Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Humour - Not For Women?

You'd be perfectly entitled to think that, at the ripe old age of forty three, these bombshells wouldn't hit me anymore. It's not that I know everything, more that I feel as though I learn things that I really should have figured out when I was in my twenties. Perhaps the advent of the internet and the easy access to knowledge and information has got a lot to do with this. Or maybe it's just that I'm intellectually insecure, if that term exists.

This time I can't blame it on the boogie internet, it's more that the vague hint of a theory came to me, like a sharp and focused mist, out of thin air. For fear of being attacked, ridiculed and isolated by any of the female brand of readers I must state that this is not meant as a sexist or antagonistic post, it's a genuine inkling that I'd really like to pursue and discuss with intelligent, perhaps some not so intelligent, people.

What dawned on me the other day is a simple, obvious but barely acknowledged fact; women have a totally different approach to a sense of humour to the way us men approach it.

What do I mean?

Well, to put it a bit more bluntly, by and large, women just don't have humour like men. It's not as important to the everyday woman as it is to the man.

Here, like in the margin in an exam, is all my working out:

Us men, apart from the really serious ones like Dinidu, amble through life attempting to be funny. We crack unfunny joke after unfunny joke in our attempts to make each other laugh. Many of us look for humour and laughter in just about any situation and take great pride in our ability to be as quick witted as Michael Schumacher driving around a German joke factory. Of course, if you're a regular here, you'll know that I'm not one of these fellows.

A night out for men with other men MUST involve jokes. Jokes about farting are preferred but ones about belching, sex, women and religion are also acceptable. Women probably don't know this as their presence will usually make one of these groups of men change their behaviour, just a little bit.

If I'm with a group of blokes we're usually all battling to be funny. Of course I'm invariably up there on the podium at the end of the evening but there's always a race going on. When with women, I find that I'm often the only person attempting humour, usually unsuccessfully.

I don't claim to be a representative sample of all menkind but, in my own life I know and have known many women. Some are brilliantly intelligent, some are highly stimulating conversationalists, some are great fun and some are all of the above. There have been stupid ones, sexy ones and there have been funny ones.

But, the funny ones I can count on the fingers of one hand, a hand with two or three fingers missing at that. On the other hand, when I look at my male friends, sometimes referred to as men, the majority of them I would consider to be funny.

The dating/romance/partner, whatever you want to call it, thing is interesting too. Studies and serious articles in intellectual magazines like Hi!! tell us that the ability to make his woman laugh is possibly the most important attribute in a potential Mr Right. Certainly it's way up there in the rankings, perhaps after "looking exactly like George Clooney".

On the man's side, we tend to look for a woman we can laugh with. That's the official line. The truth is that "laugh with" means "laugh at our jokes", even the most feeble ones. We want a woman with a sense of humour, not one who can tread on our territory by coming up with jokes herself.

This may be the key to the phenomenon. Territory and manliness.

Comediennes are often funny. I can watch Jo Brand and other comediennes and merrily laugh my sides off. I can sit there and guffaw at their jokes with the best of them. But I'd be quite scared at meeting one, let alone dating one.

Taller than me? No probs, most women are anyway.

Smarter than me? See above.

Better looking than me? It's boring now but see above again.

Funnier than me? Hmmm...now that's a serious threat to my manhood.

Ladies, Gents, what do you think?

Are women just not funny?

Do men just think they're funny?

Or am I just talking total tosh?

Answers on a comment please.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Jazz - The New Rock 'n' Roll?

I'm a bit bored with music, have been for some months now. There, I've said it, it's out there for all to see.

Not playing music, not drumming and doing that side of things. I'm talking about listening to music. A ridiculous concept I know. The weekend was a juicy reminder of many of the things about music, what with Glastonbury being beamed towards the whole of the UK populace for most of the time and then a fantastically eventful gig with the covers band on Saturday night.

There's an infinite amount of music, of genres, artistes, instruments and variety that I can choose from and things like the iTunes store over here mean that so much of it is accessible with a few clicks of a mouse and a credit card that I'll never pay off.

But I can happily "watch" music being performed, I can studiously observe great, or even terrible musicians playing live and attempt to learn from them. I try to pick up tips from not just other drummers but everyone.

The listening side of things however, feels like a rapidly fading light on the horizon. I struggle with old music and struggle even more with new music. I'm wondering if this is Dave, the god of rock music, trying to tell me something, that something possibly being that the time has come for me to pursue and investigate Jazz, yes Jazz.

For lately I've found myself getting ever so slightly absorbed by the waftings of Jazz. I've been just that little bit mesmerised by Elvin Jones' ride cymbal on A Love Supreme and captured by the hi hat on the two and four of a few other of these jazz dudes, all cooler than a cucumber in the Barefoot garden and just about as famous.

The thing is that there's little worse than a rock or pop drummer, essentially what I am, trying his hand at Jazz, putting the emphasis on all the wrong places and making Coltrane feel like disco. Maybe the only thing worse is a Jazz drummer swapping sides and making Abba feel like Mingus. Some clever cats can do both, I'm neither clever nor feline so initial signs aren't good.

The question has now started to germinate in my mind, if questions do germinate that is. Do I start some serious Jazz listening, some real proper delving into a world that's been mysterious, complex and unexplored for me in the past. Or do I continue along the rock and pop path, a lengthy and complicated one anyhow and hope this phase passes?

As I type this, on Sunday night with Status Quo playing Glasto in the background, I kind of know the answer.

Kind of.

