Thursday, May 31, 2007

Handclaps, Twanging, Death.

Not that bothered about the game itself (a multiplayer-only FPS based on a particularly silly roleplaying game where someone thought 'You know what the gritty near-future cyberpunk genre need? Elves and Trolls!'), but the music's great. It's called "Baiana", by the Brazilian group "Barbatuques". Me likey.

Non shotgun-toting-elf-based live performance video here.

ALSO: some updates and concept art on the upcoming LEGO MMO.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007


My hair has now got long enough that sophisticated London television producers are telling me I look 'a bit French'. On Sunday I decided to get my hair cut. I asked for about an inch off, and to thin the rest out a bit. The man takes about an inch off, and thins the rest out a bit. I hate it.

Today I go to another hairdressers, and tell the nice Australian lady that I want it cut really short. I also tell her I had it cut a couple of days ago, in case she realises anyway, and thinks I'm mad.

NAL: Well, lit's not rush into this.

She stares at my head for a while. Finally:

NAL: Ah see the problim. You have a gurl's hair.

She leaves the front, cuts lots of the back, does mysterious things with product.

ME: (impressed) Oooh, that's much better!

NAL: Yis. I have left it long, but taken art the flick, so it is more lahk a man's hair.

ME: It's weird, you sound more South African now.

NAL: What?

ME: Nothing.

UPDATE: I hate it again.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Never mind that, look! Muppets take Helm's Deep!

THIRD UPDATE: I've just had at it with scissors (the hair, not the muppet/LotR window display). Contrary to all known universal laws, it looks much better now.

This has been some day, and no mistake.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007


1. Cat is sick (and worse) on floor.
2. I clean up, put various messy paper towels in binbag.
3. I change binbags, put old binbag at top of stairs.
4. Cat shreds binbag 'for a laugh'.
5. I hate cat.

IN OTHER NEWS: I'm fairly sure that Tiny UFO thing is marketing for the new Transformers movie, but the photographs are very pretty.

UFO pictures do tend to look suspiciously of their time - 1950's UFOs look like the cars of the period (all rounded and shiny), and this looks too manga influenced for me. Cute though.

ALSO: Best authorial website ever (wish I'd thought of it).

I don't seem to have got much work done today.

For no particular reason.

The Baked Potato Song:

Also, and again for no real reason other than I found it this morning: Muppet Theme in Hebrew (down on the right hand side a bit).

Monday, May 21, 2007


Bollocks to the 'Royle Family', the Green Wing final episode* was millions better. Although I didn't actually watch the 'Royle Family' final episode. And Jessica Stephenson's in it sometimes, and she's great. But bollocks to it anyway. Still, always nice to be nominated.

Patroclus was shouting out the highlights to me through the door (I was having a bath).

PATROCLUS: Oooh, I just saw Rob!

Five minutes later.

PATROCLUS: Green Wing didn't get anything again.

Ten minutes later.

PATROCLUS: Hahahahaha, Ross Kemp's won an award!

Anyway television was just a phase really, I'm a film writer now, which is much more interesting and glamourous. In my new role as an interesting and glamourous film writer, I have decided that it is my duty to explain to all the starting-out wannabe apprentice film writers the secret of my enormous glamour and interestingness.

Thusly, here are some tips:

1. Try inserting helpful drawings into your finished script: if a scene includes, say, an explosion, then a scribbly fireball with severed heads and limbs coming out of it will always grab a studio executive's attention!

2. If you have a particular actor in mind for a certain role, why not cut faces out of magazines, then put it next to each line of dialogue, so it's like he's doing speech bubbles.

3. Always end scripts with big kisses in green ink and alternative phone numbers at your place of work where messages can be left if you are doing a poo.

4. Include a list of 'Actresses I Fancy'. Don't worry about crossings-outs and underlinings, that shows you have really thought about it.

5. When you've finished your script, rearrange the pages so the scenes with the best lines are first, like in a trailer.

6. Actors who have bought you drinks recently should be mentioned by name in the script as a suggestion for a character. Actors who laugh derisively when you interrupt their half-hour flow of 'things I said in Hollywood recently' to tell them you've written a superhero movie WILL NEVER BE IN IT EVER.

