Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Should I Stay or Should I Go?

Thursday 3 September 2009

Why do people seem to drive even faster in the rain? I take a cautious drive into work during which the first Andrew Collins CD finishes. I’ve really enjoyed the first one, which brought back some memories of my own. I look forward to the other CDs over the next couple of weeks.

Our gym has two treadmills. I did 10 minutes on the bike and as I began on the rowing machine someone else came in. He went to the right treadmill and started jogging. After my 1500m row and a rest, I stepped on to the other treadmill and began my ten-minute walk (10 minutes at Speed 6 on an incline of 5, if you must know). I wondered how the other guy must have felt because we were side-by-side but he was jogging and I was walking and yet we were still side-by-side. Maybe it didn’t occur to him because he was “in the zone”. My mind tends to wonder and come up with such random thoughts.

I pick up Flick at 4, as usual, and she bemoans the “early” collection because she “hasn’t had a chance to play”! I’ve changed my working hours, getting up in the dead of night at an ungodly 5.30am, so I can collect her from After School Club and she wants to stay there later! Kids today.

Friday 4 September 2009

I’m relieved of school collection duties as mum and granny are collecting the Flickster from school after attending a Buddy Mass.

I enjoy a leisurely drive home, still in the company of Andrew Collins’ excellent “Where Did It All Go Right”.

I’m home just before the girls. I get a call from Tim at the Scotland on Sunday asking for my comment on the line-up for the forthcoming Homecoming Live event. The story is embargoed until Sunday so I’m not to put anything up on the Jocknroll website. Fair enough.

Saturday 5 September 2009

There’s a busy day in prospect as the girls head off to ballet. Later they attend a centenary celebration for the Guides in Dunfermline. Road works near the school venue only add to the traffic chaos. I drop off the girls and head off home. Trying to avoid the nearby chaos and the busy town centre, I take a long shortcut home, a nifty wee route I’ve logged in my mental SatNav for future use.

I settle down to watch the Scotland-Macedonia game. It’s a dour first half with Scotland being outplayed and lucky not to be behind. It kicks off in first half stoppage time when Scott Brown, never the most mature individual on god’s earth, decides to contest a drop ball instead of giving the ball back to the Macedonians. The visitors had kicked the ball out following an injury to one of their players and the accepted action is for the ball to be given back to them. Brown decided instead to contest the drop ball and the ball came off the Macedonian (who made no attempt to play the ball) and resulted in a corner for Scotland. The Macedonians were furious and surrounded Brown. After the subsequent corner the referee blew his whistle for half time and the protests continued with Macedonian management and substitutes joining in the hunt for Brown’s head.

I watched 10 minutes of the second half and went to collect the girls. The road works had mysteriously been removed and we took a different “shortcut” home. Except we weren’t going home. Flick had been great at getting up during her first week of full-time school that we decided to treat her and took her to Frankie and Benny’s, which is a favourite of hers.

While Frankie and Benny’s is really a fast food outlet dressed up as a restaurant I generally enjoy its ambience, especially as it plays some decent 50s and 60s music. Flick has a good singalong to Manfred Mann’s “5-4-3-2-1”, which opens her own personal compilation that I’ve put together over the last year. I plumped for the New York Chicken and an East Coast Sundae for dessert. They were tasty enough at the time but on four occasions that evening and during the early hours of the next morning I cursed the very name of Frankie and Benny’s. I was ill, very ill and such was the extent of my upset stomach that my body was actually aching the next morning. I say morning because it was almost lunchtime before I finally surfaced such was my discomfort. The girls had been fine but we all had different meals. I don’t know if it was the coleslaw that came with the meal, or the sauce on the chicken, the chicken itself or the sundae but something I ate there disagreed with me. Following on from the New Taste of China, Frankie and Benny is the second of my usual fast food eateries to make me ill. I haven’t been back to the former and it’ll be a while before I return to the latter.

On Twitter I have a moan about my BT Broadband once again “dropping out”. It’s been doing it regularly, in the evening, and is beginning to resemble the pedestrian dial-up service of the past. Before BT (BT Care) start “following” me on Twitter and asking me what’s wrong! I’ll investigate how genuine this service is before I pass on my account details. Remind me never to slag off the CIA.

Sunday 6 September 2009

The girls returned from church with rolls and the Scotland on Sunday. My quote was in the paper ( Not feeling too good I enjoyed the luxury of wading through the Sunday papers or in this case paper. We used to buy three Sunday newspapers (for contrast, crosswords and competitions) but now we don’t bother. We realised we’d never read them all and we went from ensuring that all the comps and crosswords were completed and posted before the Sunday pick-up to not even bothering to start the prize puzzles. In the end we stopped getting any papers at all. Sitting browsing the Scotland on Sunday and its supplements and magazines was very relaxing and I almost yearned for the lazy Sundays again. With a young family, this is now an impossibility.

