• Category Archives football
  • More football stadiums should look like this

    I don’t hate football. It’s just that it’s incredibly boring to me and I get annoyed that it garners more coverage than more interesting sports. So I’d be more than happy to see more football grounds turned into developments like Highbury Square, which took Arsenal’s old stadium and turned it into flats. The pitch, rather neatly, became green space and the stands apartments, with the historic facades of the oldest ones retained.

    (The plural of stadium may be stadia, I can’t remember, so apologies if I used the wrong word in the headline.)


  • Tweets today

    00:20 Blog: Tweets today tinyurl.com/ckhref #

    08:11 Could tell I spent a lot of yesterday on the Tube- black snot. #

    09:20 Spending time on the Underground reminds me of Carter USM lyrics. #

    10:49 I wouldn’t go so far as to say it’s love. I like to think of it as wistful lust. #

    16:38 London’s free papers seem to have gone cycling crazy this week. Features today and Yesterday in more than one. #

    17:08 This train is formed of 8 carriages. #

    18:21 Blog: JOE131 is at Canada Water tinyurl.com/cxov8u #

    19:56 Too many people watching football- gets in the way of our meals and beers. #

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  • I, for one, welcome America’s new Marxist-Nazi-Muslim-Liberal Hive overlord

    Today Barack Obama becomes US President. Unfortunately, he’s not the Messiah, just a politician with far better ideas than the guy he’s replacing. Even given two terms he probably can’t completely clean up the mess left by Bush and friends, but at least he won’t try to make it even worse.

    A post on Joan Bushwell’s Chimpanzee Refuge pointed out that today would be a great time to take another look at the rightwing sites I followed during the election and see what sort of idiocy their self pity generated. There’s the post linked in the article, which suggests that any “liberal” success is down to some sort of Hive mind. Because like minded people working together for a common goal is a Socialist invention somehow. The same guy Godwin’d (again, I’m sure he did it multiple times during the election) a few days ago, because trying to sort out the banks is the first step on the road to the concentration camps.

    Stop the ACLU jumps on the too-tired-to-do-any-original-thinking bandwagon with a similar post and tries to stop global warming by quoting a guy who doesn’t seem to know what he’s rebelling against.

    Michelle Malkin has an open thread for people who want to moan about living in a democracy.

    Little Green Footballs tries to place the blame anywhere other than the Worst President Ever and the stupidly dangerous pair that wanted to carry on his good work.

    You know, I sort of miss these idiots, but I don’t know if I have enough time to follow all of them. Maybe just one RSS feed, to sample the madness? They are, after all, embodiments of the sort of beliefs I’m giving to the bad guys in Sounds of Soldiers.

    Update Take nine and a half minutes to learn why these people are so wrong and deluded-


  • NaNoWriMo first draft- Storage and cashflow

    Notes I’m world building as I go along here. The result may not be a very coherent tale, but will probably serve as the basis for a fully realised project after the month is over. It’s going to get even more jumbled as I start jumping about and covering subjects as they occur to me, no matter where they end up in the timeline or finished tale. My apologies to City fans for what I’ve done to Maine Road.

    I had wondered at the heavy tog duvet in my room, but I’d forgotten I was back in Britain. Years in the south of France have left me a little nesh and used to the warmth. An arm that sneaked out in the night whipped right back in, recoiling from the cold. I love this town, and it’s not really that chilly, but I wonder if I can get used to the weather again.

    Other things interrupt my sleep, dreams of a forest and guns- the very moment I decided to come home. I wrap the duvet around myself to form a coccoon and sleep nearly to noon when I finally drift off.

    I’m going to need more warm clothes until I get used to the lower temperature. I feel like such a wuss, where’s my Northern hardiness? For now I put on some extra layers and a heavy leather jacket I picked up on the way through London.

    It’s not raining. I’d psyched myself up to expect constant precipitation, so that’s a pleasant surprise. I step out into a bright, crisp autumn day and go hunting for food and money.

    There are a lot of vegetarian options everywhere. Meat is a lot more expensive nowadays, or maybe priced a lot more realistically, and local, seasonal veg is filling the gap. I go for roast, curried squash and potatoes, warming and filling, with big chunks of bread instead of rice to soak up the sauce.

    My wallet has several partitions in it, but still not enough to separate the many different currencies I’ve picked up on my travels. There are a few French local currencies that I didn’t manage to get rid of, some London chits, Euros- which remain the most stable and most acceptable currency in the world, even some pounds, and my Curry Mile dollars. I lay them out on the counter to see what’s acceptable currency in the local fast food outlets. The owner tuts, but slides the London currencies into the acceptable pile beside the Euros and pounds. “Where are these from?” he points at the various French chits.

