Monday, January 31, 2011

the grip of Spiros

hey everyone

well, my good chum Spiros is certainly no stranger to appearing in periodicals produced by the press, but it's rare, i suppose, that the articles do not feature words like "the accused", "charged" or even the phrase "a bit like what George Michael did, only with a fireman". he does appear in the press this very week for nothing like those usual misunderstandings, but rather for one of the hobbies which he pursues that tends not to offend the constabulary.

Spiros has very kindly forwarded what seems to be a photograph of the article rather than just a scan of it. presumably there is some sort of copyright issue that he had in mind when he did this.

i must say that this is one of the most excellent bits of headline copy i have ever seen! the writer clearly had the measure of Spiros when they thought it up!

Spiros, by the way, would like it to be known that his "glory" is often more than what can be held in one fist. i would have no idea if this is true or not; but i shall certainly be asking a fireman or similar if i ever see them.

nice one Spiros!

be excellent to each other!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Boys Keep Swinging / Absolute Beginners

hey everyone

well, if for me any old Bowie release is a must-buy, then a Bowie related release for a very good cause was always going to end up in my collection.

whereas Mr Bowie is notoriously protective of his impressive catalogue of songs, he is equally open in his support of the charity trust War Child. he then had no hesitation in giving his blessing and writing off any legal costs or concerns for the production of the album We Were So Turned On, a double album of covers with all funds going to War Child.

as a taster for the album, a limited edition 7" single was produced. and when i say limited, i mean the original run was 1000 copies worldwide. by some good fortune, i am one of the 1000 whose attempts to order it was successful.

now then, charity records have a bit of a hit and miss affair - sometimes, no matter how noble or worthwhile the cause, the records released for them in some instances hover around "average" at best. i am delighted to report that, for giving money to War Child, you get two exceptional, amazing songs.

the "A" side of the single is given to well known Bowie worshippers Duran Duran, who present for your pleasure a cover of Boys Keep Swinging.

considering their underwhelming previous attempt at a Bowie song, Fame, i was wary of this one. no need for fear, however, as this is a brilliant yet bonkers cover.

although produced by the band themselves, it's clear that the influence of their recent experimental work with Mark Ronson lingers in their minds. the sound is very much "hey, let's pretend we are in the 70s, but have all this new equipment and try and imagine what sound we would make then trying to imagine how it would sound now". a very "futuristic nostalgia" sound, if you will, with either John Taylor or possibly Nick Rhodes on a synth banging the absolute hell out of a button called "Mr Bass".

on the "B" side there's Carla Bruni with a cover of Absolute Beginners. those of you familiar with the press coverage of this, hold on, will address that just now.

Absolute Beginners comes from Bowie's "difficult" mid-80s period, where for the life of him he seemed unable to produce a quality album, yet released some amazing songs (like this one) for film soundtracks.

let me put it as bluntly as i can - this stripped down, piano and vocals only version of Absolute Beginners is one of the best songs i have ever heard. and i have heard a lot of songs. it is an interpretation that sits on your mind for a very long time after hearing it and, at least for me and my good lady wife, you do wish to hear it often. there's a casual innocence to the vocals - perfect for the lyrics - which is as haunting as it is beautiful.

some of you may have read or heard the criticism of this particular version, which you can read about by clicking here if you must. i find myself, oddly, disgusted with the comments being made. if these are genuine critical responses, then they are from music critics who clearly don't know their a**e from their elbow and are not ashamed of it. most likely, however, is that a number of these reviews are, for obvious reasons, loaded with an ill-advised attempt at some sort of political comment. if it's that intelligent, perhaps they are just written on those horrid keyboards of malice, jealousy and spite. ignore the rubbish being written, give this recording a try.

now then, making my one of one thousand copies of this single all the more special is that, by sheer luck alone, i am the proud owner of one of the three hundred copies to be pressed on a marble pink vinyl!

wow! needless to say, this is the number one record in my collection at the moment!

whereas i doubt you will get the pretty pink version i have, the magnificent online store Record Store has got some stock of a "2011 re-press" of the single. they ship worldwide, and all proceeds go to War Child. here is the link to order your copy.

failing that, and i know many of you can't play 7" singles any more, clicking here will take you to the place to purchase the We Were So Turned On 2 CD set, featuring these two songs and many, many more. there are downloads of the album to buy too, but please make sure you use reliable sites.

and finally, if you have no interest at all in these or any other Bowie covers, please at the least visit the War Child site and see the many ways in which you can help and support them.

