Wednesday, December 5, 2012

An Old Fashioned Blog Post

The Old Boy Cerno sent me a Tweet yesterday, well a message thing on Twitter at least. It linked to the first page of a blog and the page had some words that made me think:

"I blog because it’s as old fashioned and romantic as writing letters and using a typewriter and I hope I can chronicle my writing journey and tell you all about it, if you choose to listen"

Well for fuck's sake I ask you. Or tell you. Is that how the kids see blogging these days? As old fashioned and romantic?

I still like the idea of churning out a post every now and again, I still want to regale you with boring stories about everyday happenings in my life, tales of A and K, of C and moi. 

So I should. 

But coming back after an absence is harder than I'd imagined. It's cold, it's wintery and it's Christmassy here in London. We've got decorations up in every high street, Father Christmas' in every other shop and THAT Coca Cola ad on TV every few minutes. It's beginning to feel a lot like Christmas and I like it. 

And The Auf is back blogging too, though he's made up some new name. It sounds a bit weird. Someone called "Riza". Ha ha, how mad is that?

Yours sincerely


Monday, November 19, 2012

Tat Three Pending

When I had the first one done everyone said that I'd have more, that once you've got the bug there's no going back. Oh how correct they were!

For the third time I have that feeling of excitement brewing, the one of slight ball itchiness combined with a need for time to hurry up and the feeling that I want to smile at the most inopportune moments. You youngsters probably feel similar when you fall in love for the first time or discover the joys of masturbating. For some the two happen together, consider yourself lucky if you're one of those people.

Yes it's almost tat three time. Tomorrow afternoon you'll be able to find me sat in my new favourite tattoo parlour's chair having it done. I've pondered, deliberated and cogitated for a good couple of years on this one and had more conversations with my tat guru than he's got tattoos and finally, the day is nearly here.

I've gone for a picture of a Kandyan drummer. That was never really in question, but the task of coming up with something I actually like was the hard thing. I've found a picture, told my bloke that I want the feet to look "less cartoony" and for there to be no moustache and we're ready to roll.

I'm hoping that the guy will do a good job, he's a well known fellow and one of these "arty" chaps rather than a bloke who operates a needle thing and basically just stencils stuff on skin.

If you're a regular here you'll hopefully understand that a picture of a Sri Lankan drummer on my arm represents two of the things that are fundamental parts of my make up. It's the first one that I'm having that's really personal. The other two are just random designs; designs that I like a lot, but ones without any true meaning to me.

Another thing, I was googling Kandyan drummer tattoos and came across this. I wonder if anyone can shed any light on it. It looks as if someone has taken my post, bunged it into a translator, then back into English and used it as their own post. What do you think?

I might take a picture and put it up here once it's done, it all depends on how pleased I am with it.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Oh Hi, It's Me Again..

If I start this post with a lament on how it's been a long time since I wrote something, well, it's only going to sound like all my recent ones. So I won't. I'll just say sorry, for life has been busy, in a strange mental yet quiet sort of way.

What's going down?

Well the girls, A and K that is, are doing their thing, strutting their stuff like teenage girls do. A is now doing her gap year, working and trying to save money to pay for travels around the world, including Sri Lanka, in the early part of next year.

I'm not joking when I tell you that I honestly feel tremors in my stomach whenever I think of her travelling around the world, even with friends. If you love somebody set them free is all well and good, but I think it should have been "If you love somebody set them free and shit yourself a little bit". Still, what to do? She's going, she's eighteen and, in my humble one, one of the most important aspects of parenting is giving your advice, then watching kids go off and make mistakes and helping them when they do. Not that travelling is a mistake by any means.

And K is now at college, doing double maths and English. She's heavily into her music, which pleases me no end. Yesterday she sent me a text to ask about Audioslave and Soundgarden and Chris Cornell. I was pleased to reply and give her a brief rundown of their history. Of course, you already know it, so I won't patronise you by explaining it again. She's also a huge fan of the esteemed Mr Grohl. I like that.

C, that other woman in my life, is off working in Singapore. If you're one of those who sees her sporadically in Colombo and have been wondering where she is, well that's the answer. And it's also why I haven't hit the motherland for a few months. I'm at that pining stage now, missing the good things and putting the bad ones right to the back of my mind.

I've been doing a hell of a lot of drumming lately. Since we last spoke I've found that I'm playing for a Tina Turner tribute band. Well, I think I'm depping for the regular drummer but gigs have been quite frequent. It's a blast, playing good old fashioned R + B from the days when R + B was R + B not this bump 'n' grind  R +B that the kids know.

The punk band also continues, not without its frustrations. We'll see what happens to it, but I'm enjoying trying to play punk with authenticity. It's actually a challenge as all these punk bands from the late seventies and early eighties were just learning to play when they emerged. So, not that I'm any kind of expert player now, I have to consciously play as if I've still learning the ropes. I kid you not when I say it's a bit of a feat.

On top of that is the fact that many of these bands and musicians are currently out playing and on tour but are now some of the best musicians around. If you hear them playing a song now that was originally a hit in the heady days of punk it's usually with a level of finesse and musicianship that I can only dream of. I have to find a comfortable middle ground between the two extremes. Oh, and play really fast.

And The Breaks, the covers band, continues marching onwards and sideways. We plan to go into a studio sometime in January to bung down a demo of some sorts. We've decided on ten tracks, though I feel a little doubtful if we'll get that many down in two to three days. It will be total blast, of that I'm sure. I've been into studios with previous bands and each time we've ended up much closer as people and tighter as a band from the experience.

On the lesson side of things I've been studying Jazz. It's hard, as if the last fifteen years of playing have been spent learning one language and, all of a sudden, I'm told "now we're going to learn how to make cheese".

But I'm listening to it at every opportunity, trying to take it in by osmosis and feel the stuff, to think two and four instead of one and three, and to suddenly forget about the bass drum as the be all and end all of things. And you know how I like my right foot normally. My parents are huge Jazz fans and always have been so it feels as if I'm coming full circle to the music I grew up listening to. I only wish I'd paid a bit more attention to it as a kid.

Here in Londinium we've got proper Christmas weather, without the snow that is. I saw someone on Facebook say that she'd seen the Coca Cola ad on TV over the weekend, the true spirit of Christmas "Holidays are coming" one. I haven't witnessed it this year yet, but everyone knows it's the first sign of the season proper. It seems like a lifetime ago when we were all watching the Olympics and wearing T shirts, shorts and flip flops Hawaiinas.

My Mum is having kittens about the logistics and arrangements for Christmas, the shops are getting crowded and the autumnal colours and moving from the trees to the pavements.

It's all good.

Ah yes, I know what I was going to tell you; I tried making a chicken curry the other day, but used chorizo in the starting line up, frying little bits of it with the garlic, onions, rampe and curry leaves. Someone suggested it to me and it adds a interestingly reddish paprikaish twist to things. I'm sure it's not for everyone but I reckon I'll do it again.

Just saying.

I hope your week is a good one and happy birthday to my good friend David Blacker for yesterday.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Bless Those Working Classes!

There I was, like any good Brit, sitting in my local Indian restaurant quietly waiting for my takeaway. The door opened and in walked what can only be described as, well, a working class salt of the earth type of fellow. The sort of chap who you wouldn't want to meet in a dark, or even a well lit alley. But, this was an Indian so things were probably going to be friendly.

He sat down opposite me at the waiting for your takeaway and reading The Sun table. I was already seated and busy reading the Sun. There was working class muck all over him, the stuff that the blokes who work on building sites accumulate throughout the day. Plaster, brick dust, urine and the like.

The waiter tried to give him a menu and he said no, he knew what he wanted. I tried to look like I wasn't listening as he ordered.

"I'll have a chicken Buriyani, two naans. Yeah and some poppadums and a couple of bottles of lager please mate."

"They're quite large bottles" said the waiter. (660 ml, I've just googled it to check)

"Yeah that's fine, two please."

"Are they to takeaway?"

"No I'll have them while I wait."

He had my begrudging respect. I could drink two of these in a week and I'd be shitfaced. I had a slight feeling that the beers would turn up and he'd complain that they were too big but deep down I knew that wasn't going to happen.

The order was placed with the certainty of a man who eats a lot of Indian food (I should know). No menu was needed, any hesitation was merely because he was deciding what to eat, not what was on the menu. There are two characteristics of the traditional working class Brit; they hate foreigners and they know their Indian food.

