Friday, October 29, 2010


Remember earlier this year when I was struggling for something to blog about so I basically asked you lot to come up with content for me by encouraging you to unleash your imaginations using an OFFICIAL SPARKY TIM CUT OUT 'N KEEP ACTIONLESS FIGURE? That was all good fun, wasn't it? I loved what you all did with me, even if I fear that one actionless figure in particular might've been forced into taking part in some things that it might never quite recover from.

What I knew at the time, however, was that there was another contender eager to take part in the fun, but one that was waiting, biding her time until, like John Denver, she could leave on a jet plane headed for more exotic climes…

That contender was iPandah. And she took me to Hawaii.

Now, you might look at this and, like Senator Vreenak, thinks "IT'S A FAAAAAAKE!" After all, you can get a picture of a pineapple to pose in front of pretty much anywhere. And my nips are well perky, so it must be a cold day. Set eyebrows to 'QUIZZICAL.'

This photo is more convincing for the simple reason that I'm a sucker for pretty girls in grass skirts, particularly when they appear to be grazing my shoulders with their boobs. WIN.

Still need convincing?

The view from, I believe, the 24th floor. Suck it up, bitches. Now where did my sexy hula-girls go?

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Flight of fancy

As I mentioned here, I saw the 25th anniversary rerelease of Back to the Future the other week and thoroughly enjoyed it. Not only did it remind me what a truly great movie it is, but it also made me want to watch parts two and three of the series, both of which are also great movies, if not quite as awesome as the original.

When I was younger I was one of those kids who got totally sucked into the hype of big movies; in 1989 when I saw the first Tim Burton Batman movie I was the dumpy little kid in the queue clutching a bag of Minstrels in my sweaty little hands while wearing a Batman baseball cap and a Batman t-shirt with several Batman badges attached to it. Four years earlier I'd been similarly obsessed with Back to the Future; I wanted a denim jacket like Marty; I wanted a red body-warmer I could wear over the top of said denim jacket like Marty; and I wanted to be able to ride a skateboard. When Back to the Future Part II came out I wanted one of those gaudy reflective baseball caps worn by Marty McFly Jr. in 2015 (and apparently now I can have one).

But what I really wanted was a time machine made out of a DeLorean.

So there I am on Saturday night, curled up on the sofa watching Back to the Future Part III with all these childhood memories flooding back, and I'm thinking "yes, I would totally still rock that red body-warmer." And then I'm thinking "that DeLorean still looks totally bad-ass" (I assure you that I only use the phrase 'bad-ass' in my inner monologues). I mean, it's without a doubt one of the most easily identifiable and iconic movie cars of all time. I still lust after it.

And then I remembered that the difference between the me who saw Back to the Future back in the 1980s and the me who was watching Back to the Future on a Saturday evening in 2010 is that this me can drive. Ha - in your tiny, cherubic face, 80s me!

So anyway, I picked up my iPad and started Googling DeLoreans for sale.

Turns out there are quite a few of them around, they all look like they're in relatively amazing nick (and if they're not there are plenty of specialists who'll get them up to scratch for you), and some of them are quite reasonably priced - like HERE. Eighteen and a half grand - and it's just down the road from me (not *literally*, but you know what I mean). The DeLorean Motor Company in the States will even build you a 'new one' if you've got the cash - in right-hand drive and with all the mod-cons like an iPod connector and bluetooth!

God I love this ad. There just aren't enough car adverts featuring sexy, wistful shots of seagulls these days.

Inevitably, this all led to me getting a wee bit excited and a smidgeon carried away. I had some work to do on Sunday afternoon that would've taken me about two hours if I'd knuckled down and got on with it, but because I spent a considerable amount of time continuing my internet search for DeLoreans and daydreaming about how awesome I would look cruising around West London in one, it actually ended up taking something more like eight hours. I did, however, come to the conclusion that there would be no fear of accidental trips through time while pootling around in my theoretical sports car; I'm lucky if I hit 8.8 miles per hour on my drive into work, let alone 88.

Eventually, after many hours of drooling and clapping my hands excitedly like a special, the rational part of my brain talked me out of buying a DeLorean. I mean, I only bought a new car last year - surely it makes far more sense just to get a hover conversion done on Clubbie?

