Friday, September 30, 2005

I gaze apprehensively at the Kwik Fit centre.

I am in the LTLP's girly car and I feel rising anxiety. Aside from builders' merchants, garages and mechanics are probably the most intimidating business for the man-who-is-not-particularly-sure-of-himself to approach. I don't know much about the workings of cars, apart from the fact that the right pedal makes it go faster and you should press the middle pedal if someone walks out in front of you, unless it is Anthony Worrell Thompson. That is an unmanly state of affairs. I am sure most mechanics think I am effeminate because of this and the fact that they can somehow tell that I don't know much about football, whereas nothing could be further from the truth.

I park Daisy the car before taking the flower from its little vase and hiding it in the glovebox.

I lurk at the back of the reception area. A man looks at me. I don't quite put my hand up and say 'please sir, would you have a look at my tyres?' but I may as well have done. My voice comes out all squeaky. The Kwik Fit fitters are already probably a bit annoyed at me because I have interrupted their song.

He collects his useful tyre-measuring tool and follows me outside. "It is this one," I say, indicating Daisy. I am impressed by his professionalism in concealing his smirk and the loathing and contempt he must feel for me and my effeminate car.

"They're fine," he announces, having utilised his useful tyre-measuring tool.

"You sure?"

"They're fine," he repeats. "Four or five thousand miles left on those."

Again, I have been exposed by my lack of knowledge on the 'how worn tyres can be' front. But truth told, I am impressed by his honesty. He could clearly have made a packet from my ignorance but he has decided to be truthful and tell me no work needs doing. Or he is worried about catching AIDS from touching the car. I thank him profusely and drive off at speed making sure that the stereo is turned up very loudly so he knows I am hard really.

The Proclaimers belt out of the speakers as I hit the main drag of King's Lynn.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Late evening. I sit watching the television.

Barking and whining noises fill the room. I frown into my glass of whisky. Yelp, yelp, bark, bark, yelp. After a while I realise that it is not Bob Dylan and is in fact coming from next door.

Yelp, bark, yelp, bark, bark.

This is very unusual. Short Tony's remaining dog is normally one of the quietest I know. It never just sits there and barks. An animal of weak intellect, it only ever really makes much of a commotion when somebody it knows rings the doorbell. Yet there it is, going crazy.

Bark, bark, bark, yelp, growl.

It seems odd that I haven't heard any "shut up you stupid dog" yells. There is a bit more barking. A small worry forms at the back of my mind. I would feel very foolish if Short Tony and his family had been burgled, pick-axe murdered etc. whilst I just sat there spinning theories about why his faithful dog was in distress.

Thing is, after all of fifteen minutes, I would have expected to have heard a gun-shot by now. If he was being burgled, pick-axe murdered etc. then I would have expected him to have shot the person responsible, whereas if he wasn't then I would have expected him to have shot the dog.

So I am starting to get worried.

By now I am of the opinion that Short Tony is out. (See 'absence of shooting noises' paragraph, above). I do not know about Mrs Short Tony and the kids. She would be less likely to shoot a burglar, pick-axe murderer etc. Or a dog. She might play her tenor horn very loudly and aggressively at him.

But there are no loud tenor horn noises followed by screams of distress. Just barks. And yelps.

I decide to investigate. Crime is very rare in this part of the world, so if a burglar alarm goes off etc., it is a big deal and there is generally an attempt by the neighbourhood to investigate. There is no reason why this shouldn't be the same with a doesn't-usually-woof-but-is-now-woofing-dog.

The gravel scrunches under my feet as I head out into the dark and cold.

I wave my big torch in front of me. Halfway across the path to Short Tony's I have a sort of cold feet moment, and wonder whether I should ditch the torch in favour of a gun. I think better of it.

Scrunch, scrunch, woof, bark, yelp, growl (etc.)

The house is dark. I peer through the front window, trying to establish whether anybody is in or not. I can't see Short Tony, Mrs Short Tony, a burglar or a pick-axe murderer. This is a relief, although of course this makes me a bit more nervous that they are hiding and ready to jump out on me. (The burglar or pick-axe murderer, not Short Tony or Mrs Short Tony).

