Thursday, January 01, 2009

Golden Eggs 2008

Before looking forward to 2009 (you know, the year of global economic meltdown, famine, pestilence and people sighing about how much they miss Woolworths) here are my awards for 2008. I know, I know, this is just what you've been waiting for.

Best album

1. Glasvegas - Glasvegas
2. Keane - Perfect Symmetry
3. Alphabeat - This is Alphabeat

It was a rubbish year for albums. Moat years, Alphabeat woudn't have made the top ten, and it's only there because of the ace singles. Glasvegas is easily the best album of 2008: doomy yet compassionate gloom-rock voiced by the missing Proclaimer.

Best single

1. Dizzee Rascal - Dance Wiv Me
2. Mystery Jets - Two Doors Down
3. Glasvegas - Daddy's Gone

Back in the days before Poppy monopolised the TV with her endless Peppa Pig reruns, I would watch music videos before going to work. Occasionally a song would come on that would have me dancing up the road to the nursery, full of vim and vigour. Dance Wiv Me achieved that more than any other song this year, and I still haven't grown tired of hearing it.

Best non-reality TV Show

1. Dead Set
2. Californication
3. Survivors

Charlie Brooker's Dead Set was always, on paper, a programme that was tailor-made just for me. Big Brother and zombies. Written by my favourite journalist. It didn't disappoint, even if the ending left me feeling as bleak as a Monday morning in January. Californication had loads of great sex-and-squirting scenes, and Survivors was about nearly everyone in the world dying. It's my fave genre, you know

Best Reality TV Show

1. The Apprentice
2. Big Brother
3. The X Factor

That's what I'm talking about! 2008 wasn't a vintage year for either BB - great for the first couple of weeks, then as boring as hell - or X Factor. Whereas the Apprentice gets better every year. Sara vowed to apply for it this year. Perhaps she's going to surprise me and disappear one morning.

Best Film

1. The Dark Knight
2. The Mist
3. Juno

I only went to the cinema once in 2008. It's one of the things you give up when you have small children. How I miss it... The Dark Knight pretty much wins by default because it was the one I saw on the big screen.

Best Video Game

1. Little Big Planet
2. Mario Kart Wii
3. Tomb Raider Underworld

LBP is hugely inventive and enjoyable; it's stopped me and Sara watching so much crap telly. Mario Kart is frenetic fun and not to be played with small children within earshot; it causes so much shouting and swearing that even Gordon Ramsey would be shocked. And Tomb Raider is Tomb Raider. Would it be wrong to put Lara Croft on my list?

Book of the year

1. Simon Lewis - Bad Traffic
2. George Pelecanos - The Turnaround
3. Jason Starr - The Follower

I had to rack my brains for, ooh, minutes before coming up with these. Why do I find it so hard to remember what I've read? Bad Traffic was an original and thrilling story about illegal immigrants, and Starr and Pelecanos are my fave authors of the year, I devoured their back catalogues this year. Jason Starr is a total twisted genius.

And finally, my favourite website of the year is this one:

Happy new year!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

I Believe in Rasta Claus

I just got home from the Dads' Club Xmas party with Poppy. We played 'pass the parcel', and I had to force myself not to hold the parcel until the music stopped. Then they announced that Santa was coming. I was very excited, much more so than Pops, who hasn't grasped the concept of Christmas yet, let alone Santa. I was even more excited when Santa came in, ho-ho-ho-ing, and turned out to be a rastafarian. You don't get anough black Santas, if you ask me. Poppy immediately wandered up to him looking for a pressie - so perhaps she does get the Father Christmas concept after all.

Last night was our office Christmas party, which was like one of those documentaries about Binge Drinking Britain. I was mixing drinks with the best of them, but as usual was unable to keep up with Buffy, who was doing her best to consume the EU Wine Lake. Have you ever tried to get a cab when you're with a girl who's so drunk she can't make both her eyes look in the same direction at the same time? We finally found a cabbie foolish enough to take us, though he eyed Buffy warily all the way, gripping a carrier bag in his fist in case she made any signs of throwing up. We made it back home without any vomiting, though my beloved did end up flat on her back in the middle of the road. I think I might just have saved her life.

We're both paying the price for our over-indulgence now. We're going to get healthy in 2009 and have a life that is less like a really long episode of Shameless.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Back. Back! BACK!!!

Buffy has retired to bed at 1.30pm feeling a bit poorly and Poppy is sprawled on the sofa. The mice are snoozing beneath the floorboards (more of which below). Which means, for the first time in several months, I have a few spare moments in which to tell a disinterested world what's been going on in the Roost since I last blogged, back in the days when TVs were black and white and I had twice as much hair on my head and half as much on my body.

