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Monumental Efforts

Developments on the efestivals forums today saw a user by the name of Cultseeker declaring that contributing posts to a thread was a "monumental effort". The selfless act to attempt to educate the forum users was the latest in an ongoing struggle to bring light into the darkness of the depths of internet as some kind of later-day mission which has seen Cultseeker, 43 from Teeside make as many as twenty three different posts in one thread. Cultseeker, 43 from Teeside, has previously been involved in several "no mean feats" before escalating to "serious challenges" before finally arriving at "monumental efforts". A spokesperson for Cultseeker said the effort had left him drained, but he expected to have fully recovered by the weekend. Upon being asked what Cultseeker had planned to top his monumental efforts, the answer was a little vague. "He's considering a 'Herculean task’ that might see him post as much as forty times on a subject. "He's waiting for the right subject" added his spokesperson, but refused to comment on whether "outrageous over-the-top self-publicity on the internet" would be such a possible thread.


I've been doing some thinking about Metallica, following on from a thread on here - and wondered when it was exactly they became the monster they are, from the great band they used to be. I think everyone can pretty much agree that there best output was during the Burton-era of the band - something that is certainly backed up by the number of tracks they play from say their first three albums as compared to those recorded after their death.

So when was it that they became a mainstream attraction - at what point did they stop being a "bay area" thrash band and become the unit-shifting, money-making machine they are today?

I've attempted a scientific analysis of this based on cumulative album sales plotted against key moments in the 'tallica story. By doing this we can clearly see on "chart one" hereunder that Metallica's record sales took a significant upturn following those key moments. Those moments are

  • When they signed for Megaforce
  • When they signed with Elektra
  • The day Cliff died
  • When they released a video for "one"
  • When they recorded an album with Bob "Bon Jovi / Cher" Rock
  • When they released a orchestra version of Nothing Else Matters on the b-side of Sad but True
  • When they released their Spinal Tap-esque Orchestra collaboration
  • The Napster dabacle.

Chart One - Metallica


Whilst this analysis gives us an general indication of the growth of the populartiy of the band, it does not really give us a definative date as to when they did in fact sell out. For that, I decided to use some kind of 'image' related statistic, which when taken in conjunction with the album sales would prove beyond any doubt that the time when they became a sell out. And what better 'image' to use, than Hefield himself and - the length of his hair. The once long flowing tresses are now some kind of military accademy cut - but it didn't just disappear overnight. Statistics from his hairdresser show that the length of his hair over time. When plotted over the top of Chart One, we can see that the point when the two intercept to prove that the sell out occurred shortly after the release of the Black Album, but before the release of the Sad But True single which contained the orchestral re-working of "Nothing Else Matters". Further analysis show this date to be the day when they supported AC/DC at Donnington in 1991.

Chart Two


So there you have it. Metallica stopped being a thrash band and became a mainstream rock band on that date.

I wonder if the devil's got that circled in his diary as the day they sold their souls?


Christmas Postbag Special

Postbag iv - Christmas special!

Hello and welcome to the sporadic sifi blog colour supplement - the blog equivalent of the part of the newspaper you read when you've got through all the good, newsworthy sections. What with Christmas coming up, we've got a slight Christmas flavour - we've soaked the blog in brandy for a few hours and have decorated bits of it with holly leaves made of marzipan.

Let's start with our agony aunt section. Here's one from an occasional supplement regular "Beevis", who writes "Dear Auntie Sifi, I've recently started in an amateur dramatic performance of a famous pantomime, where I've been asked to play the role of the dame. I'm really enjoying it, but I've found I've developed a fondness for dressing up in women's clothing, especially tights. Is this wrong? I've attached a picture"

Well, Beevis, as liberal as we are here at the supplement, I can't help but think you might have taken things a little too far. Whilst I can see the attraction of the silks and the satins, I'd recommend that you don't wear the tights quite like that. It might impair your vision, and that could be especially dangerous when driving. As far as the one piece PVC cat suit, well you should be careful it doesn't cut off the circulation. And if you are going to go out like that, please consider shaving the hair from your legs. And your back. And your ears. And your nose. And the back of your hands.

Now, with Christmas just around the corner, I've been asked by a few members of e-festivals for some help with their festivities.

Firstly, from Dogster, who asks how to get rid of unwatned guests who have outstayed their welcome. Do what I do Dogster, and throw a bucket of water over them. It normally does the trick - and they don't tend to come back. Certainly it worked with the stray that was round our way not too long ago.