Monday, January 24, 2011

being the adventures of A Chocolate Orange....

so, to recap. i was walking past a shop when i noticed they stocked Terry' Chocolate Oranges. i know, i thought, i'll get my Dad one of them. he loves them.

"thanks son", he said. "i know, i will take it over to New Zealand and share it with Gillian," he further mused.

much of what follows is something that i believe i might have brought upon myself, for the first idea i had was for James to give this magnificent confectionary to Grandad and have him say "here Grandad, stop being grumpy for a bit".

here, then, are the latest, and possibly not final, adventures of a young Chocolate Orange visiting the fine land of New Zealand.

first off, it seems to have gone on holiday with the family, to a place that i call Mount WikkiNikki, but keep getting pictures of the proper name for it. anyway, as there was no space in the car for the Chocolate Orange, there is no place for one of those pictures of the proper name on this blog.

nice to see that they at least put it on top of all that lovely ale!

not that the safety and security of the Chocolate Orange seems to be a priority for them in New Zealand. observe, if you will, the following pic of Dad taking it up for a ride on one of those "luge" thingies.

yes, your eyes do not deceive you. whereas Dad gets to wear a crash helmet on the ski lift thing, is there one for the Choccy Orange? oh no. what if you dropped it, Dad? well, i think he did actually, as it's looking distinctly battered in some pics.....

...and as great as coffee is, i don't think a cup of it, which seems to be served in a bistro which has taken the name of one of the finer modern authors, is going to make it feel better.

and i am not falling for "let us take a picture of Gillian with it to distract from the damage when Grandad dropped it", either.

the poor Chocolate Orange must have been rather hungry after the incident with the luge lift - it takes an awful lot of emotional blackmail to get Grant to share his lunch with anyone!

now then, back in the Victorian era, it was not uncommon to be prescribed a trip to the seaside if you had fallen ill. clearly they had this in mind when they decided to take the Chocolate Orange to the beach for a little while, to see if that would help it recuperate and feel better and, well, less dropped off a ski lift.

a more left-field, esoteric form of health remedy would of course be building statues and the like in celebration of those who had fallen ill. this is, i presume, what Katie is doing here.

at least i hope that is what she's up to - if in fact she's proposing to bury the Chocolate Orange in the sand, the mind boggles at the state of entertainment and education in New Zealand if torturing citrus-based chocolates is considered the norm.

speaking of statues, sculptures and the like, it seems that New Zealand has a fair few of them, and the Chocolate Orange, presumably "channeling" through Grandad, wished to see as many as it could. here it is checking out a rather splendid sculpted surfer dude.

and here it is checking out one of those midget-dwarf things from that most famous series of films made in New Zealand; those ones where the dwarfs walk across a field for nine hours to toss a ring into a bonfire.

blimey, how many more pics do i need to write for? believe me, not as many as i could be, this is less than half of the pics i have received thus far. anyway, moving on, and one of the more interesting, in the sense of question raising, places they took it to.

i confess to never having partaken in the pleasures of a salted pool, hot or otherwise. if i did wish to go to one, however, i would like to think it unlikely that i would wish to either take a Chocolate Orange in with me, or leave it out in the sun whilst i had a bit of a dip.

now would i, sober, think it a good idea to place it on the dashboard of my car whilst taking a spin on a lovely hot day.

i am really wishing that i had remembered to give Mum that condom in a tin that Dad got at the World Cup and thought was some mints, really. i am sure it would have admired this magnificent view as much as the Chocolate Orange.

