09 July 2008

No more working for a week or two

Yes, we're all going on a summer holiday! Well, it's just me actually, but who would miss the opportunity to shoe-horn in a Cliff Richard quote? I'm off for three weeks of travelling: flying in to Oslo this afternoon, seeing a bit more of Norway, then having a few days in Stockholm and Helsinki. I'm meeting Steve & Fiona there and we'll take the train to St Petersburg to start our Russia tour. Back to London on 27 July!


A royal garden party

Having secured an invitation to the royal garden party through the New Zealand High Commission ballot many months ago, I had plenty of time to ponder the logistical issues inherent in attending such an auspicious and memorable occasion. Like for example, what the devil is a Morning Coat? Could I spur myself to buy smart new shoes for the event? And, most importantly, what would I say if I happened to bump into the Queen in the queue for cucumber sandwiches?

As it turned out, a Morning Coat is one of those frightfully smart coats with tails, generally worn with a top hat and weskit, but I was assured by Felix (who had been to the same garden party a couple of years ago) that a conventional business suit would be fine. On the footwear question my natural reluctance to venture into shoe shops asserted itself, and I decided instead to burnish my current work shoes to within an inch of their life. And I prepared a line of conversation relying on my tenuous connection to the former Governor-General, Dame Silvia Cartwright: in a previous incarnation I was the Most Loyal Bearer of the Singular Blue Pencil used to sign Orders In Council.

As I was arriving from Victoria the closest entrance to the Palace grounds was the Grosvenor Gate, where cheerful policemen welcomed the smartly-attired guests inside to walk down the winding paths through the kempt arboretum to the vast lawn facing the Palace’s west (rear) terrace. The view of the neo-classical Palace is impressive, and I enjoyed its relatively modest scale – unlike the grandiloquent palaces of Versailles or Schloss Schonenbrun, this looks like a proper (if stately) home where real people reside.

The attendees were a mix of the great and good of the UK and beyond, and the apparent paucity of colonial accents led me to reflect on my good fortune at having secured a ticket. While most of the hundreds of attendees wore conventional formals, there were plenty of uniforms around too, with a healthy sprinkling of military types both young and old, from guardsmen to Admirals. Some Canadian airmen sported uniforms and peaked Glengarry caps that were highly reminiscent of the Tracy brothers in Thunderbirds. There were a few other varietals, such as the red-gowned bishops who disgorged from the Palace and spread over the vast lawn like a rapidly-expanding sea of affable, genteel, tea-drinking blood. And the oddest look of the day was the contingent of scout leaders who took the uniforms policy a bit too seriously and turned up with their woggles and scarves. I shouldn’t mock though – it was very English.

The ladies opted for slinky dresses and heels, and followed the style instructions that came with the invitation: ‘Day dress with hat, or Uniform (no medals). Trouser suit may be worn’. After the recent rush to Ascot this was another chance for women to dig out their hats and fascinators for public display. Fascinators are an odd concept, but the ones I like are those that look the silliest: a miniature pixie-sized hat, pinned at a jaunty angle to a woman’s hair, either to make it look as if her headgear has mysteriously shrunk in the wash, or to give the impression that she had recently mugged a leprechaun and stolen his chapeau.

The wide, well-kept lawn was bounded by refreshment tents – yes, cucumber sandwiches, no crusts! – and as the garden was so large there were two band tents, one by the Palace and one by the ornamental lake. Because they were hundreds of metres apart, the assembled military bands in each tent took turns to play popular tunes like James Bond movie themes, with each band hoisting a red and white flag when they were playing and a white one when they’d finished, as a signal for the other band to start up again.

Then it was 4 o’clock, time for Her Majesty to emerge from the Palace. The guests formed long human avenues radiating out from the Palace to the Royal Tea Tent, and the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh proceeded down these avenues, stopping to greet and chat with selected guests and interesting types in the crowd. In the hour or so it took the Queen to reach the spot I was standing in, the pike-bearing Yeoman of the Guard in their bright red uniforms and the tightly-furled-umbrella-wielding Gentlemen at Arms with their Eton accents and impeccable politeness encouraged the crowds to give the Queen plenty of space and to avoid crowding in.

