Marmiteboy - Urbane Warrior.

Friday, October 28, 2005

I've taken the plunge and I'm not sure I should have.

I'm not at all sure about what I have just done at all. I have just submitted details to a dating agency. A 'introduction service' leaflet came through my door this week and it had a website address on it so I've just had a look to see what they were about about and they looked okay.

I joined one of the really big online agencies once before about 18 months ago with a mate of mine. She got loads of replies and I got none at all so my confidence, which wasn't very good to start with, took a bit of a tumble.

I've never been very good at this type of thing i.e. meeting women of the opposite sex ;-) and I really need some assistance.

I have loads of really good female friends, far more than any of my male mates have got. I've always got on better with women and in many ways much prefer their company to that of men.

As you may already know, the marvellous Lady Bracknell wrote a marvellous Guide to Flirting for me as a gift for my recent birthday. I can assure you I need all the help I can get because, and this maybe why I have got lots of female friends, I am totally incapable of chatting anyone up. I havce never ever chatted a woman up in a pub, club, on the bus, supermarket and so on. It's not that don't want to, it's just that I haven't the confidence to do it. I am also, so I'm told unable to spot if anyone is interested in me either. This is a character flaw that I don't really know how to address. Maybe interested women should be handed a bloody great big baseball bat to hit me round the head with. That'd get my attention maybe;-)

The thought of the dating agency fills me with absolute terror. I genuinely believe that the type of people who join dating agencies are fun, bubbly, outgoing and confident people who just haven't got the time to go out abnd find a partner so they are quite willing to let someone else line up loads of dates for them. I'm not entirely sure it's for people who haven't got much confidence or self esteem. Are you supposed to sell yourself and say how bloody fab your are and you can't think why you haven't got hoards of perspective partners clamouring after you? I really don't know.

Apparently the people at this agency send you a brouchure and then if you're interested they come and interview you in your home. I quite like the idea of that. Less likely to get nutters, time wasters and bunny boilers that way.

So I've taken the first step. It's taken a lot of bottle for me to get this far and I'm still not sure it's for me, but I suppose I haven't lost anything by finding out a bit more. I'm one of the only single blokes out of my mates now and you start to feel left out of things. I go to meals and birthday parties, weddings and christenings and I have to turn up on my own. If I was 20 it wouldn't particularly matter (although when was doing the same when was 20 I remember it mattering just as much) but now I'm older it just makes me feel lonely so I've decided that I've got to take a deep intake of breath and try and do something about it. It would be so nice not to have to go to the cinema on my own anymore or be able to go to gigs with someone etc. If I don't get off my arse I'll be single forever so I suppose this is a course of action that needs to be taken.

Still really scared though. Sorry for this self indulgent post but by telling people about it doesn't seem such a big deal.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Mumpy's Criptastic Marmite Banner

Not content with designing really fab banners for her own site and drawing her criptastic cartoons (the last one about the girl collecting money on her tounge was ace), Mumpy has designed this fab Marmiteboy on Toast banner type thing. I am deeply honoured.

Cheers Mumpy. CWD can only be a matter of time.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

The Meezer Strikes Again!

The Meezer is at it again. Will there ever be an end to his talents? Some of you may have seen the fabulous graphic he did for Mumpy's Crip World Domination campaign. Well he has been hard at work for my blog as well.

On the left you can see my blog being advertised on some girders. 'Honest your honour it wasn't me what done it, it was Meezer'.

He is also trying to get my cats into trouble too. Now I know that they sometimes claw the furniture but I'm damn sure that they don't pop over to Berlin when I'm in work and advertise the fact by spray painting the remains of the Berlin wall. Anyway their paws are too small to hold the spray can.

Cheers Meezer, top work fella.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

John Peel.

It seems pretty amazing, but today is the first anniversary of John Peel's death. Much has been said in the press in the last year about how much influence this man had in the music business. Any fan of 'left field' music owes him a huge debt of gratitude. He was one of the first to play punk on the radio and he championed so many bands it's hard to know where to start. I do know this, he had a huge part to play in my musical education.

A few weeks after his death I went to a couple of gigs. I saw Low at the Scala in London and Teenage Fanclub up in Cambridge. Both bands dedicated their sets to John. Two bands, two completely different types of music. The support band at the Low gig, Ella Guru also dedicated their set to John. He had just started to listening to them and was playing theire excellent first album on his show.

