Archive for April, 2007


DeAgostini, I’d like to thank you for your generosity in endlessly offering to supply me with almost everything I could (n)ever want, the only apparent selection criteria being that it may be broken down into component pieces small enough to be affixed to a weekly/fortnightly/monthly magazine.

As if this magnificent opportunity wasn’t enough, I apparently have the opportunity to purchase the first issue at a special low price, knocking a full 4 quid off the 800 clams I could expect to pay to amass a thoroughly doleful collection of this weeks turgid offering, over a mere 2 year period.

Is this not just a rather twisted hire purchase agreement? The only difference seems to be that the goods are released to the consumer piece by piece with each payment rather than up front as with a traditional finance deal – well, that and the fact that you can only get what these fuckers choose to make available. It’s like catalogue shopping from a really restrictively shit catalogue. It’s pretty much the same approach as that of a drug dealer – I’ll give/sell you this first hit cheap to get you hooked and then the price goes up…

I would dearly love to see the ideas that don’t make it onto newsagents shelves just so I can see where they draw the line. I’m assuming there is a line – it may be that every half-arsed idea they come up with does actually make it to production.

I think I may be on the verge of figuring out something that has been bugging me for quite some time, so here goes another stream of consciousness as I attempt to resolve the matter. Please be patient as barring some epiphany, this may take quite some time.

Tapas.

Eh?

Or should I say:

¿Que?

Not content with the Spanish ‘economy’ being propped up by the rest of us via the medium of the gravy train that is the EU, we are expected to pay significant sums of money for what would be described at any kind of trade fair, market or exhibition as ‘a sample’.

Tasty though the majority of it undoubtedly is, part of me usually feels slightly miffed by Patatas Bravas – essentially a very small brown dish containing small deep-fried chunks of potato, lovingly topped with nothing more complex or hand-crafted than a tin of plum tomatoes and possibly some paprika. Moving up the ladder in terms of cost and (perceived) excitement we can expect such delights as ‘Gambas Pil Pil’ which literally translated actually means ‘about 3 or 4 tough, disappointing, overpriced and overcooked prawns freshly caught off the coast of Barrow-in-Furness, frozen for 18 months, and now living in a murky swamp of cheap olive oil pressed from olives grown in controlled conditions in Scunthorpe’.  

One thing to note is that although you’ll generally get 4 prawns, there are always 3 prawns when there are 4 of you eating out together – this is entirely orchestrated. These scheming bastards obviously just want to start a fight as it’s the closest they’ll get to bullfighting in Didsbury…

Proponents of such culinary timewasting often wank on about how it’s great that you can order 3 or 4 different things but even this supposed benefit collapses like a chain-smoker’s lung under closer inspection. Order a meal in any other type of establishment and you’ll typically be presented with several items on the same plate and even several courses – clearly much more convenient in a number of respects; it’s all in one place, you get what you want at the same time, the waiting staff don’t have to work quite as hard (though I feel it only decent to point out that I don’t care about this), there’s less space for them to leave everything doing the back-stroke in 3 inches of oil, it generally costs a lot less, less washing up will be required thereby saving the planet (, man, and), you generally won’t want to stop somewhere to get a kebab on the way home. Last but not least you might even be able to fit what you’ve ordered on the laughably small table that they’ve seated you at, which is barely large enough to hold the drinks.

I’ve been trying to think of possible justification for the edible folly that is Tapas, but so far my attempt at self-illumination is limited to the following wonderings:

1) The legendarily hyperactive, motivated and efficient race as not typified by the average Spaniard needs a rest once a small portion of food has been produced and so the output is rationed amongst the clientele while those responsible have a bit of a lie down. Once rested they can put their new-found invigoration to good use by making another small batch before requiring another siesta.

These establishments must have vast kitchens as presumably the only explanation for the seemingly random nature of the arrival of the dishes ordered is that one individual is tasked with the creation of each individual menu item – assuming your chosen chef is awake and there is nobody in the queue before you for his/her appointed dish you can expect your small portion of food to arrive reasonably quickly. This is also assuming that the waiting staff haven’t gone for a bit of a sit down under the shade of a large tree whilst wearing a ridiculous hat or something. The vast kitchens would also explain why table space is at such a premium in the dining space. 

b) They can only make small batches of food because they keep having to nip out and control the local goat population by participating in traditional spanish gravity-assisted, tower-related goat genocide. Actually, I’m beginning to wonder if the whole country isn’t built on the premise of hurting anything with 4 legs. If this hypothesis is in fact true then I’d strongly advise that you don’t get so drunk in Spain that you end up crawling back to your hotel as someone may well hurl you from a tall building or stick long sharp pointy things in your back. At best you’ll almost undoubtedly have a bunch of the fuckers shouting ‘toro!!!!’ and waving brightly coloured items of clothing in your face. On reflection this is probably more annoying than life-threatening, but still…(iiv) The whole country is sponsored by Fairy or similar and accordingly they are contractually obliged to smear as many items of glazed terracotta in oil as possible.

