Saturday, April 28, 2007

Which Frames?

I got my new reading glasses today. I got two sets of frames for the price of one and decided that I should get two very different sorts. The thinner, wire framed ones were chosen thinking they would be my main pair while I thought the bolder frames would be the substitutes.

Currently, everyone seems to prefer the bolder pair. And so do I.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Motorcycle Cat Attack

Motorcycle Cat Attack, originally uploaded by Dave Gorman.

Real life photoshopping.

Thursday, April 26, 2007


When I was about twelve, I think I quite fancied the idea of wearing glasses. I thought they would suit me in the same way that I thought chess might be a suitable pastime for me. Learning to play chess properly was far too much hassle so I didn't bother but I did try to throw an eye test. The optician was having none of it and pronounced my vision to be 20/20 and I remained specless. Of course with the benefit of hindsight (which is also 20/20) I'm glad about that. What a self-conscious tit I was.

Ten or more years ago I had another eye test and was again told that I had 20/20 vision. I was also told that I had unusually strong eyelids... if only eyelid wrestling was a competitive sport the 26 year old me might have fulfilled his Olympic dreams. Heigh ho.

I didn't have another eye-test for years, my next being three or four years ago. I'm not sure it really counts as there was no optician present and I was in a New York bar at the time. It started when I read aloud a sign on the far wall that must have amused or confused me in some way. None of my companions believed I was really reading it. They assumed I'd read it in passing on a trip to the gents and was now pretending to read it. I insisted that I was really reading it and they proceeded to quiz me, asking me to read different bits of text that were dotted about the bar. I named obscure brands of spirits, read healthcode signs and vintage adverts and my vision was declared 23/20 - which is much better than 20/20 and makes me special although, like I say, there wasn't an optician present.

Recently I've been finding writing harder than normal. My concentration wanders and headaches have been more frequent. You know where this is going. I am now a glasses wearer. I had a test last week and have discovered that I am ever so slightly long sighted. I have glasses for reading only. ("You won't need them to look at a menu but if you're reading for an hour or so or working on a computer they'll make life more comfortable.") The twelve year old me would be delighted. The thirty six year old me is everso slightly pissed off.

In other news I played my best poker a couple of days ago. It was online which is very sad of me but there you go. I entered a $5 tournament and so did 367 others. With some good play and three amazing moments of good fortune I won it. I won just shy of $460 which at the current exchange rate is... oo... 11p. I'm sure that over all time my poker account would be in the red but I will use this moment of victory to convince myself otherwise. Self-delusion is the key to happy gambling.

The tournament lasted around 4 hours. That's a long time to look at a computer screen. I hadn't yet taken delivery of my specs and so ended the day with a horrible headache. Still, poker is cooler than chess isn't it? Isn't it?

Oh, by the way, the second series of Annually Retentive starts a six week run on BBC3 this coming Monday.

Monday, April 23, 2007


I have just experienced a very odd weekend. I would be suspicious that I was being filmed for some kind of hidden camera prank show or being set up by the conjuror, Derren Brown for something except that, while very weird things have happened, I don't think they have occurred with enough frequency to make a TV show. Let me tell you two stories.

On Saturday afternoon I was with a friend and we were walking back to my house. We stopped while still being a good few hundred yards from home because we saw a jacket that appeared to have been dropped on the pavement. It looked like a smart and presentable jacket. There were no other pedestrians around. We talked about whether or not we should put the jackets somewhere - in the way that people put lost gloves on railings to help the owner find them should they come looking - but decided to leave it where it was because there was nowhere obvious to hang it and we didn't want to look like the kind of people who picked up discarded jackets in the street.

We walked on a couple of yards and then stopped because a couple of friends appeared from around the corner and so there was another conversation to be had. So, the four of us were chatting merrily away when I became aware that there was another presence there. I turned to my left and saw a woman waiting intently for a break in the conversation. I don't know how long she'd been there.

"Hello," she said, "I've written you a letter."
This was a strange thing for a stranger to say, but I shrugged and waited for her to give me the letter. She didn't give me the letter and there was a slightly awkward pause before she then said, "I've pinned it to a tree in the park for you."
"Right," I said, "thanks."
She then turned and left, stopping to pick up the jacket as she did so. Why would someone decide that pinning a letter to a tree was the best way to get in touch with me? What are the chances of someone who has done so bumping into me a few minutes later? What did the letter say? I don't know because, while I did take a stroll in the park it does have a lot of trees in it and I couldn't see which one was being used for my correspondence. Maybe there was no such letter and she just decided to try and weird me out by saying there was, thinking, "Ah ha ha... he will probably look at every tree the fool... ah ha ha ha." which would be a better trick if looking at trees in a park on a sunny Saturday was a more unpleasant way to spend some time. Why was her jacket on the floor, was she lurking in the shadows all along? Was it her jacket or is the kind of person who pins letters-to-strangers-on-trees-in-parks also the kind of person who picks up discarded clothes... the kind of person I'd decided I didn't want to look like? So many questions... so few answers.

