Sunday, December 31, 2006

The mighty boosh

I was given the mighty boosh boxset for christmas and I am coming to appreciate the surreal strangeness of the show. I have a sneaking suspicion that someone involved with the creation of the show must once have taken drugs or something. It's funny and freaky.

The show revolves around Vince Noir (the cool trendy Mick Jagger clone) and Howard Moon (the pseudo-intellectual jazzist loser) and their attempts to carve a career in the music business. The cast is filled out by Naboo the Shaman and Bolo the gorilla who regularly rescue our heroes from their latest crisis. It is very, very weird.

I guess the stand-out episode is 'the legend of old greg' which is well fucked up but it is all good. It's a musical comedy with some OK songs that have been written and played by the cast.

I am sure that everyone else in the world is much cooler than me and that you all saw this when it was on BBC3 but if not, check it out.

Join them on a journey across time and space. Old greg has something to show you........

Work at christmas

I hate having to work at christmas but I know that someone has to. My boxing day shift was horrible - a 13 hour slow motion apocalypse. Not fun.

Thankfully I'm off work till the 3rd now - paradise.

The execution of Saddam Hussein

I guess I knew it was coming but it was a bit weird to wake up this morning to hear that Saddam Hussein had hanged. It just didn't feel right.

I think that he was a bad man but I would have liked him to have been held to account for more crimes than he was on trial for. I feel that he should probably been kept a prisoner for the rest of his life to prevent him from becoming a martyr. It would be nice if his death led to increased stability for the people in Iraq but I do not think this will happen. I did not like the television footage of the moments leading up to his execution.

He was probably an evil man but I don't think this was the right way to go.

I'm away to hug a tree now.

Monday, December 25, 2006

Mistletoe and wine

Christmas has been good so far this year. I'm not at work; I'm at home with my parent which is exactly where I want to be today. I've had a decent meal and I saw a few old friends in the pub last night. I was able to get a taxi home without any hassle. Life is good.

People have kindly bought me some nice presents. There include the latest Richard Dawkins book The God Delusion which is not exactly full of seasonal cheer as well as a book based on the QI TV series. I have also been given a box-set of the Indiana Jones films as well as a set of the Mighty Boosh TV shows.

I have just finished watching a TV adaption of the Terry Pratchett Hogfather book which was OK and I plan to keep my nose in a book until the Doctor Who Christmas Special comes on this evening.

Sadly, I have a 13 hour shift at work tommorrow. That sucks.


Keep it loose



James Brown is dead

James Brown, the godfather of soul, died today at the age of 73 from pneumonia.

His music changed the world.

I was lucky enough to see him play live once at the Clyde Auditorium in Glasgow in around 1997 or 1998. The tickets were expensive and I worked out that I had stacked shelves in Sommerfield for 11 hours to pay for the ticket. The show was spectacular and featured 13 dancing girls in different stages of undress as well as a magician. Brown jumped about on stage like a man possessed, screaming out his hit songs, dropping to his knees, playing drums and keyboards. I loved it.

He made many great records over the years including 'live at the apollo', 'black caesar' and 'the big payback'. Music would not be the same without him.

He did bad things in his life too. I hope the good things he did outweigh the bad in the grand scheme of things.


Another cool dead guy


Merry Christmas everybody


Saturday, December 23, 2006

Understanding comics

As some of you may know, I'm a bit of a comic geek. I just love them. I love the art form.

Now that doesn't mean that I am sub-literate or a total social retard (ok, maybe a bit). It doesn't mean that I still have adolescent power fantasies or that I like looking at pictures of musclebound men in latex. It means that I enjoy the comic as a form of entertainment and I think it has as much artistic merit as a film or a book.

I first learned to read with Asterix and Tintin books bought for me by my parents. It was a good place to start and when I have kids I intend to pass them on. These books are well drawn and have good stories (although I admit that the Tintin books have some unfortunate stereotypes in them so my kids may end up just getting Asterix). After that I read the Beano and the Dandy as well as Battle. From there I moved onto American comics like the X-men and the UKs own 2000AD.

So I grew up reading comics for kids and action comics for boys but most people leave these things behind when they hit puberty and I guess I did, for a while. Somewhere I found out that comics could be different. I found books by Peter Bagge, Alan Moore, Frank Miller, Robert Crumb, Evan Dorkin, Neil Gaiman, Warren Ellis and many, many more.

Comics have as much potential as films, books or paintings as a form of expression. I have recently read a very good book on the subject by Scott McCloud. It's called Understanding Comics and you can buy it on Amazon. Check out his website at
He has also written an interesting follow-up called Reinventing Comics.

So, what comics are worth reading?


