30, back in Wolvo by half ten. No stress, very little traffic and a much better frame of mind.
  Why has it taken me twenty-two years to figure this out?


27th May '11 - Advance tickets have been booked next week for 'Kung Fu Panda 2'...in 3D! Personally, I can't have enough of Jack Black. He reminds me of Meat Loaf's hyperactive idiot son, which is very much a good thing. The first movie is a big favourite in this house, so roll on Wednesday! Awesome!

26th May '11 - Sad to say that today, I learned that I'd been rejected in my application to go back to my old job. One of the bosses came round today to tell me the bad news. Amazingly, I resisted the temptation to tell him exactly what I was thinking at the time, and he has offered to talk me through where I went wrong after I come back from leave. This ought to be interesting. I'm still without a contract of employment, though. Embarrassing.

25th May '11 - My good mate Pogo sent me this. Absolutely hilarious!

24th May '11 - I now have all the tools of my trade once more. For the last couple of months, I have been buying bits and pieces to enable me to legitimately call myself a photographer again (Why not? Every other fucker with a camera does these days.)
  I now have a shiny new Nikon, a handful of lenses, a decent monopod and a strong bag. Should things deteriorate any further at work, I can now at least earn a living. It's a nice feeling...


23rd May '11 - Ah, it's that time of year again where a young manager's life revolves around Annual Staff Reports. Two weeks of trying to find something valid to write about staff who can't be bothered to evidence their years work for the benefit of an HR unit who never read the things anyway...

22nd May '11 - Wolves 2 Blackburn 3. Absolutely annihilated on our home turf, but we end up staying in the top flight. A game and a half for the Wanderers, but my God, we came good! Twice relegated in the last fifteen minutes and twice reprieved. Roll on next season, eh, Mick?

19th May '11 - In a press conference last week to announce their impending use of hollow-point ammunition, the head of the Met's firearms unit was at pains to point out that the new bullets are not to be referred to as 'dum dum' rounds because they were absolutely not dum dums. Not at all. Not even slightly.
  Except they are really, aren't they? Hollow-point rounds were first produced for the British Army in India at the Dum Dum Arsenal in Calcutta, hence the nickname. But hey, you call them what you like, old son.
  Go ahead, give these exploding, one-shot-kill bullets a nice, safe, flowery-sounding name if you like. How about 'petal' rounds? That'd do nicely. Why, they sound almost charming now, don't they?
  I'm thinking of getting some piranha for the pond here at Fish Towers. Except 'piranha' sounds a bit menacing, doesn't it? I know, how about if I call them 'smiley fish'. There. Much better.


18th May '11 - Today at work, I plotted out the Christmas shift rota. Since we were forced to work an eight-week cycle, the same poor buggers that copped last Christmas get it again this year. And next. Still, at least I've got six months to find replacement bums for all the seats. Forward planning, eh? Who's the daddy?

16th May '11 - Those of you expecting me to comment on the 'new' Kate Bush album are in for a long wait. I've said before that 'my' Kate was the one who gave us four differing and compelling albums between 1978 and 1982. The ultra-polished and technical musican that came back with 'Hounds Of Love' in '85? Ok, but you can keep her.
  So hearing that she has gone back into her archive to dick about with new vocals and arrangements of selected tracks from her sixth and seventh albums doesn't interest me because I wasn't that enamoured with them in the first place.
  Anyway, if you want a review, try
this one. I'm fairly sure he's covered all that I would've said and more...

15th May'11 - A last gasp winner from Wigan and West Ham are relegated. To be fair, the Hammers are overdue a spell in the fizzy pop league. They've been getting away with it by the skin of their teeth for ages. Three teams on 39 points, two teams on 40, one game left. Next Sunday's going to be a bit of a giggle...

14th May '11 - Sunderland 1 Wolves 3. And Mick McCarthy finally gets three points at the Stadium of Light.Two three-one wins on the spin now. Depending on how things pan out in the other games tomorrow, a draw could be good enough in our final game to keep us up. Squeaky bum time again...

12th May '11 - Yes, I know I've still got my shades on indoors. No, I'm not trying to be 'cool'. Yes, I'm aware that you think I look a twat. No, I don't care. The fact is I look upon these things as 'dark' glasses, not 'sun' glasses, and they happen to cut out 33% of all transmitted light.
  Or, put another way, that's a third less of the world I have to look at and a third less of arseholes like you that my visual cortex has to process.
  Now fuck off.


11th May '11 - Hello. Is there anyone still there?



There will now be a short intermission. Frankly, I've had a bagful of pretty much everything at the moment, so I shall be taking a month off from work, blogging and most other responsibilities and commitments, during which time I will be spoiling myself rotten by buying a shiny new Nikon, watching a shit-load of DVDs on my telly, playing computer games until the wee small hours, listening to silly amounts of hardcore metal and drinking like the fish I am.
  'Me' time. Because I'm bloody worth it. Laters...



17th April '11 - Well, as I'm technically out of a job, I've had no option but to apply for my old one again, so the last few days have been spent filling in paperwork and evidencing competencies - precisely the things I told them to shove up their arse when they wanted me to do them a year ago. Since then however, things have changed.
  My world is a different place now, and all of this work stuff that I used to think was so very important has slipped wa-a-y down on my personal chart. So, yes, I have decided to play ball. They will probably paper-sift me and/or insist on interviewing me at some point, just to rub my nose in it. For a job I did for thirteen years in a unit I helped create, but hey, I shall whirr and click like a good little robot for them if they want.
  None of this phases me now. None of this matters...


14th April '11 - I'm really not a happy bunny right now...

10th April '11 - Just in case you wondered or cared how my selection for yesterday's Grand National got on, I'm pleased to announce that my horse actually finished this year, as opposed to falling or ending up in the glue factory like they usually do. Sadly, it finished seventh, so no money for me. If only I'd have looked at the thing before putting the cash down. 'Character Building' was a grey (only two greys have ever won) and it was ridden by a woman (no woman has ever won...unless you count Elizabeth Taylor in 'National Velvet'.) Oh well, better luck next year.

9th April '11 - Wolves 0 Everton 3. Is he having a laugh or what? Just how the hell did Mick McCarthy select that team today? Did he hold a raffle for the shirt numbers or what? Jesus.

7th April '11 - I've decided a suitable replacement gaming experience to replace 'Mass Effect' would be 'Fallout 3', so from now on, I shall be devoting my free time to eeking out an existence in a post-apocolyptic nuclear landscape. Frankly, it's preferable to life at work right now...

6th April '11 - I've just had a look at the first fifteen minutes of HBO's upcoming 'Game of Thrones' (here) and I have to say that, despite my initial reservations, they seem to have pulled it off, so far at least. There's only a few characters in the early stages of the book, but later on in the battle sequeces, it's a cast of thousands. I hope their budget stretches to some decent crowd-building CGI. The last thing we need is another 'Sharpe' debacle, where old Sean Bean got to fight the same six French cavalrymen over and over again...

5th April '11 - I've just spent two days up at our training school and this time it was me getting trained. We've just aquired some new solid-state AVCHD video cameras which are, not to put too fine a point on it, the absolute tits. When I think back to doing video on high band U-matic back in my college days, I can only marvel at how I was able to waft the new camera around with my little finger. If I'd have tried to pick our old college machines up with one hand, I'd have fractured it.

4th April '11 - I was talking politics today. A mate of mine was bemoaning the Coalition 'cuts' and I pointed out that they didn't go far enough. He then accused me of being a Tory, wherupon I informed him that the one thing worse than a Tory was being a Labour voter. Predictably, he then asked if I was Lib Dem? Green? BNP? to ever-increasing sounds of derision. I eventually had to point him to this courtesy of his iPhone. Another one converted. Cheers, Leggy!

3rd April '11 - There must and shall be cider...

2nd April '11 - Newcastle 4 Wolves 1. Looks like we've rediscovered our traditional form with eight games to go. Ho hum.

1st April '11 - I thought it was an April Fool at first, but apparently Kate Bush really does have a new album out soon. Well, I say 'new', what's happened is that she has regained the rights to 'The Sensual World' and 'The Red Shoes' from EMI and is now remastering and remixing a selection of songs from them. The new album is entitled 'Director's Cut' and is out on May 16th. Interestingly, her new (own) record label is called 'Fish People'. Girl's got taste...

31st March '11 - Well, that's the 'Mass Effect' saga on hold until the final part of the trilogy is released this winter. Sadly, Kasumi and Jacob are now dead, but life's not all doom and gloom. I'm shagging Miranda and Kelly pops up to my quarters and pole-dances for me whenever I ask her. It's tough being a starship captain...

29th March '11 - As I sit here typing, the last chunk of downloadable content for 'Mass Effect 2' is quietly...erm...downloading in the background. 'The Arrival' is a Shepard-only mission and apparently takes things right up to a cliffhanger ending which will leave the story poised for 'Mass Effect 3' to complete the trilogy at the end of the year. Awesome. I'm going to enjoy this!

28th March '11 - You may remember the fun that I had last year reading the user reviews of the 'Three Wolf Moon' t-shirt over at Amazon's US site. Well, now we Brits have our very own Amazon phenomenon (try saying that after a couple of Tyskies). Folks, check out the love for the Paul Ross Box Canvas Print. Read the follow-ups for the 10" x 8" version, too. Priceless! (Well, two and a half grand at least...)

27th March '11 - Meanwhile in Japan...have a look at this. Paragraphs four and five show how the Kanto expressway looked five days after the earthquake (when the engineers arrived) and how it looked six fucking days later when they'd finished. Can you even imagine us Brits working at this sort of speed? We'd still be working out which companies to invite to tender for the bid to put the cones down...

26th March '11 - It was Boat Race day today. How the hell did that pass me by? Usually, I know when the Boat Race is coming up a couple of weeks in advance, as it always reminds me that the Grand National is on the following weekend, but this year it caught me completely by surprise. This is what happens when you make a conscious effort to stop watching television. Oh well, I'm sure I'll survive...

24th March '11 - Apparantly, MySpace is on it's last legs and the people running it genuinely can't fathom why. It's quite simple really. When it started, it was a fun social networking site based around one's taste in music. Then the music industry got involved. Now, it's a corporate marketing tool packed to the brim with adverts. Dull, patronising, and losing several million members a month. I jumped ship for Facebook two years ago (though my old page is still 'live'). Somehow, I don't see MySpace lasting the year out. Good. Put it out of its misery and learn from the experience. If something ain't broke, don't try and fix it!

23rd March '11 - The mantra of life these days would appear to be 'less for more', as we are charged ever-increasing amounts for ever-decreasing service. The latest bill came from my webhost today telling me that they're putting up the monthly fee; not by five or ten per cent, but by a third. A third! It's ok though, because in order to offer me a better 'service', they'll be throwing in a free '.co.uk' address (bizarrely, someone has already bought the '.co.uk' version of this site - Christ knows why) and 1,000 free POP3 addresses (just sod off, alright?) It's looking more and more likely that I will be morphing this site into something else in the very near future. Whether this means dropping to fewer pages or deleting some of the dross, I'm not sure. If the worst comes to the worst, I may even go the whole hog and start blogging. Bastards...

22nd March '11 - Matt Jarvis has just been called up for England. Terrific news! I can't remember the last time a Wolves player was chosen to represent his country, but I have the sad feeling it was probably Bully back in the 1990 World Cup. Before that, it was probably Billy Wright...

20th March '11 - Just got in from Brixton Academy (I refuse to call it the fucking 'O2') after seeing a great double-header. The Wonder Stuff were supporting and The Levellers were the main set (performing 'Levelling The Land' in its entirety.) Lots of lager, lots of jumping around and the chance to catch up with old friends. A really good night...

19th March '11 - Aston Villa 0 Wolves 1. I've said it before, but this season is just plain weird. Our first win at Villa since 1980 pulls in another very welcome three points, but we're still in the drop zone thanks draws for West Ham and the Scum, and a win for Wigan (against Birmingham, who are now looking decidedly shaky themselves.) Two points now seperate the bottom three and there is only ten points between bottom and eighth with eight games left. This is going right to the wire, folks!

18th March '11 - It's just occurred to me that I spent hundreds on a big plasma telly and Blu-Ray home cinema system back in January and the only things I've actually watched on it so far are the Director's Cut of 'Avatar' and an Arsenal match. Hmm...

17th March '11 - I'm currently absorbed in a game calle 'Duels of the Planeswalkers'. It's an online version of the card game 'Magic: The Gathering', which I used to play competitively fifteen years ago. Great fun, if a little limited, but it did cause me to have a slight 'WTF' moment this evening when I realised I was playing a virtual card game with virtual cards against a virtual opponent. Surreal.

16th March '11 - Today marked the day where, legally, I should've been presented with a letter informing me of my next posting and officially giving me twenty-eight days notice. Nothing.

15th March '11 - Tickets for the London 2012 Olympics went on sale this morning, 500 days ahead of the start of the Games. Over the next six weeks, 6.6 million tickets will be up for grabs with prices ranging from £20 to £2012. I don't care, I won't be going. I haven't met anyone yet who will. No-one I either know or work with is the slightest bit interested and we're only down the road!

14th March '11 - I had a casserole for dinner tonight. I guess that answers the question of whether my wife reads this site or not...

13th March '11 - Gentlemen, you will remember to remind your good ladies what tomorrow is, won't you? As its inventor, Tom Birdsey says: "March 14th is now officially "Steak and Blowjob Day". Simple, effective and self explanatory, this holiday has been created so ladies finally have a day to show their man how much they love him. No cards, no flowers, no special nights on the town; the name of the holiday explains it all. Finally, this twin pair of Valentine's Day and Steak and Blowjob Day will usher in a new age of love as men everywhere try THAT much harder in February to ensure a memorable March 14th. It's like a perpetual love machine!" Hurrah! Now this is the sort of equality I think we can all get behind!

12th March '11 - News is coming in that British Forces have captured Colonel Gaddaffi and that they intend to put him somewhere where he'll never pose an attacking threat ever again...up front for Arsenal.
Ithankew. I'm here all week. Try the veal.


11th March '11 - Watching the jaw-dropping scenes from Japan today made me realise how grateful I am not to live anywhere near a major fault-line (not that that will help anyone when Yellowstone goes up.) Still, I have absolutely no doubt that, a year from now, the spirit, tenacity and national pride of the Japanese people will mean that there will be very little evidence that this disaster ever occurred. Had a similar thing occurred in Victorian Britain, the same would've been true of us. Nowadays though, we Brits will still have half the M6 coned off for resurfacing in 2012 and still be grumbing ineffectually about it. What a bunch of wankers we are...

10th March '11 - Just did all the sums for real, and next month when my shift allowance ends, I will be £212 worse off every month compared with the grade below me. This means I'll be up to my eyes in all this petty micro-management Muppetry for the love of it. Erm, no. No, I don't think so. Tomorrow, I may start drafting out a letter informing them of my intention to voluntarily downgrade. Less responsibility. More money. Yes, I'm looking forward to being a 'grunt' once more!

9th March '11 - ...And in the same vein obviously there's this. I mean, what sort of mate-cum-information-ish website would I be if I didn't tell you when the world's greatest living author came out with a new book after nearly seven years? Sheesh!

8th March'11 - The first 'proper' trailer for 'Game Of Thrones' is up and can be found here. This deserves to be as popular as HBO's other big name adult dramas 'Deadwood' and 'Rome'. It starts on Sky on Sunday April 17th. Go for it!


4th March '11 - Mourning is a natural and timely break in our day-to-day routine that we all need to take when somebody close to us passes on. Right now, I find myself in the 'angry' part of the cycle. I have just seen John Prescott on the telly and cannot fathom the injustice of a fat oaf like that still being vertical and breathing while our Stevie is gone. It's all part of the grieving process, I guess...

   Thank you all for bearing with me through the last four weeks. I was genuinely humbled by the kind words you all sent; those of you who only know me through this site and those who *really* know me and got in touch through other means. Good people, one and all. Bless you.

   For now though, we move on. I know Steve enjoyed this site (the 'Homer' comments will remain) and he often gave me fuel for a rant or two, so it'll be very much 'business as usual' from now on. I have Rants, I have Captions. Stay tuned, I'm about to get the show back on the road once more...



On the 4th of February at around 22:30, my brother-in-law, Steve Cutler, was returning from his Thursday night jamming session with his band 'The Picture' and was in sight of home when unusually high winds brought a tree down on his car as he passed beneath it, killing him instantly.

Steve was fifty-one.

Steve was never a 'brother-in-law' to me; he was my bestest mate, my dearest friend; he was 'Homer', my drinking buddy. He was everything I could ever have wanted in a big brother and so much more....