Sunday, October 17, 2010

The terrifying tale of Fatback and Shrewface

Back in the summer when it was hot and sunny and lovely and Yazzle Dazzle was working not far from my office we would meet each lunchtime for coffee and good times. Each day we would grab our beverages then hurry outside to nab one of the four tables situated outside Secret Starbucks where, because we're silly buggers, we often found ourselves descending into panicky, breath-restricting laughter as our conversation devolved into the latest round of inane banter (I've mentioned to Yazzle Dazzle on several occasions that we should do a podcast). Not only that, but while sitting there day after day we found ourselves seeing the same recurring cast of characters passing by, and we started giving them names: there's Michael, who bears an uncanny resemblance to Michael J. Fox; the trolley boys, two chaps who just seemed to walk up and down the road dragging trolleys behind them; and one old man who looked so much like a notorious serial killer that we dubbed him Harold.

Unfortunately there were also a number of characters whose presence we did not appreciate each day, such as the two ladies who would plonk themselves down at a table and spark up a ciggies without actually buying anything from Secret Starbucks. Outrageous, I think you'll agree; this is a reputable coffee bar, not fag-break alley!

And then there was ... THEM.

They are a fairly respectable middle-aged couple on first glance, but then you look closer; she is aloof looking and wears floral skirts held up by immense belts that would appear to do double duty holding in her not inconsiderable girth, and he has one of those horrible squished up faces and a nasty nasally voices that just makes you want to poke things up his nose in an attempt cure it and surgically rearrange his facial features in an attempt to make better use of the available space.

OK, so this sounds like a harsh judgement based on physical appearances, but let me explain their crimes further:

They hog the available space; there's not that much room outside Secret
Starbucks and they spread themselves out like they own it, or don't bother shuffling their chairs in if you're trying to squeeze in. They favour the same prime location table as we do. They don't even buy coffee - they buy tiny little bottles of fruit juice and take an age to finish them. And most heinous of all, when they do finish them THEY DUMP THEIR RUBBISH ON OTHER TABLES RATHER THAN TAKE IT TO A BIN.

I shit you not; one day Yazzle Dazzle and I were heading over to the only available table and as we walked toward it he - of the squished face and nasally voice - saw us coming and brazenly dumped his rubbish on it, leaving the table that he and his spherical accomplice were docked at clean and clear! Some withering glances were fired off that day, let me tell you.

And it was not long after that incident that we arrived at Secret Starbucks one day to find them sitting at our favourite table and Yazzle Dazzle angrily muttered "Shit! Fatback and Shrewface are here!"

Beautifully creative yet wonderfully fitting names, I think you'll agree.

And so, over the course of the summer months, the four of us engaged in a silent war of staring and scowling in an attempt to win the table of choice. One day we would get it, the next day they would. Every lunchtime was a new and exciting battlefield.

Then, one day, they were gone. we had won. Fatback and Shrewface had been vanquished.

I'm now lunching on my own again, Yazzle Dazzle having finished her tenure at summer job and skipped off somewhere else for autumnal job. And because few people like to sit outside Secret Starbucks on a breezy, potentially rainy autumnal day, I've had the pick of the outside tables each lunchtime. Well, assuming those two chain-smoking, non-coffee drinking harridans don't rock up for one of their fortunately infrequent appearances.

So there I was the other day, sitting there listening to some tunes on my iPhone, sipping coffee and watching the world go by, when I noticed that something large was moving in front of the West London skyline and blocking out the sun. Startled, I turned my head to the right and all was revealed.

Quickly I whipped out my phone and tapped out a text to Yazzle Dazzle. It read:


And this time, I'm facing them solo...

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Big day out

Back in August when I had a week off and Best Mate Jo and I trundled off to the zoo for the day, we had a moment - possibly on the train on the way home - when we looked at each other and said "geez, we should do this sort of thing more often."

Actually it was definitely on the train on the way home, because I gazed wistfully at the London Eye and said "I've never been on that." Best Mate Jo looked at me and said "I've been on it twice, but I'll go again if you want to."

And so today we went on the London Eye.

