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Monday, 5 July 2004

The Most Annoying, Alarming and Appalling People, Places and Things in London and the Nation

Topic: Empty Fridge Light

Infighters, bitchers and troll-baiters. Okay, it's a release every now and then, but if you're slagging things down all the time, then you need to check yourself, get some psychological help from somewhere.

Shit drivers: culprits in Leiston, Suffolk; Blackheath, London; Sydenham, Sarf East London. Those pretty flashy things on the side of the car? They're mirrors. Those twinkly fairy lights on the other cars? They're signals and it's the damn law that you use them.

London Magazine Editors. For the madness of plastico fantastico celebrity culture. Hey, let's take a bunch of overpaid self obsessed over achievers whose worst fear is that they have no innate talent and are valued for their looks alone, then stick them on the front of every magazine in a bathing suit with none of the usual blatant airbrushing. That'll do wonders for our eat-till-you-feel-better, bitching-helps-me-forget-my-woes, never-judge-myself-harshly-when-judging-everyone-else-is-so-easy populace to feel the self esteem they need to not buy shit mags, not buy fad diets they won't stick to, and not walk around secretly hating themself. Have you ever met a woman who doesn't secretly hate her body in some way? Have you ever met a bloke (who's not BB5 Jason) who doesn't fear he folds the flab just where he wants muscle? Isn't that just a peachy culture in which to start publishing banner headlines like 'Best and Worst Beach Bodies 2004'?
The weird thing is, if you look at a spread of these Sleb-Bitch-Mags, you see the same outfits / bodies appearing on one mag's 'Best Dressed' page, and another one's 'Most Mingin'. Yep, they're quite quite sure that we are That Stupid as to swallow it.

Every single person who's ever been responsible at a senior managerial level for the crap that is our transportation system. Especially Mister Norris.

The London Eye. You order tickets in advance, queue for thirty six years, to get into a pod half the size of a London single decker bus, equally as crowded, and moving almost as slowly. If it's moving. Is it moving? I can never tell if the thing's broken down or not. Why is it such brilliant engineering? It's only pods on a ferris wheel, it's nothing particularly new. If the same engineers could work out a decent checking in system at Heathrow we'd improve the lot of twice as many tourists and locals. That I'd call engineering. There's no view as such, because it's uniquely situated in a spot where there's nothing in the distance to see. They should have put it up on Hampstead Heath or somewhere with a vista.
The single positive redeeming feature is when it's lit up in blue, it looks pretty from across the other side of the Thames. Which is the only place you see it from, because wandering along the South Bank is just unpleasant. But fuckit, we could light up any old building along the Thames in blue. I vote Buck House, and the Lords. It'd be descriptive, at least.

The Nanny State. For a gazillion reasons. Look at the news, there's practically a new reason everyday. Today's reason is their attempt to force through a ban on smacking children, only just reduced to a compromise by the Lords. Because that will stop child abusers, won't it? We all know they're exactly the sort of person to worry if an action's illegal before carrying it out. (Pity the same aversion to perpetuating a culture of violence didn't apply in Iraq, huh?)
The state has no reason to criminalise activities when it is patently to no effect. I almost imagine them sitting around the focus group doughnuts, responding to a rise in the city's murder rates, and plotting how they'll be seen to act strongly and decisively, by outlawing murder.

Even worse, the wankers who've moved seamlessly between politics and entertainment. And then back again! I mean you, Portillo, Kilroy-Silk, Widdecombe. Can they not at least pretend there's a difference?
The topic of getting away with murder reminds me: Shirley Porter. Nuff said.

In fact, I'd like a few artists and writers on that list. Damien Hirst, Charles Saatchi, Richard Rogers, Germaine Grrrrrreer, Tom Stoppard, Harold Pinter, trading on past glories the lot of them. They're no more active artist than the personality-free jobbing radio DJs who plague the airwaves. But DJ's at least are moronic and talentless, they have somewhat more of an excuse. Add to that the partisan, nepotistic biased load of luvvies who run the Booker, Turner and Orange Prizes.

And why not the vacuous attends-the-opening-of-an-envelope-debutante-detritus that clogs up the more boring London clubs and means the floor's crowded with rich wankers who can't dance? Put every model, ever on that list, then top it with Sadie Frost and Sienna Miller. Snorting coke in a miniskirt is not a career.

