Monday, 4 May 2009

Bank Holiday DIY and the downside of being mistaken for the paparazzi

Bank Holiday weekend brought an interesting mixture of activites to the Black household. D.I.Y - Eeeeekkkk, Mrs B had plans, which is never good for me. I attempted to counter with the Bishops Stortford Musical Festival. To be honest at £17 for two days worth of entertainment I did not have high hopes......

For once the D.I.Y. went alarmingly well, which was fortunate as Mrs B had spent a small fortune on kitchen cupboards for the garage. Yes you did read that correctly, the garage. It's my sister's fault - she started the trend. Normally the Black Household's D.I.Y. ventures are a catalogue of horrors involving, blood loss, damage to existing parts of the house and copious amounts of swearing at failed attempts to interpret the instructions. I can reveal the secret to these high end units was having absolutely no instructions. It allows a clarity of thought which enables the human mind to take a number of objects and assemble them in a sensible manner. That same clarity of thought is just not possible after you have suffered the angst caused by attempting to interpret instructions that appear to have been written in Chinese, then converted into Russian by a retired seeing-eye dog before being translated into English by a four year old with severe dyslexia using an old fashioned type writer while wearing boxing gloves I.e a bit like the BlackLOG before Mrs B edits it…..

A excellent example of this is the following instructions on how to hammer a nail:

Step 1: Introduce the nail in one of the holes lightly inferior to the nail, which will deeply firmly supported in vertical position.

Step 2: Leaf the sharp pointed extremity of the nail stand out a little from the base of instrument to receive nail.

Step 3: Give some beats of hammer in the head of nail in order to obtain one principle of suitable placing.

Step 4: Finish the nail after having the retreated the guide nails by simple pressure in the two provided arms for them.

Three wall hanging cabinets and a two free standing units proudly adorn our garage and are perfectly level (as long as our spirit level is not faulty)as a Bonus:-

- We can get still get EllGee (our Car) into the garage

- The garage is much tidier and our coat cupboard which has spent the last 10 years masquerading as a cleaning cupboard, is now full of coats,

- The cleaning products have settled into there new home. There was a little bit of in fighting between the furniture polish and the bleach, as they vied for front row seats but that has settled down once Mr Muscle stepped in and grabbed the prime position.

- The coat stand that took up so much space in the hallway and wound Mrs B up something chronic (especially on the odd occasion when it would collapse on her) has been taken to the dump.

The only sore point was the Ironing Board which was one of the main reasons that the cabinets were purchased in the first place. It does not actually fit into the cabinet because the cabinet contains a fixed shelf that is about 3 inches to low. I had thoughts of sawing off the legs of the Ironing board or hacking a section out off the shelf but fortunately had enough clarity of mind left to attach a hook to the back of the utility room door and have hung the ironing board there. Perhaps I should have done that before Mrs B had so substantially added to the country's national debt levels.....
You can click on the photo's to get larger images
Just look at that quality handy work,
3 days and still standing...

With the D.I.Y success under our belt I started to feel a little apprehensive about the Bishops Stortford Music Festival that I had roped us into. What sort of entertainment were we going to get for £17 for two days? Especially one that was within walking distance of our house. (OK, we didn't actually walk on either day but could have if we had wanted to. Come on we are living in the 21 Century, walking is so last century). When we first entered the the 'Arena' my first impression was Oh no, 'School fete'...I trudged into the Rock tent my expectations at rock bottom, only to be pleasantly surprised with the 'The Mono effect'most enjoyable 'The Pins' & 'Jon Gomm' followed and were also very entertaining. Saturday Night was rounded of in impressive style with 'Official Secrets Act' - who are reminiscent of the Killers. I would have been happy to pay £17 to see any one of them. We had missed a lot of groups but I figured the earlier ones would not be so good.

Unfortunately on Sunday we arrived a little late and missed 'LONDON blaCkMaRkEt' but at least we were in time for the excellent 'Sub Pop Sunday'. Then came the only bum notes 'Mozzy Green' they seemed very popular but just did not do it for me (I may have been influeneced by Mrs B pretending to upchuck in the corner, but I have to agree they were a bit screechie). In an attempt to finish me off a local comedian John Mann appeared on stage. I just don't get him. He writes a supposedly 'Funny' column for the local newspaper 'Mann about town'. Believe me the title is as funny as it gets. His line calling the town 'Stortfordly' never fails to bring a tear to my eye. Sadly this is due to embarrassment for him rather than any joy. I read his column whenever I feel I am getting excessively happy, as it never fails to brings my mood crashing down. Now don't get me wrong I have great admiration for comedians, it must take real guts to stand up in front of an audience and try and make them laugh. While it can't be denied that Mr Mann has a gut, the "s" is decidedly missing along with the any talent or any signs of fixed ability.
'Mono Effect', you can tell Bishops Stortford is not used to Rock music, only one loan fan risk getting up close the rest huddled together at the back of the tent.

