Thursday, August 31, 2006

The First Cut is the Deepest

Today, I was trying to decide whether to get my hair cut after work, or not. Where I am working, this week, is about as near to my barber's as I am going to get, without going there, so it would make sense to go while I am nearby. I try to plan my trips so as to minimize traveling, to save fuel.
Getting my hair cut is always a collision of conflicting desires. One the one hand, it looks better short. On the other, I enjoy playing with my hair, which I can't do when it is short. There is something incredibly soothing, to me, about twisting my hair in little knots and then snapping them between my fingers. I have been doing this since I was a little child; for as long as I can remember. My mother hated it. When I snap the knot, it makes a little sound and it used to drive my mother nuts. She tried, for years, to stop me, but to no avail. She ridiculed me about it, to the point where I was embarrassed to do it in front of anyone not in my immediate family. So, for most of my life, I have been a closet hair puller.
Usually, when my hair gets long enough to do it, it's a signal that it's getting time for another hair cut. In fact, cutting my hair short is the only thing that seems to stop me from playing with my hair. Funny how my mother never thought of that tactic. Within the last couple of weeks it has gotten to that point again. I usually leave it longer for a couple of weeks, so I can enjoy playing with it for a while, then get it cut. The problem, today, is that I haven't had enough of playing with it, yet. I would like another weekend of hair pulling bliss. The drawback is that if I don't get it cut this week, next week, I won't be working as close to the barber's and it will cost me more in petrol to go. Dilemma!
Because my hair is kinky, when I play with it, it tends to stay in little knots, until I comb it again. People with straight hair can twist their hair to their heart's content, then it just goes back to being straight. As I agonized over what to do, while working, I received a text message, from the agency. Next week, I am working at a golf club again, then I am back to the same company I was at this week, for another week. That settles it! I shall leave my hair as it is. That gives me two weekends of hair pulling pleasure, then I will be working near the barber's again and can get it cut. I love it when things work out.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Lunch With the Nepalese

Since last week, I have been working at yet another restaurant located in some corporate complex. I have worked at this restaurant before, several times, covering various holidays (vacations). As I indicated, yesterday, in "Viva Nepal!" I am working with several Nepalese, here. Besides the three who work in the restaurant, there are six others who work as cleaners in the offices.
The first time I worked at this restaurant, over a year ago, I met and worked with, Jum. The chefs call him Jumbo, but I always call him Jum, which is the name he introduced himself under. He's pleasant enough, but doesn't talk a lot. He seems to understand English well enough, but speaks with a very heavy accent and is not particularly fluent. This is probably why he doesn't talk a lot. He speaks much better English than I speak Nepali. I find that, around him, I seem to start speaking broken English, sounding like a bad imitation of Charlie Chan.
The first time I was assigned there, I worked at the restaurant for two weeks. I noticed that at lunch, Jum would direct me to sit anywhere I liked...except with him. He always sat with the Nepalese office cleaners, who would have lunch at the same time as we did. The other Nepalese restaurant worker, Lox (pronounced lock), ate at a different time, so he didn't join this lunch group. I used to sit on my own. One day, toward the end of the two weeks, he gestured to me to sit with them (Jum uses a lot of hand gestures to communicate, backing up his English). This was like being invited into an exclusive club and I was happy to join them. Since then, every time I work there, I eat lunch with the Nepalese. They often chat to each other in what I presume is Nepali, the dominant language in Nepal. To date, no other non-Nepalese has joined them for lunch. I am the only one.
About six months ago, a couple of additional Nepalese have joined this group. The restaurant hired another, Named Kul (pronounced cool), to replace an English guy who had quit. Kul is a retired Gurkha, from the British army. Gurkhas are a group of people from Nepal. Gurkha soldiers have a reputation for loyalty and bravery. They so impressed the British, while fighting the British East India Company, that Gurkhas have fought in British armies since the early 1800s. In recognition for their service, Gurkha soldiers and their families have been granted the right to immigrate to Britain, which is how so many of these Nepalese have come to be in the area. Kul is older than Jum, although I haven't found out how old. He speaks better English than Jum and although he will talk a bit more, he's still relatively quiet. Although I often try to joke with him, he usually just rewards me with a blank stare. He probably thinks I am some sort of nut. Yesterday, I had a major breakthrough, comedicly, as he burst out laughing, heartily, to something I said. Doing comedy for people who don't speak English all that well can be difficult. The chefs have taken to calling him the Colonel, once they found out he is a retired soldier, but I call him, Mr. Cool. I tend to like making up my own nicknames for people.
Since he stated, Mr. Cool has joined the Nepalese lunch group. None of the cleaners have bothered to tell me any of their names. I have made up names for a couple of them. "Uncle," I call the oldest looking one, who started working as a cleaner there, within the last six months. He sits near Mr. Cool and I. It's like all the older of us sit at one end of the table. Next to Uncle sits "Cousin," who seems a bit younger, possibly in his thirties. Then there is a fairly talkative one, I call, "Billy. who usually sits to my left." Then a silent one, who never speaks to me, who sits on the other end with the two women. One of the women looks Indian. I once asked Mr. Cool about this, noting that she looks Indian, but seems to speak Nepali. Of course, you all know that Nepal is bordered by India, to the south. Cool said I was very observant and that there are some people in Nepal who physically look like Indians. Since she is married, I don't mind that she doesn't talk to me. The rest of them look somewhat like Tibetans, although Billy and the silent one look like darkish Chinese. Recently, I found out that Uncle is vegetarian, although the others all seem to eat meat. During lunch, I make some conversation with Uncle, Cousin, Billy and Mr. Cool, in English. When they are not talking to me, they chat with the others, in Nepali. The thing that puzzles me is why have they tolerated me sitting with them, but no other non-Nepalese? Is it simply that no other non-Nepalese have tried, or that they have never invited any others? Today, I asked Mr. Cool about this, but he didn't seem inclined, or able, to explain.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Viva Nepal!

On the way home from work, today, I stopped at the big, 24 hour Tesco, at the Meadows shopping center, between Camberley, Sandhurst, and Blackwater. I always feel a little bit uncomfortable going to this Tesco, because it's close enough to where I used to live with the Black Queen, that she could be in there. The odds are slim, as there is Tesco much closer to her, right in the village we lived in, but we did, on occasion, stop at the Meadows.
The good thing about this Tesco is that there tend to be a lot of good looking women who seem to shop there, for some reason. The bad thing is that it's always busy and it's hard to get in and out, quickly. I just wanted to pick up a couple of items...Tesco Value Cole Slaw, 500 gram size, Tesco value potato salad, which they only seem to do in a small, 250 gram, size, drain cleaner, and bottled water (I NEED bottl-ed WA-ter!). Tesco seems to have raised their price on Tesco Value bottled water, from 17 Pence for two litres, to 21 Pence. Of course, I am not happy about that. I also checked the "reduced to clear" area and I found some trout and haddock maked down to under £1, so I grabbed those. I do love fish.
When selecting a checkout aisle, I noticed a short, Oriental woman, who was quite good looking. There was only one person at her till, so I joined the queue. It was only then that I noticed that her aisle is for ten items, or less. Fortunately, I had less than ten. Her complexion was a light brown, so I scanned her name badge, to see if I could ascertain where she was from. It was some complicated, foreign looking name, that I can't even remember, now. She had a funny accent, but rather clear English, like she has spoken the language a long time. Outside, it had started to rain heavily. When she started ringing up my purchases, she made a comment about the rain. I Seized the opportunity to chat with her and joked that the rain was her fault. I couldn't resist my curiosity, so I asked, her, "where are you from?" Sometimes, I am so subtle.
"Nepal," she said, to my surprise.
"Oh, I work with several people from Nepal," I informed her, excitedly. She asked me where I worked at. I tried to explain to her, as it is not far from there and I wondered if she might know any of them. Unfortunately, no matter how many times I tried to tell her, she kept getting it wrong. She mentioned Gurkhas and said her husband worked with the Army, at Sandhurst. Husband. That put a damper on things wetter than the rain outside. The next person in the queue started getting impatient. I said goodbye and made astrategiccwithdrawall.
Nepal featured in Eddie Murphy's 1986 film, "The Golden Child." I loved the film, but it didn't do well at the box office, in America. I don't know how it did in Britain, as I wasn't living here, then and had not yet visited the UK. There is a scene where Eddie is trying to leave Nepal with a sacred dagger. He hides it on a person ahead of him in line at the security check. When the dagger sets off the metal detector, Eddie jumps in and claims to be some sort of policeman, who is on a mission to catch the smuggler of the dagger. While doing fast talking to the Nepalese soldiers there, he yells, "Viva Nepal!" a couple of times. I have wanted to visit Nepal, ever since I saw that film.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Bank Holiday Music in Bracknell

The world famous Notting Hill Carnival has been running, this weekend, in London. Obviously, I didn't go. I am not going to spend the money on traveling to London any more than necessary and there are pickpockets there, and all. However, today, I did go to another Bank Holiday South Hill Park, here in beautiful Bracknell. There were three elements to this festival that combined to convince me to attend. 1) My friend, Chris Wilson, and his band, The Point, were playing there. 2) It was within walking distance, so I didn't have to spend any money to get there. 3) The admission price was was free!
There was lots of food and drinks on sale there, none of which I could afford. Chris Wilson's band, the Point, were not there in their entirety, so they were Not the Point, for the day. I'm not sure who was missing, as Chris and Simon Blay were there, the drummer, any case, they were great anyway. Chris mentioned me, during his set, acknowledging my presence. As a media whore, I loved that, of course. I saw a number of old friends and former co-workers, even a couple of my old employees, which was nice. I also saw a couple of people I don't like. While I was there, no one bought me a beer and no one bought me anything to eat. I found out it was my friend, Nikos' birthday. Chris Wilson sang happy birthday to him. I joined in, but most of the crowd didn't. Well, that's Bracknell for you, innit? The sun was shining and there were rides in a horse drawn wagon, as well as face painting and bouncy castles.
The event was to raise money for charity. The Sue Ryder trust, or something like that. I still haven't figured out how you raise money for charity by throwing a free event, but that's just me. They wanted people to make donations, or something. Unfortunately, I am too poor to donate, but I wish them success. Speaking of charity events, how come no one ever throws a charity event for me? Check out The Point at their Myspace page:

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Artist of the Week: Fergie

This week, my Artist of the Week goes to Fergie, of the Black Eyed Peas. She has a solo album due out on the 19th of September, entitled,"The Dutchess." The first single form the album, "London Bridge," which was released on 17th of July, has already shot to number one on Billboard's Hot 100 chart, in America. I first heard it when I saw the video, which started getting played on music TV channels here, in Britain, a couple of weeks ago. Instantly, I knew it would be a hit and it is featured as my profile song this week.
Born March 27, 1975, in California, her full name is Stacy Ann Ferguson. She began her musical career as part of a female trio called, "Wild Orchid." After releasing two albums, the record company declined to release the third. After that, Fergie left Wild Orchid and suffered a bout of addiction to ecstasy and crystal meth. In 2003, Fergie started recording with The Black Eyed Peas. She did five songs with them, before being invited to join the group permanently. The addition of Fergie seems to have boosted the success of B.E.P. Certainly, I started getting into them because of her. Her singing and dancing on B.E.P. videos is what drew me in, particularly the video for, "Hey Mama," where she really shakes her ass. I ended up buying the album, "Elephunk," and it was all due to Fergie. In the video for the more recent song, "Don't Phunk With My Heart," Fergie looks sizzling in a sexy, long, red dress.
Her latest video, for "London Bridge," doesn't disappoint. Fergie maintains her sexy image in it and it's all her. On this side of the Atlantic, some have complained that the video is flawed, because it features London's Tower Bridge, rather than London Bridge. I don't think that matters. The lyrics of the song are, "my London London bridge want to go down," not "the London Bridge." Maybe her London Bridge is the Tower Bridge. Tower Bridge is a drawbridge, and it looks much more impressive than the dull London Bridge, which isn't a drawbridge. When Americans think of a London bridge, the image that comes to mind is that of the Tower Bridge, which is the one shown on the majority of souvenir images of London. I wasn't invited to the filming of the video, but I am sure that was just an oversight.
In any case, the song is hot and if the rest of the album is like this, it will sell well. It is produced by Will-i-am, of B.E.P. You can check out her Myspace at: Check out the song, London Bridge, especially you radio presenters...this means you, James Max, and especially you, Opal Bonfante. The Big L needs to acquire this song and start playing it. FergieFerg, you go girl! I'm behind you 100%. And what a nice behind it is, too.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Some Local News From Beautiful Bracknell

I thought you might find a sample of local news to be interesting, given that the majority of you have never been to Bracknell, England. The following are all items from the "Bracknell Standard," a free, local, weekly newspaper that someone puts through the letter slot in my front door. The paper comes out on Thursdays, although it doesn't seem to make its way through my door until Fridays. These are all from this week's issue. I have paraphrased and shortened the stories, because I write better than the reporters that work on this paper and I want to insert commentary in my own, unique style.
Teen pregnancy rates have fallen by 30.7%, since 1998. There goes Bracknell's claim to fame. Most people who are familiar with Bracknell think of pregnant school girls, when they think of Bracknell. Most people with sense try not to think of Bracknell at all, any more than they have to. If this trend continues, perhaps the local council will have to think of a new image to replace that of the girl in her school uniform, pushing a baby pram. Of course, the local government is trying to take credit for this drop, since the borough has had the biggest drop in under eighteen pregnancies in the entire Southeast of England. That's probably due to starting from a higher rate than anywhere else. The politicos don't say how they know it's been their "initiatives" that have caused the drop and not the influx of a better class of people seeking more affordable housing, which has driven up local prices and led to new home construction.
In another story, a survey, conducted by the Halifax Bank, indicates that life in Bracknell is better than average. Yes, hard as it is to believe, there are worse places than Bracknell in which to live, in the United Kingdom. The borough is ranked 68th out of 408 "local authorities." Bracknell scored high in employment, with 82 percent of people having a job. It doesn't say anything about the quality of the job, nor pay rates. Burglary rates are low, possibly due to the fact that most of us have nothing worth stealing. The article doesn't say how many burglars live in Bracknell, but ply their trade in more well-to-do neighboring towns, like Windsor, Ascot, or Sunningdale. The only area the borough scored lower than the national average seems to be education. No surprise there, as I could tell from the school leavers I used to meet that the schools must be pretty crap, given that they turn out people who can't spell, don't read very much, can't speak English well, don't know geography, and don't know history. This is one reason why, when I was married, I insisted that we remain living outside of Bracknell. I didn't want my step-children going to the local schools, here.
Finally, the front page story is that there is a proposal to open a school for young sex offenders, in the Bracknell village of Binfield. Some charity, called Swaay, wants to open the school. Swaay specializes in assessment and treatment of boys who have been victims of abuse and who have become abusers themselves. Will they be teaching them how to be better sex offenders, I wonder? Maybe have classes in, "how not to get caught," or "how to con your prison psychologist." Surprisingly, some local residents object to this proposal. I can't understand why. This might help arrest Bracknell's declining teen pregnancy rate. The Borough Council have received twelve objections to the application to change the use of a building, Cressex Lodge, to allow it to be used as a school. How ironic that the name, "Cressex," has the ending, "sex." Don't worry, people around here object to every proposed development. Most of them seem to go ahead anyway, so I wonder if the Council have become immune to the endless stream of objections to things. The most notable part of the story is that Swaay already runs one of these schools in Bracknell, although it doesn't say where. Sex offender schools might be a new growth industry for the town.
Well, there you have it...a survey of the local news. As you can now, clearly, see, it's amazing anyone ever wants to move out of this area. If you live outside the UK, I know the above will tempt you to jump on the next plane, brave the threats of terroist bombings, and race right over here. Even if the above doesn't sound like it appeals to your taste, I urge you to visit Britain. There are other parts and I am sure we can find one to satisfy you.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Friday Night of a Holiday Weekend

It's the Friday night of a holiday weekend, right now. Here in England, it's August Bank Holiday Weekend. For those in America, who have never been to Britain (shame on you!), this is an annual holiday, the last weekend in August. It's sort of like Labor Day, but doesn't have a name. Bank Holidays are just weekdays when banks are closed. There are several, throughout the year. Some are proper holidays, like Christmas, New Year's Day, and Good Friday, but the one in August doesn't seem to correspond to any holiday. It's like folks just decided, "hey, we should have a three day weekend about now."
I was so tired when I got home from work, I had a nap. I got up in time to catch the last twenty minutes of "Eastenders," the greatest soap opera in the world. After that, I couldn't find anything I felt like watching on TV. Pretty much all of the films are ones I have seen already. Now that "Big Brother" has ended, there's a hole in my Friday night TV watching. At least I have been able to catch more of Caroline Faraday's show, on LBC 97.3, London (Sky Channel 0177 or via the net, at: ) When "Big Brother" was running, I used to miss all but the last 30 minutes of her show, as it conflicted with eviction nights. Caroline is very energetic and has an animated accent, with a husky voice. Her show is Friday's, 8PM to 10PM, London time. She's lots of fun, so if you haven't ever listened to her, check her out. I have called and spoken to her producer, trying to get on air, tonight. Caroline has some actor who plays in the UK TV series, "The Bill," on with her. I have some amusing questions to ask him. His name is TJ and he plays, "Zane." I don't know who he is, because I never watch "The Bill." He says he wants to play James Bond, one day. I suspect the producer won't be calling me back, which is a shame. I wanted to ask, "are you named after TJ Hooker? William Shatner is 75, do you plan on still acting when you are 75? You want to play James Bond, as I have done some acting, but am American, will you cast me as Felix Leiter? Why are the police called, 'the bill,' in Britain?" What a way to amuse myself on a Friday night.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

The Prodigal £20 Returns

Yesterday, I wrote about how I lost £20 on Tuesday. All this week, I have been working at an on-site restaurant, located at the offices of a large, international, computer corporation. I suspected that I lost the money there, as it was the only place I had been,Tuesday. I mentioned it to several of the workers, there, yesterday, before writing about it in my blog.
Today, during our breakfast break, one of them told me that I should speak to the Assistant Manager, as a security guard reported to her that he'd found £20 on Tuesday. Could it be that I would get my money back? As I finished my breakfast, consisting of a fried egg, hash browns, two sausages, and a piece of fried bread (I don't remember fried bread being on the menu, back in it just a British thing?), I asked Anthony, one of the chefs, to let the Assistant Manger know the £20 was mine. I thought it would look better if someone other than just me said the money was mine. Anthony agreed. He's a friendly, happy sort of fellow and my favorite of the chefs. After I had finished my breakfast, Anthony came back from the offices and said, "she doesn't know anything about it."
Now the only problem with Anthony is that he likes to wind people up, so it's hard to tell when he's telling the truth, or just teasing. No, he's not the Anthony who won "Big Brother," last year. I double checked with the original person who told me the money had been found, Will-i-am. No, he's not the Will-i-am from the Black Eyed Peas. Will-i-am repeated that I should talk to tAssistantant Manager and he seemed sincere. When I went to see her, feeling a bit defensive, after what Anthony had said, she just matter-of-factly said that she'd called the security guard already and he would be bringing the money over at lunch time. Oh. When I asked Anthony about this, he admitted he'd made up the part about her not knowing anything about it.
I tried to wait patiently for lunch. I didn't want to get my hopes up, only to be disappointed. Lunch stated and still no news. Suddenly, the Assistant Manger walked up and handed me a £20 note, no questions asked. Result! I never thought I could lose £20, cash, in a crowded area, where hundreds of people traffic, yet still get it back, two days later. Once again, the world is unbalanced....oh happy day!

