Archive for April, 2004

Tube boobs

Tuesday, April 27, 2004

I don’t usually write posts purely to refer people to other sites because:
a) it’s lazy,
b) it’s what everyone else does,
c) it doesn’t feed my ego sufficiently.

But sometimes someone does something enviably well. So, if you want to read overheard conversations on the London Underground try Tube Gossip.

Each weekly entry is sublime. Picking favourites is slightly counter-productive because the joy is in the mix of eccentricity, banality and expressions people don’t quite mean, but here are some just to entice you:

1. Toby is in another shit indie band, doing the toilets of Camden and shagging fat birds.
2. I happen to like dandruff.
3. Can you smell gas?
4. I would like to shoot Mel Gibson’s dad and then deny it ever happened.
5. Georgio Versace? What is that? Cheap shit.
6. Anyway, so he explained how we always live in the moment and how time is an illusion.
7. Guantanamo Bay… it’s like a place from Home and Away.
8. I saw this pregnant woman sunbathing topless on holiday. Her nipples looked like Wagon Wheels.
9. A lot of people mistake Palmer’s Green for Tuscany.
10. I said I liked having fun… that doesn’t mean I just drink Bacardi Breezers and get my tits out all the time.

(originally posted April 27, 2004)

Why fleeces are evil

Sunday, April 18, 2004

I don’t mind you wearing fleeces on mountains or boats. I concede that they might be of practical value to people who get a kick out of battling the elements, and besides, I won’t be able to see you. But what makes people think that they are acceptable for everyday use? Why cover yourself in shapeless man-made fibres when there are acceptable garments made from cotton and wool?

Fleeces are lighter, yes, but at what cost to style? If comfort and practicality were the bottom line in clothing we would all be wearing dungarees and leisure suits.

The fleece is the ultimate triumph of utility over aesthetics. Wearing one is the equivalent of keeping the plastic covering on the seats of a new car to keep it clean. It is as gauche as using address labels in the top right-hand corners of letters.

It is the shell suit of the middle class, the brown tights of the younger generation. It makes the young look middle-aged, and the middle-aged look ugly.

I know you fleece-wearers like to think you have liberated yourselves from the arbitrary values of the fashion industry, but you have gone too far. You have become a fashion Luddite with a nose cut to spite your face. Give up the struggle, comrade. Buy a jumper.

Welcome to dumpsville

Saturday, April 17, 2004

There are few seams as rich in character as the number 25 bus on a Friday night.

Last night’s compelling passengers were a luckless man and his hatchet-faced girlfriend. They were having a tiff, and while the precise origin was unclear it was apparent that a third party had made a comment about her mother. The man was attempting to cheer her up, but failed to understand that she wanted to remain upset. This was her crisis and any attempt to point out that she was needling herself needlessly would be a grave insult.

“I didn’t mean to trivialise it,” he pleaded as the girl ruffled her hair in anguish, folded her arms and showed him her profile. I laughed out loud when she finished him off by reaching into her bag and pulling out Henry James’s Washington Square, a novel so quintessentially the tale of a bitter old maid betrayed by her lover that I wondered whether she kept the book in her handbag for just such occasions.

The words he was looking for were: “Welcome to Dumpsville. Population: you.”

(originally posted April 17, 2004)

Top 5 singers who, if they started singing along with the radio in your car, you would tell to shut up

Friday, April 2, 2004

Bob Dylan
Everybody must get stoned, he sang, and how right he was. To sing the way he did and not think you were commiting an act of depravity requires either drugs or hearing impairment. He begins every song sounding as if he’s in incurable pain and by the end I know how he feels.

Leonard Cohen
Another wonderful lyricist, but when it comes to the vocals he’s just a Jewish Chris Rea. Could he not find anyone else to sing for him? Was he a 1960s version of Roger Hargreaves, the author of the Mr Men books, who couldn’t get anyone to illustrate his stories and so did the drawings himself? I should think even Roger Hargreaves sang better than Leonard.

Tom Waits
Some people get evangelical about Tom Waits. I think he’s a poor man’s version of Rowlf, the floppy-eared dog from The Muppet Show. His voice might be enviably gravelly, but I would be a lot happier if his careers advisor had told him to stick to government anti-smoking advertisements and a part-time job as Mr Gravel, a novelty after-dinner performer at conferences for the aggregates industry.

Not so much a singer as a prototype for the voices of the aliens in the film Galaxy Quest.

Mark Knopfler
Just how bad at singing was everyone else in the Dire Straits if they chose Mark Knopfler to be their vocalist? He didn’t sing, he spoke in rhythm. He was like Rex Harrison with a guitar. No matter how uncool Dire Straits become, they will always have a fanbase of middle-aged men who can sing along without worrying they won’t be able to hit any of the notes.