Saturday, June 30, 2007

Fiver for a tenor

In the spirit of Wimbledon, JanieBelle has lobbed me another meme, well this is a clusterlob of memes. I ain't doing them all at once, I'm going to spin them out over a few posts. And I'm going to return the serve with a counter meme of my own.
Her first one is Five songs you know the words to. Oh come on! This is Deacon Barry - Tenor Extraordinaire! I know the words to loads of songs. So in lobbing this one back, I'm going to mutate it into Your Five Karaoke Classics. Or, in other words, the songs you can be sure of getting a good reaction when singing them at the karaoke. Here's mine.

1.King of the Road: I use this one to test the waters in an unfamiliar venue. Call me Mr Lounge Lizard.
2.Chantilly Lace: This is my wife's favourite (oh you sweet thang)
3.High Hopes: Frankie goes to Holyrood.
4.Whispering Grass: Put the Windsor Davies/Don Estelle version out your mind. This is a great karaoke song.
5.Bohemian Rhapsody: Only to be used sparingly. I won a competition with this.

OK, that's mine. You tell me yours.

Friday, June 29, 2007

Eight little secrets

It's meme time. JanieBelle has tagged me (the cheeky minx) so now I've got to inflict you with Eight Dirty Little Secrets.
1.I'm not Scottish - well not completely, Dad is English, and I was born near Banbury Cross (yup, the 'ride a cock horse' one.)
2.I didn't learn to read at school.
3.I'm crap at swimming.
4.I have curly hair. It's self-perming.
5.I was in the school orchestra, playing the cello.
6.I have never flown in a plane.
7.I have flown in a helicopter.
8.David Cameron and Lord Byron are both my fourth cousins.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Nursing Voices

Nursing Voices is a new forum for nurses all over the world, although at the moment it's just the USA, Australia and the one from Scotland (me). It looks like it's going to be a good place for nurses to hang out and chat about their work, and maybe let off a bit of steam. Certainly, you'll be able to find out how other nurses get through their shifts.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

The Founding of Gremandir

“Father. Listen to thy son,
and mark this well.
What my brother, Gremus hath done
Is turn to treason. He incites
The common people to rebel,
against you, their sovereign overlord
You must not heed their talk of rights
They seek to put you to the sword!”
Thus, good name by evil twin defiled,
Was Gremus, Prince of Taere exiled.

“Oh my brother! Gromul beware!
I will return.
By mighty Mabegon I swear
I’ll leave no place for you to hide;
You and yours will surely burn.
Know how I yearn to see you dead
For your attempted fratricide!”
Thus saying, Gremus eastward sped
To mighty Castelmar, wherein he sought
The shelter of the Llindaan court.

King Merkh listened to his plight
With passions strong.
“I cannot aid you in your fight.
No troops have I, please understand,
To help you right your grievous wrong.
The Borphyr press us from the north
And soon we must, to save our land,
Leave our defence and sally forth
And fight no matter what the cost.
For if we fall, Llindaan is lost.

“My proposition, if you’ll agree
Perhaps you should.
I offer you a captaincy.
I need new men to lead the ranks.
Though dangerous, the pay is good.
It needs to be, to fast replace
Those fallen by the Sibher’s banks.
What’s your reply? Time moves at pace.
I want your help, I will confess.
All I need - a simple yes.”

By battle’s blaze his glory flamed,
This warrior prince.
Throughout the land his deeds acclaimed,
From mountains sharp to rocky coast.
Llindaan morale was flourishing, since
His assumption of command.
Within a year the Llindaan host
Drove the Borphyr from their land.
Morale increased with each attack,
To Akhna-Vaer they forced them back.

The Borphyr mourned their loss, aggrieved
At this humiliation
This turn of fate was scarce believed
That they, proud warriors faced defeat
From the arms of a backward nation
They plotted, planned. It was agreed
This time revenge would be complete,
Llindaan would fall… But who would lead?
Then into the hall a leader came -
Godwulf Squinteye was his name.

“Give me men! In sixmonth time,
Or maybe four,
I will crush this Llindaan slime!
I’ll bring you Gremus’ head!
We will hold the south once more.
We’ll sack the towns and raze the spires,
Then hack and stack the Llindaan dead,
And light the darkness with their pyres!”
From Akhna-Vaer the Borphyr swarmed,
And down towards the south they stormed.

Now Gremus knew the Borphyr’s plan
He had his spies
He knew their number, to a man
And knew he could not win the fight
And so, to both sides great surprise
He ran. The Borphyr gave pursuit
Jeered and mocked with great delight
But reckoned not the Llindaan’s route
The Borphyr plan was thus perverted
Their thrust against Llindaan diverted.

He led them through the Eastern plain
To far Barrani-Sarq.
And nightly raids left Borphyr slain.
A handful at a time, though few,
They came to fear the coming dark.
In wakeful torment, sleep deprived
It tore their minds, and tempers flew,
When food and arms had not arrived.
For Gremus was a bold tactician
Who fought a battle of attrition.

