Monday, 15 December 2008

Hallelujah: Reclaiming the Christmas No.1

I discovered an incredible Facebook campaign this morning which hopes to reclaim the Christmas No.1 from Simon Cowell's X-Factor bandwagon.

The 'Jeff Buckley for Xmas No.1' group aims to rival X-Factor winner Alexandra Burke's cover version of Leonard Cohen's 1984 song 'Hallelujah' by urging music fans to download Jeff Buckley's superior 1994 cover version of 'Hallelujah' instead! You can join the group here.

As of yesterday, Buckley's 'Hallelujah' is No.30 in the UK Top 40 Singles charts, so we just need to increase the momentum over the next seven days to prevent Simon 'The Grinch' Cowell from receiving his predictable Christmas bonus.

Obviously, this is nothing against young Alexandra Burke. But the magic of the Christmas No.1 has become a trivial exercise in futility since the X-Factor cult became established.

If you are interested in supporting the Buckley 'Hallelujah' then you can download it here. A worthy cause.

Alternatively, if you would prefer to have a Christmas No.1 that is actually about Christmas, then you can download the Peter Kay/Geraldine McQueen 'Once Upon A Christmas Song' single here. Arguably a worthier cause as all proceeds go to the NSPCC.

So the decision is yours: Buckley or McQueen? But boycott the X-Factor single. Let's reclaim the Christmas No.1 from Simon Cowell.

Wednesday, 10 December 2008

Go Elf Yourself!

Laura Clark introduced me to this incredible website where you add your friends' faces to a bunch of Christmas elves and watch them boogie to festive tunes.

Here is an example with the heads of the Guild Reception boys.
It's incredibly addictive and absolutely ridiculous!

Tuesday, 9 December 2008

All For A Good Claus

This past weekend was the London Santathon that myself, Sean & Mark had signed-up for. We had to run three miles around Greenwich Park dressed like Kris Kringle and Sean went one step further and ran around wearing an inflatable horse/reindeer around his groin.

This was an even bigger challenge than usual because it was freezing and we were hideously hungover from our excursion into Soho the night before.

But we made it so happy days! Myself and Mark clocked in after about 25 minutes and collectively we raised £420.89 (incl. Gift Aid) for Sean's horse charity: The Brooke Hospital for Animals.

Afterwards we hit Weatherspoons as always - same shit, different city - and got back on the pints and meat. Kerrie and Liz participated in a colouring competition face-off and Mark spent £50 on the IT-box.

We then had a boat trip around London. Lovely stuff.

Overall: good standard Carnival reunion.
Next stop: New Year's Eve in Swanage!

Friday, 5 December 2008

The Coca-Cola Claus Myth

I discovered this last Christmas during a festive quiz, in which the following question was asked: "The iconic red-and-white Santa Claus image was introduced by Coca-Cola. True or false?"

And all the smart-alecs who had heard the famous rumour thought it was true... but contrary to popular opinion, it is actually false.

You can read a whole long document about why it is false here.

But the short version is that Coca-Cola hired an artist called Haddon Sundblom in the early 1930s to create some memorable drawings of a red-and-white Santa Claus drinking coca-cola. However, images of a red-and-white Santa existed much earlier than this, drawn by artists such as Thomas Nast and Louis Prang.

Nast created a red-and-white Santa Claus caricature for the Harper's Weekly newspaper in 1863 and later drew the 1881 drawing: Merry Old Santa Claus. Furthermore, Prang introduced the custom of Christmas cards and issued a red-and-white Santa Claus card in 1886, which you can see here. Clearly these pre-date the Coca-Cola creation.

Obviously, this isn't too say that the Coca-Cola Claus didn't cement the red-and-white Santa into the popular culture zeitgeist.
But Coca-Cola certainly isn't the reason why Santa Claus is red-and-white.

Thursday, 4 December 2008

Women Know Your Limits

At the office today we have mostly been laughing at this YouTube video.

