almostwitty: (monkey)

These days, what with my busy hectic lifestyle (of working and parenting and erm…), I don’t really have time to keep up with cultural trends, and whatnot. We barely manage to go to the cinema to see a non-kids film once a year, and that’s a birthday treat that costs £100 once you factor in babysitting costs. So most of popular culture tends to pass me by.

Then thanks to BBC Radio One‘s Big Weekend, I stumbled upon Tilted by Christine and the Queens (released in the UK in 2016). The silkiest bit of French electro-pop I’ve heard since Desireless’s Voyage Voyage and pretty much everything about it is awesome. The simple but stark video, the dance moves, the insistent beat and you can’t ever really beat having a foreign language whispered seductively into your ears. Even the slightly bizarre English lyrics (“I’m doing my face With magic marker”) can’t stop it just being absolutely amazing.

Then I got a bit obsessed with the track. I played it ten times in a day. I spent a morning devouring wikipedia and Spotify while simultaneously getting butterflies in my stomach… which was dead annoying when I realised I had to give a work presentation later. With that dance move running through my head throughout.

Any hoodles, it’s awesome. Give it a listen.

Mirrored from almost witty.

almostwitty: (monkey)

Back in the day, I remembered when games would take at least five minutes to load via cassette on my little 8-bit computer, and I distinctly remember maintaining a list of how long each game would take to load because … well, even then I’d prefer to maintain lists of things. Mind you, back then, I had all the time in the world.

Fast forward about thirty years, and after a fun-but-tiring day of running around with The Kid, I wanted to settle down with a little Grand Theft Auto V action. It had already been installed, so surely it was just a case of putting the disc in, and playing, right?

Err…. no. The dreaded auto-update screen popped up – one you can’t get out of. So I thought “Fine, it needs a quick update, it won’t take long…”

TWO HOURS LATER, and it had finally updated. Just in time for me to go to bed.

And game companies wonder why gaming on the iPad is so appealing to most demographics…

Mirrored from almost witty.

almostwitty: (monkey)

So… for the last 29 days I’ve been attempting to grow a moustach, for plenty of reasons:

– to raise awareness of men’s health (testicular cancer, or mental health issues)
– because I would like to have a proper moustache that I can stroke thoughtfully when musing on things or with menace… Something like:

Tony Leung in Infernal Affairs Tony Leung in Infernal Affairs

Here’s the progress so far:

My growing moustache My growing moustache

If you’d like to see the full result – or if you feel like being generous and donating to the #movember charity, then please please do so via

Mirrored from almost witty.

almostwitty: (monkey)

Google are proudly trumpeting their new Stories feature, which basically automates the tiresome thing of organising your photos – assuming you’ve let Google+ upload all your photos to the cloud for you. And it’s a pretty nifty automatic feature.

Perhaps too automatic. Because left to its own devices, this is what it trumpeted as one of my more recent stories…

What Google+ Stories did with one of @almostwitty's photos What Google+ Stories did with one of @almostwitty’s photos

Mirrored from almost witty.

almostwitty: (monkey)

It’s sometimes joked or cited (especially by Buzzfeed) that this is the most British thing of all… Stephen Fry walking a corgi outside Buckingham Palace.

The most British thing? Stephen Fry walking a corgi outside Buckingham Palace The most British thing? Stephen Fry walking a corgi outside Buckingham Palace


Indeed, it is the most British thing of all, in the sense that they pretty much all originate from outside England.

Stephen Fry, is one of the finest examples of populist intellectualism that Britain has ever produced. His maternal grandparents were Hungarian Jews.

Buckingham Palace was re-modelled by King George  III. His grandfather was born in Germany.

The Union flag was probably made in China, and was created to celebrate the union of England and Scotland.

The corgi originates from Wales.

The road was possibly originally paved by the Romans.


Now, obviously, as the son of immigrants who nevertheless feels so British that I have to work at the British Broadcasting Corporation, I don’t see this as a bad thing in any way.

But if ever some pig-headed nationalists start saluting to this as a reason to keep immigrants out or to persecute “foreigners” in any way… well, they’re even more idiotic.

Mirrored from almost witty.

almostwitty: (monkey)

Quite big, it would seem.

