Archive for the ‘Culturish’ Category

9 Jul 2012: Links of the week, 2-8 July 2012

In this weekly round-up, a couple of big-hit viral videos, some righteous anger about the bankers, local news from north Norfolk and north Hertfordshire, music from Big Country, Mari Wilson and the Grand Ole Opry, and the incomparable Lady Chablis.

29 Jun 2009: Perplex City in context: pervasive games as a genre

Just a quick note to anyone who remembers the end of Perplex City and my role in it. A while back I was contacted by some researchers in Finland and Sweden who were working on a book about ‘pervasive games’ – ARGs and suchlike. I agreed to let them use some of my photos from the climax of PXC, and I’ve just had an email from them to say the book’s now out.

16 Jun 2009: Chalk another one up for the bastards

Here, look. I’m writing an actual post, rather than filling this with digests of Twitter posts. Well blow me down. It’s motivated by anger, of course. The smug bastards at The Times are crowing about how they’ve been big and brave and public interesty by forcing the naming of Nightjack, the CID blogger who recently won the Orwell Prize for being bloody brilliant.

29 Nov 2008: Hardcore pawn action

Back in the days, I used to play a bit of chess – not to any great standard, but I entered a few tournaments and didn’t come last. Nearly last, yes, but not actually last.

12 Jun 2008: Stiff upper lips 1, Americans 0

How perfectly splendid – it appears that an RAF fighter pilot on secondment to an American squadron has been able to wave the Queen’s Regulations in the face of US officers who were trying to get him to shave off his handlebar moustache.

18 Dec 2007: A Christmas rant

And straight in at number one in the ‘brain-numbingly stupid decisions of 2007’ chart is BBC Radio 1, for censoring one of the only decent Christmas songs ever written to avoid offence to listeners.

5 Dec 2007: Your metaphor leaves me cold, Mr Pritchard

“Taking Christ out of Christmas is like serving the Christmas turkey without the stuffing,” says Tory MP Mark Pritchard. As both a pagan and a vegetarian, I’ll have to take his word for it…

31 Mar 2007: Wordage

If I type this really fast it may just sneak under the wire and count as a March post, thus keeping up my new average of a post a month in 2007. Pretty grim stuff, compared with the several a day I used to manage when writing this thing was fresh and new in late 2002.

17 Feb 2007: Perplexity

So, well, yes, it's been a while since I last posted. Quite a bit's happened, actually.

21 Nov 2006: All the news that fits

Newspaper bills – the posters outside shops with snappy headlines – are supposed to intrigue you into buying the paper by giving you a taster of the story. They’re not supposed to leave you so doubled up with laughter that you decide it’s safer to pass them by and look the stories up later online. […]

15 Nov 2006: Viva la raza

Monday was the first anniversary of the death by heart failure of the wrestler Eddie Guerrero – and, to judge from the fresh set of comments that have appeared on YouTube tribute videos, his memory has lost none of its power to affect people.

14 Sep 2006: Rebranding

A while ago I got an email from San Francisco – a very small publisher planning a very low budget anthology had seen a brief snippet of my writing and wanted me to submit more for inclusion.

11 Aug 2006: Friend of yours?

Perplex City, the £100,000 game to find a valuable cube buried somewhere on the planet, is building up to a climax – and they've set us a particularly tough task as part of it.

8 Aug 2006: Well, I’m saying to yooo…

You can save yourself the bother (and frequent distress) of having to watch Big Brother by reading Grace Dent’s excellent Radio Times blog.

6 Aug 2006: The Romans in Britain

Bit late, this post, but what the hell. A couple of weekends ago we combined two of our favourite interests – good books and archaeology – in one visit to the excavations at Silchester Roman Town.

5 Aug 2006: I'm never voting again

In Big Brother, that is.

17 Jul 2006: There are no words

” .”

10 Jul 2006: Cultural icon

Society sometimes picks the oddest yardsticks to measure itself by. Here's two passages from today's media.