    “France.”

    “France? You been to France?”

    “Just got back.”

    “They had it hard over there. Harder than here.”

    “I was in Paris when it kicked off.”

    He shakes his head in shame. “I always wanted to go to Paris.”

    “You’d be surprised what’s still there. But give it a couple more years before checking it out.”

    “Can I keep one of these? The French ones? For my wall?” he gestures to a pin board on the back wall, decorated with postcards and multi coloured currencies.

    “Can I have some bhajis to go?”

    As a bonus, the bhajis are straight out of the fryer and almost too hot to hold in their waxed paper envelope. I stand in the middle of the road, watching the cyclists go past from a traffic island. I’m looking for a shop with the double plus sign outside, showing it’s part of the trust network of international exchange.

    I’ve got money in recognised and accredited banks but that’s got to be vetted and work its way through various levels of bureaucracy before it can be accessed from a British bank. There’s not a lot of trust for large international transfers at the moment, so they’re monitored closely. And, before I can even start that process, I’ll have to get a new British account or find out what state the old one is in. Luckily a secondary network of exchange has developed. Its legality is dubious, but it’s tolerated because of the problems that shutting it down would cause. I’ve got some data stashed on a thumb drive that basically guarantees that I have deposited cash and goods to the value of several thousand Euros with another double plus trader in Apt. My Mancunian double plus trader will give me Euros or local currency to the same value (minus fee, of course), safe in the knowledge that the money will be transferred to them by the slow official route on production of the encrypted key.

    I was looking for a pawn shop, but found my double plus trader in a jewellery shop. The thumb drive goes into a battered old PC nestled beside the cash till and Pretty Good Protection matches the code and spits out the numbers. Meanwhile the greying man behind the counter balances glasses on his large nose and studies my passport. “France….” he says, not asking for or expecting a reply.

    After flipping through my travel history, more for curiosity than security, he slides the pasport back to me and leans to the computer screen, nodding. “How would you like your money?”

    “Cash?”

    “Thats a lot of cash. Do you not have a bank acount?”

    “I don’t know.” It has been five years since I put money into it or transferred any out. I know that others’ accounts have been frozen for less, so I’m not holding out much hope.

    “If you think it has been stolen by the government my brother has experience releasing such funds.” He has started counting out money onto the counter, “I will give you his card.”

    I get to keep the reformatted thumb drive, for what little capacity it has. I haven’t worn the money belt for a while, I haven’t had that much cash to carry around, so I go back to the hotel to get it. I turn the laptop on, I might as well. There are messages for me. Several of them are along the lines of “Bloody hell, I thought you were dead!” One is intriguing. It’s from the account of Kieth, a guy I worked with for a while who remained a friend, but it’s signed ‘Sally’. Has Kieth had a sex change, or has Sally hijacked his acount? The message gives me an address in Levenshulme and says I should drop in any weekday afternoon.

    Another message is from the storage company, saying they have located my locker and I can collect the keys from their local franchisee- the very same jewellers that was my local double plus. He’s surprised to see me back. “You want to put some money back into the system?” I explain about my lock-up and slide my passport over the counter again. “That is a different database. Or I could have done this for you earlier.” He chuckles, making great play of checking my passport again and comparing the picture inside. Satisfied, he wanders off into the back room and there’s the sound of a heavy door being unlocked. He comes back with two keys on a ring. “There you are. There is twenty four hour access, when I have given you the code for the pad on the gate.”

    “Are there any other sevices you offer? Am I likely to be back in here asking for anything else?”

    “Maybe. I don’t sell much jewellery any more. These days luxury is….. a luxury. But thirty years in this business mean people trust me in matters of money. So it is easy for me to take on roles that require me to be trusted.”

    The tag on the key ring gives the address of the yard where my box is stored. I look at it for a while before having to ask “Is that right.”

    The shopkeeper cum moneylender cum key holder puts the glasses back on his nose, checks the tag and nods, “I’m afraid it is. You know how to get there?”

    There is no trace of Maine Road football ground left. Unless you count the negative indicator of a big open space where it used to stand. They never got around to the housing development promised when Manchester City up and moved across town to the former Commonwealth games stadium. It found an alternate use soon enough.

    My container is on the western end, farthest from the gate. It’s a half sized shipping container butted against another and at the bottom of a stack of four. Several frantic, and often interrupted, telephone calls had led to this container arriving on the back of a lorry outside my old flat and several of my friends helping to load it on the promise that they could “look after” anything they really liked until I got back. I’m surprised how full it is when I swing the door open.

