Saturday, December 31, 2005

Casyn's back, but with sad news

Awh, I really loved spotting this "Who's-That-Guy?" and proudly outlining his CV as Jenny's uncle (Buffy: Season 2) and Lanny (X-Files: Humbug) and the subway ghost (Ghost) and enjoying how well-employed he was.

And now he's dead. Shucks.

Clare's Christmas

Read all about it. Awh, bless, I hope she's feeling better now (but is the Tardis still whirring...?)

Stickers and bookshops

Psst... new bookshop blog that's really good.

And says wise words about book stickers.

And while I'm on a rant, please can someone recommend how in bookshop starved Nottingham I can actually visit real life INDEPENDENT bookshops without having to hire long-distance travel facilties? We have H20Boulders, WHSugar-selling-books-for-a-lark, copious remainder stores, barely a couple of non-antiquarian 2nd-hand shops within just-about trekking distance, and perhaps at a push non-chain stores who STILL only sell the mainstream pap that Waterstones do. Oh yeah, and a couple of Oxfam book stores. There are the specialist stores like the glorious Page 45 for all my graphic novels needs, but sometimes a girl needs more...

I'm sorry, but for a city the size of Nottingham that is just CRAP and I want to know if I am just ignorant and stupid or if the bastards are hiding the bloody decent bookshops or if they just do not exist and I must find ways to get out of the sort of place where clearly there is a Bill Hicks sketch mentality to life:
I'm eating and I'm reading a book. Fine. Right. Waitress comes over to me (chewing), "What you reading for?" Now, I said, "Wow, I've never been asked that. Goddang it you stumped me. Not what am I reading, but what am I reading for? I guess I read for a lot of reasons, but one of the main so I don't end up being a fucking waffle waitress. That's pretty high on the list." Then, this trucker in the next booth gets up, stands over me and says, "Well, looks like we got ourselves a reader"....
Please, someone, make my 2006: find me the LOCAL bookshop that is staffed by people who actually LIKE books and are happy to order me stuff and recommend me goodies... I want to support small providers as I do for music. Make my 2006 an Indie BookShop Happy Year.

Probably the last read of 2005

For Xmas, my lovely Celeste got me a copy of "How I live now" by Meg Rosoff and I finished reading it yesterday with tears in my eyes.

Although some found it irksome that there was a lack of detail about the War that forms the crucial backdrop to Rosoff's novel, for me this perfectly captured the self-absorbed sense of teenagehood and especially of it being the incomprehensible 'thing' that interrupts the relationships of teenagehood.

A beautifully brief read with matter-of-fact horrors and pleasures in uneven abundance. Not the "classic" some have proclaimed it to be (that word should be banned from being offered to anything not yet 10 years past, however well deserved), but nevertheless a touching piece of writing with a magnificent central character in Daisy. Worth reading if you haven't already.

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Cloud's shirts

Cloud likes a nice party shirt, so we went to the centre of Nottingham today to meander for a cheap bargain. One of the first stop-off's was at Ark, purveyors of my very fine black fitted Ramones T-shirt (apologies Ark, but there are no pics of your particular version online), where Cloud picked up a stripey BROWN shirt. Admittedly, it was nice but at £40 a bit beyond his purchase range (yes, we are that tight). It also had rather nice double cuffs. Unfortunately, not only was the price enough to make us twitch but Cloud's remark as he picked it up also spurred me to plead 'no' to the purchase:
"Very David Tennant"
Cloud, have you any idea how much schtick I would get for agreeing to dress you in clothes that could finely hang off the body of David T....???!!!

"You're like a department for experimental comedy"

As said by George to the lovely Cloud. After Cloud had spotted that George had new glasses, Cloud followed up with this joke/comment/surrealistic humour remark:
So I'm an observ rather than a ten
Cue Rullsenberg pulling her "huh" face until Cloud adds:
Think about it folks....

Hence the remark about experimental comedy.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Marie is saved by the prepubescent posse

Just what was ordered: The Doctor...

Phew: we had been worried after her Bro's shout-out in the comments, but it seems that the new target audience for Doctor Who does have its upsides.

And as for this:
"...there was a point where I really didn't think it could get any better - and then he put his Jarvis Cocker specs on..."
...well, you can probably all see my grin from wherever you are in the world! I say again: works for me...

Cloud in work...

... so that must mean that I get to watch "These Boots are Made for Walking"...

Yes, after my gift from Helen Lisette turned into a much needed goat, I opted for the self-Santa technique of present buying.

Monday, December 26, 2005

The festive film and music fest at chez Rullsenberg

Xmas Eve was taken very easy after the excitement of Cloud finishing work on the Friday. Rise up and buy some essentials from an all-too-busy local Co-Op store, and then back for a wealth of CD playing (not in order of playing):

Starsailor: Love is Here
Clap Your Hands Say Yeah
Eels: Electro-Shock Blues
Jam: Compact Snap
Gram Parsons: GP / Grievous Angel
The Trojan Story Vol 2 (2 disc set)
Now Hear This! (Word Collection 35)
John Peel's Festive 15 (from Uncut magazine)
Tortoise: Standards
Born in the USA: Vol 1 The Great American Songbook (from Mojo magazine)
Ben Folds: Rockin' the Suburbs

Brilliant stuff and suitably eclectic.

We then shifted to the TV to kick off Xmas day with the noir classic The Big Sleep. Every bit as good as I remembered and Cloud thoroughly enjoyed it too. Snappy dialogue to die for (as several characters do).

We then treated ourselves to as much of Casablanca as we could squeeze in before vanishing to our neighbours: it was timed just right for me and Cloud to blub furiously at the roulette scene, sharply intake our breath at how Rick tells Laszlo "ask your wife", sob even more dramatically at The Marseillaise, and laugh aloud at Capt. Renault's wonderful chutzpah of "I'm shocked, I tell you, shocked...." and the delivery of his winnings. Beautiful stuff.

Then, as mentioned, it was off to our neighbours. It was great fun to spend time with them - despite crying, burping baby dolls (yes, they are that age) - not least because we were given a gingerbread house, a tea spread of delights, and watched Madagascar. By the end, yep, as predicted, we were singing and bopping "I like to move it"...

Then, as the tidy-up after pudding finished and the girls were back with the screaming, crying, burping, rasperberry-blowing dolls, I glanced at my watch: yes, my inner alarm clock must have gone off as my (must be running a couple of mins fast) watch read 7pm! Yikes! Thankfully I had warned my neighbours that I was due to be a really unsociable guest and they grinned as I took off out the door.* Our TV came on just as the pre-comment trailer finished...


What can I say about The Christmas Invasion except that it was funny, touching and exciting. It built nicely on the hints from the CiN special and moved us on from CE's performance in the best way possible. "Missed me?" Oh lordy... sweetie, only the lack of a TV signal would have stopped me from missing you.

[Note: reading the plea from Marie's bro in the comments to this post - another gem btw from her - reminded me of when Gentlemen's Relish was scheduled a few years ago. For some reason the TV signal for the BBC went down and at one point it seemed that I would have to phone around the country to locate someone on another transmitter to tape it for me. It all worked out, but I was having kittens for a while].

After that excitement, we had to find something to watch so it was into the pressies to locate Sneakers, a long-time favourite of me and Cloud, if only for the line in response to wanting "peace on earth and goodwill to all men":
We're the United States Government - we don't do that sort of thing!
Hee. Fab entertainment.

To round things off, we then dropped in on one of our favourite episodes of Black Books: another of our stocking fillers. To those who know the series, it's from season 1 and features "the man in his hair", the arsehole who reads the shipping news on radio 4 ("he confuses me"), and the ever-reliable to make me laugh aloud sight of Dylan Moran as a rather disgruntled red and white striped dwarfish member of staff in a burger bar. BWAH!

And so to bed... today has been mostly loading to i-Tunes day. And repeatedly playing the Calla track. I love my computer perhaps even more than Radio 6. But not as much as Cloud... obviously...

* Of course I wrote a profuse apology for being a poor guest after it had finished, but woah. I'd been waiting since the summer for this!

What's not to love?

I love 6 Music: Calla - It Dawned on Me (a favourite on 6 Music for what seems like forever but not yet a "hit"; very baffling, though you can hear it on the band's site); straight into Rufus Wainwright - The Art Teacher (annoying cut short on the last line: you lose marks for that error); and then Cake - The Distance (favourite of the blog-departed Wolf). Well all that works for me.

Friday, December 23, 2005

The West Wing Season 6, Casanova and Marie

Lacking the ability to have Freeview in my house - unless we wish to view the special pixilated version - I do not have to worry about missing out on the West Wing season 6, especially as I smartly purchased it for my friend Helen Lisette for her birthday. I also have a working video recorder and a DVD copy of Casanova (ooh yes).

Thus I do not share Marie's predicament regarding clashes of channels, bad mullet haircuts and not owning the DVD.

Marie: I think you should assume that if your family failed to take the necessary hints for Xmas, me and Rosby will shake tins to raise the cash to buy you a copy of Casanova for you to watch all for yourself...

Hmm... guess what I have been doing tonight?

Apart from drinking wine and being invited by the neighbours to join them to watch Madagascar on Xmas afternoon with their children (NB have already declared need to be back home by 6.55pm sharp)...

well, of course the evening was centred on the need to balance watching "Dead Ringers" against the start of Jonathan Ross...

Hee. DR was worth watching just for the line delivered by 'Christopher Eccleston':
I was intense: you're just Jarvis Cocker in space
Hee hee hee. As a huge Pulp and Jarvo fan I couldn't resist giggling "well, that works for me", recalling the line from the article in the Grauniad last January:
Tennant does admit to one D-list fantasy: Celebrity Stars In Their Eyes. "I'd like to be Jarvis Cocker; he's my karaoke favourite."
But swiftly on to the main attraction...

That red velvet suit...

Dude, I don't know how you choose your wardrobe, but it made you look especially Jarvis-esque (again I say, no bad thing!): ultra lanky - man, that's a good crossing of the legs pose ya have there - and though his hair looked a little well-controlled for some people's liking (I doubt I would be the only one to say a good ruffle was crying out to be made), he did, in the words of the texts I received afterwards look "hot".

