Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Life Is A Minestrone

One of the curious side effects of being unemployed for four… sh#t, no… FIVE months is that friends and acquaintances always seem to be on hand to suggest “little projects” to help fill my days. (As if all the intensive beard-growing and CD-cataloguing wasn’t time consuming enough!)

I’m well aware that these “projects” seem to benefit the requestor more than they do me but they (the projects) have been fairly undemanding so I haven’t really minded doing all the painting and grass-cutting and bush-trimming and Post Office-visiting and dog-walking etc. Mind you, that recent request from my Russian friends to Wear Gloves, Deliver Package, Run Like F#ck was a bit of a strange one.

This week’s “little project” was presented to me on Tuesday evening when I was summoned round to the house of my good friend Bruce and his lovely, glowing wife, Crazy Pregnant Poker Queen. Having long known of my reputation as World’s Greatest Mix Tape Creator they had a special commission in mind for me which I’m now going to throw over to you for your invaluable, specialist input.

Regular readers will remember that last month’s Great Music Debate centred around the sticky issue of what songs you’d most like to hear while you’re… ahem… “seeing a few friends off to the coast”. While I could identify with that particular predicament, this new commission is slightly further off my radar. So…

What songs would you most like to hear/are most appropriate WHEN YOU’RE IN LABOUR?

Relaxing chill out-type stuff? Foot-tapping gangsta rap? Whale calls? Waves Crashing? Monks chanting?

Given that this is their first child, I suppose we could be looking at a ten-disc box set but I’m not going to dwell on the subject of extended labour too much because another friend once described the birth of his first son to me and when he got to the phrase “pelvic separation” I nearly fainted.

If you get a chance to let me know your thoughts sometime I’d be much obliged. Oh and if you're reading this Bruce, don't feel too bad that you went "all in" with a full house; there's no possible way you could've guessed that I had FOUR 7s!!!

Monday, November 27, 2006

Coming Soon...

The most exclusive, breathtaking and memorable Live Music Experience of the festive season is coming soon to a town near you. If you live in Scotland. Preferably somewhere near the central belt.

Stay tuned for further details...

30 days and counting…

Sunday, November 26, 2006


I wasn’t sure of where best to post a response to your question so if you’re reading it here then my answer is Yes. Absolutely. Knock yourself out. I don’t mind at all. I’m of the firm belief that the children are our future, so teach them well… etc.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

The One With No Title

Do you write a blog, have five minutes to spare and fancy winning a million* pounds?

What am I saying… if you write a blog, OF COURSE you’ve got five minutes to spare. I mean, you’ve already decided to switch on your computer and ignore the cries of your starving children / pets / grandparents / dungeons & dragons characters locked in the basement while you read/write about cats, relationships, family, work, in-growing toenails, dungeons & dragons, the weather, etc.

So why not take a moment and help out a girl with a nice-sounding Scottish (Irish?) name by clicking here and completing her blogging survey. Go on… you might as well… ‘cause it’s pissing down outside and has been for what seems like weeks now, probably due to conflicting autumnal pressure fronts moving south from the Arctic and north from the Caribbean and colliding forty miles from the coast, west of Glasgow.

*For a chance of winning a million pounds, buy a lottery ticket.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Celtic 1, Man Utd 0

Stick that right up your bloated, superior, arrogant, overbearing, supercilious, patronising, condescending, self-important, PREMIERSHIP ARSES!

If it wasn’t for the effects of the Stella and the red wine, I’d spend the whole night searching my thesaurus for more.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Casino Royale With Cheese 2

Here’s a fun thing to do on a Saturday…

Go to the biggest cinema in Edinburgh in the middle of the afternoon to see the new James Bond film. Emerge (after what seems like five hours) later and casually discuss the film’s merits with your viewing partner. Just as you’re both passing the MASSIVE long queues waiting to see the sold out evening performances, stop dead in your tracks, clasp the sides of your head with your hands and shriek…

“I KNOW! I couldn’t believe it either when his girlfriend drowned at the end!”

Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha… funny eh? What do you mean you haven’t seen it yet? Oops…

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Casino Royale With Cheese

Have you ever munched on cheesy balls whilst facing down a heavily pregnant woman with a mouth full of muffin in a winner-takes-all, final hand of Texas Hold ‘Em after the rest of the sorry-ass players have folded like cheap hookers who got hit in the stomach by a fat guy with sores on his face? You HAVE? Well then, I don’t need to tell you how hard it is to work out if she’s bluffing or not (about the poker I mean; not about being pregnant). Man, those knocked-up women sure do have a lot of emotions flying about…

“…I’ll see your twenty and.. FOR F#CK SAKE WILL YOU STOP KICKING ME YA WEE SH#T.. and I’ll raise you another fifty.”

Anyway, such was the scenario last night as I stared stony-faced across the table at the glowing, radiant features of my poker nemesis. Cards were dealt, bets were raised, the flop was flopped, more betting, the turn was turned, yet more betting, the river was.. eh.. revealed, one last round of betting and then… dun, dun, dun… we couldn’t work out who had won.

The cards were as follows:

Neil: Jack & 3
Nemesis: 10 & 4
Community Cards: Queen, Jack, 10, 4 & 3

So we both end up with two pairs (if only guys, eh?) but did I win with a higher ‘first’ pair or did Nemesis win with a higher ‘last’ pair or should it have been a split pot? Luckily, Nemesis’s husband was tired and was pleading to go to his “beddy-baws” so we agreed to call it quits and resume battle again next week.

