Friday, June 30, 2006


I've been swimming regularly at a hotel near the beach for about two and a half years now. At first I was going a couple of times a week, but recently (after being given a keyring with a little one-pound-sized token on it that finally removes the excuse of 'I haven't got a quid for the lockers, I may as well stay in bed') I've been going a proper three times times* a week.

A couple of people asked recently if I've lost weight, and after departing the hotel this morning I finally thought to myself, 'do you know, I think they might be right'. It had been a good forty-minute swim, and so, glowing with health, and feeling just a teensy bit like I had proper actual swimming muscles, I smiled benevolently at the world and took a deep breath of fresh cornish air.

At which point the button on my shorts popped, said garment sinking immediately to just above my knees.

In the distance, a cow mooed, mournfully and with a trace of fierce regret. An ambulance drove past, very slowly.

I am home now. I do not think I will go out again.

* I won't amend this mistake, especially for Dave.

Monday, June 26, 2006


If any film has a better Ninja Attack Scene than The Last Samurai, I would like to know about it please.

Not a great film, but a solidly good one - and Ken Watanabe is brills. Flatmate was away this weekend, so I was able to loll and sprawl over two different houses. I also watched Mean Girls (good, but would have benefited from a Ninja Attack Scene), and the first half of Sideways, which I thought was going to be funnier than it was. Which is fine, but I wasn't in the mood for a proper grown-up film about feelings and that, so I put it back on the shelf to watch properly another time. So if there is a Ninja Attack Scene in the second half, don't tell me, it'll spoil it.

Other films that would have benefited from a Ninja Attack Scene:

1. Topsy Turvy (and it's about Japan, sort of, it would have fitted, call it 'Topsy Turvy Singing Ninjas').

2. Emma (on that picnic at the start, everyone is killed by ninjas, and Emma trains with another clan of ninjas to avenge them, at a big masked ball - I would call it 'Emma and the Ninjas').

3. The Remains of the Day ... quite small remains, after ninjas had been round.

4. Schindler's List.

UPDATE: Maybe 'Schindler's List... of ninjas'. Ninjae'? 'Ninjases'? Maybe just 'Ninj'. No, I think it's 'ninjas'. I've said it too often now anyway, it's become just a noise, like 'sofa' or 'plinth'.

UPDATE 2: Skeadugenga suggests Sliding Doors as a film in need of a good ninja attack, and I cannot find it in my heart to disagree. In fact, Sliding Doors may top the billing as Film Most In Need Of A Ninja Attack Scene Ever In The History Of Ever, which may seem like this is turning into something of an attack against Gwynneth, but ahh, I reckon Gwynnie has a great and terrible darkness hidden within her, and a ninja attack might be just the thing to bring it out.

'I was never much of a one for Gwynneth Paltrow,' people would say, 'and then there was that bit in that film when ninjas attacked, and wow.....'

Cor, Sliding Doors was dull, wasn't it? Two parallel universes, and the main difference between them is... Gwynnie's hair's shorter and lighter in the second one. Or possibly the first one. Open Your Eyes (oops, that's the original, which I haven't even seen, I mean Vanilla Sky, sorry Anna) is also rubbish in this regard. Tom Cruise is trapped in an artificial afterlife of his own unconscious devising, and all that happens is Cameron Diaz occasionally turns into Penelope Cruz. Rubbish. Ninjas, ninjas ninjas.

I'm off to london tomorrow - I think this post is my way of lightening the load before I go. As t'were.

Friday, June 23, 2006


A friend of mine has a child in a local primary school. Said child recently brought news that it was due to go on an organised day trip with the theme of 'Where Does Our Food Come From'.

Bearing in mind this is Cornwall, a county poised between the equally whimsical and uncaring industries of Tourism and Agriculture (hence poorest county in the UK) to which of the following culinary educational experiences did the children travel on a laid-on coach, where they were provided with leaflets and general info?

1. The farmers' market (Tuesday mornings on the Moor, highly recommended).
2. Falmouth Harbour, where they could chat with local fishermen.
3. One of the local farms, where moo-cows and bah-lambs gambol and frolic in the fresh air before being, well, bopped on the head and turned into yummy meaty products.
4. One of the less meaty local farms, where they grow asparagus, and some other vegetables I can't think of at the moment, But loads, anyway.
5. Mylor, to see the oyster-dredgers at work.
6. Penryn Harbour, where you can see fish being smoked, it's weirdly exciting.


