Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Why live music is for people with limited skills.

Everybody knows and remembers their first time. You never forget it. It is a memory of excitement, nerves and most likely moisture in some capacity.  There is nothing quite like getting intimately involved with a mass of unknown eager people ready to shed clothing and get all kinds of physical in the name of a music concert.

What did you think I was talking about?

My first proper gig (I don't include any live music where I was accompanied by my mum as the first one) was Oasis way back in 1997. September 16th in fact, up in Aberdeen. It was bloody brilliant (even though we can question the music of Oasis at times).

Now this blog is not about Jamie's first live music experience (he can't remember). No it is more to do with the fact that he dislikes live music. Well he doesn't dislike it, he just thinks that everyone that attends gigs are stupid.

Cue Jamie;

"Music in my mind is a passive activity. It is the kind of thing you listen to without really listening to it. You have it on in the background whilst you are doing something else."

I have stopped being shocked by Jamie's announcements in the pub now. What usually occurs is that I choke ever so slightly on the pint that I am slugging on and then let out a short, burst of laughter. Once these side affects have cleared, it is time to get more information from the good man. He continues...

"From a young age, I developed the skill to multi-task. This gives me the power to do at least two things at once. I don't need to watch the music that I am listening to being performed by some drug riddled band. Seems bloody stupid to just stand there and watch some people bang out music. What a waste of time. I can drive my car and listen to music at the same time. Way more efficient."

You should be learning by now that arguing with Jamie, though fun is pointless. But I like fun so here goes; "What about the atmosphere, the fact that music sounds so much better live than on the mp3 file you have downloaded. Festivals, booze, laughter all that and more from music"

Jamie: "Most of the gigs I have gone to is just being surrounded by pretty ugly people stinking of their own sweat. Glastonbury looks like a bunch of hippies that endlessly take drugs and stink. Oh and knowing my luck some twat will piss up my leg. Either that or I will get covered in piss from some idiot chucking it about. Or a pint of lager. What a waste of what will most likely be an overpriced and shit pint. But a pint none the less."

This contradicts slightly with the fact that he loves music videos. Preferably dance ones with hot pieces in them.

"Multi tasking again Penny. I can iron my shirts, whilst listening to the music, whilst watching some hot piece dance to the music"

Clearly some of us just don't have the skill set of Jamie.

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Why it is colder at night

It would be wrong if this blog just contained the randomness and highly biased views of the world from my good friend Jamie. So in order to address the balance now and again it only seems fair that some stories are told about me spewing forth my general thoughts and opinions about things in this world.

So it was one Saturday afternoon with the television finely tuned to that wonder of repetitive TV channels that is ‘Dave’ and the Top Gear Polar Special. To set the scene for those of you who do not watch the endless repeats of Top Gear, this episode was a race to the Magnetic North Pole with Jeremy and James in a Toyota Hilux (with serious modifications) and Richard Hammond using a pack of husky dogs and a sled.

Hammond and his pack of four legged friends did not have the speed of the Hilux so used tactics to gain an advantage. Over to Richard Hammond for the explanation;

“We are going to run at night as its cooler for the dogs, they prefer it, they love the cooler temperatures cause they can run harder and faster. And so, in the early hours of the morning at -35°C we roused the dogs and ran!”

“How does that work?” enquired Jamie.

“What mate?”

“Well, if the sun never sets at that high a longitude then how does it get colder at night without dark?”

My response, I believe was totally foolproof.

“Night winds.”


“You know that makes perfect sense! At night there is always a bit of wind creeping round a corner making it colder. Night winds! Doesn’t matter where you are, sun or no sun, at night a lick of wind always drops the temperature.”

“So where the hell do night winds come from?”

“Where the rest of the wind comes from. Its just that after 10pm its a bit cooler.”

