I blog when I go abroad, and occasionally when I do stuff in the UK too. There's a nicer interface over here.

Friday, December 29, 2006


Ah, here's that post-big-night-out "what the fuck was I playing at? why didn't I slow down/have less/etc? I've got to stop" introspection. Excuse du jour: err, I don't really have one.

Monday, December 25, 2006

map mistakes

This road is not called Box Lane. It's called Bow Lane.

So this is Christmas

What have I done? Well, I've been round me dad's all day, walked there this morning and got back not too long ago. Just put South Park on having had a shower 'cos I was stinking like a total bastard, probably because I was trotting at a decent pace while wearing 3 layers of clothes, 2 of which were coats. One of them was a present from me dad and step-mum, who seemed unsure whether I liked it or not. I think my using the phrase "oh mint, that's proper" may have been at the root of their confusion.

If I recall correctly, Christmas Day is the only day of the year I've never been in a pub. Still is. The Beverley in Lower Morden wasn't going to change that. I've actually had a completely dry day and not before time. It's no secret I've been caning it like an absolute bastard over the last few weeks, but even by those standards the weekend was fucking ridiculous. That's what happens when I get given a free ticket to see Iron Maiden. I was already half-cut on Friday when I got told about that and spent the rest of the evening celebrating, but Saturday itself was fucking incredible.

Let me just get this out of the way first though: Trivium are still rubbish live. Their drummer can't keep time.

Anyway. 3 of us got on the train at about 1745 on Saturday. With beer. Probably too much beer for such a short journey. Finished it off anyway, and waited outside Earls Court trying to get hold of Darryl, since he had the tickets. When he said "Aaah, it was just a joke lads", obviously joking, I managed to threaten him with a glassing. I believe the actual phrase I used was
Why do you think we're drinking out of bottles and not cans mate? I figured the glass would come in useful in case I needed to start an altercation
I'm not sure saying this, loudly, and less than 5 yards from the nearest policeman was that sensible an idea. Dear police, and, in fact, society as a whole: I wouldn't actually have glassed him. Just can't get out of this urban savage chic phase at the mo, innit.

Fucking hell did we put it away. So so much to drink. All four of us were total fucking disgraceful dipso lush fucks, frankly, and the next day was almost a total write-off for everyone -- although me and Wooj managed a few in the evening to celebrate his birthday. Whether we'd manage that was touch and go for a while, mind. But the best bit about yesterday was that each time I had a hangover twinge, instead of the normal "what the fuck was I playing at? why didn't I slow down/have less/etc? I've got to stop" introspection, I instead started laughing at the memory of the night. A real fucking belter.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Make you breathe more easily

That new Jarvis single is rubbish. XFM London should stop playing it. The intro really reminds me of another song though and in 2 weeks of hearing it on typically heavy rotation I've still not managed to place it.

I can't work out whether I like all of The View's Same Jeans or not. His voice sometimes grates, at other times I like it. The rolled Rs are the sticking point I think. But I do like the fast bit at the very end, which much like Jarvis's song reminds me of something else.

In fact lots of stuff reminds me of something else. Am I the only person in the world who can hear a very definite Dead Kennedys resemblance in songs by Arctic Monkeys? A band who, by the way, might be worth questioning over the Suffolk streetcleaning, given these lyrics.

I'm going to have to buy the Razorlight album I think. I fuckin' hate that America song, but Before I Fall To Pieces is great, and I really like the other one on the TV advert whose name escapes me right now.

The Ordinary Boys' Boys Will Be Boys starts off with some great lyrics, but my favourite "night out" lyrics are still these ones from The Zutons.

Lord give me grace and dancing feet, and the power to impress. Is it so wrong to crave recognition?

Earlier this year I was chatting to some friends and saying just how much I wanted Sacred Reich to reform. Seemingly every other thrash band from the 80s/90s cusp is either still going or has recently got back together for a filthy lucre tour, but no sign of these boys. Most disappointing. Well blow me down with a feather, not only have they got back together but they're touring the UK and playing at Wacken, for which I already have tickets and transport.