Next, a question about etiquette from our old friend Vestibule 75. He asks "Every year my wife gives my brother all the best bits of her Christmas spread. Last year she offered him breast and said that she needed help stuffing which he proceeded to do in the privacy of the pantry – and it sounded like hard work with all that groaning and screaming. How can I ensure I don't miss out on her sweet meat?" Well Halls, I've had a long think about this and to be honest, if it's been going on for a while, I'd suggest you think about getting yourself a bird of your own. And possibly eat out with her at Christmas instead.

Finally, here's a note from an anonymous writer, who asks "Dear Sifi, every year I get together with my girlfriend at Christmas, but my cracker never seems to go of with a bang, no matter how hard she pulls it. It's more of a damp squib as the dirty tat falls out. What is she doing wrong?" Well, my slightly strange hued simian friend, the secret I'm told is that it's all the wrist. A slight twist as you are reaching the point when the tension is greatest will achieve the results you desire and your novelties will fly across the dinner table - but be careful it doesn't land in the gravy boat as happened to me one year. Mother was not impressed.

And now, onto the answers to last week's quiz. In a seasonal twist to the old "Complete the name of this song" routine, I asked you to complete the name of the name of the seasonal Christmas song. And as normal, I've got some strange and frankly disturbing answers, some of which I thought not only morally questionable, but could also see you in traction if you tried it!

First up "I saw Mummy kissing ....... " and of course the answer was "Santa Claus" and not what Beevis' suggested - although this does possibly explain his state of mind and his dislike of our equine friends.

"Fairy Tale of ..... ". Well the answer was of course "New York" and not as one regular contributor in the other festival forum suggested "Fairy Tale of Rainbow Festival".

Next up, I asked you ".... roasting on an open fire". The answer is of course chestnuts, and certainly not the kind of nuts mentioned by one recently singled and one assumes slightly resentful individual from the singles thread.

Finally, the Darkness Song "Christmas time (Don't let the .......)". Well, of course the answer was "Christmas time (Don't let the bells End)" although I was quite happy to accept "Christmas time (Don't let the bastard ever open his gob ever again - preferably by ripping out his voice box") or other variations on that theme.

And now, as is traditional at this time of year, we've got some predictions from our resident mystic and fortune teller, Madame Escottie, who I'm told will, upon her palm being crossed with silver will reveal all. I gave her a quid and told her to take her coat off, and she wrote this column for me.

Madame Escottie's predictions for 2007

I've consulted the oracle, well just teletext in general if I'm honest, and can foresee a tumultuous and eventful year for all. If you are born under a water sign, best avoid Glastonbury. If you are born under an air sign, avoid oxygen and if you are born under a fire sign avoid the campfires at the Carling weekend. Sagittarians should avoid friendly fire, albinos should avoid direct exposure to much sunlight and cats should avoid dogs. Now I've been asked for some specialist advice here by a user called Beevis, who asks what he can expect from the year in terms of love, well my dear I've checked the flight of some swallows, and can tell you that you will find love in the early part of the year, but it will all be lost by October, when dolphins traditionally migrate for warmer waters.

Thank you Madame Escottie. And that's about it for this supplement - thank you for reading - oh wait, I've just got another e-mail here from a Beevis of the e-festival boards. He says "Why do you always take the piss out of me, and vestibules and all the other people you do on your second rate blog?"

Well, you only truly insult the people you love, you pathetic ******-up, ***** faced, ***** ** ****** ***** ***** example of ********** human-*****- being. And believe me that's a lot of love .....

Merry Christmas everyone!


Self Appointed Music Honcho defines criteria

Reuters, London, November 2006 : In what appears to be one of the greatest dicktat to come out of the modern musical press since Lennon's claim that the Beatles were bigger than God, an e-festival's boarder and a self-appointed head music honcho has amazed the music world by putting down criteria as to why his musical opinion is more valid than others. In an amazing outburst, the user - who shall be referred to here as "Auntie Ian" in order to protect his anonymity - has laid down the criteria by which he can claim that his musical likes and dislikes are more relevant than others.

In what has been for a number of years been widely recognised as an arena of "live and let live", and one very much of personal taste and what floats your boat, Auntie Ian has quantified key metrics to specifically allow provision for identifying whose opinion is more worthwhile.

Although details of the metrics themselves are somewhat sketchy, it would appear that a combination of pure purchasing power, an ability to get time off work and sheer persistence of attendance at music concerts - verging on borderline fanaticism - would allow an individual's taste to be more worthy than another’s. In a thread about Roger Waters, the boarer defended his right to dictate to others what is good music and what isn't by virtue of "more gigs and listen to more music than 90% of the people on this board"

Furthermore, Auntie Ian specified the number of concerts that he would need to be attended (22) before another's opinion - say of a specific droning, monotonous pantomime, whose nasal histrionics embellished some celestial tunes in the same way that a verruca embellishes a foot - would be more valid. Despite more liberal fans of music pointing out that such a league table of musical validity is in itself as risible as the clear egomania of such a fool who would seek to create it, it is thought that Auntie Ian is adopting such an approach to other areas of life.

