Monday, July 31, 2006

The little things in life...

When it comes to babies, some of us almost instinctively feel the need to decide whether they'll be pretty when they grow up, whether they'll be clever, or witty, or charming; whether they shall play the piano, or take ballet classes, or be interesting to boys. The truth is, though, that, when you give birth to anything (metaphorically or otherwise), you never really know what you're going to get, even if you think you do. These things are beyond you, exist separately from you, have a life of their own.

So, who knows how my new little friend will turn out. Personally, though, I think she's plotting something...

Saturday, July 29, 2006

France II: Remembrance of Drinks Past

Thanks, AltitudeZero, for reminding me of this picture (or at least a less processed version of it) of me. Drinks are different in France. Pastis while gazing on, with friends, at the fine women of Toulouse is hard to beat, but even the little mid-afternoon coffees of St Gery's Le Chabrot - served with a grumpy humpf, a mournful half-sugar cube, and, two-to-one will get spilt on your Billingham camera bag - are something of a little treat.

And then there is glistening, slightly bubbly, yeasty beer like Leffe, so overpriced in England but so much an incidental feature of a hot day in France, like punctuation:

Even not terribly interesting drinks, like those served in a once-interesting Indian restaurant, become more palatable as the day grows darker, and cooler, and the streets come alive with people and conversation, take on a tiny magic:

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Good night, you princesses of Yorkshire, you queens of England

Last night, I saw Weezer again, together with her new kimble of kittens: Io, Artemis and Leah.

Of all of them, Io is the one who most resembles his mother and most consistently sits closest to her:

Artemis looks almost identical to Fran, her sister. But she's a lot more adventurous than Fran ever was when she was little and was the first to burrow her face into a pile of sardines.

Leah, who looks like none of Weezer's previous kittens, is the shyest of the three, and has a habit of sitting slightly away from the rest of them, preferring instead, to sniff a hedge or an interesting brick than play follow the leader with the others.

It's strange to think of Weezer, and her kimble, not being my responsibility, in the same way that she clearly was last year. As I lay on the wet pavement last night, there was still something of that old relationship and trust still, an expression that said, 'Thanks for all the fish'. And that was nice.

Good night, you princesses of Yorkshire, you queens of England

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Where is Fran? A Haiku

Monday, July 24, 2006

Fast Food

In books such as Fast Food Nation, or documentaries such as Supersize Me, fast food outlets are often conflated into one doughy, stodgy, inedible, undifferentiated mass. As a food enthusiast, I find the findings of such books and documentaries shocking. The idea of eating a burger made from several dozen different cows, or fries that never go mouldy, or drinks poured by the victims of highly exploitative work practices are not nice at all. Bizarrely, none of these things actually stops me eating junk food from time to time. Perhaps this is half the problem. But the other problem is a love that dare not speak its name: fast food, for all its faults, has an aesthetic logic of its own that can and should be appreciated.

Those of us who eat this stuff will know that there is good fast food and bad fast food, even when it comes to the same franchise.

Take the Kentucky Fried Chicken on East Road, Cambridge. It's okay but, sometimes, it's a little cold and nasty. But the KFC on the first floor of Sheffield train station? I've never had a dud meal there, ever. When renowned film director, Ang Lee, says that his wife takes him to KFC whenever he's feeling overwrought about work, I like to believe that he's getting the finest KFC on the planet: KFC that is more like Sheffield Station (or, indeed, like High Street, Oxford - that's another good'un) than East Road, Cambridge.

McDonalds, 5th Avenue, New York, tucked in a little side street just in front of the New York Public Library's main entrance (of Ghostbusters, Spiderman and The Day After Tomorrow fame). You'd expect it to be the finest on earth, yes? Think again. It's awful but the good news is that the one up Broadway, permanently occupied by the Bijoux Lady from Titanic, is far, far superior in every way. (Buy her some fries if you see her: she's crazy but harmless.) But the best is in Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong.

And what of Burger King? The worst I've ever had is on King Edward's Street, Hull. It's an abomination, even to a junk-meat gourmand like my good self. I uesd to eat there when I worked in town and hated myself. But, interestingly, the best Burger King I've ever had is also in Hull, on Clough Road, in fact, wedged amongst warehouse outlets like B&Q, PC World, and Pets at Home, and a number of small light industry units. And let me tell you, it's good, it's very good. It's better than the Burger King off Platform 1 of Manchester train station even, which is very good indeed.

If we're to have junk food at all in this world, then at least let it be the best.

If we're to have KFC, let it be KFC fit for creative geniuses, chicken the good Colonel would himself be proud of.

If we're to have Burger King, then let it be food fit for kings. And as fast as this Lotus Elise that belonged to two guys who obviously knew a very good thing when they saw Burger King, Clough Road, Hull this weekend.

