Wednesday, September 29
I have a problem and it involves library books, maybe you could give me some helpful advice?
Now recently I got a book entitled Dave Gorman's Googlewhack Adventure out of one of the many libraries in Birmingham. Some of you may have read it, the beginning of it seemed quite good, but sadly I never got to finish it.
I obtained the book during one of my 'Library Crawls', so I can't remember which library it's from. It could be Mere Green but it doesn't matter...in fact it's irrelevant.
So here's the thing - I left it on a train bound for London. Not a problem I thought...Virgin Trains efficient lost property service will be able to help me, but sadly after about 4 trying I have not got anybody to answer the phone. "They're out collecting lost property" other Virgin staff have assured me. That's all very well but how do I get it back? The old man who runs the 'service' (for it has to be an old man) is probably chortling to himself about the huge library fine I am faced with as we speak...because of course all people who work in lost property offices are either evil or ex-members of Britpop bands.
So there we have it, some ex-member of Menswear has my library book and I have no way of getting it back. So what do I do? From what I can see, I have three options.
1. Go to the library 'fess up, take it on the chin and pay the fine.
2. Go to the library and when they ask for the book back say something along the lines of 'Oh that Gorman one, I brought it back a few weeks ago. Does it say i've still got it? Well your computer is wrong there luv'
3. Keep renewing the book indefinitely like a big coward.
Option three is what I am favouring at the moment, but we all know it can't go on forever and sooner or later they will want it back.
Someone told me that once their library fines were so much that the 'Library Police' were sent round to collect all their overdue books.
Now a crack team of glasses wearing cops in tank tops ransacking my house is not something I want to experience...so what do I do? Help me dear readers, help me!
Tuesday, September 28
Monday, September 27
So i'm back in Birmingham and back at work, but after the Mini Golf triumph my high profile media career continues as Personal Finance magazine want to interview me about eBay!
Also if you've got Java, check out my 360 degree photographs of the Buddhist Vihara in Ladywood, Birmingham - cool, huh...
Boris Johnson has a blog - but it doesn't seem to be actually written by him...hmmm
Belle de Jour has hung up her keyboard, but look, you can buy her book, so that's OK then...
Of course that means her title at the Guardian Weblog Awards is up for grabs....
Best wishes to Graham as he moves to London, but he seems to have given up blogging and squatters have moved in to his blog - come back Graham, the title could be yours!
Sunday, September 26
So i'm back from the German capital - we kind of pottered about for a few days, went to some museums and galleries, visited a Goth pub called the Last Cathedral, saw The Faint, failed to speak any German ...that kind of thing.
The language barrier was a problem, as I struggled to find ways of saying Achtung! in every conversation - Although the kebab man managed to get through it and tried to chat up Fincho - luckily his smooth charm didn't pay off...although i'm sure she was tempted by a lifetime supply of free Doners.
Talking of Kebabs, on my last day I invested in a set of Berlin Kebab Shops top trump cards!
A once in a lifetime buy and well worth it....you can compete in categories like Price of a Doner, opening hours, founding date and distance from Istanbul.
But there are three categories that we don't understand...maybe some German speakers can help me out...they are:
Anzahl der Bruder
If anybody can help than a free kebab will be yours (excluding packaging and postage)
For those of you that want to know more. Here are some Berlin Kebab facts
I feel that I must point out that, I don't actually eat red meat...
More about Berlin to come, including East Berlin traffic lights, internet access in a bus shelter and a chance meeting with a plumber in a Goth club....remember, Danger! High Postage, first with all the international Goth club plumber news.
Wednesday, September 22
So here I am in Berlin, from my vantage point I can see a guy with a kebab van and he seems to be doing a good trade, as the German appetite for kebabs is voracious...not as big as their appetite for sausages though of course...
The kebab stall opened at 10am this morning and it seems that people were having Kebabs for breakfast, whereas I preferred the hostel all you can eat buffet.
