User avatar The Face Update – All of my Eyes

Due to the relentless, phenomenal demand, not seen on this scale since the Papples last arena tour, I have decided to provide a face update so that everyone can finally see exactly how many pairs of eyes I have.

Your average human being will be quite satisfied with one pair, consisting of exactly two eyes. That, I am afraid, was not good enough for me. Settling for only two would be a joke as far as I am concerned so the boys in the lab took time out of their busy lunch breaks to knock up some spares which I have secreted about my person and only now reveal for your viewing pleasure (dad joke, strike the bell):


  1. Original Eyes – the ones that I was blessed with upon my birth.
  2. Viewing Eyes – the ones used to viewing things up close.
  3. Peering Eyes – the ones used for peering at items from a distance.
  4. Seeing Eyes – the ones where you really want to see more than normal.
  5. Glimpsing Eyes – for when you don’t have time to take a good, firm look.
  6. Spotting Eyes – a back up for when my peering eyes aren’t working.
  7. Looking Eyes – for when you do have time to take a good, firm look.

It does require an awful lot of upper body strength to carry this many pairs of eyes with me at all times, yet I feel as though it is the best move. However you use your eyes no doubt there will come a time when you need an extra pair, and I always have at least seven spare pairs (bears) on me.

I am also very excited when the Perception Eyes (June 2017) and Notice Eyes (November 2017) will be available.

User avatar Episode 3 – The Crystal Skulls

That’s right Episode 3 is here already, in this frankly wonderful installment Kev and Ian discuss:

  • Zoup
  • Chuck Norris selling Levis
  • What to do with an abundance of crystal skulls
  • The Book of Mormon
  • Opening a discount retail store



User avatar This is not breakfast

Most days I have breakfast at home before I go to work. I know how to do breakfast. Make some coffee, put some bread in the toaster. Some days there’s something more interesting like crumpets. Pour a glass of orange juice if there’s time. Any idiot can do breakfast.

Not, it turns out, the people who run the only food outlet in the building where I now work. No, as I descend the marble staircase into the atrium there are inviting smells coming from the cafe, but the company that runs the franchise don’t understand breakfast. The inviting smells will invite you to disaster.

During the day they sell health food. In the morning they sell insults.

Here’s their breakfast menu almost in its entirety:

  • Ham hock protein pot with poached egg, spinach and chia seeds: £2.35 [this is the size of a yogurt pot]
  • Scrambled egg protein pot with semi-dried tomato and marinated mushrooms: £3.70
  • Scrambled egg protein pot with chorizo and avocado: £3.95
  • Scrambled egg protein pot with Greek-style cheese, herbs and chilli: £3.70
  • Organic porridge with soya milk: £2.55
  • Coconut milk porridge with toasted seeds: £2.95
  • Cherry and pistachio yogurt pot: £2.99
  • Chia and almond bircher muesli: £2.99

That’s more or less it. There’s no bacon sandwich in there, no egg that is not scrambled, no porridge made with actual milk from a cow. (Fake milk from soya or a coconut does not actually make something that looks or tastes like porridge, it makes sloppy white soup with lumps in. I know because I tried it one hungry morning and it was worse than I could have imagined.) There isn’t anything bread-based, because bread contains wheat and wheat is not healthy. You can have a vegetable smoothie with your breakfast (including kale, cucumber and spinach) but you can’t have a slice of toast with butter.

There isn’t really any point to this beyond the fact that sometimes I get to work early and I want something to eat and when I go downstairs I find nothing but seeds and spinach. It just makes me very upset and very disappointed, and I don’t know how these people can do something like this to a fellow human being. That’s all.

User avatar The wisdom of Des’ree

Recently I was in the car and found myself listening to Life by Des’ree. This undoubtedly counts as one of the low points in an otherwise happy life.

This is a song of many profound and moving lyrics. Take this heartfelt couplet from the first verse, for example:

I’m afraid of the dark,
Especially when I’m in a park

And what about this jubilant ending?

