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January 11, 2005

I Heart Huckabees

Went to see this film today at the Warwick Arts Centre. I got in for free on the RaW gravy train.

It's written and directed by David O. Russell, the man behind Three Kings, that one about Gulf War I. This also has that man with the one facial expression, 'Marky' Mark Wahlberg, in. And Jude Law, Dustin Hoffman and Naomi Watts.

It's a comedy based around an environmental activist called Albert (Jason Schwartzman) who has a existential crisis so goes to an existential detective agency, run by Hoffman and his wife. It all gets a bit silly and Albert meets Marky, a fireman – sorry, firefighter – who is in a similar predicament and who rants about petroleum at every given opportunity.

You've also got Brad (Law) – who's a executive with Huckabees, a chain of supermarchés, and is also getting involved with Albert's environmental campaign. He takes over leadership of Albert's project so there's a big rivalry thing going on. Then there's his bird (Watts), who's a model with Huckabees. Very soon they all start questioning reality.

It's funny, in a quirky way. If you liked The Royal Tenenbaums, you'll like this. Probably more laugh-out-loud moments, actually.

As for the philosophical content, I was kinda let down. As a self-respecting intellectual, I'm fairly into my existentialism – have been since before The Matrix, have been since before I even knew what existentialism was. But this didn't really say much to make me think. You had rival existential detectives – Hoffman and his wife vs. this French bird. One reckoned that everything in the universe is connected; the other thought that nothing was. And that's about it. Didn't really like the special effects which came with the philosophising either.

So, on the whole: 7/10


January 08, 2005

Wife Beater

This is what I was referring to in the last one but Jesus! this is about as far away from comedy as you can get! However, the point is it works.

He'll only come home at night
If he hasn't been in a fight
Down at the pub, he's ready for his dinner
Watching and waiting
He's an hour late and his lamb chops won't get much colder

He's fumbling with his key
He doesn't sound very happy
Your husband is drunk, only two quid for a pint of Stella Artois
Something's the matter
Make a run for it now but you ain't gonna get too far

(Oh-oh, here he comes) Watch out girl he'll smack you up
(Oh-oh, here he comes) He's a wife beater
(Oh-oh, here he comes) Watch out girl he'll smack you up
(Oh-oh, here he comes) He's a wife beater

I wouldn't if I were you
You know what he can do
You've got a nasty black eye but he doesn't really care
Now give him his dinner
Sure, tell the police but he'll say that you fell down the stairs

(Oh-oh, here he comes) Watch out girl he'll smack you up
(Oh-oh, here he comes) He's a wife beater
(Oh-oh, here he comes) Watch out girl he'll smack you up
(Oh-oh, here he comes) He's a wife beater

Words: Daniel Wilson Craw. Music: Hall and Oates.


An Open Letter To Mark

Care to explain what the letter to Ally, which you plastered all over campus today, is all about? It's very sweet, I'm sure, but I think I speak for everyone at Warwick when I say we're baffled and are dying to know.

January 05, 2005

Sailor Boi

Another comedy version of a well-known song. This was written two years ago and is not as good as Fat But… but will do for now. If I get particularly bored in the next few weeks, there'll be a brand new one to watch out for.

He was a boy; she was a girl
Can I make it any more obvious?
He went to cadets; she did ballet
What more can I say?
He wanted her but she'd never tell
Secretly she wanted him as well
All of her friends weren't very warm
They had a problem with his uniform

He was a sailor boi she said c u l8r boi
He wasn't butch enough for her
She was quite pretty and her feet were on dry land
She needed to come smell the sea a-a-a-air

Five years from now, she sits at home
Feeding the budgie she's all alone
She turns on TV and guess who she sees
Sailor boi rocking up the navy
She calls up her friends they already know
And they've all enlisted; are set to go
She joins up too and stands in the crowd
Salutes the man that she turned dow-ee-own

He was a sailor boi she said see you later boi
He wasn't butch enough for her
Now he's rear admiral, today he's setting sail
This time you're the one who will get hurt

I'm afraid I didn't have the inspiration to rewrite the middle eight with a naval theme so I've omitted it - told you it wasn't very good

He's just a boi and I am one too
I don't think this is as obvious
We are in love, that's right, two blokes
And we rock each other's boa-oa-oats

I'm with the sailor boi, I said see you later boi
When we get our shore leave
I shall put on my thong then we'll sing the song
By that bint Avril Lavigne

Fin.