    It’s going to take a while to work through this treasure trove, but my first target can be seen on top of the shorter stack of crates. It takes a lot of swearing, tugging and rearranging to get the bike out. It’s the fixie I had built out of a second hand frame and scavenged parts, that I never really got around to riding. My friends were scared of it, especially its lack of brakes. It looks like someone coveted the urbanised mountain bike enough to take that though.

    One of the crates I moved to get at the bike contains cycling spares and accessories, including two locks complete with keys and a back pack. I have transport.

    I pull down another crate and look inside. There’s nothing really special about the contents, I get the feeling every box will be capable of making me well up like this. There are cds, dvds and a few magazines. Actually, the magazines don’t look at all familiar. I might have forgotten them, but a check of cover dates tells the story. My subscriptions carried on whilst I was away, at least for a while. The information’s half a decade out of date, but it’s more reading material. I stuff the magazines into the back pack.

    The next crate offers up a real treasure. A one terabyte external hard drive. With luck this still has all my old photos, gigs of music, a few unfinished novels and the back up of my desktop computer from the day before I left the country. It may even have some porn on it. It, too, goes into the backpack.

    It’s getting dark, and I haven’t found any lights yet. I noticed last night that not all of the street lights come on at night. Until I’m certain of the safety of night time riding I think I’ll take what I’ve found and head back to the hotel.


  • Watching the McCain Wreck a bit more closely

    Because I’m a masochist, and I don’t have enough ways to waste time already, I’ve subscribed to a few US political blogs. At least until November.

    Daily Kos– premier liberal blog.

    Michelle Malkin– right wing loon.

    Talking Points Memo– liberal blog with occasional investigative stuff.

    Little Green Footballs– last time I visited this place it was full of racist idiots. Maybe it’s better now. But I doubt it.

    Think Progress

    That should do it, but I’ll probably dip into one or two more. It should be fairly obvious to you which way I’m biased here. The last thing the world needs, let alone the USA, is another four years of essentially the same idiots trying to destroy the planet so they can bring about the Rapture, or whatever their secret plan is. If you are an American who has happened across Spinneyhead and only take one thing away from my humble blog please let it be that you really need to vote for Obama.


  • Tweets today

    22:23 @SkippyUK Picked up a Maplin minibook today. May cancel my Elonex order. Or may not, keep the accessories and sell the computer. We’ll see #

    22:27 Blog: Tweets today tinyurl.com/5qdp9g #

    12:26 I’m going to an outdoor gig tomorrow. Maybe all the rain will fall today. #

    16:29 Blog: I’m looking for an artist to work on a phone comic tinyurl.com/5wu24l #

    18:16 Win your football dream with Adidas. I dream of less football coverage. It’s a stupid sport. #

    19:01 Jesus loves you more than I do. #

    19:53 I’m still looking for someone to take my spare fusion ticket for tomorrow. Any takers? #

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  • What's going on?

    Time for an update on my current projects-

    Venn I should have episode 1 of Venn edited and ready for release by the middle of next week. It will premiere on August 1st, because the first of the month is a good day for releases. If I can get organised we should be filming the last bits of footage for episodes 2 and 3 around then as well. Which should give us a buffer to film the next two or three episodes and look around for sponsorship and other funding. Episodes, and a couple of trailers if I can get them done, will be posted here and on venn.tv.

    Incidentally, I’d really like to find a camera operator and maybe someone to help me with editing and colour correction, because I’m not as good as I’d like at either. If you’re interested, get in touch.

    Shall We Take A Trip? For a long time I’ve wanted to do an erotic comic, if only because I’ve found so few that are any good. (For the record, I recommend Undertow and Retreat by Kiki Kjaer, or any of the works of Reed Waller.) Shall We Take A Trip? is sort of Nick Hornby meets Waller’s Omaha the Cat Dancer, only without the football or tails, respectively. Mark has written a film script set in Manchester in the early nineties and now it’s gone into production he’s on set to handle rewrites. And reminisce about his sex life. I’ve scripted 56 pages, but that’s likely to expand, and the ending is open to rewriting. We’ll see.

    Post Another comic project, which I’m thinking of doing as a combined web and phone comic. I’m writing backstory for it at the moment. It’s a virus apocalypse story with a difference. What if the virus wasn’t designed to kill, but rather to modify the victims’ DNA, sometimes for the better. As some of the plague victims go beyond human, what effect does it have?

    Spinneyworld More transfers and one or two downloadable items for modellers. I’m also thinking about a few white metal parts, such as modern image street furniture- parking meters, bins etc. These will allow me to hone my sculpting skills and then I’ll start making figures. I have a few planned- hoodies, women in hijabs, graffiti artists etc.

