NOVEMBER 25: KISS LIVE IN LOS ANGELES (RECORDED LIVE BY EV)
NOVEMBER 25: IS YOUR PENIS INADEQUATE?
IF SO, WHY not buy a gigantic truck, raise the suspension to a level even a mildly-retarded 10-year-old would think stupid, cover the back window in stickers you got free with OC Shithead magazine, attach 25 lights to the front and then drive right up the arse of a black-and-white Mini for several miles on the 605 South? You fecking wanker.
RICHARD DAWKINS' The God Delusion is turning out to be better than I thought. I admire his take-no-prisoners attitude to religious beliefs and believers. I also like his rational attitude towards atheism and the fact he's happy to get stuck into any and all faiths. His takedown of Islam — the self-styled "Religion Of Peace™" — after the protests against the Danish cartoonists is masterful, as is his contempt for Christian preachers who fleece their idiotic followers out of millions. The more I read, the more I agree with his assertion that God is a delusion and people who believe are deluded, especially when you come across shit like this "prayer" on the internet:
Heavenly Father, most Gracious and Loving God, I pray to you that you Abundantly bless my family and me.
I know that you recognize, that a Family is more than just a mother, father, sister, brother, cousin, Husband and wife, but all who believe and trust in You.
Dear GOD, I send up a prayer request for financial blessing for not only the Person who sent this to me, but for me and all that I have forwarded This message to.
And that the power of joined prayer by those who Believe and trust in you is More powerful than anything!
I thank you in Advance for your blessings.
God, deliver the person reading this right Now from debt and debt burdens.
In other words: Lord, I'm white, Christian and Republican (and barely literate), so please give me some money as I have a sense of entitlement the size of Alaska. How about praying for an end to wars/famine/disease? Because they won't pay for the widescreen TV, that's why. Deluded? Oh yes.
I'VE just seen an ad on the Science Channel for a show they're doing on Punkin Chunkin. "Wait," I think, "I've heard of that… didn't I do a column on it?" And bugger me if I hadn't. Back in March 2003, still working at Wales on Sunday, I searched around for a topic for my weekly column on offbeat sporting websites. How I came across punkin chunkin I have no idea, but after reading the "about" page I knew I had a column. I knew I should have taken up writing about this shit full-time.
SOMETHING tells me Siān Rose is going to be driving a Mini when she grows up.
THERE'S a great bit in the second episode of the excellent British sitcom Spaced. Tim and Daisy have just met their odd, artist neighbour Brian. "Do you like him? asks Daisy. "Who, Brian?" says Tim. "I do like him… I'm just not sure why."
I guess I feel the same way about The God of Small Things. It's a wonderfully lush novel that on the one hand kept me in wonder at author Arundhati Roy's richness of language and expression, but at the same time had me wanting to shout "GET ON WITH IT" as Roy went off on another dense, wordy description of a character's feelings. What the book is about — how small choices and events lead to a devastating tragedy — can be lost in the story's convoluted meanderings.
The story is structured in reverse, starting with a funeral and making its way slowly towards the night of the character's death; in essence 99% of the book is just a tease leading up to the events of one night. And while the revelation is shocking and surprising, the book just didn't grab me as I hoped it would. There were even times when I was on the verge of giving up and reading something else but as I hate doing that I slogged on. Was I right to do so, or should I have chucked it in? More to the point, as I didn't feel a novel — one that won the Booker Prize and pretty much caused every critic to spontaneously orgasm on its publication in 1997 — was all that good, did I miss something or should I stick to Lovecraft, Orwell and less artsy fare?
Shit, I don't know. I always wonder at moments like this: Was that it? I mean, it's not crap but still… was that it? You can't read it and not be amazed and delighted by Roy's skills as a writer; her use of unique turns of phrase and beautifully descriptive passages are second to none. And it was never boring. I guess I did like it… I'm just not sure why.
For the moment I'm sticking to India and reading Slumdog Millionaire — and loving it.
I GOT bored at work last night so I photocopied my face for something to do. Coming soon: My realisation that I have, in fact, had swine flu.
NOVEMBER 15: I ♥ CARTMAN
NOVEMBER 14: FAIR OAKS PHARMACY, PASADENA
S O TO PASADENA we headed, braving the wilds of the 710 and 110 to meet Brenda and Marty at the Fair Oaks Pharmacy and Soda Fountain. Established in 1915, it's the oldest such place in America and was highly recommended on some show Ev saw on the Travel Channel. It doesn't just do food and drinks, though — it also does shedloads of gifts 'n' stuff.
Brenda shows off her new necklace (hint: look closely).
