A Somewhat Short Post

Not really feeling up for a full post today, but trust me, next week’s might be a surprise…

Exciting New Research


We observe the event of a dinner party organized by one member of Irish descent, and one member of Filipino descent. Our results confirm that instead of the expected doubling of food on offer, the prepared food is exponentially greater, far in excess of any number of invites sent out or RSVP’d.

Which is to say, utter madness.

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Eight separate desserts of varying complexity (and abuse hurled at the French for inventing some of the recipes); pounds and pounds of meat. Five different types of bread! A savoury set of tarts that would have put in a good innings against the fishes and loaves and the 5,000.

Fair to say, then, that our first board game evening for over a year was something of a success. Games were played, though I’m always a poor judge of how many people are going to want to play something that isn’t hidden role or Codenames (I swear I don’t bring out the eurogames! And the good thing about hidden role games is that they normally scale quite far beyond tabletop games).

Also, a short visit through my wardrobe revealed that although a lot of my trousers still fit after the past year of remaining indoors, the shirt situation is not quite as good. Not great, but I guess it could be worse.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I still have about three loads of dishes to wash up…

The Long, Fiery Weekend

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Brood X: Metal Cicadas

Yay! It’s sunny again! Let’s go outside!

intense hissing and flying exo-skeletons everywhere


Yes, it has taken a little while, but Brood X has come to Cincinnati. And the are everywhere. Perhaps not quite in the “dense fog of insects swarming so hard that you cannot see sense”, but definitely in the “all over the walls, pavements, and plants…and in your hair if you stay outside for more than five minutes”. Still, nothing quite like a plague of insects to go along with your actual plague, I guess1.

And staying on the pandemic front…I have booked my first flight for over a year, the longest period of time I’ve gone without flying for over a decade. Just a few days back in North Carolina (hopefully seeing workmates and friends!), but it’ll be nice to go somewhere again. Even if that is “a Doubletree hotel near the airport”.

Finally, if you didn’t find the Eurovision scoring hilarious, you’re a sad, sad person. But let us remember better times from Germany, when instead of putting on a total abomination, they went for “here us out - what if Estuary English with a hint of German?”

  1. In fairness, the cicadas are pretty harmless, just annoying. [return]

He died twice to save us all!

Not much to talk about this week, so I’ll leave you with my birthday present - original art from Geoff Senior!


'Lemon Lemon Lemon Lemon Lemon?!'

Not a huge amount to talk about this week, at least not much that I remember. I did buy the ‘new’ release of Whole Damn Body on Friday, despite already owning all the songs, mainly because:

  • Remastered!
  • God knows where my original 7”s are…I mean they’re here somewhere
  • It was the last Bandcamp Friday, which means that LC! get all the money from the digital purchase, which I gather is the same amount that they’d get from Spotify if you streamed their songs constantly for over a year.

I have finished The Amelia Gething Complex, and I stand by my insistence that you should all watch it. Given that the episodes are only 18 minutes long, I’m loathe to talk about any one episode in general, for fear of giving away too many gags. But oh, the final episode, which is a throwaway clip show. With a framing sequence set in 2147 and where the only two episodes of TV surviving are this clip show and an episode of Hetty Wainthrop Investigates. And it ends with a masquerade dance with a killer wasp. Come on! Head to iPlayer and watch it all!

(also, do check out Alan Partridge railing against the 1990 Broadcasting Act in S02E02 of This Time. Which might also contain one of the longest callbacks in TV history, 27 years after the original broadcast and on primetime BBC1, no less…)

A Whole New (Old) World

It was weird. Actually getting dressed, going outside, driving to somebody else’s house, and then spending several hours inside, unmasked, with people that I haven’t seen for over a year.

(to give you an idea of how weird: Helvetica saw me come out of the bedroom in jeans and a shirt and completely freaked out, hiding under the chair. She did this again when I wore real clothes on Saturday too, so I guess her last memory of me wearing actual clothes is “he’s going to put me in that cage and take me to the place with dogs. I don’t like it! I will hide!”)

It was a nice night out, and I finally got to try pizza from Taglio. But it’s definitely going to be a gradual process easing back into what used to be normal. I have also switched back down to just single-masking when I’m in the supermarket, now that my mRNA goodness is fully operational. Offices are opening and there’s talk of a work meetup in the next couple of months - will I be back on a plane for the first time in over a year?

Um, also, nobody told me about The Amelia Gething Complex until last month and I’m a little salty about it. A CBBC show that feels like The Young Ones, RTD’s Why Don’t You, Milligan’s Q, Clerks: TAS1, and a YouTuber stuck in a blender, and broadcast to impressionable children. It’s amazing, and if I was 12-13, it’d be as formative as things like Maid Marian or The Flashing Blade. Look, it even does CEEFAX jokes, despite all of the cast probably being about 5 or so when it was turned off. It’s gloriously stupid and fiendishly clever…often at the same time, and completely obsessed with being a TV show and how TV shows are made. I love that it reminds me of all these older shows, but it’s also completely its own thing, with its own ideas and references.

“In the next scene, your parents buy the pony you’ve always wanted…and you’re playing the pony!”

“Just let me lick a traveller’s cheque!!”

