Tuesday, April 21, 2015

"So, flowers in Volkswagen Beetles. What's that all about?"

"So, flowers in Volkswagen Beetles. What's that all about?", a question I might ask if I was still doing stand-up, which I'm not. Also, there's not a lot of funny material you can add after that, but it's something that annoys me for no other reason that I hate cute things like flowers in Volkswagen Beetles.

I've not got a great deal of love for the new Beetle. It's nothing like the old Nazi classic, built and sold by Nazis as a symbol of Nazism in an age of Nazi expansion. Nazis. The new version is a big, luxurious impersonation of the Nazi Beetle, and – to the horror of classic Nazi car lovers – they stuck the engine at the front instead of the back. It is, in fact, a VW Golf with a different-shaped body and a flower holder by the steering wheel.

What's that all about?

You'll probably see one today, unless you live in a country that has banned cars that are based on Nazi classics, and there's a 95% chance it will have a bloody great artificial flower jammed in the blumenvasen supplied for said purpose.

I've taken the opportunity to find out why the vase exists, and what motivates people to drive around like they're Morrissey on his way home from filling up at his local Tesco petrol station, and there seem to be many theories.

  • To appeal to female drivers (True, it turned out 60% of VW Beetle drivers are female, so they removed the flower holder in later models)
  • To appeal to male drivers who like artificial flowers and hate to see one of the car's extras go to waste
  • To add some hippy "flower power", an echo from the 1960s when the beautiful people drove Nazi Beetles
  • To commemorate Nazi death camp victims (way to make me feel guilty, random discussion forum poster, even if you did end your post with the word "LOL")

In fact, blumenvasen have been a thing almost as long as there have been cars. If there's one explanation that appeals to an ageing cynic such as myself, it's that they exist "to mask the smell of the chauffeur".

However, there is one which – to me –holds the most water. It's to annoy those of us who hate cute things like flowers in Volkswagen Beetles. Also, people who are always right all along. Damn you Volkswagen Beetle Flowers.

Monday, April 20, 2015

The best picture of my daughter firing a handgun you'll see today

For in truth, tis the only one.

Hazel's currently on a Route 66 tour as part of her university field trip. Done Vegas, done the desert, done a bunch of American road-side attractions, exercised her 2nd Amendment rights.

Of course, she'd never shoot the bollocks off a fly from 300 yards like her old dad in his prime, but Proud Dad Is Proud.

(And Say No To Guns, kids. The best place for firearms is pointing down a range).

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Grimes - Oblivion

One of those "This has been out for three years, how come I've never heard it before?" moments.

Cash money spent on the long-player.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

All roads lead to Heathrow

Taken at 6.15 in the morning, one to keep the chemtrail conspiracy theorists busy.

Actually, it's the friendly bombs falling on Slough, at last.


Tuesday, April 14, 2015

All hail our giant duck overlords!

Sunday afternoon to Hartley Wintney, where we tramped around the common, and found this giant carved duck which we immediately worshipped.

I, for one, welcome our giant duck overlords.

Then, with a tilt of the head, we realise that it's not a duck at all, but a rabbit, planted in the North Hampshire countryside specifically to shit us up and knock duck worshipers about a bit for their errant duck-worshpping ways.

I, for one, welcome our giant rabbit overlords.

We're definitely on the side of the giant rabbits. Or the ducks. Not sure. But this can only end one way...

Monday, April 13, 2015

The James Bond Paradox

Goldfinger: Good, solid socialist Bond
It is a widely-held belief that popular music is only ever any good under a Conservative government. The thinking is that music is only ever any good when it's angry and has something to lash out at, and the People's Poets of this world are best motivated by a bourgoisie-worker power struggle as set out in the works of Marx and Engels.

This is what I said on the subject last week and I stand by those words:

"As soon as Tony Blair showed up in 1997, Britpop went down the shitter to be replaced by Steps and the Spice Girls, all the proof you need."

That's as maybe, but I have another proposition for you, and it is this:

You only get decent James Bond films under a Labour government.