So I was surprised, and remain it, to hear the next bit.

"Anything else Sir?"

The working class man, we'll call him Tarquin, thought for a bit.

"No that's okay, the buriyani comes with rice doesn't it?"

"Yes it does Sir"

"That's fine then."

All that certainty, yet he wanted to know if a buriyani "came with rice". What the fuck? I can't figure it out now even. I mean, if you didn't know what a buriyani is then fair enough. But he knew, he ordered one without looking at the menu. Mad.

Still, I sat, watched the waiter arrive with the two large bottles of Cobra and pour one out. Tarquin didn't bat the faintest of eyelids at the sight of all this lager and before I could say a word half a pint had gone down in one.

I finished reading my paper and offered it to him. It's always good to bond with these chaps just in case he decides to beat me up randomly one night then recognises me and changes his mind.

"Nah ta mate, it's just the usual crap in there, same everyday"

I nodded and replied, doing my best to sound quite common. I can't remember what I said but the sentence definitely contained the words "fuck" and "tits." And "Kate" too.

We bonded and had a chat about our future Queen. Tarquin said he thought it was a load of rubbish, they were tiny anyhow. Besides over in France they all go topless all the time anyhow. Then he got up, popped his head outside the door and spoke to a small thing. I realised it was his dog and wondered if I'd wondered into a Dickens novel. When he answered the call on his iPhone I figured it probably wasn't.

He proceeded to have a chat with someone. Most of it consisted of him telling the friend that he was talking to him from his new iPhone 5, that he got it a couple of days ago and was one of the first people to get it.

"Honestly mate, have I ever lied to you?" he said convincingly.

The call finished and I did my best to check out the new iPhone. It was old and dilapidated. If it was new, then it sure had taken a battering in two days. An even bigger achievement seeing as it wasn't even out two days ago.

Tarquin looked at me.

"Ha ha, I told the cunt that I've got one of those new iPhones and he believed me" I laughed with him, as you do. By now he was on his second full pint of lager while I was still finishing my first half.

We chatted some more. He did have an iPhone, just not a new one. I told him about my iPad, we moaned about the state of the world a bit and, in the time it took me to drink one pint, he'd sunk just over three and probably would have been good to drive.

Tarquin's meal came and he bid me goodnight. I said to him that I hope he enjoys his meal and him and dog strolled off into the night. I would have shaken his hand but I'm reasonably sure chaps like that don't wash so I gave it a miss.

Salt of the earth though. Just saying.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012


I've been on a recent mission to upgrade my pants collection. And, for the benefit of any Americans, I really mean pants here, like you know, the things that your balls and willy actually are held in by, not trousers. And, for the benefit of Sri Lankans, when I say "trousers" I actually mean " a trouser".

Not that long ago I told you about my then new pants collection. Well it didn't seem that long ago, but a quick search on my blog has revealed that it was actually over four years ago. Since then I've added considerably to the collection, but the theme has remained one of Odel. There have been flowery ones, more striped ones and a generally good and colourful selection of undergarments have prevailed.

But recent visits to Colombo's finest (only) emporium have proved disappointing. It seems that these type of pants aren't around any more and I felt the need to update and upgrade. It was either that or wash them anyhow.

So the other day I could have been found lurking in mens' pants in Odel. The cheap bright ones were nowhere to be seen but there were plenty of nasty ones, the sort your Dad would wear, just not much in the way of my last collection. Before you could say "kids with jeans hanging low and showing their arse crack" I found myself browsing at those Calvin Klein ones.

I perused the options and settled on a sort of cross between a boxer short and Y front as my choice. The things were all boxed up with a photo of a muscular looking white bloke hung like a horse on each. I'm not one to fall for all this marketing hype, so merely paused to think about how much the chap looked like me before selecting about five or six pairs to buy.

Size, contrary to what they say, did matter. Trying on pants in most shops is not permitted; a great thing if you're concerned  about trying on a pair that Johnny Smelly had tried on and rejected twenty minutes ago, but a not so great thing if you're me trying to figure out what size you need.

I played the dangerous card and went for medium, knowing that small would have been a laughable option, not because of the size of my wedding tackle mind, and the only question was whether to go large or one down.

Off I went to queue at the checkouts and wait for the tourists in front of me to peer at their currency and try to figure out which notes were which and then pay for all that bargain clothing that they'd mostly end up never wearing anyhow. And a T shirt or two about saving dogs or something.  The checkout chap asked if I wanted them taken out of the boxes, to which I gave an affirmative. As a slightly serious aside isn't all this packaging just ridiculous? I'm sure I'm one of many who have no need for it and would rather see the environment protected in some small way.

A short while later and I was back at C's place trying them on. My first reaction was that they were a bit scratchy. I wondered whether this was because they were brand new and needed a wash to soften things up. Turns out I was right about that.

The choice of medium was perhaps not one of my best. There didn't seem to be a lot of room for manoeuvre and the waistband was making me do that thing stomach holding in thing that most middle aged blokes do when in the presence of
attractiveany women at all. Nevertheless I decided to give a pair a trial run out in public that evening.

I did, to discover that overall comfort was somewhat lacking. Not only that but I found my jeans sliding down to reveal the waist band of the pants, big Calvin Klein graphics and logo for all to see. Seriously I promise you I really didn't want this to happen but it did. I wasn't trying to look like Snoopy Snoopy Dog Dog or Sebastian Posingis or one of these sex gods, that's what happens when you wear these pant things. It's like it's built into their DNA or something.

So the next day I could have been spotted in that other place, Roma Four, buying a selection of almost definitely fake Paul Smith ones in a rather nice variety of colours in a size they call large.

I'm persisting with the Calvin Kleins but not as my everyday pant. I forgot to tell you earlier that being a drummer means that extended periods of playing, sitting there on the stool make me highly prone to what's technically known as "drummer's arse".

And drummer's arse means that high spec pants are often required, otherwise one can get home after an energetic band practice or gig and find all sorts of creatures and nasties nesting in there. It's so bad that sometimes I fail to even get a week of wear out of one pair of pants. Honestly I kid you not.

I live alone by the way.

Monday, September 17, 2012

On Kate's Topless Photos

Kate, the Duchess of Cambridge, and her breasts have hit the headlines, as you're possibly aware. Unlike some, I'm not going to use the incident as an excuse to publish some topless pictures of various women. No, I'm not really against "modelling" of that sort, but neither am I an advocate of it.

Frankly I just think it's a bit sad that some women want to do it and that there's sufficient demand to make them want to do it. If there wasn't the demand then they wouldn't want to do it, if they didn't do it..... you get the picture.

But I'm surprised at the Royal Fam's reaction to the publication of these pictures. Every newscast and all the papers here are full of stories about various publications being taken to court by the Royal Family, threats of people being sent to the Tower of London and all.

And that reaction, the dismay and upset, has made the episode much bigger news than it ever was in the first place.

It seems to me that, had William and Kate just laughed it off with a shrug of the shoulders, then things would have been very different. I'm not defending the rather intrusive picture taking either. Even though they were taken (as far as I can make out) within the boundaries of law, albeit Italian law which is quite oxymoronic at the best of times, particularly as far as sexual behaviour and public figures goes, I still think that their privacy has been significantly intruded upon.

However, they are senior figures of the British Royal Family and one would think that this sort of thing is something they half expect. I'm told that topless sunbathing among some of these European women is quite the done thing, that beaches in parts of France are full to the brim with breasts and armpit hair. And in Italy it's compulsory for female TV presenters to wear nothing from the waist up.

Of course over here it's fine for Britain's biggest selling newspaper to have a "page 3" every day, just not fine for the Duchess of Cambridge to appear as if she's in training for it.

But my very serious view is that the Royals would have done much better to have just laughed it off. Maybe it would have been better if Prince William had made a statement along the lines of

"Well we're disappointed that these photographs have appeared but the Duchess is proud of her body and it's not a big deal."

Followed perhaps by her next public appearance wearing one of those fake boob body mask things.

Instead of all this court case and cutting off their head business, which had merely highlighted something that most people aren't fussed about anyhow.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

On That Cartoon

I glanced at Groundviews yesterday and saw that some sort of girls' fight has broken out between Sanjana, David Blacker and DD. And, when I say "girls'" fight, I really mean a fight that girls wouldn't actually have.