Sources close to the man seem to indicate a similar approach in other spheres, such as food, alcohol and even sexual preferences. "I've eaten Oysters upwards of forty times in my life," said one individual, "and as such I can say to those who have eaten them only once that they are wrong in their belief they don't like oysters. They clearly haven't eaten them enough to appreciate them. I'd force-feed them oysters once a week until they finally liked them as I myself do"

Despite being called fascistic and despotic, the scheme may also find it's way into the bedrooms of the nation. "I've had sex more times than you," said another Auntie Ian advocate "So, I know what you like". Upon further questioning, it transpired that the individual in question had indeed had sex more times than most other people - although that number decreased to almost none when the episodes that involved only himself were discounted


Colour Supplement - 26 October 2006

Time for yet another quick dip into the world of e-festivals colour supplement - the only supplement that guarantees not to have a hundred weight of advertisements drop out onto your foot when take it out of it's cellophane bag. You can expect the normal line-up - so if you don't like it, now will be the time to flick to the end of the supplement to see if there any adverts for cheap lingerie or viagra.

But first, a word from this week's supplement sponsors; the Singles Thread in e-festivals Wibble.

"Feeling lonely? Looking for companionship or more? Why not take advantage of e-festivals very own knocking shop singles thread? Just leave your details and let us do the rest ..... boy looking for girl? girl looking for boy? small farmyard animal looking for evil lunatic with ambitions of world domination? We've got everything covered. And being the liberated, open-minded people that we are, tell us of all your wants and desires, especially of the intimate kind, so that we can blackmail you later find your perfect partner."

Quite. It also says here that if the ladies could send their details and a picture of themselves (preferably at home in the bath) to the Single's thread self-appointed head of Quality Control at Peevis' e-mail address. Interesting.

Anyway, onwards. To the postbag, which is absolutely full to the brim this week. Firstly I have an e-mail here from a popular board member, asking if I can recommend anything for her nasty, saggy, fatty rump. Well without actually seeing it myself, I can't ascertain the extent that it's lost it's original shape - but my advice would be to get someone to give it a good beating until it's very red and mostly tender. I prefer to use my pan handle myself, although some ladies swear by a filthy snozzcumber. You'll be able to see if it's usable by pushing your fingers down hard on it and seeing if they leave a white mark. Failing that, just fry it off with some mushrooms and make risotto out of it.

Another query here from a new correspondent to the blog. He writes that his wife has been demanded that he baste his meat in oil, whilst he prefers to cover a couple of large breasts in his special sauce. I don't know what kind of blog you think this is pal, but that's frankly filth. I'll be pleased if you refrain from writing that poorly written, blatantly obvious and barely hidden double entendre in future.

Some news just in, from our sponsor. Apparently a popular board member has posted on the singles thread that she is looking for someone to beat her rump until it's very red and tender. Only those with a large pan handle need apply, as she's saying it's very large and will need at least something around the 500mm mark in order to accommodate her properly. I'm assuming she means a wok.

Now, competition time. I asked you to complete the following famous song titles "I'm getting married ....... ". Now the answer was of course "in the morning" - and not, as several of your wrote "over my dead body". Second was "There is nothin' like a ... ". A few of you guessed correctly that the answer was "There is nothin' like a dame". However, a few of your answers struck me as being, well if not illegal, certainly highly unethical - and if you are reading this Peevis, I've passed your details onto the Royal Society of the Protection of Birds for their review. Finally, "And spoonful of sugar helps the ...... go down ". The answer is of course "medicine". I'd recommend you'd need more than a spoonful of sugar to get down what our old friend "Vestibule 75" suggested - and possibly some mouthwash afterwards.

Sports news. Last week, we reported with news of the annual hot air ballooning championship. This very column predicted a comfortable win for Cultseeker, he of the endless supply of hot air. Well - in an amazing turn around, it would appear he has run out of his endless supply of hot air. Cultseeker, who was the bookies' favourite to win at odds of 3-1, ran out of steam yesterday afternoon somewhere over wibble. He has been out of radio contacts since, with only occasional monosyllabic posts coming through. One can only hope that he managed to affect repairs and is back to his high-flying self soon ; certainly this commentator has not seen anyone with his natural flair and skill for going over people's heads.

Another word from our sponsor. The lady with the fatty rump has indicated that she would be prepared to buy her own sugar, and mouthwash if required. Fascinating. If it wasn't for a share of the profits from the photos of women in the bath that Peevis is selling, this sponsorship deal would be dead in the water.

