Tuesday 26 February 2013


If you remember The Mary Whitehouse Experience, you might remember the idea that when you see John Major's face, all you can really see is the space where a moustache should go. It's like you've just looked away from a moustache shaped lighbulb.

I was in a conversation last week, and the space where the dirty joke should have gone was more obvious and more awkward than if I had said it out loud. One of my ex-girlfriends was visiting. We're still close friends, but there's a tacit agreement that some topics are ignored in conversation and reminiscence. We were in a posh little café, and my tea came in a china pot with a sparkly knitted cosy. We took the cosy off the pot to examine it, and then I had great difficulty putting it back on. "It's not going to work" said the ex-girlfriend, "you haven't got the spout in the right hole". We left a respectful embarrassed pause and then quickly changed the subject.

Richard "That's not the first time you've said that" B

Tuesday 19 February 2013


Irony is very hard to define or explain. If you turned on a radio for more than a few seconds in 1995 or 1996 you heard an Alanis Morisette song called "Ironic". The song presented eleven unlikely and unfortunate situations and asked of each "Isn't it ironic?". A lot of people have spent a lot of time making fun of the fact that none of the situations in the song was in fact ironic. Few seemed to notice the complex and deep irony of a song called "Ironic" that attempts to explain irony and illustrate it with examples and then fails at every turn. It's an under-appreciated master-work.

My pillar drill went wrong when the motor capacitor failed. It was easy to get a replacement, but the mounting lug was in a different place. It would have been a simple job to fit it if I could drill a new mounting hole. There was delicious irony and thorough inconvenience in standing in front of my broken pillar drill knowing that I could fix it if only I could drill a large vertical hole[1][2].

[Note 1] No I don't have a second pillar drill, nor a lathe, nor a milling machine.
[Note 2] Yes I was able to fire-and-hap- hazardly tape it in place while I made the repair[3].
[Note 3] fire-and-hap joke stolen from Verity Stob.

Richard "incongruity between actual and expected events" B

Tuesday 12 February 2013

Spot the Ball

This week I was intending to tell you all about a damaged lighting stand and the expanding mandrel that I bought to fix it.

However the job was done in my front room, and things you can find in the photograph seem more interesting:

Diagonally from top left to bottom right
Two dining chairs being used as temporary props.
Every 1/2"  extension bar and handle that I own, including the very low quality ones that I bought as a student for some long forgotten bit of bicycle maintenance, the ones from my everyday socket set, and everything from the A/F and Whitworth set that I bought at a jumble sale. In the middle of the string you can see a low quality expanding mandrel. Also resting between the two chairs is the deformed aluminium tube which forms part of the lighting stand that I was repairing. On the floor behind the chairs is the rest of the broken lighting stand.

  • My legs
  • Bags for speaker stands and mic stands
  • Some of one of my acoustic guitars
  • Amplifiers
  • Wedge monitors
  • Flight case full of microphones
  • A 70 year old dining chair which I'm slowly refurbishing
  • Band posters (behind the chair)
  • The empty hard-case for an almost priceless electric guitar
  • The Teardrop Explodes "Kilimanjaro" on vinyl  (I have no way to play this)
  • A large square flightcase which an engineer at the Dennis bus company gave to me after they got bored of it (full of lights).
  • Various screwdrivers, spanners, ratchet handles, and extension bars
  • A crumpled paper bag containing a stale sandwich
  • Headphones case
  • Various diaries and books
  • A nest of tables
  • Litter bin
  • Knife
  • Chisel
  • Small ziplock bag of, um, lets say oragano.
  • Steel rule
  • The end of my vernier guage.
  • Yesterday's newspaper
  • Permanent pen.
  • Empty branded mug.
E1,E2 Show what I'm least proud of in this picture: An armchair, a wooly blanket, and the tv remote control.

Richard "I bet you're glad you don't live with me" B

Tuesday 5 February 2013


One of my friends plays in an Oasis tribute, and petty jealousy has lead to me pretending that it's Plymouth's first All Gay Oasis Tribute[1]. They are all in fact straight.  We once modified this chalk board outside a venue. I have described them as a Gay Oasis Tribute many times in this blog, and I drove to Birmingham and back with them with "Homosonic" written on my van.

This weekend it all came true. They were playing the opening night of a pub called The Cock and Balls The Cock and Bull. I had a bewildering conversation with a woman on the dancefloor. I'm not good at starting conversations, but her opening question struck even me as odd. "Hello, Are you gay?" she asked. She was quite a sturdy woman, wearing straight legged jeans and pink Doc Marten boots. "No. Are you?" With complete disbelief she said "No". We then stared at one another in awkward puzzled silence until she explained "I thought you might be, what with it being a gay pub."

So the not really Gay Oasis Tribute played the opening night of a gay pub called The Cock and Balls The Cock and Bull and a member of the public saw their soundman and assumed he was gay. You ask yourself how much more gay could this be and the answer is none. None more gay.

Richard "Girl. I Wanna take you to a gay bar." B

[Note 1]
If you think that my using "gay" as an insult is terribly unenlightened, you just have to remember what my niece says: "If you're gay, and you can't accept that people use gay as a mild pejorative, that's just gay".