Thursday, 31 March 2011
I do tend to go through afterwards and create a few extra paragraphs where previously there were none, because my thoughts come out in great lumps of constipation, but those words are invariably untouched, preserved in the aspic of posting. Now I’ll admit there that I had to interject briefly to look up aspic. As I said, my brain does the thinking and comes up with these words that I couldn’t tell you what they mean, but just seem right for the sentence. I looked it up – aspic is that rancid jelly stuff you find in pork pies and on some meats. It is indeed used for preserving. Brain 1 Sam 0.
And so you’ll find that I’m not nearly as smart as I might think I am. Or don’t think and that I aren’t. Or something like that. Do you know what I haven’t had in ages? Apple juice. That’s how I usually roll. I’ll be thinking of something and then I’ll get sideswiped by a tangent. I only got through those two reasonably-sized paragraphs because I was forcing myself to concentrate really hard. My head itches, so I scratch it.
A breeze blows in through my open bedroom window, the clock is easing itself wearily up to 12am, which is the hardest and most tiring time for a clock to reach to. I should really be asleep, but I’m not. I am as ever at the mercy of my mind. If there are still things to be thought then I cannot sleep. I like to write those things out of me, and I keep a notepad at close hand. Four out of 10 of these inanities might make it into a blog post. Eight out of 10 would make it into a twitter update, because there are much lower standards on there – it’s wham, bam, thank you ma’am on twitter. There you are only as good as your last retweet, but that’s judged by time, so you squeeze as much in as possible.
I like blogging for its rumination, its quiet contemplation and its considered...I can’t think of a word. Calm? No. Wit? Maybe. Something slightly longer. These things are always supposed to come in threes. Calm will have to do. Of course these last several sentences would never normally be included. It’s the clever myth of a good writer to be able to make out like a decent sentence has just come to you out of the thing, inspiration has struck and this taut, tight little construction has just magicked its way onto the screen. The clock strikes 12. And for that reason, I’m out.
Wednesday, 30 March 2011
It had all the ingredients of a stonker, but then so does a soufflé and they often turn out flat. My heart started to sink as Martin Brundle’s grid walk halted, spluttered and dropped. Maybe I’d opened the oven too soon, but he started off by peering through a fence, wandered aimlessly about waving his arms at technical things for a few minutes and then chatted to a couple of. Of course, they answered in the inane way that these guys do when there is a PR thrusting a dictaphone menacingly in their chops. Martin’s grid walk ended suddenly, presumably with him sashaying away from the camera and then scurrying up to his new position in the commentary box.
I enjoyed Brundle’s turn behind the lead microphone, it has to be said. From deep in his depths he has mustered some previously unregistered enthusiasm, presumably for not playing the straight patsy to the bumbling banshee stood next to him. And yet his immutable authority remains. It must have been frustrating, all those years in the shadow of successive channels trying to shape people in Murray Walker’s image. Actually, he’s probably used to playing the perennial sidekick, he never managed to win a race in Formula 1 – but now he’s shown them, he has become the all-seeing eye with a sidekick of his own.
Marty and DC sounds like a fairly low-grade 80s hip-hop duo, but even the combined talents of Martin and David Coulthard with their razor-sharp incisive incisiveness couldn’t keep me awake for too long. I drifted off sometime after half distance, lulled into a torpor by the rhythmic motion of moveable rear wings that were consistently failing to provide any hot overtaking action. I can usually smell a gimmick a mile off, like a sweaty man wearing cheap aftershave, but I had suspended my cynicism to give this one a real go. Schmuck.
Formula 1 rule makers strike me as an extremely neurotic bunch, so desperately worried that the bottom is going to fall out of their bank accounts. They come up with these wacky yet plausible, apparently simple yet outrageously expensive ideas intended to enthral the masses and provid something worth watching. I’d hate to think what they might do if they heard that someone was falling asleep during their little gatherings of the rich and beautiful, I fear it might give cause to a collective seizure. And yet they never seem to realise that manufactured unpredictability is never quite as exciting as the proper kind. That is, the one you don’t see coming, the one that doesn't have a little on-screen graphic.
But such is life - it does occasionally throw up thrills and excitement but it is mostly quite dull. Which is surely what makes the fun bits that much more exciting and thrilling. Do you know who would know that? Martin Brundle. What a hero.
