Archive for July, 2006
You might’ve noticed that I’ve not really done much on the website of late. Not too much writing here either. That’s because I’ve been focusing on something else: I want to make the FFF Pictorial Atlas into a book.
This morning, I finished the first draft of that book. All 240-odd countries written about. Stuff about the oceans and weather and wars, too. Apart from the countries I’d already done on the website version, everything else was done in one big spurt over the past two months. I’ve still got to do the illustrations and maps, and I’ve still got to do a couple of re-writes, I think; but the basis for a book is there now. And I’m quite happy. All I need now is a publisher…
Anyway, like a nerd, I’ve been keeping a map of my daily progress, shown below as an animation.
(The animation was made a hell of a lot easier by using world66.com‘s nifty little tool.)
In case any of you Britishers were wondering: yes, the posters and bus adverty things for a training shoe is my work.
Thanks to Maru for the above photo.
Do drug lords really use briefcases to hand over money and cocaine like in Miami Vice?
If so, do they have standing orders with the briefcase shops?
Do they pay in cash?
Do they pay with a briefcase full of cash?
What percentage of the world’s briefcases are used for illegal transfer of money or drugs?
Does the FBI keep checks on briefcase shops to help solve crimes?
Do drug lords reuse them in their daily lives?
Or do they just have a garage full of briefcases?
And what sort of system do they have to remember all the combination locks?
Exactly what I need to see when I’m taking Billy for his morning toilet: a dead, flattened bird taped to a wall.
I saw one of Berlin’s many anarcho-punky-scroungers sitting outside my local supermarket last night. He was bellowing orders at his dog.
Mini or real, it’s all over now.
Normal life resumes.
How fantastic was Zidane’s headbutt?
None of yer messy post-pub headbutts for him; nope, a very very stylish piledriver right in the chest. Superb.
There are moments in life that should be treasured. As I’m a bit of a half-empty kinda person, I need to take the time to appreciate these things; to remind myself that the world isn’t all bad.
Things like seeing Maradona celebrating like all the other Argentina fans whenever they scored a goal.
The first bite of a nice crunchy piece of toast smothered in Marmite.
The view of Manhattan from a taxi window after seven hours on an aeroplane.
The cuteness of Billy when he’s doing little dreamy woofs when he’s asleep.
Larry David saying, ‘Pre-taaay, pre-taaay, pre-taaay good.’
Or something as simple as watching a ladybird that’s landed on your arm.
This morning I had one of those moments.
I woke up, saw that it was already gone half past ten and stumbled towards the shower. I was very very tired. I turned the water on, then pissed in the shower (not only does it save time, it also saves the water you’d normally use for flushing. Plus, it’s good to feel the freedom and warmth of having your own urine on your feet; something you’d ordinarily do everything possible to avoid doing).
I got clean, stepped out, grabbed a towel, got rid of most of the excess water, then went and sat on the edge of my bed. Then I flopped back and rested my head on the scrunched-up duvet. Then I slivered myself up completely onto the bed. Then I fell asleep, still damp from the shower. I woke up just before midday, no longer tired, and already clean for the day.
It was beautiful moment. If something better happens to me today, then I’m a very lucky boy.
I’ve been meaning to write about flags for ages, cos they are things that I’ve been very interested in since I was a kid.
But now seems like the right time. I’m sure the US was awash with them yesterday. Germany was, too (and still is). On the three minute walk to the supermarket yesterday I saw 32 flags. All but three were German flags (the others: two Brazilian, one American), hanging out of windows and attached to plastic poles on cars.
It also coincides with what I’m working on at the moment. There’s not been much on FFF lately cos I’m concentrating on writing and writing and writing stuff for the FFF Pictorial Atlas. Fingers crossed, touching wood, etc. it might end up being a book. So, I’ve come across lots of stuff about flags.
Here’s my problem, though. Flag desceration. If someone wants to burn a flag, I see nothing wrong with that. It’s kind of a futile gesture, so why get worked up about it? Someone’s burning a bit of cloth. Woo, big deal. It’s not like they’re actually burning the ideals of a nation or any of its citizens. The recent attempt by Bush and his increasingly Pravda-like chums in the press to make it an issue is so transparently a diversion from real issues it borders on comedy.