The gayers. Okay so at one point in the eighties and nineties, gay culture was interesting, invigorating, loud, reinventing itself, ahead of the crowd. Now we're the most repressive group in society bar none (middle england: never despair! vote us! vote the gayers! we want to marry, join the army and become a priest!)
Our music's shit, we have no decent politics left to speak of, we fail to stand up for any other minority group because it just doesn't mesh with our citizenly rights to snort cappucino, leer at McFly, gossip in an infantile fashion about Franz Ferdinand and mad musical old biddies who are probably incontinent by now. We (we the gayers) have too much money to fritter it away on pretending we're still seventeen and the extra twenty years don't show. We don't have children, we don't have pregnant partners, we don't have commitments. We're potentially a massive, untapped economic force for change. And what do we do with it? Queer Eye for the Straight Guy and late night cloney bars that straights queue to 'patronise' because the drugs are better. Do we mind if they give the snogging couple dirty looks? No, take the money, quip a few one liners, lust after the ones who look like they might be brutal. Pathetic.
The scene sucks. It sucks because the gayers suck. I leave the obvious one liner open to you for completion.

Finally, a pertinent reprise:
Infighters, bitchers and troll-baiters. Okay, it's a release every now and then, but if you're slagging things down all the time, then you need to check yourself, get some psychological help from somewhere.

I'm off to follow my own advice.

Best Blo'te of the Day So Far: Exhibit 5a
"Ah yes, there is really nothing sweeter than coming into the office after a long weekend. If by sweeter you mean sucktastic, of course. I've never understood the logic of making your employees work the day after a long weekend. You should never have to work the day after you have more than one consecutive day off. Think about that for just a second and you'll see the brillance of my plan."

This page graced by sarsparilla at 10:30 PM BST
Updated: Tuesday, 6 July 2004 9:15 PM BST
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Sunday, 6 June 2004


Now Playing: Intermittent birdsong,
after echoes of planes overhead,
scratching sounds of squirrels,
and the miniature heaves of

Topic: Empty Fridge Light

It's been a really gorgeous weekend, and I've spent it slumped in bed, slumped in the bath, or eating down my kitchen (ie, running out of food, so eating the dregs). I think a week of going out and partying was too severe a shock to my system - I rejected two invites last night, so I could lounge in my dirty flat in my underwear, eating marmite and cous cous.

Last day of my holidays. Still got a runny nose. So it goes.

Best Blo'te of the Day So Far: Stefangeens
"Perhaps I should just start a new genre where I do not actually write a blog but just describe imagined blog entries that I have not written. Noncommittal writing, I would call it, and I would engage in it in the more transient phases of my life, when nothing is really certain or cherished notions are in a state of flux, when writing down thoughts would give them more permanence than they deserve, like putting shacks up on the World Heritage List. And there is something wonderfully Calvinoesque or Borgesian to it all. Maybe I should just post reviews of my imagined rants, pronounce them the work of genius, but report back inexpertly and confused, and depend instead on the imagination of readers to construct something of proper greatness out of them."

This page graced by sarsparilla at 3:19 PM BST
Updated: Sunday, 6 June 2004 3:23 PM BST
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Saturday, 5 June 2004

How to do a date, Vanessa style:

Topic: Empty Fridge Light

Make sure you're hungover and knackered, from spending the last few days shitfaced.

Say so, it's bound to pep up the conversation. In fact, make it your opening line.

On the way to the date, wreck your car in the middle of a four lane pile up on the North Circular.

Spend a few hours looking winsomely pathetic at the side of a virtual motorway, for the delight of eight million blokes in white vans, it'll make you smell delightful.

Don't take anything for your cold or for your hayfever, so then the stink of the traffic can work its way through your allergy list and fight to come out on top.

When your eyes start streaming tears, make sure you don't have time to find a toilet to repair the make up streaming with it.

Snot drooling unbidden out of your nose is so a good look. Don't pack a hanky.

Greet your date with a look of alarm and the words "oh shit". You'll make an instant impression.

Wearing size fourteen flip flops stolen from Havaianas' Brazilian builder is so a good look. No, you don't need to get rid of that dead skin. Make a feature of it by spreading your pinkies up across the railings of the theatre, as if you're a chav at the movies.

You can't do better on a first date than pick the most pretentious show you've ever heard of, then sit there quacking affectedly about Dario Fo, William Burroughs, expressionism. Everybody loves a big head.

Belch loudly during the sad bits.

Remember to say at the interval how much you like Elton John, for that low brow touch.

Show her all your pictures of France. No, a hundred and thirty isn't too many. Don't worry that they're mostly all close ups of Pernod.

After, act masterful and sweep her off in a taxi to a Hoxton niterie where the mullets come thick and fast, and the DJ pratting about makes it too hard to hear what she's saying.

That way she won't notice so much when you go on and on about Big Brother. (Do remember to say 'Oh, no, I don't watch the programme'.)

It's okay if you drop a really stinky fart in the pub, then claim it by dashing out for a protracted toilet break. Sure, she'll think it was that gay guy next to you.