Now my competitive nature would never dream of antagonising a pregnant poker nemesis (unless she was fastened tight into the stirrups and couldn’t fight back) but if anyone could clarify whether or not I should be declared the rightful winner, I’d be much obliged. For my own peace of mind you understand.

Monday, November 13, 2006

I Could Do That

A cousin of mine (I have around 23 in total - we were a very close knit family growing up in the backwoods of Louisiana) has one of my ideal jobs working as a sub editor for a newspaper in London. He gets to spend all day correcting really dead bad grammar ‘n aw that and thinking up snappy headlines to showcase the important and trivial stories of the day.

As smart and as funny as he is (and he has both qualities in spades) even he would’ve done well to come up with this little sarcastic turn of phrase which made me laugh out loud when I read it in Saturday’s edition of The Scotsman.

“World Rocks On Axis As Ferguson Praises Referee”

If you know football, you’ll know why this is funny. If you don’t, then I apologise because to explain why it’s funny would render it humourless immediately.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

You Did WHAT?

Well, it’s finally come to this. So quiet and lazy has the week been that I’ve had to resort to showing you some photos I took this morning during my stroll round the local loch (pronounced “lawgchgchgchgchgch”).

Unless, of course, I tell you about the conversation I had with some former colleagues in the pub last night? For some reason or other I think we were trying to recall some of the Top Five Best Days of Our Lives (one of mine was this, my 40th birthday) but the effects of the Stella had kicked in by then so my recollections are a little hazy. I’m pretty sure Dave talked chirpily about the day he first perfected “the gay handclap” and, correct me if I’m wrong, but I’m fairly positive one of the girls mentioned a memorable occasion “roasting five guys”. However, don’t quote me on that – I think she had her mouth full at the time so she may well just have mumbled something about “toasting pork pies”.

Anyway here’s a couple of relaxing images (you’ll find more here) to help unclench your butt cheeks if you’re having a stressful day. Scotland really is a gorgeous country when the sun shines at this time of year.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Since You Asked...

…or more specifically, since Lena asked, here’s a taste of what the record-breaking audiences enjoyed during The Finn Cousins tour last week. From having only half a dozen songs on Wednesday morning, we were smugly quite pleased with ourselves for learning enough to fill a couple of sets by Thursday night. (I always knew my ‘1001 Great Busking Songs’ book would come in handy some day.)

Anyway, here are the set lists we wrote out and most of these songs were played every night. Optional additions – depending on audience mood / requests / confidence / alcohol consumption / general apathy / flying tumblers / strength of protective chicken wire – that received at least one playing are noted further down.

Set 1
Every Night – Paul McCartney
Back In The USSR – The Beatles
(spot the emerging pattern)
It’s Only Natural – Crowded House
The Boxer – Simon & Garfunkel
Baby’s In Black – The Beatles
(got it yet?)
Strong Enough – Sheryl Crow
The Blower’s Daughter – Damien Rice
Pissing In The Wind – Badly Drawn Boy
Run – Snow Patrol
Things We Said Today – The Beatles
(got it NOW?)

Set 2
Mrs Robinson – Simon & Garfunkel
Fall At Your Feet – Crowded House
Hide Your Love Away – The Beatles
Cannonball – Damien Rice
Silver Lining – David Gray
Hallelujah – Jeff Buckley
Spitting Games – Snow Patrol
Stand By Me – Ben E. King
Oliver’s Army – Elvis Costello
Two Of Us / Ob-La-Di – The Beatles
Better Be Home Soon – Crowded House

May You Never – John Martyn
You Do Something To Me – Paul Weller
King Of The Swingers / Bear Necessities – From The Jungle Book
(Don’t ask!)
Brown Eyed Girl – Van Morrison

The exciting news for those of you who chose instead to curl up in front of 'The X-Factor' is that video footage of the tour is apparently ‘in the can’. Once the hysterical stadium roars have been added, the whole package will be available in time for Christmas. Order now to avoid disappointment.

And Deborah, since you asked (sort of), after finishing the gig and ‘looking after’ our groupies on Saturday, I got in the car at midnight somewhere south of Birmingham and drove eight hours through the night so I could make a 9.30 tee time in Fife yesterday morning with my oldest friends. The Devlin course at St. Andrews Bay has gone downhill a bit since some American company took over the hotel but there’s nothing to make you feel more alive and awake than walking five hours around a Scottish golf course in November in a force ten gale. Brilliant, brilliant stuff. Mind you, the twelve hours sleep I had last night weren’t bad either!

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Breaking News...

The management company of top international pub rock sensations The Finn Cousins announced last night that today’s special Takin’-It-To-The-Kids afternoon show (all proceeds going to Great Ormond Street Hospital) at The Two Boats, Long Itchington near Southam has been cancelled. Details are sparse about the exact reason for the cancellation but it’s rumoured that Farquhar, the younger of the two cousins, had some serious issues with “draggin ma hairy erse oota ma pit in the middle o' the f#cking day for some pishy kids show”.

Elder cousin Findlay assured fans in a warm and polite manner that the gig would be rescheduled but full refunds are now available if ticket holders contact original sellers and successfully complete a thirty minute telephone questionnaire on the technical specifications of the Millennium Falcon.

The concluding date of the record breaking ‘Takin’ It To The People Of A Little Corner of Warwickshire Tour’ will take place tonight at The Bridge, Napton on the Hill, near Southam as planned.