Saturday, November 18, 2006

some more cool links

>> Swearing Sparklers <<
some sparklers and camera on a long exposure

>> Scare your Gran this Xmas <<
sick jokes to print out and put in crackers book/

>> 248 ways to annoy people <<

Costume dogs - your new favourite site.

Carfeul, you never know when a homosexual is about

Surprise big winners at the Latin Grammys were Calle 13. Probably the most sophisticated exponents of Reggaeton, this Puerto Rican duo splice political lyrics with hip-shaking melodies.

Amazon shipping - Delivery's only free at Amazon if you spend over £15, so it can sometimes be cheaper to buy something extra to avoid paying extra. This site is useful for finding cheap items to bump your order up to £15:

And finally

Cats are sneaky

Michael Hughes buys kitschy souvenirs that depict tourist attractions; then he brings them to the attractions they depict and photographs them superimposed over the bit of the attraction they depict. It's hard to explain, but it is sheer photography comedy gold.

Simpsons movie trailer

Green Eggs & Ham - rock style

Fat Wonder-Woman, This is hilarious

My best man, Sumit has just recently launched a myspace site with lots of his images on it.

Mentos + Coke = Fun
What happens when you add a packet of sweets to a popular soft drink? You get a 5m (16ft) high fizzy-drink fountain, of course.

The real life inspiration for borat

donald duck exposes christina - how odd

Tim Westwood soundboard - Now you can, essentially, recreate his entire show with this simple compilation of stock phrases and SFX.

>> X-rated Harry Potter <<
Enjoyable cut-up of Stephen Fry's Harry Potter audio books for pornographic

Transformers Halloween costumes
Best ever!

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Metro letter

Today's Metro newspaper:

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Holy crap! Killer mice!

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Oh, they kill cancer. that's okay then.

But look, they printed my mail in response to the etiquette of accidentally offering your seat on the train to fat people, thinking they're actually pregnant.

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I'm practically a journalist now.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Some fun links some guy called Matt who has been sponsored to go around the world doing a little jig and has assembled an awesome montage.

Seen the new trailer for Frank miller adaption 300? looks pretty damn cool, and faithfull to Miller's work as seen here. This director is supposed to be working on Watchmen next. woo!

I love looking at Cosplay pictures, people at conventions dressing up as their favourite characters, often with unintentional hilarious results. i discovered a brand new niche - the transformers cosplayers. Love the optimus prime vs megatron.

I love this site that looks at how films should have ended. They're all great, including this superman one .

Want a massive Alias bargin - series 1-4 for £36 here.

Collage of lost scenes set to Bohemian Rhapsody. Really funny.

Sunday, September 17, 2006


just back from Holiday in Iceland. We took a bit of punt, it sounded like an interesting destination and we were able to get some cheap flights. As it turned out that was about the only cheap bit about our visit. Iceland has a reputation as having expensive alcoholic drinks, but everything else was expensive too. Fast food is popular, particularly hotdogs, and I presume it's because of the price of regular food. We ate burgers on a couple of occasions at the American diner type places that seem to be popular - and ate no vegetables during our entire visit! We stayed at Guesthouse Number 1 in Reykjavik , which was a pretty bizarre place, a converted office, with the rooms divided up with thin walls. It was chosen purely because of it's price (cheapest in the city), but was still expensive.

Aside from the prices of things we quickly discovered that there's not an awful lot to do there. We mostly stuck to around Reykjavik which is the main populated area (much of the country is completely barren and unpopulated), but saw the main attractions - the geysers, and thermal baths and whale watching. The only thing we didn't see were the glaciers. We have already been to New Zealand, which has incredible landscapes, geothermal activity, glaciers and whale watching opportunities, and Iceland just seems like a wetter, more expensive, less interesting version. Much of our time there was spent snoozing as we struggled to find things to do, and the idea of spending more money out in the drizzle was pretty depressing.

Our visit was during the trail end of Iceland's summer - the temperature was in the 12c or so region (compared with the UK still in the 20s) and the day light hours were still long-ish. The main downer was that it was either raining, drizzly, windy a combination of all of the above. When the sun did peak out, we would spot (often quite vivid) rainbows, as it was bound to be raining somewhere close by. In fact, we spotted a double rainbow at one point.

On arriving in Reykjavik we checked out the Flea market (anywhere else and it wouldn't merit a mention, but in Reykjavik it is a major attraction), we had a hotdog at a stand which displays photos of president Clinton eating there (again, a hotdog stand as a major attraction?), and visit Hallgrimskirjka Church which has an elevator up to the bell tower offering views of the City. We also visit "the Pearl", which is a giant half disco ball with a revolving restaurant on the top. After walking out to the Pearl, Jo wants to get a taxi back into town, the very brief journey costs about £7, the meter literally going up 10p every few seconds. We stopped at traffic light, which cost us about a pound - in the end we just said "ok here will do - let us out!".

We have a day trip - "Golden Circle tour", the highlights of which are a trip to Gulfoss waterfall which is pretty impressive, to Geysir which has a big geyser & Pingvellir national park where the European and Atlantic plate lines meet.

One evening we eat at an Indian restaurant. In the Lonely Planet review it mentions that the UN ambassador to Iceland described it as the best Indian restaurant in Europe. So of course - on the door a sign says " 'the best Indian restaurant in Europe' - Lonely Planet". I love it when quotes are taken out of context. It was a nice enough restaurant, but if eating in the UK I would have expected a lot more for my £55.

We spent a couple of days in Keflavik which was a bit of a mistake as there is even less to do there apart from walk about in the drizzle. We stopped there so that we could use it as a base for a visit to the Blue Lagoon spa and to go whale watching. As it turns out we could have done that from Reykjavik.

We went to Blue lagoon natural geothermal spa en route from Reykjavik. It was quite a nice, if slightly surreal experience, out in the open air spa, relaxing in the hot geothermal waters, as the mists of evaporating water float above the surface. There is a geothermal powerstation just nearby, though a wall has been put up to block out the view. I thought to myself, "a bit odd, putting a natural spa right next to a power plant", but as it turns out, it's not such a coincidence. The spa is actually a by-product of the powerplant - the hot natural geothermal waters generate the power in the plant, and then the runoff is the water that is used in the manmade spa. Funnily enough, this isn't mentioned in the promotional literature!