Words: Daniel Wilson Craw and Avril Lavigne's songwriters. Music: Avril Lavigne's songwriters


January 04, 2005

Dan Returns to Leamington

The weirdo who sat next to me on the train journey this time was not only weird-looking, but wore an eyepatch. He only put the patch on after settling into his seat, allowing me time to have a look at his face. He had a lazy eye which I assume the piratey paraphernalia was there to correct. Shame: he looked like he would've made a good bo'sun.

My extended family failed to make it a Christmas and New Year double whammy: despite being with the British Antarctic Survey team, my cousin Katherine failed to get interviewed for the Royal Institution Christmas Lectures on the telly. Shucks.

And finally, the Start of Term List of Ailments:
– severe lethargy induced by three days of hibernation, mostly watching Family Guy
– a burnt tongue, cause unknown
– a UDI on my finger
– a mouth ulcer
– melancholy caused by muchos reading and Student PI recordage to do


January 02, 2005

T4

If any of you were fortunate enough to see the above Channel 4 meta-programme today, you would have seen my cousin, Rod 'The Piper' Deans, teaching young Vernon Kaye how to play the bagpipes.

Yay my family.


January 01, 2005

Happy New Year

I blame the exceptionally strong White Russian.

No, I haven't had any run-ins with burly Eastern Europeans, of any colour; I'm talking about the cocktail of which I made a couple of pints to take to Max's house party last night. Drank it all by 2005. And was rather trolleyed. This New Year's was a change from last time, when I earned £100-odd waiting at the Marriott Hotel, so I suppose last night I was cashing in the capacity for Hogmanay booze I'd saved up.

It was all good – not especially legendary but saw people I hadn't seen for a while and other sentimental bollocks. Finally had an excuse to smoke the cigar I spent my last €2 on in Amsterdam Schipol five months ago. That probably explains the soreness of my throat this afternoon. There is nothing to explain the cut on my finger though.

I realised how drunk I was on the walk home at roughly 3am, when I was doing up my parka and said something to Jonny, letting the bottle of Budvar I'd been holding in my teeth fall and shatter on the pavement.

New Year is always an occasion for bit of boundary-breaking and this one was no exception. This year's boundary: no matter how paralytic I've been, I've always remembered to take out my contact lenses. So what did I do when I got in? I was very tired so I thought I'd have a bit of a lie down first – before I went to bed proper…I woke up at 9 with the light still on and, yes, my contact lenses still in. Fully clothed as well, though I've done that before. Of course I was still drunk, but went back to sleep for another 3 hours, sobering up and hanging over. Waking up drunk is one of nature's miracles, never to be turned down. Unfortunately I don't even feel an Anti-Hangover coming on. I do, however, have the Saturday Guardian to brighten the rest of my day.

Do I have any resolutions? Um, Get Fit I suppose, boring and clichéd as it is. As in healthy and doing exercise, of course – I'm fit enough already in other ways.


December 31, 2004

The Rubbishest Christmas Ever

Follow-up to México from Esprit de l'escalier

I should qualify the title of this blog by saying that the day in question was the rubbishest Christmas I have ever experienced, which isn't saying much, considering my family are a wholesome, loving and stable, albeit slightly eccentric bunch. For all you poor souls out there who didn't get the chance to go to Mexico and soak up the sun and Tequila and had much worse Christmas than I am about to describe, then all I can say is: 'bless'. All the same, please read on…

We spent Christmas in Merida, the capital of the state of Yucatan (sorry, pedants: I can't be arsed to use the accents today). Not your typical traditional British Christmas with the relatives, the drinks cabinet and the Great Escape, of which I am deeply fond. Rather, we were holed up in a crappy hotel way inland (so no beach to while the day away upon), with few presents to open and no Christmas meal to start preparing. On top of that, I had developed some kind of lockjaw ailment. Obviously, having not been bitten recently by anything bigger than a skeeter, it wasn't, but this did not make eating any less painful. Jake was also ill.

