Thursday, 31 May 2012

Ode to Costa Coffee

Little Boy: Excuse me, I happened to be passing and I thought you might like some coffee.
Litte Girl: Oh, that's very nice of you. Thank you. Oh, won't you sit down?
Little Boy: Oh thank you. Cream?
Little Girl: No thank you, I take it black . . .  like my men.
- Most awesome “friend zone” in cinema history- Airplane

Costa Coffee, despite being somewhat overpriced, has become a global phenomenon. After the opening of their first shop in London in 1978, the founders Sergio and Bruno Costa got a foothold in the market and their business blossomed worldwide. The pair now have 1900 stores across the world.

Writers Connect, a creative writing meetup I attend, is held in Manchester Arndale's Costa Coffee in Waterstones. The walls of the coffee shop are adourned with vintage photographs depicting the coffee chain's humble origins. We used these pictures as a prompt for a recent warm-up exercise.

Choosing this picture,

I assumed that Gino and Genarro were the two founders who created the now household-name brand of coffee shops. Apparently not. But I didn't know that when I wrote this poem...

The metal churns and readies the mix
an Italian factory in seventy-six
the coffee beans poured, rich and heavy
in the metal churner, basic, rudimentary
years of work, of farming the land,
now he holds coffee beans in the palm of his hand
the sacks are all bean-filled, most of them man-sized
Gino and Genarro are starting a franchise
he scoops up a handful, breathes in the aroma
the photographer flashes, freezing the moment
these are the beans that will take the world over,
from New York to Lisbon, Sydney to Dover.

Wednesday, 30 May 2012

I got Tweeted by the Kid from A Cop and A Half

A recent Twitter trending topic was #notintheenglandsquad , a list that presumably started out as a serious European football tournament discussion regarding players who hadn't made the grade, and why. It wasn't long before idiots like me came along and gave other self-explanatory suggestions for people who probably wouldn't be representing our country on the football pitch, including Abu Hamza, Heather Mills and Whoopi Goldberg. Okay, some of them weren't mine. Then I came out with this gem: 

“Norman D Golden II, the kid from 'Cop and a Half'. Y'know. With Burt Reynolds. He's not in it either.”

The next morning, Norman himself- now 28 and performing as a rapper going by the stage name Enormous- had found my tweet and replied! As it happens, he says, he does play soccer. But not at World Cup level. He and his boys, I can confirm, do enjoy a good kick-around. I can also confirm Norman as being a big-time Chelsea fan.

As a reminder, here's Norman's Magnum Opus:

What a guy!

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

The Pill

For this week's writing exercise, Oz placed two pills on the table- one golden and semi-transparent (this she later revealed was cod liver oil)- one blue and yellow (apparently Prozac).

These were our prompts. I wrote this:

The man lurches over, I think the fella's ill
In his clammy hand there's a blue and yellow pill
He must rise above this- he feels, no, he knows that
He lifts himself up and thinks about the Prozac
Do I really need this? He thinks to himself
Should I move this pill from the sink to the shelf?
He spreads his curtains wider, taking in the UV
He says to the pill, now there's only you and me
He thinks of the woman that he hasn't seen for years
And the things he could have had if he didn't feel these fears
Why would a pill stop him feeling all these sorrows?
But he feels a slight thrill as he pops it in and swallows...

Monday, 28 May 2012

Workin' Out

Pic courtesy Si_Wilson, Flickr

"Nothin' to it but to do it" 
- big Ronnie Coleman, 8-time Mr Olympia

Wowsers! It only seems like yesterday that I booked that holiday. But no, I booked it in March, I went last week and now I've come back glowing red and with no more grasp of lotion factor numbers as I had when I went out. I mentioned here that I was planning to get back to my pre-moveout physique- the body I had before I left my mum and dad's- in time for a holiday in Tenerife. Well I came back from that holiday this week. Since March 27th, I've sharpened up like this:

Wide grip lat pull-down- 1 notch

Lifting the bar from waist level to chin level with backs of the hands facing outwards (if anyone knows the name of this movement, please tell me)- 3 notches

10 minute run- 9 increments in speed

Pulley pray (holding the V bar in both hands, kneeling in front of the weights, keeping the hands in front of the head, and bringing the head down to the floor) I'd been doing this for a while before I wrote the above post. During the time since 27th March, I found that anything higher than weight 17 was pulling my body off the floor. I resorted to performing 20 reps at each level, taking it from notch 9 on the first session to notch 14. I've been stuck there for a while, though, and not even due to body weight. I've hit a plateau.