If I've got it right (which is rare) then it's all because Groundviews, in this case the esteemed Mr Hattotuwa, called for the sacking of the cartoonist concerned, possibly his public hanging immediately after having his balls smeared with dog food and set upon by hungry canines.

Why? Because the cartoon has (was) deemed as insulting to women by Groundviews, as well as plenty of others.

Then, quicker than you can go and worship your mother every morning, DB and DD jump on the submit comment button and start a virtual fight with GV, along the lines of "how can you advocate free speech then say that things like this should be censored? And by the way my Mum's bigger than your Mum."

Before we know it it's handbags at twelve yards. If a real fight broke out between Sanjana, DB and DD I reckon Sanjana would emerge victorious. It's obvious really, he's the only one not weighed down by the ink of hundreds of tattoos and could run the fastest. The other two are a bit fat also.

The thing is the original Groundviews opinion wasn't about censorship, it was about taste, sexism and what's acceptable to the public to be published in a national newspaper. And, the cartoonist here just drew the cartoon. It's the editor's judgement that should be questioned.

My already limited understanding of the issue gets even more hazy next, but I think Groundviews then reviews its opinion on the cartoon, deciding that maybe its initial reaction was a bit harsh. I stand to be corrected, but with Tweets, Facebook, blogs and so many different types of media involved I just can't keep up.

If I'm right, then fair play to Sanjana. It takes an intelligent person to look at something and admit that perhaps they were wrong. If I'm wrong, then I won't admit it.

As for the cartoon itself, I just don't understand it. It's not really very funny and I'm continually confused by Sri Lanka's attitude towards gender and women. I mean really, people can leer at women, touch them up and do all sorts of things on buses while going home to worship the matriarch. And just about every Sri Lanka family has some sort of matriarch sitting there at the head, dishing out orders and perceived wisdom. Of course sometimes the matriarch is a man though.

Yes, the cartoon might be seen as degrading to women, but it's not as degrading as half the advertising in SL with its inherent sexism or many of the other behaviours that go on every day.

And strangely there's a whole load of blog posts saying nasty things about Sanjana that all have broken links, or it might be that Kottu's playing up.

Indi's got an opinion, though full of Americanisms like, and if you're bothered, you can read the explanation by the editor of Lakbima here.

I suppose that's it really. Oh I seem to have joined a punk band too, more about that later.

Monday, September 10, 2012


I've been reading lots of short stories.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

On My Dad - A Nice Update

I first told you about my Dad's cancer here, about fourteen months ago. Well it's been a long old fourteen months, full of drama, pain, happiness and sadness. Not to mention drugs, wheelchairs, chemotherapy and tears.

And yesterday we were told by the Doctor that he's in full remission. It feels weird, in a good way. For the first time I can actually feel some tears coming to my eyes since hearing the news. I'm at work, it's 7.45 AM, so I need to man up a bit before staff begin to arrive.

"In full remission" is as good as things will be with Cancer. I don't think a patient will ever be told that they're completely cured as there's always the potential that there will be Cancer cells in the body, but this phrase, the three words, are the grail.

There wasn't a big fanfare, no grand announcement from the Doctor with a cake presented or anything like that. In fact we had to pretty much lever the information out of her. The Royal Marsden, the Cancer unit where my Dad has been / is being treated is totally fantastic. It has reinforced my belief and commitment to state healthcare, not that I ever doubted it. Why so many Americans are opposed to it is beyond me.

But one thing that has been a test is the way in which we've seen such a variety of Doctors. All of them would get full marks for effort, it's just hard when there isn't one continuous line, when often the Doctor has to sit there in the appointment and read through the history to "catch up".

I wonder how others deal with similar situations to this. I must admit I have pangs of guilt. I mean I want my Dad to live as long as possible but I know we're lucky compared to many. I'm forty six and both my parents are still alive. Totally mental but alive. I know so many people who have lost one of both parents at a much younger age and, from going to the Royal Marsden so often now, I've also seen many other Cancer patients who I know may not be as lucky as us.

I guess it's not about scarcity is it?

It's not really that my Dad has won this round at the expense of someone else.

I can't believe the shift in mindset. Last Christmas we had a big family one with all of us sitting there in party hats silently wondering if there'd be another. Now they're planning their next trip to the motherland, albeit a little more sedate and conservative than usual. He played his first game of snooker the other day. He used to play at least once a week before the Cancer struck and this was his first game since. Word on the street is that it was hard work, but it's so positive.

So well, there we are. It's all good and I thought I'd share it, just in case you're not one of my Facebook friends.

Thank you sincerely for the support, kind words, prayers and thoughts.


Tuesday, August 28, 2012

London, Lanka and Lamprais

So I'm back in the UK after a glorious two weeks in Serendib. Yesterday was a lucky bank holiday Monday. Bank holidays are a bit like Poya Days except they don't happen as often, the weather's always shit and we don't drink as much.

I had hoped that the extra day would give me a bit of time to get prepared for hitting the week with a bang. I had a friend's birthday lunch to go to and a rather hefty handful of songs I need to learn for a couple of band practices in the week. But no, that bloody cough, the one I seem to always get when faced with AC or a bombardment of fans, has descended on me again. In true Sri Lankan fashion I put myself on some antibiotics with absolutely no Doctors involved in the decision making process. Love it!

I caught the flight from Serendib at 2 AM on Sunday morning and it got into London about 8 AM. It's a lovely little flight time I tell you. The scheduling meant that I got in a full day in Colombo on Saturday, a bit of a luxurious one mind, but full to the brim.

It started with a massage, slightly strange, slightly different but a massage it was for sure. The place advertised and said that customers would first be examined by their resident Doctor before he recommended the appropriate treatment. Well he took the most cursory of looks at me and C, asked if we had any particular areas of concern, then rang a bell. The masseur turned up, received some instructions and off we went.

I had slipped a disc some weeks ago so asked if the chap would go a bit gently around that neck of the woods. He didn't. But I figure thirty or forty minutes is a long time and one can easily forget instructions in that gap.

A delicious Lamprais lunch followed. I'm not sure if I'm allowed to tell you this but Indi and Blacker asked me if I wanted to be a judge in Yamu's recent Lamprais review. I was kind of gutted to have to refuse. I mean, honours, to a Kalu Suddha like me at least, don't come much higher than a request like this. I've got those kids, a business, I play in a few bands and whatnot, but to be asked to be a judge in a review of Lamprais, at Barefoot no less, really genuinely felt like I'd arrived. Of course I had arrived, but I'd also left and gone down South for a few days, hence my refusal.

But, after reflecting on it a bit, I decided that it was a good thing I couldn't make it. You people who live in Sri Lanka, you who can eat Lamprais on demand, get discerning and have expert opinions along the lines of "well the plantain in that one was a bit sub standard" or "there should have been slightly less rice in that one".

To me, just about every single Lamprais is a delicious, delectable and usually unobtainable piece of luxury cuisine. I savour every mouthful, that warm mix of aromas, flavours and textures. And frankly, sticking me in as a judge would have been like asking a desperate thirty something virgin who has been trying to get laid all his life to star as the lead in a porn film.

I would have peaked too soon, stuffing myself with Lamprais at the early stages and being unable to judge that late entrants accurately. No, the job was far better done by the experts involved. Even Blacker, who pigged out a little bit from what I heard.

I have other stories to tell. I made a promise to a German bloke that I'd write a few more blog posts, but he also made me undertake not to write rubbish. This could be hard. I'm sure you can see my dilemma.

One other thing; the increase in metered tuk tuks is brilliant isn't it? Now we can jump in and avoid all that painful haggling and pretend walking away, with the knowledge that we'll pay the going rate for the journey. It's a good solution to a problem that I'm not sure I was even that aware of. I feel a bit for the drivers though as they can't rip off "generous" tourists as easily as they could before. Now they have to pretend the meter's not working or mug them or something.

Ah yes, one final thing, really. I bought a full set of new pants. Pants, not trousers I mean. Today I'm sporting a pair of the red Paul Smith ones. I'm not one hundred per cent sure on their authenticity. Well, I know that they're definitely real pants, I just don't know if they're real Paul Smith ones.

