Tuesday, 31 July 2007

The hopeless dream of being - not seeming, but being

Yesterday, Mike Reid (and surely the Mirror's headline Mike Reid Dead takes the plaudits for least imaginitive headline of the day - what was wrong with "Peggg-d it?" or "G-g-g-gone". Today, the Master, Ingmar Bergman dies on the beautiful island of Faro, leaving us with some amazing films like The Shame, Persona and the Seventh Seal. Tonight, we intend to have a Bergman night, after EastEnders, obviously, to revel in these amazing cinematic gems once again.
State of my back: Healing
House saga: Our survey on the new property was the funniest publication I've read all year
What that means: We start looking for an 'ouse again

Thursday, 26 July 2007

The view from the afternoon

Back in Hull, and the delights of a cycle thru Boothferry Road. Couldn't get any closer to the charming derelict stadium/former Iceland combo, cos there were some wild kids who have made this bizarre landscape their own. But check out my favourite barber's, Chinese takeaway and beauty therapists, and I challenge ya not to raise a smile.

Also on news radar: Shaboo the cow, condemned to death in south Wales; the crazy capers on the Tour de France - maybe all this doping explains why all the cyclists I pass on 'da Bridge' have manic luminous eyes of hate.

Listening (still) The Cribs (also) Bat For Lashes

Watching (and loving, despite ambivalence towards subject) Clarkson at the Poles

Beautiful journey

Some images of my journey on the super Lozbike from Barton to Hull, taken on Tuesday. The lavender isn't Provence, but just outside Immingham, waiting for a goods train to pass.

Sunday, 22 July 2007

Case for the prosecution

Ooh, I should have flipped this. Ah well, ya get the gist. Ads on bins. Bins on ads. Some shadowy 0845. Wonder what kind of business would wanna be associated with a bin campaign? Wonder what the charges are? Alright if you've got disposable income I guess. And depends what you're pedal (bin) ing.

Case for the defence

A sunny morning, for one thing. And a fabulous brunch in Fudge, eating Eggs Benedict and Feta while listening to Percy Sledge. A walk through the park past my favourite random totally-out-context-ancient dome. And Lal, the proprietor of JSK Minimart, last seen on this blog throwing crisps at a yobbo and hittinh him with bat between said crisps, spotted outside Jackson's swaying giddily and drinking from a giant can. However, he was sober and it was a giant can of coconut milk.

Hull is ch-ch-changing

Picked up some London mates at the railway station this weekend, and found that Paragon has been turned into a giant orange future-speak billboard. Hull is changing. Not like the incredible Hulk changing, although we did see some station fixtures (where did they hang out while the Paragon police station was out of operation?) who did appear to be evolving through a hazy cider in front of our eyes). This is all about the new St Stephen's development, which aims to make Hull a top 10 city by building an H & M and, unconvincingly, a giant surfboard/wave feature. Throughout the city, there are signs that others are following in this new evolutionary zeal. Take this landlord for example. Marketing luxury flats on Spring Bank. These flats should be condemned, not spouted off as a new high in modern city living. Look. There's no windows and structural support. And pigeons in roof. Seems bizarre that beautiful buildings in the old town are being bulldozed while these are the new flava. The dichotomy of Hull, perhaps?

Saturday, 21 July 2007

Hitchcocks suspence

So, me and Dee get to celebrate her 29th birthday in the company of some splendid folks, all of whom have got brilliant reasons to be excited. Excuse me if this post gets a bit Peter's Friends, but of the 10 folk gathered last night at Hull's number one all-you-can-eat vegan buffet above a cobbled street experience, six of us have announced engagements in Peru, Belize and Sweden, two are expecting a child and the other two are embarking on a new life together in the 2008 City of Culture. Last year, there was a nasty dispute about the bill at the now defunct Immanuels and a weird atmosphere. To cut a long and slightly tiresome rock n' roll story short, none of the folks who attended Dee's birthday last year came along this time around. But we definitely hope that the people who came to Hitchcocks will be with us in 2008. Whatever the adventures we have in the meantime, its bound to be more entertaining than the sequel to This Life!