Then take her outside to explain the freemason symbols on the local church and tell her about that summer you spent taking photos of remnants of Jewish communities in the East End. Ward off the dangers of sounding interesting by pointing out that you did in fact forget to take a camera.

Get lost on the way to the tube, like a true local.

When asking directions, your mastery of East End geography will be complete if every time you say 'what up there?', you shoot your pointy arm out into a passersby's eye.

Doing it repeatedly to see if you might be cursed is perhaps not your best move, although you may have in fact been vindicated when your finger connected with an eyeball every single time.

If she invites you back, say 'nahhhh', and proceed to spout on about your million cats. Nothing's sexier.

Best Blo'te of the Day So Far: Reckless Writer

"I don't want to go into the touchy, weight issue territory but I just want to confirm my hypothesis about human behavior. I really wonder why I find fat men excruciatingly adorable but can't say the same thing about fat women? Fat men compensate for their chubbiness by being sweet and humorous. Fat women on the other hand compensate for the extra lipid by throwing their weight around by being arrogant bitches."

This page graced by sarsparilla at 4:03 PM BST
Updated: Saturday, 5 June 2004 4:16 PM BST
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Sunday, 25 April 2004

Topic: Empty Fridge Light

For all you great writers out there ... blog vanity publishing.

Which reminds me of a meme that might make me look good, thus allowing me to make friends, influence people, who knows, possibly get a shag one day: Which of these have you read?

Achebe, Chinua - Things Fall Apart
Agee, James - A Death in the Family
Austen, Jane - Pride and Prejudice
Baldwin, James - Go Tell It on the Mountain
Beckett, Samuel - Waiting for Godot
Bellow, Saul - The Adventures of Augie March
Bronte, Charlotte - Jane Eyre
Bronte, Emily - Wuthering Heights

Camus, Albert - The Stranger
Cather, Willa - Death Comes for the Archbishop
Chaucer, Geoffrey - The Canterbury Tales
Chekhov, Anton - The Cherry Orchard
Chopin, Kate - The Awakening
Conrad, Joseph - Heart of Darkness

Cooper, James Fenimore - The Last of the Mohicans
Crane, Stephen - The Red Badge of Courage
Dante - Inferno
de Cervantes, Miguel - Don Quixote
Defoe, Daniel - Robinson Crusoe
Dickens, Charles - A Tale of Two Cities
Dostoyevsky, Fyodor - Crime and Punishment
Douglass, Frederick - Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass
Dreiser, Theodore - An American Tragedy
Dumas, Alexandre - The Three Musketeers
Eliot, George - The Mill on the Floss
Ellison, Ralph - Invisible Man
Emerson, Ralph Waldo - Selected Essays
Faulkner, William - As I Lay Dying
Faulkner, William - The Sound and the Fury
Fielding, Henry - Tom Jones
Fitzgerald, F. Scott - The Great Gatsby

Flaubert, Gustave - Madame Bovary
Ford, Ford Madox - The Good Soldier
Goethe, Johann Wolfgang von - Faust
Golding, William - Lord of the Flies
Hardy, Thomas - Tess of the d'Urbervilles

Hawthorne, Nathaniel - The Scarlet Letter
Heller, Joseph - Catch 22
Hemingway, Ernest - A Farewell to Arms
Homer - The Iliad
Homer - The Odyssey

Hugo, Victor - The Hunchback of Notre Dame
Hurston, Zora Neale - Their Eyes Were Watching God
Huxley, Aldous - Brave New World
Ibsen, Henrik - A Doll's House

James, Henry - The Portrait of a Lady
James, Henry - The Turn of the Screw
Joyce, James - A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man
Kafka, Franz - The Metamorphosis
Kingston, Maxine Hong - The Woman Warrior
Lee, Harper - To Kill a Mockingbird

Lewis, Sinclair - Babbitt
London, Jack - The Call of the Wild
Mann, Thomas - The Magic Mountain
Marquez, Gabriel Garcia - One Hundred Years of Solitude
Melville, Herman - Bartleby the Scrivener
Melville, Herman - Moby Dick
Miller, Arthur - The Crucible
Morrison, Toni - Beloved

O'Connor, Flannery - A Good Man is Hard to Find
O'Neill, Eugene - Long Day's Journey into Night
Orwell, George - Animal Farm

Pasternak, Boris - Doctor Zhivago
Plath, Sylvia - The Bell Jar
Poe, Edgar Allan - Selected Tales

Proust, Marcel - Swann's Way
Pynchon, Thomas - The Crying of Lot 49
Remarque, Erich Maria - All Quiet on the Western Front
Rostand, Edmond - Cyrano de Bergerac
Roth, Henry - Call It Sleep
Salinger, J.D. - The Catcher in the Rye
Shakespeare, William - Hamlet
Shakespeare, William - Macbeth
Shakespeare, William - A Midsummer Night's Dream
Shakespeare, William - Romeo and Juliet
Shaw, George Bernard - Pygmalion
Shelley, Mary - Frankenstein