I reach the side of the house. At this point I realise that actually it's not beyond the bounds of possibility that it will be Short Tony who jumps out on me and shoots me, mistaking me for a burglar or a pick-axe murderer. Or his dog. I try to make reassuring 'it's only me' footstep noises.

The front door seems secure. There is no burglar or pick-axe murderer, unless he is clever and has broken in causing no damage and is hiding. Mrs. Short Tony's car is not there. They are out. I scuttle back home in relief.

Ten minutes later I hear their car on the gravel. I wait for five minutes, just in case there are pick-axeing noises, but there aren't. So I slip upstairs to bed.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

We watched the Bob Dylan television programme, 'No Direction Home', directed by Martin Scorsese.

I was quite interested. The LTLP lay on the sofa, radiating 'this is shit' vibes. She is not an intellectual like me.

I don't know much about Martin Scorsese but he also did the video for 'Bad' by Michael Jackson so he clearly knows a lot about film making. It was pretty good but I think he could have broken it up a bit more by including clips of people like Paul Ross, Kate Thornton etc. talking about the songs, his funny hat and haircut etc.

Scorsese showed him playing in Newcastle with his controversial new electric backing band. They were brilliant and it was an unexpectedly good recording quality as well. Unfortunately Bob Dylan seemed to be a bit pissed and just stood there looking at the ceiling and shouting the words. He was rubbish. I would have yelled at him as well. Just because he is a genius doesn't mean that he shouldn't make a bit of an effort to hit the notes.

Although one thing was noticeable - the hecklers were loud and cross-sounding, but by no means the obvious majority. They just shouted the loudest. Like angry commenters on a political web log they just wanted to spoil it for everybody else.

Tonight we will presumably see the famous heckle of 'Judas!' followed by Dylan's equally famous put-down reply of 'I don't belieeeve you'. He must lie awake at nights still thinking "why oh why could I not think of a better comeback than that? Something like 'oh yes, I remember my first pint' or something."

Was he a genius? Of course, and a visionary. Only recently people have been talking about how he anticipated the levees breaking in New Orleans, and the Mayor of that city must be kicking himself for not sorting out the pumps whose handles had been so irresponsibly removed by vandals. And there was quite a hard rain the other night, or certainly there was to the south over towards Swaffham.

But now with my Post Office stuff Bob has passed the baton, and it is one that I am happy to pick up and run with. Popular music no longer has the power it once had to change the world, and it is now up to us New Journalists. It is a big responsibility but I will try not to let him down.

I do not normally do TV reviews on here, as fans expect stories about Short Tony getting drunk.

This is my 'gone electric'.

My favourite Bob Dylan album
Kate Thornton IMDB entry

Monday, September 26, 2005

"Well that was really terribly good," I remarked to Narcoleptic Dave.

Nods of appreciation all round.

We chattered away enthusiastically as we left the Arts Centre, like extras in a BBC drama who have been instructed to behave like typical people leaving an Arts Centre. In fact Bill Bryson's one-man show, imaginatively titled 'An Evening with Bill Bryson' had been excellent. He is one of those people that manages to write tight, very funny vignettes about nothing in particular, which is the most difficult type of writing there is, and only the most brilliant can do it.

A lady thrust something into my hand, and my whole world came crashing down around me.

Occasionally, especially as one approaches the second half of one's life, one notices little signs about ageing. A more-than-passing interest in the snooker. Annoyance about loud music. Television programmes that one watches being interrupted by stairlift commercials. That sort of thing.

I read the flyer.

'Alan Titchmarsh presents "Fill my Stocking" - a Christmas Anthology'.

Now, I have nothing whatsoever against Alan Titchmarsh. Easy targets are Not My Bag, and having a go at Alan Titchmarsh is not so much like shooting fish in a barrel than chucking two litres of rohypnol into the aforementioned barrel and following it with a stick of dynamite. He has his audience and I have mine. (I suspect actually his audience is a bit larger but it's quality that counts and besides he has been on the telly which is unfair).