Our other trip was whale watching with Moby Dick . The trip mostly involved watching, and not much in the way of whales. We did see some dolphins, and a strange smell in the air at one point was apparently a Minky Whale, and that was it. It was raining for most of the journey with strong winds too, though fortunately they provided waterproofs. There was a bunch of annoying Americans on board ("what's a dinky whale?"), who started off the journey all gung-ho out on deck, but who gradually went inside the cabin wet, sea-sick and miserable, and remained there even when the sun came out.

A day later, as I'm returning to England both Jo & I get a cold.

Moral of the story: Iceland gives you colds.

Slideshow of pictures here.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Nick & Lou's wedding

My friends from student radio, nick & Lou were getting married, and it was close enough that we could drive there after work we went to Upwaltham Barns in west Sussex for a Thusday evening wedding reception.

It was a lovely venue, and we admired the huge chocolate fountain they had there. And by admired, i mean we stuck lots of marshmellows and strawberries in it then ate them.

Danny was there too, and he had accidentally set fire to his suit jacket on one of the candles. So for the whole evening he entertained with comments about his "smoking jacket". What larks, Pip.

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For entertainment they had a live band, and they also impressed with the first dance (to the Beatles "i saw her standing there") which they had clearly been practicing

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Madonna at Wembley

Tonight we saw Madonna's show at Webley, which was alkso being recorded for TV. We went up after work, and the show was very impresive, if a litle lacking in spontinaity. One of the things I enjoyed most was the "Parkour" / "free running" influenced dancing during "Jump" , which at one point spiled out into the audience. (Parkour is a trendy urban sport where people jump over urban obstacles such as railings and stuff as sen in T shows such as "Jump London").

We got a late train home, overhearing the following conversation:
What do you do?
I'm an erotic dancer.
No, seriously what do you really do.
Seriously, I really am.

i had a half day the next day to catch up with some zzzs.

This is cribbed from the BBC's write up of her Cardiff show:

The heavily disco-themed extravaganza, based on her Confessions On a Dance Floor album, opened appropriately enough with a huge glitter ball descending from the ceiling.

It opened to reveal Madonna in black raunchy riding-style gear, topped off with a black hat with a mane trailing from it.

As she began to move around the stage, skipping and occasionally cantering, I could see her clearly as the Madonna of 20 years ago, in her early Material Girl and Like A Virgin videos and performances.

Once the hat was off and her face was in close-up on the video screens, it was definitely a more mature version of the world's most famous pop star on stage, but you would never have known it from her energy levels.

She can sing, dance, gyrate, stretch and jump with the best of them, and
proved it repeatedly throughout the set. All were in awe in awe of what the 47-year-old performer could make her well-toned body do.

Madonna was soon wowing the crowds in her riding gear

The audience were treated to disco anthem I Feel Love to start - very appropriate to the sentiment Madonna must have been receiving from the appreciative crowd before her.

The first of her defining hits came next with Like A Virgin receiving a roar of approval from the crowd, as she girated on a horse seemingly nicked from a sexy merry-go-round.

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Madonna's tour director said before the show began that it was not a concert but closer to a theatrical performance, and he was spot on.

Sets moved seamlessly - at one time delivering Madonna suspended on a giant wire cross from where she sang the ballad Live To Tell - costume changes were quick and flawless. Nobody put a foot wrong the whole night.

There were serious messages being delivered without a trace of subtlety to the audience - videos told us of 12 million children orphaned in Africa because of Aids, with websites flashed up for the concerned to log on to.

During the song Forbidden Love, which used two male dancers to demonstrate the love that (used to) dare not speak its name, up flashed icons of differing religions crossing one another. Yes, we get the message - nasty religion keeps star-crossed lovers apart.

Indeed, my one complaint would have been this - the singer herself seemed a bit too serious. Not until the last quarter of the show did Madonna look like somebody enjoying herself.

She wasn't much of a smiler, and considering this is a tour about disco, surely one of the most light-hearted, frivolous and fun forms of music, she could have lightened up a little.

The audience did get to see her in different guises. Madonna the rock chick, anybody? That, I have to say, was a new one on me.

She appeared in a leather jacket with a very high feathered collar, straight out of the 70s' glam rock scene, and reminding me rather incongruously of Suzi Quattro.

It worked for her rendition of the song I Love New York, but I wasn't so sure about using it for Ray of Light, which is such a dance track it seemed odd to watch her strumming a guitar for it.

But more power to her for doing it. Perhaps this is an indicator of the future, because even she will one day have to give up her high-energy dance-based shows if she carries on touring into her 60s, say - won't she...?

She certainly didn't give it up before the end of the night. Wearing a cloak with the legend "Dancing Queen" on it, she belted out Lucky Star, which segued seamlessly into her Number 1 hit Hung Up, as her dancers rollerskated around her, finishing with a multitude of golden balloons falling over the exuberant crowds at the front.

And then she was gone. No encore, to the sorrow of the girls next to me, just a message asking, "Have You Confessed?" as the lights came up on the 59,000 people in the audience.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

2nd annual BBQ

This weekend we had the second of our now annual BBQs at my mum's house in Hove. It has been newly renovated with a new conservatory and the like, so wakes for a great place to have parties. This year it didn't rain, and we piled on the food for all the guests including James and Angela from my work, Jules, Jo, Ben and linda, and a bunch of jo's old work colleagues. One of whom played some Jazz on the piano.

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Saturday, July 29, 2006

Jaz the crazy baby

Amanda came down for the weekend & took Jasmine to the childrens play area on the beach. Jasmine was hilarious bopping away on he horsey thing, gurning like an absolute nutter.

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She has also now found out how to say my name. ish. Mak
as in "Mak. Mak. Makmakmakmakmakmakmak." Until she gets my attention.