Let's get this flimsy argument off the ground by looking at the evidence:

  • Goldfinger (Labour) - GOOD
  • You Only Live Twice (Labour) - A CLASSIC
  • Diamonds Are Forever (Conservative) - TURKEY
  • The Spy Who Loved Me (Labour) - BACK ON FORM
  • For Your Eyes Only (Conservative) - AAARGH
  • Octopussy (Conservative) - AAARGH
  • A View To A Kill (Conservative) - MAKE IT STOP
  • Die Another Day (Labour) - CRAP
  • Casino Royal (Labour) - BACK ON FORM
  • Skyfall (Conservative/Lib Dem coalition) - UTTER DOG'S DINNER
Octopussy: Crowds were drawn in by the promise of Roger Moore's freakishly long legs
You will note that Die Another Day, while made under a Labour government, is listed as "CRAP". That may be true, but it was made under post-9/11 Tony Blair, when he was more Tory than the Tory party, which bent the universe out of shape and gave us a shit Labour Bond movie. This was rectified with the release of Casino Royale, which while still under Blair was made good by the expectation of incoming Gordon Brown.

Secondly, you will note that the only Bond film made under the present Conservative - Lib Dem coalition is a complete dog's dinner of a film. This is what you can come to expect from coalition politics. Shit Bond.

Skyfall: The paradox of a great Bond in a duff movie. That's coalition politics for you
This brings us to the spectre of SPECTRE. While being filmed under the Tory-LD coalition, its release will come under whoever next makes it into Number Ten. If rumours surrounding the script are anything to go by, then David Cameron has no worries about the result for May's General Election.

But this poses one question for every single registered voter in this country. Do you want decent music, or do you want decent Bond films? This is clearly going to be the most important General Election of our generation.

Saturday, April 11, 2015


Kim Kardashian comes out as "I am a kind shark" which is nowhere near as good.

No other celebrities have anagrams of their names. Don't bother trying to prove me wrong.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Farnborough Airship Hangar

I've decided that there aren't nearly enough photographs of the Farnborough Portable Airship Hangar on the internet, so last night I went out and took some.

[Click on any picture to embiggen]
The portable hangar (as its name implies, it was designed to take anywhere to house airships and was covered in a mass of tarpaulin when in use) was built in 1912, just four years after the American Samuel Cody made the first British powered flight at Farnborough. The airships are gone now, and the airfield is generally used as a stopping-off point for business flights and the insanely rich. Oh, and every two years it becomes that well-known arms fair, Farnborough Airshow.

The hangar has been in on a number of sites on the historic airfield, and at present rests just outside the perimeter fence in the middle of an upmarket technology park. It's lit up at night, so may be worth risking the security guards and taking a visit once the sun's gone down.

More pictures HERE

Thursday, April 09, 2015

The search for all killer, no filler

 It has suddenly struck me that all the albums that I class "All killer, no filler" (ie contain not a single duff track in their entire running order) are all male-fronted indie guitar bands from the early 1990s. See for yourself:

  • Radiohead - The Bends
  • Suede - Dog Man Star
  • Blur - Parklife
  • Ride - Going Blank Again
  • Boo Radleys - Giant Steps

I've been told off about the lack of female-front bands in my collection, and this will be rectified in a small way when Belly 'Star' thuds onto my doormat later this week, a female-fronted indie guitar band from the early 1990s. But the truth remains, there was a blessed window in my late 20s when I Quite Liked Music With Guitars In.

All this musical perfection bursting forth from this period of time tells us one thing - you only get decent music under a Tory government. As soon as Tony Blair showed up in 1997, Britpop went down the shitter to be replaced by Steps and the Spice Girls, all the proof you need. My current favourites - Public Service Broadcasting - could only have emerged under Conservative rule, and they are a male-fronted indie banjo band from the early 2010s.

So, I'm going to wax lyrical about the best of these albums:

Teenage Fanclub - Grand Prix

I listened to it all the way through in the car the other day, waiting for the dip somewhere on side two when the duff tracks start. All albums have this - the moment where the band realise they've got an album to finish and they've already laid down their best material, but they've still got about fifteen minutes to fill. This doesn't happen in Grand Prix, because (as the crueller critics say) they used up all the duffers on their previous album Thirteen.

Instead, a tad over 42 minutes of superbly-constructed pop music from the very pinnacle of male-fronted indie guitar bands from the early 1990s, and the impossible task of nailing down a favourite.

So many great tracks to choose from. By the power of ip-dip-dog-shit, I choose Sparky's Dream, which *just* dented the top 40 in 1995, because the British public are a bunch of cloth-eared idiots.

Any more suggestions for all-killer albums I should know about? They don't have to be male-fronted indie guitar bands from the early 1990s, but it helps.