Wednesday, May 28, 2008

I Text The Midas Way


Yes indeed, I have golden thumbs. I must have. I can see no other reasonable explanation.

I WON WELLER TICKETS AGAIN!!!! My texting skills are now legendary.

Am I happy? You bet your arse I am. So, courtesy of XFM, I'm off to see Paul Weller for a 4th time in 4 months. There could also be a 5th time, IF the Viking comes through on his threat to pull a few strings at work. C'mon fat boy, pull your finger out!

People keep saying to me that they think I'm going to get bored of going to see the Weller so many times. Which is utter arse. Live music is the mutts nuts, especially if it's an artist you REALLY enjoy. And think about it people...I AM All Mod Cons...doesn't that say something to you about my complete admiration & love of the Weller's music?

Monday, May 26, 2008

Is It Because I'm Sad?

Not really the intended post, but when is it ever?

Last week I was listening to XFM, as always. I've been sadly missing a radio the last couple of weeks at work so I've only been able to catch an hour or so of the Breakfast show. However, in my fuzzy headedness of 6.30am, a word jumped like a hot knife into my brain...Weller. All of a sudden I was no more awake than before. But I did try listening harder. XFM are going to start running a competition...a competition to win a pair of tickets to see the Weller at Koko on the 21st of June!

Bearing in mind that I thought the Hammersmith gig was my last opportunity to see him before I leave for Canada, imagine my wonderment at the prospect of winning a ticket to see him again! I've had a bit of luck with winning some tickets before, so I'm trying REALLY HARD not to get my hopes up too much. But I can feel myself getting carried away with the whole thing whilst writing this.

To maximise my chances I registered on their website and entered online, then sent an email to their "comments" section. AND I emailed one of their DJ's (Rick Shaw) to ask for any tips on what else I could do. However, my main issue was the lack of radio. If I miss even 1 minute of the Breakfast show, then I could totally blow my chances of winning. So I had the bright idea of getting one of those little adaptors for my iPod that enables me to listen to the radio. So off I went in the pouring rain on Little Steed to PC World. Did they have anything like that? Not a chance in hell. Well, they might have, but as usual all their items are all over the place. Under iPod accessories I found a box for some Windows Geek Gadget thing. I asked a member of staff if they had anything like what I wanted in stock. I may as well have been spouting Shakespeare to an Orangutan. So off to Curry's I went...no luck here either. Apart from finding the Orangutan's slightly dimmer brother. Last resort, Argos. The ever so lovely "Catalogue" shop. They DID sell what I wanted, at a price of 50 quid...but it wasn't in stock. Arse bandits.

Then I had one of those inspired moments. All I actually needed was a radio. And a cheap one at that. Flicking through the little Argos book my eyes settled on a clock radio for 6 pounds. Bargain! So all I've got to do is drop a battery into it, wrap up the mains lead, and gaffer tape it to the handle bars of my bike so that I can listen to the radio on the way to work. Yes, I'll look like a complete pikey with a clock radio taped to my bike, it's little red lights flashing away. But I don't give a rats. Why? Because I MIGHT just win some tickets to see the Weller. And in my book, that's the only reason I need.



Please also note....NEW Song of the Week. Another Weller tune this week, Push It Along, from the almost out new album...which I've already ordered from Amazon! We've had 1 suggestion so far from Smartbuddy for next weeks song...so he's definitely top of the tree at the moment because I love that song too. Feel free to leave your recommendations!

Friday, May 23, 2008

An Englishman And An Irishman Are Riding A Bike...

Just a quick post...

Ted has been over since Wednesday. That evening Ted, The Viking and I went to see Paul Weller at the Hammersmith Apollo. Unlike the last 3 times that I've been to see him, which were acoustic gigs, this one had the full works...electric guitars, drums, keyboards...and it was utterly INCREDIBLE! The Mods were out in force, plus a bunch of "normal" looking people. Met a great couple, and the guy noticed the All Mod Cons t-shirt & asked where I got it from. Told him that it was my design & that I'll try and get him one made up. So I've been scanning the net for a company to make up a few of them, but they seem to be fairly expensive unless you get loads. Looks like I'll have to wait until I go back to Heidelberg again!

Took the 1st video in the Apollo, it's of From The Floorboards Up...I wanted to get more but I just couldn't sit still enough to use my camera. He even played Eaton Rifles, All On A Misty Morning, Broken Stones & The Changing Man (song of the week!) and a whole host of other songs. Hope you enjoy the clip...(dodgy sound quality at one point, I moved my finger over the mic on my phone)



I even managed a few beers without passing out! Nice!