7. Fucking ASDA.

Ho yuss. Now, ASDA is one of Wal-Mart's subsiduaries, and to decry it for having a massive advertising budget and the morals of one of those nastier things out of Tolkien seems rather pointless. But I can't believe a school, and a school in Cornwall of all places, took the bait.

I'm doing a mahusive barbeque* this weekend, but as I had finished up all the stuff from the farmers market (where I buy all my meat, Wednesday morning looks like I've had werewolves round) I realised with shame that I was seriously considering going to ASDA to buy some of their watery ghastly fucking meat. So I bought a load of goodness from the butchers in town, and jolly nice it looks as well. And I would urge you to do the same. By the end of the week ASDA will have crumbled.

Go to your local butcher's I mean, not come to Falmouth, you probably live miles away. Think of the carbon footprints. You nutter.

Whilst I'm on a consumer trip, thanks for all the bag advice. Did I say I was getting a 'man bag'? No I fucking did not (sorry I'm a bit sweary, it's the heat). What I want is a rucksacky item, but the sort of thing a gentleman traveller would have worn while being caught up in The Great Game played between the British Empire and Imperial Russia in Afghanistan sometime around the cusp of the Twentieth Century, but would look equally fine back at his club in Pall Mall as said owner chuckled disparagingly at his own foolish adventures whilst servants gawked at his bullet-pocked pith helmet.

That sort of thing. Anyway, I'm Londoning next week, and if don't see anything up there, I'm jolly well going to have one custom-made, to those exact specifications.

Also, I bought a new ipod. YES YES I KNOW, but, ahhh this is the clever bit, I did get a three year warranty, and at the current rate of Apple things breaking down, said forty quid warranty will quickly bankrupt not only Apple, but also Argos, where I purchased the beast. And if that happens in the same week ASDA/Wal Mart is reduced to a smoking hole in the ground, leaving us all to emerge blinking into the light of a post-corporate age where people buy things that are made with love and passion by other people round the corner, and said things are designed to last a lifetime until eventually being returned harmlessly to the soil that bore them, please remember this post as the exact point Things Started Getting Better.

UPDATE: a Matt writes - At the risk of assuming the role of Dr Pedantic: it's not that supermarkets add water to meat generally (although possibly they do with chicken) it's that generally they don't hang meat long enough; and the process of hanging dries out - quite considerably - the meat. So it's more a case of not removing rather than adding. i've got a feeling i read somewhere there is something like 30% shrinkage of a carcass hung for a month. so there.

* It's another word for 'massive', I'm not barbequeing mahusives. Anyway, they're terribly gristly.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Polar bears, seeds, bags

Svalbard's Doomesday Vault. I'd read about this in the actual news. but I like somethingawful's take on it best.

In other news, I'm going to put my usual, firmly masculine, salt-of-the-earth, eats-raw-chicken-drumsticks-whilst-watching-football-from-the-back-of-a-JCB persona aside for a second and ask: where can I get a nice leather satchelly rucksack sort of thing? Now I'm thirty three, I've decided I want a proper non-studenty travel accessory, that will last a few years, so I might pay a bit more than normal. I even went all brand-y and looked at the Dunhill site, but couldn't find anything suitable, which to be honest was a bit of a relief. I tried ebay, but they're all a bit girly. It's a proper conundrum/mystery/dilema. Actually it's none of those things really, but if anyone has any handy hints, do let me know.

Supposedly there's a shop in Falmouth that has magic Elizabethan leather brought up from a sunken ship, with an army of craftsman out the back who will sculpt any item you want, but I can't find the shop, and in fact may have dreamt the whole thing.

Monday, June 19, 2006

And a pizza.

Originally uploaded by jamesandthebluecat.
UPDATE: To Ori, my X-Men (fans)!

Could anyone with a working knowledge of the X-Men please head over to Ori's blog, as she has a few technical questions about the whole film vs comics thing. As in 'Iceman's a bit rubbish in the film, isn't he?' as so on. Off you go, sharpish. I've pointed out that Phoenix is way harder in the comics, as opposed to the film where she mostly hangs about looking gloomy, but stopped there. Magneto was about right though I thought.

The third film had some good ideas I thought. I thought if Bryan Singer had done it, it would only have ten per cent better. But it would have been a very important ten per cent (I did like like the pink piping on Kitty Pryde's costume though, a flourish of wit in which the costume department managed to out-do the entire script).