it does, however, seem that they are taking a shine to the Chocolate Orange in the sense of it seeming to be part of the family. not that we eventually/hopefully eat members of our family (often), but that they appear to be somehow grooming it, in the non-predatory internet sense of the word. why else would they take it for a haircut?

i don't think, to play along with whatever it is exactly they are up to in New Zealand, that the Chocolate Orange has shabby hair. i do think, however, that my Dad will have tried to argue that he is not a "proper pensioner" (he isn't in any sense) and thus presumably qualified for some sort of discount.

oh dear, it seems that the Chocolate Orange has had enough, and is either trying to phone me, or the proprietor of the store whom foolishly sold this item to me.

why would it wish to come home all of a sudden? well, have a look at where Dad found to take it.

if, as unlikely as it seems that this would happen, someone asked me if my Dad would seriously try and make a bet via presenting a Chocolate Orange as legal tender, i suspect the quizzer would be disappointed with my answer. Gillian obviously shares these concerns, and snatched the Orange of Citrus to make a dash for it to the only place where such items can be free, safe and at one with nature - Hamilton.

well, that's it. for now. and i fear i really do mean for now. Dad has some more time and an awful lot of space on his camera to further fanny about with this item that was meant to be eaten, ooooh, a couple of weeks ago. unless those in NZ have wrongly taken offence at the comments here (and i really can't believe i have come up with so much to write about it, frankly), i would imagine more (and more) pictures will follow very, very soon.

be excellent to each other!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

the boys in January

hi everyone

i must say i am somewhat struggling with the current popular phrase "my bad". it sounds like something one would wish to say only if they wished to appear illiterate or otherwise distinctly under-educated. however, this popular turn of phrase seems appropriate, if i have the correct definition of it in mind, as i discovered some pics on the camera from earlier this very year that i "forgot" to post.

here, then, are some images of the boys having fun. first up is a couple of images of them on their magnificent slide; a slide, lest we forget, not that we can as James tells everyone, that "silly Santa dropped at Grandma and Grandad's house by mistake".

William isn't quite as big as either he or James would like him to be in order to play with the amount of rough and tumble that both would wish, but believe me they try!

now, just after Christmas, James performed a most excellent trick. he took his birthday, Christmas and pocket money to a toy shop. he bought considerably more than he had money for, and had a distinguished amount of change too. how? well, he and William haven't quite formed a Krays type business yet, so presumably it was down to the fact that he went to the toy shop with Grandma.

James is, to his great credit, always thinking of William, and thus was most insistent that William should get a treat. thus, James decided that William could be Spider-Man.

a terrific costume choice! yes, i know that it is way too big for William. James was told this, but was having none of it. oh well, i am sure William will enjoy growing into the outfit!

i discovered these pics that i had forgotten whilst downloading some of them from this most recent of weekends. i promise to put those pictures up "soon".

in the mean time,

be excellent to each other!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Lyla's birthday party

hey everyone

well, another year, another round of birthdays to celebrate! we have already thus far been able to be blessed enough to celebrate the birthday of Uncle Trevor, David Bowie and of course The King, Elvis Presley. time, then, to celebrate even more with another birthday for Lyla!

unfortunately we couldn't make it through to celebrate, partly because of James being wary of the trip there somewhat due to what happened to my magnificent car on the way back, but mostly because they decided to close down vast chunks of the highway for some overdue (and still not properly done) roadworks. oh dear, we shall soon get together and have another party!

perhaps it's just as well we didn't make it - James can get rather jealous and protective of his cousin Lyla, and it looks like a Prince Charming came along to whisk the Birthday Princess off her feet on the dancefloor!

now, it really is rare that i would proverbially put anything past my brother Richard. however, mindful of the fact that Lyla's name comes from an Oasis song, i did raise an eyebrow at the idea of shoving a whole load of unspecified white powder on the tables for the guests to enjoy.

alas, Liam and Noel (who wouldn't have been invited as they were so rude to Richard when he tried to buy them a pint), it's not what you are thinking/hoping. looks like the powder was some heavy duty, hardcore flour, intended for making some most excellent pizzas!

it looks like a truly excellent time was had by one and all, including, of course, Ruby-Lee Valentine!

nice one!

be excellent to each other!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011


Well, my good chum Spiros has suggested to me that I write a “classic” album article on the debut release of infamous 80s band Sigue Sigue Sputnik. As he is a very sensitive chap, despite being very good with colours, I’ve decided to postpone my review of the expanded edition of Blast (sorry, Holly) to accommodate his wishes, so to speak.

