Sunday, June 30, 2019

Round 320: The Pug Dance across the room.

Darts Thrown: June 30th 2019
Blog Written: June 30th 2019

Highest Score: 140
Lowest Score: 7
Sixties: 29
100+: 10
180s Missed: 1

Blogger's Note: Written in haste, so there will be spelling mistakes and slapdash grammar.

Not bad, not bad. Not great, either, mind. A couple of 140s . . . threw for a 180, and the third dart hit the board. Calls for a random tune . . .  and it is random 'cos I never really cared for this song, but the bundle of energy otherwise known as Liam just careered into the room and it made me think of it. No, it doesn't make sense to me either:

Round 319: A Town With Pitney

Darts Thrown: June 30th 2019
Blog Written: June 30th 2019

Highest Score: 100
Lowest Score: 6
Sixties: 20
100+: 6

Blogger's Note: Written in haste, so there will be spelling mistakes and slapdash grammar.

Just put on a record, for fucks sake. Love, love this song. Eddie Reader did a great version of this song - i.e. it was a faithful rendition - back in the mid-90s, which I may have bought as a single. I had it in my head that it was by P. J. Proby but of course it was by Gene Pitney; how could you mistake that voice?

Revenge (2017)

Saturday, June 29, 2019

Round 318: Fight me, Nelson.

Darts Thrown: June 29th 2019
Blog Written: June 30th 2019

Highest Score: 140
Lowest Score: 3
Sixties: 22
100+: 7

Blogger's Note: Written in haste, so there will be spelling mistakes and slapdash grammar.

Decent high score but mediocre 60s total. Nothing more to add . . . except a YouTube video. 

Next up is Luscious Jackson's 'Here'. I had no idea it was from the Clueless movie. That's a plus in my book. Another cassingle I bought back in the day. It's in my head at the moment because for some strange reason - and it is a strange reason 'cos I never rated them - I've recently been reading/listening up on the Beastie Boys and before they became the most overrated group in the world, BB were a hardcore 4-piece featuring LJ's Kate Schellenbach on drums. The story goes - and it's from KS herself - she was bumped from the band when the other three hooked up with Rick Rubin and they put down the instruments for the drum machines. I guess it sorted itself out 'cos a few years later BB signed LJ to their vanity project record label, Grand Royale. Anyway, LJ always were better than BB. Fight me in the comments if you disagree.

Round 317: Brooklyn Calling!

Darts Thrown: June 26th-29th 2019
Blog Written: June 30th 2019

Highest Score: 100
Lowest Score: 3
Sixties: 22
100+: 8

Blogger's Note: Written in haste, so there will be spelling mistakes and slapdash grammar.

Just trying to catch up. Comments and observations will be spasmodic. Why 'Brooklyn Calling!'? Well, that's the dialing code, and we never did change our numbers when we moved to Indy. Go figure. Maybe it's a sign . . . probably not. Nothing to read into the Dart stats. Still mediocre at best, though it is a saving grace that despite 100 being a disappointingly high score, at least I hit 8 of them during the drawn out session.

Anyway, here's a music video to break up the bitty text. Why XTC? Because YouTube told me  . . . and because I'm half-rereading their biography on at the moment. Why Mayor of Simpleton? Again, 'cos YouTube's algothingy told me. Not one of my favourites but it does hold up:

Do You Want to Win? (2017)

Friday, June 28, 2019

Stand by Me (1986)

Catch a Falling Clown by Stuart M. Kaminsky (Mysterious Press 1981)

The gorilla was sleeping.

When he woke up he’d find a clown in his cage. There would be no reasoning with Gargantua. He was not a reasonable gorilla. Maybe there are no reasonable gorillas. This was the only nonhuman one I had ever met, and if fate didn’t step very gently in and let me out, it was the only gorilla I would ever meet.

His keeper had told me that Gargantua was so mean that they had to throw live snakes into his cage just to get him to move out so they could clean the floors.

“But gorillas, they don’t eat people,” said the keeper, a knotty twig named Henry Yew. “That is a misnomer. They rends ’em apart or chomps ’em sometimes, but they don’t eat ’em.”

