OK.

Things I need to do this weekend.

1. Spend as little money as possible.
2. Go for a jog / long walk
3. Polish off the piece for Konvolut
4. Do some proper writing

5. Enter this nifty new media writing competition .
This is the bit you all should consider too. There have been so many good posts on these topics that I've seen. Paraphrase 'em so they haven't been 'published' before, and submit those babies. Hell, come up with a new article or piece. We are the children of the new media writing revolution, my brethren (and sistren) and we can type the hind legs off any number of donkeys on these subjects.

Do it.

Thank You For The Music #2

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Third of the CDs to arrive Chez Moi as a result of the Mix CD Appeal (otherwise known as the 'Stuart Begging For Music' Episode)...was Gordon's. I've been meaning to put the track listing up for ages.

Originally titled 'Something...', it heralds a new age of branding for Mr. Snowgoon. The CD is goodness itself...

Something...

1. Leftfield: Phat Planet
2. A Tribe Called Quest: Description of a Fool (Groove Armada's Acoustic Mix)
3. Ed Harcourt: Something in My Eye
4. Deltron 3030: 3030
5. Jill Scott: It's Love
6. Emperor Penguin: E.D.G.A.R.
7. Lemon Jelly: In the Bath
8. Everlast: Black Jesus
9. Handsome Boy Modelling School: The Truth
10. Smog: Held
11. Goldfrapp: Lovely Head
12. Low: Dinosaur Act
13. Kenny Larkin: Metaphor
14. Jurassic 5: Freedom

A masterful mix of styles, stuff I knew, and stuff didn't, combined with rather sexy sleeve art (there's no way I can match that, by the way...the Autoblography Ubermix currently sports a handwritten sleeve...the shame!) has sent this shiny little number spinning to the top of the pile of listened-to CDs many times over the last few weeks. Sweet stuff, dear boy. My thanks.

For some reason, I'm not exactly sure why, I picked out a CD of 'cult' TV theme tunes to listen to on the way to work today.

Being the impressionable soul that I am, I feel like I entered the Army but was too cool for school and went on to be trained as a secret agent (to a fusion of marching drums and funk guitar), I go about my daily business dressed as an archetypal businessman, but probably the only archetypal businessman to be constantly accompanied by a RADA-trained actress in a catsuit, that as part of my duties I pilot all 5 Thunderbirds, take on Impossible Missions, look moody in a polo-necked sweater in front of all of the enormous fountains of the world, plumb the depths of the ocean in Stingray, do martial arts with an umbrella, nip down to the shops in Fireball XL-5, and do all of this with virtual impunity because I was once possessed by the Mysterons and fell off a building and because of that I'm very hard to kill.

Obviously.

How this rather...specific feeling affects my working day remains to be seen...

MI5...not

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Okay.

I am a naturally curious person. Over the course of my days so far this has manifested itself as a hunger for knowledge and meaning, excellent pattern recognition, a spark of social spontaneity and generally being a nosey parker.

However.
Sometimes I think I might take things too far.
Example.

Several years ago, in one of my many fits of unrealistic enthusiasm, I bought an old second hand book from a great little shop in Weston-super-Mare. It is one of an old 'Teach Yourself' series with a test inside the dust cover which after reading and absorbing the contents you could send off to the publishers, who would in turn say, 'Well Done, Foolish Consumer,' very loudly, or something to that effect.

It is 'Teach Yourself Arabic'.

Now this is an old book....printed in 1943 (it's full of handy phrases like 'I am sending to you the two women from whom you can ask news of your daughter', and 'are you she to whom I entrusted the secret?', and the simply stellar 'I passed a snake the length of which was one cubit') and it contains a tiny slip of paper that looks to be about the same age. It is yellowed and has been folded many times. It's corners are browned, as though someone tried the old apple juice invisible ink trick on it, but it didn't work. The paper itself is letter paper. It has a light threaded pattern to it. On one side is written, in a child's hand, 'my book of Jokes'. On the other, in pen, 'DE3 3BU'.

How enigmatic.

I brought the book into work with me this morning to read at lunchtime (seriously). I had wondered, idly, when I bought the book whether DE3 3BU was a vehicle registration, a postcode or a secret password to an international book smuggling ring (hey, who are you calling over imaginative?), but today of course I have the awesome detective power of the internet at my disposal.

It turns out that 'DE3 3BU' is in fact...the postcode for...wait for it....

Brailsford Golf Club.

So; two separate people - a child (possibly) and an adult, potentially a golf player, (although through another source I have learned that the golf club might be quite new and is built on the site of a farm) used the same scrap of paper to write on, which raises the profile of the adult to golf-playing student of Arabic...possibly a parent, whose book ended up in Weston-super-Mare.