My statement of night winds was obviously bollocks but for some reason, it just seemed like fun to continue at full tilt with my theory.  Youth picked up on this also but being the simple people that we are it was more fun to try and outsmart each other. With that the locomotive of bollocks picked up speed. Over the next half hour we attempted several other explanations of a non-stupid basis, such as the angle of the sun, the earth's orbit and the tilt of the earth. Several items were used to showcase the earth and the sun in model form with Youth and I moving round the kitchen trying to simulate Earth orbit round the sun, pretty sure that the scale was way off. 

All this, I must admit, led to a tedious agreement where proper science won. 

However, the concept of night winds will forever be my attempt to bullshit my way through basic science. Considering we were watching Top Gear - a show built on bull shit - it seemed perfectly apt at the time. 

Thursday, 19 May 2011

How to get rid of nuclear waste

Finland, Finland, Finland. The country where I want to be, pony trekking or camping or just watching TV!

Yes people Finland. The country that brought the world saunas, Nokia phones, reindeer, some outrageously attractive people and in World War II, they threw Soviet Russia about like a rag doll with just 30 tanks to their 6,500! And after watching a documentary called ‘Nuclear Eternity’ recently, these bulletproof Fins are now thinking long term and have built a massive underground impenetrable repository for their nuclear waste for the next 1000 years. These buggers are planning ahead.

It was with this knowledge that the documentary had dangled in front of my face that I took along to the pub after work one Friday afternoon and then dangled it right in front of Jamie’s face. His response was nothing short of simple.

“Why the fuck are they burying it? That’s stupid, they need to be chucking it out into space!”

Yes people hold on and strap in, we are going interstellar with this one! I probed further into his concept to see how he thought it would work.

“Well space is massive and it’s out there doing nothing. As there is nothing out there it should start doing something, so it can look after all our waste”

What followed next was a diagram of the most basic proportions.

“Right, so if this is the space we know about. And that is England there, then we just chuck it out over here. We would have to be proper fucking unlucky for it to come back and hit us”

You would hope that hurling nuclear waste into space wouldn’t be like spitting into the wind. However, this concept does come from a man who referred to the world as ‘England’.
I attacked back with good old-fashioned facts. To put a kilogram of anything in near earth orbit costs about £12,000. To get that kilogram to the moon will cost £120,000. On a galactic scale the moon from the Earth is like your next-door neighbours house. We need a bit more distance on our nuclear waste or it will come back and smack us.

Undaunted by cold hard numbers, Jamie attacked the issue, it might cost £12,000 to put a manned craft in space, or £120,000 to land a manned craft on the moon, but once it’s out there all you have to do it nudge it in the general direction you want it to go, which is pretty much anywhere away from earth, so it wouldn’t cost that much.

Then came a new idea. An elevator to space.

Yes an elevator into space. Well it turns out that an elevator was gilding the lily a bit; it will actually just be a rope.

“Aye not just any rope though Penny, a ‘new technology’ one up for the task. We will attach it to a space station, haul the waste up the rope like a conveyor belt and then chuck it off into space from up there. Won’t need any rockets or stuff for that!” “also the rope can’t be attached to earth as it has to rotate in orbit so it will just dangle in the atmosphere with a weight at the end, or maybe a platform that we can land on and prepare the rigging”.
Now I know that this concept of an elevator into space has been kicking around for many years and some scientists believe it to be possible so we cant attack his concept. However, this still barely gets it away from ‘England’.

Undaunted, Jamie continues that chucking it way out makes sense. I try a new approach and mention that it could damage any other life out there in the universe. I still to this day don’t know what to make of his response…

“If other life is like bacteria and that, then who cares. And if it is proper aliens then they will likely be smarter so will swing by England and say ‘here lads don’t use that nuclear shit, use this new technology stuff!”

So there you go. What doesn’t kill you, should make you come back to ‘England’ and tell them how to do it better. Just a heads up for you all - no matter what information and facts you throw at Jamie he is unlikely to back down with an idea.

About three pints later Jamie relents and then puts forward a new concept…
“Right then, lets just chuck it all into the sun!”

And lets end on that note. 