Harry Enfield and Paul Whitehouse at their satirical best.

Tuesday, 2 December 2008

Oscars: The Grouch

I have a serious grouch with the Oscars, year on year.

My theory is that the Academy is run by snobs who vote for their mates or whichever film lies closest to their political ideal. Therefore, I am rarely happy with the results and the recipients are nearly always boring, serious actors who act in boring, serious films.

Quirky/fantasy/action films very rarely win Oscars (The Return of the King is the exception) and character actors never get Oscars, yet these are the reasons why many of us adore the cinema.
Who honestly goes home and whacks in a DVD of an 'Oscar-winning masterpiece' for an enjoyable night of home cinema. And who has seen or even thought about Mystic River, Monster's Ball, The Last King of Scotland, Million Dollar Baby, etc. in the past year.

However, usually when I slag off the Academy's choices, some smart-assed prick says to me:
"Have you even seen Monster's Ball?"

To which I reply: "No."

To which they reply with a smug, triumphant grin: "Then how can you say it doesn't deserve an Oscar?!"

But not anymore!
This Winter, I am going to drag myself to every dull, depressing, harrowing Oscar-nominated film released in the cinema. This will include films about single mums, 1950s American suburbia, Che Guevara, old people ageing backwards, interviews with Nixon and, of course, the standard holocaust film.

But this grim winter will all be worth it because then I will have complete and informed jurisdiction to justifiably smite down each and every result the Academy is going to announce on February 22nd. Hah!

First stop, The Changeling...

They Work For You

Lizzy and Laura have introduced me to an awesome new website called They Work For You, which allows you to search for your MP and basically see how good they are. You can check it out here.

The website give you statistics on how many parliamentary votes they have attended, how they have voted on certain issues, questions they have asked, speeches they have made, receipts they have submitted and, bizarrely, how much alliteration they use.

I'm been checking out my Nottingham MP: Mr Kenneth Clark. He has voted on a mere 54% of parliamentary votes. He voted strongly against the introduction of top-up fees (hooray!) but voted strongly against equal gay rights (boo!).

I have been playing MP Top Trumps with Sean and he is thrashing me. His MP, Mr Sadiq Khan, has voted in 86% of parliamentary votes. Although, he lives in London which is kinda cheating.

Most excitingly, you can opt to receive emails whenever your MP makes a speech in Parliament.

Anyway, check it out. Make sure your MP is pulling their weight!

Monday, 1 December 2008

Bond Begins?

I have been discussing the future of Bond with my good buddy Sean and we were considering where they might go next.

My thoughts are that they should stick with the prequel theme. Now that Quantum has been concluded, we have seen Bond's origins. But what about Moneypenny? And Q? Plus, M was a man when the Bond stories started with Dr No. So maybe the next Daniel Craig prequel could feature the story of how the female M was replaced with a male M. Dramatic death scene for Dame Judi?

This is all good potential.

So Bond 23 (and 24 and 25) could tell the story of Bond hunting down the rest of Quantum. After detroying them, the remnants could reform as SPECTRE? Bond could also have a showdown with Mr White and leave him scarred & bald & therefore tell the origin of Blofeld! That would be an awesome twist.

I would also love to know the origins of Jaws and Scaramanga and Baron Samedi and Rosa Klebb and Auric Goldfinger. There could be cameos for all.

My vision is that Daniel Craig's last Bond film (which would be a sensible time to end the whole prequel series) could end with SPECTRE established, Dr No heading to an island near Jamaica and Daniel Craig speaking with a slight Scottish accent.

Next stop: 1962's Dr No and the circle is complete.

Holidays Are Coming!

It's the 1st of December and I have seen the famous Coca-Cola Christmas lorry advert... this means that Christmas has officially arrived once again!

I seem to be more excited about Christmas than usual this year. I think this is because I have entered the mundane world of working 9-5 and therefore I need a little excitement. Shockingly, I have already bought a good chunk of Christmas presents and I dished out Christmas cards & candy canes to the office first thing this morning. I'm such a keeno.