Areas of the UK with as many people as London

Areas of the UK with as many people as London

Mirrored from almost witty.

almostwitty: (monkey)

The second-best latest Pet Shop Boys song, Thursday, has just had its video published. Which essentially consists of static footage of the Pet Shop Boys singing mocked up onto billboards in Shanghai.

While the venn diagram of people who love the Pet Shop Boys songs, critique videos and have a vague understanding of Chinese culture may well be just me and Ian Fenn, I would like to point out one (in my mind) flaw:

- There is no Thursday in China. Or Wednesday, Tuesday or Friday for that matter. (You just count days of the week in Chinese – or at least, I do. So when we say Thursday, the Chinese equivalent is “the fourth day”)

Also. Really? Gawping at Chinese billboards and Chinese urban people doing their thing? Aside from it being creatively lazy, didn’t everyone do that in the 1980s with Blade Runner? Why aren’t people bored of this by now?

The same argument goes for Skyfall, which has an entire section set in Shanghai for no real apparent reason other than it’s so “now”. Daniel Craig didn’t even shoot any scenes there…

However, let it be known that the song is many shades of awesome, and should be listened to, loved, and cherished. Although anyone who says that this song is better than Love Is A Bourgeouis Construct needs their ears examining… and why they didn’t make a video for it, is anyone’s guess…

Mirrored from almost witty.

almostwitty: (monkey)
Me in costume at the London 2012 Olympic opening ceremony
Me in costume at the London 2012 Olympic opening ceremony

In the best tradition of every sports story, my moment as part of 10,000 performing volunteers (1,000 in my sequence alone) in the Industrial Revolution sequence of the Opening Ceremony was merely the climax to a very long journey, way back in the first auditions last Autumn, through to tonight’s moment.

Along the way, there’s been heartbreak (my dearest wife was also accepted, but had her offer withdrawn due to visa restrictions), struggles (rehearsals every weekend since early May, mostly in a Dagenham car park), pain (my muscles seized up during one particularly intensive rehearsal to the point when it hurt to type for a week, and I’ve caught colds standing in the rain), stamina with 4 mile-walks back and forth across the Olympic Park, disappointment (my role in the ceremony amounted to lifting fences and turf in style!) and surprises (the turf we move get twice as heavy after it rains – and it’s rained a LOT during rehearsals!) not to mention a preview of the transport chaos.

It’s tested my patience with the constant changing of plans in the early days, and stamina with all the physical activity that’s been involved from the very beginning of the auditions – I’d never had to “walk with sass” before! There have been weeks when I’ve barely seen my family and friends with my work and Olympics commitments, and missed my son’s first steps as well as a friend’s son’s christening (sorry Matthew!) 

The constant travel across London to the rehearsal venues has been a little wearing – although I stopped complaining when I realised a fellow volunteer had to fly in from the Falkland Islands every week! I’ve also missed out on opportunities to enhance my skills by volunteering at work for some of the Olympic duties, which has been annoying.

All this for an Oyster card, daily sandwich lunches – oh, and the chance to squeeze my theatrical performing urges in front of an audience of 60,000 and a TV audience between half a billion and four billion or so (depending on who you talk to).

County Essex!

Some of the County Essex performing volunteers

It’s been an amazing journey, and one I’d do again in a heartbeat if I could. I’ve made friends with a totally random selection of fellow volunteers of the great British public, from 18-year-old students to retired PE teachers. We have a sense of purpose and unity that’s not often found in everyday life. We’ve laughed in the middle of the Olympic Stadium, cheered people on as they went on an impromptu run around the track, and cried at key moments of the Ceremonies – even when we’ve seen it three times already.

Waiting to go on stage at the Opening Ceremony…

And that’s not to mention the indescribable feeling of walking on “stage” into a stadium filled with flashing cameras – a feeling that I am very unlikely to ever experience again.

Tonight, we feel a sense of elation that our families can now finally understand what we’ve been working towards for the last twelve weeks, tinged with a sense of sadness that this will be it for some of us. We’ve been given the opportunity to take part in other ceremonies, but personally, I think it’s time I came back to normality, and saw my son a bit more often.

But at least I can have a lunch that doesn’t involve Pringles crisps and crunchy bars!

