Friday, May 27, 2005

Big Silver Cup

That's me...bottom left... Posted by Hello

So Liverpool won the European Champions' League in Istanbul on Wednesday and then the team brought the cup back to Liverpool on Thursday. One bloody million people turned out along the parade route to greet them...and I was one of them. It's a bit hard to see me in the picture because I am behind that bus - which also happens to contain the team and the cup...but I assure you I was has been great to relive my youth.
The people of Liverpool, the press and TV stations in England and myself...we all got delirious about this game, its tension, the terrible first half, the successful comeback...and then penalties...and unbelievably... victory!!!!
700,000 pints of beer were sold and maybe even drunk on the Wednesday night in the various pubs in the city. I don't know how they measure these things but I must have brought down the average...I couldn't get into a pub!
All that for a big silver cup? Yeah!!

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

The Final Countdown

Liverpool is in final fever. The final is the European Champions’ League Final, the game is football (real football), the opponents Liverpool FC and AC Milan, the venue Istanbul and kick off is tomorrow 20.45 CET.

Although Liverpool is on the western extreme of Europe and Istanbul on the eastern, the 2 cities separated by over 3 thousand kilometres, the excitement is palpable; Istanbul has been renamed “Istanpool”.

I was in the city centre yesterday; people are walking around wearing red fezzes, cars are driving round with red flags stuck on their doors, houses are decked out in the red of LFC, all conversations seem to be connected in some way to tomorrow night. A bazaar of opinion on who will play, what the tactics will be, what the score will be…

Unhappy circumstances have led to me being here this week but there was some Glück im Unglück. I was wondering where to watch…at home there would be no atmosphere, in the local pubs too crowded…and I had the fortune of being on the right website at the right moment. An LFC website RAWK announced that they had managed to get the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Hall to show the game on their Walturdaw screen and they had tickets to give away.


By chance I was on the site about 5 minutes after this had been posted, I sent a mail, got my name down for a ticket and went yesterday with an 80% conviction that it was all a hoax and

So tomorrow from 6.15 I will be sitting nervously in the Royal Philharmonic Hall where the resident organist will be playing Liverpool FC related music (!?) till 7.15 when the screen rises and from then on I will be surviving on a diet of chewed fingernails till the final whistle – whenever it may be.

Monday, May 23, 2005

Another Home Run

Nearing the end of a long drive - 22 hours from Munich Posted by Hello

I am back in England this week. The vultures seem to be gathering over my mother…doctors, social workers, therapists, staff sisters...all with their own agendas and their own perspectives.

I want to be here to talk to them to try and put my mother’s viewpoint – in as much as I can estimate what it is – and find out how much say I really have in any decisions which are being considered for her at the moment.

Perhaps it is unfair of me to call them vultures – it is just that it must be easy to deal with a patient the way that suits you when she cannot say what she thinks or what she wants and there is no-one else there to represent her side of the story.

Perhaps if I make enough noise they will at least know that I will kick up a stink if I am not consulted where I should be or have a right to be…

She is still not eating or drinking much…has lost another 7 kilos and so is down to 41 now…I will go and see her tomorrow. If I have to be honest I am not looking forward to that very much...

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Dual Boot!

I too thought we were talking about a pair of shoes for a swordfight...but NO! This is the way to solve my Roland thingy problems - if you don't know what I am talking about then you should read this blog more often! As regular visitors will no doubt recall, my OS is Windows 2000 but the Roland thingy only runs on Win98 - BUT...wonder of wonders...I have 2 hard disks inside my PC and I had a distinct brainwave when pondering on this fact one evening. After a quick perusal of geek literature I discovered that it would indeed be possible to run W2k on one and Win98 on the other!!! This is known to us experts as a "dual boot". Cool, huh?

Yeah, until you start trying to do it. How come whenever they say that something is "kid's play" on the PC you know that you are going to have to give up the best part of your life for at least two weeks before the bloody thing even starts to look as if it might at some indeterminate point in the distant future seem to be going to work?

Well, I think I am nearly there...I have even recorded a test song which I might just post here too, if enough readers are interested...

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Amnesia....I just can't remember what it is...