I’ll take you up on a dare,
Anytime, anywhere
Name the place, I’ll be there,
Bungee jumping, I don’t care!

This song was, of course, the trigger for Des’ree’s family to get her a rhyming dictionary because she was clearly struggling for ideas. But the best lyric of them all has to be:

I don’t want to see a ghost,
It’s a sight that I fear most
I’d rather have a piece of toast
And watch the evening news

That makes a lot of sense to me. I like toast a lot and would rather have a piece of toast than do many other things.

What would you rather have a piece of toast than do?

User avatar Big Frank’s Global Domination – Boats and Boards

It would appear as though modes of transport feature prominently in Big Frank’s corporate takeover of everything. And why shouldn’t it? Without transportation the world would be a shuffling mass of high-waisted, thick legged, wind-encrusted bipedal animals. One cannot take lightly the invention of the steamroller, the tractor, the ice cream or hot dog cart and the penny farthing. I could not get from ‘A’ to ‘B’ and maybe sidle over to ‘E’ when I’m feeling funky unless I had my trusty one of them mentioned above.

And so we move on from my common ramblings to the business at hand:

Big Frank’s Outdoors

It would appear as though Frank is trying to reprimand the whole of the outside world, and what a feat that would be if he was successful. As well as this though his business, located in the shady realm of Maryville, Tennessee, does a broad deal in boats, boards and cycling equipment.

The blurb says that, “after enjoying a successfully 17 year career in sales with two national corporations, he decided it was time to follow his passion. His love of adventure and the great outdoors was calling and it was time to answer.  Frank started Big Frank’s Outdoors with the hopes of combining his business knowledge and his favourite hobbies biking, boarding, and boating.” This is clearly our Big Frank.

One of my first meetings with him was when I went round to see Chris. Big Frank was balanced on a boat, floating in the back garden, trying to pop a wheelie on a mountain bike. It was the most incredible thing I had seen that morning and a memory that will stay with me long after the curtains have closed on my sorry a*s. He does love his bike-balancing escapades.

I only wish his “Outdoors” was close enough for me to visit and share the love. It wouldn’t be global domination though if all his conquests were on my doorstep. In fact it would be fairly narrow-sighted and just a little big lacking if I walked outside of work to see Big Frank’s face across the road. No, it is obvious that in order to continue his empire he must spread like a soft cheese around the world.

I look forward to where he lands next.

User avatar Four Word Reviews: Dead Letters

Last time we met here in the Album Review Auditorium, I had just suffered the ordeal of To The Extreme by Vanilla Ice. This time I have been listening to Dead Letters, the 2003 album by the Finnish sort-of rock band The Rasmus, and I’m a bit concerned that this review is not going to be like the other Four Word Reviews for two reasons. The first is that this album is not quite in the same league of shameful horror as most of the albums that have landed on my doormat over the last year. The second is that, having listened to Vanilla Ice in the recent past, nothing I hear for a long time will seem particularly bad. I think that’s why I’m not particularly down on this album. I thought it was sort of OK.

Dead Letters

I mean, let’s not go crazy here. I wouldn’t choose to listen to it again and I’m certainly not going to be singing along to it in the car. But with the likes of Vanilla Ice and Clock, I would seriously consider never listening to any music ever again if I thought it was the only way to avoid a second listen to those albums. This album is just a bit of a shrug by comparison.

Here’s what I didn’t know until I listened to the whole of this. I didn’t know The Rasmus are Finnish and I didn’t know they were still touring now. (I Googled them.) I didn’t realise – perhaps because, when I was used to hearing them on the radio back in 2004, I didn’t really know much about this kind of music – that their style is basically a sort of Europop version of emo. I didn’t know that I would remember their second single, Guilty, when I heard it. (I didn’t honestly remember they had a second single.)