Happy Monday all.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Michael Jackson And Me

I left RD Towers this morning at 6.10 AM, about five minutes later than usual. I was confident that I'd be able to make up the missing five minutes through the course of the day, it's important not to be too bound by routine.

As I pulled out of the undeground car park and changed the car stereo from Lady Gaga's boppy tones to the radio I heard the words "Jermaine Jackson". For a couple of seconds, as I heard a voice, I thought that Jermaine Jackson had died. I was shocked. Then I heard that it was his press conference announcement, about Michael.

I was truly shocked. I drove into work listening to the radio station telling me how things had unfolded. I'd gone to bed last night blissfully unaware of anything that was going on to do with MJ.

The thing is I'm not and I never have been a Michael Jackson fan. His music was never up my street, his life was never a life that captured and interested me that much. His upcoming tour was something that just didn't cause me to queue for tickets or sell my soul for, although I did contemplate trying to take the girls, just so that they could see the show.

Of course I've got most of his albums, that goes without saying. As a teenager I watched the Thriller video, the Billie Jean one and Beat It. I tried a few moonwalks in my bedroom but dancing was never one of my gifts and I was a wannabe rocker, never one of those soul boy trendies. The sight of me, with my long hair and denim jacket attempting the moonwalk must have been scary, like an out take from some desperate kid doing his own Thriller video for Youtube.

After that his life went all a bit mad anyway, if it wasn't mad before. The plastic sugery and the allegations about all the kids and everything just caused me to totally lose interest in him. His musical genius was beyond doubt, his personal stuff, or alleged personal stuff, turned me off.

What became clear over the years to me, as well as several million other people, was that he was a troubled soul, a person looking for something. He had the money, he had the talent, the fame and all the trappings. He just never appeared to have the contentment, the inner peace that so many people who live a "normal" nine to five life have.

Yet who knows what went on in his head and his world anyway?

Perhaps it was all PR. Maybe he was a normal bloke behind closed Neverland doors, playing with his kids and telling them off for not doing their homework. Maybe he wrote an anonymous blog, perhaps he had a secret Twitter account or a random Facebook page.

My money's on the fact that he was bit mental, genius so often is.

His legacy will last and his music will stay. As a musician I can have total respect for the way his contributions to the world of music actually shaped and changed things. Musically he's one of the greats.

But it's Michael Jackson the young kid in the early Jackson Five songs that I feel sad for.

It's Michael Jackson the father of three that I mourn for.

I hope he finds his peace.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

One About Not Speaking Sinhala

Me and my brothers were brought up in an English speaking environment. I don't just mean that we were brought up in London, I mean we were brought up actually speaking English all the time, both at home and at school.

I should ask my parents more about this and the reasons for it but my current understanding is that it was a conscious decision by them. It was heavily influenced by the fact that my Dad, as a Muslim, was brought up speaking Tamil and my Mum, ironically a Tamil, was brought up speaking mostly in English but also in Sinhala far more than Tamil. So they found a route for their own communication through English and used this with their kids too.

It's an interesting love marriage story is my parents' one, not for now, but it's the type of relationship that rarely would have blossomed had they both lived in Lanka at the time.

When we were very young kids they sent us to the London Buddhist Vihara to learn Sinhala from a Priest. The Priest was a very kind and patient old fellow and for a while we'd go there once a week and drink that highly sugared orange squash and be taught how to write Sinhala characters with the precision and accuracy of a bloke who's just been told to go an scrawl some graffiti on that mirrored wall over there, the one with the naked women on it.

It never worked out. We wanted to learn the everyday stuff, the normal conversational bits and pieces, the haggling with tri shaw drivers and chatting with our Grandmother who couldn't speak English type of thing, so we gave the lessons up. To this day I have a love for orange juice, not sweetened and preferably the kind with bits in it.

Over the years we've picked up snippets of Sinhala, particularly myself and Academic Bro as we travel there more than Musicbiz Bro. But I'm no linguist, not even a cunning one, and have little confidence in attempting to talk in Sinhala or chuck a word or two in between English sentences for effect. My West London drawl seems to exist in direct contradiction to the ability to pronounce things in the othere languages of my heritage.

Stick me in the middle of a bunch of people speaking in Sinhala and I'll often be able to get the gist of the conversation, though I do wonder how much of what I understand is actually from the Singlish words more than the Sinhala ones. Ask me to say something though and you'll probably laugh at my ineptness. Then, once you've finished, you'll laugh at my accent too.

My observations on this suggest that Academic Bro is far more brave in his attempts than I am. He can chuck a word or two out with confidence whereas I crumble, like an apple. He's crap on the drums though.

My position now, at 43, is that I wish I could speak Sinhala. She died some years ago, but the Grandmother who lived in Lanka was of the non English speaking variety. So, not only did we not see that much of her but, when we did see her, communication was slow, painful and needed an interpretor.

I've also come to the conclusion that linguistic intelligence isn't one of my strong points. I can learn meanings and words but, whatever the lingo, I struggle with the making noises bit. When I attempt to speak French my accent is crap, or le crap as they say over there. Yet I continue to read these touristy Sinhala English word and phrase books to try and improve my general comprehension as much as possible.

I was particularly fascinated to hear and briefly meet that Michael Meyler chap at the GLF and felt a bit woeful that I never really spend long enough in the motherland to have some lessons with him.

My other Grandmother used to have a little glass bedside plaque of that "God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change" thing. It's become one of my mantras and the Sinhala issue is an ongoing puzzle for me. Do I accept that I'm destined to speak one language badly and just get on with things or do I fight against it and go out and make a hash of things anyway? It's not as if you need Sinhala in Sri Lanka these days, it's a want for sure, just not an essential.

