Monday, 30 July 2007

Bear with a sore head

In a bad mood. STOMP. STOMP. STOMP. In a really, really bad mood. STOMP.

Look. It's young Flynn and Mr Beaver. They had lunch with Madame at Theo's Cafe yesterday. I wasn't invited. Not bitter. Sniff.
I expect I was busy anyway. Doing stuff. Important stuff. Sniff.

Important stuff? Some interesting things maybe.

Oliver Postgate - one of the men behind Bagpuss and The Clangers - has a website. But it's not what you'd expect if you only have memories of that voice telling stories of Noggin the Nog or Ivor the Engine. He was on Desert Island Discs recently. A fascinating man. And Madame has just finished reading a book by his father. She picked it up in a pile of old Penguin paperbacks. Hadn't realised the connection until she was part of the way through it. A good read.

And listening to Marcus Brigstocke's inspired rant from The Now Show. I'm an atheist and She would probably describe herself as humanist/agnostic if you prod her enough. So he was, um, preaching to the converted.

Have just checked with Madame. We're going with humanist/agnostic. Because the Church of the Divine Rufus only exists in her head. Whatever she thinks.

And Ingmar Bergman. Deary me. I have happy memories of watching Hour of the Wolf. It's one of those experiences that have to happen at the right time. Another day, in another mood ... But for some reason it worked. A twisting tale of strange events. I couldn't tell you what it all meant. Or if it meant anything. But the sight of Max von Sydow in drag ...

Time for bed. Think we have a tough week ahead so have some Half Man Half Biscuit before I go. Good night!

Thursday, 26 July 2007

Billy Pumpkin and the Wet Hen

Spoke too soon. She's still poorly. Moping about like a wet hen.

The things I do to amuse and entertain ...

Apparently. Allegedly. With my ears pinned back. With actual pins. I look like that Billy Corgan out of those Smashing Pumpkins.

Not sure what I am supposed to do with this new found talent. Children's party entertainer? All toy tribute band? The Plushie Pumpkins?

If her boss would like her back then I can arrange to have the door left unlock. Bring a big enough sack and she's all yours.

Tuesday, 24 July 2007

back, after this message from our sponsor ...

Madame has been unwell and hanging about the house. I had stuff to do. Work on my moustache. Manic Street Preachers' lyrics to deconstruct. More holiday tales to blog.

Instead. Sit about being supportive and sympathetic.

Oh. The. Joy.

And yet. Old time radio fun! Yay!!

I think I've mentioned before that we are big vintage radio fans. Sometimes we get lucky and there will be something good on BBC Radio 7. Maybe some episodes of Paul Temple. And it's always bona to catch a bit of Round the Horne.

But Madame not well. Big comfy Radio Noir marathon required.

The Saint. Vincent Price as Simon Templar - sounding strangely gothic while blondes and gangsters shoot it out around him. Some of the episodes end with a sweet little lecture from Mr Price on love and peace and tolerance. Jolly decent chap.

Only seem to be a few surviving episodes of Dr Morelle but they are worth listening to for the sheer breathtaking grumpiness. Imagine The Man Who Came To Dinner fighting crime on the mean streets of Kensington and Chelsea. Makes that Morse bloke look like "Rebecca of Sunnybrooke Farm". Wonder as his dippy assistant Miss Frayle refuses to brain him with a paperweight. Gasp as she fails to fill a misogynistic taxi driver full of lead. A classic grouchy afternoon comfort.

We've just made a start on The Falcon ... "brought to you by Gem Blades - the blades that help you avoid five o'clock shadow ... the Falcon ... always ready with a hand for oppressed men and an eye for repressed women!" Quite. Oooooooooo, it's all so butch. Cough. Yeah, dollface. Real manly.

Meh. But she's feeling a bit better. Thinks she'll be back at work tomorrow. So back to the grind for me.

Sigh. So - The Manic Street Preachers. "Autumn Song". Is it their attempt to get in touch with their inner Trinny & Suzanna? Shudder. Are lyrics - which appear to be saying "What have you done to your hair, woman? Look, just stick it in some bunches, slap on some make up, and go out and ... er ... jump in a pile of leaves/play conkers/do something autumnal" - really going to be enjoyed by women up and down the land? Or are the Manics going to be responsible for a rash of door slamming and face slapping? Or is it a very clever comment on the October Revolution and the lessons that can still be learned from a study of Socialist economic theory?