But the fact that one has been singled out as somebody likely to enjoy 'Alan Titchmarsh presents "Fill my Stocking" - a Christmas Anthology' does tend to hit hard.

My legs carried on walking and I looked back, desperately. The ladies with the fliers weren't giving them to everyone. They were choosing. Holding back. Picking the people most likely to attend.

Typical Alan Titchmarsh. The fliers probably cost about 0.000001p each, and still he had instructed his henchwomen to be thrifty in their distribution.

Sadly I walked out on to the street.

"Do you fancy a pint?" asked Big A.

The rest of the party nodded enthusiastically. Narcoleptic Dave went home for an early night.

Friday, September 23, 2005

Today's diary entry is at Baggage Reclaim - the new website for everybody with a vagina. Follow the link from the home page.

NML, the editor, asked me to write it. I think it is good that in these 21st Century days of diversity and equality women are allowed their own website, and will support it all I can.

Enjoy your weekends.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

"This is really, really not what I feel like doing this morning."

Sunday. Standing in the Chipper Barman's back garden. Short Tony and Big A are there. In front of us is a shed.

"Thanks everso for offering to help, guys."

I am not sure about this new use of the word 'offer'. I resolve to look it up on the Internet when I get home, in case I am wrong and it also means 'to consent, possibly under the influence of rohypnol'.

"So basically, the shed's been constructed here, and it's currently resting on bricks mortared to individual concrete slab bases that I laid there earlier. What I've done is to set down these wooden planks over here, so the shed can sit levelly. These other planks under here, we can use for lifting it sideways onto the new foundations."

I am already intimidated by the Chipper Barman's DIY prowess. Whilst I have lots of sheds, he has built one himself, laid proper foundations and formulated a shed-moving strategy. My hangover and tiredness boosts my sense of manly inadequacy. My cock shrinks to Berliner format.

"Can I have a light corner?" I ask.

"You can have any corner you choose," replies the Chipper Barman kindly. This is good, but makes me feel even worse. The Chipper Barman is actually only about the size of Short Tony. They take heavy-looking corners. Big A, who is disabled, takes the heaviest.

"I think we'd better go very slowly," I offer. "In case it... falls to pieces or something."

"On the count of three," announces the Chipper Barman. This is a mistake in my mind, as I would prefer to lift it on the count of 237239.

We reach 'three' and lift the shed unsteadily. It is a bit like the World's Strongest Man thing that they used to have on the telly where a fat Dutchman used to have to lift an articulated lorry and hold it unsteadily above his head for five seconds before his legs buckled and he dropped it to one side. But with a shed.

We put the shed down on my finger.

My life flashes before me as the pain hit, which is quite depressing. I shout 'fuck' a lot. I would start jumping around in agony, but my hand is pinned to the ground by a shed. Short Tony wanders over to my corner, lifts the thing again on his own and I withdraw my hand. I am expecting crushed bones and bleeding, but I appear only to have a little graze, which is a bit disappointing.

I have often been told that I have very strong fingers, but not in this context.

We move the shed. Sweat pours off me, dripping on to the concrete below. With a final push, we have shifted it the five or so feet required.

"That's great, fellers. Can I buy you a beer?"

I make my excuses and leave.

Monday, September 19, 2005

"Why don't you move that table?"

"What table?"

"That table."

We are sat round in a big circle in the Non-Village Pub. Such a big circle that we have outgrown our table.

"Move that second table into the middle," she says.

I look at the second table. It seems comfortable where it is. I give it a little tug. It moves slightly, revealing that it is not fixed in position, but it makes a big scraping sound on the floor that everyone can see. The Bar Lady looks over, sternly.

I do not want to move the table. If I move the table, a man will probably appear and shout at me. I have spent my whole life worrying about doing things in case a man appears and shouts at me, and at my age it is too late to change this approach.

"No go on, just move it in to the middle."

They are all at it now. Trying to make me move the table. It is peer pressure. I flinch slightly under its power. I know that peer pressure is a terrible thing. One minute you are politely declining to do something, the next minute you are Zammo Maguire.