Christmas highlights this year will include, but are not limited to, the following:

1. My London Santa Run with Sean & Mark (see below).
2. The German Christmas Market.
3. The Nottingham outdoor ice rink.
4. The Doctor Who Christmas special.
5. The Nottingham SU Christmas staff party.
6. Staying with the Clark's in Cornwall before Christmas.
7. The exciting, Radio-1-fuelled, driving home for Christmas magic on Christmas Eve.

And today we are decorating the office. I'm loving the festivities and it's only Day One!

Friday, 28 November 2008


I have now discovered how to embed videos from YouTube into my blog.

This is exciting stuff, I'm sure you'll agree.

To celebrate, here is the awesome trailer for Pixar's new movie, Up. It looks incredible and will be the first Pixar film to be released in 3-D.



Thursday, 27 November 2008

Santa Banter!

Sean has recently convinced myself and Mark C Turnbull to join him in doing the London Santa Run on the 7th of December. This involves dressing like Santa Claus and joining 1,000 other people in running 5km across Greenwich Park.

I am hoping that this ridiculous festive gesture will help me rediscover a bit of that ol' Christmas magic.

We have all agreed to raise money for the Brooke Hospital for Animals (mainly because Sean works there). You can visit my fundraising page by clicking here.
And you can learn more about the Brooke Hospital for Animals (healthy working animals for the world's poorest contries) by reading this article.

After running two half-marathons, I am hoping that this run will be easy-sailing. However, no doubt running in a Santa costume will provide its own challenges and introduce whole new levels of chaffing.

Excitingly, we are coinciding this Christmas dash with a Carnival reunion down in London so we will have lots of lovely people cheering us on. Although the plan to go out the night before could prove very detrimental to our performance.

Anyway, ten days till the Santathon!

Santa Claus is coming to town in a big way.

Wednesday, 26 November 2008

Long Time, No Blog

Shockingly, I have not blogged for a mammoth six weeks.

This is predominantly due to my workload exploding over October and November at the mighty Notts SU. Since I last blogged, we have elected the JCRs, trained them, bye-elected more JCRs and then trained them. I did a whopping 52 hours of overtime with two late-night ballot counts that lasted until midnight.

I am well dedicated to my JCRs.

Anyway, excuses aside, here is the exciting stuff that I should have been blogging about in no particular chronological order...

  • I ran Birmingham half-marathon in 1:54:10. This is about three minutes slower than the Nottingham half-marathon but to be fair, I was stuck behind lots of fat people.
  • I was coerced by Sean to sign-up for the London Santa Run -->
  • I have rediscovered my love for reality TV via X-Factor, Strictly Come Dancing and I'm A Celebrity...
  • I attended an audition for The Weakest Link with nine others. This involved playing a mock-version of the game and having a camcorder interview.
  • I was ill for three days and therefore did not see a single firework around November 5th.
  • We have been having board game nights at Ellen's house. Highlights include Scrabble and Monopoly.
  • I got well drunk on mulled wine last Friday with the girls, Marc and Steve. My mojo is returning.
  • I have seen every Deal Or No Deal for the past three weeks.
  • I bought Friends Scene-It and Laura Clark spilt orange juice over it. Grr.
Bulletpoints save the day yet again. I will blog more regularly henceforth... FACT.

Wednesday, 8 October 2008

My Toilet Legacy

Whilst helping my girlfriend move to Birmingham this weekend, I couldn't resist a trip back to the Guild to inspect the new Guild toilets.
These toilets were the first phase of a three-year building redevelopment which I worked on during my year in office so I was more than a little bit excited about checking them out.

And whoop, they were awesome!

