NOTTINGHAM October 2011: Amateur Shots of a City in Full Season

Here are some recent snaps captured on the digital behemoth that is my mother-in-law’s ex-mobile phone – patented the very same year as sandpaper. Light years ahead for pixilation & subtleties of capturing autumnal shade I’m sure you’ll agree. Ahem, well anyroad on with the visual spectacle…

Upon biking across the suspension bridge over the Trent on a very misty Armistice morning last Friday I arrived just in time to observe the tail-end of the 2 minute silence around the War Memorial on Victoria Embankment. About the only time I’ve seen the main gate opened; its certainly a defining feature of our city & often overlooked when carnies erect a shitting massive fairground ride which plunges couples to their doom in a giant egg-shaped cockpit during Riverside Festival every August Bank Holiday.

Pedalling on through The Meadows I embarked upon a clearly well-loved Grandmother’s Jamaican funeral with the classic open Shirehorse-drawn carriage draped with national colours and several mourners gathered. Brought a touch of New Orleans or N’Awlinz style to the proceedings (or maybe I’ve just seen too much of the HBO series Treme) & without wanting to sound disrespectful it semed to put some ‘fun’ back into funeral. As with the remembrance service I paused to appreciate the serenity for several minutes (“How’s the serenity?” as dad would say in The Castle). Although the picture quality is poor I felt the scattering leaves complimented the flag & floral display atop the carriage & the little chapel looked warm & intimate.

This is the back of Queen’s Walk Community Centre shown leading a procession of funeral cars each with their mini Jamrock flags. Those Mercs were so well wax-polished that upon cycling past they actually zoomed in to reflect my image. I wouldn’t have felt offended were this not to the same extent as shown on CSI to imply newfound evidence (curse these bacteria-smothered follicles). Not sure what the Subaru in the shot is aiming for though.

Looking back down Queen’s Drive Avenue the collarge of browns, oranges, reds & yellows frame an underpass painted in more psychedelic patterns which indicates the bridge probably possesses the spirit of some kinda Deadhead or Woodstock casualty. There are never enough avenues around British towns & cities in my experience. They just give a really inviting and Continental feel to even the most underwhelming street or housing estate & really take the edge off harsh terraced or high-rise developments full of gloomy concrete brickwork & jagged corners. It’s like a concrete jungle sometimes it makes me wonder…

It’s reversing small children who need the most care dag nammit! This is a sign outside a nursery/crèche just over Muster’s Road back in Bridgford which shows the comedy that can result (to me at least) from the simple exclusion of a coma or hyphen. Surely there should be a speed camera installed to accurately award the harshest-breaking parent’s reversal skills during their delivery of each child with the minimum stopping time (Eat that UPS).

Waiter there's a man in my soup! Oh wait it's just a black bean

There, you all saw it! Continuing on the gigglesomely misleading snapshot theme, surprisingly none of us ordered the Black Peeper dish to accompany our meal at Banzai Japanese restaurant in Hockley. Then again, how would we know if he really was as good a peeper as they were suggesting? I frequented the Gent lavatory’s sole cubicle just to be sure. If only he was followed by his other typo-friend (or fiend) Garlic Butler. I remember making the fatal mistake of ordering Sake both in my main soup dish of Spicy Beef Udon & flask form that night after happy hour cocktails at Tilt & before meeting mates at The Organ Grinder Pub on Alfreton Road to sample their fine Ilkeston-based Blue Monkey Brewery ales; 99 Red Baboons whilst you BG Sips Sir?). Tasty Night Out? Fo’ sho’! Sensible Beverage Schedule? Hail No Bro!

All she asks is to be treated equally...& fitted with a new candle every now & then

Meet my beautiful fruit of a ladyfriend Lorn (FYI Pumpkins are squash-like fruits not vegetables). I wish I could say she dressed up for Halloween but actually she’d forgotten all about it & fortunately these were just the house clothes she happened to be wearing. Lucky break huh? Seedless to say that night she drank a shellfull & had to have her stomach plumped WAHEY!

At 7.30am you'd be shooting in blurry-eyed soft focus too

Moving on from pumpkins to baby eeerm bumpkins I’m proud to present my niece Eva. Or I would be if I could snap any pics that did her justice but until then you’ll have to settle for this shape shifting early morning apparition. I’m pretty certain she engages her surrounding bear committee in telepathic discourse of how to revolt against this giant imbecile of a shared backseat relative abusing her delicate image. Her full name’s Eva May (as in Eva May Care) but here she’s en route to nursery so it’s Eva Daycare. Thankfully it’s not the nursery above where she must be reversed at speed.

Honestly, you wait all year for an art exhibition with one bus & then...