Somehow requiring mucho laying down now...

That should be lying down...

Nope, think I was right the first time...

Forthcoming releases from the BBC

Not only the glorious recent version of Bleak House, but also the classic drama Mr Wroe's Virgins (featuring the lovely Kathy Burke - one of the first times she was taken as being more than just the Enfield/Whitehouse sidekick: heart-rending), plus This Life...

Find 'em all here for release in 2006.

I may have broadband now but...

... I still some sort of Xmas break.

So, to be on the safe side I will say that blogging for the next few days will be, could be, may be, maybe not, a little light.

Usually when I say that, my posting rate increases massively!

But even so, I should really have a little r&r...

Much to do house wise - the annual scrub and sort out is underway and as usual all that happens is I get as far as the kitchen and faced by mountains of paperwork everwhere else, give up and put on a Buffy episode... I'm teetering on the brink of that as we speak hvaing been seduced to take the washing upstairs to dry and seeing the computer...

Merry Christmas folks: be seeing ya!

Swearing and the dial-a-rant offer

If you don't like the language then avoid (though I would have to ask you what you're doing here!) but this post and exchange in the comments between Rob and Clare is brilliant. I demand a rant-line!

That Turkey card

Passed on from the lovely John at C&S, who despite his threats is thankfully still posting...

Now dance along and sing!

Marie's ability to overlook the geekiness

Priceless stuff as ever from the wonderful Marie.

First she read this (the link can get a bit wibbly - well it did on Marie's site - so if you have problems go to The Word is Not Enough and scroll to find posts for 21 December: trust me when I say you will not struggle to identify which post we are on about...)

Anyway, having read this, Marie considered whether the knowledge would put her off.

And the collective decision?

27 series and counting: she's in...

Morons can vote too

As this proves...

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Lord Tennant's waspish nature

Ah the joys of computers... (click the Watch BBC News button top right).

Not the most riverting interview - BBC breakfast news is hardly known for that - but he does cross his legs nicely, his repetition of the word "waspish" was priceless, and the fact that the clip is headed (ambiguously in my reading) as "Time Lord Tennant speaks about role" * is just iceing on the cake...

* I first read this as "Time (that) 'Lord Tennant' speaks about role". Bit presumptive I thought.... made a Lord already...

Weblog awards

Norm won, but sadly Troubled Diva was further down the pack in the LGBT category. Shame. But congrats to Norm...

Ben Folds: Anna explains it all

I've been remarkably neglectful of linking to the lovely Anna of late: let me rectify that with a link to her wonderful new post on Ben Folds.

He really should be better appreciated...

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

That MyQuiz thing

Well it kept me going whilst waiting for my journey home...

Take my Quiz on!

Season's Greetings in case I do not get chance to send individual mails

You may enjoy these.

Deer 1

Deer 2

You may think them irksome but I do find them strangely amusing (have your sound on the computer and click away!)

Wishing you all the very best for the season ----

Lisa of the Rullsenberg

PS do not panic: this is not intended to be my final post before Xmas, I'm just catching the last delivery date ;)

BBC sneaks out mild comedy drama

Well, bringing out a new series one week before Christmas hardly suggests they expect great things - audiences will meander away, schedules will be disrupted - but that's a bit of a shame, because I've certainly seen worse material than Chopratown.

It's in the tradition of mild comedy dramas so beloved by British TV, but there is something refreshing about watching something where ethnic diversity is evident rather than hidden. And for the discussion about the "Hindu Liberation Front" (actually for taking little old ladies out of the area) and the line "we revere cows; we don't take them on day trips to Margate", it was well worth the price of entry.

Writing essays the undergraduate way

Norm and Cloud all got in before me, but you have to read some of the gems in this piece by Anders Henriksson and reprinted by Jeff Weintraub. Put together from undergraduate essays, it has some priceless gems re-writing history. I laughed ruefully at a lot of it, but this caught my eye:
Russian nobles wore clothes only to humour Peter the Great. Peter filled his government with accidental people and built a new capital near the European boarder. Orthodox priests became government antennae.
Reminds me of the classic line that appeared in one undergraduate essay I marked:
“Films became such an influence on people, and more and more women were on the street.”
To this day I have no idea what the student was intending to say...

Well I found it funny...

...sick, but funny...

Guess what I'm gonna try and listen to tonight?

Perhaps this?

How little has changed: fat is still a feminist issue

Go read this.

Not on Norm's Christmas book list

You can see why...

The latest hit song

...from Marie. [now updated with chords to play along with!]

I'm definitely singing along to that one!

Monday, December 19, 2005

Posts on books

Hmm... couple of good posts by the HolyHoses crew on books.

First up is Simon-le-Bon on finishing books (no, Kara, I don't think he's that one: but note I did recall the accusation that you were a Durannie)

The second is HolyHosesRob on genre-defying reading, amongst other things book related.

Both good stuff.

On Fashion

I am so glad we have Marie to cover these debates!

I'm self-memeing the "Seven things"

I've read a few, including Bloggers4Labour, so thought I would try this out...

Seven things to do before I die
1) learn a foreign language sufficiently well to read and converse with native speakers (not just school level "la sange dans l'arbre")
2) clear my clutter and get organised
3) keep a plant alive for more than 12 months by intention and not accident
4) get something published and read by more than two people
5) see either the Northern or Southern lights
6) ride a horse
7) make a difference to the world

Seven things I cannot do
1) ride a bike
2) be bothered wearing make-up on a daily basis
3) stop being loud on a regular basis
4) get out of bed as early as I should do
5) be properly awake within the hour after I have got out of bed
6) not try and help people however inadequate my assistance may be (I just have to try)
7) not take responsibility, even when things aren't my fault

Seven things that attract me to my spouse significant other
1) his intellect
2) his taste in music
3) his politics and ideological belief
4) his eyes
5) his interest in books and reading
6) his sense of humour
7) his love of me despite all my faults

Seven things I say most often
1) a swear word (take your pick - I could fill all seven slots this way: my ability to swear prodigously in a manner not unlike that of Hugh Grant in the out-takes for Two Weeks Notice* is nigh legendary. NB inanimate objects are the most common recipiants of my ire)
2) sorry
3) it's important to break tasks down (NB I think that may be work related)
4) woah mama!
5) cuppa tea please
6) just checking my mail
7) majorly random (recent addition to vocabulary, but regularly in use: am sure that's some "slayer slang" I've been inspired to...)

Seven books I can regularly re-read
1) Stone Junction - Dodge
2) House of Leaves - Danielewski
3) The Collected Dorothy Parker
4) His Dark Materials - Pullman
5) Maiden Speech - Eleanor Brown
6) Sonnets to the Portuguese - Elizabeth Barrett Browning
7) Ways of Seeing - Berger

Regulars may spot an item listed here and here does not appear: I'm taking that one to be like Desert Island Discs. Besides, my version needs muscles to lift it off the shelf.

Seven movies I watch over and over again
1) Twelve Monkeys
2) True Romance
3) This Year's Love
4) Fight Club
5) Defence of the Realm (watched this weekend in fact: damn fine film)
6) Marathon Man
7) Casablanca

That's a very selective list based on my recall for this moment: I could change my mind again soon.

Seven people I want to join in
Look, folks, I get it: you're probably sick of memes. Tag yourself if you want to...!

* this extract from a DVD review of the film's extras should help:
Two Bleeps Notice is the best. Several attempts at scenes, that go wrong, followed by a lot of swearing. Hugh Grant has a favourite word that is very obvious here. It is a good word and I think it will now make a reappearance in my vocabulary after seeing this featurette. I am unconvinced how this language is allowed in a film with a certificate of 12A so I would not be surprised at all if the BBFC suddenly reclassify this. Funniest two and a half minutes of the DVD.


Hmmm... thanks to Norm for passing this on from the Guardian. I'm not a great Tatchell fan - though he can have his moments - but I did find this intriguing.
It's wrong to deny legal rights to close friends who have a strong, supportive bond, just because they are not lovers and don't have sex.

Similar legislation exists in Tasmania. Legal rights are granted to all relationships of mutual devotion and support, including gay couples, carers and unmarried heterosexual partners. It works Down Under; why not here?

As well as allowing people to nominate any significant person in their life, my civil-commitment pact would offer flexibility and choice. Partners could pick and mix from a menu of rights and responsibilities. Rights concerning tax contributions and social-security benefits would have to be linked together to prevent people claiming the benefits of relationship registration and avoiding the costs. Otherwise, there is no reason why two people should not be free to construct their own unique partnership agreement, tailored to their needs.

We see around us a huge variety of relationships and lifestyles. There are couples who live together, and those who live apart. Some share their finances; others maintain financial independence. The law should reflect and support these diverse relationship choices. The one-size-fits-all model of relationship recognition - exemplified by marriage and civil partnerships - is no longer appropriate.
What do others think? Personally, as someone who has been in a long-term relationship for a long time, I think that some greater flexibility of establishing "legal commitments" would be helpful. But surely a lot of this is covered by making a will? However, there are the problems of information exchange and pension rights - legislation has SO not caught up with these. Surely there could be some kind of document that could encompass such issues? Its a topic that clearly deserves further debate, despite - or maybe even because - of the recent legislation change in the UK.

Joe's eatery and a great garden

Hmmm... something is wrong... how come our garden never looks as good as Joe's? Oh yeah, it could be because we have no green thumb between us both...

Those nibbles in the process of cooking look good too...

Good job it is cold weather

... and this didn't happen any closer to Xmas.

Our fridge freezer decided it would be more fun to pump out warm air.


Watching the Children in Need Doctor Who special

Hee... the power of connections... thanks to Helen Lisette I at last managed to indulge in multiple viewings of the CiN special mini-episode of Doctor Who...

Poor Rose: I would have been confused as well... though that whole taking her by the hand thing: awh, sweet!

Roll on Xmas day!

The play tried to go on...

Gem from EineKleineRob.

Too funny to describe, but am sure my theatre working friend could regale with similar tales!