I was priviliged enough to attend John's funeral. I never met him but I was off work on the day and Bury St Edmunds, where the funeral was held, was only a couple of hours drive away so I drove up there. As you can imagine there was a massive crowd outside waiting patiently to get into the cathedral for the service. I never imagined I'd get in as there were so many people there but I did. It was a very moving service and one that celebrated John's life. As the coffin moved off to be interned The Undertones' Teenage Kicks was played (which John always said was his favourite record) and as the coffin left the cathedral the crowd outside broke into applause which spread into the cathedral itself. It might not seem to be particularly appropriate to applaud at a funeral but in this case it just seemed so right. I'm sure John would have approved. It was a day I won't ever forget.

I'm now 40 and i'm still going to gigs and still looking forward to see what the next new band sound like. It's something that John installed in me (maybe it was already there and he just kick started it). I aim to keep doing that for as long as I have a breath in my body. If I can be looking forward to seeing a bunch of youngsters in a new band at 65 I'll be happy.

Cheers John.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Marmite's Playlist

I've bought a few cd's this last week, most of them ridiculously cheap in a silly MVC sale. Here's what I think of them.

It's Jo and Danny ---The Quickening

This is the third album from the Welsh based London duo Jo Bartlett and Danny Hagan. It's a lot more folky and acoustic sounding than their previous efforts and although it's not as immediately infectious as 2003's 'But We Have The Music' it still has that delicious laid back feeling of hazy summer nights. Jo's fragile voice goes perfectly with the gentle 60's sounding music. Very pleasant listening.

MC Solaar ------ Mach 6

Hip Hop is a music that sounds good in three languages, English, Spanish and French. Solaar is THE name in French hip hop. It's not all banging beats and cock thrusting either (well my school boy French doesn't think it is anyway). He goes back to his West African roots on a number of tracks to use traditional instrumentation over the beats. His delivery is very laid back and, well, French. Beats all that Gangster nonsense about whose got the biggest gun and whose 'bitch' is the baddest anyday.

Goldrush ---- Ozona

Lovely bit of Americana on the fab Oxford based label Truck Records. I took a punt on this one as I guy I know who is not only part of the Truck Records set up, but is also involved with Attitude Is Everything. He metioned to me that I might like this lot knowing my passion for a bit of Alt-Country and Americana. He wasn't wrong. It gets quite rocky and dare I say it psychodelic at times. Well worth a listen.

The Fiery Furnaces ----- The Fiery Furnances EP.

A bit of a bargain this one. £5.99 for a ten track 41 minute EP. Some albums aren't long these days. The Fiery Furnaces are brother and sister duo Matthew and Eleanor Friedberger. The EP is a lovely mix of qurky pop music(I really like quirky pop music) and the down right odd. It doesn't all work as sometimes it does sound a bit self indulgent but when it does like on the fabulous 'Single Again' and 'Tropical Iceland' it goes down a treat.

The Von Bondies ----- Lack of Communication.

This sounds like a beefed up White Stripes. It was produced by Stripe main man Jack White. Good old fashioned late 70's sounding punk rock. Nothing new or special but crank up the volume and it's a great way to get your Sunday morning started.

Friday, October 21, 2005

Update - Gimpy Mumpy's banners.

If you click on Gimpy's banner below it will now take you to Gimpy Mumpy's site.

Many thanks to The Geezer With The Meezer for providing the code and doing the work. The man is a genius.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Gimpy's Banners

I have tried in vain today to include one of
  • Gimpy Mumpy's fantatsic banners on my site to link to hers, but alas I'm a computer luddite so I'll just have to post one of them here as a bit of advertising. She has a fine collection of all manner of Gimptatsic banners on the left hand side of her blog which I advise you to look at.

  • Tuesday, October 18, 2005

    Hurrah, I'm alive.

    I went back to the doctor again yesterday about all this anxiety and tiredness I've been having lately. My last trip was a disaster because the doctor, when I asked him why I couldn't sleep, said he had no idea and it was all a bit of a mystery. No advice or offer of tests just sorry you shouldn't be feeling like that at your age and bye bye. Bloody good doctor mine is.

    Anyway, back I went yesterday and saw his practice colleague and although I wasn't entirely satisfied, he told me to stop taking my painkillers (codeine) for example. He failed to advise what I should take in it's place though. He did however book me up for some tests and so this morning i went back to the surgery after starving myself since ten o'clock last night for a thyroid, glucose and blood test followed by an ECG. They blood tests should be ready in a week or so as should the ECG results. I don't know if anyone has had one of these before but they tape all manner of electrode type thingies to your chest, arms and legs! I am happy to report that I am alive at least.