A senior Gentleman patrolled the crowd in front of the Queen’s path, jotting down a few key details of the guests that had been selected for a personal chat with the monarch. This enabled him to break the ice when the Queen arrived a few minutes later. One of the Gentlemen at Arms, whilst deploying all their public-school charm to persuade the crowds to move back a little, mentioned that while he and his colleagues all carried smart City-businessman umbrellas (perhaps from James Smith & Sons?), they knew better than to open them until the Queen had opened hers, and that as Elizabeth was a hardy monarch, she required a proper downpour before she did so, so it paid to expect a damp top hat if there was rain about. (As it happened, while the dark clouds glowered and there were a few drops, it stayed dry and warm).

Soon she was nearby, perhaps five metres away from my second-row spot. She wore a smart dress and jacket in a colour that may or may not be cerise (I’m pretty vague on couture, me). The thing that struck me about seeing the Queen this close was that she really looked like she was enjoying the occasion and seemed to relish the conversation. This surprised me a little, given how long she’s been performing the role and making small talk with strangers. Good on her – and I suppose it must be nice to feel like everyone’s pleased to see you! There was certainly a polite press of guests to gain a good view of Ma’am as she greeted and chatted.

Soon she and Prince Phillip had retired to the Royal Tea Tent where a small crowd of selected guests mingled with the royals. For the rest of us, the serving staff dished out traditional lemonade and tasty Welsh icecream. After an hour or so the Queen and her party departed, which was the cue for the band to play God Save The Queen, as a signal that the garden party was coming to an end. Along with many of the other guests, I took the opportunity for another walk around the gardens, and spotted the Palace staff counting and polishing the gold tea service used in the Royal Tea Tent as it lay on the lawn behind the tent.

Finally, it was time to amble up the steps on the west terrace and enter the Palace to make our way to the front gates. The walls of the few rooms we wander through on our way out are lined with rare sets of ornamental porcelain, antique carriage clocks, and marble statues in the Graeco-Roman style. Each wall also displays several paintings of the British and European nobility, with a healthy scattering of Prince Albert portraits acting as a reminder that Victoria reigned here for over six decades. There is a great attention to detail at work here – the fireplaces each sport an oval of cardboard in the grate, with its top edge snipped to resemble curling flames.

After emerging into the central Palace courtyard the hundreds of guests make their way out the front arch to the east side of the Palace, which faces the crowds gaping through the railings at the stock-still Guardsmen in their bearskin hats. It’s truly a rare experience to be on the inside, emerging as one of the fortunate few who have received the generous hospitality of the garden party at Buckingham Palace.

08 July 2008

We ask the questions...

Courtesy of Che at Object Dart, let's play Twenty Questions (er, there's only six actually).

What were you doing ten years ago?

Living in Tooting and working my admin job at the BOA. I'd just been on a 3-week trip to Greece the month before, which was full of blue skies, warm nights and bucket-loads of pita gyros.

Five snacks I enjoy in a perfect, non weight-gaining world:

I am actually gaining a little weight for the first time ever! This may not be a bad thing, as long as it doesn't make me lumpy. But I worry more about my teeth than my weight, what with my fondness for sugar. So: Jelly Tip flavoured icecream, chocolate Hob Nobs, a cheap Ghuznee Street Malaysian dish, white chocolate Magnums, and fish & chips from the takeaways in Kaiaua on the Firth of Thames.

Five things I would do if I were a billionaire:

- Sponsor New Zealand Cricket with enough funds to tell the BCCI to get stuffed and then pick Shane Bond for the national team again.

- Get new gnashers, like Bowie

- Research and write a book or a screenplay

- Do a PhD (Oxford, perhaps?); maybe history instead of politics

- Open up a branch of Wendy's in Wellington (yeah, I'm really high-brow)

Three of my habits:

- Wanting to glare viciously at people on public transport who: talk; laugh; sing; smell; open their newspaper too widely; play loud music on cruddy headphones; play loud music without headphones; talk on their mobiles for any longer than 30 seconds. And in the mornings I'm not that keen on people smiling either.

- Spending nearly as much time blogging as I spend actually doing the things I end up blogging about.

- Losing my train of...

Five jobs that I have had:

Obscure ones? Newspaper delivery boy, Toy Warehouse floor sweeper, retail badge-wearer, call-centre worker, mortgage securities loader (don't ask me, I really can't remember what it involved).

