Friday, July 29, 2005

Craig love

OH my god. Did you see Big Brother last night? Un-be-flipping-lieveable.

The bloke is one of the most emotionally imature 19 year olds I've ever ever seen. He's astonishing. Even when I was at the height of my hormonal ill-informed teens (14?) I could never have stooped so low as to kiss and fondle someone I fancied when they were spark out pissed. "I'm going to look after you Anthony, your best friend in the whole of the house is going to look after you".

He's tragically smitten, he's desperate, he's imature, he has no shame ... but my god he's got a lot of feelings! I hav never come across anyone like Craig, not as full-on as this. And the tragic thing is that I'm sure he's not putting it on for the cameras. He's one confused bunny.

Ya see, this is where I still attempt to argue that Big Brother is anthropology and has scientific significance.

How will he be treated when he leaves? I don't think people will boo, surely? But I don't think they'll cheer. He's disturbing. And I am absolutely gripped which makes me feel a bit bad but it's total car crash unmissable tv.

If you've not seen Craig, go to the Big Brother website (UK). There may be a free video clip or two to watch, too.

SO much going on in London today ... police activity right near here. Now all 4 of the failed 21/7 (like that?) bombers are reportedly possibly maybe behind bars - if proven guilty. Yet I choose to major on Craig?

I'm actually mor gripped and anxious and intellectually stimulated by the bombings news which I've had on TV on my desk this afternoon (I'm at my desk now waiting for a cab). Being a news junnkie and all that.

I heard a fantastic commenttator on Radio Five Live the other day about how the environment, the climate and terrorism are linked. I just hadn't made the link before and feel stupid that I hadn't.

Ooh cab has arrived and I'm off ...

Monday, July 25, 2005

Impression of Craig

OK, in response to the huge demand I've had (yes, one person, I'm easily pleased) if you follow this link you'll be able to download an mp3 of me doing an impression of Big Brother's Craig.

I cannot wait until 10 o'clock to see tonight's edition ...

Sunday, July 24, 2005

BB's Craig and Damon on LBC ...

This is a good positive non bombings related post. In fact it is deliberately trivial.

I just want to voice that I am utterly gripped and fascinated by Craig on Big Brother at the moment. My God. I've just watched him this evening.His relationship with Anthony - or lack of - is so hideously watchable. Carcrash TV and no mistaking.

I do rather a good impression of Craig now actually, having honed it for 8 weeks. If enough people ask, I can in fact post an audio file of me being Craig ... so the ball is in your court.

Classic Craig phrases include:

"Don't cross me, you don't know what I'm capable of ..."


"Anthony, can I control you tonight? I am going to control you, you have to do everything I say. You know why don't you Anthony?"

... and other generalised weirdness.

Fascinating because Craig is such an unusual character (that was me being nice) but I do feel quite awkward sometimes because we are watching this young bloke exploring his own sexuality so very publically ... he should talk to the BB psychologist I think.

And the other thing is ...

I called up LBC last Friday night. I can't remember the last time I called up a phone-in show. I was on air around 11:10pm on Iain Lee's show.

He was talking about tv nostalgia and wanted to know if anyone remembered the Munch Bunch cartoon and theme tune. Ahem. I called in and sang it to London, it seems. Why was I moved to do this? Possibly because I was up late waiting to leave the house to pick up my copy of Harry Potter at midnight.

I paint an attractive and impressive figure of myself here don't I?

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Bombings 2.0

Jesus these guys are going to get a hammering when they're caught.

Yes, two weeks on, if you haven't yet heard (which I doubt) ... and London has been bombed again. I use the term 'bombed' loosely at the moment because it's all rather unclear exactly what did happen. Lots of speculation that another big attack was planned - 3 tube trains, 1 bus again - Sir Ian Blair (head of the Metropolitan Police) says it was clear they wanted to kill but it looks as if small explosions like detonators occurred, not full big explosive bombs.

I was literally shaking when I switched on the TV news around 1:20 when I heard. Smoke was reportedly coming out of tube stations, 3 tube incidents had occurred ... then suddenly a bus explosion. Way too familiar.

Information is slow today ... 4 events but how many explosions? One report says that the incident on the Hammersmith and City line at Shepherd's Bush didn't meet with an explosion.There are talks of unexploded bombs. Talks of confused terrorist who, after realising he wasn't dead, ran for it. Weird reports, probably random conjecture or chinese whispers right now.