Still, 18 improvements in 2 months. I didn't do much of anything else with my life during this time, as I was preparing from a holiday- which had some pretty impressive moments in itself. Stay tuned for a frankly mind-blowing Tenerife post soon.

Sunday, 27 May 2012

Spiced Pilaf Rice

Very tasty. No protien, though. No suggestion of what you'd eat it with. I now have a newfound love of apricots.

Saturday, 26 May 2012

Sonofabitch has dug in like an Alabama tick.

Courtesy Renel_Timothy, Flickr

A few weeks ago I saw Predator at the Odeon as part of the Flashback season.  I've seen it a gazillion times before, but this time, something was missing. The end sequence features a gloriously cheesy cast montage. An exact upload isn't on Youtube, but it looks a bit like this.

Notice here the text including character and actor names. Also notice inexplicable focussing problems that aren't evident on the DVD.

On the vintage 1987 print I watched at the Odeon- which was VERY grainy- the text was missing from this scene. Was this information added for the subsequent video release?

Still- an incredible slice of 80's SF action.

You also haven't lived unless you've experienced these awesome reedits:

Predator The Musical

I never noticed this dance-off on the Predator 2 extras disc, but apparently it's there...

And here's how to make the Predator noise, according to a guy who could actually have voiced the original Predator...

Aaaand... an investigation into the phallic undercurrent of the movie.  

There are a few videos that Fox must have had taken down for copyright reasons. It's a shame as they were some of the funniest, especially the “Mack on crack” video. Stay tuned for these as videos do reemerge, especially when they're popular.

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

I'm such a twat.

Recently “The Twat Daily” linked up a blog post that I wrote. I asked around about the newsletter, which runs using It seems each newsletter ran by the application is not an “online newspaper” as it claims to be- more a “content aggregator” gathering together sources from different web pages and providing links. Some believe it's shitting all over the good name of publishing. I say, if it allows people to find and read my work, and if my blog registers hits from this application, it's all good.

I linked up The City- a blog post done in rhyme- over Twitter. I asked if I in fact sounded like a twat rather than some kind of blogger poet. The post was picked up by @PimpThySanta, who runs the Twat Daily. I'm not sure what to make of the site, to be honest. Some of it is links to respected news sources like the Telegraph, other links go to personal blogs, others to porn sites. In fact, most of it goes to porn sites. Christ knows how this guy found my work- perhaps by searching for “twat”.

Regardless, thanks for the promo, PimpMySanta.

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

The City

My whole intention is to make an impression
Words are my tools and this verse my invention
I want you to focus and know this, G,
Put down your mobiles and notice me
won't let you forget me or file this indefinitely
fade into the past like a minor celebrity
I'll do what I can to stake my claim
Shout from the hilltops to make my name
A struggling writer, not angry or bitter
Not yet well known but still handy on Twitter
Dispensing what you need like a pharmacy
that's why I'm being followed by Clara G
Names familiar to maybe some
spinning my name out like a digital frisbee
I look at my life with a different framing
Every weekend, this city is changing
Last weekend I rolled to Bar 38
I needed a drink, I was thirsty, mate
When I got to the door, the bar was all new to me
The name of the place had changed to Purity 
Punters arrived and lots of them swarmed
The bar is a shelter like a rock in a storm
On house music once the city had thrived
then in 2011 the scene all but died
Only this bar was still pumping out tunes
The DJ performed in the underground room
Bini's a legend, her views are insightful
She claims Peter Street is due a revival
The rest of the road is just units for let
Didn't go long ago, no? You missed the best
Beautiful women, relaxed atmosphere,
Easy to pull if you didn't have no fear
I won't shed a tear over the way the era faded away
I want it back is all I can say.