We were bored. Not even the weather was a winner. If it had been sunny, a dip in the hotel pool would have been something to do. But oh no. It went and bloody rained. In the middle of the dry season. All day. It wasn't even warm rain. It was cool. Possibly not as cool as you had it here, but it wasn't fun. If it had been as sweltering as was before, my Martin Sheen in Apocalypse Now-style fit of existential ansgt while lying on my bed would have been pretty sweet. What a waste of a good mirror.

Luckily I had bought my Dad the Private Eye 2004 Annual, which gave me something to read. That and the closing chapters of Crime And Punishment. Festive! The telly offered little better than a dubbed Titanic and regular adverts. Despite early enthusiasm, the family procrastinated all day – quite typically, in fact – so that we missed Mass, which was quite hard to do in Merida seeing as there was one every hour.

My desire for turkey had peaked, as it usually does, at 3pm; when we got to one of the few restaurants that were serving it (out of the few restaurants which were actually open) it was nearer 9. I suppose the saving grace of this Christmas meal was that it was a darn sight more memorable than other ones. It was a coffee bar, with a tiny restaurant upstairs. The other group of people there were roughly my age, clearly having escaped their respective families to socialise. Music of the 1980s (Spandau Ballet, Queen and Phil Collins – my, do the Mexicans love The Collins?!) was drowning out what was left of our Christmas cheer. And the icing on the cake: for some reason they brought us our starters at the same time as the turkey, so after I finished my beautiful Sopa de Lima (look forward to lashings of it next term, mis housemates!), I ate cold turkey. Brilliant.

So that was my Christmas. How was yours?


December 30, 2004

México

I tried not to be too self-indulgent but prepare yourselves, my friends, for a long read…

So I returned from the wonderful country that is México. Pronounced, of course, 'MEH-hee-coh', unlike most other 'x'es in the Spanish language, which are pronounced 'ks'. Of course, don't get the Spanish 'x' confused with the Mayan 'x' which is pronounced 'sh'. I thought I'd better get all the confusion out the way first. That's about it for confusion actually, everything else was pretty straightforward, possibly too much so. To be fair, it was a family holiday so it was bound to be somewhat conservative in tone.

We were on the Yucatán Peninsula, taking in a bit of Cancún, Tulum, Chichén Itzá and Mérida over ten days. The place is utterly flat, and covered in jungle. I'd describe it glibly as an Americanised Cuba – a mixture of colonial styles and tourist development. Plus the whole Mayan thing, which I'll come on to later. It was fairly hot and 'muggy', which was a nice change.

We drank a lot of Corona Extra (other Mexican beers are available) and Margaritas (no other Mexican cocktails are available) and ate some quality food (try the green stuff they bring you with the tortilla crisps. My advice: heap as much of it as you can onto the crisp and eat in one go). We stayed near a beach for the first half of the holiday, which was very nice. I could sit back, pretend to read Crime and Punishment while ogling the nipples of the surprisingly nubile nudists. It took a while for my body clock to adjust to the new time so I felt sleepy most of the time. Hey, I was supposed to be relaxing anyway…

With me in México were my folks, and Wilson Craw the Younger: Jake. As I inferred above, the country didn't have many foibles to amuse me but, atypically for foreign travel, I was with my brother, so our Les Enfants Terribles-style in-jokey banter saved the day. Unfortunately for you, this humour does not transfer well to blog form. Anyway, we raised seven circles of Hell in México, in Tequila-fuelled rampages throughout town. We didn't leave a good impression on the locals, let me tell you. Not least with a particular group of ne'er-do-wells, whose prize-winning mongrel our adopted stray, Pepé, savagely beat good and proper in an illegal backstreet dogfight. Not only did they refuse to pay up fair and square, they rode us out of town on their numberplate-less Chevy pick-up truck.