(Anyway, back to the post, as more people need to know about hype machine. And I'm not convinced anyone's looked at the Nick Kroll stuff yet)

Of course it occurred to me that if Trouty does become a qualified Hostage Negotiator, our Wednesday night D&D sessions might become even more fun:

ME: ... okay, the centipede hit you, so the damage is-
TROUTY: (through megaphone) PUT THE DICE DOWN!
ME: Fifteen damage. Ooh, you're dead.
ME: You're so de- hey, my Wolverine t-shirt's got a red dot on it...*

Someone asked a while back what an 'mp3 blog accumulator' was, and I forgot to tell them. It's basically a website that sits astride the internet like a music-loving spider, and every time a blog posts an mp3 (music file) it reaches out a hairy leg and puts up a link (sorry, the metaphor ran out there).

Hype Machine is the best one I know of. I check the 'popular' link pretty much every day, which makes me a saddo indie-collective-following sheep, man, but it does find me some great music. And if you put 'the knife' in the search field at the beginning of the weekend, you might just come across some amazing stuff by Swedish(?) electropop types, including 'We Share Our Mother's Health', which I'd forgotten all about, and now recognize as the best song in the world ever. It's considered good form to leave an appreciative comment on an mp3 blog if you've whipped one of their songs though. And if you really like the song, buy the album.

Don't really know what this is, but it's very funny, and oddly reminiscent of me and PP larking about before a Magnetic Fields concert, only in New York. And we're not quite as butch. Well, PP is. I'll stop now. The main guy Nick Kroll's showreel also includes the best sofa jump I have ever seen. And I've seen a few.

* Joke stolen from My Name Is Earl.


Patroclus notes: " ...putting my pedant hat on briefly (because everyone loves that), it's technically an 'aggregator', rather than an 'accumulator', which is something to do with gambling, or something", which is a very good point. Ta Patch.

And (back to me now) probably you only need to add a positive compliment every six mp3 blogs or something, or you'd never get any work done, he said, suddenly realising the depths of his monstrous hypocrisy.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Being paid

Just on the off-chance that there's a single person remaining on the internet who isn't bored silly of me whining about my expensive consumer electronics, it looks like it was the dodgy memory card (an official Apple product) that was making my new iBook go all wobbly, and now I've taken it out, and erase/installed, it seems fine.

Also, the trackpad on my old iBook (the one on which I'm writing this one on on) has suddenly flickered back into life (I had to use a optic mouse thing before). Clearly Little Stevey Jobs has realised he can Push Me No Further. Ha.

The money from the GW series one repeats just came through, and as I haven't actually been paid anything since January (not counting an advance from my agent), it was a joyous moment, so could the nice lady who sits next to the other nice lady at C4 who does the writers' payments please say thank you from James.

The great thing is, I didn't have an agent when I wrote for Series 1, so not only do I not have to give ten percent of it to Agent Matt (not that I normally begrudge it, he works jolly hard etc etc), I was also able to send a joyous email to the other writers, telling them that the money is now ready for collection, and if their agents hadn't said anything yet, they were clearly sitting on the interest (ouch) and should be taken behind a wall and smashed up immediatement (don't know if that's an actual word).

A goodly proportion went on paying off my overdraft and credit card over the counter at NatWest, although the counter lady clearly wanted me to hand over even more.

COUNTER LADY: Now, once that sum's gone out, there's still a fairly healthy amount just sitting there, so do you have any thoughts on what you'll be-

ME: Hookers*

In fact all that 'healthy amount' will be gone very soon, what with tax coming up, and having to be a sensible self-employed person and putting some aside for next year's tax but still.

Also, Falmouth hookers = no, you really wouldn't. There was a brothel in Penryn at one point, but eventually the disadvantages of being directly opposite the police station outweighed the advantages.

In other news, my mate Constable Trout** went for an interview to be a qualified Hostage Negotiator. Apparently it didn't go that well, and then he came straight over to play Runepaw (AKA my Viking Mice roleplaying game). If I'd stopped to think about it, having a plot point in the game where some evil rats kidnapped the village's mice children was an iffy choice. Judging that the player characters had arrived just slightly too late and having the rats kill the first mouse child even as they burst into the room was possibly going to far, although I could argue that Constable Trout's character (a samurai lizard who washed up into Midgard on a twig) then going beserk and killing all the rats with the steely vengeance of an avenging avator of Justice Itself was probably good therapy. Maybe.

Sorry Trouty.

* I didn't actually say this. But if I had, it would have been reasonably funny.

