Monday, December 24, 2007

201 all out

It has been a couple of years since I started this site. I didn't expect many people to read - maybe my Dad, my brother and a handful of friends. I have had the pleasant surprise of having strangers stop by, and the disappointing realisation that some of my friends are not interested (despite the fact that they spend hours checking each other out on Facebook). I have had good feedback on some posts, and utter indifference on others. I have written about work, home life, discrimination, commuting and I have also failed to save Sherwood the Bear.

But, after 200 posts, I have decided to stop here. I am not giving up writing on the web, and will continue to do occasional posts via my Facebook profile (which will take away the pressure of having to think up new posts on a regular basis). I certainly intend to continue my occasional posts on my brother's Nottingham Forest blog, and I hope to find the time to write opinions and match reports on both the Nottingham Forest Official site and the BBC Nottingham website. You may also have noticed a new link to "ReVued", a new blog which I am writing with my friend Mohan, in which we, erm, review stuff. Please stop by and have a look.

To those of you who have read, you have my gratitude and admiration. To those of you who have occasionally stopped by, I hope you have enjoyed it. To those of you who wish to contact me, then you can email me at (I can't promise I will check regularly, but I will check).

Merry Christmas! Remember to be good to each other, and may you get what you deserve in 2008 (and in the future)...

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

What goes around...

I have two-traffic related incidents to report upon from last week.

The first one happened when I was driving to work. On a relatively open stretch of urban road, I could see the blue lights in my mirror from a while back, so was keeping my eyes open as I knew that I would have to pull out of the way to let the ambulance past. When I did pull over, it was about 100 yards before a junction, the kind where people often pull out halfway to ease their way into the traffic. The numpty who was sitting halfway obviously saw me and the chap in front pull in and thought "Here's my chance". As it pulled into the road, the ambulance and pursuing police car had to brake (thankfully not too sharply), and gave him a blast of the horn.

Here is the best bit - the accident was only about 500 yards up the road, by a set of traffic lights. The ambulance pulled in, and was swiftly followed by the police car. A line of cars started to queue by the red light. A paramedic leapt out and attended to the casualty; the technician who was driving the ambulance then got out, spoke to the policeman, and pointed out the car which had pulled out in front of the ambulance.

It was very satisfying to see the copper give the driver a good old fashioned telling off. What an idiot, to pull out in front of an ambulance, and yet how great to see that he had the error of his ways pointed out to him. Did he honestly think that it would be OK?


The second incident was on my afternoon off. There is a small crossroads near my house that always has a reasonable flow of traffic, and can get quite busy during rush hour. It was moving more slowly than usual, and I realised that there was a broken down car sitting on the white line. As I drove around, I realised that it was a lady on her own. I pulled in and walked back to her. There must have been tens of cars who had already gone past, even as I was walking to her car I saw a number of people just drive around her.

She was fine, not panicking, and had called the AA. I suggested that it might be a good idea to move the car out of the way, so she wasn't blocking the junction anymore. I pushed her off the white line, around the corner and ran out of steam before I could push her off the main road. At this point only (after pushing from a standing start, up a gentle slope) did two more guys materialise to help push her out of the way. The lady knew one of them, and she had the AA on the way, so she thanked me and I got back in my car and went home. I had a harder workout in two minutes than I would have had in two hours in the gym!

My question is, why did all those other people just drive past? Why did I have to push her from standing, for two hundred yards around a corner and up a slope, before anyone offered to help? I am not a big bloke (5'6" and slightly built, and she was driving a Volvo V40 - not a huge car, but certainly not a small one), so did people think I was practising for some kind of endurance test?

If you have the number, feel free to call the Karma Police on my behalf...
Surprisingly, this was my 200th post on Rish's Diary - where do they all come from?

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Celebrity lookalikes pt 9

This will probably be the last in the "Celebrity Lookalikes" series, so why not go out on a classic?

Former Stone Roses "singer", Ian Brown.

Tony the Tiger

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Celebrity lookalikes pt 8

Hip-hop legend and Eminem's mentor, Dr Dre

Nottingham Forest and Ghana hotshot Manuel Junior Agogo

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Feel the benefit?