Friday, December 16, 2005


Let's put the anthropomorphism aside: as much as I love Morgan Freeman's voice, I don't think having "the voice of God" on the voice-over helped alleviate some of the syrupy human emotions attributed to the creatures. Despite this issue, it was hard to not be charmed by "March of the Penguins."

Perhaps it is the way they seem to groan when they fall or crash into each other; perhaps it is the sheer unadulterated cuteness of the the little fluffy offspring: but the photography was brilliant, it is a great story of triumph for survival (not of "love" whatever the narration says), and they are just such incredible creatures to watch - their grace underwater, firing along like torpedoes, is amazing to see.

Go and see it.

Thursday, December 15, 2005


Something along these lines turned up in my mailbox some time ago. As my brain is fried mush from working on reports till 2am, I'm taking a "time-out" at the office to sort paperwork, clea my email junk out and tidy my network drive files. Still have umpteen students to see as well, but thought this worth posting.

Friend, when you are sad... I will get you drunk and help you plot revenge against the sorry bastard who made you sad.

When you are blue... I'll try to dislodge whatever is choking you.

When you smile... I'll know you finally got a shag.

When you are scared... I will take the piss every chance I get.

When you are in a bad mood... I will lightly poke you in the ribs and call you amusing names

When you are worried... I will tell you horrible stories about how much worse it could be and to shut up.

When you are confused... I will use little words to explain it to you.

When you are sick... stay away from me until you're well again. I don't want to catch it.

When you fall... I will point and laugh at you.

This is my oath... I pledge till the end.

Why you may ask? Because you're my friend!

PS. A friend will help you move house. A really good friend will help you move a body.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

My face is like Shannen Doherty

Right... okay...huh? Strangely though I would swear the pic they use to illustrate the test is actually Maggie Gyllenhaal rather than Shannen Doherty (who gets her kit off a lot if Google pics search is anything to go by. I'd rather MG than SD - sorry.

I'm not even going into most of the options I was given from My Heritage. My sympathies Marie for not getting her desired choices, but I think I came off worse overall: one of them was actually Michael Douglas. Yes I am MORTIFIED.

Presentations and teaching

Oh lordy, Cloud passed this to me just now (sorry, I've been too busy to read the papers on time each day).

Having been made to feel like an idiot before making her own presentation by the manager who had "skipped her MBA 'supportive management' module", she nevertheless managed to get through the ordeal:
As I gratefully settled into my off-stage chair, I suddenly realised that something was very, very wrong. The lights were on, the music was playing, and my boss, who was the speaker after me, should have been about to make her terrible joke about being "more than worth it" - but the audience was deathly silent.

On the stage, where my boss should have been, there was an empty spotlight. And on the floor, having tripped over her own feet and tumbled arse first into the audience, lay my boss, one foot perched in the MD's lap.

As the lights went down, I mused that pride really does come before a fall.

And it brought to mind my own take on presentations: that, despite all the whizzy technology available, it pays to wear flat shoes and be as low-tech as possible. Learnt those things the hard way I can tell you (but no falls off the stage into any MD's lap...)

Jokes from Joe and friends


EineKleineRob had a good day

A very good day.

Still hate him for having got all his Christmas cards done though. Bah humbug.

Just like Buddy Holly

Great post by HolyHosesRob on the mysteries of Buddy Holly.

The night of the long report writing

So to compensate I'm reading Marie, whose trials and tribulations are always good to read (sympathy all round, but love you sure do make us laugh!)

She's currently pretty hungry: she's even threatened to eat her office.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005


Blimey, tonight's conclusion to Secret Smile actually made last night's episode look like Shakespeare. If it wasn't for his voice, I'd have turned the sound down too!

Still, nonsense with knobs on it was, and it remained. It was great to have him back on screen - why are shower doors frosted? - but this wasn't the best thing he could have had on his CV before the demands of Dr Who. That will really put him under the spotlight.

Case closed on the long Australian trial?

Is this the last of the posts on Dingoes Ate My Boyfriend?

I agree with Marie's comment on an earlier post that it's really only been the media who has planted seeds that Joanne Lees herself had anything to do with it, but it has been a weird case, run a really weird way and ultimately you feel won't close the case for the nay-sayers who didn't like Lees. What a bitch of a position for the girl to find herself in. I hope she and Falconio's family get some peace now.

Babelfish goes bonkers

John passes this bit of genius translation to the masses.


Clare is just brilliant. I have not yet reduced small children to tears, but it is a joy to read about someone who acknowledges the physicality of the human body (honestly, you'd think we're preapared to evolve into machines the way some folk try to disguise things... although Bender from Futurama was pretty noxiously human...)

Anyway Cloud: no funny remarks about me in response to this.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Cute dogs!

Very cute dogs!

(thanks to Cloud for cheering me up)

Sunday, December 11, 2005

My 4AD sampler is missing! (updated: no longer missing)

Okay, I'm clearly going insane because I've just spent the last hour frantically tearing my house apart trying to locate my beloved 4AD sampler CD from UNCUT magazine that is both irreplaceable and much played.

Being of unsound mind, I cannot access any rational "last seen" memory because I have images of burglars / pixies / martians stealing it from me in my head.

In the great scheme of things, a mislocated CD ain't much beef: and before someone suggests I just copy it back off my i-Tunes ... THAT'S THE WHOLE POINT! I was trying to find it to put it ONTO i-Tunes.

Okay, I'll stop shouting, but seriously, I'm going wappy here. If anyone has it, finds it, or can see into my mind to work out where it is, let me know. I noticed it was missing because I was working my way through my CD compilations which are at the start of my well-organised CD collection.

SNIFF! Wah!!!!

UPDATE: 6.28pm
Found it.

It was in my handbag: obviously has been in my work bag for some time.

Blush. I am, officially and with some good reason, an idiot.

But at least I found it!

Kara's dinner party

Wow: that's highbrow! Kara's dinner parties obviously involve talking. Actual conversation of an intellectual sort, with debate and such.

So I guess it breaks the etiquette or the seriousness of the meme to imagine mounting the guests on the dinner table....? Just me then...

Friday, December 09, 2005

Being cheered up right proper

This found via here made me smile. As did this.

Alternative Grammy Nominations

Mucho suggestions for better nominations for the Grammys over at Shakespeare's Sister in a Question of the Day from somewaterytart. First comment left mentioned Rufus and Ben Folds: well that sets the tone!

What about bigamy?

Cloud and I were watching TV and the topic of civil partnerships came up.
"If you enter a civil partnership and you're married, is that bigamy?"
Great questions of our time.

Boncey's Little Radio

Awh. Cloud just took me to this and I really feel for this blogger. For all its faults, I do like 6 Music.
A station for people that are too old for Radio 1 and too cool for Radio 2 as The Guardian once called it.

Save Christopher Robin from Disney

Marie is on the case.

Why oh why oh why oh why oh why? (Cloud is mocking me here: but as a huge Eeyore fan I love Pooh stories.)

PS thanks for the luurrve folks: I'm feeling a lot better. Oh yeah, and it is Friday!

The nature of blogging: what does it all mean (to me)?

It would be hard to ignore that (a) the WebBlog awards are here again, (b) that there is a book on British Blogging out, and (c) that the latter is causing some ruckus/comment in the blogsphere (since awards also make us aware of things and what is not nominated, I'm conflating the two).

Tim Worstall, esteemed collator/selector/editor of "2005 Blogged: Dispatches from the Blogosphere" has written extensively in response to people's reactions to the book and acknowledged some of its weaknesses (especially in reply to great posts such as that by Mike at Troubled Diva mentioned above which put the whole case much more eloquently than I could). But it did get me thinking about blogs: what they are, their purpose and their uses.

I mean, why do we blog? And does anyone care? Should they? Should any book on the topic be representative?

I initially posted on my Normblog profile that I blogged because I was "too cowardly to find a host for the website I have carefully constructed on my PC." Well, that's probably still true, but this has also subtly changed. I love the contact that blogging can bring me: a case of not just shouting into the wilderness, but establishing contact with those I would not otherwise meet. The thought that people located across this country and the globe would be spurred by my confession of feeling a bit down to send hugs and make silly remarks and all the rest is thrilling. Yet simultaneously it is obviously a public forum: and like most things that put you in the public eye, that can also have its downside. Rather like having your phone number listed in the directory (especially if you have a relatively uncommon name), it can be an invitation to all and sundry to get in touch. Yeah, I know, I'm contradictory - what! It took you this long to work that out?! - but I am an extroverted introvert. I draw attention to myself because I am terrified of being ignored - ah, my "only child" syndrome - yet also shrink in fear at being seen. It's a tough one to balance.

Why do I still blog and what is this blog about? Well, it's a bit random really. I do it because I rather like having the writing outlet and I'm too scatty to produce full texts after the PhD drain. I also like having the impetus to read other people's stuff and having this blog encourages me in that (I do read beyond my bloglist but that's my first port of call: and yes, I know not all of my readers are on it but I'm getting there). Blogging is a great way to express ideas, share ideas and operate a forum of commentary and debate. In terms of content, well, mostly it is cultural in its broadest sense. Sometimes I do have a rant about something political, but others generally do that better than me. I've not got a particularly reportage feel to this blog - I lack the interesting family and work life that I could report on (as, say, Jane so wittily does). I've also not got a specific cultural focus in only commenting on one particular thing... yes, I know the Paisley boys get a good load of mentions, but they're not the only topic here. Good TV and films; good books; good exhibitions: they're all fighting for house-room here.

And what connects these things? That would be me. Insignificant little ol' me. Oddly, though Tim Worstall's book tries to go beyond the political boundary, blogs such as this one probably are more representative of the overall picture of blogging. Sometimes inconsequential, sometimes commenting on crucial things, but always with an eye to being true to myself: to being personal.

Which kinda brings me to my final point ("at last" you cry!): that if you focus too much on how/why/whether there should have been more women bloggers in Worstall's book, it's a little like asking "why have there been no great women artists?" It's the question that's the problem: the very nature of not attending to the everyday, the relatively mundane, the trivial, the random. Sometimes you have to change the framework, as well as the attitudes that inform it, to get to why your list may be so partial.

