Wednesday, June 30, 2004

FM part 2

So how do you deal with someone how comes running into a room banging saucepans together, then runs out and sulks for a bit and then runs back in, bangs the saucepans some more and shouts "this banging of saucepans in this room has to stop!"

I figure they're either quite stupendously stupid or somewhat badly intentioned (even if only on a sub-conscious level).

I'm happy to go with either interpretation, but I'm actually stumped as to which would be the most charitable.

So which would you prefer to be thought of as? Thick and clueless or manipulative and mischievous?

Tuesday, June 29, 2004

Another day…another field…another horse

Someone rings me today to tell me a story about something that it’s claimed has happened adjacent to one of my sites, as he thinks it will cheer me up.

He also believes it trumps this story…and he’s probably right.

Sadly however, I cannot really share the details of this story here (and trust me you’d thank me for that!). But suffice to say that certain places can be lonely at night and if you happened to watch a certain documentary on Channel 4 last week, I think you’ll agree that neigh really ought to mean nay.


Monday, June 28, 2004

Time for a Roll Call...

Ok I don't know how you all got here (and frankly it freaks me out slightly that some of you did), but as an anonymous person commented - it's all getting a bit anonymous around here (oh the irony is killing me...).

So come on, time to stand up and be counted. Register your presence below and let's all get to know each other. So click below and tell us: what's your name and how did you find your way here?


PS Sorry Stick, but whilst my favourite insult of the month led you here, it did not constitute a Googlewhack as, absurd as it may seem, it appears is not up to speed with the insult de jour.

Sunday, June 27, 2004


More Ops meeting this morning, followed by a tour of some of the external parts of the site that have particular issues we need to consider.

We eventually get away from Cheltenham around 2.30pm and Stuart (what a hero!) drives us back north.

Following on from Friday's journey down, I'm struck by the proliferation of motorway side advertising. I feel this has to be a bad thing. One of the few compensations for pounding down mile after mile of tarmac motorway, is that you at least tend to have stretches with green planted embankments or views across fields (not such a good thing I appreciate if you're looking from the field across a motorway!).

Increasingly our eyes are bombarded with logos and advertising from all directions. The panel on your shopping trolley, the side of the taxi, the pump nozzle at the petrol station, the local roundabout - if there's a space, well "your advert could be here".

The fact that this degredation of public visual space is now spreading to the motorway network, is surely much to be resisted.

I'm guessing that planning restrictions are the means for control, but I presume the prevalence of signs sited on trailers or decrepid lorries, dumped in the fields, is a means of dodging those regulations.


Saturday, June 26, 2004

Ops Weekend

After a grand night in the pub and back at the bar in the lodge, we’re up bright and early(ish) to kick off the Ops meeting for Greenbelt.

This is our last operation’s planning weekend before the festival and as ever it’s pretty intensive. To add to the challenges this year we are using several new parts of the site to accommodate the growing festival. Some of those I won’t mention here (wouldn’t want to ruin the surprise for anyone not already in the know!), but one that I think is pretty common knowledge is the use of the new Centaur building.

This weekend is the chance to really get to grips with how we’re going to make that work as a venue. It’s fantastic to be able to stand in there and imagine the various programme items coming to life. I think it will be a fantastic addition to the festival.

In the evening Pete and Jan lay on a fabulous barbeque for us and it’s a great chance to chill out and spend time with each other. When we get back to the lodge, I actually do the sensible thing and head to bed rather than join the late night drinking session. This is probably a first, but I’m conscious I’m still recovering from the killer throat infection.

Friday, June 25, 2004

Bowling Ad

Somewhere south of Birmingham we pass a large trailer advertisement sat in a field to the edge of the motorway. It reads (from memory):

Congratulations to Vera Moore
Bowls World Champion 2004

“without lottery funding”

Just a little bit bitter then?

I wonder who commissioned this sign? Vera? A loving partner? A proud parent?

Fairly sure it wasn’t the lottery though…


Sometimes you give people the benefit of the doubt and persuade yourself that at least their intentions are good, but sometimes they then go on to do something so crass, insensitive and downright manipulative that you have to rethink your position.

What an utter, utter f**kmuppet.

Thursday, June 24, 2004

...which is just as well

Sodding penalties.

Still it could be worse, Stewart chose to watch from cold, windy Exchange Square.

Still at least stress doesn't cause ill-health eh?

Email backlog at work stands at over 200. This is why I hate taking time off.

Still at least it means I don’t have to waste what voice I have regained actually talking to people…

Wednesday, June 23, 2004

The tidying up fairy?