Monday, July 24, 2006

More movies

It just goes to show how fast the world of comics to movie adaptations is moving when just a couple of days on from the previous post, I realize there’s a huge list of things I’ve left off. It also helps that it’s San Diego convention too.
Some more films that are planned to be made:
Deadman (from the director of Hellboy), Antman (from the director of Shaun of the Dead), Wanted, Luthor Arkwright.
Marvel intends to have Captain America, Nick Fury, the Avengers and Thor among their next films.
Images of Fantastic 4 and Hellboy cartoons were just released.
DC's forthcoming cartoons such as The New Frontiers sound like they will have unprecedented creator envolvement, being far more faithful than ever before. They plan on following it up with other cartoons based on classic runs, such as Perez's Janus Project arc on the Teen Titans.
And continuing my list of people from the movie world getting involved in comics;- superman director Richard Donner is to write Action Comics, Actress Rosario Dawson has a book out, Nicolas Cage and John Woo are both to write books for the new Virgin Comics line, and Punisher actor Thomas Jane also has a book out.
It also goes without mentioning that one of the big films of 2007 – Transformers – wouldn’t be happening if it weren’t for the rise of the geek movie. Not really a comicbook movie, as it’s better known for the toys and cartoons.
And the producers of the most successful show on the box right now - Lost – their next big show is going to be about – you guessed it – Superheroes.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Mark's musings on Comic-book movies

There's no doubt that the comicbook movie has been one of the big boxoffice success stories of recent years. Naturally the big budget superhero blockbusters based on the big Marvel & DC Properties are the first to come to mind;
Batman, Superman, Catwoman, Spiderman, Punisher, Hulk, Blade, Daredevil, Elektra, X-Men, Fantastic 4 all within the last 5 years.

Of course there is the stereotype of a "comicbook movie" equalling a "superhero movie". However, a large number of non superhero movies have also been made, with comic books as the source material: Sin City, History of Violence, Constantine, Road to Perdition, Ghost World, Men in Black, Hellboy, From Hell, League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, V for Vendetta, with Frank Miler's 3000 also on its way.

Most people wouldn't realise these films started off as comic books; even the David Cronenberg, the director of History of Violence, didn't find out until quite late in the process that his film started life as a comicbook!

Including sequels, that makes 30+ films just listed above! In addition, there's the TV outings such as Smallville, Blade, Witchblade, Birds of Prey, Painkiller Jane, and cartoons (JLU, Batman, Legion of Superheroes, Teen Titans etc). Then there are also films and TV directly influenced by the genre, including "Super Ex Girlfriend", "Sky High" and "The Zoom").

It is clear that comic books are being used as a massive resource by Hollywood. In terms of multi million dollar franchises we can expect more of the same; Spiderman, Fantastic 4, Hulk, X-Men (or Wolverine at least), Batman, Superman, Sin City and Hellboy all have sequels planned over the next couple of years. When the first of these films were coming out (Spiderman & X-Men) these were seen as big gambles, and it is easy to imagine that if they had not done so well, as "Batman & Robin" and "Judge Dredd" had done in the 1990s then the comicbook genre could so easily have been written off as something that didn't work, and the recent flood of movies would never have happened. Instead the comicbook movie has become a Hollywood staple. Aside from prospective boxoffice returns, it's easy to see the why - as they deliver fully formed exciting concepts, exciting storyboards & concept art (from the original comicbook), and an already loyal fanbase.

Hollywood's Influence

An interesting knock on from the Hollywood interest is is a real rise in the prestige of the comicbook world. They are being looked at seriously and this is driving the quality of them up as people enter the newly prestigious field. Screenwriters from shows such as Lost, Carnivale, the OC and successful novel writers (such as Steven King and Orson Scott Card) are now regular contributors to comicbooks. To highlight four names from film working in comics; Buffy creator Joss Whedon is a writer on "Astonishing X-men", Bryan Singer is supposed to be writing a couple of issues of Ultimate X-Men, Babylon 5 Creator Joe Michael Straczynski is writing Amazing Spiderman, and Kevin Smith has written Spiderman, Green Arrow and Daredevil.

The influx of talent (particularly writing talent) has meant a general raising of the bar of accepted quality, and any dud books aren't allowed to just linger in the market (though this is also becuase the traditional comic book audience doesn't have the numbers to support all the books). The trade paperback market has meant that books are now written with this in mind - and storylines are much more akin to movies, moving in arcs or seasons, as opposed to meandering without any overall sense of direction. This in turn makes the stories (with a beginning, middle and end) much more suitable for film adaptation. Creators are regularly rotated on the titles that they're on, to push them for their best stories for a particular character. Both Marvel and DC seem to be polishing up their properties, particularly "icon" characters, with one eye on the big screen.

The Future

But in terms of developing new film franchises in the next few years, what are the prospects?

DC's "big 2" characters (Batman & Superman) have had their successful outings, and Wonder Woman is to follow. Though not quite in their league, she has had successful TV series in the past and with Buffy's Joss Whedon in control could do well. Beyond that DC's other big properties don't have such big name recognition, but under the right conditions it's other icons (Green Lantern, Green Arrow, Aquaman) or some of the lesser known books could do well. Catwoman didn't fail as a film because it was a lesser known character, but rather because it was a dud of a script, and diverted so far from the original concept that has endured for decades.

To me, DC's non-superhero lines seem better resources for film. Books of Magic could easily have been a huge franchise, though Harry Potter has gotten there first, maybe a film series will be made eventually if the market can cope with 2 four-eyed young magicians. Watchmen is a film that has been through development hell many times, and hopefully it will get off the ground sometime soon. V for Vendetta's success has made this much more likely. When it does get made it could be the film to redefine the clean cut superhero genre.

Many of DC's properties have worked well in the animated format, and I expect this to continue. The critically acclaimed graphic novel "The New Frontier" for example, looks to be adapted as a direct to DVD animated film, and could well be their best yet. Unlike DC, Marvel's animated ventures have been a lot more shoddy, and if their recent "Ultimate Avengers" cartoon is anything to go by, there isn't a lot of hope for their animated outings in the near future.

