Planarchy Archive - February 2003

Friday 28th February 2003

A friend of mine regaled us with this story from her mother back in Ireland.....

A friend's family had spent the day at Dublin Zoo, a very successful day right up until the end of the picnic lunch when they realised their six year old son was missing.  Along, it should be noted, with his lunch-box and rucksack.  Much frantic searching eventually revealed the youngster, dirty and disheveled but otherwise apparently OK, round the back of the penguin enclosure.  The errant son was in big trouble and the day out ended there.  He said nothing all the way home, sitting apparently full of remorse, in the very back of the people carrier, curled up with his coat and rucksack.  When they arrived home he ran straight upstairs for a bath without any bidding at all.  He clearly knew he was in very big trouble.

He stayed in the bathroom for over an hour before his mother decided his verbal assurances were not enough.  She opened the door to the sight of her beloved son sharing his bath with a small but perfectly formed and very, very real penguin.

Yep, her son had kidnapped a baby penguin and smuggled it back home in his rucksack.  The zoo, it has to be said, were not amused and called the Police.  However,after much argument and a character reference from the boy's form teacher no charges were pressed.  But the family were warned never to return to the Zoo.

But what a kid, eh? 

And what a story. 

I knew straight away I had to share it with you.  But first I went and Googled, because I knew you would.  And I found this

Some days I hate the internet.

And I don't have the heart to tell my friend.



Tuesday 25th February 2003

Yesterday Dee was chosen to read a poem for school assembly. 

It had to be an animal poem. 

Now, usually Dee is a fluffy bunny type girl.  So I was most impressed that her chosen poem was The Baboon Who Wanted to Fly to the Sun by the much missed Spike Milligan.  It's not one of Spike's most anarchic or anti-establisment pieces  but, hey, little acorns and all that. 

Sunday 23rd February 2003

Did I mention young Dee (12) was cooking super last night.  Well, she was.  It was a little soiree to celebrate Zee's mum's birthday with the DKNZ four, the mother in question and Zee's two brothers.  Dee has never cooked a whole meal before but she was determined to cook this for "her nan".  So, with a little bit of pressure we came with the following menu:

Cucumber, Cheese and Chive Dip (sans Chives).

Spaghetti Puttanesca


Coffee and no biscuits

Keen readers will understand the lack of chives (yesterday's piece less-keen readers) and the Puttanesca was chosen because:

a) It's relatively simple
b) Everyone will eat it
c) It features in the first book of the "A Series of Unfortunate Events" collection by the wonderfully named Lemony Snicket.  Since Dee is currently loving this series of books it wasn't too hard to persuade her to go for this dish. 

But why is it called Puttanesca?  I've always assumed it was because it is a simple dish easily prepared from ingredients that even a prostitute would have in her cupboard (though why a prostitute should be less well equipped in the kitchen cupboard department suggests totally unfounded assumptions on my part). 
But the rest of the table (I'm used to being in the minority) were of the opinion that it was so named as it was hot and spicy, just like a prostitute (!).  Maybe the rest of the table has more experience of prostitutes than I do, but frankly their explanation sounds bollocks to me. 

So, we referred back to Delia, it was after all her recipe.  She says "Presumably the sauce has adopted this name because it's hot, strong and gutsy.." 

Doh!  I mean err, I rest my case.  If Delia (queen of the back to basics cooking brigade) says it's so, it obviously aint. 

So what of Google?  Well, this site agrees with me, this one has a variation on the Delia theme and this one has a third version in which "Puttanesca was served by the ladies of the evening in order to allure their gentlemen friends into their arms". I wonder if ladies of the evening are a lesser form of prostitute than "ladies of the night".....part timers maybe.

Anyway, we still don't know who's right (though obviously, chances are that it's me).  But, as ever your comments are more than welcome.

Oh, and the meal was absolutely delicious.  An excellent first effort from young Dee.


Saturday 22nd February 2003

OK, today a lesson in middle-class intellectual snob superiority backfiring...

I was searching for chives in Sainsbury's this morning but couldn't find any.  After half an hour of searching I finally resorting to asking (hey, I'm a guy, it's not natural, OK!) a member of staff.

"Have you any chives?"

"Err, vats an 'erb aint it?" she replied.

"Yes, it is a herb," I condescended.

But then I thought, no, I suppose it could be an herb after all.  And I believe our US readers too would call it an 'erb

And I'm sure I'll be corrected on both counts if I'm wrong.


Oh, and they didn't have any.

Thursday 20th February 2003

Whilst I never expected everyone who started my Ski-Blog to get to the final installment, I never thought that more folk would read part 4 than part 3.  Yet the visitor stats suggest just that.

The wonderful folk who come by here are clearly weirder than I deserve.

Thank you all.



Wednesday 19th February 2003

In case you haven't guessed, Zee and I went to see "The Hours" last night.  What can I say but "Wow, what a film".  Zee was worried that I wouldn't like it, too much of a "chick-flick" she feared. 

But not all. 

I loved it. 

Zee said she loved the clothes....
I have to agree that Ed Harris's costume in particular was outstanding.  How thrilled he must have been to get to wardrobe everyday to get into it.

Otherwise, I was most taken at the way a film which revolves around suicide could be so uplifting and positive.  No really!.

Outstanding performances from everyone involved, from the main triumvirate, through the ever watchable Ed Harris, right on to the the simply divine Claire Danes.

Wonderful, highly recommended.