    A good friend of Lady Bracknell's and mine reacently under went a similar test at a hospital in the Nottingham area. They hooked him up and turned the machine on and discovered that he was dead. Alan was quite surprised at this as he didn't feel too bad considering. It turned out the spasms caused by CP were to blame. He kept jiggling about and spoiling the reading. Try as he might he couldn't keep still so in the end one of the nurses had sit on him so they could get a reading. When Alan phoned me to tell about this I nearly pissed myself laughing. Lady B was highly amused too and it's somethinmg we recall with glee.

    Anyway with any luck I'll get it sorted soon and start to feel a bit less frazzled.

    Friday, October 14, 2005

    'Panic on the streets of London'

    I feel a bit crap at the moment. I have been treated for anxiety on and off for about 7 years and last year had a another bad time of it. I have been told I'm having panic attacks although I'm not running around like haedless chicken thinking I'm about to die.

    It's an unpleasent feeling nonetheless. It's like waking up from a nightmare, you know that horrid fluttering you get in your chest, except it doesn't ever go away. It is more acute at sometimes than others and for the last month or so it's been getting worse. I've recently changed my meds because of this but the new ones don't really seem to be doing the trick, I thought that they were earlier in the week but the anxiety has come back with avengence.

    I'm a bit concerned because the last two times I felt like this I ended up being off work with it (last time was last year when was off for nearly six months!!). I don't know if it's stress, or depression or what. I am tired all the time, even if I've had a good nights sleep. When I went to the doctor last time he was really unhelpful. He told me that he didn't know why I should be feeling tired at my age (at least he thought was young ;-)). He offered no tests or treatment. I told him how long this had been going on but it didn't make any difference so I haven't got much faith in him. I will go back again next week and see if my meds can be upped a bit to stop this panicky feeling a bit but what I really need to learn to do is relax. I'm singularly shite at relaxing. My mind is always whirring round and I'm always on the go, which doesn't help my impairment either. I suppose it is something I might just have to learn to live with in the end. It's wearing me out though and really want to wake up one day not feeling like haven't just gone to bed or feel like I have just had a hideous nightmare.

    Sorry for the moan folks, just needed to get it out of my system today.

    Wednesday, October 12, 2005

    "Let's Get Some Ink On You".

    It took me about 10 years to finally pluck up the courage to get a tattoo done. I had my first one, a small Japanese character (for love, everybody say ahh!!) on my right arm. Whilst under the needle Frank informed me that it wouldn't be my last one. I kind of poo-pooed that statement, but within two months I was having a second small tat done on my keft arm, this time some kind of Tahitian symbol.

    I thought that would be it. So for the next five years of so I left it. Then just before my 40th birthday I decided I wanted another one. This time however I wanted something a bit bigger. The idea struck me that it might be quite cool to have my birth date tattooed on my back, in case I couldn't get in to nightclubs or pubs, I could then whip me shirt off and point to it and they'd let me in. Not really!

    I went along to Shamanic Body Art (click on the link under other favourite sites) and booked up. I was going to have it done at the base of my back but my impairment means that my hips are a bit skew whiff so I was advised to have it done at the top of my back across the shoulders.

    When I had the work done on my arms it really wasn't that painful. There was a slight burning sensation and that is about it. This time however it was quite sore at times. I have a photograph on my phone taken just after the tattoo was finished and it looks really sore, like I'd been in the sun for far too long. The tattoo was designed and inked by the very talented Giselle at Shamanic and as I hope you can see from the picture it is very delicately shaded.

    You maybe aware, if you've read my blog or my entries on the BBC Ouch messageboard my devotion to William Horwood's book Skallagrigg. It is a wonderful book and if you are lucky enough to have read this masterpiece you'll have some understanding what the 'Skallagrigg' means to the chief protagonists.

    I'd toyed with the idea of having a Skallagrigg tattoo somewhere but I wasn't quite sure where to get it done. I thought having it over my heart, but then again...

    I finally decided to have my leg done. My left peg is encased in a leg brace so that was out, so that left the right one. I went along to Shamanic Body Art again and booked up with Giselle.

    When I arrived there on Saturday I was shown the design that Giselle had drawn up and asked where on my my leg I was going to get inked, when I told her it was my calf she said 'You're brave'. When Tattooists say that to you, you start to worry that it may just smart a bit. There was a big burly skinhead having his calf done as I walked in and he was grimacing quite a lot.

    It actually wasn't that bad. The bottom part near the ankle, which I imagined would be the worst bit didn't hurt at all but the skin nearest the back of the knee did hurt but it wasn't unbearable. I do have a high pain threshold though which maybe why I was such a big brave soldier.