Yup. Back to the grind.

Sunday, 22 July 2007

Argyll adventure.

We went to Argyll. On the bus.

It's a nice bus trip. Once you get out of the city, and assuming you are not stuffed at the bottom of a rucksack, there's a lot to see out of the window. Lochs. Hills. Sheep.

There's a stop in Inverary so you can admire the rain. Very pretty in the rain. I imagine I wouldn't want to leave if I saw Inverary in sunshine. There is a coffee shop on a boat. Or is it a ship.

Back to the bus. And on to Lochgilphead.

Lochgilphead isn't, to be honest, the most attractive place on Earth. It's a typical little Scottish town. A few shops. Couple of pubs. Stuff like that.

But it's a good place to stay if you are planning to travel about the area. And you have to stay in the Empire Travel Lodge. It used to be a Glasgow cinema. How brilliant is that? And the owners are the nicest people. They didn't even get annoyed when Madame managed to dye one of their lovely posh white pillow cases pink with her mad hair.

You can go for a walk in the grounds of Kilmory Castle. I did. There were photographs. Which someone accidentally deleted. Fiddling with the camera. In the pub. I'm not bitter. Oh, no.

Or there is Kilmartin Glen. It's just full of ancient piles of rocks. And big old ancient standing up rocks. And other rocks. Ok. That was the day that I stayed in bed and read "Bear". But I'm sure that it was all very moving and spiritual and probably full of echos of ancient pagan rituals and all that stuff. Didn't they worship bears? Maybe I should have gone after all. Doh!

She did have a bear with her. The mysterious Humph.

Humph the Bear. We met him in Lochgilphead. We rescued him from a certain gift shop. He agreed to look after Madame while I relaxed. He doesn't say much. He is never seen without his shiny white mac and his shiny brown boots. He's not that tall - about 5 or 6 cms - but I am rather intimidated.

Back to the travels.

He does look like he has been trained to kill with his bare paws, doesn't he? Sorry. Argyll ...

And the best bit. The Crinan Canal.

Very beautiful and peaceful.

We want a boat. We really want a boat. And a crew who'll see to all the twiddly stuff with ropes and locks and bridges. While we sit in the sunshine. Enjoying champagne and strawberries. And waving regally to passing horse riders and cyclists and that limping girl with the broken rucksack and the funny looking toy bear. Funny looking. Pah.

And we'll maybe stay at the Crinan Hotel. She had a drink there. It looked like it would be a nice place to stay. If we become millionaires.

And then it was time to get back on the bus.

Saturday, 21 July 2007

holiday reading

You need a good book when you're travelling. I'm always up for a interesting read but it's essential when you are on the move. For passing the time when you are stuck in traffic. For pondering in the sun. Sitting in a deck chair on a busy beach or a lazy afternoon of tea and cake with a city buzzing about you.

Hide in a good book when the crazy stranger on the train tries to tell you about his dodgy prostate. Or when an over-excited travelling companion, who really should get out more, starts to squeal "oooooo, look at the pritty ickle baby lambies ..."

Fan yourself on a hot day or shade your sun burnt snout from the midday sun. Not so useful in the rain perhaps. Swat annoying bug things. Fend off the pritty ickle baby lambies when they try to trample you to death and steal your picnic. They are not always as lovely and polite as the delightful Callie and Jerome.

If you're that kind of person, you can squiggle things in the margins and on the blank pages. There are *cough* other things you can use the paper for. Things I wouldn't know about. But I understand that the works of Mr Jeffrey Archer can be soft and absorbent. If not exactly a good read.
"Bear" by Jamie Smart would be a wonderful, twisted read wherever you are. I got the first volume - "Bear : Immortal" for my birthday and took it on our trip up to Argyll. To be honest I didn't do much holiday stuff because "Bear" was so brilliant and the Empire Travel Lodge was so comfy.

While She limped about the countryside, scowling at small children, and failing to attract a yacht owning multimillionaire, I caught up with the comic adventures of the dashing Bear. We have so much in common.