And finally, some community news - it's the sifiblog annual celebration of a non-specific religious nature - and everywhere the bunting is up, the ribbons are being tied into hair and events are being organised all across the community. There's going to be traditional Morrissey baiting in the V-festivals thread, a talk on the ancient hippy tradition of not washing for a week in the Glasto Festival threads, but I myself will be heading into the jokes forum where the perennial favourites of e-festivals, the nudist leapfrog team, will be putting on a display, and prizes for the most 'original' leap. I'm interested not so much in what kind of leap it is, more where they are planning to pin the rosette for first place.



Hard Disc Cost Fall

Reuters (London: 31 October 2006)

Economic analysts were in shock today after leading computer hardware suppliers announced that the cost of computer hard drives had hit an all-time low, and would continue to fall drastically following a huge drop in demand in the market.

Despite the cost of computer equipment dropping steadily over the last four to five years, analysts predict that the cost of a standard hard drive will plummet in the next month or so due to a significant drop off in demand. In a Computer Equipment and peripherals conference, one IT systems expert announced that he anticipates a drop in price of up to 50 - 60 percent in the next calendar month. "It's an amazing drop in price," he said "But one that reflect the dynamic nature of the market. Interestingly, we don't anticipate significant fluctuation in the cost of RAM or other computer memory, nor much in the other hardware costs. The market for that equipments seems to be holding up - it's just hard-drives. Files aren't getting any smaller, so I find it particularly difficult to explain".

In other unrelated news, the e-festival user Cultseeker seems to have adopted a new posting style. In a u-turn following calls for what some have described as excessively intellectual posts, designed to belittle those who can't or won't decipher the posts, the controversial social commenter, responsible for such threads as the Pearl Jam one and the one about the Beatles, seems to have taken up a more mono-syllabic type of post. As result, average post length on the wibble part of e-festivals has dropped from 374 characters to 199 characters in a four hour period, representing an 87% drop.

In further unrelated news, the owner of e-festivals is anticipating significantly healthier profits this year, partly due to his capex budget for hard-drives being reduced by - oddly enough - 87%


Efestivals Awards 2006

Efestivals Spurious Awards 2006

Reuters, London : 20 October 2006

The world of music was in a state of shock today with the annual unveiling of the winners of the "Efestivals Spurious Festival Poll 2006". The long-running traditional annual awards ceremony, which has been up and running since twenty minutes ago, caused wide-spread consternation and despair amongst literally several of the festival going public. The awards - which are by comparison amongst the most respected in the festival world - are significantly different to other polls of a similar nature. Unlike other awards, they are based not on a random popularity contest accessible to all and promoted with gusto by individual festivals and as such reduced to that of a poor man's marketing tool, but recognise the importance and significance of the individual festival fan's experience. The awards this year emphasised this in it's results, which do not seek to pat individual events on the back for being able to muster more support by direct mailings and begging e-mails. As such the award for Best Festival was awarded to "Whichever festival you enjoyed the most". Immediate reaction was one of stunned silence, apart from one incredulous observer who asked where the "Whichever Festival" was held. Best band was "Try comparing apples with apples" who were presumably a new and upcoming EMO band. When the Best Smaller Festival was announced as "Whichever festival you enjoyed the most that had a attendance of less than an arbitrary number" the same incredulous observer had finally caught on.

Said one source close to efestivals said "The individual choice of a festival is down to the individual involved. Sure there can be all kinds of different music available at some festivals, and others concentrate on specific types of music, but at the end of the day, it's impossible to say. We'd rather the festivals didn't feel they had to waste time on trying to organise votes like some kind of bizarre election, but rather focused on what is really important"


Postbag iii

Hello and welcome to Thursday’s blog entry - and as you can see from the new format, we've gone high definition digital, we essentially means you get the same old same old but it's really in your face. I've got a whole host of items and articles to titillate and amuse you - but I've decided against publishing those and instead will reheat the same old garbage that normally appears on here.

We'll start with the Postbag. I've had been utterly under whelmed with the number of PMs I've received but I'll run through those that have come without further ado - which does imply that there has been some ado earlier, but we needn't go into that right now - or indeed or ever for fear of moderation and public humiliation. Speaking of public humiliation, I've a letter here from our old favourite Mr 'Vestibule 75'. He writes "Dear Sifi, I've been wondering for some time what it means if your significant other tells you she's been enjoying an air-fair? She says that she's been going all over the place, but not to worry because she's been using protection. I've asked her if I can come with her, but she tells me it's not my thing". Well, Vestibule, from what I understand of travel arrangements, she's right to make sure she has insurance, but I wouldn't worry too much - there are probably going to be prohibitive taxes introduced soon, and the quick and easy jaunts she's been having will soon come to an end".

