January 23, 2004

Coming this weekend

This weekends movie will be 'Stu and Dave in London'; Join two twenty somethings on a search for enlightenment at the bottom of bottles in the bars of Europes number one city escape.

As is traditional with low-budget indie productions, both the script and the location haven't been finalised yet. In fact, the cast is also a bit sketchy at the moment as well. The plan is to plonk them down unprepared in the middle of town and see what happens. Like Blair Witch Project meets Dude where's my car?. Kind of.

Inspiration gladly accepted both here and here...

January 22, 2004

Inner gameshow

Two figures square off against each other in a darkened room. Until this point they'd been teammates, working together toward a common goal. But they're not fooling anyone. This is not a team sport. Between them they've already cheated eight strangers out of the prize, and now it's come down to this. Crunch time. Last man standing.

Two men. Ten questions. Anne Robinson.

This was the scene that was unfolding on the TV as I arrived home yesterday. Not unusual for a weeknight, except for one thing: the contestants.

People who know me know that I have a forename that masquerades as a surname. As you can imagine, this leads to no end of confusion in situations where surnames get written first (application forms, email addresses, databases etc). It happens so often that I gave up correcting people a long time ago. I'll answer to either these days. Actually, I went through a phase of answering to just about anything. One guy in my old job called me Bob for a whole three months...

So it was quite a coincidence that the two men in this less than titanic standoff shared my name. Between them. If I were to over-psychoanalyse the scene, it'd be like watching two halves of myself competing over some trifle of a prize.

And I'm sorry to say, it wasn't a particularly impressive contest: A slow paced trudge though ridicule and degradation for a tall guy with thinning grey hair and a shorter man with slightly thinning hair who probably 'should have gone to Specsavers'. In the guy with my surname triumphed (if you can call it that) when my forenamesake didn't know the difference between an otter and a mink.

It's one thing to have your inner conflict manifested as a TV show, but did it really have to be The Weakest Link?

January 20, 2004

Fitness Freak

If getting fit means that I may become the guy that feels justified in wandering naked around the mens locker room waiting to 'air dry' , I think I can live without being able to do one-armed push ups.

Perhaps if I go back for another 40 reps, he'll be gone...

January 18, 2004

Neat and Tidy

'Keep Britain Tidy'. The words crop up in our lives everyday: in bold print on litter bins, in small print on cardboard packaging. They've even iconised the slogan so it fits on the side of chewing gum wrappers.

Being neat is central to operating in today's society, important not just as a point of sanitation, but of presentation. People draw all sorts of conclusions about each other by how well groomed they are and how they keep their possessions: An untidy person may be regarded in social circles as a grubby, emotionally messed up and generally disagreeable individual. A less than immaculate work environment is considered bad form by management, and often a reflection of poor organisational skills.

Of course, no one likes to think of themselves as being disorganised. We've all at some point or another referred to the mess we make as 'organised chaos'. The assertion in that phrase that some sort of plan or motivation guided the creation of the turmoil around you is not nearly so important as the implication that you have no intention whatsoever of cleaning it up.

But I won't do that. I'm not even going to try and disguise the arrangement of effects I'm surrounded by, no actually immersed in, as anything close to organised. In fact, I'm about to have a damn good tidy.

A mess though, once you get seriously involved in it, is a hard thing to let go of: it's just so much easier than keeping things tidy. And it's not necessarily to do with laziness (honest), but more to do with usability. To not keep your things tidy is like distilling your possessions. After a week or two the important things rise to the top while the junk gets buried. Eventually everything you need is always close to hand. It has to be, because there's no space for it to be anywhere else.

So it'd seem that being messy and being organised are actually very closely related to each other. Having let my room identify the things that are really necessary, all I need do now is get rid of the junk underneath it. Should be easy, but I know it's not going to be...

See, a mess is a product of evolution, both in that takes time and that it leaves layers of evidence underneath it. Because of this, when trying to clean it up you behave less like Aggie and Kim and more like Tony Robinson. You'll spend very little time moving the stuff at the surface that'll get put back later, and absolutely ages examining the forgotten treasures lurking next to the carpet, most of which are dirty, broken and should really be tossed out, but tell an apparently fascinating story about how your life came to be how it is.

I must be methodical. Ruthless. Oh, what's that? Haven't seen that in ages. Cool. Maybe I'll just keep it in the drawer over there...and I can't get rid of that, it was a gift...

Tidiness is a facade; it has nothing to do with organisation. Deny it all you like, but I'll bet that somewhere in every home there's a not-so-carefully concealed pile of pointless junk just waiting to be unleashed. It's not a bad thing, so long as it's kept in check. After all, it's in our nature. We're hunters, we're gatherers. One day we'll learn to just throw stuff away.

January 09, 2004

Getting Better

I'd say I'm better now, but along with not being ill comes being back at work. So instead I'll go with 'well'. Thankyou to everyone who wished me well with cards, texts, emails and phone calls, and of course to James, who's comments kept me isolted with a chilling efficiency.

To make up for the fact that I couldn't do it on my birthday, I'm off to have a couple of pints down in town. Don't wait up...

Resolutions with Rodents

This has to be the best story I've read today:

Obesity fight turns to hamsters.
Siberian hamsters are being drafted in by researchers in a drive to combat obesity in humans.

American Gladiators knew about this and have been clearly been training with Siberian hamsters for years - all those fit spandex-clad people running around in metal balls. To think that we just took the mickey. Not any more...

Scientists hope that the genes in hamsters that allow them to regulate body weight may also be present in humans. Anyone like me resolved to losing a few pounds this year should be making an effort to reach their inner hamster*.

* may not contain actual hamsters.

January 05, 2004

Keep your distance

It's not very often that I do 'sick', so when I do it's seldom conventional. For example, the last three days I've had a temperature that's been gradually going up rather than down, nausea that gets worse when I'm sitting and the kind of headache that you get when your best friend drops you on your Head on New Years Eve. Which is odd, as this year was probably the first in a while when I haven't sufferred some kind of head trauma during the first verse of Auld Lang Syne (that's just how we celebrate way down south).

A sensible person would wait until they had to go back to work, and then get sick. Gah! Never mind. I hope everyone else is having a Happy New Year. I'm off to wrap myself around a mug of tea.