"He fights dastardly sorts! He drives fast cars!! He schmoozes the honeys!!"

Like me, he shares his life with a *cough, loser, cough* human companion. Unlike me, he has to battle the ultimate evil cat - called Looshkin. And when anyone presses his nose - eek - his head puffs up like a scary balloon. That never happens to me. Occasionally certain people will prod my snout and squeak "ding dong". It's not funny. Back to Bear.

Jamie Smart's witty, bobbly drawings can camouflage the dark and disturbing world of these stories. Bear is sent to fight in the First World War, is held captive with Dave Grohl, and forced to appear in - oh, the horror - a Jane Austen style costume drama.

(oh, and today is Jamie Smart's birthday - HAPPY BIRTHDAY!)

For the next part of the holiday - Fife, where the scary tiggers and the crazy people live - I had a copy of "The Hollow Chocolate Bunnies of the Apocalypse" by Robert Rankin. Hum. Now, Robert Rankin isn't, in my humble opinion, a great writer. He's no James Joyce. He's not even much of a Terry Pratchett. I found his writing style to be clunky and stumbling.

Yes, I know. I'm one to talk. But I've not had much education. Story for another day. Back to the Chocolate Bunnies ...

Or, more importantly, to the hero of the book - Toy City private detective Eddie Bear. The novel is an attempt to blend classic Chandleresque noir with nursery rhymes and fairy tales. Eddie's boss - Bill Winkie (Little Willie Winkie) - has gone missing. Young lad - Jack - comes to town to seek his fortune and drags Eddie into the hunt for a serial killer. Hum.

Eddie Bear is a well written, convincing character. Unfortunately he is the only one and the story drags whenever he is out of action. I'm not just saying this because he is a bear. A toy bear. Eddie's distress at the loss of his "bestest friend" is genuinely touching. He drinks, he has fun (but not with dollies), and struggles with paws. The things you can't do when you don't have thumbs ...

I won't be rushing to read the sequel but I'd have a look if it came my way. The second volume of Bear is on my Must Have book list.

Not said much about the actual holiday yet. Or the mystery bear. That will have to wait for another day.

Before I go. Have just been "approved" by the lovely people at Blog Catalog. So wavy paw to all my new friends and neighbours. Haven't had time to have a proper look about yet but I'll do my best to be a good blog animal. Thank you!

Friday, 20 July 2007

There is a bear, and he never goes out

Ok. Yes. Barton Fink is a film. I knew that. I did. Honest.

Would I lie to you?

So. The holiday. Definitely going to tell you all about the holiday. Except ...

Not really in the mood. It's Friday night. I'm still young. I should be out there. A few drinks. Friends. Laughter. Bit of music. Fun. Frolic. Froth.

Instead. Stuck in with Madame Misery. She's tired. She's got no money. So much housework to do and her life is a wasteland because she doesn't have a solar lighted Eiffel Tower. Or the sunshine to power it.

Try turning that into a musical comedy.

Apparently she is going to put on her serious pyjamas. Big boy pyjamas. Pyjamas that shout "See that tub of ice cream. I'm eating it all. And I'm eating it in bed. Without you." And her fluffy Latvian socks. She might read a bit of her lovely green and white vintage Penguin copy of "The Department of Dead Ends". She might not.

I'm just going to sneak off to my corner and try not to draw attention to myself. Do a bit of thinking. Hang on. Here's an idea. Richard Hawley - Coles Corner. Smooth and soothing. Enjoy.

Thursday, 19 July 2007

no trust. no time

Have lots to do. Busy Bear.

But Madame is spending the evening with some bloke called Barton Fink. Fnark. I've seen a picture and even She could do better. He sounds thoroughly unreliable and hard work.

And She won't leave me alone with the computer. I don't know what she thinks I'll get up to.

Actually I do. She thinks I'll be looking at naughty puppet prawn, getting over excited by Sooty slash and buying stuff on Ebay. Like an elephant.

I really want an elephant. Does anyone have an elephant that they don't want? It would have to be a smallish one because it will probably have to live in the wardrobe. Or maybe the window box.

I am being prodded. The time has come to go. So here's another picture of that other mysterious bear.

Monday, 16 July 2007

where was Bear?

