Tuesday, February 28, 2006


I like Cornershop Man, who runs his business with an oddly detached amusement, as though he stepped in one day on his way to an art installation, found the real owner dead, and decided to run the shop himself, as a kind of absurdist prank.


CSM: Buying a pack of instant noodles, I see.
Me: Yes.
CSM: Ah, noodles. The old 'noodle'.

Long pause while I try and think of a response. Eventually I nod, and CSM brightens up.

CSM: The meal that's ready in but a moment.
Me: Yes.
CSM: Just add hot water.
Me: Indeed.
CSM: And a carrot.
Me: Um....

Another long pause.

CSM: Well goodbye then.
Me: Goodbye.

I had them with small fried cubes of chorizo in the end. And spring onions. With a egg dropped in. 'Carrot' indeed, the man's a lunatic.

Monday, February 27, 2006

Last 'Life on Mars'

Hmm. Slightly annoying ending for me* - liked the dadplot stuff, and at least the stuff in the wood was resolved, but I'd like the coma plot in the second series to be more than just voices in the background, otherwise it's just going to be a Seventies set cop show. Which is fun, but that first episode promised a lot more. It's mostly delivered, to be fair.

Maybe I'm just a bit grumpy because:

I thought Nelson the barman was going to turn out to be the guy in the next bed.
And Gene was going to be a rather posh and terribly considerate consultant.
And Liz White was going to be a nurse, but we've already seen her in the uniform once, so I shouldn't be greedy.
And I thought the girl in the telly was going to be someone Young Sam had seen murdered in the woods but blocked from his memory, which is why she was annoyed with him, and wanted him to give up and die.

And I was wrong on all counts. Tch.

Roll on series two though.

* Feel free to make comments about ambulances and cliffs though. Glass houses, stones etc.


1. Borrowed mum's car, drove to Truro.
2. Bought some stuff.
3. Stopped on way home, got some petrol.
4. Drove a further three miles wondering why there was a strong sort-of-petrolly-smell and a loud rattling sound from above me.
5. Stopped at laybay, took petrol cap off roof.
6. Returned car.
7. Said nowt.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

wordcloud t-shirt

wordcloud t-shirt
Originally uploaded by jamesandthebluecat.
In a crazed moment, I got a t-shirt with some random words from m'blog on it, as a further advert for myself, referring to myself, to be worn by myself. Oddly, 'I' isn't on there. But 'cello' is, as is 'richard', 'agent', 'bbc' (not preceded by 'bastard', oddly) and 'hurrah'. My life, in t-shirt form. I'd put the link up, but I've lost it. It's one of those word-cloud things, anyway. You could probably google it, if you really wanted.

Now, normally, I like to keep up the pretense that this blog isn't regularly pored over by the great and good of the showbiz world. Secretly, of course, famous types regularly approach on my bi-monthly London jaunts, all backslapping jolliness and cigar-thrusting bonhomie, alternating between pleading that I leave the more degraded of their latest exploits out of the blue cat, and desperately begging some minor triumph of theirs go recorded, blogged up for all their peers to see*.

However, Patroclus needs Calexico tickets for the Kentish Town Forum on 23rd April. So if anyone out there with a) power and b) influence, have any means of getting tickets for said event, please hie yourself over Patrocluswards and hand them over smartish. I shall then consider posting your amusing story about how you once totally pwnded Joe Pasquale at table tennis in the Groucho, and we will speak of the matter no more.

Have also added Jane Espenson to the writing blog links over to the right. She's written for Buffy, The GIlmore Girls and Firefly, and has thus STOLEN MY LIFE. Apart from Firefly, which I'm ashamed to say I could never get into. Wasn't blown away by Serenity either, although I did go and see it at the cinema, to give Joss my support. I hope he's grateful.

*Jeremy Paxman once chased me out of Forbidden Planet (he was buying the boxed set of Ninja Scroll), desperate for me to tell the world how he had recently slapped Martin Kemp 'up da' head' by waiting for him to finish an interminable story about discovering a new species of lion in the Congo, only to leave a great and heavy silence, then break out a raspberry so long and prolonged, Pasquale broke both hands applauding. So I hope you're happy now, Jeremy.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

To continue the 'being given looks' theme..

I suddenly realised I hadn't turned over my compost heap for ages, and this is more fun than writing. So I picked up a garden fork and plunged it repeatedly into the plastic binful of decaying grapefruit rinds and garden rubbish. This is actually quite enjoyable, and a good way of venting frustration on (edited as vague attempt at professionalism).

Rah! In went the fork, a plunging stabbing frenzy of cathartic rage. Eventually my fury burned itself out, and I took the fork out, looking down inside the compost bin whilst heaving for breath, and gently steaming.

