Lying down on the job|
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Below are the 20 most recent journal entries recorded in
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|Tuesday, August 23rd, 2011|
|Sunday, July 24th, 2011|
|DOCTOR GRAY'S LIST OF 27
DOCTOR GRAY'S LIST OF 27 - the really long version now makes it 28...
Most of you will be familiar with the phenomenon whereby certain key musicians in the history (and prehistory) of rock have paid for their dance with the devil by passing away suddenly at the tender age of twenty seven. Johnson, Hendrix, Joplin, Morrison...the list usually ends there. I was inspired recently to see if I could find any other, perhaps slightly less influential, figures who'd suffered a similar fate without making it into the pages of The Da-Da-De-Da-Da Code.
This endeavour was triggered by my recent discovery that traditional northern brass bands always have twenty-seven musicians. You'll note that one-third of the people below died in a period of less than three years, from 1968-71.
poisoning: by a jealous husband. Or his own wife. Or maybe he was shot. Or something. Near Greenwood, Mississippi.
band: The Shields (also nickanmed "The black Elvis")
car crash: in suspicious circumstances, having just played to his first 'racially integrated' audience. The scorched earth by the highway in Hope, Arkansas was still visible twenty years later. Probably the most influential pop musician you never heard of.
band: The Drifters
band: Spanky and Our Gang
accidental carbon monoxide poisoning, 31st Oct
overdose: sleeping pills, 26th March, after prolonged psychiatric treatment
band: Skatalites (another great black musical innovator who died way too young)
died in a psychiatric hospital 6th May, four years after murdering his girlfriend: natural causes, or suicide, or murder, take your pick
band: The Rolling Stones
drowning: 3rd July, in mysterious circumstances, not least the fact that he was alone in his own pool, at the original 'House at Pooh Corner', the former Milne house, Cotchford Farm, Hartfield, Sussex. Ask to see my photos.
band: Canned Heat
overdose: ?accidental, 3rd September, but following two suicide attempts
(surprisingly born Johnny Allen Hendrix, not what you thought it was)
accidental suffocation: 18th September, apart from that your guess is as good as the Coroner's
overdose: heroin, 4th October (on my fifth birthday, which rather soured the party, particularly after Don Drummond had snuffed it on my brother's fifth birthday...)
Arlester Christian, aka Dyke
band: Dyke & the Blazers
band: The Doors
overdose: heroin, 3rd July. Or heart failure due to alcohol and the temperature of the bath. Honestly, French Doctors are full of crap.
Ron McKernan, aka Pigpen
band: The Grateful Dead
alcoholism: gastrointestinal hemorrhage, 8th March
Roger Lee Durham
riding accident: fell from horse
air crash: Jackson, Minnesota, 12th August
band: The Stooges
alcoholism: pulmonary oedema, 10th Feb, following admission for pancreatitis
suicide: hanging, 24th April
band: Uriah Heep
overdose: 8th Dec
accidental carbon monoxide poisoning: unless it was intentional, of course
band: Big Star
car crash: hit telephone pole
band: Inner Circle
band: The Minutemen
car crash: thrown from the back of a van, in Arizona
Peter de Freitas
band: Echo and the Bunnymen
band: The Gits
murdered: man convicted on DNA evidence 11 years later
overdose: heroin. And another bath-tub.
Richey James Edwards
band: The Manic Street Preachers
missing: officially presumed dead 13 years later
Temporary addition #28:
|Monday, September 6th, 2010|
|The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger. And Rock.
I just read the final chapters of "The Time Traveler's Wife". Ian Gillan has been screaming in my head for weeks. I realise now why "Child in Time" has been dogging me. It was briefly displaced by "Coming Home" from Iron Maiden's new album, but Ian is back with a vengeance this week. You have to understand, I don't actually play these records. I don't even own either of them. But still they fill my head. Audrey Niffenegger's book has engaged me like no other. Schindler's Ark read like a mail-order catalogue by comparison. All SF could be like this if only all SF were written by arty middle-aged, middle-class American women with red hair. And why not?
|Monday, April 19th, 2010|
|BRIGHTON MARATHON done and dusted
I'm glad I've had 24-hr to recover before writing this. It should cut down dramatically on the swearing. I had only had time to train up to 8-9 miles before the race, and hence haven't run any further than that since last year's Brighton half-marathon. This was my first ever full marathon, of course.