I've been taking lots of photographs, many of them gritty and urban - this despite the fact that my new memory card bought from eBay was lost in the post...Incidentally there are billboards and adverts for eBay here - i've never seen any back home...
Today we went to the checkpoint Charlie museum which was very interesting, then we went to this museum which we thought was about the Circus, but was in fact the most boring museum ever about the history of Berlin....we were confused thoroughly by some old German women who worked there, in fact that i've decided that the German government must employ old women to confuse tourists - they work as toilet attendants too...scrutinising you as you hand over 30 cents to have a piss.
My German is coming on a treat, all those war movies have paid dividends...tonight we are going to see The Faint which should be very cool indeed.
Mullet count is lower than expected....
Sunday, September 19
R1 R2 R3 R4 F Tot Av
1 Thierry Cruybeeck (BEL) 34 31 35 33 27 160 32.00
2 Tim Davies 36 37 33 34 35 175 35.00
3 John McIver 34 36 36 34 36 176 35.20
4 Jon Angel 32 36 32 41 38 179 35.80
5 André Kuhn (GER) 37 37 33 35 — 142 35.50
6 Keith Kellard 33 35 34 40 — 142 35.50
7 Jacques Henderickx (BEL) 33 39 36 38 — 146 36.50
8 Michael Webb 37 36 36 37 — 146 36.50
9 Chris Harding N 38 36 38 35 — 147 36.75
10 Nigel Keal N 35 36 37 39 — 147 36.75
11 Ernst Hübner (AUT) 41 34 34 40 — 149 37.25
12 Ruth Bullin 38 36 38 38 — 150 37.50
13 Lionel Bender 36 40 40 35 — 151 37.75
14 Paul Moore 37 39 37 39 — 152 38.00
15 Steve Gow 34 41 39 40 — 154 38.50
16 Ian Sleight N 37 40 39 39 — 155 38.75
17 James Trubridge N 42 35 42 39 — 158 39.50
18 Roy Harper N 39 38 38 43 — 158 39.50
19 Brad Shepherd N 38 39 40 44 — 161 40.25
20 Robert Vallory 38 36 43 46 — 163 40.75
21 Phill Huxley N 40 35 45 54 — 174 43.50
22 Richard Johnston N 36 40 wd wd — 76 38.00
23 Nicky Dexter N 43 34 wd wd — 77 38.50
24 Andy Matthews 39 38 wd wd — 77 38.50
25 Steve Vallory 34 44 — — — 78 39.00
26 Joe Vallory 40 38 — — — 78 39.00
27 James Dexter N 41 38 — — — 79 39.50
28 William Maby N 41 38 — — — 79 39.50
29 Russ Dent 38 41 — — — 79 39.50
30 Bill Bullin 44 37 — — — 81 40.50
31 Rocky Bullin 39 42 — — — 81 40.50
32 Mitchell Vallory 39 42 — — — 81 40.50
33 Patrick Coffey N 41 40 — — — 81 40.50
34 George Chapman N 41 40 — — — 81 40.50
35 Geoff Bowen N 43 39 — — — 82 41.00
36 Martin Dexter N 39 43 — — — 82 41.00
37 Michael King 45 38 — — — 83 41.50
38 Graham Southern 44 40 — — — 84 42.00
39 Martin Vallory 43 41 — — — 84 42.00
40 Dave Golding N 43 42 — — — 85 42.50
41 Sally Weddell 42 43 — — — 85 42.50
42 Ian Parker 38 49 — — — 87 43.50
43 Chris Jones N 43 49 — — — 92 46.00
44 Deryk Masters N (AUS) 48 46 — — — 94 47.00
45 Ben Dexter N 51 55 — — — 106 53.00
N Denotes novice.
A full review of the competition can be found here
So there I was in Stratford at 9am, ready to mix it with the cream of British and European Mini Golf...There were no trains that early in the day, but luckily Fincho was kind enough to drive me....but secretly I know that she just wanted to get a glimpse of top class international Mini Golf...