Oh, apparently I got it wrong. She goes back to work tomorrow. Yes. I got it wrong. Not her. Hum. And hum again. But she has started to get some of my holiday stuff sorted.

So. Where has Bear been? And who is the mysterious stranger? Is there a prize? Are tiggers really that dangerous? Can Bear suggest some good holiday reading? Did he climb that tree all by himself? And did he need help to get down again? Questions. Questions.
And it's bedtime ...

Sunday, 15 July 2007

not big and not clever

Today has been the last day of Her holiday and she told me she was going to sort out some of the photos for me. She did not sort out the photos. She faffed about. She faffed about to music. She faffed about and ate chocolate. She did not sort out the photos. Nothing was achieved and now she'll have to get up early tomorrow and go to work and be grumpy and I'll be back trauma sponging.

Wait. I tell a lie. She did transfer one photo. Oh, yes. It just had to be this one. Didn't it?

Friday, 13 July 2007

back again

A quick hello. Home and holiday nearly over. Have been here and there and back again. Have been rained on. Enjoyed the sun on my fur. Hunted wild tiggers. Been hunted by wild tiggers. Have experienced luxury, frivolity, indignity, and insults.

Lots of stories and pictures and other delights and warnings to share. Unfortunately my staff have informed me that it will take a while to get everything sorted out and back to normal. She has bags to unpack, and laundry to do, a ton of chocolate to eat, and then she'll be trailing about the interknit looking for new stuff on yon Rufus until she has a migraine.

So we'll have to be patient. I'm going to use the time to grow a moustache.

And I'll be listening to Gogol Bordello ... yay!

Tuesday, 3 July 2007

Birthday bear!

Happy birthday to us.
Happy birthday to us.
Happy birthday to us!
Happy birthday to us.

Yup. It's our birthday. And, finally, proof that She exsists and is not a figment of my imagination. We have changed a bit since the photo was taken. Many centuries ago. On our 1st birthday.

We've been having a pleasantly lazy day. She has been reading naughty manga and playing with her new phone. She has changed the ringtone several times, accidently called several people - including Partick Police Station - and taken many fuzzy photos, in a variety of styles.

I have been admiring my new birthday outfit - more than a red bow - and looking at my birthday present book - yay! - "Bear: Immortal" by Jamie Smart.

Soon it will be time for us to get our bags packed for our wee holiday. So I'll just say -

Thank you for all the lovely cards and presents and stuff!

Love from me and Her

Bear's Birthday Choice -

Her Birthday Choice (oooooo, wonder who it could be ...) -

Sunday, 1 July 2007

It's raining rain

Outside it's wet. A lot of wet. And grey. Inside - busy. Lots of busy.

Birthday this Tuesday and I am excited. I am as excited as a very excited thing in a whole bath full of excitement. I love birthdays. Especially mine. Presents. Fuss. More presents. More fuss. Streamers. Balloons. Those blowy out things that go "whoooot". Cake and candles I'm not so keen on - stickiness/flammability - but the rest - woo hoo!

It's going to be Her birthday too. She's spent the past few days in a riotous orgy of fun and shopping. Of course it will end in tears. Probably when the next lot of bank statements appear. But today she is happy. Surrounded by a thrilling new collection of socks, bags, and other stuff.

And she has bought a new phone. Which is odd because she didn't use the one she had - she is old and grumpy and will usually only communicate via vellum scroll delivered by messenger pigeon. But this new phone - ooooooooooo - it's less of a phone and more of an entertainment centre. There's an mp3 player and a camera and a radio and petting zoo and and an inflatable dinghy and a small Russian Orthodox cathedral. Of course she doesn't know how any of it works so it is currently a pretty little paper weight.

And then there's the holiday. Still don't know where we're going. I do know that it will involve me being crushed into a suitcase or rucksack. One day I will go business class. One day I will not travel with a face full of socks and t-shirts. One day there will be peace and love and I will rule the world. Probably.

Some sad news. Fopp goes popp. We liked Fopp. There was a Fopp on Her way home from work. Just in the right place. Perfect for popping in when she was celebrating - or needed cheering up - or just wanted to fritter away some money (she would only have wasted it on food and bills). But no more Fopp. She'll be coming home and taking it out on me.