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

I Lost £20

Yesterday, when I got home from work, I noticed that I was missing the £20 note that had been in my pocket for the last week or so. It must have fallen out sometime during the day, when I pulled my watch out. I started carrying my watch in my pocket, a couple of months ago, because the part of my watch where the strap attaches is broken, so the strap won't stay attached anymore. I can't afford to buy a new watch, so I carry my old one in my pocket, where I keep my money.
£20 is like two weeks shopping, for me. Today, at work, I asked around, but no one said he had found it. Like someone would admit to that. This is the poorest I have been in my life. A friend of mine suggested that I offer a reward for the return of the £20. What reward could I offer that is worth more than the £20 itself? She suggested that I offer an autographed picture. "Of who?" I asked.
"You," she replied.
"I don't have one to offer."
"Get one," she suggested. To get a proper 8 X 10 done and printed would cost me more than the £20.
"I don't think anyone would want my photograph more than £20, yet," I said, dejectedly.
"Like the 'yet,' " she replied. The ironic thing is, I found £20 in cash, about ten months ago, on the pavement, one day. While the universe is now somehow in balance, I really can't afford for it to be balancing on me, at the moment. I never get ahead.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

A Manly Chat With Iain Lee

Today, I called the 3 and 1/2 Hour, to 6:30, Iain Lee Afternoon Wireless Show, again (LBC 97.3, London...Sky Channel 0177, or via the net at: ). Iain was talking about shooting guns and speculating that it might be fun. He particularly wanted to try firing a machine gun. I wanted to call to ask a question about poached eggs, but Iain got tired of taking egg calls. I had hesitated calling, because I was waiting for a call back from a TV production company, about appearing on a new game show. The woman from the TV company had said she would call me back soon, after she got out of a meeting. I had already been waiting awhile and had missed out on eggs. Screw it, I decided to call Iain.
Lady Alex, standing in for Agent Chris again, answered my call. When he asked what I wanted to talk about, I said, "shooting guns." He said that figured, as I am American, then apologized for stereotyping. I don't care, I love guns. I find it funny that some people complain about positive stereotypes. For example, the stereotype that "Black" men have big penises. Surely, if you are a "Black" man, that's got to be one great stereotype to be branded with? Alex said he would call back, shortly.
In a little while, the phone rang. Would it be Lady Alex, or the TV woman? I answered and it was...Lady Alex. He put me on hold for Iain. Iain was in a commercial break, so I would be the next caller coming out of the ad break. Before he took my call, Iain started talking about a new razor with four or five blades and a battery, so it can vibrate. He said it was rubbish and that he nicked himself with it. Going to my call, he asked me if I used this battery powered shaving wonder. A new subject and one I had not prepared for. However, I was more rested today and just rolled with it. I told Iain I couldn't be bothered with this latest razor. I used to use a Trac II, but I have since switched back to disposables. They keep coming out with fancier and fancier razors. My Trac II had twin blades. Then they came out with three bladed ones. Then four. Now they have five bladed ones. Each new generation, they promise a closer shave. The problem with these multi-bladed razors is that they get hair caught between the blades, when you use them, and it's hard to get it out. As the hair residue builds up between the blades, the shaving effectiveness is diminished. When I stayed at a hotel, I was given a courtesy pack, which had an old style, single blade, Bic disposable in it. I didn't bother using it then, as I had a twin blade disposable, but one day, I was out of disposables and I used the Bic in desperation. I found that, as it's a single blade, it's easy to clean and doesn't get trapped hairs, like the multi-blades do. So the single blade disposables cost less to buy and last longer. Sometimes, simpler is better.
After the razor talk, Iain asked me what I had called in about. I brought up the shooting. I told Iain that I used to carry a gun, when I lived in America. Then I told Iain how I had gone off Chris Tarrant, after seeing him hosting some TV show, where he talked about an American family who collect guns. The family's collection includes an anti-aircraft gun. The family get together and fire their guns into the desert. Tarrant referred to them as crazy, in a very serious and disgusted way. At first, Iain said that an anti-aircraft gun was excessive. I pointed out that these people aren't hurting anyone and were just having a bit of fun. I stated that I would like to have a go at firing the anti-aircraft gun. Iain conceded that he would too.
Oh, what a manly conversation. Razors, then guns. You could almost feel the testosterone coursing through our veins. Nothing metrosexual about this conversation. In due course, the TV woman did call and I scheduled a casting session with her, in two weeks time. If only she could see how manly I was being on the radio.

Monday, August 21, 2006

An Iain Lee Monday

Sunday night's Iain Lee Triple M show, on LBC 97.3, London (Sky 0177 or via the net at: ), was the best one ever. I didn't call in, as I tend to not be that motivated to be a Triple M contributor. While listening, I visited the Iain Lee Forum chat room ( ), where there were a number of regular listeners and callers. The lovely Habiba was there and we had a nice chat. Habiba has finally gotten on Myspace and she requested that I add her as a friend. I was the first person to add her and the first to comment on her page. Habiba called in to Triple M, while she was in the chat room and mentioned me, amongst others.
Today, while I was driving home from work I was listening to the weekday, 3 and 1/2 hour, 3 to 6:30, Iain Lee Afternoon Wireless Show, also on LBC. Surely the most entertaining show on UK radio. Just as I was parking my car, Habiba called Iain. I sat in the car, listening. I learned that Habiba doesn't wear watches or jewelry. Iain's regular producer, Agent Chris, is still on holiday (vacation, for my American readers). Today, Lady Alex was producing (and doing a damn fine job of it too, I might add). Agent Chris is inconsistent when it comes to putting me on air. Sometimes he does and sometimes he doesn't, although in fairness, the last two times I called in, before he went on holiday, he did put me on. One of those times, I was calling to defend his not having an idol. I wonder if that's why he put me on? Iain seems to like to talk about superheros, but he says that Agent Chris thinks it's boring. One of the times Chris didn't call me back to go on air, I had said I wanted to talk to Iain about Batman and the Green Hornet. Hmmmmm. I decided to take advantage of Chris' absence and call in.
One of the things Iain was talking about was the fact that BT has stopped sending red, second notices, when you don't pay the bill the first time it is sent. Iain said he'd had a call from an Indian dude on behalf of BT. I have had a couple of these calls, this summer, so I mentioned that to Iain. I also told Lady Alex that I wanted to speak to Iain while Iain impersonates Jack Bauer, from "24." After mentioning the BT call, I asked Iain to let me speak to Jack Bauer. Once again, Iain threw me a curveball, by saying, "Jack Bauer's not here." I wasn't expecting that. Iain followed up with another curveball, asking me how my blog is going. I asked him if he has been reading it and he said yes. I was tired, as I got up at 6:30AM, this morning, to go to work, after only having two hours of sleep. I couldn't think of what to say for a moment and Iain, quite politely, ended the call. I must admit I was caught completely off guard, as Iain has never, previously, acknowledged my blog in any way, nor indicated that he reads it. He never posts comments on it. I wish I knew what he found entertaining in it. That makes three London radio presenters who read my blog. Another LBC presenter, James Max, and the lovely Opal Bonfante, from the Big L 1395AM, London (Sky Channel 0190 or via the net at: ). Opal is such an avid reader, that she told me, last night, that while she was off taping a TV show, for a couple of days, her friend Becky called her to read her my blog over the phone.
A number of LBC and Big L listeners read my blog, as well as many other people. I have had readers, not just in the UK and America, but in Canada, the Dominican Republic, Bolivia, Japan, Singapore, Malaysia, New Zealand, Lebanon, India, Germany, France, and the Czech Republic. Tom, the Injured Cyclist, is a regular reader and links to my blog form his own popular blog: . Iain is one of the inspirations for me blogging, as he's the one who convinced me to join Myspace in the first place, and I started blogging on Myspace. I still don't know what Iain would like from my participation on his show. I had planned a whole bit with him being Jack Bauer, but he torpedoed that. The lovely Opal Bonfante discuses what I will do on her show with me, before I go on air, so she and I collaborate well together. Iain exchanges messages with another of his regular callers, Varinder, via Myspace, discussing what Varinder will do on the show, but with me, nothing. Maybe Iain mentioned my blog so that I would write about him and promote his show. I am happy to, as one hand washes the other.
Iain has 1999 friends on Myspace and has 60 odd add requests pending. He's going to be selecting his 2000th friend, from everyone who gets an add request pending with him. I have just under 700 friends and am chasing Iain. Iain has been on Myspace a lot longer than I have and he has radio show, promoting his Myspace on his show. Perhaps Iain will give me more mentions, or be more favorable, when I have more friends than he does. You, my loyal readers and friends, can make that happen. Tell your friends and family about my blog and get them to become readers. Get your friends and family on Myspace to add me. The bigger I become, the more entertaining I can be for you. The bigger my readership, the more clout we have within the entertainment industry. We need to get to the stage where movie distributors, television companies, record companies, and even more radio personalities, are anxious to have me review their products. Why stop there? Airlines, hotels, car hire companies...all can gain publicity for their wares though my blog. When you, my readers, make us big enough, these companies may comp us with goods and services I can them give away in contests for readers. So, we are all in this together. I can't succeed without your support. If each of you get three people to add me, I will overtake Iain in friends. It's that simple Today London, tomorrow...the world!