18 Jun 2006: Dataday, day-to-day

Blimey! I just looked at my referrer stats…

13 Jun 2006: Noooo!

Heartbreak – those crazy kids didn't make it after all…

31 May 2006: DNA of London

In my household we tend towards the view that Douglas Adams wasn’t, in fact, a novelist but instead a philosopher and a researcher of the infinite who chose to present his theories and conclusions in the form of radio scripts and sci-fi novels.

24 May 2006: Shahbazalangadingdong

This year's Big Brother is, to all intents and purposes, already over – despite only six days of its 13-week run having passed.

22 May 2006: It's a numbers game

Here's a brilliant – though very heavily academic and statistical – piece of research on voting patterns in Eurovision. If you're not up to the numbers (they made my brain hurt) then skip to the discussion section (point 4.1 onwards) for the conclusions. Basically, it establishes that there are a number of voting blocs that […]

21 May 2006: A snog for Europe

Never let it be said that elections don't produce representative results. The voting in our household last night exactly reflected the UK Eurovision voting, in that the British 12 points went to the latex-covered Finnish rock Gods Lordi – Beloved Other Half's choice – and the 10 points went to my selection, the besuited and […]

4 Apr 2006: This is not Phil talking

There's a meme going round where you answer questions about your life using song titles from your favourite band. I don't usually do these things, but Beloved Other Half challenged me to complete it using the immortal words of Phil Oakey and the Human League, having done so herself using the songs of that gloomy […]

18 Mar 2006: Going for Goldsworthy

The first installment of Channel 4's The Games has just ended, with Cornish Liberal Democrat MP Julia Goldsworthy placed third of five in the women's contest after suffering a dunking in the white-water kayaking despite being the pre-contest favourite. Looking at her contestant page on the C4 website, bits read as if it came off […]

23 Feb 2006: In praise of older women

Hard on the heels of the inclusion of Lynne Featherstone (54) in Adam Boulton's “Top 10 Most Fanciable MPs” comes the news that rock goddess Suzi Quatro (55) is releasing a new album any day now. Now if only Virgin Atlantic would re-start showing its legroom advert, the one that so memorably featured Helen Mirren…

29 Jan 2006: Here we go round the bloody mulberry bush

Isn't it completely predictable? Having knocked down CK, Mark Oaten and Simon Hughes (not exactly difficult tasks, admittedly) it's now time for for the guns to be turned on Ming. It starts here, with an utterly unsourced story in the Guardian (unsourced unless you count that obscure amoeba Ben Ramm, who makes the pre-Big Brother […]

21 Jan 2006: It never rains but it pours

I'm no fan of Mark Oaten, as I think I've made clear, but this is rather a shame. The thing I'm saddest to see is him apologising to his family – immediately revealing the furtive sordidness of it all. No-one hires a rent boy for that length of time for cash, surely? Which would imply […]

26 Dec 2005: And they say there's never anything good on the radio…

I drove up to my parents' for a few hours on Christmas Day and while I was on the road the radio did that thing that all station programmers are said to aspire to, but never actually achieve: it played the three songs I most wanted to hear at that moment, in a row. I'm […]

24 Dec 2005: Christmas 2005

I made a last-minute visit to Tesco earlier today and found the managers up step ladders and sitting on top of the veg displays, taking down all the decorations so that when the store reopens (presumably on Boxing Day) all that Christmas stuff is firmly in the past, where it belongs. So I thought I'd […]

24 Dec 2005: Extra! Extra!

It seems to be the thing at the moment to be amused by newspaper bills – the posters with breathless headlines that papers give to their street vendors and newsagents to help shift copies. The Evening Standard Headline Crisis 2005 set on Flickr has such classics as “TOOTHPASTE CANCER ALERT”, “MAN BEHEADED IN LONDON STREET”, […]

