Friday, May 29, 2009

Gissa song Pete!

My goodness but this is a thought-provoking site.

Pete Doherty, my heart bleeds for you. There is no doubt in my mind that if it weren't for your jolly chic heroin addiction, this would be the sight greeting regulars at The Kings Head in Dagenham.


Tie Trouble

I mean it's impossible. Absolutely impossible.

Fortunately the life of Mr. Christopher is not sufficiently glamorous that I am required at many black tie events. But the few that I can get to are usually treated to either a pre-tied version that makes me look about eight, or a self-tying version that, sadly, looks like it was tied by an eight year old. So primary school all the way, really.

Which, of course, is embarrassing for a man of 26 (even if that man wants to draw on his clothes with a fat-ass crayola in the manner of a four year old. Anyone spot a pattern emerging here?).

So what to do? Is the look I'm after (see right) to remain permanently out of reach?

Colin Farrell wears a normal neck tie to black tie events and looks darn good for it (left). But despite our many, MANY similarities (number of cooing admirers in particular), I'm not quite convinced it would work for me. For one, I want to make it look like I made an effort and know what I'm doing, rather than blithely throwing on what I normally wear to work.

It's not clear why I'm talking about this now, given that I don't even have a black tie event on the horizon. But it seems like the sort of dilemma I'm going to struggle enormously with when the time comes, so probably best to start flapping well in advance.

Peter Serafinowicz: TIME Man of the Year

Peter Serafinowicz is a comic actor and equally comic Twitterer. His tweets are typically both sumptuously silly and ironically inane, such as "Went to the gym this morning. As I left, everyone said I was the best!"

Peter Serafinowicz knows that's a joke. You and I know that's a joke. But TIME magazine does not know that's a joke. And nor does the indignant website ("Where self-important tweets get the recognition they deserve").

TIME asked Peter to justify his outrageously obnoxious message, and he wrote them an equally hilarious response which again, sadly, seemed to fly over their heads.

Peter Serafinowicz, I salute thee.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

To Style a Tee Shirt at Twenty Six

Now, it is true that I am a boy. But it is also true that I really like this from Garance Dore's excellent blog.

My question, then, is whether it is too girly, teenagery or odd to draw your own T-shirt. Because if it is not (and I really hope it is not), I'm going to buy a crap plain T from American Apparel or H&M or somewhere and basically copy this.

I would say "Thoughts?" here, but I'm fully aware that this blog does not reach many thousands of people, so I'll probably just wait a while and then do it.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Mr Christopher's Log II

Star Date 2009-05-18 1300: Greetings earthlings! Have got quite used to living my life like someone in Star Trek. Don't really miss normal life at all now! Spent Sunday putting together a cupboard from Ikea, which was hard to do in a particularly Star Trek way, but I managed by shouting "STARRR TRRREK!" at the top of my voice every few minutes, and then "CUPBOARD!" when that got boring.

Star Date 2009-05-18 1310: Other Star Trek-related changes I have made lately:
  • am only feeding my cat, Keith, 'Space Food', which is just normal Whiskas with rocks (meteors) and worms (aliens) in

  • have written 'Star Trek' down the side of my car. Only I wasn't concentrating and spelt it 'Star Treck', which is a shame

  • have thrown all my pens away at work and refuse to conduct business using anything but the LCARS computer system and a Universal Translator.
It's all going really well! Except for the work one, as it turns out that LCARS thing and the translator haven't been invented yet, so I can't do any work. (Captain Boss not too happy. )

Star Date 2009-05-18 1600: Had to answer to office manager for throwing away my pens (destruction of company property). She asked me to write her a letter of apology. "With what?" I cried, "a Tricorder?!" Thought this was quite funny, but unfortunately she knew quite a lot about Star Trek and apparently the Tricorder would not be an appropriate tool. I suggested a 'Space Pen', but she just told me to go back to my office. Must brush up on Star Trek words.

Star Date 2009-05-18 2130: Going to bed. Bit sad as I haven't seen Keith all day. Think he doesn't like Space Food. All I'd say to that is: what do you expect if you live with someone in Star Trek? He just ought to be grateful that he's the first cat in space.

