A Diary of the Mundane and Mediocre


30 March 2011: Wednesdays Wonder 5 – Soaps Stars with Weird Faces

Ok, so I was lying awake last night trying to get some sleep but every time I would close my eyes I was met with the vision of the weird wolfchild who played Alf Stewart’s son Duncan. I tried to shake the image out of my head but to no avail. This left me with my only course of action. Embrace the face! Doing this led me to think of all the other soap stars who had weird faces.

Weird Face No. 1: Duncan Stewart. (Brendan McKensey)

Weird face par excellence. Played Alf Stewart’s son from 1998-2005. During his time walking the sands he entertained us with bad acting and strange facial expressions.

Weird Face N0.2: Chesney Battersby-Brown (Sam Aston)

Apparently this guy can actually act (if soap awards are any judge). But his skill for this top five lay not in his emotional portrayal of a boy who has lost his mother in Coronation Street. But his ability to make gurn like a 90 year old Yorkshire man.

Weird Face No.3:  Hannah Martin (Rebecca Ritters)

For years this weird-looking child walked the ever sunny streets of Edinsborough. Often surrounded by infinitely more attractive people who only served to highlight her awkward looks. Year later Rebecca Ritter grew into her face and looked less strange. She even appeared in the some Australian lads mags. But I can’t look at those without seeing the human embodiment of Disney’s Goofy.

Weird Face No.4: David Platt (Jack P. Shepard)

This guy is apparently a coronation Street heart-throb. I don’t know about you but they must have really low standards up there in Weatherfield.

Weird Face No.5: Mo Harris (Laila Morse)

Gary Oldmans older sister and Eastenders stalwart certainly has a strange face. A face that seems to be in a state of permanent anger. Skin of granite and eyes that end global warming. Still there is something about this elder lady that is provocative a certain reader wives quality that you don’t see on the tv that often. All that aside she is clearly the best actor/actress in this list.


When the future affects the past

It seems that David Cameron has found a new way in which to ruin the United Kingdoms history of Academic excellence. In todays (27th March) Observer it was reported that Mr Cameron is insisting that the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) use a ‘significant amount’ of its annual £100m research grant to research Cameron’s ‘Big Society’.

Up until this point the AHRC’s funding was protected under the Haldane Principal which decrees that researchers themselves and not politicians should decide where funding is best suited. However during the current coalition government the Haldane Principal has undergone a ‘clarification’. Furthermore it seems that the once hallowed principal must work to the governments national objectives.

The Observer reported that the AHRC was told that if they wished to maintain their £100m annual grant then research into Cameron’s ‘Big Society’ was non-negotiable, and were then forced to accept the changes by officials working for David Willets Minister for Universities and Science. The decision to rework the Haldane Principal has provoked, as one would imagine, strong criticism especially from among British Academics. Chief among these protests has come from Professor Peter Mandler, the Director of research at Cambridge University’s history faculty, who had this to say:

‘They (the government) say it is now their right to set the priorities for how this funding is distributed. They have got the AHRC over a barrel and basically told these guys that have their money unless they incorporate these research priorities”

So it appears that not only is the coalition government content to cut funds to universities causing a massive hike in University fees. But they are also to dictate what people research at the highest level. As an aspiring academic myself (early days though) I am not looking forward to being told what to study.

Professor Collin Jones, president of the Royal Historical Society (RHS) stated in the Observer:

It seems to me to be absolutely gross. In a way the AHRC should be congratulated for securing a good settlement in a difficult spending round, but there is something slightly ignoble about  making the big society a research priority

The historian and Labour MP Tristram Hunt went further when he said, ‘It is disgraceful that tax payers money is being spent on this bogus idea’.

A sentiment that I entirely agree with. The fact that the ‘big society’ needs academics to research into what it is just illuminates the fact that even the Prime Minister isn’t sure what it is.

Will Mellor?