7. You know who you are.

* UPDATE: Rob informs me in the comments below that it wasn't the special that was nominated, it was Series 2.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Off the grid

I can't get to my Falmouth internets at the moment (I'm in a little cafe round the corner, it's very nice).

BT tell me it's not the line, my ISP provider say it's not them, Apple tell me it's not the laptop, I've changed the phone filter, downstairs have a different phone line.

I can only assume it's goblins.

Anyway, in the unlikely event that anyone's trying to hold of me today (there's a few things bubbling under), they'll have to use the phone (preferably the landline as the mobile only works if I hang out of the window). Tomorrow I'm back up London, so I can pick up messages in the afternoon when I get there.

Bloody goblins.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Gloriously OTT hip-hop/morricone mashup thing stylee yo yo*

If I ever get round to raising my army of disgruntled rentallers** and reclaiming londony-types' second, third and fourth homes for the locals, this is the song I intend to have blasting out behind me as the sun goes down and the glorious cleansing flames begin to spread.

(I'm not burning the homes down, that would be counter productive. Probably a couple of sheds though. And that Jesus Army APC thing that drives around Falmouth, it's always annoyed me***)

* I've just watched the entire third series of The Wire over two days. I might have gone a bit odd.

** I really like this phrase.

*** I'm just jealous because I want my own one.

Lego MMO

Technically, my excuse for wandering into the internets looking for Lego are the plans for a Lego MMO revealed earlier this year. World of Warcraft has finally run its course with me, and Second Life's apparent lack any kind of overall theme other than, well, perving and virtual storefronts leaves it looking rather charmless. And a bit 2002, frankly.

But a Lego MMO where you could join together all the various creations below, trading plans that would enable manga-style mechs to co-exist with Shakespeare vignettes, steampunk flyers and ridiculously ornate castles? I might never leave.

Brother Brick Blog
Lego Vignettes
Shakespeare Vignettes
Classic Castles
Classic Pirates
Lovely lovely mechs

I also had a vision whereby each server starts with the same basic layout, then is allowed to grow in different directions by its randomly-assigned users. Although it did occur to me that in around five years or so, one of them might actually have evolved, you know, life.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Having your Peda and eating it.

I go for a drink with Best Mate, who isn't feeling very well, and is a bit tired.

BM: I'm not feeling well. And I'm a bit tired.

She rubs her face tiredly.

Later, we go to one of Falmouth's many fine Nepalese restaurants. I originally booked for seven o'clock, but B.M. is released from work slightly early, so I phone and ask if we can rock up slightly earlier, and the restaurant and I agree at quarter past six.

The waiting staff seem deeply annoyed that we have turned up at all, and we have to ask quite a few times for a second menu, and a jug of water. Forty minutes later, we have both in our possession, but no food. We are now at that awkward stage where it's too late to cancel the meal, but when it does arrive, it will clearly be as ashes in the mouth.

Finally the food does turn up. BM, who is nearly asleep by now, makes an odd yawning noise and rubs her face again, this time pulling hard at the corners of her eyes. The waiter leaves.

ME: You just did slitty eyes.
BM: What?
ME: You just did slitty eyes to the waiter.
BM: Oh bollocks.

Discreetly, we study the ethnography of the serving staff.

BM: They're not very chinesey*, though, are they, Nepalese?
ME: Well no, but they don't get on with the chinese terribly well.
BM: So either I'm either stupid and racist, or politically quite-well informed and racist?
ME: Hmm.

What could have happened was, we made a bumbling apology to the waiter, which made things worse, and the whole incident became full of terrible awkward silences, that revealed how fraught with difficulty any discussion of racial differences is in these supposedly multicultural times, and in the end you, the observer, is left feeling that this whole episode isn't exactly racist, but it does rely on 'fear of the other' in a way that is unsettling, and really rather old-fashioned.

But as life isn't a sitcom, it all seemed fine. We didn't have any dessert, but then desserts don't seem to be a big part of Nepal cuisine anyway. (UPDATE: although clearly, what the fuck would I know?)

Afterwards, I am passed by four enormously drunk Scousers. Thirty seconds later, the car alarms begin.

*Actually it might have been me who uses the phrase 'not very chinesey', for which I apologise.