Steve Cutler brought joy to everyone who ever spent time with him. He was one of those rare people so utterly content with their lot in life that they radiate that contentment; instantly putting people at their ease. He was great company, always up for a laugh and generally one of life's good guys.

I miss him so much right now that remembering all the fun and good times we shared is almost beyond me for the moment - these damned tears - but remember him I shall, and in doing so will keep his memory alive in my heart for as long as I live.

A beacon of light and warmth has been extinguished and this sorry world is much the poorer for it.

Ta-ta, Mon-keh.  I will never forget you...

Fish x

Steve Cutler 1959 - 2011


3rd February '11 - Couldn't be arsed to listen to the match, but I obviously didn't miss anything as it finished Bolton 1 Wolves 0. This means we're now two points adrift at the bottom of the table. Never mind, it could've been worse. I could've stayed up listening to this load of bollocks and missed an extra hour of sleep....

2nd February '11 - Today illustrated nicely the difference between my lowly 'foreman' grade and management. While they have all day meetings, I went out and had three separate meetings of my own (and took minutes for one of them) as well as doing two jobs that my team would normally have gone out to, seeing as I was in the area anyway. All this for plain pay too, as my guv'nor forgot to stick my overtime in again...

1st February '11 - February again. Time to buy shares in Interflora.

31st January '11 - This analogy is doing the rounds a lot right now, but just in case you haven't heard it, here goes: Did you realise that the amount of money the UK government is borrowing this year, if stacked in £1 coins, would reach to the Moon and still leave you enough change to go round the world almost three times? Impressive, eh? Still, if it keeps just one extra Somalian in coffee, Silk Cut and thirty degree warmth in the flats at the bottom of my road, it'll all be worthwhile...

29th January '11 - It's Saturday once more, and time for the football. I wonder what Andy Gray will be doing instead this weekend? Lots of people have commented on the whole 'sexism in football' furore, but by far the best opinion has to be the one I read from Angry Exile here. People vicariously taking offence on behalf of others really annoy me. I hope Sian Massey finds the 'whistleblower' and sues them for loss of earnings. That'd teach the righteous little prick...

28th January '11 - Normally, Friday means a bottle of wine and an evening of gaming in front of the computer. Right now though, I feel like shit, so it's an early night with some hot lemonade and some paracetomol. Yay for hedonism.

27th January '11 - I found a flyer all about meditation on the tube this evening and decided to try out the five step programme whilst making my way from Bank to Tooting Bec. I fell asleep. In fact, now I come to think of it, every time I've tried meditating over the years, I've nodded off. Is that what's supposed to happen? It said on the leaflet that a quick twenty minutes worth of meditation can leave you feeling refreshed and ready to carry on with your day. Well yes, but so can a nap. I might have to try this at work. Having a kip at your desk is a disciplinary offence, but if I tell them I'm meditating I bet I can swing it. All I need to do is practice falling asleep sitting up with my legs crossed and I'll be able to dramatically improve my working day. Now I just have to invest in a Buddha and some pictures of Lotus flowers. ..

26th January '11 - Two whole days gone, just like that.  After working the weekend, I had my usual two 'rest days' and spent the entire time playing 'Mass Effect 2'. I've not been so pulled into a game like this since 'Oblivion'. Better written than 99% of Hollywood stuff andutterly engrossing fro its action sequences to its moral dilemmas. Most of you are reading this and thinking 'Yeah, yeah. Sad PC gaming fanboy.' The game has just been released for the PS3 this week. Try it yourself and see if I'm exaggerating.

23rd January '11 - This has surely got to be the best year ever to be a PC gamer. 'Dead Space 2' has just hit the shelves, and the awesome-looking 'Shogun 2: Total War' follows in March. 'Mass Effect 3' is out later this year, as is 'Dragon Age 2', 'Grand Theft Auto 5', 'Deus Ex 3', 'Witcher 2' and not forgetting 'Elder Scrolls 5' (oh boy, more from the 'Oblivion' boys!) It's a shame I've just bankrupted myself buying a Blu-ray home cinema system, as I'm never going to have any time to watch the damn thing...

22nd January '11 - Wolves 0 Liverpool 3. Back into the drop zone once more. To be honest, I don't know why I carry on commenting on Wolves anymore. This season is by far the weirdest one I can ever remember. No consistency (we're not even consistently shite anymore), and no rhyme nor reason to our playing. It's almost like Mick McCarthy is tossing a coin before kick-off. "Right lads, heads we give them a game, tails we play bollocks". No idea if we'll finish bottom, fifteenth or somewhere in between. It's in the lap of the gods now...

21st January '11 - Things are really moving now over at HBO's 'Game Of Thrones'. Those of you with Sky are in for one hell of a treat in April. Me, I'll wait for the Blu-ray box set. I've already read the books nine times. I know what's coming, but you...heh heh heh. You're really gonna love this!

20th January '11 - The mornings are getting lighter. Wretched, isn't it?

19th January '11 - Finished the awesome 'Mass Effect' last night and went stright into 'Mass Effect 2'. Even before the starting credits had rolled, my ship had been utterly destroyed in cinematic fashion and I had died from lack of oxygen in the inky blackness of space before my corpse burned up on re-entry and landed in a charred husk on the planet below. I must admit, as a starting point it got my attention. Still, after that, things can only get better...

18th January '11 - Wolves 5 Doncaster 0. Ok, so it was an FA Cup tie against a Fizzy Pop side, but credit where it's due. I can't remember the last time we scored five against anyone. I'm just worried we've used up our goal allocation for the next calender month in one go here. Now if only we can do the same against Liverpool on Saturday...

17th January '11 - Labour voter? Have a look at this. You did this.

16th January '11 - Sorry about that. I've been rather engrossed playing 'Mass Effect' while I've been off on Rest Days. Sci-fi games are usually dire, which is why I've given this one a wide berth for the past couple of years. Oh, how wrong I was. This is amazing. Great story, great gameplay and awesome voice-acting.  If only all games were this good...

14th January '11 - Woke up this morning to the unsurprising news that Oldham have voted Labour back in with a majority of over 4,000. I bet all the tracksuit clad youth are breathing a sigh of relief right now, safe in the knowledge that they can carry on sucking the state teat and watching Jeremy Kyle for a few more years. Overall, Labour are now seven points ahead in the polls. Who are they asking, and where the hell were they for the last fourteen years?

13th January '11 - I have just watched 'Inception' again. The first time I saw it was as a download on my laptop while travelling on the train. I thouight it was a very good film. So good, I bought it on Blu-ray. I've just finished watching it again on my new 42" plasma / home cinema system (yes, sometimes people who do have a job buy these - they just have to save up) and, after a second viewing, I don't think it's 'very good' anymore. It's absolutely astonishing.

12th January '11 - Two rest days once more. I shall be doing something worthwhile and constructive with my free time. Flying the 'Normandy' round the southern spiral arm of the galaxy looking for Geth to exterminate. Lovely.

11th January '11 - Finally finished the 2011 shift patterns today. I plotted out all four teams and took them up to the end of the year. I then cross-referenced everyone's existing annual leave requests and circulated them to all the troops.
  Ten minutes later, I found out that one member of the team would be moving to another department and two others had applied for a career break. I give up. Less than a week after the latest episode in my leadership programme, I get presented with a prime example of the crying need for some at our place. Bleh!


10th January '11 - Back to the ritual of up at half four, two buses to work and a nice coffee at Liverpool Street Station in between. Except for the coffee part. You see, my skinny vanilla latte has apparently gone up from £2.30 to £2.75 because of the VAT increase. Now, I'm sure there are some idiots somewhere that would've fallen for that and simply shrugged and paid up. Unfortunately, I'm not one of them. VAT went up from 17.5% to 20%; a 2.5% jump. 2.5% on top of £2.30 is five and three quarter pence, not forty-five pence. What they're actually charging now amounts to an increase of nearly 20%. Sorry, but that puts my morning treat firmly into the 'shove it up your arse' territory. Time for a flask...

8th January '11 - Just finished the eighth and final season of '24'. After a few average days from Jack Bauer and one frankly shite one (looking at you, Season Three), I can honestly say that old Kiefer bowed out on a high. Easily the best '24' yet, and with an ending that works a treat. Sad to see this programme end...

6th January '11 - Wolves 1 Chelsea 0. I wasn't going to do this again. I'd given up on them. In fact, I spent last night watching Jack Bauer feed a Russian hitman his own entrails, so waking up this morning to find that we'd taken three points off the double winners has taken my breath away. Not a Chelsea 'B' team either, they had Drogba, Lampard, Terry, Anelka and Cole playing! Lose to Wigan, beat Liverpool, lose to West Ham, beat Chelsea. Bottom of the table on Saturday, out of the drop-zone today. What the hell is going on? Man City next. Should be a doddle!

5th January '11 - I think Dixons got my order wrong. I distinctly remember ordering a large plasma television. From the size of the box in the living room, they appeare to have brought me an absolutely bleeding enormous plasma television by mistake. I simply haven't got the room, something will have to go. Hmm...wife or daughter?

4th January '11 - ...and here I sit at ten past five, typing away with fingers numb from lack of sleep and the sudden caffeine rush. Today will be my first day at work since December 19th. I rarely take that much annual leave in one go and I am genuinely concerned about how today is going to pan out, because right now, I'm finding it really, really hard to give a toss about any of the stuff that had piled up around me in the weeks before Christmas. I jokingly made a resolution on last year's quotes list (we collect these at my place; it's the last vestige of morale) not to waste my precious time communicating with any idiots, but I might have to put that into practice for 2011. Keep me covered, I'm going in...

3rd January '11 - The most depressing thing about waking up this morning at nine o' clock was the crushing knowledge that, for the foreseeable future, I'll be getting up at half four again. Grim.

2nd January '11 - The VAT goes up on Tuesday, so today was spent organising a new telly seeing as ours is nine years old and on its way out. Now, as you all know, I rarely watch telly, but I do love my box sets and movies, so after deciding it made no difference being hung for a sheep as for a lamb, I went for a complete Blu-ray home cinema package, too. I am now so very, very skint...

1st January '11 - West Ham 2 Wolves 0. Absolutely appalling. Bottom of the table and rightly so on a performance like that. I'm sorry, but any team that can't get at least one in the back of the net after ten corners and ten clear shots on goal deserves another few seasons in the Championship. Offload McCarthy, offload half a dozen of his shit purchases, get Chris Hughton in and start again. Otherwise we'll be another Southampton by 2012.


New Year's Eve - Ridiculously, I followed Samboway's sage advice and finally started playing 'Mass Effect'. That was at nine o'clock last night. Next time I checked, it was getting light. It's mid afternoon now and I'm up, showered and about to dive back in. I am Commander Shepard and I am one mean badass!

30th December '10 - Liverpool 0 Wolves 1. Ok, so it was last night's game, but I was so disinterested after Sunday's performance that I simply didn't bother tuning in for this one. Unbelievable. The first time we've won at Anfield in twenty-seven years. And Ward man of the match, too. We have bottom team West Ham away on Saturday. If we can get three points there, I might...MIGHT...rethink my position on a certain Mr. McCarthy.

29th December '10 - Bollocks. Back to London...

28th December '10 - Finally, the snow washed away enough for us to have a look at the sales. Wolverhampton town centre was less busy than I've seen it on a typical Saturday, and as far as bargain-hunting was concerned, forget it. HMV flogging a fifteen quid CD for eight quid is all well and good, but since I download my albums for a dollar and a bit, it's not going to tempt me too much, is it? In terms of 'busy', there was only one shop I saw that had people queueing up in and that was Costa Coffee. It's going to be a grim year for retail, especially with 20% VAT coming in next week...

27th December '10 - Thank God for this Alienware laptop. Apart from the Doctor Who Christmas special (slightly less awful than previous years), I've not watched one jot of Yuletide telly. Instead, I've been plundering the Spanish Main playing Sid Meier's 'Pirates!' again for the first time in years. Yes, it's a revamp of a game that's a decade and a half old, but given a choice between that and an evening with Bruce twunting Forsyth, then, quite frankly, "Yo ho ho!"

Boxing Day '10 - Wolves 1 Wigan 2. Behind again in ten minutes and dead and buried by half time. That McCarthy prat is still insisting that we'd be lower mid-table if we could string three wins together. He may be right, but since the clowns he bought can barely string three passes together, I'm not going to hold my breath. Bottom of the table now, with an away trip to Anfield on Wednesday. Awful.

Christmas Eve '10 - Terrific. I'm shivering, I ache all over and my head's spinning. It's only half seven, but I'm off to bed with some paracetomol, codeine and hot lemonade. Gotta try and head this bastard off at the pass, there's some serious eating and drinking to be done over the next few days! Have a wonderful time, one and all. The site will resume after Boxing Day...

22nd December '10 - And here I am, the proud owner of a shiny new Windows 7 phone, an HTC Mozart. As far as I can make out, it does everything an iPhone does, except it can play Flash and the apps are free. Merry Christmas, Mr. Jobs!

21st December '10 - A joyous day! A momentous day! After eighteen months on contract with this God-awful Nokia N85, I can finally chop the bastard in for a newer model with more impressive features, such as the ability to hold a charge for more than a day, the ability to remember numbers and store photos instead of deleting them randomly, and most importantly, the ability to not perform a full factory reset every time the bloody battery goes completely flat. I think it's fair to say I won't miss this piece of crap one iota, though I'd happily take it over an Apple product any day out of sheer bloody-mindedness.

20th December '10 - Ventured out for the first time in two days and had a lovely walk down to the dentist in my huge, clumpy cyberboots. Four inches of snow? We laugh at such trivialities! Got there and had my check-up and - oh noes! - found out I needed a filling. As his appointments book was somewhat lacking due to the weather, the sly old git did the work there and then. Hey presto! A mouth full of numbness for me and a fist full of notes for him. Merry Christmas, Robin...

19th December '10 - The Wolves vs. Scum match has been postponed due to the weather. I can't decide whether this is a shame or a lucky escape...

18th December '10 - Facebook is full of love and concern for Sam over what happened last night, even from people who don't know him. Nice. I've sent a couple of paragraphs to the people in charge of the venue telling them exactly what I think of them and their 'security' policy, too. Not that it'll help, of course. There's no accountability in this country anymore. The best we can hope for is Sam spotting the piece of shit in the Fox next time we're out. There are a few of us who would be more than happy to follow this bloke home and read him his horoscope...

17th December '10 - Hatebreed, Garage, Islington. I'm absolutely glowing with anger typing this. I went to this gig with my mate Sam and we agreed a game-plan. What we were going to do was to hit the mosh-pit for the first song, then pull back and drink ale by the bar for the remainder. Great plan, I'm sure you'll agree. What actually happened was that we got seperated in that first mosh and Sam got FUCKING MUGGED AT KNIFEPOINT for his phone and wallet. In the middle of the Garage, too. What the hell's going on? Metalheads DO NOT do this sort of thing to their own. I've never heard of anything like this happening in rock venues in the twenty-five years I've been hitting them. I want to hurt someone over this...

15th December '10 - I'm posting early for a change, as tonight is my Christmas 'do' - the proper one at Porters in Covent Garden; all pie and ale and no dance music, thank the Lord. In honour of the event, I've finally sorted my mangy head out, as I was starting to look like a diseased teddy bear. Now, I have a lovely grade one, though I've decided to keep the full beard, lending me an overall 'Happy Shopper Charles Bronson' sort of air. Excellent. I must remember to dig out my John Lennon glasses before I leave the house. Laters...

13th December '10 - You can tell I've only got three working days left before my Christmas break, I'm starting to feel ill. Bastard typical.

12th December '10 - Wolves 1 Birmingham 0. No, no, no. I don't want you to turn it around, McCarthy, I want you to piss off. This three points keep us one off the bottom. Perhaps if you can turn over them stripey twats up the road next Sunday, I may consider lifting the fatwa, but until then, just remember - both Chris Hughton and Sam Allardyce are looking for new clubs. Clock's ticking, monkeyboy...

11th December '10 - What an eye-opener. Last night was the first of this year's Christmas 'do's', and we hit this place - my first visit to a nightclub in God-knows-how-many years. I couldn't stand places like this in my twenties, and I fucking abhor them now. Ten minutes surrounded by a sea of push-up bras and magic knickers was enough to convince us to piss off and find a pub for an hour before the meal was due. However, when we did actually return and eat, the food was surprisingly good. I still couldn't bring myself to stay for the cattle-market 'disco' afterwards, though. Thank God I'm married!