Arch-twat Will Mellor

Who keeps on giving Arch-twat Will Mellor work! The BBC continue to astound me in their constant commissioning of crap tele. I haven’t even seen the White Van Man to know that a sitcom based around a White Van Man is going to be bad. When you add into this already disturbing concept Mr Mellor, a man whose acting skill are comparable to a decomposing cat then you know that its going to be a massive waste of money.

But I could be wrong. White Van Man, which starts this week is the work or Adrian Poynton who has been a successful stand up comic for the last 10 years winning numerous awards in the process. But if history has taught us anything it’s that when Will Mellor is in a show, no matter how good the writing, he’s going to lower the standard. Proof! What you want proof? Ok here it is:

Now when you consider that clip in the future, remember that his actions aren’t scripted! That’s him! That’s how he acts normally!

16th March 2011: Wednesdays wonder 5- Comedy Sketches

These are my top 5 comedy sketches. You will notice that a lot of them come from Graham Lineham’s Big Train. But they were chosen not only for their hilarity, but also because of their shortness. Most of the Peter Cook & Dudley Moore sketches run at about 7 minutes, and though they are genius in their humour they are a little on the long side for causal viewing. Many of you will know how much I love A bit of Fry and Laurie so it will come as a suprise that I have only chosen one. The problem there is, there is just to many to choose from. Enjoy!

In this sketch note how Peter Cook trys to put Dudley Moore off with his hilarious ad libs. Comedy at its finest.

The simplicity of this sketch is brilliant, everytime I see this it brings tears of laughter to my eyes. Simple genius.

Stephen Fry always amazes me, and in this sketch the maestro of words steals the show. His flamboyant use of the English language is nothing less than amazing.

A brilliant take on Hitchcock, and a fantastic satire on the middle classes view on the British working class.

No way! I do not believe it, that guys a wanker!..says it all really.

09 March 2011: Wednesdays Wonder 5

What is a unemployed man supposed to do with his time? Look for work would be the top answer for that I guess. But it is so boring. There is only so many Newspapers and Websites that one can go through before one rips his eyes out with his fingers. There is of course an olympic effort at masturbation but even that glorious past time reaches a level of mediocrity. So I have decided to embark on a weekly top 5. This will keep me occupied while at the same time give me something to post every Wednesday. Todays top 5 will be the easiest and perhaps the most obvious:

Top 5 Albums that changed my life

The Stone Roses- The Stone Rose (1988)

This is the album that changed my life. I was too young to really understand the cultural significance of the musical revolution that was happening at the end of the 1980’s. But I was aware of the Stone Roses, I was first introduced to them by my sisters then boyfriend Colin, who played my sisters cassette copy to me one day. I remember it being completely different to anything I heard before and instantly loved it. However at that age Nintendo ruled the day, and the Roses long hiatus between albums meant that, for me atleast, they disappeared. That is untill 1993, when the band was reintroduced to me by my friend Toby. Toby was a few years older than I and seemed to have this wealth of musical knowledge, and more than a little pretention. In fact many of the bands on this list was first introduced to me by him. Thanks Toby.

Love- Forever Changes 1967

As I had said above many of the bands on this list was introduced to me by my friend Toby. He used to give me cassette tapes which I had lovingly labelled ‘TobyTapes. This album was on one of those tapes, once I had received it didn’t leave my Walkman for the next 6 month. The album clearly resonated with me. Its mix of 60’s psychedelia and classical spanish music made unlikely bedfellows but worked on every level. Arthur Lee is every bit the genius that he imagined himself to be, and Forever Changes deserves to be every bit the classic that numerous polls and charts make it out to be. That said two of the stand out songs on the album do not come from Lee instead they are the work of Bryan Maclean. Both ‘Alone Again Or’ and ‘Old Man’ are testament to Maclean’s writing talents. But if you have ever heard his post-Love Elecktra demo tape you will know that it is Lee’s arrangement of the songs that make them stand out so dynamically. I got to see Arthur Lee in the late 90’s at a tiny gig at the Garage in London,  it was such a memorable gig that I still have the ticket stub in a box with other collectables.