Amidst all the furore over the Revenue and Customs fiasco, and the England team's abject failure, one story from the start of the week has been almost forgotten - the changes to the Incapacity Benefit system.

The story didn't surprise me, and neither did the reaction I heard on Radio 5Live. Sadly, there still seem to be a lot of people who don't understand what disability, or more pertinently incapacity, actually means.

My girlfriend, as I have mentioned before, is epileptic, and most of the time you wouldn't know there is anything wrong with her. However, she just would not be able to work full-time - the cocktail of meds that she has to take means that she is permanently exhausted, and needs to sleep about 12 hours most nights - if she doesn't sleep properly, it dramatically increases the chances of her having a seizure (not nice).

I heard the contributors to the 5Live phone-in, and was amazed:
  • "There is a guy at my work who is in a wheelchair, and he comes in everyday to work" - so he is physically disabled, that doesn't mean he is not fit for work.
  • About a woman who phoned in, who works only a few hours per week for her husband's company due to a degenerative condition that causes her pain and chronic fatigue, and claims Incapacity Benefit to make up for the wages she cannot earn: "If she can work, why doesn't she do proper paid work and stop claiming off the state?"
The only call that I could relate to was from an epileptic; he explained how his situation is similar to my girlfriend's. He would love to work full-time, but if he has a seizure he obviously takes time to come around afterwards, and they are difficult to predict.

The trouble is that an employer is not going to take a chance on someone who may not be able to work regular hours due to their illness or disability - I can empathise with employers on this. So unless employers take a chance on people, there will continue to be a number of people who are unable to work full-time, and will continue to rely on the state for financial support.

Of course there are chancers who fiddle the system - but why should people who are genuinely suffering have to miss out because of the actions of them?

As it happens, my girlfriend does not get Incapacity Benefit. This is because she doesn't have enough National Insurance credits. They said that she would be eligible to claim if it wasn't for this, so she doesn't get any money, only her NI credits paid.

So why doesn't she have enough NI credits? This is because in periods when she has not been working before (she has never been able to work full-time, but has done some part-time jobs), she did not claim Incapacity Benefit or Jobseekers' Allowance - therefore, she was not accruing NI credits during this time. Effectively, she did not have enough NI credits to claim benefits, because she did not claim benefits at times when she was eligible! How's about that then?

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Questions that need answering

  • Why is it impossible to open a can of tomatoes without splattering yourself? And also impossible to empty it into a pan or bowl without it slopping over the side - usually over your light-coloured clothing?
  • Why does my car's fuel gauge insist it has three-quarters of a tank left after 120 miles, but then says it is empty after 280 miles?
  • Does anyone know why, even after checking that it is all done, you always find a stray teaspoon at the bottom of the washing-up bowl?
  • How come we can send a man to the moon, but cannot create a juice carton that you can open without it sending a spurt of juice into the air/over your hands and sleeves/all over the nice clean kitchen floor?
  • Why don't cars have mud-flaps anymore? Especially the SUVs, 4x4s and MPVs with the high ground clearance? Surely it would stop spray on the motorways. and help prevent chipped windscreens?
  • How come hedgehogs can run so fast, yet still think that the best way to avoid getting hit by a car is to curl up into a ball in the car's path?
  • Do people who alter the spacing of the letters and numbers on their number plates honestly think that it spells out their name? Example: H48 VEY apparently spells "Harvey", H1 3ARA displays "Zara". In both these cases, I only knew what they were supposed to spell because they had their names spelt out in small letters underneath - if you have to explain it...
  • Why do I remain convinced that it is worth spending an extra £5 at the supermarket that will get me a 5p per litre petrol voucher that will only save me a maximum of £3?

If you can think of any burning questions that need to be answered, then please add them in the comments box. I will be impressed if anyone can come up with some answers...

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Ludicrous laws

Whoever said that the British political and legal system is outdated and archaic is probably right. Examples include:

  • It is illegal for a woman to be topless in Liverpool except as a clerk in a tropical fish store

  • If someone knocks on your door in Scotland and requires the use of your toilet, you are required to let them enter

The full story can be viewed here, including some equally ridiculous legislation from other countries.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Consequences? What consequences?