Jake and I became separated and were lost in the middle of the Yucatán jungle. After wandering for hours, fretting about Jake and what the mosquitoes were doing to his tasty gringo skin, I stumbled upon a Mayan village. Yucatán inhabitants are mostly of Mayan origin and tend to be very short. The people I found in this village were no exception but they were so cut off from the rest of the world, it seemed that I was the first Caucasian person they'd ever seen. With my white skin, towering above them at 5'8", they thought I must be some sort of deity. The village was in a pretty bad state and they were clearly in need of some Good Fortune. In their broken Spanish, they pleaded with me to perform a miracle. In my broken Spanish, I said: 'Okay'. So I did the first thing that came to my head, which just so happened to be to walk into the newsagent, reach up to the top shelf and pick up the latest issue of Hustler*. They were so impressed by the titties on display that they asked if I could provide them with more. So I did and before long the entire village was all jazz-magged up, holed up in their palm-leaf huts, masturbating furiously. Needless to say, after performing this miracle, I became their Porn God; they put me up in the penthouse suite, furnished it with a fresh virgin every day (it took a lot of persuading to stop the savages sacrificing them in my name), and let me have all the hallucinogenic smoking leaves I required. The effect of this last gesture was diminished as the leaves in question already littered the jungle floor, but it was the thought that counts.

Hunky dory, you may be thinking at this stage. Not so. The neighbouring village were rather more conservative than the one in which I'd become a god, and took violent exception to my distribution of lewd literature. They captured me and after a pretty unfair trial, I was sentenced to death by fire. Despite the grim circumstances, they made the effort and put on quite a show by erecting a wooden platform and everything. They even allowed me to choose the date and time of my execution. Now this proved to be a rather happy coincidence as I'd read in the Yucatán Times the previous week that a solar eclipse would be happening and even though I'd thrown the paper away, I remembered the precise time at which one could witness this majestic feat of nature. Fortunately - and you'll see why - they had no matches or gas rings so could only start fire by holding a magnifying glass to the sun. What I did was to choose my execution to take place on Thursday at 2 (the time of the eclipse) then just as the head priest was getting out the magnifying glass, knowing how gullible these Mayans were, pretended to be the Sun God and 'commanded' the sun to disappear, which it duly did. Not only did I avoid horribly burning to death, I became this tribe's Sun God. Once again, I was put in the penthouse suite and furnished with daily virgins. Folks, I had it made.

I would have loved to stay but in the end dear old Blighty and Warwick University beckoned. I figured, 'Hey, if this degree business doesn’t work out, I've always got something to fall back on.' At which point I awoke to possibly the Rubbishest Christmas Ever...

*Apologies for going a bit Sofia Coppola on the Mexicans' short-arses, but it's true. Also apologies to Alejandro Gonzalez Iñárritu and Hergé.


December 29, 2004

Bring Back Foxhunting

Rah rah rah and yah boo sucks to Tony Blair.

The government bans fox hunting, my family and I go away for 10 days and then what happens? A fox creeps into our garden and tucks into our hens. Can't believe it. Where are we to get our eggs from now? Oh. Right. The shop. Well, there were five of them – he/she didn't need to kill 'em all, surely? What's clear is that if we still had a regular agreement with the local aristocrats to ride around with a bugle and a pack of hounds, this sort of thing wouldn't have happened.

Before I become a Tory, I think I'll let the fox off – it's Christmas after all. Spending most of my time in Leamington, I wasn't that close to the hens anyway. I'll miss Honky though – she was the best.


December 14, 2004

Dan’s Review of the Year

Well, that was 2004. Okay, there are a couple more weeks to go but face it; the world’s just going to be pissed/hibernating/in Mexico for the rest of the year. So I hereby present my Review of the Year, in which I look back at all the great things that have gone down. Except me – I’m guessing you don’t want to hear about my sex life.

Music
For the Top 40 singles of the year, look no further than here. Here are the five greatest albums of the year:

  1. The Libertines – The Libertines
  2. The Streets – A Grand Don’t Come For Free
  3. Dogs Die In Hot Cars – Please Describe Yourself
  4. Franz Ferdinand – Franz Ferdinand
  5. Razorlight – Up All Night

I suggest you buy them all. That said, there was a hell of a lot of other great stuff produced this year from the Killers, the Zutons, the Ordinary Boys, Morrissey, Graham Coxon, Goldie Lookin’ Chain, N*E*R*D and Jimmy Eat World. And some new acts emerged to watch out for next year like Babyshambles, Bloc Party, the Futureheads and the Kaiser Chiefs.

Craziest of all, there was some really good non-indie – i.e. pop – music out this year. Scissor Sisters, Maroon 5, Kelis and the Black Eyed Peas are so annoyingly catchy, despite my attempts to dismiss them.