Five things to do today:

- Shine shoes vigorously

- Re-re-watch Videojug's 'How to tie a half-windsor knot' tutorial

- Reappraise floor-based storage system

- Pack for holiday

- Go to garden party at Buckingham Palace (no, seriously)

Five people I want to get to know more about:

- Liam Finn (musician)

- Eliza-Jane Barnes (musician)

- Lucy Porter (comedian)

- Michelle Gomez (actor)

- Frankie Boyle (comedian)

People to tag:

Che's already done Richard, so I'll go for Matthew, Deeknow and Andrew.

Anyone for seconds?

Anyone for seconds?
Originally uploaded by eT le snap
A diorama from the ecosystem portion of the Natural History Museum in South Kensington. This particular tiger seems to be quite a tidy eater if you ask me. As the display is in prominent view the almost complete lack of blood might be designed to avoid freaking out the little ones who crawl over every display at the NHM, particularly on Sunday afternoons, which is when I went.

You can't fault the look of contentment on the tiger's face as he carefully licks his paws clean. This tiger knows that his species have way more street cred since Yann Martel featured a tiger as the main protagonist in the Booker-winning 'Life Of Pi'. The buck, on the other hand, has a resigned countenance, and justifiably so: perhaps his expression is redolent of a Douglas Adams-ian "oh no, not again"?

07 July 2008

My favourite joke in Spamalot

On Saturday night I met Steve, Fiona and Mike, an old work chum from the SCO, to enjoy Eric Idle's Monty Python musical, Spamalot. I've been wanting to see it for ages, and as it turned out that Mike, who is visiting London for the first time whilst travelling for work, is a big Python fan, the deal was sealed. It's staged at the Palace Theatre in the heart of the West End: Cambridge Circus at the corner of Charing Cross Road and Shaftesbury Avenue. The imposing brick theatre started out in life as the Royal English Opera in 1891.

Spamalot, which is 'lovingly ripped off from the classic film Monty Python and the Holy Grail', has been running at the 1400-seat Palace since October 2006, with a range of actors playing the lead role of King Arthur, including Tim Curry who transferred from the show's initial Broadway run; the former Dr Who, Peter Davison; Alan Dale from Neighbours and Ugly Betty (and Onehunga High School, my old stamping ground!); and in the past few weeks, the new Arthur has been Sanjeev Bhaskar of Goodness Gracious Me and The Kumars at No.42 fame.

While the musical includes a large number of songs from the Python movies, I was just as interested in the new material slotted in around them, and in particular the way in which these were used to take the mickey out of the West End / Broadway musical genre, and which appealed to my somewhat juvenile sense of humour.

(Spoiler alert!)

The performance of the Lady of the Lake is a well-crafted recurring joke that pokes fun at the seemingly mandatory narrative devices that are thrown into musical numbers to give the audience what they expect, which is generally a love story, even if it has to be shoe-horned in rather artlessly. Witness the stirring ballad, The Song That Goes Like This, which is a duet between the Lady and Arthur:

Once in every show
There comes a song like this
It starts off soft and low
And ends up with a kiss
Oh where is the song
That goes like this?
Where is it? Where? Where?

A sentimental song
That casts a magic spell
They all will hum along
We'll overact like hell
For this is the song that goes like this
Yes it is! Yes it is!

Now we can go straight
Right down the middle eight
A bridge that is too far for me

I'll sing it in your face
While we both embrace
And then
We change
The key... [and so on]

And after the interval, the Lady returns with her heart-felt grievance resulting from being out of the spotlight for too long, in the song Diva's Lament:

What ever happened to my part?
It was exciting at the start.
Now we're halfway through Act 2
And I've had nothing yet to do.

I've been offstage for far too long
It's ages since I had a song.
This is one unhappy Diva
The producers have deceived her.
There is nothing I can sing from my heart.
Whatever happened to my part?

My love life is a mess
I've got constant PMS
I'm fed up to the gills
They hate me there backstage
They say I'm too old for my age
And they're trying to replace me with Heather Mills!

Oh the ignominy! Well, she shouldn't complain too much, because the diva Nina Soderquist won the role of the Lady in a Swedish reality TV sing-off. (She is great in the role, mind). But my favourite theatre joke in Spamalot is probably the silliest, and it's a blink-and-you'll-miss-it affair. In the controversy-courting but good clean fun of You Won't Succeed On The West End (If You Don't Have Any Jews):

You may have dramatic lighting,
Or lots of horrid fighting,
You may even have some white men sing the blues!
Your knights might be nice boys,
But sadly we're all goys,
And that noise that you call singing you must lose.

