Just look at it.

A cocktail in a pint jug

Ideal for the inverted Northern snob that I am!

You wouldn’t get me drinking cocktails.

Well, unless they come in pint mugs.

There’s a brilliant Billy Conolley  sketch where he’s asking a barman about a bright green drink that he sees some guy having in a bar in Italy. The barman patiently explains a few times that the drink is called creme de menthe. Old Billy finally cottons on and says “Oh aye, I’ll have a pint of that then”.

I tend to agree.

But this mean thing was both evil and amazing.

It tasted good, I haven’t got a clue what was in it. And after the second one I didn’t care either! What’s just as important was that they were a fiver each. Brilliant!

We had a kebab after that. Apparently. On a Tuesday!

What were we thinking? Not much at all I guess would be the honest answer.

I’m going back to the kebab house tonight.

Reza on Westgate is worth saving up for to eat in. But hey it’s also great to take away and eating sitting on a bench just like it was fish and chips, but ideally with a bottle of red instead of the special brew that’s ideal to wash down your fish supper.

The joy of the north.

Bright Orange Speakers

When I was in Manchester a few weeks ago with Kristen she took me to a bar called Electrik where I remember two things standing out.

One was the magnificent Redchurch Red Wing beer which we drank in two thirds portions instead of pints for some strange reason, but the beer was seriously tasty, as you’d hope at about four quid for a small pint.

The other was the bright orange speakers from EMAcoustics.

This whole post has come to mind as i saw the logo of EMA today online when I was reading about stage rigs, and suddenly I remembered that I had tried to locate the manufacturer on the cabinet, but had only been able to find the logo on the face which didn’t give me much to work with.

I was hoping that they may be affordable as I loved them in the bar, they sounded good too. But looking them up now I see that they are stupidly expensive – over a grand for most pairs, but what’s more they don’t actually supply in orange. The bar must have had them powder coated or something.

Well, good on them for thinking of it I guess.

I while back I did a cataloguing job for a mate who has a Richer Sounds shop. He gave me a pair of Wharfdale Diamonds for my troubles, the case is dented at the back of one, but you’d never know that if I didn’t tell you. They also work well in my small room, sitting on the shelf.

Looks like they’ll have to do for a while.


Fish and Chips – luxury!

Can I say that the Great North Road Chippy is probably my favourite place to eat out on the planet.

When we were in Manchester we talked a lot about food, and Kristen took me to a Persian place that was quite amazing, interesting, and even felt healthy. But all the time I’m eating out some where I’m thinking about a fish supper at the Great North Road.

My order is usually fish, chips and mushy peas. The batter will always be crispy, the chips will have just the righ amount of crunch, and the peas – they’ll be an almost obscene bright green colour, and sweet. They’d scare some people, but I love them.

What’s most important once great flavour has been taken into account, is the value. I am not a dude of means, and eating out is usually a treat that happens on someone else’s budget. But even the Dude can afford to head up here now and again. It’s a fiver.

Throw in two cans of special brew and a dry evening sat on the bench down the road and you have a great night out for Sean and me.

A bit of a weaving ride home.

Maybe a nip of Sean’s whiskey, a few rounds of cards, and two happy lads fall asleep on the floor of his flat.


North Wales

For a complete change of bank holiday scenery The Dude has headed out to North Wales.

This was quite a journey on public transport, first trekking by coach over to Liverpool which took far longer than should reasonably be expected, then meeting up with some Scouse kids from the course who thankfully had a car.

Yesterday we went on what they called The Precipice Walk – I was expecting some hard core climbing, but it was actually most gentle, but absolutely beautiful. At one point we could see for miles across mountains to the sea and I felt quite moved by it all, even though we got quite wet.

Not surprisingly though there has been a lot of drinking interspersed with a little bit of walking. I’m at the table in the little cottage that we’ve rented now trying not to allow the waves of nausea to get to me.

There are bottles all over the place, and George didn’t even make it to bed. Somebody has put a blanket over him and he’s snoring away on the sofa.