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Two Days With Pastaman

On this past Thursday and Friday, the temp agency I am with got me some work, for a change. I was at a warehouse and logistics company, where I have been sent, before. When I arrived, I found that I was working alongside another fellow from the agency. We didn't speak to each other for the first hour or so, but eventually, I broke the ice with him. Might as well talk, as I am there for eight hours. It turns out this guy is from Tanzania, in Africa. A lot of Africans work for the agency, but I have never met one from Tanzania, before.
In the course of the conversation, he ends up telling me he's a Seventh Day Adventist. He's come to England to study theology, as he's a Pastor. The way he pronounces, "pastor," sounds like "pasta," so I started calling him, "Pastaman," as I have a tendency to make up names for people. I couldn't resist the temptation to debate the existence of "God," with a member of the clergy. It was an opportunity to be seized, as I don't often get the chance to talk to a man, or woman, of the cloth, as I stay away from Churches, these days. In all fairness, he was a good sport about it. He put up with two days of me questioning and challenging him, yet he never got impatient, nor lost his temper. He was a complete gentleman, the whole time, unlike some religious people, who get into debates on the internet and sink into nastiness.
I drove him to Burger King, for lunch. We went to the drive-thru window and I ordered a cheeseburger, while he ordered milk. He said he doesn't drink carbonated drinks. The milk ended up costing him 99 Pence, while we had free water, back at the warehouse. He wasn't the sharpest tack in the box. At the end of the first day, he asked me if I would object to him praying for me. Why would I object? It's not like it's going to have any affect. I suggested that he pray for something specific, that would occur overnight, so we could see, immediately, if his prayers accomplish anything. I also challenged him to read a portion of the Old Testament, which I think most Christians would find particularly uncomfortable, over night, and report back to me in the morning.
On Friday morning, I asked him about his prayer. Unfortunately, he didn't pray for an outcome that would have occurred by then, as I instructed, but gave it a year. He had prayed that by this time next year, I would find my way to "God." The problem is that when this doesn't happen, he and I won't be in contact with each other, so I can tell him that what he prayed for didn't happen. He said he read the portion of the Old Testament that I had asked him to read. This is the part about Lot and his family, after the destruction of Sodom and Gamora. After Lot's wife is turned into a pillar of salt, Lot's daughters have sex with him and have children by him. Conveninetly for him, he claimed that one crucial bit wasn't there, regarding how the daughters of Lot got the idea to have children by their father. We had both agreed that he would use the King James Version of the "Bible." I have left mine back in New York, so I couldn't double check, myself. I asked him why this bit of incest was in the Bible, but he sort of dodged the issue, by focusing on the children produced, rather than on the incest. He wasn't completely fluent in English, although he was a lot better at it than I was at Swahili.
Pastaman is a creationist, so I asked him how old he thinks the Earth is. "6,000 years old," he replied. I proceeded to challenge him that there are plenty of things that have been dated to being older than 6,000 years, but he just talked in circles. I asked him about evolution and my new favorite question to ask creationists: if God created Adam first, as it says in Genesis, why do men have nipples? He basically didn't answer this, but fell back into the standby that man cannot understand God, as God is superior to man. I asked him why God created so many stars and space, if we were only going to occupy this one planet? His answer...decoration. He did go on to claim that there were people on other planets and that the Bible says so, but I don't remember that being in the Bible.
Speaking of other planets, I learned that Pastaman had never seen any of the "Star Wars" films. Sky is about to start running all six of the "Star Wars" films, one per week, so I suggested he watch at least Episodes IV and V. He said he doesn't have Sky. I told him I do and suggested he come by my house and watch, but he made the excuse that when he's not working, he does stuff and doesn't have a lot of time to watch TV. TV? This is "Star Wars" we are talking about! Making sure everyone has seen "Star Wars is like a mission for me. Nando, my old Italian housemate, hadn't seen "Star Wars," so I got him to watch them.
For the bulk of the two days, he hadn't picked up on the fact that I was calling him "Pastaman," rather than "Pastor man." I finally made it clear to him and explained why I was doing it. He took this in the same good humor he took everything I dished out at him. I thought about suggesting we keep in contact, but after he didn't jump at my offer to have him over to watch "Star Wars," I didn't know if I should be so forward. I did offer him a ride to the train station, as he had come to work by train. He accepted. I said to him that it is a shame that he won't ever see me again, to find out that his prayers for me weren't granted. Pastaman said you never know, but we might see each other again.

Artist of the Week: Jessica Simpson

A friend of mine once got very annoyed with me when I said I love the song, "With You," by Jessica Simpson. I don't care, I like what I like and the song was popular on MTV. I love the lyrics and wish a woman would sing words like that, to me. It's the type of song even my evil ex-wife, the Black Queen, would like. I like the sound of Jessica's voice and I like the video. Whatever you think of Jessica, she is a beautiful woman.
Jessica was born in Abilene, Texas, and raised in a suburb of Dallas. Like a lot of female singers in America, started out singing in her church choir. Her career started off slowly, but got a big boost after she married her long-time boyfriend, Nick Lachey, and MTV produced a TV series featuring the couple, called, "Newlyweds." I saw a couple of episodes and it was compelling viewing, as it was incredible how un-domestic she was. The show depicted her as a dumb blond, with the famous incident where, while eating Chicken of the Sea brand tuna, she asked her husband if it was fish or chicken. Some say the whole "dumb" bit is an act. While watching the show, I quickly concluded that the couple were not suited to each other. Watching Jessica struggle trying to do laundry, I realized that Nick didn't understand the woman he married. Jessica is like a Ferrari: very beautiful and good at what it is designed to do, but you wouldn't use it to go grocery shopping. He should not have expected her to do household chores, for Pete's sake. Thus, I was not at all surprised when it was anounced, in 2005, that they had split.
Jessica featured in the 2005 film, "The Dukes of Hazzard," playing daisy Duke. The soundtrack of the film included her cover of "These Boots Are Made for Walking." The video for the song shows Jessica washing the General Lee in a skimpy, hot pink bikini. I haven't seen the film yet, as the film company failed to give me a press pass to see it and I have been short of cash since 2004, so I have been going to see very few movies. I'll watch it when it comes on Sky. I notice in the video for "Boots," Jessica has heavily tanned herself. I think that's a shame, as she looked prettier in the video for, "With You," where she had more of her natural, pale color. I don't like women heavily tanning themselves. This will play havoc with her skin when she's older, if she doesn't stop.
Jessica has a new album, "A Public Affair," coming out on 29 August. You can listen to four of her songs at her Myspace . I have selected, "If You Were Mine," as my profile song for the week. It was a difficult choice, because all four songs are good. Jessica is running a contest in which you can win prizes if you put one of her songs on your profile. Sadly, it's only open to US residents, so I can't participate. Why do they limit these contests to US residents? What about those of us in the UK? Jessica is also running a poll for which song should be her second single from the album. The first single was the title track and was out in June. You can also pre-order her new album at her Myspace page, so there is lots to do there. Please visit it and, if you do, leave a comment mentioning me!!!

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Thick As Pig Shit

Researchers at the University of Illinois, in America, have apparently figured out how to extract crude oil from pig manure. My first reaction was, "no shit!" The process was economical when oil was selling at $25 per barrel. With oil currently topping $70 per barrel, it's even more so. This is no bullshit. Suggestions that we are running out of oil are a load of crap. This research has the sweet smell of success around it. I guess even I will stoop to toilet humor.
Prices at the petrol pump have dipped, this past week. Market watchers attribute this to the calming effect of the cease fire agreement in Lebanon. Keep in mind, folks, that a significant portion of the price at the pump is tax. As bad as things are in America, regarding fuel prices, they are worse here, in England. We are paying about $6.77 per gallon, here, and that's at the cheapest stations. The difference in price between here and America is all tax. We are being royally shafted by the "Government," here. Maybe we should dump loads of pig shit on the steps of Parliament. Think they would get the message?

Friday, August 18, 2006

What's the Point in That on Myspace?

Have you noticed how some people on Myspace have their profiles set so only people who already know them can add them as "friends?" That defeats the whole purpose of coming on Myspace. I don't think these people get it. They usually have a very small number of "friends." People you already know, personally, you already have contact with, so why come on Myspace just to talk to them? That's like emailing someone who sits at the desk next to yours, at work. Or like calling someone on your mobile phone, who's in the same house as you. My old Italian housemate, Nando, did that, on occasion. I would be upstairs, in my room, and he would text me from downstairs, in the lounge. We are talking only one flight of stairs. I am lazy, but I mean, come on! I have said, for a long time, that people send a lot of unnecessary text messages.
Another thing I don't see the point of, on Myspace, is the people who have their profiles set to "private." They have to add you as a friend BEFORE you can see the profile. I could see this making sense for people who are under age, but not for adult Myspacers. Yet, some people do it.
Then there are the people who don't let you comment until they have approved the comment, first. It's bad enough when famous people do this, but when non-famous people do it I think, "who do they think they are?" They should be happy they get comments. Myspace gives you the facility to delete a comment, if you find it objectionable. Surely, this must really add to the person's workload. More trouble than it's worth.
Finally, there are the people who clutter their pages with so many videos and graphics that the page takes forever to load.. Also, those with busy backgrounds, so it's almost impossible to actually read the writing. Try a little self editing. Get rid of all the excess stuff. One or two videos is enough. If there are many you want to show, change them periodically. Also, large pictures and excessive glitter graphics, slow the loading of the page. This is also true of people who leave large photos and glitter graphics in comments. Look at your page and if the background is so visually busy that you can't read all of the text, then you should change it. Remember, more is not always better.

Big Brother Final Tonight!

Tonight's the night...the final of "Big Brother," series 7. I have been favoring Pete to win for the whole series...up until this past Tuesday. During Tuesday's episode of "Big Brother," Pete was shown talking about his concerns about winning. In a dream a friend of his who had died came to him in the dream and told him he would win "Big Brother," or something like that. He said that he was concerned that if he didn't win, he wouldn't believe in Heaven anymore, because then his dream of his friend wouldn't have been true. Why did he have to say this? Now, I don't want him to win.
The cynical amongst us think Pete said this to deliberately garner votes from people. Having met Pete during auditions, I am inclined to think he just said this because he was really thinking it, not in any attempt to manipulate the audience. However, I want him to lose, now, so that he won't suffer any further from the delusion that there is a Heaven. I think Glyn is the only one who could possibly challenge Pete for the win. One Welsh friend of mine has voted for Glyn several times. I have seen an online headline that claims that Pete has pulled ahead in voting. I am predicting Pete will win, even though I would prefer Glyn. It's been a long series and I am happy it's coming to an end. In a few hours, we will all know the results. Who wins, you decide