10th December '10 - Can somebody please furnish the BBC with a dictionary? Only they seem to be a bit confused when labelling rioting students as 'anarchists'. So their anarchic sympathies are such that they demand the state subsidise their education, is that it? Puh-lease. These unwashed little middle-class shitbags are not 'anarchists', they're communists by definition and Marxists by choice. Learn the difference, eh?

9th December '10 - Last day (or rather, night) of the course, and we were out and about in the dark doing night photography. For those of you who've never had a go at photographing a black car in total darkness on a freezing cold night, all I can say is you haven't lived!

8th December '10 - First trailer for the upcoming Thor movie. I can't decide whether this looks utterly brilliant or whether it's the campest pile of bollocks since Flash Gordon...

7th December '10 - Just watch this. I seriously cannot wait for April!

6th December '10 - I'm up at our training school this week taking five of our technicians through a professional course, and it's an absolute privilege to be with these people. they're committed, technically competent and very hard-working. Gonna have to keep on top of my game with kids like this waiting in the wings!

5th December '10 - The snow's pretty much all gone now. Boo!

4th December '10 - Blackburn 3 Wolves 0. How much longer are we going to give this muppet before the penny drops? Lovely little Irish Ward playing - again. Lovely little Irish Doyle playing - again. McCarthy's bestest, bestest little irish pals getting game after game in positions they're simply shite in, just because they're Mick's bestest, bestest little Irish pals. Come on Steve Morgan, get this clueless idiot out now. Curbishley's not doing anything right now, neither is Martin O'Neill. Get one of them in and get shot of Ward, Mouyokolo, Foley and the big money jokes Doyle and Fletcher. Otherwise, we're in for another few years of Chumpionship play-off scrapping. Dreadful...

3rd December '10 - The first wave of the Christmas treats arrived today. Some nice bottled beers and some seriously spicy snacks courtesy of these chaps. Free delivery right now on orders over thirty quid, too. Awesome.

2nd December '10 - Well, the girls have decorated once more and Fish Towers is resplendant in all its Christmas glory. Maybe this will be the year when I actually feel a bit Christmassy once more. The last time was 1980.

1st December '10 - It looks like we could possibly be in for a proper Christmas. It's minus two outside and there's four inches of global warming on the ground. This is what December ought to be like every year!

30th November '10 - It was truly gratifying to see the payslips arrive today, as my boss didn't get my form in on time last month and I picked up plain pay. Again. Still, all is right with the world and I finally have some wedge in my wallet again. Pity I have to throw it at Christmas. Ah well, never mind. It's only money...

29th November '10 - Oho! England hit 517-1 to draw the first Ashes Test. Unexpected, but very gratifying. Even better, Cook's 235 not out was the sixth best Ashes score ever by an Englishman surpassing Sir Don Bradman's highest Test score at the Gabba. That's got to hurt!

28th November '10 - Did anyone ask you if you wanted to give £300 of your own money to help bail out Ireland? No, me neither. Time and again, this government - like its predecessor - is dipping its hand in the big bag of public cash and hurling it hand over fist at people who have no right to it.
  Once more for the hard of thinking - IT'S NOT YOUR BLEEDING MONEY!


27th November '10 - Wolves 3 Sunderland 2. Oh come on, Mick! Just when I finally extinguish all hope, you go and drag another three points out of the nag. Does this mean this particular 'numpty' will be changing his mind about you? No, sorry. You may carry on being with this new found tactical wixardry and salvage a few more points, but pretty soon the temptation to play people out of their positions and give starts to your specialist, bestest pals like Ward will prove too much. You gotta go, fella...

26th November '10 - I had to dig my gloves out of the drawer this morning due to this particularly vicious snap of global warming we're having...

24th November '10 - A chat with one of the Development Team at work today revealed their plan to get me out and about paying surprise visits to my staff while they're out working and observing them while they go about their job. Then, the idea is that I mark my observations on a clipboard and afterwards, discuss the 'service' they offered with the customer. What?

23rd November '10 - From where I live to our work's base in North East London is twenty-five stops on the Northern Line. A fifty stop round trip. Fifty stops with your face pushed into the armpit of some sweaty suit or crushed against some orange-faced temp who smells like the perfume counter of Harrods. Lovely.

22nd November '10 - It seems to me that there are two types of television owner. The first will look in the paper and see what's on that evening and find a programme of interest at eight. At five to eight, the telly goes on. It goes off again when the programme is finished. The second type of television owner turns the telly on the minute they get home from work (or, more frequently, the minute they get up - about midday) and leaves the thing burbling away until the wee small hours, regardless of whether or not anyone's waching or even in the room. One of these television owners is a reasonable human being, the other a mong. Can you spot which is which?

21st November '10 - My daughter is seven years old today. Seven. I really wish this crazy rollercoaster called life would slow down a little bit...

20th November '10 - Blackpool 2 Wolves 1. Enough now. McCarthy out.

18th November '10 - If you didn't catch Duncan Jones's debut movie 'Moon' last year, you missed a treat. For a small indie film, it was a big success, so the Hollywood big boys decided to give him a budget and see what he could do with it. He's done this. 'Quantum Leap' meets 'Groundhog Day' via '12 Monkeys'. Fuck, I'm sold!

17th November '10 - I didn't get to see the Director yesterday, as we ran out of staff so I had to go out and do a job myself. There was a 'sorry I missed you' note on my desk when I got back. I think I'm in trouble...

15th November '10 - Another week begins and, though I love this time of year, the travelling is a bit of a grind. I leave the house in the dark, I catch the bus in the dark, I get to work in the dawn. Nine hours later, I leave work in the dusk, I catch the bus in the dusk, I get home in the dark. Some people would see this as justification for adding two hours to British Summer Time and keeping it all year long. I see it as justification for leaving GMT alone and merely dealing with it. It's winter, for fuck's sake.

14th November '10 - The only problem with Sundays is that you can't really relax and enjoy them as much as you should, because in the back of your mind you're brutally aware that it's Monday tomorrow...

13th November '10 - Wolves 2 Bolton 3. Three-nil down at one point, too. I said earlier that you couldn't judge Wolves by their failures against the big boys, but, sadly, you can judge them by their performances against teams like Bolton and the fact is, we were second-best all the way. Only one goal difference keeps us off the bottom now and unless we win the next three games against Blackpool, Sunderland and Blackburn, Mick McCarthy will be gone and we will be down by Christmas...

11th November '10 - I faithfully observed the two minutes silence this morning. Partly because I passionately believe in remembering the sacrifice made by those poor bastards on July 1st 1916, but mostly because everyone else was out and I was the only bugger left in the office.

10th November '10 - Wolves 0 Arsenal 2. Tired of the old 'let them get one just before the break' routine, Mick McCarthy opts for a new approach - 'stand there and watch them score from the kick-off'. Jesus. Alright, it's over now. The big boys are out of the way for a bit. Can we at least try and take a point off Bolton on Saturday?

9th November '10 - Up early again, even though I've had a couple of hours off work for blood tests this morning. When I booked the time yesterday, I forgot all about Tuesdays being ante-natal day at the local hospital, meaning I'll be surrounded by dozens of zeppelins all jabbering away and trying to keep their offspring under control.
  Meanwhile, I'll sit quietly and try to wish myself elsewhere until my number comes up. I've done this before and trust me, it's like being the only seagull on a penguin colony...


8th November '10 - Today celebrates forty years of The Goodies. Criminally under-appreciated compared to Python and The Goons, these boys introduced silliness and anarchy into my pre-teen head and made me believe that you could a grown-up and still do whatever you damn well pleased and have fun doing so. They also saved us from an invasion of Rolf Harrises, which can only be a good thing. Cheers, lads. Forty years, eh? Ecky thump!

7th November '10 - What's going on? We play with fire and spirit and still lose to Man Utd, yet Newcastle manage to turn over Arsenal away and Liverpool nick three points off Chelsea? I hope the Gooners play like that when we've got them on Wednesday night, but you can guarantee they won't. Luck. Just a little bit of luck, that's all we need...

6th November '10 - Man Utd 2 Wolves 1. For a little while there, I was convinced Mick McCarthy and the lads were about to give me a nice birthday present with a point off Sir Alex's overpaid chancers, but, alas, it was not to be. Like oh-so-many Wolves games, we conceded just before half time, came back strong and equalised, only to fall asleep in injury time and lose. The only difference today was the way we played. Brilliant. Fought for everything and had spirit and strength in spades. Apart from one weak link, McCarthy is looking at his strongest team. The weak link though is Ward, who is one of Mick's favourites. Lose him and give Van Damme a regular start and we will stay up - no question.

5th November '10 - Yeah, yeah...'V For Vendetta' time again, but that can wait for a minute. See, I've just discovered that two of my all-time favourite songs of the Late Seventies and Early Eighties are connected and it's freaking me out! Check out this. You all know this, right? Ok, Now try this. Unless you're a complete hermit, this will be familiar, too. The connection? Read. Wow! A fucking Professor?!? Instantly, Kate Bush is not the greatest female keyboard musician of the Eighties. Food for thought...

4th November '10 - The journalists as BBC News are apparently starting a forty-eight hour strike tomorrow. Does this mean we'll have two days of actual news bulletins without the Left-wing bias for a change?

3rd November '10 - I am so very tired these days and it's starting to worry me. Is there something wrong with me that I'm not aware of? Or could it be the fact that I've been having to get up at half past twunting four every morning for the last six months while for the last two there've been night-time roadworks going on outside my house?

2nd November '10 - I had five seperate 'achievements' awarded whilst playing 'Left 4 Dead 2' this evening. This, as it happens, was the most productive thing I did with today...

1st November '10 - White rabbits, white rabbits, white rabbits. Where did this particular touchstone come from? Am I the only one who feels the compunction to utter 'white rabbits' out loud three times as soon as I open my eyes on the first of any month? I am? Oh. I'll get my coat...

Hallowe'en '10 - Came home from work to find the house festooned (there's a top word!) with Hallowe'en decorations and two mischievous witches prancing about in the kitchen. This tawdry American 'holiday' didn't exist in this coountry when I was a kid. It's cheap, tacky and exists solely to sell chocolate and fancy dress out fits, but you know what? I love it!

Devil's Night '10 - Wolves 2 Man City 1. Typical Wolves. Just when I finally write them off, this happens. An absolutely different side turn up, play with heart and spirit and grab three points. How's this happen? Well for a start, Mick McCarthy finally gave Nened Millijas a game and at a stoke the midfield is transformed. Jarvis was astounding as usual - shit, the boy can run! I hope we can hold onto him in January. Man United up next and if they play like they did the other night and we play like this, then a point is not an unreasonable expectation. You've earned your reprieve, Mick. keep it up...

29th October '10 - It's midnight. I had actually been asleep for almost two hours, since I have to be up at half four in the morning, but now - trust me - I'm fully awake. Why? Well, it's all down to this chap. And his mate. See, although they've spent the last two months re-laying my road, I'd always (naively) assumed that all the work would be carried out in daylight hours. Wrong. Apparently, they're now doing the final surfacing work at night to 'minimise disturbance' to the local community. Well, that's nice to know, isn't it? Strange, but I don't seem to recall anyone asking me, the immediate local 'community' if I fancied tackling a ten hour shift on four hour's bastard kip. Funny, that...

28th October '10 - Weird. See, I know five years ago I had to have a molar yanked out because of fractured root-canal work, but today, idly flicking my tongue around the roof of my mouth, I was slightly alarmed to discover there's no gap. Two things here: firstly, how amazing that I've obviously grown a wisdom tooth I didn't know about that has slowly pushed itself up and caused the two teeth in front to realign themselves and secondly, how scary that it's taken me five bloody years to notice.

26th October '10 - Man Utd 3 Wolves 2. Apart from a dead first half and the unusually spirited Wolves performance in the second is anyone really surprised by this result? All mouth and very little in the trousers department from McCarthy's selection yet again. Jarvis was worth his payslip, as was Elokobi but don't forget this was Manchester's second team. Never mind, we've got their mates down the road on Saturday, followed by these red fuckers again the following one. My birthday, too. Lovely.

25th October '10 - Sony have today retired the 'Walkman' brand. Kind of a sad moment for me, and, I suspect, many teenagers of the Eighties. Mp3 players are fantastic, it's true, but I pity a generation of kids who've never known the joy of lugging half a dozen compilation tapes and a handful of AA batteries around, not to mention a pencil for some hasty slack-takeups. I still have my tiny little Sony thing from my college days; one of the first rechargeable models they did. Catching four buses every day to Wednesbury and back was a bit grim, but thanks to my Walkman, I got a headful of Ozzy Osbourne, Helloween or Metallica. Some songs I only have to hear now and I'm instantly transported back in time to the top deck of the number 79 out of Wolverhampton Bus Station. End of an era...

23rd October '10 - Chelsea 2 Wolves 0. Personally, I thought we were lucky to get nil. Another 'five-minutes-from-time' double substitution from McCarthy, too. What was the bloody point of that, Mick? Really gives them enough time to settle and have a go, doesn't it? Sorry, chief, you gotta go.

22nd October '10 - More details are emerging with regard to the budget cuts. Not only has Foreign Aid been 'ring-fenced' (see Rants for my thoughts on foreign aid), it is actually being increased from nearly eight billion to eleven and a half. Like I said, it's not as if this money is just sitting there waiting to be doled out, we are borrowing it to give away! It has been estimated that every family in Britain will be giving the equivalent of £500 to the foreign aid pot. Unbelievable!

20th October '10 - All I've done for the last two days is sod about on my computer. Right now it's early afternoon and I'm eating a small Sloppy Guiseppe pizza, chugging an ice-cold bottle of Perroni and playing 'Left 4 Dead 2' online. It's fair to say I'm enjoying my break. I still have another few days of this, too. The only thing that brings me down is the thought that there are tens of thousands of scrounging bastards who've been doing this day in, day out for years while I've been paying 40% income tax to fucking let them. Still, I'm not going to let that ruin my quality time. Pass me that shotgun, I'm going back in...

18th October '10 - I have a week off. Usually when I book some leave, it's because I'm going somewhere or have a hospital appointment, but this time I'm simply having a week off to recharge my batteries. Six months of getting up at half past four every morning can't be good, which is why I was able to turn the alarm off today and wake up naturally...at five o'clock. Balls. Still, as soon as I've updated this here entry, I'm taking the paper and going back to bed again. I will force my body to relax this week if it kills me.

17th October '10 - Today, I had a lie in until 10. Then I got up, pootled about for a bit, then gave the whole thing up as a bad job and went back to my pit. Some days just aren't worth the effort...

16th October '10 - Wolves 1 West Ham 1. Pitiful. I never thought I'd say this, but it's time Mick McCarthy went. Another poor performance against a team that are as bad as us. West Ham could even have nicked it right at the end as they were all over us for the last twenty minutes. This is looking bad now. Very bad. Still, only Chelsea, Man City, Man United and Arsenal for the next four games. No pressure, then...

14th October '10 - It makes a nice change to have a little joy in the world, and the rescue of thirty-three Chilean miners stuck underground since early August is certainly cause for celebration, though I can't help thinking the way they decided the order in which the men were extracted might not have played too well down at the coal face. Apparently, the men were psychologically profiled and mostly brought up in order of 'stability'. That must've been a bit of a giggle:
"Right lads, Jose and I will be going up first because we've really kept it together these last few weeks and are still cool as fuck. Then it'll be Mario 'cos he's the oldest, then Jimmy the youngest, then the rest of you can take it in turns. Luis, you'll be staying here until last because, frankly, you're a nutcase and we don't want to risk the roof caving in before the rest of us are out. Just make sure you put Pedro's pet rock in the cage with him before he goes up and when it's your turn, remember to knock all the lights off before you leave, alright? Lovely."


12th October '10 - The tube journey home from my new job (has it really been six months?) is the weariest thing about the whole day. I currently work in an area of town jam-packed with people from all over the planet doing their very best to integrate into to the vibrant multicultural melting pot of our capital city by standing around on the street all day wearing oppressive religious attire and shouting.
  This can be a bit intimidating at times, but fortunately I have discovered a new trick with which to ease the struggle of having to force my way through the gibbering throng in the mouth of the underground station.
  This trick is known as 'farting'.
  Normally, being all repressed and English, I've always tended to be selective about where I drop my back, but in this day and age on the Central Line, all bets are off. A good quack as one enters the station is fine, but the most enjoyment is definitely to be had by the emission of a stuttering salvo as soon as one steps onto the 'down' escalator.
  The thought of me moving forward while my parp remains brings a tear to my eye, and, most probably the eyes of the shouty people behind me. I'm hoping eventually this new hobby of mine will result in a quieter journey. After all, you really don't want to be trundling downwards into Billy's bumcloud with your mouth open...