** Who works nowhere near Penryn Police Station, let's make that very clear.

Double soz Trouters.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

A is for Arseholes

My new G4 iBook, sent to me as a replacement for the older Powerbook which died on its arse after thirteen months (after the older iBook and iPod on which I had everything backed up also died within ten days of each other), is, or course, fucked.

It's crashed (or gone into what I believe is known, rather quaintly, as a 'kernal panic') about ten times in the past four days. I am currently having to erase and install the operating system, although this time round I was suspicious enough not to put any important (and expensively licensed) software on it.

If that doesn't work, I am going to try and get my money back on the original Powerbook (ha ha! Good luck, future me! You twat!) and then not buy Apple again.

Hence there not being any blog posts of late, as they would consist mostly of swearing, odd symbols and asterisks, and swearing again.

I'm housesitting for my parents while they go off on holiday to France. Currently I am mostly sitting in a corner, eating all the jelly cubes and catering chocolate and trying not to cry as a small blue bar crawls slowly across the laptop screen indicating one last pointless software install.

MINI UPDATE: I popped out for an hour, during which time my brother let himself in, ate the toffee ice-cream and buggered off again. That fucker will rue the day...

Fortunately I was able to watch some brilliant animation here. The Burning Safari one particularly almost cheered me up.

I hate everyone.*

*except you, you're all right. Everyone else though.

UPDATE: aha - after poking round in some really obscure Apple forums, I'm starting to wonder if it's the memory card from the old Powerbook that I shifted into the new one. Of course if I take it out, I won't be able to play World of Warcraft until I get a new one. But I will be able to, you know, write scripts and that.

What to do, what to do.....

UPDATE 2: removing the memory card seems to have worked, and I can run Warcraft without it, so have been happily slaughtering Crag Boars all evening with my new Snow Leopard pet called, imaginatively, 'Cat'. Fingers crossed the miracle lasts.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Woo hoo! The BBC is having an 18th century season!

My favourite of all the centuries! There'll be big cuffs and tricorne hats, and South Sea Bubbles and fluttering fans and braces of flintlocks, and ladies saying 'la sir!' (maybe) and ooh, phaetons! Details here.

Oh wait, it's BBC4. Which I can't get, as my flat sits in a black hole of telly reception.


Dear BBC4, please could you send me round some DVDs? Chop chop, quick as you like. I'll review them properly, and promise not be rude about Alan Yentob again, even though he does strike me as a bit of a(message ends).

Sunday, June 11, 2006

comics, ants, beard-foreshadowing

Fluxblog has an interview with Bryan Lee O'Malley, the guy behind the Scott Pilgrim comics, which always looked pretty cool, is how they looked. Edgar Wright is apparently attached to the adap after he's finished Hot Fuzz-ing, although I'm hoping that doesn't mean the Ant Man thing is on hold, as long as it's the Scott Lang version, as he's the best by (scaled-down) miles.

If you didn't understand a word of that, then tough noogies grandad.

More from the Comedic Writers And The Facial Hair Therof Project soon. Suggestions I put in Shakespeare and Molière were well received, but I thought a gap might be appropriate, otherwise it goes: Richard, Rob, Fay, Ori, Me, Stuart, Shakespeare and Molière. Which might be pushing it.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Comedic Writers And The Facial Hair Thereof: Stuart


If you look closely, you'll see that not only has the remarkable Stuart Kenworthy 'filled in' his beard with magic marker he drew his eyebrows on as well. There's quite a good 'brooding' picture as well, if you click the one there and go into Flickr. Stuart never looks as though he's more than a few seconds from strangling wildlife, and was responsible for the memorable heron/green-painted dwarf interface in GW, god have mercy on his soul.

Sir, for your courage, and willingness to go that extra distance for the greater cause of the Comedic Writers And The Facial Hair Thereof Project, we salute you!

UPDATE: a Stuart writes... I didn't use magic marker to create my whiskers. It was mascara added to stubble. I now have quite a taste for the makeup, I'm thinking of painting my toe nails for the party. Someone asked about the swan/Jetski and that was mine. Someone else mentioned the picture on the wall. It is a blue and brown cat I painted some time ago. I don't expect I'll ever make the Royal Academy.

I'm going to the same party, and as a consequence will be off-blog until the weekend.* Please try not to write on the walls and wee in the corner while I'm gone.

* because it's in London. I'm not planning on drinking that much.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Green Wing (not) Christmas Special, and a song

I just got an email from patrick in the GW office:

Hi James,

Fine so far.

Fantastic little thing in the Guardian about your blog on Saturday!