Flick has been “playing up” this morning and she’s blaming her dark blue Ben Sherman jeans! She says they’re “making her naughty”!! I resist the temptation to laugh and tell her to not be so silly. There’s nothing wrong with the jeans, a birthday present from her godfather, and a change into her High School Musical outfit doesn’t suddenly change her behaviour. As a result her promised 4.30pm pick up, to allow her to some play time, has been put back to the original 4pm.

I head off for my radio show and encounter the usual idiots on the roads between Dunfermline and Kirkcaldy. Luckily I have ‘Andrew’ to calm me down. Today’s show is an Ellie Greenwich special, celebrating the legendary songwriter’s extensive catalogue of songs. Notwithstanding the Myriad system crashing as I start to tape my show (I tape them all), I really enjoy the show and there are no major technical hitches. She wrote some brilliant songs, some known (River Deep Mountain High, Da Doo Ron Ron, Baby I Love You) and some less well known (The Kind of Boy You Can’t Forget, You Don’t Know, I Didn’t Mean To Hurt You) but all gems.

A stress-free drive home and it’s a yummy tea of chicken, Yorkshire Puddings, peas and chips, albeit heated up in the microwave. K does the bedtime stories, I do the dishes and after preparing the family’s lunches for the next day we settle down for the first of a new two-part “Waking The Dead”. Trevor Eve’s character Boyd annoys me a lot because he seems to permanently scowl and grumble and is downright rude. I’m looking forward to part 2 already.

Monday 7 September 2009

The quiz night I’m writing and hosting for K’s employer – an annual paying gig I really enjoy - has been put back three weeks thanks to a double booking by The Pleasance. I’m quite glad because while I’ve written the vast majority of it and already put together the two picture rounds, I need to write a few more questions and put together the audio rounds. I still put the audio rounds together using tapes but when I’ve completed one I digitise the whole round as one track on my PC and put it on to CD. I always take a CD and tape version of the audio rounds because you never know when the technical gremlins can strike. They’ve certainly struck me in the past and can be embarrassing for all concerned, especially the quizmaster. I have a portable speaker with microphone, which also has a built-in cassette deck.

Luckily The Pleasance has its own sound system and I usually get the CDs played through that. I take my speaker as a stand-by. I try to cover myself for all eventualities. Anyone who has written a decent pub quiz - I’ve been to some shockers in my time - will know how much effort goes into writing and putting one together. It’s not all about Quizelda, my glamorous assistance (aka my good lady wife), because the audience play their part too. I can’t recall how many years I’ve been doing this quiz but every year the room is busy and buzzing so I must be doing something right. It always makes a pleasant change to have an attentive audience who are there solely for the quiz. Okay there is a disco too but most people drift off when it starts. I guess mental and then physical exertion is just too much for some! I feel sorry for the DJ but he gets paid nonetheless so I guess he’s not bothered.

K asks me on behalf of the social committee if I have any specific requirements. My request for “ten vestal virgins fanning me while I “perform”” and “a backstage masseuse and a bowl of peanut M&Ms (no brown ones)” and a private helicopter are being considered.

K has a Guides meeting so we don’t watch University Challenge, Pointless, The Gadget Show or part 2 of Waking The Dead. There’s now only 16% left on the Sky+ box. I’ve already purged a whole page of Peppa Pig and Charlie and Lola so something I’ve been saving for a “quiet hour or two” might have to go. Decisions, decisions. Will I get around to watching Pierrepoint or Control or those two More4 documentaries on Enron and Naomi Klien? I’ll need to make time. Having checked my diary, 3 am is looking good.

Tuesday 8 September 2009

There really is no rest for the wicked. I headed straight for Tesco after work. I volunteered (why?) to collect 8 different exotic fruits from the supermarket for K’s Guides. They would be tasting the fruits and also locating the country of origin on a map. I picked by some physalis (Colombia), figs (Turkey), a papaya (Brazil), pomegranate (Israel), bananitos (Costa Rica), a passion fruit (Colombia), a baby pineapple (Ivory Coast) and some Kiwi fruit (Chile).

Edwyn Collins is playing a not-so-secret gig with Teenage Fanclub in Glasgow on Thursday and I’m sorely tempted to make the trip through. My friend Giselle in Long Beach is giving me pelters for even thinking about not going. I’d love to go but have to be realistic. It starts at 10.30pm, when I’m usually getting into bed! I could take Friday off, I suppose. Oh, what to do. There was a time when I wouldn’t have twice about it. I remember popping off to Leeds (or was it Manchester?) to see One Thousand Violins having only heard about the gig that morning. I was living in Edinburgh at the time and still very much at the mercy of National Express. Should I stay or should I go?

Taking of which, have you heard Sharleen Spiteri’s abomination of a cover of The Clash’s classic? Ripping off The Shangri-las and now butchering one of the pioneering punks’ classics is not the way to get credibility or, hopefully, sales.

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