Then pressies ... yay! I was thoroughly spoilt by all concerned - a shitload of comestibles of all descriptions from the folks and family back home (a wise move given that I'm departing soon(ish): now I'll just arrive back a big tub o' lard, ah well) as well as the usual stocking stuffers (CDs, calendars, magnetic poetry, books, etc). Thanks to Joshua Marshall, my Secret Santa, too for the Coupland and Vonnegut titles ... some wonderful holiday reading there. Calls to home also featured, when at last we got through. And Jodi saw fit to donate a pack of playing cards featuring naked men to the cause which was met with unusually high levels of interest from the straight boys. Christ, you'd have thought they'd never seen another erection before in their lives. Oh, um, right ... I see your point.
Dinner preparations began in earnest after that. I'd whipped the turkey into shape the night before (recipe for stuffing), so I proceeded to rustle up a batch of candied pistachio ice-cream (recycled from here), a whack of hummous and some smoked salmon on rye nibbly bits. All in a day's work for La Pannett, don'tcha know. I scarpered in time for Luke & Co to rustle up some tasty leek and potato soup, then it was the Lads & Co into the kitchen to organise the main. Which took a long time but turned out pretty damn fine I think: it's no mean feat feeding fourteen people as some of you will know. Well, all was going well until the oven decided to do it's best Mount Doom impersonation ... acrid smoke pouring from the damn thing half-way through boded ill but like the troopers we are, we soldiered on. Christmas hangi anyone? Anna and Richard topped matters off with the mother of all deserts: all the faves including pavalova, trifle, fruit salad, pineapple chunks, my ice-cream and such. Wanted to move after that. Couldn't.
Boxing Day was spent generally lolling around before venturing out for a dose of The Lord Of The Rings action. What can I say but wow. Admittedly, I was distracted by the scenery which, as predicted, left me very homesick but the whole package was so fantastic ... just really epic. I really enjoyed the performances too - the "face scenery" you might say ... craggy/open/ruined/desolate/serene ... take your pick. Perhaps people will now start to say they really do make them like they used to. I for one hope so.
One more sleep
Well, the holiday season has now well and truly descended. I'm at work right now and the place is dead, prompting the question, "What the fuck am I doing here?". That question will soon be answered with "Screw you guys, I'm going home." Which will be met with deafening silence insofar as there's not a single auditory nerve in the place to pick up on it.
My sister Michelle (aka Little Peanut) arrived last Thursday to spend the holidays in England's balmy climes. It was great to see her after no familial interaction for around 21 months now. She was minus one case however (boo!) but not the one with the presents in it (hurrah!). Still, a rapid £150 insurance covered shopping spree on Friday night soon fixed that. It eventually turned up yesterday so once more all is well in the wardrobe department. She also got a rapid walking tour of the City on Saturday afternoon - St. Paul's, the Tower of London, Tower Bridge, et al. - before the cold drove us into Borough Market for some dried cranberries and then home. By Christ it was cold. Short aside: If you're in London and haven't been to Borough Market before, hie thee hence when you get a spare moment ... it's a true foodies heaven.
And so to Christmas. The Dogs and Dane and Jodi and whomever else turns up will be crashing over tonight and then it'll be all hands to battlestations tomorrow morning before thirteen (or thereabout) antipodean souls sit down to a late lunch. I am so going into delegation mode it's not funny: a kick-arse megaphone will be at the ready so beware my organisational wrath. Updates and booty reports as they come to hand.
All that's left for me to do here is to wish one and all a fantastic break with your nearest/dearest/most-easily-put-up-with or even solo if you're that way inclined. Eat well, drink well and be merry in a well fashion also. Merry Christmas to all and to all a good
‹ 25.12.01 / 0 comment(s) ›
Ahhh ... Baby Jesus. He's quite ickle. And he'll cry if you tell lies. So don't. There'll be more Christmassy themed entries as the week progresses. While we're on ickle matters, last week Mike was ickle.org's fiftieth contributor, a fact I forgot to mention at the time but which is no mean feat I reckon. Don't forget kids, your submissions are always welcome!
‹ 25.12.01 / 0 comment(s) ›
Last night was their Christmas Party and a bloody good time it was too. Iain blagged himself a ticket and one for Scally too, then the fun commenced: mince pies, Santa hats, streamers, crackers, poppers (no, not that sort), rocket balloons and all the rest of that festive jazz. The place rapidly filled to bursting point as we were joined by Marcus, David, Ian and Darren, just before the panto started.
They're a funny old thing pantos. And yes, the tradition extended to New Zealand. I have memories of yore, going to see the Oamaru Repertory Society's production of Aladdin (I think my mother was a random washerwoman or something) and enjoying the festive ham of it all. For their turn, assorted staff and regulars of The Retro Bar turned in a rip-snorting Readers Digest version of Cinderella, clocking in at a mere twenty minutes, yet encapsulating all the camp old nonsense that is pantomime. Boys as girls. Girls as boys. Ugly old dames. "Behind you ... behind you!". "Oh no you're not ... oh, yes I am!". You know the deal. Carols, Santa and snow also made an appearance and after a shot of Goldschlager, everyone felt richer (without becoming too ding dong merrily on high, I might add).