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Anti "Big Brother" Snobs

Yesterday, I was on location, shooting a short film, "Traffic Warden." I needed to be there at 8:20AM. As I was doing another night of stand up, at the Wibbley Wobbley Boat, in the evening, I decided to drive. The last time I appeared at the Wibbely Wobbley, I had to rush to make the last train back to Bracknell and only just made it. Because of that, I had to leave the place early and didn't get to hang out and network with the other comics. This time, I would be able to stay.
The location of the shoot was in Greenwich, which isn't far from Surrey Quays, where the Wibbley Wobbley is and where my friend, Tom, the Injured Cyclist ( ), lives. The plan was to park my car at Tom's flat, then take a bus over to Greenwich, spend the day filming, then come back to Tom's. Later in the evening, I could walk to the Wibbely Wobbley, from Tom's. There was only one hitch: the congestion charge. Surrey Quays and Greenwich are on the other side of London from me. Between us is the central London congestion charge area and there is no way I am paying £8 to go through there. The charge only applies between 7AM and 6:30PM, so I figured I would drive through before 7AM, thus avoiding the charge. Sounds like a plan, right?
My tendency to leave late intervened. I originally planned to leave at 6AM, thus giving me an hour to get to and transit the congestion charge zone, before 7AM. Unfortunately, I didn't get out of the house until 6:30AM. Could I make it through before 7? No way. As I was approaching from the west, I calculated that I would just be hitting the zone by 7AM. Time for plan B. I figured that if I diverted at the North Circular, I could go around the zone,travelingg in a clockwise direction, then cross the Thames using the Blackwall Tunnel and come up to Greenwich and Surrey Quays from the east. The only drawback was that taking this circular route would take a lot more time and it was rush hour, so traffic could be a problem.
Progress seemed slow. For a time, all the heavy traffic seemed to be going in the other direction, but I eventually ran into bumper to bumper cars as I neared the junction with the M11. As it got later and later, I worried that I wasn't going to make my 8:20AM call time. Improvisation being the key, I figured I could skip going to Tom's and just park on some side street in Greenwich, as the way I was going, I would reach Greenwich first. Arriving in Greenwich, I began looking for parking. All the side streets had signs for resident only permits or pay and display. I settled on a space and checked the Pay and Display for charges. It would cost me £5.50 for just four hours and I needed to be there for eleven hours. I drove off again and tried a car park (parking lot). Same rates! It was now past 8:20 and I still didn't have a parking space. I pulled up at a vacant meter just outside the building I was supposed to be reporting to. Someone had left the space with an hour still showing on the meter. Maybe I could go in, report, then, if they weren't filming right away, drive over to Tom's and take the bus back.
I walked in 20 minutes late. I checked in with the 2nd Assistant Director. He didn't say anything about me being late. Maybe he was grateful, as a number of others hadn't shown up yet. I asked him when we would begin. "We're starting now," he said, with a camp affect. Well, I had an hour on the meter, so maybe I could stay till the first break, then move my car. I sat with the other extras who were already there and waited. I waited and waited. Then I waited some more. I checked the time and almost an hour had passed already, but we still hadn't done anything but sign release forms. If the 2nd AD had just given me a realistic assessment of how long it would be, I could have driven to Tom's and been back already. The film we were making is about hostility toward Traffic Wardens, (who are the folks who write parking tickets, here, for those of you not in Britain). We were filming several street scenes, during the day. All of a sudden, I heard someone tell the Production Manager that a real traffic warden was writing a ticket for one of the cars parked outside, for use in our street scene. How ironic was that? She raced outside and I followed, as my car was also outside and my meter would be almost expired. This is a prime example of the type of mentality that UK Traffic Wardens display. Across the street, three curbside spaces had been sign posted as temporarily out of use, because the film company was using them, The crew had three cars parked in these spaces, which were props for our filming. Meanwhile, some prat of a Traffic Warden had walked up to these film cars and was trying to ticket them for parking in the out of use spaces, even though these spaces had been signed out of use specifically so the film company could park the cars there. What a moron. Some of the crew ran over to explain the facts of life to him.
I asked the 2nd AD if there was time for me to move my car, and explained my parking problem. He spoke to the Production Manager and she said she had some pre-paid parking spaces at a nearby hotel, for the production company to use. She said there was one available and I could park there, for free, all day. Result! I moved my car and relished in the knowledge that another problem had been solved. When I walkebackck over to the base, I saw the other extras being led by the 2nd AD to take first positions to begin filming the first scene we were going to do. I ran over and joined them...just in time.
During the course of filming this first scene, while waiting between takes, one of the other extras, a beautiful, young Black woman, asked me if I go on the "Big Bother" forums. I admitted that I did. She then asked me if I call in to LBC radio. I admitted that I do. She asked if I was "Joe Black," which is the name I use on the forum. "Yes," I said. She recognized my voice from the radio and she is a regular user of the forum. This was delightful. Wow, she looked much prettier than I had imagined from reading her posts on the forum. I also never had imagine that she was "Black," from her posts.
As the day progressed, I talked with most of the other extras. One was a model. Most of the others were aspiring actors and actresses. I would divide these into two groups: those with formal drama, or acting, training and those without. I, of course, am in the latter group. I was talking to one of the ones who was in the former, when I told her I had auditioned for "Big Brother" this year. She was horrified! When I told her I was intending to try again, next year, she emphatically told me not to. She was of the opinion that appearing on "Big Brother" would ruin any chances I had of an entertainment career. She added that no one who has gone on the show has ended up doing anything. I countered by mentioning Jade. She then wanted to excuse away Jade. I pointed out that a woman who runs a talent agency, whom I heard interviewed on LBC radio, a couple of months ago, had said that being on any reality show was good exposure and she recommended doing it. Little miss snooty extra disagreed. After all, what does a woman running a talent agency know, in comparison to someone working as an extra. After our little debate, she didn't seem interested in talking to me anymore.
Later, I was talking with the most beautiful extra there, a Swedish actress. I eventually mentioned auditioning for "Big Brother," again. Instantly, she said I shouldn't do the show. "If you do a reality show," she said in her sexy accent, "your career would be over." I told her what the talent agency woman had said on LBC, and pointed out that James Max, the radio presenter, had done "The Apprentice" and now he's got his own radio show. She seemed unconvinced and continued to repeat her position. This from a woman who started off talking to me by admitting that she has been unable to find a agent to take her on.
The "Black" girl who had recognized my voice, earlier, had befriended another "Black" female extra. I went back and talked with them again. Both are avid "Big Brother" watchers and neither has formal drama training. We spent some time talking about the housemates from this year's series. I told them what the snooty people had been saying about "Big Brother." "They are worried that doing reality TV will end their non-existent careers," I joked. This got a laugh from my two companions. The trained thespians like to go on and on about how they are trained to do Shakespeare. I don't have a strong desire to do theatre, I just want to make some money and be recognized by total strangers. I was doing a scene, later with another of the snooty thespian crowd. She was supposed to drop a jacket and I was supposed to help her, picking it up. For all of her training, she couldn't seem to manage dropping the jacket without it looking like she was deliberately throwing it down. "Who is she? Who is she? Where did you find her?"

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Is Iain Lee Trying to Provoke Me?

Last week was a good week for me being on the 3 and 1/2 hour, 3-6:30, Iain Lee Afternoon Wireless Show, which airs on LBC 97.3, London (Sky Channel 0177 or via the net at: ) I was on air with Iain on Thursday, Friday, and on his Sunday night, Triple M show. This is in contrast to the previous week, when I wasn't able to get on at all. Iain complemented me on being able to spell "weighting," when he asked me about "London weighting." For those of you not in southern England, London weighting is the practice of paying a supplement to salaries in London, to compensate for the higher cost of living in London. Iain admitted he used to think it was "waiting," and was a bit stunned that I, a foreigner, knew the correct answer. I pointed out that I am older than him.
When I mentioned Kurt Vonnegut, Jr., an author Iain admires, he was pleased and asked his producer, Agent Chris, to try to get Vonnegut for an interview. Ian also credited me with the insight that many women accuse men of being immature, or ridicule their age, when they have nothing better to say, in an argument.
In contrast to these positives, Iain has previously described my voice as , "scary." On Friday, he described me as, "dull and directionless." I just laughed this off, at the time. I am wondering what's behind it, though. Is Iain trying to stir up some controversy between us, for the sake of the show? He does engage in some playful mock bickering with some of his other regular callers, like Varinder, for example. If he wants some staged disputes between us, on air, then he should let me know, then I can play along.
On a previous occasion, when a woman called the show asking about the American caller, Hunter, because she fancied him. Hunter said he was taken already. I seized the opportunity to call in and remind female listeners that I am American and single. Iain poo-pooed this, saying that if any female listeners did call in and say they liked the sound of me, though he didn't expect any to, he'd give them a hard time. Low and behold, I have had a comment from a young woman on Myspace, who listens to LBC and has complimented me on the sound of my voice. Rather than try to fight it, Iain should just join the growing Joseph in the Bracknell bandwagon. LBC presenter, Alex Thomas, has complimented me on my voice, while Alison Bell has described me as her favorite caller. The lovely Opal Bonfante, who's London Calling show is on the Big L 1395AM, London,(Sky Channel 0190 or via the net, at: ) has described my voice as, "overtly sexual." Eat your heart out, Iain.