My fairer half here sans Pumpkinsuit can be seen admiring all the artistically fashioned creatures decorating old Barton bus models during the Carnival of Monsters exhibition on High Road towards Chilwell. I seem to recall one child having drawn a zombie hamster turned part-cannibal by craving ham which I thought was particularly haunting. In addition you could sample the event organiser’s far-superior gallery of the wider pieces on display here:

"Ring ring ring goes the bell oops it's broken"

Whilst now looking like the ridiculously eccentric coach wagon driven by Willy Wonka’s out of work cousin that it is, this was no doubt once the only way to fly by in the low ride (if only Blue had style…or talent).

"So which one of you've been camp the longest? I should imagine things get pretty in-tents"

Meet my oldest mate Pete (or should that be ‘longest serving in action’). I do have older friends but I probably consider them more men at odds with the world. Here Pete & I attempt to determine the sociology behind Nottingham’s Occupy movement steadfastly rooted in The Old Market Square. As it happens one of our old schoolmates only earlier that day had grabbed an ole battered guitar with 2 strings missing & joined their cause. Considering it was a freezing Saturday morn at 3am we empathised with their eternal patience in trying to engage swaggering drunken passers-by with politically-motivated debate. Every Occupy movement seems to have slight differences from its disputed Madrid & Wall Street origins whilst retaining the wider communal network which so aided & publicised the otherwise media-oppressed uprisings of The Arab Spring. Tesco & McDonalds packaging around the central gazebo only adds to the ironic severity of their plight.

And there we have it folks. Just imagine all the wonder & grace you’d have seen in infinitely finer detail if I had a blinking camera that was any cop?

As ever remember to take care out there…whatever you are


OH HAI Kneel Before Zod! Happy 1st Year of B-movies Day OK Byeeeee

Oh Hai KBZ! Happy 1st B-day

On the brink of yet another Superman film incarnation that no doubt promises to be an utter sack of shite, why not do as the villains command during the original Superman III & KNEEL BEFORE ZOD???

Surely what is Nottingham’s bestest cult cinema club threw a typically lo-fi double feature + DJ knees up at Broadway Cinema last Friday to celebrate it’s 1st birthday. Averaging at least one event each month my 3 fave brave boys Rich, Ed & Ally (Norman online) together span the full range of facial furnishings & have already shown some corkers which in their own words on twitter have Brought you the best of celluloid crimes, obscure classics and terrible posters, in front of your aghast and astonished faces.! All manner & array of b-movies, dodgy novel creature invasions & ridiculous plothole-cum-disaster self-directed alt. classic romps (here’s looking at you Tommy Wiseau).

This quality of pencilmanship is maintained with every KBZ flyer

Kicking off proceedings at the earlier time of 6 on a Friday (otherwise known as Alco O’Clock or The Snacking Hour in my schedule) numbers started small. Alas one helluva Troll 2 themed cake canopy much of which literally said ‘EAT MEEE!!’didn’t skimp on the green food colouring & a superb combo flyer display of 9 previous KBZ nights bar the Bowie Tribute eve at which the rather excellent Nordenfelt made their live debut despite being seen by no-one who actually went to see THEM would ya believe?

By rolling a retro-tastic VHS & large screen TV into the side room alongside those foolish tendered mortals’ upstairs bar, the setting resembled Berlusconi’s penthouse via plenty of plush seating & tinted glass for extra bunga-bunga discretion. Those clunky black encyclopaedia-sized cassettes look from another lifetime and the wobbly white lines floating across screen made me wonder how exactly given the relative quality of picture we ever knew that every VHS wasn’t pirated or at least eaten off by Mongolian cannibals before they used the streams of tape roll as party poppers.

Weekend at Bernie’s II is possibly the most true to life yuppie zom-com in terms of voodoo origin, zombified movement & setting. Set on a highly debated US-owned Virgin Island in the Caribbean where folk dress like anything but virgins. Uncle Bernie’s corpse is reanimated by the 2 sons of a local Voodoo Priestess using black magic to James Brown’s Sex Machine from which moment on various parties try to steal his fortune & tropical calypso grooves appear to make his buttocks wiggle. I’ll spare you the finer details of this true-to-life highly consistent caper-filled sequel.

I did not have sexual relations with that woman...i was dead at the time - dead randy a-hu-hur

This was followed immediately by Evilspeak in which Stanley Coopersmith (Clint Howard) becomes empowered by Estaben (or the remarkably less sinister sounding Steven in Spanish), Satan & Morrissey in equal measure; the latter in the “ooh check me out I’m hovering Christ-like” & hair department. Due to his grotesque appearance, general clumsiness & preoccupation with cleaning out pigs, Stanley endures institutionalised bullying from all sides at his military encampment. Finally after failing to hit on Miss Heavy Artillery (ain’t it always the way fellas) & being publicly humiliated on one too many occasions he completes the blood-honoured consecration of his host to transform into Esteban until inevitable heads-will-roll demonic possession ensues.

