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Monday, 21 January 2008


I have recently devised a new scale that measures how excruciatingly painful or vexing is a certain something or situation. I call it the Teeth- Pull Factor, or TPF. It is measured on a scale of 1- 32, according to the average number of teeth possessed by an adult human being. It is based on a hyperbole I've been recently employing, for example, "Visit relatives during Chinese New Year? I'd rather have my teeth pulled out one by one!". Incidentally (haha, sorry couldn't resist that corny pun...) seeing my relations has a TPF 30. Yes, it's that horrid. Conversely, seeing my relations but with the promise of mucho lucky red packets reduces the TPF to a more palatable 11. (Geddit? Palate...)

However some things on this plane of existence are beyond the measure of the TPF scale. Such as having to listen to a certain radio station whilst at work. It shall be referred to as 'Shite FM'. A few songs from 'Shite FM' are fine and dandy but when it is on for 8 straight hours, the TPF exponentially increases to an abominal level. It reaches way past 32, off the scale and into the area known as, 'Complete upper and lower maxilliary removal'.

Some will say a knowing, 'aahh...' and tell me that it's a generation gap thing, that I don't like old songs but this station plays easy listening favourites for those long and short in the tooth. Here's a special request going out to all DJs: Stop playing song covers by Celtic boy bands! Pap is bad but recycled pap is excreable.

Elvis Costello aptly sang that formatted radio seeks to, "...anesthetise the way that you feel..". That sweet mellow feeling becomes somatic and addictive. Some might say, change the channel or turn off the damned radio but someone else seeking their fix of E (as in Easy-listening) always restores the channel to Shite and Queasy, because you need 'soothing relaxing favourites to get you through your workday.' or so the radio ads purport.

This smug peddling of a pseudo- psychological aural panacea is what really pushes the TPF into the realm of the unknown. If the hard-disk on my PC crashes, I don't need Skeeter Davis blubbing about 'The End of World' to get me through my workday, as I hurl the contraption out of the window. For all those working overtime or during the graveyard shift, you don't need Elvis Presley crooning, 'Are You Lonesome Tonight?'.

I wouldn't presume to suggest what we all need to listen to in order to get us through our workday. However, I do feel that each one of us should define what we want to listen to and not let the airwaves dictate to us. I'll still have an intact set of teeth and the radio in the office will not be petrol-bombed.
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4.5 Songs

Hello everybody, today I am feeling adventurous- I shall start the first in a series of the ubiqitious 'song analysis' blog. . Hats off to Nick Hornby, who highlighted in his seminal book, 'High Fidelity', the predominantly male preoccupation with lists, song analysis and compilations. Nick Hornby also published '9 Songs' in 2002, which was a collection of nine musings on nine songs of his choice, thus here I present my '4.5 Songs':

1. "Somewhere In My Heart" Aztec Camera (1988)
In a 1990 radio interview, Roddy Frame the writer of this song, called it, 'a scuzzy little pop song'. This is a slight injustice, but when you hear the 5 note horn intro segue into a chirpy late 80s' drum pattern and some rather omnious lyrics about it being, 'Summer in the city, where the air is still/ A baby being born to the overkill': the tone is not so much scuzzy as muddled and elliptical. But all is redeemed when the anthemic chorus kicks in ( bizarrely accented with what sounds like Christmas chimes...?), Frame's impassioned declaration that, 'the closest thing to heaven is to rock n' roll..' at the middle eight, all topped with a guitar solo that soars, seemingly to heaven.

2. "Mack the Knife" Bobby Darin (1955)
I first heard this on the soundtrack to Quiz Show (dir. Robert Redford, 1994) ,obviously selected as a quintessential '50s song but it still sounds fresh and contemporary, as proved by the insipid covers of Michael Buble, Jamie Cullum and even Lyle Lovett . Bobby Darin's definitive interpretation is simultaneously tongue-in-cheek and all-knowing, in recounting the unsavoury exploits of Mack the Knife, a character from The ThreePenny Orchestra by Bertolt Brecht. Kudos to Darin for revamping a Pre-war German showtune into a hit with bobbysoxers, and sneaking it in under the pop cultural radar of '50s post-war America.

3. "Boredom" Buzzcocks (1979)
Ever the bunch of self-contradictions, the Buzzcocks came up with this gem that eschewed punk's three chord thrash and anti-establishment sentiments. "Boredom" rails against, well, boredom and sounds hilariously incensed. The two-note guitar solo that tails off (most likely out of ennui) is a classic but the caustic lyrics still cause this writer much thigh-slapping mirth, for example: "So tell me who are you trying to arouse?/ Get your hand out of my trousers!!"