I haven't decided what I'll wear tomorrow but I'll keep you posted!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

God Comes Clean

From the Daily Blah, sometime in the not too distant future.

God, that slightly mystical chap with a long beard and sandals, appeared at a press conference today to deny his existence. His told us:

"Well things have been a little shaky for the last few hundred years, but it was this Higgs Boson discovery that prompted me to reveal the truth. It wasn't me who created the world and man, and even women for that matter. It was all done through physics and stuff.

To be honest I was always surprised so many people believed in me for so long. I mean, for fuck's sake, look at it objectively. There were wars, with so many millions killed, there were natural disasters, people with   so little morals that they'd do unspeakable things and the believers still thought that I, with my all seeing eye, was busily pulling the strings.

Well I ask you, if there was a chap doing all this he must have been working only part time at the least. And worse, lots of my most ardent followers were paedophiles and as corrupt and dodgy as the best and highest ranking politicians in the world.  The church, don't even start there my son. It wallowed in its wealth while so much of the world basked in extreme poverty. That can't be right can it?

Yes, fair point, I did send that Jesus chap down. But I wanted him to play for Barcelona, not pretend to be my son and do his magic show. He was good, but he was no Derren Brown or David Blaine. Or even that new guy, Magician Impossible, he's fantastic he is. To be honest his walking on water act is a lot better than Jesus' was and he does tricks with iphones too.

As for Heaven, well I've got a flat in Kilburn. It's quite big and the concierge chap is called Peter, well not at weekends, that's Brian, but I can see how people got the wrong end of the stick. I couldn't get that many people in there, maybe twenty five, thirty at a push if I moved the sofa.

Gravity, there's a thing. Why on earth (did you see what I did there?) would I invent that? I fell off a ladder last week and it ached like buggery. No way would I have invented something that stupid for no reason. Life, if you ask me, would be infinitely better if we could all float and fly around at will. I'd go to Sri Lanka, maybe  even Italy, and wouldn't have to think about fares if there was no gravity.

So I want to set the record straight. I don't exist. All you religious types worshipping me can get on with some proper doing good to others now."

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Hitting All My G Spots..

And by "G" I mean those spots that make me go "Grrrrr".

I'd like to ask you. my reader, if the email I'll chuck into this post, after giving you the background, winds you up as much as it does to me. Or am I just being overly pedantic and fussy?

I deal with one of those job agencies, the sort that supplies temporary staff as and when a company like mine needs them. Now I should clarify something here; as far as I'm concerned there are three specific groups of people that are as close to vermin as I can comprehend. And I've met many individuals within these groups who are genuinely nice, warm and friendly people, it's just, put them in their work environment and they act like wankers.

They are (in no particular order) car dealers, recruitment consultants (which includes temp agencies) and estate agents. The keen and intelligent among you will have already spotted that the aforementioned email, the email I mentioned before that is, was from one of my most disliked industry types to start with, not a good place to begin.

So why do you even deal with these people RD? I hear you asking. Well it's because I have to. My company needs a sporadic supply of temporary staff and one of my responsibilities is to organise it. Life is like that. I've had to buy cars and deal with estate agents too. I've dealt with this particular temp agency for some years. Their incompetence never fails to impress. They're so incompetent that they'd probably come last in an incompetence competition.

But I stick with them. Better the devil you know and all that. They may be incompetent but some of the staff they supply are good and know the work involved. It's a bit like buying the car you really want or the house you love from an imbecile.

On Sunday night, yes Sunday night, I receive the following email from my contact at this agency. At first my reaction was one of a niggling feeling, a sort of strain around my balls, just that slight discomfort. I paid little heed to it for, as a man, I'm used to uncomfortable balls, that constant need to adjust and move them around.

But the niggling continued. Yesterday I had to read the thing again and I felt myself getting wound up by it. It's strange, you know me, I'm as mild mannered and easy going as a Dairylea triangle with a dollop of mayonnaise on top, but this has affected me.

I've pondered on it, trying to work out the logic and rationale behind the feelings. It's a combination of a few things; first it's the fact that the chap has sent it to a load of people who I assume to be his customers and let us all see each others email addresses and names, something I consider to be a large breach of professionalism.

Secondly there's the fact that he goes along the "I work so hard, never having holiday and am so dedicated to my job" approach, something I really don't care about, as I don't know the guy that well at all.

Next is his poor grammar and generally appalling linguistics. Saying "there" instead of "their", randomly using a capital L at the start of the word "Leave" and total ignorance about sentence. Construction.

Lastly the way he's used the "Mr" titles in front of his colleagues' names. It seems to be some sort of in joke, one that isn't really that funny anyhow.

Terrible. Here it is, with certain bits omitted because I, despite my intense dislike, still have a sense of what I should and shouldn't put out for all to see:

Dear All,

I know its not very often but F.... has actually given me Leave for 2 weeks, I know it's hard to believe but trust me it is true so my colleagues I will be away from the 2nd July and will be back on the 16th of July and will be leaving you with the very capable hands of Mr C......... W.... and Mr D... B...... to deal with any staff coverage. There contact details are as follows:

D...@........  on xxxxxxxxxx or C...@.......  on .....................

Kind Regards

There it is. What do you think?

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Generation Text

I saw a thing, one of those things that people put up, on Facebook the other day. It said things along the lines of:

"I'm from the generation that arrives at your house to pick you up and gets out of my car, walks up the path and rings your doorbell. You're from the generation that arrives, then sits in the car and texts or calls to say they've arrived."

Now I don't know where you fall, but I know I'm in the first lot. And frankly I'm happy about it too.

Let's be honest; this whole texting and mobile device communication phenomenon is fantastic. It's life changing, often life saving. It's changed relationships for the better, enabled long distance to be, well, not so long distance (something I know only too well). We can be in regular touch with people who our parents would never have been able to be in touch with, you know what I mean. We can genuinely find that the advantages make our lives easier.

Yet there are a generation of people who seem to take it to a level that, to me at least, is too high.

I went to pick K up from a friend's some months ago. I found the address, parked my car in a space (something you Sri Lankans might not understand!) and got out, walked to the door and rang the doorbell.

The father of K's friend answered the door. I said hello and introduced myself. He did the same, though introducing himself, not me. We had a chuckle about life, moaned about our respective daughters, then K arrived in the front hall and off we went, all smiles and laughter.

No sooner had we got in the car when K said

"Dad, what were you doing?"

I was puzzled, even more so than normal.

"What do you mean?" I replied.

"Well what were you doing ringing the bell and walking to the door? Why didn't you just text to say you were outside?" she asked.

I have to confess that the concept of pulling up outside and typing in all those characters, pressing send, then wondering if the message had gone, then waiting for a reply.....blah blah...hadn't even occurred to me.

No, it wasn't that my mental list of options even included that as one that I could possibly pick . All I had in my head was two options; ring the bell exactly as I had done or wait in the car for K to come out at the appointed time.

Because that's how I am.

And increasingly I witness people having long, protracted drawn out conversations by text when a simple phone call would be easier on every count. I see chap A text chap B asking if he wants to meet for a drink. Chap A gets no response from Chap B, then doesn't know if he's going out for a drink that night or not, so can't make other plans.

Chap A then texts Chap B again, maybe multiple times. Chap B may or may not respond but the pattern continues. It's one of questions and replies, of inconvenience when a simple phone call would be just oh so much easier for everyone.

It happened the other day. I won't name any names but we'll call her Chap C. She was trying to arrange to meet with someone, had sent several texts and go no response, so didn't know whether it was going ahead or not. Eventually I her partner suggested she call the person. It was as if I her partner had suggested the most radical and inventive idea since the thing that makes sliced bread.

What is it with these youngsters eh?

Texting is good. But sometimes, just sometimes, it's also good to talk.

Must dash.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Over Here In London....

Dear Reader,

Forgive me, and all. It's been ages. Life has got in the way of writing about life, which is no doubt a touch of irony, and I feel a need to tell you a few things about what's been going down over here in RD land.

It's been busy, that's for sure. A (the eldest) hit her eighteenth birthday. She was about twelve or thirteen when you first heard of her and her eighteenth has affected me in a strange way. I've had milestone birthdays of my own, big anniversaries and even A hitting sixteen, which these days comes about two years before eighteen.