Marvel have somewhat sold off their family jewels already for their heavy hitting characters (X-Men, Spiderman, Hulk, Fantastic 4). The prospects for new film franchises seems a lot less certain. Ghost Rider doesn't hold any obvious appeal to me, though with strong marketing could well be a success. Ironman isn't so famous, but with a large budget could be a go-er. It also has a strong outreach to the fans, with myspace presence on the web, indicating that they will treat the property with respect.

Beyond that, there aren't obvious sure fire successes for Marvel - Captain America has previously looked a little ludicrous in a live action context, and Black Panther and Deathlok have struggled even in a comic book context, but this isn't to say there can't be hits. A comic adaptation can be a big film even if it's not a huge comic, just as long as the concept, script, budget and creative team fall into place. The most obvious example is Blade - never a particularly successful comic, but the idea works a little better in the medium of film.

Sin City, a massive success, was about as faithful an adaptation as one could possible get, taking the story, dialogue and even shot composition from the book. It showed that you don't necessarily need to make wholesale changes to a comic to adapt it to the big screen and also that a creator's involvement in the project can be a real asset, with original writer/ artist Frank Miller credited as co-director. Mike Mignola was a very involved in Hellboy. Mignola's book "The Amazing Screw On Head" has recently been made as an animated Pilot fro the Sci-Fi channel, and is about as faithful an adaptation of his illustrative style as I could imagine. I would expect this trend to continue - it was recently announced that John Cassaday would be following in Frank Miller's footsteps to direct "I Am Legion".

I think in the future we're going to see less new big superhero franchises, but there will continue to be films based on less well known comicbook properties (such as those mentioned in the last paragraph). In the vein of the Road to perdition, these could be films that you could watch and not even realise it's source is a comicbook - Walking Dead fit into the Zombie genre and "Buttonman" into the thriller genre.

I would imagine that these come from the the indie scene/ Vertigo books where the creator has much more of a voice. Indeed many of these creators look to be given a crack at writing the adaptations; Brian K Vaughn is writing the draft script for "Y: The Last Man" and "Ex-Machina", Brian Michael Bendis is scripting Torso (to be directed by Fight Club's David Fincher), and I believe Robert Kirkman's Invincible option includes him writing a script for it. Even in the indie world, Sam Keith's Ojo is being adapted into a film (albeit low budget).

We all have our favourite comic books and can't help but wonder how well they would translate. Off the top of my head I could see "Invincible", Watchmen, Bone, Y: The Last Man, Preacher, Black Hole, Powers, Astro City, Concrete, and Fables as being amongst the film properties that could make it big in the coming years (some of these already have film options). But this is for sure - whith hundreds of new comicbooks are being released every month, Hollywood has plenty to choose from for many years to come.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Honeymoon in Maldives

On Sunday morning after the wedding we have a hearty breakfast at Dartington Hall and mingle with some of the guests that have stayed there overnight, and then drive back home to catch our flight to the Maldives in the evening.

We stay at a place called Laguna, a small island (you can walk around it in about 15 mins). But we were really looked after, with loveley buffets every day, and beautiful beaches with turquoise water, with loads of sealife in the coral.

We had a nice and relaxing time; lots of sun, read a few books, went snorkelling & scuba diving, saw the football, had a go at karaoke, and I avoided getting burnt (or any sort of tan at all).

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On one excursion we went night fishing. Jo managed to catch 3 fish, while I didn't get any.

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On one of our swims a big fish 50-sih cm went for us. It was only later we discovered it was a Titan Trigger fish - probably the most aggressive fish in the Maldives. We also found some footage online of the fish.

Our photos have been uploaded here. We've also separately uploaded our photos from our underwater camera here.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Wedding toons

Well this is the list of the Tunes we supplied to the DJ, recorded for posterity.

He didn't play most of them. Because he was shit. Oh well.

A-ha Take on me
andy williams music to watch the girls go by
armand van helden my my my
arthur conley sweet soul music
ashanti & fat joe what's love got to do with it
barry white my first my last my everything
beach boys good vibrations
beach boys then I kissed her
beatles twist and shout
beegees you should be dancing
beegees night fever
beegees staying alive
beegees more than a woman
beyonce crazy in love
Big Bad Voodoo Daddy KING OF THE SWINGERS (from "Swingers" soundtrack)
Blondie One Way Or Another
Blondie Atomic
bob sinclair love generation
boney M daddy cool
boney M rasputin
carl douglas kung fu fighting
chris montez lets dance
christina aguilera, mya & lil kim lady marmalade
chuck berry you never can tell
corner shop brimful of asha
daddy yankee lo que paso, paso
david bowie dance magic dnace
De la soul 3 is magic number
Deee-Lite Groove Is In The Heart
Donna Summer I Feel Love
dr dre next episode
eddie floyd knock on wood
elvis crespo suavemente
faith evans love like this before
Fat boy slim weapon of choice
Fatboy Slim Rockafella Skank
foundations build me up buttercup
Fun Loving Criminals Scooby Snacks (clean version)
GORRILAZ 19/2000 (Soulchild remix)
GORRILAZ Feel Good Inc
GORRILAZ Dirty Harry
gwen stefani let me blow your mind
Happy Mondays Step on
jay zee big pimpin
Juanes La Camisa Negra
KC and the sunshine band boogie shoes
kool and the gang oh la la la
kt tunstal suddenly I see
lion rock rude boy rock
lionel richie all night long
ll cool J hush
lumadee uh oh
marvin gaye heard it through the grapevine
MARY J BLIGE be without you
migthy dub katz magic carpet ride
Missy Elliott Get Ur Freak on
MYLO/GLORIA ESTEFAN Doctor Pressure (Mylo v's Miami Sound Machine)
New Order Blue Monday
perez perez prado mambo no 5 (orginal version - instrumental)
randy newman short people
Rolling Stones Sympathy for the Devil
sam and dave soul man
scissor sisters filthy/gorgeous
sean paul get busy
sean paul temperature
shaft mucho mambo sway
shakira objection
sophie ellis bexter murder on the dancefloor
sophie ellis bexter get over you
spiller groovejet
stevie wonder uptight alright
sugababes round round
the cure close to you
The Darkness I Believe in a thing called love
the white stripes hotel yorba
tom jones kiss
Trammps Disco inferno
usher pop ya collar
usher u-turn
van morrison brown eyed girl

Saturday, June 03, 2006

The Big Day

Last hours of freedom
I had stayed overnight at Dartington Hall, and after a nice breakfast, I go for a mooch around the grounds with Sumit and Peter. Photos here. We have a bite at the White Hart bar and chat with Cristophe, Katrin, Ben and Gareth. We bump into a fair few people, as many are staying at Dartington.