One of the more upsetting stories last week was the death of two little boys being killed trying to cross a motorway.

I was astonished when I heard a nearby resident say that they needed barriers and signs to warn the kids that the motorway is unsafe. My first thoughts were, "why on earth were two boys that young out by themselves playing with those scooters?". Now I am not a parent, so I suppose it is easy for me to judge... The father of one of the boys said that he tried to teach his son about the dangers of the motorway. But unfortunately the boys were still unsupervised. The dad also added that he thought there should be warning signs. Again, it is easy for me to judge, and it is perhaps unfair to expect a rational opinion from a grief-stricken parent, but he, and his neighbour, are completely missing the point.

It reminds me of a (thankfully far less severe) incident that I witnessed a couple of years ago. If you are familiar with your Highway Code, you will know not to block pedestrian crossings. The queue I was in was not far from a local school, it was shortly before 9am, and there were about three mothers with their kids waiting to cross. The lights were green, but I waited before the line in case they changed. Seeing that I had stopped, but not even glancing at the lights, one of the mums ushered her little one across. Like many boys of his age (about seven or so), he legged it across the road, straight into the path of an oncoming Ford Escort van. Things went into slow motion, as the driver of the van luckily saw the boy coming through the line of traffic, and managed to hit the brakes. Unfortunately she still hit the boy but mercifully at low speed.

After the boy bounced off the bonnet, the first thing he did was get up and run back to Mummy - in medical terms, this had to be a good thing. The van driver was obviously upset, the lights were on green and the boy would have come out of nowhere. The mother went mental at the driver, accusing her of jumping a red light. The driver quite rightly pointed out that the lights were on green. The mother pointed at my car, still sitting neatly behind the line, as proof that the lights must have been on red. My concern for the boy had now turned into anger at the mother for being so irresponsible and having the nerve to blame it on everyone but herself.

I was about to get out of the car and reassure the driver that she had done nothing wrong, but I realised that I was blocking the road, and there was a long queue in both directions. So I drove along about one hundred yards, until I was clear of the zigzags, and then pulled over, got out and walked back to the crossing. By this time, the parents and their entourage were moving on, and the van driver had given up, and not wanting to block the road, was driving on. So I never did get to set them straight...

When I got to work (all of about ten minutes later), I was obviously a little upset by this episode. At first, I tried to give the mother the benefit of the doubt, but I quickly revised my opinion - if you have kids, surely you don't take any chances with their safety, especially on the roads? If she had only looked up, she would have seen that the red man was still illuminated. The thing that gets me really angry is the fact that it is not her that could have paid the price for her recklessness, but her little boy.

Call me Mr Cynical, but I suspect that, to this day (around two years later), the mother will still be trying to convince herself that it was the van driver's fault...

Friday, October 26, 2007

Explanation as to why the Jeremy Kyle show is so popular

Although I suspect they don't show Jezza's show in the USA...

Thursday, October 25, 2007

In safe hands

This was sent to me recently - I have to confess that I have no idea whether it is true or not...

Can you imagine working for a company that has a little more than
600 employees and has the following employee statistics?

29 have been accused of spouse abuse

7 have been arrested for fraud

9 have been accused of writing bad cheques

17 have directly or indirectly bankrupted at least 2 businesses

3 have done time for assault

71 cannot get a credit card due to bad credit

14 have been arrested on drug-related charges

8 have been arrested for shoplifting

21 are currently defendants in lawsuits

84 have been arrested for drink driving in the last year

Which organisation is this?

It's the 635 members of the House of Commons, the same group that
cranks out hundreds of new laws each year designed to keep the rest of
us in line.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Extracts from Council Housing Complaint Letters

Again, sent to me by a colleague...

I want some repairs done to my cooker as it has backfired and burned my knob off.

I wish to report that tiles are missing from the outside toilet roof. I think it was bad wind the other night that blew them off.

My lavatory seat is cracked, where do I stand?

It's the dog's mess that I find hard to swallow.

I am writing on behalf of my sink, which is coming away from the wall.

Will you please send someone to mend the garden path. My wife tripped and fell on it yesterday and now she is pregnant.