But her eighteenth seemed bigger and more momentous than all the other ones. It's not that it makes her an adult, nor that she's changed in any great way, but just something in me, something about being the parent of a thing, a thing that in theory could go out into the world now and do her business, make what she can from it.

She's in her second year of being a drama student now and I went to see her performing in a play a couple of months ago. It's a local theatre group that she joined to gain experience, made up of young adults with A being just about the youngest one there. She didn't have a lead role but appeared fairly middle order in the proceedings. There was one bit though when she had to perform a soliloquy. It was to a whole theatre full of people and she was standing on a balcony set in a raised position onstage. Think of that balcony scene in Romeo and Juliet if it helps you.

Damn I tell you, I felt proud as punch. Even now as I write this it makes me feel a tad emotional. She delivered her speech with a level of confidence, calmness and an unhurried pace that left me in awe as I realised that my big girl is growing up. Parents will probably understand this.

Later on that night, at three in the morning, she called me and asked if I could pick her up from the after show party as she was stranded. Like any Dad I got up, changed out of my sarong and drove over to get her, hoping I'd wake up at some point.

It's funny this parenting thing; they grow up and get independent but we're still good for a lift every now and then!

And K is about to pass the sixteen mark in a few weeks time too. Which is altogether a scarier concept. She has also discovered this blog, so it would be nice if you'd leave a comment wishing her a happy birthday (it's in about three weeks time). She doing her GCSEs at the moment (what we used to call 'O' levels) and spends the majority of her time either revising or being a fangirl for her current obsession, some Scottish indie band called Twin Atlantic. They seem to have some decent songs, the kind a chap can tap a toe to, but far more satisfying is K's continued adoration and devotion to Dave Grohl.

I reckon she'd prefer Sir Dave to be her Dad rather than me. I can live with that to be honest. It is Dave we're talking about here after all.

We had the Jubilee weekend here and I loved it. C, who's in these parts for a couple of weeks, was distinctly unimpressed with much of it. Well, not so much unimpressed, more unaffected. I "made" her watch the boat pageant on TV (as much as anyone can make her do anything) and at one point I thought she might try to kill, or seriously injure me. She didn't, but I kid you not when I tell you that she would rather have watched an old episode of Sex and the City than this splendid occasion.

She quite enjoyed the gig, though was a bit narked at Kylie getting to play a whole four songs. I had to agree on that one.

The whole weekend was very lovely. I know from watching the news here that you, Johnny Foreigner, would have watched all the TV coverage anyhow, so there's not too much I can add. But it was brill and the stories about street parties, flag waving and that Great British whatsername are all true.

And I've been drumming quite a bit too. The lessons I've been having with the not so new teacher for about a year now have improved my playing unbelievably. It's also a lesson in life to me; if you want to pursue something get yourself a decent teacher and you'll progress and learn quicker than plodding through single handed. Besides, who ever heard of single handed drumming, with genuine drummers' apologies to Def Leppard fans. And yes, I meant to place that apostrophe at the end of "drummers".

I suppose that's all my news for now, I'll try to write soon, but you know how things get busy,

Please write back and let me know what's happening over there.

All my love


PS - I hope you got the package I sent, I wasn't sure if they were the type of socks you wanted so I sent both kinds.

Monday, April 23, 2012

On Buddhist Monks And Data Capture

So the new new iPad is now fully up and running and I'm just that little bit more of an Apple whorefan than I was before.


Well my iPad was stolen and it cost me quite a lot of money. But, had the same thing happened six months ago, my briefcase would have contained no iPad, just my hard copy of my daily journal. It would have held no information that would have been decipherable / of interest / of use to just about anyone, but would have been quite sad and irretrievable for me.

As you might know for many months now I've been doing a mindmap diary thing for every single day and all of them in the journal would have gone, probably lying on some street in Putney by now.

And within a couple of hours of taking delivery of the new iPad I'd restored it from the last iCloud back up. I only lost one mindmap that I'd done on Monday morning (the day of the theft), nothing else. It's hugely satisfying and, as mentioned earlier, has made me a bit more of an Apple whorefan than I was before.

But the whole restoring saga, though easy, reminded me of a post I've been meaning to write for some time. It's about passwords, well those data capture things you see. You know when you're commenting on a blog or buying something or doing any one of all sorts of things on the net and you're asked to copy the following two words and type them into the box below, to confirm you're not a robot?

Well good God, I've now got to a stage of crapping a large one when I have to do it. I just never seem to be able to read the words properly. It's not my eyes either as they're pretty good these days. I stare at the words, sometimes wondering if I'm losing my mind. Does that word say "amusing" or "arnusing"? Does it say "Large dog" or "Large clog"?

Usually I end up going for the wrong one, to be faced with a message telling me that I got it wrong and please try the next one. I've come to dread these things. If your blog is one that asks me to do it there's every chance I might comment less that I used to purely because of the serious stress involved.

And another thing. What is it with photographs of Buddhist monks these days?

We all know they're quite photogenic, especially the younger ones. With their fresh cherubic and innocent looking faces and their saffron robes (I'm running the risk if sounding like a peadophile here!) who can resist trying to take an atmospheric picture?

But we're not all Dominic Sansoni, him of the sarongs and photographs. It seems all we need is a young Buddhist monk, a window with a brightly coloured frame made of old wood and some subdued lighting and bang, or rather flash, off we go with our iphones, thinking we're all original and innovative.

Well enough. We're not.

That's it really.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Serves Me Right!!

It kind of went like this:

Sunday afternoon - Arrive back from Sri Lanka, v knackered, v smelly (with that long distance flight smell that they must spray around the cabin when people are asleep, probably opening people's mouths and bunging a bit in there too).

I unpacked, spoke to loved ones and attempted a poo. I failed in the latter task, despite the presence of the latest edition of HI!!!!!!!!!!!! Magazine to accompany me.

I downloaded my photographs, updated my iPad and generally synced more things than I know what the fuck is going on with and then got myself a few zeds in.

All in all life was peachy. I'd had a fantastic time in the motherland with C and yet was also enjoying some aspects about being back here in London, as mentioned.

Monday morning - went to work. Caught up with the things that needed catching up with (not much as most of my team are infinitely better at doing things than I am!). I put a quick Facebook status up, mentioning that it was nice to be back in a land of politeness and road manners.

In the evening I went to that night's band practice like a kid who hadn't done their homework. Because I hadn't done my homework; to learn three new songs. Don't tell the band though. My journey's listening material was the three new songs and I reckon I bluffed it successfully.

Then things went a bit wrong.

The chap, you know the one, the one who does stuff in the studio barged into our one and said:

"Sorry chaps, but does anyone here own a red Audi TT?"

And I had one of those moments, the ones that repeat in your mind, that haunt you and make you wish you could turn the clock back and do things ever so slightly differently. My first thought was that someone had crashed into it, which was unpleasant. A brand new car, with pristine bodywork is a thing of joy, never exactly the same after it's had its first accident.

"Yeah, why what's happened?" I replied, because all of us musos talk in slang like that.

"Someone's broken into it"

"Fuck" I said, and went outside.

I'll give him his due, he was telling the truth.

There stood my car looking forlorn and shattered. Literally. Well, literally apart from the "forlorn" bit. The rear windscreen was in pieces, literally, not emotionally and the parcel shelf was sticking out of it looking like a sailing boat painted by Picassso.  I sighed, as you do.

Some fuckwit had smashed it with I assume a rock or brick, stolen my briefcase, which was out of view and locked in the boot and scarpered. He'd also broken the window of another car close by and taken the chap's Blackberry.

I suspect that guy must have been watching me when I got out and put my briefcase in the boot, or it was just an opportunist act. Either way I've ended up losing an iPad and an expensive briefcase, neither of which is covered under the terms of my insurance policy.

The Police came out and took all the necessaries. Both them and I knew that nothing would come of it unless the culprit walked into the local Police station and confessed to the crime. Even then he'd have to be following the correct procedure or no charges would stick anyhow.

Our singer helped me to make a sort of emergency covering out of black bin bags to keep the glass from spilling everywhere. I was so perturbed by it that I said I was going to go home. The chaps in turn were so understanding that they let me. Weird.

But I genuinely think I've been lucky. The only bit of damage to the bodywork is a tiny paint chip about 2mm in diameter, down to the bare metal. A touch up pen is on its way to me to sort that out.