Star Date 2009-05-18 2140: Looked it up online: first cat in space was actually 1963. That explains Keith's mood. Also remembered that he's not actually in space - probably makes him even more angry. Poor Keith.

Star Date 2009-05-19 0800: Found Keith – under my space bed all along! Left the house in a great mood, only to find someone has changed the 'T' into a 'W' on my car, so it now says 'Star Wreck'. Bit mean. Tried underlining 'Wreck' and sticking on glitter to make it look deliberate but to be honest it looks totally weird.

Star Date 2009-05-19 0915: Alas! More bad luck! Bumped into senior manager as I got to my desk. She gave me this smirky smile and asked whether I used my Tricoder to get into work. I panicked for a bit because I forgot to look up any space terms last night, but then had a brainwave and told her no - I prefer to 'Warp Drive' my car thanks very much! That shut her up! On with the day!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Down down baby...

I watched Big last night and this has kept me happy all day:

Almost as happy as has the fact that I've been able to make an animated gif out of it here. My first gif! I declare myself a web designer.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Mr. Christopher's Log

Star Date 2009-05-14 0945: Saw the new Star Trek film and have decided to live my life through a Captain's Log! Hopefully I too will start to resemble a simple-looking Brad Pitt. Quite proud of my Star Date system (normal Earth date and time, just in a funny format!). Am trying to buy a little badge to pin to my suit.

Star Date 2009-05-14 1030: Have abandoned the search for a badge as they cost ten Star Pounds online. Have made one myself out of a milk bottle top. Looks quite good!

Star Date 2009-05-14 1035: Strange smell lingering around my Star Desk.

Star Date 2009-05-14 1040: Realised I didn't clean milk top properly. Stale milk all over suit. Steven said it looks like a pigeon's crapped on me. I sniffed that it would have to be a SPACE pigeon but I don't think he heard. Tried to wipe it off but the smell still remains – or rather, it is still Klinging On!

Star Date 2009-05-14 1045: Trying to get Steven to comment on the smell again so I can make my 'Klinging On' joke. Harder than I thought. Think I'm just drawing atention to the smell.

Star Date 2009-05-14 1050: Steven held his nose and called me Captain James T. Turd. Everyone laughed - but then I remarked that he shouldn't 'Kling On' to toilet humour. Everyone silent at first (probably trying to get it) but then laughed too! 60% sure that it was with me rather than at me. Never can tell.

Star Date 2009-05-14 1130: Decided I don't want to be the Captain, as I want to be able to say "I don't have the power Captain!" to somebody else. Have designated my boss as Captain. Complimented him on his new business plan during a meeting – said it was most Enterprise-ing! I nearly fell off my chair laughing but nobody else seemed to get it.

Star Date 2009-05-14 1100: Steven brought round his friend Timothy to laugh at me. I was ignoring them quite well until Steven said "It's life Tim, but not as we know it" and, well, you can't help but laugh can you! Unfortunately I was eating a biscuit at the time and sprayed it across my computer. I shrieked "MY COMMAND DECK!" without thinking and everyone laughed again. Beginning to wish that Steven would just boldly go where he has never been before (i.e. away from me)! Ha ha

To be continued...

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Reading the riot act

This morning I asked a friend how he felt about the phrase "to read the riot act". I asked because apparently David Cameron has being reading it out again and again lately to show people how annoyed he is about MPs' expenses. His poor throat. (I hope he doesn't try to claim for Strepsils.)

I only heard the phrase for the first time in the past year and am still forming a view. I think I'm quite a fan. It's theatrical, archaic and has a quirky ring, like "bang to rights", which I recently discovered means the opposite of what I'd always thought. For years I've been unwittingly surrendering all-but-clinched arguments with cheerful remarks like, "so, if you look closely, you can see my actions were clearly bang to rights! Agreed?" I'm now told it means 'a fair cop', not 'within one's rights'. I tell myself it's an easy mistake to make, but I think that's only true if you're under the age of eight or Paris Hilton.