I am not at all sure that a piece about the (relative) merits of Flaunt It in itself would be all that interesting, but here we go with a look at the interesting rise and predictable fall of one of the more curious bands of that golden decade for music.

It is arguably the case that not since The Sex Pistols was a band more a product of their era than Sigue Sigue Sputnik. The mid-80s socio-political scene was ripe for their sensational approach, designed by the accepted genius of founder Tony James, to be a big, big hit. Let’s have a look at the time leading up to the eventual release of their debut single (Love Missile F1-11) and album (Flaunt It) in early 1986.

By 1984, Thatcher had all but taken a stranglehold on Britain, the likes of which are rarely seen by leaders who have actually been elected rather than seized power. With a sense of nationalistic jingoism after the “successful” Falklands military campaign and in the face of weak political opposition from the Kinnock-led Labour and revived Liberals, Thatcher and her Conservative government were more or less unstoppable, and my how they used that power. Legislation was passed – most notably in regards of Sigue Sigue Sputnik the Video Recordings Act of 984 – which created formidable barriers to freedom of choice but, in the best newspeak you could wish for were presented as “setting parameters to allow one to enjoy the freedom of choice.”.

Added to the above, of course, was the miners’ strike, in which Thatcher broke the power of the Unions and indeed any idea of a state supported socialism (“socialism works fine until it runs out of other people’s money”, she said), and the cold war paranoia and apparent threat of nuclear war (thanks, BBC, for advising schools to show Threads to us schoolchildren) was at its height. With football retaining the lingering elements of hooliganism from the 70s (increasingly handled “by any means necessary” by the police), music was one of the few outlets and provider of a glimmer of hope and happiness for people at large.

Ripe circumstances, then, for a band to seize the initiative and create a phenomenon out of the paranoia.

Despite not actually releasing anything until 1986, Tony James commenced the buzz around his new venture as early as these dark days in 1984. Mindful of how appearing “threatening” to the status quo helped The Sex Pistols become a great big cash cow, and indeed how publicity, promotion and seeming to celebrate sex and violence assisted the rise of Frankie Goes To Hollywood, James unleashed a band whose motto was as simple and as honest as “fleece the world”. He saw there was a stack of money to be made from the record labels and record buying public, and he wished to get his hands on as much of it as possible. It’s unlikely that Tony James subscribed to Thatcher’s dream of a “free market nation” where only the strong survive and prosper, but if there was money to be made, well, why not?

Across the later parts of 1984 and much of 1985 Sigue Sigue Sputnik, a name which alludes to a notorious Soviet street gang, managed to keep in both the music news and the general press without doing particularly much. A well crafted image, cultivated mostly by Tony James but you would imagine frontman and fashion designer Martin Degville had a had, mixing the cyber-punk look from the at the time often overlooked film Blade Runner with the post-apocalyptic menace of Mad Max 2 horrified the “middle classes” and excited a world of teenagers. It was a visually stunning and striking look, making sure that they were well worth publishing pictures of. Reports of Sigue Sigue Sputnik gigs were bizarre, often ludicrous – you couldn’t at the time buy a record by them, but you were warned against going to one of their concerts as the tabloids reported that “the front rows regularly get tear-gassed by the band” and indeed covered in unspecified liquids, the nature of which were hinted at by the more downmarket papers.

