Saturday, June 30, 2007

Holiday 2007

After much deliberating, cogitating and all round dithering, we have finally decided on out holiday destination for 2007.

After considering Canada (we still want to go, but perheps we'll wait for a summer holiday), we argued about going to the far East (Bangkok / Singapore) and now Mrs YS has come up with the idea of a driving tour of the South Western USA.

We are going to to fly to San Francisco, or possibly Los Angeles, or maybe even Las Vegas, pick up a car and just pootle around for a couple of weeks. We'll book a hotel for the first and last nights and then just go where our fancy takes us.

Currently on our list of thinge we might want to do /see are.....

Death Valley
Las Vegas
Route 66 (bits of)
Grand Canyon Skywalk (Mrs YS won't go on this)
Monument Valley
Sante Fe

Although everything is open to discussion and change.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Not Dead Just Busy Pt. 104

So just when I thought I'd got a good staff team sorted I'm hit by a plague of illness, holidays and sudden departures.

Ilkley truly is the land were the other half lives, sadly I'm not part of it. Three of my staff have just announced that they will be taking a six week holiday.


That's two years worth of holidays for the likes of me.

Other members of staff seem to be suffering from yellow fever or ebola or black death or something similarly debilitating so today I got the pleasure of running a busy day all on my tod.

Anyway, we are welcoming Jenna back to the team for part of the summer, and once again I'm looking for staff, get yer applications / topless photo's* / bribes sent in to the usual address.

*Not you Dr. P

Sunday, June 24, 2007

For Whom The Bell Tolls

No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main; if a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as well as if a manor of thy friend's or of thine own were; any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind, and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee. - John Donne 1572 - 1632

I love that quote, it's in the front of Hemingway's For Whom The Bell Tolls, wouldn't the world be a better place if we all thought like that.
That F.A. Fit & Proper Person Test In Full

Q1) Right Mr. Shanawatra, have you got oodles of spare cash ?

Q2) Er, that's it really.
Monday's Weather Forecast.... an ark.

3 inches of rain coming, strange, but it wasn't so long ago that I was complaining about the lack of rain in these parts, me and my big mouth.

We had a lot of rain through Tuesday night, on Wednesday my phone was ringing at 6.30 in the morning. It's never good news when folk ring that early is it ? It was Duncan, the head greenkeeper, we had 150 people due to play in the Rotary Club of Bradford Blaize Charity Golf Day with an all day running buffet to be supplied by us. The salmon, hams and beef had all been cooked the day before, we had spent hours and spent a lot of money on ingredients, we really couldn't afford to lose this.

"Bad news," says Duncan. "We can't play."

"Bugger," says I. Ten minutes later I am dressed and although rather bleary eyed I'm stood on the 5th tee with Duncan and Derek from Blaize. There followed a short argument / discission punctuated by wheedling, cajoling, pleading and outright threats, in the end our lovely greenkeeper relented and the competition went ahead. They played a 16 hole competition, the 16th & 17th holes under Owler Park were flooded right across the fairways.

The day went well after that, last year Blaize palyed on a cold, wet and blustery summer's day, this year the weather stayed pretty good during most of the day.

Thanks Duncan, come up and claim yourself some free coffees and butties.

The forecast for tomorrow though is dreadful, if it rains all night tonight we might again be waking up to a flooded course and the loss of a busy day's takings.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

All That Jazz

I like most kinds of music, rock, pop, metal, punk, raggae, ska, classical, some rnb and hip hop, blues, soul, it's all good. But if there is one thing I just can't get into at all it's jazz.

It isn't for want of trying either, to try and expand my musical smorgasbord I got hold of a collection of jazz 'greats', Count Basie, Benny Goodman, Glenn Miller, Cab Calloway (the Blues Brothers version of Minnie the Moocher far outshines his own original version), Duke Ellington, Nat King Cole etc. I can almost get into Cole's voice, but most of the rest leaves me cold.

Whereas Ska seemed to perfectly blend brass with guitars, the jazz fusion of strings and brass just annoy's me, there are far too many squeeky solo trumpet players in the world of jazz.

I'm familiar with most of the great names of jazz, if not their music, through reading the war autobiographies of Spike Milligan, who waxed lyrical about them.

I have taken to Wagner, Chopin, Tchaikovsky, Mozart, Stravinsky and many others, and I can undrestand why they were great and good, but as for jazz, even after some persevering, I just find it discordant and annoying.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Ey Up Ros

Ey up Ros lass, how's things. Happy (belated) birthday, do keep in touch now that you're heading out frm Uni into the big wide world of real work ;-)

Ros models YS's suggestion for the latest staff uniform.

BTW Ros, how is the roast going ? Don't forget to keep basting it. Right, I'm off for a cold shower and a cup of bromide.
Young Girls With Bruised Bottoms

And it wasn't my fault, no, honest guv.