So, I enjoyed the first 13 miles! A few hills, but I'd trained for these, thank God. Matched my target time for a half-marathon almost exactly (2:20). The next seven or eight miles were harder, but manageable. "Just keep going" (but for one loo break, once the queues were short enough).
At 20 miles, some college had built a huge wall across the access road to Shoreham Power Station, and called it "The Wall". Sweet. That perked me up, briefly. Fascinating to see this side of town around the Shoreham & Southwick port and freight depots. They cleverly held their open day when all the roads were closed for runners, so no-one else has seen the place either.
21 miles onward was definitely wall of pain time.
22 miles on was nausea and dizziness. Heatstroke?
I confess to doing some sitting down (nausea worse; might as well walk) and some walking (almost as painful as running) during the next couple of miles. But I knew I was going to finish running, and the crowds really picked us up. The people were great. If you wear a name on your shirt, they'll shout it out to spur you on. Raucous rock music from one of the seafront hotels in the last mile gave me a boost, too. People were really supportive.
I was disappointed to miss the five-hour mark completely, with 05:12:04 - but considering my training schedule (working 5-7 days a week for several months, plus looking after the kids, plus eBay etc.) and the fact that my body wanted me to quit at 22 miles, I guess it's a respectable mark. About six thousand people made it home in that time. Another thousand or so took as much as another hour to get to the line. And I'm soooo old...
And my quads aren't really working today, so walking downstairs is challenging, but I've no blisters, just one slightly sore heel and a few tender toes.
Will I try again next year? Hmmm... Keep asking. Next time I'll remember the fucking sunblock. Ouch!
Thanks for all your support.
Richard / Reg x
Donations are still open for a week or two: http://www.justgiving.com/richy1965
|Friday, March 5th, 2010|
|Brighton Theatre Royal
I was in the process of rejoining Brighton Theatre Royal friends, after a long absence. The absence was triggered by our one-and-only precious baby-sitter mum-in-law emigrating to Southern Sudan. My return to the stage was finally precipitated by Alan Bennett's The History Boys returning to TRB. I've yet to see a production of it, but I've been reading vast tracts of the writer's diaries. Mum is back but fifty miles away, so I think I'll leave Jacquie with the bin-lids and go it alone...
TRB is now fully-established as part of the Ambassador Theatre Group, hence friend status now confers benefits at all of their London venues. The booking website brought great news in duplicate: Spamalot in June, followed by Armstrong and Miller in October, both coming to Brighton!
Friend status for a whole year cost only £25 and immediately saved me £13 on Bennett. Spamalot preferential booking should come to me in a few weeks. A&M were of course sold out already (the first such of the 2010 October Brighton Comedy Festival?!), but I used the magic word "wheelchair" and they found us some space... worth a try if you travel with a seated friend
. (Sounds like a new euphemism.) Me & Stevie generally do some comedy at the May and October festivals together.
Note also that the whole Dome complex (Dome Theatre, Pavilion Theatre & delightful Corn Exchange), the main venue/s for the October events, offer some very
|Thursday, February 25th, 2010|
|Friday, November 27th, 2009|
|Ghosts in the machine at Virgin Media.
The fact that Virgin Media has been cobbled together out of a whole bunch of other companies has some amusing consequences. Ok, some might say that they're about as much use as a football team made up of some body parts from great players and some from less successful ones, all held together with ticky-tacky and goodwill, and they make me very, very angry. But I'm feeling mellowish just now. Or liverish, possibly. Where was I?
So, I have this vestigial virgin.com email account from my old NTL dial-up service, and now I live in cable-land, where the man from BT, he don't roam no more. Now I'm starting to sound like a bad reggae number. Anyway, the email has a password that was allocated to me years ago. You know the type. One letter, followed by a load of meaningless digits. So I can only ever access it from the one computer that stores the number for me. Elsewhere, no chance. So I tried to change the password...