11th October '10 - I'm thinking of asking my bank manager for a loan. Not to purchase anything, you understand; I can't afford to. No, I just want to see what it feels like to have some money in my wallet once again...

10th October '10 - Whilst roaring through 'Left 4 Dead 2' for several hours last night, I managed to put away two family bags of roast beef Monster Munch and a bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon. Sophistication. It's something one is born with...

9th October '10 - Oh. My. God. Well, that's the Olympic fortnight sorted...

8th October '10 - I shave my head. I have my ears pierced seven times and a bar through my left eyebrow. I also have a six-inch long spike of a beard. From this, you can probably deduce that I genuinely don't give a rat's arse what other people think about the way I look.
  Having said that though, I could never bring myself to ride a folding bicycle in public because, let's face it, nobody wants people staring at them and thinking they look a tit.


7th October '10 - ...and while we're 'doing' celebrities, Hollywood chin-and-hair combo Jennifer Aniston is apparently so desperate to revive her flagging 'career' that she has decided to strip naked in her new film 'Wanderlust'. Hmmm. Average-looking forty-year-old woman shows off her average-sized forty-year-old tits. Yeah, that ought to have them queueing round the multiplex, Jen...

6th October '10 - Loathe as I am to comment on celebrity tittle-tattle, I noted today that 'artist' Tracey Emin (she of the unmade bed) has split from her boyfriend of seven years, one Scott Douglas. Apparently, Tracey is not happy that Scott has become 'close' to Russian supermodel Natalia Vodianova, known in the industry as 'Supernova' and gave him one of those 'her or me' ultimatums.
This is what Tracey Emin looks like.
this is the Supernova.
Fucking hell, the bloke must've wrestled with his conscience for literally seconds over that decision...


5th October '10 - Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you'll land amongst the stars. Well, either that or the infinite crushing blackness of interstellar space. One of the two.


4th October '10 - My daughter came home from school today with a book all about a man who lived a long time ago and told wonderful stories about little mermaids and ugly ducklings. According to this book, he was called Hans Anderson. Not Hans Christian Anderson; no, we can't have him called that anymore, can we? Presumably in case is 'offends people of other religions'. And by 'other religions', we all know which one I mean. I'm getting really sick of this minority group calling all the shots in this country, and even more sick of the our educational establishment continually pandering to these inflexible and intolerant bullies.


3rd October '10 - The Fishwife is annoyed at me. My nearest and dearest have apparently asked her to fish for hints as to what I might like for a birthday or Christmas present, but the truth of the matter is, there's absolutely nothing I want. I have all the albums, DVDs, books and games I could ever need and enough assorted tat collecting dust in drawers to sink a battleship. Added to this I have a wonderful wife, a lovely daughter and a happy little family. I am utterly content. Makes you sick, doesn't it?


2nd October '10 - Wigan 2 Wolves 0. Karl Henry really isn't doing himself any favours. Sent off after only ten minutes for a scything challenge meant that we were up against it for the next eighty. Mick McCarthy was completely lost and had no answer. We hung on for the remainder of the first half, but with Doyle up front on his own, we were never going to threaten. Ultimately, there was only ever going to be one result and, sure enough, Wigan nicked it in the second half. Four defeats on the bounce now and one off the bottom slot. Questions are now being asked by the faithful. Why does McCarthy always play his favourites when they're clearly not working? Why do we have no other game plan than to lump it forward and chase it all the while? What's Martin O'Neill's phone number?


1st October '10 - End of an era. The last of the senior managers who came up through our particular field retired today. A wealth of technical knowledge and information has gone and there is nobody with the ability to replace it. I know about half of what he did, one other bloke (my old boss) knows a bit more than me but the best man for the job was the man doing it and now he's left. There will be fallout.
  On a separate note, I've begun to notice, with equal parts amusement and alarm, that my internal monologue has started to switch itself to 'broadcast' after a couple of sherbets. On more than one occasion at the leaving drink, I found myself telling people what I actually thought about them, their work and, in one particularly memorable encounter, their husband.
  What fun! I might start carrying a hip-flask...


30th September '10 - Emergency management meeting at work today. Apparently, the big boys are concerned that our shift teams keep dropping below minimum strength. I did try - once again - to explain what happens when you take a team of forty-six people down to thirty-two without jettisoning any work, but the penny still isn't dropping. In a moment of what I can only describe as Premier League Muppetry, I found myself volunteering to act as a shift manager to see if one person having an overview of the whole thing would make things run any smoother. More paperwork, then. Deep joy.


29th September '10 - Saw a poster today for a Daryl Hall and John Oates tribute act playing midweek at a pub in Highbury. If anyone knows of a sadder and more desperate attempt to forge a career at the outer edges of musical credibility, please drop me a line via the Guestbook. I could do with a laugh


27th September '10 - Sometimes, a thing just reaches saturation point. I for one do not need to hear the song 'Here Come the Girls' ever again as long as I live. It's trite, naff and always, always accompanied by some grinning menopausal bints walking arm-in-arm in slo-mo. Stop it. Stop it now.


26th September '10 - It's all too easy to moan (which is why I do it so much), but occasionally, things are better now than they were before. Take the train journey from Wolverhampton to London, for example. I've been traipsing this soul-destroying route for years and had to put up with filthy, overcrowded trains, diversions via Northampton, changes at Rugby and journey times anywhere between two and a half and four hours. Today though, the sexy new Virgin Pendolinos make the trip in a shade under two hours. They're comfortable, on time and don't hang about. In fact, there's barely time to watch a movie on the laptop before you're there. We like!


25th September '10 - Wolves 1 Aston Villa 2. Fucksocks. That's three games on the trot we've forfeited now. Can someone please tell Mick McCarthy that football games last ninety minutes, not eighty? I think he thinks we're on rugby timings


24th September '10 - Well well, the sly old dog! Apparently '80s DJ and presenter Steve Blacknell (well, I remember him, you lot may have to Google) has just come out and revealed he was Kate Bush's first boyfriend and the subject of the song 'The Man with the Child in his Eyes'. Steve has kept this secret for thirty-five years and is only coming out now as he's skint and has had to put the hand-written lyrics to the song that Kate gave him. Steve says "She was my first true love. All I really knew about her was that she wrote songs, played the piano and lived in a lovely house with an equally lovely family. When I first heard her music I thought, 'Oh my God'. It made my soul stand on end. I realised I was in love with a genius. I've been told by those around her that I was indeed 'The Man With The Child In His Eyes' and I know that those words were given to me by someone very special. I'm proud to have known and loved her." The lyrics are expected to sell for £10k. Good. The bloke deserves it for his chivalry.

22nd September '10 - Is it me, or is it finally getting cooler and darker of an evening? Lovely! Bring it on!

21st September '10 - Global email at work today warning the staff about what they say on social networking sites. I gather the senior management have got wind of the fact that a lot of people don't seem to think much of them and aren't shy about publicising this to a wider audience.
  I can see this from both sides. For instance, I agree that it's totally out of order to slag off the company that employs you and to name people you think are cretins (which is why, in seven years of running this site, I have never mentioned who I work for; what, specifically, I do; nor have I named anyone either in fact or by insinuation. It's not professional and it invites a libel writ.)
  However, I would like to think, were I a senior manager, that if enough people were honking about me in cyberspace, there may just be something wrong with the way I'm doing my job and I'd possibly think about taking steps to find out what that was and how to sort it.


20th September '10 - Ennui. That's pretty much the pervading atmosphere throughout the whole building at work. People from completely different departments and disciplines all wandering round looking like Death Row inmates. We all know cuts are coming, we just don't know how much and where the axe will fall. It's not a pleasant feeling...

19th September '10 - Sunday is the day of rest; at least it was for me seeing as I didn't get up until half past two this afternoon. Then again, I didn't actually go to bed until five after a marathon session on 'Left 4 Dead 2', so I suppose it all evens out. Hey, come on! Those zombies won't shoot themselves, you know!

18th September '10 - Tottenham 3 Wolves 1. Helmets. Another one pissed up the wall in the last few minutes. To be fair, we were always under the cosh here, but a goal on the stroke of half-time against the run of play looked like being enough until fifteen minutes from time when Wardo had a moment of madness and gave away a cast-iron penalty. Even at 1-1, it looked like we still might nick it, but yet again, we switched off in injury time and that was that. An unflattering scoreline, but a fair result. We need to sharpen up now before we start playing the really big boys!

17th September '10 - Another night of top tunes and drunken pinball playing in the Intrepid Fox. It's a good job I'm no longer of an age where I could hit the Fox every Friday like I did in my twenties. The way the Government have racked up the duty over the last few years, I'd be a bankrupt before I became an alcoholic...

15th September '10 - There have been several good mottoes that I have admired over the years, ranging from the optimistic (like Eric Idle's 'Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life'),to  the pessimistic (Kenneth Williams' 'Infamy! Infamy! They've All Got It In For Me!'), to the downright weird (Joker Jack's 'Never Rub Another Man's Rhubarb!') My current favourite belongs to Ellis, the hick character from the sublime 'Left 4 Dead 2'. His 'Kill All Sons-Of-Bitches' pretty much sums up the way I'm feeling right now...

14th September '10 - It's an old cliche to say that time flies and you've no idea where the year's gone, but bloody hell, it's halfway through September! Two more weeks and I'll be sorting out my team's Christmas meal once more! That is, if I'm not out of work by then. Being one of those evil, scumbag State employees that you read about in the papers, I obviously have absolutely nothing to do all day but while away my time in a meaningless, Government-created non-job, having meetings and sitting back and counting all the money that the private sector makes for me and my State-employed colleagues to spend, whilst simultaneously dreaming about my gold-plated index-linked pension and how I get to pick it up at the age of fifty. Or whatever...

13th September '10 - Sixty thousand hits! Many thanks to each and every one of you, even though I know it's probably just old Penfold clicking his mouse like he's sending Morse code...

12th September '10 - This. And this. Oh man, I'm stoked! I've waited ten years for this!

11th September '10 - Fulham 2 Wolves 1. Knackers. Lost it in the ninety-fifth minute. To be honest, despite a good opening, we were all over the shop here and Fulham deserved the points. It didn't help that the referee was handing out yellow cards like Santa doles out presents, either. After the Newcastle game and Karl Henry being the (unwitting) architect of Bobby Zamora's broken leg today, it looks like we're the new Bad Boys of the Premiership. I don't think we're a particularly dirty side, just a physical one. Shame the ref never shares that opinion.

10th September '10 - If you're an iTunes user, don't download and install the latest version (10.0) unless a) you're a Mac owner or b) you really, REALLY know what you're doing with your PC. Fortunately, I'm in the latter category, but it still got very messy...

9th September '10 - It's been ages since I've succumbed to a migraine, but I had a beauty today. Just about managed to get home from work before the Jimi Hendrix visuals totally took over my field of view, leaving me with no option but to go to bed and lie there quietly. Well, as quiet as I could manage, what with my tinnitus playing a full, whistling accompaniment to all the pretty lights. Ow.

7th September '10 - I think AntiProduct must've died....

6th September '10 - Another Blue Monday. Nothing to do with overlong and far-too-self-indulgent early Eighties electronica though, I'm talking about stuffing your face at your local 'Yo Sushi!'. On my 'non shift' shift pattern, I get a Monday off every four weeks, so what better than to enjoy a nice lie-in before getting up, having a shower and wandering down to Croydon for lunch. Sushi, tempura, nigri, gyoza and udon all washed down with an imported Sapporo or two, and thanks to the 'Blue Monday' promotion, every bowl a mere £2.20. Fantastic!

5th September '10 - Some shitbag on the news just now has said that up to 1.4 million people owe the taxman up to £1500 each because a software fault meant that £2 billion was underpaid via the Pay as You Earn (PAYE) system over the last two years. By the same token, it is thought that around £1.8 billion has been overpaid and some 4.3 million people will get rebates because they've paid too much. Guess which boat I'm likely to find myself bobbing along in?

4th September '10 - We have rats at work. As I opened up this morning, I say movement beneath the one of the bins in the yard. A moment later, a rodent the size of a custy loaf shuffled out from underneath dragging the remains of a chicken leg. This is worrying.

3rd September '10 - Rumours abound that Harvey Keitel is about to take over for yet another season of the US version of 'The Office'. If there are any Americans reading, consider this: The more you continue with this show, the more money Ricky Gervais gets and the more he'll keep churning stuff out. Please stop; you're only encouarging him. Think of the bloke as a particulary annoying insect. If we all ignore him, maybe he'll go away...

2nd September '10 - I had a letter from our work's HQ today informing me that I would be picking up my long service award sometime next year. Have I really done twenty years for this organisation? Jesus wept...

1st September '10 - The type of work that my team do is very much demand led. Most of the time, I'll find myself alone in the office as the rest of the team will be out working from job to job as the work flows in. These are the occasions when I get moaned at for being a crap manager and never having anyone free to do an urgent job. Today, for the first time ever, all three of my Early shift bods, my Middle shift bod and my Late shift bod were in the office at the same time because there simply wasn't anything happening. Tomorrow, I'll no doubt get moaned at for being a crap manager and having everyone sitting around doing nothing. C'est la vie...

31st August '10 - ...and that's two-thirds of the year gone. Still, look on the bright side. The nights are starting to pull in. Give it another few weeks and the clocks will go back. Dark nights all round! Marvellous!

30th August '10 - In case I find myself redundant in the near future, I have been looking around for alternative careers. After much consideration, I have decided that I'm going to retrain to be Kate Bush. Well, she doesn't seem too keen on doing the job, does she? I'm sure I'd be up to the task. All I'd have to do is sit in a lovely seafront property in Cornwall, counting my money and not doing anything. Yeah, I could handle that. If it ever got boring, I could always go and sniff my old leotards...

28th August '10 - Wolves 1 Newcastle 1. Or the 'Kick Joey Bartom All Round Molineux Show' to give it its proper title. A bruising, brutal game played by real men on both sides. Lots of crunching challenges, very little play-acting and yellow cards handed out like Smarties to all and sundry (seven for us, five for them). It was like watching a game from the 1970's and there's nothing wrong with that. A point each was a fair result...

27th August '10 - Took my daughter to see 'Toy Story 3' today. Top film and all that, but they're getting a bit fucking fresh with the 3D prices at Cineworld. Each 3D movie is an extra £2.50 on top of the normal £5.95 admission price, and the 'free' 3D glasses are now 80p a pop. Stick with this little racket when VAT goes up to 20% and you'll be out of business by March, boys.

26th August '10 - It has now been five years since George R.R. Martin signed off from 'A Feast For Crows' with the words "all your favourite characters will be along next year in 'A Dance With Dragons'"; a book which he swore he'd already written most of at the time, since 'Feast' was merely half the chapters, taken out and reshuffled. There is still no projected release date for 'Dance', which is Book Five in the seven book 'A Song of Ice and Fire' series, and George himself is in his sixties and morbidly obese. I don't think I ought to be holding my breath to find out how this whole thing ends. Pity really, it's by far the best thing I've ever read. Why should you care? Well, the whole thing is HBO's next 'adult' TV series, following huge acclaim for 'Rome' and 'Deadwood'. Look. But don't get too engrossed, will you? He's never going to finish it...

25th August '10 - Some mad woman from Rugby was in all the papers today after walking past a cat, picking it up and dropping it in a wheelie-bin. Apparently, the CCTV footage of her 'crime' has been seen over a hundred thousand times on 'YouTube', she's been subject to death threats from all round the world and now faces losing her job. The woman is both bemused and distressed by all the attention and outcry, and I must admit, so am I. "It's only a cat", she said when confronted for an interview. Quite.

23rd August '10 - I opened up my old MySpace page today just to see if anyone still bothered with it now that Facebook appears to have taken over the world. Guess what? They don't. Pity. The whole MySpace thing was a bit of a hoot a year or two back. Ah well, nothing lasts forever. I wonder if ScriptGirl is on Facebook somewhere?

22nd August '10 - John Cleese said recently that he thought that Ricky Gervais was 'the height of modern entertainment'. Fuck me, what a depressing thought...

21st August '10 - Everton 1 Wolves 1. Sylvan Ebanks Blake. No, really. We were hammered out of sight for the whole of the first half, but somehow found ourselves growing in both confidence and ability from the hour mark onwards. The last fifteen minutes were Wolves all the way. In the end, a point a piece was a fair result and we're doing very nicely thank-you so far this season...

20th August '10 - Bit of a bargain going on at the Steam website this evening. Both S.T.A.L.K.E.R. games for £6.74 for twenty four hours only. Well, it's rude not to, isn't it?