4. "Respect" Aretha Franklin
A big song sung by a large lady. Do not trowel any proto-feminist readings onto this tune and just revel in the sturm und drang of Aretha's vocal.

5. "Born To Run" Bruce Springsteen (1974)
Here's the .5 song as promised in the title of this post. It may sound sacrilegious but 'Born To Run' should be played from around the halfway mark (2:37): then you'll avoid the overwrought lyrics about youths on the beach stuck in a deadend town in the midst of the American Dream gone sour. After the halfway mark, its Springsteen at his most life-affirming and evocative, "Baby we were born to ruuuuuuuuuuuun!!!!!", even on the way to work in the morning. And on the way back.
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Blood and Guts: A Quick Guide To Epic Movies

I luurve epic movies!- The ones with lots of clashing swords, whizzing arrrows, duelling armies and flying heads. Ever since "Gladiator" cleared a path (with a chariot) to the box office for epic movies in 2000, audiences are treated to at least two epic movies a season.

But I shall endeavour to help you navigate the battlefield of recent epic movies. This is to ensure that you end up making a victorious viewing choice, and not a defeated waste of time and money.
Follow the key abbrieviations:

1. Blood Quotient (B.Q)- (in order of increasing severity) Pinprick, Stab Wound, Arterial, Geyser

2. Head Count- Measured on a scale of 1- 100. N.B.This does not refer to the number of heads chopped off in the movie. It refers to the number of heads that you feel like chopping off after you watch the movie. Only because a good epic movie should stir up your bloodlust.

3. Number of "Lord of the Rings" (LOTR) alumni in the cast.[LOTR Alumni No.]- Acting in the LOTR movies opens up more (of the same) acting opportunities!

4. Old Fart Numbers- The number of prominent, theatrically-trained and often British and Australian actors and actresses exponentially increases with running time. They add a sense of grandiosity to the movie, and make up for the lack of acting talent displayed by the younger and beefier cast members.

5. Running Time (Numbers in brackets)-  The length of the movie. It could also refer to the number of times that you have to run to the toilet during the movie.

Gladiator (2000)
Only Russell Crowe could wear a leather skirt and look as hard as nails.
Bloodshed: Stab Wound. There's alot of stabbing and spearing but surprising little spilt blood.
Headcount: 80.
LOTR Alumni No:0 (But only because LOTR was released in the following year...)
Old Fart Numbers: 3. Richard Harris, Derek Jacobi and Oliver Reed (who died during filming)
Running time (150 minutes)

The Lord of the Rings (2001) The Fellowship of the Ring. (2002) The Two Towers,( 2003)- The Return of the King

Total running time- 540 minutes (Its a trilogy - don't panic!)
B.Q- Arterial (If you are an Orc...)
Headcount- 60. 'The Return of the King' is very disappointing and brings down the average headcount of the trilogy. But 'The Two Towers' still makes me want to lay seige to my noisy neighbour's front door.
LOTR Alumni No.- Not applicable.
Old Fart Numbers- 4. Ian Mckellen, Christopher Lee, Bernard Hill (King Theoden) John Rhys-Davies (Gimli)

Troy (120 minutes)
B.Q- Pinprick. The battle scenes are sloppily choreographed and the CGI/modelwork unconvincing.
Headcount-1. This number may refer to the head of the director, Wolfgang Petersen.
LOTR Alumni No. :2. Orlando Bloom and Sean Bean (Boromir of Gondor in LOTR)
Old Fart Numbers: 1. Peter O' Toole.

Kingdom of Heaven (140 minutes)
B.Q: Stab Wound. But most of the casualties in this movie come from catapults, arrows and boiling oil.
Headcount: 50. It is a low number but only because this film provokes some sobering thought about contemporary religious and cultural conflict.
LOTR Alumni No.-1 Orlando Bloom (AGAIN!)
Old Fart Numbers: 2. Liam Neeson, Jeremy Irons

Alexander (180 minutes)
B.Q- Pinprick. It's not a good idea to have Ptolemy (Anthony Hopkins) narrate the movie, like an overlong Greek history lecture- too much detail and not enough action. Wasn't Alexander called 'the Great' because of his ingenuity on the battlefield?
Headcount- 0. I had such a refreshing nap that I felt no need to decapitate anyone for invigoration.
LOTR Alumni No.- 0 (Orlando Bloom was busy, I guess...)
Old Fart Numbers- 25 (Alexander's council)

300 (115 minutes)
B.Q- Glorious geyser! Why were the Spartans such an effective fighting force in Ancient Greece? They fought in their underwear, which would be enough to make any enemy army lay down their weapons- and laugh themselves to death.
Headcount- 300. (Including some elephants) Grrrr! Non-violence is for wimps!
LOTR ALumni No- 1 David Wenham- he played Faramir of Gondor in LOTR.
Old Fart Numbers- 30. (The council of Spartan Elders)

(Coming Soon April 2010: Clash of the Titans)
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Friday, 18 January 2008

The Adventures of the World's Dumbest Drug Dealer

She tried to smuggle in 30 condoms of coke- by stuffing them in her earholes. And it was diet Coke.And her husband tried to snort it.