Then there were the two other incidents ... one at University College Hospital and the other that panned out live on TV in Whitehall at the bottom of Downing Street. An Asian man with a backpack on was subdued by police live on air before the TV cams were asked to switch off. All very conveniently timed ... but Sir Ian later said these two events were not connected.

Thankfully my taxi has arrived and I can now go home ... maybe write later.

Basically though ... my shaking and fear is gone and I am not just pretty angry about it all. Confused but now really pretty damn angry. They'll throw the book at them ... and possibly find out some extremely useful intelligence in so doing. But what do I know, I'm just another Londoner.

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Finished reading Harry ...

Well despite the initial scanning problems, I managed to sort it out. Happily though somebody emailed me a fully scanned version of the book. Yes, that's the blind underworld on the internet. By about 5pm saturday afternoon I had a fully scanned version ... and no doubt thousands of other blind people were sharing that same text too. When we get equal access to the same book at the same time at the same price, then we won't have to share books in this way. Illegal, yes. Do I care ... not if the publishers don't, no.

Interestingly the publishers allowed the book to be brailled and put into large print ready for saturday. The thing is, lots of blind people can't read braille: approx 12,000 in the UK. The figures tell us that there are approx 2 million visually impaired people in this country. Making it available in Braille and large print was definitely a step forward but isn't the way that the majority of blind people would read. Younger people would like electronic text (a word document or encoded document with the text in it) and everyone would like audio. Braille can be a real chore to read, I read braille approx 10 times slowers than a sightie reads print. NO maybe 20 or 30 times slower. It's not easy ... though some pick up the skill really well at a young age, I wasn't blind at a young age and nowadays tend to use braille for easy stuff like labeling CDs so I know what they are when I picked them up. I also read the TV times in braille, little else. Well to be honest there is very little to read anyway! Not the kind of thing that I would like to read anyway.

Back to Harry ...

I finished reading it a few minutes ago. Gosh, very dark. I won't give any spoilers out here but it was a bit shocking and I am kind of gutted by it all. Can't help but think that, now Harry Potter is a huge brand, the publishers are perhaps a little too scared to perform many edits on Rowling's work. I think it could have had a hundred less pages at least! That said, it's nice to remain in the wizarding universe for longer.

Saturday, July 16, 2005

Harry Potter - scanned (only not)

OK. So I popped out at midnight to my local book store, bought Harry Potter and have been sitting here ever since trying to scan it in to my computer using my high tech 'isn''t this a good gadget for the blind' scan software.

I've tried different settings again and again but it seems this book is a nightmare to scan. Aarrgh.

So, fellow bloggers, here are pages 2 and 3 of Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince as scanned in by me. You'll see that they're pretty unreadable. How pissed off am I?

Harry Potter

zen cars into the watery depths of the river below. And how "ed anyone suggest that it was lack of policemen that had ulted in those two very nasty and well-publicised murders? that the government should have somehow foreseen the ak hurricane in the West Country that had caused so much mage to both people and property? And was it his fault that e of his Junior Ministers, Herbert Chorley, had chosen this ek to act so peculiarly that he was now going to be spend\ a lot more time with his family?
'A grim mood has gripped the country,' the opponent had ncluded, barely concealing his own broad grin. And unfortunately, this was perfectly true. The Prime nister felt it himself; people really did seem more miser- Le than usual. Even the weather was dismal; all this chilly st in the middle of July ... it wasn't right, it wasn't rmal ...
He turned over the second page of the memo, saw how ich longer it went on, and gave it up as a bad job. Stretchl his arms above his head he looked around his office )urnfully. It was a handsome room, with a fine marble fire- ice facing the long sash windows, firmly closed against the seasonable chill. With a slight shiver, the Prime Minister t up and moved over to the windows, looking out at the n mist that was pressing itself against the glass. It was then, he stood with his back to the room, that he heard a soft ugh behind him.
He froze, nose-to-nose with his own scared-looking reflecn in the dark glass. He knew that cough. He had heard it fore. He turned, very slowly, to face the empty room. 'Hello?' he said, trying to sound braver than he felt. For a brief moment he allowed himself the impossible pe that nobody would answer him. However, a voice ;ponded at once, a crisp, decisive voice that sounded as
The Other Minister 9