19th August '10 - Every night this week, the cowing sun has been blaring through my bastard curtains until gone nine o'clock at night. Where were you last week when I was on holiday, you great big ball of perpetually combusting hydrogen, you? Cock.

17th August '10 - Out of action for a night or two, as I'm getting the PC up on blocks again and fitting a new, larger Velociraptor hard drive. This new one is twice the size of my current 300GB version and the read/write speeds are a third quicker. Should be good for a giggle. Give me a day to fit it and format it and another to switch everything over and run a benchtest and I'll see youse all on Thursday. Namaste...

16th August '10 - Back to work. Large and hairy appendages...

15th August '10 - Woke up in my own bed with no idea who or where I was. Spent the day trying to surf on the computer while the sun blazed its way through the curtains in exactly the same way it hadn't been doing all last week. Arse.

7th - 14th August '10 - St. Ives, Cornwall. I had a brainwave this year. I though if we set out mega early, we'd be ahead of the holiday traffic and arrive in Cornwall in time for lunch. Unfortunately for us, every git with a caravan had the same thought. Eight and a half bastard hours it took. Sure, we got there for early afternoon, but after buying some groceries and having a cuppa, we were too shagged out to make use of the extra day. The rest of the week was hit and miss. Two nice days; one on the beach at St. Ives and the other at Marazion and that was about it. In between, there were a couple of duff days (one where it rained solidly, so I was glad I'd brought my new laptop even if it couldn't pick up a bloody internet connection), several nice meals out and loads of lovely family time, which, in the end, is what holidays are all about. On the drive back, I heard Wolves win their first opening game of the season this century, which was a nice little bonus. Next year though, I shall be having my holiday in June. Less traffic, less wankers, better weather and half the price of bastard August. You know it makes sense!

6th August '10 - So that's what celebrity feels like, eh? I had no idea that there were so many people wanting to have their photographs taken with a fat, middle-aged bloke in a Princess Leia costume. I spent the whole day posing for pictures with a never-ending parade of men and women (I stopped counting at thirty!) One bloke came up to me three times. Groovy - my very own stalker! The pinnacle, though, has to be the fact that I finally made it onto the CAMRA website after all those years of Jimmy Savile, silly hats and dodgy wigs. Excellent! Anyway, apart from that, the beers were good and the live set from The Blockheads even better. Highlights? Check out 'Titanic Chocolate & Vanilla Stout' from Staffordshire if it's ever on up your way, and Yorkshire's 'Golcar Dark Mild' is worth a go too. The winner for me was 'Downtown Chocolate Orange Delight' from Wiltshire at 5.8%. Not quite as good as Amber's 'Chocolate Orange Stout' from last year, but since all the greedy fat CAMRA bastards had demolished that on trade day, I had to make do. All in all, a blinding day. Roll on next year. May The Farts Be With You.

5th August '10 - It's seven o'clock in the morning, I'm all showered and fresh and I feel like a bride-to-be, nervously trying on my new dress and worrying if it fits. Yes, it's Beer Festival time once more and no, that wasn't a metaphor - I really have just tried on my new dress and, yes, it fits beautifully. Now where's me wig?

4th August '10 - The date varies every year, but I love this specific day; the last one at work before I head off for my holiday. As an added bonus, tomorrow is also Beer Festival day! One upcoming week of fun and loveliness out of fifty-two duff ones. It's not enough. It's nowhere near enough.

3rd August '10 - I haven't had a day sick off work for almost five years, but I had to split the difference and come home mid-morning today. When you've been in the office for two and a half hours and have spent ninety minutes on the khazi, it's best to simply give the day up as a bad job and go home. It wasn't fun making the journey back to Streatham without making too many sudden movements, but I did it. A handful of Imodium, lots of fluids and some cheese on toast ought to do the trick. I hope so, it's only two days until the Beer Festival. There's no way I could face a session with a leaky balloon-knot.

2nd June '10 - I'm not a senior manager, I'm not a high-flyer, I'm just a bog-standard, over-worked, put-upon foreman trying to run a team. So why is it when I have two days off, I find myself returning to forty-three sodding emails?
  Most of them were utterly irrelevant and the ones that were could've waited until I saw the sender next. What in God's name did we all do before Outlook was invented?


1st August '10 - I'm finally beginning to notice the light nights giving up the ghost and can actually go to bed in the dark once more. Good. Balls to Summer, it's too hot, too light and too long. That planet where Vin Diesel crashed with the twenty-two year nights? Bliss.

31st July '10 - The bastards are dicking about with the M6 again. Left Scruffy's in Birmingham at 22:40, got back to Wolverhampton at 00:30 with a bladder the size of a zeppelin. Gits.

30th July '10 - Some utter bastard on eBay has gazumped my bid for a genuine Queen Amidala electronic blaster with authentic sound effects and lights. Don't they know how much I wanted this? How dare they outbid me by fifty pee with twelve seconds to go. Little shits, I hope the trigger falls off...

28th July '10 - That's enough of July. I'm taking a break from everything but me for the next few days. I have a shiny new Alienware laptop to unwrap and I'll be giving it my undivided attention for the next few days. Back to normality on Sunday, monkeys. Well, I say 'normality', it's Beer Festival week! Woo Hoo!

27th July '10 - The miracle of travel in the twenty-first century is that it's all computer controlled and coordinated. Take the tickets I have for my train journey this weekend - they don't actually exist yet. I ordered and paid for them two months ago, but rather than send them out by post (so last century, darling), all I have to do is arrive at London Euston, walk over to a machine, key in an eight digit number and in a few short seconds, the tickets will drop into my hand. Magic, eh? Now all I have to do is remember where I wrote down the code number. Arse.

26th July '10 - "You ought to be carful with your website", said a friend at work today; "you never know who's reading it." I pointed out that I know exactly who's reading it, seeing as I'm the webmaster and I have a live traffic log running in the background, but apparently that wasn't what he meant.
  "That wasn't what I meant", he said, "I meant that you keep slagging off the management and they could be reading!" Ever the comforter, I put his mind at rest on couple of points. Firstly, I never mention names and secondly, I never, ever, mention where I work. I might be crazy, but I'm not stupid.


25th July '10 - Quick tip when tarting up a dish with Naga chilli paste: When you can't remember if they said 'teaspoon' or 'tablespoon', go for the former. Ouch!

24th July '10 - With only a few short weeks to go before the start of the new Premiership campaign, football chiefs are getting worried that the vuvuzela will make the transfer from South Africa to England and that every game will be ruined by a wall of monotonous droning. Both Spurs and Arsenal have already officially banned the things from their grounds and quite right too. However, I don't think there's any cause for alarm as far as the Wolves are concerned because the fad will simply never take off at Molineux. Anyone winding up their horn for a good old toot in the South Bank is going to have it shoved up their arse inside of thirty seconds.

23rd July '10 - If I told you how much I needed a beer after work tonight, I wouldn't have time to drink it. It's been one of those months, and I shall be glad to see the back of it...

22nd July '10 - Two days running I've fallen asleep on the tube home and woken up at Morden. This tends to happen once a week at least and has got to the point where I now have a genuine two-pronged dilemma. I can either try and remember to eat something while I'm at work to stabilise my blood-sugar levels or I can simply move to Morden...

20th July '10 - I don't often have random days off, but because the Fishwife was out of town overnight, I had to do the school run with the Minifish today. By a staggering coincidence, my new Alienware laptop arrived mid-morning, too. This means that I got to enjoy a nice morning walk, followed by a few hours of peace and quiet with my shiny new toy. Lovely! Now all I have to do is pay for the bugger...

19th July '10 - Two weeks after a colleague and I finished delivering a training course for four new members of staff (who are currently attached to our unit on temporary promotions), we've had some news. Bear in mind that the course was designed to get them up to speed in our work so that they can plug the holes left in our shift pattern by the person who put it together with too few operational staff before you take the next bit on board, won't you?
  Ready? Ok, today we were told that they will all be returning to their current grades and going back to the unit they came from imminently. Actually, I tell a lie, we haven't officially been told this yet; nobody has had the common professional courtesy to do that, they've simply let 'rumour control' do the work for them.
  Ironically, this decision was taken last week while I was undergoing a leadership programme designed by the management to make me a better leader and communicator. The irony is not lost.
  Anyway, as a final 'up yours'; at the same time one of the devastated, hard-working new guys was telling me all about this travesty today, their own development manager was sending out emails with the results of their course and their final pass marks, together with words of congratulations.
  They don't deserve this....


18th July '10 - Tits, it's gone all hot again. It was alright the last few days. Warm, a bit of sun, a bit of cloud, but now it's back to full-on thirty degrees, sweat your cobs off time. Frankly, I'm not impressed. The heat I can (just about) deal with, it's the never-ending daylight that pisses me off. Especially when the bastard sun is still blaring its way through my curtains at nine o'clock at night. I blame those tools who keep insisting we dick around with the clock twice a year. Nine o'clock is night time and I want it dark at that point. If these people enjoy twenty-four hour daylight so bloody much, why don't they sod off to Greenland?

17th July '10 - Four weeks today, Wolves will be playing their first game of the 2010/11 Premiership season against Stoke. Man, that's come round quick. I just hope that the following Sunday morning, we're not nursing a bunch of long-term injuries after having these filthy bastards on the opening day...

16th July '10 - Today saw the second day of the leadership programme that our senior management team have put all of my (lower management drone) grade on, credit where it's due, it was very interesting and I came away knowing more than when I started, which surely is the benchmark of success as far as these things are concerned. It was all about psychological profiling and identifying what type of a person you are and therefore how best you can deal with other types.
  Fascinating stuff, but that only took up the second half of a two day course. The rest of the time we were watching a biography of Shackleton and judging him on his leadership qualities. I think we were meant to see him as some sort of inspirational boss who took control when everything went to rat-shit and ensured that all of his men survived.
  Well yes, that's one way of viewing him. The other would be to say he made a piss-poor job of his initial planning and only remained leader by threatening to shoot anyone who disagreed with him, and it was only by sheer luck that he is not remembered with the sort of embarrassed contempt that we reserve for Scott.
  Still, food for thought and all that. I wonder where can I get a pistol from?


15th July '10 - Bugger me, there's only three weeks to go until the Great British Beer Festival rolls around once more! I'd better hit eBay and get my outfit ordered...

13th July '10 - I had plans for my day off today. I was going to knuckle down and get a head start on this year's staff reports. I was going to set some tailor-made personal objectives, scope out some suitable training courses for all nine of my staff and generally put together the sort of detailed, motivational package that I myself would like to receive but never have.
  And then I had a flashback to that lleadership thing I was on the other week and realised I couldn't do that to the poor buggers, so I simply booted up Steam and played 'Team Fortress 2' all day instead.
  Prioritisation. That's a key managerial value, that is...


12th July '10 - It's amazing the feats of human endurance you can find while idly flicking through the Guinness Book of Records. For instance, did you know that the World Hard Boiled Egg Eating Record belongs to a Korean-born American woman named Sonya Thomas? Sonya is something of a legend in competitive eating circles, holding thirty-seven separate records despite the fact that she's only five foot five tall and weighs ninety-eight pounds. Nevertheless, Sonya holds the record by managing to polish off sixty-five hard boiled eggs in six minutes and forty seconds. Amazing. I flicked a bit further through the book to see if I could find who held the record for World's Most Bunged-Up Arsehole, but I couldn't find an entry. I'd put money on me knowing the correct answer, though...

11th July '10 - Playing 'Bioshock' again. Why can't I be fitted with plasmids? Why? Just one little 'Incinerate' or 'Electrocute; that's not too much to ask, is it?

10th July '10 - I had a great day today. It was just like being back in the early Nineties. In a van, driving round London doing the job I was employed to do. The weather was glorious, the traffic was a nightmare, but the radio was loud and the Coke was cold. This is what they employed me to do twenty years ago.
  Nowadays, I fly a desk and shuffle paper, but once in a while, I get to do some proper work again. It's wonderful and it's nowhere near enough...


9th July '10 - So the Dutch philosophy towards the World Cup Final was apparently "Spain are quicker than us, but we're bigger, so we'll just give them a kicking instead." Very foolish game plan, boys. I don't think Cruyff would be impressed. 'Total Football'? Hmm...I don't think so somehow.

8th July '10 - Really shit day at work today. I seemed to spend the whole nine hours apologising to a never-ending stream of people for someone else's mistake. The downside of management, I guess. When everything's going well, nobody ever congratulates you or says thanks. The moment something goes wrong, they're all coming out of the woodwork and lining up to give you a kicking...

7th July '10 - Back to work this morning to find out that my boss had remembered to put my overtime in for this month. Aces! I can now afford to eat in August!

5th July '10 - Rest Days once more. Normally when I get some days off, I choose to do something interesting, like writing something for my on-going 'personal development' programme, or tweaking my computer a bit. Today though, I have chosen to simply sit here streaming from the eyes and dripping snot all over the keyboard. That seems like the most appropriate use of my time right now...

3rd July '10 - Apparently, it was 'Wimbledon' this week and I missed it. Oh well, how sad, never mind. I can't stand tennis and, more than this, I really can't abide that angry Scotch penis who supposedly represents our best interests these days. Young Mr. Murray was stuffed by Nadal on Friday evening. Good. If he's our great hope, it is my most fervent desire that we British never win the title again. I would rather it be thus that see this git clutching the silverware.

2nd July '10 - One last nod to the World Cup and then I'll leave it alone for another four years. Here's some international figures that Fabio Capello may wish to ponder: Colombia's Rene Higuita has only scored eight goals in sixty-eight appearances for his country. Jose Luis Chilavert of Paraguay manages a slightly worse average, taking seventy-four appearances to score the same amount of goals. So we shouldn't be too critical of poor, donkey-like Emile Heskey with his seven goals from fifty-nine England games, should we? Well actually, yes we should. The other two are goalkeepers.

1st July '10 - I hate my body clock. It will always, always wake me up between half an hour and an hour before the alarm is due to go off. When I lived nearer work, I set the alarm for half five and always woke up at five. Now I set the alarm for half four and am generally showered, dressed and sipping coffee by quarter past. What's going on? My own body is trying to kill me!

30th June '10 - I have been signed up to a year-long 'Leadership' development programme by the same branch of my organisation who paid £1200 last year for me to spend twelve months doing my NVQ in Management. Astonishing.

29th June '10 - After a really cagey and boring game, Japan go out of the World Cup on penalties against Paraguay. Here officially ends my interest in this shonky competition. Argentina vs. Brazil for the final and Brazil to win. Go on, fill your boots at the bookies!

28th June '10 - I've been naughty. You see, I really want one of those 'Alienware' mini-laptops I mentioned a couple of days ago, only I don't want to pay in Sterling what the Yanks pay in Dollars. So I checked the interweb for discount codes. I found two. A British one for 5% off and a US one for 10% off. For a giggle, I added both to the Alienware order form. It accepted them. I was then presented with the opprtunity of ordering an 11'' portable gaming bitch for well over £200 less than the UK retail price. Did I go for it? Hah! What do you think?

27th June '10 - Germany 4 England 1. The more useless you are, the more money they'll pay you, so long as you keep your head down and get on with things. Wheteher we're talking Frank Lampard and John Terry or the head of my particular civil service department - it's all much of a muchness. Sadly, Frank and co. have now been rumbled and are facing the backlash of the nation. Well, they're not Freemasons, are they?

25th June '10 - This or a fucking Apple iPad? Decisions, decisions...

24th June '10 - Good World Cup gag doing the rounds on the mobile phones: 'This tournament is like a replay of World War II - The French have surrendered early and the Yanks have shown up at the last minute. Meanwhile, it's us against the bloody Germans once more.' We like!

23rd June '10 - If it seems as if I'm having a shit time at work and hate all the management. Sorry, that isn't intentional. Actually, I'm really enjoying things right now, as I'm up at our training school for a couple of weeks using all the skills that my department has paid for me to acquire in order to pass on my professional knowledge to the next batch of bright young things.
  My own manager, who is a star, is simply letting me get on with it and not hassling me in the slightest with any other crap. Result? One happy trainer, a relaxed learning environment and four happy trainees. All is gravy at the moment. Watch some bastard come along and spoil it...


22nd June '10 - So that was the 'Bloodbath Budget' was it? Bollocks. As a Public Sector worker, I have no problems whatsoever with a two-year pay freeze. The economy is screwed, we don't actually 'produce' anything, so we should all be sharing the pain. However, I think things should've gone much further, like a cap on senior civil servant's pay. No-one, and I do mean no-one, in the Public Sector should earn more than the Prime Minister. He's the top civil servant, so he should be the pinnacle of the pay spine. There is also no excuse whatsoever for pay bonuses in the Public Sector, either. All that guff about having to pay the 'talent' extra in case they leave. Fine, let them.