The musty, leaking, broken, graffitti-smeared and smelly toilets of old have now been replaced by chromatic heaven. Highlights include:
  • flawless plasterboard.
  • a lovely new blue colour.
  • energy-efficient lights.
  • dual-flushing toilets.
  • separate urinals.
  • more cubicle space so you don't have to edge around the toilet door when closing it.
  • and most excitingly, a dyson airblade hand drier (see right).
And there are great new additions such as a staff shower, baby-changing facilities and the soon-to-be-finished toilets on the first-floor by Beorma Bar.

When you gotta go, you know where to go!

Friday, 3 October 2008

Go Go Tokyo!

Simon is going to Japan! Oh yes!
I have wanted to go to Tokyo ever since I saw Lost in Translation in 2004 and next February I will be fulfilling this ambition when I fly to Japan to visit my mate Alex.
My flights were finally booked last night and the trip is officially going ahead :)
Despite my exciting and colourful life, I have never actually travelled outside of Europe. This will therefore be the furthest I have ever ventured and will also provide me with one hell of a culture shock.
I am also excited about:

  • temples.
  • sushi.
  • electronic superstores.
  • a heck of a lot of comic book stores.
  • drinking wine from a wooden box.
  • dropping by the hotel from the aforementioned film.
  • and maybe trying my hand at the infamous Japanese karaoke.
Konichiwa Japan!

Monday, 29 September 2008


"If I calculate everything right, I will land in Dover. But if I get it wrong, I take a bath." - Yves Rossy (pictured right).

Well, Rossy did calculate everything right because last Friday, the Swiss aviator and former military pilot became the first person to fly solo across the English Channel using a single jet-propelled wing.

Known as 'Fusionman' by his friends and 'Jetman' by the media, Rossy aimed to follow the route flown by his hero, French airman Louis Bleriot, who became the first person to fly across the Channel in a plane 99 years ago.

Here are some facts about his flight:-
  • The flight from Calais to Dover covered a distance of 22 miles.
  • It was postponed twice last week due to bad weather.
  • The 49-year-old began the flight by jumping out of a plane more than 8,200ft in the air.
  • Rossy reached speeds of up to 125mph.
  • The entire flight took less than ten minutes.
  • The wing had no rudder or tail fun, so Rossy had to steer using his head and back. It is the closest anyone has ever come to flying like a bird.
I think this is an incredible achievement. Man has always wanted to fly (ever since the Superman cartoons of the 1930s) and now Yves Rossy has taken the first steps to making that become a reality.

Upon completing his flight, Rossy said: "I only have one word, thankyou, to all the people who took the journey with me."

Mr Rossy's name will now be up there with all of the best aviators: Superman, Boba Fett, Buzz Lightyear.

To infinity and beyond.

REVIEW: Righteous Kill

Al Pacino + Robert De Niro = ?

This film exists because somebody asked the above equation. What does happen when you put the world's greatest actors in the same film?

This has happened twice before of course.

Firstly, in the Godfather: Part II, although De Niro's scenes and Pacino's scenes were separated by about thirty years on account of De Niro playing a flashback version of Vito Corleone.

The second encounter of these two legends was more memorably in Michael Mann's Heat, where the two finally were allowed to share a scene. Admittedly, this was only five minutes long in a coffee shop but it was enough to get the hearts beating of even the most removed cinema-goer.

Well, that was in 1995. Thirteen years later and now we get a film where De Niro and Pacino practically share every frame. Surely, this is going to be the greatest movie ever?!

Unfortunately, no it isn't. But it was never going to be.

I read so many derogatory reviews of this film before seeing it (even my ever faithful Empire only gave it two stars) that I was pleasantly surprised because Righteous Kill is a very good film.

It is such a joy watching De Niro and Pacino acting as life-long pals onscreen. They are heroes of the old school, joking about The Brady Bunch and Underdog whilst making the young new bucks (played ably by Donnie Wahlberg and John Leguizamo) look like over-excited kids.