(hough it were reading a prepared statement. It was coming as the Prime Minister had known at the first cough — from I he froglike little man wearing a long silver wig who was depicted in a small and dirty oil-painting in the far corner of the room.
'To the Prime Minister of Muggles. Urgent we meet. Kindly respond immediately. Sincerely, Fudge.' The man in the painting looked enquiringly at the Prime Minister.
'Er,' said the Prime Minister, listen ... it's not a very good time for me ... I'm waiting for a telephone call, you see ... from the president of—'
That can be rearranged,' said the portrait at once. The Prime Minister's heart sank. He had been afraid of that.
'But I really was rather hoping to speak '
'We shall arrange for the president to forget to call. He will telephone tomorrow night instead,' said the little man. 'Kindly respond immediately to Mr Fudge.'
'I ... oh ... very well,' said the Prime Minister weakly. 'Yes, I'll see Fudge.'
He hurried back to his desk, straightening his tie as he went. He had barely resumed his seat, and arranged his face into what he hoped was a relaxed and unfazed expression, when bright green flames burst into life in the empty grate beneath his marble mantelpiece. He watched, trying not to betray a flicker of surprise or alarm, as a portly man appeared within the flames, spinning as fast as a top. Seconds later, he had climbed out on to a rather fine antique rug, brushing ash from the sleeves of his long pinstriped cloak, a lime-green bowler hat in his hand.
'Ah ... Prime Minister,' said Cornelius Fudge, striding forwards with his hand outstretched. 'Good to see you again.'
The Prime Minister could not honestly return this compliment, so said nothing at all. He was not remotely pleased to see


Thursday, July 14, 2005

Tube post 7/7

I'm on annual leave this week. Hurrah! But a funny week to have time to spare in London. I don't really feel like going out and doing much ... and getting there on the bus or tube is a bit scary.

However, yesterday I broke my duck. I boarded a tube for the first time since the bombings. I felt really uncomfortable. I went down to Oxford Circus via Baker Street. These are two of the biggest tube stations in London but they weren't quite as full as usual.

On the tube train itself you could "cut the atmosphere with a knife" as they say. It felt very uncomfortable. I noticed things I don't normally notice.

* I noticed how small the tube carriages are really.
* I noticed the extremely long pauses between stations (somehow two or three times longer because I was willing my journey to end)
* I noticed the hums, creaks, buzzes and coughs, all of them.

As I understand it, everyone was looking each other up and down. It all seems a bit silly to look out for unattended baggage now we know that those involved in the bombing were suicide bombers.

Baker Street was particularly eery last night at rush hour - utterly silent, though there were lots and lots of people on the platform. The tube train was at least 5 minutes late but, even though the platform kept filling up minute by minute, no one talked, no one made noises.

I saw a newspaper headline on Google the other day calling London's bomb attacks the "7/7 attacks". Good in that it works properly both sides of the Atlantic this time ... but I didn't like naming these attacks after a date like 9/11 or 11/9. No one tried to call the Madrid bombings 11/3 or 3/11 did they? Something unpleasantly derivative about it. I feel odd writing that. I can't put it into words why I wouldn't want it to be called 7/7.

... and late last night I went out for a Mexican. Not all that nice food really. My week off has gotten me itno bad food ways - "it's my holiday god dammit" - and I'm feeling really unhealthy; the hot weather isn't helping.

Monday, July 11, 2005

I've got some beansprouts and I'm gonna use 'em

... or I might.

I have two bags of beansprouts in my freezer. They are frozen. Solid state.

I love beansprouts.

I haven't ever frozen them before though. So what I need to know is ... when I defrost them, are they gonna be moosh?

This bothers me and I am abstaining from beansprouts until I have a satisfactory answer or guess.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

London Terror attack

I was coming in to work early in my cab this morning when LBC announced there had been some kind of explosion heard at Liverpool Street station. Little was made of it. The subsequent travel news revealed that London was in a bit of a state this morning anyway: lots of tube and rail closures / delays.

I got into work and put the TV on. Suddenly it all began to unfold. At first we were told that there had been a power surge in the tube system - however at the same time we were hearing stories from passengers that they'd seen flashes, they came out of the underground with soot all over them etc.

Even now at 1:32pm I'm a bit confused about it all. IT's bene a confusing day. I have been quite shaken sitting here watching the TV on my desk as the happenings rolled out. The bus bomb made it plain this was a terrorist attack happening not just some power outage incident that had blown up.

This will read weirdly if you read this after the the event and know all the details. But, even now, we don't know how many are dead (2 or 3 at the moment but likely to be more we hear) and I'm going to have real difficulty getting home. All cabs are going to be stuffed.

Oh Huw Edwards is telling me The Queen has released a statement: she's shocked and other stuff.