1. Financial disaster struck and I nearly burned the house down

There I was, merrily going about my business thinking the credit crunch wouldn't affect me very much, cooking veggie spag bol and feeling all domestic, when the Virgin Radio newsreader announced that Icesave had gone bust.

Icesave - where I kept all my money.

In the ensuing panic, I burned the Quorn mince, caught the spaghetti on fire (not an easy feat) and went into a terrified synaptic meltdown, wondering why oh why oh why I hadn't transferred the money out of the world's least financially-stable country while I had the chance.

Thankfully, all ended well when our lovely chancellor saved us all and two months later I got the money back and was able to pay off my overdraft literally moments before it hit its limits and Poppy had to start her first job as a chimney sweep.

2. We got some new flatmates

Long-term readers will know that I used to keep pet rats (RIP Muffin, Flake, Syd and Nancy). Hearing about my love of all things four-legged and long-of-tail, an extended family of mice moved into our flat. Oh, what joy they give us as they scamper about, popping out from beneath the TV unit or the wardrobe when you least expect it. How we love the little presents they leave us, the teeny-weeny droppings, the holes in bin bags, the pervasive smell of wee that dribbles perpetually from their incontinent bladders.

They love paying practical jokes on us. My favourite was when I picked up a bag of pasta and it started to wriggle.

We caught four almost straight away, but since then all of the little bleeders have evaded us, laughing mockingly at the humane trap that sits ineffectually on the kitchen floor. Little do they know that I have purchased a box of mouse killer... but am too, well, vegetarian to use it. I feel like the good guy in an action film, the bit where he points a gun at the baddie, who sneers and says, 'Go ahead,' and the hero's gun arms shakes as he struggles with his conscience and the audence shouts 'Do it!'

I'm close, I tell you. So close to pulling that trigger.

3. Poppy got into a fight at nursery

Kids today, eh? By the time they're one and half they're joining gangs, hanging out on the street corner outside Somerfield and having turf wars.

Okay, it wasn't quite like that. What happened was Poppy and some other pre-verbal little girl had a squabble over a toy, and the horrible thug child bit Poppy on the lip and scratched her cheeks. It was very traumatic. Poor Pops. Cue gallons of Bio Oil in what may be a vain attempt to prevent her from scarring.

4. We bought even more gadgets

Buffy and I have a terrible disease that stops us from being able to resist various things such as cigarettes, each other and shiny objects of desire. My latest purchases include an iPod Touch and a PS3, on which we spend many a happy, slightly-bickery hour playing Little Big Planet. In our flat we now have:

1 iMac
1 iBook
1 MacBook, slightly broken after Pops chucked it on the floor
A Wii
2 Viewty phones
2 iPod classics
1 iPod Touch
1 iPod Nano
1 iPod Shuffle
2 digital cameras, both useless because we've lost the chargers

It's a burglar's paradise. (I just touched wood after typing that.)

It's painful to write the next bit but I bought Buffy a D-SLR camera for her birthday and last Sunday some piece of shit stole it from right under our feet (which were in the pub). I can't afford to replace it and our insurance doesn't cover it.

Uh-oh, Poppy just woke up so I'd better go. Also, the mice are playing with the iPod Touch and need telling off.

See you in 2012.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Olympics blog

This is what I've spent most of the last week working on: a new Olympic blog.

Monday, August 04, 2008

Tainted Love - the new definitive version

If Sara and I had met when we were nineteen (OK, she was 8 when I was 19, but you know what I mean) I'm sure we would have been pop stars.

All you need is Singstar, a lot of alcohol and new magic glasses, and you too can be a singing sensation.

Monday, May 26, 2008

My daughter in Majorca don't behave like what she oughta*

Or, Mr & Mrs Bean go on holiday

We've just returned from a week in Majorca, where the sun alternately blazed and hid behind clouds. We hired an apartment on a residential complex on the outskirts of Cala d'or on the east coast of the island. Here are a few of the things that happened. Or should I say, here are a few of the things that went wrong...

1. Oh buggy!

The first calamity happened before we even got to the airport. Somebody - ie me, as I have been reminded numerous times - forgot to put Poppy's buggy in the taxi. On arrival at Gatwick I opened the boot and said to Sara, "Where's the buggy?"

"I thought you put it in."

"But I thought you...oh, shit!"

I blame the taxi driver for turning up early and forgetting to bring a baby seat. In the ensuing flap, I somehow imagined that Sara had magically transported the pushchair into the boot. Poppy didn't mind, though: as far as she was concerned, this meant she could spend the entire holiday being carried, starting at the airport. Our arms and backs were screaming for mercy after ten minutes. And tempers were starting to fray.