Mirrored from almost witty.

almostwitty: (monkey)
The Shard and Nineteen EIghty-Four

The Shard and Nineteen EIghty-Four

Mirrored from almost witty.

almostwitty: (monkey)

Streetcar and ZipcarI’m lucky enough not to need my own car, partly because there’s a car rental company called Streetcar who let me hire a car at the end of the street, for a minimum of 30 minutes for just £3. Which is extremely efficient, useful, and has worked out very very well for me.

So inevitably, capitalism and globalisation had to come in and ruin it all for me. To whit, American company Zipcar went and bought Streetcar, which was doing perfectly well all by itself.

To begin with, they were doing very well. Zipcar went all American in the merger process, producing glossy websites and letters detailing the merger procedure and what would happen next, reassuring us all and giving us lots of glossy if useless information (so I can hire a car at two specific streets in Cleveland, USA if I want to. Great) before the switchover happened.

Then the switchover happened, and two rather annoying things transpired:

- I can no longer hire cars by the half-hour. The minimum rental period is now one hour, which makes hiring a car to collect a pizza a bit of an economical non-starter.
- The UK website at keeps quoting the American contact number. And I can’t really call a 1-888 number from my British landline without incurring a significant cost.
- When I ask to hire a car, it shows me all the cars that are available across London. Not exactly handy if I don’t feel like traipsing all the way to South London to pick up a car.

Oh, and can I find a way of complaining about all these changes? Nope!

Mirrored from almost witty.

almostwitty: (Default)
    For the purposes of section 17A any group of persons holding the following religious beliefs or lack of religious belief shall not enjoy the protection of this part of the Act—

      (a)   Satanists;

      (b)   believers in human sacrifice to propitiate a deity;

      (c)   believers in animal sacrifice to propitiate a deity;

      (d)   believers in female genital mutilation to live in accordance with the rules of a religion;

      (e)   believers in violence as a means of proselytising a belief;

      (f)   believers in the supremacy or superiority of one race over another;

      (g)   believers in the supremacy or superiority of one gender over another;

      (h)   Scientologists;

      (i)   Jedi Knights.’.

In other words, I’d be perfectly allowed to say “DEATH TO ALL JEDI KNIGHTS” or “POVERTY FOR SCIENTOLOGISTS” but not to say the same things for Christians, Muslims, Hindus etc.

Mirrored from almost witty.

almostwitty: (Default)

Then now’s your chance… because the best 3D thinking game you’re ever going to play is now free to download and play.

Playing it is like … the feeling you get when you’ve solved a tricky A-level maths puzzle after thinking about it for 20 minutes or so. It’s that good. So good.


Mirrored from almost witty.

almostwitty: (Default)
Universal Gets Russell Crowe And Hugh Jackman For ‘Les Miserables,’ Sets December 7, 2012 Release

A two hour Oscar-contending epic starring two Australians about one French man chasing another over 20 years over a stolen loaf of bread. *snooze*

Mirrored from almost witty.

almostwitty: (evil)

The guy who apparently said this is comedian Sheng Wang

Mirrored from almost witty.

almostwitty: (evil)

Lunchtime in Wrexham

Originally uploaded by almost witty

Many news outlets (including BBC News and Gawker) are showing CCTV images of a man trying to take a pony on a train amongst other places.

But when I was in Wrexham in 2005, I saw a pony moored next to a cash machine, so it’s not that unusual…

Mirrored from almost witty.

almostwitty: (evil)

So, [ profile] bijziend and I were watching the news reports about yesterday’s violence by some anti-capitalist demonstrators in Central London yesterday. Up flashed an image of a McDonalds being attacked.

The next thing you know, she has a sudden craving for McDonalds, and if it wasn’t the fact she had a baby strapped to her bosom (and she maintains that the taste of British McDonalds’ meat is sufficiently different to American McDonalds’ meat as to make it inedible), she’d probably have gotten up and biked over to our nearest McDonalds to get a burger.

Mirrored from almost witty.

almostwitty: (Default)

a. Didn’t the BBC do that way back in the 1980s with The Chinese Detective?

b. How come it takes someone of the stature of Will Smith to try and make something like this ?!

Mirrored from almost witty.


almostwitty: (Default)

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