I've a note here from an anonymous boarder who writes "Dearest Sifi, I'm a voluptuous, tall, blonde, pretty 36-34-36 woman and I know where you live. I'd like to show you a thing or two, you naughty naughty man". Well, that's incredibly handy. I've forgotten where I live you see, so if you could pop me a note showing me the directions I'd very much appreciate it. I've had a call from my wife and she says dinner will be ready for seven, and I've been late a few times this week. Damn memory loss.


Now competition time - Last week I asked where in the world am I, where I gave you a brief description of a well known place, and you had to guess where I was. I was slight concerned to hear from one of the better known moderators on the board suggesting that the location where I could see amusing old characters

dressed up in funny costumes representing the pinnacle of all that is good about America was Disneyland, Paris wherein fact I was at the Supreme Court.

Sympathies must go to our old favourite Vestibule who identified where I was, from the description of a deeply cold, strange smelling, unexciting place where nothing much happens as being in his underpants. Now I consider myself as quite well travelled, but I don't anticipate going to that god forsaken hell-hole. Not after the last time anyway. No wonder your other half is always indulging in cheap air-fairs.


Now, for the Sifi blog Sports Round up. And what a week it's been at e-festivals with the annual ballooning championship really grabbing the imagination. There are no-end of competitors for the annual challenge, which sees boarders visiting far away and strange places such as the Guilfest forum. Rumour has it that this year's course might even take in the rarely visited LDV Vans forum of e-balls, uncharted territory if there ever was. The usual suspects will all being attempting to bussle their way around the course of discussion and debate, taking all manner of subjects for the crown of ballooner of the year 2006. The bookies having been doing good business too, but my tip for the prestigious prize would be the one and only Cultseeker. He's been showing good form in some of the discussion forums, and without doubt he's got the hot air to propel him to glory and the resilience to boot.


New this week to the Sifiblog is the culinary corner. This week, we'll be looking at efestivals favourite foodstuff - the curdled milk of cows, and sometimes other animals - Cheese. Despite the a number of polls on the subject, there is still a lack of consensus as to the favoured cheese of e-festivals. However, I'd like to make a suggestion to add to the list of the traditional calls for Cheddar and Brie. This particular cheese seems to be prolific on e-fests, with a long history of adding to the ritualistic nibbling that goes on amongst the boarders. A slightly dry number, this cheese is certainly not to everyone's palate - and quite a few boarders have been known to turn their noses us at it's strong, sometimes overbearing aroma. May I present my cheese of the week - Peevis. Slight under mature, but certainly enjoyable with a good glass of red - and easily available at any good meet, I understand.

Thanks for reading, see you next week!


80's revival

What chances the 80's revival?

MNE : 09 October 2006

The music world was left feeling somewhat apathetic and bemused today, as it was announced that a long forgotten group from the 1980s and early 1990s were looking to push their way back into the limelight. A spokesman for "The Tories" announced today that the band were looking to regroup and reform in order to re-capture their glory days of twenty years ago. The controversial outfit, responsible for such hits as "Support of Apartheid", "Destruction of Manufacturing Industry in the UK" and "Robbing the poor to give to rich" have been in an ten year hiatus after a shift in popularity amongst the record buying public but now feel that they are ready to return. The group have brought new faces in and none more so than new lead singer David "Dave" Cameron. Cameron, 41, formerly of the retro-rockers "The old boy's network" and "We aren't Etonians, well not all of us", has promised to re-record and re-release some of the old Tory classics, whilst capitalising on the best of contemporary material.

The band, whose fortunes nose-dived after long term lead singer Margaret Thatcher was fired and was replaced by non-entity John Major, has seen lead singers come and go since 1997, without any of them making any real in-roads. Thinking back, it's almost impossible to remember anything they recorded with "The Quiet Man", and the "Baseball cap" look, which they adopted in 1999, is long forgotten too. There was a slight resurgence in 2004 when gothic influences infiltrated the band, and they installed Michael Howard as the singer, but even that didn't work with the public.

Although it this stage there is no firm fixed date for the release of any new material, Dave has promised that "it will be coming, although we aren't saying when". Upon further prompting, it appears that the outfit have indeed been writing new material for more than a year now, but haven't actually finished anything concrete. "We have created a new band logo," said Cameron "Which I know doesn't really amount to much without any songs. But this logo has given us a new direction, although some of the older band members aren't exactly enthusiastic about it. In fact most of the band prefer the old fashioned logo, and want us to play the same old songs over and over. Norman (Tebbit, drummer) has been saying we should stick to what we know, y'know material like "Tax Cuts for the Rich", "Less spending on public services" and his favourite old number "On your bike", but I'm determined to get some new material out, if they will let me get some of my songs on there. If I ever finish any, obviously".