So when Gargantua woke up looking for some succulent head of cabbage to bend or chomp, he would find instead a private detective named Toby Peters. With the war in the Pacific going badly and reports of the Japanese bombing Los Angeles and Seattle, I’d just make a curiosity item in the entertainment section of the Los Angeles Times: FAMOUS CIRCUS GORILLA RIPS PRIVATE DETECTIVE. “Maybe the Times would wonder why I had been in his cage dressed as a clown. Maybe not.

Thursday, June 27, 2019

High Midnight by Stuart M. Kaminsky (Mysterious Press 1981)

Both the sun and Mrs. Plaut were in my room when I woke up. The sun was full of energy and pride, having broken through a week of stubborn, cold clouds. Mrs. Plaut’s energy “was no less determined. She stood on a wooden chair and was either adjusting or removing the portrait of Abraham Lincoln from my wall.

“What are you doing?” I asked. Fortunately she didn’t hear me. As it was, she nearly toppled from the chair.

“What are you doing?” I shouted when she made it safely to the floor, portrait in hand. She heard that and turned to me with her lips in a straight, resolute line.

“I am removing the portrait of Uncle Ripley,” she said. “I am also removing the bedspread and the doilies from the sofa. These are precious items for me, and it is not safe for them in this room, especially if you plan to continue to stab people and do who knows what else.”

She scooped up the doilies and the bedspread. I was happy to see them go.

“And another thing,” she said, marching to the door. “You will have to buy your own knives.”

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Never Cross a Vampire by Stuart M. Kaminsky (Mysterious Press 1980)

When we were in the car with Seidman driving and Phil next to me in the back seat, Phil put down the report and said, “Now talk. No jokes, no lies, no errors and you’ll have a no-hitter.”

I talked as we shot through the early morning darkness, headed I didn’t know where. I told him the truth from start to finish including the Shatzkin and Lugosi material.

“So,” said Phil, “what do you make of it?”

“I don’t know,” I said. “There’s no link between the two cases. It’s crazy.”

“There’s a link,” said Seidman from the front seat. I could see his sunken-eyed skull of a face in the rearview mirror.

“Yeah,” I said. “Me. I’m the missing link.”

“And …?” said Phil.

“I’ll work on it,” I said.

“How’s your knee?” Phil said, turning his head away from me out the window.

That was the blow I almost couldn’t handle. My mind went blank, and I reviewed more than four decades of life with Phil. There had never been anything like this.

“Ruth told me,” he explained.

“Told you?”

“The money,” he said.

Seidman pretended to hear nothing.

“I thought you’d break my head if you found out,” I said.

Phil’s hands were in his lap. They wanted to do something, but his mind was stopping him.

“I don’t like it,” he said, “but I need it.”

The Howard Hughes Affair by Stuart M. Kaminsky (Mysterious Press 1979)

“Don’t you want to hear what Hughes wants?” I said.

“I want to hear,” she said softly, “but I don’t want to pay the price for it. Your price is always too high, Toby. You can make a person live a century in fifteen minutes.”

“And you used to love it,” I tried.

She shook her head.

“I never loved it. I accepted it. We’ve been all through it, Toby. I’m almost 40 years old. I have no family, no kids. I’ve got a career and some hope. You don’t cheer me up when you come around. You just remind me of everything I’ve missed.”

“You sent me a perfumed letter,” I said, getting up and moving toward her.

“I pay my gas bill with perfumed letters,” she said. “I buy it by the box. Come on, Toby, I’ve had a bad day. My feet hurt and I have to look in the mirror soon.”

“You’re beautiful, Annie.”

She shook her head and smiled sadly.

“I’m holding on, Toby,” she said. “I heard someone in the office describe me as a handsome woman today. That depressed me almost as much as this visit is. Please take your needs someplace else. I’m not an emotional gas station that can keep pumping it out.”

Sunday, June 23, 2019

You Bet Your Life by Stuart M. Kaminsky (Mysterious Press 1978)

Chico and Harpo were playing gin rummy, smacking the cardboard rectangles on the table. Chico beamed through the game, uttering uhs and delighted ahs while we waited for a phone call.

Groucho lay on the bed reading the newspaper. He looked at me and shook his head.