Are you ugly enough to live in Cumbria? Well go ahead and gurn then! If you're voted as gurner of the month by those nice sane folk on the internet, you'll receive a Cumbrian facial pack (two slices of cucumber and some Lake District mud). Huzzah!
‹ 19.12.01 / 0 comment(s) ›
Kelley announces new series
HOLLYWOOD (Reuters) - Emmy-award winning producer David E. Kelley has announced a new addition to his stable of hit television series. Tentatively titled Web People, Kelley said this is potentially his best work to date, eclipsing such other beloved favourites as The Practice, Ally McBeal and Chicago Hope. "We've assembled a fine cast of up-and-coming young actors who portray the heady world of personal content provision with stunning realism", Kelley said yesterday. "I'm genuinely very excited." Fox is expected to air the pilot this fall.
‹ 19.12.01 / 0 comment(s) ›
Okay, so there are some pretty good websites out there, right? The latest issue of Webuser magazine lists 101 of them. Number 1: Orisinal ... Number 10: Joe Cartoon ... Number 50: AskOxford ... Number 98: brainsluice ... umm, WTF?
I really love it when people take the time out to write to me. Props to Jonno and Mark and to everyone else who's put finger to key lately to offer kind words and thoughts. It means a lot.
‹ 16.12.01 / 0 comment(s) ›
Last Thursday I went to see Basement Jaxx on their home turf at the Brixton Academy and they fucking rocked. Paul (
oh!skylab Mir) and Andy came along too.
Röyksopp warmed the crowd up and did a pretty good job as well - very hyper and keyed-up but youthful enthusiasm works wonders sometimes. And then we waited. And waited. And waited some more. And dozed in our seats due to the pints we'd consumed whilst we waited. The Jaxx finally emerged at 10:15 however and proceeded to wake everyone up quick-smart with a rapid-fire combo of "Romeo" and "Red Alert", performed by an excellent Missy-Elliott-a-like. Watching the masses bounce in time was a truly beautiful sight.
The rest of their ensemble cast made their respective entrances and exits over the next hour and three-quarters, doing the numbers everyone knew and loved - "Where's Your Head At?", "Rendez-Vu", "Jump N' Shout", "Jus 1 Kiss", et al. - and doing them bloody well too I might add. Guitars and bongos and trumpets and ragga and rap and funk and thick dirty bass and lots of good stuff like that were the order of the evening. A soulful medley of "SFM" and "Breakaway" rounded things out substantially and the lads closed with "Bingo Bango" and three befeathered carnival girls, shaking their bouncy bits and their tail feathers (quite literally) as midnight struck.
This show definitely cemented Rooty as my favourite album of 2001. You must buy it immediately or risk facing my eternal disdain. Listen to your Aunty Dave ... he knows what's best for you.
‹ 15.12.01 / 0 comment(s) ›
The resemblance is uncanny!
‹ 14.12.01 ›
Welcome back. As you can see, things have changed a little bit around here. Feel free to have a nosey and be sure let me know what you think (including hollering if there's anything that seems amiss - thanks!).
‹ 13.12.01 / 0 comment(s) ›
Some tragic news has just filtered in: Peter Blake is dead. Shot. By pirates. In the Amazon. Of all the fucking things to happen.
Blake was probably New Zealand's greatest living sportsman, knighted for his contributions to yachting several years ago and the architect of our two America's Cup triumphs. I remember attending the street parade for the winning team in 1997 when they did their victorious post-regatta tour of the country. Now, us N.Zilders are a fairly stoic bunch at the best of times but sporting victories seem to inspire the masses more than anything else - people lined the length of George Street while several sustainable forests worth of confetti rained down from the offices above. And everyone cheered and laughed and smiled. And it was nice that it wasn't rugby for a change.
We'll all remember Blake's achievements. Everyone knows the supporters songs, wore the red socks and watched the races religiously on each occasion. No one man probably embodied our national spirit more. He will be missed.
‹ 7.12.01 / 0 comment(s) ›
"I am a big fan of yours! When you first came out with 'Vision of Love' I knew you would be a hot new singer. People try to compare you too [sic] Whitney Houston. But, believe me you hold your own, your [sic] the best. You have the greatest voice I have ever heard. Man! When you hit that high note I get a boner, the size of Florida. That was strictly a compliment, Mariah. [smiley face]"You can read some more letters from Mariah's wacky fans here.
‹ 6.12.01 / 0 comment(s) ›
Hip hip hooray for Blogadoon: one year on and still as gleefully acerbic as ever. Which is just as bloody well Ian or I'd stop reading it, you know that. And while we're on birthdays, this one's real, not virtual ... Scally actually turns thirty today. Poor lamb.
‹ 6.12.01 / 0 comment(s) ›
As is becoming regular habit, Tuesday night saw the nth incarnation of the Retro Bar Retroteasers Pop Quiz (yes, that's the official title, it says so on the top of the quiz paper). The regular cast of waifs and strays was down in numbers this week so a cosy team of four was formed by David, Ian, Jonathan and myself. And the theme? A troll through the alphabet - from A to Z, of course - and with a team name like "The Only Safe Bet Is An Alpha Bet", how could we lose? Game on ...
