Thursday, 19 June 2008

Tips while attending an out door gig

Our recent trip to see the Zutons in Bedgebury Pinetum and Forest(you should hear the scouse lead singer attempt to pronounce it) in Kent got me thinking of some helpful information to anyone who attends an outdoor gig. Don’t worry, the BlackLOG is not going to suddenly turn into some awful public service site (unless Google offer me buckets full of cash to do so, which quite frankly is not very likely). It will remain, as ever, a space for my inane outpourings, with the odd comment from Teach, correcting anything that Mrs B managed to miss.
So the BlackLOG top tips for attending an outdoor gig are:
  • Bring a torch. Remember, the lights don’t go on in the middle of a forest when the group finally leaves the stage and the lardy lady is warbling in the wings, or if it does get light it will be very briefly and invariably accompanied by a large thunder clap and a deluge of water. No, that is not a sprinkler system - unless you count Mother Nature’s ultimate version. P.S if you do bring a torch don’t leave it in the car – Doh!
  • Don’t run over any of the car park stewards, especially on the way in, no matter how pathetic their directions happen to be. I suspect their colleagues may take a bit of a dim view of this type of action and direct you to the worst parking space they can find. For the record I was tempted to put one of them out of her misery but resisted the urge at the last moment. Not only did she give the most pathetic of directions, more of a twitch than a defined gesture, she had bright red straggly hair as well. I probably would have got a medal for services to the human race, but to be honest the car had recently been washed, I did not want to get it blood splattered or indeed covered in clumps of straggly (almost pubic-like) hair…..
  • If you wear prescription sun glasses don’t leave your normal glasses in the car. Doh! You might look like a rock star but you are not going to see much of the performance once it starts to get dark, are you Mrs B…?
  • Bring a large picnic blanket; most people stay clear of other people’s blankets, at least during the support acts so you end up with loads of space, very civilised.
  • Don’t rely on Nafman , he will probably get you to within about 5 miles of the venue before going all stroppy and not taking you any further. It might be something to do with the fact that trees don’t tend to have post codes. Nafman could have mentioned this before we set off.
  • Don’t lose your Oakley custom-built sunglasses on the way out. Especially if they are the ones you recently purchased to replace the ones you lost when skiing – A bit of free advertising here Steptoes. Although I get nothing out of this apart from: a 20% discount which is open to all; and good service, which I suspect is also open to all.
  • Leave just as the headline act announce the last song. While there is nothing like wringing out every last ounce of value out of an event, there is also nothing like spending 3 hours fighting your way out of a car park to dent the memory of a great evening. That’s if you can get past the thousands of people wandering aimlessly around in the dark hopelessly looking for their car, because they also happen to have left their torch in the car.
  • If you happened to have run over one of the stewards on the way in then you might want to consider leaving before the main band comes on, as it will take you a couple of hours hard hiking to reach that far flung parking space they found for you.
  • Bring all the music that you have for the artist you have gone to see. That way you stand a good chance of having the closing track on you and can listen to it on the way home. Get Mrs B (or rather your Mrs B equivalent) to jump around excitedly screaming at the top of their voice. For added authenticity they could throw beer all over you and then vomit on your legs.

I would like to point out that no car park stewards were hurt during the production of this Blog, for the more dangerous parking manoeuvres we substituted highly trained stunt stewards who could think at the same time as being able to breathe....

For those of you who like pictures I'm afraid I was so busy keeping people off of our picnic blanket that I did not have time to take any better ones.

How to artificially inflate your readership

With the BlackLOG fast approaching its first 1,000 hits (I’m sure I can’t be held responsible for more than 900 of those hits, OK, 950 tops) I’ve discovered the perfect way to get people to read a Blog, it’s called “force”…. Apparently one of the partners in my firm makes all the staff who report to him read his Blog. I was trying to figure out how he could do this. Was he testing them on the Blog content? No, No, way better than that. Apparently in between his drivel about golf, his cats etc (god it sounds as dull as the BlackLOG) he puts the department work schedule. How cool (or should that read cruel)is that?

Sorry to those of you who got all excited and thought the title of this week's BlackLOG would involve lurid descriptions of pumping some sort of gas into people until they float off into the stratosphere….

Please excuse me, I'm just off to try and dig some dirt about you, which I can then use to Blackmail you into following a rigorous reading schedule for future editions of the BlackLOG. Ha! 1,000 hits in six months, let's try and make the next 1'000 in three....