As with all "boys", Ted has been eyeing up the Little Steed. So I told him to go for a spin on it (like his arm needed twisting, as IF). Took a little video of Ted trying to come in my front gate & into the house with the Steed...take a look at the video to see his efforts...and the one in the middle is All Mod Cons having a go (please note the Englishness of AMC offering to make a tea from the kitchen)...



Probably more to come...who knows!

Check Me OUT MAN!

Some may say it's nerdy. Some may wonder why. I just think it's cool! My url has changed! I'm no longer "attached" to blogspot because I have my very own www. address type thingy wotsit.

No need to try and remember that long complicated url, it's just www.allmodcons.org! And I get a new email address too! allmodcons@allmodcons.org! And for a mere $10, which works out at about 5 pounds, for an entire year!

The wonders of modern technology!

Back soon with some video & photos from the recently attended Paul Weller gig and Teds stay.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Flajuauiee

Too tired to type. Working, walking, cycling, carrying. 12 straight days of 10 hours work +. Left phone somewhere. Unnecessary expense with taxi. Story to tell. Memory shot to shit. No idea of the day. Short sentences only. Sore feet. Ted visiting tomorrow. Weller gig tomorrow. Beer? Probably. E-mail to reply to. Pompy won FA Cup...arse bandits. Received a letter from afar. Tried to call sender, no reply. Thanks, but a reprimand will follow when brain. Works. Betterer. No food in house that's mine. Can't call for pizza. Hearing voices. My pillow. It speaks...

...and I'm as happy as a pig in a small wooden house, with a little garden and flower print curtains. Nice.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Sum Stuff I Did Draw

Not feeling much like writing this evening, not for any particular reason other than my brain seems to have ceased working. So I thought I'd post some photos of some drawings that I've done. I'll include a couple that I posted on my previous blog, just in case you missed them. Hope you like them!



Just made this one up. It's an Eye. So now you know!


"Pop Art" type Batman glove.


Silhouette of Batman. Gave this one away.


Made this one up, just from trying to remember what I saw in the films as I didn't have a picture to go from. I've since realised that it is entirely inaccurate.


Another Batman one. I turned this A4 pencil drawing into an 8' x 4' murel for my coursework many years ago. My art teacher at the time (the pastel colour tank top wearing arse bandit) wouldn't let me keep the painting as he said it was "School property". I've since learnt he was talking out of his saggy white rump. 2 years after leaving that school it closed down & my painting was lost forever. Gutted.


This one is my absolute favorite. It's a little hard to see, but if you click the photo it'll enlarge (as will the others) and be able to see a little more detail. Probably took me the longest to do out of all of them, at around 6 hours. Really wish I could scan it properly & touch it up then add some colour & print it out.

This post was inspired in part by reading The Adventures Of Tina & Mr Bee and Dear Crissy, check them out as they've got some great artwork.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Fishing For Noggins On A Windy Afternoon

Mentioned this before on one of my previous blogs...sometimes titles for posts are REALLY hard to think of. I end up coming out with some utter arse that doesn't make sense. Probably because I don't plan my posts at all, I just open it up and start writing. Think it's in an effort to make it more conversational. Either that or I just can't be arsed to plan it. Which is probably more the case.

Anyway, this week has been hectic to say the least, and it's only Wednesday. Got back from Germany and was told by Wee Man that he didn't have any work for me. No heads up AT ALL. So all my efforts at saving over the last year looked like they were going to be dashed, but then up popped Karma. Had a call from someone that I did work for a couple of years ago and they wanted their flat done again. Nice. So an immediate start on that one. Although that has now descended into chaos because they've got a new tenant who wants to move in 4 days earlier than expected. Looks like I'm going to have to grow 4 more arms as well as working all weekend. Mind you, it's better than having no work at all, which (speaking from experience) is utter arse.

Not sure if anyone has noticed, but I've managed to get an embedded YouTube video to fit into my sidebar...thanks to my GCSE maths. Probably the first time I've used that part of my maths since I was 15...my god, that's HALF MY LIFE AGO!!!! Anyway, that wee box is there because of the reinstated Song Of The Week. Feel free to leave me suggestions, or recommendations, of any music that you particularly like. Doesn't have to be recent stuff, preferably it will be something that's locked inside your brain RIGHT NOW! And if I like the suggestion, then it'll go on there for a week. Next weeks slot is pretty much already taken, and I'll give you a hint...it's a Paul Weller song.