I move the table another grillionth of an inch. It makes another scraping noise, this time of immense decibality. Upstairs in his office, I can see the man putting down his pen and sighing and saying 'somebody is trying to move that table again, I will go down and shout at them'.

"Give us a hand," I say to nobody in general, desperately trying to share the responsibility for the moved table for when it gets to court.

But everybody suddenly looks at their feet and doesn't meet my eye. A couple pretend not to hear.
Nobody else wants to move the table either.

"Do we really need to move the table?" somebody asks.

There is a chorus of 'no, no, we do not really need to move the table at all's.

This is England in a nutshell. Whilst we would like people to bend the rules on our behalf, in fact when it comes down to it we all have respect for the rule of law and order in our society. If I had moved the table they would all have been quite admiring of my ability to flout convention and move a table that clearly was not meant to be moved, but they would also have been a tiny bit contemptuous and talked about it afterwards. Hypocritically, this would have been after they had accepted the benefit of the moved table in terms of putting their drinks on it.

I smiled inwardly at their blatant two-facedness that might have happened.

None of us are perfect, you see. But we can aspire.

Friday, September 16, 2005


Back in June, readers may remember that I started a massive nation-wide campaign to save the Village Post Office from closure.

Thank you all, for your support.

I was worried that somebody would come along and close it, but nobody has, so I think the time is right to wind down the activity. Plus frankly I'm sick to the back teeth with hearing the song. They can bulldoze the place into dust for all I care.

From a small little protest to stop something from happening that might or might not have happened in the future, the impact of the campaign spread far and wide. People told their friends and colleagues. Created logos. Wrote things in newspapers. Mowed things into their gardens. This is the New Journalism that is making people like R Murdoch, L Beaverbrook etc. so worried.

But now the campaign passes into history.

Last month I received an email enquiry from the Centre for Political Song at Glasgow Caledonian University. This facility 'exists to promote and foster an awareness of all forms of political song.'

To be honest, I thought they were taking the mick, so I was a bit defensive to begin with. But it turns out that they weren't, and now 'Save the Post Office' is wending its way into their collection, to join Bob Dylan, Woody Guthrie and people.

It seems an appropriate resting place.

They also have the free Nelson Mandela song by Special AKA in their archive and that all worked out OK apart from all that unpleasantness with his wife, so I am hopeful that that is a positive sign for the Village Post Office.

Will it close? Will it stay open? I suspect the answer to that is blowing in the wind.

So for the last time:

Watch the video
Listen to the song

Enjoy your weekends, whatever you're doing.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

I telephone my friend Salvadore Vincent.

"Ring ring! Ring ring!"

NB that was not me talking, that was a special effect of the phone ringing.

Salvadore Vincent is my best friend (apart from of course the hundreds of you that read this, and Short Tony and Big A, and Unluckyman who is in South America so probably won't see this anyway and so has gone down the pecking order a bit) and has guested on here before. We don't see each other much these days as he lives off the beaten track in North West London.

"Hello?" he asks.

"Hullo," I reply.

The pleasantries out of the way, I ask him my special favour. I lean against a wall in Fakenham town centre, holding my portable telephone like the Important Executive I am. But I need his help.

"Is your PC switched on? Could you go on to the Internet and find one of those lists of wedding anniversaries? You know - paper, cotton, that sort of thing?"

Salvadore starts tappity tapping away at the keyboard in the background.

"It's just that I'm near some shops, which is unusual, and I don't know what sort of thing to buy."

Seconds later, the magic of the internet has delivered the information that I need. "I've got one!!!" he exclaims in excitement.

"That's wonderful. So what sort of thing do I need to buy?"

"Which anniversary is it?"

"This is my second question. I was wondering if you can tell me in what year I got married."

(A short pause).

"I'm not sure I can, no."

I sigh into the phone. He is not being helpful after all.

In truth, I am a bit piqued. I spent loads on that wedding, and invited him, and there was a free bar and everything, and a really good band. But it seems that my special day meant so little to him that he can't even remember when it was.