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The time comes when we have to get properly ready, and got to put on our suits. I am quite leisurely until I realise we're getting a bit close to the time when need to be at the church. So I dash about, and bash on peoples doors to hurry them up, getting hair gel to Peter, pick up the button holes, have a quick check that the Hall looks ok for the reception later, before rushing to the car to drive to the church.

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The church
We arrive a little later than planned at St Mary's Church, as a few guests have already arrived, so I set Peter and Chris to work ushing, and I mingle a little before making my way to the front of the church with Sumit (escaping the hot weather outside in the nice cool of the church). The photographer took a few shots of me, but I was a little nervous and found it hard trying to give a natural smile. I get a bit of a dry mouth and phone my mum to ask if she can bring some water with her.She takes her time to arrive, and I worry that I won't get my water, and then that she'll arrive after Jo does! My mum does arrive eventually (though is the last one in the Church before Jo) and I grab the water while she is chatting to someone at the back.

Pretty soon the bell ringers stop ringing, the church goes quite and the organist starts up (Chanson de Matin by Elgar) as Jo enters the church on the arm of her dad. As she walks down the aisle it is almost too much to take in, I don't think I even notice the bridesmaids or surprise pageboy until later on in the service. Both Jo and her dress look amazing - she has a huge train, and despite Colin's comments from the day before I was not expecting it at all, when I eventually notice it, she also has an enormous veil (Amanda's - her s"something borrowed"). The thing that stuck out about her short walk was quite how emotional she looked - and she seems to be practically hyperventilating. I try and hold it together myself - don't want both of us to loose it. I find out later that Jo's been drinking wine all morning to calm herself down - this also helps with the smiles for the photos later on. The first hymn, Lord of the Dance, provides a nice break to settle in to the swing of things. I sing ?I am the lord of the dance settee!? to help Jo calm down by making her Laugh. The other Hymns are "Lord of all Hopefulness" and "One More Step".

Danny Lawrence entertains in his reading of an extract from "The Velveteen Rabbit", Bill Seddon reads the bible reading from Colossians and Leslie speaks well in The Address.

The wedding ceremony goes well and we give our vows without stumbling over our words. Sumit struggles to open the string pull bags that contains the rings and I need Jo's help fit her ring on all the way down.

For the signing of the registers, Judy the organist plays Bach's "Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring". We sign the register and to the corny poses for the photographer. Our mums sign as witnesses and my dad makes a funny comment asking if it was legal for women. That done, we all line up to leave the church as the traditional song for leaving the church is played - "Wedding March from Midsummer Night’s Dream" (Mendelssohn). We stop on the top step before walking down the aisle together for a cheesy Kodak moment.

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Outside the church, we pose for photos with various family groupings, and we have the confetti thrown over us. Some of the confetti includes silver "just married" bits and my dad tries sticking one to my forehead. Eventually we are whisked away by our chauffeur for the day, Jo's uncle Tony, in the wedding car up the drive to the reception venue, Dartington Hall.

The Reception
Drinks of Pimms are served on the lawn of the gardens behind the Great Hall. The weather continued to be absolutely perfect, and it allowed people to enjoy Dartington's lovely grounds.People mingle as we pose for more photos (smile fatigue beginning to set in now). We pose with in the grounds of Dartington, and then with various groupings of people. Unfortunately the extended Seddons photo is missing most of them (apart from cousins David and Tom) as we weren't able to find any of them at that point, presumably exploring the previously mentioned grounds! They finish of the photography with an aerial photo from the top window of the Hall, before a short receiving line as people trickle into the Hall.

The meal was:

Starter: Gallia Melon with Citrus Fruits and Grenadine Syrup
Main: Roast Sirloin of Devon Beef (medium rare), Port Wine and Thyme Jus and Horseradish Hollandaise
Dessert: Chocolate Profiteroles with Whiskey and Bitter Chocolate Sauce

with a few bottles of wine on each table and Champagne for the toasts during the speeches.

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Following the meal and the cutting of the cake were the speeches. Colin was up, and spoke from the centre of the hall so that his dad could hear. He spoke well (though he claims to have written it on the ferry from Dartmouth that morning) and was very complimentary about both Jo and me. I was up next and delivered my speech, before Sumit finished up with his off the cuff speech that revolved around a lack of dirt on me and our childhood love of G.I. Joe and Transformers.

We went upstairs for a coffee and a piece of cake while they cleared the hall for the disco. Our first dance was to the cheesy Bryan Adam's "Have You Ever Really Loved A Woman" and it went pretty well. I was relieved when we got to the end of it, and Barry White started up with the second song.

The rest of the night goes well, with more dancing as people have a few more drinks. Peter seems to monopolise the danicing with the chief bridesmaid towards the end of the night.

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When the time comes that the DJ finishes up we head to the White Hart bar for a couple of extra drinks and Jo starts taking the clips out of her hair. When we eventually make it to bed it is gone 2am.

The wedding photographer's website has been updated with our photos:

The photos from my camera are here - mostly of the reception, because I was somewhat busy during the rest of the day!

My friend Julie posts some comments about the day on her blog here.

My Wedding Speech

After Jo's dad Colin had given his speech, I rise to give mine...

Thanks to Colin for his speech and kind words. I hope I can live up to his expectations or at least gradually lower them.

