Friday, 31 December 2010

Review of the year, well, my year

I suppose I'd better do one final blog in good old 2010 to round up the year and draw a line under it.

Then in futuristic 2011 I can start blogging again, in my silver jump suit, about all the new flying cars we will so obviously have in less than 12 hours time.

So, this year I found out that where I live "...nearly every aspect of their lifestyle is better than most other people’s in Britain": http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1341740/A-little-bit-paradise-Surrey-spot-tops-survey-best-places-live.html

Sorry losers!

I'm joking!

No I'm not. You're all peasants.

No I am. And the joke is on me. I do like it here (I just got the Elmbridge Lifestyle magazine through the door, and there's a feature in there about Rick Astley, so you can see why I would) but I think the figures may have been skewed somewhat by the people on millionaire's row just around the corner from me.

In order to work out what else has happened this year, I scrolled right down my Twitter feed - http://twitter.com/#!/christinamartin - to 1st January 2010. Here are the highlights (Warning: my idea of a highlight can differ from most other people's):

January

I quit stand-up after five long years http://christinalouisemartin.blogspot.com/2010/02/seikatsu-wa-tsuzuku-nani-mo-nakatta-you.html

I started learning Japanese. I can now speak it reasonably well and read all of the Kana. Yay me.

I got nominated by Olly and Helen for Web Jape of the Year http://christinalouisemartin.blogspot.com/2010/01/web-jape-of-year.html for my spoof Amazon reviews.

I got trapped in a snow induced, post-apocalyptic train situation: http://christinalouisemartin.blogspot.com/2010/01/sit-down-sit-down.html

And I got put on a Twitter list of 'People looking for Madeline McCann' This was news to me.

February

The surge in support for the BNP was finally accounted for: http://web.orange.co.uk/article/quirkies/third_of_brits_think_Peter_Griffin_leads_BNP

I saw a toy on Amazon called My First Castle. Unless you're a baby prince, that is just going to set you up for a lifetime of disappointment.

I discovered a reality show called Tool Academy. Whereas in 'The Apprentice' you are dismissed with the words 'you're fired' in 'Tool Academy' they kick you out with the much more damning - 'you're just a tool'. Oh and this show also graced me with my TV quote of the year: The tools were given piglets to look after in a parenthood challenge. Over lunch one of them had a bacon sandwich and one of the tools said to him "How dare you eat bacon in the sight of your pig child"

And I also discovered geese clothes http://www.geeseclothes.com/

March

I saw the best ever episode of Jeremy Kyle: http://christinalouisemartin.blogspot.com/2010/03/you-think.html

And during an episode of Most Haunted Live I watched Paul Ross interview a historian and ask, in all seriousness, if there was a dragon in the castle, and if the castle was the gateway to hell.

April

The (ongoing) Frankie Boyle controversy started http://christinalouisemartin.blogspot.com/2010/04/right-to-offend-continued.html (Since then I have been writing various blogs and articles about disablism in the media and comedy. I have been called a leftie and a Nazi. Not sure how it is possible to be both. Maybe I'm like Hitler, the College Years?)

I started working my way through Metacritic's Worst Movies list http://www.metacritic.com/browse/movies/score/metascore/all?sort=asc The things I've seen...

I learned that Kublai Khan invented the world's first 'chemical' weapon. It was made of excrement and ground down poisonous beetles.

I sold my soul to Gamestation. By accident.

On the way to work I saw a commuter on a fold-up bike angrily cut up a child on a trike.

And I did some weird, political, market research http://christinalouisemartin.blogspot.com/2010/04/ok-thats-just-silly.html

May

I saw a 40 year old guest on Jeremy Kyle complaining that his 16 year old girlfriend was 'childish'. Go figure.

'The Specials' won a Webby http://christinalouisemartin.blogspot.com/2010/05/good-week-good-week.html If you haven't seen the show - then DO!

My JustGiving page - raising money for the Canterbury Oast Trust - ended up raising £1205.

And in one of my favourite examples of the misuse of the word 'literally' a contestant on Britain's Got Talent said 'I'm literally speechless'. That is a sentence that it should not be possible to say. Literally.