Holidays and work

Reidski's comment in the post below brought back to mind the whole issue of University life and education and people's perceptions of what it entails (please note: I'm not attributing any of these attitudes TO Reidski, but it was in reponse to his comment that I am writing this.)

I know that the world thinks university life / education is a piece of cake. It is possible that someone like Shuggy, for example, might agree with me that despite the years of public debate about education, the perception is still that teaching - all those long holidays! - is a somewhat cushy existence by comparison to other professions. Perhaps it is. After all, it isn't shovelling shit for a living (though metaphorically it can feel like that). Maybe it is in the nature of each of us to perceive our own circumstances as peculiar and even difficult. That's not to say that nothing is good/bad, better/worse than anything else, but differences - between people and experiences - should not be treated as competitive. I'm getting rather tired of the "I've got it worse than you" mentality that seeps through conversations with other middle-class professions: they ask how you are and then after your reply they immediately respond with how how much worse it is for them. Sorry: I wasn't aware how we had to all just go one better with how crappy things are. (I have the Monty Python sketch running through my head now: "house?" you were lucky....")

Anyway, let's just take the forthcoming period towards the end of term and into New Year. I've booked the 22nd off my holiday entitlement. The University physically closes at the end of Thursday 22nd. Monday and Tuesday are Bank Holidays. Wed-Friday 28-29 the university also keeps its admin doors shut. The 2nd Jan is another Bank Holiday. So I am off work from the 22nd December to the 2nd January inclusive. I am happy to admit that compared to many working professions, this is more holiday at Christmas than most would get; although, I personally think that given the hours most people work in this country - unpaid as well as paid - we probably all deserve more holidays than less (I don't think the American standard for 2 weeks would work here at all, and I'm both terrified and admiring of how they can manage on so little).

Am I lucky? Yes, undoubtedly. My job isn't physical, dirty or mundane. And I do love it: it is hugely rewarding. But that doesn't stop it being emotionally exhausting, intellectually tiring, administratively complex and, in terms of hours in the day, overloaded. We've had around a 1/3rd increase in student numbers contacting our service this year. But we've unsurprisingly had no corresponding increase in staff (for some good reasons - vital staff training and professional development, new staff taking over etc - it could even be argued we've decreased our staff numbers). I'm tired of having to take work home just in order to keep as behind with things as I am doing... Yes, we almost certainly could be more organised, as every instititution often can be; but the key problem is we are doing too much, and the danger is that we're going to start doing it badly.

We do need to reassess what we do and how we go about it. But ultimately the work we do and the way that we currently do it IS good and IS worthwhile. It's just there is too much of it for us (let me say "me" and avoid putting my colleagues in with my take on things). I could not take work home at the weekend; but that would mean reports take three weeks to produce rather than two. Frankly, when I'm doing one of these assessments per week, I can't keep three weeks worth in my head at a time to interpret my notes: two, I can just about manage. But thanks to delays and illness and scheduling, I got off on the wrong foot with this task and I can't get straight with it. the plan had been to do the assessment in the morning and write up in the afternoon. That has not happened (the first one was scheduled for the afternoon - not my choice or control); then I was off ill; and it was a very complex report to write (a difficult situation, again not entirely within my control - though if I had had more experience I may have been able to deal with it better but it was my first). I have been playing catch-up ever since and despite blocking time out for specific tasks... well, its not easy to say to hysterically anxious people "sorry, I can't see you for a fortnight: please go and delay your breakdown until a more convenient moment."

As Cloud sang at me this week: "You care, you care a lot."

Also, riffing on one of our favourite films: "a study support tutor's life is intense; a study support tutor's life is always intense..."

I know, I need to relax and switch off, but it is easier said than done. I could also dow ith having greater backbone for ignoring people and telling them to bugger off. I'm too saft for my own good....

Thursday, December 08, 2005


Yes folks, after a mad dash of posts last week it's been a slower one this time around. That's because its been a faster week with everything else. I'm only posting this now because a student has not turned up and I'm clearing some of the detritus of my office to get straight. And because I need to apologise for my relative absence.

Also, I'm feeling a bit beleagured for a variety of reasons (some of which I do not want to go into here, at least at the moment). Work is a key one, but not the only one. Sometimes its harder to move on or keep things as you would like; sometimes things don't work out as planned or hoped; sometimes you just want a "stop" button...

Anyway, bear with me folks: I'm just under the weather at the mo. Counting the days till the end of term. Thankfully I have a good man and some awesome friends to remind me that I shouldn't always take full burdens for things on myself or blame myself for everything that happens. I'll get back in the swing of things soon I'm sure...

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

241; or, how stupid can I be?

Six degrees between us when me and my friend went to the pictures tonight (to see Flightplan but more on that later).

Stood in the queue thinking how busy the cinema is, my friend suddenly recalled it was Wednesday: Orange Wednesdays! Of course... pity neither of us has Orange.

Erm, I do... but surely we're too late?

No, we could text now...

What's the number?

Puzzling.... hmmm... damn, we've seen the annoying ads a ton of times. Ohh...

Friend suggests, maybe it has an 8 in it...?

Oh well, let's just pay. (Cloud said later "why didn't you ask at the ticket desk?": because that would have meant us being smart..)

Get into the screening: first ad, of course, if for Orange Wednesdays.

And the number?

241 - Two for One: gettit...

The shame kept us laughing all the way through the evening.

Good job: the film was, as Mark Kermode said, pants. Like, it starts off quite spooky and edgy, and in the end, as he said, you just end up saying "oh, so THAT'S where it's going"... disappointed. Mind, the actress playing the stewardess whose botoxed face meant that she couldn't emote if she was paid a million dollars was weirdly disturbing to watch for 90 mins....

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Taysiders in Space

A "Chewin' the Fat" special linked courtesy of Shakespeare's Sister.

Lots more pics on the unofficial Douglas Henshall site

Someone's been busy with a screen capturing kit: and it isn't me. Go see the delights.

What was the Cambridge Arts Theatre thinking?

Norm has a great post that includes a clear case - he quotes the letter with permission - for questioning Cambridge Arts Theatre hosting an evening with GG. Mind, I think raising even the word "rationale" in relation to events involving this man is problematic: motivation for hosting the evening? Publicity? Money? The usual things associated with GG?

PS if you think I'm being harsh on GG, you clearly haven't been to Harry's Place where he is a regular feature for commentary...

Dealing with Narnia

I grew up with these books and as I kid I was never particularly troubled by them (I recall I was probably about 9/10 when I read one of the later books - Voyage of the Dawn Treader - before I clicked about Aslan being Christ. And that was only because he suddenly appeared as a lamb...)

Anyway, thanks to the movie and the tie-in re-promotion of the books, there is a lot of comment about Lewis, his religion and the Narnia tales (here for Alison Lurie's rather generous, but reasonably balanced view; here for letters from the Observer on the topic, and here for Polly Tonybee's rant - and these are just the most recent from the Guardian/Observer).

Overall I guess I would say I'm ambivalent about these books: with an adult's eye they are undoubtedly deeply problematic - 'Muscular Christianity' indeed. But I did wince a lot reading PT's diatribe and wondered if she was writing polemic for its own sake?

And oh yeah: as much as I love Tilda Swinton and think she probably is magnificent as the Witch, she should have DARK hair as per the books...

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Library Thing

Thanks to Cloud for directing me to Chris Brooke's Virtual Stoa and seeing his use of Library Thing. Oh MY GOD! This will keep me occupied for hours and I will be so tempted to go for full membership. I mean, 200 out of our collected book habit is barely one full bookcase's worth of the beasts. I've thus changed my "Recommended Books" sidebar to have a widget link to the library. So "Stone Junction" may not always appear, but trust me it's in there.

The etiquette of sex in an office

Wandered with Cloud via several blogs and ended up reading this howlingly hilarous post (though obviously not from his perspective). Mind, this comment just added topping to that laughter:
Me, I just want to know: undergraduate, graduate, faculty, staff, or passers-by?

Mil Millington's experience of watching Willow

Cloud just brought me Mil Millington's column on gadgets from yesterday's Guardian Weekend Magazine. Now, we already have an established fondness for MM thanks to this and for being an ex-employee of Wolves Poly library. But this could not help but bring a smile to us. He was testing out a new wristwatch that monitors your pulserate, heartbeat etc. To test it out he watched a certain couple of episodes of Buffy (trust me, there are a lot of images from these two episodes out there!):
the two episodes where Alyson Hannigan appears as leather-wearing Vamp Willow. You know what I'm talking about here, right? I attempted control. OK, my pulse was up - low-60s - but that's not enough to give you away, is it? That's not a telltale heart. Ha! Ha! I'm going to live for ever and I can beat a polygraph. I can pass CIA vetting, dodge a murder rap, and afford to buy short and sell really long.
George, just how many times have you watched those two episodes...? Just a question sent into cyberspace...

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Rothko and Chagall and other art related memories

Reading Ardeelee's blog today, I felt an immediate thrill at someone else enthusing about Rothko and Chagall, two of my favourite 20th century artists.

Let's take Chagall first. When I was doing my A-levels we had a trip planned to London to go and view a major retrospective of Renoir at the Hayward Gallery. We were all very excited. We pretty much didn't take much notice that in the afternoon we were scheduled to visit the Royal Academy to see another major retrospective: Chagall. We all trundled down on a rainy day. It was already fairly depressing before we got to the Hayward: walking in there, we felt we had entered hell. Although there were probably a handful of the art crowd who were a little more stylistically adventurous, most of us had limited experience of modern (20th century) art. So the Renoir had promised to be a treat. Bleurgh. What a let down.

The place was full of tourists for Impressionism, herded through narrow walkways too close to properly see anything of what Renoir may have intended. Some of the images were still beautiful: The Swing seemed especially entrancing, with its dappled light. But having to navigate past wittering swooners when we were trying to be on a study visit was just a 'mare.

And then we hit the final room...

Oh God...

Seeing reproductions of some of Renoir's late bathers paintings doesn't do them justice (and I so do not mean that in a good way). It's not the size of the women - several of my friends over the years have also had Rubenesque figures and look great with it: it was the way in which he painted them...