German TV hit me last night with a couple of hammers. First there was a very graphic reconstruction of the life of Albert Speer, Hitler's architect, and then a "health" programme which of course was about illnesses. Leukaemia, ALS (here we go again) - the "Steven Hawkings" illness - and amnesia. It was the amnesia report which got me. A totally normal guy - married with one daughter - goes out on a totally normal Sunday morning, jumps on his bike and pedals off to the baker's to get stuff for breakfast as he does every Sunday. In front of the shop he suffers a synaptic short-circuit - ZAP!!!! He does not know his own name, he doesn't recognise his reflection in the window, he doesn't know why he is in front of the baker's, where he is going...nothing - just a big black hole in his head.
What kind of a feeling must THAT be?
I guess we all have had little tastes of it...not remembering someone's name (I have that all the time!)...not remembering why we have come into a room (actually, I have THAT all the time too!)...not knowing the next morning how you got to be in this bed and...YIKES...who is this next to me!!!!!??? (Erm....ahem).
Anyway, this guy jumped on his bike and cycled for 7 days ending up at Frankfurt Main Station where a Jehovah's witness sent him off to hospital...proving that they are good for something.
After a few days the police found out who he was and his wife and daughter came to visit.
Now, this next bit is what shocked me...he didn't recognise them then and still doesn't recognise them a year later because according to this programme it is rare for amnesiacs to get their memories back.
I don't know if this is true but if so it means Hollywood has been lying to me about this too!

Monday, May 09, 2005

Fathers' Day, Election Day, Mothers' Day, VE Day...

...I am in a daze...daze...DAYS...DAZE....get it? (Why is it that when you make a joke like that your kids roll their eyes and say..."hmm, another one of daddy's pathetic jokes.." ?) By the way before anyone out there panics, it was only Fathers' Day in Germany...or perhaps only Bavaria for all I know...they always have it on Ascension Day which was last Thursday.
The standard Bavarian Fathers' Day is:
Get a group of fathers together - say 10 or so - go out into the countryside/mountains...walk, hike, bike, cycle, climb to an inn where you can drink beer and become rumbustious...then walk, hike, bike, cycle, climb, crawl home to abandoned family and go to bed.

Mine was a little different...I ended up slouched on the couch watching the DVD of Live Aid...we did venture out only to be ambushed by a rainstorm which had been lying in wait for us disguised as a sunny spell. It caught us just far enough away from home that we had to say things like, "oh, I love walking in the rain..." instead of saying, "oh bugger, I hate walking in the rain" and skedaddling back to the DVD.

Election Day in England was a disappointment...not so much the result as the lack of tension. England is too small for tension and excitement about the election I suppose. On the BBC just after the voting booths had closed they had an exit poll which said that Labour would win with a reduced majority of 66 seats. And they were dead right!! We could have saved all the pissing about counting votes and so on...

Mothers' Day was on Sunday and in Bavaria is a day to stay off the roads. Dutiful sons and daughters turn up at their mothers' doorsteps, bundle the poor dears into the back of their Mercedes, BMWs...and whisk them off to have coffee and cake in cafés next to lakes or up mountains. A couple of hours later they dump them back home again and whizz off till the next duty call has to be made.

VE Day just saw an excess of pseudo-lead being shot around the inside of our tele. Everywhere you zapped there were war films and people getting blasted by machine gun bullets...wouldn't you just love to be an extra in one of those films...falling off a roof...jumping out of a window...staggering over the sand bags holding your ketchup-stained stomach...

Anyway a large sigh of relief can now be breathed as we get back to days instead of Days (daze..get it? Oh never mind)

Saturday, May 07, 2005

Procrastination...Don't know what it means...I'll look it up tomorrow..

With reference to my previous blog...I did not really get down to business with this new thingy...the Roland U8. In fact I quite sensibly sent a mail to Roland asking if the system could be used with Windows 2000.
They wrote back...!
And I have to say the speed of the reply was impressive...not really sure though about the content - here it is:

Unfortunately, while the U-8 audio drivers have been unpdated for WIN XP, there is no controller update for WIN XP. We are not aware of any plans to create a controller update for WIN XP. I can only recommelùäÿÿÿÿ, ùäØGÒÌùä‚ ”)`„úäðùälùä0 ðùäÓf(`„úäðùälùä, üä”nd that you either dedicate a WIN 98 computer to your U-8, or purchase a UR-80 as a replacement.

Looks like the poor guy had some kind of seizure while he was writing but recovered again towards the end...or maybe "...lùäÿÿÿÿ, ùäØGÒÌùä‚ ”)`„úäðùälùä0 ðùäÓf(`„úäðùälùä, „üä” is a wild Ancient Eskimo profanity which he has slipped in.

What I do find a little confusing is his statement that although, "U-8 drivers have been upndatet..." (I think that means you get up in the morning and you're dated already - up'n'dated) "...there is no controller update for WIN XP..." - and there are no plans - " create a controller update for WIN XP..."

Well, I suppose it would have been a pretty good answer if I had actually asked about WIN XP - but unfortunately I had asked about Windows 2000 as that is the operating system I have...

What a pedant I am! And I managed to procrastinate a whole day away...

