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July 2nd 2005

Not long ago I complained in advance about people not taking Richard Whiteley's death seriously... well, look how wrong I was. Two special programmes about him either side of the last ever Countdown he filmed (and perhaps - hopefully - the last episode of Countdown ever) showed just how seriously Channel 4 are treating the sad occasion. Even the House of Lords said what a lovely man he was. In other news, the Dude List has been added to again, with Simon Amstell the latest addition to what is fast becoming known as the only true measure of success. Not heard of him? Well, I'm not surprised, really... he presents Popworld, or some such garbage on early morning Channel 4, but he is absolutely hilarious, a master of sarcasm, mocking the untalented popsters that he is duty bound to interview. If my brother's poor taste in music has served no other purpose, at least it's given me the knowledge of Simon Amstell. What a dude.

New today, a comment box so you can give your feedback to whatever garbage I write here. Especially for you, Simon... but it's open to anyone. Appease me.

July 3rd 2005

I've said it before, and no doubt I'll say it again: Macca is a genius. I've spent almost the entire day watching Live 8, and while I cynically thought that it would be a poor attempt to re-encapsulate Live Aid, it got better and better, and the last few acts were amazing. Concerts like that only look good in the dark, I think... but seeing The Who, Pink Floyd and Paul McCartney in quick succession was really, really amazing. Surprisingly, there were few rubbish acts put in to appease the taste-challenged masses: perhaps they'd all been shunted to Cornwall or one of the other thousand or so destinations that had suddenly decided to jump on board. In fact, I'm currently watching the Philadelphia version, fronted by none other than the Dude List resident Will Smith. In other news, I've just discovered that the good people of FreeWebs.com will only let me keep my comment box for a month... so enjoy it while you can. If it works, I'll try and keep it running from elsewhere... have you ever wondered whom I'm living with next year? No? Well, anyways, reproduced without permission is a picture of 'em all. From left; Iain, David, me (yes, I've had my hair cut since), Richard and Anthony.

Iain, Dave, Colin, Rich, Ant... like G8, but with fewer people and less power

July 6th 2005

Okay: today is Wednesday. I'm leaving for Somerset on Tuesday. So if anyone in Worcestershire wants to see me ever again, you have less than a week...

July 8th 2005

In the light of the London bombings, it would be remiss of me not to say something in a diary that usually ignores the more serious aspects of the wider world (and, indeed, the more serious aspects of the smaller world). The immediate reactions from all sources are as you'd expect - condemnation, consolation, confidence in London's ability to recover - but as the shock wears off, there is a growing air of vengeance. Al Qaeda have claimed responsibility (and are probably not the only terrorist group to do so), and it seems likely that Muslims will again face unjustified anger and attack, which any sensible person would condemn and avoid. But even towards the people who are responsible, we should not feel hatred, or the lust for revenge [since I started writing this, offline, there has been an angry article on the news in which people have talked about bringing the culprits to justice]. Certainly the culprits should be brought to justice, but justice has to be emotionless, not inspired by anger or fear, and it is necessary for us - every one of us - to forgive the people who killed so many civilians yesterday. Yes, what they did was a sin... but the failure to forgive them is also a sin, and equally powerful in separating someone from God. Can there be a comparison drawn between killing innocent people, and a lack of forgiveness? Certainly the former causes infinitely more pain and damage than the latter, but I think this is a case where we have to look at the speck in our own eye before looking at the log in others'. Then again, is it my place to forgive? They have caused me no direct harm, and certainly I cannot forgive them on behalf of others - forgiveness in this case is being able to remove hatred, to remove malice, and instead of wishing the bombers - or their masterminds - suffering, it is being able to feel love for them, and 'desire not the death of a sinner, but rather that he might turn from his wickedness and live'. It's difficult, and the majority probably won't see the necessity - perhaps most would even be offended by the suggestion, and certainly I haven't heard it made by any of the religious leaders who've spoken - but it's something that we ought - and need - to do.

July 16th 2005

Well, we've arrived in Somerset, and nearly finished unpacking. The battery power on this laptop is going to go any second, so I've got to too.

