Archive for October, 2008

Hairy dog logs

There’s a dog on my road which does really hairy poos.  Now, I am no expert in the study or faeces (animal or otherwise), but I do know that what you eat reflects what comes out.  Volunteering on a game reserve in Africa I was taught all about ‘scat’ and had to be tested on it so, although a few spot-tests and a game of ‘who can spit the impala poop the furthest’ does not make me an authority, I definitely know that if a dog was just eating Pedigree Chum, its poos would not be this hairy.  Even if it was a really furry dog and spent all day cleaning, it could not possibly ingest enough hair for its deposits to be as totally hairy as they are.  

Anyway, seeing as the poos are 80% fur they are fairly solid, so there is no excuse for its owner not to be picking them up.  Yuk.


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Bar Ha Ha (ha, you must be joking), Reading

“Two blogs in one night?”, I hear you cry.  Yes, because when something’s rubbish, it’s rubbish.  Just in the vain hope that this helps search engine optimisation:

Bar Ha Ha, Reading; Bar Ha Ha, Reading.  I will be repeating this at least once before the end of this article.

OK, on to my story.  After blogging a  happy tale about The Hoosiers, I got a call from my house mates and we decided to go in to Reading for a bite to eat and some beer.  Yum.  It was payday, we hadn’t caught up for a few days; it was all going to be so fun.  

So we decided to go to Bar Ha Ha in Reading, which changed from its old location on The Kings Road to The Oracle this summer.  It was shoddy to say the least.  We had nachos to share, which were basically stale puff-pastry triangle pieces, and my £8 goats cheese and apple salad was gross (think soggy cos lettuce, drenched in creamy sauce with about a quarter of an apple chopped in for good measure).  Hannah had the ‘King Prawn and Scottish Smoked Salmon Cocktail’ (for £9), which was basically two slices of smoked salmon, some cucumber, a couple of shrimps and three gallons of thousand island dressing.  Ahmed’s £10 ravioli was not much better.  

The whole meal came to £50 and we didn’t even have good service – one waitress didn’t know how to respond to our request for a table and the other guy was so stressed out I thought he was about to have an aneurism.  

Do not go.

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The Hoosiers, Reading

Last night I went to see The Hoosiers play at the Rivermead in Reading.  I was looking forward to it because I saw them at The Secret Garden Party festival earlier this year and they were brilliant, but I was not sure what to expect from the venue – I went swimming in the wave machines there when I was a wee nipper, for goodness sake!  It was a bit weird; the cloakroom was the creche and the hand-made pictures and posters asking for nannies did give it an odd school nativity-play feel, but other than that (and having my chewing gum confiscated at the door) it was pretty good – certainly better than the Hexagon, which has the atmosphere of a horror film watched on a bright summer morning.

The set was brilliant; creepy cut-outs of dead trees and fake crows perched on mic stands, almost Tim Burton style (perfect for Hallowe’en), coupled with a live brass section and an irresistibly charismatic frontman (think Ben Stiller meets with Greenday’s Billy Joe), what more could I possibly want?   Perhaps a few inches in height, but that’s not an issue exclusive to this gig.  Besides he’s a small man too, so I’m sure we are destined to be married.  It was all made particularly great because Irwin Sparkes (lead singer) is from Reading and this was their first big gig in the town – definitely a good thing.

They did take ages to come on stage though, so we were left waiting for a long time between them and their support act (whose name I didn’t catch and doesn’t seem to be printed anywhere) and the crowd got a bit restless, but other than that they were ace.  Our particular highlights were their covers of Billy Joel’s ‘We Didn’t Start The Fire’ and Robin’s ‘Every Heartbeat’.