Ladies and Gentlemen, you are about to witness a unique event in history. This is the very first that I can speak 'On behalf of my Wife and I'. It’s also probably very last time I’ll be allowed. As an ex-presenter on university radio I'm used to speaking in public, but this however will be the first time to an audience that reaches double figures.

Colin is a jeweller and we'd particularly like to thank him for making our wedding rings, which makes them so much more personal to us. Jo's ring is engraved with the words "Jo and Mark 3rd June 2006", mine is engraved with "You hurt her, you die!". Thanks also to Jo's mum Sandra for organising the wedding cake and helping with the dresses. I would also like to thank you both on behalf of Jo for all the love you have given her over the years and for making Jo the loving, caring, sweet and kind person that she is today

My wife and I would also like thank my parents Penny & Tony for all their love and support. Thank you for giving me a great start in life and for your contribution to today's event. Thanks also for babysitting the wedding dress before it was moved down to Devon, and for accommodating many of the hen party for their night out in London.

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We would also like to thank Mel and Jasmine and for doing such a good job as the bridesmaids, and walking down the aisle so well without falling over. In fact Jasmine's mum & dad got married on this day 11 years ago, so happy anniversary to Simon and Mel.

Thanks also to the ushers Peter and Chris for all their hard work, a fantastic piece of ushing there. If you saw "The Unteachables" on Channel 4 you'll know that my brother in law Chris has some experience in dealing with difficult people and I admired the way he searched the ladies handbags as they went into the church with such discretion and subtlety.

Thanks also to my best man Sumit for his support and doing such a superb job. I have known Sumit since we were 8, and he has proven to be and I hope will continue to be a great friend. But of course that could all change in the next few minutes when HE starts speaking. So far Sumit's been the Model best man - in fact, so that I could better describe him, looked up I looked up the word "model" in the dictionary. It said "A miniature replica!", so there you go. I won't list his many other good qualities as I always have trouble reading his writing.

Thank you to all of you for coming here today and sharing our special day with us. It means a lot to me and Jo, particularly as I know many of you have had to travel a long way. I think my friend Katrin wins it, having come all the way from Norway. We'd particularly like to mention and thank Leslie, who performed the service so beautifully earlier, who has travelled down from Yorkshire. Leslie also did the wedding ceremonies for my parents and for my sister, so I would also like to apologise for any peculiar feelings of Deja-vu that he might be having. Thanks also to Jo's uncle Tony who has been providing the Chauffeuring duties for today.

We'd just like to mention those who haven’t been able to make it here today - my Auntie Alex who is currently on Stage in Blackpool, and also her husband Patrick, my Aunt Gill and Jo’s uncle Burt who are unwell. Also my friend Will Jelbert who can't be here today as he is working in Australia.

It was through Will that Jo and I first met. He had just started working at Reuters and one night I went with him to Timepiece nightclub in Exeter, where he was meeting up with some of his new colleagues. One of whom happened to be Jo and we clicked straight away. I wanted to see more of this new girl, and I knew that she would often go salsa dancing, so somehow I found myself going to Salsa dancing classes. After the classes I was able to show off my new dancing skills to Jo at the salsa night at the club.

It must have done the job as a little while down the line we started going out. (Mind you, that was in the days before she started wearing her contacts). We got a lot closer over the next few months and when Jo decided she would be going travelling, I realised that I couldn't let her go without me and so made the best decision I’ve ever had, joining her on a year abroad.

We had an amazing time travelling around California, New Zealand, Australia, South East Australia and living in Sydney for a few months. Spending all that time together we had some real highs, but also some stressful situations, which brought us much closer together. When we came back to England we supported each other and pushed one another forward as we started out in a new city and new career path. It was on our 4th anniversary of going out when I proposed, which also just happened to be the evening that my sister was going into labour. So I have no excuse for forgetting when little Jasmine's birthday is.

Jo knows know me better than anyone, but still agreed to marry me, so for that I'm grateful. Many people have told me how lucky I am to be marrying Jo, including Jo in fact.

I'd just like to say how wonderful you look. During all the preparations I thought to myself what you'd look like today but you really look more amazing that anything I had imagined. I'm so happy to be marrying you, and I very much look forward to our future together. They say you don't marry someone you can live with - you marry the person who you can't live without which I think is very true with us.

Jo, I just want to say, in front of our friends and family, that I love you and hope that every day will be as happy as today. Just not as expensive.

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Well, that's it from me. I hope I didn't make too many stale old jokes, as I wouldn't want to use all the best man's material. Before I pass you over to Sumit, Ladies and Gentlemen, please stand and lift your glasses and join me in a toast to bridesmaids…… "Ladies and gentlemen, (pause until everyone is standing with their glasses raised) to... the bridesmaids."

Friday, June 02, 2006


Jo had come down to Devon a couple of days beforehand to sort things out. I arrived in Devon on Thursday night with Amanda & family, kindly giving me a lift. As most of the organising seemed to be in hand, we decided to take a trip out and make the most of the nice weather and show Amanda some pretty Devon locations. We took a trip to Cockington, which is very olde worldey, a bit touristy, but lovely nonetheless. We had drinks on the lawn and saw lots of shire horses.

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It was funny to visit the day before the wedding, as we had looked at it already as a possible venue, and there was a wedding happening during our visit. We also stop at the seaside in Torquay so Jasmine can have a paddle and make a sandcastle. Making a seaweed castle would have been easier.

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In the afternoon we have our wedding rehearsal with Leslie, who puts us at ease for the next day. He is Amanda's godfather, and did the ceremonies for my parents wedding as well as Amanda's. During the rehearsal, Colin lets slip a remark about Mel giving Jo plenty of space to allow for the train on her dress. After trying so hard to keep the details of the dress a secret for so long Jo is annoyed that this is revealed, but I (purposely) didn't pay any attention to the comment.

In the evening I have a meal at Dartington Hall with my family & some of the family friends including Gay& Eric, Dick & Selina and Leslie & George. Dartington Hall was originally built in 1388 for John Holand, Earl of Huntingdon and half brother to Richard II, He was beheaded in 1400 after an unsuccessful rebellion against Henry IV.