I had time for a bit of a practice - I set out with my putter to conquer the dreaded thirteenth. I rattled off four holes in one, on possibly the hardest hole on the course....other players looking on in awe, wondering 'who is this guy? (possibly) but one veteran sagely remarked, it's one thing to do it in practice and another in competition....wise words indeed.
The draw was made for the third round of play and it was clear I was now mixing it with the big boys. I was selected to partner British number 10 Steve Gow and Austrian Mini Golf legend, Ernst Hübner. The most amazing thing that I was level with both of these players on a three over par 75 strokes and ahead of some other British internationals. I had my eyes on the £50 prize for best amateur, but I was now feeling the pressure...yesterday I had come to have fun, today was serious.
Armed with extra knowledge from nine year old prodigy Rocky Bullen....I set off to play. A staggered start ensured we began on the ninth - the water hole! "Let's all get some aces" said Ernst before shaking my hand, but I wasn't going to fall for his Austrian charm and besides I had a decision to make. Was it going to be the winter hat or summer hat?
Yesterday I had worn the winter hat for the first round and the summer hat for the second...a decision which I think paid dividends...I decided to do the same again...
Things began OK with a few two's, me matching the Austrian and British Internationals...but then possibly a fatal decision....I was getting a bit hot, so I switched from the summer to winter hat....an error as it turned out.
Suddenly my game deteriorated, 3 foot putts were seeming like 10 foot putts and I was sending the ball all over the place as my score ballooned...but it was too late to change hats again...the Austrian was already looking bemused at the importance I placed on headwear and I didn't want to antagonise him by holding us up, particuarly after he unleashed a torrent of German obscenities after missing an easy putt (although saying that, he could have said anything as I don't speak German!)
My chance was slipping away and I failed to get a whole in one all round...leaving me with a disastrous score of 45...It was all over, my chance at glory was gone...when the scores came through I had dropped down the pecking order and now began the fourth round with the first group...which did include British team member Brad Shepherd....maybe I could still defeat him.
Before we began I asked him about playing for the British team, perhaps one day I thought that could be me wearing the British jersey.
"It's not as fun as it sounds" he said. "At the World Championships in Romania our coach had us up at 5:30am to practice...it's not a holiday! In fact, I needed a holiday to recover" Crickey I thought....You shouldn't be playing Mini Golf before 10:00am - my morning round had proved this.
Could I pull something out of the bag on the final round....the answer is no! A string of missed putts and bad fortune led to a catastrophic round....a score of 54 - the second worst of the entire competition - the worst was by a ten year old child.
It was all over, I was brought back down to earth...I didn't have what it took to mix it with the big boys...I had choked under pressure...I was a failure.
When the scores had been worked out I looked at the board...
21. Phill Huxley 40 35 45 54
Last of the players who had made the halfway cut and bothered to turn up for the second day of play, seventeenth best of the British players.
As I left to head home, Thierry 'The Belgian' had a healthy 7 shot lead over a three British players Jon Angel, Tim 'Ace Man' Davis and Ted 'Big Top' McIver...
Full Results will no doubt be soon on the Official Mini Golf Website...i'm off on holiday to Berlin...away from the glare of the media spotlight and to contemplate my future in mini golf.
On reflection I had made my mark in the world of Crazy Golf....helped to knock out a few of the countries best....I guess I can proudly call myself the 17th best Mini Golfer in Britain...
Saturday, September 18
Well I have just got back from the first day of play at the British Open Mini Golf Championships in Stratford...and what a day it has been!
Forget the Ryder Cup - this is the golfing event of the year...
At the halfway point I stand joint thirteenth on three over par...THIRTEENTH! out of all the mini golfers in the country...and some Europeans! Therefore I have made the cut to the third and fourth rounds tomorrow.
I am third in the novices competition (£50 prize), so this title is my aim tomorrow, in my first ever professional mini golf event!