Yet, sources close to the band seem to point to towards a potential split in the Tories, with many citing Dave's direction as being too radical for the old, died in the wool fans to handle. "We like the old stuff" claimed one long-term Tory fan "And if they change, I'm going to go and watch the Sing Something Simple touring party, or the UK Independence Party as they are sometimes known".

Pulbic reaction has been generally muted. Most record buyers today are embarrassed by the cheesy strains of 80's popular music, and despite Cameron's insistance that the band are heading in a new direction, many claim he's just another old Etonian, stuck in the past and even more establishment than any of the offerings that have failed so spectacularly over the last few years.



I've had a haircut. Well, a change of hairstyle. This is quite a step forward for me, I've not had a haircut since the day before I got married, some two and a half years ago - and even then, that was a trim that my wife did by the side of swimming pool.

I've updated my personal photograph to reflect this somewhat dramatic change.

It hurts my head :D


What could of been ...

Today I am in a particularly good mood, although I don't know how long it will last however. I popped around to my Mum and Dads last night, and they've just come back from a grand tour of Austria and Italy ; we missed them by a few days when we were over in Liguria, but they had a great time - and brought us back lots of goodies from my family (and some they bought themselves). My Auntie did us a wonderful painting of San Terenzo al Mare (the place in my previous 'real' blog entry), it's an artistic impression of what the place looked like a few years ago. My Uncle made the frame, so I'm well made up with that ; I'll get a piccy of it at lunchtime at post it up here.

Other wondrous goodies included a two foot long salami and it's a corker, say up eating hunks of that with some fresh bread last night, and drizzled some of the bread with some pumpkin seed oil that my cousin in Austria sent back to me, along with an Austrian cook-book (don't laugh) with some interesting looking recipes in it. Plenty of veal dishes, to my shame I love veal. So not PC though!

And then the booze. two bottles of Schnapps, one Vermouth :rolleyes: , one red, one pink and one white. The red I'm looking forward to, it's an older vintage from my Great Uncle's estate.

A one other interesting thing came back ; a photo of my Granddad, Grandmother, Mamma, Uncle and my Mamma’s auntie standing in a town called Arcola. It must have been from the late sixties. It was the only time that my Grandad, Grandmother and mother were ever in the same place at the same time (I'm obviously not counting the moment of her conception). The expressions on their faces go some way to explain the amazing story behind my mother's birth, my Grandmother looked in shock, my Mother in awe, and my Grandfather seemed proud and happy.

My mother was born in a field outside of Vernoa (my God that's sounds like Peevis' Dr Evil signature!) in January of 1945, her birth being expedited by a train derailment as my Grandmother, recently released from a concentration camp in Austria, was being transported back to her native Italy. Her husband, it had been reported, had been killed and when the camp was liberated, she got sent home. My Grandparents had moved out of Italy during the German withdrawl from that country back to Graz in Austria (where my Grandfather was from, although his father was born in Italy). My Grandfather had been posted at a port in Northern Italy, where he met my Grandmother who was from a local village (the one in the picture). As the Germans were pulling out, my Grandsdad heard that the German troops had planned to kill every male in the town of Arcola, and although he was a sailor for the Germans he wasn't a Nazi and was revolted by the actions of the Infantry to the extent he and the local padre in Arcola spent the entire night rounding up the males in the town and hiding them all in the catacombes. He could have been killed for that, so when he completed that task he got the hell out of there with my Grandmother to go back to Austria. Unfortunately he was brought to book upon his return to Austria, and they were seperated, my Grandmother put in a concentration camp.

When she was released, she was told he had died, so she went back home, had my mother en route so to speak and then moved to Scotland, leaving my mother with her Grandparents.

She returned from Scotland in the sixties, having re-married and then widowed (again). Then her original husband turned up, an investigative reporter having got wind of the story of his heroics in Arcola, and brought him back - apparently he wasn't dead at all and had escaped from the prison he was dumped in because of his treachery. That's where the picture was taken. It was all over the papers in Austria and Italy, I've got the clippings at home. He was awarded some Italian medal for bravery. He had been told his wife was dead, so he had remarried.

This caused some problems, as it meant that all her half-brothers and half-sisters were born out of wedlock, and the subsequent marriages were in fact null and void. He wanted to leave his new wife and family and start up with her again, but she never forgave him for what she saw as him dumping her pregnant in a concentration camp. He left and they never spoke again ; although he did tell my mother one time that he had only ever loved one woman.

As I said, there was quite a lot of emotion in that picture. I had a little cry there.