We chat about other things for a couple of minutes. But my heart is not in it.

It is sad when your friends let you down.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Continued from Saturday

I open the window fully and look down into the front garden.

"Do you fancy a game of darts?" asks Short Tony in a little drunk voice, peering up at me in the darkness. Behind him, Big A sways around in a sheepish fashion.

I boggle at them.

"No, I don't want a game of fucking darts," I explain.

"Go on, go on, go on. Come and have a game of darts."

I reiterate my opposition, close the window and pull the curtains firmly. But no sooner have I surrendered myself to the duvet's Kirstiesque embrace than more gravel clatters against the pane.

"Do you fancy a game of darts?" asks Short Tony. I throw pint mug of water out of the window, and my neighbours leap out of the way. Once more I slam the window and return to bed.

This happens again. We settle into a routine. There is a stand off, before he appears to retreat.

Peace descends upon the village as the early hours approach.

"Psssst!!! Do you fancy a game of darts???"

Disorientated, it takes me a minute to identify the source of noise. "Do you fancy a game of darts???".

I leap out of bed and stride towards the voice. Short Tony's face is pressed against the window of the spare bedroom and he is scrabbling at the open window. Seeing as this is on the first floor, this is an unexpected turn of events.

"Will you get off my fucking roof?" I shout at him.

"Yes, but do you fancy a game of darts?"

I reach for the nearest poky thing to hand, which happens to be a microphone stand, and jab at him out of the window, trying to make him go away. But he grabs my weapon and throws it down onto the shingle below. I then snatch some used pants from the washing basket below the window, and hurl them at him, but even this does not divert him from his manic purpose.

"Just get off the roof, or I will shoot you."

"Go on. Have a game of darts!"

"I'll shoot you. I will shoot you."

"Come and play darts!!!"

I pull the window shut and charge downstairs for my gun.

At this stage I should point out that, contrary to some popular perception, we in Norfolk are not all trigger-happy maniacs looking to shoot people at the first opportunity. In fact shooting someone would be almost a last resort, before calling the police, as we are generally peaceful folk. But in my situation, with a hopelessly drunk next-door neighbour on my roof insisting that I play darts with him, I feel that no jury in the land would convict.

Plus I leave it unloaded.

I stomp back upstairs, by now extremely cross. I had virtuously left the pub early for an early night, and here I am, messing around in the dead of night in my pants, Short Tony camping on my roof, insisting that I play darts.

Something leaps on me.

"Arrrghhhhhhhh!!!" it shouts.

"Hfffftttttttppppp!!!" I reply in terror.

Short Tony stands before me. In my bedroom. He has broken into my bedroom in order to ask me to play darts. I look up at him - a first - from two stairs down, alternately flabbergasted and defeated.

"Are you sure you don't want to play darts?" he asks.

Saturday, September 10, 2005

There is a tap on the window!!!

This would normally be an Exciting Event. However, as it wakes me up I immediately start off with negative perceptions of the tapper.

I look at the alarm clock. It is around a quarter past midnight. The LTLP is away, so it is just me, Honey Bear and Mr Mitt in bed. There is another tap - this time more of a tappity-tap. Some form of night creature is tappity-tapping on my window. I bid it to disappear, using the power of my mind.

A different noise. Some gravel against the window. I know it is gravel, because one side of the window is not actually closed. Somebody is throwing gravel through my bedroom window. This is antisocial behaviour if I have ever seen it. The power of my mind is clearly not adequate, so I shout 'fuck off!' in a loud and cross voice.

I cast my mind back over the evening to establish clues as to the mystery gravel thrower.

I had actually left the Village Pub early that evening. Partly because I didn't want any more to drink, partly because I'd been in there since five pm, but mainly because I had found myself on the brink of agreeing to buy an eighteen-thousand-pound boat from Len the Fish.

It had seemed like such a good idea, as I would then have a boat whereas beforehand I did not have a boat, but the thorny issue of eighteen thousand pounds and formulating some form of plausible explanation to tell the LTLP had tipped the balance in favour of purchase being a Bad Idea.