July 19th 2005

In a recent meandering through the varying qualities of his fellow corridor residents, my good friend Anthony claimed, in so many words, that I have a bad taste in films. Now, I will admit that a liking for the Beatles - stemming naturally from an appreciation of what has to be classified as the best music ever made by man - has led me to purchasing nearly all of their films, and whereas the quality of their various offerings differs greatly according to which film you watch, it never quite reaches the echelons of 'good'. Magical Mystery Tour is a particular low point. I will also admit that I readily buy films because Matthew Perry is in them, ignoring or forgiving the artistic qualities - or lack of them - the film itself boasts. But other than these failings, I cannot see any truth in Anthony's statement, and what is more, I think it is a grossly unfair one to make considering his other various close acquaintances: Anthony himself has a video collection that totals nil. David believes that the Bourne Supermacy is a good film - to such an extent that he actually owns it. Richard likes Cutting It, therefore it is medically proven that he is both blind and deaf, and cannot have a taste in films. Christine interrupts her collection of children's Disney cartoons only with gems such as 'Anger Management', that less than rare beast: a rubbish Ben Stiller comedy. Becky appears to be of the opinion the solutions to all of life's problems are hidden somewhere within the frames of Finding Nemo. Sarah likes Dirty Dancing (in fairness, these last three are all girls, and thus handicapped from the start in the whole taste-in-film stakes). Tom's video collection rivals only his CD collection in terms of absence. Rob screams like a girl while watching a PG film about spiders. Iain... well, in truth, I can think of nothing against Iain's films... so, for the purposes of making this point, I will invent the fact that he owns Tomb Raider II Special Edition. So there it is. Harsh words have been said by all - or rather, harsh words have been said about all - and I hope that everyone concerned will forgive me, but I feel I must clear my name. In other news, it probably hasn't escaped frequent readers that I have recently moved house. I now live in the Rectory, Chiselborough, Somerset - in one of a series of moving farewells, the good churchgoing people of Eckington gave our family three digital cameras - one for Simon, one for myself, and one for the parents to share - and they're pretty good, too: I don't know a lot about these things, but it's got everything I want and a lot besides. I've taken a few pics of my room, and a video, which will probably find their way here soon... in fact, they might even be below as you read this, depending on whether I bother doing it now or not. Obviously I'll miss everyone back home in Worcestershire, and although I managed to see a fair few people before I left, there are some I didn't manage to (fear not, I'll be back). Firstly, I went to see War of the Worlds with Ian, Doug and James... the film itself wasn't great, and doesn't really warrant much comment. Afterwards we went down the rec and played some two-on-two football, which Doug and myself won. About a week later, Ian, James, Justin (apologies again, Justin), Jimbo and I went to see Batman Begins, which was a much better film... sadly, those who couldn't make it included Doug, Powly, Bradley, Peter and Brett... anyhow, it was a far cry from the Biff! Pow! action we're used to. You risk getting mocked when you say you've gone to see Batman, since he's a superhero who's been badly treated on the Big Screen over the years (he's also a superhero who has no powers, only a bunch of gadgets, so perhaps he's more of a hero than a superhero, in reality. Reality? What am I talking about? Shut up, Colin) but, as I say, this was an excellent version: more a psychological thriller than a superhero film. Okay, the storyline once Batman had begun (as it were) was rather unsatisfactory, and I've just realised that Robin was nowhere to be seen - how did I not notice that at the time? Perhaps in the sequel - but it was a stellar cast including Morgan Freeman, Liam Neeson, Michael Caine and Katie Holmes. OK, scratch that last one. After the film, Ian, James and myself went and played football again, an I'm sure they won't mind me saying that noen of us were particularly good. In fact, we all sucked like an anteater with a straw, but that was good nonetheless, and I enjoyed (metaphorically) getting the old goalkeeping gloves on again, after my two-match career between the sticks for Eckington C of E First School (goals conceded: 2). In yet further news, I know how everyone loves my lists of stuff, so I've gone the whole hog and listed every CD in my CD wallets... plus the Beatles ones, which are so special that they're kept separate. Any comments or suggestions for CDs that should be there and aren't, or shouldn't be there and are, would be gladly received. Enjoy.
Back To The Future Soundtrack
I Love You - The Beach Boys
Pet Sounds - The Beach Boys
The Best Of Jeff Beck
The Best Of Blur
The Best Of Bond... James Bond
I'm Alive - Jackson Browne
Tuesday Night Music Club - Sheryl Crow
The Essential Bob Dylan (CD 1)
The Essential Bob Dylan (CD 2)
Bob Dylan's Greatest Hits Volume 3
Highway 61 Revisited - Bob Dylan
Blonde On Blonde - Bob Dylan
Slow Train Coming - Bob Dylan
The Very Best Of The Eagles
50 Years Of The Greatest Hit Singles (CD 1)
50 Years Of The Greatest Hit Singles (CD 2)
50 Years Of The Greatest Hit Singles Platinum Collection (CD 1)
50 Years Of The Greatest Hit Singles Platinum Collection (CD 2)
The Best Footie Anthems In The World... Ever!
Friends Again
White Ladder - David Gray
All Things Must Pass (CD 1) - George Harrison
All Things Must Pass (CD 2) - George Harrison
Hooked On The Beatles
Instrumental Memories - Beatles
Irish Folk Favourites
History (CD 1) - Michael Jackson
Just Great Songs (CD 1)
Just Great Songs (CD 2)
Hopes And Fears - Keane
It's The Kinks - The Kinks
Lennon Legend - John Lennon
Rockin' With Little Richard
Live Forever (CD 1)
Live Forever (CD 2)
The Lord Of The Rings: The Fellowship Of The Ring
101 Love Songs (CD 1)
101 Love Songs (CD 2)
101 Love Songs (CD 3)
All My Love
Forever Delayed - Manic Street Preachers
Wingspan: Hits - Paul McCartney
Wingspan: History - Paul McCartney
Hits Out Of Hell - Meat Loaf
Absolution - Muse
Wild, Cool & Swingin' - Wayne Newton
The Long Road - Nickelback
NOW 39 (CD 1)
Definitely Maybe - Oasis
(What's The Story) Morning Glory? - Oasis
Heathen Chemistry - Oasis
Dark Side Of The Moon - Pink Floyd
Greatest Hits - The Police
Love Songs - Elvis Presley
Greatest Hits - The Pretenders
Greatest Hits - Queen
In Time - R.E.M.
Ringo - Ringo Starr
Performance And Cocktails - Stereophonics
The Best Of Rod Stewart
White On Blonde - Texas
Three To Tango Soundtrack
The Best Of 1980-1990 - U2
The Best Of 1990-2000 - U2
Phil Vassar - Phil Vassar
Urban Hymns - The Verve
The Beatles
1962-1966 (CD 1)
1962-1966 (CD 2)
1967-1970 (CD 1)
1967-1970 (CD 2)
Abbey Road
The Beatles (CD 1)
The Beatles (CD 2)
A Hard Day's Night
Let It Be
Let It Be... Naked
Magical Mystery Tour
Past Masters Volume One
Past Masters Volume Two
Please Please Me
Rubber Soul
Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band
With The Beatles
Yellow Submarine/Beatles For Sale
Yellow Submarine [Songtrack]
The Beatles Live At The BBC (CD 1)
The Beatles Live At The BBC (CD 2)