So, despite your pretty lights,
and naughty girls in nasty tights,
and the most impressive scenery you use...
You may have dancing mana-mano,
You may bring on a piano,
But they will not give a damn-o
If you don't have any Jews!

...which is the cue for a showstopping Jewish-themed hoofing replete with foot-stamping and loud exclamations. As this is proceeding, and a dozen singers and dancers are whirling around in a carefully-choreographed maelstrom of sequinned medieval tabards, one showgirl emerges from stage right, pulling a small trolley full of straw. Just as she reaches centre stage, the entire cast stamps their feet and points to the trolley, shouting:


Or, if you prefer, 'hay'. I did say it was rather juvenile!

(Pic taken by Fiona after the show)

06 July 2008

The Last of the Famous International Playboys

Wireless Festival
Hyde Park
4 July 2008

On a bright and sunny American Independence Day I met up with Former Flatmate Al to attend the second day of the four-day Wireless Festival, which sprawled across a sizeable chunk of the eastern reaches of the park. As we walked from Hyde Park Corner northwards parallel to Park Lane in the early afternoon we could see that the venue was already lively, with some of the lesser-known acts starting at 3pm. The organisers had pulled together a huge line-up of performers, and each day of the festival was tailored to a particular audience - Thursday was clubby and chic, with Jay-Z and Mark Ronson headlining; Saturday was dominated by the house beats of Fatboy Slim and Underworld; and Sunday had a share of MOR rock with Counting Crows (they're still alive?) and Ben Harper. But it was the Friday line-up that drew our attention, and the indie crowd flocked to pay homage to the headliners, Morrissey and Beck.

The Wireless Festival is unashamedly corporate. There, I've said it. I don't have a particular problem with that though, as long as the hard-sell isn't wheeled out - after all, rock promoters have to make a profit to stay in the business, and sponsors are important. While the Wireless is sponsored by a mobile network and included one stage named after a manufacturer of USB data storage accessories (rock 'n roll, dude!), this doesn't affect the quality of the performances. Or perhaps it does? Because in the newspaper that morning there was a brief report of an overheard mobile conversation:

If Carl Barat's band Dirty Pretty Things aren't up to snuff when they perform at the O2 Wireless Festival in Hyde Park tonight, blame their bass player, Didz. 'I saw him on Chalk Farm Road opposite the Roundhouse last night, chatting away on his mobile,' reports a reader. 'He was complaining that he had been having guitar problems and moaned about being fed up with Carl Barat, though he didn't say why. He also said he couldn't be arsed rehearsing at the moment, but it didn't matter because "it's only the Wireless" (Source: Independent, 4 July 2008)

Indiscreet bassists aside, the Wireless was a great chance to see some quality acts and enjoy the sunshine and the warm evening that followed.

Our first act was the young Florida band, Black Kids, who I'd seen performing live on Jools Holland's show. They impressed with their indie pop verve and benefited from the harmonies on offer from their two girl members. A bit hard to take good pictures in a dark tent from about 50 metres away, but there's always the big screens alongside the stage, although the idea of going to a big gig and then watching it on TV has always struck me as a little counter-productive.

Wandering back to the main performance area we passed a crew of acrobats wearing spring-leg boots, leaping about on a trampoline stage and doing multiple backflips. Could be a good way of commuting, although I imagine the stopping distance might leave a little to be desired.

On the main stage the English band Guillemots, who are named after a seabird, delivered a set of their artful rock. The main focus of the group is the improbably-named performers Fyfe Dangerfield on guitar and piano, and Aristazabal Hawkes, who sings, plays a mean double bass, and looks superb at all times.

Next up there was a great opportunity to get up close to the rising New Zealand solo star, Liam Finn, eldest son of the great Neil Finn. I'd seen a teenaged Liam playing at the Albert Hall as part of his father's backing band on the Try Whistling This tour in 1999, and last year I saw him at Indigo2 in the Dome when he played with Crowded House on their UK tour. But now he's released his first solo album, I'll Be Lightning, which has been out in New Zealand for a few months and will be released here in the UK shortly. While he's been tipped as one to watch in the UK press, he doesn't have a big following yet, so we were able to take up a position five metres from the stage for a close up view.