Alternatively, if we take into account both the age of the book (there is a quickly scrawled date on page 12 - 7/12/44, interestingly in the same grade of pencil and at the same sharpness of nib as the child's writing on the bookmark, but it's impossible to be sure about that) then most likely the golf club was a farm. Now call me curious (amongst other things) but what is someone associated with a farm doing learning Arabic in 1944?

Now the town's manor, Ednaston Hall, not five miles from there, has a similar postcode, and it and some farms in the surrounding area were apparently used for covert military training purposes at the time.

See?
Told you.

Arg arg arg

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Not content with the whole Star Wars Programme / Skynet / Terminator thing, something else appears to be bearing down on us.

Heads up people, here comes The Matrix...

MUH (huh!) What is it good for?

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Time from consciousness to being vertical: 16 minutes.
Amount of sleep: circa 12 minutes.
Time stood staring at pathetic dusting of snow before turning back into the house for a warmer coat: 2 minutes.

....
I've just realised, sending the first batch of CDs off today, that there are two songs with 'Devil' in the title and loads of Spanish-sounding names amongst the artistes. No underlying message, really. None. I swear. It's just good music.
....

I'm insanely busy at work, I hear about the magnitude of my insisted pay rise today, I feel as though I'd be doing better today if I'd been out in the pub 'til 11pm last night, I have lots of interlocked grey bits of fuzzy felt lining the inside of my skull, my backpack is off to the wilds of India while I stay in Hatfield, and for some reason I keep getting wrong numbers on my mobile from people asking for Alan.

Just what the hell is going on here?

Coming Soon To A Stereo Near You

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Well, I asked, and verily I recieved, and thus there were those who wailed and gnashed their teeth at what appeared to be an empty offer of a Mix CD in return for their munificence and generosity with their time and their tunes.

Then came forth from the darkness (but not 'The Darkness'),

The Autoblography ‹bermix.

And it was good.

So good.

It has been put together with the original Mix CD Donators in mind, but in a burst of industriousness there will be a couple spare...

So; copies are reserved for:

Porny Boy
Gordon
Pix

...but not Greenhamster, as he's got one already....

Which leaves two spare.

Anyone else want one? You have to be willing to give me your postal address...
(mua ha ha ha)

Update: Later, the same day

Rightyho then. The free copies have been snaggled, but if anyone else wants a copy I'll be happy to reel one off the production line (kindly supplied by housemate Khalil) for you, in exchange for a few choice selections of your own of the audio variety...but I won't be revealing the track listings until the first batch have been delivered, so if you decide now, it'll be a lucky dip...

(but believe me; it's lucky)

Green Green Grass

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Well, the Isle of Wight is still here. Call off the search!

I think my parents and I have been laughing on and off since I arrived - they're on good form. Events themselves have been helping...


Scene: Joe Daflo's Cafť/Bar, Newport Isle of Wight, late Saturday afternoon...a bustling town day. Busy streets, shops doing deals, Mums are bargain shopping, Dads are sitting patiently outside changing rooms, the Royal Artillery are recruiting in the square, and my family and some friends are taking it easy with coffees and beer as cars flick past outside. We join a conversation about my learning-to-drive hiatus...

My Dad: So what is it about driving that means you're just not enthusiastic about it?

Me: Well, I'm just not mad keen. I live near work, I can't afford a car...

My Dad: Well, are you scared? A lot of people find it intimidating.

At this point I dropped into uncontrollable laughter as all of the conversations around the table were drowned out by a huge tank topped with an array of missile launchers roaring past the window.

I played vast amounts of snooker with my Dad on Friday, went out with Mr. Foster in Newport's fair town last night (just a quiet one, you understand - all the stories about the tequila and the dancing are complete fabrications) and we're having a lazy day today.

All in all, not a bad weekend!

I won't be running coffee tomorrow morning, so would you like the honour of standing behind the counter of The Coffee Shop Of Your Very Dreams on the morrow?

Memo

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When ingeniously substituting for your missing pointer with a handy paint-stirring stick found out the back of your meeting venue, remember that vigorous pointing in the middle of your presentation may lead to loud involuntary yelps of pain due to splinters.

Well, I had an interesting day in London yesterday. More fiddling with supercomputers, and more importantly, the interesting and colourful pictures I had got them to produce.

Just don't talk to me about fluid mechanics, okay? Not that you were going to.

I finished kind of early, but not so early that it was possible to make it back to my own office by the end of the working day, so I decided to have a bit of a walkabout. Starting off near the Barbican, I wandered down to St. Paul's Cathedral in a light but refreshing drizzle, across the Millennium Bridge and into the Tate Modern.