I think there is a book in there, but I don’t think anyone would ever pick it up, it’s far too improbable.

Oh, here's a picture of the castle where they hid all the blokes.


Talent Entry Part One

This bits gone up.

Spurious News, a finger on-the-pulse cultural news show with a number of news segments that focus on popular culture items, ranging from film and music to more conventional arts programming.

Presenter: Hello and welcome to Spurious News, your weekly taste of what’s up and coming in the world of entertainment and arts. This week we will be looking at what we can expect from next years festival season. In film, we’ll be taking a look at the upcoming launch of a reworking of an old family favourite and a chat with a generic rock star about his creative process. But first, we’ll be let’s have a round-up of this weeks entertainment news.

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Presenter: The last week has seen an unprecedented number of American musicians cancelling tours to the UK and Europe. One such band are American heavy metal sensations Steel Floozie, who announced the cancellation of their UK tour citing concerns about their welfare:

Spokesman : Lead singer Ripper Machismo has felt that with the recent political troubles hitting hard, the band will not be able to complete their commitments to touring the UK. < background of grumbling and mumbling from journalists, accompanied by cameras clicking and whirring > Yes, I know that this is the third time that the band have cancelled, but there security is paramount in the eyes of their record label and they won’t be forced into a potentially dangerous situation. < more mumbling and grumbling I the background > Okay, I’ll level with you. Ripper’s mother has put her foot down. She’s a pretty formidabl …… < sounds of microphone being snatched away from spokesman>

Ripper’s mother : <American accent> Listen up! I’m Ripper’s mom, and I tell you, he grounded and he grounded until he changed the damn last album. I want all those rude words cut. And I want him to come up with a new picture for the front, that was a bad bad picture. I don’t want him going running off to your Yooonited Kiiingdooom neither. I’m not happy about the local bands over there. They play too rough and last time he was over there, he grazed his knee and I had to patch up his leather trousers maself.

Presenter : Those amazing scenes sparked a war words across the channel from the mothers of British based bands. Mrs Jenkins, mother of Citizen Bloodlust’s drummer “Mad Dog Blaze” Jenkins, called a press conference in the front room of her two-up two-down leafy suburban home in Surrey :

Mrs Jenkins : <prim / poper> “I can’t understand the attitude of Mrs Machismo at all. To say that my little Geoffrey, <mutterings of press corp > <mature male voice heard shouting “but Muuuum”>, yes that’s right Geoffrey would play rough is just not in his character. He’s been brought up to behave properly. I can only think that this Ripper Machismo is telling lies about what he’s been up to and blaming it on my boy. I know Geoffrey <mature male voice heard saying “Muuum, it’s Mad Dog Blaze”> had that bad time, but he doesn’t even need the nappies anymore.

Presenter : Other rock stars mothers have added more fuel to the fire, with the mother of Welsh punk outfit Violent Head banger’s guitarist Watkins Glenn being deported back to the UK having < presenter coughs and is heard to be shuffling paper> reportedly – and it says here - nutted guitar legend Dougie Rev’s auntie whilst holidaying in DisneyLand. We’ll bring you updates on this amazing story as they happen ….

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Presenter : Reality Show producers Rearendermol have come under fire this week for their latest plans for a twist on the tired reality show format. Following on from the success of “I’m paranoid schizophrenic, get us out of here”, they’ve reportedly been speaking with various mental institutions around the country and further a field with the proposal of using some of the institutions facilities to house a collection of talentless celebrity wannabes for a period of twelve weeks. The shows format will involve administering electro-shock therapy for the contestant voted as the week’s less popular, slowly moving up through being locked in for hours on end in a padded cell before finally having the winner committed to the institution on a full time basis. In defending the show, a spokesman said “Several of our previous winners have ended up in mental institutes of one kind or another – be that conventional secured institutions such or less conventional, such as day-time chat show circuit. This simply cuts out the middle man”.

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Presenter : And now, an in-depth look at the music Festival scene with our special report …

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Presenter 2 : <Excited, irritable> Hey hey hey, we’ve got a scoop for you this week. Not only will be talking to Martin Beavis, owner and founder of the Bilton Festival of Contemporary Arts, I can exclusively reveal the headliners for his world-renown festival next year! Yes, in a dramatic and groundbreaking change of direction to the traditional mix of contemporary and revered music acts that typically play the festival, the 2007 headliners will take more of a mystical direction. Whilst it was widely expected that Kylie Minogue and the Who would be the big names playing those sacred fields, Beavis has intimated that he wishes the festival to evolve; we can reveal that line-up will be the festivals most eclectic yet in it's twelve year history. Welcome Martin.

Martin Beavis (MB) (West country accent) : Hello.