And De Niro and Pacino compliment each other, relying on their best catalogue of work. De Niro is the quick-to-anger Turk (see Goodfellas, Taxi Driver), whilst Pacino is the gum-chewing wise-cracking Rooster (Heat, The Devil's Advocate).

The criticisms of the film are fair in some cases. Empire commented that there is not one memorable shot in the whole film and that Jon Avnet is no Michael Mann (although the splitscreen therapy session is incredibly crowd-pleasing). But maybe Avnet is simply an actor's director. He certainly gets great performances from everyone he points a camera at - Carla Gugino's sexy CSI detective is particularly captivating.

Furthermore, many critics have said that the script borders on convention and is full of cliches. Maybe I haven't seen enough cop films but I think that's a tad unfair. The concept of a cop serial killer is interesting, the twist was impressive if predictable and the pace of the film never slows.

So ignore the reviews (except this one obviously) and go see this film.

No other film in history has these two great actors starring opposite each other to this extent and that alone is worth the admission. And let's be honest. Both men are getting old now. There won't be much opportunity for them to play cops anymore, so enjoy it while you can.

So if you ask me, Robert De Niro + Al Pacino = ruddy good viewing.

Wednesday, 24 September 2008

REVIEW: RocknRolla

Happy days - Guy Ritchie is back on form!

It's been seven years since his last good film (Snatch) and after the shocking Cast Away and the trying-too-hard-to-be-clever Revolver, he really needed a hit.

And where better to find a hit than looking back at what made him popular in the first place: gangsters, London wit, good music, interweaving stories and black comedy.

In fairness, Ritchie isn't exactly re-inventing the wheel here: the opposing bad guys kill each other sparing the good guys, everyone is chasing a MacGuffin again (here it is a painting, previously it was a diamond and antique shotguns).

But Ritchie is sticking to what he does best. And why not? He has a natural talent within the British gangster genre and he might as well stick to it.

And he has matured. The film's main characters are a lot more fleshed out than in his previous films and he doesn't just rely on cartoon cut-out stereotypes (well, not as much as he used to).

Also, Ritchie doesn't get pre-occupied with comedy in RocknRolla. Whereas every other line in Lock Stock - and even more so in Snatch - was a tiresome sarcastic comment, here the humour is much more tethered and the film is better for it.

Ritchie still aims to emulate Tarantino a bit too much but, as always, he just ends up copying him: a silly dance scene between the two leads, walking in on characters in compromising situations, 'deep' theoretical monologues. Johnny Quid comparing life to a cigarette packet is very Tarantino-wannabe dialogue and falls short of the mark.

But small gripes aside, this is an enjoyable, exciting, stylishly-shot, cool-sounding film.

And there is no short amount of praise for the cast: Gerard Butler is charismatic as ever as One-Two, the relatively unknown Tom Hardy is likable as the closet-homosexual Handsome Bob, Mark Strong has confirmed himself as a rising talent as Archy (and is set to play Dr Watson alongside Robert Downey Jr in Ritchie's Sherlock Holmes) and newcomer Tony Kebbell is scarily watchable as rock star Johnny Quid.

Throw in a twist or two and you have a great film. And we are promised that the gang will return in The Real RocknRolla. A Guy Ritchie first: a sequel?

Rock on.

Flash Gordon

Shock-horror readers: I think I'm becoming a little bit more political.

During my pre-Sabb years, I was the first to say that I found the very notion of politics boring. In fact, my campaign slogan was: "Out with the politics, in with the Fairbanter!"

But I guess my year as a student politician has done me some good because I'm actually starting to care about regional and even national politics. Sort of.

Yesterday, during my lunch hour, I watched Gordon Brown's speech at the National Labour Conference in Manchester.
And I didn't get bored! In fact, it was quite interesting. Especially, the introductory cameo appearance from his wife.

I'm still too cynical and apolitical to actually have an opinion on his speech. But I didn't change the channel either, so at least my interest is heading in the right direction.
Smashing apathy begins at home.