The whole tube system is shut down. The buses are now also completely closed down I believe ... though at first it was just in zone one (central) I hear it may have extended.

Oooh I wonder if peple will have to pay the congestion charge today? I betcha Nick Ferari will probably start blathering on about that tomorrow morning.

I'm feeling a little less shaken now and have lots of forms to fill in so I'd better get down to it. Laters. All I know and my loved ones are all safe.

Monday, July 04, 2005

Friends Reunited and fuzzy feelings

A couple of days ago I logged on to Friends Reunited for the first time in about two years. I discovered two email messages waiting for me there on the site. One was from a pal who I last saw about ten years ago in Worcester. Fantastic, am really looking forward to meeting up with him.

The other, very much out of the blue and very much appreciated, was from a former teacher of mine from when I was an 8-year-old at primary school.

I'm going to reproduce the message below but will change her name for privacy reasons:

This might come as a surprise. Does the name Mrs.Lamb ring any bells?
I'm actually Alma Dawlish now. My first husband died back in 1988 and I remarried and returned to live in the N.East of England where I was actually born
and bred. I expect you noticed my geordie accent. I now live near Durham. I'm retired and married to Anthony. We enjoy life by travelling,
walking, visiting our 5 children and various grandchildren. We read a lot, go to concerts. Anthony writes and paints and we are still waiting for the masterpiece
that will make us rich.

Damon, I followed your wave of publicity with interest and with a certain amount of pride. You were a great kid when I knew you and somehow I knew you would
never fit into any kind of mould.

I'd love to hear from you if you have a minute to spare.

Kindest regards,
Alma Dawlish.

Wow! Isn't that the most fantastic of emails to receive? I was so chuffed! A real blast from the past.

And so children, in conclusion, communications via the internet can also be as positive as they are negative (guess what I'm referring to).

I have now replied to my former teacher and am dying to hear back from her. The big worry here though is that she actually sent it last February, 2004. I only got it recently because I received an email from Friends Reunited saying: "we have two messages for you." Well dang me, I didn't even realise they stored messages on the site. I swear they didn't used to. Now it seems that the site has a kind of in-built email systeym.

Hands up who else would like to receive an email from the past like that? it makes you feel all warm, innit. I hope she's OK 18 months later and doesn't think I didn't want to mail back because I'm too big for all that now, or something. I'd hate to think she thought that.

Course, it now means I have a subscription to Friends Reunited and I wonder if I should start contacting old friends now? Scary!

A situation I'm unaware of ....

My neighbours have started acting a little weirdly towards me. Quite aggressive and rude. I feel rather bullied, to be honest. It's really unpleasant, un-called-for and just not in the spirit of neighbourlyness. I am genuinely mystified as to why their aggression has suddenly run away with them ... I'm not aware I've been a bad neighbour and it is kind of upsetting.

For the first time in my life I've not felt good and safe at home. Not nice.

But, thanks to a lesson I learned from Mr Hawkus, I won't be talking about real life people on the web. Here endeth this one other than to acknowledge I'm rather depressed by this occurrence and sudden display of unpleasantness. I'm very approachable so when they decide to tell me what's going on in their heads that'd be nice.

Friday, July 01, 2005

Thought the week would never end!

I'm still at work. It's 7:30pm (despite what the Greenwich Mean Time clock at the bottom of this post will say) and I'm shattered.

So much stuff went on this week. Quite apart from being on my own in the Ouch office I was inundated with Live 8 calls from various sources and also dealing with all the huge amount of emails we received off the back of my popbitch incident. Oh and I'm distressed that my upstairs neighbour is going to pounce on e when I get home. She is so aggressive for no reason, the kind of person who never listens but just talks. Stressing me out big time.

But back to this Popbitch thing. I just didn't know what to think when it was pointed out to me yesterday morning. "Damon, someone has written about us on popbitch". What? It's hideously intrusive. It was like tearing down all privacy and also having your self esteem smashed to pieces too.

The thing that really pisses me off now is that it's my favourite pub in the whole of London. I love it! But I'm going to feel funny about going back there now. Will that guy or his mates be there watching?

I feel a bit bad though. I've stopped publishing the comments abou thim even though they are still rolling in. He sounds really remorseful and it's good to learn lessons, innit.

Incidentally I saw his email address. It's entirely possible this man holds a position of social responsibility. I think his employers would be distressed to know he'd written such things. Don't ask me though because I'm not going to tell anyone where he works. As far as I'm concerned he's done really well and I'm kinda impressed with him for owning up like he did. Well done Hawkus.