Vut too doo?

At least I know what that means!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Hello Again

I'm back at work after the last couple of days off. C has returned to Singapore and life carries on with its usual pace and excitement.

Over here in London the weather is stunning, in a Londonly stunning way. Blue skies, well the one, warm temperatures and al fresco eating are the orders of the day. I even had to close my sunroof yesterday as the sun on the top of my head was too intense. Yes, yes I know there's not much hair on top there okay.

This long distance relationship lark can be tiring at times and it's probably no worse than the morning after they leave. I won't get all angsty and emo on you though so you can relax there. We did make a very vague plan, not so much a plan I guess, more of a maybe plan, to meet up in Lanka next time. This grabs me and excites me for so many reasons that will be obvious to you. It might happen.

Tomorrow it's K's thirteenth birthday, something I find incredibly believable, which is rather incredible in itself. So many kids grow too quickly and you find yourself, as I did last month with A, saying that you can't believe they're whatever age they happen to be. Well in the case of K I'm a bit stunned that she's only thirteen, it feels as if she's been there for a couple of years at least.

And then there's another gig on Saturday night, which I reckon will be a blast. The band's coming together as a unit and we're starting to feel really tight. Another lovely summer's evening here on a Saturday night with fun people will put an even bigger smile on everyone's face.

It's funny how quickly things change isn't it? It's fascinating how yesterday's changes become today's normal.

I got back from dropping C at the airport last night and strolled out of the pad to get some food and have a quick drink in my local pub. Well the pub was closed down. It was only recently that I sat there and wrote a post in it and about it, all the while wondering how it survived. It didn't, the new management might do a more successful job of it but only time will tell.

Then, as I ambled casually down the road I passed a woman chatting quite loudly on a mobile phone in Sinhala. I was so captivated by it that I pretended to look in the window of the hi fi shop nexst to her. Of course I didn't understand a word of what she was saying, but knew that it was Sinhala. It's not that I'm unused to hearing the language, something about her in that street captured me and I stood there for a few seconds listening to her conversation and comprehending nothing.

She was very probably telling the other party that there was a pervert listening to her while pretending to look in the window of a hi fi shop. I hope she doesn't happen to read this blog, that could be awkward.

And what else is there to tell you?

I've got about ten posts to start, complete, delete or publish. Taking a break of sorts means that things store up, often to be forgotten completely or fester and grow into something fruity. And talking of fruity there are two things that I'm wondering if I should blog about. They're only about me, nothing lifechanging or hugely important in the worldly scheme of things, but I am contemplating whether to share or keep private.

If only I could ask you what you thought, but I'd have to tell you the things first. There's a flaw in that plan that even a British MP's accountant would spot at a hundred yards. Probably.

The Twitter journey continues with some trepidation. There are only about seventeen followers and little signs of things increasing. I'm wondering if it's not done by people of my age or if it just takes time to build up. The problem for me is that I struggle to write these short phrases about my life and make them sound interesting.

It's all well and good for Obama to write about the condensation on his window but, when I do it, it's hardly going to get much interest. On the positive side I only need about 500000 more followers to be near to Stephen Fry's level of popularity. That can't be too hard.

That's all for now, a real pimped up diary post if ever I wrote one.

More of the usual will follow. I hope you missed me, I think you didn't!

Must dash as there are about a million blog posts to read and catch up on.


Monday, June 22, 2009

It's Not Only Lankan Mothers

M, one of our salespeople here at work, turned up on Monday morning.

He had with him about six packets of Wagon Wheels, biscuits that are an essential part of the childhood memories of most Brits of around my age. Each of the packets contained six Wagon Wheels. That's a lot of them, by anyone's except maybe a cowboy's, standards.

To be fair Wagon Wheels probably won't win many awards in the healthy eating stakes, they won't be championed by Jamie Oliver as the epitome of tasty and nutritious food that should be force fed to all schoolchildren for every single one of their meals.

They feature fake chocolate, that oh so sweet and flimsy substitute for the real thing, some dodgy biscuit that tastes as though it's old biscuits that have gone a bit mouldy and been added to water to moisten them up a bit and some marsmallow that is so sticky and sweet that it makes normal marshmallow taste healthy and crispy in comparison.

Yes, you've guessed it, I love Wagon Wheels. They're also one of those things that, as an adult, I would never consider actually buying for myself, like in a real shop or something.

I saw M with the WWs and my eyes lit up.

"Mmm...Wagon Wheels" I said cleverly.

"Yeah" and he rolled his eyes and gave a frustrated look.

"I went to see my Mum at the weekend." he added.

"Ah right" I said, with a not inconsiderable dollop of understanding, even though M doesn't possess a Mother of the Sri Lankan variety.

"And once, God knows when, I mentioned to her that I like Wagon Wheels. Now, every time I go there, she buys me a load of them." said M.

"Oh my God, your Mum does that too" said I, your hero. It was a bit like two kids in a playground talking about their Mums, except for our combined age being about eighty five.

For about thirty five years I'd thought my mother was the only person who did this thing, the whole mistaking a son saying that he likes something for the son saying that thing is his favourite thing in the whole wide world and he'd love to eat or drink astronomic quantities of said thing at every available opportunity.

"Mmmm they're nice" is often all I have to say as I nibble on a biscuit. Then, the next time I go round there I find the entire stock of the product from a medium size supermarket served to me. If I say no the the offer, however diplomatically and graciously me efforts, I'm met with the line

"but it's your favourite, don't you like them anymore?"

