Monthly Archives: October 2006

Proper, real published author

No, not me – my brother.

Grandad’s Ashes, published February 2007 but available on pre-order now. Also from Amazon.

Yes, he’s called Mike, but he decided to publish under his middle name.

I, for one, will be buying several thousand copies.

1 Comment

Filed under Random

Pass it on

Jumping straight into my top five films of the year, The History Boys.

Now I don’t remember school being quite like that in the 80s, but then I went to a comprehensive.

Hang on. I’ve just remembered one particular teacher. But apart from him (and that was just gossip), it wasn’t like that.

We did have a day trip to Cambridge, but not for formal interviews – just a snooping session, friendly chats, that sort of thing, to see whether we were interested in applying. Our head-of-year drove the three of us to Cambridge in her mini; the only details I remember from that journey are, bizarrely, joining the A1 (from a country lane, slip roads were for wimps) and listening to Bohemian Rhapsody at full volume. It was the first and only time she ever seemed human (the rest of the time she just clomped around school in her very sensible shoes being grumpy).

I went to see Downing and Magdalene. The tutor we saw at Downing told us he knew one of the students from our school at the college, “Judith Mel-hyoo-ish, yes, I know her well.” Not well enough to know how to pronounce her surname, though. I remember we had lunch there with some undergrads, but not much else.

At Magdalene I chatted to a tutor in his little office in the ramshackle tudor buildings behind Magdalene Street. I decided I preferred Downing; one reason, I remember, was that Magdalene was then still males only. Insert your own jokes here.

Our teacher took us for a cup of tea at the University Arms before we went home.

And then, of course, I went to Kent. But that’s another story.

Anyway, the film’s great. If there’s any chance of your seeing it, do. That would please Hector. “Your seeing it.” It’s a gerund. He likes gerunds.

Avaragado’s rating: rubber chicken and rice, I think

1 Comment

Filed under Random

Edwinns and Darth Vader

Garfunkels begat the Filling Station, and yea, verily, it was rubbish. Not that I ever went there – simply looking through the window filled me with horror. Seating areas dressed as car seats, hyperventilating oversugared tykes bouncing off each other, Sky Sports shrieking at sweaty combovers. When I saw the builders moving in once more I stood in the street, laughing maniacally. “GO ON,” I screamed, “CLEAR THEM OUT! GOOD RIDDANCE! GERTCHA! HAHAHA!!”

This I now concede, officer, may have been a slight overreaction.

Those times are thankfully past, and my ASBO is all but expired. The Filling Station has become Edwinns Restaurant and Bar, a much classier joint. No riff-raff here, oh no. Not until we turned up on Saturday night.

Me, Chef, Louise, Lynda, Bov, Chrissie, Chris. (Melanie was hobnobbing with celebs at the ballet, Andy was being orchestral.) A nice round table, with no immediate neighbours to tut at Chef as his volume touched 11.

The service was fine but on the slow side, eased by the wine. Lots of time to chat, anyway, some of which I couldn’t possibly repeat on a school night. We made our waiter laugh, which is always a good sign I feel.

For the record, I had the cottage pie, labelled on the menu as being vegan and gluten-free, which is unusually informative. And I can heartily recommend its lentil goodness, with green beans and dauphinoise potatoes.

Chef managed to accidentally pay for the entire meal on his card, due to a waiter typo and his own drunkenness. He pocketed the cash, like a true city boy. In a shiny shirt.

Avaragado’s rating: buffalo mozzarella

Bov and Chrissie scarpered home as the rest of us retired to the Pickerel for another drink. Chris, I suspect, has only a vague memory of leaving Andy a rambling voicemail. The remaining ladies didn’t last long, leaving Chef, Chris and myself to talk nonsense until outchucking at, I guess, some time after midnight. Since Chef was staying Chez Avaragado (Hotel Heckford unavailable) Chris accompanied us both back to my place for another bottle of wine.

Well, Chris had a sip and nodded off, waking only to deny being asleep. Chef burbled on in his usual way. In a peculiar mixture of 21st century zeitgeistery with a nostalgia for things that happened before we were born, we watched sketches from Not Only But Also on YouTube. “Are you enjoying that sandwich?”

We also watched a work of genius: Vader Sessions. It’s even funny when sober.

Leave a comment

Filed under Random

Today’s Daily Express

Originally uploaded by avaragado.

My money’s on the dead one.

Leave a comment

Filed under Random

The Secret Policeman’s Ball

The first Secret Policeman’s Ball in umpteen years took place last night at the Albert Hall. A host of celebrities, etc. Tickets were £100 a go. So we didn’t.