I request permission to remove my drawers in the kitchen.

50% of the walls are damp, 50% have crumbling plaster and 50% are plain filthy.

I am still having problems with smoke in my new drawers.

The toilet is blocked and we cannot bath the children until it is cleared.

Will you please send a man to look at my water, it is a funny colour and not fit to drink.

Our lavatory seat is broken in half and is now in three pieces.

Our kitchen floor is damp. We have two children and would like a third so please send someone round to do something about it.

I am a single woman living in a downstairs flat and would you please do something about the noise made by the man on top of me every night.

Please send a man with the right tool to finish the job and satisfy my wife.

This is to let you know that our lavatory seat is broke and we can't get BBC2.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Dear Dogs and Cats...

Sent to me by a colleague...

To be posted VERY LOW on the refrigerator door - nose height...

Dear Dogs and Cats,

The dishes with the paw print are yours and contain your food. The other dishes are mine and contain my food. Please note, placing a pawprint in the middle of my plate and food does not stake a claim for it becoming your food and dish, nor do I find that aesthetically pleasing in the slightest.

The stairway was not designed by NASCAR and is not a racetrack. Beating me to the bottom is not the object. Tripping me doesn't help because I fall faster than you can run.

I cannot buy anything bigger than a king sized bed. I am very sorry about this. Do not think I will continue sleeping on the couch to ensure your comfort. Dogs and cats can actually curl up in a ball when they sleep. It is not necessary to sleep perpendicular to each other stretched out to the fullest extent possible. I also know that sticking tails straight out and having tongues hanging out the other end to maximize space is nothing but sarcasm.

For the last time, there is not a secret exit from the bathroom. If by some miracle I beat you there and manage to get the door shut, it is not necessary to claw, whine, meow, and try to turn the knob or get your paw under the edge and try to pull the door open. I must exit through the same door I entered. Also, I have been using the bathroom for years -- canine or feline attendance is not required.

The proper order is kiss me, then go smell the other dog or cat's butt. I cannot stress this enough!

To pacify you, my dear pets, I have posted the following message on our front door:

To All Non-Pet Owners Who Visit & Like to Complain About Our Pets:

1. They live here. You don't.
2. If you don' t want their hair on your clothes, stay off the furniture. (That's why they call it "fur"niture.)
3. I like my pets a lot better than I like most people.
4. To you, it's an animal. To me, he/she is an adopted son/daughterwho is short, hairy, walks on all fours and doesn't speak clearly.

Remember: In many ways, dogs and cats are better than kids because they:

1. Eat less
2. Don't ask for money all the time
3. Are easier to train
4. Normally come when called
5. Never ask to drive the car
6. Don't hang out with drug-using friends
7. Don't smoke or drink
8. Don't have to buy the latest fashions
9. Don't want to wear your clothes
10. Don't need a "gazillion" dollars for college.

And finally,

11. If they get pregnant, you can sell their children.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Its base was oh-so wide

I do not understand why anybody would change their name to something that would become rhyming slang - however, what is done is done, and it remains to be seen whether Stewart Copeland will incorporate an extra floor-tom into his drumkit so that he can write, "Sting is a James Blunt".

My opinion of Mr Blunt is pretty much summed-up in this offereing by Weird Al Yankovic:

However, it appears that everyone's favourite ex-soldier-turned-warbler has gone some way to redeeming himself, and there is no better way than by appearing on Sesame Street:

Thursday, October 04, 2007

I think my computer is on drugs

My computer at work gave me this error message (click to enlarge) - does it need help?

Wednesday, October 03, 2007


In a world where it is getting harder and harder to find the good music that is out there, Popworld on Channel 4 gently mocked those musicians who were in it for the fame, as much as the music. I found this gentle, and slightly reverential, article about the now-defunct show and its ex-presenters.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Sign of the times

I meant to write about this a while ago, but was kind of busy at the time. A few months ago, I needed to go to Loughborough for work purposes, and decided to travel by train. This entailed taking a train from my neck of the woods, and meeting a colleague at Birmingham New Street station, where I would change trains before continuing on my journey.

