Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Keep Out Of Sight

Whoa! Back again - enjoying the rigours of my third eleven-hour day in a row and looking forwards to a day off. Work is a joy, my colleagues are gems and my customers are the very salt of the earth I walk on.

But I have only one thing on my mind. And this thing has caused me to break down, rub my rubbery face and sigh deeply. I sighed the deep weary sigh of the man who has cause to sigh often, but has never sighed a sigh like this.

And the reason, the cause, the catalyst behind this sigh-age? Two words:


KS is a new tv show showing on itv late on Monday nights. The scheduling of this televisual turd tells its own story. Some ITV programmer has seen a precis of this show, bought it, thinking "Hey, this could do real well against Waking The Dead, or CSI. It has it all, sexy lead, Elmore Leonard-influenced stories, Robert Forster in a lead role, funky music (the theme's by the Isley Brothers, no less), jump-cut editing, and a pedigree of no small calibre in the absolutely fantastic Clooney-Lopez vehicle Out Of Sight. I'll take an entire series of this little gem!"

Then said programmer takes a look at the pilot episode. I figure he did this at home. I figure his name is Tristan, he's been out of a media course at some London Uni for about two years, he's just starting to settle into the job his Daddy pulled strings for him to get. His career has been characterised by the sort of quietude that accompanies the effort of saying the right thing at the right time, not risking error and keeping his in-tray clear. He turns up on time, stays late in the evening. His apartment in one of London's less salubrious yet faintly trendy districts is lined with Ikea shelving units and books he's bought in the 3 for 2 offers at Waterstone's Piccadilly. He has a Jamie Oliver cookbook in the kitchen. He owns a robodog. His bedsheets were purchased at Habitat. He buys drinks for media-women in wine bars, and suffers from premature ejaculation; invariably this is followed by a silent rage that causes women to tacitly withdraw from his apartment, picking up their socks and knickers as they near the front door.

He pops the dvd into his player, hits the play button on his remote. Takes a sip from the Tesco Metro own brand chardonnay he's bought himself to celebrate his first dynamite acquisition. After all, ITV have trusted him with the money; he has spent a small fortune on this baby. Fire it up, let's see what all the fuss at the negotiation was all about.

Within minutes Tristan is contemplating physical suicide, knowing that his career has already thrown itself into the Thames. He starts to shake. The big black guy from Predator is overacting, like Yaphet Kotto on crystal meth. Robert Forster looks like he's about to piss himself laughing with every gruffly loving paternal cliche he's forced to deliver. And the woman playing Karen Sisco, an actress named Carla Gugino ... well, let's just say she's no J-Lo. In fact she's no P-Diddy. She has the strange look of a three-month old baby tasting beetroot for the first time. Tristan is slighlty appeased by, but more ashamed for poor Patrick Dempsey. He's not a bad actor in his own right, but he's trying to fill the formidable size elevens of the infinitely more talented bank-robbing loverman, George Clooney. It's a task a foolhardy few would attempt, and at which none would succeed.

Tristan feels a sharp pain in his 24 year old chest. He's not felt like this before. His hands begin to shake. His left arm spasms, knocking over the chardonnay. The liquid spreads rapidly over the pale laminate flooring. Tristan breaks into a cold sweat.

It's over. How can he bury this? What can he do? What if, God forbid, someone actually sees Karen Sisco?

Then a solution presents itself - he'll commission another series of something starring Martin Clunes or someone, maybe even Robson Greene - stick Karen Sisco on at one in the morning, where only idiots and insomniac drunks will see it.

Face facts, Tristan. Karen Sisco is, in a four word review, a piece of shit.


Monday, January 09, 2006

Becoming Stay Puft

As another evening draws in here at Cheap Rental Towers, my thoughts turn once again to the subject of loneliness - a young friend of mine has just had a cup of tea in the shop (being as we are a warm and sedate mix of literary retail and a shoulder to cry on) decrying MEN and all we stand for as a gender.

What is it about us that causes us to want what we don't have, reject what we do, and spend the rest of our time regretting it.

I know of three happily married couples. They are warm, loving, knowing, accepting, and most of all they are content.

This lack of contentment must derive from something, some kind of insecurity endemic in men between 15 and 30.

I explained to my friend that, unless she was very very very lucky, with a good fortune that bordered on the magical, she was doomed.

I think I am a nihilist. Bah.


This sobriety thing is playing havoc with my weight. Since coming off the booze I have eaten nothing but pasta, cake and doughnuts, drunk nothing but coffee and found myself dozing off every half hour. I swear I've put on a stone in a week, and am beginning to resemble Mr Stay Puft, the marshmallow man from the film Ghostbusters. Something has to give, and I am hoping it's not gonna be my waistband... That said, I am enjoying waking without nausea and the shakes, so the alcohol is still out.


Book recommend of the week has to be Cormac McCarthy's 'No Country For Old Men'. Stunningly violent, beautifully terse, this is a caper novel that would make Richard Stark blush, pack up his things and fuck off home. Deserving of a place on the bedside table of any self respecting fan of crime fiction. Jim and Paul HD, I'm thinking here primarily of you two.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Star Wars Duvet Covers, Sobriety, Beeping, Cat Food and Other Tribulations

HA - the new CAT POWER album, THE GREATEST has finally arrived on iTunes, making it possible for me to purchase it without having to leave this delightful, sleepy hamlet. I urge you all to get hold of a copy and enjoy the genius of this most criminally underrated songwriter. Try also her previous albums - trust me, if you want music to drink whiskey in the dark to, this lady's the one for you!

Ignoring my stupid and depressing lovelife (and my equally stupid and depressing worklife) the new year has been kind to both me, and the town of Aberystwyth. It's cold, but the swallows have returned and are found each night at dusk swarming around the pier like the largest, fastest cloud of nebulous darkness you ever saw. The pubs are empty as are wallets, and new year's resolve is taking the wind out of the sails of fine establishments such as Scholars, The Castle, The Nag's Head, fine and warm places all... Thanks to a visit from mother, my flat has been reclaimed from dust, grime, filthy dishes, take-out cartons from the Honoured Guest, and other squalid detritus. She also bought me some new teat-towels. Great Xmas present, Mam, cheers!

So, barely drinking, no drugs, and an attempt to stay away from mental women: these are the heralds of a new year. Actually, the sobriety's working out real well (except for mum's visit - more on that later). I have energy in the morning, and, sugar-rushes aside, am much less grouchy and impatient; these last traits are something in myself I'm becoming more and more aware of. I used to to think I was incredibly laid-back and relaxed; turns out I'm a high-strung curmudgeon. Nice.

So mum came to visit, and Cathleen very kindly agreed to babysit for a couple of hours whilst we went for a drink. Mum being mum, she outshone me wonderfully at every pub we went into, culminating in a hilarious encounter with Fern in Rummers, who asked me who my new girlfriend was and then proceeded to give mum a big hug and buy her a drink. Mum, who hasn't been out in Aber before was a little taken aback, but soon settled into the swing of things. I suspect she'll be back soon, but that she won't require me as an escort...