Whatever I say is guaranteed to cause mother hurt. There are several options, from saying that they're not my favourite but I do like them, just not right now, to saying I'm not hungry to saying I'll take them home with me. Nothing will overcome the rejection and sheer hurt that I'll cause by my heartless and cruel act of saying thanks but no thanks.

"Well then take them home with you." is inevitably the next line. It's a trap, one that I never know how to avoid successfully. A refusal offends and an acceptance is like feeding the habit, making the mother think that next time she should buy more. Then, before you know it, you're at work on a Monday morning with six packets of Wagon Wheels and your boss, who should be working, is writing a blog post inspired by you.

I have no solution to this problem but am pleased to know that it's not just me who faces it. Until exactly a week ago I'd thought it was just my mother that did this.

It's a wonderful feeling to know that there's at least one other person in the world who struggles to deal with the same thing.

Mum, if you ever read this, I really like Jennifer Aniston you know.

And Wagon Wheels.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Hear Ye, Hear Ye

Let it be known that on this day, the 19th June, the year of our Lord 2009, or not if you don’t believe in that sort of thing, the Lankanospheric presence formerly known as The Bohemian Gypsy will now be known as Gypsofactum 12, not to be confused with Gypsofactum 11.

Like Prince when he changed his name to the squiggle then changed back because his bank had problems with his signature, like Oil of Ulay changing to Oil of Olay, which happened here in the UK, and like Puff Daddy changing his name to P Diddy, Gypsofactum 12 reserves the right to change back to another name at an unspecified time, though about 1.30 PM is looking good.

Any moniker may be used at any time, except Monica.

Please update your records accordingly.

This was a public information announcement on behalf of a very important organisation in a highly secret location.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

RD Is A Poof

After that last but one post I thought I'd have a look at this Twitter thing.

Well, you know how it is, how these things happen, don't you?

I only intended to look around and see what all the fuss is about but sometimes a chap can't help it. There I was, reading about Dinidu's Aunt or someone and, before I could say Britney I'd chosen a user name and created myself an account.

It's brought me closer to Stephen Fry, which is a good thing. In only a day I've become a Twitter convert, hopefully not in a manner that will stop me writing blog posts. I mean hopefully from my point of view, not necessarily your one.

I'm thinking about who I should follow apart from friends and family now.

A, the daughter, has reacted predictably pissedoffishly to me following her. It seems that it's fine for her to be followed by Yoko Ono but not so fine for her Dad to do the same.

A, C, K and me were talking about it last night and I was amazed, as I often am, by something said by K. She casually told us that she's set up a Twitter account but doesn't use it yet. She did it "just in case" Twitter got really popular, so that she'd be ready for the revolution, so to speak.

It's under my real name too. No biggie but it's a possible closing of circle thing. You more than likely know the name, feel free to follow if you desire. I can't promise anything spectacular, no onslaught of witty little snippets of messages or anything, but it's there if you want.

The weather's nice, the day is beginning and things look sunny all around.

Ooops, sorry, wrong medium.

So I'm a poof, according to DB.


Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Men, Women And Noises In The Night

It was Sunday night, some would call it Monday morning. Either way it was the middle of the night, that deep sleep period. I was fast asleep, not that I can actually remember it as I was unconscious, in a sleeping way.

C was fast asleep next to me in the spare room (hello Aunty) and things were peaceful.

Then the noise came.

There was no gradual build up. There was no warning, no linguine building up to a freschetti, or whatever it is that these musicians say in French.

A sudden burst of electronically generated tone, either a B flat or an A sharp, I couldn't be certain. But it was loud, it was shrill and it was constant.

I shot up in the bed, like one of those movie women when they've gone out, got really pissed and ending up sleeping with an ugly bloke, then woken up sober in the middle of the night with a shock as they've realised what they did. In my sleepy haze I pressed the snooze button on the alarm clock, then looked at the time.

It said 3.30 AM. I say "it said" but what I actually mean is that it projected cunningly onto the ceiling. For RD Towers is a hotbed of advanced technology as well as design. My projection alarm clock is one of those objects I rather adore. If I were an astronaut I'd take one up with me in my spaceship and use it to project the time onto the surface of the moon. I'm sure it could do it easily. Come to think of it I might try it tonight just from my bedroom.

"3.30" I thought. Weird. I also thought, but not in inverted commas this time. As I stirred into consciousness it dawned on me, though it wasn't yet dawn, that the noise wasn't actually the alarm clock. Hitting the snooze button was a reflex action and the noise stopped soon after, but it hadn't come from the alarm clock (projection type).

In the dark, with the light of Kingston Town shining in the bedroom, I wondered how I'd woken up in Jamaica, then realised it wasn't that Kingston Town. I waited and listened, hearing nothing but the distant rumble of silence. The noise, in its B flat or A sharp had made a hasty retreat. I sensed, with that man's intuition we're famous for, that it was hiding somewhere.

C, who is a person, not a note like A or B, not to be confused with A, the fifteen year old daughter of course, asked what the noise was. She had strolled into my bedroom from the spare room and was fully robed with only her eyes showing, maybe a bit of ankle too. There are notes who go by the name of C as well, I should mention for the sake of fairness.

We were puzzled about the noise. When I say "we" I mean me really. The woman's view on these sort of things is along the lines of

"There was a noise, I woke up. Now I'll go back to sleep and forget about the thing totally."

The average man, which I consider myself to be, or should that be whom I consider myself to be, is very different.