Silko, Leslie Marmon - Ceremony
Solzhenitsyn, Alexander - One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich
Sophocles - Antigone
Sophocles - Oedipus Rex
Steinbeck, John - The Grapes of Wrath
Stevenson, Robert Louis - Treasure Island
Stowe, Harriet Beecher - Uncle Tom's Cabin
Swift, Jonathan - Gulliver's Travels

Thackeray, William - Vanity Fair
Thoreau, Henry David - Walden
Tolstoy, Leo - War and Peace
Turgenev, Ivan - Fathers and Sons
Twain, Mark - The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
Voltaire - Candide
Vonnegut, Kurt Jr. - Slaughterhouse-Five
Walker, Alice - The Color Purple

Wharton, Edith - The House of Mirth
Welty, Eudora - Collected Stories
Whitman, Walt - Leaves of Grass
Wilde, Oscar - The Picture of Dorian Gray
Williams, Tennessee - The Glass Menagerie
Woolf, Virginia - To the Lighthouse

Wright, Richard - Native Son

Why are they all in bursts? That makes me look so like I can't stick to anything.
I own almost all of these books. And people get antsy when they recommend me some dull volume that reminded them of their life and I don't read it immediately. I have too many books waiting to be read as it is.
My flat at the moment has just one single book in it (Middlesex), plus five that Krystal leant me. The rest are all in storage somewhere in Hackney. It's peculiarly freeing, not to have all your books hanging around, taking up space.

This page graced by sarsparilla at 10:47 PM BST
Updated: Sunday, 25 April 2004 10:52 PM BST
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Thursday, 8 April 2004


Now Playing: Damien Rice - 'I Remember'.
Topic: Empty Fridge Light

I know, I'm really fucking saaaaaaaaad, but do you ever get blogcrushes?
You know, where you think a blog's fab, and you wish you could write so well, then it goes a bit further, and you wish you could be their friend, then you wish you could marry them, then wish you could somehow magically be them, then capture them and keep them in a cage, but you wouldn't be cruel, you'd build them a wheel, and you'd watch them run around and around and around on it, then just want their life, because goddammit, it might help you to write better about your own?
And then you check on their blog as regularly as you can, and worry that you're showing up too manically in their referrals list, and if they one day happen to post up a picture, you go 'ahh, I knew they'd look like that'?
I think the key factor is, have you ever wondered what it would be like to hang out with the person who wrote what you're reading?
No? Oh. Just me then.

Blogcrushes I have had, typically, anally, obsessively, in the order in which I had them:
Muscle 68.
Light From An Empty Fridge.
Emma's Words.
Colin Gregory Palmer.
No Boys.
Glitter For All.
There, that's scared a few off, hey?

This page graced by sarsparilla at 2:51 PM BST
Updated: Thursday, 8 April 2004 3:00 PM BST
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Monday, 22 March 2004


Now Playing: Broken Social Scene - Pacific Scene
Topic: Empty Fridge Light

I think I have a phantom pregnancy.
Not only do I have a belly the size of Wales, but I can smell *everything*, you know, the way hounds do. Yeah, yeah, laugh on your own time.
I can't stop smelling the reek of old fat from greasy spoon cafe's on my coats, and I nearly went into olfactory raptures on the train yesterday, when some uppity snooty cow got on and hogged all the seats while wearing my first girlfriend's favourite perfume.
Virgin birth, anyone?

Smells no-one should like, but I do:

Warm flagstones in the sun
Metal zips
The nape of someone's neck
Plastic wrappers
New books when you crack the spine open
Broken crackers
Short hair
Other people's washing powder
Dirt under fingernails
Waterproof coats
Teddy bears and cat fur
The space between fingers
Cat happyfarts
Dead skin along the side of your thumb nail
BO (but only if it smells of onions, not vinegar)
Newsprint - papers and magazines
The smell orange pith leaves on your hands
Sudden drops in pollution levels
A big pig sty
Lap top cases

This page graced by sarsparilla at 10:15 PM GMT
Updated: Thursday, 8 April 2004 3:59 PM BST
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Monday, 16 February 2004

Films That Make Me Cry in a Ridiculously Overblown and Disproportional Fashion:

Topic: Empty Fridge Light
The Nutty Professor
Vanilla Sky
The Pianist
Love Actually
The Last Samurai
Oh, the shame of it all.

"I call people rich when they are able to meet the requirements of their imagination." Henry James.

This page graced by sarsparilla at 2:00 PM GMT
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