Monthly Archives: November 2011

Thanks for making me laugh

It's a snail, made from horse dung - a Dung Snail. Only $8 from the Dung Bunnies website - I kid you not. Well, Susan Bell had the poop courtesy of her horses and an urge to sculpt. She also does bunnies (natch), frogs, cats, pigeons, ducks and... wait for it... wedding couples. Just the thing for newly weds.

“They call me horse dung – because I’m never off the road.” That’s what I’m grateful for – people making me laugh. Like Emma at Adventures of an Unfit Mother with her tale of “The Miracle of the Keys”. I recommend a visit.

Here’s another laugh meister – Rudy and his odd drinking habits in Italy – or is he the only sane person in a country of crazies? He discovered that the Sards “preferred their alcohol to look like water and taste like paraffin.”

And then he foolishly tried a very strange drink in Verona (you’ll have to visit his Gullible’s Travels blog to find out what it was) but it led to a surreal experience:

Apart from the bars, the only other places that seem to be open at night are bookshops. This gives a whole new way of describing drunkenness. While a hangover morning may normally begin with the realisation that there are more limbs in the bed than you actually own followed by a reconstruction of the night before based on the stamp mark on your wrist, things would be different in Verona.
 
You’d wake up feeling like you were wearing an internal balaclava and then your arm would drop down the side of the bed. Slowly your fingers caress some stiff paper and it slowly dawns on you what had happened the night before. You hand traces the outline of what turns out to be a book and your worst fears are confirmed. You realise that last night you’d got absolutely Dan Brown-ed on Aperol.

 I love the way that ends. But I can’t stop at just two recommendations. These things always come in threes. And the third one is a cracker.

The Idiot – aka Mark – tells the story of his first week in kindergarten. It starts all cutesy wutsey aww luvvy duvvy and turns into a race riot. But a very funny one. I’d tell you who I blame for it, but you might get the wrong idea. Better to just read the story over at The Idiot. Really. You should. It’s hilarious.

And finally – here’s a good short video. I wouldn’t normally post an ad – but this is very clever. What would you do if you found yourself in the circumstances depicted?

So Continue reading

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Teachers: The good, the bad and the naughty

Who has been the most influential person in your life outside your family? Probably a teacher. Whether you tend towards the Pink Floyd attitude or the opposite Abba extreme, teachers have been there opening doors, moulding, revealing and empowering – or in some cases, failing to do so and missing opportunities. Luckily for me, mine have mostly been in the first camp.

But I have encountered some dodgy ones. The problem with teachers is – it’s not always immediately clear who is a good ‘un and who who is a bad ‘un – because it’s not about niceness. I’ve been telling tales about what happened inside classroom over at the prestigious (how I love using that word), thought-provoking and entertaining Lessons from Teachers and Twits blog. Ahem, no prizes for guessing which category I belong in. The answer of course is – both, on occasion.

Teachers and Twits is run by RasJ in the picture. I can’t imagine anyone skipping her class. (Hope I don’t pull standards down too far.) Anyway – you’re welcome to have a look and issue me with suspension, expulsion or a gold star over at Teachers and Twits. And you’re also welcome to share your own teaching or being taught stories back here.

Oi! Pay attention at the back there! It’s your own Continue reading

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Filed under blogs, Guest Posts, Influences, My Writing

Frankie says…

…relax. But when?

In between this job, touting for the next one, feeding people, cleaning, shopping, transporting and tonight’s looming night shift.

Meanwhile the sound track is (allegedly too – but not for me) loud electric guitar and drumming coming from the next room as I type.

Aah. Now that creates a relaxing atmosphere. Top son has clearly not given up on the guitar after all. Which makes me happy. And more relaxed – even amidst the music.

I could give you a sample of his Sweet Child of Mine or American Idiot, but it might not create the same soothing mood for you. So instead, here’s Van Morrison with One Irish Rover (not the original, but it’s what I could find)….

You may have detected that I’m in a wee bit of a Continue reading

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The Day I Met… Pavarotti

Who's cute? I'm cute.