Malevolent Creation are back 'n all. I saw them supporting Pestilence once, in Walthamstow, having had an entire bottle of Thunderbird Red on the tube from Morden. I don't remember if they were any good, although thinking about it I saw them later on in the same tour at the Marquee and they were fantastic.

A few weeks ago I was scouring for Bogdan Raczynski and couldn't find hardly anything that didn't cost a fortune. IIRC I ended up with a Rephlex records compilation and that was it. Discovered earlier this week while working late with a colleague from upstairs that he's got bloody loads of his tunes, and gave me access to a bunch of it. Superb. I still want to buy it, if I can find it at a reasonable price, but for now I can at least listen to him.

Been rereading my holiday blog entries recently. I noticed that when I was in Auckland I posted this:

Hmm. Panic! At The Disco sound like Fallout Boy, and to my utmost annoyance I've found myself liking the latter (and, therefore, the former) recently. "lalalalala cock it and pull it", etc. Goddamn emo rubbish being all catchy and shit. Thank fuck I've placed a moratorium on buying any CDs 'cos they're too heavy to cart around the fucking world, hopefully by the time I get back to England this phase will have passed.

Jesus. How wrong was I?

Monday, December 18, 2006

'tis the season

'tis the season
Originally uploaded by Darren Foreman.
I was going to have a dry weekend. Instead I went to the pub on both Saturday and Sunday. However, I feel less bad about my lack of self-control because I've just read this. So there.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Walked 10 miles today. Clicking on "small" next to where it says "Elevation" is quite interesting. Richmond Park seems nice -- I've never really explored it before, and didn't do much today, so that gives me something to do sometime. Who has sovereignty over postcodes? There are road signs on Kingston Vale and the roads coming off it that say Royal Borough of Kingston at the top left, and SW15 at the bottom. I kind of thought the borough border would also be the postcode border.
Got my name read out on XFM finally yesterday, on about the 5th attempt I guess. Can't even remember who the DJ was but it was a guy in the morning asking for hangover cures. Darren in Surbiton recommends a Lucozade Hydroactive and a packet of crisps, which rarely fails but if it does, a Guinness fixes everything. Natasha on 6music read me out again 'n all, even though I emailed in during a section of the show where she hadn't been inviting contact (I said the new Fall Out Boy single, played in Emo Corner, sounded like Christina Aguilera; she, her producer, and another listener thought it was more like N*Sync).
I hate football commentators. They're nearly all shit except for Andy Gray and Martin Tyler. Alan Smith just said "this is probably the pick of the bunch without doubt". Is that probably, or without doubt, Alan? You fucking idiot. David Pleat once said "I like this lad, he's got plenty of that side-to-side width". Not that top-to-bottom width then Dave? Can't remember who it was that said "alarm bells are flashing" the other week. Chris Kamara made 90 minutes worth of howlers during a play-off final the other year which everyone I was with kept picking up on and getting infuriated by. During Cardiff -vs- QPR a while ago they might as well hae been watching a different game such was their interpretation of how the game was panning out. Etc. In fact now the guy who isn't Alan Smith just said "Is it my memory playing tricks or how many great goals have we had this season?". What the fuck does that mean?

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Cricket. Fuck it. Cock it and pull it.

I wish I didn't care about cricket. We're so awful. It's not like I expected anything different, after the 2nd test, but I still can't stop watching the 3rd. It's painful. I thought it'd be over in 3 days but the Aussies have decided to fucking humiliate us. Gilchrist has just taken 24 off a Panesar over including 3 sixes. Sigh.

Burnout Revenge on xbox 360 is fun. When I'm in the right mood, of course, and last night to the delight of all concerned (ie my opponents, who in the past have had to suffer me storming off in a Big Gay Huff) I somehow was. Played 'til just gone 0200. Discovering that the soundtrack is a bunch of emo helped, Fall Out Boy FTW!