“We’re an anachronism, a relic of the past, a clown for people who’ve never been to the circus, a dialect comic for people who don’t remember vaudeville, a fast-talking, baggy-pants comic with a leer for those who were afraid to go to burlesque. We’re a trio of dinosaurs, an endangered species lying around a hotel in Chicago waiting for someone to come through the door and shoot us.”

“No one’s going to shoot you, Grouch,” Chico said, without looking up from his cards. “They’re going to shoot me.”

“That’s consoling. If I’m lucky, and they don’t miss, all I’ll lose is my brother instead of my life. I may be tired of playing that character in our movies, but I’m not tired of playing.” He raised his eyebrows suggestively.

Friday, June 21, 2019

Wonder Boys (2000)

Cemetery Junction (2010)

Murder on the Yellow Brick Road by Stuart M. Kaminsky (Mysterious Press 1977)

Someone had murdered a Munchkin. The little man was lying on his back in the middle of the yellow brick road with his startled wide eyes looking into the overhead lights of an M.G.M. sound stage. He wore a kind of comic soldier’s uniform with a yellow coat and puffy sleeves and a big fez-like blue and yellow hat with a feather on top. His yellow hair and beard were the phony straw color of Hollywood. He might have looked kind of cute in a tinsel-town way if it hadn’t been for the knife sticking out of his chest. The knife was a brown-handled kitchen thing. Only the handle was visible.

Thursday, June 20, 2019

Bullet for a Star by Stuart M. Kaminsky (Mysterious Press 1977)

My face was in my favor. I badly needed a haircut, but sometimes the slightly wild look was just what a client wanted in a bodyguard. My nose had been broken at least three times, once by a baseball thrown by my brother, once by a wind-shield and once by a fist thrown by my brother, in that order. But at five foot nine, the nose was a valuable asset. It announced that I had known violence.

Walking Wounded by William McIlvanney (Canongate Books 1989)

The ridiculous image of himself hiding in the Wendy House began to seem more than an accidental moment in his life. There were perhaps times, it appeared to him, when a fleeting gesture or a spontaneous stance could freeze into definition, like a head stamped on a coin, and become your essential currency. For a great footballer it might be one game or one goal. For another man, the moment of his marriage. John dreaded that for him it might be his sojourn in the Wendy House. That might become the prison of his own sense of himself. Perhaps that’s who he was – a ridiculous naked man with one sock on hiding in a cardboard house, waiting for his own true love.

Sunday, June 16, 2019

Maigret by Georges Simenon (Penguin 1934)

'You have to admit,’ ventured Amadieu, tugging at his moustache, ‘that your method is impossible to apply in a case like this one. The chief and I were arguing about it earlier.’

Well, well, the chief really was taking a close interest in the case!

‘What do you mean by my method?'

'You know better than I do. Usually, you get involved in people’s lives; you try to understand their thinking and you take as much interest in things that happened to them twenty years earlier as you do in concrete clues. Here, we’re faced with a bunch about whom we know pretty much everything. They don’t even try to put us off the scent. And I’m not even sure that, in private, Cageot would even bother to deny having killed.'

Saturday, June 15, 2019

When George Came to Edinburgh: George Best at Hibs by John Neil Munro (Birlinn Books 2010)

'George always seemed to find room on the pitch and he never appeared hurried, even though he was the most closely marked footballer in Scotland at the time. I remember someone stabbed a hard diagonal pass towards him during a game. It was a difficult pass to take, but he didn’t even bother. He stepped over it with his right foot and the ball shot through and then he brought “his left heel behind him and used it to angle the ball to one of his teammates, who was waiting for a pass out on the wing. This poor guy had obviously never seen a pass like this before and the ball just rolled past him and out of play. George just sort of looked at this guy with his hand outstretched as if to say, “Aw come on.” It was so slick and controlled – the type of thing Maradona or Pele would do. George was overweight, but even so he was always going to prosper in that league. If he’d applied himself, he could have played on here for years. The opposition were all petrified that he was going to make a fool of them, so they held back and that gave him the time. He was a real artist on the ball.'
(Ian Wood talking about George Best's time at Hibs.)

In a House of Lies by Ian Rankin (Orion Books 2018)

Sutherland nodded. ‘Not much of an accent left, except when I visit family. I notice you’re English.’

She shook her head. ‘Born here; grew up there – I blame the parents. So where else have you been other than Inverness?’