Which brings me nicely onto the next topic. Coincidentally, Paul Weller. Ted (previous housemate and all round nice Irish dude) and the Viking (All Mod Cons bestest mate ever) and yours truly will be going to a Paul Weller gig next week. We're off to see The Man Himself in South London on Wednesday and Ted is sticking around for a few days. I have a funny feeling that I'll end up having a beer or two, followed by idiot shenanigans. And because I don't really drink alcohol, it probably will actually BE a pint or two. This will also be my 3rd Weller gig in 3 months, and my LAST before I go to Canada. Unless something drastic happens. He's not doing anymore in the UK that I can get to until November, and by that time I plan on being chilly on the other side of the globe. Really going to savour this one!

Also included on this post are Frogs. Please play the video below & witness said Frogs for yourselves.



These were in a pond just outside a part of the University campus in Heidelberg. They were VERY VERY loud. I'd be a bit gutted if they were outside my bedroom window. I'd probably have to turn French and start eating amphibian legs for a week or two.

There is other stuff to write, but I'm tired. And I've also got to think about how I'm going to get an 8 foot ladder 4 miles up the road tomorrow for work...on my bike. That's a bike with pedals. And a 7 foot decorating pole. My job is mostly boring, but every now and again it throws up a challenge or two.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Events From The Cage. Volume 1.

The gerbil tentatively popped his head up from behind the toilet roll tube and surveyed the scene in front of him. Smoke still wisped up from the flame scorched furniture, barely anything was recognisable, not even the wicker basket he had so affectionately chewed not 10 minutes before. He slid back down onto the soft warm wood shavings of his cage, sighing inwardly. They're not going to be impressed, he thought. This was definitely worse than the last time, even then he was lucky to get away with his life intact. Maybe he was aiming too high, setting himself unreachable goals? Or maybe the expectations on him were just a figment of his imagination.

As he sat there his paw reached down and into the hidden pocket in his fur, pulling out the packet of Marlboro Lights he kept there for emergencies. This was definitely an emergency, he thought. His tiny digit flicked the Zippo lighter and sparked the flame. Sucking deeply on his smoke he pondered what he was going to do next.

No amount of watching home improvement programmes was going to work. He needed professional help, someone that knew how to deal with a mess like this. There was no other option, he was going to have to call Teddy. Teddy wasn’t the most stable cat in the world, in fact he was an utter liability. Those crazy yellow eyes constantly darting all over the place made Frank nervous, and you never knew what he was going to do with his damn claws. Frank had been there when Teddy lost it once, the rumours going around didn’t come close to what had actually happened, and the very thought of it all sent a shiver down his spine making his fur stand on end. It all started to go wrong when Teddy was little and he was scrabbling around in the rubbish bins. That’s when he found the croutons. Now he was never off them. Frank hated the things; he was much more of a seed kind of guy. Especially those South American Sunflower seeds, but they were hard to come by.

He flipped open his Nokia and hit the speed dial. “Teddy, it’s Frank. I need a favour…”.

Within minutes there was a knock at the door. The slender silhouetted figure of the cat stood in the opening, his immaculate ginger coat glistened like a full body halo in the afternoon sun. Teddy’s eyes slowly opened, burning a fierce yellow, adjusting to the darkness of the house. His pupils danced left and right like flies at a window. The gerbil noticed a single claw protruding from the cats paw, the sunlight seemed to hiss its way down to point like it was being cut into two perfect pieces.

“You can put that away right now” warned Frank, pointing his podgy digit at Teddy’s talon.

“Can’t dude”, replied Teddy in his slow South London accent. “Got a fish bone stuck in there earlier and can’t shift it. It’s embarrassing, I sound like a one legged chick when I’m walking down the street. It’s ruining my damn reputation”. The cat took in the damaged room and gently sighed. His other paw reached into the small brown leather bag hanging around his neck and absently took out a tiny crouton. Popping it into his mouth and crunching down heavily he looked at Frank. “This, my friend, is an utter shit hole. And I believe I’m right in thinking that you are sitting bang in the middle of it”.

“That’s why I called you Teddy. If any cat can, you can. Can you cat?”

“Frankly Frank, I can”, replied the cat “But it’s going to cost you”.

“No problem Teddy”, he lied. “And if you get it done before midday then you’ll get the usual payment, but with garlic”.

Promising the cat garlic croutons was on hell of a risk. They were hard to come by, even the cat himself couldn’t get them all the time. But he couldn’t have the Owners knowing what was going on and had to have the place back to normal before they returned. For the first time since the gerbil had known him, Teddy’s eyes stopped moving. But being fixed with that stare, his usually rock solid self belief started to wobble. If he didn’t come through with the payment on time the cat would be wearing a new fur coat by morning. However, if he managed to rectify his earlier mistake, he would be off the hook on all fronts. He rolled back the fur on his wrist, his trusty Casio revealed 9.58am. 2 hours he thought. 2 hours to correct the formula and deliver it, have the house back to normal, pay the cat and be back in the cage. A lesser gerbil would have crumbled at this point, but Frank always had a trick or two up his sleeve. He just hoped that there was another 2 up there he hadn’t found before.