Tuesday, 29 March 2011
The great thing about being a child in your parents’ car is that the back is your own domain. I used to sit on the left – I still do, actually. It’s my favoured seat. The floor was elaborately festooned with my possessions – books, colouring books, crayons. All of the crap and detritus that kids amass after journey after journey.
I remember once I had a can of Coke in the back of the Metro – I can’t even imagine why I might have had a can of Coke, this can only have signalled a big occasion like a birthday, or something dying – and I didn’t finish it all.
So this half-finished can of Coke somehow contrived to dump its contents in the cubby built into the rear passenger armrest in the side of the car’s cabin. Lego men were rendered sticky and immobile, drowned in syrupy ignominy. It’s no fun being a Lego man.
That cubby was sticky for ages – these things happen when you have your own domain – and dried Coke can get everywhere. But that gold Metro took such batterings in its stride, much to its credit. I did love that car.
Saturday, 26 March 2011
They are occasionally useful for a mind-numbing sense of your own pitiful context within a gigantically massive universe you could never hope to come to terms with, but that sort of thing could depress a chap.
The moon, frankly, is just a bit boring. It doesn’t really do anything, it’s not like the sun – the sun is a bit dangerous, a bit dicey, it could ACTUALLY BLIND YOU if you stared at it for too long. The danger of staring at the moon too long is that you could become a real dullard at dinner parties.
I think it’s a disservice to the moon too – for thousands of years the poor little chap goes round and round the earth, doing the hokey cokey and going in and out all the livelong day, and we suddenly call him a super moon for his once-in-a-lifetime little party piece?
I think the moon wouldn’t like that, which is why I played it consistent, like. Super moon? What super moon?
Friday, 25 March 2011
But that’s the thing with food – we’re so illogical and irrational about it that our bodies have to have a certain amount of resilience to cope. When it gets to the point that you’re being filmed as you’re forklifted out of a hole in the side of your house for a Channel Five documentary, you’ve been studiously bad at looking after yourself. I mean, that takes effort.
But for the rest of us, it’s just common sense. People get mental about sifting out the nano particles of bad chi out of their water, forgetting that literally billions of people have lived happily enough before them. You could work at it in order to try and eke out a bit of extra at the end of your useful battery life, but who really wants to be 97?
Old age is nuts. Bread is nuts. It’s all nuts.
Thursday, 24 March 2011
We spent some time talking about social media and petrol in London, then we went to the Science Museum for dinner. We got to play in the Launchpad after all the kids had been thrown out as a reward for talking about petrol.
After spending the night in London we went to Ellesmere Port to talk about petrol. We talked about how petrol is made, how important it is to get some petrol with additives in it so that your engine doesn’t get filthy dirty, and we talked about making petrol for the Ferrari F1 team. In fact, we didn’t just talk about making petrol for the Ferrari F1 team, we actually got to make some petrol for the Ferrari F1 team.
Petrol smells a lot.
There was a competition amongst the teams to create the petrol that would boost the Ferrari F1 team’s horsepower the most. Rather depressingly, we British (led by celebrity front man James Allen) came second to the Germans. I get very competitive during competitions, as evinced by me wringing my hands in a napkin at dinner when the winners were announced.
But I did at least come away knowing lots more about petrol.
Wednesday, 23 March 2011
This is my rubbish way of trying to understand the economy. We had a long discussion over dinner the other evening as to why the Bank of England might need to raise interest rates in order to combat inflation. It was like watching seals trying to play cards.
My plan to detech has broadly been effective so far – I have read several books. I am on the fourth of Alexandre Dumas’ (my new favourite writer ever) five musketeer books, the Man in the Iron Mask, I have almost caught up with my shocking backlog of magazines (which I compulsively buy each month) and started a dicey little number by Robert Harris called The Ghost, recently made into a full-length motion feature by Roman Polanski of having-sex-with-a-13-year-old fame. Should I mention that? Meh.
There are few things greater than really losing yourself in a good book - becoming emotionally wrapped up in another world that is somehow of your own making. Reading becomes a tango of imaginations, two people's heads sparking off each other in the right way to create something truly exciting. It's that sort of thing I love about writing, even - I would love to be able to create just a tiny moment of blithe transport for someone.
In the meantime, I'll keep up with my reading and make sure my adjectives are polished up and ready to go. It's a supply and demand thing.
Tuesday, 22 March 2011
I quite enjoy it when you get a little window on where the magic happens, a tall, sweaty hirsute-looking man wiping his brow with the back of his hand and flipping away. But actual eggs. I had just assumed that the egg part of the sausage and egg mcmuffin was pre-cooked to the required shape in a factory somewhere in Sudan.