    Etsy I’m going to get an Etsy selling account soon (I need a credit card first) and I have a few products lined up and even some built.
    Strange little world– more pieces like Mending Time, putting model soldiers and vehicles into odd contexts.
    Not quite the end of the world– a series of vignettes/mini dioramas depicting very silly apocalypses. I’ve just done one with SAS soldiers versus a giant teddy bear.
    Mini art car parade– yes, there shall be more of these.
    Eee/One wallets– I will be taking delivery of an Elonex Onet+, a mini laptop in the Eee mould. It comes with a cool neoprene case, but I think it would be nice to have a bag to slip that one in. I’ll do a few, denim and leather seem obvious materials, and see if they sell.


  • Barclays can't get it up


    Barclays can’t get it up, originally uploaded by spinneyhead.

    There’s a hot air balloon in Piccadilly Gardens. Something to do with football. At the moment they can’t get it off the ground because of the wind. It’s quite relaxing, if unfulfilling, to watch, but I should in to the studio so I’ll probably miss any flight.


  • Barclays can’t get it up


    Barclays can’t get it up, originally uploaded by spinneyhead.

    There’s a hot air balloon in Piccadilly Gardens. Something to do with football. At the moment they can’t get it off the ground because of the wind. It’s quite relaxing, if unfulfilling, to watch, but I should in to the studio so I’ll probably miss any flight.


  • Bloody football


    Bloody football, originally uploaded by spinneyhead.

    The city centre is full of foreigners I can’t understand.

    And that’s just the Rangers fans.

    (Thank you, I’ll be here all week.)


  • lg action sports championship

    lg action sports championship
    lg action sports championship,
    originally uploaded by spinneyhead.

    It’s very hard to take action shots with my phone. I don’t understand how people can be interested in a sport as static and dull as football when there’s stuff like this around. Even when there are no competition runs on people are pulling stunts just to keep their legs warmed up. The street course is buzzing with plank pushers skating for the simple joy of it.

    The skate vert competition is being led by chris gentry as we enter the final round.

    Posted to Spinneyworld 22/10/05 by Ian

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  • Best in the world? You're having a laugh!

    Originally uploaded to Spinneyworld 24/08/05

    Last Monday Spinneyworld sent Clare to the final day of the Third Test as a wandering reporter. Here’s her report-

    The start of the fourth test is approaching, so I shall tell my tale of the final day at Old Trafford. I can definitely say it was worth a tenner! It was even worth getting up stupidly early so I could get the tickets; the tiredness eventually went away with several cups of overpriced tea. Other than tea at £1.50 and beer at £3 (my student stinginess have obviously stayed with me), it was a brilliant day with brilliant people too.

    When I got in, some time after nine, I searched for somewhere to sit. Whilst looking for a spare couple of seats, I almost sat in the no-alcohol area; that would have been scary. I finally found some decent seats but no one sat to the right of me for ages, I thought I must have smelled or something. That was until the excitable Australians came along, in particular Mick aka “Box Head” and his bro Matt aka “Box Head Junior”.

    The sun was shining the cricketers were stretching, could life be better? Before the day started I assumed we were to draw; 10 wickets in one day, against the so called best in the world, not likely! I was going to enjoy a good day’s cricket no matter what the result was and being a pessimist works for me. However contrary to my belief it started well, the first wicket fell pretty quickly – Langer was only in for 42 minutes total. He was caught out by Jones, with a pitiful score of 14 runs. Another supposed batsman Hayden does similarly poorly as Flintoff bowls him out for 36, although he did get a six, which was happily displayed by my new Australian friend. These were the only wickets to fall before lunch; I just kept thinking “damn we should have declared earlier”. Wickets fell at a greater pace after lunch, many thanks to the man Andrew Flintoff; unfortunately Ponting’s fantastic form was giving the Australians a reasonable total. Maybe it’s a good thing we tallied up those extra few before declaring? My mind changed yet again as we experienced a long lull of wicketless dullness. The crowd amused themselves by doing Mexican waves, I had to join in of course. There was a particular patch where they were obviously dull farts and wouldn’t play. They received a “boo” from the crowd each time, followed by a “yay” once they were passed. Maybe this section was the alcohol-free one?

    The home crowd had the hope that Flintoff would do it for us again, there was constant chanting “Su-per, super Fred, super Freddy Flintoff”, it didn’t seem to work. My attempt at turning fate was by making ultimatums with the Australians. We made a deal that if England got a wicket in the next 6 overs I’d get my boobs out. That turned Mick into an England supporter! Every time there was a possibility of a catch or something he’d shout at the top of his voice “Catch IT”. It didn’t work. It did bring about a new deal that if Australia draws he had to run around Canal Street in the nuddy. We explained what Canal Street is famous for. By the time play was stopped for tea there were still 5 wickets to go. We definitely should have declared earlier. Yet hope shone again, it was especially amusing to see Gillespie go for a big 0 from an lbw. He has definitely sucked ass in this test. He used to do well before he had the silly long hair; he was certainly a fantastic bowler, so maybe he’s like an anti-Samson?