5) They’re recording the whole debacle to be played on Spanish TV in a ‘You’ve Been Framed’ style programme where they make greedy English people order too much food, send it forth in ludicruosly small quantities spread over as much kitchenware as they can lay their hands on, and then do that thing where the waiting staff rock up at your table and expect you to find space for everything, like it’s your problem that the tables are too small and your fault that they’ve really not thought it through, logistically speaking. This programme will be called something like “Nos Re­mos De Los Tontos Ingleses Gordos Que Consiguen Valor Pobre y Que Son Incomodados Por Los Bastardos Entonces Nos Reclinamos Durante Algn Tiempo”which the Google translator assures me is the correct Spanish for “We Laugh At Fat English Fools Getting Poor Value And Being Inconvenienced By Bastards, Then We Rest For A While”.

f) They’re colluding with the Spanish terracotta industry and futhermore…

x) They’re colluding with Spanish vineyards and fruit farmers in an attempt to give them some hard earned money on top of their EU subsudies; for those not familiar with ‘sangria’ it happens like this – you take a large amount of fruit and put it in an earthenware jug that is so delightfully authentic it makes you want to hurt someone with it, and you fill in the gaps between the fruit with some appallingly cheap wine. The fruit is largely present to diguise the fact that the wine is undrinkable without it.

Once the fruit and wine flavours have been allowed to mingle for 10 seconds you sell it to the English at a tenner a jug. Anyway, that’s sangria for you. It’s actually the Spanish word for ‘massive travesty’ if you look it up. Fact.

13b) It’s a subtle form of payback for us sending them vast quantities of bargain-holiday-seeking classless pikey scum every year. 

12) That in selling it to us they therefore don’t have to eat it themselves.

Where any of the above requires or inspires you to visualise the scene, please bear in mind that it all takes place along the same vibe-line of the guy in Blackadder II who wants to deprive Lord Blackadder of his happy-sacks and leave him inverted in some form of tepid fruity preserve, although this time there’s definitely an authentic earthenware jug full of sangria involved in some way.

Presumably now that various eastern European countries have joined the EU and are getting their grubby little mitts on most of Spain’s EU subsidy we can expect global Tapas prices to rise in the near future.

I’ve just checked and the Chorizo is up 15 points against the Dollar.

They’ll no doubt spend the windfall on some more red and orange paint and redecorate in such a manner that it looks like it was applied by a toddler with ADD.

L

Look, I just want to pay and to be perfectly honest I don’t consider the presentation of a 10 pound note to be an insurmountable logisitical problem. Perhaps I’m missing something, but isn’t being able to offer change your problem and not mine? If you don’t want my custom I’ll go elsewhere.

Do I have anything smaller? Yes, as it happens, I do – it’s called FUCK ALL – take your pick.

P155 OFF

Today I are been mostly annoyed by:

Number plates that are supposed to say something but clearly don’t – unless of course the idea is to have it scream ‘the owner of this car is a cunt’.

A wee tip for any shitehawks considering the purchase of such a ‘status symbol’ – all it is in fact symbolic of is your status as a vacuous prick, and furthermore a vacuous prick lacking the money to buy a decent personal plate -by ‘decent’ I mean something you don’t have to squint at in order to relate it to someone’s name or car. Congratulations, you are now announcing from both ends of your car that you have no taste, no money and no brain.

I would also wish to add the following; if you have to add your name in small letters at the bottom of the plate for clarification purposes then what you have in fact purchased my friend, is a worthless piece of shit. A good plate will need no clarification and this is largely the benchmark.

If you need to add an extra bolt or two to make a 7 look like a T then you’ve bought something that will only serve to make you look like a halfwit at best. A 7 with 2 black bolts to one side is just that. It isn’t a T and no leap of faith or suspension of disbelief is ever going to change that. You deserve a sound thrashing and you obviously want the world to know this.

Irish registrations: I’d like to point out that we ALL know that they’re Irish plates -YOU ARE FOOLING NOBODY. These plates are about the price of a cup of coffee and so effectively all you’re telling the world is that you’re really cheap. Well, I didn’t want to say, but we’d figured that for ourselves – that’s presumably why half your 1989 Escort is still in grey primer – you spent the paint money on a shit number plate and a massive exhaust, you big daft twat. 