EMI, perhaps mindful of the money lost by infamously backing out of a deal with The Sex Pistols, despatched PR men to one of their concerts with the mission being to sign the band “at all costs”. Music to the ears of Tony James, really. Depending on which legend you believe, EMI signed the band and gave Mr James an advance of between £1,000,000.00 and £4,000,000.00. Even by the standards of the “gimme gimme” 80s, and even if compared to the large amounts of cash the controversial Frankie Goes To Hollywood raked in, this figure was then, and now, considered insane.

When an actual Sputnik product was made available to buy it came in the form of the debut single Love Missile F1-11. As I recall, one of the most favorable reviews it received was “it is the sound of someone playing Space Invaders for 3 minutes”. To us music fans, though, it was probably the most exciting thing we’d heard since Frankie Goes To Hollywood vanished as “tax exiles”. In a world lingering in the aftermath of the noble but ultimately sanitizing effect of Band and Live Aid where music was all of a sudden expected to be safe and unthreatening, the aggressive, catchy simplistic beat of the song, the random and mostly meaningless lyrics and the sinister film dialogue samples from movies that were banned or hard to see (and indeed “withdrawn from release” in the case of A Clockwork Orange), it was sheer brilliance. It annoyed parents and it sounded really, really good when played really, really loud. This was particularly true of the amazing 12” for it, which is the only time you get to hear the line “a mondo chino giving head” uncensored, as obscure as that particular slang term was in the UK at the time.

Whilst the single was not the Number One hit that the band and the label might have hoped for, it did sell very well indeed. Perhaps feeling the need to strike whilst the iron was hot, or more likely knowing there would be a very good musical reason to maximize income from the whole venture, the debut album was released exceptionally quickly after the single.

Flaunt It is the very definition of style over content. By no means was it a “con job” and it wasn’t (quite) the case of “8 songs which sound identical” as some of the more lazy journalists wrote. It was a brazen, unashamed fashion item more than it was a proper album, and clearly thrust out for the sole purpose of selling and making money. This latter point is illustrated by the odd decision to sell the gaps between the songs to advertisers – an idea mooted as a parody by The Who with their Sell Out album a good two decades earlier. The difference being, of course, that a couple of the adverts were real – off the top of my head, i-D magazine featured. A special mention for the cover, too – Japanese Anime / Manga wasn’t exactly mainstream at the time, the imagery and the band name appearing in Japanese (cheers for the translation, R2) was ahead of its time in calling an influence that would eventually seep into Western culture.

As for the music on Flaunt It, well, as hinted at above, it didn’t go down too well with the critics. Yes, a number of the songs sounded like the single Love Missile F1-11 with different words on it, the biggest culprit, perhaps selected with a sense of irony or just plain urine removal, being the second single, 21st Century Boy. Other tracks on the album, notably Massive Retaliation and Atari Baby, showed that the band could depart from the “dudududududududu” noise they preferred to make when they could be bothered.

Stripped of the ability to cover the songs with further movie samples (they “hadn’t bothered” to get permission to use the bits they did on the single and thus were prohibited from including them on the album) Tony James went one better. A masterstroke, and perhaps the single thing that makes the album still worth a play today, was that they got celebrated film soundtrack producer and scorer Giorgio Moroder in to produce the whole project, presumably at the very great expense indeed of EMI. If the vision of Tony James was to fill a vast imaginary landscape with the sound of Sputnik, he could not have chosen a better man (outside, perhaps, of Trevor Horn) to help him accomplish it. The sheer sound of Flaunt It is a treasure to the ears, it being both lavish and sweeping. The influence of the sound created here has not, as far as I am aware, ever been given the credit it deserves. With the “dance” / rave explosion of the early to mid 90s, acts like Massive Attack, The Orb and The Chemical Brothers had a sound which was not too different from what one heard on Flaunt It.