    Our pleas to Flintoff paid off as towards the end, he gets Warne out, with the help of Jones. Flintoff gets a bit excited and starts doing acrobatics to celebrate. I went similarly insane when we finally got Ponting out, we were almost there! The last half hour I was on the edge of my seat, one wicket to go. We had the captain out, could we do it? As you probably know the answer was no, giving a slight anti-climax at the end. The Aussies were over the moon, but the mood was generally happy on the other side. It had been a good day’s cricket. Also, if you want to see an Australian run in the nude, be at Canal Street on Friday 26th August!

    That was one of the fantastic things about seeing a game of cricket, I don’t mean nude Australians, I mean that it’s such a friendly atmosphere and no one goes on a killing spree or a huff because their side didn’t win. The closest we had to tension was one guy shouting “Rat Boy” to Ricky Ponting as he received Man of the Match. I was invited to come out for a few drinks with the Aussies, how could I refuse? Now this wouldn’t happen in football, would it (not like I’m bitching about football). Seriously though, please inform me if a Manchester United fan has ever gone for a friendly drink with a Manchester City fan after a match.

    My only criticism of cricket is that England had obviously been the superior team throughout the time at Old Trafford, yet we come out with a feeble draw! Oh well roll on Trent Bridge. You never know, this could this be the first time we win the Ashes since 1986!


  • The sumo and the horses


    The sumo and the horses
    Originally uploaded by spinneyhead.
    I’m not sure how much I’m allowed to tell you about what I did on Saturday. I was playing a skinhead for an upcoming sketch show (The Adam and Shelly Show, due on BBC3 in September). Nine of us had to run around a field near Knutsford miming football chants.

    There was also a sumo wrestler, a morris dancer and a local hunt involved. Unscientific testing showed that horses aren’t afraid of skinheads or sumo wrestlers, but are a bit nervous around morris dancers.


  • And all the world is football-shaped

    Hey, hey,
    The clouds are whey.
    There’s straw for the donkeys,
    And the innocents can all sleep safely,
    All sleep safely.

    My, my,
    Sun is pie.
    Theres fodder for the cannons,
    And the guilty ones can all sleep safely,
    All sleep safely.

    And all the world is football-shaped
    Its just for me to kick in space
    And I can see, hear, smell, touch, taste
    And Ive got one, two, three, four, five
    Senses working overtime
    Trying to take this all in.
    Ive got one, two, three, four, five
    Senses working overtime
    Trying to taste the difference
    tween a lemon and a lime
    Pain and the pleasure
    And the church bells softly chime.

    Hey hey,
    Night fights day.
    Theres food for the thinkers,
    And the innocents can all live slowly,
    All live slowly.
    My, my,
    The sky will cry
    Jewels for the thirsty,
    And the guilty ones can all die slowly,
    All die slowly.

    And all the world is biscuit-shaped,
    Its just for me to feed my face,
    And I can see, hear, smell, touch, taste,
    And Ive got one, two, three, four, five,
    Senses working overtime
    Trying to take this all in.
    Ive got one, two, three, four, five,
    Senses working overtime
    Trying to taste the difference,
    tween a lemon and a lime,
    Pain and the pleasure,
    And the church bells softly chime,

    And birds might fall from black skies,
    And bullies might give you black eyes,
    But to me its very, very beautiful
    (englands glory!)
    Beautiful
    (a striking beauty!)

    And all the world is football-shaped,
    Its just for me to kick in space,
    And I can see, hear, smell, touch, taste,
    And Ive got one, two, three, four, five,
    Senses working overtime
    Trying to take this all in
    Ive got one, two, three, four, five
    Senses working overtime
    Trying to tell the difference
    tween the goods and grime
    Turds and treasure
    And theres one, two, three, four, five
    Senses working overtime
    Trying to take this all in
    Ive got one, two, three, four, five
    Senses working overtime
    Trying to taste the difference
    tween a lemon and a lime
    Pain and the pleasure,
    And the church bells softly chime.

    Senses Working Overtime – XTC


  • So Much To Answer For- Part 3

    Pete had a garage that he didn’t use, so Joe had adopted it as a workshop. The rent was one piece of art a year, on the off chance. Some years earlier Pete had spent three months on Joe’s floor, paying only for food and beer. He liked to refer to the returned favour as the Tao of Property.