But anyway, we agree. "To read the riot act" is a trusty, stylish little phrase. But on the other hand, it doesn't really make sense.

The phrase is employed to describe a hearty bollocking. Yet to me, the recital of a statute isn't really something that can be done with much fist-shaking, vessel-popping or wall-thumping. Surely "reading the riot act" is more the sort of thing you do to lull a child to sleep? Have you ever to tried to read an Act of Parliament? DO NOT. You will lose three weeks of your life and emerge socially scarred, forever interrupting conversations to request the definition of terms or ask that the past two minutes' discussion be removed to an appendix. It's like having dinner with a thousand lawyers (brrr...)

So, as I think they say on Malcolm in the Middle, what gives? Well, my friend referred me to to, which both handily answered my query and proved that we know how to party on a Wednesday afternoon.

"To read the riot act" originates from 18th century England. Magistrates who had espied an unruly mob congregating on the village green used to leap out of bed with their nightcaps and candlesticks, rush across the square, recite the entire Riot Act of 1714 and give the crowd an hour to disperse. And when I say crowd, I mean group of twelve or more. So basically any sports match, play or birthday party. And when I say an hour to disperse, I mean before throwing the group in jail for three years. It had better have been a HELL of a party...

Now. The original figurative usage of the phrase meant to reprimand rowdy characters, and warn them to stop behaving badly. This follows phrase's origin quite literally. But unless Cameron is being deliberately rendered as a frightened judge wearing pyjamas and a moustache-hammock, something is amiss. This is not the sort of reading he has being giving.

So it seems to me that the emphasis and connotations of 'riot' in "to read the riot act" is shifting from the reprimandee, who was read the Riot Act to dissuade him from losing both his rag and his liberty, to the reprimander, who is just sort of, you know, so angry he's like a one-man riot.

And that kind of linguistic corruption - which according to Wikipedia might be called an autoantonym - is VERY interesting!

Isn't it?

Two more similar tit-bits, but thankfully with much less exposition, are that (1) 'wan', which means 'pale' in today's parlance, used to mean 'dark' in Middle English, and (2) conversely but entirely coincidentally, 'dark' used to mean 'light.' So there.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

She's Apprentice Mad

Just had a little look at MSN's Apprentice lookalikes.

Uncanny! Well done Lorna Cooper, TV Editor!

Another triumph! Excellent work Lorna!

But what's this?...


That woman does not resemble Munch's famous painting at all. And your accompanying comment - "What a resemblance to Munch's famous painting!" - only makes you sound MORE DISTURBED.

Lorna Cooper (TV Editor), I think you should seek psychiatric help. You are UNWELL. Like Charlize Theron in The Devil's Advocate, you see monsters everywhere when they are JUST NOT THERE.

Poor Lorna Cooper.

Thursday's Thoughts

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

A Love Letter

Dear Sir / Madam,

I have never written one of these letters before, but I must tell you how I feel. I can't get you out of my mind!

We met in Whittard of Chelsea in Durham. You were standing behind the counter. I think that you worked there (I hope so otherwise you should not have been behind the counter! I hope you are not the sort of person who sneaks round the till to steal money / snoop for secret recipes / peek at 'Staff Only' notices etc.)

(Having said that, if you did find a recipe, I should be very interested in knowing how Whittard of Chelsea blends its tea and coffee. But not its hot chocolate as I think I know already (chocolate and hot water!))

You were behind the counter (let's say working) (for now) and I was admiring the grand selection of teas, coffees, mugs, teapots, tableware, caddies and little trays you can put tea bags on if you've made it in a mug but don't want to have to walk all the way back to the bin.

We spoke.

I said: "Do you sell those little trays you can put tea bags on if you've made it in a mug but don't want to have to walk all the way back to the bin?"

You said: "Do you mean a saucer?"

I said: "Well not a saucer like from a cup and saucer, it's like a specially designed saucer that's just for putting your tea bag on if you don't want to walk..."

And you said: "Yeah, a saucer. They're there."