Sickly coloured.
Overly pink.
And so over 'the human scale' that, crowded into the ridiculously small rooms that the Hayward had opted for, the images became nauseatingly overpowering. Several of the group actually went to throw up on exiting the show. We felt like we had been barfed at in an enclosed space by the colours...

Anyway, it was with disappointed and heavy hearts that we travelled across London to the RA for Chagall, a painter we knew far less about and I would say at that stage had little interest in.

WHAT a contrast. For a start, less people (blockbusters shows can be awful, and though the Renoir was probably on the cusp of when such shows took over the artworld, it was indicative of what was to come). And the images: breathtaking didn't get close to describing them.

Chagall's painting

The Green Fiddler

Chagall's painting

I and the Village

Stained glass by Chagall

And of course the stained glass... (see another example here)

Overall, we came out stunned and thrilled. I never forgot that revelatory day. And whenever I think of Chagll, I think of Howard and Theresa and me and the rest of 6th form art class crew coming home by train buzzing with excitement.

So what about Rothko?

I have to admit that it was a little while after I had finished my A levels when I got into Rothko. It was courtesy of the aforementioned friend Howard who I had loved from afar in art class, and who briefly kept in touch with me when we had left 6th form (something I was jolly pleased with I can tell you). He went to art college in London, and wrote one Christmas about how he had planned to do a project based on Rossetti. Now we had both been keen Pre-Raphaelite admirers at 6th form, but as you do when you grow up you can end up putting such childish things away (I still love them though, as viewers of this may know). Howard wrote enthusing that once he had let go of Rossetti and found Rothko he discovered a deeper meaning to life and art. Wow. Well that sold me.

Next visit I took to London I immersed myself in the Rothko room of the Tate Collection and let the blacks, the reds, the purples, the fading pinks and the lines of colour blur and swim, focus in and out... and I did truly feel alive and yet aware of death simultaneously. It knocked me sideways. (See here for some key examples)

What I loved about the images was though for me tied to the setting - the old Tate building's white walls and the relatively enclosed space. You couldn't enter the room except intentionally, and its contents were not visible from passing visitors.

At Tate Modern, that has - at least every time I have gone - been absent. Instead the room is a thoroughfare for visitors en rote to elsewhere in the gallery. It has entrances that make it impossible to not have people wander past your contemplative eyeline and that bugs the hell out of me. It's a shame because the grey walls and the lighting there ARE much more in tune with the images (though I have heard it argued that it makes the response you are likely to have much more directed by the setting than the images, which DOES disappoint me).

Still, all in all very good works, and thanks to Ardeelee for her reminder that prompted this lengthy post.

A film on TV to look out for this week: Small Faces

If you haven't seen it, can I recommend you watch Gillies MacKinnon's film Small Faces this week. It's beautifully written, the settings feel vibrant and terrible at the same time, and the cast is a dream.

It's Scottish as well: but doesn't star either of the Paisley boys.... go figure...

Could it be that if truth be told, the reasons why I am so fond of several Scottish acting talents is because they are so damn good? That would be it...

Ignores fact that she is typing this sat in her study facing large framed photograph of Douglas Henshall and a poster board of miscellaneous postcards, home photographs and several news clipped pictures of such certain actorly folk...Hee


OOOOOHHH! How exciting has Bleak House been this week. Weepy old me, I've shed buckets at this soapy drama and cheered heartily at Alan Rickman... sorry, Charles Dance*, getting the comeuppance that his satanic Tulkinghorn deserves.

Wonderful stuff.

*This remark alludes to the fact that when Dance opened the script for "Last Action Hero", at least the first reference to his character in the script was 'Alan Rickman opens the door'. I actually believe that Cloud and me are the only people who actually liked that film and have watched it with pleasure on many occasions.

Especially for Joe (Xmassy picture)

Found this amongst my pics from last Xmas... Somehow thought Joe (and EineKleineRob) may approve!

Right, that's quite enough stripes for one season...

Friday, December 02, 2005

Vote! Vote! Vote for theatre!

More voting required people. Get your votes in for Death of a Salesman (yes, yes, I know Duffman - Hedda Gabler...) and for the production of Look Back in Anger featuring Marie's bath companion...

The lost photographs

Thanks to Reluctant Nomad's comment on the genealogy post for directing me to this. I absolutely adore old photographs and at some point will probably try and start up something like Mike's aforementioned family history blog to store these online.

Hackers take down Harry's Place (updated)

Norm send this as an urgent call to the blog world at 11.05am today.

Given how Harry's Place acts as such a centrepoint for free speech and debate, it is outrageous to think that for ANY reason anyone would hack into and remove a site like it.

Spread the word people, and let's hope by the time this goes up all is well....

UPDATE: Norm says all is well. And judging by the comments at Harry's Place it was an erratic problem.... Benji's still there though... groan...

Radio playback

OOOHHH! I did enjoy listening to Mark Kermode's film review slot from Radio 5 Live last night. I used to love listening to that when I was a student and could laze my days away - I mean, multitask with writing / researching and listening to the radio.

Anyway, it was nice to know I can finally keep back up with his cranky wit. He sometimes annoys me, but often amuses so it is worth listening to.

Oh yeah, and Joe, I'll try and be a bit calmer today on the posting front... !!!

(you should see how much I've been yaddering on the David Tennant forum board: and before anyone suggests my heart has become fickle, trust me - if there was one for Douglas Henshall, I'd be queening it right now....Besides, I know too many of the smaller group of devotees who admire Dougie to ever feel comfy with yaddering more than I do here on the blog...)

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Google Earth

Just spent the last hour travelling the globe virtual stylee with "Google Earth"... woah, that is very cool. We have flown from Nottingham to New Zealand to see the location of Cloud's family homes there in just a matter of seconds. I suspect that the flight next year will take a little longer...


Come back and see us though won't ya? Will someone else take over Topo Gigio and the "At Home with the Intelligentsia" posts or are those copyright John?

Do you think it was because of the whisky?

[NOTE: the link won't work to John's post - is it the swearing???? - so you'll just have to go to Counago & Spaves main site for the post of Dec 1st. Sorry.]

The bad customer

Marie has had to endure another encounter with this woman. Poor gal. Still, she can always curl up with Elle magazine for comfort...

Vote vote vote!

You may choose something like this or this, but whatever sailed your boat this year, VOTE!

Cloud and his rant on geneaology

Cloud, I think, has written before on his loathing of the kennel club approach to geneology [tell me where!]. Here, he goes at the topic again.

I have to confess I have an ambivalence on the topic as I too have done a little in the way of family tree hunting, though as a visual and cultural historian, I'm a bit more interested in all the family photographs I have (their siginificance, who took them, why, the clothes, the costs etc) and issues of social relationships than just clocking up names back to the Norman Conquest. Also, as I watched Cloud typing up his blog last night - Broadband! Weeee! - it was interesting to see how the rant could take over constructing his argument. Cloud is one of the smartest people I know, but as I know from studying alongside him on the OU, he can make some really big assumptions that his meaning comes across clearly. In this instance, he was so incensed by the poorly written argument in the Grundie that he was in danger at several points of confusing his readers further rather than illuminating her inadquate comments.

It's still a corking post though: even has a biblical quote alongside Billy Bragg.

I hope John did not drink all of these

... he could at least share...

The HolyHose rant on crises

Great review of the role played by the impact of Thatcher and the long previous reign of Tory government in several current crises. Go read.

Books are good

Like you didn't know I would agree with that...

(Hat tip Norm, from Gabriel Zaid).


From books to reading...

Decode it how you need to, but let's just making reading FUN and interesting rather than purely practical...

Skud's scary building

He's not wrong.

Funnies that make a good start to the day...

Even if you have heard them before.

Courtesy of Rita (as ever) via her friend Meri.
Why do we press harder on a remote control when we know the batteries are getting weak?

Why do banks charge a fee on "insufficient funds" when they know there is not enough?

Why does someone believe you when you say there are four billion stars, but check when you say the paint is wet?

Why doesn't glue stick to the bottle?

Why do they use sterilized needles for death by lethal injection?

Why doesn't Tarzan have a beard?

Why does Superman stop bullets with his chest, but ducks when you throw a revolver at him?

Why do Kamikaze pilots wear helmets?

Whose idea was it to put an "s" in the word "lisp"?


Why is it that no matter what color bubble bath you use the bubbles are always white?

Is there ever a day that mattresses are not on sale?
Why do people constantly return to the refrigerator with hopes that something new to eat will have materialized?

Why do people keep running over a string a dozen times with their vacuum cleaner, then reach down, pick it up, examine it, then put it down to give the vacuum one more chance?

Why is it that no plastic bag will open from the end on your first try?

How do those dead bugs get into those enclosed light fixtures?

When we are in the supermarket and someone rams our ankle with a shopping cart and then apologizes for doing so, why do we say, "It's all right?" Well, it isn't all right, so why don't we say, "That hurt, you stupid idiot?"

Why is it that whenever you attempt to catch something that's falling off the table you always manage to knock something else over?

In the winter, why do we try to keep the house as warm as it was in summer, when we complained about that heat?

How come you never hear father-in-law jokes?

The statistics on sanity are that one out of every four persons is suffering from some sort of mental illness. Think of your three best friends -- if they're okay, then it's you
By the way, Rita, you may spot I edited one out. Sorry, but I don't want to post anything that suggests I swallow creationism...

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Limbo officially cancelled

Not the dance, merely the Catholic idea.

I'm IN!!!! Broadband at home!

Okay, so I'm knackered and worn from installing Norton to protect my damn PC... but even so!

I'm IN!!! yeah...

Okay, feeling faint now - need food. May have to come back after tea....

And I'm back...

Blogger gone blank

Not even sure if this will come up?
BTW have just joined the forum for - woah mama, this is seriously distracting fun!

The movie that changed your life

Great post on Time Bandits, but even better some cracking remarks and films mentioned in the comments box.

For me, its Casablanca - greater love I suppose... or perhaps (and this is well cheesy) Dead Poets Society - to seize the day.