Day Trip to Birmingham

Yesterday, I traveled to Birmingham for a location shoot, for a feature film. Not Alabama, Birmingham, England, you muppet. The film is called, "What Ever Happened to Pete Blaggit." I was cast as an armed police officer and although I don't have any dialogue, I got to hold a gun and pose in some Jack Bauer-like ways. I will receive a feature film first. In the two, previous feature films I have been in, I was an un-credited extra. I am sort of a media whore, at the moment, and will do almost anything for screen/air time.
Given the price of petrol and that my car isn't running so well, I decided to take the train up, given that I found a very inexpensive fare with Virgin Trains ( ). The round trip only cost me £28. That's not bad, considering that it's 114 miles from here, by car. It's only double the price of going to London, off peak, while it's about four times the distance. It was also my first chance to ride Virgin's new Pendolino trains. The only other time I traveled with Virgin Trains, back in 2003, I ended up on the older rolling stock, as the Pendolinos hadn't been rolled out over the entire network, yet. The Pendolinos tilt on curves and can travel at 125 miles per hour. Virgin Trains arranged a connection for me, from my local station, using Southwest Trains to Reading, where I would join the Virgin service.
For once, I got to the station in plenty of time. At Reading, I boarded the Virgin train, which was waiting there. This train originated in Reading, so I was able to take my seat and relax, while waiting for the departure time. On the outside, it looked nice and modern. Inside, I was a bit underwhelmed. It seemed narrower than the old Virign carriages (cars, for Americanos) had been. The seats didn't feel as roomy. To be fair, I had traveled first class, the previous time I was on Virgin Trains, while this was economy. The engine seemed to make a lot of noise. Oh well, at the end of the day, it' a train and it got me where I was going.
As I was tired, I dozed for most of the journey. Once I was at Birmingham's New Street Station, I set off for the address where the filming would take place. It was 3.3 miles from the station to the location. I had decided to walk it, to save money. I had allowed an hour and 47 minutes to walk the distance and I made it with ten minutes to spare. I had never been to central Birmingham, before. Previously, Birmingham was just someplace I drove through, on the motorway, on my way to Liverpool, or rode through on the train, on my way to Glasgow, Scotland. Birmingham is Britain's second largest city, with a population of 976,400. London,Britain'ss largest, in comparison, has over 7 million. That's quite a gap. This was a chance for me to look around, as I pounded the pavement toward my destination.
When I arrived at the location, things were running a bit late. There had been some problem with the camera and a replacement was being procured. I was pleased to be able to sit down and have a drink of water, after my long walk. Subsequently, I was joined by couple of other fellows, who would be playing cops, with me. One was named Dave, a 25 year old aspiring actor, who resembles British comedian, Jack Dees. The other was Chris, a former policeman, turned private detective. As a former cop, he was acting as a technical adviser for the scene, although he'd never been an armed police officer, as most British cops still don't carry guns. So, as things turned out, I was the only one of the three of us who had ever fired a pistol before.
While we waited for the crew to finish getting everything ready, we went through wardrobe and makeup. I chatted to the makeup artist and, later, the wardrobe woman, in my lightly flirty, joking sort of way, as is my habit. After makeup, I entertained my fellow actors with stories of my adventures on UK talk radio and Opal Bonfante's, Calling London show. The Executive Producer, Gabrielle, is also one of the stars of the film and would be doing the scene with us. While she was being made up, she was listening to my stories. She ended up interjecting a comment and I realized I had a wider audience.
We did a couple of rehearsals of the scene, so the Director and Director of Photography could get things just right. One of the three of us was to shoot a bad guy. I deferred to young Dave, as it was his first film. Besides, it was spontaneously decided that he would shout, "armed police," and that wouldn't go down too well in my American accent. After all, we were supposed to be British police. Then it was time to shoot the scene. We did three or four takes, and then it was a wrap for us. I managed to find some food left over from lunch and enjoyed a jacket potato (baked potato for American readers) with chilii filling. Chris agreed to give me a ride back to the train station and I will be eternally grateful to him, as it got me there in 15 minutes of comfort, rather than another two hour walk. I said goodbye to the rest of the cast and crew. Gabrielle said to keep trying to get on "big Brother," as I had entertained her, that day. Chris drove a Chrysler, PT Cruiser, so I ended up riding in an American car through a British city. It was my first time in a PT Cruiser. It has a retro style that I don't particularly go for, but so long as Chris was happy with it, I was just pleased to be riding instead of walking.
Because of the ride and the fact that we finished filming slightly ahead of schedule, I ended up an hour and 50 minutes early for my train home. Above the station is a mall, called Palasades. I wandered through it, but as this is Britain, not America, the shops had almost all closed, as it was after 5PM. I walked outside and around the corner, finding an area closed to traffic. I parked myself on a bench opposite a cinema, and watched the life of Birmingham walk by I had toyed with the idea of going to see a film, but there were none starting then. The next ones started at 8PM and my train was at 9:03PM...not enough time. The Birmingham area has a large population of Indians and Pakistanis, and this was reflected in the people passing by. I observed couples going into the cinema and families coming out. There were blacks, whites, Orientals...a real mix of people going to and fro, before my eyes. I was struck by the thought that, out of all these people, each individual looks a bit different. There were all shapes, sizes, and colors. Well, no blue, green, or purple people, but all the colors you find people come in. I didn't see any albinos, though. It seemedd a bit chilly and I was grateful I had decided to bring my leather jacket.
Soon, it was getting to be time to start making my way back to the station. I found the platform from which my train was supposed to depart. Another, local, train company's train was there, but I figured it would leave soon and be replaced by the Virgin train. While waiting, I stood watching the trains rolling in and out of the station, while listening to the announcements over the public address system. An EWS (England, Wales and Scotland) mail train rolled to a slow stop at a red signal, waiting for a passenger train departing the station to clear the junction of a couple of tracks. Eventually, it received a green signal and it thundered off into the British midlands' dusk. I thought about my friend, Tim, back home in New York, who loves trains. He has a model railroad setup in his garage. He would love this.
It was getting cose to departure time and still no Virgin train. I saw a couple of guys in Virgin staff uniforms looking concerned. They chatted between themselves and reassured the occasional passenger who approached them, enquiring about our train. The shorter of the two had a walkie-talkie and he commenced talking into that. In the distance, I could see the lights of a train stopped, waiting to come into the station. The local train was still at the platform, in the way, and there was no driver in the cab. After much discussion, it was decided to bring our train in at a different platform. All of the passengers who had gathered, by then, had to race upstairs and walk over to the next set of platforms. Our train was scheduled to depart in less than ten minutes. We all clambered aboard. I ended up sitting across the aisle from a hunchback. I looked him over in fascination. I don't remember ever seeing someone with such a pronounced hunchback, in real life, before. We left, on time, rolling off into the growing darkness. I dozed, again, on the way home.
Arriving home at close to midnight, I realized I had missed "Eastenders." I cooked a late dinner, while listening to the lovely Opal Bonfante, on the Big L, 1395 AM, London (Sky Channel 0190 or via the net at: ). When I finished eating, I called Opal, as I had encouraged Chris from the film cast to listen to the show. Opal informed me that my former co-worker, Russell, had been listening, but had gone to bed. The night before, Russell had fallen asleep listening, so this was the second night in a row that he would miss me on air. Opal is on 10PM to 2AM, London time, Sunday through Thursdays. Don't you miss out, tune in, turn on, then drop out. I usually speak to her, on air, every night, at some point. Call yourself, or send her an email, if you are too far away to call, and let her know you are listening because I recommended you. Also tell her you enjoy hearing me on air. She's hot and funny...a great combination. She and I work well together.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Pauly in the Morden Does a New MP3 of Me!

Pauly in the Morden ( ) has done it again! A new MP3 of my Corazon at Tesco blog saga sequel, "Places in the Heart" is out, now. You can hear it by going to Pauly's Myspace page, clicking on the link, above. If you haven't heard the original, he still has it there, as well ("Corazon the Heart of Tesco").

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Places in the Heart

On the way home from filming a segment for TV, Sunday, I decided to stop at Tesco. By the time I got there, I was really anxious to take a pee. Tesco provides toilets for customers to use. After taking advantage of the facilities, I walked back to the entrance to the store, to get a basket. All of them were gone! I walked over to a checkout counter and grabbed one from where the customers leave them.

While shopping, I was happy to find Herta hot dogs on sale, buy one pack, get one free. BOGOF! "buy one...get another one free, now...two for the price of one." This was good, as I was down to one hot dog left, at home. These were the thinner Herta, not the Jumbos I prefer, but I will take what I can get. Tesco Healthy Living Cole Slow was marked down, because it was at its sell by date. This made it cheaper than the Tesco Value Cole Slaw I usually get. Oh yum, the good stuff! I had originally hoped to buy a few things, but as I spied bargain after bargain, I ended up with a full basket.

Walking along the checkout aisles, I looked for Corazon, Could that be her? I looked at her name badge...yes, it was her! She looked...different, somehow. Older. Hmmmm. Was it the lighting? "Hello Corazon," I said.

"Hello," she said back. "Are you alright to pack?"

"Yeah. You don't remember me," I teased.

"I do...I do remember you. You said I was from the Philippines, last time."

"No, you don't remember me," I repeated.

"Yes, I do," she insisted. Then she game me my total. £9.33 That was exactly the same as I spent the last time Corazon had rung up my shopping. This time, I paid cash.

Artist of the Week: Teedra Moses

This week, I have selected Teedra Moses as my Artist of the Week. This female R & B singer not only looks good, she makes good music as well. Her debut album, "Complex Simplicity," is out already. A second album, "The Young Lioness," is expected to be released in February, 2007. Of the tracks available on her Myspace page ( ), my favorite is, "Doin You," and I have selected it as my profile song, this week. Teedra is originally from New Orleans and her mother was a gospel singer. They moved to California, together, when her parents split up. She writes songs and has written for, amongst others, Christina Milan. Teedra cites Prince, Patrice Rushen, and Teena Marie, amongst her influences.
check her out and if you like her music, buy it. Add her as a "friend," on Myspace and tell her I sent you.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Condi at the UN

I was watching the news, the other night, and they were showing Condoleezza Rice at the United Nations, for the vote on the resolution to end hostilities in Lebanon. Dr. Condoleezza Rice. What's happened to her? Did she glam up, or something? She looked very attractive. She was in this expensive looking, cream colored trouser suit...a good color for her. Her hair looked much better than it used to. She looked kind of hot. I think her hair is longer, now and that helps. She has a big forehead, like some black women do, but the longer hairstyle minimized it (her forehead is so big, it's a five head). She also has that gap toothed thing going on, but hey...nobody's perfect. Besides, she's very educated and I like an educated woman. Some have suggested that the Republicans should run her for President in 2008, to counter the threat of Hillary Clinton running and getting the female vote. My mother voted for Clinton for Senator, just because she was a woman, although, my mother says there is no way she will vote for Senator Clinton for President. Does anyone know if Condi is seeing anyone?