Monday, 22 September 2008

Notts Freshers' Week '08

My fifth Freshers' Week began today but it is my first Freshers' Week at Nottingham.

I'm having a great time comparing it to how we used to do things Brumside - and I think Nottingham Students' Union might be winning!

1. Their Fresher's marquee is erected in the middle of campus on Nightingale Field, whereas ours was tucked behind our Guild building.

2. The marquee is so big that all the societies, the sports teams and the commerical stands can fit within the same tent. In Birmingham, everyone was scattered around the Guild building and the sports teams were miles away at the Munrow.

3. The marquee and its contents are there for three days running. At Brum, most people were just given one day or two at best. Usually, there was a rotation system, meaning that only certain societies would be present on any one day.

4. Nottingham have an absolute army of Week One reps that put our Birmingham Welcome Crew to shame. They are made up of student volunteers led by an elected Week One Exec and organise tours around campus, events for every Hall and the famous Freshers' Address...

5. Notts have a newly-introduced society sign-up system. You simply have to collect a barcode from the society you wish to join, head on over to the checkout and then you can pay in one go using chip & pin.
6. And the Freshers' Address is phenomenal! Every single first year is led by the Week One reps into the Sports Hall (this requires four sittings) and they are given a half an hour induction into student life by the SU President himself, Nsikan Edung. They are treated to a techno light display, an awesome DJ set and indoor fireworks. Also, they are shown a video or two aboutt he SU, various slides of the SU Exec/services and a safe-sex video acted in the style of a 1950s education video. They are also given a glimpse of the SU mascot, Easy Tiger, and note down the number for Nightline en masse.

Incredible. Impressive. Inspiring.

Week One has got it going on.

Friday, 19 September 2008

SNL Sarah Palin Parody!

Tina Fey and Amy Poehler, two of the funniest women alive, recorded a Sarah Palin parody for last week's Saturday Night Live.
The sketch shows Fey & Poehler play Sarah Palin & Hilary Clinton respectively and absolutely rinses the new Republican Vice-President candidate.
The scary thing is just how much of the Palin dialogue has already been said publically by the real Sarah Palin.
Video clips of the sketch are on the left-hand side of this blog. Check 'em out.

Wednesday, 17 September 2008

Born to Run!

After the thrill and satisfaction of completing the Nottingham half-marathon on Sunday, I have now entered myself in the Birmingham half-marathon!

The race around Brum is being held on Sunday 26th October and is sponsored by EDF Energy. As such, the race has been coined: The Race Against Climate Change.

I'm giving myself the rest of the week off (drinking, eating bacon, etc) and then I'll be back in training, aiming to beat my recent time of 1 hour, 50 minutes and 48 seconds.

Game on!

Monday, 15 September 2008

The Nottingham Half-Marathon


Yesterday, I competed in the Nottingham Robin Hood Half-Marathon.

The race start and finishes on the Embankment by Trent Bridge, with thirteen miles of scenic Nottingham landmarks in between, including Nottingham Castle, the University of Nottingham and Wollaton Park.

It was my first ever attempt at 13 miles (my training regime peaked at 10) and it was certainly a challenge. Most hazardous were the drink stations, as the runners usually take one sip then launch the bottle across the pavement before continuing on their way. This leaves the pavement littered with obstacles and you have to keep an eye on your feet.

But happy days, I finished in 1 hour, 50 minutes and 57 seconds! This fulfilled my target of finishing in less than two hours, so I was well chuffed. I also came 1,725th out of 6,648 people so I finished in the top 26%. Not bad for a first attempt!

Upon finishing, I collected my Lace Panel (which will look nice on my wall) and one of those tin foil capes which is supposed to stop you cooling down too quickly. I met up with my supporters too, who included Laura Clark, my Mum, my Uncle and my Nan.

It was a great day and a great achievement - one more challenge ticked off my list! And ironically, my Dad won my sweepstake competition so the prize money is staying within the Fairbanks family.