St Andrew's Day

Oooh, and they have a new front page pic over at this site AND proof that even when your star is in the ascendency it is possible to still send a nice picture (see news page) and letter.

David Tennant: well done!

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

On supporting Nottingham Forest

Now aren't you all glad that I have no offspring to indoctrinate?!

Brilliant - especially the audio clip at the end.

As a Forest fan, born and bred under the age of glory, now all too saddened by the recent traumas, I totally understand the desire to keep supporting the team - even if it does mean fibbing a little bit. Never mind, you could always make out like Superman: you know, the glasses make him look like a totally different person who seems to be in two places at the same time!

A Cloud and his books

Yes dear.

Sigh. I know I'm as bad. And I buy magazines as well...

Now which Doctor Who related one shall I sneak home this week...?

Uses for the Kaiser Chiefs

Now now, don't be rude: Cloud and I are rather fond of the poppy tunes of the Kaiser Chiefs.

No, what I am chuckling at is this gem from Marie. Now should we say the choice was apt or beyond ironic?

The "Through the Keyhole" winner

After the 'play-off' Rob swept to glory.


That Norm game in full

Mentioned last week, I am peeking above the parapet of work to inform you of my attempt at Norm's game:

I picked up: Ways of Reading - An Anthology for Writers (3rd ed). Ed. by David Bartholomae and Anthony Petrosky. Published by Bedford Books of St. Martin's Press, Boston (1993)

I turned to page 200 and found myself in an extract from Michel Foucault's Discipline and Punish ("The Body of the Condemned"). The sentence reads:
"We should analyse what might be called, in homage to Kantorowitz, 'the least body of the condemned man.' "
This led me to look up Kantorowitz.

Ernst Kantorowitz: German-born Jewish historian of theology and iconographer, Ernst was born on May 3rd, 1895.

Okay, now here's where I hit a problem: I got a link at Wiki for May 3rd for Cornelius Van Til, but it then turns out he was actually born May 4th. Shame, because he taught at Princeton University, which as any fuel knows is where Ben Baer teaches.

However, to get a link to someone born on May 3rd 1895, I have to be more inventive. Let's go for some family history/oral history records. Ooh, this will do: Herman Mark. He got an honorary degree in 1979 from the University of Nottingham, which is of course where I work and did my PhD.

Job done. That was quite satisfying in a bizarre kinda way...

Monday, November 28, 2005

Stuff you can use

From the people who brought you this (which NEVER fails to make me giggle infectiously) comes these gems...

Perfect for anyone marking assignments (or helping offspring to write).

The Magic of Vodka

My friend Rita, source of the strange and the wonderful, forwarded this with the remark that she had "just been drinking it" prior to receiving this missive.

I'll drink to that rather than many of these uses...
1. To remove a bandage painlessly, saturate the bandage with vodka. The solvent dissolves the adhesive.
2. To clean the caulking around bathtubs and showers, fill a trigger-spray bottle with vodka, spray the caulking, let set five minutes and wash clean. The alcohol in the vodka kills mold and mildew.
3. To clean your eyeglasses, simply wipe the lenses with a soft, clean cloth dampened with vodka. The alcohol in the vodka cleans the glass and kills germs.
4. Prolong the life of razors by filling a cup with vodka and letting your safety razor blade soak in the alcohol after shaving. The vodka disinfects the blade and prevents rusting.
5. Spray vodka on vomit stains, scrub with a brush, then blot dry.
6. Using a cotton ball, apply vodka to your face as an astringent to cleanse the skin and tighten pores.
7. Add a jigger of vodka to a 12-ounce bottle of shampoo. The alcohol cleanses the scalp, removes toxins from hair, and stimulates the growth of healthy hair.
8. Fill a sixteen-ounce trigger-spray bottle and spray bees or wasps to kill them.
9. Pour one-half cup vodka and one-half cup water in a Ziplock freezer bag, and freeze for a slushy, refreezable ice pack for aches, pain, or black eyes.
10. Fill a clean, used mayonnaise jar with freshly packed lavender flowers, fill the jar with vodka, seal the lid tightly and set in the sun for three days. Strain liquid through a coffee filter, then apply the tincture to aches and pains.
11. Make your own mouthwash by mixing nine tablespoons powered cinnamon with one cup vodka. Seal in an airtight container for two weeks. Strain through a coffee filter. Mix with warm water and rinse your mouth. Don't swallow.
12. Using a q-tip, apply vodka to a cold sore to help it dry out.
13. If a blister opens, pour vodka over the raw skin as a local anesthetic that also disinfects the exposed dermis.
14. To treat dandruff, mix one cup vodka with two teaspoons crushed rosemary let sit for two days, strain through a coffee filter and massage into your scalp and let dry.
15. To treat an earache put a few drops of vodka in your ear. Let set for a few minutes. Then drain. The vodka will kill the bacteria that is causing pain in your ear.
16. To relieve a fever, use a washcloth to rub vodka on your chest and back as a liniment.
17. To cure foot odor, wash your feet with vodka.
18. Vodka will disinfect and alleviate a jellyfish sting.
19. Pour vodka over an area affected with poison ivy to remove the urushiol oil from your skin.
20. Swish a shot of vodka over an aching tooth. Allow your gums to absorb some of the alcohol to numb the pain.
Howzat that folks? Don't you still just want to have it with some fruit-juice or ice?

Two/three inch sized flakes of snow


Children in Need - BOO HOO!

The bloody video clip was removed on Friday! I've JUST managed to finagle a colleague to get my computer to work with video clips (like me it's cranky: I pleaded that I needed to watch a short wma file from a student's presentation) and now I find that it's gone!

Anyone video it or download it?

I can't wait till Christmas!

Did I say that the keyhole votes went in?

I was apparantly easy to spot: though there is some confusion about an appearance by Kylie in my pics??? It's the box set from LA Confidential with Kim Basinger on the front...

Given I just shot in the dark, I'm surprised I made the play off for the results!

On the NME

Better not let my friend George get started on the topic of NME magazine: he'll put Paul Fuzz's diatribe to shame.

Mind, Cloud can usually give it a run for the money - all together now, "it was better when it had articles about deconstruction and Derrida and politics and..."

There, there dear: I was just happy to see Jarvis Cocker on the front cover... ah, halcyon days...

NOTE: Shame on me: should have made note of the hat-tip. This of course comes from the lovely Anna, doyen of awarding prizes to the Sheffield Theatre scene...

NTL Hell

No Broadband. NTL think they came to install it on 19th Nov: my account there says they did. My house says not as no modem etc has appeared and no engineer. They should have come THIS Saturday (26th).

I think they may have my house confused with one of the same house number and road name in the similar-named next estate (we often get their prescriptions delivered here: NB on that note I am confused that a little old lady had broadband installed...; not as little old ladies cannot have broadband, just that... oh never mind)

Anyway: I'm cranky and cross and threatened to go very Dark Willow on them. As George encouraged me by text:
"U do ur angry yelling thing u bad girl in black u!"
I was in the event quite restrained. If it ain't all up and running soon though, that Willowy effect may kick in...

Just to annoy Duffman: The Evening Standard Theatre Awards

It's the Awards season again.

I note that Claire Higgins and Brian Dennehy both have nominations for Death of Salesman. Sadly, the lovely Douglas Henshall has not been nominated (boo!).

However, before Duffman gets his knickers in a knot (as he so often does), he may want to know that Eve Best was nominated for her performance in Hedda Gabler.

That should keep him quiet.

Friday, November 25, 2005

A little late arrival: Paul the Spud sets Question of the Day at Shakespeare's Sister - "which song do you wish you had written?"

Lots of great answers, and of course much discussion of the marvellous "Hallelujah" by Leonard Cohen.

My choice for what I wish I had written? today I would go for the brilliant Nick Cave and "God is in the House". I'm with my pal George that the line about "Well-meaning little therapists, Goose-stepping twelve-stepping Tetotalitarianists" - great alliteration!

Awesome song too.

Nottingham guide

Ever wondered what my home town is like?

Well Mike over at Troubled Diva has saved me all the trouble of having to write it: go read this little insight (with great links) and giggle as I did at his descriptions.

Norm's game

I want to try this out!

Dylan polling *

Mojo versus Normblog polling: the Norm positions are in parenthesis
01 (01) - Like A Rolling Stone
02 (09) - Desolation Row
03 (03) - Visions Of Johanna
04 (08) - Mr Tambourine Man
05 (02) - Tangled Up In Blue
06 (22) - Positively 4th Street
07 (07) - Idiot Wind
08 (17) - Blind Willie McTell
09 (04) - Don't Think Twice, It's All Right
10 (12) - It's All Over Now, Baby Blue
11 (05) - Subterranean Homesick Blues
12 (28) - Shelter From The Storm
13 (22) - Just Like Tom Thumb Blues
14 (41) - Forever Young
15 (13) - Sad Eyed Lady Of The Lowlands
16 (13) - Lay Lady Lay
17 (00) - Every Grain Of Sand
18 (09) - All Along The Watchtower
19 (21) - Simple Twist Of Fate
20 (17) - Love Minus Zero/No Limit

Same number 1, same number 3, same number 7. An overlap of 7 in the top 10, and of 14 in the top 20.
Looks like there is at least some consensus on Bobby Z.

NOTE: yes, I know, it took me till Mon 28 Nov to spot the typo. I suck.


Secular Burroughs stylee.

Thanks to John at Counago&Spaves.

How not to organise a wedding

Nutters and spambots of the world descend on a wedding...?

Marie does yet more to prove she has a sharp sense of humour: though she does give the link in the end.

Nauseating by the way...

Barty Crouch Jnr.

Oh dear, I think I lost the plot somewhat last night when watching Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. I found the whole tongue-flicking thang of Barty Crouch Jnr. just a little too appealing....

I am beyond redemption...

Predictive texting

Sorry, but especially as this is something I have never mastered, this made me smile.