There is a particular technique to leaving the Village Pub early. It involves finishing one's beer, placing the glass on the bar, saying very simply 'right, I'm going now', and walking out of the door. If you do not do this then people try to convince you to stay, buy you more drink etc., and you are forced to remain.

Big A is a master at this, but I do not do it often. He and Short Tony had looked at me incredulously as I spoke. "What do you mean?" one of them had said, but I was already out the door as they spoke, striding down the puddled path and turning down the hill towards the cottage.

I'd been tremendously pleased with my mature leaving-the-pub-before-closing-time attitude. Yet here I lie, wide awake now, listening to increasing quantities of gravel being hurled against the glass and curtains.

In some pique, I walk across to the window in my pants.

Continued on Tuesday.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Introspection alert - please skip this if not interested.

Well, it's been an odd summer.

I have alluded a couple of times to odd professional things going, as they say, 'tits up'. Such allusion is unlike me, as it's not at all an interesting topic. But it's tended to define my last few weeks in that I've been sat here in front of a PC all day trying to rescue things and generally holding my head in my hands and rocking back and forth.

I handle stress like this very badly. Some people see the glass half-empty, some people see it half-full. Personally I tend to assume that it's half empty, but that also the contents are just about to be poured over my head by the big bloke standing next to me in the pub, after which he will smash it against the side of the bar and push it into my face.

It's very frustrating. It's difficult to write a journal that's based on the key fact that I spend all day generally doing nothing and fucking about, when I have had no time whatsoever to do nothing, nor have I been able to perform much fucking about.

Advice from commenters about adapting my DVD player cheered me up immensely. I can do something now that I could not before, thanks to the miracle of the Internet and the fact that clever people read this (mainly because I am so funny and popular, so really I guess it was me that solved that particular issue all along).

So I will be back on track with my DVD review. Honestly, this will be the most longly-awaited DVD review in the world. I think if I do things like that I will probably post them at the weekend, as they're slightly aside from the main point of this (doing nothing, fucking about, see above).

I did used to write the odd rubbish one on here. This one will be better, I promise.

But I would say that, wouldn't I?

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Short Tony has sacked his milkman!!!

The LTLP and I sit there, aghast at this development. It seems wrong that the Short Tonies act like this and do not support local businesses. Plus they used to over-order a lot and we got lots of free surplus milk from the arrangement.

"What did you say to him?" I ask.

"Well it's a bit difficult," replied Short Tony. "You have to fill in a card to tell him why you don't want to use him any more. And there wasn't a tick box for 'a bit creepy'."

"Plus he'd been coming for several months," added Mrs Short Tony. "And he still hadn't worked out where the front door was."

We agreed that this was a Key Skill for any milkman. But I sympathised. As the airport people will tell you, it is never nice having to make people redundant.

To be honest however, it would have been a more difficult decision had he been a sole local trader, jovially bringing milk from his nearby farm, fresh out of the udder. But he was actually just a small cog in the wheel of Dairy Crest, an Evil Corporation, who are sort of the Haliburton of cows.

"We should have plenty of spare milk in the new year," I offered. There was a pregnant silence.

"Drink up your beer," orders the LTLP.

Monday, September 05, 2005

The room brilliantly illuminated once more.

A shaft of lightning, clearly visible through the meagre, home-made curtains, followed by a thunderbolt of clearly very local origin. Then again, and again in quick succession. I clocked the time - around 4am - visible on the green glow of the bedside radio, before a loud click signified the power going out, the time resetting to a flashing 00:00.

The LTLP was not there, working away that night. This was good, as she sometimes gets scared by things like this. I lay in the dark clutching Honey Bear.

Click - the power goes again. 00:00. Honestly, the local services round here are positively Dickensian. Although I do get my power through a lead that comes via Short Tony's house, so he could just have been having a feeble joke at my expense.

Click. 00:00. Click. 00:00. I appeared to be travelling back in time. It is a lot easier than people suppose.