Monday 17th February 2003

I bought the Datsuns' album this weekend, it's OK, if a bit "rock" (are they serious?).  But the thing about the album which stood out was it's length.  At a smidge over thirty-nine minutes it fails to fully utilize the seventy-plus minutes enabled by a shiny CD platter.  The musically more pleasing Libertines album was shorter still, just over thirty-seven minutes.  But I'm not really complaining, I'm not one of those who'd rather have the full seventy minutes than have half as much of total quality.  Do the same people moan about short stories or art-work at less than 10x8 (feet).

But even this isn't really my point. 

When I were a lad albums were just under forty-five minutes long.  This was fine and dandy as it meant they would fit on one side of a C90.   I used to hate albums that ran over onto the other side of the tape.... you either had to find a shorter album to accompany them or loads of singles.


So congratulations to both The Datsuns and the Libertines and their albums fit for the golden age of music.

That is, the one I grew up in.


Saturday 15th February 2003

Gone marching.....

...or strictly speaking, gone to Sainsbury's to do the weekly shopping and then going marching.



Friday 14th February 2003

I was perusing the list of celebs, politicians and academics who are supporting the various Stop the War efforts when i was shocked to the see the name Phil Collins.  "How strange," I thought, "Wouldn't have thought the ex-Genesis drummer and Motown classic murderer would have had anything to do with such a lefty cause.

But then I noticed it said "Musician" by his name.

So, another Phil Collins presumably. 


Thursday 13th February 2003

"Tidy desk, tidy mind," they say.

To my eternal shame I've not yet had the courage to reply....

"Tidy desk, anal retentive," or even...

"But  who wants a tidy mind?"

But one day.


Wednesday 12th February 2003


"If someone built a pool,
That kept you nice and cool,
The way that you and ice cold Coke do,
It ought to sell a milion, zillion, quillion,
It's gonna sell a million..."  sang the lovely Lynn Paul, formely songstress with the wonderfully wholesome New Seekers (above far right.)

It was an advert for Coca Cola, in case you didn't spot it.  Relatively inoffensive, I think you'll agree.  Lynn Paul and the New Seekers weren't high principled anarcho-punks after all, and back then we probably thought that soft drinks were pretty innocuos things.

But we've all come a long way since then, haven't we?  And our cynicism has been rewarded with the same from the odious marketing and ad execs.  First there was the series of McDonals adverts that subverted the political message to be found in the BigMac Index (how long does a third world worker have to work to buy a BigMac) into a hilarious "It takes an estate agent thirty seconds to earn enough for a quarter pounder (or whatever)."

And now we have this from Jeep.....

Yep, that's right.  They've had enough of environmentalists whining about 4x4's on the school run fucking up everything and rather than deny it have decided to tell us not to care.  So what if it rains until November, eh?  Snug and warm inside your Jeep, why should you care?


Rant over.


Monday 10th February 2003

OK, one for anyone who was ever a goth/ punk/normal teenager and therefore felt the need to dress totally in black.  There is, says today's Grauni, a new shade of black. 

And it's 25 times blacker than any previous shade. 

You know you need it!

Sunday 9th February 2003

Kay's maths homework required her to be timed on repetitions of the same set of sums.  So we found a stopwatch.

"No, that's much too fast!" spake young Kay seeing the centi-seconds fly by.

As ever, she's spot on.  Where does it all go?


And speaking of time and it's inexorable march, I found this link of the real-time rapidly disappering twin towers at Wembley at Hydragenic (excellent as ever!).  Spooky!


Saturday 8th February 2003

Right, I've finally finished my ski-trip report.  It's here and there are lots of words.

For those wanting to see a selection of my favourite pictures from the ski-ing weekend, try here instead.  The pictures included in the written report are different, by the way.


Wednesday 5th February 2003

Today's piece started yesterday really. 

Over at Troubled Diva, Mike mentioned it was the 20th anniversary of Karen Carpenters death.  "Yesterday Once More", one of their hits, was the second record I ever bought.  47 pence from my local music store, "Rhythm" ( advertising refrain "There's no music without Rhythm...".) 

I thought I'd dig out the single and give it a whirl to see how it sounded.  As I remember it was one of those records that I really did wear out with playing.

But I couldn't find it. 

Where has it gone? 

I don't think I sold it (the fate of much of the rest of my early record collection) and surely it didn't get lost in some Stalinist purge as I tried for a hipper record collection?  After all, I found some even more cringe-worthy tracks in the box.  The Bay City Rollers and "Where do you go to my lovely" by Peter Sarstedt, for instance..... and yes, I was one of those sad gits at parties playing that song on a guitar long after I should have known better. 

But 'tis lost, no evidence of the Carpenters exist in my record collection.  Very strange, everything else seems to be there.  Also strange that I can only remember the first (another time maybe) and second singles I ever bought.  Why was the third not significant? 

And what about the last? 

Have I bought my last single yet?  I don't buy them much nowadays, Billy Bragg's "Take Down Your Union Jack" was the most recent, last year, I think.  But will that be the last?  Shouldn't it be as significant as one's first?


Monday 3rd February 2003

Today at Brownshirts young Kay was mainly making fortune cookies.  Mine said "You should try to write neater!"

Fair comment, my typing is bad enough.


Saturday 1st February 2003

I have long known how my choice of musical listening can affect my driving.  Pacey-punk precipitates an aggressive driving style whilst classic 70's pop has me chirpily letting other drivers have the right of way.  It's not a revolutionary finding, I'm sure you've all witnessed a similar phenomenon to a lesser or greater degree.  But today I discovered there were similar effects to be had on typing.  "Ça Plane pour Moi" (it's a long story, sort of started here in Sh's piece) had me rocketing away at the keyboard nineteen to the dozen whilst more sedentary pieces saw the word rate really tailing off.

The only drawback was that the fastly typed bit was all in French. 

Which I don't I've no idea whether it was any good or not.

Quelle domage.



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