Film
There were plenty of half-decent films out but few truly great ones. A glut of comedies, from the Stiller-Ferrell complex, which is currently dominating Hollywood, dominated the releases. This is my top five:

  1. The Incredibles
  2. The Motorcycle Diaries
  3. Starsky & Hutch
  4. School Of Rock
  5. Lost In Translation

TV
Obviously, by TV I mean comedy shows – to be fair, British comedy shows. My top five:

  1. Garth Marenghi’s Darkplace
  2. Peep Show
  3. Black Books
  4. Little Britain
  5. The Green Wing

Books
Are you kidding? I’ve not read anything from this year – fictional, at least. Might read Da Da Vinci Code before the end of December though. I’ll let you know what that’s like.

Obituaries
Okay, it’s not all great: here are some of the people I respected who all kicked the bucket this year…

  • John Peel
  • Marlon Brando
  • Ray Charles
  • Peter Ustinov
  • Brian Clough
  • Johnny Ramone
  • Ol’ Dirty Bastard
  • Alistair Cooke
  • The university’s very own Lord Scarman

I guess this’ll be the last blog I’ll write before jetting off to Mexico for Christmas. Perhaps I’ll be able to write while I’m out there, but I ain’t promising owt. So dear reader (shit, that's another dead one: Derrida!), have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.


My Spiritual Pyramid Scheme Theory

Okay, it’s about time I had a rant about organised religion proper. This one concerns Christians – at least Christians who try to convert people. Evangelicals, I suppose.

I think the classic example in terms of denominations is the Jehovah’s Witnesses (“but in the Latin alphabet, Jehovah beginsh with an ‘I’!”), who we get a lot of up here in Newcastle, and I’m guessing elsewhere. The last time they came around all they did was ask casually about my religious beliefs then gave me a pamphlet, which went on about the Kingdom of God (which, for those of you who don’t know, contains many rainbows, and giraffes) without saying anything about who these religious nutjobs were until you got to the last page, where it said: “If you want to learn more about the Jehovah’s Witnesses, come along to…”

“Why do they bother?” you – at any rate I – ask. Well, to get to Heaven, not only do you have to subscribe to the one true religion, which according to Jehovah’s Witlesses/generic American born-again Christians is – surprise – their own one, you’ve got to convert a bunch of non-believers to your faith. This is because there’s only something like 144,000 places in Heaven and to get into that lucky few come the Apocalypse, the more conversions under your belt the better your chances. To convert heathens to one’s puritanical ways is a tough job, especially if you’re a Witness, not being allowed to have blood transfusions, celebrate Christmas, etc. – hey, if I were God I’d let them in on the basis of merely making those sacrifices – who’d give ‘em Hell after such a shitty life as that*?

What’s worse is the fact you’ve got to convince your converts that to get to Heaven they’ve got to convert as many heathens as you, and convince those heathens to do the same. Why, that’s gonna create a fuckload of people who’ve just given up their enjoyable lifestyle for one of chastity, etc., so that they can enjoy all the stuff they’ve missed on Earth in the eternal afterlife (they do fornicate in Heaven, right? If not, then what’s the point? I’d sure get sick of giraffes and rainbows), which far outweighs the 144,000 places that are up for grabs. Sorry, but a lot of pious, God-fearing people are gonna be disappointed at the end of the day (i.e. world).

You know what this reminds me of? In the eighties, I believe it was, there was a fad for these so-called Pyramid Schemes. Say a bloke comes up to you and says he’s got a sure-fire way of making a shedload of cash. All you had to do was hand over your lifesavings (or a fraction of) and then you had to get a bunch of your mates to do the same. You’d get a commission of what you’d collected and then make a veritable packet once you recruited enough people. Too good to be true, no? Correct: only the people who started up the Scheme would get rich; down at the bottom of the ‘Pyramid’, new members of the Scheme would run out of gullible people to ‘sell’ to, they’d lose their life savings and get rather screwed over. Do you see the parallels with Evangelism now? Do ya?

I call it my Spiritual Pyramid Scheme Theory. Or possibly Theorem. And it’s just one of many Evils of Organised Religion. And isn’t it funny how both are associated with the United States?

*If only they didn’t go around annoying people.