He looked at the open doorway, pulled out another Marlboro and lit it. One day, he thought, I’m going to retire to my wheel and have my shit cleaned up free of charge. But not today. No, today was going to be a completely different kettle of fish. And then he was gone, leaving only tiny curls of smoke in his wake.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Shhhh!

Something a little different to what I originally had planned for my next post but I just wanted to share this...

A little while ago we got a Freeview box and normally the "house" watches a channel called Dave. Everyone loves Dave. But whilst flicking through the channels we came across Cesar Millan who is The Dog Whisperer. Instantly we were all hooked. Once you get over his weird "Americanisms" (sorry to those American readers!) and listen to what he's saying, it makes for fantastic viewing.

I don't really think he helps the dogs, more the owners and teaches them how to treat their pets as pets. He's a bloody legend in my book. Simple techniques, common sense approach and an ability to know exactly when to correct a dog, marvellous!

Found a little clip on YouTube...unfortunately it doesn't show the full story but I think you'll get an idea.



Yay Cesar!

Monday, May 5, 2008

All Mod Cons In Germany


Yes, All Mod Cons was in Germany (more specifically Heidelberg) and here's the photo to prove it. Although it was VERY close to not being the case. The morning of my flight turned out to be a little more hectic than originally planned. Due to my carefree and rather slapdash approach to booking the flight I'd forgotten to check my "dates" properly. Unwittingly I'd arranged to leave on the day of the Mayoral elections for London AND to come home on the very day that the last Championship football matches were to be played, a day that would decide the fate of All Mod Con's team, Southampton.

Packing the night before proved to be a minor masterstroke. However, not checking the times of the coaches to the airport OR how long it would take to get there was a masterstroke of idiotness. Having checked in online the day before, with priority boarding and only my hand luggage to cut down "hanging around time" I thought that I would have had enough time to gently stroll up to the gate and wander onto the plane. Sadly, this wasn't the case. I got to the coach station with almost 2 hours until the check in closed and boarding started. Unfortunately there wasn't to be a coach leaving for a further 20 minutes. I enquired when the next coach would arrive at the airport. 10.30am...a full 5 minutes before they closed the desk and I wouldn't be able to get on my flight. In those precious 5 minutes I would have to make it from the car park into the airport, find the right security area, go through security, find the correct boarding gate, make it there and hope that it was still open. It really didn't look promising. Getting through Central London at rush hour, in a coach, wasn't ever going to be a speedy process. We arrived at 10.32am. Would I make it? Would I have to buy another, much more expensive ticket, and get on the next flight? I decided to leg it and see how far I'd get. Maybe, just maybe, the flight would be late enough for me to get on. And being honest, I'd always wanted to be "that guy" that is seen bombing it through an airport. Oh yes, I wanted to be Jason Bourne.

Before the coach door had even opened I was sprinting across the car park, dodging grannies and families, leaping trolleys like a pursued secret agent. I burst through the entrance doors looking around for an information screen....Section J for Frankfurt...excellent. Far left of the airport, more sprinting & leaping with some deft swerves at just the right time. Bugger, the line for security was packed. Fine, go to the next section, it wouldn't really matter would it? A Dukes Of Hazard slide under the barriers took me to the front of the queue. "Any liquids sir?" the security guard asked me. "No". "What, none at all?", "No, none at all"...just let me through! 1 minute remaining. Then onwards to the scanning desk. I'd made sure that everything I had in my pockets went into my bag to try and save time. The first few lines were full, so again, legs flailing, I headed towards an empty desk. Complete with a serious contender for "Rock Slide Of The Year" I booted it under more barriers accompanied by a "ooooh" from the woman I went past. I jumped through the scanner...BEEP...fuckit, forgot to take my belt off. "Stand there sir, please remain still". I stood, trying to see an information monitor that would tell me what gate I needed to get to. "Please remain still" the guard said whilst frisking me...a little too much "frisking" was going on for my liking. "I AM standing still!" I cried, "Please hurry up!". Given the ok, I was off like a greyhound chasing a hotdog. Gate 49. Oh arsebandits, that's at the other side of the damn airport! Well, having run this far, I wasn't going to give up now. Windmill arms, cartoon blurry legs, I leapt like a salmon over small children, weaving in and out of startled travellers like an agility dog. Oh how I wish I had 4 legs! Up stairs, down stairs, Gate 49 WHERE ARE YOU!? I could see it in the distance...were there people still outside? What flight were they waiting for?? PLEEEASE don't have left without me!! Curse my dodgy eyesight, I couldn't tell until I was on top of the queue if I had made it.