Yeah, it sounds complimentary, but did you notice the 'little'? I think he's jealous.

Nice one!

Still sounds sarcastic.

Just one thing,

Oh, here it comes....

The special, is NOT a Christmas special. It is likely* to go out before Christmas, or after Christmas. So you might want to amend that...

Ooops. There we are, it's not really a Christmas special, as it could go out before Christmas or afterwards. Either of those time slots. It was being referred to as a Christmas special at one point, but now, apparently, it's not. Just because someone quite high up in channel 4 referred to it as a 'christmas special' doesn't mean I should make the ridiculous assumption that it's a 'christmas special'.... chizz chizz moan moan sulk.

I'm like one of those army units that goes rogue ( a 'rogue army unit') blundering about on the far South Western tip of the map, causing mischief and mayhem, until Patrick gets given a river boat and told to sort it out, while James Hendrix plays in the background. I might shave my head and hide in the delicatessen section of Tesco's later, rising out of the pate while Patrick's helicopter (he's got a helicopter now) looms in overhead, playing Ride of Valkyries. Actually I can't, I'm waiting for a phone call about my replacement Powerbook, I'll have to stay in, bugger.

Patrick's band, by the way, are having their own go at a world-cup song. So as an apology for roaming out of control all over the media this weekend, I suggest anyone reading this puts aside their totally reasonable disgust and hatred of football songs and have a look at this one, which doesn't have 'salt of the earth' type thugs marching in unison, but does include a goose, and some kittens, hurrah.

* Just to be sure, it's not set in stone that it's going out at all - don't want to jump the gun on C4 there, but you never know, the last episode might be so astonishingly mould-breaking and amazing (especially my bits) that who's to say it won't be deemed too dangerous for human eyes to see and sent into space intead where it will float into the heart of the sun and do no further damage. I mean I'm sure it will be going out, but let's not get too complacent about these things, hmm?


Am I the only person in the world who wandered out into the living room last night, and shouted "YES! RESIDENT EVIL!!". Well, I was the only one in my living room, but you know what I mean. I really really like that film, which worries me slightly, as it's universally acknowledged as shite. I was enormously relieved when the second one came out and really was rubbish.

Other science fiction heresy moments:

2001 is really very dull indeed.
I preferred the non-directors cut of Bladerunner, with the happy ending.
I have no problem with Ewoks. Well, the whole glassy eyes things freaks me out now, but I didn't notice at the time.
The bit with the round wobbly robots shuffling onto their spaceship in The Fifth Element nearly made me cry. Obviously the whole thing with Chris Tucker was awful, but you can block that bit out, and I really like the rest of the film.
Elektra was perfectly enjoyable.
Firefly/Serenity wasn't my cup of tea.

Ooh, I've gone too far.

UPDATE: Anonymous said: So Firefly's too eighties & Dr who's too naughties (hate that term but in the absence of something better) - what looks right?

Weren't Ewoks the Jar Jar Binks of the original trilogy?

Quite possibly, yes. Moving on from 'films that are rubbish but I like' to 'films and telly that just look and feel right' (I like the scripty elements as well in most of them, but this is more a cinematography thing):

Any random second of Bladerunner.
Star Trek: Wrath of Khan, oddly enough
Star Wars
Queen of Hearts (linked because no-one's ever heard of it, although it's a fabulous film)
Labyrinth (particularly the masked ball bit)
Shaun* of the Dead (with the aspect ratio thing being a teensy homage to John Carpenter movies, and yes I did spot that before they said it in the commentary).
How Do You Want Me?
Spirited Away
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

*now spelled correctly. D'oh.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Comedic Writers And The Facial Hair Thereof: james (and the blue cat)

Originally uploaded by jamesandthebluecat.
I did make a big papery false beard for myself, but it kept falling off, and in the end I shouted and threw it in the bin. So the real beard will have to suffice.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Comedic Writers And The Facial Hair Thereof: Fay/Ori

Originally uploaded by jamesandthebluecat.
Look at them! Freaks!!!*

The ginger quality of the face foliage still fairly consistent, if now with a strangely one-dimensional quality. Good expressions though.

More ladies of the bearded variety here.

Soon: blue cat beardage.

And apologies to anyone brought here by the Guardian Guide thing, the blog's gone a bit silly of late. May was quite fun though, I met Lenny Henry and swore at Tamsin Greig. Go and have a look at May, down the side on the right there. Down a bit. There, yes.