New Street station has ticket barriers where people in yellow jackets check that you actually hold a valid ticket (there has long been a history of fare dodgers on the cross-city lines). I was about to leave the platform area to go and buy a coffee and something for breakfast, when I was stopped by one of the coppers who were in attendance.

PC Plod explained that he and his colleagues were randomly stopping people under the terms of anti-terrorism legislation, I wasn't being targeted and would I mind answering some questions and if he had a look in my bag?

Not being in a position to argue, I politely agreed. PC Plod was quite agreeable, he noted down my appearance and asked about what I was doing today, he then had a quick glance at the contents of my bag. To be honest, he seemed a bit embarrassed by the whole thing. PC Plod was a Sikh, with a beard and a turban. This actually reassured me - if it had been an officer of a different ethnicity, it would have been all too easy to think that they were only stopping me for being of Asian origin. He also said that he takes some (gentle) abuse from friends and family for the fact that he has to do this part of the job.

I wasn't about to complain - it is a sign of the times, and there is no point kicking up a fuss unless you want trouble. That doesn't mean I like it, or that I think it is fair. I do believe that I am more likely to be targeted for stop and search by virtue of my gender (male), age (late 20s) and skin colour (brown); this is in a similar way to the fact that on about half of my holidays with (white) friends or my girlfriend, they will often be quickly waved through at passport control, while I get a slightly sinister glare and often a couple of minutes of questioning about where I have been, what I was doing there and so on.

Am I paranoid? Maybe a little, but given the current climate of suspicion, can you blame me?

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Rish's Holiday Diary - part 2

The saga continues:

Day 4: We went to the beach - well it is the done thing when on holiday on the Costa Blanca! Unfortunately the sun went in, so we ended up giving up and going home. When making dinner, I managed to slice my thumb open - luckily, it did not bleed too much, although I am sure it added a bit of flavour to the meal(!). Worse than the robbery, and the thumb injury, was the appearance of a cockroach in the flat that evening - urghh! I had no insect spray, but managed to make do with some air freshener. I cannot say for certain that the cockroach was dead when I expelled it from the flat, but it sure would have smelt citrus fresh!

Day 5: We went to the Police Station. Reassuringly, filing a Police report in Spain is much like in the UK; you wait around for ages, because there is only one officer taking reports, while about ten coppers stand around scratching their arses and going outside for a fag. After waiting for three hours, we eventually got it done. By then, we had to abandon our planned trip to Alicante. We got home to find three more cockroaches trying to get into the flat - still without insect spray, I found that furniture polish worked effectively - I never realised that Mr Sheen could multi-task!

Days 6 and 7: Went to Alicante. It was not very exciting. The next day we went to Murcia. It was better, but no-one spoke English, and having had our phrasebook stolen in the burglary, we struggled at times. The only person we found who spoke English was a Polish waitress, who remarked that it would be "easier to swim the ocean when you cannot swim, than it would be to spend time in Murcia without speaking Spanish". That told us! The waitress, Aleksandra, was lovely and a bit bonkers. Unfortunately I have lost the bit of paper which she wrote her email address on, so there is no chance of going for a barmy night out with her next time we go to Spain (not necessarily a bad thing - I have heard the Poles are crazy drinkers). I also discovered that the Matiz cannot make it past 65 mph without starting to shake!

Days 8 and 9: Pleasant days, spent at the beach. Lovely, but ruined by the sixty-something woman sunbathing topless nearby - yuck! The following day was packing up, featuring the heaviest hailstorm I have ever seen - it was like the sky was falling in, and I am glad we were indoors at the time. We unfortunately had to continue our battle against the cockroaches (now armed wth insect spray) and then the holiday ended as it began - with queues at the airport, and having to comply with the ridiculous situation of not being allowed to take a bottle of water on the plane with us.

This may sound a little ungrateful, as not everyone can afford to go on foreign holidays, but I didn't really enjoy myself much. Murcia was a good town, the beach was pleasant, it was great to not be at work, but a combination of robberies and cockroaches took the sheen off the holiday. Now I am just waiting to see if the insurance will pay up so we can get a new camera, and still paying off the hire of the crapmobile on my credit card...