Ah bugger not again - i knew i should've laid off the spacecakes

After this heady concoction there was still the highly entertaining spectacle of a DJ set in the main bar featuring 2 projector screens. The one facing away from the entrance was better hidden & our boys clearly exploited this fact with soft-cock 70s & 80s images of naked ladies who resembled Kevin Keegan at his peak changing videos behind menu options screens which seems to involve an unnecessary amount of bending. Whilst titillating heartily with friends, arms could be spotted exiting brief glimpses of areas where arms shouldn’t. This probably caused sophistimacated couples taking advantage (but not in that way) of the broadway bites meal-filem deal to choke on their calamari areole however continental an option. Alas the other screen showed a looping show-reel of all trailers & most movies shown at previous KBZ nights. Result: Money raised for the Salvo with cake slices to gogo! Truly these guys throw film & music nights not to be missed if you want the best of baaad (in both the Michael Jackson & literal sense).

Rolf Harris' marketing department should really be ashamed


Basic Blog Etiquette or should that be Eti-QUIET YOU!

Here is an old excerpt I rediscovered from a principled piece about upstanding blog etiquette just after I started out in this game. Shame I’ve since already given my wagging tongue of opinion free reign – ah crepe & bogger. Anyhow can’t hurt to sneak a peak of a time when I once held such lofty ambition:

  • All me-blog posts will be thoroughly self edited & lampooned (see brackets-ed.) <=Wahey look I’m at it already. This will save face in appearing dissimilar to the Daily Mail’s website comments & mental nutjobs who overly capitalise/take everything to heart/repeatedly use Christian names to forcibly engage with their peers etc.
  • Said posts will try wherever possible to refrain from casting assumptions about their readership; in other words projecting too much casual opinion as if this were preordained common knowledge (please refer to Hollywood bastion of studious docu-grams of attitudes towards xenophobia within the education system entitled ‘Slap her, she’s French!’ for the archetypal case study).
  • As you should soon discover, I happen to find my own life rather non-enthralling so extracts will be thoroughly peppered with tangents, irreverent & regressive humour, blatant forgery/plagiarism of ideas expressed far better through previous film/music/literature/comedy serials/Chinese finger puppet theatre/animal noises.
  • Under penalty of online suicide all entries will exclude the following adjectives: wacky, zany, crrrazy, super loopy (except in the context of Chas & Dave’s ‘Snooker loopy nuts are we’) and batty actually no not batty I may require that in other posts being a mammal lover (take that as you will with a pinch of soil) and being into dub reggae/ragga possibly quoting slanderous homophobic lyrics.

Closing statement: many blogs appear to have nonexistent or very blinkered literature reviews in this personalised tech-xtualised age. The more established seem to only source other blog references so may I take this opportunity to declare that I wish to return to Orwell’s ‘Why I Write’ for the birth of purpose & reason in a craft that no amount of tech-savy ‘malcontent over content’ will disguise a lack thereof.

Now that I read it back to myself it seems I’ve already compromised most of my principles for the sake of progress in having recruited 2 subscribers! Selling out one page viewing at a time; ah well, you’ll always reassure me won’t you oh inner conscience of increasingly strained desperation?

"It finally happened"

This best sums up how I currently feel about my career & life in general...

Ugly Duckling @ Bodega Social Club, Hoodtown 03/11/11

U.G.L.Y. They ain’t got no alibi, they still come hotter than Arizona rooftops!

When Journey to Anywhere first dropped one whole decade ago ‘UD’ (as they wish to be heckled) had already been together since 1993. Kudos then 18 years on to not only have survived but consistently toured our tiny island ever since. Like the west coast’s response to a slightly less Jewish Beastie Boys (having been around the block almost as long), these 3 chum(p)s formed a rap group to dominate the universe with sunshine prose and funky samples galore after sticking it to the fast food joint where they met (either that or getting fired for patenting MEATSHAKES tm).

Only in America...

Surprisingly not opening with classic opener Opening Act their arrival nevertheless achieves the desired effect with much headbob & all arms aloft being swung side to side like the collective spanking of a mischievous chorus girl. Follow-up I Did It Like This opens the doors wide on a rammed party with a legal beats n rhymes induced high.

As testified by frontman Andy Cooper, DJ Young Einstein (he of the gold chain upon which the ladies allegedly got their eye) scratches n samples the finest choice cuts of hand-reared vinyl big beef to make each ounce more satisfyingly tasty to the bounce like some old skool rhythm junkie version of an M&S farmer.