He brought them through that hellish gash
The Manakh rift.
He planned their numbers there to slash
In fetid swamps he’d bring them down,
The spirits of his troops to lift.
But Gremus, still, was full of doubt.
Many Borphyr didn’t drown,
And options now were running out.
The time for battle was at hand.
Somewhere, he must make a stand.

On Sibher’s banks there is a mound,
An ancient barrow.
Bow-shaped, eighty rods around
From where an archer, shoulders broad
Near half a girdh, can fire an arrow.
Here did Gremus kneel and pray
“Great Mabegon! Oh mighty Lord!
Grant us victory on this day!
I swear that if we win this fight
I’ll build your temple on this site.”

At morning’s break, with fearsome roar,
The armies clashed.
The ground was soon awash with gore.
Formations fell to disarray,
As soldiers hammered, clawed and slashed.
Gremus watched them cruelly die
As, battling grimly through the fray,
Blood streaming from a shattered eye,
He finally stood face to face
With the bestial marshal of the Borphyr race.

“Does your head hurt, little man?”
Godwulf drawled,
The cure for it is in my hand.”
He swung his sword at Gremus’ head,
Who parried - fell - in red mud sprawled.
Twas then the Borphyr saw his chance,
He lunged to kill, but slipped instead
And was impaled on Gremus’ lance.
He watched his blood flow, horrified.
A final laugh and then he died.

Gremus lay there, bruised and battered,
Limbs awry.
His eye was gone, his leg was shattered,
But knew the prize was his to snatch,
So Godwulf's sword he lifted high
And like a wave the murmer spread,
Like fire through a burning thatch,
Became a shouting, “Godwulf’s dead!”
The Borphyr army now broke ranks
And lost the battle of the Sibher’s banks.

This barrow, marking fair Llindaan’s
Most northern point,
For countering the Borphyr’s plans
King Merkh, from here to Manakh mouth
Did Gremus, governor anoint.
He built a sepulchre as vowed
And fortress to defend the south.
With what name would it be endowed?
They asked. Gremus replied with candour,
“After myself, tis called Gremandir.”

Monday, June 18, 2007

A clean sheet

Here's a tip. To wipe down surfaces in your kitchen and bathroom, use baby wipes. Unlike kitchen cloths, they're disposable, so they're more hygienic. Really messy spills on tables or work surfaces can be easily cleared up, without leaving a badly stained rag to deal with.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Dinos at dawn

It's Celebrity Death Match time. The two contenders I want you to consider are Barney (Cute Purple Dinosaur) versus HR Pufenstuf.
I consider this to be an evenly matched pairing. Both are seven foot tall raptors - OK one's a dinosaur and the other is a dragon, but it's close enough.
My initial assessment is that Pufenstuf has the advantage. He's an experienced politician, forward planner - his rescue service rehearse their procedures often, and his environment can be hostile, due to the attacks of Witchypoo.
Barney, on the other hand starts out looking like the under-raptor in this contest. He's the much younger challenger, lacking Pufenstuf's emotional maturity. His environment is very non-threatening, so his lack of combat experience could hold him back.
He's a T-Rex, for Tinky-Winky's sake! OK, one that's fallen a really, really long way from the tree, but he's got the equipment - a large jaw with developed musculature due to years of singing. It's possible that if he's really pushed, his reptilian brain and raptor heritage could kick in and give him the edge.
So, Barney or Pufenstuf? You decide!

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Let's make it a threesome

I've won again! Another of JanieBelle's poetry competitions. This time the seed phrase was 'Quietly naked in the pouring rain'. You can see what I did with it here.
And the best bit, as well as getting a guest post, is that my poem is the new starting point for the next competition. If you want to have a go, read the poem, and then write about the same event from a different point of view. The closing date is 30th June at midnight in the States, or in the wee small hours over here.
That's three poems now that wouldn't have existed were it not for these competitions. The second one didn't win, so I don't get it all my own way. It's important when writing to have something to focus on, such as a seed phrase, or picture, just to get you started.
So have a go! It's fun!

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Change of Shift : One year in.

Change of Shift is a year old today. It's over at Nurse Ratched's Place, so go over and get your fix of good nursing blogginess.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Birth of a blog

My friend Martyne has started a blog.
Here's the URL
It started today, so now's your chance to get a comment in the very first post.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

WWS-MT : What would Spider-man think?

This can apply to any fictional character, but it's easier to have an example, so I choose Spider-man (notice the hyphen) given that the film is on release, and he is well known to be given to soliloquising.
Now are Spider-man's thoughts real? Obviously they originate in the minds of Marvel scriptwriters, but they come about as a response to the situation he is in. When you are writing a character, you get inside that person, so you imagine what the character is feeling and thinking. Now the thoughts of Spider-man are contained within the meta-thoughts of the writer. And a person is what he thinks - cogitet ergo est. And to use an analogy, software can run on any compatible computer, so Spider-man's thoughts are being run in the writers' brains. If all these thoughts are gathered together, you have an admittedly rudimentary simulacrum of a human personality.
Does this mean that Spider-man lives? Or if not, is there a level of cognition that could be reached which could be defined as life?
I hope you've got the gist of what I'm trying to get at. I'm sure that some philosopher out there has been over all this, and there's a standard response to this. It's just I've been thinking about this off and on for the last few days, and I'm interested in others' responses to this.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

See who I work with!