Just when you thought it was all over, along comes a stonker. Nessum dorma till they’ve read this excellent short story from Killian at The Comely Banking Crisis – the latest entry in the The Day I Met… Competition.

The celebrity encountered needs no introduction, so let’s cast off immediately and hear about…

The Day I Met Luciano Pavarotti

The memory is as clear as the sea was. My twelve-year-old self. In a small boat off the Italian coast, stuck there with Pavarotti; he’s sitting on the prow, filling his end of the boat with his injured pride Continue reading

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The first time…

"Do you remember the first time?" Click on the pic to be reminded.

Jarvis Cocker: Do you remember the first time?

Me: Oh aye. Lots of them.

And oddly enough, members of the RUC arrived uninvited for quite a few of them. For instance, I can honestly say that it was the police who drove me to underage drinking.

I was on the wrong side of Belfast Continue reading

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The day I met… My Nemesis (and discovered his secret)

I’d been dreading this moment – yet also girding my loins for the encounter.

Remember how this  The Day I Met… business all began? The incident involving the little girl, her hat, the bestselling writer and his eye for a pretty lady? Well… As the weeks and months passed, and summer danced into autumn, I knew that some day I would have to face him once again…

My nemesis Continue reading

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Filed under In the village, The Day I Met... Competition

Something beautiful – Lianne La Havas

Time for something just beautiful. (I need it after the brilliantly horrible Roadkill yesterday.) Lianne La Havas writes and sings beautiful songs.

According a possibly unreliable source, she’s in her early 20s, is English, with Greek and Jamaican roots.

Here she is with Age – on why she is happy to go out with an older man – as long as he does what he’s told. (From Later With Jools Holland.)

And wandering through Paris Continue reading

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Roadkill

Mercy Ojelade as Adeola/Mary in Roadkill

You will never think of actors as spoilt attention-seeking needy up-themselves luvvies ever again if you have the good sense and good fortune to see the play Roadkill on until November 20th at the Theatre Royal in Stratford. I saw it – experienced it – on Saturday night and the visceral impact has not left me. Nor will it for some time. God help the people acting it out night after night.

Ideally you would come to this play as I did – fairly ignorant of the content and trusting of the friend who bought the tickets – and thereby less armoured against the shocks. But as most normal people prefer more of a clue about what they’re about to see, here goes…

Roadkill shows Continue reading

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What is my wildest fantasy?

Well, you did ask. Or at least the Loose Bloggers Consortium did ask.

As Eamon de Valera said in reponse to Winston Churchill’s 1945 speech about the possibility of having had to come to close quarters with Mr de Valera or perish forever from the earth:

 I know the kind of answer that I am expected to make… I know the kind of answer I would have made a quarter of a century ago.

Something along the lines of the triple breasted whore of Eroticon Six, a slab of red Leb and nutty chocolate brownies doused in Baileys Continue reading

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The Day I Met… Jim Jarmusch

When asked what was the best advice he'd ever received from Tom Waits, Jim Jarmusch replied as above.

This Wednesday’s very thoughtful entry to the The Day I Met… Competition comes from Peter Rudd. You can see his Coromandal blog here.

The man he met was indie film maker Jim Jarmusch, of whom Tom Waits said in the New York Times:

The key, I think, to Jim, is that he went gray when he was 15 … As a result, he always felt like an immigrant in the teenage world. He’s been an immigrant – a benign, fascinated foreigner – ever since. And all his films are about that.

His films are not middle of the road and include Down By Law, Mystery Train, Dead Man, Coffee and Cigarettes, Broken Flowers, The Limits of Control and – perhaps the most mainstream one (which I saw and enjoyed) – Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai.

But let’s get on with Peter’s face to face celeb encounter on…

The day I met Jim Jarmusch

There is a sweetness and maybe glory in being between things and having the time to sit and watch and walk and to soak in the places you would otherwise busily and blindly navigate through on your way to destinations and obligations.  Two summers ago I was in that in between place having just finished a gig overseas and moved into a new place in Queens.  I was halfheartedly looking for a new job and wholeheartedly toing and froing between the neighborhoods of New York:  Billyberg, Park Slope, Cobble Hill, the Village, the lower east side and Soho Continue reading

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