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

All Old Films Are Shit

Citizen Kane. Planet of the Apes (1968 version). Rear Window. The Godfather. Singing in the Rain. Predator.

Only one of these films is considered a masterpiece by Youth.

We will get into more detail at another time as to Youth’s taste of movie genres but for now we can focus on why Jamie has not and will likely never watch old films. Put simply, he reckons they are all shit. And how many has he seen? Practically none.

Now I know what you are thinking, how can he possibly make such a statement without even watching them? This man actually thinks that the new 007 films are better than the old ones. He rates Pierce Brosnan above Roger 'comedy Bond' Moore and Sean ‘just give her a slap’ Connery. Well according to him it comes down to some simple things – speed, score and details.

Building up plot, setting the scene and getting to know characters can according to Youth be done in around a couple of minutes. Take Planet of the Apes as an example. Now we are talking about the original 1968 Charlton Heston version, not that Mark Wahlberg garbage version. Three men with substantial facial hair (to show that several thousand years have passed - obviously) crash land on a strange planet and begin to explore it looking for water and food sources. Heston smokes cigars and berates one of his travelling companions. Then the film gets immediately shit in Youth’s eyes. Why? Well as he says himself;

“For the next two minutes a scene is dedicated to these three lads running down some scree. And the music is also bollocks as well. Just some bloke running his finger up and down a piano. Sounds like the clangers. How does this get the plot anywhere? Shit and slow.“

Setting the scene can be done in no time at all in Youth’s eyes. Get me to the story. Rapidly. Don’t tell him a ten minute story in an hour and a half as that’s just wasting time. This is actually ironic considering that when Youth tells a ten minute story himself it does take him literally an hour and a half. It’s all about the details apparently. Shitloads of them. The story for Planet of the Apes is simple; The Hunt for Red October is, according to Youth, very much not.

So next time you are thinking about settling down to pick a film to watch, consider how much details you want and how fast you want them. He is right though about the score to some old films, they are pish.

By the way, it was Predator. 

Tuesday, 3 May 2011

It begins...

Sometimes you need to record the good things before you forget them.

“I don’t like foreign films. Not because they are bollocks, it’s the subtitles. I can’t read and watch the film at the same time.”

And so we introduce you to the wonder that is Jamie and the conversations I have had with him over the past few years. Welcome. Thanks for reading. You have either a bit too much time on your hands or have heard about the literal genius of the ‘Youth’ and have come in for a bit of a poke about.

I reckon it is only fair to set the scene a little bit for you the reader before we get into this good and proper. I am Penny and Jamie (AKA Youth) is my flatmate. Well for the next few weeks that is as he is pulling the rip cord on his fun life and moving in with his girlfriend. We are both simple men blessed with regional accents and a god given skill to take pints.

Youth hails from Bakewell, Derbyshire. The home of the Bakewell Pudding (not a tart!!), the kind of greasy food so bad for you, you would have assumed a Scotsman working in a chipper created it. Bakewell is a small town nestled on the banks of the River Wye. It has a market on a Monday selling important goods/complete tat (your preference reader), old people drinking tea and men and women vomiting wildly in the street on an annual basis to the sound of the locals applauding your efforts wildly. Yes the Bakewell Welly and Wheelbarrow Race around the towns seven pubs draws quite a crowd to watch people in fancy dress run pushing a companion and drinking leftover ales at each pub (never drink the lager – the gas will mean the vomit arrives much sooner, louder and more violently) before jumping in the river. This is not a place where you should try and be polite as I was informed at pub number 6 “look son, just get it down you pronto, throw it back up and move on to the next pub”. I duly obliged and after creating my pavement pizza took a bow to the several hundred onlookers applauding my efforts.

Only in a place like this could create a man like Youth. A man who loves exercise (rugby and cycling), romantic comedy movies, the colour blue, orchids, pints and a generally brilliantly simple approach to dealing with the problems of our world.

So sit back, relax, vomit if you want to and enjoy as Youth puts your world into a beautifully simple perspective.