Mostly this is power-pop emo with blasting guitars and tortured, needy lyrics. Some of them play on the band’s northern European origins – there’s definitely a mention of the Northern Lights in there for no especially good reason. Most of them have a delightful, endearing self-pity that suggests this lot came hot on the heels of nu-metal or whatever Lincoln Biscuit called themselves. There’s not a great deal to tell most of the songs apart.

I was lucky enough to be sent the extended album with three bonus tracks, so while most people only get ten songs on Dead Letters, ending in the festival of depression that is Funeral Song, I was able to enjoy a further three songs that were broadly the same as the first ten.

Track Title Word 1 Word 2 Word 3 Word 4
1 First Day of My Life Remarkably emotional Scandinavian rock
2 In the Shadows Honestly don’t mind this
3 Still Standing Entering needy emo territory
4 In My Life Van Halen meets Busted
5 Time to Burn Attempts metal. Still emo.
6 Guilty Extensive “woahs” and “yeahs”
7 Not Like the Other Girls Kettle boiling, missed this
8 The One I Love Shouty angst and guitars
9 Back in the Picture It’s more power emo
10 Funeral Song Dreary slow overworked pap
11 F-f-f-falling More of the s-s-s-same
12 If You Ever Harmonies glitter this turd
13 What Ever Jiggy tortured emo finale

I think in summary, I would describe this album as “not horrendous”. In the Shadows is an OK pop song that I don’t mind hearing every now and then if it happens to come on the radio. The rest of these songs are just songs I’m not very interested in. Like I say, my opinion may be skewed by To The Extreme and perhaps that means Vanilla Ice has ruined me as far as slagging off bad music goes. But for now I can’t lie about the fact that listening to this was reasonably tolerable.

My favourite thing about this album is the quote on the inside of the sleeve that explains at some length and in oddly academic language what a dead letter is. It’s in quotation marks but not attributed to anyone, so I choose to assume it’s just lifted from Wikipedia. My least favourite thing is that two of the tracks on this album have the same title as much better songs by other bands. One is “In My Life”, which goes without saying; the other is “If You Ever”, and the fact that I would rate a collaboration by Gabrielle and East 17 more highly than this says a lot about track 12.

I think we can all look forward with baited breath to Gary Wilmot, appearing in this slot next month. I for one have never heard of him.

User avatar The Cheek of It

This completely took me by surprise!




Now I am used to receiving abuse from family members, close friends, clients, the general public and the occasional letters through the post, but this is a new low. I was recently walking past a new development of houses and what did greet me upon turning my viewing eyes to the right? A sign in the window as above.

It would appear as though property is now turning its attention to me. I do not know what in particular it had against me and my award-winning personality and, quite frankly, I do not care either. I just wanted to make sure that this issue is brought to light so that others do not suffer in silence.

Thank you.

User avatar Oxford English Dictionary Updates

The English language is quite simply amazing. It fluctuates and changes like the tides of the ocean, or how I feel towards the career of the actor Tom Hardy.

The other day I mentioned to a colleague that they had my name correct and that they should not wear it out and they looked at me as though I had spat in their mum’s face and stolen her purse. It is quite clear to everyone that I do not have my finger on the fashions. In fact none of protruding limbs are anywhere near the fashions.

It is so very difficult to keep on top of things. As a (questionable) adult, I have given up on trying to keep up with trends. Everything has fallen by the wayside: clothing and fashion, music, films and television, literature etc. I am an analog man in a digital age.

Luckily I have three nieces under the age of ten who like to keep me in the loop of THINGS and other matters. Only yesterday they were telling me of the following updates to the Oxford English Dictionary:

Monster Munch – now Gobble Monsters – a baked corn snack in the shape of feet and coming in several different flavours.

Odd Socks – now Muddle Socks – when you can’t find two of the same pair and end up matching one with another that is completely dissimilar.

“Tee Lau” – the origin and explanation of this phrase is still unknown and will possibly remain that way because none of them will disclose what it is.

I trust this information will assist all of you, as in the two or three of you reading this, in your daily lives.