The final band were 'Officer Kicks' not bad but in my opinion certainly not the best band of the weekend. They did generate the most Mosh pit action, but as an aspiring rock outfit it must be quite disheartening when your Mosh pit is made up of a bunch of 10 and 11 year olds who simply run into each other before burting into fits of giggles. Not exactly Rock and Roll at its finest (Their web site decribed them as playing 'The Rock Stage, Stortford Festival'. You can almost hear the debate. "Should we call it the legendary Rock Stage.....'). If next years festival is on the same level and you happen to be in the Bishops Stortford area then you could do a lot worse than drop in. A word of warning however. If you come across anyone describing the town as Stortfordly you have my permission to lump him one. He's not clever and he's not funny and if enough people hit him he might just stay down long enough to put an end to his dismal standup career.......

Can you take our photo
One thing I did discover, having an SLR camera with a huge telephoto lens (200mm with a 1.7 converter for good measure) not only gets you closer to the action but if you snap away with confidence, will actually fool a number of members of the general public into thinking that you are there in some professional capacity. I was asked on five occasions if I would take photo's of people. Always happy to oblige I snapped away. It was only when the third person asked me where it would be published I started to see where it was all coming from. They seemed genuinely disappointed when I said they might make my Blog.

Note to oneself - Next time I will just say it is to be published in the ',BlackLOG", as long as I say it with an air of superiority they will think it is some high end publication and if they don't think to ask where they can get hold of it I should get away with it....

Being mistaken for the paparazzi is great fun, even if it is only as a pap from the local newspaper. My final confrontation with the General Public left me realising that I desperately need a get out strategy for awkward conversations with slightly inebriated over-ambitious mothers.

slightly inebriated over-ambitious mother :- "Is that your camera?"

Me :- "No, I stole it!"

s i o a m :- "Did you?" staggering slightly and looking a little bemused.

Me :- "No, just kidding."

s i o a m :- "My daughter wants to be a photographer!"

Me :- "That's nice."

s i o a m :- "How do you go about being a photographer?"

Me :- "Well you get a camera and you take loads of photo's!"

s i o a m :- "We got her a camera."

Me :- "That's a good start."

s i o a m :- "Do you think she will be any good?"

Me :- "You realise that I'm not a professional photographer?"

s i o a m :- "She would really like to get an apprenticeship."

Me :- "This is only a hobby!"

s i o a m :- "How would she get an apprenticeship?"

Me :- "I don't really know, 'THIS IS ONLY A HOBBY'."

s i o a m :- "Her cousins a photographer."

Me :- "Do you think he could help?"

s i o a m :- "Well it's not actually the photographs she like taking, it's more the manipulating the photographs afterwards."

Me :- "So it's probably some sort of arts course she probably wants"

s i o a m :- "I suppose.....I wanted to be a photographer you know...."

Me :- "Aaaaarrrrgggghhhhhhh"

The conversation moved on to Dyslexia. I don't know how, I had long since given up listening or even pretending to be part of this increasingly one-sided conversation. I was trying to back slowly away and hoping that she would not ask for a recap of what she had been saying. Some 20 minutes later Mrs B came over and rescued me. I might have been whimpering I'm not sure as my entire hearing system was starting to shut down...So if anyone knows of a way of getting out of this type of one-sided conversation without resorting to violence, running away (so undignified) or handing over the camera please let me know. After all Mrs B might not be there to save me next time. That's it for another BlackLOG I leave you with some photo's of this years Bishops Stortford Music Festival.

Frankie and friends, they were so disappointed when they
found out that their picture was not going to be syndicated around
Herts & Essex. Well I have news for them, since the BlackLOG is a Global phenomenon (read in over 50 different countries, sometimes
more than once....) they haven’t done bad for exposure.

The Pins, I had feared that they were a Harlow band
but am happy to report that they are in fact from
Sawbridgeworth so it's OK to like them after all.....

Jon Gomm setting up, While Mrs B enjoyed
his performance she felt he looked a little
unkempt and could do with a good wash

No Idea who this is but she did have the bottle to ask
for her photo to be taken..... Sorry could not resist

Yet more people who demanded their photograph to be taken.

Jamie Gordon - Lead singer of
Officer Kicks, surveys his army of midget
fans and wonders where it all went wrong
I don't think the hat helped

Ash & Mrs B chilling on Saturday. It was a bit different on
Sunday where it was less a case of chilling and more trying
to stop freezing to death

Richard Judge of Sub Pop Sunday looks like he
is suffering for his art.....

The Secret Service Act - Tom Charge Burke,
Lead singer & Lawrence James Diamond - Bass
guitarist doing their Beatles' harmonies bit


  1. I just can't resist: school fete with bunting, stalls etc - school fate - possibly closure for sins against spelling, and I soooo want to own a sprite level - does it measure pixies in bed? It's a treasure trove this week - is Mrs B hard at it again and not wearing her edit glasses? much love - old pedant

  2. Skipper I would like to say that the only way I can draw comments from you is to leave you little gems to get your teeth into.....but you already know that my spelling is pants so enjoy.

  3. I haven't seen your blog pop up for a while, cool read, as always.

    Have added you to new Blogger's Cafe:
    under Personal blogs

    You and Mrs B have a nice day.


  4. AV I thought you had been quiet, I have been continuing to post regularly and just thought you had got bored of the BlackLOG. Thanks for the link on Blogger's Cafe


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