You pointed to a shelf of products in front of me. I was thrilled to discover that you were right (so typical of you!!!).

I had a look, but didn't actually buy one in the end as they cost over three pounds Sterling (in fact nearly three and a half pounds Sterling) (£3.49) and frankly I thought that that was too much for a saucer that cannot even be used with a cup. You do know you can just walk to the bin?

(Maybe you should pass this feedback on to your superiors - although in my eyes, it is not as if anyone is superior to you!!! Except perhaps Walter Whittard, the merchant who founded Whittard of Chelsea in 1886. You can hardly say that he was not onto a good thing when he saw it (the thing)!)

Anyway, I knew right there and then that you were the girl for me. I said to Nick, my friend who had come with me (but melted into the scenery when I clapped my lugs on you!) (Are lugs eyes? I think so), I said: "Nick, that girl is the girl for me!"

A few of the other customers turned around but I didn't care. We were in love and I didn't give a fig who knew it! I said it again, louder this time, but I don't think you heard because you were talking to a customer who was asking about the Chip and PIN system of payment for credit or debit cards (do you remember when that was still new? I just take it for granted now!) and whether he could use it to pay for Dreamtime Instant Tea and 125g Chocolate Coated Coffee Beans (which are far nicer than I expected - it must be the way Whittard of Chelsea blend them! Maybe we could talk about it on holiday together)

He could, as his card had been activated.

Anyway, I didn't buy anything in the end (due to Whittard of Chelsea's unrealistic pricing policy - see above). I left the shop and we have not spoken since. But I was wondering if you would like to contact me so that we can continue our conversation (and maybe think about marrying just moving in together?)

You are the first thing I think of when I wake up and the last thing I thing about before I go to sleep. I will love you until the end of time. Only it was a few years ago - and you were quite old even then - so I hope you are not dead.

Either way, I should appreciate a reply so that we can start our new life together as quickly as possible (time is probably quite short for you!!!)

If this letter has fallen into the wrong hands (spies from Taylors of Harrogate or other of our enemies!), please direct it to the person who was working when I came in (picture attached).

Yours forever,

Mr. Christopher
Your future husband (to be!)

Monday, May 4, 2009

In Defence of Early Hip Hop

People tend to regard their first stumbling foray into the world of music with a sense of pleasant disinterest, as if buying that Milli Vanilli record was something that happened to somebody else. Rarely does anyone still feel passionately about the music that stirred their tender tweenie soul. It occupies a place in the nostalgic canon between pogs, colour-change T-shirts and those rubber poppers you used to lose by the end of morning playtime. Age hath greatly wearied it, and the years most unkindly condemned.

But not for me. Because you see, I spent those years listening – and I mean pretty much exclusively – to the blossoming, exciting and very hip hip hop and R&B of the day (well, not quite exclusively). I'm talking about the gloriously innocent window between around 1989, the date of Chris Hits #1 (my first compilation tape - thanks Dad) and 1993, when gangsta rap moved from the periphary to the mainstream and we all started stomping around talking about 187s and hos and trying to twist our fingers into gang signs ("Chris Hits Rulez OK" – I needed a group of friends to do it but I think it showed those bloods and crips a thing or two about dexterity).

I'm talking, of course, about stuff like this:

During the early 90s, America was cool. Unashamedly, unequivocally, universally cool. Even, surely, to Al-Qaeda (who, for the record, I think later took the command "BOOM! Shake the room!" far too literally).

Everyone - or at least, everyone at my school - wanted to be American. Everyone wanted to live in a house like the Cosby's, dance like Kid 'n Play and learn the words to The Fresh Prince of Bel Air as quickly as humanly possible.

It was a time when a reference to Homebase earned you the reputation of a kid who was cool, edgy and perhaps even slightly dangerous, rather than a kid who spent his free time grouting or turning the soil and whose idea of danger was to shut his eyes and spin around in the cactus aisle.

It was a time of hope, innocence and wonderful self-delusion. Even as late as 1997, I imagine that I could pull off a Fubu cap and look more LL than Vanilla Ice.