As I mentioned a while back, the parking space in my side garden has become a favoured dumping ground for stolen vehicles or parts thereof.

After the latest bumper (inclusing reg plate) and wheels were left a few weeks back I agreed with the police to leave them for at least a week so that the owner (who they would contact) could collect the parts and potentially piece things back together with the main elements of the car that had been dumped on the road around the corner.

No one ever did claim the parts and as they won’t fit in the wheely bin, I was meaning to get around to calling the council to get them picked up.

However magically they disappeared at some point between Monday and today. And not only them but also the sections of garage roof that I had moved there after yet more fell in.

How did this happen? Who dunnit?

Personally I like to think it’s a little girl called Emily and the car parts are currently being revitalised by a group of small mice (the sort you might find on a mouse organ).

Altogether now: “We will fix it we will mend it, find each bit and make it fit…”

Tuesday, June 22, 2004

Plasma Music

I can't even remember how I first stumbled upon this site, but I love its broken English and the connections it makes.

It's rare I catch it out as well, but today it struggled with The Zutons, but was OK with I am Kloot...

Monday, June 21, 2004

B of the Bang

Over in Clayton today I note that the construction of the “B of the Bang” is now well under way between the City of Manchester Stadium and The National Cycling Centre. The central core is now in place.

This sculpture has caused some controversy, but from what I’ve seen of the design, coupled with the sense of scale already available for the construction to date, I have to say I like it. It’s vital, it’s exploding…yep it’s Manchester.

Sunday, June 20, 2004

Slowing down?

Greenbelt emails in the past week: 109

I have no idea why you would want to know that.

I have no idea why I even counted. I suppose because I’m hoping the numbers will drop compared to last year when (if?) we ever get the website resources working for the Venue Managers and as Ben picks up more of the venue work from me.

Maybe I should do a graph? No, I’m not that sad.

Friday, June 18, 2004

A Public Service Blog

Just in case you should ever find yourself in the bizarre situation of having ulcers on your throat, allow me to offer the follow hard-won advice regarding suitable beverages and foodstuffs:

Orange Juice – I know you feel you need Vitamin C, but trust me, this is not the way

Diet Coke – OK I have no idea if this would work, but every time I get near a bottle I just see the word PAIN

Coffee – I’m not so ill that I’d try something that disgusting

Luke Warm Water – never too hot, never too cold and sip gently. Grimace through the pain – you need those fluids.

Turkey Sandwich (soft white bread) – even with the crusts removed this is just too much. However if you remove the turkey and gum the bread/marg/mayo combination for a while it will eventually slip down OK

Soup – ok if a) smooth, b) lukewarm and c) unseasoned

Pasta – you know it looks soft, but…

Ice Cream – now you’d think that would be good wouldn’t you, but strangely it leaves the throat raw and painful

Plain Omelette – the top is OK, but the slightest well cooked bit can be problematic.

Bananas – get ‘em nice and ripe and you’ll be OK

But the handsdown winner? Ready Brek. Warm, smooth and can be made in the microwave – what more could you ask.

I’m not sure it covers all the foodgroups, but it's always good to know you have at least achieved 85% of the recommended daily amount of Pantothenic Acid.

A Developing Relationship

OK, so I’m having to reconsider my relationship with the noxious green liquid. It still looks mighty unnatural (but hey maybe it’s more Midori or Absinthe than Crème de Menthe?) and it doesn’t smell any better then it did yesterday, but the bottom line is it appears to work.

However not all my reservations are won over, re-examining the carton (remember never let the bottle see sunlight or bad things will happen!), I’m slightly bemused to see that the manufacturers are 3M. Don’t they make Post-It notes?

Thursday, June 17, 2004

Strange Substances

A trip to the doctors confirms I do indeed have a throat infection that has resulted in my throat ulcerating. Who knew that was even possible?

As a result, strange new substances have entered my life.

The first is white powder, which when mixed with water becomes the brightest orange foul smelling noxious liquid that then has to be kept in the fridge.

This, if the pharmacy label is to be believed (and frankly I’m sceptical), is an antibiotic that may, assuming it’s not viral in nature, help my throat infection.

I can’t tell you how grim it tastes. I also can’t tell you how unpleasant it is to experience the gag reflex when you have ulcers lining your throat.

Which moves us on to the second substance. This is the brightest green (think Crème de Menthe, think kryptonite, think something clearly ungodly). This I have to gargle with every hour or two, in order to try and ease the pain.