The Birmingham half-marathon is just five weeks away. Tempting...

UPDATE: I have now discovered that I actually completed the half-marathon in 1 hour, 50 minutes and 48 seconds. My original time includes the time it took me to get to the start line, so this recent update is more accurate. So basically, I gained another nine seconds!


Friday, 12 September 2008

The Paralympics

Today I have discovered the joys of the paralympics.

It's amazing how obsessed I was with the Beijing Olympics and then for some reason I missed the whole first five days of the paralympics. And they are awesome!

Not only do you get to see the classic olympic games given an innovative and inclusive new twist - but you also get to see Great Britain beat America!

At the time of writing - the end of the Sixth Day - Great Britain are second in the medal table, tailing China by just four Golds and beating the mighty USA by a solid ten Golds!

So my enthusiasm for this competition has now been established. Using BBC iPlayer at work will be brought back into fashion next week.

Go Team GB!

Thursday, 11 September 2008

Life Goes On...

Well, it's Thursday which means our friend the Large Hadron Collider didn't destroy the world yesterday. I suppose that's a good thing... but it does feel like a bit of an anti-climax.

Anyway, I found out some awesome stuff about the LHC yesterday.

  • It is the largest and most expensive machine ever created by man. It cost 2.5 billion dollars! It is mostly funded by America - surprise, surprise.
  • It throws particles at 99.99% of the speed of light. Or 670 million mph.
  • These particles will collide with each other producing 800 million collisions per second.
  • It is circular and underground - like the Circle Line on the Underground map. And it is 17 miles long.
  • It stretches across the Franco-Swiss border (pictured right) and lies 100 metres below Lake Geneva.
  • Stephen Hawkings bet £50 that the scientists wouldn't find this fabled 'God particle'. He also said that he hopes they don't because that will make things more interesting.
  • We won't actually be able to find this particle for at least four years anyway.
So, whilst the world is watching the London 2012 Olympics, some crazy scientists in Geneva might be shouting about a particle which no-one really cares about. Except Stephen Hawking. And America.

Money well spent then.

Tuesday, 9 September 2008

The End of the World?

The blogosphere is going crazy about this so I thought I might as well jump on the bandwagon too.

Apparently... the world is going to end tomorrow. This would mean that all of my marathon preparation would have been for nothing. And that would be rubbish.

This massive disaster is imminent because the world's most brilliant minds have assembled in Geneva and built the Large Hadron Collider - a ridiculously advanced particle accelerator that can recreate the conditions that existed just after the Big Bang occurred. And it achieves this by smashing parts of atoms together at high speeds.

The reason for doing this is because the Collider might be able to show us one of the most elusive particles in the Universe: the Higgs boson - otherwise known as the 'God particle'. This observation is supposedly worthwhile because it will confirm the Standard Model of Physics by unifying three of the four known fundamental forces - electromagnetism, the strong nuclear force and the weak nuclear force. It only leaves out gravity. Bless.

High speeds? Smashing? The Big Bang? God? Is this really necessary just to confirm stuff that we already know happens? And it only confirms 75% of these fundamental forces anyway. Pretty big risk for a half-assed job.

The primary reason people are panicking however is that a side-effect of this little experiment is that the Collider could produce a frickin' Black Hole. Error Geneva.

Admittedly, this is only a one-in-a-billion chance... but considering it could swallow the planet in less than a second, I really don't like those odds.

And unsurprisingly, everybody is looking back to see what old Nostradamus was talking about all those many years ago. Amongst his many ramblings you will find this:

"Leave, leave Geneva every last one of you,
Saturn will be converted from gold to iron,
'Raypoz' will exterminate all who oppose him,
Before the coming the sky will show signs."

Well, Geneva gets a mention. The sky will show signs? Well, it's been raining non-stop. And Sky News will no doubt be covering the event. Not too sure who this Raypoz character is though.

Either way, we won't know if the world ends so why worry?