Threads is amazingly bleak, grim, depressing, distressing even. Astonishing film. Glad I live and work in London, I presume this place would be a nuke target and I'd likely get vapourized rather than survive.

I might go to this exhibition at the British Library later or tomorrow.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Thursday, December 14, 2006

off the rails

Got some post from South West Trains this morning. Half expected it to be a demand for monies owed, having completed a Surrey hat trick of post-drinks fare-dodges last night by waking up in Guildford. On the last train. This time the Yahoo! Christmas party was to blame (although the drinks before going there might have had something to do with it too). So there I was at 0150 or so, no trains back to London until 0353. Got some money out to get a cab and discovered there were 2 other guys in the same boat, so we agreed to share (they both needed Kingston; result).

Unfortunately while at the ATM I'd discovered that my travelcard was missing from my wallet. I gave a fairly thorough check to make sure it wasn't just not-on-top, but didn't find it. It runs out on January 7th so it's not the greatest hardship in the world, I'd only have lost 3 weeks or so worth. Mind you that's 90-odd quid. Anyway. I wanted it back. The cab was turning up in 5 minutes and some very kind and accomodating SWT staff let me back on the locked-up train to look for it. 'course I had no fucking idea what carriage I'd been in or anything. During my search the fella got called on his walkie-talkie saying the other two were about to fuck off in that cab unless I made it back sharpish, so I admitted defeat and came home. Dunno how much it was going to cost but I shoved 20 quid in one of my fellow disgraces faces as they dropped me off, about 100 yards from my door.

My travelcard was in my wallet. Just not on top.

Monday, December 11, 2006

View from the morning

At my desk before 0700 on a Monday morning. What the hell is wrong with me? I have to go home early today.

I need to change the way I talk. I know there are plenty of people who get aggravated by lots of things in the way modern English works, specifically by the overuse of superlatives and extremes. The way people say "literally" in a way that means the precise opposite of "literally" is an example, I think, of the extremes I mean. Like "I literally shat myself when Slayer came on" -- no, you didn't, did you? You figuratively shat yourself, perhaps. Anyway. I'm as guilty of it as the next man but I've been inspired to try and change, and the reason is I saw a film last night called Death Machines.

See I'm prone to describing things as "the worst [whatever] ever". There's several instances where the '[whatever]' in question has been a film, and there are some wrongs to right. I need to apologise to the makers of Sliver. Home Alone? Not such a bad film. The Crow? I guess it has some redeeming features. Death Machines? Without doubt the worst film I have ever seen. And I've seen Plan 9 From Outer Space 'n all. And They Came From Beyond Space. And Maniac Nurses Find Ecstasy.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

The number of the beast

I was going to go for a 15, 20, even 25 mile walk yesterday. I didn't. Managed the just-under-6-miles from home to me Dad's place though, good preparation for Christmas that. I just couldn't be arsed leaving the house any earlier than 3pm, despite getting up plenty early enough for a long 'un. I just lazed around watching football on TV instead. Ho hum.

Got on the radio again this morning. 6music once more, this time for bigging up Mysterious Cities of Gold's theme tune.

Left the house at 0945 today to walk to Chessington, but gave up halfway and got on a bus. The reason I was heading that way is 'cos I'd agreed last night to join Loz and Freya on their trip to the zoo.

I love zoos. They're great. If memory serves correctly I've been to zoos in Paris, Cologne, Berlin, New York, Singapore, Sydney, and now Chessington. Actually that doesn't sound like enough, but maybe it is. Anyway. Chessington's is perhaps somewhat less splendid than the others but heading there on what turned into a fairly grey and very cold English December day was a great idea. I love visiting summery places out of season. Spending a few days on the Isle of Wight in November 2003 was a superb case in point. There's something about the bleak desolation, exacerbated by the weather, of a half-closed, almost-deserted tourist attraction which really appeals to me; Chessington Zoo today provided just that. The bleakness was even compounded by the horrid building site of the 150 room hotel being built on the premises. Ace.