Now, I appreciate that you might not have been to the Tate Modern, so let me give you a brief desciption. It is housed inside an old power station on the South Bank, and from the outside it is an enormous brown brick box with a cloud-reaching chimney. Inside, half of the building is your traditional museum/art gallery setup - labyrinthine galleries and staircases combined with symbolic signs that point everywhere and go nowhere, but the other half is just...space. A huge cavernous hall with epic concrete piled walls and the original lifting gear - this used to be the Turbine Hall, the name it retains. This huge space is used for one-off exhibits, unique pieces of art.

I could tell you how big I think the place is, but the numbers would be meaningless. The strange thing is, because of the majesty and general impressiveness of the place, whatever the artists do to it always makes me laugh.

The exhibits are clever and sometimes ingenious, brilliantly affecting the space itself, but it goes beyond that. They are imagination and fantasy writ large, and two facts get to me - one that someone somewhere had to pitch them..."Well I want loads of money to build a fuck-off massive red trumpetty thing, three hundred metres long, with a longboaty bit in the middle and a kinda crocussy bit at this end...", and two; that after the artist has changed the space, warped it, made it art or unreal or whatever you think it is, chlidren are always very at home there. It's as though they are comfortable because this kind of thing is what goes on in their heads all the time...

The piece that is in there at the moment stretches the size of the hall even further. Three quarters of the way up to ceiling is a false ceiling made of mirrors, increasing the sense of space by half as much again, with the added wierdness that you can see yourself wandering around up there. At one end of the hall is a large semicircle of orange light...it just does something to the space.

This picture was taken with my phone from the bridge in the middle of the hall. The marks on the ceiling are the reflections of people lying down and generally basking in the place.


I went down and joined them, sitting with my back to a girder, lost in my own thoughts, dipping in and out of my book, not really concentrating. Some bugger started taking pictures of me.

Leaving and walking along the South Bank I bumped into someone I met through RAG at Warwick, which was cool...I love it when you get one of those 'Hey, that person looks familiar...' moments...and it is them.

After ploughing through the disappointing selection of 2nd hand books under the bridges, I nipped across the Golden Jubilee Bridge, and started stomping up towards North London. Greenhamster called just before I hit Euston, we met at Picadilly, where we barricaded ourselves in a pub and didn't come out until...well, until we got hungry, really.

It was good to link together places and things I've seen only as small areas that I know surround certain Tube stops...a sort of joining up the dots. From actively disliking the place a couple of years back, I am now keen to live in London.

A Quick 'un

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Refreshing when you bump into people you know in stupidly large cities, isn't it?

If anyone's worried about Greenhamster, don't worry. I am feeding him Jerked Chilli (another novel chilli-based recipe, kind of Texan/Jamaican fusion) and Pizza, and showing him episode after episode of the first series of 24, which I haven't yet seen all of and am quite enjoying.

I've sorted out going home to the Isle of Wight this weekend, so I shalt be absent for Friday cocktails over at Uborka, but may well be mixing some real ones with the family and the family parrot...which I'm rather looking forward to, it has to be said. I haven't been home since Christmas, which might not seem a long time in the greater scheme of things, but it feels like a couple of ice ages have come and gone since then.

Note to self: (which has the bonus of applying to anyone else who wants it to)

Call home.

Cobbles, Coquettry and Coffee

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Wedge that door shut well behind thee, Miss, and collapse into the just bought-from-new Louis XIII chaise longue.

We've had the glaziers in again, this time to provide hundreds of those incredibly thick fish-eye lens type panes of glass, which fit into the new bay windows brilliantly, letting in light but not letting the average 17th century passer-by see in, which is all very well as I know that someone here is bound to use their mobile and mess up The Coffee Shop of Your Very Dreams' first attempt at a time travel.

But I'm not looking at anyone in particular...

I've spent most of the day rigging up The Coffee Machine to run on steam. It came with a backup generator in case of powercuts, but I imagine my commercial neighbours might get a bit alarmed by the throaty roar of a large diesel kicking up out the back. Anyway, The Coffee Shop of Your Very Dreams opens onto a narrow cobbled street in North London. Passing trade is minimal, which is to our advantage...but I'm worried about the horses. The Coffee Machine isn't quiet when it goes off...and the horses aren't fragrant when they go off, either.

I've brought a few ingredients with me from the future, so we should be okay.

Right, well everything's together, so push the button and off we go...