    These pictures were kindly taken by Lady Bracknell's Secretary Companion during my recent visit. I'd like to point out that I was fully clothed at all times despite begging from LBSC.

    Special thanks go to Giselle at Shamanic for the design and the fabulous inking. I'll be back.

    Monday, October 10, 2005

    The Longest Pier

    Some of you may have seen the distressing news that has befallen my hometown. Southend on Sea's pier has succumbed to fire. Last night a fire broke out at the end of the pier causing extensive damage. So bad was the damage that some of the buildings fell into the sea (well Thames Estuary really but Southend 0n Thames Estuary does sound as good).

    Southend isn't just all chav boy racers in customised Vauxhall Nova's playing very loud shite dance music to their Essex Girlfriends beclad in mini skirts and white stilletoes (the girls that is not the chav boy racers), oh no.

    For Southend has the longest pier in the WORLD!!! That's right you heard right, the world. Now that is really something. Liverpool has the Beatles, Whitby has Dracula, Belfast it's shipyards, Sydney it's opera house, Blackpool it's tower and Reading has the er..The Hexagon but these wonders of the world pale into insignificance next Southend's longest pier ever in the history of the whole wide world.

    My theory is that some jealous folk from the town with the the second longest pier in the world had a hand in this attempt to shorten our landmark. Well they have failed it's still 1½ miles long and you can still catch a train to the end of it(we're the only place in the world with a train on our pier too. And what's more I know someone who drives one of the trains so ner!!).

    Southend's pier will rise from the sea like a pheonix (or something)unless the bastard council decide to shut down like the local theatre and one of our libraries. And we shall rule the world again.

    Saturday, October 08, 2005

    Songs For Marmite

    There's been chuff all on the evil box in the corner again so I've taken to playing a lot of music when I've got in from work this week. So far I've mainly been listening to.

    Woman King ------ Iron and Wine
    In Space ------ Big Star
    The Back Room ------ Editors
    Funeral ------ Arcade Fire
    Nouvelle Vague ------ Nouvelle Vague
    Nolita ------ Keren Ann
    Kitty Jay ------ Seth Lakeman
    Songs for Marmite ------ A Goldfish Compilation
    Not The Tremblin' Kind ------ Laura Cantrell
    Stories From the City ------ P.J Harvey
    Hips and Makers ------ Kirsten Hersh
    Ambulance Ltd ------ Ambulance Ltd
    American IV... ------ Johnny Cash
    Absent Friends ------ The Divine Comedy

    A couple of Marmiteboy's absolute favourites in that lot. The Jeff Buckley album is one I come back to again and again. I love it. 'Lover You Should Have Come Over' is one of my all favourite tracks. The line 'My Kingdom For Kiss Upon Her Shoulder' says all you have to say about being in love with someone.

    Kirsten Hersh's Hips and Makers is a wonderful album too. Kirsten is Bi Polar and the track 'The Letter', the lyrics of which are the words to a letter she wrote to her parents, is heartbreaking. The producer had to get her really pissed before she could record it. An album well worth checking out if you like singer songwriter type stuff. Dido it's not though so don't expect comfortable listening.

    Frida Kahlo.

    I met up with Pete, who some of you will know from the Ouch boards, for a trip to the Tate Modern. When I arrived Pete suggested we take a look at the Frida Kahlo exhibition that was entering it's final weekend.

    Before the exhibition I knew very little about Kahlo's work. I knew she was Mexican and was disabled and a film was made about her starring Selma Hayak and that's about it.

    Kahlos was born in Mexico in 1907 and contracted childhood polio. She didn't take up art until 1925 after she was in a very bad bus crash which broke her spine in 3 places and fractured her right leg, collarbone, ribs and pelvis. Consequently she was confined to bed for a long period. It was during her convalescence that she began to paint. A special easel was constructed which allowed her to paint lying down. She made her first self portrait (1926). By her death in 1954 she had produced around 200 images.

    She returned to the self-portrait time and time again when asked why she said that she was 'the person I know best'. What I particularly liked about Kahlo's work was it's surrealist quality. looking at some of her paintings is quite unsettling. There are images of miscarriages, being force fed and murder amongst her work. She did always try and distance herself from the surrealist movement but to my mind (and I no nothing about art except to comment on whether I like a painting or not) she is undoubtedly a surrealist. Her most famous work is a painting called 'The Two Fridas' was painted for the 'International Exhibition of Surrealism' which was held in Mexico City in 1940 and her work was championed by leading Surrealists like Marcel Duchamp.