But then again, back then, who DIDN'T want to stop, collaborate and listen! anyway? Despite the poor man's surname being Van Winkel (which doesn't seem to me to have received sufficient press coverage) and his later attempt at renounciation, make no mistake: Vanilla Ice was one cool dude. We all thought it. And if that's not joyful delusion then I don't know what is.

Sure, there were times when this god-awful sort of ethno-ragamuffin look got a little out of hand (Soul II Soul, I'm looking at you). And lot of the music videos now seem horrifyingly corny (Soul II Soul, I'm looking at you). But listen to this, this or this and tell me these guys weren't on to something seriously good. And if there's a person alive whose face doesn't light up at the words "Drrrums please!" then I haven't met them.

The point is that before it was led to the more, erm, 'unremittingly violent' side of life by Compton's finest, before America stopped being widely adored and had to rein in its braggadocio, and before we all realised that Milli Vanilli were FAKING ALL ALONG, hip hop was a happy, confident little boy who ran around in the park all day long and ate sand from the sandpit.

So you can keep your repulsive sweat-activated T-shirts, your utterly pointless pogs and those stupid poppy-off-the-finger things you used once and never saw again. This is a childhood obsession that shall never grow old. When I gaze back to the flowering of my musical youth, I remember the positivity, the funk, the energy - and being the first kid in school to learn the words to 'Boom! Shake the Room'. And the cool points I got for THAT surely forgive a thousand sins.

* That one might have been just me. I Googled the dance and - though I've discovered it had a name: the Funky Charleston - other details are not forthcoming. More of a one-man craze then. Which at least explains why no-one is ever up for doing it with me.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Edwin's Raisin goes political

As you may be able to tell from the above, I'm thinking of becoming much more political on here (I'm deeply pro-hat).

This is because I see that the BBC News page is very popular so thought maybe if I talk about news I'll get more followers. More followers than one.

So. WHAT NEWS IS THERE TO TALK ABOUT. Swine Flu? I could trotter out my favourite swine flu puns:

  • Worried about swine flu? Why not go and get some oinkment, ha ha ha!
  • I think I have swine flu as I have come out in a rasher, ha ha ha!
  • Hey! Do not get swine flu; it is sow unbecoming, ha ha ha!
  • Apparently we should be fine: the UK has been stockpiling Hamiflu for years, ha ha ha!
  • I just called the NHS Swine Flu helpline, but all I got was crackling, ha ha ha!
  • People wonder who started swine flu - all I can say is that it s'nout to do with me, ha ha ha!
I hope that wasn't too boaring for everyone.

I could also talk about hats to make it look like there was a reason for that Aretha Franklin picture at the start.

A brief history of Mr. Christopher's hats:

  • Age 7: gets a cowboy hat from Tunisia. Wears it for a bit before realising looks like a berk. Puts it on teddy and leaves it at home. Tells friends, friends think he is a berk. 7 too old to be putting hats on teddies.
  • Age 8: has a very garish multi-coloured baseball cap. Takes it on holiday. Blows off head while on boat. Shrieks and cries like a girl. Hopes teddy is taking care of cowboy hat at home.
  • Ages 9-14: stung by previous experiences; pretty quiet on the hat front.
  • Age 15: gets a Tour de France cap. Wears it and realises maybe hats are back. Keeps it away from teddy (don't want him getting jealous and nabbing it!)
  • Age 16: thinks is black. Gets a Fubu hat. Wears it backwards. Friends, family and - most upsettingly - teddy thinks he is a berk.
  • Age 19: buys flat cap in Paris. Wears it a lot. Comments rage from "like Will Young!" to "like a wanker!" Teddy saying nothing.
  • Age 20: wears an array of caps, beanies and the flat cap at university. Oh if teddy could see me now!
  • Age 24: buys a trilby. World howls in dismay. Teddy moves out.
  • Age 25: becomes skeptical of hats again.
  • Age 26: sees Arethra Franklin's hat on Obama inauguration. Likes it, buys it. Teddy moves back in.
There we go! Linked back in and a happy ending to boot. BBC watch out.
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