I got a score of forty in the first round...but in the second, spurred on by being paired with a nine year old, I struck form and scored a 35 (the fourth best second round score out of everyone!) - including four holes in one. Now the child in question, 9 year old crazy golf prodigy Rocky Bullen gave me a lot of tips and then I beat him...but at least he can rest in the knowledge that in a couple of years he will probably be the number one player in Britain whilst I will be on the mini golf scrapheap...a burnt out broken man.
Tomorrow play begins at 9:30 as the Belgians have to catch a flight home. It looks like I may well be paired with an Austrian (the Brazil of crazy golf), as I currently am level with him! Will I hold my nerve? - or will I crack like Jean Van Der Velde at the British Open a few years ago and end up in the water hazard - oh yes, there is a water hazard...but only if it rains!
Tuesday, September 14
Those of you who live in the West Midlands will no doubt be aware of Ed Doolan - Radio WM presenter. Well now here's your chance to have your own Ed Doolan mask.
It's currently going for £23 - i'm cursing myself for not getting a bundle of them whilst they were being given away at the Wolverhampton Marathon last week...maybe I can find some in WM's cupboards.
I'm definately thinking of going back into eBay - just need to decide what to sell...
Sunday, September 12
Friday, September 10
Too lazy to blog...
Too busy to blog...
And many more excuses why I haven't been updating you the loyal reader...
Today I went to a Buddhist temple and took some 360 degree photographs with a cool, special camera - I think if I were to follow a religion it might be buddhism...very relaxing and nice rugs...
Also I met Princess Anne yesterday - as I believe I already may have mentioned. I bought her a cup of tea and we talked about horses...she told me to back number 7 in the 3:30 at Kempton Park, but sadly I was soon escorted away by burly minders...
Last weekend I took photos of Wolverhampton Marathon. Indeed today someone even called me a photographer....
Crazy Golf Training continues, as I retrieved a putting machine called 'Nice Putt' from the loft and I now seek to emulate the lush greens of Stratford Minigolf in my front room.
Sunday sees Pato Banton and Apache Indian onstage in Birmingham - should be a day to remember!
Thursday, September 9
Well i've just seen Princess Anne, what are the chances of that, eh?! More entertaining was her minder, a man of around 30 stone who was permanently scanning the room for trouble (or possibly pies).
I've been a bit quite lately, but there is a reason for this - I have been in training for top international sporting competition....The British Open Mini Golf Championships. You can read My Crazy Golf Training Diary on the BBC Coventry website - but just who is that goth lurking in the background on all the photos?....which I might add were taken by the man himself, Mr Graham Utton.
Thursday, September 2
Here's the second part of the epic MC Lars interview. If you want to hear a couple of his tracks, then click the link below:
MP3 - MC Lars - Mr Raven and Rapbeth(live)
Also check out the following websites:
Squib: Was your new album finished before you found Truck – or did you do it through Truck?
Lars: I finished it after the first one came out and Truck said they would put it out – there was no guarantee they would, but I was hoping they would – cos they put out the first one (Radio Pet Fencing). The first one was September 2003 – so they’re both Truck.
S: So the first one…did you record that and then give it to Truck and they took it on?
L: The first one…so what happened was that I was performing so they’d heard the songs live and I went home and recorded them and they said ‘I wanna put it out’ and I said ‘awesome’.
Phill: A couple of tracks on your new EP are quite political and not many American acts tend to talk about George Bush and the political situation because maybe they’re a bit scared of it, do you get that impression? Because maybe people would accuse them of being unpatriotic or anti-American or something…
L: I think what’s interesting and what’s freed me up is that in my mind, my primary audience is
Katy: Are you prepared for Americans who might say you’re being unpatriotic or not understanding?
L: Yeah and that’s fine
S: But every American band that has played this weekend has denounced Bush…
L: Yeah and that’s good
K: I think Michael Moore’s doing a lot of good actually.
L: I think there’s a huge schism…I mean not to simplify it…but I mean there’s the south and they have their Republican agenda and I think that certain areas are more open minded and realise that Bush is doing a lot of harm but the people who don’t have a bigger world view are the scary ones that got him into office. Yeah it’s scary, it’s really scary and that’s why I really hope he doesn’t get re-elected – I’d love to do a song that could help. The problem with me is that sometimes I want to write serious songs, but it’s hard because people know me as a fun guy and people would be like – ‘what is he serious?!’