  1. Hate by Peter Bagge - the story of a loser in Seattle at the height of grunge. The best book to start with is Buddy does Seattle which costs less than a tenner on amazon.
  2. From Hell by Alan Moore & Eddie Campbell - a fictionalised version of the story of Jack the Ripper that was made into a film by Johnny Depp
  3. Sin City or 300 by Frank Miller - film noir or spartan soldiers
  4. Transmetropolitan by Warren Ellis - start with book one - the story of Spider Jerusalem, a Hunter S Thompson style gonzo journalist in a dystopian future
  5. Sandman by Neil Gaiman - for your inner goth. Start at book one
  6. Y the last man by Brian K Vaughan - every male mammal on the planet dies except for one man and his monkey. Start with book one
  7. Preacher by Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon - very funny and very offensive.
  8. Love & Rockets by the Hernandez Bros always gets good reviews although I don't like it that much.
  9. Maus by Art Spiegelman is a classic. Spiegelman tells the story of his fathers experiences in a Nazi concentration camp using funny animals. Unsettling.
  10. Palestine by Joe Sacco - a eye-witness account of the authors experiences in Gaza and the West Bank
  11. Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi - an autobiographical story of a young girl growing up in revolutionary Iran

That is a few to start with. Lots of good stuff is out there. If you have nothing to do one weekend pick up one of these books. You will get some of them in a decent bookshop like Waterstones or Forbidden Planet. If not, try Amazon


Tuesday, December 19, 2006

this is a bit sucky

I just read on the let me live blog at that people who have cystic fibrosis have to pay for their drug prescriptions while people with other diseases such as diabetes or hypothyroidism get their medicine for free.

Not very fair, is it?


Sunday, December 17, 2006

The Melvins and Flipper live at the Glasgow Garage

This was a noisy night. The gig was very poorly advertised and it was almost impossible to buy a ticket. The ticketmaster website is shite and nowhere else seemed to be selling any tickets. Luckily plenty of tickets were still available when the doors opened at 6:30.

The first band Porn are members of the melvins and their road crew. They were very loud but generally good. No vocals, all noise and funny clothes.

Flipper are a legend. I first heard of them via Jello Biafra and the Dead Kennedys. They had the honour of being Jellos favourite band and they were one of the first Hardcore bands to play slow. They have lost several members to heroin over the years. Moby boasts of singing for them once in New York when their singer was in jail. It is almost impossible to hear their music although I did manage to track the Generic Flipper album down on ebay two years ago. It's great. Flipper are a true underground treat.

I never thought I would see them live. Ever. I was wrong.

They were good. Singer Bruce Loose is an obnoxious bastard but he has the venom of the perfect hardcore frontman. The bass player tonight was Chris Noveselic froom NIRVANA who is a very tall man and not the sort of person you expect to see in the garage on a wet thursday evening. We got lots of hits including 'way of the world', 'ha ha ha', 'sacrafice' and 'sex bomb'. The highlight was 'sacrafice' which saw 3 drummers pounding away with guitar support from Buzz Osbourne. Sadly the version of 'sex bomb' (my favourite) was a bit too fast but it was a good set. By the way, Flipper do not sound like Nirvana and are probably an acquired taste.

Next up were Big Business, a two piece group who currently play Bass and Drums in the Melvins. They were good.

The Melvins were amazing. Buzz and the bass player work monk-like robes and sported hair like sideshow bob. The music was punishing but beautiful. Best song was the second version of 'sacrafice' of the night during which Buzz told the crowd of his love for Flipper but it was all good. Another beautiful noise.

I've been listening to 'gluey porch treatments' all weekend.


Saturday, December 02, 2006

Dialysis and kidney failure

I've just finished my four month stint working on a dialysis unit. It has been a good experience in many ways, I've learned a lot but I could not do it for the rest of my life. People on dialysis are very sick.

You need dialysis if your kidneys stop working. You have two kidneys that clean the blood, removing toxic waste from the body and producing urine. If your kidneys stop working poisons build up in your blood, you cannot get rid of excess fluid and you will die. Dialysis replaces the function of the kidneys.

The whole thing is more complicated than that but that is the basic story. If your kidneys don't work you need dialysis. You are either attached to a machine for several hours on a few days a week or you have a surgical procedure which turns your abdominal cavity into a mini dialysis machine (which is also not ideal as you have to have several hours of dialysis every day although you can walk about while you have it). If you are lucky you might get a transplant but a transplant will at best last for around 15 years and complications can occur.

Many of these patients do not suffer from kidney failure alone. They often have diabetes, auto-immune problems or heart disease. Some of them are very young (19, 20, 21) and some (a few) are well over 80. Many have had strokes or amputations. All of them are dependant on technical advances that have been made over the past 60 years. All of them would have been dead if the year was 1906. Most of them would die if there was a total powercut lasting for three weeks or more in this country. That's a pretty grim thought. I wonder what has happened to people who need dialysis in Iraq.....

I have a lot of respect for these people. For the most part they cope well with having had their lives taken over by disease. We are lucky that in Britain most people who need dialysis get it. It is not the same everywhere. I hope I never need dialyisis.

For more info go to

A good book is Kidney failure explained by Andy Stein and Janet Wild. You can get it on


James Bond and world politics

The world is becoming more and more like a James Bond film. Over the past couple of weeks the news has been filled with the story of a former KGB agent who has died after being poisoned with a radioactive substance. It appears to be part of an international plot of some for.

The media is full of wild accusations. The former spy named Vladimir Putin as the main suspect in the days before his death but it is difficult to believe that the Russian government would be stupid enough to murder someone and leave a clear forensic trail. The plot is thickening as an Italian 'professor' who allegedly has a murky background has also been involved.

I'll be interested to see how this one turns out. Possibly as the plot to the next Bond film.....