The animals help too, mind. There aren't masses of 'em but they've got spider monkeys and rabbits and alpaca and gorillas and lions and tigers and stuff, innit. I do think it's a genuine shame, rather than just something to take the piss out of, when something so obviously educational is let down by bad English though. Like, say, on a sign explaining stuff about the Grey Owl where, highlighted as one of the things to remember, is a mis-spelling of the word "Arctic". Artic indeed :-(

Hung out at Loz's for a while after the zoo, getting a couple of films he illegaled for me last night in the process, then decided to walk home. The "walking as a form of transport" route is just over 3 miles, but is a pretty horrible walk through shitholes and along very big roads; but the "I've got nothing worthwhile to do with my time" route I managed to concoct was 6.5 miles, and thoroughly pleasant. Well, not thoroughly, but perhaps 85% so. Deliberately walked faster than normal, partly to see what speed I could keep up and partly 'cos I was fairly keen on the idea of watching Chelsea -vs- Arsenal, think I kept a steady 4.3mph. Not bad I suppose.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Stop - Darren time

Blimey. I got read out on 6music's breakfast show yet again, this time for bigging up MC Hammer's U Can't Touch This. Go me! I don't imagine anyone will listen to it but just in case, it happened at just around 9am, so 2hrs in. FWIW it's a good show anyway.

I also got the song right in Liz Kershaw's name-that-tune competition thing although I didn't bother SMSing. Mind you I'm not too fussed about that because the prizes were shite. Getting into this emailing/texting-the-radio thing though innit. Think I'll try and get on Laverne's 8 o'clock shuffle next week. In fact before even finishing this post I've sent in my entry. If they pick me that'll not just be my name on the radio, it'll be my voice. Oo-er.

Fuck my sleep patterns. Well actually I guess they're not pissing me off that much, but needing to be awake and/or in the office at particular times what with working in a team and stuff isn't really compatible with 'em. Shame really 'cos I enjoy the madness of being up at random times of day and night. Handy, 'cos having regressed into only needing/having 4 hours kip a night, I don't seem to have the complementary ability to stay awake for 20 hours a day. When I went to bed after posting that last entry I probably fell asleep around 0230, and I definitely got up at 0615. Come that evening I was knackered when I got home and went to kip at 2230, predictably enough waking up at 0230. I thought that was a bit early to get up even for me so tried to get back to sleep, failing to do so until around 0345. What followed was a series of 10-15 minute naps until just gone 0600, after which I stayed awake but felt totally fucking shattered. Just couldn't drag my sorry carcass out of bed and ended up getting to work late. Sigh.

Right. I'm off for a walk. My head's a mess.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

down and out in West Byfleet

Dear Mr South West Trains conductor guy on the 2323 London Waterloo to Alton service, December 6th 2006,

Thanks for letting me off the excess fare I volunteered to pay, having missed Surbiton through being asleep and only waking up when the doors locked shut, thus ending up in West Byfleet. Your generosity saved me a good 3 quid. Shame you didn't suggest I stay on 'til Woking which would almost certainly have meant waiting less than half an hour for the train back. Oh well. It could have been far worse. Mind you missing Surbiton twice -- on schoolnights -- in the last 14 days isn't something that I'm particularly proud of. Tonight's was more due to tiredness than being off the rails though, so perhaps I shouldn't be so hard on myself. Probably a good idea to go to bed, mind, what with it being past 0200. Sigh. Glad I sleep well even when the apocalypse is going on outside.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

load of Baldocks

sun and church, in Baldock
Originally uploaded by Darren Foreman.
Went to play table tennis on Sunday. I go up to Cambridge to do so every so often, ostensibly every month but in reality it's been about 4 times this year. Transport's a bit shitty, since somewhat unbelievably there are no trains northbound out of Kings Cross on a Sunday until 10am. Not to Cambridge, that is; to anywhere. First one there is at 1015 which gets in at 1101, being the "Cambridge Express" or summat. Unfortunately the room was booked for 1100 'til 1300, so rather than be late I decided to get a coach.

