Saturday, March 25, 2006

Where we're going we don't need roads...

We're going forward an hour this weekend. That means it's lighter in the mornings, or darker, or something. Anyway it will definitely mean there's a change in light at some point in your brand new reorganised Sunday.

What the Lionel Ritchie are they going to do with my hour anyway? Store it in some huge warehouse in Kent? Logistically it must be quite a tough operation thieving sixty minutes from each one of us ’victims’ around the country.

They justify it by reminding us that they give it back in October, deliver it at some stupid time in the morning. But they don’t always get the right hour back to the right person. October 2004, I got given the hour of a middle-aged lady from Staffordshire who was obsessed with Shane Ritchie. Even though I slept through the hour, I really shouldn't have had to have those Ritchie thoughts in my head affecting what would otherwise have been a dream about that dark haired girl from Watchdog.

Anyway, to solve this problem, I'm not going to let the bastards take my hour tomorrow. I'm going to hide it under my bed next to my self-respect. Of course I will not be letting onto anyone that I have done this, as technically it's time theft. This in Science-Fiction terms will most probably rip a whole in the fabric of space that can only be mended by me renouncing my stolen hour, whilst concurrently firing some miscellaneous white beam into the rift from my spaceship.

I don’t have a spaceship, it’s impractical for someone living in a small flat without a launch-pad. But I don’t think it’ll be much of problem being just the one hour behind everyone. They’ve go TV channels to cater for people in my position like E4 + 1 and More 4 + 1.

If the heat gets too much I’ll make use of the inevitable, soon to be announced ‘Hour Amnesty', where everyone can hand their stolen hours into their local police station anonymously. An HTV report will feature an interview with Bristol's Chief Superintendant stood next to a big table covered with people's handed-in hours neatly laid out in rows. He'll comment on what a big success it's been and how the streets of Bristol are safer with more people than ever living in the correct time-zone. A moderately interested reporter will nod his head and hand it back to the studio where they'll talk wheelie bins and non-league football until they're out of time again.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Moving Music

I thought it would be easy. Wearing an MP3 player. Thought I could still be a normal member of society, fit in like everyone else does.

You shouldn’t listen to the Ricky Gervais podcast in Tesco’s. Because it’s funny, and funny can bring on laughter. Seemingly spontaneous bouts of laughter in the frozen goods isle, brings on confused looks and derision by those that hang around such places. I just needed frozen chips for those moments when only frozen chips will do. And with them in my hands, Gervais springs a funny in my ears and I fall into laughter. People stare at a man seemingly laughing at a packet of frozen chips, so I drop them and shake my head. I pick up another packet of chips, and look around with a solemn face that tells people that unlike the previous packet, this one holds little or no comedic value. They seem to understand.

But it’s music that’s the real danger. It has far too much say in how you walk and generally move. That’s ok when music’s coming from big speakers, out in the open. Then we can all be affected by the same rhythm together. No, it’s when you’re the only one with it in your ears. One lapse of concentration…you forget the rest of the world isn’t listening to ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’, and you’re the only one Boots banging your head up and down.

Or the slow sad reflective ballad. Where every body movement is slowed down. Taking a tin of beans off a shelf in Tesco’s becomes an unusually profound experience. The memories start to flow, “I once fell in love with a can of baked beans, and it left me for a Pot Noodle. And this same-branded tin reminds me so much of the can I loved, with its beautiful blue labelling and equivalency to a single portion of the five recommended fruit and vegetables portions per-day .”

For me though, it has to be jogging where music through headphones becomes most unhelpful. I find it impossible not to be infected by the rhythm in the song. For example, there’s a run that would normally take about forty minutes around the Downs. If I’m listening to Pink Floyd at the time, it can take me up to six days. This leads to malnutrition and the feeling of being isolated from society, like I'm behind some metaphorical wall. Then there’s the Prodigy. With this on the jog will only take twenty seconds, though unfortunately it‘s a twenty second sprint that only gets me to the first tree before I collapse vowing to smack my bitch up.

The only way to listen to music and jog at a suitable speed is to get some, not too angry, not too relaxing, not to fast, not too slow, not too anything music. Thankyou for dedicating your entire career to making people run at a manageable tempo Phil Collins.

Monday, March 06, 2006

Twelve Quid Mate!

Taxis you either hate them or you're odd. When you're not a passenger they'll weave and swerve with psychotic purpose, when you are a passenger they'll give-way to a dead slug in a bucket.

A well known taxi driver hobbie involves driving to a mini-roundabout and performing a seemingly pointless U-turn. Taxi drivers record every mini-roundabout they’ve U-turned in a little notebook, detailing the location of the roundabout and how close someone came to crashing into them whilst they performed the manoeuvre. Champion George (53) from Bedford has U-turned on 2156 mini-roundabouts and has no friends.

Driving up a road with cars parked either side so there's only room for one car, you may notice a taxi parked slap bang in the middle blocking you way. So you flash your lights. No response. So you beep your horn, and finally they take action. On come the hazard-lights. In the taxi drivers mind, they are now blocking England with legitimacy.

The hazard-lights are a special Highway Code exemption scheme only available to taxi drivers. With this they are allowed to do what ever the hell they want to do. And your anger at their actions when the hazard lights are on, is just your pathetic ignorance of Taxi Law. With the hazards flashing, a taxi driver can go the wrong way up a one way street, park on your lawn, reverse over your dog, urinate out of his window into your Soda-Stream, shoot at milk-floats and even listen to 70's Progressive Rock on a medium-wave radio station. And there’s nothing you can do about it.