The new windscreen is on order and the car currently has a couple of large pieces of industrial strength cling film standing in. So it means I have to use a hire car, not covered by insurance either!

My iPad has become very important to me so I've ordered a new one and will just have to pay for it. But, with technology and the iCloud on my side, I should be able to restore the new one so it's a complete clone of the old one the night the thing got stolen. Of course I have to wait for the beast as Apple have strangely miscalculated demand for it and don't have any in stock (or have they?).

But it's a bummer of a thing to happen. I hope the piece of shit who did it one day has to go through the expense and hassle that I have, just so he knows what it's like. It's cost me many hundred, well more like a thousand or more pounds, just so some idiot can get fifty quid for an iPad down the pub to spend on drugs or whatever.

Still, that's what happens in a land of road manners and politeness!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Back In Londinium

So here I am after a rather fantastic little sojourn in the motherland. It's both nasty and nice to be back, but the jaunt was an eventful, enjoyable and enlightening one. If I could think of another adjective beginning with E, believe me I'd have thrown it in there too.

As I sit here at my desk in that slightly dazed, recovering from jetlag and feeling a bit lightheaded, partly because I haven't managed a decent poo in the last twenty four hours, I miss lots of things about Sri Lanka.

There's C for a start. This long distance relationship thing is hard at times, harder at other times. And this is one of the latter. But I won't get all poetic about that sort of thing, it would freak you out a bit I'm sure.

There's also the heat.

While you lot are mostly putting up with and complaining about the current heat I struggle with a temperature of about minus nine zillion degrees. The heating in my office is on and I'm wrapped in more layers than in a chocolate biscuit pudding. Well, one with three layers that is.

On the nice side I missed A and K when I was away and it feels good to be back with them. K sort of moved in to my apartment when I was away and has left it in a state of tidiness and cleanliness. I must admit to some surprise of the pleasant variety at that.

I haven't seen them since getting back but will in the next couple of days, a serious plus to being in the same country!

And I do like to orderliness of the UK. Seriously. I like the fact that we have road rules, ones that are obeyed by most people and primarily designed to keep people safe. I think I'm a pretty calm and mellow chap, rarely scared by Sri Lankan driving and drivers, but my journey to the airport in the rain on Saturday night genuinely made me worried.

The cab driver was driving way too fast, too close too other vehicles and made me feel wholly unsafe. At one point, being the Brit, I nearly said something to him.

After getting back I had to nip down to my local Tesco to get some supplies in and got a little inner pleasure at the good manners and politeness of people. That British thing is quite nice you know. Sorry. Just saying.

A few people said some nice things about this blog too, about that fact that they miss more regular posts, that I've been quiet lately. Well I return with a large dose of potential posts to write, so will endeavour to get those done in the near future. Some of them are probably about you, especially if you're the proud owner of an bag; one with a proper light that straps to your head, you know the sort.

I had a go at taking some pictures of the lightning during that big thunderstorm last week. I've never tried it before and it's mostly a combination of luck, chance and the tiniest little bit of judgement. After about an hour and what would have been two to three rolls of film, were it not for the joys of digital, I caught this one. I rather like it. It's not perfect but it will go in my file of personal favourites. Excuse the onscreen quality. I think it's to do with Blogger, compression and things. The real thing is much tastier. But, even if I say it myself, wow, just look at that lightning.

Friday, March 23, 2012

The Way I See It

Is actually very simple.

Inconsistency, demonstrated by governments, the UN or pretty much anyone, is bad. It muddies the waters and confuses things. Consistent behaviour is much easier for anyone to understand.

Anything that demonstrates intolerance for the abuse of people's human rights is good.

That's it.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Thoughts On The Killing Fields 2

Like so many diasporic Sri Lankans I watched it, even staying up late (by my currently low standards that is).

Did I think that the first programme was a good thing? Yes. There's a line, a quandary, a grey area after any conflictual situation. And it's about what we should just put behind us and forget or accept and what we need to analyse and dissect in order to learn from to move forward.

There's probably no one who would suggest that it's wise to forget and / or accept absolutely everything, on all sides, and there's probably no one who would think that's it's sensible to analyse and dissect every single thing. But the line has to be drawn somewhere and, for me, much of the positioning of the line has to do with the issue of civilian casualties (which sounds so much more PC than "civilians deaths").

Up until after the showing of the first Killing Fields documentary there were of course no civilian deaths in the final days of the conflict at the hands of the GoSL.I'm not sure that there was a strict and binary tipping point but I'm convinced that the doco was the closest thing to it in getting the GoSL to change its approach. Frankly that was a good thing, only a start but a good thing nonetheless.

I asked a good friend about things and he told me that many people on the GoSL's side feel that they're being attacked and that they didn't do anything wrong in the first place. I asked him how those people could explain then the GoSL's change in stance from "no civilian casualties" to what it is now.

His response, which actually did astound me, was that "if there had been no accusations in the first place they wouldn't have said zero casualties".  Of course there's no way of testing his theory but I just don't accept it. Chap A commits a crime, gets accused of it and, faced with a large amount of evidence, fesses up to it (a bit). And the theory goes that, had chap A not been accused then he would have admitted to it anyhow. Hmmm....spurious.

Over here the publicity leading up to the showing of KF2 was big in an underground sort of way. From the things I see and have seen on the net I get the impression that people in Sri Lanka think that the whole of the UK observes things in Lanka and spends a lot more time and energy discussing them than is actually the case. It's weird; the people who have an interest are interested and the rest just don't give a flying fuck.  The Sri Lankans and the Sri Lankan diaspora were all aware of the programme, I'm sure a few who had that interest, maybe people who have holidayed in SL or who do business were interested too.

But, most people aren't that bothered. It's the morning after the night before and, as I sit here in my office dwelling on it, not one person here so far has mentioned the programme, asked my opinion or anything similar.

Before KF2 I had hoped that Channel 4, or the programme's makers at least, wouldn't make the "mistakes" ( a term I use very loosely) that had been made in the KF1, as those elements were used by some to attack the credibility of the makers and therefore the documentary. It's the most basic of schoolboy tactics; shooting the messenger, but can be highly effective. And it was. After seeing it I reckon they did a better job in that respect, but time will tell.

*As it happens, about five minutes after I wrote the sentence in which I told you that no one in my office had asked about the programme, someone did. She was horrified.*

For the record though Jon Snow is a highly respected journalist and presenter here and most find it hard to believe that he's full to the brim with the lack of integrity and hidden agenda many have suggested.

I suppose, for people who have some knowledge of Sri Lanka anyway, things like KF2 don't really change anything. They just reinforce opinions, whatever those might be. I didn't really watch and learn anything I didn't already think or know and I'd bet that was the case for you too.

But, for those who are still learning, these things are a source of knowledge.

I had my girls with me last night but dropped them back at their mother's before the programmes started. They're almost sixteen and almost eighteen now, so I mentioned to them that it was going to be on TV later, without trying to push them to watch it.

I'm not sure about K, but I know A (the eldest) did watch it. They love Sri Lanka and have been going there regularly since they were each about eighteen months old, but don't know much about its politics.

A texted me late at night and said:

"Is this what the Tamils did?"

I replied and said:

"Well its what both sides did A, really sad." I missed out the apostrophe in "it's" but it was a text and I sometimes live dangerously and go a little crazy like that.

She responded:

"That was horrible. What's sad is that it kind of makes me sort of not proud to say I'm from there after seeing that programme."

"I know and I understand". I said.

And I do know. And I do understand.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Good Things About Being Brown

This whole being brown business is quite good isn't it?

Growing up and going to school in London in the 1980s meant that I witnessed a fair bit of racist tendencies; the rise of the National Front and a few racially lead riots and skirmishes.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying I witnessed any of the riots first hand, god no, we were far too middle class for that! But there was a bit of "racism" at school, which people grew out of after they matured a bit. They're now all politicians, heads of police forces, newspapers and those other places where racism, bigotry and corruption just don't exist.

Since those days though I can honestly say I've always felt quite glad to be a brown fellow.

It's not one of my favourite colours though. I like a decent pair of brown shoes, preferring them over black except when the need to be very formal crops up. I do own some miscellaneous brown clothes, but I can't see myself ever buying a brown car. Red, as far as cars go, and usually they do, is my most bestest favouritest choice.