But there are small things in Hull

...this is also true. They don't possess the same, lazy buzzing, chirruping, submarine frog audio qualities that their French counterparts do, this is true, but they are still small. And these little things - bees, dragonflies - also assume a strange, myopic fantasy character, if you let them.

And if the sun is beating down on your face at the right angle.
And if you're photographing them for the girl you love.
And if you have the 4kg of camera equipment trained on their every move.

Friday, July 21, 2006

France I

The hot weather we've been having has made me think of last month in France. The difference is that the heat takes on a dusty, quiet stillness there, and the smallest things grab the attention, assume a life of their own.

One for Napoleon...

...because he likes watches...

Our watch is rather chipped - because, after a debaucherous evening in Philadelphia, we dropped it onto the marbled floor of our lovely room in the Ritz Carlton, a tasteless hotel which charges far, far too much for ethernet-based broadband access. Next time I go, I'll be taking an Apple Airport with me, so I can spread access around the entire city. Power to the allotments!

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Fonda 500 was so hot!

So hot, that this was the only shot remotely worthy of posting that Den came away with when I asked him, very politely, to snap of photo of my favourite bassist, the beautiful and talented Bod, of Fonda 500 fame. It's not a great picture but, let me tell you, it was hard to find amongst the 1gb of jpegs he brought back with him. Yes, an entire gigabyte. One shot. In jpeg. I reckon a monkey could do better. With a typewriter. And not one of those fancy typewriters with built-in webcams either. Here he is in person to apologize.

Hello, there. I'm very sorry, Pup. It was very hot:

I realise that this is no excuse for my appalling photography and I feel like this boat:

This trolley:

And these drowning traffic cones:

Oh, that's alright, Den. No hard feelings, eh? By the way, I do like your use of Adobe Photoshop's "Smart Sharpen" filter. Do I detect shades of Mark Johnson at RadiantVista knowledge? I hear he sells an incredible e-book...

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

South Bank... and the biggest panoramic in the world...

Well, maybe not the biggest in the world, but certainly the biggest I've ever constructed. Poor laptop, it was making strange noises earlier as it tried to open twenty odd images all at once and stitch them together... Aww... If you upload this image, make sure you see all of it. It took ages.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Emma Rugg, Tiger's Lair gig

This week, I decided to revamp my entire .Mac site, in preparation for my book launch in October and, also, because I'm too cheap to pay for a pbase account (link to be posted here once it's ready). But, for now, here's a few pictures of Emma Rugg's latest gig at the Tiger's Lair, Hull, just to keep her die-hard fans happy :-)

Wednesday, July 05, 2006


Monday, July 03, 2006

Woolfest 2006: Part I

So, this weekend, I went to Woolfest. In a car. Which is silver-coloured. Silver is interesting: it has the highest electrical and thermal conductivity of any metal...Cars are also interesting: the very first car, for example, had just a 4hp, two-stroke motor and was considered something of a novelty which people called 'horseless carriage'...

I don't really want to write about Woolfest. I really enjoyed it, and a lady dressed as a medieval nun let me have a go at weaving and was very complimentary about the pitiful little patch I produced. And I liked the farmer who led the sheep-shearing demonstration, too, who sheared sheep as easily as the rest of us peel oranges, and who looked like she wouldn't take any crap from anybody. I liked the consumately smiley Lithuanians; and Debbie the button girl; and Jenny, who felts camel-hair and turns it into three-dimensional sculptures of pigs, or mallards-not-of-this-world...

But I went with Susoolu, and blueadt,and they met up with a whole bunch other people, like WoolyWormhead (whom you'll hear about another day), and Mother of WoolyWormhead and, if there are two things these folks have in common, it's knitting. And blogging about knitting.

What can a little dog possibly have to say that's interesting about Woolfest, when it's already being covered by so many widely read blogs written by die-hard knitters? In fact, I'm a little worried that I'm mentioning Woolfest just once too many times. There could be Googlebots, crawling through this site and directing would-be knitsmen and knitswomen to this very blog! (Memo to self: check Technorati to see if this comes up under Woolfest 2006. And stop mentioning Woolfest.)

You see, for those of you who don't know any knitters, knitting to knitters is as noble and as simple as religion:

And Woolfest, a veritable temple of knit, was brimful with the most single-minded knitters to ever grace the face of the earth, knitters 'high and solitary and most stern' who wore wool and woolen accessories, on their wrists, in their hair, on their feet, inspite of th'heat'o'th'sun.

But, now I think about it, I remember that there were animals there, plenty of animals. And, being a little dog, I knows lots about animals...

advanced web statistics Locations of visitors to this page