20th June '10 - Today is Father's Day. As a special treat, the Fishwife decided not to think about food until seven o'clock this evening when we were all starving, at which point she simply grabbed what was quickest and shoved it in the direction of the cooker. Consequently, we ended up having turkey dinosaurs, a frozen four-cheese pizza and chicken supernoodles. It was an absolute banquet.

18th June '10 - England 0 Algeria 0. Even the Wolves would've put this lot to bed. Appalling.

17th June '10 - Pneumatic lad's mag model Kelly Brook announced this week that she is to pose naked in Playboy for a cool £345,000. After years of protesting that she was more than just a pair of tits and desperately trying her hand at acting, presenting, fashion design and dancing, she has finally come to the conclusion that she is, after all, just a pair of tits and will now take the money and run. A wise decision, girl. Cash in quick before it all goes south.

16th June '10 - I don't know what's worse; my hay-fever or the bloody tablets I'm taking for it. I can either not take anything and sit there dripping snot and wiping my red eyes constantly, or I can take a tablet and become a psychiatric ward in-patient, all slack jawed and barely awake. I wish I was a grade higher at work. I could take the tablets all the time then and no-one would notice...

15th June '10 - Right, I've almost finished dicking about with my computer. I now have one of these in front of me, which is the biz and will be even more so in September when ATI brings in 3D. In order to power a bigger 120HZ screen, I've bought one of these, which is frankly silly. There is now nothing game-wise that I cannot run in true 1080 High Def with all the settings maxed out. Even when I do, the temperature sits at around the 40- 45 degree mark. Insane! Why the big cash splurge? Well, the Gummint about to crank up VAT and the tossers I work for will probably freeze my pay or cut it by 10% or something equally ridiculous, so I'm not going to be able to go out for the next couple of years. What better reason to stay in than to indulge in some truly kick-arse gaming?

14th June '10 - Brian May, ridiculously-haired axe man for rock gods 'Queen' plays a guitar called the 'Red Special'. He and his dad Harold built it in their kitchen together back in 1964. It is made from wood which came from an 18th century fireplace mantel that a friend of the family was chucking out, and its tremolo system is made from an old hardened-steel knife-edge shaped into a V with two motorbike valve springs attached to counter the string tension. The tremolo arm itself is made from an old bicycle saddle bag carrier and the knob at the end is off a knitting needle. Despite being worth an estimated £70 million, the Red Special is the only guitar May ever plays and instead of a pick, he still uses an old sixpence his father gave him. What a tight bastard.


13th June '10 - Go and get a woman, get a woman if you can. If you can't get a woman, get a clean old man.


12th June '10 - England 1 USA 1. Why? Why is he still playing Emile Heskey? For the love of God, why? The donkey did it again; totally ruined a winnable game with his incompetence. Caught offside three times and missed two easy finishes. Postman Pat finally replaced him with Peter Crouch with ten minutes to go, but that was far too late to make a difference. What a shit game! No way we're progressing in this tournament with performances like this. Maybe that's a good thing, because although we're only two days into the World Cup, I'm already sick and fucking tired of listening to those vuvuzela horns. Ninety minutes of non-stop wasp-like droning, on and on and fucking on. I'm almost missing 'The Great Escape'...


11th June '10 - If I had feet made of cake or some other flour-based confectionery, such as doughnuts or éclairs, I'd probably spend a lot less time in the bath...

10th June '10 - A routine health check-up today, during which a nurse weighed me, measured me and calculated my BMI. I then came in for a bit of mild chastisement as it was apparent that I'd put on a few pounds since the last time, owing to just having had a week on the sofa reading and eating crisps. "Tut tut", she went, "your BMIs gone up from 26.1 to 26.3!" "Tut tut", I agreed, all contrite, "How dreadful, aren't I naughty?" Then it occurred to me that this nurse, though three inches shorter, probably outweighed me by a couple of stone. I got a bit miffed then. How very dare she? Having a pop at me for putting on a pound or two when she herself was a chubster! In fact, if one subscribes to the old adage of 'you are what you eat', then this nurse had clearly eaten a short, fat woman. Honestly. Talk about double standards

9th June '10 - Just ordered a new toy. In a day or two, I'll be upgrading my 22" monitor with Freeview (which I've never bloody watched) to a 24" 120Hz 3D monitor complete with 3D goggles. The Fishwife gets a new telly for the bedroom and I get to play 'Bioshock 2' again, but this time in 3D. Yay! Who's the Daddy?

8th June '10 - Quick tip for anyone having a blood test. When they pull the needle out and put a bit of cotton wool on the exit point and ask you to press, don't. Just keep your arm straight and gently keep the cotton wool against your vein for a minute or two. Do not press and DO NOT bend your arm - this is what causes you to bruise. After a couple of minutes, ditch the cotton wool and pop a small plaster on if you need to. That's it. Follow this and in three or four hours, ho-one will be able to tell you've had anything done. Good advice if you plan on going out in short sleeves and don't want to look like a smack-head.

7th June '10 - Back to work and two absolute fucking corkers for yours truly to walk into. First, my new boss had forgotten to come and collect my overtime form, so plain pay next month, and second, a lovely sixty quid penalty charge for stalling a works van in a box junction in Hackney whilst on an urgent job a couple of weeks back. I thought I'd got away with that one, too. Fucksocks.

6th June '10 - Was that it? Where's my week of loafing gone, eh? Jesus. Anyway, thoroughly enjoyed the 'Claudius' books, and am now halfway through the 'Girl With The Dragon Tattoo' trilogy. I like Lisbeth Salander. Short, skinny, tattoos, piercings and spiky black hair. Oh, and a dangerous psycho when crossed. My kinda girl!

5th June '10 - Fucking hell, this new season of 'Doctor Who' is shit. There. I've said it.

4th June '10 - The following represents the reaction of every single newspaper and television news programme to the tragic events that unfolded on Wednesday morning: Fap. Fap. Fap...

3rd June '10 - Some angry middle-aged fruitcake goes nuts with his legally-owned shotgun and decides to have a real-life game of 'Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare 2' in a Cumbrian village all by his lonesome. Result? A dozen dead and the usual round of hand-wringing. I guarantee that shotguns will be illegal before you can say 'typical knee-jerk reaction by cross-party media-whore MPs' Got a watch? Time them...

2nd June '10 - In a few short weeks, we're all going to have to pay more bloody VAT on everything to pay for the damage that the one-eyed Scotch idiot has done to the country. It'll probably be set at 20%, it may even be 22.5% for a year first. With this in mind, I decided to take the opportunity to go to Birmingham today and do my Christmas shopping. Aces - there was no bugger there! Got everything I wanted in an hour and then went to Scruffy Murphy's and got trollied on Blackthorn all afternoon. It was just like being eighteen again, only with some money in my pocket. Marvellous!

1st June '10 - I'm sorry, I thought for a moment there it was June. Jesus wept...

30th May '10 - Waterstones are doing a '3 for 2' deal at the moment, so I went and got six. This week I are mostly be reading 'I, Claudius' and 'Claudius the God' by Robert Graves, followed by the 'Millennium' trilogy by Steig Larsson with Guillermo Del Toro's 'The Strain' to finish. Loafing. You can't whack it.

28th May '10 - Bliss! I now have a week off, so I shall be taking the PC apart and having a fiddle with its guts. I may drop you all a line via the netbook, and then again I may not. You'll just have to check back every so often and see...

27th May '10 - It's been half a decade since the Bluetooth revolution, yet I still haven't got used to seeing people holding loud and animated conversations with themselves whilst standing next to me in the bus queue. I keep thinking I've got a mental patient behind me. Then again, I catch the bus on Streatham High Road every morning, so this may well be the case...

26th May '10 - I keep clocking this sign outside a local pub which reads 'Salsa Classes - Every Thursday 8 to 10'. Look people, its simply chopped tomatoes, one red pepper, one green one, half an onion, a dash of lemon juice and a handful of coriander leaves. Whack it all in the blender and hit the button. There's no way it takes two hours to get your head around that...

25th May '10 - Laughing my cobs off at all the righteous anger pouring out of the fanboy sites over the ending of 'Lost'. Regular readers of this site will know I gave up on 'Lost' after Season Two, when we'd already had two whole years with no answers. When they introduced a new set of characters (from the tail section? Puh-lease!), it occurred to me that they were simply making the thing up as they went along and had absolutely no idea of where the 'story' was going or how to end it.
  In fact, the only thing I could think of that made any sense at that time was that everyone was already dead and they were all on some sort of island Purgatory. I wasn't the only one to reach this conclusion, but the makers assured everyone that they had a definite story with a definite ending and that 'they're all dead' wasn't it.
  Except, we've just found out that it was. Cue much wailing and gnashing of teeth on the internet forums: "You told us they weren't all dead!," wailed the idiots who'd wasted six and a half years of their life trying to make sense of this dreck. "We lied" said the producers. Less than a day later, and the AICN 'Lost' page has over three thousand comments. Hell hath no fury like a geek scorned...  

23rd May '10 - Wow. I want one. Click on 'Gallery' to see just how amazing this is.

22nd May '10 - Hearty congratulations to Blackpool on twice coming from behind to beat Cardiff 3 - 2 in the Championship Play-off Final this afternoon. A fantastic, end-to-end game for a neutral to watch...only I couldn't, because Rupert Murdoch had bought it. Never mind, I really get into footy when it's on the radio, and BBC Five Live did a blinder of a broadcast, which I had as the 'radio station' while I played 'Grand Theft Auto IV'. Looking forward to seeing how these guys get on next season. They look like they don't give a shit, which is always entertaining - especially against a top four side!

21st May '10 - If you can find them, I can thoroughly recommend these as an emergency measure for sorting out a boring pizza/curry/salad. A bit livelier than jalapenos, with a more 'up front' kick and a nice fruity after-bite. Top stuff!

20th May '10 - The one thing stopping me from buying a big fuck-off plasma telly is the fact that there's bugger-all on worth watching. It wouldn't even be worth it if I got a Blu-Ray player at the same time, either, as I only have two Blu-Ray discs at the moment. Oh well, I'll save my money. Or rather, I won't, as I don't have any...

19th May '10 - Did you hear Nick Clegg's speech today? Have a read of it here. I'm starting to get worried now. I'm not used to politicians making sense, and I'm certainly not used to them asking our opinions on how we'd like to be governed. Impressive, chap. I didn't vote for you (or your new best mate), but keep this up and I may be tempted. Then again, that twat Blair promised us the fucking Earth and look how that turned out. Also today, it was revealed that more legislation was stuffed onto the Statute books by Labour in the last thirteen years than was added from the time of William the Conqueror to 1997. Amazing. Yet the Jocks and the dossers are STILL voting for them! Wow!

18th May '10 - There are about two dozen background characters in the PC version of 'Grand Theft Auto IV', and the computer dresses them up in different outfits and sends them wandering around Liberty City as you play the game. This evening, I noticed that one of them looked the spitting image of someone I don't like very much, and it completely took me out of my immersion in the game. Instead of joining the McCready brothers in knocking off Liberty City Bank, I chose instead to wander round at random looking for this particular character and offing him in as many interesting and varied ways as possible.
  I spotted him sitting on a park bench having a chat, so I crept up behind him and shot him in the back of the head.
  There he was, crossing the road at the lights as I pulled up in a 4X4, so I ran him over.
  Down by the docks, I watched as he got into a boat and set off across the bay, which provided the perfect opportunity to try out my rocket-launcher.
  Fantastic fun! The only problem is, all my in-game 'friends' started to get so pissed off with me ignoring their phone calls that they began to blank me, which means I'll have to repeat some missions and build up their friendship again.
  Oh well, it was worth it to spend an evening killing the same git over and over again. The time when I pushed him onto the subway tracks was particularly fulfilling, especially as I managed to take all the money from his corpse once the train had gone...


17th May '10 - Aah, Rest Days once more! The Fishwife and I plan on dropping little 'un off at school and then having a day out. We shall do a bit of shopping, visit a museum and have a nice slap-up lunch somewhere. Should my daughter ever read this site some day, here's a message just for her: Look! We're having fun without you! Bwa-ha haa!

16th May '10 - Normally, I try to maintain a certain level of decorum on this site, so I apologise in advance for the scatological nature of what I'm about to say. Basically, I've had seven poos today. Seven. Not squitty rubbish, either; decent jobbies that were each worth the toilet time. Frankly, I don't know whether to be worried or proud. Still, all of them were curled out in work time, so that's a bit of a result...

14th May '10 - A mate of mine was telling me today about his experiences at 'Spearmint Rhino'. It may just be that I'm getting old, but it all sounded tacky, expensive and somewhat pointless. To be honest, I've never seen the point of lap-dancing clubs. You wouldn't got to a restaurant and pay to look at the food, would you? Have the courage of your convictions and hire a prostitute. It'll be cheaper...

13th May '10 - Within twelve hours of taking power, this new Con/Lib Government has scrapped the fourth runway at Heathrow, binned identity cards and torn up the plans for a national identity database. It looks like a machete is being taken to thirteen years of interfering Socialist meddling and about time too. More of this sort of thing, please..

12th May '10 - Well, I must confess, I'm very interested to see how a left-wing party masquerading as a centre party and a centre-left party masquerading as a right-wing party will get on as a ruling coalition. One thing's for sure though - it can't be any fucking worse than the last thirteen years...can it?

11th May '10 - Clever of Gordon Brown to get his wife and two young sons to publicly walk away from Downing Street with him one final time. He must've known that even the jaded old hacks of the Fleet Street mob wouldn't dare boo and tell him to fuck off with the missus and kids in tow. Aces! "Ding Dong the Witch is dead!"

10th May '10 - The 'Lord of the Rings' trilogy is now on Blu-Ray. I would be tempted were it not for the fact that this pretty much killed the thing for me and this buried the corpse and salted the earth around it. Oh well, never mind.

9th May '10 - Wolves 2 Sunderland 1. Great way to finish the season - another three points! This means we ended up with thirty-eight points from thirty-eight games. A point a match; not too bad an average, and better than the thirty-three that got us relegated in '04. Fifteenth out of twenty is still a couple of places above last (seventeenth - I'm not counting the relegation spots) and gives us something to build on next season. Well done to Super Mick and the boys! See you in August and enjoy the holiday - you've earned it!

8th May '10 - Is it just me, or is this new series of 'Doctor Who' is taking it's sweet time to get up to speed? This evening's 'space-fish vampires' one was about the best so far, but it was still a bit 'meh' and we're nearly halfway through the season. Come on, Moffat, you're better than this - pull your finger out! And if you can't, can you please put the redhead back in the policewoman kissogram outfit?

7th May '10 - A-a-and Britain wakes up to a hung Parliament. Hope you enjoyed voting, monkeys, because you'll all get to do it again within a few months, Even the dole-scroungers of Barking, who returned Margaret Hodge with a majority of over sixteen thousand. There are millions of children starving in the Third World and I now know the solution. Soylent Green. Made in Barking. Even more astounding are the people of Brighton, who have returned the nation's first ever Green MP in their ward. I've long thought the entire population of Brighton consisted of lesbians and idiots and there's my proof. When are we going to get a 'none of the above' box added to our voting slips? My God, we need it!

6th May '10 - It shames me to say that I must have broken some sort of record in 'Yo Sushi!' this afternoon. Sixteen bowls. And two bottles of Asahi. Fat, greedy bastard...

5th May '10 - George Galloway came past our place on an open-topped bus this afternoon, spouting some lefty bollocks through a megaphone. I was halfway down a rather nice pastry at the time and had a sudden urge to share it with the old bastard, so I did. Sadly, my aim was way off and it merely clipped one of the upper windows...

4th May '10 - Back to work after the most lazy and self-indulgent Bank Holiday ever. Basically, I got up, played 'Grand Theft Auto IV' until it went dark, had a bath and went back to bed. When I win the Lottery, you can forget all about cruises and foreign holidays, this will be the way I spend my time and money. A big fuck-off games room with a bed in the middle. Oh, and a barrel of Enville Ale within reaching distance. And a fizzy pig dispenser. That is all.

2nd May '10 - The makers of 'Lost' have come out with an announcement ahead of the Season Six finale; a four hour 'epic' that will end the whole thing once and for all. Apparently, the finale "Will generate a tremendous amount of theorizing" (sic) and that "There's no way to end the show where the fans aren't going to say, 'What did they mean by this?' Which is why we're not going to explain it." Roughly translated, this means they haven't got a fucking clue how to wrap it up, as they've simply been writing it on the hoof for the last five years and you sad fuckers have wasted half a decade of your life following this made-up-as-they-go-along bollocks. I think there are going to be some awfully pissed-off fanboys out there next week...