Thursday, November 24, 2005


There's been a lot of talk in response to both the poll on attitudes to rape, and now the advice of the judge that led to the collapse of a rape case. Mary McFarlane's letter in the Guardian today follows up on an article about unplanned and unprotected sex, and makes the point that matters or "aspects of behaviour - a woman's drinking, her outfit, her manner, how many partners she has had, whether she knows the man in question...should be irrelevant".She goes on to say:
If there is any hope of a reduction in rape, we need to make a firm distinction between sex to which both partners have consented, no matter how ill-advised that consent may seem to us, and sex where one partner has not consented. This distinction is common to all types of rape, and it is imperative that is sharply and clearly maintained.
What's my take on this? Well, clearly attitudes of blame are pretty Neanderthal in tone (and unsurprisingly women are just as, if not more, critical than men on these matters). But what really irks me is the action of the Swansea judge in effectively taking over the role of the jury in deciding the response for them (this ain't Judge John Deed). He focuses on the decision of the girl to drink as a priori excusing evidence that consent cannot be confirmed.

Whether or not the girl could accurately recall giving consent should not allow the judge to take the decision-making process out of the hands of juries. That's why we have jury trial. We may not like what they decide, but it is up to them to evaluate the evidence. The jury could have decided that it was just not clear enough whether consent was given, but could have considered whether it was reasonable to assume that it had been on the part of the alleged rapist. The judge's comments go beyond advice on HOW to evaluate the evidence and come to a decision and effectively makes that decision on their behalf.

Responsibility is clearly a complex issue, and one full of ambiguities in personal relationships. Yes, I would accept we have to take some responsibility for how we behave, the decisions that we take and the actions that result. HOWEVER, and that's a really big capital letters HOWEVER, responsibility cuts two ways. Given that no one could pretend to be ignorant of how alcohol - for example - affects the decision-making process, the ability to give INFORMED consent, surely there is just as much duty of care and responsibility on the other person to assess whether someone can reasonably give consent? It's like checking "beyond reasonable doubt". And power relationships can also affect how reasonable it is to assume that the consent is both reasonably given and that the person is in a position to understand the implications of their consent. It's also (I think this came from Shuggy) that you have to be aware that you have a responsibility to behave appropriately REGARDLESS of the behaviour and actions of the other person: eg you are a teacher, they are a pupil. I've no wish to infantilise over 18s, but there are issues of power and vulnerability where alcohol may be the masking excuse for taking advantage.

Can of worms for the day now open: aren't you glad I came back after my day of enforced absence from the blog world...?!

Insanity Rules

Or Rull's insanity...

Work is utterly... yep, more students incoming...

It's like being under fire at the mo!

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Pete Ashton's Gone Deaf with Gigging

Not really, though given his assiduous attending of local gigs, it would easy to understand why!

Go read the reviews and marvel.

(thanks to Mike at Troubled Diva whose visit to my blog tipped me to visit there and spot this).

A review of an exhibition past

Belatedly I spot that the review I wrote for ASIB (American Studies in Britain) is now up. Just scroll to read my review of the Impressionism Abroad exhibition that was on at the Royal Academy summer 2005.


Laughed at this gem within a post over at HolyHoses:
There's nothing in the BBC article that I didn't learn years ago, looking up the subject in what used to be called a Public Library, which is what we had before the internet. Our public library has been turned into a joke shop slash stationers slash second hand bookshop slash internet cafe slash place for old people to wait for the post office to open. There may be a small corner still dedicated to actual books.

What cheers; what chokes

What cheers
Last night on a crowded bus, having waited for an age in the cold, only to be met by a cranky driver... small girl gets on with her mum and proceeds to sing "Old MacDonald Had a Farm". She kept checking with mum about what animals she could do ("And on that farm he had some... what did he have mum?...") and what noise they made ("Sheep" "Do they go baa?" "Yes"). As the girl merrily sang away it was hard for anyone to remain in a bad mood, though the girl did spot that she got a response ("are all the people smiling at me?")


What chokes
Over-dowsed perfume. Really, as Cloud says "have that shat themselves?" Uneccesary and awful for asthmatics...

Fancy playing "Through the (Bloggers) Keyhole"?

Try at Clare's to spot the bloggers houses...

If you scroll down the posts you can look at each house individually and decide on your match between blogger and house. There are 13 of us in total (yes, we're in there).

Clare gives the low down on the participants:
"There are 13 participants, and they are as follows:
Mike from Troubled Diva. He has TWO houses, and a Princess Diana Memorial Garden.
Gordon from Gordon McLean. He lives in Scotland, and is good at computers and stuff.
Pen from A Typical Pen. She's into flowers.
Ruth from Meanwhile Here In France. She's a musician who lives in the French countryside, with her painter husband.
Zinnia from Real E Fun, who directs funerals at a mystery location.
Rob from Eine Kleine Nichtmusik, who also lives in Scotland, and is a musician in his spare time.
Vitriolica from Unkempt Women, who lives, and indeed draws/paints, in Portugal with two small children and a professor.
Yclepta from Yclepta, who is a discerning feminist.
Zoe from My Boyfriend is a Twat. She lives in Belgium. With newts. And a twat.
Clair from Life in Reverse, who takes lots of great photos and does things backward.
Clare from Boob Pencil, who has a thing about breasts.
Lisa from Rullsenberg Rules, who gobbles up all aspects of culture and lives with a cloud.
Joe from Joe in and around Las Vegas, who lives in Las Vegas. Oh no, was that a secret? Sorry."

Have fun!

More on accents and stuff

Excellent link sent from Cloud/Wilson as acquired from the comments at Harry. I especially like the translate ability....


I boobed [ha] yesterday on updating to include links to both of Clare Sudbury's blogs on my blog sidebar. That should now be okay here and here.

Buffyology has also moved to a new URL: the link is on the Buffy sidebar and here.

Go check them out...

Monday, November 21, 2005

HP4 forthcoming

I'm off on Thursday but since I have read the book, I'm not really bothered by spoilering. So I was happy to read EineKleineRob's review of the new film.

He very sweetly noted what several friends spotted: namely, that by including both DT and JC, I'm extra interested in seeing the film. My friend Helen Lisette texted to say DT was suitably bonkers and evil. And Jarvis does some good music. Even JustJane said she was thinking of me watching it. Oh goodie....

89 albums: revisited

In some respects the more we thought about this Tim de Lisle "89 essential albums", the more ridiculous the task became. After my initial response here it all got muh more complicated. In some instances, we loved specific songs on certain albums, but didn't necessarily feel they best represented the artiste. And even having compilations to represent certain artistes felt equally crazy. I ended up returning to the copy of Q that I purchased last summer (2004) with its 1001 essential songs and thinking that - as bonkers as that was - it still seemed more legitimate than what we were trying to do with the album selection.

Tim de Lisle ducked a key issue by selecting to include compilations by specific artistes without specifying which particular compilation he had in mind (let's face it some are just dire; others take you away from thinking about the album as a conceptualised entity - I know this is becoming less important in the i-Pod age of mixing and matching, selecting and ommitting, but compilations are problematic.) However, to ignore compilations is equally difficult. Let's say that some artistes are essential (or some periods/labels) and that you should aim to get something by each of those listed.

Some things we immediately agreed on. Bryan Ferry is not required, though feel free to get some Roxy Music if you feel you need it. George Michael? Oh please... you may as well have included the ubiquitous Robbie Bloody Williams if that's how you're going to respond. Where things got harder was when it came to disentangling our personal - in some cases VERY personal - selections from those we felt everyone should have. Amongst those recognised as things we loved in our record collection, but which may not translate to fighting for a place in a general list were acts such as Ballboy, Camera Obscura, DJ Shadow, several female vocalists and groups (Ladytron, Melys, Lauras' Cantrell and Veirs, PJ Harvey), Low, Misty's Big Adventure, Gram Parsons, Rachels, and Underworld. We probably made a rod for our backs in even trying to include the ommitted categories from de Lisle's list (classical came off especially badly as we couldn't quite decide on specific recordings and there were so many composers we really wanted to include: perhaps that really does have to be a separate list?) The more we strayed away from the waters of identifiably pop/rock music, the more difficult it became to choose representatives: there is no where near enough piano jazz on this list (Monk, Bill Evans trio etc), and swing doesn't get a place either. Where are all the great blues artistes that everyone should have? Clearly 89 choices just isn't going to do the trick for all the ones we felt should be there, even trying to push aside the quirks of our own music collection.

ABC - Lexicon of Love--Awh, you know you want it!

Arcade Fire - Funeral --For me the best album of the year and further proof that Canada is where its at --- apart from Scotland of course ;)

The Avalanches - Since I Left You--Fun, twisty, bonkers. Sampling taken to new heights.

Bach/Yo-Yo Ma - Cello Concertos--I'm with Donna Moss. Impossible to listen to without feeling overwhelmed by their beauty.

John Barry - Themeology--Film music writ large. Grand songs; grand scores.

Beach Boys - Pet Sounds--Because, well, actually, it really IS up there as one of the best ever albums.

Beatles - Revolver--The move from pop to more than that.

Beatles - 1962-1966 (The Red Apple collection)--The best intro to the FabFour even though the transfer of tracks was lousy. Get the tracks as they appear in this collection from better sources.

Billy Bragg - Back to Basics--Best collection of his early work, though I would also recommend Worker's Playtime as the most emotionally complete of his albums.("The Only One" includes the wonderful line "here I am, a victim of geography" - the most perfect way of describing separated lovers).

Blondie - Best of --I'd go for Parallel Lines but would be deprived of too many of their great tracks. This is still a much played album and for its pop purity deserves its place on the list.

David Bowie - Best--I know he needs to be on here. I just need to choose.

Jeff Buckley - Live at Sine--Yes, I know Grace is THE album. But in Buckley's short life, "live performing" was what made him. Funny, silly, touching and graceful/Grace-full.

Buena Vista Social Club--You want a party? Play this. We do.

Johnny Cash - American IV: When the Man Comes Around--Even less perfect tracks become wondrous alongside the most awesome ones here.

Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds - The Boatman's Call--Bitter and lush. Perfectly miserable. The best kind of darkness.

Ray Charles - Best--Too good to exclude this great voice.

Chemikal Underground compilation - Out of Our Heads on Skelp--Label collections can be gorgeous. This has a truly inspired selection, and has pretty much my favourite ever Delgados tracks on it.