June

My Comment is Free article on the R Word debate was published http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/libertycentral/2010/jun/01/disablist-language-retard

I received an email from the FBI entitled 'reply asap or else you will go to jail' Can you believe Hotmail sent that to my junk folder?

I saw a GHOST! http://christinalouisemartin.blogspot.com/2010/06/i-saw-ghost.html Ish.

And the artwork for my God Trumps was auctioned off for charity: http://christinalouisemartin.blogspot.com/2010/06/going-once-going-twice.html

July

I saw a preacher on God TV declaring that God smells of antiseptic.

And 'Dating in the Dark' produced another contender for TV quote of the year: "I came into Dating in the Dark with shallow views and I still hold them dear" Well done you.

August

I saw another preacher on God TV explaining where the demons go when you slay a giant.

A picture of my brother won a MENCAP Snap award: http://www.mencap.org.uk/snap/snap_2010/big_pic.asp?ID=819&Prev=894

I was a 'trending topic' on Twitter one morning after my MP removed his details from the public domain and I complained: http://christinalouisemartin.blogspot.com/2010/08/sorry-somethings-gone-wrong.html He's since put them back, but doesn't ever help if you ask him to do something. You can't have it all I guess.

And I heard a train guard on South West make the following announcement: "Interesting to note that 41 years ago today, Something in the Air was in the charts"

September

I was on 4Thought TV talking about religion and comedy http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fmSNKxIAFiY My estranged, religious relatives saw me and described it as "pure filth"

I glimpsed the Twitter user name of a man who spent an entire commute elbowing me and taking up half of my seat. This is him on a segway http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mVpa9SDEEWM Good old internet stalking.

Whilst watching The Apprentice, James and I realised that we have the same phone as Lord Sugar's receptionist. We immediately took to picking it up, putting it down again and saying 'Lord Sugar will see you now'

And my brother's design was put on a Christmas card and sold for charity http://christinalouisemartin.blogspot.com/2010/09/charity-christmas-cards.html

October

We went to Japan!: http://christinalouisemartin.blogspot.com/2010/10/japan-in-pictures.html

November

I saw the most disturbing TV show of the year http://www.channel4.com/programmes/my-fake-baby/episode-guide/series-1/episode-1

David Cameron tried to scam me: http://christinalouisemartin.blogspot.com/2010/11/david-cameron-and-his-atm-card-scam.html

I got caught in the student siege of Millbank Tower: http://christinalouisemartin.blogspot.com/2010/11/escape-from-millbank-tower_4667.html

And.........I got a job at MENCAP! Dream job, dream employer, high five everyone!

December

During the snow I counted fifteen instances of people calling in to LBC and saying in their best, smug voice: "So much for global warming" Er yeah, but what about climate change?

And finally, when Peter Simon was selling Jade Goody's perfumes one night on Bid TV he said "She'll be watching this right now, from up there" Yes, they get Bid TV in Heaven ladies and gentlemen. If you take one thing away from reading this blog, let it be that.

Whilst we're on the subject, here are some of Peter Simon's Bid TV quotes of the year:

"History is especially fascinating if you're someone like me and is fascinated by it"
"You can't go wrong at 9.99 for a designer French clock. There'll be many a person coming in to your room and going 'That's French'"
"They're very feminine, they're very chic, and these embezzle"
"DON'T CALL, THE PHONE LINES ARE CLOSED...I said that quite abruptly, I didn't mean that"
"It's a neckchain that's as timeless as time itself"
"This is a lot of coat"
"This is very Tiffany. It's very very Tiffany. It's elegant, it's exquisite, it's feminist"
"His mother, who was a Latvian cobbler for a fishing boat... It's a very sad story"
"Because I'm going to take you to my garden. At the end of my garden there's gnomes, gnomes that are solar panelled"
"Welcome to a wonderful bench"
"I've got to say: they're mystical cos they're owls"
"This has got all the effects to stop that anti-aging"
"Lucia, I need you to go to the dressing room to get my phone because I want to buy the pig"
"Can I just tell tell you we are LITERALLY giving this away. No! No! It's three pound each"
"For any man this is a man's man's watch"

HAPPY NEW YEAR! (that one was me)

Thursday, 11 November 2010

Escape from Millbank Tower

So, yesterday was eventful!