The story is, Lurker, who is seen rarely commenting on this blog, is getting hitched / married / tying the knot with uber-babe Lurker's Bird.

So, Lurker's Bird and her merry entourage decided to inflict themselves on the good citizens of Dublin last weekend.

It's going to be a pink wedding, yeah yeah, we get it. I mean good lord above, even gruff old goth punk none more black wearing YS has been pressured into wearing a pink shirt for the day, but hey ho, on with the story.

Er, right, I'm sure that badge is only meant in jest Lurker.

Drinking games at the hotel bar, 3 small white wines, 1 bottle kiddie alco pop, 1 Flaming Sambuca, and that's just to warm up.

Later in the night, Lurker's Bird aka Carole on the right, with little sister, and former awesome IGC waitress Lisa, on the left. The booze is flowing like water, but with a considerably higher abv.

Hi there, my name is Carole, and I'm actually quite pissed.

Wheeeee, wooooah, whyiseverythinnnnn sorta, er, spinning ? Whoooo there goes the floor. C'mon everybody lezz danzz to S Club, weeeeee.

And then on to a late night purveyor of baked bread products topped with cheese, at which point, or pint perhaps, young Carole decides to sit down on the rim of a glass table. Smash, tinkle, ouch. All of a sudden young Carole is sat in a pile of shattered glass on the hard Dublin pavement and has (alledgedly) suffered quite an amount of bruising to her posterior.

Well done Carole, that's what we like here on YS, young girls, drunkesness and an amount of debauchery.

If any of Carole's friends should have photographic evidence of the damage cause to her rear end, and would like it published to the avid readershoip of Yorkshire Soul, well, my e-mail addy is on the right.

Also, Lurker and his mates went to Prague for the stag, if any similar evidence of Lurker (who is well known to be a lightweight in the booze holding arena !) behaving in a drunken / foolish / hilarious manner are available, you know where to send them.
Book Review : The Spanish Civil War - Antony Beever****

I wanted to read this as I've become interested in the writing of Ernest Hemingway and I'm about to read For Whom The Bell Tolls, I wanted to understand the background and history of the Spanish Civil War before I read the novel set during it.

I knew very little about the war in Spain before reading this, I has general view of Spain being some pleasant bucolic place to be, but the terrible hardships faced by the mass of Spanish peasantry, enforced on them by the ruling classes, was truly awful. There is a quote early in the book that goes "Most of Spain's peasants would have been better off as slaves, because at least slaves would have been fed." Landlords often paid a pittance rent for land, 1 or 2 pesatas, while charging their farmers hundreds of times as much in ground rent.

The war wasn't just along class lines though, after the left wing coalition was legally elected to power many right wing politcal groups banded together and others joined them when the right wing rising began. Spain split into two after the rising, the rebels held a large swathe of the centre of the country, the left held the Basque, the South and the capitol Madrid.

Russia supplied the Republican (left wing) Government, Germany and Italy supplied the Facist rebels. All of these powers used the Spanish Civil War as a testing ground for new equipment and battle ideas, Hitler and his generals would create the Blitzkreig style of combined forces warfare from battles the Condor Legion and its Spanish allies fought here.

Britain, well we buggered about, we refised to help the legally elected Government because we were afriad of Communism, or upsetting Hitler. It seems that British Naval officers actively helped Facist forces at times, especially with information provided from Gibraltar. Late in the war Britain realised that we could really do with more democracies in Europe (as Hitler annexed Czekovslokvakia and the Rhineland and moved towards Poland), but by then it was all too late and we settled on a truce to keep Franco out of WW2.

The war was a dirty war, supporters of both sides lived on both sides, there were killings, reprisals and mass murder, as late as the 70's mass graves were being uncovered containing the bodies of thousands killed by the Nationalist/Facist forces. The Republicans fared little better, their forces were taken over by Communists, thousands of men including many in the famous volunteer Inernational Brigades, were shot by their own side for not adhering closely enough to Communist ideals.

The Republic was often also woefully underequipped, towards the end of the war a general wrote that he had 250,000 men with which to defend Barcelona, but only 14,000 functioning rifles to equip them with.

Aftr the Republic fell, most of it's leaders fled abroad, and a new wave of bitter reprisals began, up to 10,000 were killed in Barcelona alone after the war 'ended'. Like Britain, France failed to gain any glory from the whole episode, its newspapers had railed against the tide of refugees flowing over the border and tens of thousands were held in concentration style camps. Conditions in these camps were so bad that some men escaped back over the border to face a quick death by the facist bullet rather than starving to death in France.