The Clash- London Calling 1979

What can be said of this album that hasn’t been said before. A masterpiece from a band that started in the Punk movement but evolved into something so much bigger and so much better. When I first heard this album it was the music that first grasped me. So many different genre’s all done in the Clash’s wonderful style; Rockablilly, Punk, Reggae, all the influence are clearly there to see. But as I grew older it was the intellectual meaning behind the songs that resonated with me the most. The ideas on politics, radical conflict and unemployment which are make up the majority of the songs were things that I was quickly coming aware of as a teenager. My own views particularly on unemployment and radicalism were shaped around the same time as I discovered this album. My personal stand out track is ‘Guns of Brixton’ . This maybe because of the strange lyrics about paranoia, it might be because of its simple yet infectious bass line, or it simply might be because it’s about Brixton, a place where I would visit late at night to play silly games (ahh Circus Maximus), while bassy reggae played in the background untill the early hours in the morning. Who knows?

Joy Division- Unknown Pleasures 1979

Another record from 1979 and the post punk movement. Joy Divisions debut album is another classic of British music. The Manchester four piece are arguably the most influential band of the last 30 years. But this is not necessarily a good thing. Too many modern ‘indie’ bands have sought to tap into Joy Divisions dark and moody take on late 70’s Britain only to fall short in both style and substance. But I digress. This album is an absolute joy. Martin Hannett’s production is perhaps his finest work and Peter Hooks bass drives the music along side Stephen Morris’s brilliantly timed drum beats. Even Bernard Sumner (a person who I have deep personal problems with), manages to perfect his lead guitar to create some of the best British New Wave guitar riffs of the time. (shadowplay, anyone?). Of course you cannot write about Joy Division without mentioning the dark and morose voice of Ian Curtis. A Man whose voice alone can send shivers down my spine.

Public Image Ltd- Metal Box 1979

John Lydons post Sex Pistols effort, and arguably much superior in both musical scope and musicianship. Led by the dub influenced Jah Wobble on bass and Lydons enigmatic vocal style Metal Box could not be further away from the raw sound of Pretty Vacant. None of the songs on this album are what I would call ‘Single’ material. But as an album Metal Box takes you on a musical journey that none on this list can hope to match. Like a fine wine, Metal Box is not to be consumed in haste or too regularly. Instead it should be taken out every once in awhile and appreciated in a quiet moment. There is nothing quite like this album before or after its release. A true unique classic.

07 March 2011: Oooh this is exciting.

On the 24th March I will be DJ’n at Somerset house for an HEAVY PENCIL exhibition. This will be my fourth collaboration with Heavy Pencil. They are alway great fun, you get to hear some great music and see some great art created infront of your happy eager eyes. It’s always a pleasure to work with these guys so I urge you all to get your tickets and support some great artists do their thing. Plus it’s at Somerset House and you couldn’t ask for better surroundings then that! Well you could, but it would be unseemly.

09 February 2011: Jobs

Today I got an email from Simon Giles who is the operations manager for Big Box Storage. His email explained that I did not meet the requirements to work for Big Box Storage in a role that required me to speak and type, often at the same time. What am I doing wrong if I cannot even get an interview with these companies? I wish I knew, however like numerous of other companies Big Box Storage has got into the culture of telling people, ‘that due to the high volume of applicants we are unable to give any feedback at this point’. At this point! Does that mean that I will be able to get some feedback at some other time, tomorrow? Next week? Perhaps on my death-bed, though at this rate dying on a bed seems like an aspirational dream, I’ll probable die on a mound of dirt with a family of worms that I have been raising as my own weeping at my mound side..(do worms have eyes?). Big Box Storage was one of my new year applications and is the first to reject me. I now look forward to a series of other letters from like-minded companies seeking to frustrate me further. But it is ok, I am not actually as frustrated as this post is making me sound. I am fairly up beat today. I don’t really ask for much, maybe I should become a professional nudist.