Saturday, November 04, 2006

IMGP1875[Yay me! The start of this post is already out of date before I even post it. Huzzah!]

The beginning of an email I've just received:

4th November 2006
Starting at Sunset
4.30 pm to 7.30 pm

You are invited to take part in the largest
demonstration of People Power that London has ever
seen on Saturday 4th November 2006, by turning off
all your lights, and switching off all your
non-essential electrical equipment at Sunset.

A few small problems. Firstly, I am not in the land of EDF. Secondly, the email continues telling people what to do, some of which contradicts itself. Thirdly, it suggests doing things like defrosting freezers (in the dark) to help reduce the electricity load. Quite apart from modern freezers tending to have defrost settings where the systems are designed to heat themselves up to speed the process (which isn't quite the same as unplugging the thing), is anyone thinking what will happen come 7.30? Lights on, heating back up, television on, kettle, toaster, microwave or whatever else on, plus the delight of turning things on purely to allow the owners to set the clocks and timers again. Oh, and the freezer coming back on in rapid freeze mode, which uses far more electricity than just leaving it on for 3 hours would do. It doesn't quite mention what to do with all the food in the freezer, but nevermind that now. But other than that...

It's like those people who said the best way to protest against rising public transport prices was to delay renewing yearly travelcards until the new year (i.e. when the prices will have already gone up); well intentioned but misguided. The demand already fluctuates enough that people can make money out of trading peak supply with greater off-peak use (there are entire mountains devoted to this). Fluctuating demand means that lots of capacity is needed, but little is frequently used. The range of outputs demanded by a single plant is wide: wider than the range of optimum efficiency. So not only do you need more equipment, but for the most part it runs at under the designed efficiency. Hey, that sounds like a great idea.

And anyway, I'll miss, er, whatever's on television then. So, er, Robin Hood? Hands up anyone who has actually been bothering to watch that. Anyone? Oh yes, we have one over there... what? Sorry, you'll... oh, well, can't you wait till break? ... Well, gone on then, but be quick.

Said he who classes Robin Hood as irredeemable rubbish, yet might happen to be shushing people who try talking during Torchwood. It may be awful, but it's awful with aliens, photography that flaps between cloying and hopelessly pointless (just count the 'shoom's or times anyone from Cardiff gets to say "I can see my house"), an blou-di sil-li ak-suns, all done by a man scared everyone will think he can only do Doctor Who or spinoffs; it can only be a matter a minutes before Captain Jack gets a bottle of water and goes all Stuart on us, lest we forget QAF.

And now I've got the Nowt-As (or is it Nowt-So?) theme music stuck in my head, which is odd, as I don't even have copy of the tune. Yet I can still hear the cringeworthy steel drums.

As I've just tried, and failed, to find an mp3 of it, just to prove how irritating it can be, you'll just have to imagine it (as I currently, infuriatingly, am).

But possibly even more irritating, was my attempt to get the last of the shower gel out of the bottle. So I have a shower, a clear bottle with a small amount of green gunk left, and an inability to remember to buy some more before I need it. Cue, squeezing the bottle to draw in a little water, giving it a shake to mix, inverting over my other hand to catch the resultant fluid and giving it a squeeze.

Now comes the audience participation bit. Hold your left hand out in front of you, palm upwards, slightly cupped. Now hold something in your right hand as if it were a bottle you were squeezing fluid out of so the liquid ends up in the palm of your left hand. Make sure you can see the fluid as it comes out so you don't use too much.

Now you see that valley between the muscle of your thumb (I think Ian Fleming refers to it as the Mound of Venus, but that sounds a little to feminine for mine) and the edge of your hand? The one that's pointed straight towards your face? I should mention at this point that the shower gel was Original Source Mint and Tea Tree Oil, which comes with a little valve on the top to stop drips, so only lets the contents out once above a certain pressure. So I have a menthol and detergent mix, diluted to a lower than usual viscosity and then shaken into a foam, in a container which only opens when under pressure, being applied to a surface which is capable of deflecting the flow towards my face...

Owie, owie, owie, stinging burny, owie, ooh cooling menthol, owie burny.

Yep, my eyes ran hot and cold for most of the morning. But they were minty fresh, even if it felt like I was looking through toothpaste.

And in an effortless segue, where the connection is apparently my stupidity, am I the only person to mishear or misremember the lyrics to As Time Goes By? My version:
You must remember this,
A kiss is just a kiss,
A sigh is just a sigh,
The fundamental things of love,
As time goes by.

And when too lovers feud,
They still say 'I love you',
On that you can rely,
No matter what the future brings,
As time goes by.

It's still the same old story,
The fight for love and glory,
The case for you and I,
The world will always welcome lovers,
As time goes by.

So not only does my brain skip half the song* but I managed to get something wrong in each stanza (and that's without singing one line as "it's still the same old story, being read on Jackanory"). The correct versions are:
- The fundamental things apply,
- And when two lovers woo,
- A case of do or die,

* When the song is already abridged. The bit I skip is:
Moonlight and love songs,
Never out of date.
Hearts full of passion.
Jealousy and hate,
Are like two brothers,
Who go on a date.
Woman needs man,
And man must have his mate,
That no one can deny.

Ok, so there is a slight Avenue Q reference in there, but it needs something to distract from the "woman needs man/man needs sex" bit. And technically one could argue that moonlight is out of date as we no longer use lunar months.

I've just realised that I had always taken the song to be about the vagaries of love, hence the admonishments to remember "a sigh is just a sigh" and the reminder that "and when two lovers feud, they still say 'I love you'". Basically, it says "of course, he/she/it loves you; stop worrying". Yet the original version references relativity and an analytical future; it seeks to reassure that the idea of love will endure modernity, hence those who woo still saying the same old things. It's not personal love surviving doubts, but the concept resisting progress.

And now I want to watch Casablanca (yet I don't have it on DVD as it's never been cheap enough) or possibly something with Judy Dench and others being pleasant in it. Unfortunately the nearest I've got is Brief Encounter, which is not quite the same thing.

Has anyone got a decent mp3 of the song, by the way? The only copy I have is sung by someone who sounds as though they don't quite understand it.

But then I've been trying to organise my music recently, which included the delight of finding a tape ('Classics for Children' if you must know), wanting to copy one part of it (Prokofiev's Troika because it's winter now, and I've finally figured out why I've had something I knew was called Troika, but thought was by Sibelius, yet have linked in my mind to Box of Delights, stuck in my head for well over a decade. Have you ever tried finding a copy of something when you're looking for the wrong composer? It's a little dispiriting. Still haven't got an mp3 of the Prokofiev version though), nearly considering dragging it into the correct folder onscreen before remembering that it's a tape, and so a real object, at which point I smugly aim it towards the floppy drive before remembering that only my parents' BBC takes tapes.

And somewhere along the line I was supposed to mention watching Taxi Driver. I know I watched in instalments, but it seems to jump quite a bit, and I imagine would be even more disconcerting had I not fragmented it. I think I can understand why other people consider it a good film, although may need to watch it in one sitting when slightly less fractious and inclined to distraction by the repeated appearances of extras; just watch the position of the woman in orange. Orange isn't a very background colour. Got some good music though, if a bit Bergerac.


PS. While doing the quote for the image... what is a Skunk Pussy? A fluffy if smelly hybrid?

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