Thursday, March 31, 2011

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

J’aime Bruce Springsteen

It is 1989 and I am at school. Our French teacher – a real French Mademoiselle, with all that entails (worshipped resentfully by the boys, loathed by the girls) – requires us to say, en français, the name of our favourite act from the world of le musique pop.

So far every single member of the class has repeated the same phrase : “J’aime INXS.” I have watched them all say it, one by one, with growing disbelief. They cannot all ‘aime’ INXS, surely? What I am witnessing, I begin to realise, is the true ovine cowardice of modishness. I will come swiftly to despise it. Later, I will also come to despise kneejerk anti-modishness – i.e. the rejection of cultural items simply because they happen to be a la mode - which is itself a pose and a form of modishness.

When Mlle points to me, I declare that J’aime Bruce Springsteen. This is the simple truth, yet it is greeted with cruel sniggers from the INXS ‘fans’. I am not humiliated. From that moment, I swore loyalty to The Boss, by which I mean, I swore loyalty to myself. Ayn Rand would have been proud. Now I am a Daddy and I don’t need to be cool and my daughter sings “Woah woah woah woah Badlands!” from her car seat. I turn approvingly. “Let’s go,” I say, as I join the main road. “It’s a town full of losers and we’re pulling out of here to win….”

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Budget Style

Today i am going to be writing about the Budget. Strictly yawnsville, man.

Much more importantly, you should work out what 'Brow' you are with The Dabbler's Style Guide.

Monday, March 21, 2011

The Golden Ocean

Over at The Dabbler I spend a penny and review The Golden Ocean by Patrick O'Brian.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Tony Benn - wrong to the end

It was a sorry thing, seeing Anthony Neil Wedgwood Benn on last night's Newsnight. He was representing the Stop the War Coalition, which has decided to oppose any international attempts to save Libyans from Gaddafi's thugocracy (even though this time it's 'legal' and even the French and the Arabs are for it and the Russians not against it (so that whole UN legality thing was in fact irrelevant in the anti-Iraq invasion protests, it turns out)).

Benn looked really, really old. Old and confused and just wrong for the sake of it; as if, feeling the burden of being the nation's favourite tireless, articulate man who is always wrong (and has been wrong about absolutely everything in his long career), he feared he was now running out of chances to be wrong and had better have this last fling at glorious, thick-skulled, obstinate, morally bankrupt wrongness.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

A stopped clock

Over there I review new BBC4 comedy Twenty Twelve.

Oh, and commenters on the Dabbler can now win a bottle of Glengoyne whisky, simply by saying stuff on the internet.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Careless Whisper

On Sunday morning I was singing, as a chap sometimes will for reasons of his own which require no justification, George Michael’s hit song Careless Whisper.

Now few realise that George Michael wrote Careless Whisper in an unusual key, namely B Flat Whine Major. Achieving the strained falsetto demanded by this key requires long and dedicated practice, particularly for the prolonged “yoo-hoooo-oooo” which marks the climax of the line “No I’m never gonna dance again, the way I danced with yoo-hooooo-ooooo.”

It was during this practice that Mrs B entered the room and unfairly remarked that it was “the worst singing she had ever heard.” Naturally I swatted away her criticisms and redoubled my efforts.

You can enjoy more of my musical expertise here, where I curate a quartet of tunes loosely connected by the theme of sheep, including works by Bach and the Super Furry Animals.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Rampant commercialism

O, Think of England, if I have been neglecting you it is only because I have been devoting my time to furious capitalist activities over at the Dabbler, all alcohol-based, including signing a spectacularly lucrative deal with Glengoyne whisky - see Ian Buxton's review here.

You should all also enter the Bath Ales competition pronto. You'll thank me for this one day.

Meanwhile, me old mucker Craig has a brilliant post today about researching his book on the KKK.

Friday, March 04, 2011

Fame at last

Today I have a Normblog profile here.

Thursday, March 03, 2011

Jamie's Dream School

Over at The Dabbler I review Jamie's Dream School (Channel 4).

And when I saw 'review', I mean I take a sledgehammer to it, smash it into smithereens, then take each of those smithereens and smash them into super-smithereens, then I gather the super-smithereens into a bag, put them on a bonfire, burn them, put the ashes into an urn and fire the urn into the heart of the sun.

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Cupcakes: The Massacre

Elberry sends me news that the cupcake craze has, inevitably and predictably, descended into hopeless bloody violence.

Mother smashes up shop that ran out of her favourite cupcake.

I can't honestly say I'm shocked, merely saddened.

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Free beer

Win some free beer, get some free recipes and support the Dabbler by entering an exclusive Bath Ales competition here.

Work ethic: start 'em young

Good to see the BBC doing its duty re the Anglo-Saxon Protestant Work Ethic. The concluding moral of this morning's edition of Chuggington - a train-based entertainment on CBeebies, in front of which I sometimes stick Brit Jnr to divert her while I make our breakfast - was "Remember Chuggers, hobbies are what you do in your spare time. The daytime is for learning and working."

I wonder if they have the same lesson in the Spanish version?

This incessant nagging is, I suppose, why at one time the sun never set on the British Empire, and we must carry the joyless moral from cradle to grave, so that when literally on one's deathbed one should feel vaguely guilty about not being up and about, hoovering the living room or washing the net curtains.