Friday, 20 July 2007

Epic adventures on birthday week

So we take a few days off for Dee's birthday. As always, it develops into a ripping yarn involving two cars, one which starts to steam near Bradford (driving to the National Meeja Museum is a nightmare, btw. What gives with those roads??), a romantic stroll around the bizarrely named KeepMoat Lake in Doncaster (it's almost like Sydney on a shoestring until you get to Megabowl), a clothes buying marathon in Donny TC, a weird towing experience for my white beast back to Hull, and then Dee's car gets shunted into write-off mode in the left-hand lane at Barnetby Top. We both get a belated birthday gift of mild whiplash and lose the ability to look left.

Monday, 16 July 2007

Running through the aftermath

Went running after work tonight, the first time I'd ventured out on my usual route since the floods. Unlike in Taxi Driver, when "a great rain washes the scum from the streets", my usual favourite scenes such as the Jack Kaye Walk grafiti remained intact, thankfully, but it was quite obvious that a strange moroseness has enveloped parts of the city. Under the Chanterlands Avenue bridge, Costcutter and Ken Ellerker Cycles remain closed, looking strange under a blue cloudless sky. But the saddest site was probably Ella Street, my favourite street in the west of Hull. The overhead banners for the Ella Street carnival have been joined by a yellow skip every few houses, filled with household remnants. Purple barricades mask the drains that badly flooded, leaving this beautiful Victorian street under water. Running on, onto Beverley Road, there was more rubbish. But that was just fly-tipping. Copycat flood dumping. Luckily, this will never happen again, because the Hull Daily Mail tells us so. Some young scallywag writers called John Meehan and Eddie Tor have coined tonight's front page - a campaign called Never Again, which will stop global warming, rain and even a light drizzle.

Sunday, 15 July 2007

In search of Prince

Spent most of the morning trying to find, shock, horror, a copy of the Mail On Sunday to cash in on its free Prince promotion. Nothing is ever free, of course, and the thought of subjecting my household to the frumpy, right-wing jism in the MoS is a heavy price to pay, even for 10 tracks by the little purple master. And it also raises questions about the diminutive Minneapolis dude's state of mind. I mean, why the Mail on Sunday? Why not Blues n' Soul? Or the New York Review Of Books? After finally tracking down a copy of Planet Earth in the fifth Hull newsagents I ventured into (a scary experience at any juncture), I found the answer. Prince has not the lost the funk, as such, but this, in the main, is very derivative, pale imitations of his 80s purple majesty. Saccharine soul, with sleigh-bells, 80s drums, and very muzacky arrangements. The single Guitar is a little like U2 and features Prince Rogers extolling the virtue of his instrument over his woman: "I love you baby, but not the way I love my guitar." Am guessing it ain't a Squire Strat made in Korea. (although track eight's got a pulse - even if its about Chelsea Clinton or sumfink...hang on track nine issssssss Purple Rain, but less good)
Also: the eagle-eyed will notice my new stat counter. Somebody came to my site through putting the words "Bat Rescue, Hull" into google. There ya go, Chips On Me Shoulder. A big hit with endangered species. But not new Princey-baby records.
And also also: swimming at Beverley Road baths, eating veggie lasagne, reading the Faber Book Of Reportage and Billy Bragg's The Progressive Patriot

Saturday, 14 July 2007

Strange games and funky things

Yesterday, I got a three-month appraisal review from my boss. Nitty-gritty nonsense aside, it was his thoughts on my performance to date. Bear in mind, I work in a place where having a personality is a problem rather than a pleasure. Everybody clashes with their boss, it's true, but believe me, I've tried really hard in the new gig, including having regular chats, started by me, about my progress and attitude etc. Rather surprised then, that in the letter, these friendly chats have been turned into "several clarity talks instigated by me". It seems even the most basic of human functions, like conversations, can be hijacked and turned into appalling managerial bluster. Luckily, I was able to find clarity in the evening by doing my chakras and putting everything in context by watching the splendid Children Of Men, where Clive Owen's wooden-ness is an asset rather than a "climbing-into-the-telly-and-telling-him-to-perk-up-a-bit" inconvenience.