Beever's book is interesting and detailed, it helps to have a crib sheet by the book with the names of the dozens of important figures and their political connections so you know who is who. I'm glad I read it though, that's a chunk of European history history filled in for me, now on with the Hemingway.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Star Wars

So there we were, myself (rookie pilot China Flex that is), Wing commander Lathera Hen, Corporation Commander Moriko and Pilot Tavilius Kolnar. We grouped up in space, the massive battleships of Lathera and Moriko dwarfing the cruisers that Tav and myself fly.

We flew to the deadspace warp gate that would lead us to the pirate base, the battleships jumped first to attract enemy fire, then the smaller ships could follow and add their armaments to the fray. Tavilius followed through the gate, and moments later he was back with all shields depleted, laser holes glowing like small suns in his armour plating and blast scars from Dreadnaught missiles all over his hull.

Oh what the hell, I've got insurance, so I jumped through the gate.

Boom, bang, wizz, boom. Good gracious it's hot in here, I release all my battle drones and watch them speed into the fight, three of my four Hammerhead drones wink out as the pirate Destroyers target them and pick them off. By now I've got my targeting computer locked on and I open up with my battery of 4x150mm Railguns. The battleships of my friends are launching streams of strange looking light globes that dissolve the enemy shields. My railguns and the much heavier gun and missile batteries start to shred the pirate's armour.

Moriko shouts for me to take out the pirate Frigates, I launch a second salvo of battle drones and switch the targeting to the smaller, faster frigates. Tavilius has recharged his shields and warps back into the fray, I'm taking damage now but explosions are rocking all the ships as the enemy vessels begin to tear themselves apart.

The massive explosions leave rapidly widening clouds of debris and the guns fall silent. We won, and nobody got killed. Our ships spread out, salvagers are engaged and we strip the wrecks of anything valuable, then we retire to base to sell our booty and count the rewards we have been given for destroying this pirate base.

I love Eve Online.
Get Well Soon Emily

Now I know I've handed out a bit of stick to young Emily here on the blog, but, she's a good kid, nice to be with, and a valuable member of our team.

So we're all rather upset at the news that young Emily was taken into hospital yesterday and is very poorly. All your friends here at the Nesfield/IGC team are thinking of you and your family, get well soon Emily, best wishes from me and Mrs YS and all the gang.

Update : Emily is home and on the mend.
It's A New Taste Sensation

Earlier this week I was prepping up a large cheeseboard to put out on display for a party, I had been cutting chunks of various cheeses, stilton, cheddar, wensleydale, and arranging them amidst mounds of celery and glistening bunches of grapes.

As I carried the groaning platter out into the bar I asked Lucy to bring a basket of biscuits.

Moments later she arrived with said biscuits, and then cast a glance at the huge edifice of cheese, as I doubled up in laughter she said....

"This isn't what you meant is it ?"

"No Lucy, Jaffa cakes, bourbon creams and vintage cheddar are not a winning combination."

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Hey Nigga Wassup ?!

Alright, I know, it's a stupid and provocative use / misuse of language. You can't say the n-word if you're white, and probably shouldn't say it if you're black. I dare say that if you trawl my archives I've used it once or twice for dramatic effect, much like Lennon uses it in "Woman Is The Nigger Of The World."

My chef Steve often used to greet me with the phrase above, he's not racist at all, kids use that word as a term of ironic affection, it's still a loaded word though, it carries with it decades, or centuries, of hatred. Even in an ironic manner though this is a word bound to cause offence, it's a word designed to cause offence.

The whining white girl kicked out of BB last week whinged that black people use it all the time, well, that doesn't make it ok for white folk to say it. Considering all the implications of the word, it really isn't good for black kids to say it either, just because a few dumb million selling rappers call each other by an insult doesn't mean that anyone else should put themselves down by calling themselves this.

There is a word used by some young people that I find just as, or even more offensive than nigger, and that is the misuse of rape, as in, "We were raped by Man U today" to describe a heavy defeat in football.

This use of the word always makes me cringe, it makes me angry as well. Rape is an act of brutality and degredation and to hear the word used as a verb to describe other situations is appalling. In my experience this is a word used out of context mainly by young men, I can't remember an instant in which one of my girls has used it.

Often language evolves in new and interesting ways, but in the new uses for these two words the language seems to have deliberately taken a step back. Now I know I swear like a fishwife at times, but come on folks, mind your language.
A Beatles Song ?

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Brilliant or Crap ?

Does it make you proud of London 2012 ?
It's Festival Time

Good words from Alex James a couple of weeks ago when he said in life there are festival people, and there are X-Factor people, and on the whole it is better to be a festival person.

There is a downside to festival going though, as this photograph of the Gent's Toilets at last year's Download Festival shows.....

Ah, that brings back memories of the men's toilets / giant lake of piss at the Reading 25th Anniversary weekend.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

The Zimmers

I hope I die before I get old sung with no irony whatsoever.