A small grey mouse was crouched in the corner of the bin, staring up at me with dark, liquid eyes, his tiny paws trembling slightly.

Oh god, I hope I haven't killed his family. I couldn't look. Slowly I replaced the lid on the bin, put the fork back in the shed, and went inside to find an email telling me (similar thing - you'll have to wait for the blue cat film*).

It is no more than I deserve. It is the shrew murder all over again.

On the plus side, I've been thinking for ages about this novel I want to adapt, and have just found out that because the author died umpty-tump years ago the rights have very recently passed out of copyright! Woo hoo!

Funny old thing, death.

UPDATE: I've been told this all looks a bit despondant, so I should point out I'm also doing quite a few fun writey things that I'm not currently able to talk about. Part of this is being able to watch a number of really quite revolting horror movies, and claim it as research. I can say no more.

UPDATE 2: the events of the day left me particularly vulnerable to this Death Cab video. Argh. Poor poor rabbits.

* Not an actual film.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Women keep giving me looks.

And not saucy 'come-hither' looks either.

The first was a few days ago in town. A elderly-ish lady was meandering gaily along the pavement, and bumped the elbow of a much younger woman, who I would estimate from her fashion sense (jeans with writing on the arse, jacket with furry collar) to be either a hairdresser or an itinerant furrier, who, due to fits of amnesia, had resorted to having her name (Miss 'Bench' apparently) written on her person*, so that people can shout it out to remind her. Actually the writing was very slightly embossed, so maybe she stamps it in the snow every time she sits down.

But I digress. Older woman careened on her way, leaving younger, bottom-stamped woman glaring around her in a state of utter rage. Until she made eye-contact with me (Fool! Never make eye-contact with women on the street! You'll end up dead or married or both!). At which point her rage seemed to intensify if anything, her face contorting with the sort of furious hatred you only see on those new-fangled 'running zombie' films like 28 Days Later, or the Dawn of the Dead remake, or Love Actually (In my version, anyway).

So, like the heroes of those films, I turned up Ed Harcourt on the personal stereo and walked briskly away.

And then, the next day, whist happily splashing about in the pool (I like to go three times a week, as it's quite good exercise and I often think of useful plot points while I swim. 'Aha!' I say to myself, then nearly drown), it happened again.

There was a group of rowdy men in the jacuzzi. Well I say rowdy, I just mean they were overweight with short hair and tattoes. And they were just chatting, but you never know. Rowdiness could have broken out any second. And some friend of theirs opened the door from the reception area and wandered over to say hello. Wearing his trainers.

At which point, another elderlyish woman did that peculiarly British thing of sort of complaining loudly, not quite to the person you're complaining to, then fizzling out anyway.

Which sounded like this: 'YOU'RE NOT SUPPosed to wear shoes in here actually...'

Trainer Man sort of looked over, although elderlyish woman was already swimming in the other direction. He looked puzzled, as though someone had started to say something, got quiet halfway through then swum away, which made sense, as that was what had happened. So he went back to talking to his mates.

And on her way back, the elderlyish woman gave me exactly the same look the other woman had given me. That 'Someone should do something' look.

I have to say I completely agree. But it wasn't going to be me, because to be honest, I didn't really care enough. So I continued on my swim, and elderly-ish lady and I passed each other ever two minutes or so. And each time the woman gave me That Look, while Trainer Man carried on, defiantly wearing Trainers and chatting to his rowdy mates.

It's probably because I'm tall, and not un-broad. In fact I heard some thing on the radio, where someone tried to mug someone else, and the someone else turned out to be a rugby player who was 'six foot one and thirteen stone' as the announcer said in an incredulous voice, as if the buckling of the cobble stones beneath the someone else's feet and the light sprinkling of snow on the top of his head should have been enough warning to the attempted mugger. And I'm an inch taller than that, and a stone heavier, so theoretically I should be lumbering around the streets roaring and snarling and occasionally kicking cars into parks and brushing my teeth with trees.

In fact, I'm a terrible coward with no stomach for confrontation. And eventually it occured to me that if those blokes all got out at once I would either have to share a changing room with them, where they might snap me with a towel, or try and include me in homophobic jokes, or make join the Freemasons, or I'd have to stay in the pool for another half hour, and my fingers were already a bit pruney.


* 'I wasn't staring at your arse, I was reading.'

** I got out early in the end. Blimey, I thought this post was never going to finish. Apologies.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Peep Show petition

If you liked Peep Show and are saddened at the thought of it being axed because it didn't get as many viewers as poxy shite like the Friday Night Project, please go and sign the online petition, just to annoy the people at Channel 4 who want to let it go (and delight the people at Channel 4 who are trying to keep it).