In the morning I got a call from MENCAP inviting me for an interview. It's my dream job. Wish me luck!

…And then half an hour later, the fire alarm went off.

When the alarms go off, it’s usually over nothing, so we all filed out with no sense of panic, bemoaning the idiot who had left the toasted sandwich maker on.

However when we got outside we heard a lot of chanting, yelling and thumping. It was at that point that we realised the student demonstration had descended on us. We still weren’t worried though. Demonstrations are noisy but usually non violent.

It wasn’t until we tried to get to the front of the building that we realised the thumping sound was being caused by hundreds of protestors, throwing themselves against the glass fa├žade of 30 Millbank, trying to smash it. We also saw fires being lit.

Hmm, ok, slight panic setting in at this point...

I pushed my way through to the front of both buildings and saw that the windows of my building – the larger, Millbank Tower – had been smashed and graffitied, and the sofas from our waiting room had been dragged out into the middle of the street, where protestors were sitting in them. There were also smoke bombs going off in our lobby.

I slipped back into the building and walked the 16 flights of stairs up to my floor. There was no way I was staying outside with that lot!

However, we had a constant, deafening fire alarm going off, so I couldn’t stay there either.

I called my boss who was in a meeting at a nearby hotel. God knows what he thought when he picked up. All he could hear was a fire alarm and me yelling about our building being smashed in.

He said I should try and get out and fight my way home. So I grabbed my stuff, as well as his laptop and bags, and headed back down the way I’d came.

My timing was, I was told this morning, impeccable. I managed to get my boss’ bags to him and get out of Millbank and over Vauxhall Bridge five minutes before the glass of 30 Millbank finally got smashed and things got really nasty.

By the time I got home the radio news was talking about riot police and people throwing fire extinguishers off the roof.

I brought my camera to work this morning and this is how things look right now:







30 Millbank is closed as a crime scene, and I just got an email from facilities management saying that the coffee shop next door to them is open for trading, but only out of the back door.

Millbank Tower is open, but security is very tight.

Oh and irony of ironies. I work for an education trust.

So anyway, scary smoke bombs aside, I was actually quite grateful for the early day. It gave me a chance to go to Tesco before dinner.

And I did enjoy channelling my inner Bruce Willis. Yippee kay yay motherfucker!

Thursday, 14 October 2010

Sayonara

As I haven’t blogged since September, and won’t have the chance to do so again until November – I’m going to Japan. Hence the blog title – I thought I should tap something out before I go.

I blame Twitter for this blogging malaise.

Micro-blogging is so much quicker and easier. More fun too. However it has killed my ability to express myself in upwards of 140 characters.

There was a subtle joke embedded in that last sentence. Did you spot it?

The sentence was exactly 140 characters. Ha ha ha ha ha.

That joke wouldn’t really work on stage. Although in my day I would have been obtuse enough to do it anyway. And then explain it. In far too much detail.

Right, that’s enough hilarity, let’s get this blog done and dusted, and then I can start packing my suitcase and watch season 4 of Dexter.

First things first. Please follow the link below and help MENCAP get justice for a teenager with Aspergers.

http://e-activist.com/ea-campaign/clientcampaign.do?ea.client.id=78&ea.campaign.id=8108&ea.param.extras=source:email

He was tortured by a gang of louts who were sentenced to a whopping 80 hours of community service. Yeah, that’ll teach them.

It takes less than a minute to send the pre-drafted email to the Attorney General asking for a review of the sentence.

Disability hate crime is rife - http://www.disabilitynow.org.uk/the-hate-crime-dossier - but goes largely unrecognised and unpunished. It's important that we tackle it.

In nicer MENCAP related news, you may remember that my little brother won a SNAP award for a photo of him potholing:



Well, here he is accepting his award!



He’s happy, honest! He just always zones out when he knows he’s being watched. In contrast, here he is in the audience, enjoying the award ceremony:



My family had a lovely day. Massive thanks to everyone at MENCAP.

Sticking with my ever talented little brother. You may also remember that in my last blog I mentioned the Rainbow Gallery's charity Christmas cardswhich I trust you have all been buying? – one of which he designed:



Well in addition to the cards you can also buy a 2011 calendar, illustrated with lots of lovely Rainbow Gallery artwork.