23 Dec 2005: Being Brilliant

Thinking back on the run-up to the Human League gig in Manchester earlier this month, it's fair to say I wasn't looking forward to it with quite the same enthusiasm as I had done the previous ones we'd been to. There was a lot of other stuff going on in our lives, we spent the […]

14 Dec 2005: In memorium

David Sutch | Eddie Guerrero | Kirsty MacColl | Stuart Adamson | Glenn Quinn

14 Dec 2005: Season's Greetings

Saw this today and wanted to pass it on to you all: Please accept without obligation, express or implied, these best wishes for an environmentally safe, socially responsible, low stress, non-addictive, and gender-neutral celebration of the winter solstice holiday as practiced within the most enjoyable traditions of the religious persuasion of your choice (but with […]

6 Dec 2005: Eddie

The downside of being away for a while and largely out of contact with the world is that you miss the things that happen in your absence. In this case, the awful news of the death of Eddie Guerrero from heart failure at the age of 38 on November 13th. The Sun's wrestling columnists put […]

19 Sep 2005: Catch-up post

Firstly, a public service announcement: From time to time I’ve had that I’m a fan of the New Orleans Saints – don’t ask why, I’m not entirely sure myself. The Saints (true to form) made a slow start after Hurricane Katrina, with owner Tom Benson initially seeming to see it as an opportunity to carry […]

29 Jul 2005: Triumph and tragedy

Despite being a would-be writer, the owner of a Triumph Spitfire, and the possessor of a certain amount of sexual experience, I can honestly say the following comparison had never occurred to me and, even if it had, I certainly wouldn’t have been moved to commit it to paper: Carburetor breast fantasy wins bad writing […]

16 Jul 2005: Full up of half blood

Well, I've read the damn book and am now suffering a severe case of Harry Potter indigestion, to the extent that I don't want to see it or hear mention of it for the next month. At least. Beloved Other Half, of course, is eager to discuss it in depth. It's also already clear that […]

16 Jul 2005: Midnight at the bookstore

Busy night, I suppose. Kingston was a madhouse – the pubs emptying boozed-up lads and short-skirted slappers out onto the street outside the bookshop, while inside gleaming-eyed parents tried to pretend they were only there for their face-painted offsprings' benefit. Endless trollies stacked with the two different versions of the book, the brightly-coloured children's cover […]

15 Jul 2005: Lots of words

A busy couple of weeks of work is now over – probably – as the project I was on seems to have collapsed, at least from our point of view. Such is life – at least most of it involved working at home for me, ideal in this weather. I'm not precious about my work, […]

22 Jun 2005: You're having a laugh

Went into town last night for a meeting of the London Comedy Writers' Group, which was, as you might expect, a right laugh. First one I've been to in months as the meetings used to clash with my old shiftwork. After a lot of useful training exercises on how to brainstorm new joke and sketch […]

30 Mar 2005: Humour and stuff

Interesting piece from an American features agency about whether sitcoms can survive the west-to-east journey across the Atlantic and the process of being remade, following the debut of the US version of The Office. Ties in well with a piece I wrote some years ago about the differences in the . From Wichita Eagle | […]

17 Dec 2004: A post that does exactly what it says on the tin

A while ago, someone compiled a page of links to things that are the new black. Here, in tribute, is a short list of things that do exactly what it says on the tin: The Canaries, movie titles,, Wildcard TDM400B: PCI FXO/FXS 1-4 ports, men, 'cigarette up the nose' magic trick, oral rehydration treatment, […]

29 Nov 2004: The Sound of the Crowd

Last night was the Human League gig at the Reading Hexagon. Which is an unhappy thing, because now I’m remembering having been to it, instead of looking forward to going to it.

9 Aug 2004: Electro-pop

The rain struck at exactly 3am, just as I pulled up at a red traffic light in front of a silent, darkened Buckingham Palace. Circles of water appeared on the windscreen like fast-growing lichen-spots, and a couple who had been walking along, hand-in-hand, squealed and broke into a run.