The accompanying leaflet urges that one should spit not swallow (do your own jokes on that one). Trust me you wouldn’t be tempted to do otherwise (not even any dubious claims of protein content….).

I have to admit however, it does seem to work and is reaching the parts of my ulcerated throat that painkillers alone seem unable to reach.

I’m still slightly worried about the fact that the leaflet says “do not leave bottle in direct sunlight without carton”. One can only speculate as to what happens if you do, but based on the smell and colour, I’m thinking it’s something akin to feeding mogwai’s after midnight.

Wednesday, June 16, 2004

Heaven Knows I'm Miserable Now

Ok so this pain cannot be normal can it?

Mega strength painkillers (and you’re talking to the well-stocked migraine-kid here!) aren’t touching it.

Swallowing is absolute hell. I manage to somehow eat a mushed up banana and try to drink some hot water (supposed to keep those fluids up, but who knows how?).

I nearly choke on my tiny migraine tabs (normally three go down without second thought). I abandon any thought of attempting vitamin tabs and Echinacea.

What the hell is going on with my throat?

At last a use for that mini maglite someone gave me. Yep the throat is major time inflamed and if I’m not mistaken appears to be covered in ulcers. Can that be possible?

I guess it would explain this excruciating pain.

Tuesday, June 15, 2004

Curious Incident of the Pain in the Throat

Last night I was supposed to go to book group to discuss The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time. However by about midday, I was resigning myself to the fact that the sore throat is not so much a symptom of weekend excesses, but actually in all likelihood the hideous infection that has been doing the rounds of the office.

Oh the joys of climate controlled germ-fest offices. Even the “never taken a day off in my life” types have had a week and more off with this one.

So by 5pm I feel like I’m aching from head to toe and so I head straight home. No book group, no pub, just straight to bed.

Today is no better, I hardly slept for the pain in my throat and my temperature is up and down like a yo-yo.

Here we go.

Prepare for miserable self-pitying blog entries for the next couple of days.

Monday, June 14, 2004

So Many Crimes. So Few Bullets...

More details of the musical theory and discussions are coming back to me.

So, come the musical revolution, who should be up against the wall for their crimes against music? We’re talking artists with significant commercial success, but for whom a trial would only be a formality.

So far we have:
Phil Collins (in fact let’s throw in Mike and the Mechanics as well)
Celine Dion
Cliff Richard
The Corrs
Level 42
The Stereophonics (though they may be granted a blindfold on the basis of their first album)
Elkie Brooks (Ok that one came from Stewart, she doesn’t even register on my radar)
Status Quo (sorry Mark!)
Def Leppard
Spandau Ballet
Gareth Gates
The Venga Boys
Daniel O’Donall
Your suggestions please…

Sunday, June 13, 2004

Giraffe crimes

This morning didn’t really happen for me, but by afternoon, I head into the garden with the laptop and get up to date with all the Greenbelt emails.

I also have a very surreal conversation with Caroline that ends with us discussing how a cow might dress up as a giraffe to avoid a murder rap.

You probably had to be there…

Saturday, June 12, 2004

Musical Good Twin, Evil Twin

Stewart suggests I need a good night out to cheer me up and I have to agree.

We meet at the restaurant and then head on drinking, discovering as we go how closely our musical tastes align (we fear we are the only NME readers over 30…).

By 2am we are happily pissed and singing along to The Fall’s Victoria in Big Hands on Oxford Road. Happy days!

It is at this point that a new musical theory is suggested by Stewart although I’m not convinced it’s up to Dan’s standards.

Basically his concept is that for every great band/act there is an equal and opposite evil/rubbish alternative. Good twin, bad twin if you like. For example:
Patti Smith – Celine Dion
The Stone Roses – The Mock Turtles
Eminem – Vanilla Ice
PWEI – Ned’s Atomic Dustbin
Elvis - Cliff
PJ Harvey – Sheryl Crow
Super Furry Animals – The Stereophonics

The theory is modified as we decide that certain good acts have also become or been at one time their own evil twin. These include:
Morrissey (Finsbury Park anyone?)
The Rolling Stones

Of course it all begins to unravel and Stewart and I part company when I refute his absurd claim that Marillion, Pink Floyd and Kiss could be anybody’s good twin.

I take everything back I said about his musical tastes. The man was also a goth it transpires…

Friday, June 11, 2004

Nick Cave hits the north

Stewart rings to confirm he will try and get the Nick Cave tickets tomorrow, when they go on sale.