Clash - London Calling--Close call with Sandinista, but this wins out. Just.

Constellation Collection/GodSpeedYouBlackEmperor - Song of the Silent Land/Yanqui UXO--You need at least one good example of modern post-rock. The new classical all wrapped up. Go for the collection or the focus.

Sam Cooke - Best--A great voice, and great soul material.

The Costello Show - King of America--Yes, I adore "I Want You" from Blood and Chocolate, and many other tracks besides, but this is the album I feel best pulls together his wit and bile.

CSNY - Deja Vu--Not really a band as such, but a beautiful and strange collection of songs from 4 great talents. "Letting my freak flag fly..."

Miles Davis - Kind of Blue--Tough call to not go for the compilation The Essential Miles Davis which across two albums DOES bring together a great representative selection from one of the most difficult to sum up jazz artistes of the 20th century.

De la Soul - 3 Feet High and Rising--Funny and sharp.

Nick Drake - Way to Blue: An Introduction to Nick Drake--A beautiful selection and hard to beat, even though any of his albums could have been here.

Ian Dury and the Blockheads - New Boots and Panties--Knocks the spots off any Sex Pistols album

Bob Dylan - Highway 61 Revisited--For "Desolation Row", undoubtedly one of my favourite Dylan tracks, and for the being so darn important.

Bob Dylan - Blonde on Blonde--Acerbic analysis and tender sentiment. The live version of "I Want You" from Live at Budakhan may be more lyrically paced, but this album overall is brilliant from start to finish.

Elgar/Du Pre - Cello Concerto--Obvious, I know, but this piece still makes my heart sing.

The Fall - (you choose an album)--Love him or hate him, Mark E Smith has to have a place: they're always different, but always the same.

Ella Fitzgerald - The Cole Porter Songbook--One of the best writers; one of the best interpreters. Class all ways round.

Gang of Four - Entertainment!/Post-Punk Collection--Because you have to. Supplement this with any good Post-Punk collection (Rough Trade have some neat selections).

Marvin Gaye - What's Goin' On?--Without which there would be no Massive Attack...

Emmylou Harris - Best--Red Dirt Girl was the big recent comeback but she has been brilliant throughout her career.

Billy Holiday - Lady in Satin--Sweet and striking.

Michael Jackson - Best of--Off the Wall and Thriller, whatever you may think of this damaged person, are incredible albums and over the years there have been too many great disco/dance tracks to ignore him.

Jam - Snap!--Even if Paul Weller is living Eric Clapton's career in reverse, when he was good he was very very good. Could I roll in with this the Style Council collection? Ah go on...

Joy Division/New Order - Best of--You can choose which you prefer, but at least one of these has to have a place

Led Zepplin - Physical Graffitti--The Rock Album to beat all Rock Albums?

Tom Lehrer - An Evening Wasted with...--Does satirical music count? Witty and intelligent. I say it does.

Kirsty Macoll - Best--Kite has some of her best tracks on it, but a Best Of also brings extra goodies.

Madness - The Definitive Singles/Two-Tone collection--This gets re-issued about once every 10-18 months, but every home should have a little Madness in it. However much I loved The Specials, for me Madness were at the heart of Two-Tone. Perhaps to be complemented or substituted by a Two-Tone collection?

Magnetic Fields - 69 Love Songs--Even though this 3 album extravaganza of offers copious amounts of melancholia and joy for your bucks, the collection of Stephin Merritt's by the Sixths Hyacinths and Thistles has too much perfection to be ignored. Basically though, SM needs to be in your list.

Bob Marley - Legend--The best Marley collection

Massive Attack _ Blue Lines--This may be indebted to Marvin gaye, but this is still a beautiful album. Shara Nelson on vocals at her best...

Mingus - Mingus Ah Um--You have to have some Mingus in there.

Enio Morricone - Best of--I would happily go for the score from Once Upon a Time in the West but a representative collection may be needed.

Randy Newman - Best--More acerbic brilliance.

Augusto Pablo and King Tubby ---The album that Cloud cannot recall the name of, thinks is probably now unavailable, and which we do not own. Nice one dude, well justified. Still makes the list.

Pere Ubu - The Modern Dance--You have to own some Pere Ubu. May as well have this. Avant-everything.

Lee Scratch Perry - Arkology--The definitive 3 CD collection of Dub works from the maestro of production.

Pixies - Dolittle--Indisputably their best (don't care what you say...)

Pogues - Best--You could just go for Rum, Sodomy and the Lash or for If I Should Fall From Grace With God but a collection may be best.

Prefab Sprout - Steve McQueen--Yes, you could go for a "Best of" which would also give you tracks such as "Cruel" ""Wild Horses", "We Let the Stars Go" "Talking Scarlet" "Nightingales"... oh shucks, even I'm talking myself out of this selection. No, no, stick with it. This is perhaps the most complete of their albums, and the most bittersweet.

Elvis Presley - No. 1s--'Cos it's true: you have to have Aaron.

Prince - Sign O'The Times--The album by the little guy with the big ego. Perfect social commentary. Great tracks.

Pulp - Different Class--Would their single collection represent them better? Not when this contains the viciously brilliant "I-Spy." All together now: "In the midnight hour, I will come to you..." Shudder.

Radiohead - The Bends--I do think that Radiohead are one of the best bands from the 1990s. As much as I can admire OK Computer and their more recent work, maybe I like 'songs' too much? This has them breaking out beyond "Creep" (still a brilliant song) but retaining a link to approachable songs that started getting lost on later work. "Fake Plastic Trees" rips me up every time, but the album does work as whole.

Ramones - Anthology--A two disc collection that pulls singles and other tracks from across the various Ramones incarnations.

Lou Reed - Transformer--Insiduously dark, made palatable by melody.

REM - IRS "Best of"/Warners "Best of"--In their own ways, both are worth having. You can chose which, but I'm too torn to decide. I also have an alternative 'Best of the Rest' which I can't really include because its more of a Number 89 album [you'll see what I mean].

Jonathan Richman and the Modern Lovers - 19 greatest hits--Well, not really, but Richman should be in all music collections. Perfect quirkiness.

Rolling Stones - Hot Rocks--Surely the best ever Stones compilation.

The Roots - Things Fall Apart.--Had to have something from the 'Illadelphia gang. This has the wonderful Erica Badu track AND the heart-wrenching "Return to Innocence Lost" by Ursula Rucker.

Simon and Garfunkel - Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme--Many to choose from, and any good collection may suffice, but this is a rather special album. Harmonies to die for.

Nina Simone - Gold--The best collection of her work. Silky and tough.

Frank Sinatra - Songs for Swinging Lovers--THE collection for lovers everywhere.

Sleater Kinney - All Hands On the Bad One--Female pop should be on any good list.

The Smiths - The Queen is Dead--The height of their powers...

Phil Spector--He's mad and bad, but he produced some of the most perfect pop songs and performances ever put on disk.

Bruce Springsteen - Born to Run--His best album?

Bruce Springsteen - The River--For me it's a tough call as I have intimate memories of first hearing The River. Would be tough to choose.

Squeeze - The Big Squeeze--I grew up a huge fan of Squeeze and their story telling is just gut-wrenching. I can bearly think of "Up the Junction" and "Labelled with Love" without bursting into tears.

Talking Heads - Stop Making Sense--Best live band performance on film? Possibly. Alive with genius.

They Might Be Giants - A User's Guide--Not so much a 'greatest hits' as a sampler of their quirkiness.

David Thomas and the Two Pale Boys - Surf's Up!--Because one chunk of David Thomas is not enough. Worth admission for the title track and "Man in the Dark" (which Thomas himself says includes the verse he is most proud of writing in all his works...)

Various - I'm Your Fan: Songs of Leonard Cohen--You're gonna hate me for not going for the man himself, but this is such a good collection of covers. Get it if only for Cale's simnple piano cover of "Hallelujah". Is it possible to do a bad version of that track? Second thoughts, do not tell me...

Various - Festival in the Desert--A brilliant collection of recordings from some of the most inspiring artists from across the world (and Robert Plant... sorry, only joking: he too is brilliant here)

Various - Sounds of the New West--Probably a cheat as you can only get this via... well, it came free with UNCUT magazine and remains THE collection of Am sure you coudl get access to it somehow....

Velvet Underground and Nico--Pretty difficult to justify excluding this classic - even though the recording is less than perfect/'in-tune'...

Rufus Wainwright - Want (One and Two - now available as a double pack)--Possibly cheating to go for the coming 2 disc collection of these last two albums, but these are fantastic value. You may loath him of course, and I won't hesitate to acknowledge he is an acquired taste, but these are sublime.

Tom Waits - Swordfishtrombones--First? Best? Bleakly wonderful

Wedding Present - Bizzaro--You can all make your cases for other albums by this band, but for me this remains their best. Spiralling guitars, rasped lyrics, bitter thoughts. Brilliant. So what if "Every Song Sounds The Same"? (Their 'in-joke', not mine...)

Barry White - Best Of--Oh you know you need it...

Hank Williams - 40 Greatest--The dude of country music.

Wire - The A List--Selected by fans, this is the best collection of Wire tracks you could hope to hear.

Stevie Wonder - Songs in the Key of Life--Uplifting.

Neil Young - After the Gold Rush--You could get the latest "Best of" but it duplicates this album of concise brilliance.

Various - The home compilation--There has to be room for at least one home made compilation. For me its some tough calling dependent on whether we are on about tapes or CDs. The original "Now That's What I Call Dead Baggy" compilations that a former colleague's husband used to make me remain one of the best sets of themed collections I have access to. However, in my time I have developed a reputation (hi Chrissie!) for well-honed collections of my own. My friend George manages to select and present songlists that I know we would never have otherwise have heard of and from which many new passions have been inspired. On these grounds I think we must admit to the hall of 89 at least ONE great home selected compilation. You go choose.

Already looking at some of the lists appearing on the web I am ashamed of the things missing here: I guess it will always be a partial view and we can always yelp "how could I miss that?!" but that's the nature of lists I guess...