‘Aberdeen, Glasgow, even Skye for a while.’

‘They have crime on Skye?’

‘I like to think I eradicated it.’ He made a little toast to himself. ‘You ever been anywhere other than Edinburgh?’

‘I was on secondment in Glenrothes when Stuart Bloom disappeared.’

‘That was lucky – if you’d been attached to the case, you couldn’t be on my team now. Conflict of interest, et cetera.

Clarke nodded distractedly. ‘So where do you live these days?’ she eventually asked.

‘Shettleston, in Glasgow.’

‘Can you see Barlinnie from there?’

‘More or less. How about you?’

‘Five minutes from here. Just off Broughton Street.

Saturday, June 08, 2019

Steak . . . Diana Ross: Diary of a Football Nobody by David McVay (The Parrs Wood Press 2003)

Trouble is, it can have a negative effect. I have got to the point that the ball is not my friend, I don’t want to see it or receive it for fear of another rollicking. There are hiding places, in the hole or channel cunningly lurking between a marker and your own man. You can spend a quiet half hour failing to show for a colleague if you know what you are doing. It even happens on match days, not for so long but there have been occasions when even one or two of the senior pros are taking too much stick from the crowd and grab the invisible cloak for some respite. It is not spotted by the average fan but for the reserve lads sitting in the stand, it is noticed and pointed out gleefully among the throng. 

Heartlands (2002)

Tuesday, June 04, 2019

The Red Machine: Liverpool in the '80s: The Players' Stories by Simon Hughes (Mainstream Publishing 2013)

On one occasion, Bates’s ego got the better of him. In the tunnel at Stamford Bridge ahead of a match and with a loose ball at his feet, he asked former Liverpool left-back Joey Jones to tackle him. So Jones did, leaving Bates in a heap.

‘Joey was a tough lad,’ Spackman says. ‘He and Mickey Thomas were nutters. They drove down to London every other day for training from their home in North Wales. Every Monday morning, John Neal would come into the dressing-room and say, “Sorry, lads, training’s been put back an hour – Mickey and Joey are stuck on the motorway.”

‘Because Ken Bates wouldn’t pay for them to stay in a hotel, they’d sleep in the referee’s room at Stamford Bridge on a Friday night before a game. It was a big room with a TV and a sofa, but not the ideal place to sleep if you’re a footballer preparing for kick-off. They’d walk up the King’s Road on a Saturday morning for a fry-up then go back to the ground and wait for everybody else to arrive. It was a ridiculous arrangement.’

Stamford Bridge was hardly a place you’d wish to watch a game of football, never mind spend the night.

‘It was big but a bit of a dump,’ Spackman continues. ‘There was one huge stand, but the rest of the ground seemed so far away from the pitch because of the greyhound track. You needed 25,000 in there to create any sort of atmosphere. The pitch was terrible, too. I was used to a nice bowling-green surface at Bournemouth, but at Chelsea – a club then in the Second Division – the pitch was a dustbowl. It made it difficult to play pretty football. Over the years, that’s probably why Liverpool found it difficult going there.

(From the chapter, 'SOUTHERNER, Nigel Spackman')

Lord Snooty and the Bash Street Kids

The Socialist Standard ahead of the curve. It's 1982, and it's sticking the boot into a 12 year old Jacob Rees-Mogg:

From Jean Ure's article, 'Objections Overruled'. 

Sunday, June 02, 2019

The Motel Life by Willy Vlautin (Faber and Faber 2006)

The night it happened  I was drunk, almost passed out, and I swear to God a bird came flying through my motel room window. It was maybe five degrees out and the bird, some sorta duck, was suddenly on my floor surrounded in glass. The window must have killed it. It would have scared me to death if I hadn’t been so drunk. All I could do was get up, turn on the light, and throw it back out the window. It fell three stories and landed on the sidewalk below. I turned my electric blanket up to ten, got back in bed, and fell asleep.

A few hours later I woke again to my brother standing over me, crying uncontrollably. He had a key to my room. I could barely see straight and I knew then I was going to be sick. It was snowing out and the wind would flurry snow through the broken window and into my room. The streets were empty, frozen with ice.


  • Still plodding on.
  • Some improvement but not mesmerising.
  • Carry on as I were . . . I guess.