I went back to sleep with half an ear and half an eye open, waiting for the noise to come back but ready to catch it. I don't really know how you catch a noise but the idea made sense at the time. I was like a hunter feigning sleep to let the animal creep up, then I'd pounce and grab it with my bare hands and win a long and arduous fight.

The noise, possibly because it was an old and experienced one that knew my tactics, never returned. Or, if it did return it crept around silently without waking anyone. Noises are clever like that. I've lost count of the number of evil but silent ones I've met in my time. Some of them are invisible too. A noise that's silent, invisible and harmless is often the most dangerous.

The first thing I said to C in the morning was that I wondered what the noise was. The first look that she gave me was that woman's look, the one that goes "why the fuck are you still bothered about that?"

At work I told Gaz, one of my business partners about the noise. He, being a man, fully understood the importance of solving the mystery. We had a decent ten minute discussion about it, the possible causes and sources. Gaz suggested that it might have been a boat going past. It's still plausible. Not only that but I know there's a ships that pass in the night joke hidden in there somewhere, I just can't think of it.

We've considered things from mobile phones to smoke alarms and come to no conclusion. We're none the wiser.

Monday night saw no show from the noise. Perhaps it's been scared off. Maybe it's still lurking in RD Towers and biding its time. I should check behind the Superdry shirts to see it it's there.

Either way I'm still pondering on the matter.

Men will understand my need to solve this deep mystery. Women I reckon will frown with dissaproval, as if this is a trivial matter, as if there are far more important things in life to think about.

But, that's another topic. Can anyone tell me what the noise was?

Any advice on the best way to catch it would be much appreciated.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Blogging? It's So Last Year Dahlings

I remember when faxes and fax machines were first around. You probably don't.

They were the best thing since the sliced wheel. For a period of a few years people were excited at the way the fax was going to revolutionise the way we worked and lived. At first fax machines were prohibitively expensive and only owned by companies, rich people and gadget freaks.

Two blokes I worked with, Derek and Richard, you know the ones, had a great idea. They were going to set up a network of shops, rather like Post Offices, in which there'd be a fax machine and people could pop in and send and receive faxes. I, in my early twenties, was amazed at their foresight and ingenuity and wished them well as they pursued their dream.

Scientists and R+D people put their heads together and tried to work out how to make thermal fax paper that didn't fade over time. That was the only thing that was preventing the world being run by fax. Signatures would fade and hard copies of everything were needed. Eventually the boffins managed to make faxes that could be printed on plain paper and the only thing to be overcome was the issue of faxes not being legally binding.

And then some bloke, I think it might have been Indi, went and invented the internet and everything changed. Faxes became to the net what snailmail was to the fax; slow and cumbersome, outdated and outmoded.

Here I am, over three years since I began my blog, and I look at blogging and wonder if the same thing is happening.

You see when I began to write on LLD blogging was pretty much all the rage. Facebook was popular and huge, but it didn't really have much of an overlap with the average blog. It was there as the social networking tool and doing a mighty fine job.

Twitter? Well I'm not sure if it actually existed but, if it did, then it was no way near as big as it is now.

In these few months later everything's changed.

Facebook, Twitter and god knows what else have become platforms on which people can more or less chuck out blog posts, albeit in slightly different forms to that on a full and all up proper blog.

The well written and classy blogs, those that are full of meaning and great language are still around, hopefully for a long time. It's not easy to write one of those eloquent posts when you're struggling to find the correct key on a Blackberry or trying to chuck out a quick bit of information as you're grabbing a quick poo while at work (hopefully in the bathroom not at your desk).

But the Pimped Up Diary type of blog (courtesy D Blacker) such as this has a questionable future for sure.

It's nice to read what people have been up to and catch up with their recent adventures, triumphs and kawasakis. But it's no longer as exclusive as it used to be, which many might say is good. This Twitter business is, I'm told, all the rage. A, my fifteen year old, has a Twitter thing as has most of the rest of the world from Stephen Fry to Gypsycum. I'll probably have to do it too.

Then you'll read my Twitter updates and get used to reading things like

"RD is having a crap"

instead of the humorous and wittier approach that you're so accustomed to now along the lines of:

"RD just won a battle with a particularly vicious turtle's head, but the paperwork was messy."

Essentially both sentences give you the same information. It's just like reading a decent newspaper compared with quickly scanning through the headlines while they scroll along the bottom of the screen on your favourite news channel.

Facebook, with it's very obvious need to try to catch up with Twitter, is littered with pieces of prose that I would have seen on "proper" blogs not so long ago. There are notes, attachments and links to writing by everyone from Man Booker prize winning authors to K, my almost thirteen year old.

People with blogs put links up on FB to their latest post and we can read the post on FB or on the blog itself. And, as old fashioned blogs have become a bit popular and gained readers, the anonymity of the bloggers has faded away too. Most people who read regularly know who Electra is, who I am and who Java is anyway. It's probably fair to say the we're quite indifferent about it as well, that we don't mind either way who knows these things.

It also means that there is little difference between putting something on FB, where most people use their real identity, to writing a blog post under a pseudonym.

I've seen so many of the good old regulars in the Lankanosphere fall by the wayside recently that I'm left with a puzzled brow and a curious frown as I wonder where we'll be in a relatively short time.

Will old fashioned blogs still exist or will they be like faxes and still be around but not up there at the forefront of communication and only really used by parents?

Or will blogs be the domain of real writing types and Twitter and FB be the places for the pimped up diary?

Your thoughts will be most, how do you say it, welcome.

I never found out what happened to Derek and Richard either.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Psst...Wanna Be My Next Of kin?