But that then makes me feel bad that I have internally besmirched McDonald's - perhaps the carton of eggs was just for show and rubbery pre-cooked African eggs are kept somewhere out of sight, but in many ways a company like that just can't do anything right because of the prevailing narrative. I want them to be bad.
And I pretty much want them to be unhealthy too - it's why I go there. I want some fat and grease in my fast food - if I wanted to eat something healthy I'd stay at home and gnaw on a yellowing stick of celery.
These places haven't quite got the hang of all this yet, I don't think - it's like Hitler. Everyone loved him, but then they started to hate him and he didn't know what to do about it. He never really got over introducing stupid salads and deli mcchicken mcwhybothers to Nazi Germany.
I don't know how big the market is for healthy crap, but I'm sure it can't be willing to spend that much. Who wants to spend time with friends over a smoothie, or interject a long a journey with a cheeky fruit salad? I would never stop by a cafe for a bowl of porridge of a morning, because I'd rather be miserable in the comfort of my own house.
But still - kudos for the eggs, Ronald my man.
Thursday, 17 March 2011
I'm not so good early in the mornings. Perhaps that early isn't even required - I'm no-one's before 12. Just not long ago I was sitting here in a fug of reflection, watching my life flash before my eyes.
Curiously, it seemed to involve a heavily rural bias and large numbers of sheep. As a thick-set middle-aged woman tumbled across my consciousness collecting rubbish, I remembered that I was on a train.
It can happen, that blurring of mind meets matter. You really have to trust your brain, that it's giving you the right information. People always think I'm joking when I say my brain does all my thinking without me, but there is a certain detached relationship between the two of us.
This could maybe indicate psychological problems, but I'd have to get my brain to have a think and report back to me. And not until after lunch, either.
Monday, 14 March 2011
I soon gathered the more concrete application of this Highways Agency top tip when stuck behind an erratic Honda Civic piloted by an obvious tit. It had that disco ball finish to the bodywork that speaks of a thousand tiny shunts, and was coated in a drab green colour that immediately tells you the driver couldn't care less. The whole thing was broadcasting "Keep your distance" in 12-foot letters in several languages.
People might say that the driving test is getting harder, but there are so many more idiots on the road these days I am afraid I shall have to respectfully disagree. Or perhaps it is simply the case that the few idiots there were now have more things to crash into. I have come to the conclusion, however, that we are a nation of compliant nincompoop, trained only to pass exams but not actually usefully apply any of the knowledge we might have gleaned.
Hence the need for such signs as "Keep your distance", as if you needed a reminder not to drive dangerously, intimidate other road users, or die. Like "Warning: contents may be hot" and other such inanities we have been reduced to bumbling fools through decades of intense patronisation. 55 million idiots, sharing an island. But as the great, but dead, Bobby Kennedy once said, "that which unites us is stronger than that which divides us".
The man never drove up the M1.
Saturday, 12 March 2011
The 24-hour rolling news channels' capacity for criminally stupid understatement never ceases to amaze me. Even faced with a huge natural disaster on the size and scale of the Japanese earthquake - surely the gift that keeps on giving for round the clock news - and armed with hyperbole four-and-a-half times the size of Wales, they still end up floundering and flapping about for things to say.
Just this morning, a sensible request for clarification from an expert on nuclear power plants as to just how much radiation might actually be venting into the atmosphere from an exploded facility was batted away, and we were reliably informed that the Japanese cabinet minister was 'doing everything he can', and would tell everyone if something happened. And then you want to avoid something like an explosion, surely? Well thanks for that, The News.
My mummy always told me that if I didn't have anything nice to say, I shouldn't say anything at all. You might think it a statement of the bleedin' obvious to amend that command, but it probably needs doing. If you haven't got anything to say, you probably shouldn't say anything at all. Wouldn't it be nice if a presenter on BBC News 24 slumped back in their chair, said "I'm spent", and cut to an extended pre-recorded edition of Have Your Say, or perhaps the penguin cam at Edinburgh Zoo.
I wouldn't watch it, of course, but it would be nice. Sadly we are instead doomed to a miserable future where something happens and we are then cursed to watch 14,000 replays of it from a couple of different angles and a motorist's mobile phone. If Dante were around now he would be forced to add an extra circle of hell just for news where nothing happens.