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Paddington Bear goes experimental

Have you seen the new ad for Marmite, featuring Paddington Bear? It is really quite amusing, in a nostalgic, understated kind of way:

The ad has caused consternation to some bear lovers, as shown in this article.

Creator Michael Bond was not involved in this ad, but reports that "although Paddington found the sandwiches interesting, bears are creatures of habit. It would require a good deal more than the combined current withdrawals from Northern Rock to wean him off marmalade, if then". A wonderfully measured response, I think (full story is here).

Rish's Holiday diary - part 1

For those of you not able to access me through Facebook, I have just come back from holiday in Spain. It was a bit of a mixed bag.

Day 1: Get on the bus, go to Birmingham airport. When we get there, two hours before the flight (as advised), the queues for check-in are mammoth. It turned out that the conveyor belts behind the check-in desks were broken. The airport had no contingency plan, so the poor check-in staff had to sit there smiling, until the belts worked again (which they did for about one out of every ten minutes). Obviously, no-one missed their flight as we were all in the same boat, but it was bit frustrating and absolutely astonishing that there was no contingency. The airport staff looked a bit hot and bothered, but the holidaymakers remained in surprisingly good spirits!

When we got to Murcia airport, I went to pick up the hire car - finding the collection point was not easy. I had a bit of trepidation about driving on "the other side" as I hadn't done it for about seven years - and that was in Canada, with big wide roads and in an automatic. This time, I was driving in a country with narrow streets, a different driving culture (the old "Latin temperament"), and most importantly, a gearstick on the other side to normal.

Actually, the main problem wasn't changing gear, or even trying to get in the passenger side by mistake (although the missus almost got in on the driver's side, which would be a disaster as she doesn't know how to drive) - it was simply that the Chevrolet Matiz (as pictured above) is like a tin-can with no steering! No reassuring clunk when you shut the door, more a light slap on metal on metal. It understeers horribly, even at very low speed. And it started to shake at 110km/h (about 70 mph). One of my colleagues says that her friends had one for a little while, and called it the "roller-skate". At least the air-con worked, as it was pretty warm out there...

Day 2: Our flat was very pleasant, and it was warm at night as well. On day 2, we shopped for some food and drink, and cleaned up the place (Spain can be dusty). A quiet, but pleasant day, where we sunbathed on the flat's roof terrace, explored the local area and cooked ourselves a chicken paella.

So far, so dull for you, dear reader - but read on...

Day 3: A little more exploring, and a bit more sunbathing. I popped out to the shops to buy some drinks, and left the missus sunbathing on the terrace. Later on, we were about to go out, so I went to grab the camera and my mobile phone. Oh, I must have left them somewhere else, or maybe the missus has moved them? She says that she didn't. The truth slowly dawned on me as I realised that the battery pack for the camera, which I had left charging, had also been unplugged and was missing, as was the missus' bag. I checked for any evidence, and found a footprint. The burglar must have waited until I went out, come upstairs, climbed over the railing and vaulted onto our balcony and into the living room. There they picked up whatever they could which was within snatching distance, and jumped back over, leaving dusty footprints on the balcony and on the railing. Bastardo.

It was Saturday, and we were advised by someone working in the complex that there was no point telling the police until Monday, as they would have an interpreter available then.

Day 4: We were not that upset, just annoyed. Things are, after all, replaceable, and at least our passports and tickets (locked up in another room) were safe. More importantly, the missus hadn't come across the burglar, as who knows what would have happened?

We bought a disposable camera, and I could live without my phone. We had already telephoned home to cancel my mobile and the missus' debit card. We decided to go to the beach, but unfortunately, as soon as we got there, the sun went in for the afternoon. Just our luck!

So we explored a bit, then went home and made dinner, where I promptly added a bit of flavour by slicing my thumb open while chopping vegetables. Luckily it didn't bleed too much and I had remembered to pack the first aid kit. Still, a perfect end to the perfect weekend...

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Caught by the fuzz

The Police have reformed for a series of reunion gigs. They recently visited the National Indoor Arena in Birmingham. My friends Mohan tried to get tickets, he asked if I wanted to get one, but I replied that £100 a ticket was just too expensive.

