- is in the house. Wasn’t my idea but my wife wanted Wii Fit for Christmas. And I have to admit I’m quite taken by it. From the balance board talking to you with the voice of the other Inbetweeners when they’re taking the piss out of Jay for his “Friend” to the reality TV results tension of you in the spotlight anxiously waiting to learn your Wii Fit Age. Anywhere between 26 and 74 , as it happens; do not trust the Mirren woman. Oh! – the frustration of the Jogging and the great Burn Rate scandal. I kept getting stuck on 38% … until I started tucking the Wii Remote in my underpants elastic. The trick is to stay in step with your running guide. Mind, if you go too fast and have to follow the dog it takes you on a more interesting journey, getting your feet wet walking on the beach at ocean’s edge (Remember, walking in the sand). The less said about the friggin’ Hula Hoop the better. Nor am I convinced about the authenticity of the yoga … Even now, as I write, there must be WiiFit Anonymous groups meeting the length and breadth of the land. Got 244 at bowling the other day; followed immediately by a career worst of 102.
- are having to revise our long and proudly held rhetorical claim to be allergic to Booker Prize winning novels, what with Finkler already last year and now catching up with the utterly maginificent Wolf Hall (of which more in another post, later).
- are heartily sick of the site and sound of David Walliams, Matt Lucas and the one dimensional Robert Webb (who used to be funny), who have been everywhere on tv over Christmas and beyond. And Caroline Quentin and her bloody M&S dinner parties and Helen Mirren (see Wii, above, cf her tv ads for). I’m not even going to mention Davina McCall, my first booking for the cabaret on the Titanic. Of course Twiggy can survive anything, while buddhist Sandi Shaw was brilliant on Desert Island Discs (and when asked to pick her favourite disc to grab in the event of an emergency just said, “Nah. Can’t be arsed”). Sick of Kenny Dalglish too; how are the foreign players going to understand a word he says when I can’t. (Not, I hasten to add, that I necessarily have anything against Liverpool, save that Roy Hodgson was not given a chance.) Sad that Alan Johnson will no longer be on the Labour front bench, a decent bloke who also did a pretty good Desert Island Discs a while ago.
- are listening to Jimmy Reed again (after reading and being reminded of him in Keith Richards’ ‘Life’) – how crude and primitive it sounded to this callow youth back then, how much smoother and effortless now; and still exciting. Effortless too, but so dynamic is Fats Domino; strange how those old rock and rollers sound so fresh now.
- bought the Decemberists‘ new album ‘The king is dead‘ unheard and my faith was not disappointed to hear shades of classic Neil Young and REM in there among the new tunes (farewell prog-rock song cycles, I say with some relief); Colin Meloy has one of the great individual voices, his timbre as singer – is that the right word? – and writer.
- are not sure we can be bothered to report on the last two Reading Group books. No, I won’t, save to quote a couple of nice similes from Mal Peet’s ‘Tamar’ (Walker Books, 2005). “He looked like a damaged bird of prey in a filthy nest” is one, “The houses themselves now sagged like grieving relatives”. It’s a ‘teenage’ novel of the Dutch resistance, good on the boredom of being a secret agent, with a charming present day teenager catching up on her granddad’s past who has a way of telling her suitor, “Shut up” whenever he tries to flirt, but we all saw the main plot twist coming from a mile away and bemoaned the lack of any real presence or back story of the woman at the centre of an explosive triangle. Not a bad read though, for all that; good on the dilemmas of resistance.
- still cannot believe Arsenal got beaten by Ipswich in that first leg.