Meanwhile Sumit goes in search of a restaurant in Totnes, running into difficulty as they all close or don't allow smoking, until he finds an Indian restaurant who give him his own palatial private room!

Monday, May 22, 2006


After months of anticipation the stag team Budapest shortlist of myself, Sumit, Peter & Jo arrived at Luton Airport. We check in at the Eazyjet desk and after a couple of minutes puzzlement by the Easyjet staff they let us know that Peter had actually booked his flight for Thursday. The day before. And that our flight was now fully booked. After a frantic search on the web, we book him a flight for the next morning and continue on ahead of him.

We arrive a Budapest airport, and get some foreign play-money from an ATM, before getting a taxi. Researching the trip, I read a stream of warnings about the rip-off taxi cabs waiting outside the airport, and that you should phone for a reputable company. They wait around the corner as they get beaten up by the mobsters that hang out the front. We turn down the first cab guy that approaches us as he was a huge bald intimidating chap, but the second guy looked more reputable and quoted us a price that sounded fair, and the journey was fine.

We stayed at Hotel Fortuna, which was a little bit out from the centre. We decide to walk into the centre to find something to eat, and it was a pretty long walk, it's difficult judging the scale on maps sometimes! When we're all feeling a little bit tired and hungry we take a chance on a place we pass, it's an underground place 'Kaltenberg Eterem', with a bit of a German feel to it. It's not too bad, and we wonder why it isn't busier, when we realise it's midnight and they're beginning to close up.

Sumit feels under the weather and it becomes increasingly obvious that he can't go on, so we won't really be able to rave it up. So before we head back we stop for drink at the 'For Sale' pub. It's a really cool place, straw is on the floor, there's a basket of monkey nuts on each table and business cards and passport photos are pinned to the walls and ceiling. (We pass by the Cha cha cha club, which we've read is a cool buzzing place, but it's closed). We get a Taxi back to hotel, where there is a drunk English lad on the reception's sofa cuddling up to his pizza.

There are a fair few stag parties about, but are mostly the type of English person that makes me ashamed of my nationality. There were several groups on our flight out, one fellow was so bad when we arrived at the airport that he couldn't even stand up as he went through passport control. A group of lads stayed in the hotel bar and drunk it dry. Quite why they'd do that rather than venture out into the city, I don't know.

That night Sumit sweats out his fever, shivering under pile of blankets. Peter's flight arrives midday on Saturday, so Sumit stays behind to continue his recovery and Jo and I decide to go on ahead and see the centre before they meet us in a couple of hours. We work out how to use the Metro so we're able to get into the centre in just a couple of minutes. Jo & I have a look at the tourist street Via Uktca. We stop off for a drink at Vernes underground bar, 20,000 Leagues under the Sea theme, so you feel like your in a Jules Verne style submarine. I love theme bars. I get things started with a Cuba Libre cocktail and a pancake. Nice start to the day.

We walk past the Basilica to meet Peter & Sumit in town. Amazingly Peter got on his plane, changed money and got taxi to the Hotel all on his own then taking metro. Round of applause folks. We walk up to Abzinth Restaurant which I had noticed on the web. When we arrived though, it looked disappointing because of scaffolding outside, and almost try and find somewhere else, but as we're hungry we decide to give it a go, at it is actually very nice. Sumit and I have Absinth, prepared in a very professional way, and Pete has some girly pink cocktail. For starters we have frogs legs, and main is pork medallions with mushroom. Yum.

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We decide to do a bit of the touristy thing and head toward the Castle on the Buda side of the river Danube. Before we get there we stop off for a drink by the river, the firs of may such stops. We cross the chain bridge over to Buda side, and take the funicular railway up to castle, and have a wander around, we take photos, but oddly Peter seems to mostly take photos of himself. After stopping at several more bars we go back to the Hotel to change and have a vodka redbull top up.

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Dinner was booked at 'Sir Lancelot' medieval themed restaurant (I love themed restaurants). Food is served by wenches on giant platters, drink is served in huge tankards of ale. The portions are massive and we barely eat half.

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There are water fountains next to the tables that you can wash your hands in. And throughout the meal there are people providing entertainment down the middle of the long room - belly dancing, a strongman lifting guests above his head, sword fighting, fire eating (funny guy). Peter is picked to take part in an arm-wrestling contest, and is knighted. At the end of the meal our poor waitress is asked to pose with me for a photo.

During the meal I come up with a long list of Sirs - Sir Cumstancial Evidence, Sir Cumfrance of A Circle, Sir Cumsision, and so on...

Video of Fire-eater:

Video-of Peter Arm-wrestling

We walk to another bar I found on the web, the Szoda bar. (As it happens it is a bit dead, maybe because everyone is out at one of the outside clubs?). Still it's a pretty cool place, and has manga cartoons on it's ceiling. We play the rizla game, and have pieces of paper stuck to our head for a little while. Sumit draws a little picture for me on a postcard. We think about going out clubbing somewhere, maybe to one of Outdoor clubs, but all feel a bit worn out, so back to hotel for a drink and play cards. When go to bed at 4am we'd been drinking for approx 14 hours on and off, which isn't too shoddy.

Next morning we up early-ish to get up and about and have breakfast. We try and raise the dead (Peter), who is up eventually. We have to go to one of Turkish Baths as they are one of Budapest's real highlights. We opt for the Gellert Baths, in a Grand hotel. After figuring the pricing system out, we negotiate our way through a cavernous maze of changing rooms, handing over forms to get our lockers & towels to get to the pool, with a warm bath & outside pool. After a pretty tiring day on Saturday, it makes for a nice relaxing time.

As our last bit of decadence before we leave we have lunch at sophistimicated looking steak house. Peter has huge crown of ribs which has be seen to be believed. We're all stuffed to bursting (definitely not feeling Hungary). Waiter looks disappointed that we just drink Cokes rather than wine, but feeling a bit worse for wear we all are in the mood for a bit of hydration.