* Mind, I'd be lying if I didn't say I was also thinking 'phwoooar'. Although in a slightly confused way. 'Phwoooooar?', perhaps.

Friday, June 02, 2006


Started earlier this week. Evans opened with:

PRIM SUSPECT - she was a bit stuck-up anyway.

I countered with:

PRATS OF THE CARIBBEAN: getting in everyone's way.
GONE WITH THE WIN: man goes halvsies on scratchcard, makes a tenner, legs it.
WE DIV AT DAWN: People constantly go up to 'the office' star Lucy Davies and make 'durrr' noises at her, while pushing their tongues into their lower lips.

She came back with:

JEWS - oceanic Yiddish folk who bite legs
STAR WARDS - medal winning hospital wings
GHOSTDUSTERS - keeping spooks spotless

And then it turned out Photoshop Phriday had been looking over our internetty shoulders the whole time. Weird. I think THE PRODUCE (page 2) is my favourite.

ALSO: Was I secretly hoping that my previous ipod whinge would in some way net me a free mp3 player from some kind manufacturer 'for reviewing purposes'? Yes. Did anything come of this? No. Clearly blogging is not the path to fame and fortune some people would have you believe, the have-you-believing muckyfunsters (it's only just gone nine, there might be children reading).

On an unrelated note, I drove to Penzance yesterday and thought: wouldn't it be great if I had my own car for the summer, instead of having to borrow my mum's at the age of 33*? A convertible would be nice. Think on't.

Coming up later: more bearded GW writers. Yay!

* my age, I mean. Not my mum's.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Crabby Apple

I popped into the Apple Store on Regent Street last week, my ailing iPod cradled in my arms. The worst thing is, it doesn't know how ill it is, so its little screen looks perfectly normal, like someone walking away from a carcrash waving and smiling at people while the back of their head gapes open to the world.

The chap at the Genius Bar said he might be able to restore it, and asked if I minded him wiping the hard drive, so I nodded, and he wiped it, and said 'no, it's fecked'. I could have a new hard drive installed for a hundred and sixy quid, or, he said, I could try ukipodrepairs who could do the same job for fifty quid.

Except I've just asked them, and they can't. They can do it for a hundred and fifty quid. There have been some some good articles on the perils of ipoddery of late, and further persual of these has revealed that my make of ipod (the 40G) has even been withdrawn, it went wrong so very often.

For a hundred and fifty quid, I may as well buy a new one, except I can't afford it, so I won't. My love affair with Apple isn't entirely over (OS X is a beautiful, reliable system, and I'm sticking with it), but like many people expounding the simple beauty of the ipod when it all began, I now feel like a complete arse. I'm also still waiting for my Powerbook to be repaired, as it has, hilariously, my copy of Final Draft stuck in the drive, and I've had to restore the software on my ibook (which, if you remember, also went kaput), leaving me without the one tool I could reasonable be said to need to do my job. Yes I can use Word, but it's a pain in the hole to write scripts with. I could probably get the repair people to prise the CD out with a dinnerknife and post it to me, but there are way too many variables in that equation. Phone calls get misunderstood, things go missing in the post, postmen get eaten by tigers. Although my local postie lives four doors down from my mum, so at least we'd find out about that one fairly quickly.

When I get some actual money though (my agent gave me an advance on a sketch show I'm writing for, which as PP pointed out, sounds like something from the fifties: embarrassed agent in office scratching out a cheque for humble impoverished writer who promptly runs to The Gay Hussar and spends it on peacock and champagne. Or my case, Marks and Spencer, blue brie and bournville (no 'e' there, quite right) chocolate), I do need some kind of MP3 player, as five-hour journeys to London are pretty unbearable without Mark Kermode's film reviews or In Our Time. Or Stephin Merrit's back catalogue.

I suppose I could just get another ipod, but sticker it with every warranty going. Still, if any uses a good iTunes compatible player, feel free to recommend it below...

UPDATE: Well, Apple might be rubbish, but John Lewis are great.

The Powerbook is dead, so they're giving me a new one, along with the hard drive from the old one just on the off chance I can get anything out of it. I was going to get it couriered down, but there's stuff to sign for (and I want to make sure I get the memory card and Final Draft CD out of the old one), so I'm going to make a trip to Bristol instead. Ah well, it's a day out I suppose.

Lesson from this: If you're foolish enough to buy Apple products, get them from places that guarantee them for two years, as John Lewis do. Now to find somewhere that might be able to pull the stuff out of the old hard drive...