P: Do you feel you’ve been put in a box there? Do you sometimes want to change people’s impression of you?
L: It’s not a box that I hate because a lot of my influences are kind of funny and novelty, but my big thing is that I try and re-enforce the point that even though I’m funny, I’m not a joke
K: Do you ever just want to write a love song or a nice ballad?
L: I kind of had one on the first album, but yeah I wanna write serious stuff
K: You could, I think I can hear serious undertones in your songs….
L: Thank you, that’s cool to hear…
P: So I just wanted to ask you about your band – did you know them before you started playing with them?
L: The bass player PJ I met when I was 16 and we jammed. His mum worked with my mum at the Monterrey Public library – so DJ I met at my first year of school and I was just hanging out a friends’ dorm and he said his name was DJ and I was like ‘oh cool, are you a DJ’? And he was like ‘well actually I like music’ and then we got together and started performing. And we’ve become really good friends…
P: And when you write your material, do you work together as a trio, or do you write it yourself and take the finished thing to them?
L: The first album I did pretty much myself and PJ helped with some bass lines. The second one it was cool, because we sat down and collaborated and wrote together – like I’d have the lyrics and a beat idea and DJ is really good with harmony and the musical part and PJ is amazing with drums and beats – so we kind of pool our talent. So I think the new album is more mature sounding because there’s more ears involved – does that make sense?
(Squib gets out of the car)
L: Wait, did we scare him off?
K: No he’s doing some test shots with his camera, don’t worry!
L: Oh ok!
P: So you go to
L: One more year – I’m doing English Major and the plan is I’m taking off the next term and going back in the winter
P: Do your course professors know about your music career?
L: The ones that I like I go to and try to talk about song ideas and stuff. Some are cool about it and some are like ‘who’s this rap guy’ you know – but there’s a good response and they’ve been helpful.
P: Is your education really important to you? Are you planning on finishing your qualification and then launching your career and going full time into music?
L: Yeah, the plan is finish my education and keep doing full time music. Eventually I want to do a PHD in literature or something, because that will keep me more interesting with my songs, keep me more active and if I could do it, that would be cool. But right now I want to do the music thing for a bit – until I get burnt out. Cos it’s so fun to just get people hear my songs and to meet people and to travel – it’s just amazing!
P: So who are your favourite writers?
L: My all-time favourites are Edgar Alan Poe, Herman Melville, I like Mark Twain. British authors I like John Dunn, Shakespeare, Christopher Marlowe,
P: All the classic stuff.
L: Yeah I guess – maybe I need to explore more outside of that (laughs), but that’s something that I’ve enjoyed. I think it’s classic because people can identify with it over the centuries maybe…
P: Yeah because I guess when it’s been around for so many years it stands the test of time…
L: Yeah because when you’ve got the literary canon – there’s a lot of politics to get it to be the poet that everyone knows…but if you think about it…there’s probably so much good poetry that we don’t know
P: Do you think that maybe in 100 or 200 years that people might look back to rap from now and it would be equivalent to poetry from a hundred or two hundred years ago?
L: Yeah I think that’s a really cool concept. I think that Hip Hop is the voice of the disenfranchised – at least that’s how it started and it’s become more universal. But I think it has a great historical context, because it’s such a post-modern art form because it fuses samples and everything and I think what’s going to be different in a few hundred years, instead of taking out a book and looking at the meter of KRS-One’s lyrics – people will be able to listen to it, because media can be preserved more. So I think it’s kinda cool because the cannon is going to change as a media – so that’ll be interesting cos like also there’s the question of will 50 Cent be in it?
P: So yeah, who would be the canon of Hip Hop?
L: It’s like a really interesting question…I know Bob Dylan is in the Norton Anthology of Poetry …one of his songs It’s an obscure one, but it’s got an interesting meter so they chose that one…
P: Do you think the whole rap thing is becoming a little bit of a cliché? – the whole gangster thing.