The album sold moderately well in the UK, although not quite well enough to justify the advance the band got (no matter how much it actually was). As for the States, well, it did attain some cult following (the video for Love Missile was a big hit on MTV, the song itself cropping up in a number of films), but didn’t really sell too well at all. Single after single was churned out from the album, including one of the first ever “video singles” in the form of Sex Bomb Boogie (I have it stashed away somewhere), but each had perpetually diminishing sales figures. If ever a band personified, in terms of public interest, personified going from a bang to a whimper, it was this one. They didn’t so much destroy themselves like the Sex Pistols or implode via infighting like Frankie Goes To Hollywood; it was rather that people just couldn’t be bothered with them anymore. The light that burns twice as bright, to quote one of their favourite films, burns half as long, after all.

It wasn’t and it isn’t all over for Sputnik, though. They oddly enjoyed a brief resurgence towards the end of the 80s, when they employed the biggest pop producers at the time, Stock, Aitken & Waterman, to revive their career. Sputnik was an odd choice for them to take on, what with their production line of turning Australian soap opera stars into pop sensations being very lucrative, but one single from this time, Success, was a great hit and, to the ears of just about all, an actual, proper song from Sigue Sigue Sputnik.

Thanks to the joys of internet fan forums and an always bankable sense of nostalgia amongst music buyers, Sigue Sigue Sputnik remain very much active to this day, touring and performing on a regular basis. Every now and then they also get the hints of credit they rightly deserve – no less than David Bowie did a cover of Love Missile for the DVD single of New Killer Star, and didn’t do a bad job of it at all. Those, like me, who were impressed with them at the time cannot help but remember the band, the music and the time very fondly indeed. Inexplicably, as in the same sense as no one knows for sure why exactly the music of David Hasselhoff is so popular in Germany, Sputnik are one of the biggest, most popular bands ever in Brazil

Sigue Sigue Sputnik came along with the view “actually, we think graphic, designer and gratuitous sex and violence is excellent” at precisely the right time. It was an era of excess and indulgence, but only within certain boundaries that the government tried to enforce and Sputnik gladly waltzed over. Around the same time, the likes of Paul Weller and Billy Bragg were trying to get “the kids” interested in politics in general, supporting Labour in particular. The lifestyle offered by Sputnik was, shall we say, a good deal more appealing to the majority of us, as short-lived as it was.

This post isn’t meant to be a definitive history of the band or the time, although it does feel almost long enough to be such! My sincere apologies to the fascinating other members of the band who didn’t get a mention here – no offence at all, just trying to stop this article sprawling out of control!

Shoot it up, shoot it up, shoot it up……

Monday, January 17, 2011

New Zealand in January

hi everyone

well, Grandma and Grandad are away (and it seems have locked up the Jag, i discovered with some dismay) in one of their most favourite places in the world, the lovely, mostly island-ish land known as New Zealand! well, even in New Zealand was not all that lovely (which it is) i dare say they would wish to go as often as possible anyway on account of who lives there.

yes, that is indeed a reference to the dream that i have that my Dad shall one day bump into Paul Rutherford out of Frankie Goes To Hollywood whilst out and about, so to speak, in Auckland. in the mean time, however, i'm sure it's pleasant enough to visit Katie, Daniel, Gillian and indeed Grant.

Grandad wasted no time at all in reminding Katie and Daniel how wonderful it is to have Grandad around, it seems, as he more or less straight away had them shifting his suitcases around!

in fairness, though, the suitcases did seem loaded up with stuff for Katie and Daniel. well, it would be nice if the items i sent over for Grant and Gillian made it too, but for the most part it looks like Katie and Daniel did very well indeed from the cases!

as Dad usually objects to vulgar language (except when in the company of American "soccer" fans), i have never played him the mahic of Denis Leary. Dad is thus unaware of the sound advice he gives in regards of gifts for children, re : "don't buy the toys that make a noise.".

i think i would have saved those, as ace as they look, and give them to them just as i was heading off for the return flight!

i sincerely hope that the golfing paraphernalia i sent over for Grant made it into the case. i have not heard much about it, to be honest. however, Grant does appear to have got an unusual gift. Dad does tend to be of that "if it is on the internet it must be true" school of thinking, and picked up on my comments that sheep are the only meat supplying animals on the island. this might explain why he decided to take an entire cow over as a gift.

this is probably in contravention of various laws, no matter how well Dad clearly disguised Daisy in his luggage. Grant being the honest type would not doubt have been appalled by this, and decided that the best thing to then do was to cook it all up and eat it as soon as possible.

just look at the guilt all over his posture and face!