Humor Wasted On a German Girl

On Thursday and Friday, I got some work from the temp agency, which is great, because I need the money. They sent me to a restaurant that I had been to before. It was the first place they ever sent me, back in May, 2005. They have a bunch of new staff since then, although the head chef and manager are the same. One of the new staff is a tall, German girl. I mean, really tall. I find tall women and women with German accents, attractive, so I tried talking to her. I asked her how tall she is, but she could only say in metric and I don't really do metric, when it comes to height. Looking at her, she had to be at least six feet tall...maybe even six feet and one inch and this in flat shoes. I am six feet and one half an inch, so I think she light have been slightly taller than me. It's been a fantasy of mine, for over twenty years, to date a woman taller than me.
I asked her if she was from Germany. She seemed a little surprised at this and said yes, she was. She asked me how I knew she was from Germany. Duh! "Your accent," I said. Despite Germany's reputation for producing wonder weapons during World War II, I suppose this uber-chick isn't a rocket scientist. I estimate she was in her mid-twenties, which is an uphill battle for me, these days, given that I start out with a twenty year deficit on someone of that age. I rely on my most effective weapons, charm and humor, in situations like these. During the course of Thursday, I kept speaking to her and being very lightly flirtatious. The head chef picked up on it and said to her, "is he taking you home?" He likes to tease people. This totally seemed to throw her and she asked, extremely puzzled, "why would he be taking me home?" Oh dear...she wasn't exactly quick in the wit department. "I just wondered, given the way he is talking to you," the head chef explained.
This can be one of the problems when talking to someone who's first language isn't English. While she had a good command of conversational English, she didn't get the subtler nuances or the humor. The head chef teasingly asked her if she owned her own home. She said yes, at first, in a very poor attempt at sarcasm, then admitted she rented a room, when we didn't all laugh. Gee, we have something in common, as I, too, rent a room. At least she wasn't living with a boyfriend, or husband. She didn't seem very popular with her co-workers. She ate her lunch alone, rather than sit with anyone else. On Friday, when I saw her sitting alone, yet again, I contemplated going to sit with her. However, I decided she might find this an intrusion, given that she sat herself quite far from the rest of us, during lunch. Later, I asked her why she always eats alone, but she didn't answer me, so I asked what she was doing over the weekend. She said she was working Saturday and, "I don't know yet, " on Sunday.
"I've done that, before," I said, jokingly.
"Done what?"
"I don't know, yet," I responded with a bemused look on my face. She didn't get it and just continued working, probably imagining that I am crazy. She was working Saturday and I am filming in London, on Sunday. This just didn't seem to be working out.
Ironically, while I was waiting on hold to speak to Bill Buckley, on LBC 97.3, London (Sky Channel 0177 or via the internet at: ), Bill was talking to a German woman,who is a regular caller to LBC. She mentioned being single. Bill commented on the German language not sounding very nice. I was on air next, after her, and I told Bill I find German women speaking English with a German accent particularly sexy sounding. I also like hearing German spoken, even though I don't understand much of it. I pointed out that I like the music of the band, Rammstein, who usually sing in German, even though I don't understand what they are saying. So even German language is appealing to me, not just German accented English. Bill said that, surely, I must be in a minority. Am I?

Friday, August 11, 2006

Nikki's Back!

I watched the last eviction night of "Big Brother," Series 7 (UK), Friday. I had predicted that Imogen would be the one evicted and she was. I have correctly predicted every eviction, except Nikki's. The housemates selected Nikki as the one ex-housemate from the house next door to go back into the main house. This is the outcome I wanted, so all is right with the world. I was concerned that the housemates might pick Lea and that Pete would defer to their choice, as he's usually so deferential. As much as I have disliked Richard all series, I was pleased with what he did, this time. He used his influence with the others to get Nikki back in, "for Pete." He has almost completely redeemed himself, in my eyes, but not quite. I still think he should have shown this compassionate side to Shabazz.
I am concerned that Nikki's re-entry might prove less satisfying, over the long run. The problem is, she has been in the outside world and discovered how popular she is, and what are the things people like about her. The temptation will be for her to now put on these behaviors, in an attempt to please her audience, rather than do them naturally. Grace was let back in the house for twenty-one minutes, to celebrate her twenty-first birthday. I found this, too, didn't live up to anticipation. Also, watching the other ex-housemates, in the house next door, gave me the impression that it's not a good idea to put housemates back in, once they have been evicted. You can't put the genie back into the bottle and it's never the same. Going into the outside world changes them, so going back in, they are never the same.
I did want to comment on Imogen. I thought she looked beautiful during her eviction. When she is made up, she looks great and it's no wonder she was Miss Wales. Her outfit, from the waist up, was great. I didn't like the shorts she was wearing, though, although I liked the color. She was very tanned...more so than I would like. She had a certain, slmost Catherine Zeta Jones air to her. It was her night and I am glad she made the most of it. Sadly, when she doesn't have her makeup on, she loses a lot, similarly to Aisleyne. Jennie is one of those girls who is fortunate enough to be pretty, even without makeup.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Final Eviction Night, 2006

Tonight is the last eviction night for Big Brother, Series 7 (UK). Next week will be the final. Imogen and Richard are up for eviction. Supposedly, the bookies are favoring Imogen to go and I am agreeing with that. Although there are things I don't like about Richard and I never forgave him for how he treated Shabazz, he is more entertaining to watch than Imogen. She's nice looking, but doesn't do a lot. Last night, evicted housemate, Susie, was slagging off Glyn on "Big Brother's Big Mouth." Personally, I think she should keep that wide mouth of her's shut, on that subject. Glyn is way more popular than she is. I find her a bit odd looking. Taken separately, her body parts (with the exception of her fake breasts) look nice, but put together they just don't seem to fit. Her eyes are nice looking, but seem too far apart on her head. Her fake breasts are too big and hang funny. It doesn't help matters that she was a personality as bland as a plain, McDonalds hamburger, with no ketchup. If you think I am being too hard on her, she claims to be a model and seems to have an inflated notion of her own worth in the entertainment industry. Honey, try a being a bit more humble.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Wibbley Wobbley Wednesday

Yesterday, I had another audition, in London. This time, it was for a new quiz show. As per usual, I missed the train I had intended to take. Arriving at the station for the next train, with about ten minutes to spare, I found this long queue (line for American readers) for the ticket window. There was only one guy selling tickets and the line moved extremely slowly. When the train was due to arrive in only five minutes, I was still a half a dozen people away from the window. I wanted to pay for my ticket with my card, but I couldn't risk missing this train, or I would be late. I decided to abandon the line and use the last of my cash to buy my ticket from the automated vending machine, outside.
When I got outside, a woman had the same idea. She was fumbling with the ticket machine and couldn't seem to get it to work. Come on! Finally, she gave up, gave me a sheepish look, and moved out of the way. The machine had a sign on it that clearly said the maximum change it would give was £9 something. She had been putting in a £20 note, which would have required over £10 change. That's why it wouldn't work for her. I explained that to her, as I purchased my ticket/Travelcard. I made my train and I could replenish my cash from an ATM, later.
For once, I arrived with plenty of time to spare. I was soon joined by a very hot looking, Asian woman. There was a sign on the door that said that if one arrived early, to wait downstairs, as the previous group's audition would be in progress upstairs. Despite this sign, Asian hottie wanted to go upstairs and "check." Check what? I let her carry on, while I waited downstairs. Why walk up a flight of stars, just to be sent back down? I am way too lazy for that. Sure enough, in a couple of minutes, she was clomping back downstairs, in her pointy, trendy pumps. She said there was a sign upstairs saying "do not enter." We waited outside and she turned out to be a chatterbox. As she was prattling on about herself, I heard her mention that she was married. My interest level plummeted. Still, she was beautiful and interjecting sarcastic comments helped me to pass the time.
Soon, it was time to go in and we joined a number of other hopefuls. The production company really splashed out and treated us all to free glasses of water. Thankfully, I had managed to have some breakie before I left home. We were divided into teams of two, to play a simulation of a round of the game show. I was teamed up with the Asian hottie, who was clearly the most beautiful one there. She seemed pleased by this, as she figured my general knowledge level was good. I asked her if she had any single sisters and she said yes. Maybe something could be salvaged from this relationship, after all. I answered four times as many questions as she did and definitely carried the team. Afterwards, joinedind a couple of others outside, discussing the audition. Asian hottie turned out to live near me, in the Royal County of Berkshire and had taken the train in, as I had. She stated she was going to do some shopping, while in London, to pass the rest of the day and I hoped she would invite me to join her. No such luck. Now that the audition was over, she seemed like she had no use for me. I reminded her about fixing me up with a sister, but she merely quipped, "if we get selected for the show, I will." She didn't even exchange numbers. I felt so used.
I had managed to strike up a conversation with another good looking woman, a gal from some Congo or the other, who spoke with a beautiful French accent. When all the others had gone, she offered to walk with me, to the Underground station. She was looking for a bus stop and I ended up walking with her across the West End. I hoped she would want to keep in touch, but when we got to her bus stop, she just said goodbye. I had told Tom, the Injured Cyclist (, that I would visit him, after my audition. I called him to confirm that visiting was still ok. After saying it was, he asked me to stop at Tesco for him. It's hard to say no to a guy on crutches and I just hoped I could find the Tesco near him.
For ages, I have been considering trying my hand at doing stand up comedy. While planning my trip to London, I searched on the internet for venues offering open mic comedy on Wednesdays, in London. Low and behold, the first thing that came up was The Wibbley Wobbley Boat, in Surrey Quays, which is minutes from Tom's flat. When I asked Tom if he was familiar with it, he said it was the same pub, on a boat, that he had suggested we go to, the last time I visited him. When I called, I was told the show starts at 9PM. I spent the rest of the day relaxing with Tom, preparing myself for this new endeavor.
When we got there, I found the compere and told him I wanted to join the lineup. In some ways, I was in luck, because he hadn't publicized this week's show amongst the regular performers, so there were only four of us, in total. Some times, he has as many as 16 acts to sort out in the line up. He asked me how long I was able to do and I said, "as long as you like." He decided, as it was my first time, I would do five minutes. I was told I would go on third, after the mid-show break. I was pleased I wasn't first, so I could see how the others did. As the show went on, Tom started heckling the compere. Oh dear, that wouldn't help. I had hoped having Tom and his crutches there might garner me the sympathy vote, but at the rate he was going, I might do better to offer to break his other leg, to please the crowd.
Without telling me, the compere switched the order and made me last. When he introduced me, he said he'd decided to make me the headliner and could I do a longer set? I readily agreed, hungry for as much stage time as I could manage. For some strange reason, we weren't permitted to use the mic. Something to do with residential neighbors complaining about the noise. I was going to have to really try to project my normally laid back voice, just to be heard. It wasn't the walk in the park I had hoped for. I got some laughs, but not as many as I hoped for. At least I didn't get heckled or booed. I ended up doing about ten minutes. The compere said I did okay, that my first seven minutes were pretty good, but the end died off a bit. He invited me back another time. One of my fellow performers said the compere likes jokes more than the humorous, anecdotal stories I like to tell. I have gotten my feet wet, now, and will have to try to improve my stroke.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Four In On Big Brother Tonight