Not as transparent, though, as the shitty-quality flags all over the place. Honestly, if they’re proud of their nation and/or flag, why do so many people have flags made of material that, if it were any cheaper and thinner, would have the consistency of cigarette smoke? And why do so many people let them get so dirty and raggedy? Flag burning, to me, seems far less of a disrespectful act as letting the flag you are supposedly proud of get in such a shabby state.
I found the above German flag lying on the floor a couple of days ago. Look at the state of it! Those bands of colour aren’t of equal width! And it’s not as if it’s a complex flag to make! Red ink, yep; black ink, yep; yellow, yep. Cool, now make three equal stripes. For someone to make a flag of such poor quality is one thing, but for a presumably patriotic person to buy it and display it…
(And you may think this photo is taken from a slight angle, thus the slight appearance of perspective to its shape; but no! it really is that bad an attempt at a rectangle!)
I’m meandering somewhere without really having an end point, but maybe this as good as any:
Apparently, Danish law says that burning any nation’s flag is against the law. Except for the Danish flag itself. That, Denmark, is a truly beautiful and incredibly noble law.
The casual dropping of bottles.
The mutterings of “sheisse…”
The nur-nur of police vans briskly moving around the city.
The silent traipsing of friends.
The occasional defiant “Deutschland!”
I was woken up yesterday morning around 3.30am by some music coming from a parked car. Not really woken up, but, y’know, I was starting to drift off to sleep and it jerked me awake again. Nothing particularly unusual about that, but the actual song itself was unusual. Normally such inapproriately loud music is techno or hip hop stuff; but last night it was Don’t Stop Believing by Journey.
I like that song, and I’d not heard it for ages, so this morning I opened iTunes and typed ‘don’t’ in the browse field, and 113 songs came up. That’s a lot of songs telling me to not do something.
Songs that tell me what or what not to do rub me up the wrong way. I shouldn’t get irked by it, but I do.
Not only do they make awful music, but Embrace’s fate was sealed for me when they patronisingly sang, “All you good good people, listen to me”. There’s so many things wrong with that lyric, that I can feel my hackles rising just thinking about it.
So, anyway, here’s a list of things that rock and pop stars think you shouldn’t be doing:
Don’t Be Shy – The Libertines
Muuuuum, I don’t want to wear this sailor suit!
Don’t Believe The Hype – Public Enemy
Yep, I agree, the Arctic Monkeys are rubbish.
Don’t Cry – Guns ‘n’ Roses
I’m trying not to, but I stepped on a nail.
Don’t Damn Me – Guns ‘n’ Roses
What, smashing up a hotel room is alright in your book, is it?
Don’t Fear The Reaper – Blue Öyster Cult
But he’s my boss, and we’ve gotta get the harvest done.
Don’t Get Lost In Heaven – Gorillaz
I dunno, but I imagine Heaven’s got good signposting
Don’t Give Up – Peter Gabriel & Kate Bush
But I’ve only got a pawn and my king left..
Don’t Go Near The Water – The Beach Boys
You wouldn’t say that if you were lost in the Sahara.
Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me – Elton John
Elton is a vampire, nur-nur-na-nur-nur!
Don’t Marry Her (Fuck Me) – The Beautiful South
I’m flattered but, y’know, I love her.
Don’t Mug Yourself – The Streets
“Oi! Craig, gimme my wallet!” “No, Craig, it’s mine” “I’ve got a knife, I’ll stab myself” “Please don’t”
Don’t Panic – Coldplay
Yeh, but there’s a brown bear three feet in front of me.
Don’t Stand So Close To Me – The Police
It’s okay, I’m wearing a Hazmat suit.
Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough – Michael Jackson
Michael’s advice to anyone at a buffet.
Don’t Stop Believing – Journey
Sorry, Mum, I know it’s you who puts 20p under my pillow.
Don’t Talk (Put Your Head On My Shoulder) – The Beach Boys
…the ambulance will be here with a neckbrace soon.
Don’t You Worry ‘Bout A Thing – Stevie Wonder
I’ll try not to.
Don’t Be A Fool, Billy – Super Furry Animals
…that Rottweiler will kill you if you keep trying to hump him.
Feel free to complete these sentences if you can be bothered.
1. England’s exit from the World Cup was _______.
2. Rooney’s red card was _______.
3. I am _______ that Sven Göran Eriksson is going.
4. Cristiano Ronaldo is a _______.
5. I really hope _______ win the World Cup now.
C’mon, it’s not funny. No, stop laughing! It must’ve hurt!