The Ordinary Boys – Over the Counter Culture

“Originality is so passé”, sings Sam "Preston" Preston on The List Goes On – Track 2 on the Sussex-based band’s debut LP – giving him licence to liberally rip off such musical luminaries as The Jam and Morrissey throughout the rest of the album. Once we have the boy’s acknowledgment of his debt to the greats, the listener can enjoy his tunes at face value. And they’re cracking – the title track is storming, urgent guitars building up to a blistering mute trumpet solo. The rest of the songs can’t top it, brilliant as they are (mostly).

Then you listen to the lyrics and that’s where the problem with the Ordinary Boys begins. For one thing, Preston’s trying too hard to produce witty, oh so British lyrics, in the vein of Mozzer, Davies and Dammers that it just doesn’t really work. Each song takes issue with an aspect of contemporary British life, creating a strong theme to the work, which is quite commendable but just leads to the Boys’ output being really samey. They don’t seem to have much of a message except that “Modern Life Is Rubbish”, and we all knew that after Blur told us a decade ago. Week In, Week Out attacks consumerism; Seaside and Weekend Revolution scoff at the drudgery of the British workplace. A solution seems simple: why don’t we just become carefree individualists? Because if you’d paid attention at the start of the album, 007, it seems we can’t: “Now it’s in to be out”, he sings in what I perceive to be a rather derogatory tone. So what’s it to be, Preston? Are you just taking pot shots at any lifestyle choice going so you can build up your Angry Young Man image in the eyes of the NME? Or are you just being ironic? If so, the Mozfather does it better.

Listen to OTCC for the tunes but skip Track 5, a cover of The Specials’ Little Bitch which has no place on the album – by all means play it at Glastonbury with special guest fat man, Phill Jupitus, but it’s too rubbish for anything more.


December 10, 2004

Dan returns to Newcastle

So I got back to the ancestral seat yesterday. I won't bore you with the details of the train journey except to mention my getting locked in the toilet for about five minutes. Fuckin' Virgin Trains and their futuristic doors. Oh, I travelled first-class again – wasn't as exciting as last time. Still, if thetrainline insists on selling first-class tickets so cheap I'm gonna keep buying 'em.

Looky! There's my house!

So upon my return to Newcastle after almost three months away, I set about catching up, intending to restore my Geordieness as my time away has caused me to fall victim to soft Southern shandy-drinking ways. So far I have:

  • taken Shearer, my faithful whippet, out for a walk
  • raced my pigeons with Ross Noble
  • swung by the 'Grove – apparently Jeff's dead!
  • had a Broon Ale or ten with Oz, Dennis, Nev and the rest of the lads
  • tried, with 'hilarious' consequences, to raise money for a season ticket
  • and burgled a few houses (only kidding – that's what they do in Sunderland!)

After a few shifts doon the pit, I think I'll have settled back in nicely.

Then it'll be off to Mexico!


December 08, 2004

The Mighty Boosh

Writing about web page http://www.bbc.co.uk/bbcthree/tv/mightyboosh/

Finally saw this fine piece of programming this evening upon my return from Brum, where I made a right-royal pear-shaped pig's ear of my Diplomatic Service Fast Stream supervised e-tray assessment*. I had seen it before, twice: once when tired and once when I'd been smoking a certain decriminalised substance. The first time I wasn't impressed; the second time I was very impressed. You can probably guess what kind of show it is. This was back in the summer when the Mighty Boosh was on late evening BBC3 - it started on early evening BBC2 a few Wednesday ago, and doing Spanish/skiving Spanish to go drinking around that time, I always missed it.

Now I've seen an episode in relatively sound mind I feel I can pass judgement. Oh, you want some background? Well, the series, the Mighty Boosh, concerns two zookeepers called Howard Moon and Vince Noir and the crazy adventures they get up to in their 'Zoo-niverse' with its array of weird n wunnerful characters. The episode I saw today was the one with the Spirit Of Jazz. Jake WC got me 'into' the series originally and has been going on about this character for ages.

If you liked Garth Marenghi's Darkplace, you'll probably like this (and that's not just because they share actors). It takes a while to 'get' but once you do, you can't put it down, like you would a book. It, however, ain't as good as GM's DP, or Peep Show. It does have some laugh out loud moments, but even the Spirit Of Jazz was kinda disappointing – a poor man's Papa Lazarou mereckons.