“No, it’s a coat, not a [BLEEP] [BLEEP]”


All of The Amelia Gething Complex is available on iPlayer. With this and Ghosts, the BBC is quietly having a great run in comedy right now…

  1. I think that the restrictions placed on him by ABC and the freedom of animation resulted in Smith’s best work, and it’s telling that everything after the animated series became lazier and lazier. [return]
  2. Note that none of the main actors were alive during the Abomination’s heyday. And feel old. [return]

A Pulled Cracker

I’ve finished my Cracker run. It’s an odd thing - it depicts a Manchester that just about is reminiscent of my experience of the city (though not quite; that transition period of “post-bomb, but pre-‘rebuild’, and every week you walk past one of the largest bomb craters to grace Britain” is somewhat missing from the British Archive. I’ll take the shots of the Oxford Road Odeon, BBC North, and the elevated walkway across the Kilburn Building, though. And the Maths Tower. And when UMIST was UMIST). And unlike, say the hilarious Rave Morse incident, Cracker gets the pervasiveness of rave and acid house just right. It’s there in the background, it’s clear that Mark spends his weekends at The Paradise Factory or elsewhere on Princess Street, but it’s not remarked on at all. You could just imagine this song playing over some of the scenes, reminding me of all the Sunday mornings I never had during my three years at university at Owens. England Made Me, after all.

(I still don’t understand the Hong Kong special, though. Did everybody just fancy a jolly before the handover? It’s not quite as bad as the Ruth Rendell episode that suddenly turns into a trip to America for almost no reason about an hour in, but it’s pretty bizarre considering just how much Cracker was a Manchester show)

What I didn’t say last week: while I was recovering from Moderna Part 2, we watched Everybody in the Place: an Incomplete History of Britain 1984-1992. It was not the straight retelling of the rave years that I expected, but it was definitely an interesting take on those years, and watching the Sixth Formers of 2019 playing around with a 303 was golden, even if I was too young to be part of the rave generation and far too old for the new kids. But it did make me think that both Summers of Love, the first and Second, at least in the UK, contained the seeds of, if not their own downfall, but the Unexpected of What Was To Come. In the 60s, you had the pirate radio ships making a blow against the Man. But pirate radio was backed by the Institute of Economic Affairs, and a thousand Dr. Ruth Leas bloomed in the 70s. And in the Second Summer of Love, there’s all the footage of Paul Staines, fresh from being Hart’s bagman in the Miners’ Strike, and who would, two decades later, become a poison at the heart of Westminster. Adam Curtis would make a lot with those connections. But they’d all come to one conclusion: you can never trust a hippie.

(some time later: Actually, I forgot that Curtis did write about Smedley and the IEA on his blog a while back.)

This upcoming week: I might go to somebody else’s house. With no mask. 😱😱😱

Moderna & The Lost Weekend

Moderna, Part 2 is no joke. But I’m hoping to be back to normal in the next 48 hours or so.

I had a bunch to say this week, but I don’t have the energy today, so things will be lost. I had a great, quiet birthday, and I rediscovered that Cracker is a lot bleaker than you remember. Also, on re-watch? The supposed Imperial Phase of Red Dwarf is really not as good as your faulty memory tells you. It was an odd contrast to go from that to the first episode of Waiting For God, which, well, yes, it’s still a prime-time BBC1 sitcom, but the writing was so much sharper than what Grant/Naylor were doing on BBC2 at the same time.

Right, I’m going to head to bed and collapse for the evening. But the good news is that by mid-May, I will be at my full mRNA powers!

Old Racist Dies

Although I’m an anti-monarchist1, the past two days have been a bit like this for me:


All I pointed out was that, yeah, sure, losing BBC Four and having 1 & 2 simulcast for 24 hours (plus the Radio network going to the ‘sombre’ playlist) was a bit of a pain, but what do you honestly expect the BBC to do? This is the prelude to a massive cultural shift in Britain; where one of the icons of the post-war era, one of the constants for three generations of British people, will no longer be with us, and potentially the start of the fall of the monarchy itself, given the candidates for succession. It’s somewhat newsworthy, and as the public sector broadcaster that has been chronicling these things since 1922, cut them a bit of slack?

(also, this is not 1997. The vast majority of the country only had five channels at the time. Today, even if you discount the Internet, there seems to be 99 channels available on a free-to-air basis, and even as people were spending a lot of Saturday moaning, most of BBC television had gone back to a fairly normal slate of programmes)

This post brought to you by “when I was a young lad, not only did we have to walk 20 miles in the snow to get to school, but they’d take DS9 off schedule whenever it looked like Tim Henman might make it to the quarter-finals of Wimbledon! You lot don’t know you’re born!”

The digital billboards all around the country, though? Yeah, don’t do that again. Very creepy.

(Obviously, complaining about the content of the last 48 hours is definitely fine; the hagiography and the glossing over the reactionary and racist elements of his life was terrible…)

  1. I have mellowed a little though. In my teens and 20s, my solution to the Royal Family was “let’s do the Romanov again!” to the tune of “Time Warp”, blowing up Buckingham Palace and replacing it with a massive concrete obelisk containing a new Worker’s Soviet. These days, I’m fine with nationalizing their entire assets, giving the family a one-off £100m payment to go off and live like a set of European royals, and I’m fine with converting the Palace into social housing. Does that count as getting more right-wing as you get older? [return]