    Joe’s physical paintings were much simpler than his digital ones. Away from the safety net of layers and the Step Backward command he found himself considering where every bit of colour should be laid down. He was using acrylics because he didn’t yet have the patience for oils.

    The latest piece was a simple street scene, but the perspective lines twisted slightly, just enough to make the viewer uncomfortable. At street level the business names matched those from his neighbourhood, a little cheat to enhance saleability. He was tidying up the lettering on the newsagent when he realised he was being watched.

    Both doors were open, for light and ventilation, and the afternoon sun was so low it lit up the back wall. Joe glanced up and spotted the shadow, but it was a moment before he made the connection.

    She was tall, blonde, turned out all neat and business like. Not, historically, his type, but that didn’t stop her being gorgeous. “Joe Wilkinson?”

    “That’s me.” He struggled to remember where the brush went, eventually finding the water jar and making busy cleaning it. The silence stretched out a little too long. “I… Would you like some tea or coffee?”

    “No thanks. That’s okay.” She walked over, hands behind her back, checking out the work in progress and a few unfinished masterpieces. And Joe. The brush was as clean as it would get, but he dunked it in the water again and stropped the liquid off with an old T-shirt. “I’m Rachel Evans. I’m a buyer for On The Wall. Perhaps you’ve heard of us?”

    “Extraordinary art at ordinary prices? I’d heard you were opening a shop in Manchester.”

    “It opens on King Street in a couple of months.”

    “I don’t think footballers like ordinary prices. They feel ripped off if they don’t pay at least twice what something is worth.”

    “We’ll mark things up for them. Including your work, if you’d like.”

    “Well, I….” Joe tried to remember things he’d read about On The Wall. Whether they had a good reputation with clients, just how ordinary their prices were, that kind of thing. But the buyer was standing a little closer than required and still had her hands clasped, pulling her shoulders back and pushing her chest forward. He enjoyed the view a little too long, wondering how much of the shape was engineered, how much natural attributes. “Well. Yes. Of course I’d be interested.”

    Rachel smiled, “That’s great. We don’t expect exclusivity, but we would like an original every month or so and first refusal on anything else. And a few prints for our online store. I saw your website.”

    “Really?”

    “Oh yes. I saw one of your pieces in Norton’s deli. They’ve got WiFi.”

    “Really? I don’t have the technology, so I don’t really pay attention.”

    “They told me where to find you.”

    “I’ll never buy hummus from anywhere else again.”

    Rachel was swinging her shoulders back and forth, twisting her upper body. The coquettish gesture was completely at odds with the professional appearance. “That’s great. We have a deal.”

    “Okay. So, er, what do we do now? I’d shake on it, but….” Joe held up a paint smeared hand.

    The buyer produced a business card and pen, wrote a number on the back of the card. “Call me tomorrow, after two. We can arrange a meeting to sort out the paperwork.” Her hands went straight back to being clasped behind her back.

    “That’s great.” Joe checked out the card and then the number and very carefully put it into his wallet.

    “I’ll see you tomorrow then.” With a smile Rachel turned and walked away. When she crossed the threshold of the garage her hands relaxed from their clasped position and she started swinging them a little exaggeratedly. It was only when she got into her Smart car and drove off that Joe began to think she’d looked familiar.

    Part 4
    Part 2
    Part 1

    NaNoWriMo Progress

    Notes This is a first draft, open to expansion and editing, so please point out any spelling or continuity errors or bits that don’t make sense.

    Other fiction- check out Heavensent, the propeller-punk sci-fi war novel I recently wrapped up, or download Another Education/Ruby Red or Ten Years Asleep.

    Donate Now I’ve started writing again I’m unlikely to stop, but it would be nice if I could eat during my breaks. So please feel free to donate some money to my starving author fund by clicking on the PayPal button below.





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  • That list in full

    In fact, here is the whole 100 Things list as it currently stands. I’ve updated links but not any of the aims. Reminders of things I have done are welcome, as are suggestions for removal and replacement.

    (Some of the later Things name the people who came up with them during a drunken brainstorming session.)

    1. Play croquet

    I don’t even know the rules to croquet.

    2. Play strip croquet

    Ah, the effect that Heathers can have on you.

    3. Cycle the Coast to Coast

    4. Keep a tidy house

    Without calling in any sort of housekeeping services.

    5. Live for (at least) three months in another country

    6. Shoot Tony Blair

    Already done that.

    6. Try to get elected

    What to, I don’t know.

    7. Take part in a threesome

    Yes, I know I’m not even participating in any twosomes at the moment, but this is a long term list. (And if I do achieve this one, I probably won’t announce it.)