Tonight, four former housemates from this years "Big Brother" (UK) will go into the house next door. These will be the four who receive the most votes from the viewing public. Some people have been complaining about housemates being let back in. Over 600 complaints have been sent to Ofcom, the British Media "watchdog." Big Brother have put housemates back in before, most notably Jon Tickle ( ), in 2003. However, previously, as in Tickle's case, housemates put back in were not eligible to win. What seems to have pissed people off, this time, is that Big Brother has announced that one of the four will be selected to go back into the main house and will be eligible to win.
Personally, I don't see why these people are complaining. First of all, Big Brother has always said they can alter the rules at any time. Second, it's unlikely the housemate who goes back in will win, as it's been pretty much a runaway for Pete the whole series. Third, who wins is still subject to another public vote. The presence of a housemate you don't like won't be a problem, as you vote for who you want to win, during the final week. Some people, here in Britain, just seem obsessed with complaining to "government" bureaucrats. If you don't like what is happening on Big Brother, you have two remedies that don't require any "government" intervention. Don't vote and don't watch.
I am predicting that Nikki will be one of the four who go back in. I hope she is selected to re-enter the main house, as I find her very entertaining. Last night, Opal Bonfante asked me how many were going back in, tonight. Let's hope that means Opal is getting more interested in the reality TV series.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Radio Sunday

Yesterday was a bit of a marathon day for me in as far as being on radio shows. It started in the early hours of Sunday morning, just past midnight, with an anonymous call to Nick Abbott's show on LBC 97.3, London (Sky Channel 0177 or via the net at: ). Nick asked people to call in to his show and complete the sentence starting with, "I love..." He was hoping for something humorous. Nick took the callers to air without naming them or screening them. I called in and said, on air, "I love my evil ex-wife, the Black Queen" (please don't tell her, she's big headed enough already). One of my Myspace friends, Kieran, recognized me on air, as he told me later.

After Nick went off at 1AM, Bill Buckley followed. I wanted to call in,but there didn't seem to be anything Bill was discussing that I had the urge to comment on. I was tired, anyway, so I ended up going to sleep. I woke up at about 10:20AM and for a moment, I forgot that the lovely Alison Bell was on air, right then. Suddenly, it dawned on me, so I put LBC on my computer. I wanted to call Alison and listened for the topics, to try to fit in. She was asking people to call about what stresses them. Well, not a lot stresses me, but regular readers will know I have a problem with being on time for things, so I called in and offered that as my most stressful thing. This was the second day in a row that I had spoken to Alison. When she took my call, she said I was her favorite and that I always call when she needs me to. I thanked her for the compliment and compliments will get you everywhere, with me.

The next show I was to call was James Max's regular Sunday evening show, between 7PM and 9PM, on LBC. James has previously claimed that I am his favorite caller, although he sometimes acts a bit fickle. Last Sunday, he cut me off quite abruptly, after seeming to get flustered over a mention of sex that his producer and I thought would be entertaining. Still, he belatedly put me in his top friends, on Mypace, so I would try to contribute again. I also knew that some of you would be listening, as I had messages saying so. (Why not all of you? What are the rest of you doing, for Pete's sake?) This time, James was talking about advertising, a subject I am very interested in. When I called in, James put me on with an old man, having us both on at the same time. I think James was trying to get a dialogue going between me and the old dude, but the old guy didn't seem to have much in him. James bailed on the both of us after a bit, before finding out that I used to write radio ad copy. He's a little too quick on the trigger and keeps missing opportunities to get more out of me. And if you are going to put me on with someone, James, maybe it would work better if it was someone a bit more lively? I still get the impression that James is a little uncomfortable with me, on air. I suspect he would deny this.

When James' show ended at 9PM, I headed downstairs to make dinner. I had spaghetti, of course, with a meatless, tomato based sauce and a side salad. A very cheap meal. Checking what was on TV, I noticed that Film Four was showing "The Motorcycle Diaries," which I had never seen. It's the story of a young Che Guevera and his friend traveling up South America, from Argentina, on an old motorcycle. As someone who has traveled cross country by motorcycle, myself, and who has been to South America, I found it quite interesting. Of course Che ends up, later in life, turning into a useless, communist twat, but that's another story and thankfully, doesn't play much of a part in the film. While watching the film, I enjoyed some microwave, buttered popcorn...umm good! Once the film ended, I flicked over to the Big L 1395 AM, London (Sky Channel 0190 or the net at: ), to catch the lovely Opal Bonfante's London Calling show. I listened long enough to hear what was being discussed, living in the country vs living in the city, then raced upstairs to catch the last hour of Iain Lee's Sunday night, Triple M show, back on LBC. Triple M stands for Mental Madness and Mayhem. While listening, I logged into the Iain Lee Forum chatroom, to see if Habiba was there again. ( She wasn't at first, but did turn up, eventually.

Iain's show finished at 1AM (technically Monday, but it still feels like Sunday night, as I hadn't been to bed) and I quickly called Opal, as she is on till 2AM.Opal seemed almost flirtatious when she got me on air. She said I was her favorite the moment. Not as strong an endorsement as Alison Bell, but still pretty good. Opal said she likes to keep her callers competing for her praise. I am building up quite a following, with Alison Bell, James Max, and now Opal Bonfante all designating me as a favorite caller. I had heard that Opal had spent the weekend visiting Mom and Dad, so I asked her if she had mentioned me to them. She denied that she had. Somehow, this evolved into a discussion about Opal having my baby, one day. After a giggly fun call, Opal subjected me to her usual, Spit or Swallow game, then prompted me to choose the next song she played. She keeps suggesting Girls Aloud, probably because that was what I requested during one of my first calls. I try to pick different songs, though, but she's always rushing me and, of course, the Big L doesn't have all the songs in their library that they should. I settled on AC/DC's "Highway to Hell." A classic.

While on the phone with Opal, I had my computer on mute, so LBC wouldn't go out over the phone while I am on air with Opal on the Big L. After hanging up with her, I turned the mute off and joined Bill Buckley's show, already in progress, to see what the topics were. Bill was discussing "guilty pleasures," and asking people to phone in with the songs they like to listen to, but would be embarrassed for their friends to know about. I called Bill's producer and said I wanted to talk about that. He asked me what my guilty pleasure song was and I said, "The Ketchup Song," by Las Ketchup. I had been debating that one versus La Macarena, by Los del Rio. While waiting for the producer to call back, I let the people in the Iain Lee Forum chat know I was about to go on air, so they could listen. Some of them don't like Bill Buckley, but I think he's fine. While waiting to go on air with Bill, I heard him reading out the top three guilty pleasure songs from some poll. When he spoke to me, I said I had three and he asked me for them in ascending order, starting with least embarrassing. I started with "La Macarena." Then my second one was "The Ketchup Song," which they then played a clip of, as I had told the producer that one. While waiting for my call back, I had thought of another which is even more embarrassing and that was my number one, the Cheeky Girls, "Touch My Bum," which is actually the subtitle. The main title to the song is "The Cheeky Song." Most of you in America probably haven't heard of the Cheeky Girls, but they are hilarious. They are twin sisters, Monica and Gabriela, from Transylvania! Check them out at: Bill said my list might be the most embarrassing list anyone had come up with.

After my call, the night wasn't quite finished. I hung out in the Iain Lee chat room and when Bill played his first "best of" clip from another show on LBC, as he does each night, it was James Max, from earlier in the day and it was the segment I was in! So I was on air again! After that, I went to bed. Quite a run over about 27 hours. If you weren't listening, see what you missed out on? As these shows are broadcast over the internet, there is no excuse, even if you are not in Britain. Some of you have already sent me messages indicating that you listen. The rest of you, come on! What's even more important than letting me know, is letting the radio presenters know. They all accept email and calls. Let them know you enjoy hearing Joseph in Bracknell, on air. If you want, you can go on air yourself. They all love hearing from people outside the UK, so don't be bashful. You can be fully interactive. Both James and Opal have Myspace profiles and would love to add you as friends. See them on my top 24 friends on my page. Let them know Joey sent you.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Artist of the Week: Narina Pallot

I spent a lot of time listening to bands and artists before deciding on my Artist of the Week, this week. I considered some who had songs on Myspace that were very subdued, but I wanted something a little snappier. The subdued ones sound too winter, to me. It's August and I didn't feel in the mood for something too quiet. Given the state of affairs in the Middle East, I decided to go with Nerina Pallot. Her song, "Everybody's Gone to War," has received airplay on UK radio, recently and that is where I first heard her. It's from her second album, "Fires."
Narina has had a tough time of it, in the music industry. Things didn't go well between her and Polydor, after her first album, "Dear Frustrated Superstar." There was a parting of the ways and Narina released "Fires" on her own label. Now, she has signed with 14th Floor Records, who has re-released "Fires," and she's been getting some airplay. She cites numerous influences, musically, including Carole King, Paul Simon, the Rolling Stones, Britney Spears, Joni Mitchell, Crosby, Stills, Nash,and Young, Stevie Wonder, David Bowie, the Beatles, and one of my favorities, Steely Dan.
Narina's father is half French and her mother is Indian, a combination that would interest me. She spent much of her childhood on the Channel Island of Jersey. She now lives in London. Looking at her blog on her Myspace page, , I was horrified to see several nasty comments form people in America, because of her song, "Everyone's Gone to War." Even if you are silly enough to blindly support the anarcho-statist, neocon gang, who seem hell bent on turning America into a military empire, here is no need to be nasty. The song is great, so check it out and her other ones on her Myspace page. This especially goes for my American readers, because while she has gotten some airplay in the UK, she won't have in America. American radio people, take note! All of you add her as a friend and give her supportive comments and messages. Be sure to tell her that I sent you.