In a bizarre twist of fate, I ended up going anyway - Mohan's companion for the evening pulled out at the very last moment, and so I was offered the ticket (which had already been paid for).

The support band sounded, well, just like The Police. I actually described them as 90% The Police, and 10% Foo Fighters. Actually not a bad combination! I heard a rumour that the singer/bass player is actually Sting's son, which would explain why he has a similar bass playing style and very similar voice.

Onto the main attraction, the three old fellas came on and started with the brilliant "Message in a bottle". They moved onto "Synchronicity", and then played a handful of songs that I didn't know. The higlight of the set for me was "Every little thing she does is magic", which is far from my favourite Police song, but was performed with real gusto.

Apparently, when introducing a record by The Police, Alan Partridge said, "And now a record by The Police, or as they are now known, Sting". This was the trouble with this gig - Sting dominated it with his ridiculous vocal crooning, stopping at least 40% of songs for a croon break which made said songs twice as long and made the set drag on. Sting and Stewart Copeland looked bored for the most part, Andy Summers did seem to be having fun, but also played his part by playing too many overly long and widdly guitar solos.

It seems ridiculous that songs as dark as "Roxanne" and the fabulous "Can't stand losing you" can be reduced to parody by the singer stopping the song to sing "Roxanne-ohh" or "Ee-ohh" for a number of pointless minutes. On top of that, the band committed what I regard as something of a cardinal sin - they used backing tracks for the additional vocals.

I hope other people enjoyed the gig more than I did - they paid enough for the tickets! If I had paid £100 for that, I would have felt cheated - the impression that band gave is that they were in for the £££.

As a footnote - my favourite story about the band dates back to the mid-1980s, when the feuding between band members was at its height. Apparently Stewart Copeland took to writing a single word on each of his four drum skins. From left to right, it read "STING" "IS" "A" ... and I am sure you can make decent guess at the fourth word (clue: it is widely regarded as being the worst word in the English language).

Monday, September 17, 2007

Get well soon

One of the most under-rated singing bass players of this generation, Mick Quinn of Supergrass, has bizarrely broken his back. The full story is here, but in brief, it seems as though he sleepwalked through a first story window. Ouch.

Get well soon Mickey.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Summer recess

After a brief flurry of posting over the last few weeks, I have decided to take a few weeks' break from the blogging - at the moment, I am very busy with work (and after all, they do pay my wages), and also with the campaign to Save Sherwood the Bear. Things are going to remain frantic for a good three or four weeks yet, after which I intend to retreat somewhere hot and sunny (I hope!) for a few days.

So there may still be updates on the Nottingham Forest blog (hopefully I will be able to squeeze in a match report this weekend), and also on the Save Sherwood site; but for now, it is "au revoir" from Rish's Diary.

Stay safe and be good - see you in the autumn.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Amusing but true

I linked to this from a careers-related article sent to me by my boss - it is a rundown of some of the most bizarre cases heard by employment tribunals, and is quite funny in places (in a "sad but true" kind of way).

He's only a little fella...

We went to see the legendary Prince in concert at the O2 Arena (i.e. the old Millennium Dome) on Saturday. I do not have the time or inclination to write a full review, but here is a precis, as culled from an email to a colleague earlier today:

"Some of it was just like a party - think Soul Train with a hint of evangelism (no-one was preaching, but there was a kind of "let me hear you" kind of atmosphere).

He started off with a hit ("Let's go crazy"), then the Soul Train section, then he kept teasing us. The band were really tight, but they could have played more of the hits. I think it is because he is playing 21 nights, so he is playing a different set every night. Although it was great to see him play stripped down solo versions of "Little Red Corvette" and "Raspberry Beret", it would have been even better to see them played with full band.

Anyway, no complaints, for £35 each we attended a once in a lifetime concert from a legend, on what is probably his last UK tour.

Oh yeah, he is absolutely bloomin' amazing at the guitar!"