Friday, 13 June 2008

The hidden dangers of Yoga

i.e what they don't warn you about when you sign up
There I was minding my own business, suffering at the back of the class as usual, as I attempted to extract myself from yet another excruciating position (aside 1) when the large, elderly and, from all outward appearances, respectable lady in front of me, lent forward and let rip a pant-destroying (I can only assume she was sporting an especially reinforced gusset, otherwise both of us would have been in trouble), ear drum splitting eruption of such magnitude that I was relieved not to lose my eyebrows. (Parp Dictionary) If I could have extracted myself from my pose I would have done so and hobbled off in protest. As it was I had to take the full force of the after burn. Did this sweet old lady apologise? Did she turn round and help me peel myself off the back wall? Did she heck. She acted as if nothing had happened, probably hoping that no one would notice the "G-force" strain marks across my cheeks and neck and that I would get the blame for her Force 7 on the Beaufort wind scale (near gale force – "general distress caused to anyone standing behind someone in a Yoga Class"). At least a man would have had the decency to have put on a sheepish grin while he wafted his hand around behind him, excitably exclaiming, "blimey you don't get many of those to the pound....”

Best Intentions
With the best of intentions I took Mrs B's station-run car, our aging but reliable Golf, and had the radio replaced. Out went the trusty old Kenwood with its outdated tape deck and CD disk changer combination to be replaced by an all-singing, all-dancing direct link to Ipod, Bluetooth-enabled for hands-free phone conversation (aside 2) entertainment centre, with a handy little crevice for inserting an SD card and even a USB port so that music can be directly downloaded to the machine itself. Not forgetting a little screen to show you the album covers and help select the music that you aren't going to listen to, since the designers of this wonder of modern technology seemed to think of everything....everything that is except the ability to make it work for longer than 10 minutes, at which point the entertainment centre freezes and won't do anything at all. I now realise that my first mistake was using Halfords and the second was selecting a brand called "Parrot", which, I was assured by the spotty little Herbert in Halfords, had a very good reputation (I refer you back to my first mistake)..... Just imagine the scene when I try and return the sodding thing....

I enter Halfords and approach said spotty little Herbert:

Me :- 'Ello, I wish to register a complaint.

(The SLH continues to pick his nose and does not respond)

Me :-'Ello, I wish to register a complaint.

SLH :- We're closed for customer inconvenience training.

Me :- Never mind that, my lad. I wish to complain about this Parrot what I purchased not three days ago from this very establishment.

SLH :- Oh yes, the, uh, the PK8200...What's,uh...What's wrong with it?

Me :- I'll tell you what's wrong with it, my lad. It's dead, that's what's wrong with it!

SLH :- No, no, it's uh,'s resting.

Me :- Look, matey, I know a dead Parrot when I see one, and I'm looking at one right now.

SLH :- No no he's not dead, he's, he's restin'! Remarkable radio, the PK8200, beautiful buttons!

Me :- The buttons don't enter into it. It's stone dead.

SLH :- No,no, no, no, no, no! It's resting!

(I take the Parrot out of the dashboard and thump it on the counter. Then I launch it up in the air and watch it plummet to the floor.)

Me :- Now that's what I call a dead Parrot.

SLH :- No,, it's stunned!

Me :- STUNNED?!?

SLH :- Yeah! You stunned it, just as it was wakin' up! PK8200's stun easily.

Me :- look, mate, I've definitely 'ad enough of this. That Parrot is definitely deceased and when I purchased it not three days ago, you assured me that its total lack of movement was due to it bein' tired and shagged out following the broadcasting of a prolonged Radio 4 play.

SLH :- What type of vehicle is it in Sir?

Me :- A VW Golf

SLH :- Well, that its's, ah...probably pinin' for the Fords

Me :- PININ' for the FORDS?!?!?!?

SLH :- or possibly Pinin' for the Mercedes or even BMWs…

Me :-What kind of talk is that? Why did all its lights go out when I turned on the engine?

SLH :- The PK8200 prefers kippin' while the engine is running. Its got lovely buttons!

Me :- Look, I took the liberty of examining that Parrot when I got it home and I discovered the only reason that it had been sitting on the dashboard in the first place was that it had been NAILED there.


SLH :- Well, o'course it was nailed there! If I hadn't nailed that radio to your dashboard, it would have nuzzled up to your electric windows, pressed the open switch with its little arial lead, and VOOM! Feeweeweewee!

Me :-"VOOM"?!? Mate, this radio wouldn't "Voom" if you put four million volts through it! Its bleedin' demised!

SLH :- No no! Its pinin'!

Me :-It's not pinin'! Its passed on! This Parrot is no more! It has ceased to be! It's expired and gone to meet its maker! If you hadn't nailed it to the dashboard it would be pushing up dead airwaves! Its circuit board is kaput!! The only presenters you will ever get on it are John Peel and Kenny Everett. THIS IS AN EX-PARROT!!