We have a good chat and he is great at listening to me and relating his similar experiences about some of the stuff going on with me right now.

Stewart is someone I know principally through mutual friends and it feels like we know each other better than out handful of meetings warrant. Hate to think what they will have told him about me over the years mind.

Achievements in Decision Making

My turn to do the hospitality tonight as Phil and Sarah decide after several hours of pond work and post erecting that they are shattered and will abandon the camping trip until tomorrow.

Not that I laid on much of a spread, just pasta with sundried tomatoes and a crispy vegetable sauce. Still I did at least manage to decide how much water to boil all by myself…

Fresh, organic, English strawberries to finish – I love this time of year!

Thursday, June 10, 2004


Sometimes you realise how good close friends are at reading you, despite all the barriers you put up.

Tonight Sarah sat me down in her back garden and fed me offerings from the local chippy as we watched a lone tadpole circle the new pond and hot tears couldn’t be fought back any longer. TLC of the best kind.

Wednesday, June 09, 2004


Well blogging has taken rather a back seat this week, which has been rather swamped by work deadlines, Greenbelt stuff and general other things.

Good to see though, that Sally has also taken to blogging. Even when I don’t get time to blog myself I still try to do a quick tour of the country (and beyond) catching up with friends and friends of friends etc.

Sometimes as I grab a quick sandwich at lunchtime I manage to get 10 minutes to whiz from blog to blog finding out what everyone is up to. I like this way of whistle-stopping people’s lives when you’re on a deadline!

Sunday, June 06, 2004


So, things I did complete this weekend:
  1. Reading the Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time.

  2. Throwing out the risotto (it was only wise) and making a chicken tagine instead.

  3. Finalised the Greenbelt Venue Managers’ Guide.

  4. And the Roles and Responsibilities document.

  5. And updating the FAQs for the website.

  6. Seeing Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (enjoyed it more the second time, better able to take stuff in).

  7. That bottle of Chenin Blanc and a Sauvignon Blanc as well
  8. Inspecting friends’ huge new pond (lake?) whilst chilling in their garden in the sunshine.

  9. Giving friend a lift to the Garden Centre in Ashton, only to find that contrary to their website they a) shut at 4.30pm not 5.00pm (fortunately we were just in time anyway) and b) aren’t so much pond plant specialists as “sorry we stopped doing that a while back”. Shame really they were a cute little independent place that I’d have enjoyed patronising.

  10. Cleaning the kitchen (well apart from the floor – tomorrow maybe).

  11. Getting up to date with Greenbelt emails (131 this past week…) whilst sat in the blazing sunshine in the garden with the laptop.

  12. This blog entry.

Friday, June 04, 2004

Unfinished Symphony

A list of things I didn't finish this week:

  1. Reading The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

  2. Eating the risotto I cooked on Monday

  3. Finalising the Greenbelt Venue Managers Guide

  4. Reviewing the Rochdale phase 2 designs

  5. Completing my expenses claim

  6. Watching Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (if anyone could fill me in on the last 5 mins that would be great!)

  7. Updating the Greenbelt Risk Assessment

  8. Drinking a fine bottle of Chenin Blanc

  9. This blog entr...

Wednesday, June 02, 2004

The Indecisive Twins

Have you ever had it when your brain is so tired of making big decisions that suddenly it shuts down when faced with a simple one. What shoes go with this outfit? Which pub should we meet in? Do you want fries with that?

Sometimes in moments of synchronicity you find yourself with a friend who is caught in the same cycle of procrastination, which can prove disastrous. In the most serious cases it can even result in missing last orders.

Other times it’s not such a problem and prompted by Caroline I shall now relay our shameful tale.

The scene: Saturday evening in Caroline’s kitchen, where L1z and Caroline having stared at the fridge for a good few minutes have somehow managed to decide on fresh pasta accompanied by a freshly prepared (by people at Bertolli) crispy vegetable and tomato sauce.

L1z: Do you think that’s enough water to boil the pasta in?

Caroline and L1z stare at pan of boiling water.
Caroline and L1z stare at each other.
Caroline and L1z stare at pan.
Caroline and L1z stare at each other again.

Eventually the deadlock is broken with:

Caroline: Shall we ring for a pizza?

Thank the Lord for Dominos eh? And it only took us 15 minutes to decide on toppings!

I suppose we should be thankfully there was no Gordon Ramsey present. Mind you, come Sunday lunchtime we have another go and turn out a fine and scrumptious feast of pasta in sauce. We obviously just needed to sleep on that critical water decision…