There I was, casually filling out a form the other day. Come to think of it now I can't remember what the form was. Ah yes, it was a piece of paper that needed filling out, that was it.

I came to a bit in which I had to write my next of kin. I faltered, I halted and I stumbled, rather like a really crap triple jumper. You see it's actually a good few years since I had to fill in a next of kin thing and I didn't know whose name to insert.

Next of kin in terms of money, estates and all that big stuff is all taken care of in my will. Next of kin in terms of who should be called if I get hit by that proverbial bus is another matter. For the record I should tell you that I think bus drivers get an unfair hard time on this issue. We talk endlessly about what would happen if we "get hit by a bus" and there's no need for it. Pilots, truck drivers and car drivers never get mentioned and I think that's wrong and harsh. I might start a campaign about it you know.

For almost twenty years I would have put my ex's name in the next of kin bit. Of course that isn't really an option now for all the obvious reasons. And putting C's name there is a seemingly logical choice, if it weren't for the fact that she's usually found in the depths of Singapore, hardly great for a quick dash to my bedside.

I then contemplated writing down A or K and promptly rejected either of those options. From what you know about K I'm sure you can totally understand this and, as for A, well she's at that huffy teenager phase and any request to her is usually met with lots of sighs and mutterings along the lines of

"God Dad (huff) you're ruining my (huff and sigh) life"

Then my mind strolled in the eternally dodgy direction of siblings and parents.

Parents, I thought to myself, would bring to the accident scene a whole set of potential problems. The first one being that my Dad, when arriving at the scene by car, would most likely cause several more accidents as he tried to park. This could be fortunate in one way, as the emergency services would already be there, but distinctly undesirable.

The second and biggest problem would be my Sri Lankan mother. Were I the age of Dinidu or one of you youngsters things would be okay, but I'm not. I dread the thought of the firemen going home in the evening and telling their families about the forty three year old bloke who'd fallen off his drum stool and almost broken a stick and the overly fussy and protective Lankan mother who turned up and tried to take charge.

Academic Bro was very carefully considered then rejected, mostly because of his geography, ironic as geography is his subject, but I mean the fact that he's usually not around. Music Biz bro was considered and rejected too.

So it was down to friends. My first thought was bandmembers. They got turned down. They're a good bunch and reliable but I had to think realistically. The fact is that they'd only be concerned if something happened to me on a gig day, maybe a band practice day. On top of that their major concern would be to ensure I was fit enough to play, perhaps to teach someone else the set if not. Frankly we don't gig enough for me to think that my life would be in safe hands with these fellows.

My mind meandered casually over to the area of the Sri Lankan blogosphere, the Lankanosphere as I've heard it called. Of course my first thought was David Blacker. He'd be a good next of kin I reckon. He's good in a fight, he likes cars and he can write about things afterwards too.

Then I thought of Cerno, another near perfect choice. He's innovative and imaginative and he can do things with Google Earth that makes James Bond look on with admiration and awe. He had to go on the shortlist. And most lists with Sri Lankans are short lists.

Java Jones sprung to mind also. A fellow who I feel I could rely on, who would always help a friend. Receiving the kiss of life from him has potential dangers though. Getting knocked over by that bus, receiving the kiss of life from Java and then waking up totally stoned has attractions, I'm just not sure on it.

Pradeep Jeganathan was considered and rejected quicker than you can say "fry the prawns for a minute or two with chilli powder, balsamic vinegar and vanilla custard." If I wanted someone to cook my body beautifully then take even better pictures of it, then publish an academic paper on the matter, he'd be in my top five choices. But I don't. These academic food loving photographing and blogging chaps are all the same you know.

Of course the reality is that the distance between London and Lanka makes all in Sri Lanka impractical. So I thought about DD of ViceunVersa. He lives in this neck of the woods and he'd understand the requirements. The kiss of life would be unpleasant, both for him and for me. That, in itself is probably enough to reject him. Women all over the world dream of receiving the kiss of life from DD, just not this one man. But it seems that he's, in the blogging way at least, has ceased to exist.

So vut to do?

Any takers?

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Photo Of The Moment

I know you've probably seen this before, from a few days ago, but I'm very pleased with it.

There we were, me and C, strolling around Paris last Saturday. Five minutes before stumbling upon this scene we'd had our encounter with Barack Obama. We crossed a bridge and strolled through the crowds almost missing this bride and groom as they sat in a world of their own.

Tourists, locals, cars and other vehicles were all around as these two perched on their stone throne. Some passers by looked at the scenery, some looked at the Eiffel Tower in the distance and some ignored it all and carried on with their journey.

I knew that it was potentially a once in a lifetime photo opportunity. The couple looked as though they didn't have a care in the world and I could see no logical explanation for them being there. There was no bunch of wedding guests in the background nor a wedding photographer doing his thing. They just sat there chatting and looking blissful, the bride wearing her new husband's jacket over her wedding dress to keep warm.

I grabbed a few photographs. I got some with the Eiffel Tower in the background but, without an ND filter, the sky was too burnt out.

This picture is the best of the lot. Even if I say it myself, it's good.

It somehow encapsulates Paris for me.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

RD Completed The...

"Which quiz are you" quiz with the result brilliant in a compared to a quiz way.

You are the quiz that gives you an answer along the lines of exactly what you'd like to hear about yourself anyway.

You're (insert swear word) intelligent and (insert long not often used word) witty with the precise brilliant and admirable characteristics that you told us you want others to see you as anyway.