Instead, we watched live from the comfort of the Picturehouse Cinema. Just £12 a ticket, and shorter toilet and bar queues. And no missing the last train.

We ate early; De Luca was unsurprisingly almost empty at 5pm. The show started at nearly 7:45, fifteen minutes later than scheduled and 45 minutes later than shown on our tickets. Bah, to think we could have eaten at the far more respectable time of 5:30.

Here are one-word summaries of various acts.

  • The Zutons: subdued
  • Chevy Chase/Seth Green: OK
  • Jimmy Fallon/Barry from Eastenders: good
  • Dylan Moran: good
  • Andrew Maxwell: hmmmm
  • Jessica Stevenson/Julia Davies: OK
  • Russell Brand: excellent
  • Graham Norton/Ronnie Ancona/Jon Culshaw: impressive
  • Al Murray: splendid
  • The Magic Numbers: meh
  • The Mighty Boosh: acceptable
  • Sarah Silverman: odd
  • Omid Djalili: poor
  • Green Wing: poor
  • Richard E. Grant + others: OK
  • Natalie Imbruglia + David Armand: excellent
  • Eddie Izzard: excellent

Avaragado’s rating: one unopened pot of honey

1 Comment

Filed under Random

Bingo bingo quiz

Wednesday night is quiz’n’bingo night at the Fleur. I usually pop down, even if I’m on my own, as it’s fun to watch and listen even when not actively participating. My usual quizchum, Andrew, is unwell at the moment so I texted another friend, Robert, wondering if he might like to join me.

He arrived just minutes before the quiz started. We took a snap decision to pay our two earth pounds and join in.

Two hours later: he’d won both rounds of the bingo (two bottles of wine) and we’d won the quiz (£48).

The general knowledge and news rounds are always relatively easy – we got 10/10 and, I think, 9/10 on those, with a couple of inspired guesses (who’d have thought Netto only came to Britain in 1990?). The picture round is usually a 6/10 or so, but this week was an easy 9/10 (I think I must have been the only person in the room to get Denis Law and Mark Nicholas). The two ‘top five’ questions are always hit and miss. This week’s were on the top five foreign holiday destinations for Brits – Robert rattled out the correct five faster than I could write – and the five Pink Panther films starring Peter Sellers when he was alive, of which I could name four straight off, and plucked the fifth from the dark crevices in my head just in time.

So that was 38/40 or so, above average. And then came the music rounds, worth another 30 points.

First, song titles. This is usually early 90s rave or Kylie or Madge or some obscure fifties/sixties tracks, in which I sit back and let Andrew or others scratch their heads and scribble the answers. This week’s songs included such gems as Puppy Love and Save All Your Kisses For Me. Even, would you believe, Ernie, Fastest Milkman in the West. I think we got about 10/15, some famous songs too familiar to have titles in my head (you know, the electric burpy one with no lyrics that goes bip-bap-bip-bop-boop-bap-boop). I was, however, ashamed not to get Chirpy Chirpy Cheep Cheep.

Second, band or artist names. And lo! Early-mid eighties. Robert got most of them from about the second beat. I mean, Culture Club. Wham. There were a few inspired guesses too: Mike and the Mechanics, for example. We got 11/15 I think.

Total: 59/70. But, I thought, surely it was all too easy this week. I expected to be fourth or fifth with the winner in the sixties. The result: we won by a single point.

With Robert’s two bingo wins (he was so embarrassed at winning once, let alone twice – I don’t think he’d ever played bingo before), we’d performed the legendary quiz’n’bingo full house. It is, clearly, all downhill from here.

Leave a comment

Filed under Random

Wherein Avaragado realises he didn’t have a backup of that

“Hello,” says my Palm Vx. “Have we met before? I don’t think so.”

“Oh,” says Avaragado. “Oh dear. It seems I’ve left you off your charger for a bit too long. Never mind, I did sync you regularly, I’ve probably lost almost nothing.”


Thinks some more.

Remembers buying a new PC in July without a serial port.

Remembers not actually getting round to buying that USB/Serial adapter for the sole purpose of backing up his Palm.

Remembers that he bought the new PC partly so he could turn his old PC, after a disk failure, into his new server.

Twigs that the failed disk on the old PC contained the last backup of his Palm.

Glares at the failed disk adorning his bookshelf, nestling under some Star Wars lego.

Hmm. I think/hope I might have an old backup somewhere. But it won’t have that, or that, and probably not that either.

Avaragado’s first law of backups: even if you back up everything, you won’t back up everything.


Filed under Random

The Cat Came Back

I was reminded last night of the cartoon The Cat Came Back, which I probably first saw on Rolf Harris’ Cartoon Time.

Naturally it’s not hard to find these days. (IMDB)


Filed under Random