Picture 1 Picture 2 Picture 3 Picture 4

July 21st 2005

Click for larger pictureIn the last few days I've made a disturbing discovery, through too much mirror-gazing. I haven't shaved for a few weeks, and it appears that, if and when I grow a beard, it will be at least partially ginger. I have taken a photo - using the macro-focus facility on my new camera - to demonstrate the point. That is part of my chin, and indisputably infested. To be honest, I'm not yet sure how I feel about this - a ginger beard might actually be kinda cool. We'll see. Now, the comparisons between this diary and Communist Russia are infrequently made, and largely libellious - after all, even Lenin has feelings - but the spirit of censorship is about to loom large, since I'm in the process of going through the archives, removing dead links, references to this diary as being part of crazysnakeman.co.uk, and mild swear words (crap's a bit borderline, but has usually been substituted for 'garbage' or 'rubbish'). I'm actually doing more than that (altering spelling and punctuation errors is more for my own peace of mind than anything else) to make this archive better arranged, and also so that I can look through everything I've written. As I type this, I've finished the editing, but haven't yet put up the new versions. Should I care this much? Probably not, but strangely enough, I feel no shame. In other news, I'm thinking of uploading the Dude List to this site, or maybe on a link from the SCB homepage... I've even had a request to do so, in fact.

A staple of these pages is discussion of the latest book I've been reading, and next on the pile is Jeeves & Wooster - more specifically, the three-volume omnibus that is Life With Jeeves (by P.G. Wodehouse, in case you didn't know. And you should have known) which I've been meaning to read for a while. The first thing I noticed was how much the superb Jennings & Darbishire books by Anthony Buckeridge were influenced by Wodehouse - much of the lingo is the same, with references to top-hole schemes and the like. Although it was rarely laugh-out-loud funny (I had been thinking that it would be) it was still excellent; the characters very endearing, the language wonderful. If I could make one complaint, it's that the stories are a bit too formulaic and predictable, which is why I preferred the full-length novel (Right Ho, Jeeves!) to the two collections of short stories (The Inimitable Jeeves and Very Good, Jeeves). In short (ho!) I'd recommend PGW to anyone (except Ant, who's already borrowed the book)... of course, another book has hit our shelves of late, the 6th installment of Harrymania. I seem to remember that a much bigger deal was made about the 5th one's release, probably because it took her so long between books that time. I am planning to read Book 6, but I'm gonna re-read Book 5 first... sadly, it is while reading them that I cannot maintain my lofty cynicism about Potter hype, since they are very addictive and, if they were more acceptable and I was younger, I'd be hooked. But remember, kids, there are other books out there.