    8. Take part in a foursome

    9. Take part in an orgy

    Is an orgy 5 or more? Or is there an official lower limit to an orgy? Are there different imperial and metric orgies?

    10. Make it into the Popdex (and/or Blogdex) top 100

    Which will be good all round. If I can manage to make it onto the list regularly, even better.

    Edit Popdex has started behaving oddly, I’ll settle for getting on the Blogsnow list instead.

    11. Mention sheep and still get laid

    12. Make a living from writing

    13. Make a film

    It doesn’t have to be a feature length movie, but that would be the next step.

    14. Get out of debt

    I’ll discount any mortgage from this requirement, and just allow for clearing overdrafts and loans.

    15. Become a millionnaire

    Foreign currency counts.

    16. Climb the highest peaks in each country of the United Kingdom

    17. Learn to juggle

    18. Build a model village

    19. Upset the Daily Mail so much that they run a story about me being a threat to the nation’s morals

    20. Visit the beaches of D-Day, and the little town of Quenast my grandparents’ house was named after

    21. Visit Pearl Harbour

    22. Read Moby Dick

    Gratuitous Zelig reference.

    23. Get interviewed by Richard and Judy

    Or a passable equivalent.

    24. Own a Land Rover

    And actually use it for off roading.

    25. Have a bike for every day of the week

    Mountain bike, Jump bike/BMX, road bike, recumbent, folding, commuter, unicycle.

    26. Give a grand to charity

    Not raise a grand, but give one. Raising a grand should be possible, especially if I do 27.

    27. Do over a hundred miles on the Bogle Roll

    My plan for next year’s Roll. I’ll need to get another of my 7 bikes to do it.

    28. Learn to snowboard

    29. Get a dog

    But not whilst I’m living in the city.

    30. Own a thousand CDs (or have 100 Gbytes of MP3s on my computer.)

    I’m going to cheat and allow CD singles in this.

    31. Attend the Glastonbury festival

    32. Roast my own coffee

    Done that.

    33. Send a dirty text message

    34. Propose to someone

    35. Fly in a hot air balloon

    36. Go to a shooting range

    37. Spend a whole day watching all three of the Lord of the Rings films back to back

    Extended cuts.

    38. Buy a house

    39. Own a piece of Microsoft

    40. Moblog

    First done here, then conclusively here, here and here. And regularly since.

    41. Canoe on the Thames

    42. Figure out the question

    43. Brew beer

    44. Learn a new language

    Spoken, not computer. And not Klingon.

    45. Start a craze

    46. Make love in a hammock

    This one inspired by The Sure Thing

    47. Visit every continent

    48. Fly a helicopter

    49. Build a tree house

    50. Hold a party for a hundred people

    51. Make love outdoors

    The roundabout incident doesn’t count as it was unplanned, drunken horniness. However, I could go for getting 46 at the same time.

    52. Join the Mile High Club

    53. Join the Mile Low Club

    In a cave or down a mine.

    54. Join the Two Metres High club

    On a train. Sleeper carriages count.

    55. Exceed 40mph on a bike

    Downhill counts.

    56. Build a house

    57. Learn to play a musical instrument

    58. Get a signed letter from a serving head of state

    Probably not going to be Tony, though.

    59. Break a record

    Even if it is for the silliest ‘Hundred things to do’ list.

    60. Burn all my CD singles to MP3

    61. Appear on Have I Got News For You?

    This will probably be just before or just after offending the Daily Mail.

    62. Swim with Dolphins

    It was going to be swim with monkeys, but I reckon any mammal will do

    63. Visit Japan

    Kawaii

    64. Get a HGV or Motorcyle licence

    The motorcycle licence would be cooler, but I value my limbs the shape they are.

    65. Learn Morse code

    66. Attend Burning Man

    There were also plans to create a BM equivalent in the Scottish Highlands, to be called Soggy Man.

    67. Dance naked in the rain

    68. Drive a race/ rally car

    69. Fulfil Sabs’ dream of seeing me walk out of Lyme Park lake wearing breeches.

    Penny. Well, it was Sabs’ idea originally, but Penny added it to the list.

    70. Get a woman to pose in the nude (for my comic.)

    Zoe. I asked Zoe if she’d pose naked for me, but she said no. Shame. I’ve also widened the scope to posing for anything, just to improve my chances. Any volunteers?

    71. Play UV pool

    Daz.

    72. Do roman chariot racing with big fat men in place of horses.

    Zoe. This is a far nicer version of Lesley’s suggestion of ‘Become a pony boy.’

    73. Flash at a concert audience

    Penny. Originally ‘Flash at a Status Quo audience’ but I’ve expanded it.