So I'll Just Lie In Bed And Wet Myself ?

As I have mentioned, I've hurt my back quite badly twice in the last couple of weeks. It seems that every time I have had a serious problem with my back it has been through doing something fairly innocuous, making pastry for example.

The last two injuries have been a right pain in the, er, well, back really, as there was nothing at all I could have done to prevent them. I felt my back go the second time as I got out of bed in the morning, the first injury was even more ignominious, I felt it pull as I stood up to get off the toilet.

Therefore it would seem that the only way to avoid injuring myself is to just lie in bed and wet myself.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

OAP Drug Dealers

Want some drugs kids ?

Ask your Grandad.

I have been suffering with my back recently having pulled a ligament -switch to Forest Gump mode- just above my but-tocks.

I mentioned this to Dad who rummaged around in his pockets and then said, try these and threw a packet of tablets at me, or these he said producing another variety, or maybe these are better he carried on brandishing a third packets of brightly coloured pills at me.

This seems to be pretty much the norm in the over 60's, most of them are a a mobile cornucopeia of pain killers, anti-inflammatorys and other more dubious chemical concoctions.

Go on kids, give it a go.

"Hey Grannie, my knee hurts, can you give me something for it ?"

"No sonny, but these big blue ones get me smacked off my tits, hee hee, pass the cough linctus."

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Happy Birthday Joseph

My favourite nephew is just that little bit older today.

Happy 40th Stuart

So that means we have known each other for well over 30 years, Cubs, Scouts, Venture Scouts, lardy old Yorkshire buggers, lifelong drinking partners. To the bloke who said "This is where the chickens quiver," and "It's another first for Burley" I'll raise a glass or three. See you again soon when I reach the same milestone.

Thanks to Terry & Ann for treating us to dinner at the Farsyde last night, the calves liver was truly exceptional.

Friday, June 01, 2007

Calling Mee Star Moozed

How are you getting on mate ?

I'm flying a Venom (called Shrike), I'm halfway to Baron, and along with Wossername, I'm up in Rigel Sector.

Over in Eve, I fly an Exequror (The Wildheart) for cargo missions, and a Tristan Frigate (called Transformer IV) for when I really need to kill people. Sadly, Transformers I through III have now been reduced to fields of scattering molecules by the actions of nasty people and pirates, still, with the aid of cloning technology I live on and prosper.
It's The Emily Show

Last night we were hosting a wine tasting event for Bon Couer Fine Wines.

Emily - "Where are they from then ?"

Me - "Masham"

Emily - "Is that in France then ?"

As well as being generally amusing, Emily also talks, a lot, in fact she does this stream of consciousness commenting on everything that she sees that has to be heard to be believed.

Tune in again soon for more Em style fun and japery.
Blonde, Brunette, Redhead, Still Gorgeous

Album Review : Saints Of Excess - G.U. Medicine*****

Like the Yorkie advert says, this isn't for girls. Barnsley barnstormers GU Medicine are as heavy as a really fucking heavy thing, and then some. Like the bastard spawn of The Almighty and Motorhead they have come to prove that no matter how the winds of emo blow, it's always better to have a hurricane of sheer noisy, exuberant metal to make your day.

Saints Of Excess is the bands second album (their first, self titled Cd is also well worth getting hold of), it is released on Undergroove Records, do check out their website if Amazon and their ilk are unable to help.

Saints contains 11 tracks of noisy rock, but this isn't a million miles an hour death metal crap, it's fast like Motorhead are fast, and as heavy as any great big weighty thing you'd like to compare it to. It is packed full of giant head banging riffs, drummer Pete Medicine really lays into his kit and singer Lee has a stressed voice that sounds like he lives on whisky and gargles with nails.

Did I mention just how fantastically heavy this album is ? Boom, boom, BOOM, BLOODY BOOM. And then some more boom. This is so good that, Wildheart fan to the core, I have to say this is probably the album of the year so far, it really is that good.

The album kicks off in a big way with with 'A Meeting With Foul Play' and doesn't really let up all the way through. Pretty much every track is good, but the title track , 'The Girl From Chittagong' and the blitzkreig of 'Amphetamine Express' stand above the already high standard that GU Medicine have set on this album, three tracks of absolute frenzied rock designed to be played at improbable volumes.

I havn't been this excited over a new band since I heard Gogol Bordello for the first time, make no mistake, GE Medicine write good songs, they can really play their instruments, and they give no mercy. This is real music, dust off 'yer dirtiest denims, paint the album logo on 'yer leather jacket, get some beer in you and prepare to be rocked, GU Medicine are here to seperate the metalheads from the posuers, real music is back is town and it's downright dirty, loud and proud.

G U Medicine MySpace