FUNNY TO NOTICE THAT NO ONE ASKED FOR A MILKSHAKE, CONSIDERING HOW POPULAR THEY'RE MEANT TO BE AT THE MOMENT. IT'S NOT AS IF IT'S HARD TO MAKE A MILKSHAKE, AND AS FOR CHARGING FOR TEACHING PEOPLE HOW TO MAKE POPULAR ONES, IF YOU'RE THAT DESPERATE TO BRING ALL THE BOYS TO THE YARD, MCDONALDS WILL ACTUALLY pay you to learn, ah - all done.

Right then...Shmeder dropped by to reply to a comment left over at her place (I'm guessing at gender, sorry, but I'm hazarding female what with the pink and loving the smell of men. I had to make a choice...and of course leave an explanation that will unfailingly offend either way) about aerosol cheese, so I'm not sure if she wanted anything, so here, have a coffee...

Resplendent in the finest fashions the age has to offer is Pix, delicately sipping a quadruple espresso....and Mr. Curtis nťe Hobbes has a short one also.

Green Fairy is bringing our license (if we had one) into doubt by converting this respectable Penny University into a depraved Gin-drinking den, and of course we love her for it. One bottle of Bombay Sapphire...almost certainly the smoothest alcoholic drink in the world at this time...being the 17th century, and all.

Hanni ventures for tea, which is of course the very finest the Indian trade routes can provide...

Both Mr.D and Dave are impressing us with their historical knowledge/use of Google, asking for coffee a lŠ Lloyds. You'll have to be careful gentlemen. Using the French expression 'a lŠ' in this day and age could get you thumped on the back of the head for being a suspected French spy. Gordon can have one as well. You'll be glad to know that this way, the beans are boiled in the water, meaning there is just nowhere else for the caffiene to go...

...and with one foot firmly in the 21st century and with a firm welcome back after a brief absence, Trixie gets her icy little Frappucino.

I think that's about everyone for today...first one out might need a shovel for the horseshit.

A Tap In The Pocket

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Autoblography Towers is entertaining at present.

The Greenhamster has business to attend to, over the hill from London Village, and I offered some floor/airbed space gladly. This may have been after he mentioned the money, but I would have done it gladly anyway, I swear.

This week promises to be busy both socially and...workily (coming soon to a dictionary near you) and posts may be thin on the ground, so to compensate, I shall be making them 33% better...guaranteed.

Coffee on this fine, strapping young Monday will be served up along the theme of the 17th Century.

Just to clarify, we're talking the Penny University-type period, bodices, wigs, just after the Pope publicly approved of the drink, but when the three hundred or so coffee shops in London were still popular with merchants, shippers, brokers and artists, regardless of what he said.

Don a tricorn hat or a rather fetching bonnet according to gender and/or preference, and let me know what you require, gentle people.

Weighted Conversation

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During a day spent mucking about with the bastard lovechild of a Kray Supercomputer and the much loved 1980s MB game Operation, I checked The Autoblography's comments on WAP at lunchtime and spotted Jane's comment on Wednesday's post...I took some advice from the Greenhamster via SMS...


"I've been dared to cause havoc. Which country do you like the least?"


"Your challenge is to hit Vatican City, officially the smallest county in the world. It's like darts, only with ICBMs."


"Strike called off because I know a great little bar in Rome, which would suffer unacceptable collateral damage. The Pope lives to Pontificate another day."


"Ok, Malta then. Those jumped up monkeys wont know what hit em!!!"


"Did I mention that I went on holiday there once...er, in 1990? Some, ah, quite fond memories? Not that I haven't cracked the Russian Govt. yet or anything..."


"There's interesting there. What, you gonna steal the new version of Tetris or something? Anyway, what about Grenada? Never been there, could live without..."

And so I did.

Keep an Eye on the Sky

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Things might be a trifle quiet at Autoblography Towers tomorrow, as I'm off into London to fiddle with supercomputers.

So if tomorrow brings an international ICBM strike, widespread anarchy and the collapse of the global economy......sorry.

First offence?

Maxims, Change, and Home

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It's funny. I've been living life for the last week or so - unwittingly, I admit - by a number of maxims that are bandied around a lot amongst the very old and the very young. The kind of sayings that I learned to filter out of conversation for being so much pretentious bollocks...

Early to bed, and early to rise...
Work hard, play hard...

I've really hurled my shoulder to work in every sense. I've been working hard in the office, writing a lot at home (in the aforementioned 'early to rise' hours) and exercising a fair old bit as well, and I have to say, while it is tiring (Early to bed! SHOCK!) I feel pretty damned good on it.

Mine is the kind of contrary nature that acknowledges the way something should be done, and then lapses considerably away from that way, just to prove that I, Stuart, don't have to. Not, I, oh no. I'm the exception that proves the rule.