I’m hoping we’ll walk up Cadir Idris today, just the sound of it invokes dragons and mystery to me. But I’m not sure there’ll be any movement from the carnage any time soon.

I’m going back to bed in the hope I don’t have to throw up.

Sorry to bring this beautiful place down to the level of real life student world. I’ll come back and enjoy it properly one day I hope.

Precipice Walk

Send My Bag

Kristen was on about a cool travel service called Send My Bag (.com, just follow the link) that takes the pain out of travel. It’s a way of sending your bags ahead of you that avoids having to carry everything (I bet it’s brilliant if you’ve got children).

I haven’t travelled much yet, but I’d like to think that at some stage I’ll be off around the world, or even just off to the Canaries and I just love the idea of not having to carry anything other than knapsack or maybe just an iPad – how cool would that be?

Apparently you just organise everything via a simple app, then your bags are collected before you travel (that would force me to be organised) and delivered to your destination before you get there. Wicked!

The airlines that we all thought were dirt cheap have started using all sorts of cunning tactics to charge us by what I think are pretty underhand means, and letting you take less baggage on board forces you to pay through the nose to check stuff in. This little service could not only be the most convenient way of sorting out your travel, it might even prove to be self funding.

Now all I have to do is get my act together and get planning a big trip. Please don’t remind me that I can’t afford it. I don’t want to let reality spoil this lovely day dream. Even if it’s an age before I go I’ll still Send My Bag!

Manchester and the lovely Kristen

Well I’m just back from a strange adventure and I don’t know whether to be excited or gutted.

I borrowed Mike’s car, a shitty old Fiesta that’s absolutely hanging, but I negotiated it into the agreement when I said I’d take on Bess, his dog for a month while he’s at home with his parents doing some painting in an effort to secure some cash.

I went to see Kristen, the mysterious Indian girl who I met at a party in town a few months ago. I have to admit I fantasise about her often and wanted to see if I had a chance.

Fat bloody chance!

I spent have of Saturday night trying to summon up the courage to kiss her. In the end I asked her if that would be OK, and she knocked me dead.

She didn’t actually hit me or anything.

She did worse than that.

She told me she’s in love with a girl called Suzy and although they’re not an item, they get it on whenever they get the chance.

I was gutted, I ached, I felt I’d been slapped, and I could have easily sunk into a sulking depression that might have taken me days to over come, but then she said that provided I knew that and didn’t get carried away then of course I could kiss her!

It was just a peck on the cheek in the end. I don’t really know what else to do anyway, and I felt a bit of a fool.

Even despite that though we had an amazing time and I hope that I can be her friend. I’m utterly confused by the whole thing and I think now that I know I haven’t got a chance I fancy her even more.

And Manchester? Well, rain town is pretty good really.



Stuff – at a price!

Anyone who knows me will know that I don’t care a lot about stuff.

I was so over the moon when I was paid an iPad for some work and I’m sure that it’s my favourite possession, the blue tooth speaker I got for the work at Richer Sounds setting up their labelling system and then going through the stock is pretty cool too, but for some reason or other I just had the most mad email that was targeted so badly by being sent to me.

It was from a B&O shop in town, and was offering me their latest quite amazing looking TV. Look at this baby:

unnamedIt is probably too big to even fit into my little room, but here’s the best part – the email goes on to tell me that it’s available at just £199 a month.

How much?

That’s the sort of money that I see cars advertised at. That is insane.

Even if you are earning a huge amount of wedge a month would you really go and spend that much on a telly?

Surely it will still show that same shit as a pretty good Sony or something that you could buy for £199 full stop? And then there might even be one that is small enough to fit into my place.

Well it’s all madness to me and I don’t really care, but it did make me laugh.

I didn’t even get to find out how much the full cost of the beast is, let me retrieve it a sec.

Ha! It is £7,200. I bet there are new cars for less.



Our house, in the middle of love.

Mum and dada have never had much money.

They’re not stupid and could earn proper money I suspect, but they seem to like just getting by.