I was glad there were witnesses to this little moment of madness because I don't think many people would believe me. But that pales compared to the events of Sunday evening.

It was about 9.30 on Sunday night and I and a friend were watching some TV and having a lazy time of it. Pizza was involved and bellies were full. I heard a key in a door and I heard a door opening and there was a moment before I realised that it was my door opening. Now... no one else should have a key for mine and no one else should be letting themselves into my house at 9.30 on a Sunday evening or at any other time come to that and I jumped out of my sofa and into the hallway. The lights weren't on so all I could see was a figure silhouetted by the street lights behind her. She had a set of door keys dangling from her finger and even in silhouette it was obvious there was not a hint of I'm-doing-something-I-shouldn't about her demeanour. She didn't jump when I appeared in the hallway... which I'm pretty sure I would do if I was a house burglar and the occupier suddenly appeared.

"Hello!" said I.
"Hello," said she without a hint of concern in her voice, "are there some flats up this way?"
There was only one way this way could be and that was up my stairs in what is obviously a small house and very obviously not a block of flats.
"No, there aren't," I said, clearly more flustered than she was by the situation. "What are you doing here and how did you get in?"
"I'm just looking for some..."
I cut her off by turning the hall light on. Surely now she'd realise she wasn't where she was supposed to be. I can't imagine how panicked I'd be if I found myself accidentally letting myself into someone else's home. Even if I wasn't caught by anyone it would set my heart racing and make me feel pretty terrible, worried and extremely apologetic. My desire to get out of the place would be in competition with the desire to apologise and explain and the two would cause untold confusion in my head. She didn't seem to react like that at all.
"What are you doing?" I asked again.
"Oh," she said, finally realising things weren't quite right. "I'm just... um... my keys must be for next door, but they worked on yours... and... you want to get that looked at."
And with that, she turned and left, shutting the door behind her. I wasn't thinking straight throughout the whole encounter... I didn't ask her name and I didn't get to look at her keys or test them in my lock or... or any of the things that I should have done under the circumstances.

Again, so many questions and so few answers. If she was up to no good and had come by a set of keys for my house by nefarious means it was a very strange time to try to get in because anyone in their right mind could see from the lights and the sound of the TV that the place was occupied. If it really was a coincidence, what are the chances of someone trying the wrong door by accident but discovering that they have a key that works? Even if it was completely innocent, I don't like the idea that she has walked away knowing she has a key that works. Maybe she'll realise later that she could burgle me... or get another key cut and sell it to someone else who will... or... or whatever?

In any case, I had my locks changed today. You can't be too careful. If it is part of a Derren Brown magic trick, I hope he'll pay for the locksmith, they're not cheap those fellas.

With things like that happening, I'm understandably cautious about revealing my address to strangers. I paused before I typed this up in case it gave too much away. If the girl who just walked into my house knew it was my house in the first place then she already knows where I live. If she was accidentally (or with bad deeds in mind) walking in and she then recognised the man in the hall who confronted her so inadequately then again she now knows where I live.

No, the only circumstances in which this entry will have revealed too much would be if she was to accidentally stumble across this page of the internet and put two and two together which seems most unlikely. Mind you, a stranger just stumbling into my house seems most unlikely as well. If she is reading this (and who knows, maybe she was freaked out by it and has googled a few choice words to see if such a thing has ever happened to anyone else, say) then please don't come back and try it again.

Friday, April 13, 2007


A friend of mine has just complained that I haven't updated this page for a while. He does this from time to time, I suspect because he knows it will prompt me to sit down and type something but also because he knows that I am likely to start the entry by referring to the message from a friend and that feeds his sneaky little ego. He is a puppet-master, his plan has worked again.

Anyway... there is no news. Every day I try and write some more of my book. Some days I am more successful than others. All is well.

Oh... and the second series of Genius is being repeated on Radio 4. It's on Thursday nights at 11pm. The first one - with Johnny Vegas as the guest - went out last night. I know mentioning this a day late isn't very helpful but hey, it is available on the Listen Again section of the Radio 4 website for those of you who have a computer... and there's something about this situation that tells me you might well have.�

Saturday, April 7, 2007

Bike Racks

Bike Racks, originally uploaded by Dave Gorman.