...only it's so much hard bloody work. Sure, I know from experience that I can be out, in Camden, say, until 2am, get up and put in a day's work. But it's a hell of a lot of effort. This way everything coasts along easily, I'm not hunkering over (either) desk concentrating on not being tired, and I am really doing well.

I'll be the first to admit that this might not last long, but hell, it's just surprised me how good I feel at this very moment.

I've been up before the sun for the last week or more, and I heard something I'd not noticed before in Hatfield. The sound of wood pigeons, hooting gently through that crisp blue light before dawn. A feeling that takes me back to one morning when, (unusually) I woke up well before it was time to get up for primary school and I lay in bed with the sun glowing around the outside of my curtains feeling incredibly comfortable, peaceful and above all, happy - that here was I, listening to the song of birds and the breeze in the trees outside my window, with a summer day ahead of me, with all sorts of things to busy me, and to tax me, but at that moment there was no need to do..anything.

Peace.

So from that morning, the sound of wood pigeons has always reminded me of home. It strikes me as something that might be true for other people as well...

What takes you home?

Begging Letter

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Dear Toby,

Hi! How are you?

I got an email not so long ago to say that you were putting on another Top Banana London! This made me very excited as I really enjoyed the last one. It rocked The Camden Centre really quite hard.

What I want to say is, that I really enjoyed DJing for the short time I got to...(I know there were lots of us ex-Union DJs volunteering!) and I want to offer my services again. I'm sure Ben would be up for it, as he and I are still on the cards to DJ some RAG events up at Warwick at some point, and would love to DJ again in London.

The last Top Banana London was so good, and it really looks like you've got everything sorted for this time around, so needless to say I am here if you need me.

Please.

I need it.

Thank you.

Yours, more sincerely than you could ever imagine,

Stuart

PS: I promise not to drink more than my fair share of the rider this time.

WARNING: Safety may be dangerous

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(Bollocks to plain English...)

We all know that aircraft crashes are dangerous things. But what are the chances of being one of the fatalities in an air travel safety occurence?

What do you do if there's a sudden outbreak of safety on an aeroplane? Are there experts, consultants or scientists you can turn to for information? WHAT ARE THE GOVERNMENT DOING ABOUT THIS? I ask you - because I've never had it happen to me. All my flights have been footloose and above all safety occurence free...

I'd say, 'Be careful', but that would only make things worse.

Just...beware.

Хорошо Coffee

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Добро пожаловать к кофейне ваших сновидений. Добро пожаловать одно, и гостеприимсво каждое.

...and welcome to everyone who speaks English, too.

There might be a slight undercurrent smell of window putty if you're sitting nearer the large windows at the front of the Coffee Shop Of Your Very Dreams, as I've had the glaziers in...just to add a couple of extra sheets of glass to keep in the warmth.

Whilst jaunting around the globe, the coffee shop always aims for somewhere that will mean it can open discreetly, so as not to concern any locals about where the hell a brand new cafť has come from, and also somewhere it can vanish from in time for next Monday without turning heads. So; in order to keep a low profile, we open our doors this morning on the pale wintry light of Red Square, Moscow. There was a light dusting of snow overnight, meaning the cobbles outside are something treacherous. As regulars, I know you won't mind the odd local being helped inside for something strengthening after going for a slide on the pavement.
Anyway, gather round the open fires, sink into furnishings so lush they haven't been seen round here since the days of the last Tsar, and get chatting to your neighbour...even if they're a 78 year old greatcoated Grandmother who started out shopping for black bread and had an untimely scuffling fall on the cobbles outside.

So; looking at the orders list we have a fair few lined up for this morning..or afternoon...I just have to feed in the ingredients...what's this spinny thing? Hmm. Four optics on a rotating thingy. One for each type of spirit. One litre of Smirnoff Red, one of Blue, one of Black and one of...Stolichnaya. Yes, well, it'll be nice to actually have some Russian vodka doing the rounds.

It always amuses me - the note on the Stoli bottle - 'Remember - only Russian vodka comes from Russia'.

Right. One bag of premium espresso grind, from beans placed meticulously in front of an advancing glacier in the Ob basin fifty years ago, ground excruciatingly slowly and kept fresh by millenia-old ice. It's a speciality thing, apparently. Some syrup slides in there...mmm, nutty...cloves, orange peel, a bottle of worcestershire sauce...more cloves, tomatoes, a few cranberries grown on the shores of the Black Sea...now then. There are a row of small shiny pewter teapot things along this bar, all with charcoal stoves underneath...best leave them alone...and a small glass figurine with three pouring lips around her head in the shape of a crown. Click that into place...