July 22nd 2005

Apologies to anyone who found yesterday's picture disturbing. I feel it was artistically warranted. Anyways, the censorship is done and dusted, so to read what international fans are calling the 'original version', you're gonna have to hope it's cached in Google. Speaking of the past, I have been asked by Justin to bring back Crazy Diary Poll Man, with a poll of his choosing, but since this is now Colin's Online Diary, I can't really call it Crazy Diary Poll Man anymore... it was a pretty stupid name, anyhow. Never mind. I'm also no longer using Freepolls.com, instead opting for the web poll I can get free from the good people of Freewebs.com, which explains the change in format... I don't get much option with what it looks like, sadly, but it'll have to do. The Dude List, in case you were wondering, is now on the SCB main menu, and can be reached at freewebs.com/dudelist.

July 25th 2005

There are several things that annoy me about Harry Potter. These include the hype surrounding it, the merchandise (that is actually not so ubiquitous as you'd believe), the scores of annoying kids dressed as wizards and witches, the fact I've spent a tenner to watch two poorly acted and uninspired films of the books, and JK Rowling herself, whom I - for some reason that I'm not sure of - really don't like. I'm sure this doesn't bother her unduly. However, the thing that annoys me most about Harry Potter - more than any of these things - is the fact that I absolutely love reading the books. I'm not even saying I love the books - I love reading them. I write this having read Book 6 over a period of less than 25 hours, starting some time after midnight Saturday morning (fresh from finishing Book 5 for the second time) and ending at 1am Sunday morning. During this time I also completed a Samurai Su Doku and dug over the vegetable patch. But, sorry to disappoint, I totally refuse to give a critique on Book 6, or even mention anything from within its pages, because I would be embarrassed to do so... and why is this? Well, they're synonymous with children's literature, they're fawned over by annoying 10 year-old girls... in short, they're the kind of thing I should regard with a lofty disdain if at all. (In fact, this was how I viewed them until I actually read one, Book 4 in the Summer of 2000). Imagine the way I'm supposed to view S Club 7 - well, I have absolutely no trouble at all viewing S Club 7 the way I ought to, because they are talentless and mundane and aimed at pre-teenage girls, but I am captivated by Harry Potter whenever I turn its pages, and that's not how I ought to feel. It's difficult to know whom to blame for this state of affairs. Probably Rowling, curse her, for writing the things... or maybe the exasperating kids who simper through the gaps in their teeth whilst using the word 'muggle' in conversation... or maybe the people who - like myself before 2000 - never read the things and assume they're pitiful. Maybe I should blame myself, although goodness knows I've never encouraged myself to like the things. Maybe I should step back and look at the bigger picture: the words 'Harry Potter' conjure up (sorry) a fantasia of infantile euphoria, the proportions of which are generation-defining. But Harry Potter - to date - is only actually six books, if you think about it. Oh, there are spin-off books, there are films, there is more stuff bearing Daniel Radcliffe's face than is good for him, etc etc, but the phenomenon that is Harry is all contained in these six tomes, and the spirit and essence of it has never been captured in anything outside of these books. No-one's come close. Read these books, and you can forget that they've sold however many million copies, you can forget that they've hit the silver screen, you can forget that annoying brats are being brought up on them. Amazingly - and best of all - you can forget that J K Rowling wrote them. But when you're not reading one, you can't forget any of these things, which is why I can't review their contents here, why I can't discuss them with anyone else, and why I can't admit to anyone, face-to-face, that I absolutely love reading them. I can only admit it here.

July 27th 2005

Bought a Rolling Stones album off Amazon the other day. True story, no messin'.

July 28th 2005

Well, it was always going to happen someday, largely thanks to Rob... and today, I bought new slippers. It's a sad day, but brightened slightly by two things: firstly, I will no longer terrify the cat with my feet attire, and secondly, my new slippers have Mr. Happy on them. Woo-hoo! Funny, when I was about eight, they didn't make Mr. Men socks big enough for my feet, but now there's no problem. Crazy world we live in. A crazy world that has lots of Su Dokus in it... speaking of which, there was a programme about them fronted by Carol Vorderman on Sky 1, and yours truly may well have been on it, since they interviewed three of us from Warwick (Ant & Robin being the other two), and althugh we none of us said anything particularly inspired, we may have made an appearance. So my television debut may have happened without me noticing... if anyone saw it, let me know, please!

what was I listening to?
Dark Side of the Moon - Pink Floyd
what was I reading?
Life With Jeeves - P G Wodehouse
what was I watching?
Batman Begins
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