It also does some of the coolest Christmas tree decorations. And if you look to the upper left, I've managed to capture myself in the photo. But we didn't just go to look at crap to buy* — we went to try the food and sodas, some of which are allegedly the best in Southern California.
After debating and rejecting the chilli dog, Coney Island dog and the other one I can't remember the name of right now, I plumped for the pastrami and sauerkraut on grilled sourdough bread with mustard. Fantastic. And what did I get to wash down this magnificent sarnie?
I did think about a cherry Coke but I can get one of those at Ruby's. So I went for a lime cream soda with vanilla ice-cream. Excellent stuff.
*I did, and got my own Wild Thing. Sweet.
NOVEMBER 10: MEH
I FINISHED A. A. Gill's The Angry Island: Hunting The English last night and I have to say it left me with a feeling of "bleh". I don't know what I was expecting — an all-out assault on the English themselves or the squillions of rules and regulations they come up with (the cover certainly led me to think that) — but it's more of a series of essays picking on one aspect of Englishness and discussing it in the broadest sense possible. Don't get me wrong, the writing is excellent and when Gill's on he's on; the chapter on war memorials is outstanding and almost worth the cover price alone.
Gill's basic theory is that the English are by nature extremely angry and have to invent things like queues, Empires, history and public schools to keep that anger in check. I have to admit to being surprised by this as it's not one of the national stereotypes usually ascribed to the Saes; reserve, apologetic, politeness, manners and a strong sense of irony yes, but anger? Ah, says Gill, it's precisely because of this anger that they're so polite and apologetic. If they weren't they'd be ripping each others' throats out.
I lived in England for eight years. I have loads of English friends and even some English relatives (although we don't like to talk about them). Personally I've never really noticed them to be a powder-keg of barely suppressed anger… well, except maybe for Flynn. So I was at a loss to understand where Gill was coming from. Let's face it, the Irish spent years blowing people up and the Scots seem to be in a state of permanent malaise/drunkenness/razor-fighting. And as for the Welsh, if anyone in the Union should be on the verge of the equivalent of a nationwide shooting spree, it's us. After all, one of Gill's Sunday Times columns described the Welsh as "loquacious, dissemblers, immoral liars, stunted, bigoted, dark, ugly, pugnacious little trolls*".
Talking of nationality, the odd thing about Gill is that he's Scottish. Well, that's not really the odd thing; the odd thing is that he lived in Scotland for the first year of his life and then moved to England. He was brought up in England, schooled in England, employed in England and by his own admittance sounds English. Yet he constantly claims to be an outsider looking in. How much of an outsider can you be when you've spent all 54 years of your life living among the people you're criticising? It would be like Ev writing a book having a go at Southern Californians and claiming not to be one. If some of that anger has rubbed off on Gill — and given his reputation I'd be amazed if it hadn't — then he's only having a pop at himself. Unless there's some layer of irony to the book that I completely missed.
It's a shame, as The Angry Island: Hunting The English would be a bloody great read if it wasn't so scattered and did a better job of proving its author's point. By the way, if anyone out there has read this and wants to weigh in, then drop me a line.
Next up: The God Of Small Things. And if any of my old A-level English teachers are reading this, your eyes did not deceive you.
*The bastard. Although I will give him credit for being kicked out of one of Gordon Ramsay's restaurants after writing a review calling Ramsay "a wonderful chef, but a second-rate human being".
NOVEMBER 8: VEGETABLE TAKES ON VEGETABLE
NOVEMBER 5: A MESAJ 4 EVVER
EVVER i fink yestin is tryin 2 kil yoo we shud put him in the dishwosha just 2 b safe ps this is not emrik
NOVEMBER 2: NOT NASCAR
YOU know how sometimes you're listening to a song you love and all of a sudden you realise that for all those years you've got one line of lyrics completely wrong? No? Oh, OK.
Anyway, after something like 26 years of owning the Thompson Twins' Quick Step and Side Kick I realised the other night that Tom Bailey does not sing "It's all in the mind's eye" during "Watching"; he sings "Spending all of my time". And here's the proof:
I know no one gives a toss but I thought I'd put it up here anyway. Next week: Jimi Hendrix does not, in fact, sing "'Scuse me while I kiss this guy" during "Purple Haze".
NOVEMBER 1: NASCAR
OUR first trip to Irwindale all year and what happens? They have a Mini club as the guests...
This is what my Mini wants to be when it grows up.
This delightful young lady is the proud owner of a blood-red Mini S called "BATBRAT".
As we actually remembered to take the Flip I'm just putting some pics of the people up and video of the racing.
"Was she big around the hips? Roomy?"
Christ, Wilma's let herself go.
And so's Fred.
Downtown LA at sunset. And here's some car soccer:
And some Crazy 8s:
Right, I'm off to bed.