I think that's everything. Time to push the button.

RIGHT WELL, JUST LET THAT OLD MAN SIT DOWN, WILL YOU KATE, HE'S A BIT SHAKEN! I CAN'T UNDERSTAND RUSSIAN THAT WELL...SOMETHING ABOUT HIS SHOP BEING HERE ONLY YESTERDAY...YES I KNOW I THOUGHT IT WAS JUST A BLANK WALL AS WELL...and everything is ready.

The first of the finest Siberian Caravan Tea from the row of samovars goes to Green Fairy. Weeeooo! Smell those cloves...next up comes Daniella's tea...spicy!

To Wendy goes a magnificent splash of freshly squeezed and sweetened cranberry juice with her Smirnoff Black...there's coffee here if you want it, Wendy...

Hanni goes for a more traditionally Cafť-related latte, with a shot of vanilla syrup...and help yourself to vodka, my dear. I'd recommend the ice-cold Stolichnaya, but it's a personal choice.

The greenhamster opts for espresso with a shot of Smirnoff Red vodka...an interesting variation on the Cafť Coretto from last week...let me know how it tastes, Mr. Hamster, sir.

One Bloody Mary coming right up for Porny Boy Curtis, who will be thrilled to know that whilst my own PC is still a bit scragged, I have access to another for CD production purposes...and a large filter coffee to follow, garnished with shot glasses.

...and an espresso with Smirnoff Blue for Mr. D...I hope vodka and espresso tastes okay...and doesn't kill you or anything. I'm serving an awful lot of them...and a rich coffee-based Black Russian for Gordy-chops..which surely just means that it's less alcoholic than normal? Enjoy...

Now, a man with a recipe to back up his vodka consumption is Dave, who combines coffee with vodka, nut syrup and cream to give his alcoholism a touch of credence. Nice one Dave, but we're all friends here. The bottle's behind the bar if you want to top up.

Now...this figurine...from a clear crystal it is now filled top-full of black, black espresso coffee. It is a Russian Doll Coffee glass, reserved for Kate. What an excellent choice. And such style...

Finally, with requests that don't really involve the Coffee Machine of Your Very Dreams, are a bottle of Smirnoff Ice for S, and a bottle of Baltika, a none-too-rough Russian brew, for Spengy, both from the well-stocked fridges behind the bar.

Drink up, everyone, and help yourself to a slice of Black Russian Cake, complementing the theme nicely. What's this on the recipe list?

Would you believe it - the cake has vodka in it as well.

{Deep voice}
Oh, those Russians...
(Yes I was listening to Boney M over the weekend)

A late order for Lolly - why not have a refreshing glass of kumiss?

Kalashnikoffee

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The Cafť of Your Very Dreams would like to invite it's patrons to view the bulbous and magnificent spires of the Kremlin across Red Square. It's a mite chilly, but the fires are high, there may very well be vodka in store to go with the hotter beverages, but we'll see. It might be a little early, but hey; it's Russia.

Communal vodka is another way of saying 'Babechik, its cold outside.'

What will you be having?

Very Cosy Thank You

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It was a colleague's leaving drinks last night.

I could leave it there; it might explain itself. But we got the style, and the style takes longer.

St. Alban's is a dangerous place to drink.

For starters, it is very easy there. Pub crawls can be planned in advance, using no more than a pointed finger from one end of the intended street.

Secondly, it is very good there. St. Alban's is the home of CAMRA - the Campaign for Real Ale. The pubs and bars are excellent.

Thirdly, there are cash dispensers everywhere. And the buses run late into the night. And there's a friendly atmosphere. The bouncers are chirpy and courteous.

All of this makes St. Albans positively lethal.

Let me take you through my inventory this morning:

Limbs: Present, sound condition.

Clothing from night out: Present.

Balance: Intermittent

Additional clothing gained in the course of the evening: One scarf, yellow, Jameson's and O'Neill's logos. One scarf, green, Jameson's and O'Neill's logos. One hat, green, Jameson's and O'Neill's logos.

Scarf I started out with: Present. Smoky aroma.

Vague memories of running laughing with everyone through a live shot on the set of a scene from an upcoming episode of Foyle's War while one of my colleagues attempted to get the phone number of one of the extras: One

Business card of Curry House: One.

I think that's about everything. By the end of the night at about 1am there were only three people left, wearing far too many scarves, tearing naans and bitching mercilessly.

But with style, obviously.

An Apology

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You might not have even known that I was away, but it is time to say that Iím back.

Paul Theroux said, ĎThe more I enjoy something, the less I try to see it as workí.

If you didn't hear him then it is obvious you haven't been paying attention.