You're confident but feel a need to take quizzes way too often. Your results in one of these quizzes will always be good and positive. That way we can ensure you forward the quiz to all your "friends", most of whom you've never actually met or spoken to, but they'll probably buy the products that we "intelligently" advertise to them.

You're often misunderstood and undervalued and anything else that applies to almost everyone in the world.

You have access to the internet and a Facebook account.

You feel quite pleased with yourself after reading the results now don't you?

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

I Don't Like Mercs But....

......I'd make do with one of these

Paris In The The Spring

Where else could it be?

Keeping My Arms And Head Inside The Duck

With C being over here I took a week off last week and did some mellowing and some touristy things.

Paris was one of them but there'll be more on that later. For now it's London, the city of my birth, my home and such a massive element in my life.

One of the things about living on the edge of a big city is, unless you work bang smack in the middle and commute there everyday, you tend to take it for granted. Well, you might not, but I do. You fellows who live in Colombo seem to have a mentality of being "in control" of the city in a way I find hard to imagine I could feel about London or one of the other physically big cities of the world.

I see people who live in Copenhagen and other places who talk, act and behave as if they own their city, not in an arrogant way, just that they're the boss. My relationship with London is one in which the city is very definitely the boss of me. A boss who I quite fancy and wouldn't mind seducing me in that Mrs Robinson way, but still a boss.

Whenever I'm in a plane landing at Heathrow and gazing at London I'm blown away by its size, the way that it covers my whole field of view and sprawls before me with its vastness, like when I spilled my lager in the pub last week and the puddle just kept marching towards the edge of the table as I stared helplessly. Luckily Academic Bro and C were there and saved the day by getting a cloth from the bar and mopping it up. I was frozen in shock and couldn't think my way out of the tricky situation. I'm better with the slightly less important type of crisis.

So last week C wanted to see more of London. My first idea was one of these double decker tours around the city. I googled something and found that one of them, on a big red bus, the type I travel on fairly regularly, going round the places that I do know pretty damn well, costs £37.50 (Rs 6750 approx) per person. Even I, with my liberal attitude towards spending money on rubbish, was startled by this. A black cab with two people in it doing the same route would very likely cost less than £75.00.

I imagined long queues of American tourists who would be happy to part with their dollars converted into sterling to do one of these trips, probably stopping off for ice cream that costs more than caviar and cans of Coke that cost more than a Diet Coke in the Transasia. We all know about tourist prices but this jarred with me.

£37.50??!! For a tour in a bus that would cost a couple of quid in a normal bus, just without the commentary seemed ridiculous. I would have paid it too if C had wanted to go but we settled on something I was far more keen to do anyway; the Duck. A duck, as well as being one of those bird things, is an amphibious vehicle as in the picture above. For some years I've wanted to go in one, in that boyish way of just wanting the experience regardless of the details of the journey.

Thursday afternoon saw us standing in the Duck queue in the shadow of the London Eye and more tourists than you could shake a hot can of Coke at. I promise not to talk about money any more but, at £20 a head, it immediately seemed like far better value than one of the bus tours.

We boarded the Duck and our guide Ruth did so too. She was a person with a very obvious and strong passion for London and a style of delivery that was funny and appeared spontaneous, even though that was unlikely. I didn't ask her but she had that air and ease of presentation that made me sure she was an out of work actress or comedienne, not porn though, she didn't have the looks for that.

Her introduction incorporated the line

"please keep your arms and head inside the Duck at all times, now there's something you'll probably never hear again!"

Off we went. I won't bore you with the details of the sights but we saw all the usual ones and were given a great commentary with little facts and humorous anecdotes thrown in that were that little bit off the main "and that's Buckingham Palace" type ones. At this juncture I've just been cruelly reminded why I never did that well in exams and the like. I'd fully intended to share one or two of these fascinating snippets with you now, but I'll be fucked if I can remember anything.

I recollect that Ruth lives above a shop, that there's a beautifully unusual statue of something hanging off one of the bridges, but can't recall which bridge and what the statue is. There was a story about a pineapple too. That's about it. I suppose it's decent information if you're into bridges, pineapples and shops in a not very deep way.

The thing is I was far too busy concentrating on the sheer beauty of my city than listening to the stories, not that I own it. It was sunny, the sky was blue and Londinium was at its finest. The architecture, both old and new, was breathtaking. I felt proud to be a Londoner as I witnessed, in between taking photographs, a Duck full of tourists gazing in awe at my hometown and taking photos of everything that they could see.

The Houses of Parliament gleamed with pride and splendour and Ruth told us that Big Ben is actually the name of the bell inside the clock tower, not the clock itself. There, I knew I'd remember something if I tried.

The violent and disruptive Tamil demonstration that many people believe is crippling London financially and infrastructurally (which may not be a real word) is actually about four old Archies, some blokes who looked a bit bored and some placards that could have done with a Viagra or two. I felt uncomfortable to see some big pictures of Prabakharan and posters that were clearly giving him hero status but, in light of the fact they were held by old ladies and old men, the scene just looked plain wrong.

Just after MI5, London's best known secret building, we turned off and headed down a sliproad into the water. For about another thirty minutes our new driver, as a specially qualified "boatman" is required to drive one of these things on the river apparently, drove, or sailed us up the river then turned us around and headed back.

I'm sure our highly qualified boatman was very skilled and boaty but, in a "who looks most like a sailor" competition that featured Captain Haddock and Erika Eleniak when she jumps out of the cake in Under Siege (surely one of the best film moments of all time), Erika would have won second place easily.