Downstairs, the phone and internet connection melted in a white-hot surge of naked elemental voltage.

Actually, they just stopped working. But that bit made it sound better. The rain poured out of the sparse guttering, drumming on one of the sills below.

I drifted off after a while. (To sleep, not out in to a flood, that would be in poor taste currently given events elsewhere).

When I awoke, the clock read 3:11. I had travelled back in time by almost an hour. However, in the other rooms, time had progressed as normal. This is one of the weird paradoxes of time/space travel, all to do with relativity, and is explained more fully in the song '39' by the band Queen.

But no internet connection still, and also no milk for my tea. I did think about looting the Village Shop and shooting at the Parish Council if they tried to stop me, but again that would have been in poor taste plus I have to go in there every day to get my newspaper.

So now I am virtually cut off from the world. I write this diary entry from a borrowed dial-up connection whilst waiting for the G.P.O. to investigate and repair my fault.

Many thankyous for the DVD advice last week. It has worked, and my plan is back on track.

Friday, September 02, 2005

My DVD doesn't work!!!

Eagerly, I settle down with the LTLP on the comfortable green sofa. As it is a special occasion I allow her to perform a hug on me, rather than insisting on our usual separate sofa arrangement.

But there is a sort of clunky noise followed by a 'wrong region' error message.

It seems outrageous that they allow DVDs to be sold that are programmed not to work in Norfolk. But that is the lot of us countryside folk - we are discriminated against and oppressed.

I send Clint the Movie Business Executive a sad email. He is very understanding, and tells me that I can keep the DVD anyway.

So my dabble in the commercial waters of reviewdom ends in disaster. I thought I'd be able to write something quite funny, then send you all off to buy it via my Amazon link, and become rich on the proceeds.

But it was not to be. I am depressed.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

I prepare my DVD.

As regular readers will know, Clint, the important US Movie Studio Executive, has been sending me DVDs to review (well, one DVD). I said I didn't want to carry advertising but was quite happy to review funny things as a service to my readers (plus it would come in handy as filler if nothing particularly interesting had happened in the village that day) (Plus it would mean I got free stuff).

It is of the first series of US Comedy 'Third Rock from the Sun'. This is exciting for me, as I have heard of this programme, although I do not watch much television these days and so have not seen it and can approach with a mind full of openness.

The DVD box is extremely sturdy and glossy. My immediate impression is that fans of sturdy, glossy boxes would be very impressed with this. It's even reinforced with a brace, so that when you remove the interior sleeve, the box remains sturdy and glossy rather than becoming floppy and glossy. This is a nice touch, and packaging enthusiasts everywhere will be nodding their heads in appreciation already.

The interior sleeve is just awesome. It immediately hits you with a big picture of an actress called Sally Solomon, who is quite a fit bird although they have not airbrushed out her hairy arm.

Then it sort of concertinas out in a very satisfying and clunky fashion, a bit like a modern fold-up pram.

If I have a criticism, it is of the blurb on the back. Blurb on the back is always rubbish. What I don't know is whether it's rubbish because the American-type breathless language comes across as cretinous to English people. Or whether American people think it's rubbish as well. If the latter, then they should press to raise the standard of blurb writing in Hollywood, as it is doing their nation a disservice.

Anyway, this blurb isn't really that bad, but I am really not interested in how many Emmys the actors have won. Or - more gratingly - how many Emmy®s the actors have won. That R with a circle in it really does put me off. It seems to be there to emphasise quite how much the Emmy® thing is about commerce and quite how little about art and stuff. I refuse to get involved with this. Emmy emmy emmy emmy. So sue me.

(Note to lawyers working for the Emmy company, please email me if you feel really strongly about this and I will add in the ® thing asap)

So, to continue with the commerce theme, and to allow you to catch up with what I'm saying and perhaps watch along with my review:

Click here to view the details of and purchase the DVD (UK version)

Click here to view the details of and purchase the DVD (Region 1, US version, note will not work in anywhere in the world other than the US so do not get this if your DVD player will be incompatible)

Continued tomorrow. Although you can probably guess where this is going.