Mum wouldn’t think of leaving their little terraced house, and if she did move she has always said that she’d like to live in number 47.

Number 47 is just across the street from them, it’s where Mrs Jones lives with her mam.

Number 47 is the same size as mum’s house, the same layout, and if anything it’s a bit more shabby than theirs as there’s no dad to fix up stuff when it needs it.

Why mum aspires to living there, a whole forty feet away from their current front door is that number 47 has a view out the back that stretches for miles down across the hills to Northumberland. That house has a view while no others do for the simple fact that the house that was behind it was demolished after a great big hole appeared in the living room floor.

How funny is that? Not the hole, although that’s funny enough, but the fact that that’s what mum would most like. The interesting thing is to ask her why she’d not live in the street with the demolished house in. She wouldn’t live there because people are strange down there! It’s a whole street away and people there are funny.

Imagine my friends at college who have come to study at Newcastle from Delhi, or South Africa or wherever, and there’s my mum who would move across the street, but not two streets away.

When I was in my teens that attitude used to really annoy me, but now I kind of love them for it.


NFC, RFID and the scary march of the amazing phone.

We’ve just been debating the march of the tech that sits in our phones and where it might take us in future.

The first iPhone came out in 2007 – less than seven years ago, and to my mind that led the charge. A few people had Blackberrys before then and they were amazingly cool, but it was the full on force of the touch screen than truly raised the bar. This was a gadget that did stuff that was sci-fi only a year before.

So what does it do now?

Well there’s radio, tv, tv on demand.

Then there’s books, maps, a compass and a torch.

Of course it’s a calculator, a computer and a dairy.

And then there’s everything you never knew you wanted from a few hundred thousand apps too.

But the exciting stuff that’s coming online includes its use as a key, a payment device and other stuff using RFID and NFC tech.

The wily Koreans and Japanese have been using tap to pay from their phones for years, but it’s only just arriving here. I predict that it’ll scare the life out of many people and there’ll be scandalous reports in the press on how we all risk having our bank accounts raped just as there was when Oyster Cards and stuff like that cmd out.

The conversation started from an article in TechMagazine that Paul had been reading, and it’s the stuff about locks that I find exciting. Imagine a hotel with no keys! Holiday Inn are apparently trialling it now and I’m surer it’ll catch on soon. It has to be better than the stupid little cared that so often fail meaning that you have to traipse all the way back to reception.

What next though, that’s what we wanted to know. We thought that perhaps if you have cars with keyless entry now, then why not have that controlled by your phone, and then the car could adjust itself from your girlfriend’s settings to yours when you get in. Then imagine losing your phone! No access to your car, hotel, bank, or any of the other bits – scary!

We still love the north!

The bus is now winding its way between a few stop offs before we pull into Newcastle.

Thankfully it’s a bright morning. We’re both too tired from the travel to talk much, but we both said earlier how interesting it is to feel your spirits lift, despite the early hour, as we approach familiar territory.

It isn’t going to look quite as tempting as it does in this shot, but I’m waiting to see the bridges in a few minutes time.

tyne-bridge1Cornwall was a great experience. We had amazing weather nearly every day, and it was so warm too.

People sais that it would be crawling with tourists, but only the pub in Sennen Cove was busy, the one at the top of the hill, The First and Last, was quieter and the food was both better and cheaper. They had a band on Saturday night and the atmosphere seemed like it was going to get a bit hectic then.

There were a couple of lads getting so horribly drunk on VRBs, and no one seemed to bat an eyelid when one of them did a classic full on rejective vomit across the bar. He was thrown out like, but still, even that seemed like it was a regular affair.

Shaun’s uncle Lou had had enough by then anyway, and so we walked the couple of miles home across the cliff tops. That was an experience in itself, and a good one.

So to sum up – it was a great thing to do. Living in the shed would have been grim, but the weather was great and so we were only in it to sleep. Shaun and I fell out most days, but never for long, and Uncle Lou was a great guy who I have learned lots from.

I’ll go again, I’d love to. But right now I’m looking forward to bed more than anything else.


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