Just print off, complete and scan the order form below, then email it to the gallery at info@rainbowgallery.org.uk

Click on the form to maximise

They are only £3.75 and all of the money goes to charity.

And speaking of products, the proceeds of which go to charity - another slick link there, a hangover from the stand-up comedy - The Atheist’s Guide to Christmas is out now in paperback.



All of the proceeds go to the Terrance Higgins Trust (anything to annoy the Pope).

And speaking of the Pope – my God I’m uber slick today, how am I not a team captain on Mock the Week? – the two wrong answers in this daily quiz strike me as a much better means of electing one.

Click on the picture to maximise

I thank you.

Righty ho. Nihon e ikimasu. Sayonara!

Thursday, 23 September 2010

Spot the faux pas

I was watching 'Restaurant in Our Living Room' the other night and I think I spotted someone committing a faux pas during a dinner between the competing couples.

See if you can spot it.

So, in the middle of dinner, one half of the competing couples turns to one side and covers her mouth. Maybe to cough? In which case, that's fine, turning your head away is good manners.



But wait, what's this spewing out from between her fingers?...Is it...sick?



Now obviously, whilst throwing up isn't the best thing to do at the dinner table, this isn't the faux pas. She can't help it if she is overcome by nausea. However...

After wiping her mouth with the back of her hand she turns back to face her fellow diners, and her boyfriend (whose facial expression says it all) asks her whether she needs a minute, or should go to the toilet.



She says "No, my dinner will get cold" and with that picks up her knife and fork and carries on eating (cue another excellent facial expression)



I don't know about you, but I've only ever seen one other person do that: Mr Creosote

Monday, 13 September 2010

Mencap Snap Competition



You may recall that a couple of weeks ago a picture of my brother won a prize in this year’s MENCAP Snap competition: http://www.mencap.org.uk/snap/snap_2010/big_pic.asp?ID=819


I briefly mentioned it in another blog, but it got buried under loads of pictures of Bid TV’s Peter Simon demonstrating a back massager: http://christinalouisemartin.blogspot.com/2010/08/yet-more-things-i-saw-this-week.html

Naturally...

So, it seems only right and proper to give it a blog all to itself.

SNAP is an annual photo competition run by MENCAP.

All photos entered into the competition must be either taken by a disabled person or have a disabled person as the subject.

The competition is a fun way of promoting positive images of disability, and offers a rare insight into the everyday lives of the disabled.

Not many people have direct experience of disability or the disabled. As a consequence disability can make some people feel uncomfortable, even hostile.

The SNAP competition aims to change negative perceptions and challenge misconceptions about disability, by showing that disabled people are just like everyone else and are not to be ignored, pitied, patronised or feared.

They know how to have fun:


They are fearless:


They are loving:


And as babies they are just as cute as any ‘normal’ kid:


You can see all of the winning photos on MENCAP’s website, here: http://www.mencap.org.uk/snap/snap_2010/photo_index.asp

I would also highly recommend that you watch this film of a previous SNAP awards ceremony: http://www.mencap.org.uk/document.asp?id=6794 It’s really moving and shows the positive impact of the SNAP competition on the disabled people who take part.

There is an outdoor exhibition of the winning photos in Soho Square from 28 September to 12 October. It’s open from 8am to 7pm and is totally FREE!

Do go along, it is a genuinely uplifting project and you are bound to leave with a smile on your face.

Tuesday, 7 September 2010

Cat Bin Woman

So, what about that cat bin woman eh? Putting a cat in a bin like that.

She should be punished. But how?

Let's ask the public. That's never a bad idea. Sorry, I meant always. That's always a bad idea. Observe:

“Place her in the same bin, with the same cat, for 15 hours"


They are so incensed about the cat having been put in the bin, that they have, in their angry rage, inadvertently suggested putting the cat back in the bin.

…with its aggressor.

They'll have to go in the bin too at this rate.

The second best suggestion for vigilante justice was:

“I'd happily rub cat poo in her face for this crime against humanity”


I wonder if the courts would allow that.