2. Tempers frayed

Somehow it was also my fault that Sara looked at the wrong flight on the departures board and took us to the wrong gate, because I was the one who knew the flight number. We eventually, after a few moments of panic and recriminations, found ourselves on the correct flight. The second we sat down and the seatbelt came on, Poppy decided now was a good time to do the smelliest poo ever. She also decided she hates flying and spent two hours squirming, screaming, wriggling and knocking our drinks over.

The best moment was when, needing to mop up some fluid that Poppy had spilled, I grabbed some tissues from underneath Sara's wine glass, knocking over the wine that Sara had been looking forward to drinking all day, which went everywhere, causing my beloved to fix me with the kind of look that would turn a lesser man to stone and say:

"This is the worst holiday ever. And it's not Poppy's fault - it's yours."

It got worse when we arrived in Majorca. In a doomed attempt to save money, I had booked us onto a coach using a shit company called Resort Hoppa (see below for more). Of course, the imbecilic coach driver couldn't find where we were staying. He drove round and round Cala d'or, dropping everyone else off until we were the last ones left and Poppy had done another of her stinking poo specials. Finally, he drove into a cul-de-sac, swore loudly, beckoned me to to the front of the coach where he offered me a chewing gum and a cigarette (as a bribe) then got me to stand in the road and stop the traffic so he could reverse out of the dead end. Eventually he found where we were staying, after two and a half hours, then blamed us. 'Residencia!' he cried. Yes, you twat, I told you that two hours ago!

3. The great flood

There wasn't any hot water in our apartment when we arrived so I attempted to rectify this by, erm, fiddling with lots of buttons and taps and stuff. A short time later we noticed a drip-drip-drip. Then a slish-splash-splosh. Then a great gush of water pouring through the ceiling.

Luckily a nice man in the bistro - 'I'm the president,' he told us, several times - helped us stem the flow and prevent us having to spend the holiday floating about in Poppy's inflatable pink boat. It was something to do with the aircon apparently.

We also discovered the same day that it was possible to hire buggies, which we did. So what if the buggy we hired wouldn't go left or right?

4. Toe be or not to be

It's fair to say that we drank quite a lot on our holiday. By the end of the week I thought that if another drop of alcohol passed my lips I'd have pickled every one of my organs. One evening, when it was raining outside, Sara ran out of wine and went out looking for some. After buying a ten-euro bottle in a cafe, she made her way back... The next thing I knew, she was banging on the door of our apartment, crying, 'Mark, Mark...'

She was covered in blood and unable to walk. She'd tripped over in the darkened underpass, smashed the much-anticipated wine, cut her hand open - and broken her big toe. We spent the rest of the evening on the sofa watching a horror film, Sara's foot encased in an ice pack. It still hurts now, a week later. She was able to walk again within 48 hours though.

I'm running out of blogging energy now, so here, in brief, are a few other highlights:

*I nearly got locked in the Spar on our first night. I was lurking at the back just before ten, trying to choose cheese, when I heard a horrified gasp from the girls who worked there. They had locked up, not realising I was there, and put all the shutters down and had just been about to leave - with me locked in the Spar, banging on the door all night trying to remember the Spanish for Help - when they spotted me.

*The TV reception broke down during the Champions League final. Then came back immediately afterwards.

*The ResortHoppa office wouldn't answer the phone so we couldn't confirm our return journey and had to get a taxi back. Then our flight was delayed.

*Our camera broke after Poppy dipped it in sand on the beach.

*I was eaten by a shark.

It was, actually, a really really super fab ace and brill fun holiday. I just happen to attract disasters and mishaps like Sara attracts interesting young men. Poppy, who didnt really misbehave, had the time of her life. OK, so her life has only been pretty short so far but you know what I mean. Seven days felt like seven minutes. Now we're back and I want to go on holiday again. I mean, nothing could possibly go wrong next time.

Could it?

Friday, April 11, 2008

I hate Phil Collins

I just took a quiz online entitled 'Do you hate Phil Collins?' This was the result:

Do you hate Phil Collins?

Congratulations! You hate Phil Collins. You blame him for every mishap that occurs during your everyday life, and with good reason! Pat yourself on the back, you're a good person.
Take this quiz!

Quizilla |

| Make A Quiz | More Quizzes | Grab Code

This doesn't actually do justice to how much I hate that smug, dreary, ugly, Tory, arrogant, dumping-by-fax, scumsucking, Dairy-Milk-ad-ruining, criminally-overrated shiny-headed twat. I hate hate hate him and can't believe that he's undergoing a minor resurgence. Why? What has happened to the world? It's worse than global warming. In fact, Phil is probably responsible for global warming. It's all the methane he produces. I've despised him since I first saw him on TOTP with a pot of paint on his piano 'singing' that turgid dull-fest piece of shit so-called song 'In the Air Tonight', actually the worst record of all time. Closely followed by 'Easy Lover'.

I hate Phil Collins even more than I hate Margaret Thatcher.