Grandma has been as welcomed as ever in New Zealand, of course. referring back to an earlier post, Gillian was even so kind as to allow Mum to hold the chocolate orange for a little while. on condition that she tackled all the year-to-date ironing Gillian had kept aside.

of all the gifts, ironing and bovine-related food items that come with a visit from Grandma and Grandad, nothing of course beats just taking a brisk afternoon stroll with them. nice one Katie and Daniel, have fun!

i believe the above was taken en route to the theatre, to go and see a magnificent sounding & looking production of Cinderella. now, whereas New Zealand has put up signs saying "DO NOT TAKE PICTURES IN THE THEATRE" in the auditorium, they neglected to say that this is indeed the message in English. Dad just assumed it meant something else, then, and took as many pictures as took his fancy!

i have little doubt that Dad will be sending on some more pictures, if not details of where exactly the Jag is locked up. with some good luck we will see images of him cooking breakfast in his usual attire at 6 in the morning, just as soon as he works out where exactly he can get "lamb bacon" from.

be excellent to each other!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Lyla & Ruby-Lee

hey everyone

well, what the quantity of updates so far this year lacks i can only hope and trust is made up for in the quality!

many thanks indeed to Erika for sending on several, to put it mildly, new pictures of Lyla and Ruby-Lee! we don't get to see them nearly as much as we would like to, so images are the next best thing!

it looks like Lyla continues to be ever the proud big sister (as indeed she should be!) and Ruby-Lee is coming along very nicely indeed!

Lyla has a birthday coming up very, very soon indeed! i am sure lots of presents shall be on the way, but none shall be as beautiful or as much fun to play with as your dear little sister!!!

fingers crossed that sometime soon we can all get together, in particular to celebrate your birthday Lyla, and to celebrate just seeing you, Ruby-Lee!

be excellent to each other!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

A Chocolate Orange

every now and then something happens which has an effect that isn't quite what was expected or hoped for. when Stanley Kubrick, for instance, adapted the novella A Clockwork Orange, it is unlikely he ever thought it would be frequently referenced in criminal courts. in not quite the same vein, i had visions of my sister Gillian doing little more than saying "thank you" when receiving a chocolate orange from your humble narrator, and then simply scoffing it.

whereas Gillian was delighted to receive the chocolate orange, and she can been seen phoning and alerting the press (rather than, say, her brother who got it) below, it wasn't simply the case of admiring it and then eating it.

Gillian has a keen eye for details, and with her usual curiosity decided to check the expiry date for the chocolate orange. this she did and indeed photographed.

as there are some five months before Terry's declare this chocolate orange something akin to unfit for purpose, Gillian is, apparently, having none of eating it on the spot. instead, in her unquestionable wisdom, she's decided to have it locked away for a more appropriate time!

it looks like it has been locked away with a number of other goodies, too!

now, i wouldn't wish to create an image of my sister being heartless, cruel or without compassion, but it does seem to even the most casual of observer that she is having no debate about the chocolate orange being locked away for now. consider, if you will, how Gillian is apparently making Katie exchange her most favourite pair of shoes just to hold the box which contains this citrus loaded confectionary for a moment.

if for some reason you are of a mind that the above strikes you as a fair trade, consider how Gillian is then tormenting Grant with it. as far as i can work out, Gillian is denying that there is even such a thing as chocolate oranges when asked by Grant, never mind owning up to presently being the custodian of one. to rub salt into that denial wound, Gillian then proceeds to taunt Grant with this sought after item whilst he is asleep, and posts images of this humiliation across the whole of the internet!

well, there you go. think very carefully about the consequences of bestowing a gift upon my sister seems to be the moral of this story! one can only hope that, as and when Gillian decides it may be eaten, that it is worth the wait and cost for all!

be excellent to each other!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!