Got up too late to get the coach. For fucks sake. Then I left the house way too fucking early to get the train, at about 0820, meaning I ended up spending an hour at Kx stood there reading a magazine. Still, I was only going to be 20 minutes or so late.

25 miles or so south of Cambridge is a place called Baldock. I've been there. On Sunday. Because just north of it the train I was on slowed to a halt, the driver told us there was "plastic wrapped around the overhead lines" which meant we were in danger of bringing them down if we proceeded through, and we reversed into the station. Sigh. Last time I went to Cambridge I had train grief too, I guess this was a little less gruesome. Anyway, at Baldock the doors were opened as we were told it'd be at least an hour until engineers would get it all sorted. Most people stayed put, a lot got on their phones, a bunch went hunting for cabs, a few went and had fags, and a couple tried the door of the nearest pub despite it being about 1115. I went for a walk.

Baldock's got fucking loads of pubs. Probably 9 or so in easy distance of the station, which struck me as too many for a town of the size it appeared to be. Mind you the Tesco seemed extraordinarily ill-proportioned too, and seemed to be housed in a stately home or summat. Odd. Generally though it seemed like quite a nice place, somewhere I wouldn't mind being stuck... were the pubs open and me in the mood for a pint. In fact I could even be convinced to go there deliberately, but anyway. Just under an hour passed and I returned to the station; my train was no longer at the platform, and I'd just missed another one that I'd seen arrive and depart as I approached. Bah. 15 minute wait 'til the next one and I got to Cambridge just after 1300. Two hour session been and gone, three hours 'til the next sesh, almost five hours since I'd left home. Oh well.

Nice pint, nice lunch, and we ended up playing 3 hours of good table tennis in the evening. Got home pretty quickly, 40-odd minute wait for a train in a FREEZING BASTARD COLD Cambridge station notwithstanding. Thought my hands were going to fall off. Meant I got to listen to the Sunday evening rock show on local station STARadio though, which was notable not for a particularly strong selection of metal but an ad for a company whose name escaped me, whose slogan was the phenomenally dreadful "SHOT THROUGH THE HEART, AND YOU'RE TO BLAME, WE GIVE IN-CAR AUDIO A GOOD NAME". Sheesh. That reminds me: a tribute act called "Born to be Jovi" played at Kingsmeadow last Saturday. What a rubbish name. Someday there'll be a bloke in a flatcap called Ron Jovi and he'll be great.

Been in a fucking appalling mood all day today. I hope this isn't a regular thing. Really face-like-thunder stuff again though. It started when I woke up to the sound of Matthew Hoggard losing his wicket and England being reduced to 105/8, at about 0400 UK time this morning. Not only were we playing like a bunch of total cunts, but waking up made me realise I'd fallen asleep too early last night to hear XFM's Jack Penate session. Sigh. And XFM don't have any kind of "listen again" regime.

Been up since 0400 anyway. Couldn't get back to sleep, perhaps didn't want to. The utter incompetence of the England team with both bat and ball really did fucking ruin the start of my day though. I was steaming angry when I headed for work at 0830 and even a walk in the rain from Waterloo to the office did nothing for me.

Meetings today, end of last/start of this month type stuff. 5 or so hours of 'em. They went pretty well, but the first one in particular made me feel like a total fraud. Our team got a bunch of praise (in fact, we did yesterday too) for having a phenomenally successful November, yadda yadda yadda. Great work, great integration into the team for the new boys (that includes me), etc, and there was me thinking, oh. Really? I've been worried about productivity 'cos, well, it all feels a bit... easy to me. I thought there perhaps should have been more to do. Not that what we did was rubbish, there just didn't seem like an awful lot of it to me. But what do I know? Our product is delicate, after all.