1st May '10 - Portsmouth 3 Wolves 1. Crap. Utter crap. Mick obviously decided to give Ebanks-Blake one last roll of the dice and, predictably, the boy mad a complete chimp's fist of it. Missed a sitter, poked it wide twice and generally had a mare of a game. Iwelumo wasn't much better, either. Why Sam Vokes isn't given a start, I'll never know. Nenad Millijas, too. Come on, Mick, ring the changes for the Sunderland game - then get some of the dead wood on the transfer list! Looking at you, Sylvan!

30th April '10 - It's five in the morning and I'm just about to set off for work. Three weeks into my new life in my new unit and everyone is joining me for a drink after work this evening. Team spirit and camaraderie. I think I just about remember that. It's also a Bank Holiday weekend, and since I was stripped from the shift pattern and put on 'conditioned hours' (made to work the odd weekend and given days off instead of money), I am no longer required to be on duty. Given the cuts that will undoubtedly come following the General Election, I am merely the vanguard of this new approach. Everyone will be losing Premium Rates soon, I'm thinking.

29th April '10 -  See this? You're nowhere near man enough. This is awesome!

28th April '10 - Is there really any point in Gordon Brown touring the country promoting the new Labour Party Manifesto given the fact that he blatantly lied through his teeth with the contents of the last one? Remember the promise of a referendum on the EU Treaty? No? I do, Gordon. So do millions of others. We also remember iDave's 'cast-iron' guarantee on it, too; conveniently forgotten once the damn thing was ratified. As for the other joker, well, I neither know nor care what he says or thinks about anything. In fact the only thing I can conclusively remember about the Limp Damps is that one of them went cross-eyed through nobbing a Cheeky Girl. Welcome to British Politics in the Twenty-First Century. God help us all...

27th April '10 - Grasping trinket-peddler Steve Jobs has defended Apple's decision to leave Adobe Flash off the iPad by saying it was made for the era of "PCs and mice" and performed poorly when translated to run on touchscreen and hand-held devices. Hmm. Nothing about Flash allowing access to millions of free applications and gadgets that the idiot Apple punters could otherwise be forced to pay for by not including it, eh Steve?

26th April '10 - I don't believe this. Lambeth Council have done it again. As I walked to the bus-stop this morning, I noticed a new set of speed-bumps, freshly laid at the weekend, all along the road that runs along the top of the common. The road that for ages has been a notorious red light district. This particular rat-run has, over the years, had the bus-shelters removed (too convenient), had 'No Kerb Crawling' signs plastered to every lamp-post and finally, in a last ditch attempt to deter the unfazed Toms, had a truckload of expensive C.C.T.V. installed. Over the last few months, I'd noticed a difference. Less knackered-looking Lily Savage clones prowling around as I walked to the bus at half five in the morning, less used nodders on the pavement - that sort of thing. Now Lambeth Council have stuck up a load of 'Twenty's Plenty' signs and put the humps in, all the cars will be forced to slow down by law, thus giving potential punters plenty of time to pick the girl of their choice, make eye contact and indicate a suitable side road to discuss business. It's not just me, is it? Am I the only sane person left in this city or what? Hello?

25th April '10 - After a lovely warm sunny week, it was much chillier here in London this morning, meaning it managed to piss it down just in time to thoroughly soak all those idiots starting the London Marathon. I cannot tell you how happy this made me, for I utterly despise joggers. Every morning at a quarter to six as I stroll the half-mile to my bus-stop, I encounter hoards of them pounding their way around the common with their sweaty faces and pained expressions, so the thought of them suffering month after month of this for their 'big day', only to have to endure it in the abject misery of cold wet clothing, puts a big old smile on my face. Don't get me wrong, I'm not against exercise (I spent my Twenties pumping some serious iron), it's just these clowns who push themselves through 'the wall'; who run so much they are physically in pain. and then act all superior about their training 'regime' really tune me up. Yes, you're fitter than me and yes, you'll probably live longer. Though it will be a matter of a year or two at most and all of it spent in constant screaming agony from your arthritic joints...

24th April '10 - Wolves 1 Blackburn 1. Only two games to go now, and, dare I say it, we look as if we're safe. Burnley need to win their three remaining games against Liverpool, Birmingham and Spurs (and they've not won three on the bounce all season), while Hull need to beat Wigan and Liverpool and rack up twenty four goals in the process. Yeah, I'll take that...

23rd April '10 - St. George's Day once more. Another opportunity to wear my white shirt with the red cross on, another opportunity to see just how indifferent the sheeple are. My new job involves me hitting Liverpool Street Station every day. Today, out of curiosity, I passed through twice, just to see how my fellow countrymen were marking the day. I saw one other bloke wearing the colours. Just one. During the rest of my journeys, I saw a grand total of four England flags. Four, in the capital city of England on its patron saint's feast day. The final straw came when one person asked me if there was a match on tonight. I give up. You obviously much prefer the Irish patron saint, and that's understandable. Get used to seeing green and white flags in England a lot more over the next generation or so, as this one is getting more popular by the day...

22nd April '10 - Just acquired the new 'Grand Theft Auto' add-ons for GTA IV on the PC. Awesome! However, there is a very real danger when playing this game for any length of time, as it tends to distort your perspective; especially when one lives and works in London. You spend all day wandering the streets with people jostling you and shouting, until it comes to the point where you snap, pull out a flame-thrower, barbecue the whole bloody lot of 'em and drive a stolen 4x4 over their ashen remains. That's the game, by the way, not living in London, although the lines can occasionally get blurred in Hackney on a Saturday evening...

19th April '10 - I'm on Rest Days again. Actually, they're not 'Rest Days' per se, as I'm no longer on a shift; they're 'days off' due to my new contract forcing me to work one weekend in four and take time off on the Monday and Tuesday following. In addition, my hours have gone from eight to nine a day, which means that, when all the added hours are totted up, there is enough to have another two 'Rest Days' at the end of the fourth week of this new four-week 'non-shift' shift pattern. So basically, I now work a seven day week followed by a three day week, then a five day week followed by another three day week before starting all over again. Very civilised. We like!

18th April '10 - Apparently, everyone was really impressed with the yellow cow on the telly the other night and that's the cow that everybody wants. I suspect this is more to do with the fact that the yellow cow is neither the red cow nor the blue cow than the quality and content of its mooing.

17th April '10 - Fulham 0 Wolves 0. I believe this has formally been recognised as the most boring game since the Premiership began, as there was just one shot on target from either side in the entire ninety minutes. They had their Europa League semi-final to worry about on Thursday and we were locked up tighter than  a very tight thing down to its last quid with a week to payday. Dull and uninspired stuff from two teams with sod-all to play for. They're safe and, after this, I would hazard that we are, too, unless we lose our final three games and Burnley and Hull win all of theirs. Stranger things have happened, though, so roll on Blackburn next week...

16th April '10 - Judging by the party political broadcast I've just seen online, it would appear that Eddie Izzard is still very much a Labour supporter. Nice to see he's kept his sense of humour over the last thirteen years, isn't it? Then again, if I had his money, I'd probably think it was all a bit of a laugh, too...

15th April '10 - There was an hour and a half of live broadcast this evening. Bizarre concept - what they'd done was dress three cows up in three different coloured outfits and got them to stand there mooing at the camera. The red cow (an Aberdeen Angus by the look of it) had a low, unconvincing, miserable sort of moo, whereas the blue cow had a more urgent, upbeat sort of moo. The red cow didn't like it when the blue cow mooed and kept trying to moo over it. Curiously, on the occasions when both of them were mooing at the same time, I found it hard to tell one from the other. There was another cow there, too; a yellow one. One minute the yellow cow tried to sound like the blue cow and the next it tried to sound like the red one. For the most part, the red and blue cows ignored it and carried on mooing between themselves.  To be honest, I got bored after a while and went to play 'Mass Effect 2' instead...

14th April '10 - I have now perfected the travel arrangements to and from my new job, and all it requires is me having to get up half an hour earlier. That may sound like a ball-ache, but bear with me, because it pans out beautifully. Observe:
  I catch the bus I've always caught, but instead of getting a paper to while away the journey, I can simply go to sleep for the entire trip, safe in the knowledge that the terminus is exactly where I need to be. I wake up at Liverpool Street Station and step off right in front of a Costa Coffee. I order a nice skinny vanilla latte (ponce) while I wait for my second bus - in the stand next to the one I just left - and then I sip my lovely beverage for the nine minute journey to the new base before getting off, alert, relaxed and ready for the day.
  Coming home, when things are a bit busier on the roads, I simply get the tube - which is right next door to work - take three stops to Bank, change to the Northern Line and sleep all the way back to Tooting Bec. Bloody hell, this is marvellous!


12th April '10 - First day at work in the new job at the new venue. We walked into a room piled high with furniture from the previous occupants. By the end of the day, we had three digital download suites up and running, three linked computer systems, phone lines, fax, printer and copier. We even got the tea-club sorted, too. I think it's going to be the start of a beautiful relationship between me and the East End...

11th April '10 - Wolves 0 Stoke 0. A game where only two players ever got a mention on the commentary. Rory Delap doing his usual mighty throw-ins for them and Marcus Hahnemann doing his usual awesomeness in front of goal for us. A pig-ugly game, utterly forgettable, but another point in the bag, meaning we're now six points clear of the drop zone with four games left. Looking good...

10th April '10 - Today I had a bet on the Grand National, as I was sure I'd spotted an omen. I start my new job on Monday in a building located in a place called Eric Street. Imagine my amazement when I spotted that one of the horses in this year's race was called 'Eric's Charm'. That was enough for me. It was obviously, as I said, an omen. I stuck twenty quid on it at forty to one. Guess what the first faller this year was at the first bastard fence? Lady Luck is a spiteful cow.

9th April '10 - So Lenny Henry and Dawn French have decided to file for divorce after twenty-five years of marriage. Apparently, they'd been sleeping in separate beds for quite some time before the split. Not because of any animosity, but because poor old Len was sick of trying to sleep with his arse hanging off the edge of the mattress...

8th April '10 - Off for a brief sojourn in sunny Wolverhampton. I might try and get a ticket for the Stoke match on Sunday. Then again, I may just have a lie-in with the the papers and several cups of tea instead. Who knows? Who cares?

7th April '10 - Gordon Brown's very last Prime Minister's Question Time (we hope). How iDave refrained from asking the one question we all want answered, I'll never know. I for one would've loved to have heard him come out with "so why didn't you fuck off sooner, seeing as everyone hates you?", but alas, it was not to be...

6th April '10 - After seeing Lady Gaga's new video while bored out of my skull on Nights this week, I am forced to confess that I was wrong in alleging that she was, in fact, a man. The spends most of the video in a micro bikini or, at one point, some police 'crime scene' tape and I could clearly see that she had hips. So, sorry Lada Gaga, I humbly admit I was wrong. You are not a man at all. Just a fucking ugly bird.

5th April '10 - I would like to recommend that everyone has a go at playing 'Grand Theft Auto IV' from the wrong end of a bottle of Shiraz-Cabernet. Huge fun. I was all over the shop. Fell off my own roof twice...

4th April '10 - Well, I have to admit I quite like the new Doctor Who. He's quirky, fun and I thinks he works a treat. The opening story was typical filler, though. I'm looking forward to see what Matt Smith can do with a real script; like a two-part Steven Moffat 'Weeping Angels' one, which we'll be getting in a couple of weeks. I like the new assistant, too. Shame she won't be keeping that policewoman kissogram outfit, though. Grrr!

3rd April '10 - Arsenal 1 Wolves 0. Cheated. By sixty thousand screaming Gooners and a shit referee. This was the same one who sent Wardo off for a nothing challenge on Gerrard in the Liverpool game on Boxing Day. He flashed the red card at Karl Henry here for what was, at best, a yellow, simply because all the Arsenal players and fans shouted at him to do so, the spineless fuck. Even with ten men, we showed enough grit and determination to snatch a point from this, until the twat in black found five minutes of added time from somewhere and Arsenal planted a lucky one in the ninety-fifth. Never mind though, Hull lost, Burnley got slaughtered and West Ham have Man City tomorrow. We can still get away with this!

2nd April '10 - The latest opinion polls put David Cameron a mere eight points ahead of Gordon Brown. Eight points. Against the biggest tube to infect Downing Street since Jim Callahan. As we still don't know what Cameron and his Blu-Labour party stand for a mere five weeks from the General Election, I can only conclude that Dave is eight points up purely by virtue of the fact that he's not Gordon. By that rationale, can I encourage you all to vote for me? I ought to be twenty points ahead in no time at all seeing as I'm neither of them. What do I stand for? The abolition of every single Government quango with the money used to subsidise free beer every Friday, and an extra Bank Holiday on Trafalgar Day. Vote Fish! You've never had it so good!

1st April '10 - There were a few April Fool gags winging their way around cyberspace this morning, but by far the best was this one from 'The Guardian'. When we've reached the stage where a lefty rag of that magnitude starts taking the piss out of a serving Labour Prime Minister, it really is time for a radical change of Government. Sadly, there isn't one available...

31st March '10 - I read voraciously. News items mainly, and since my reading includes many, many internet sites, it can sometimes be a week or so before I get to a story. Trawling through the 'Times Online' site today, I found this post from a fortnight ago, which caused me to spray tea all over my monitor. Read the headline, then look at the name of the reporter...

30th March '10 - It's a full moon tonight, and I plan to try some of this 'Cosmic Ordering' that Noel Edmonds swears by. Apparently, what you do is light three candles, wish joy to the world and then 'order up' three things that you'd like the power of the cosmos to grant you. A few years ago, Noel, bless him, was in the doldrums. He read about this, tried it, and wished for a new career, a new woman and something else which he didn't get. Two out of three ain't bad, as a certain fat Yank nutcase once opined, so I'm going to make it even easier for the celestial powers to sort by going out tonight and asking them for no more Noel Edmonds, no more Noel Edmonds and no more Noel Edmonds.

29th March '10 - Two howling Islamists - female this time - have blown themselves to shreds along with thirty-eight other poor sods on the Moscow Metro underground system today. Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin swiftly promised to 'do everything to find and punish the criminals', while Pesident Dmitry Medvedev has vowed to 'destroy' the 'beasts' responsible for planning the outrage. Hmm. Not the most enlightened of thinking there, chaps. What you need to do is to reach out to the local Muslim 'community' and engage with their 'spiritual leaders' in order to move forward together in a mutual spirit of cooperation and understanding like we do over here. You could even pay them benefits to preach hatred against you, too, if you want to appear really progressive...

28th March '10 - Scoping out the movie sites recently, I discovered that The Rock has made a kids film where he becomes, and I shit you not, the Tooth Fairy. After seeing Vin Diesel in 'The Pacifier' recently, I can only assume that the two of them are having some sort of bizarre wager between themselves on who can a) fuck up their career the most and b) look the gayest. For my money, Vin's just about edging it. Just...

27th March '10 - Wolves 0 Everton 0. Lovely. I'll take a point off these boys any time. Burnley lost, West Ham lost and we look in good enough shape to get away with the inevitable whupping that we're going to get off Arsenal next Saturday. The BBC Sport website has a predictor page to see where your team will end the season. Go here and have a play. My calculations see us finishing in sixteenth on thirty-seven points - and that was me being cautious and ultra-realistic with the predictions. Hope it's a fairly accurate assessment!

24th March '10 - I think some people at work are under the impression that I'm putting something of a brave face on my impending enforced move to Mile End. Allow me to illustrate a couple of points. Everyone I've spoken to at the East London base thinks it's great. A happy little unit full of nice people whose Senior Managers tend to stay out of the way and let them get on with their jobs. They genuinely appear to love working there.
  By contrast, everyone at my previous campus thinks it's a shit-hole run by idiots. Draw your own conclusions...


23rd March '10 - West Ham 1 Wolves 3. Apart from conceding in the third minute of injury time, this was pretty much the best game we've ever had in the Premiership. Rock solid from beginning to end and three superb goals mean that we've now picked up seven points in three away games and are seven points off the drop zone with seven games to go. Lucky sevens? Believe it!