Returning to a previous topic of interest (commuting), the journey down from Birmingham to Greenwich was fine - about two and a half hours. I quite enjoyed driving in London again after a long time away from the capital. The journey back was a nightmare. Getting out of London was fine, but we got caught in a queue in the roadworks on the M1 near Luton. We got stuck at 1.30am, and took a whole hour before we were able to get going again! Luckily, before we hit the road, we thought of taking the precautionary measures of: (a) going to the toilet, and (b) stocking up on snacks and drinks.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Celebrity Lookalikes pt 7 - Save Sherwood special!

Foot-in-mouth pundit and Nottingham Forest "Football Consultant" David Pleat, and Robin Hood, the Nottingham Forest mascot-in-waiting.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Save Sherwood the Bear!

For those of you who don't usually frequent the football musings on the Nottingham Forest blog, I suggest you do so, to find details of a campaign of the utmost importance: Save Sherwood!

The lovable bear is to "retire", and be replaced by "Robin Hood". The campaign has started on the Nottingham Forest blog and BBC Nottingham are going to run features on the website and on BBC Radio Nottingham.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Celebrity lookalikes pt 6

Supremely talented Muse frontman Matt Bellamy, and Albert Steptoe

A new order?

Peter Hook - started his own unique style of bass playing, but he is still a bit of a tosser.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Celebrity Lookalikes pt 5

Former Crimewatch presenter Nick Ross, and Principal Skinner from The Simpsons

Celebrity Lookalikes pt 4

Soon to be ex-Newcastle winger Kieron Dyer, and Clyde from the Anthill Mob

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Pilates of the Caribbean

Listening to Mark Kermode's Film Reviews on Radio Five Live the other week, and Simon Mayo read out an email from someone who had witnessed a spelling error, trailing the recent blockbuster "Snaks on a plane" (sic).

Other listeners then emailed in their favourite film-title spelling errors - the ones that have stuck in my head include:

"Pilates of the Caribbean"

"Shakespeare in Hove"

"Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mint"

I then remembered an edition of Esther Rantzen's show That's Life from the dim and distant past - someone sent in a picture of their local cinema, proudly trailing "Gorillas in the Mist" as "Gorillas in the sh*t"!

If anyone else has any amusing mis-spellings, I would be delighted to hear them - that's what the comments form is for (hint hint!).

If there's any justice in the world

I have deliberately chosen a song lyric as the title of this post, because I want to publicise the government ruling that UK songwriters and musicians will only remain eligible to receive royalties for fifty years. This is in contrast to ninety years in the US.

I am nothing more than an amateur musician. I have played in bands, I have written some songs, I have even recorded some of them. The discerning punter will bemoan that there is no music worth buying anymore, and yet the rewards of being a musician are being eroded.

Yes, most of us do it for love, not money, but it is still not fair when you do a job and don't get paid for it. Hence my opposition to illegal downloading - you are depriving the artist of their slice of the pie - iTunes is a much fairer way of doing it, with reasonable prices and reliable downloads.

I am not one of those who bemoan every little thing that the government does - I am actually fairly even-minded about the achievements (good and bad) of the Nu-Labour administration; but I have to protest that they have sanctioned a measure that actively prevents talented individuals from reaping the rewards from their hard work.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Weather panic

I have studiously avoided commenting on the biblical rainfalls of the last few weeks, mainly because I have been lucky enough to miss the worst of it. A lot of the parkland around our area turned into swamp after the first week, and the sunroof on my new car occasionally drips (I am philosophical about this - after all, the car is not brand new, and secondly, the rainfall has been so heavy I am surprised that anything can withstand it). These are mere inconveniences, however, especially as one of my colleagues who lives in Worcestershire is flooded out, and a friend of mine lives in the floodplains of Oxfordshire (I am currently waiting to hear back from him to see if he is OK).

It seems that the weather "crisis" has proven that it doesn't take much to bring the worst out of people. Are there any solutions? Well, whether or not you can predict such rainfall, there is only a limited amount that you can do about it. One contributor to the BBC news forum seems to have an eminently sensible suggestion:

The solution is Weetabix. Have you seen how they suck up the milk? So take lots of weetabix or one big weetabix and it will soon soak all the water up. 24 hours later the weetabix will have dried rock hard and can be used as building material.

[Viper_7], York, United Kingdom