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Rain Man, Apollo Theatre, London

I was in two minds whether or not to write a review about the performance we saw last night as my opinion is admittedly clouded by lust for Josh Hartnett, lead role in the show and should-be prototype for men around the world, but I decided I could write an accurate account of the event, so here it goes…

I liked it more than I expected to.  It was a very touching re-enactment of the story betwen the two brothers, played very well by Both Mr Hartnett and Adam Godley, but Adam was by far and away the shining light of the whole production.  Watching him play Raymond it was hard to believe he was not genuinely autistic and his balance between painfully awkward and charmingly funny was outstanding.  In fact, the whole set-up was pretty good – simple yet effective – and it seemed to go on for just the right amount of time (it is a pretty cramped theatre).  We didn’t have the best seats in the house, my advice would be to shell out a couple of extra pounds and sit in the stalls, but it isn’t a massive venue so it wasn’t a big issue (apart from the man sitting next to me, who had a whistling nose and chronic gastric gurgling juices!).

Criticisms: Josh Hartnett’s performance took a bit of getting used to – you can tell he is a film actor because sometimes his pauses were a few seconds too long and, being sat where we were, we weren’t able to benefit from the subtleties of his expressions, but in the end he really did play his character very well (Charlie Babbit – Tom Cruise in the film).  Conversely, Charlie’s love interest Susan (Mary Stockly) was a bit too theatre-y for my liking.  You cold tell that she’d been trained for the stage as all her movements and the way she spoke we just a little too OTT.

All in all I would recommend a visit, though it isn’t the cheapest night out (but we saved a little bit of dosh by stuffing our faces at the all-you-can-eat Thai buffet down the road). You may even spot a celeb or two; Barbara Windsor was in front of us in the queue for the box office!

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Peeved professional

Generally I am not a hater of students; I am not bitter about their Neighbours-watching lifestyles, their discounts, or even their hedonistic lifestyles. I have a job I enjoy (more than lectures on economics and late-night study sessions), I have enough money to buy the odd luxury (just) and, above all, my evenings are guilt-free. However, there is one thing that I miss about my University days, and that is being able to go out on a weeknight without clock-watching and awful work-hang overs. I hate Friday and Saturday nights in town; slappers, R’n’B, alcopops, ridiculous prices, rowdy ‘men’ in Ben Sherman loafers who’ve saved up all week to get wasted…it’s just not my scene. As a result, I’m not as hard-core as I used to be – I can’t go out drinking on a Tuesday until the wee hours and then spend the next day at my desk desperately trying to hide the pheasant flapping around in my head.

So imagine my joy when last night I was actually able to go out on a weeknight (I have today off to wait for the NTL man who still hasn’t turned up). I rounded up my house mates from various parts of the county and ushered them out in to the streets of The Ding. We began in the Polish bar for a couple of Tyskies, then we decided to head in to town, for tonight the possibilities were endless. It was buzzing with the influx of Reading Uni students and I was wearing a mini skirt (if you know me, then you’ll appreciate how rare this is), it was going to be a good one. Our only real error was leaving it a little late – it was almost 11pm and the bars were starting to close. Not to be disheartened by this, we decided to scout around the late-night venues. Pitcher and Piano (they were playing Return of The Mack, how could we resist?): students only, Sakura: students only, Afro Bar: private party, Pavolv’s Dog: students only; Oakford Social Club: closed. What on earth was happening?? Wherever we tried we were greeted with the sound of beefcake bouncers asking us for our student IDs and wristbands – if you weren’t a student in Reading last night, you were simply not welcome. We even considered trying Face Bar, until we found out that it was a private sixth-form party, at which point Hannah and I decided to go home (though this didn’t seem to bother Ahmed*).

Surely this is some form of prejudice? It’s like saying that only women can go to a bar, or only people who earn over a set amount/are educated to a certain level can go in. Straight people can even go to gay nights so why the hell could we not have a drink after 11pm in the town where we live? I’m sad to say that, for today at least, it has formed a new-found animosity between my young professional friends and the students population of Reading town.


*  I’d like to point out to any worried parties that he did not actually go in

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