22nd March '10 - So the Camerons have announced they're going to have another baby. Marvellous. In this nonebrity-obsessed society of ours, that's obviously the election in the bag for Dave then, isn't it? Never mind any actual policies or ideas for running the country; simply announce the fact that your missus is up the duff and it's wall to wall 'OK' and 'Hello' coverage from now until May. Obviously nobody cares about the non-existent contents of the Tory manifesto when there's the contents of Dave's nutsack to be discussed, right? Jesus, this country makes me sick...

21st March '10 - Last time Wolves beat West Ham at Upton Park was in March 1978. Kate Bush was number one with 'Wuthering Heights'. Let's hope the fat lady is singing again on Tuesday night, shall we?

20th March '10 - Aston Villa 2 Wolves 2. And we were so close to nicking all three points, too, after a fairly average performance from Martin O'Neill's one-man team. Eight games left and an absolutely massive game on Tuesday night away at West Ham. Pompey are gone and Burnley look shonky. We have to make sure that either Hull or West Ham take that last slot and not us! Come on, me babbies!

18th March '10 - I had a wonderful time at work today. In preparation for moving across to East London, I've been clearing my desk; going through all my old files and, for the most part, ripping them up and stuffing them in the bin.
  Certificates from fifteen years of meaningless in-house courses? Bin.
  A folder full of examples of work for an accreditation that was scrapped after we'd spent a hundred grand on it? Bin.
  Course notes and instructive scenarios? Bin.
  Inch-thick 'Competency Framework Model' dossier designed to ensure you have the best people for the job? Bin.
  Reams of 'Professional Development' paperwork which, now I come to think of it, managed to get the person I was doing it for promoted. Bin.
  In the end, I managed to get a groaning desk and two full drawers down to a packing crate and a half. Brilliant! More room on the new desk for some proper photos of my girls. These are the things that matter.


17th March '10 - What was the point in deducting nine points from Portsmouth now? Surely it would've been a more appropriate penalty for going into administration to have made them start next season in the Fizzy Pop league on minus nine? I mean, they were relegated anyway, weren't they, so where's the punishment?

15th March '10 - It's just been announced that a Member of Parliament (Ashok Kumar, Middlesborough) has been found dead. One down, six hundred and forty-five to go...

14th March '10 - The whole point of this website is...well, there isn't one. It's sole purpose is for me to have a good bleat about whatever is getting on my tits or to highlight something I feel is of interest. Pretty pointless, I'm sure you'll agree. However, I recently came across a bloke who is taking the idea of pointless websites to a whole new level. Basically, what he does is...tell you what, just click here. I'm sure you'll figure it out.

13th March '10 - Burnley 1 Wolves 2. All those weeks where I've moaned that we never, ever get a stroke of luck and everything goes right for us today. Somehow, we kept a battling Burnley at bay with the help of an own goal, but best of all, everyone around us that we needed to lose did. West Ham went down at Chelsea and Hull lost to Arsenal, though both games were touch and go for a while. We now have a sliver of daylight - fourth from bottom with a three point gap. Unfortunately, it's Villa next. This season is going to go right to the wire...

12th March '10 - Figures released by the NHS today show that self-harming has risen by almost fifty per-cent in the last five years. I can't understand this. I have never been so full of impotent rage that I felt the urge to drag a razor up my arm. Somebody else's arm, sure. Or throat. In my day, the maxim of the aggrieved was 'Don't get mad, get even.' Sadly, in these touchy-feely Socialist times, we appear to have replaced it with 'Don't get even, go mad.'

11th March '10 - It's a good job I'm off work at the moment as my rechargeable trimmer died halfway through shaving my head this morning. I've just stuck it on charge, so for the next few hours I'll be sitting here with a head like a warthog's wankshaft and hoping the postman doesn't ring the buzzer...

10th March '10 - Well, that wasn't as bad as I was expecting. Today, I got to the hospital at quarter past eight and was twelfth in the queue. I was in, drained and out again by five to nine. When I left the nurse's room, there were dozens of people packed into the waiting room. What do they do with all this blood? I can only assume that black pudding is on the in-patient lunch menu every day...

9th March '10 - At the moment, I have to pop along to the hospital every six weeks to give an armful of blood so that my consultant can examine the results and recommend that I give up a few more things I enjoy. This requires me to abstain from eating or drinking from eight o'clock the previous evening until whatever time the nurse removes the needle. There's always a queue for blood tests at my hospital, no matter what time I go. Today was the worst I've ever seen it. I got there fifteen minutes before the room opened to find a veritable sea of humanity from all walks of life. Some of them even looked English. I took my ticket from the machine on the wall. It said 'B13'. I looked at the display hanging from the ceiling. It said 'A01'. I crumpled the ticket up and went to find something to eat. I now know why they have restaurants in hospitals. I will try again tomorrow when it's not 'ante-natal day'. Fucksocks.

8th March '10 - I'm typing this before I go to bed after my penultimate run of Nights. Just before I left, I emailed my new boss (and his boss) with a full and detailed breakdown of the numbers of staff that they will be inheriting next month, together with statistical breakdowns of current workflow (with a staff of forty-six) and projected workflow after April (with a staff of thirty-two). I helpfully added percentages to illustrate my findings.

7th March '10 - Woo Hoo! Fantastic news! The production company behind the excellent 'Rome' and 'Deadwood' have just announced their latest project. None other than my favourite series of books, George R.R. Martin's 'A Game of Thrones'. How brilliant is that? For those of you who've never heard of it, it's a fantasy series. Only it's less about magic and dragons (though there are both in it) and more about plotting, intrigue and murder. Given who's making it, they won't be skimpng on the gratuitous nudity and shocking violence, either. Can't. Fucking. Wait!

6th March '10 - Wolves 0 Man Utd 1. Great performance again. No points again. However, and I've said this before, if we keep playing like this, we should be alright. In all fairness, we should've come away with a point, it's just that Sam Vokes had a Mr. Blobby moment in front of an open goal and skyed it from two yards out. Next match is Burnley, and I reckon this will decide our season. Win and we should retain the belief and confidence to stay up. Lose and it's fizzy pop time. Mick, it's over to you...

5th March '10 - Scientists have finally, conclusively agreed that the dinosaurs were wiped out by a meteorite the size of the Isle of Wight. Frankly, I'd like to see the Isle of Wight wiped out by a meteorite the size of a dinosaur.

4th March '10 - Just about to begin my last-but-one-ever set of Nights, and thought you might like a quick breakdown of the staff available to me for the next few evenings. I have one of my troops on annual leave, one on maternity, one off long-term sick and two off with man-flu'. This leaves me with a grand total of...er...me. The current staffing-levels derive from a shift designed around an operational pool of forty-six staff. Next month, on the new shift, we drop down to thirty-two. Hmm...

3rd March '10 - After a bit of fun and games under the living room rug this evening, it is my sad duty to report that Mickey is no longer with us. Anyone wishing to pay their respects can do so by means of a candle-lit vigil outside my house, at least until Friday when the binmen come...

2nd March '10 - It has just been announced on the radio that a convicted paedophile has been found hanged in his cell at Wandworth Prison. Apparently, all attempts to resuscitate him failed. I'm hoping this involved vigorously pulling on his ankles..

1st March '10 - Cracked up today reading that the Conservatives are now only two points ahead of Gordon Brown, the most clueless and unpopular PM since...well, ever. David Cameron should be fucking light years ahead at this point, but he really doesn't appear to get it. We simply don't want another Tony Blair, much as Dave has spent the last decade trying to be one. He has already shown himself to be a liar (that 'cast iron' guarantee on a referendum), he can't categorically say what he stands for (it certainly isn't Conservatism) and he is spending all his time chasing marginal votes whilst simultaneously ignoring his traditional supporters.
  Basically, his entire campaign appears to be 'vote for me, it's time for a change'. I suspect most people are, like me,  looking at him and wondering what exactly this 'change' will be, apart from an entirely new bunch of out-of-touch big Government chancers spending my money to tell me what to do. Change? I can't spot it.
  Personally, I'm half-toying with the idea of voting Labour. Gordon made this bed and I for one would like to see him lie in it for a bit. In reality, I suspect it won't make a blind bit of difference who gets in, as the IMF will be parachuted in to take control of things within a year anyway. Then, we might be able to do away with this two-and-a-half party bun-fight that we've had to put up with since the last war and clear the decks for a proper constitution.
  As long as I'm dreaming, I'd like a Maserati...


28th February '10 - Mind-crushingly dull nonebrity Peaches Geldof (the spoilt, idiot child of a spoilt, idiot mother) posted 'provocative' photos of herself dressed as a French maid on her own website, and then immediately went out of her way to point out that she doesn't actively try to appeal to men. Job done then, you pig-ugly little shunter.

27th February '10 - Bolton 1 Wolves 0. A game we absolutely had to win. Or draw at least. So what did we do? Exactly. The most worrying thing for me was seeing what Mick McCarthy did when it became obvious that playing Doyle on his own up front simply wasn't working. 'What did he do?', I hear you cry. 'What genius bit of tactical wizardry did he employ?' Took chief playmaker Foley off and put bloody Ebanks-Blake on instead. We're just out of the drop-zone on goal difference alone and we've got Man Utd next. God help us...

26th February '10 - I'm posting this early. Very early in fact, as I'm off to The Intrepid Fox for an ale or three after work. I'm kind of depressed as I type this because it's just dawned on me that an evening at the 'Fox has now become 'an event'. Something to look forward to (and I have been - my mate Jesus and I have been planning this for weeks.)
  This is unbelievably sad, as ten years ago, it was pretty much the default setting for the nearest Friday to payday. What used to be a simple exchange of "Fox Friday?" "Of course" has now become something that requires a juggling of diaries, notice to be given and confirmation of the issuing of a 'pink pass' from the respective LWOs (Lawful Wedded Opponents). That things have come to this for two valiant young blades such as we...


25th February '10 - We, the British taxpayers, bailed out The Royal Bank of Scotland (without our consent) after it 'lost' £24 billion on 2008 and now own 84% of it. It has just posted further losses of £3.6 billion for 2009. However, it has also announced that it will be paying out staff bonuses of £1.3 billion. I only got a Grade B 'O' level in Maths, so perhaps one of you clever people can explain this to me...

23rd February '10 - It's almost a joy to roll in to work every morning now, knowing that in a few short weeks I won't have to set foot in the place ever again. It's hilarious watching people speculate and second guess about where they will be going in the upcoming staff moves (they did us 'foreman' grades first) and watching them scratch their heads trying to figure out how the new shift pattern can be made to work with the number of people available to work it. It can't, but we've all given up trying to tell them this as they made up their minds that it was happening a long time ago. Here's a quick insight into the thought process:

"Right, what's the minimum number of staff we need on each area to run a four-tier, 24/7 shift pattern?"


"Ok, so given that our operational baseline for covering four seperate shifts is eight per area, and the fact that on top of this we need to allow for rostered rest days, annual leave, sickness, flexible-working, primary carers, pregnancies, training and other unforeseen abstractions, how many people shall we actually put on it?"


Oh dear...


22nd February '10 - It is with heavy heart that I have to inform you that I have now finished both episodes of 'Bioshock'. A crying shame, as they were nothing short of gaming brilliance. Whatever am I going to do with my evenings now? Oh yes, I know...

21st February '10 - The mouse is back. Well, obviously not the original mouse, as he went to the great skirting board in the sky a long time ago, as did his wife. No, last night brought a new round of scratching and scrabbling for the first time in two years, so I flicked on the light and had a poke behind the wardrobe and out shot Mickey. Twenty minutes later, I had Polyfilla'd the hole I found next to the radiator and laid down a couple of glue traps. Tonight, before I go to bed, I will be filling the washing-up bowl with six inches of lovely cold water, and should young Michael decide to make another appearance, he'll be off for a midnight swim...

20th February '10 - Wolves 0 Chelsea 2. If we played like this against every side we came up against, I'd have absolutely no cause to complain. Two goals from Drogba ensured the Blues walked away with the points, but it was far from certain, particulary in the second half when we were one-nil down and all over them. As is to be expected, it was the quality of the finishing that seperated the two teams, and Chelsea are the top team in the Prem. They took their chances and we didn't, but the chances were there and we have plenty of games coming up against teams who aren't Chelsea, where this sort of industry and effort should result in a goal or two. Carry on playing like this and there's no reason why we can't stay up.

19th February '10 - Found this on one of the blogger's links. For anyone despising Apple as much as I do, it's a mine of juicy information to throw back at those self-satisfied dicks you know who are constantly banging on about how wonderful their iProduct is...

18th February '10 - There is a new series being plugged on the telly as I type this, all about the continuing adventures of everybody's favourite comedy balloon, Jordan. It's apparently called 'What Katie Did Next'. Sadly however, unless the answer to that rhetorical question is 'Set Fire To Her Head' or 'Drank Aconite', I'm unlikely to find myself tuning in...

17th February '10 - With a General Election looming in front of us like a turd in a swimming pool, we're starting to see frighteningly airbrushed David Cameron posters popping up all over the shop here in sunny Londonistan. So far, so tedious; yet some genius has come along and provided a 'spoof your own' site, and it's a scream! I've had loads of fun sodding about with it. Have a go yourself here.
  Now if only someone would do one for Gordon...


16th February '10 - Went for a look round my new premises today and had a long chat with my new boss over a coffee. I must admit, when they first told me I was being turfed out of the place where I'd worked for twenty years and sent to East London, I was hurt and a little angry. Now I've spoken in length with my new boss (and his boss), I'm typing this with a grin on my face.
  Basically, what I was told was 'make your role whatever you want - build, train and run it as you please'. Fantastic! For the first time in my career, there'll be no-one else taking credit for my (and my colleagues') efforts. I will get out exactly what I put in.
  How refreshing! I think I'm going to enjoy this...


14th February '10 - Aah, Valentine's Day once more. The girls are away for the week; it being half-term leaving me all alone wit a new computer and 'Bioshock 2'. Basically, if you play games, then this is the (Big) Daddy. It will no doubt be the top PS3 game of 2010, but if you play it on your Sony; know this: it'll be about a third as sexy as it looks on my PC. Suffer quietly, console monkeys...

13th February '10 - ...and if we're talking about re-educating ourselves in terms of music, how about a bit of Alison Goldfrapp? Ye Gods, this woman is hot...

12th February '10 - I used to think I had a pretty comprehensive knowledge of the history of rock 'n roll. Turns out I was misinformed. The Fishwife has been watching this thing on the telly lately; all about reality TV-types trying to pass themselves off as opera singers. Only someone decided to add a certain Marcy Levy into the mix.
  Marcy Levy (for those of you who don't know your rock 'n roll history - 'me' until yesterday) has a fairly well documented career in this particular field. For one, she supplied backing vocals for Bob Seger and Alice Cooper in the mid-Seventies; and for another, she co-wrote (and sang on) the Eric Clapton classic 'Lay Down Sally'.
  Oh, and for an encore, she re-invented herself as Marcella Detroit in the early Nineties and had three chart hits with 'Shakespeare's Sister' (and a couple as herself. (Check out '
I Believe', it's a belter!)
  If that's not enough, the lady (still) has a full five octave vocal range, too, which is no doubt why the British voting public got rid of her in favour of Darius and the fat one out of the Nolan Sisters. Gibbons...


11th February '10 - Wolves 1 Tottenham 0. Done 'em front and back in the same season! Absolutely priceless! I'm not usually one for gloating as I know how quickly we can find ourselves turned over in this division, but come on! I work with three good mates who just happen to be Spurs fans, so this is just too good to resist! Coming up next - Chelsea. So you see why I'm crowing while I can, don't you? Anyway, if I'm honest we played an absolute blinder and Spurs just seemed a bit flat. This wasn't a lucky win, we were damn good value for it! It just about makes up for some of the cruel twists of fate we've suffered in the recent games against Palace and Birmingham. Hey, out of the drop zone once more and back in the fight! Game on!

9th February '10 - It's just occurred to me that a very simple anagram of Gok Wan's name is 'Go Wank'. How in God's name did I miss this?

8th February '10 - With what I can only describe as delicious synchronicity, the awesome 'Bioshock 2' will be delivered to my door tomorrow on it's day of release; a mere twenty-four hours after I finished the original 'Bioshock' (Die, Fontaine, you bastard!) *Sigh*. Another couple of weeks in Rapture beckon...

7th February '10 - Birmingham 2 Wolves 1. One nil up with ten minutes to go and Wolves were looking good for three points having played a man's game all afternoon. Then Kevin Phillips came on. Kevin fucking Phillips. I honestly thought the bloke had retired - he must be my age! Anyway, on came the ex-Baggy and in went two goals and that was that. Goodnight game and with Spurs, Chelsea and Man Utd coming up, goodbye Premiership. Oh well, here's to the 2011/12 season...

5th February '10 -