Incredibly, after a grey and slightly miserable start, as our train pulled into Waterloo there was literally not a cloud in the sky. This was good. I'd like to say we got off the train and made a beeline straight for the Eye, but we didn't because I got off the train and immediately said "I NEED A COFFEE" like some dead-eyed addict, and immediately headed off in the direction of the nearest Starbucks. I wanted to be functioning and alert, y'see.

Coffee sourced and in hand, we subsequently headed for the Eye.

The excitement started with some queuing. Admittedly the queue did move quite quickly, but because we get restless and bitchy just standing around, after about two minutes we were quietly taking the mickey out of the people around us: specifically some woman in a pair of ill-advised leather trousers who was also wearing sunglasses inside. That kept us entertained until we got to a till, at which point I looked at the lady behind the desk and said "we'd like two tickets for the, er, London Eye," and she looked at me like I was an utter special.

With tickets in my sweaty little mitts, we were then shepherded into an area where they took one of those excrutiatingly awful tourist pictures of you against a green screen, and then into a screening room where they show a 4D (WTF!?) four-minute promotional film of London and the Eye, which I thought was pretty pointless because I was already in London, and had literally just bought tickets for the Eye. And a dragon in the film sneezed on us. Seriously - real moisture hit us. Gross.

After that we were out into the open for some more queuing.

Admittedly, again, the queue moved pretty fast, but not before I'd ridiculed some woman's vile boots and some old dude's awful ponytail.

It was as we neared the front of the queue that I turned to Best Mate Jo and said "you do know I'm petrified of heights, don't you? This is possibly the highest I've ever been, and chances are I'm going to scream all the way round." She gazed at me with a look of utter contempt that even I'll admit I was deserving of.

So, anyway, we got on, and it was awesome. There actually comes a point where you're so high up that the height becomes absolutely meaningless and inconsequential. And I didn't scream, before you ask.

Some pictures, yes?

And we're off. At this point, if you suddenly decide you're busting to go to the toilet you are WAY OUT OF LUCK.

Awesomely blue, utterly cloudless sky. Also, note brightly-coloured office buildings that look like they've come from IKEA.

Jaunty angle.

About the Eye's highest point. Amazing how close the Houses of Parliament and Battersea Power Station actually are. Got an awesome mobile phone signal up here too.

And the fun didn't stop there. Having come back down to Earth we scrambled over to Leicester Square for a big fat awesome lunch. The only thing that wasn't awesome here was the fact that it took about 20 minutes for them to rustle up the bill, by which time we were running perilously close to missing out on our planned afternoon activity. Matters weren't helped by Best Mate Jo almost making a faux pas as she handed the waitress the cash as we hurried out, and said "we NEED to go - NOW!" which made it sound like one of us had left an epic shit on the table or something.

The waitress looked at us with a look that was a combination of utterly perplexed, extreme concern, and unmitigated fear, and replied "um, slightly worried…"

"Oh, god, don't worry," said Jo. "We've got to get to the cinema!"

And we vamoosed in a cloud of dust. Ish.

After accidentally veering us towards the wrong cinema, we eventually got to the right one, just in time to watch a 15:10 screening of the 25th anniversary rerelease of Back to the Future, my very favourite movie with slightly incestuous undertones. I'm pleased to report that the film is every bit as great as I remember it being, and it was an utter joy to see it on the big screen again. Like Marty, I too was transported back in time - but instead of 1955 I was reminded of the glory that was the mid 1980s - a truly awesome period for popcorn movies. And I also now have an overwhelming urge to buy a red body-warmer, and I can't stop listening to THIS.

All-in-all, a great day.

Saturday, October 02, 2010


Last night I went somewhere that has immediately become MY NEW FAVOURITE PLACE and did something that swiftly became MY NEW FAVOURITE THING.

It was in Kings Cross. No, not *that* you filth-bag.

A couple of weeks back, thanks to the social networking behemoth that is Twitter, I found out about a place on Caledonian Road called Drink, Shop & Do. Rather than bang on in my own ditzy childlike way about what it's all about, I'll let the people who run it explain (because, quite frankly, they know best):

After reading that I decided I HAD TO GO.