I have started reading again, but not yet writing. Blogging isn't writing, well, not for me anyway...apart from the occasional piece. I have to view them as separate, otherwise I fail to write, but still blog my backside into the next room at every sitting.

There's a lot I want to say at the moment, and a lot I want to explain, what with this being my Autoblography and everything. Stuff that should go down onscreen for this to stay that way. But this has changed from being something which is, to borrow a phrase, flat like a photograph. This is life, and this is direct communication with you rather than the setting down of words for anonymous passersby to idly flick through. I started out wanting this to be an autobiographical thing, almost like a no-holds barred portrait and account of my life as it went along.
But now Iím barring at least a few holds, and as both photographer and subject, there are things I cannot show you, even though I feel like Iím going back to the beginning and fiddling with what I set out to do.

The more Iím enjoying something, the less I want them to see it at work.

I don't want to stop blogging, so Iím going anonymous, kids. Another few days and all references to my name will disappear from this site. The old (blog*spot) blog will die, and this site will be all there is.
Hell, this site rates pretty highly in searches for just ĎStuartí, let alone my full name. That thing at the top? Itís just a picture. Itís not at home to Mr. Google, but that will be leaving soon as well...just altered, that's all.

But, because of that anonymity (something Iím scrabbling for in what feels to be a rather shameful way) things will be more secure. It wonít start interfering with me looking for a job, for starters. Old friends wonít find me, either. Itís a mixed bag.

If you'd do me a great favour, if you link to me as Stuart dada's Autoblography...then my name is contained in the link, so could you delete my name, or even just my surname? It would help. Thank you.

So this isnít an hiatus announcement or a backout. It is an announcement of a return, an awakening, and a battening down of a few loose hatches.

This is stuff I should have done from the very beginning really, but hey. I wanted FAME.
My name in lights...or pixels, or anything really.

We all want to be big stars, but we donít know how, and we donít know why.

Iím purely working on this life thing at the moment, let alone anything else, but itís a lot more complicated than the product brochures made out.
Itís like flat-pack furniture in that respect. It arrives in 2D, the instructions are in 2D, but the thing itself grows an extra dimension as you go along.

George

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Thank You For The Music

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On the big musical theme, I watched High Fidelity for the first time last night. It was originally recommended to me in 2001 by Gh when I split up from my girlfriend at university, but I was too busy DJing to watch a film about a DJ who'd split up with his girlfriend.

As it were.

The Stuart Mix CD Appeal has so far yielded two CDs, but I'm getting the impression that there might be a couple of others in the pipeline...that'd be the big pipeline that The Royal Mail sticks things in and with a big blast of hot air whooshes things all over the country, then.

GET THE FECK ON WITH IT!

Sorry.

Anyway, the first Mix CD arrived a mere 24 hours after the start of the Appeal, but that was because the creator kinda cheated and delivered it by hand whilst coming to Hatfield for a weekend of partying.

The Greenhamster Mixes

So Much to Say - Dave Matthews Band
Lava - SilverSun
Pretend Best Friend - Terrorvision
Get A Grip - Semisonic
I'll take you there - The Stape Singers
Joe le Taxi - Vanessa Paradis
Superhero - Girl Next Door
Forgive Me - Mansun
On and On - The Longpigs
Haligh, Haligh... - Bright Eyes
Immune - Tinfed
Somebody Someone - Korn
Won't Back Down - Fuel
Superstar - Saliva
Trip Like I Do - Crystal Method
Bogeyman - Red Snapper
Medication Time - The Escapists
Special Cases - Massive Attack


I like this muchly. It combines great songs by bands I've heard of but never actually heard (if you get me) with oldies but goodies, and it progresses from funky/rocky to chilled to pretty fucking outraged to calm. All good.
Interesting inclusions would have to include Semisonic's 'Get a Grip On Yourself', which ranks as the funniest song about masturbation since I first heard Greenday's 'All By Myself'. Not only that, but the Stape Singers' track 'I'll take you there' is what was sampled for Salt 'n' Pepa's hit 'Let's Talk About Sex'.
I am in awe at the thought and majesty of this mix.
Thanks.