See you tomorrow - hopefully.

Monday, 8 September 2008

Upper Odlington

This weekend we all journeyed through torrential rain to visit Alistair in Manchester. His house (pictured right) was full to the brim with money and pheasants and fox-hunting trophies. Rah!

By early evening, a whole host of engineers had arrived - not to mention Robzilla - and we ate BBQ, sang songs and drank everything.

We eventually found our way into central Manchester where me and Sean were denied entry to a club because we were wearing trainers. We hatched a cunning plan and returned five minutes later wearing black socks over our trainers. I had even put my t-shirt over the top of my shirt.

Unfortunately, the bouncer saw through my cunning disguise... so I offered him £70. That didn't work either. Although we did make him laugh a lot.

Plan B: myself, Sean and Mark left the group and got battered in a different club. And I literally can't tell you anything else about the following six hours.

Suffice it to say, we rocked up at Alistair's house at 4.30am after spending £32 on a taxi. And there was an empty bottle of wine by my bed.

Jolly good lash was had by all. Bosh!

Friday, 5 September 2008

My First Ever Traffic Jam

I got stuck in my first ever traffic jam whilst driving home from work yesterday. The usual ten minute drive took one whole hour!

It was an absolute nightmare and my legs were knackered afterwards from sitting on the biting point for so long.

The whole kerfuffle was caused by a lorry accident on the very cusp of the Nottingham Knight roundabout.

Luckily, I had the mighty Radio 1 and Nihal/Russell Howard to keep me company and get me through this traumatic ordeal.

Thursday, 4 September 2008

On the Run

In an attempt to get fit and complete my New Year's Resolution to 'Get Buff', I have decided to run the Nottingham Robin Hood Half-Marathon.

I have therefore been in training this past month. This involves less drinking, more healthy food and a lot of running around West Bridgford. So far it is going well and I can now run seven miles quite comfortably.

None of this would have been possible were it not for my awesome Nike+ iPod accessory. The sensor goes into the sole of my Nike+ trainers and the other bit goes into my iPod - and amazingly it records how far and fast I am running! This is a great motivational tool when pounding the pavement, as a saucy American voice speaks into your ear each time you pass a milestone. And if you record a new time or reach a new distance then you get Paula Radcliffe or Lance Armstrong telling you congratulations!

There are just ten days until the half-marathon and it's starting to feel real. My race number even came in the post on Monday - I am number 12024.

So until Sunday 14th, I will be gathering the last remnants of my sponsorship money and running as much as I can.

See you at the finish line!

Friday, 29 August 2008

The Difficult Second Album

Sequels are always tricky.

Sometimes they cannibalise their originals and get slated by the critics. Then other times they build on the groundwork laid out in the first installment and become instant classics (see Godfather: Part II, X-Men 2, The Dark Knight).

So with mixed feelings I am beginning this - my second blog.

My first blog was required as part of my previous job, as the elected Vice-President of Democracy & Resources at the Univerity of Birmingham Guild of Students. You can read that blog and learn about the exciting & bizarre world of student politics here:

Since finishing my term of office as VPDR on the 1st of August, I have been rubbish and not blogged at all. Which is a shame because lots of exciting stuff has been happening. I have done the following in the past four weeks:-

  • I started my new job at Nottingham Students' Union as their JCR Development Worker.
  • I bought a car - a blue five-door Vauxhall Corsa.
  • I visited Helen's house in Maidenhead for her Homecoming Party/Liz's 22nd.
  • I rediscovered my PlayStation.
  • I visited the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and saw fourteen plays in three days!
  • my mate Alex came back from Japan to visit.
  • I had a Sabb reunion with Laura, Naush and Will in Birmingham.
  • and tonight I am going camping for Cahley's birthday.
I was a little worried that this blog would be a lot more boring than my last one. But looking at that list makes me think differently. Plus, this blog isn't work-related so I can say whatever I want!

Ready, steady, blog!