And so last night a few of us went along - to take part in dot-to-dot-to-disco. Now, when I told people I was off to do dot-to-dot-to-disco I got lots of blank stares followed by "what's that?" This can only lead me to believe that there's some kind of stupidity virus going around at the moment, because what else could dot-to-dot-to-disco be than dot-to-dot pictures done to the tune of disco music? OF COURSE.

What I wasn't quite prepared for, however, was how awesome Drink, Shop & Do is from the moment you step in the door. It's a mish-mash world of retro furniture and bright colours that somehow all seem to coordinate beautifully. And did I mention the building used to be a Victorian bathhouse? No? Well it did. It's all high ceilings and ornate fixtures. And lampshades made out of jay-cloths.

It's shambolic and beautiful and I want to live there.

So, safely ensconced in the 'shop' part, I turned my attention to the 'drink.' What shall I have … oh, what's a coke float? It's coke with a dollop of ice cream in it. Really? Marvellous - I'll have one of those (or rather four - shhhhh!).

When the nice lady brought it to our table she set it down in front of me and with a smile on her face and a glint in her eye cheerfully said "that'll explode when you stir it."

My terrifyingly explosive coke float pre-detonation.

I looked at my drink a little warily, then thought "of course it won't explode," and started stirring.

It exploded.

Well, a slight exaggeration perhaps, but it fizzed madly and threatened to spill over the top of the glass so quickly that I had to start frantically guzzling it through the straw to prevent it from running on to the nicely laminated table and thereafter my lap.

And then we came to the 'do.'

We - along with quite a few other people who had turned up - were handed dot-to-dot sheets and a glass of vibrantly-coloured felt-tip pens, and told that the effort judged to be the best would win a free drink. In total we each had three different sheets to complete, all of which showed an album cover. The winner would be judged on their colouring in skills. Oh, and to fulfil the disco aspect of dot-to-dot-to-disco, awesome disco music played throughout the evening's proceedings.

This was The Emotions, apparently. No, I've never heard of them either.

This looked familiar but I couldn't think of the artist. Still can't, to be honest, but I later enhanced my effort here with hugely-defined boobs in the possibly mistaken belief that it was a lady.

Assuming that I was doing a brilliant job here, I was slightly mortified when the lovely lady who'd brought me my explosive beverage swung by our table and looked at my masterpiece. "Is this yours?" she asked. "Yes!" I replied, thinking she'd spotted an early winner. She nodded once. "Hmmm. You've lost."

As a result, I determined that I'd really have to bring my A-game to the third sheet. I grabbed my purple felt-tip and, with my tongue poking out the side of my mouth as a sign of my increased determination, furiously set to work. Simple colouring in would not suffice here: I needed to freestyle. I did this by adding an illustration of Garfield to the picture.

WHO DOESN'T LOVE THAT HILARIOUS FAT CAT?! Before submitting this work of art to the judges, I also added my name to the top left-hand corner in a jazzy 1980s typeface. I didn't want some random trying to claim responsibility for my masterpiece!

With my artistic labours complete, I settled back with another coke float, a mouthful of an orgasm-inducing chocolate brownie, and some serious Connect-4 action. Oh yes, they had board games as well. A couple at the next table started dancing to a 70s disco hit (sadly they did not break into a zombie routine when Michael Jackson's Beat It came on next). Some bloke came in, paused at the entrance and marvelled at the room in which he found himself like a little kid unleashed upon Disney Land (except little kids usually don't mutter "what the fuck?!" in amazement). Pear drops and pink shrimps were passed around. I had felt-tip ink all over my hands.

And then I won first place in the dot-to-dot competition. I threw my arms in the air like I'd just won the Grand National. My prize was a drink of my choice, so I had another coke float. Lee cut my straw in half with some scissors, but I was so hopped up on coke, ice cream, and the sweet taste of victory that I didn't care. It was an utterly, totally unexpectedly brilliant evening.

What I'm getting at then, is that if you find yourself wandering the streets of London YOU SHOULD DEFINITELY go to Drink, Shop & Do. There should be one of these places on every street. I'm planning to go back next Saturday. Why? To make a clay David Bowie head of course.