Accompanied by talented Australian singer Eliza-Jane Barnes (daughter of rocker Jimmy Barnes) on backing vocals, percussion and autoharp, Liam made up for the lack of a full band by playing both lead guitar and drums. For several of the songs he performed he started playing the electric guitar until the bridge, when he set up a guitar loop and ran over to the drumkit for some Animal-from-the-Muppets pyrotechnics (see video below). I've always found drum solos to be entertaining yet faintly silly, but Liam is a deft hand and the drum-pummelling really got the crowd going. The half-hour set was rounded out with one of these solos, with Barnes crouched over a theremin like Jimmy Hendrix, generating a sci-fi noise-fest. The tent was full and Liam had won over a healthy crowd of Londoners with his energetic and talented performance.

Heading back outside, we caught a few songs by the popular English guitar band The Wombats, including their top 20 hit, Let's Dance To Joy Division. Sorry though, Wombats - you sound fine, but you have a silly band name and your logo looks rather too much like a pig.

After that short interlude, there was time to see a little of Siouxsie Sioux's performance in another big tent. This was jammed full of punters keen to view a punk legend in the flesh, and for a woman of 51 she scrubs up very well in a figure-hugging silver lycra number. The former lead singer of Siouxsie & The Banshees has had 18 top 40 UK hits over the 17-year period from 1978 to 1995, the two most prominent of which were Hong Kong Garden (#7 in August 1978) and a cover of the Beatles' Dear Prudence (#3 in October 1983). She went solo in 2004, and while I admit I don't know much of her work, it was great to see such a classy performer still pulling a big crowd after 30 years in the spotlight.

As the day turned to dusk, the evening's second billing emerged on the main stage - Beck, purveyor of quality slacker-rock since 1994, when his single Loser ('Soy un perdedor / I’m a loser baby, so why don’t you kill me?') brought him considerable fame, particularly in America, where it achieved similar zeitgeist-encompassing ubiquity to Radiohead's later-disowned single Creep ('But I'm a creep, I'm a weirdo / What the hell am I doing here? I don't belong here').

His follow-up album, Odelay, spawned a clutch of funky slide-guitar space-cadet singles like Where It's At, Devil's Haircut, and the superb New Pollution, but in the years afterwards the muse took Beck in different, less commercial directions. His album releases were always greeted with interest though, and there was some fine work amongst them, including the moody, introspective break-up album Sea Change, and the return-to-form Guero.

His live performance at the Wireless showcased all of the popular old material, but also relied heavily on songs from his 2008 album, Modern Guilt, which was not well known by the lively crowd. While his performance was technically of a high quality, and his backing band played a good set, Beck's appearance at the Wireless was somewhat undermined by his wooden stage presence and minimal interaction with the audience. It was a workmanlike but not inspired performance, but it was still enjoyable to hear the early singles and the great track Girl from Guero performed live.

As an interlude before the final act of the night we wandered over to see another hugely influential act, the New York Dolls. Harbingers of both the glam rock and punk movements in the early 70s with their outrageous hookerish outfits and makeup, the Dolls introduced a great sense of theatre and danger into short snappy rock songs. Lead singer David Johansen, who briefly dallied with the charts as ironic solo artist Buster Poindexter, is a natural rock frontman. The Dolls' cover of Janis Joplin's Piece Of My Heart was a crowd-pleaser and ensured that the performance tent was standing room only throughout their set.

One major fan of the New York Dolls then took to the main stage with top billing. Steven Patrick Morrissey, the crowd is yours! A great number of chaps had already declared their affiliations that morning by donning Smiths t-shirts, in strict contravention of the Cool Rule that states that thou shalt not wear a band t-shirt to a gig if there's a connection to the performers.

Morrissey has been a solo artist for more than 20 years now, and has scored a massive 32 top 40 singles in that time, but the years he spent with Johnny Marr in the Smiths are still a powerful lure for concert-goers keen to cavort to the tunes of an indie legend.

He strode on in a Playboy t-shirt to perform the opening track, 1989's Last Of The Famous International Playboys, and was soon pronouncing archly on last week's investiture ceremony in which Kylie Minogue was awarded an OBE, claiming disingenuously that she thoroughly deserved the honour. To underscore his point, he then donned an ironic American Idol t-shirt.