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Stalling Installing

I think I love eBay. The trouble is it sucks you into its exciting bidding universe until you can't think straight any more. You get a similar feeling in a casino.
I have been meaning for yonks to do digital recordings of my songs which at the moment lie in various places on various cassettes strewn at random around my room - or hiding in dusty boxes camouflaged alongside other innocent cassettes. So I looked in eBay for home digital recording thingies...and saw a Roland U-8..."perfect for beginners," said a review - just the job I thought, that's the very fellow for me!
So I dithered about making a bid...and dithered a bit more...and then I bid...and then I forgot about it. Next thing you know eBay sent me a mail that I had been successful!! Yoohoo!! I was the ONLY bidder...YOOHOOooo...hang on - ONLY bidder?
I looked at the thingy again...seemed ok. "It's fate," I said to myself. So I paid and it came and I started installing it and saw on the CD-ROM that it is compatible with Windows98...
- l o n g p a u s e -
I have Windows 2000.
So far I have made a couple of inconclusive attempts to see if the thingy and my operating system are going to cooperate but I have avoided a full scale onslaught...I was just kind of sneaking up on the thingy and my PC hoping it would; but I fear...and somehow deep down I KNOW...that they will not and I am going to have all kinds of pissing about with patches and replacing files and fiddling with things I understand even less the most of the things I don't understand about computers.

Well, I have decided to start can see what kind of decision this was, by the way, if you consider that the first step in trying to get thingy to work was to write a blog about it!
So as Scott said to Shackleton or Shackelton said to Scott, "I may be gone for some time..."

On the other hand I might just be back in a minute or two with some other irrelevant, propcrastinatory blog!!

A Fig-leaf of my Imagination

Someone left a comment on one of my blogs to the effect that Socrates was a fictional character…actually he writes, “fictitious” which I suppose is the same thing. Well, I am definitely not going to try and prove his existence (Socrates’ existence not the commentator’s) for the simple reason that I would have no idea HOW to prove it (you could try putting “Socrates” in Google and reading the thousands of hits that come up about “his life and times”, “the last days of…”, “..his influence on the philosophy of the western world…” but maybe some poor clod is just making all these links up).

I mean how are you going to prove that anyone existed?

Bugger me that is going to keep me awake all night!

I am sure that David Deutsch would have something to say about solipsism here but I don’t think I could handle his powerful logic right now.

Anyway, I was once doing an English course with a class of German business people and we listened to an interview about Ian Fleming who, assuming he existed, wrote the James Bond books. At the end of the lesson one student put up his hand and asked me if James Bond was still alive. I kind of looked at him…the way you would...and the rest of the class kind of chuckled mildly…

I said, “erm…how do you mean ‘is he still alive?’...

“Well, I haven’t seen him on TV much recently…”

The class kind of chuckled a bit more but I could see that this poor deluded chap was really serious!!

It put me in a difficult situation…he obviously really BELIEVED that James Bond was a real person...and it was going to be ME who would have to tell him the bitter truth and destroy his illusions…

So I told him the bitter truth and his illusions were destroyed and he looked totally devastated and I felt like a swine!

The question is; is it better to let someone think that someone who does exist doesn’t exist or that someone who doesn’t exist does exist?

For the tiny minority of visitors still reading this - please address your answers to “Santa Klaus, North Pole”.

Monday, May 02, 2005

Hypochondria? Don’t know what it is but I’m sure I’ve got it…

I am a singer. All singers are hypochondriacs. Therefore I am a hypochondriac. This is good logic. Socrates would be proud of me – that old Greek Socrates who is a mortal, you’ve heard of him?

I love the spring. Autumn is my favourite season but the spring runs it a very close second…however over the last few years I have found myself increasingly vulnerable to pollen…yes, pollen – the stuff that comes out of flowers, pollinates things, sticks to bees’ legs and generally floats around all through springtime.

It seems recently to have decided to attack my nasal passages, eyes and lungs too…making them all feel as if they have been lined with strips of dusty old carpet. I am wheezing like an old grizzled gold prospector, my eyes are red and dry like 2 dusty Mars craters and I am sneezing like a…well, like a sneezy thing.

To normal mortals such as Socrates this may be only a minor irritation…but…
I am a singer – and a singer who can’t sing is only half a mortal. AND all singers are hypochondriacs…

To compound this misery there is the name of this affliction, “hay fever”, HAY FEVER!!! I mean, what kind of name is THAT! Hay fever…ha!

This is something even the most dedicated self-respecting hypochondriac finds it difficult to admit to. It is just embarrassing…hay fever…pah!

It needs a sort of Greeky type name to make it sound a bit more life threatening. about “Anthopollenic Poisoning”? Which could be impressively shortened to “AP”.

No, hang on…it needs an “S”…syndrome? “Anthopollenic Poisoning Syndrome” – “APS”.

"Have you heard about Phil? He has got APS."

"Oh the poor sod!"

Oh YES - that's good! I feel better already...