When authorities asked her, "Are you in possession of any dope?", she pointed to her husband.Then he was arrested for *being* 80kg of dope.

She stopped selling animal tranquilisers- because the animals couldn't pay up.

Also, she stopped peddling Special K to clubbers- becaue she was sick and tired of providing them with spoons, bowls and milk.

Her stint as a school-nurse was disastrous- she thought PCP was a brand of antiseptic lotion.

She thinks heroin is a male 'heroine'.

When she tried to smoke hash, she ended up with burnt minced meat, onions, potatoes and spices.And don't mention the cold turkey...

Since she got pregnant, she has been so excited about ,'a parent's right to smack.'

When she was asked to smuggle crack, she said no thanks- She already has one between her butt cheeks.

She asked her husband what Columbian cartels were- he said that they were football teams. She thinks they are horse-drawn caravan hotels.
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Songs To Play When Your Boss Is Leaving

I am assuming that those glancing at the following song suggestions are glad that their boss is leaving.If you are lucky to have a wonderful boss then, well, you are either extremely lucky or very good at kissing posterior...

I will not apologise if this post comes across as juvenile-remember, possessing maturity is also knowing when to unleash your immaturity.

Some songs are better known as break-up songs, and a bad boss leaving is not too dissimilar to ending a toxic relationship.

Mix and match from the lists below:


Tell your (ex)boss how you truly feel after all the long hard days and grinding hours of working together side-by-side (and there is no such thing as *too* obvious):

Since You've Been Gone (Kelly Clarkson) : Ouch! Burn! Direct hit!

I Hate Everything About You (Ugly Kid Joe) : Oldie but a goldie.

You're History ( Shakespear's Sister): Three minutes of pure schadenfreude.

It's Like That (Run DMC)

Walk Away (Franz Ferdinand): If only for the refrain, "I love the sound of you walking away."

Problems (Sex Pistols) :Let Johnny Rotten and co. stick up two fingers if you can't do it yourself for legal reasons.

Banging On The Drum (Todd Rundgren): Your boss' head as a percussion instrument? Excellent idea!

Hole In The Head (Sugarbabes): Your personal Greek chorus of spiky, bitchin' girl pop.

I'm Not Missing You (Stacie Orrico): as above.

Indirect Glee

Extra points if you can work these songs into the farewell office party playlist or karaoke session.

Say Hello, Wave Goodbye (Soft Cell): So camp and theatrical that you won't need those glycerine tears.

Closing Time (Semisonic): College rock but full of timely lyrical advice, such as, "You don't have to go home but you can't stay here."

Con Te Partiro [Time To Say Goodbye] (various opera artists): The only time you can use a touching operetta as a backhanded parting gesture!

Don't You Forget About Me (Simple Minds) : Refrain from thumbing your nose at your (ex)boss during the 'La-la-la" outro.

Don't Look Back In Anger (Oasis): 'Don't look back' only because you are all thumbing your noses...!

Don't Dream It's Over (Crowded House): Caution: May cause blubbing amongst toadies and lackeys.

Goodbye My Lover (James Blunt): Be a sadist and inflict this on the office party. Also gains extra meaning in light of any soured office romances.

Private Glee

Songs to play to yourself after hearing the good news.

Now We Are Free (Hans Zimmer and Lisa Gerrard, 'Gladiator-OST'): It's a shame that gladitorial games are defunct, you'd pay good money to see your boss thrown to the lions.

Last Goodbye (Jeff Buckley): Too unnerving for the farewell party, a bizarre yet euphoric combination of Led Zeppelin and The Smiths (speaking of which...)

Frankly Mr. Shankly (The Smiths): "You're a flatulent pain in the arse", so sings Morissey to the titular character...

You Just Haven't Earned It Yet Baby (The Smiths)

Free-Fallin' (Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers): For the drive home.

A New Day Has Come (Celine Dion): For the drive to work.


When you really don't give a flying puck and feel like square-dancing amongst the cubicles and down the corridor.

Elevation (U2)

Song 2 (Blur): Jump up and punch the ceiling in time to the chorus', 'WOO-HOO!".

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