The issue I took while watching it this time (I knew this post had a point!) was the time. It's on at 7pm on Wednesdays. Why? If I'm anything to go by, its core audience is at Spanish class then. I'd've thought its surreal brand of comedy suits it more to the 11.30 slot. The most conspicuous evidence for this view comes in the form of them bleeping out pretty much a word a sentence. I sat there, trying to enjoy the programme – which would have been enjoyable, trust me – and the BBC suits go all censorship-happy on Vince's "Fuck the animals" speech. It was so annoying. New time please, BBC2 Controller.

Sorry, for some reason I feel the urge to add this:
"Yeah, give me a second series, y'shit."

*For those of you yet to take the FSSETA: relax – it's fine. I merely made a couple of schoolboy errors. 'Course don't know the results yet so it might be fine. One thing's for sure, I ain't giving you the answers, seeing how you're kinda competing against me.


December 03, 2004

Single of the Year 2004

Writing about Single of the Year 2004 from Hub of Creativity...

Presenting [drum roll]... the RaW Single of the Year 2004, as broadcast yesterday (Thursday) 4–7pm, with yours truly at the helm for much of the show. In reverse order…

40) Busted – Air Hostess
39) Dizzee Rascal – Dream
38) REM - Leaving New York
37) Dogs Die In Hot Cars – I Love You 'Cause I Have To (my no. 5)
36) The Strokes – Reptilia
35) Britney Spears – Toxic
34) Goldfrapp – Strict Machine
33) Kanye West ft. Syleena Johnson – All Falls Down
32) Shapeshifters – Lola's Theme
31) Basement Jaxx – Good Luck

30) D12 - My Band
29) Anastacia – Left Outside Alone
28) The Darkness – Love Is Only A Feeling
27) Snow Patrol – Spitting Games
26) Jay Z – 99 Problems
25) Muse – Sing For Absolution
24) Goldie Lookin Chain – Guns Don't Kill People Rappers Do
23) Modest Mouse – Float On
22) Jimmy Eat World – Pain (my no. 1)
21) N*E*R*D – She Wants To Move

20) Lostprophets – Last Train Home
19) Graham Coxon – Freakin Out
18) Eric Prydz – Call On Me
17) Futureheads – Meantime
16) U2 - Vertigo
15) Estelle – 1980
14) Morrissey – First of the Gang to Die
13) Razorlight – Stumble and Fall
12) Embrace – Gravity
11) The Zutons – You Will You Wont

10) Scissor Sisters – Laura (my sweepstake)
9) Maroon 5 – This Love
8) Damien Rice – Cannonball
7) Keane – Somewhere Only We Know
6) The Streets – Dry Your Eyes
5) Wolfman ft. Pete Doherty – For Lovers (my no. 4)
4) Green Day – American Idiot
3) The Libertines – Can't Stand Me Now
2) The Killers – Mr Brightside (my no. 2)
1) Franz Ferdinand – Take Me Out (my no. 3)

[cue much debate]


November 26, 2004

Dan's Guide to Voting in the Union

Writing about web page http://www.sunion.warwick.ac.uk/portal/voting/

I voted in the union elections and referenda yesterday. Don't believe them when they tell you that it's sexy. It's not. It's not even fun…unless you turn it into a little game, like what I did.

My approach to voting was based upon a number of factors: my democratic principles, pragmatism and superficiality.

First of all, I had to read the terms and conditions. Or, at least, I had to tick a box saying I agreed to them. The fun part to this was that there were a couple of other boxes that you could tick if you want to define yourself as a female and black. Needless to say, as I type this, I am, in the Union's democratic eyes, a black woman. You can call it making a mockery of the system; I call it upholding my democratic principles – I'm just exercising my rights albeit for the sake of a cheap laugh.

Next came the referenda. There are two motions: the one about reforming democracy, and another about banning racists and fascists. To be honest, I couldn't give a flying monkey's about either one, but as they want to be quorate I thought I'd be nice and vote in them. Without any personal preference, I was going to base my judgement on the strength of the two cases for each. There was a problem in that no one opposing the motion had submitted a case against. Obviously, to vote based on the strength of the cases, my vote should have gone for the motions, but surely I needed to make an informed decision? What were the cons of the motion? I felt betrayed as a voter by the Union. So I expressed my 'boo's to the Union in the form of Abstain.