Just one quibble. Cats don't count as 'humanity'. That should be 'catmanity' which isn't even a word, so. Yeah.

Monday, 30 August 2010

4thought.tv

If you happened to be watching Channel 4 at 7:55pm yesterday (and providing you didn't blink) then you may have seen me on 4thought.tv

http://www.channel4.com/programmes/4thoughttv/episode-guide/series-1/episode-57


4thought.tv is a series of short - very short - films about 'religion and...'

This week it was 'religion and comedy'

Throughout the week there were films featuring various comedians - Tim Vine, Omid Djalili, Stephen K Amos, Shazia Mirza, Andy Kind and Josh Howie - all discussing how they feel about religious humour and talking about how religion affects their comedy.

I was billed as a controversial humanist, which surprised me a little. During the preliminary interview, when they asked me if I thought anything was off limits in comedy, I sat on the fence and said no - to a point.

My stance is that all subjects should potentially be up for discussion, but if you want to tackle sensitive subjects, you had better have a good reason and be able to justify what you are saying.

I said as much during filming. However, they cut off the end of my answer and I finished up being quoted as simply saying 'nothing is off limits in comedy'.

To be fair, the slot is only 2 minutes and they needed to edit 30 minutes of footage right down, but I wanted to contextualise that quote, as I don't want to look like a hypocrite, given my previous rants on this subject: http://christinalouisemartin.blogspot.com/2010/04/right-to-offend-continued.html

Anyway, that aside, I like my film, I had fun shooting it and am glad I came out of comedy retirement to do it.

Tuesday, 24 August 2010

God Trumps



Just a quick blog to let you know that New Humanist is going on sale in selected stores across the UK from 26th August. (It used to be subscription only)



Part one of my God Trumps game (http://newhumanist.org.uk/1915) will be free with the current issue, and part two (http://newhumanist.org.uk/2002) will be free with the next issue, out in November.

So if you didn’t get a set of God Trumps the first time round, now is your chance.

Sunday, 18 July 2010

Geek Heaven!

James's parents are getting their loft insulated - what a corking opening line to a blog that is - and during the clear out, we hit the mother load: A massive haul of James's 1980s Amstrad magazines.

We've been going through them all evening and here are some of the best bits.

A super cool 1980s kid:


Turbocharge your CPC...if you dare! Indeed:


A retro racing game as played by a man called Alan:


An Alan Sugar cake:


And an Alan Sugar game!:


A glimpse of the future:


Some of the excellent titles available - Knight Rider, Frankie Goes to Hollywood, Daley Thompson's Super Test:


More Daley Thompson action:


And some Geoff Capes action too, grr:


SLAP FIGHT!:


Back when Tetris was new:


What a cool dude. With his ghetto blaster and walkman:


So, um, yeah:


My absolute favourite - 'Can you handle this much power?' Vroom, pow, blat, zap!:


Future Knight!:


Some fun code for you to enter:


And finally, arguably the worst game other than Mike Reid's Computer Pop Quiz:


Makes me wonder if James and I will be sitting around laughing at our back catalogue of Edge magazines in 20 years time. When first person shooters will look like pong, and we'll all definitely look like this. Definitely:

Saturday, 10 July 2010

Things I saw this week

As per the title, this blog is about things I saw this week.

Unfortunately for you, I didn't see anything exciting or interesting this week, but I'm not one to let that hold me back. So here goes.

Firstly I saw this advertised on TV:



Ideal for those people who are worried about getting germs on their hands in the nano-second it takes to dispense soap and wash them straight off again.

Then, when I was at work, I saw a Best Friends Forever mug shoved to the back of the cupboard in the communal mug pool.

I've been using it, totally unchallenged, all week.

I'm taking it that friendship didn't work out...

Then I came across a website for a magazine with a title that's sitting up and begging to be said in a sarcastic and exasperated voice:

http://www.youandyourwedding.co.uk/

I'm sure there's an 'effing' missing from in between 'your' and 'wedding'.

I'd buy that magazine. I think there's a gap in the market for wedding magazines aimed at people who hate weddings.

It could have features on ways to amuse yourself during the ceremony, handy tips for hiding your boredom, and breathing exercises to control your irritation at this woeful waste of half of your precious weekend.