Doing: Last bits of house stuff, trawling Media Guardian, waiting for the sun to burn away the clouds

Listening: A bit of a retro dance day Avalanches/Tricky/Funkadelic/Black Grape/Daft Punk

Wednesday, 11 July 2007

The new arrival

Before this blog develops an unhealthy 'look at pictures of my family' schmaltzy-ness, let me just say this is an end to the baby pics. But let it be said that my mum, on the right, is looking pretty good for a gran (although she had to pick herself off the floor when she heard the news). Oliver, or Ollie as he is likely to be, is a little delight as well, although, scarily, he has my brother's hands. Elsewhere, the journey to work on the Loz superbike has been accompanied by some great sounds of late (Cribs, Decemberists, Aretha Franklin's gospel album) but today, as I was crossing the great expanse of the Humber from north to south, I had John Barry's Science Fiction, from Midnight Cowboy. It worked perfectly for the glacial, spectral river and bizarre giant turrets. I recommend it.

Tuesday, 10 July 2007

Uncle Lozbags

My sister-in-law gave birth to my second nephew, Oliver Albert, at 10.44am this morning. Absolutely delighted for them all, and it sounds like, at 9lb 4oz, the young fella is gonna be a right little trooper. Awww. It's put a bit of a different slant on today's post, which was gonna be influenced by the Tories' new policies encouraging and championing the institution of marriage, and promising tax breaks for staying together in sanctity. The talking heads for this promising Radio 4 debate were Ian Duncan Smith (it's not a golden bullet, he said, but I don't think he was talking matricide) and Ed Milliband, a man with an astonishing lisp and a strong belief that children are our future, rather than parents. This touching soapbox for the marriage may not have been influenced by the woman interviewed by Jim Naughtie at 8.25am. She was imprisoned by the Stazi, East Germany's ruthless secret police, after being shopped to them by her husband. Not a happy marriage, I'm assuming.

Saturday, 7 July 2007

Ferme la Bouche

After all the insanity and national nonsense written about our fair city in the last few days, me and Dee decided to make a heroic attempt to rescue Hull's reputation with a trip to its better assets, which bears no relation whatsoever to the whingey neo-new-build cluster cul de sacs on a flood plain that have been bleating about being ignored in the national press this week. Incidentially, if the lost city of Atlantis did turn out to in fact be an earlier prototype of Hull and have shops like Booze & U, Hair By Karen and Dream Doors, I can imagine an awful lot of disappointment. Nah, we went to the Ferens to see the incredible installation by Benin artist Romauld Hazoume. La Bouche du Roi, a piece resembling a slave boat that sailed out of Liverpool for the African west coast in the 1790s, the artist had used petrol cans to represent the slaves transported to the States and Caribbean, together with a moving film of life today in the country. It was all beautifully lighted and stark in its realisation. We then ventured outside for chips from Golden Fry, got starred down by an Iraqi kid on a chopper, watched erratic drivers indulge in road rage and saw an errant boozer trying to vault a wrought-iron fence into a bakery. Same Hull there then.
Now back at Club Thoresby and wincing through Live Earth. Why oh glam rock why does climate change have to be represented by Jimmy Blunt, Graham Norton and the Durannies. Oh, if only the Tour de France commentators could be providing the ad-libs. We might get closer to some sort of perverse truth about the whole shoddy televised nonsense.

Monday, 2 July 2007

Smoking goon

Bloke being interviewed on Radio Humberside about the smoking ban. "I personally smoke between 100 and 120 fags a day. This ban is killing us."
Lovely weekend catching up with friends on London's Bankside, in the shadow of the Globe, the Golden Hinde and speedboats careering up the Thames. Lovely to see our group of friends from journalism college now being added to with babies, boyfriends, girlfriends and husbands. It's always hard after the London thang to return to the delights of Anlaby Road, and shops like Booze & U, Best Mate (a Chinese takeaway, no less, and probably best mate to several Boothferry Road casuals, the charlatan) and What Comes Naturally (a centre for preventive medicine). Back up north, then, with plans for new jobs, escapades and adventures on the horizon.
Pictoral note: This is not of course, about smoking, and does not reflect, in any way, the views of this blogger. It comes from the insane Louis Theroux doc about The Most Hated Group In America, led by Fred 'Tweakin my nose y'Jackass' Phelps.