And if you're foreign and have never seen it, go and sign anyway. Just trust me, it's very good.


See also, Spain.

There's a story going round that in Iran, danish pastries are being renamed 'Roses of the Prophet Mohammed'. Now I think this is probably nonsense, because for one thing I can't bring myself to believe Iranians actually called them 'danish pastries' in the first place. I don't know why, and I could of course be wrong, it just doesn't sound likely.

However I'm more than willing to start calling them 'Roses of the Prophet Mohammed', because it sounds brilliant, and will raise the level of my grocery shopping to an all-new spiritual high.

Also, I think cornish pasties should now be called 'Stuffed Meaty Shoes of Jesus'.

I wouldn't want anyone to mistake this for some kind of religious satire by the way, I genuinely really like the names. Also my take on the Middle East more or less boils down to 'ooh, those people in hot countries get a bit excitable, don't they?'*

Anyway, I have to go, I'm wanted on Question Time.

* And I still convinced that's as valid a political position as anything else. Although it doesn't explain Northern Ireland, which gets a bit grumpy, or Vikings, so it's not perfect, obviously.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

A song.

Something I always meant to do on my very last day at Waterstone's, was to lock myself in the Comms room, hijack the sound-system/announcer thing and sing 'Desperado'. In full.

Well, that day came, and I'll be honest, I wussed out. So with your kind permission, I'd like to sing that song for you now instead.


Desperado, why don't you come to your senses?
You been out bumbling fences for so long now
Oh, you're hn nmmmblmm
I know that you got your reasons
These things da da da da
Will ahumm dmmm de dumm

Doo be doo the queen of diamonds boy
She'll zum zum zum zum
You know the queen of hearts ta dum de de dummm

Now it seems to me, some fine things
Have been la la la la la la la la
But you only something that you can't get

Desperado, oh, you ain't gettin' no younger
Your pain and your hunger, tum te tum tum
And freedom, oh freedom well, that's just tumpty people talkin'
Your prison is thinging through this thing all alone

Don't your FEET GET COLD (I know that bit) in the winter time?
The sun won't something and the sky, no, wait, sun, won't shine
It's hard to tell the night time from earlier on
You're losin' all your highs and not-highs
Ain't it what now how the feeling goes away?

Desperado, why don't you come to your senses?
Come down from your (argh, rhymes with senses), open the gate
Something about raining, but there's a rainbow above you
You better let somebody love you
(let sombody love you)
You better let somebody love you
before it's too late

Happy Valentine's Day to everyone, wherever you are.

UPDATE: Unless you're on some kind of hot date, in which case bollocks to you.

Friday, February 10, 2006

Worth a try.

I took all the keys off my laptop, which was getting a bit grubby, cleaned the underneath with proper under-keyboard cleaning stuff and put the keys back again. And now my '2's gone all wobbly.

So at the moment, I can't write any sequels, and Fingle, my troll mage in World of Warcraft, is having some difficulty with fireballs. Honestly, I don't know how I find the strength to get up in the morning.

Anyway, please can someone send me a new G4 Powerbook? I put some extra memory in as well, so one of those too please.


Thursday, February 09, 2006

O New Coffee Mug, How I Love Thee.

Originally uploaded by jamesandthebluecat.
I love thee more than Ross loved Rachel,
More than Joey loved a date who'll....
More than Fibonacci loved his Series,
More than Stephen Fry loves interesting queries*
More than Warcraft Trolls love saying 'Mon',
More than Poliakoff likes to go on. And on. And on.
More than Dave loves games of cricket,
Or Alan Titchmarsh loves thinning thicket(s),
More than Yentob loves writers,
(but that's not difficult)
More than I love D&D all-nighters,
(which is saying something)
More than Patroclus likes Pictish,
More than I like making up characters who are therefore ficti.... tious.
More than Batman loves crime-solving,
More than religious fundamentalists hate things evolving,

O New Coffee Mug, I Love Thee So.

*I don't mean that anti-gayually, it's a reference to QI. Also, did you know the set for QI was laid out according to the Golden Section, as mentioned on Jonathon Paul Green's blog? I didn't but I like knowing that now.

Monday, February 06, 2006

My room's very stuffy today.

*UPDATE: Thought I'd put this bit up top, or no-one'll see it. I couldn't quite get the murderer/gravel driveway analogy to work. Something about the nice sound of walking across gravel, even when the person walking towards you is going to kill you. That was the best I could up with as well - other suggestions gratefully received. In Grammar Puss world it would be a murderer pulling a gun out of a really nice handbag, but that doesn't work so well in my world. Sometimes the Muse just passes by, avoiding eye contact altogether.