His voice is still in top form despite years of performing, and he seemed to relish the spotlight more than ever. In a set peppered with crowd-pleasing Smiths numbers here and there, it was the solo material that really stood out, with the cracking 2004 single Irish Blood, English Heart raising the pace and the fantastic Marr-esque guitar loops of 1988's Suedehead getting the whole crowd jumping. Closing his performance by throwing his sweat-soaked shirt into the baying crowd, Morrissey capped off an excellent day's entertainment and showed that there's still plenty of life left in his career yet.

04 July 2008

Satan's furry jam hats

Last night I went with Former Flatmate Al to the Riverside Studios, nestling in the shadow of the lovely old Hammersmith Bridge (about which I've written before), to see a performance by the multi-talented English comedian Bill Bailey.

Not content with mere success on the comedy circuit, Bailey moved into radio and TV work and attained wide popularity, both in acting roles and appearances as himself. He has been a team captain on the quixotically brilliant music quiz Never Mind The Buzzcocks for ten years and 100 episodes, makes frequent appearances on Stephen Fry's witty and ideas-laden panel show QI, and his performance as the hapless and put-upon shop assistant Manny Bianco in three series of Black Books is legendary. Manny was forever the victim of his misanthropic boss, Bernard Black (sample managerial technique: 'You know what you are? You're a beard with an idiot hanging off it').

Standup comedy with a musical bent is still Bailey's forte, and was best expressed in his 2004 show and DVD, Part Troll, in which he mused on the meaning of Englishness (which is to celebrate inherent mediocrity whenever possible), the possibly futile search for meaning in life, and the relaxation that can be obtained from peering at one's washing up underwater through a transparent bowl in the sink. His musical talents give him another string to his bow, whether he is subverting the stadium-filling rock riffs of U2 or the techno-trance BBC World idents.

Last night's show fitted the Part Troll model, with rambling, genial anecdotes punctuated with philosophical outbursts and keenly-observed messing about on the keyboards and guitar. Bailey worries about the seeming pointlessness of modern existence and the contradictions involved in trying to be good in a world compromised by consumerism and environmental decay. But ultimately, like the rest of us, Bailey sometimes falls short:

Sometimes I leave the lids off things. But that's where Satan gets in! And grows the fur on top of the jam! Satan's furry jam hats!

He also offers musical alternatives to soothe society's fevered brow (aka plays some silly tunes), illustrating his point that God Save The Queen would sound far better if it was performed jazz-style (he's right, you know) and that the Imperial March from Star Wars would sound much less intimidating and creepy if it was performed in a jazz-scat bebop version.

I'm generally terrible at remembering jokes, so suffice it to say, it was a good show. It felt a little odd though, because for some reason the Studios audience felt compelled to make numerous trips to the bar during the performance, despite there being an intermission for this very purpose. Due to the low-level stage and the layout of the seats, this meant plenty of punters were wandering right in front of the stage, interrupting Bailey's flow at times, and he was clearly a little surprised and put out that people couldn't just sit and enjoy the performance. On the plus side, one lady in her fifties misplaced the exit and managed to stroll blithely across stage right and behind the stage curtain into the dressing room, where Bailey assured the audience she was rifling through his backpack. We never saw her again, so perhaps she's still in there.

Bailey also attempts to involve the audience and get some feedback to incorporate in his shows, and English audiences generally cooperate. The ordinary punters often think to themselves, "I'm quite a character, I could foot it with this guy and give as good as I get", which is invariably wrong but can generate some useful material. The worst ones are the toffs though. Don't get me wrong, there's nothing wrong with confidence. But the sort of confidence instilled by the more refined educational establishments in England encourages some people to share views that are better kept unshared.

For example, in Bailey's monologue he offered a nice melding of particle physics and surreal comedy in discussing the Large Hadron Collider at CERN, which will be switched on in August, either leading to 'absolutely nothing happening, or a massive black hole forming under Switzerland, sucking in cows, chocolate, cuckoo clocks...' One possibly cider-augmented posh audience member then piped up in a loud but strangulated student voice, exclaiming, '...ah well I should apologise because my girlfriend's father is probably responsible you know' It turned out that said girlfriend's father works at CERN, and may or may not be involved in the Collider project. Yes yes, well done, but the last time I looked this was a Bill Bailey show, not the Bill Bailey And Some Sozzled Trustafarian Show.