Arms held aloft in Victory, boarding hadn't started, they were 5 minutes late. I felt like Rocky at the top of the steps, I wanted to punch the air and dance a merry jig. Instead, the lack of any winter training caught up with me. My body screamed, my legs gave way and I lay on my back at the end of the queue, face redder than a stop sign. "Is that man ok Mummy?" asked a little boy. "I think he's just glad to have got here" I heard her answer over the bongo drum sound my pulse was making inside my head. No shit Sherlock I thought. Operation Get Flight, complete. Result.

The rest of the journey was a lot slower. Just as well really, I don't think I could've run anywhere else if my life had depended on it. In fact, the 2 hour coach ride to get to Heidelberg was a welcome one. I arrived about 7 hours after setting off. Due to leaving in such flurry of arms and legs I hadn't had time to get anything to eat or drink and hadn't been to the loo in what felt like days. I stepped off the coach and was greeted by Linda, whom I had met and became friends with in Berlin at the Paul Weller gig last year. After our greetings she gave me my first ever Pretzel, "I thought you might be hungry", along with a bottle of Coke. I could've kissed the ground she was walking on I was that hungry. How I've managed to go 30 years of my life without tasting Pretzels is anyones guess. But by god they're lovely! Savory AND salty! Yum.


I'd only been there for 5 minutes and noticed that Ze Germans had embraced the fact that they were being visited by All Mod Cons and had adorned some soft drinks with the prerequisite logo! Actually, it might just have been a coincidence but I'm going to go with the first option.

Having left the cloudy, rain sodden weather of the UK I was hoping that things were going to be a little brighter in Germany, and it certainly was that. I was greeted with the glorious sight of a blue sky, peppered with empty clouds. A novelty for an Englishman. And it remained that way for the whole 4 days, I even managed to transform the skin on my face and arms from its normal translucent blue to a human looking pink. It also made for excellent light for photos!


I didn't want to get up to anything too strenuous, so with the outstanding weather we set about wandering around Heidelberg enjoying the views, numerous cafes, and I was able to see the less "tourist" side of the town. The picture above was taken from the opposite bank of the river looking at the castle. Last time I was there I don't think you could actually see the castle due to the weather being so shoddy.




Whilst wandering around we went past an art gallery and Linda pointed out something that I'd totally missed, a sculpture of an Alien (from the films of the same name). Even in its crouched position it stood at almost 7 feet and was made entirely from pieces of engine and tools. The owner of the gallery and 2 other artists took (I think I remember this right) 3 years to complete the piece. Needless to say, it wasn't for sale. Click the photo above to see it in more detail, it was incredibly impressive!


Struggling to find a cafe that wasn't occupied by a million tourists, mainly Chinese people, was proving to be awkward. But we managed to find a tiny little place down a side street just away from the hoards with just one seat outside. Perfect for a bit of shade...and a scenic view down the street!


On one of the afternoons we walked up to the castle, where this photo was taken. Pretty outstanding view don't you think?


A little "detour" up a part I don't really think we were supposed to be on revealed an abandoned hotel. No idea why it wasn't being used anymore. Well, not by paying customers, it looked suspiciously like there were guests of the drug taking kind. Guess they have to go somewhere!


Whilst walking through the forest I spotted a Red Squirrel! Ok, not too impressive by some people's standards but they're pretty rare in the UK due to the introduction of the Grey Squirrel which has run riot. So I was pretty chuffed that I saw one in the wild. You can JUST make it out in the centre of the photo.


All Mod Cons and the lovely Linda!

An arty photo of the castle!


Believe it or not, I was taking a well earned break from making Daisy Chains. Is there no end to my creativity!?


No, I didn't have anything to do with this part of the castle falling off. Actually, we both wondered how this section had come down...something I'll have to Google later.



A church! Didn't go in though, it was locked. Not that we tried, we just watched all the tourists try and get in.


The library! Where Linda absorbs huge quantities of information. Also where she used the free internet access for students. Bonus!


And this one is of a part of the university campus.

I had such a brilliant time over the 4 days. Again, just like my 2nd day in Berlin, it was mainly due to being with someone that could speak English and German, and that knew the place so well, but mainly was such great company. I really needed a decent break, free from any worries from back in the UK and that's exactly what I got. Actually have a few more things to say about Germany, but I'll save those for another time.


Have been told it's Brezel and not a Pretzel...can't say that I care that much, they're still savory AND salty...yum!