Cutting the first half of a long story short, the error message informed me that my a/c had been suspended. Previously, I had been sent a helpline number by email, by some guy at Virgin who also informed me that cable customers have no email support (!), presumably because support calls are so cheap. So cheap in fact that when I dialled the helpline, they kept me holding for 11 minutes before I got to speak to the Indian lady, who eventually said that she'd have to transfer me to someone who could actually help.
After another 11 minutes, I was told by the even more highly-skilled English lady that it is not possibly to change the password, not possible even for them, because, yes indeed, this email service no longer exists.
Which is funny because I was using it at the time.
Ghosts in the machine at Virgin Media.
|Monday, October 27th, 2008|
|Tuesday, June 17th, 2008|
|Time & Motion
I recently took a short time journey to attend a Douglas Adams book-signing that I had previously missed. I took the liberty of photographing him, and the much greater liberty of showing him my Olympus Ultra-Zoom SP-510. The man was naturally impressed, although I distracted him from asking questions by pointing out that Iain Banks was about to write a short story about one of its more primitive ancestors. And that, by adding an "M" to the middle of his name, Banks would be able to pass this off as science fiction, rather than an amiably dull piece about a bloke taking a bit of a walk. I left politely with a signed volume, emploring Douglas to "write faster and forget about the f***ing movie." Oh, and not to to mention the camera. He tapped his nose conspiratorially; fresh falls of snow and rare birds were still tumbling gently from its peak as I left the bookstore.
|Friday, May 9th, 2008|
|Friday, March 7th, 2008|
|Wednesday 12th March 2008 at the Royal Geographical Society
Following Steven Pinker's talk at 7.30 pm, the 30th Anniversary Live Cast Performance of the Hitch-Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy has:
Simon Jones - Arthur Dent
Geoffrey McGivern - Ford Prefect
Mark Wing Davey - Zaphod Beeblebrox
Susan Sheridan - Trillian
Roger Gregg - Eddie
Stephen Moore - Marvin
Philip ope - Prostetnic Vogon Jeltz
Michael Cule - Vogon Guard
Geoffrey Perkins - The Book
Sound Design by Paul Weir
Adapted and Directed by Dirk Maggs
Produced by Dirk Maggs and James Thrift
You may still be able to get a ticket here:http://www.savetherhino.org/eTargetSRINM/site/920/default.aspx
|Wednesday, February 27th, 2008|
It's February, and I have an aphid infestation to treat on my roses.
Adam just turned two on Monday, and eager to eat at least 29 portions of cake to celebrate. He went to bed with his wellingtons, but we drew the line at his new "bike".
I'd just like to be the first person on the interweb ever to use the expression "donkey sporran".
Reg x / Richard x / rwgrayhttp://www.amazon.co.uk/Importance-Being-Drunk-Richard-Gray/dp/1906206147
|Monday, January 21st, 2008|
Lying Down? Yup. I'm still at work, but just now managed actually to fall asleep for a few moments. All quiet, then.
When Adam demanded warm milk at 4.15am this morning, I had already been awake for a quarter of an hour or so. Ideally placed, in fact, to wake Jacquie up in time for her hospital shift a couple of hours later.
Yawn. Another hour then home for Eastenders, beer, roast lamb...
|Tuesday, December 25th, 2007|
The DVD set of every episode surviving of The Likely Lads
The DVD set of Citizen Smith (series 1 & 2, hooray for Nana Moon)
CD set first series Dirk Maggs's Dirk Gently.
Fudge, Chocolate, cheese, cash, pate...
There are Christmas decorations in the washing machine.
Must be something to do with Adam...
I love cooking an eleven pound turkey for two of us!
|Monday, November 26th, 2007|
|Nothing to do with football
After recent sporting tragedies, I apologise for the fact that I'm already looking forward to the World Cup Qualifiers, which look to be an almost exact copy of the European qualifiers, with some slightly different minor east-European nations filling most of the places. Again, it looks like the ultimate "group of life"; again, plenty of scope to phuckitup. Why can we play proper teams we can understand, and get sensible results against?