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A taxi back to the Airport and we're off back home and I'm one step closer to married life.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006


Took Jo to gorgeous restaurant in hove, Vanilla, for her birthday treat.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Streets Of Brighton

I was out and about today in the North Laines to see the "Streets of Brighton", part of the Brighton Festival.

A huge array of different acts, putting on impromptu performances in the street.
Including "Orkestra Del sol" a sort of Balkan Big Band Ska, Spacemen, Electroglide Angels, some Pirates, Trolls, lots of people on stilts, the world record attempt at apathy, the fat 2012 olympic team from cornwall, the upside-down busker, big rory and his dog, the deepsea jivers, some incredible breakdancers, sister ruth the nun on a piano and many more

Some photos.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Some funny links

A chilled weekend, time to catch up on internet rubbish.

Gladiator - previously-unseen footage from the location of Ridley Scott's 1999 'sword and sandal' epic Gladiator.

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The web is full of EVIL PREDATORS and no-one should go online ever. Now with a foppish sheep wearing an unfeasibly large bow tie.

Postsecret is a fascinating website - an ongoing community art project where people mail in their secrets anonymously on one side of a homemade postcard.

A list of words compiled 'as a service to doctors who are not native English-speakers', but it's BASICALLY all the funny northern words they know

A sequel to Titanic, surprisingly inventive.

LIVE-ACTION, STOP-MOTION - An amazing bit of film as Director Russell Wyner uses stop-motion special effects on a kung fu jaunt about campus.

THINGSTHATMAKEYOUGOAAHH. Kittens, baby pandas...

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Will's leaving do at Las Iguanas

As my friend Will is off to work in Australia and will be missing all of the wedding festivities, we decided to have a get together and give him a send off. It was nice to and see everyone again. Will and Danny came from Devon, picking Gareth up in Southampton. Linda and Kris also came. Everyone arrived a little late, just before 7 in time for our restaurant booking at Iguanas in Brighton , but still in time to catch the end of happy hour with 2 for 1 cocktails, and we had good Mexican food. It was quite lively, there were 3 Hen parties in there (if you were wondering what the blow up doll in the back of one of the photos was about). Afterwards we went to the Biscuit Factory and Tom Scruby was in town, so he and Zilla met us at the pub too.
When we got back home Will and Gareth disappeared, "to go have a cigarette", but didn't reappear until 4.30 in the morning. They were both very considerate, Gareth phoning his girlfriend at full volume and Will breaking off a bit from my block of cheese to chew on and falling asleep with a beer in his lap before keeping everyone awake with loud snoring.

Photos here.

Sunday, April 02, 2006


Over to my sister's place for a spot of babysitting. She's very well behaved, and overnight she was so quiet that I checked a couple of times to see she was still breathing.

Jasmine is talking. New words include "mummy", "daddy" "thank you" and "bugger".

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Sunday, February 26, 2006

URE Reunion - 30th Birthday of the radio station

URE Reunion was this weekend - with a meal on evening of Sat 25th February then a takeover of the shows by the old DJs. A fun night was had at the pretty posh at a function room in the Thistle Hotel (opposite Exeter Central Station). A pretty good turnout and was good to see everyone again (James McNally, Will Garner, Danny Lawrence, Tommy Dyer, Harry Harris, Strange Martin, Oli Adams, James Beatie, Nick & Lou, Russ Blandamer, Chris Homewood etc), it hardly seemed like any time had passed really.

There was a posh sit down meal followed by a couple of speeches (mostly Harris praising Frog who basically is the station) and a photo slideshow of " 30 years of memories". The memories seemed to be of either the current crop of DJs or lifted from my website (so slightly skewed in the direction of me and Tom Davies). Very bizarre seeing my photos blown up onto a huge projection screen though.

The night continued with much drinking and dancing. Was supposed to stay at Will's house in Bradninch but that seemed too much like hard work and we ended up sleeping on the floor at Russ' place. The next day my knees ached from my over enthusiastic Cossack style dancing, and was a little sleep deprived thanks to Will's snoring.

The schedule on Sunday:
9 - 10am Simon Petrie & Oli afams
10 - 11am Adrian Hobart
11 - 12pm Becky Gilchrist & Russell Blandamer
12 - 1pm Chris Homewood (The Chris Homewood Talk Show)
1 - 2pm Mark Seddon
2 - 3pm Harry Harris
3 - 4pm Jane Danser
4 - 6pm James McNally

A podcast of my show is here:

Doing the show was cool, though it took a little while to get warmed up and get used to the new-fangled computer jingles then before I knew it, the hour was up. Tom Davies spent most of the show as my virtual sidekick down the phone, revisiting items such as "Smack my Pitch Up" (Brokeback mountain & Lucky Number Slevin), advice from Rabbi Williams, and Stressbusting. I wanted to fit in more, but there's only so much you can do in an hour.

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Russ, James, Gron, Oli, Simon, Frog, Harry

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Oli, Tim, Simon, Ben

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More of my photos are online here.

Someone else's photos of the weekend were posted here:

And for more nostalgia:
The old URE website is available here:
Nice group photo from 2000-ish:

My old radio photos are here:
History of me at URE:

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Prague weekender

Another weekend, another Easyjet break

Photos here. yay!

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Charlotte visit

Afternot seeing them for aaages (in fact, since their wedding), my friend Charlotte and her husband Chris came to visit. We had a nice weekend, with a bacing walk down the seafront, before popping into the pub for a few. We had a meal at Memories of India at the marina, a great indian restaurant.

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Saturday, January 21, 2006


Up north to see Sumit, best-man-to-be. Had a fun time going up the big wheel in the city centre. Met Sumit's girlfriend Petra and went to lots of different drinking venues. Had strange craving for Nachos...mmmm...Nachos.

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Sumit discovered some strange disabled toilets in the shopping centre that had 2 bowls in the cubicle. I pictured a couple on the loo, holding hands as they went. romantic.

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Saturday, January 14, 2006

Jasmine's 1st Birthday

And funny enough also a year after we got engaged, we're down to visit for Jasmine's first birthday. A party is thrown with lots of ofther kiddies coming along, then on Sunday we have a buffet at 3 monkeys in Herne Hill.

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