UPDATE: readers with bad memories might believe there was an earlier version of this post which was about a Tibetan restaurant. How wrong they would be.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Norwegian Comedy

Medieval Tech Support

Mmm, it's a very soothing accent, Norwegian.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

The Bulwer-Lytton fiction contest

In which you have to try and match the rather individual style of a man who wrote opening sentences like:

"It was a dark and stormy night; the rain fell in torrents--except at occasional intervals, when it was checked by a violent gust of wind which swept up the streets (for it is in London that our scene lies), rattling along the housetops, and fiercely agitating the scanty flame of the lamps that struggled against the darkness."

I think it's too late to enter now, but last years year's entries are well worth a look.

My favourite of m'colleague Richard's entries:

"Lorna had a neck like a swan’s; curved and elegant, delicate yet strong, beautiful and pale, plus donkey’s legs and a face like a bee."

My attempt at a fantasy novel-style opening:

"Elgin the Black moved panther-like through the dark palace corridors, except no panther could hold a sword, also Elgin wasn't on all fours (although he nearly was on the stairs, which were quite steep, but in the end not that steep) and the 'Black' bit of his name referred not to any colouration, but to the seriousness of his deeds, and his real name wasn't even Elgin, it was 'Trig'."

Richard's is better, but then he is older.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

'Intel wipes Cornish traders off the map'

From The Telegraph.

I like the way that's nearly news, but not quite ('Ah well', said a local spokesperson). There should be a term for the gap between the dramaticness of the headline ('Pope Shot!)' and the reality of the story ('Mister John Pope was today captured on film by local amateur photographer Mabel Tring, as part of our 'photographs of men' series').

Alternatively, there's an excellent cyberpunk thriller to be written, where an Intel black ops unit covertly destroys a whole town, memory-wiping any witnesses in order for their new processor to move swiftly up the Google rankings...

Saturday, May 05, 2007

My current favourite song.

Because it has:

1: a swear.
2: an obscure punctuation reference.
3: a high-pitched bit.

Vampire Weekend - 'Oxford Comma' (mp3)

Band website here.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Week Ending

M'chum Ian Greaves writes:

I’m involved with a research project which plans to uncover the complete history of BBC Radio 4’s Week Ending (1970 – 98), a sketch show which used a wide array of up and coming writers, producers and performers. Heavily reliant on the week’s news, it was a satirical show with a fast turnaround and acted as an important platform for newcomers. Vitally, it also accepted material from members of the public under a long-standing ‘open submission’ policy.

We’ll be marking the tenth anniversary of Week Ending’s demise next year. Unfortunately, and typically, the BBC Sound Archive has kept almost nothing of the show before 1988. A couple of other archives retain earlier editions, but either way we’re looking at around 600 missing editions. In addition, over 100 ‘Two Cheers’ compilations for the World Service are apparently awol too.

Have you any editions in your collection? Do any of your friends or family have a connection to the show? Perhaps they contributed a couple of gags in 1979 and home recordings are tucked away in their loft? Maybe you have a specially recorded trail, kept by chance at the end of an old C-60? If so, we would love to hear from you.

This is not necessarily a request for copies. At present we are keen to establish precisely what exists in private collections as domestic ‘off-air’ recordings. We appreciate that any episodes that do survive may not be sufficiently dated, or perhaps have sections missing. Thankfully, all of the key paperwork exists so it should be possible for us to identify anything you might have.

It is also worth bearing in mind that, whilst the Sound Archive is fairly comprehensive beyond 1988, those copies may be missing interesting bits of continuity/presentation, not to mention the many trails commissioned after that date. If you think you can fill in those gaps then we would be delighted to hear from you.

This is an initiative which I am working on with the long-established programme recovery/research group Kaleidoscope. Get in touch at if you can help us.

Related Links:

Week Ending
BBC sound archive

Weekending was one of those shows you were always supposed to try and get a sketch on, as a step to becoming a full-time comedy writer - they had fairly open meetings where I think you could pitch ideas, and I'm fairly sure that's how Rob Newman and David Baddiel met, amongst others. I never tried this route myself, as I never really clicked with the show's sense of humour, and I was based in cornwall, so it would have been a bit of a commute. Good that there was a way in though, and I don't know if there are any similarly open-submission-style shows these days, which is a shame.

Anyway, do let Ian know if you have anything - as he says, he's not necessarily looking for copies as yet, but trying to get a sense of what's out there.