Wednesday, 23 November 2011

A non-exhaustive list of names for your zapper

What do you call yours? Some people call theirs really stupid things. Like 'The Converter'.. what's that about? Here are some more I have collected today, beginning with the Doofer as it was PoliteIre who started it by being forced to defend her use of it in her own house. "You point it at the telly, it doofs. What's the problem?" Can't argue with that. Here they are then.

The Doofer

The Zapper (4 votes) (aka Frank/Moon Unit/Dweezil if you're feeling playful)

The Buttons/Telly Buttons (4 votes)

The Remote (3 votes) errr Boring! Why not pick something else from this list?

The Doobrey (2 votes) A lot of words for zappers are also words for fishing equipment, I have learned in the course of my research.

The Thingy-Majig

The Box/The Telly Box

The Channel Changer

The Goat

The 'mote

'The Magic Box' - as well as being words for fishing tackle, a lot of these could also be words for lady parts.

The Merote

The Dinker
The Converter

The Push-Push

The Telly Stick

The Schnik-Shnack

The fuckin'…

The Shitz

The [makes thumb clicking motion in air]

The Bibbip

The Badger

Any more for any more?

Monday, 21 November 2011

Five Children's Books with Maps

I spent a lot of time drawing maps, floorplans of houses and designing the layouts of new libraries when I was younger (I'm not fibbing, I spent hours and hours over a layout for my ideal library and sent it in to the one I used to go to. They never wrote back. I'm beginning to suspect my Mum never sent the letter). I'm not going to subject you to my top five favourite house layouts (yet) but how about some maps?

Here you are then.

Lord of the Rings: obviously. Although you can argue over whether this is a children's book, I read the first one when I was that age so it is to me. I've still never read the other two all the way through but I'm sure I will one day.

Miss Jaster's Garden: plot the route of a garden stealing hedgehog. Miss Jaster could benefit from a bit of laser eye surgery.

Winnie the Pooh: the first book that had me flipping back to the endpapers every five minutes. [aside - who is the best poet of all?]

Milly Molly Mandy: another endpaper flipper. If you read these when you were small, you'll know how I feel about these books. If you didn't then buy a set for your kids right now - don't let them miss out too!

Treasure Island: The inventor of 'x marks the spot' and another of my favourite books, although more recently discovered.

Any more I should be including?

Why I like Tom Waits So Much

Dunno, really, why don't you?

*pics all from

Thursday, 10 November 2011


Thought I might talk a bit about art again. Ravilious, this time. He was very good you know. He probably would have done a lot more good stuff if he hadn't been killed so young.

These are my favourites of his watercolours:

Newhaven Harbour (1937) Just look at the light in this! He was apparently inspired by european children's illustration of the time and I think you can see that here. This painting give me a similar feeling to the one of the big garden in that book about an old lady who adopts a hedgehog. Why I can't I remember the name of that book?! I can't google it with just a feeling and no keywords. Damn.

Cuckmere Haven (1939). One of my favourite places to go for a walk. We've been on many Christmas day walks along here. Beautiful.

Train Landscape (1939). Probably because I watched too much Poirot but I've always had a thing for 30s trains. If I finally achieve my ambition to do the Trans-Siberian railway, I'll probably be disappointed if it isn't like this.

Beachy Head (1939). Another familiar sight, beautifully lit and painted.

Caravans (1936). According to my book, he bought a couple of these fever vans, shipped back to Newhaven from the Boer war, and he and his wife turned them into a bedroom and a studio. Very Grand Designs.

Unfortunately, I can't seem to find any good images of his woodcuts but I assure you they are excellent. Instead, here's some bonus lithographs from High Street by JM Richards:

More here.

Bye now!

Monday, 31 October 2011

Nine items or fewer

Hello, this is a post about the top five things my Dad taught me. It is inspired by a mixture of a postcard from @chops_top_fives, not wanting to do my finances, and that my dad is amazing for bringing over my spare keys and letting me into my house after I locked myself out. Also it was his birthday on Saturday.So here we are then. Five things my Dad taught me:
1. Grammar n words n that. My Dad is quite big on saying things properly. If you let a 'should of' out when you ought to have said 'should have' you'd know about it. If you start a sentence with 'erm..' he'll say 'erm' back at you until you've forgotten what it was you were talking about. We have nice long conversations about what exactly a word means, the earliest of which I can remember was about the difference between imply and infer. My favourite of my Dad's pet hates is his insistence that you shouldn't describe someone as 'my friend' but rather 'a friend' in case it sounds like you only have one.
2. Funny stuff. I have quite a similar sense of humour to my Pa possibly starting from when my mum would go out to her art course and I would get out of bed after she'd left and watch Blackadder with my dad. We watched lots of Young Ones, Red Dwarf, Monty Python, Porridge and Reggie Perrin (I didn't understand why he liked Have I Got News For You until I was a bit older). Everytime I start a conversation with "I was reading this book" (happens quite a lot) he asks me if it was green.

3. Cooking. He showed me when to put the butter into scrambled egg for optimum deliciousness. I can't tell you because then making amazing scrambled eggs won't be my special move anymore. I can't cook much else very well but then neither can he.
4. Music. My Dad used to play Here Comes The Sun on his guitar while we were going to sleep. He also had a nice big record collection full of Bob Dylan, Beach Boys, Rolling Stones, Leonard Cohen, Joan Baez, Fairport Convention and also a few morris dancing albums. Then tapes and CDs came along and we listened to a lot more Chris Rea on long car journeys but I've forgiven him for that. He got my sister and I a record of 'nursery rhymes' sung by Tim Hart and Friends of which only a couple of songs weren't about murder and death - now I like listening to the Decemberists and Nick Cave which may or may not be totally linked.
5. Books. My Dad read to me every night, doing the voices and everything. Most of my favourite books are ones that I read with my Dad - all the Roald Dahls, The Mouse and The Motorcycle, Topsy and Tim, Pepper, Little Grey Rabbit, Ernest and Celestine. Then I studied children's literature and now I work in the library I THINK WE KNOW WHERE THAT CAME FROM.