Another thing I spotted this week, is that Lord Byron is now the editor of our local property paper:



And if that wasn't enough of a surprise, I also saw this scoop, which seems to identify Bruce Forsyth as one of Raoul Moat's accomplices:



Shame on you Brucie, shame on you.

And that, you'll be glad to learn, is the end of my blog.

As you were.

Monday, 28 June 2010

I SAW A GHOST!



That got your attention didn’t it?

Yes, like 'Take a Break' and 'Pick Me Up' magazine, I am not averse to using attention grabbing headlines to lure you in.

...and then disappointing you with a story that doesn’t bear much relation to said headline.

Although, unlike them, I’ve made the crucial mistake of admitting this upfront and undermining my blog entry before it has even started.

Darn!

Kudos to you, 'Take a Break' and 'Pick Me Up' magazine – it’s not as easy as it looks!

Well, for those of you who still want to read my ‘ghostly’ yarn, here goes.

Whilst staying with my parents last weekend I was woken up at 3:30am by a very loud hiss in my right ear.

I sat bolt upright, looked in the direction of the hiss, and saw what I took to be a person standing next to my bed.

It looked exactly like the outline of my mum, and my first thought was that she had come into my room to wake me up.

So I said, “Mum, what is it?”

The figure didn’t move and continued to just stand there.

I kept on saying “Mum?...Mum?...Mum?” but nothing. The person just stood there.

Eventually I got exasperated, and figured that my mum must be sleep walking, so I got up to turn on the light and guide her back to bed.

I turned on the light and nobody was there.

Being the rationalist that I am, I promptly ran out of the room and spent the rest of the night in another spare bedroom upstairs (because ghosts can’t climb stairs, obviously)

I was awake for some time afterwards thinking about what had happened.

All those stories you hear, about people waking up to see figures at the end of their bed, I’d laughed at those, but now I had apparently joined their ranks – please God don’t let Joe Power be right!

By morning I was over it and back to the land of logic and reason.

When you have your 3:30am head on, and everything is dark and silent, it’s easy to get freaked out.

But in the cold light of day I decided that the noise must have been either in my dreams or from an external source outside the room. And in my sleepy stupor I had seen a shadow, associated it with the noise, and given it form.

The only thing that I continued to find slightly weird was that by the time I was fully awake and aware the ‘ghost’ was still apparently there, and clear as day, but that’s the power of the mind I guess.

The reason I am recounting this tale of ostensibly nothing, is that the experience gave me an interesting insight.

I can now totally understand how it is that people think they have seen a ghost.

If someone as cynical as me can think they saw one, then someone who is given to believing in the supernatural is going to swear blind they did. Their mind will collude with their tiredness, the shadows in the room and their fear, to create a hallucination, and they, being open to such things, will convince themselves of what they saw.

When it comes to the unexplained, it’s tempting to fill in the gaps with ghosts, God, fate. (Sorry to any Christians I offend by adding God to that list. If it helps I’ll say Allah as well, for balance, and so I don’t get called politically correct)

Although having said all this, I was sleeping in the room where that satanic massacre took place, so you never know.

And so ends my ghostly tale. Don’t have nightmares!

Friday, 4 June 2010

Going once, going twice

A quick blog to let you know that there's an exhibition and charity auction of Martin Rowson's work being held at the Menier Gallery from the 8-12 June.



One of the things up for grabs is all of the original artwork for my God Trumps:



So if you want to get hold of it, pop along to the event.

I'd quite like it myself, but am not in a position to flash that much cash. So if any rich benefactors are reading this...

I'm pretty sure that plea will work. Lots of eccentric millionaires read this blog.

And finally, a favour please.

Please vote for the Beacon Hill Film Project in this year’s National Lottery Awards 2010.

You don’t need to register, or even enter your name or email address, you just enter the ‘captcha’ text.

The project gave disabled people the chance to be creative, and gain skills, It would be great if they got recognised.

As a reward for your kindness, here is a link to the funniest thing I have seen all year:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R-alkwiGYy8

Evil Simon Cowell wouldn't let me embed it, but it's worth venturing over to YouTube for.

Enjoy!