Finally, when your number plate is worth more than the car you’ve plastered it on, you really need to look at your priorities. Nobody is going to think you are rich/cool/quirky/clever/not a cock if you stick a 500 quid plate on something that would be worth more to a scrap dealer than a car dealer.

There are some great plates about – examples I’ve seen recently include; CLA 55Y, P1 KEY, MU51 CAL and N1 TRO – it’s clear what they say and they may even make you smile to the same degree as a piss-poor one will make you fear for the state of the world we live in.

I don’t even have a problem with the cheap end of the market like for example, A18 RHG if it’s someone’s initials and they’re not being overly twattish about it, although it’s still hugely redundant and why the fuck do you need your initials on your car anyway? It’s a registration plate – ALL cars have this semi-random stream of alphanumeric characters and it’s there solely so that the authorities can keep track of you and your car – expressing your individuality by accentuating this fact seems a little ironic. You are allowing – no, sorry, paying the DVLA more money on a purely voluntary basis so that you can customise the system that they put in place. Your aim? So that you can show what a free-thinking individual you truly are. Congratulations.

I hate this.

I have always hated these. I was stuck behind one this morning and it reminded me just how irritating they are. I think it’s the mirror that pushes me over the edge. There are a few variants of this Japanese atrocity and each is equally awful.

stupid.jpg

Stockport.

Taken at face value it would appear that ‘St. Ockport’ is about to collapse under the weight of sportswear and gold chains and in this respect thanks are due in no small part to the single-minded dedication to the cause shown by the local indigenous personnel.

I have found myself living in Stockport on two occasions and despite several years between these occasions nothing has changed for the better unless it was so blindingly inconsequential that I missed it.  A mildly depressing former industrial town where nowadays little is produced or in fact ever happens, Stockport is, for the most part, a sprawling array of shabby terraced housing and shabby terraced people with a giant collective chip on its shoulder brought about by being close to Manchester in geographical terms alone. 

Don’t let the fact that it is in Cheshire fool you as to what awaits you or you’ll be setting new benchmarks in disappointment with almost immediate effect. 

Despite having only recently learnt to walk upright, a sizeable proportion of the male population seek to further burden themselves by increasing their body weight and centre of gravity with metallic trinkets and earrings the likes of which are seldom seen outside the beacon-esque lessons of taste and class that are Footballers Wives and The Royle Family. Whereas most of us view these fictional televisual snapshots of other people’s lives with the same awe-struck sense of dismay that we would a car crash, the residents of Stockport see them as morally uplifting and aspirational. 

A prime example of a Darwinist Exclusion Zone should such a thing exist.  

At the epicentre of this insanity lies Chestergate, the town centre. A grey-faced concrete embarrassment conceived by similarly unimaginative people, it was probably never at the pinnacle of design even in the 50’s when it was lovingly hewn from lumps of Blue Circle’s finest. Several successive attempts to improve the facade have fallen victim to the old maxim regarding the likely success of attempted turd-polishing. The majority of the buildings in the immediate vicinity are old mill buildings in a criminal state of disrepair and is crying out for regeneration projects and investment that just never seems to be forthcoming. 

Arguably Stockport’s greatest landmark is the enormous red-brick viaduct, and it is no surprise that it is such a popular monument – it carries a high-speed train line allowing the fastest direct route out of the place.

Not funny.

Stop putting foam Mickey Mouse heads on their car aerials. Please. Your insistence on adorning the aerial of your bland euro-box with such tat fills me with psychotic rage and I hate you. I hate you all.

You’re right up there with people who put little smiley faces over the letter i. It’s not quirky, it’s not clever, it’s just shit – pure and simple.

Chances are you also have a ‘cheeky monkey on board’ sign in your rear window. I feel it only fair to warn you that every time I see one of these I have a firm desire to ram you off the road.

I fail to understand why you would wish to announce to the world that you are the type of person whose ideal holiday involves shitting large amounts of money into the Disney coffers, mincing around a large make-believe world dodging lard-arsed Americans and lapping up all that is soul-less and turgid in the process.

‘lo!

After quite literally several seconds of intensive research I discovered that what the internet lacks is clever and incisive social critique and witty observations – I wish to make it perfectly clear from the outset that it is not my intention to change this one iota.

All I can promise to add to the vast free-form spiral of shite that is the internet is the rantings of one more armchair anarchist wage-slave. Nobody will read it anyway. Probably just as well.