Long day at work. Looking forward to old stew and eastenders.
|Wednesday, November 21st, 2007|
Preparing zz9 accounts for a whole year in between year end 31st Oct and AGM 24th Nov is very busy.
Working midnight driving shifts based at A&E is very busy.
Promoting a novel that finally has publicity and more bookshop orders than the wholesalers can be bothered to cope with is very busy.
Living with Adam (21months) and Zoe (10weeks) is very busy.
Sleeping and running and swimming is very busy.
Shopping and cooking and eating is very busy.
Satisfying the zz9 auditor despite a five-month black hole is very busy.
International football is dead.
I think it's very important to be drunk. Not that I don't have better things to do. Just not right now.
|Saturday, October 27th, 2007|
No, I'm not really whinging yet, and this is not going to be a pseudo-racist rant, thankfully. I've really enjoyed the influx of Poles and suchlike into my country. For the first time ever, I don't have to queue in shops and bars. Everything runs on time and no-one blames staff shortages. Seriously. In Brighton, at least.
And these people are not especially visible. Ok, so you see groups of young white people coming past looking unusually non-surly and non-aggressive and you wonder why, until they sound Russian.
If they were all a different colour, we'd be unable to avoid being profoundly startled by their sudden presence. Discuss.
I did once fail to rent an ex-council family-sized house because I was too slow and some Poles jumped at the chance. The landlady said she'd rather have had a local family, not least because about fifteen of them will probably move in now. I don't know how much that's her dubious sentiment and how much a fact of life for people trying to raise hard cash to go home with. Anyhow, that is my only negative on the subject so far.
I'm improvising here. Now some factoids.
The population significantly passed 60 million in the Uk, maybe last year. Projecting a decade ahead, add five million. Never mind beyond that. Half the change comes directly from net immigration. The rest comes from more births than deaths, but half of that comes from youthful immigrants being fruitful. Discuss.
Family-sized houses are already so scarce here in the rented sector that if you find one that isn't horrible, isn't tiny and isn't in a deathly part of a council estate, it'll cost about £24,000 per year of your gross salary just to rent it. At a minimum. They haven't built any more for a generation; just apartments.
Adam bellows. Must go.
|Thursday, October 25th, 2007|
I probably posted this to most of you already, but "In other news...", Amazon finally acknowledged having real-world stock of my book. It's a bit like trying to get the gas board to acknowledge a change-of-address notice, except that they have more customers and more third-party companies to blame.http://www.amazon.co.uk/Importance-Being-Drunk-Richard-Gray/dp/1906206147
I love the way the sales ranking drops when no-one is buying.
Statistical range (observed) between 7,406 and 330,000+
The lowest ranking I have found is around 1.5 million, but that's for a book that Amazon no longer sells. These stay on the system for third-party sellers, so the ranking slips lower every time a new title is introduced and registers its first Amazon sale. This seems irreversible. Rather sad, like watching a sweet little space probe slip out of the solar system for ever.
"Mummy, why is Daddy crying?"
"I don't think Radio Two acknowledged his press release yet, Dear."
|Sunday, October 7th, 2007|
Many thanks to those of you who were able to make yesterday's birthday book party an enjoyable one!
Sorry to anyone who turned up after 9pm because I was on the train home all tired out.
The chocolate biscuits went down a treat. We drank the place dry of two real ales in under four hours. England beat Australia at World Cup Rugby. Robert Newman met Belligerent Chris. And scores of people went home with a shiny new book to read.
If you were unable to attend and would like a copy of the book, hold fire for a few days before ordering from Amazon because their stock won't have gone through the system yet, so if the temporary £1.99 "sourcing fee" disappears later this week it'd be neat if you could order on Monday 15th Oct (free delivery with total orders over fifteen quid) and pump up my sales rating just for a day or two!http://www.amazon.co.uk/Importance-Being-Drunk-Richard-Gray/dp/1906206147/ref=s$
|Wednesday, October 3rd, 2007|
I feel I may be preaching to the converted if I give party details again here, so instead I LOOK FORWARD TO SEEING YOU ALL ON SATURDAY AFTERNOON IN LONDON. Email me if that means nothing to you yet...