In as much as skin colour goes I'm pretty pleased with the brown option. Black is nice. I prefer the look of brown but I'd quite like the natural rhythm of a black person. Instead most of us brown people are born with a natural ability to dance like a pissed up Sri Lankan Uncle at a second cousin's brother's wife's daughter's wedding. Which is a bummer. On the other hand we don't have the big nostrils, which is good.

I fail to understand why some people buy and use all these products to make themselves whiter. Seriously, what's all that about, we've got the perfect tone already, why do you want to look white?

I see white people sunbathing, working on their tans and spending days and weeks trying to look more like us. And, though some health freak will no doubt comment and say that we should do, we never have to use all that sunblock and whatnot, because we don't get orange in the sun. Not that we sit in it for hours anyhow.

The other day, which is why I started to write this in the first place, I saw a friend, of the white variety. It was in January and she'd just returned from a Christmas holiday in Goa. She'd evidently spent a large part of this holiday doing some of that aforementioned sunbathing (which means I mentioned it before).

How do I know this?

Well I'll tell you how I know this.

I will so.

She was bright fucking orange.

I kid you not.

Bright luminous intense orange. I mean so bright and so orange that if I was looking for a nice juicy orange to play the part of a nice juicy orange in an advert I was filming for some new orange juice made from special genetically modified orange oranges, then I'd use her as an example of how orange I'd need him (or her) to be. Then I'd day, well actually we need him (or her) to be about half that strength of orangeness.

And she was clearly proud of the colour too. I shook my head in that bemused fashion.

It's good to be brown. Even if we can't dance.

Monday, February 27, 2012

So RD, Are You Still Blogging?

I visited some old friends the other day. I don't mean that they're very old in terms of age, just that I've known them for a long time, like probably longer than you are old.

We chatted about all things Sri Lankan, about the fact that the things that are generally good for the country; hotel prices rising, cost of living going up (debatable), more tourists everywhere etc, are not necessarily good for the individual, yet that is progress. At least it is according to most people.

And then J said to me "Are you still blogging?", which was a major surprise of a question.

Why, I hear you ask. Well firstly because I was totally unaware that J knew about my blog. My memory can be weird, so frankly I can't be sure when or if I'd ever told J about it, but at that point I'd hadn't realised she knew. So, and sorry if I'm rambling incoherently here, she had been happily sitting in the venn diagram circle containing people who are unaware of my blog until asking the question.

But, you know me. I'm used to reacting quickly, like a bloke with a super agile and highly trained what's it called. Brain, that's it. And within minutes, a mere thirty or so, I'd regained my composure and looked calm and collected, albeit in a not being able to think of an answer sort of way.

Then I realised that I had to think of my answer.

"Are you still blogging?" The question echoed around my head. Had it been flung at me a few months, perhaps even weeks ago, my answer would have been an emphatic and resounding yes. But these days I'm just not sure.

The Lankanosphere has changed and morphed into a very different beast to the one it was a few years ago. The new Kottu is great, I really like what Indi and his team of Neeks have done to it, but the blogs, apart from the old favourites like LD and Cerno, just don't interest me. I'm not making judgements or criticising, it's just that not many of them grab my attention. Are they good blogs? Largely yes, they are, just not for me.

And most people these days would rather whack out a little Tweet or put something up on Facebook than take the time to write out a nicely thought out blog post, one with proper words and sentences.

But I quite like the thought of being one of the last men standing. Blogging seems to have shifted its position in the cyberworld, from something that everyone was doing because, well, because everyone was doing it, to something that is now only done by the specialists and real enthusiasts.

My answer to the question?

Yes, I'm still blogging.

I just need to think about some things to write about now.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Blokes I'd Like To Beat Up

You know me, I'm not a violent type. If I was, then my lack of technique would deem me to be an unsuccessful one. But now and again I come across a chap, or some fellows, who bring out David Blacker type feelings in me. By that I mean I just want to beat them up, not other things along sexual themes, before you wisecrack. And I don't mean I'd like to beat David Blacker up either. If I even dreamt of beating him up I'd have to apologise when I woke up.

There I was the other week at a meeting. It was one of those quite boring yet quite interesting industry meetings; the sort in which the content can be fascinating but the delivery and the people who do the delivery can induce sleep in the most insomniacal of people. It's a meeting that I go to about once a quarter and, as a result, I've got to know the other people there quite well.

There's one bloke in particular who makes me have violent thoughts. Every little thing about him, from the way he walks to the way he talks to the way he forks, they all get on my nerves.(I couldn't think of any other word to rhyme there, sorry about that) He's the human equivalent of fingernails down a blackboard; intelligent and bright yet annoying like a fuckpig.And of course, as is the case with these annoying types, he loves the sound of his own voice. Give him the slightest chance to talk and he'll take it and run miles carrying it in his arms before anyone else has the slightest chance to catch up.

We came to one point on the agenda, as yes, it's one of those meetings that even has an agenda, and he began to pontificate. Then, he started to talk and I'll quote him word for word:

"Blah, blah blah murmur, murmur, blah blah, blah, hissy fit, blah reciprocity"

"Eh" I thought to myself. For I've read it a few times, but as far as I could recall, I'd never actually heard the word "reciprocity" used in real life. I never even knew that the last two syllables in the word were pronounced like "city" instead of "kitty". But seriously these types who chuck in big flashy words when simple ones, albeit more of them, would do just as good a job, what are they like?

Then, not a few minutes later, though it was a few minutes later, he went off on another one, this time talking about something else, and topped the previous sentence. It went like this, verbatim:

"Blah, blah blah, murmur, murmur, blah blah, blah, hissy fit, blah symbiocity"

Seriously, I kid you not. Presumably just in case anyone hadn't fully grasped what a wanker he is from his use of "reciprocity" he wanted to make sure by using "symbiocity".

I'd like to beat him up. Simple really.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Pet Linguistic Hates

I'm quite fussy about my words I am. I'm not very good at them, nor do I proclaim myself to be some kind of authority on all things wordy (except in private of course), but there are things I like and things I abhor.

I like a good apostrophe, one thats' thrown in at the right place (did you see what I did their?), and proper and correct use of the words "there",  "their" and "they're". But, as Mr Wittekind, my rather inspiring old English teacher used to say, it's all communication and the point of it is to make people understand each other. So, as long as that happens, let's not get too anal about things.

Some things though just get on my fucking nerves. Simple. Here's a list of them, one that I reserve the right to change my mind about at any point in the future, or in the past, but only after, perhaps before, we've sorted out time travel:

"Can I get? / Can I ask?" - You know when someone says "Can I ask how old you are?" Well the only proper way to answer the question is to say yes or no. Perhaps "of course you can, go on then?" might also be used. And when you're in a coffee shop and say "Can I get a cappuccino, hold the tomatoes?" Well I'd just love the server to say "Yeah of course you can, it's over there, help yourself".

"It's a big ask" - The most frustrating thing about this phrase is that I've caught it creeping into my own language recently. Well I don't want it in my arsenal of phrases. It's not an "ask", it's a question, perhaps a request. As far as I'm concerned the word "ask" is a verb. Is it really that much more effort to say one more syllable and use "question"? I request you. And seriously, why is it that so many black people can't say "ask"?

"Is liking" - This is a dodgy one. Of course I blame that Justin Timberland and his McDonald's adverts, but that's another issue. I suppose, taken to extremes, if a person likes something but on an ongoing basis, like the weather at the moment or the pants I've been wearing for the last few days, then it's okay to use, as the act of liking has happened but is also continuing to happen. And, while I'm on the subject of the weather, it's bloody freezing here right now. But, if you "liked" something you saw yesterday, then just don't say that you're "liking" it. Why? Because it's wrong and we're not Americans around here now are we?

"International standard" - I reckon any Sri Lankan will understand why this fills me with strangely mixed feelings of frustration. It shouldn't be the case that some things made and / or sold in the motherland fall, or don't fall up to "international standard". The very use of the phrase implies that there is one standard for things sold within Sri Lanka and another for those sold outside Sri Lanka. Yet so often it's true and I wish it wasn't. I suppose it's entirely correct in terms of linguistics, I just wish it wasn't used, that's all.

"Safe haven" - A haven is a safe place. So why on earth is everyone's current favourite phase the aforementioned one?