    74. Be a model at an Ann Summers party

    Penny.

    75. Swim the full length of the Bridgewater Canal

    Penny. So long as I don’t h
    ave to do it in the actual canal.

    76. Learn the national anthems of the Six Nations

    Penny and Lesley.

    77. Design a sex toy

    Zoe and Penny. Full description- ‘Design a sex toy and advertise for testers and reach quality standards for ISO and BSS’. By setting such stringent conditions they just volunteered to be the first testers. There then followed a brainstorming session on what would make a perfect sex toy, the notes from which will form the basis of a future post.

    This project is under way. After posting the list of recommended features, I received quite a peak in hits. I have now moved on to the shopping list for building the test version.

    In the meantime, there is a range of Perfect Sex Toy clothing- Ladies top, Ladies Tank Top and Long Sleeve T Shirt.

    78. Be an extra on a TV programme.

    Emily. She originally stipulated Hollyoaks, but it was decided I wasn’t blonde enough.

    79. Buy lingerie for a woman

    Penny. In person, from a shop. Original conditions- ‘Buy a woman a thermal vest in person from Pleasure and a matching set from Kendals including peep hole bra and crotchless knickers whilst dressed in a flowery dress.’

    80. Buy the Pete Waterman (SAW) compilation album

    Penny. She insists it’s not because she’s too ashamed to buy it herself. It could have been worse, she could have suggested the karaoke version

    81. Learn to salsa

    Penny and Lesley. I’d also like to learn to make the perfect salsa dip.

    82. Have sex in an ambulance or hearse

    Penny and Harry. Originally an ambulance or ‘vehicle of the dead’ while on the move.

    83. Grow a bonsai tree

    Penny. A bit of wishful thinking considering I killed my last two bonsai. My sister did buy me The Art of the Bonsai Potato for Christmas.

    84. Have a drink in every CAMRA pub in Manchester

    Harry. Originally it also said ‘within one week’ but I edited that out.

    85. Get an 8 pint certificate from The Crown in Stockport.

    What they actually do is put your name on a board in the pub and, allegedly, get you a tankard engraved with your name.

    Anyway, the challenge has been done, and recorded here and up. Pictures.

    86. Get zipped up in a US style body bag.

    Harry. Only if I can take a big knife in to cut my way out.

    87. Create art using my body.

    Penny. Originally ‘Create modern art using your body and any other body using bandages, plaster of paris and vaseline and get it displayed in a gallery.’

    88. Get a piece of art displayed in a gallery

    Me, but inspired by 87. I’m allowed to do a Banksy.

    89. See a psychiatrist

    Penny. After some of these suggestions I’ll have to.

    90. See a psychosexual counsellor

    Penny. See above. And I think this should also apply to some of the people supplying suggestions.

    91. Bowl on the Bowling Green again.

    Emily. That is, the bowling green that used to be in front of UMIST union. They’ve done horrible things to it. Does boules count?

    92. Attend a televised awards ceremony

    93. Learn a programming language

    Properly, not in the half arsed way I learnt to gaffer tape routines together in VBA. Griff says that C# is quite a lucrative area to be in.

    94. Visit every Disneyland

    This was actually Griff’s aim, but I stole it.

    This aim has been removed from the list.

    95. Get a free crate of Glenfiddich

    Sometimes breweries will gift crates of their products to writers who mention them. I’m also open to offers of Jennings Sneck Lifter.

    96. Go scuba diving on the Great Barrier Reef

    97. Get as close to an active volcano as possible

    98. Attend a gala movie premiere

    Hell, if Rebecca Loos can do it, so can I. But I’m not shagging any footballers except
    these two.

    99. Publish a cook book

    My sister’s been promising to write one for a while now. I must get her to finish it.

    100. Get ‘Ian Seat’ into the OED

    Being the position in a crowded room, bar, etc, which has the least advantageous view for eyeing up members of the opposite sex.


    101. Burn all my CDs to MP3

    102. Eat in, or from, every restaurant and kebabery in Rusholme.

    Which could be a year or so’s work. Longer, considering how rarely I eat out. It’s not called the Curry Mile for nothing.

    This replaces 94.

    103. Go Guerilla Gardening

    Next spring I’m walking around Manchester with a stick and a pocket full of seeds. I’m going to plant peas and herbs and other veg in flowerbeds and hedges.

    104. Follow the route of the M60 by bike

    Utilising side streets, riverbanks and paths.

    105. Appear in a TV commercial.

    Because they pay residuals. If it got shown enough, I could almost live off it.

    106. Make love with a cheerleader.

    Every American boy’s dream.

    105 and 106 are provisional. If no-one can come up with better suggestions, they stay!

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