Less Mad Hamsters, More Happy Pigs

It’s a little known fact that I was part of the team that made the first Purple Ronnie website, and the first Edward Monkton site too. Neither of the sites bear any resemblance to how they used to look.

Working on the two sites brought me into contact with the creator of Edward and Ronnie. A lovely man called Giles. Randomly I spotted he’d written a piece on depression for The Times. I read it. And I cried.

I’m not going to say much more apart from you need to go and read this piece. Given the odds, most of us will know someone who’s been touched with mental illness. And this is one of the most touching and powerful descriptions of depression I’ve ever read. The bit about the carrots is almost perfect.

I’m guessing my level of emotion was heightened by the fact I’ve met the man in question. And I would have put him towards the top of my list of ‘people least likely to…’. Although as he points out, perhaps the fact his alter ego Edward Monkton writes twisted poems called things like ‘The Madness Hamsters’, means that this had perhaps been on the cards for a while.

Anyway, if you’ve ever had an opinion on depression, or think that you might ever have an opinion on depression, you need to read this piece.

Anyway I’m hoping that Giles, and the rest of us, spend more time hanging out with the Pig of Happiness, and less with the Madness Hamsters.

Barry Norman’s Pickled Onions

I was skeptical. What does an aging film critic know about pickling? Probably about the same as an aging film star knows about salad dressing.

But I’ve eaten my words, just like I’ve eaten most of the jar of these wonderfully spicy pickled onions. Well done Barry.

Lists, Fuck Yeah!


Umberto Eco, one of my favourite brainy writerly dudes, talks with Speigel Online about lists and why they’re so important to us. A couple of extracts…

What does culture want? To make infinity comprehensible. It also wants to create order — not always, but often. And how, as a human being, does one face infinity? How does one attempt to grasp the incomprehensible? Through lists, through catalogs, through collections in museums and through encyclopedias and dictionaries. There is an allure to enumerating how many women Don Giovanni slept with: It was 2,063, at least according to Mozart’s librettist, Lorenzo da Ponte. We also have completely practical lists – the shopping list, the will, the menu – that are also cultural achievements in their own right.


I realized immediately that the exhibition would focus on lists. Why am I so interested in the subject? I can’t really say. I like lists for the same reason other people like football or pedophilia. People have their preferences.

I’m like him, I dig lists. But football and the other thing I’m less keen on.

It’s really worth a read, if you don’t already love lists you might change your mind.

Sick Track (At Least That’s What I’d Say If I Was Young)

This track makes me wish I was 18 and stupider. Loving the no-budget promo video. It made me chuckle, but I am a sucker for funny dancing.

I’ve just downloaded the Future Sound Of Russia compilation from whence this came. It seems like there’s some great music (and dancing) coming from over there.

Farewell For Now From My Two Excuses

Over The Shoulders (Front)

I’ve been a bit quiet recently. But I’ve had my hands full. Sometimes both of them. At least for most of the time I’m not at work.

It’s a daunting thing having two babies that can cry at the same time and who currently have absolutely no regard for anything apart from getting exactly what they want. But it’s wonderful and life-altering in a good way too. Of course it is.

I’ve been chatting to a couple of wise old men about the ‘baby blogging’ and they’ve convinced me that it’s not the best idea in the world. At first I thought they were just being grumpy old farts. But then they made me realise that at some point I’m going to have to stop. And I thought about it. And they’re right. And I might as well end it now, before I’m in too deep. Crackunit is too public, it’s too open and it’s not really fair on the girls.

I think the realisation that I had to stop came when I almost posted an ‘Identical or Not’ poll on Twitter. I caught myself going one step too far. Using them as link fodder. I felt like a terrible dad.

As I said before we had lots of lovely people write amazing supportive messages as a result of earlier posts, which has been great and helped us get through the tougher times. Thank you all again, for everything.

Of course I’m going to use the internet to post pictures of them and stuff like that, but I’m going to keep them separate from this blog, and I’m going keep it for friends and family and the kinds of people who should see pictures of your children. If you are a friend or family and want to be included on my family-spam drop me a line.

And in a few months when the girls start blogging I’ll add them to my blogroll if they ask nicely.

Bye bye say the girls…

Over The Shoulders (Back)

Extremely Beautiful Mini Synth


This OP-1 thing is absolutely gorgeous. It’s a synth and a MIDI controller. And it’s got well fancy skills like an inbuilt FM radio that you can manipulate. Zoiks!

And Teenage Engineering, the Swedish company that are developing said thing, have a website that I find rather tasteful also.