Dorothy, whose party I was at on Friday, is a celebrity. Don't believe me? Here's the article in this week's Evening News.
When she told me of the adventures she's had, after picking my jaw off the carpet, I told her she had to write it down. So now she's writing her autobiography. I'll let you know when it comes out.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

In which Deacon Barry is surrounded by a bevy of beauties

Last night I was at a friend's birthday party. She was crowned Miss Edinburgh twice, back in the seventies when they used to have beauty pageants. In honour of this, we held a beauty contest at the party, and I was the compere. I wore my bow tie and dinner jacket specially for the occasion, and affected my cheesiest mid-atlantic twang as I introduced the girls.
We had fourteen contestants, including a Lola from Brazil, a Debbie from Dallas, and a Paris from LA. I can't be sure, but I don't think they were giving me their right names.
The winner, judged on looks, poise and personality was Debbie from Dallas.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Qualified to blog?

Are bloggers born rather than made? It's a common theme among writers that their favourite subject at school was English (or whatever their first language is) specifically, the creative writing part of the subject. Is it the same for bloggers?
It was definitely my favourite part of the school week. It was no chore. My regret was that it didn't give me enough time to finish any of the stories I started. I'd be just getting onto page two of my science-fiction epic (hey! I said I enjoyed writing, I never said I had any taste!) when the bell would ring, and it would be on to the next lesson.
The question for today is, should prospective bloggers be people who enjoyed writing at school?

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Hard to beat

It's amazing how far a meme can travel in a day. The Independent today mentioned that the Olympic logo resembled Lisa Simpson doing something comically pornographic.
How long before the logo disappears under a deluge of derision?
To be fair, for sheer priapic artistry, the Olympic logo pales into insignificance when compared to the tumescent magnificence of the logo for the Brazilian Institute for Oriental Studies. Now that is what I call a cock up!

Tuesday, June 05, 2007


Oh dear. The logo for the 2012 London Olympics has been unveiled. Oh dear. It cost £400,000. Oh dear.
Now it's meant to be a stylised representation of 2012, and it's all very trendy, but unfortunately, to a growing number of people, it's putting them in mind of Lisa Simpson giving - how can I say this delicately - sexual favours of the Monica Lewinsky variety.
Now remember, this cost £400K, and for the next five years, people are going to be looking at this and sniggering.
I don't blame Tessa Jowell and Wolff-Olins (the designers) for not seeing this interpretation before the unveiling. It's just an unfortunate placing of the elements that is suggestive to the filthy-minded out here. It could happen to anyone. But if only Wolff-Olin could have come up with a selection of logos for public perusal. This could then have been rejected in favour of something a little less suggestive.
Politicians are not the best people to make artistic judgements.
If you want to know what people think about the logo, click here.

(Via Mr Eugenides.)

Sunday, June 03, 2007

And the score was...?

We came last.
But with our dignity intact.
We had the smallest team. And if you thought 'Popmaster' on the Ken Bruce show was hard, this was downright diabolical.
I did well on the 'answering questions before they're even asked,' though. Pity there weren't any points for it. One of the rounds was naming record and artist and the record and artist sampled. I tried to explain it to one of my teammates : "You know that Madonna song where she includes a bit from that Abba song?"
Guess what was question number one in that round?
In the 'guess the relationships between two artists,' once I heard Judy Garland's voice, I was writing down Liza Minelli in the second column straightaway.
Controversy of the night - Dionne Warwick and Whitney Houston : Aunt and niece or cousins? Discuss.

Friday, June 01, 2007

Give me your answer, doh!

Tonight, I'm going to the annual Eye Pavilion Pop Quiz.
What you've got to know about me is that I am very good at quizzes - very good! I'm a demon at Trivial Pursuit, and I have at my fingertips an obscene wealth of fascinating facts. Just so's you know.
My encyclopaedic knowledge doesn't cover all areas. If I ain't interested in a subject, it's not worth knowing.
This gives me lacunae in two areas.
Sport. I am so not into sport.
Pop music.
I never got into pop music when I was young. I never watched Top of the Pops much - except when I was seventeen, which is for everyone the best year evuh for music. Since then I've missed out on the all important connection between name of group, name of song, and year it made the charts. You can't pick these things up afterwards. My general knowledge as regards music is limited to the most popular songs of the last few decades.
Still, I'm hoping for a few questions that I'll be able to answer. Hopefully involving the Fast Food Rockers, S Club 7, or the Spice Girls.