ANOTHER UPDATE. Some of those Arj and Poopy episodes now have ads in front of them. Gah. See also: 'Tch'.

Also, check the comments section below for a link to another animation using the same D&D script. Fat Roland, you are correct, that one's much better.

Wonder how long I could go on just updating/rewriting the same post? Hmm....

Adverts give me the screaming ab-dabs at the best of times. The only tv adverts I have ever liked:

1. That one for jeans, or classical music or something, where a man and a lady run through walls, then find a wood and run up trees into the sky, shouting at God.

2. That Transformer one.

3. Er....

Anyway, I was watching the television the other day, and something felt wrong. Adverts seemed even more moronic and appalling than usual, and whereas I usually have to shout 'Mnargh!' to myself a few times to block them out, this time I was having to mnargh on what was practically a constant basis, whilst at the same time hitting my head with a tablespoon to distract my brain. And then I realised - all the telly I have seen for ages has either been off DVD sets or dowloaded. I have managed to avoid televisual based adverts for at least three weeks now. The only 'live' television I watch is Life on Mars, and that's on BBC, so no adverts as such.

And then I saw episode seven of Arj and Poopy, and I realised - I may never have to watch television again. It feels good, but simultaneously worrying. Imagine hearing a murderer walking towards you across a sweeping gravel driveway*, and you will be some way towards feeling the mixture of my emotions.

In other news, I like to think of roleplaying games as a great undiscovered artistic medium, where the imagination can freely roam, and strange new worlds be discovered in an interesting, consensual way. But to honest, I don't think it'll shatter anyone's dreams to say that usually, it's more like this.

UPDATE: rest of the episodes of A+P not as good, to be honest. But same people also make the song with the sex-starved rabbit, which is funnier and sweeter than it sounds.

Saturday, February 04, 2006

The hair, the hair.

Long term blue cat readers may remember my closest friend (heretofor referred to as 'B.M.') as having extremely long hair, to the extent that in the course of one evening she had to be untangled from a hedge, a chair and a bench, only to send a text later that night to tell me that she had got caught up once again whilst preparing for bed and had fallen over. Keep in mind also this post, and you can practically see the vectors colliding.

Went to a leaving party thing for a friend who's off to India for four months (don't know why), and managed to have the following conversation approximately three and a half half seconds after entering the building and walking past some candles.

ME: What's that smell?
B.M.: My hair's on fire.
ME: Is it?
B.M.: Yes.
ME: Because it seems more the sort of thing I'd do.
B.M.: No no, I really have set my hair on fire.

The smell of burnt hair is now wafting across the room, causing people (some of whom I haven't seen in about ten years) to grab handfuls of their own hair and stare in puzzlement. Apart from Tarkus, who's bald now, but has a beautiful wife, so it balances out.

B.M.: It's out now.
ME: Good.
B.M.: Although look, I can pull out great handfuls of hair!
ME: Probably stop then.
B.M.: Yes.

Later I sit in a side room, staring at a widescreen television, which for some kerazee! reason has been installed sideways. Wonder Woman is hanging from a helicopter. Sideways. Even with the sound off, it's an arresting image.

GW2 now scheduled for 31st March, according to the very good British Sitcom Guide, and C4 are starting to put up teaser trailers, the first few of which have already started floating about the net, free for the finding. The writers got to be involved in these (I think the ad people who were supposed to be doing them got scared), and there should be some rather nifty posters coming along later as well.

Friday, February 03, 2006

Imagine there's no writers, it's easy if you try...

Poor old Alan Yentob. Obviously having a wonderful time on The Incredible Alan Yentob Show!!!, but so busy larking about in the style of various sitcoms, that when he got to the fabulous Peep Show, he completely forgot to mention the names of the writers. Silly old thing, I bet he was terribly embarrassed when it went out and he realised what he'd done.

So, for the record, Peep Show, which he rightly lauded for its originality, depth of characterization and general goodness, was written* by Sam Bain and Jesse Armstrong. There's an interview with them over here.

The blog is currently a tad moribund, apologies, but I'm working on the final polish of the book before it goes off to the publishers, which makes it draft 6a. And if it does get picked up by a publisher, the first thing they'll do is make that 'sucking in through the teeth' noise and say 'of course, you realise it needs a lot of work...'.

Quick hello to The MIghty Evan, whose birthday it was earlier this week. I gave her a small purse as a present, only for someone else to turn up with a present of a purse that was a) slightly larger, and b) had more presents in it, thus outclassing me at every turn. I'll be putting up a photo of my christmas present from TME at some point, because mere words cannot do justice to its carved wooden glory (clue: rhymes with 'biking' and has a place to put an incense cone).

* as in 'made up by', you fat-handed twat.