SLH :- Well, I'd better replace it, then. (He takes a quick peek behind the counter) Sorry squire, I've had a look 'round the whole of the store and checked all the other stores in the country, and uh, we're right out of Parrots.

Me :-I see. I see, I get the picture.

SLH :- I got a Halfords Own Brand.


Me :-Does it work?

SLH :- Nnnnot really.


SLH :- Strictly speaking - it is!

Me :-In what way!???!!?

SLH :- It doesn't work either.....


Me :-OK, I’ll take two……

If it hadn't been nailed to the Dashboard it would be pushing up dead airwaves!

Apologies to Monty Python but you don't often get the excuse to modernise a classic sketch. Besides, I had to do something with my time, on my return home without entertainment. I should also apologies to Halfords employees for making them sound far more intelligent than they really are.....

------------------------------------------End of BlackLOG--------------------------

I believe this particular position was called something like the golden triangle. Many people mistakenly think it is named after the shape the body forms, while I am convinced the name is derived from the three distinct areas of pain it causes me.(Return to text)

McG takes a rest from his sleeping practice and tries out Yoga position No.32

I recently heard a story about a Police officer who stopped a woman for talking on her mobile phone. When the policeman stepped up to the car the woman was sitting in the right hand seat, still holding the phone.

Officer :- You do realise why I am stopping you?

Woman :- No, not really.

Officer :- It is an offence to use a phone while driving a Motor vehicle

Woman :- Officer, you do realise that this is a left-hand drive car?

This got me thinking about the hands-free law. Does it unfairly discriminate against the deaf? Will they get prosecuted for attempting to use sign language while they are driving? What next will they stop the registered blind from driving even when they have their guide dog riding shotgun?(Return to text)

Tuesday, 3 June 2008

The importance of a good nights sleep

Mrs B had a tough week. Organising her firm's Annual General Meeting has meant much of last week was spent getting up at 5am (around 3 hours after going to bed it seemed). As a good husband this has resulted in me getting up 20 minutes before her, to start the "Mrs B waking ritual". It's not complicated but the ritual is essential to make sure Mrs B fully wakes from her comatose state in order to become a fully functioning member of society. It mainly involves a large mug of tea but I have now introduced porridge to the equation. The cats don't like to miss out and in an attempt to get me down the stairs quicker, so that they can have their breakfast, they wind themselves around my legs - all very friendly but not helpful in the scheme of things. I give this as background to explain a little incident from the other night.

The scene - In the bedroom, two very sleepy people and two zzzzzzing cats (aside 1). I had just put out the light.

Mrs B - "Eeeeeekkkkk"

Me - "What, what, what's up?"

Mrs B - "I can't see"

Me - "What?"

I put on the light

Mrs B - "It's OK"

I put out the light

Mrs B - "Eeeeekkkk - I've gone blind in one eye"

Me - "zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz"

Mischief -"zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz"


Mrs B - "Honest I couldn't seezzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz"


Moments later

Radio - "It's 4.40 in the morning....."

Me - "Oh god no..........whimper, whimper"

Mrs B - "zzzzzzzzzz"

McG - "Yawn, zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz"

Mischief - "zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz"

This probably explains what happened a few days later.

In an attempt to improve my stretchiness I had booked a private Yoga class. Apart from the excruciating pain and having no one else to hide behind, it all went very well (aside 2). That is, until the relaxation part at the end. I put it down to early onset of rigor mortis or possibly a temporary paralysis brought on by way of too much bending and stretching without giving my body six months advance warning, in writing. I'll let you be the judge.....

Lorna - my Yoga instructress (in my mind that makes Lorna a Yogaress?), "....'and you can bring back awareness to your extremities"

Me - nothing

Yogaress - "and you can bring back awareness to your extremities"

Me - zzzzzzzzzz (allegedly)

Yogaress - packing up her stuff noisily

Me - zzzzzzzzzzz(again allegedly)

Yogaress - "and you can bring back awareness to your extremities"

Me - slight movement as paralysis passes

I put it to you that I was just taking things nice and slow....

It's all very well showing you how to get into a position, but the Yoga books really should show you how to get out of it again.

------ End of BlackLOG, anything below this should be reached via hyperlink --------

1) They are excellent at zzzzzz,not far off world championship standard. They can often be seen putting in 22 to 23 hours a day hard practice. Mrs B gets very jealous and I'm sure prods them while I'm not looking, to wake them up

(Return to text)

McG putting in 22 hours worth of practice for the sleeping while standing up world Championships

2) To be honest the cats didn't help much, taking turns to peer through the living room door with superior "what's all the fuss about?" expressions. "We can lick parts of the body that you can't evan reach with your hands". Being heckled by my own cats, how bad is that?

(Return to text)

Call that a stretch....