    One interesting thing about Kahlo I discovered at the exhibition is that Leon Trotsky lived at her house when he fled to Mexico. It was to be his final home.

    Unfortunately the Kahlo exhibition finishes tomorrow so unless you are very quick you're going to miss it. I thoroughly enjoyed it, there are some fantastic pictures on display and she was a fascinating character. Her impairment was depicted in her works, from earlier portraits and drawings of her lying in bed to middle period works like The Broken Column in which a Ionic column takes place of her damaged spine, it's a chilling picture as the flesh is ripped back to expose the 'spine', and finally in 1951 she painted Self Portrait with Portrait of Dr Farill, in which she is pictured in her wheelchair in front of her surgeon.

    She is undoubtedly an important artist an well worth checking out.

    Thursday, October 06, 2005

    Up The Junction.

    Last night Jock Pop and I took a drive up to Cambridge to the Junction to see Birmingham's finest, Editors. There were a couple of average support bands, Cinematic who were some kind of Franz Ferdinand clones, even down to the floppy haired lead singer and We Are Scientist from New York who were a bit like Placebo but not as good (nuff said).

    Editors according to Turtle (and she has a descerning ear) are a bit like U2. I do not totally disagree with her. There is a a similarity. Editors have a very distinctive guitar sound which cuts through the music much like The Edge's does but in my view that's where the similarity stops. They remind me of any number of 80's indie guitar bands. They are quite epic in their sound without being cheesy like Coldplay (spit) and Embrace (yawn) they are far more left field than either of them. The vocalist sounds more akin to the Ian Curtis than anyone else, although the late Joy Division singer wasn't a strong a singer. His antics on stage owe quite a bit to Curtis too. He jerks about the stage waving his arms about in quite a spasmodic fashion and it all seems a little bit studied. However the music is blisteringly good. It's definitely cranked up to 11 and no mistake. My ears are still ringing from the wonderful noise they made.

    It was a comparitively short set, only about 55 minutes, but with only the fine album The Back Room to their name it's a little wonder. It was only £7 to get in though, which by todays standards is a steal. It's the second time I've seen Editors, the first was at Reading in August and I've been throughly impressed both times. They may struggle in the future as their material is a bit samey but they are a tight live band who can rock with the best of them.

    Wednesday, October 05, 2005


    Bloody opticians!!

    I went to the opticians today armed with a pair of rather nice Red or Dead frames that I bought off of Ebay (with Lady B's help as she is the Queen of the Auction). My local high street chain has had my custom for 5 years or so and I'm on my third pair of designer specs from them. I went to day to get them to fit prescription lenses to the new specs. When I asked them to do it they refused on the grounds that the frames did not have a receipt and therefore might have been stolen!!

    Bastards!! How dare they accuse me of being a tea leaf. It's completely outrageous. I explained where I had got them and said that lots of people did the same but they told me the only way they would glaze them was if I showed them the receipt from the vendor. What a ridiculous load of old nonsense. Well if they don't want my 100 quid they can eff off out of it.

    Furthermore when I asked them if they could tighten the screws on a pair of glasses which I purchased from their establishment recently they told me they couldn't do it because the frames were bent. Now I haven't bent the frames and I suggested to them politely that I hadn't and maybe this was because they were faulty with this I was told I should buy a new pair (At nearly 150 quid a pop).

    Needless to say they will never receive my custom again. If they treat their regular customers like this I dread to think how they treat someone who walks off the street.

    Angry Marmite (fume).

    Saturday, October 01, 2005

    Marmite forgets his head.

    Bugger. Or words to that effect. I went off to the post office this morning package in hand to post off a cd of Seth Lakeman songs to Goldfish. She had very kindly sent me a cd recently with a few Anthony and the Johnsons tracks along with some other wicked tunes. Duly posted I popped into my local record selling emporium to buy the new Big Star album (their first for donkey years) and then it was off to Shamanic Body Art to book up my next tattoo (I'm having Skallagrigg tattooed on my right calf next Saturday afternoon) and then it was home to listen to Southend beat Gillingham 2-1 in the football.

    All is rosy in Chez Marmite, a good Saturday is being had. It wasn't until I decided to play the Big Star album (which is very good by the way) that discovered my schoolboy error. I opened the cd playing tray thingy and DOH!!! There was Goldfish's cd still in the cd player. I'd forgotten to take it out and put it back in the box after checking it last night. Goldfish will be confused. In the package will be an empty cd box with track listings on a seperate card and no bloody cd. Still I've bunged the cd in another envelope so she should get them almost at the same time. Sorry mate, I'd forget my head if it wasn't screwed on!!