Second up was the grin-inducing offering from Porny Boy Curtis - 'Muh-be-gone' tag-line: 'It's a fucking miracle'

Promising to take the listener from 100% Muh to 0% inside of one listen, the track listing went as follows:

Muh-be-Gone

Lonnie Liston Smith - Expansions
Jesus and Mary Chain - I Love Rock'n'Roll
Big Star - I'm in Love With A Girl
Karl Denver Trio - Wimoweh
Colourbox - Unofficial World Cup Theme
Breeders - Drivin' on 9
Porny Boy Curtis - Candle In The Wind
Wu-Tang Clan - Gravel Pit
Lemon Jelly - Staunton Lick
Divine Comedy - Everybody knows
Leonard Cohen - Don't Go Home With Your Hard On
Husker Du - Eight Miles High
Eilart Pilarm - Jailhouse Rock
Government Mule - John the Revelator
Le Tigre - Deceptacon
Serge Gainsbourg - Ballade de Melody Nelson
Public Enemy vs. Dexy's Midnight Runners
Apples in Stereo - Go
Donald Byrd - Witch Hunt

Once again, there has been some serious thought and consideration put into this little baby. Not least in the marketing and aesthetic composition of the cover. From the opening track, which I first heard on the soundtrack to Grand Theft Auto: Vice City, through the several laugh-getters (Me, reading the back for the first time...Candle in the Wind? Candle in the Wind?) to the as-cool-as-it-gets few final tracks, this is one compilation guaranteed to rid your world of tedious exploding-head misery...which is exactly what it says on the tin.

Outstanding, Mr. Curtis. Thank you very much!

I feel damned musical now...and certainly more justified in wearing my headphones at all times when I'm not wearing a tie, in the shower, or sleeping...

Coffee To Go

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Right.

This is Italian Coffee Day.

No messing.

So, whilst so busy I'm blurring round the edges, and also reeling from one of the biggest, grin-inducing coincidences the world has EVER SEEN, this is Takeaway Coffee Of Your Very Dreams; the usual orgasmic coffee and other drinks, only the sofas are gone and the chairs are designed to get uncomfortable after twenty minutes.

First up is PB Curtis, who is also busy. Espresso to go!

Next: Gordon, also one impatient coffee customer...OI! Signore! I ain't got all afternoon'a waitchaknow. Latte Grande.
De nada.

Dave gets his straight coffee ballistically, rebounded off the light fittings. That's just how busy he is. One espresso, already drunk. Look at that man go.
Whoosh.

Green Fairy gets a banana milkshake with a Roman Scoop of ice cream bobbing cheerfully in the top. This one has been served so fast that the bananas have yet to realise what the hell is going on.
EVERYONE! ELBOWS OFF THE COUNTER PER FAVORE!
Yes! I've always wanted to slide a drink along the bar like that. Enjoy!

An espresso cup full of a hot clear liquid...WOWSERS. Pure caffeine for Hanni...careful girly girl!

If I'm not mistaken, Valencia is in SPAIN. But never mind. One Mocha Valencia for Pix, with extra orangey syrup made by that most Italian of chocolate manufacturers, Terry's. Enjoy, Diva!

More Italian Chocolate, this time of the hot variety. Heads up! One frothy special for Lolly, hurled with such force that it has bounced off the head of the swarthy traffic policeman who is lurking in the cobbled street outside the cafť, wondering who all the virtual Vespas belong to, and straight into Lolly's outstretched hand.
Well caught sir.

A gert cappucino for Shivery three espressos (sorry - I was in a rush and miscounted), which gets frisbeed with some effort and has started, spinning-top style, to work its way round the dado rail near the ceiling. When it runs out of oomph it'll drop...just in front of you Shiv, in fact, but hey at least you won't have to stir it.

A large latte for Karen, served so fast that it actually arrived in her seating place yesterday afternoon. I'll heat that up for you...in fact no. Have a fresh one.

K has temporarily joined the staff here at the Coffee Shop Of Your Very Dreams, so she shouldn't really be enjoying the wares, but seeing as we're busy but coping by serving this damn fast, that'll be one macchiato, on the house.

All this leaves time for a rushed Cafť Coretto for me, an espresso with a shot of grappa added for good taste. Ah, wonderful. Strong enough to send a hippo hyperactive.

There you go people, VERY late, but hey, it's-a-better than nothing.

Come on, come on, drink up! There are other customers waiting....I might have to hire a sullen Italian waiter to stare at you. Mind you, he'll have to be ugly, otherwise certain people will be chatting to him all day...and on my wages!

Proper post tomorrow, no doubt...enjoy your drink.

Good Morning Earth

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Even - in fact, especially, if it isn't morning where you are.

Italian coffees today, if you'd be so good, keeping the Mafia/Parmalat references to a minimum, thanks.

The Coffee Shop Of Your Very Dreams is at hand to supply a Continental Kick to your Monday morning. All that it requires is that you order...

God of Wine

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Come back, Bacchus. All is forgiven.

Sorry about that, mate. Pull up a chair.

This weekend feels like it has been made up entirely of fatigued recovery.

Oh, and dancing.

Lots of dancing.

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