L: I think it’s a cycle….it’s hard to get political and racial about it, but the mass market of people who buy rap albums are white suburban teenagers and so what happens is that they have an image of what the rap stereotype is so then labels promote artists into that mould and it perpetuates itself…this kind of heathenistic, fascist…I’m the best….I don’t have to have knowledge because I have money and power…it’s just this capitalist backlash and it’s a cycle that it’s really hard to break out of…I think that yes there is good production in Hip Hop and yes some MC’s may have a lot of talent, but I think it should be a responsibility to progress it instead of just selling what people like already…
P: So in that genre, who is progressing it and taking it forward?
L: I think Nas is still on the cutting edge….wellKRS-One is still doing it, he’s still doing his thing and trying to be a stabilised counter-force to the capitalist approach. I think, there’s so much cool stuff coming out of the underground…all the dudes Def Jux label like Aesop Rocks and LP and all those guys have been progressing it a lot. Anti-con, which is a collective from San Francisco, Buck 65 has been involved with them…so there’s a lot of cool stuff in the underground…but in the mainstream…I dunno – there’s not one artist that sticks out who’s doing a lot of good for Hip Hop. Maybe they’re making great songs but I don’t know if they’re challenging it?
P: Do you still consider yourself in the underground and if so are you happy to stay there in the fringes or would you like to be in the mainstream….
L: I’d like to do it for a living and if that means being on the underground and being able to subsist on sales of CD’s and shirts then that’s cool. I wouldn’t mind having a bigger profile, if I didn’t have to compromise what I’m doing. But I think the unfortunate thing is that it’s a cycle, so it would be hard for me to step out of that. I don’t think it’s impossible. I would be happy with people hear my songs as I want to write them, but I wouldn’t want to compromise.
P: That’s a good attitude to take, man...
L: Thanks – but hopefully I wouldn’t change my mind
P: If someone offered you loads of money but said that you can’t do this or you can’t do that – would you accept it?
L: I wouldn’t change what I was saying just because people paid me lots of money, but what I’ve learned is that working in the music industry when you get to the next level – you do have more hands in what you’re doing and I think if I had control of who’s hands were in what I was doing, then I might consider it……but once you sign the paper, you have an A&R guy saying write this song and this song…I think that’s why labels like Truck records are really cool.
P: So you’ve only just released your second EP, but are you working on any new tracks?
L: Yeah – so I’m working on this song about Winston Churchill’s view about World War Two about
P: (Slightly surprised) Have you ever been to
K: A song about
L: Do you think they’ll be mad if I write that?
P: I think people from
L: Because they have the historical cathedral…
P: Well I live in
L: Do you like that city?
P: Everytime I’ve been there I haven’t really had a good time….it’s got a lot of depravation and stuff
K: It’s got a bit of a reputation…
P: It’s got a nice university…
L: And that lady would ride around on a horse naked in
K: Did you go there to see that then!
L: (laughs) No, I saw it in a museum and thought it was cool. They had this other exhibit about animals fighting other animals – that was kind of weird.
L: But I mean the flipside of that, probably if I write another
P: After ‘
L: People might be like ‘what are you doing man?’ – but then the answer is I’m doing my own thing
P: What do English people think about that track? I mean do they think you are taking the piss? Because I think you can see you’re quite affectionate towards
L: That song always gets one of the biggest amounts of applause at shows. People don’t like the line ‘If it weren’t for us, you’d be speaking German’, but that’s kinda ironic and it’s supposed to be funny….because if it wasn’t for England we’d be speaking German I think….that’s kind of a controversial issue to raise…but, yeah people like that song….
P: What about American people, what do they think of that song?
L: When we did it at Skate and Surf, they liked it! I think it’s because nobody is talking about the American /
L: There are a lot of British songs about
K: Do you want to do a quick picture before it starts to pour down with rain?
L: Did I talk too much