The adults men, the women and most people took this in their stride. I didn't and I sat there with the excitement and glee of a kid suddenly being asked to drive James Bond's Lotus underwater. The Duck was just driven into the water at what was quite a pace and then the driver (Danny) just kept on going and we were a boat. There were no retracting fins on the Duck, no bullets fired at us, nor did we surface on an exotic beach with bemused looking people all around us. I suppose we didn't surface at all as we weren't submerged but you know what I mean.

Then we were back at the start point.

We strolled around the South Bank for a short while, had a coffee and wended our way back. As the train pulled out of Waterloo and I smiled and winked at the London Eye and felt very warm towards London, which was nice.

Twenty four hours later we arrived in Paris.

You know, after going home, it wasn't because we'd got on the wrong train or something.

I'll tell you about Le Froggies later..

Monday, June 8, 2009

Bonjour Mes Amis

Just got back from a very splendid jaunt to Paris and look who I bumped into.

There I was, minding my own business and thinking about dinner, when I became aware of a crowd, a serious police, or gendarmerie presence and not a little euphoria. Almost at once we realised someone important was due. We stared, waited and perused.

The language barrier was a, well, a barrier, so I couldn't ask anyone without risking receiving that unique Parisienne stare that they do when you speak in English. I waited, C waited and we knew the arrival of someone famous was imminent. The helicopter hovering overhead added to the buzz and sense of anticipation.

We knew that it was someone important, though not on the Rajapaksa level, as the roads were open over on the other side of Paris and businesses hadn't been forced to close for the week.

Then, from out of nowhere, quicker than even a Lankan bus driver he was there.

I peered at his face, I noticed a strange squint, as if he was straining to get out a very large poo. It mattered not, I was too aghast, too chuffed that I'd finally seen him, the man I and so many admire so much.

Even from that distance we could feel his charisma and charm. I swear he smiled and waved at me, but can't be sure as it happened so quickly.

In a few seconds he disappeared and the cavalcade, bigger and longer than even the best fairground merry go round, was gone.

It felt like a dream but I know it was a brief moment of reality.

I wish I'd stopped and got my photo taken with him but I can't have it all.


I saw RD.

Barack Obama.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

The Older I Get...

The harder it is to open things.

What the hell is it with these packaging designing people anyway?

Forget about opening safes and high security locks that even Walker, Texas Ranger, would have problems with, I'm talking about simple day to day things. Things like CDs, bottles of sauce and packets of sweets.

These days I fumble with them, looking for the enigmatic "tear off" bit, the one that's supposed to start everything off nicely and neatly, the golden chalice of the packaging world. Maybe, with the world economy crumbling into the state of oblivion they all tell us it is, these big companies have decided to survive by cutting back on "tear off" bits.

Once found, these "tear off" bits don't start a nice "domino effect" in undoing the outer packaging like they used to. They just break off in my hand and I end up holding a near invisible piece of cellophane while looking for an opening on the object of my desire.

Honestly it's becoming so bad that I can see why some chaps carry around a Swiss Army Knife. Invariably, after failing to open something with my hands, I resort to the aid of a knife to slice some part of the bottle/box/packet that was never designed to withstand knife pressure.

It's always successful, too successful, and I end up with sweets on the floor, a bottle with no lid or a broken CD case.

And I won't even start on the effect these things have on my nails....

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Temporary Service Interruption

I'm having a jolly nice break.

C's over here, the weather's sunny and the river's looking good. I've got the week off and am doing all sorts of good things. Tonight I may just cook a beef and potato curry, one of my favourites.

Then, on Friday we're going to Paris for the weekend on the Eurostar. London is just excellent at this time of year, hopefully Paris will be too.

So things at LLD are a bit quieter than usual.

Like the boy I am, I'm seriously looking forward to the train journey.

Back soon, with tales of gay Paris, trains, London and sunny weather.


Monday, June 1, 2009

More Bloggers And More Little Known Facts

Yes, it's a Monday morning and it's time for a few more blogger related facts, this time they're all foot or leg related. Any complaints about "this person isn't a well known blogger, that person shouldn't qualify" etc will be treated with the respect they deserve.

Over the years I've noticed some of these, I've been told of them by other fellows and I've read about a few of them in foot fetish scientific magazines.

Tracy Holsinger - Her left leg is three and a half inches shorter than her right. It's barely noticeable in everyday life but it means that she always walks in an anti clockwise circle when on stage. There were several newspaper articles written about this some years ago, when an unscrupulous journalist started to spread the story that she has one leg longer than the other. A TV appearance, which can be found on Youtube, proved that in fact, one leg is shorter.

Ravana - Can only walk down a flight of stairs if he goes backwards. This is rarely seen by "outsiders" as, if spotted walking down some stairs, he tends to stop and walk up, as if that's what he was doing in the first place. Once he was stuck on those stairs at the back of Odel for eight and a half hours before there was enough of a quiet period for him to get all the way down.

DD - Some years ago, after a particularly heavy night DD woke up with an aching foot. He found that a person, or persons, unknown had cleverly and accurately managed to carve the pattern found on the bottom of a Bata Health Slipper onto the bottom of his left foot. After getting over the shock DD has found this practical joke to have some benefits. He's saved a fortune in slippers as he only ever needs to buy one. He can hop around in Sri Lanka in his bare feet and make everyone in his trail think that he's slipper shod, a boon in his bank robbing days.

TheKillRomeoProject - has an incredible eight toes on his left foot. His right has only two, it's a clawish thing really. Ask him how many toes he's got and he'll say that he has ten. Clever.

That's it for now. If you know any fascinating foot or leg related facts about bloggers please feel free to send them in. Notwithstanding.

Good week all.