This video is about as close as you can get to being there without licking Einstein’s paws although it’s from their last UK tour 2 years ago:

From here on in I’m transported back in time to a more playfully cheeky and innocent golden age of hip-hop. Pretty much just as I was the 2 previous times I saw UD rock a crowd up at Sheffield’s Tuesday Club & Plug. Wherever the venue, however the weather, these Cali boys lay on a straight up in yo grillpan full phat flavoured vintage classic show with several comedic interludes and set pieces. The best example of which must undoubtedly be Pick Up Lines when Andy & Dizzy force a poor young and dangerously unsuspecting lady onstage then each try a corny come-on only for Einstein to scoop up the missus’s riches as it were – pure panto!

New title track Movin at Breakneck Speed begins with a characteristically addictive intro chant before which they claim to have been touring since 1986 (must have understanding wives). Or if classic cut A Little Samba is to be believed their mama’s must be very worried by now. And who’s feeding those 2 pet sharks?

To play a sweaty, heaving glorified janitor’s closet of a club midweek to over a hundred beat-heads going more berserk than a climbing frame full of otters is no small feat in the current gig climate. But then a group’s live rep gets carried far & wide over time and these guys have certainly surpassed the mileage of most dedicated rap fiends still kickin’ it. UD’s love & respect for their fanbase keeps them blazing bright long after the raw energy of lesser acts would’ve dimmed from view.

I’ll leave the final word to the bros themselves. Vital life lesson this one:

“Got any jobs yet treaclecakes?” OR Impending Joblessnessness Part 1

When you are jobless you are never more purposeful yet incapable” Phil Swift, 2011

Nothing like a thorough buttering up of one’s own ego by starting a piece with a quote from thineself; Crumpets anyone? Just wipe them along me. And yet, in today’s bat race with record joblessnessness (2.57 million between June & August according to The Guardian) nobody else will oblige you with encouragement except a former B&Q Floor Manager & security doorman at your local Ingeus (ok fine just mine then).

Trouble is you’re pulling & being pulled in so many alternating directions as to how to best use your time thus it never becomes free (time) in your mind. I doubt this would apply to the majority of unemployed but out of work I feel just as imprisoned as when serving time on the inside of some office heckle hole: a slave to the excesses of your own imaginative pursuit of hobbies/dreams/accomplishments.

The only way you'll grow from eating those is outwards

I have discussed this with a few friends and we have always come to the same conclusion. Even for only 10 minutes every other Tuesday, the Jobcentre instils enough fear into the hearts of decent menfolk made to feel worthless that they swear to themselves to find something in time never to return like a crack junkie to his soiled mattress. A disturbing vision of what can happen over time without reassurance or non-polyester based clothing allowance (other than the obvious fire risk). I sometimes enjoy dressing smartly as if for a job interview to readdress the balance not so they might mistake me for someone who works there or actually has an interview but to alter their expectations of what any self-respecting unsporting charity shop lurking Iceland pizza chomping modern-day chap can achieve on £68.

It doesn’t help matters that my job adviser also has the same name as my 10 month old niece which can be somewhat confusing in terms of our relationship and my language with her. Describing my job search methods in babytalk doesn’t seem to swing it and rubbing noses gleefully only confirmed her worries upon referral.

Manager position available for rodent with own dressing gown

Do I learn Spanish? Well too late I already started. Te puede ser util! Tambien puedes ver la tele pero no comprendo Jeremy Kyle cuando mucha gente sufre. Do I write about how many decent festivities are on during October which we’re somehow already through??? Or in a third party system: Do I make myself a midnight club sandwich to rival the height & dexterity of the Chicago Skyline? Only club that ever let me join. Ah well at least i learned to drive & they can’t take that away from me (for now as i haven’t even received my license yet: apparently points DON’T win prizes).

I think Stevie said it best on Living For The City; ‘to find a job is like a haystack needle ‘cause where he lives they don’t use coloured people’; killer lyric which addresses themes of inequality and racial prejudice in New York’s employment sector circa 1970. In my scenario of course the ‘coloured’ would be replaced with ‘principled’ although ironically haybaling is something I’d be perfectly happy doing. Lest not forgot the only factor to apply to the equation is that I am considerably more fortunate than a boy born in hard time Mississippi. Thus Stevie’s words whilst being funky & subtle socio-political commentary sadly do not aid my cause.

I have more to say on this subject so as a thread to post any thoughts I wish to leave the backdoor porchlight on. I’ll close with one of those supposedly inspiring wall posters that quote the great success of a man who died last month after telling his closest trustees virtually naff-all about how to continue his great legacy of unfinished work…a bit like Lenin on his deathbed or Michael Jackson with his freakfest of a family:

I'm really glad he includes the word 'somehow'. I only hope Kevin Smith doesn't feel trapped by Dogma either