A: Two classic AC/DC tracks were played, from For Those About To Rock. One was the eponymous track. The other escaped us. Can you name the year in which they were released?
B: A two-part question ... identify the 1960s artist and title of the song which incorporated a reworked piece of classical music (clue: the original composer was Tchaikovsky).
C: An extract of the late 90s ditty "Goin' Down" was heard. Can you name the artist's solo title, her Spice moniker and her actual name?
D: "Don't Go Breaking My Heart" by Elton John and Kiki Dee ... how many weeks was this classic at number one in the UK charts?
E: Both the title track and the artist started with the letter E in this question - name the artist, the song and the featured singer (clue: the latter was MC Kinky).
[F and G weren't used]
H: What is H from Steps' real name?
I: Name the artist and the title of the song which includes the lyric "... I fell asleep beneath the flowers, for a couple of hours, what a beautiful day ..." (yes, there are a few who've done it, but the answer lies in this particular letter).
J: Two JJ72 tracks to identify: one started "The dreams of dying mothers; I awoke, my insides shuddered ..." while the other began "Escaping contamination; Is a difficult; Operation; I need some hibernation; Hide me from the evil; Protect me from the vultures ..." What are the titles of those two songs?
K: KLF is an acronym. For what?
L: We heard "Pretend You're Dead" ... name the band, infamous for their on-stage antics at the Reading Festival.
M: "97' Bonnie & Clyde", a cover from Tori Amos' recent album Strange Little Girls was heard ... who was the original artist?
N: We heard a karaoke version of an American boy-band hit, the chorus of which included the lines "It might sound crazy; But it ain't no lie; Baby ...". Name the band and the song.
O: Oasis have had fifteen top 100 hits in their career. Name eight of them.
P: In what year was PJ Harvey born?[Q wasn't used]
R: What are the next thirteen words in REM's monster hit "Losing My Religion" after the following: "Life is bigger; It's bigger than you; And you are not me; The lengths that I will go to; The distance in your eyes; Oh no I've said too much; I set it up."
S: Name the title of last week's number one hit by S Club 7 for the Children In Need charity.
T: Surprisingly, T Rex have only ever had four UK number one hits. Can you name three of them?
U: Us3 had a huge hit with "Cantaloop (Flip Fantasia)". Which jazz legend originally recorded the sample used in this track?
V: Two Bobby Vee tracks to name - one starts "My tears are fallin'; 'Cause you've taken her away; And though it really hurts me so; There's something that I've gotta say ...", while the other begins with "They say that you're a run-around lover; Though you say it isn't so; But if you put me down for another; I'll know, believe me, I'll know ..."
[W wasn't used]
X: Name that artist - a late-80s/early-90s house act and no, it wasn't S-Express!
[Y wasn't used]
Z: Beardy rockers ZZ Top played "Legs". But can you name the non-bearded band member?
And that my friends was that. We scored 13.5 out of 21 which, astonishingly, was the winning score ... hurrah! David drew the prize which was team tickets to Popstarz. We were indeed a safe bet (no thanks to my miniscule contribution of course!). Your answers to the above questions are welcome here.
‹ 5.12.01 / 0 comment(s) ›
It was hats on and glasses in hand last Saturday night for Mr Cushing's 30th Birthday Bash. And much fun was had by all too [the evidence]. I got extremely drunk and did something I've never done before and which may have contributed to a small spell of nausea later on. Or it could have been the large Barcadi and cokes I quaffed when the beer ran out. Damn. Meanwhile, Scally cooked for half of sarf London or so it seemed - massive piles of roast meat, spuds au gratin and enough salads to impress fifty Townswomen's Guilds. A fantastic way to celebrate the lad's status as a blossoming old codger (I'm going to end up paying for that one I know).
‹ 5.12.01 / 0 comment(s) ›
Ghost World is a pretty good little movie: nothing much really happens in it and yet somehow, it succeeds. Somehow. I can't quite put my finger on why. Despite that though, I felt that the comic book had the edge ... a bit more punch and bit snappier on the whole. The site says this to say in its FAQ:
Q. How is the movie different from the comic?Which is as good an answer as any I guess.
A. For one thing, the comic is made up of bound pieces of parchment on which reproductions of hand-drawn pictographs have been imprinted, while the movie is actually made up of thousands and thousands of tiny transparent photographs.
Watch out boys ... it's lamé lovely Miss Kitty!
One highlight was the discovery of Gumnaam, a 60s Bollywood product which is used in the opening scene. Apparently it's an Indian reworking of Agatha Christie's Ten Little Indians ... but with music! (bien sûr) And in the above-pictured scene, an excellent jangly-surf-guitars-trumpets-drums-meet-60s-Batman-fight-scene-style number with much jumping around and shaking of loose limbs to boot. Sheer genius I tell you. And you can hear a little bit of it here.
‹ 4.12.01 / 0 comment(s) ›