Lastly were the elections. My strategy here was simple: first, I wouldn't vote for anyone without a manifesto. Second, I would vote for anyone who was running alone (no matter if they're a psycho – surely it would be way more fun if they were?). Third, I would vote for people I knew and vaguely liked. Fourth, for the postions I was still stuck on, I voted for the candidate who conveyed some sense of humour in their manifesto.

There you go: my guide to voting. Perhaps a little politics-geeky for some tastes, I admit. Now go and vote! Vote like the wind!

A message to Union hacks: if this contravenes your democratic code of conduct, let me know in the form of a comment and I'll take it off. Only to put it back on after voting has ended. Ta!


November 22, 2004

Prof. Brad Jockowitz's Guide to Limey Love

"Howdy there, London! Many thanks to my good buddy Daniel for letting me post on his blog! Who am I, you ask? Well, here's my full title:

Professor Brad Jockowitz (disgraced), Department of Relationship Studies, Jesse Helms Memorial Girls' Dorm, Duke University, NC.

That's right folks, the good old US of A! Now, I've gotten you lucky Limeys a sneak peek at my new paper, to be published in Relationships Quarterly next month (also syndicated to GQ and New Woman). It's entitled "A Definitive Guide to the Approaches of British Men and Women to the Opposite Sex". And here it is (abridged)...

After months and months of extensive research, these are my findings: basically, everybody has four different attitudes towards members of the opposite sex.

How men see women
'Fancy' = in love with.
'Would' = wouldn't say 'no', after a few, like.
'Like' = a cool girl – to have a pint with – you know. No chance.
'Who?' = lacks looks and personality, ergo he will never talk to her.

How women see men
'Like' = in love with.
'Fancy' = wouldn't say 'no', after a few, like.
'Sweet' = harmless. No chance.
'Psycho' = scares her.

Well, that's how it seems to me (and Daniel concurs). As you can see, there is potential for enormous amounts of confusion – often with hilarious consequences! But usually without.

Now, you may be wondering why I, a superior and insular American, can be fagged to study this type of behaviour over in England? Well, to be honest, the behaviour on our side of the Pond is damned boring. You've seen shows like the O.C., right? Well, by watching that you'll know that Americans are all too hot to consider anything but fucking everyone else, excepting family of course. Although…

'Til next time, brush those teeth!
Brad xx"

[editor's note: apologies – I can't sleep.]


November 20, 2004

The Student Radio Awards!

So, about thirty RaW types, past and present, made it down to Shepherd's Bush last night for the 2004 SRA Awards. We were up for three - I say we: Chris Carter was up for Best Specialist Show, the Sports Team was up for Best, erm, Sports, and we were all up for Best Station (having won it last year).

Sport got Bronze in their category, which was a bit gutting as there were only three nominations; Chris got Silver; and RaW as a whole got nowt. Which was fair enough as we swept the board last year. Shame that we can't say we're the UK's Best Student Radio Station any more.

But that's not important, for after the awards were given out, came the Lig-O-Rama. I made the most of the free Bud (shit as it is) and went and schmoozed with as many Radio 1 types as I could find. So, I met:

  • Colin Murray, who I asked "What age are you?" His answer: 27. I also got my photo taken with him (see below) and he recorded a ident for RaW. What a legend.
  • Steve Lamacq, who was trashed, shook my hand and adjusted my tie because it wasn't "rakish" enough.
  • Nemone, who I took the piss out of for doing the graveyard shift on R1, which I then realised was quite a harsh thing to do. So I'm actually going to listen at some point.
  • Comedy Dave who, let's just say, was more "Dave" than "Comedy".
  • James King, who's back at Warwick doing a PhD, and – you heard it here first – will be on RaW in January/February with his own show!

A fun night was had by all, especially young Adam Westbrook who ought to blog all the mucky details before I do. ;)


November 17, 2004

My turn for a Stagecoach rant

Bald Stagecoach bus driver, if you're out there…

Is it too much to ask that before you pull away from the Railway bridge, you check your wing mirror to see if any hapless students are sprinting to get the bus, and that you don't make an issue of their hitting of the bus's window in a last act of desperation to make you let them on?

Ta.