29 May 2004: Big Brother first night

Ye Gods, what a freak show. Last year was dull, so this year they’ve over-compensated. A good mix of contestants would mostly comprise of interesting but normal people, with a few more abrasive types who would provide the grit in the oyster. This year they’ve just gone almost entirely for grit. The start of Big […]

4 Dec 2003: All I Ever Wanted

This is what I just posted on the Human League board ‘Secrets’ about last night’s gig:

9 Aug 2003: Another lie-in lost…

I really should learn that I should read less if I want to sleep late on Saturday mornings. Last week it was the postman with the book Gerri organised for me. Today, the same postman was back with an order from Amazon, a book that I pre-ordered months ago and which has just had its […]

2 Aug 2003: Awake

Ugh. Not a great fan of being awake this early on a Saturday. However, I’ll make an exception for today. The postman woke me. It was my autographed copy of The Well of Lost Plots, which Gerri got for me. What a star. Thanks Gerri!

9 Jul 2003: Not entirely sure about this one at all…

Which Remarkably Cliche Harry Potter Slash Ship Are You? You are sick. I’ve discovered you for who you really are. You’re a regular old Snape perver, aren’t you? You plaster pictures of Alan Rickman all over your website and write morbidly depressing tales about his troubled, precocious childhood and claim that he’s simply “misunderstood” and […]

1 May 2003: The quick and the dead

Emotion is funny stuff, and I don’t even pretend to understand it. I just received a monster order from Amazon, and it included a book called Cobra Trap by Peter O’Donnell. Now, if you ever bother looking at the ‘current book’ setting of these entries you’ll have noticed that up to Easter I read (re-read, […]

9 Jan 2003: Ethel?

From the testimonials page of “This is just a quick note to say thank you so much for coming up with such a great web site. Before Hot or not all I had was rowing and skiing, with the occasional drink at the weekend. Now I have met many interesting people, including my girlfriend […]

3 Jan 2003: Astonishing

Jeffrey Archer has demanded a formal apology from the prison service for the way they've been treating him. What planet is he on? Apparently he's not happy with what happened after he broke the terms of his home leave and went to Gillian Shepherd's party some months back (I feel for her – she's a […]

30 Nov 2002: Take this, that and the other

So Mark Owen won Celebrity Big Brother… I'm kind of glad, although I wanted Anne or Sue to win at the start. When they first entered the house, it was like, here are five C-list celebrities and one person you'd forgotten ever existed… and that was Mark Owen. Once again, that little voice is nagging […]

29 Nov 2002: A word of advice…

If you’re planning on reading Frank Skinner’s autobiography, skip the bit in which he describes how he loses his virginity… if you don’t the images will haunt you for a long time and you’ll never eat tuna again…

25 Nov 2002: Lovely, lovely country…

I missed Celebrity Big Brother last night, so I didn't know who'd been evicted until I saw a newspaper on the train. And guess what – once again the white guy stayed and the black guy was booted out. Goldie (entertaining streetwise DJ with youth appeal) has gone and Les Dennis (washed-up hasbeen comedian) stayed. […]

20 Nov 2002: Hmmm…

Looks like it is just me who thinks that way about the autopsy… we were talking about it here in the office and everyone else was like, “And? If people don't like it, they don't have to watch it”.

20 Nov 2002: Warning signs

I know this one… slowly but surely my back's been starting to play up over the last few days. On past form, if it continues like this, walking will be pretty difficult by the middle of next week. :o( I found the firefighters poll: it's here. There's also another showing the Lib Dems homing in […]

10 Nov 2002: Last night I dreamed…

Just finished watching Rebecca on video with Beloved Other Half.

9 Nov 2002: Weekend golds

This is all a bit early for me on a Saturday morning :o)

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I'm Andy Darley. Sometimes I want to say things. This is where I do it.