"Overused cliche" - My dictionary tell me that a cliche is "a word or expression that has lost much of its force through overexposure." So, by definition a cliche is overused. Just say the word "cliche" then. The time you save in not using the word "overused" can actually be put to use when you start to use the word "question" instead of "ask". There's a thought.

What are your pet linguistic hates then?

Monday, January 30, 2012

There Are Two Types of People....

..those who poo at the office and those who don't / can't / won't.

And I fall into the latter category, pretty damn firmly I might add.

I'm a home loving bird who likes my own toilet and has a certain level of bowel discipline that others, I fear, just don't possess, or perhaps don't want to possess. The whole procedure involved in dropping number twos in my own bathroom is one of life's luxurious tasks, when done properly.

I like to start by getting comfortable. This, and I tell you at the risk of giving away way too much information, necessitates some removal of clothes. Trousers and pants that is. I find that this lets me widen my legs by the correct angle, thereby ensuring the aperture is open the right amount. A half closed aperture, which happens so often if I'm caught short and have to do the dirty at work, can often make wiping one of those messy, dirty, use the best part of a whole toilet roll type of jobs.

Comfort and relaxation also involves, crucial for men but strangely not for women, one's choice of reading matter. I'm of course partial to a drumming magazine, but failing that a good car mag or perhaps a mens' magazine (no, not that sort) will happily suffice. The important point here is that no self respecting man wants a title that involves too much of the written word. Brief paragraphs are ideal, preferably if they're extended captions for photographs. Any more than that and we lose our place too easily between strains and plops.

Most men like to glance down into the pan to admire our work and there's nothing worse than when you do that and lose your place in a complicated article about the state of the economy in Europe or something.  I also find a bit of straining can make me take my eyes off the page and lose my place. It's just easier and simpler to only have to think of a big picture of a Ferrari to have to refocus on.

All of this very personal stuff is only really possible when I'm at home. I once worked in a rather large shop and there was a bloke who'd go into the staff toilet every morning without fail with a cup of coffee and that day's issue of The Sun. It was disgusting. Cultured and classy chaps like me draw a line somewhere.

And, you know when you've unloaded one of those quite large and firm logs? Not too long, not the kind that just slide into the water gently like a snake and definitely not the little rabbit dropping sort that go "plop" but have no splashback either. I'm talking about those very distinct medium size but heavy ones, the ones that have an impact that splashes.

Well there's nothing worse than the thought of someone else's germs, poo and urine being mixed in with the ingredients of the splashback water is there? I know a fellow who always used to lay a "lining" of toilet paper in the pan before he started. Ostensibly it was to prevent the noise of the splashes but I wouldn't be surprised if it was also to prevent the splash germ thing.

Smell is another factor. Let's face it, we all love the smell of our own emissions. They're our own work and they smell interesting and fascinating, whereas other's people's ones are just plain foul. And a toilet that has even the vaguest hint of odour from previous occupants is merely a toilet. As a parent I can say that one's own kids fall into an in between category. The older they get the worse the smell tends to be. That's with two daughters, God alone knows what I'd think if I had boys.

But, the thing is, none of these things matter when I'm at home.

There are times when I've been forced to pay a visit whilst at work. It's almost always satisfying, most likely because I've spent the previous few hours doing my utmost to keep it in until I get home, but I feel as if I'm cheating on my home toilet.

I kind of envy those chaps who just pop off to any toilet anywhere, do their business and then carry on with their day as if they're normal. One friend of mine goes regularly through the course of the day about five or six times and most of these are at work. Mind you, he's a highly successful solicitor so may well have personalised toilets and a little Filipino boy to wipe his arse.

But no, that's not for me. I'm a home loving chap.

Except when necessity strikes.

Which one are you?

Monday, January 23, 2012

Touched By Your Presents Dear

Over four years ago I wrote this post, in which I told you about M, one of my employees, and his somewhat unusual toilet behaviour. He's from the Ivory Coast, which probably explains everything. As we're taught in schools here, foreigners can't be trusted.

At Christmas time M went back to the Ivory Coast for a one month holiday. It was a big one, the first time he'd been back since he left, the first time he was taking his newish wife and child to see his family, something most people who read this can relate to.

We were going to miss him at work as he's one of the absolute best people I have, but I felt pleased for him and genuinely wished him bon voyage. Which was handy, as they speak French over there and the only other French I know are random words found on menus and in supermarkets.

He went off, we worked on and all was sweet.

Then, he came back.

Owl was happy, Piglet was happy and even Eeyore, usually the most miserable of them all, smiled a little bit.
Everyone was happy to see M back at work. There were slaps on the back, smiles, proper handshakes and a good few of those trendy handshakes that black people favour. I did the boss thing and asked him how the holiday was, making all the right noises, some even at the right time.

And then M told me that he'd bought a little present for me. I felt sincerely touched, though not literally touched, as he presented me with a carrier bag with something inside it.

I opened the bag. I took out the present.

You know when you get a gift from someone and you have to fake appreciation, when you have to pretend that it's a thing you were only thinking about buying last Tuesday, perhaps even Wednesday, when the reality is totally different? Well that's quite easy isn't it? We all do it now and again, it's part of life. Although come to think of it I was recently told that I wasn't good at it when in actual fact I really did like the presents in question. Anyhow, I digress.

What I meant was that this was one of those times when a chap is tested, when the mettle is really pushed to its outer limits, when I'm not sure if my face could portray something that was different to what was going on in my head.

For I held the present in my hand and stared, wondering what exactly had gone through M's head when he'd decided to give me the thing.

What was it?

A three pack of white vests, large.

I don't wear vests.

If I did, they wouldn't be large and, as one of my partners said to me when I showed him later, one man never gives another man underwear anyhow.

Strange.I'll probably have to give them to someone as a present.

Monday, January 16, 2012

You Little Beauty

I just had to share this with you.

So many of the conversations I have with musos these days bemoan the lack of decent new music around at the moment, then I stumble on this.

It reminds me of all that's good about music, the joy, the fun and what can be made by people with real talent.

And it does what great music should do; it makes me smile. Check it out.

Monday, January 9, 2012

2012 and all that.

Happy New 2012 to you.

It's Sunday morning as I write this and the holiday season is rapidly coming to an end. I've just dropped C at Heathrow so she can return to Singapore and I'm mentally preparing myself for my return to work tomorrow. These long distance relationships are full of ups and those other things, downs, that's them, and this is one example.

Only a few hours ago I sat here with C and the girls and we were watching Jurassic Park, eating Super Noodles and just generally shooting the breeze with plenty of activity. Now, as Bjork would no doubt say, it's oh so quiet and I go back to the pretty solitary life. She wouldn't have said the bit about going back to the solitary life, that was just me.

The festive season was a particularly good one, full of variety and spending time with the people who matter the most to me. C and I got in a few days break to Cornwall, which was damn fine. I haven't been there since I was a little kid and was amazed by the eerily bright and sunny light there. Lots of people have said that's why so many artists have felt drawn there over the years. It was something I never understood until seeing it for myself.

We went to the Tate (Cornwall dept) and I must tell you that I strolled around feeling more confused than a fart in a collander. What is it with this modern art business? Seriously, I ask you. There was one piece that was a white canvas with a small black line painted across the corner. It wasn't even a straight line, not even done with a ruler. My life as a parent is full of memories of A and K bringing back "art" like this from their nursery school days that would have then been displayed on a wall at home for a few weeks before being consigned to the attic or dustbin. If I could have come up with a story about the thinking that went into the placement off the crappy black line, or how the empty space symbolises the relationship between the human mind and a piece of cheese (not cheddar), I could have sold the things and made fortunes. But you know me, I'm just too honest for that kind of thing.

Overall though the Cornwall trip was a welcome sojourn and the new car was allowed to open up and fly for a bit. It doesn't really fly though you understand.

The afternoon is going to be a busy one here. I'll probably pop over to see my olds in a minute. The cancer continues to be fought and things look positive and good, yet we can't seem to get my Dad to have a positive and happy attitude about things. No one ever said this battle was going to be easy, but the unexpected things are, well, unexpected.

Then, after the parental visit, I've got a ton of drum practice to do, hard stuff at that.

So then I'll wish you a good week and an even better year, particularly to all those people like G12 who may be getting back to normality like I will be by the time you read this. And my apologies for any errors in the formatting of this post as I'm trying out a new device and not entirely us how to use the bloody thing.