Presenter 2 (P2) : Well, it’s great to have you hear. Now, we’ve been investigating and checking things out, and looking at some of your recent comments about the line up and have come up with the list of headliners.

MB : Well, that’s very … erm … interesting. I did say to the press a few weeks ago that I was looking to book a glam icon, four independent kings and a legend of rock n' roll …

P2 : <interrupting> Well, we’ve looked at that statement, and clearly that would the field wide open for a number of different acts. So being the dedicated, impartial and credible journalists that we narrowed the field through rational and logical elimination

< cut to an old style witches coven>

Crone : Hello my pretties, come to consult the BBC witches’ cavern have yee? I know what you want … “ <more cackling> “You all want it, you want to see the future … well, what have you brought me ….. a fish … yes, I can use the entrails of this for you ….” <out of character> “although you might have not eaten half of it, and cleared the chips away from the wrapping” <back in character> “I foresee a giant pyramid and four kings …. a super group if you like ….”

P2 : And that’s how we ascertained that the four kings are in fact the super group the 'Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse' . Although the band themselves are all identifiable as individuals - War, Famine, Pestilence, and Death – the group have yet to play live as a unit, despite having been first mooted to play as far back as the book of Revelation, in the New Testament.

MB : <aside softly as if to some-one else in interview room> “this guy’s a flipping nutter …. Keep going? Okay” <coughs> “Er, that’s right. It's a major coup for us. They aren't meant to be playing until the resurrection and subsequent judgment of the dead, and in fact they had some difficulties in getting out of the contract, which stated they couldn't play anywhere until that time. But they did feel that they would be a bit cold without some kind of warm up gig. They've essentially been waiting to perform as a group since the dawn of time. Bloody record executives and their contracts”

P2 : “One thing is certain, the band - who had it been thought would be more of a Carling Week-end type outfit - will go down a storm on the Pyramid on the Friday night ; and will in fact be the first of a number of especially selected performances with this spiritual twist”

MB : “Whatever you say”

< cut back to old style witches coven>

Crone : “Back again my pretty? What have you brought me this time? A tea-pot?” <Smelling noise> “What kind of tea did this have in it? Anyway from the leaves I see a glorious bright light, it can’t be … it can’t be … surely?”

P2 : And that’s how we ascertained that the second act will be the ultimate Glam Icon Jesus of Nazareth , or as he sometimes is known by his stage name, The Christ.

MB : <aside softly as if to some-one else in interview room> “I’m not happy doing this …. Keep going, you sure?” <Normal> “He's played here before, apparently, which I never knew until they mentioned it in that recent film documentary. It was apparently about 2000 years ago, but that was before he made it big. Since then, he's down really well for himself. Massive fan base. It's going to be a huge performance, it'll be the greatest come-back since Lazarus. I've not spoken with him, but his advisors tell me he'll be putting on his famous big production, so we can expect loaves and fishes for all, and of course plenty of water into wine. He's says that if it's wet, and he can find a good sized puddle, he'll do the whole walking on water bit too. I'm really excited about it. It's the first show of his 'Second Coming' tour”

P2 : “I wonder if he’ll be able to sort out the toilets”

MB : “Well, it would need a miracle”

< cut back to old style witches coven>

Crone : “What have we here? A mirror? With remnants of powder on it? Have you got anymore of the powder? Thanks” <Tapping noise followed, by sniffing noise> “I can see an image in the mirror ; it’s not me, it looks like …. No that’s impossible, anything but that” <sounds of smashing mirror and strange screams>

P2 : And that’s how we know will the final headliner will be Prince …”

MB : <interrupting> Prince? The papers say that every year, you surprise me. That’s just lazy journalism.

P2 : “If you’ll let me finish Martin, the artist is the Prince of Darkness, Lucifer.”

MB : “How did you know that? That was meant to be a huge surprise for everyone. Only I and the great dark Lord know about it” <aside quietly again> “That’s it, I’m getting out of here” <normal> “"Youflippindozyidiot-youhaven'tgotaflippincluehaveyou” <Storms out>

P2 : “What was that? Sanskrit? It wasn’t English? Was he speaking in tongues?. Well, proof if it is needed that our predictions are correct ; and what an eclectic line-up it promises to be. If it is, as it appears, to be the end of the world, I can't think of a better place to be than Bilton festival. I just hope the impending destruction of everything as we know it doesn't put a downer on the week-end”


Presenter 1 : Er, thanks. And now so more breaking news … it seems that the producers of this show are looking for a new roving reporter after the previous, er, journalist was head-hunted by Rearendemol for their new insanity reality show …. Applications via the web site please.


It's all Halls' fault ....

It's all Halls' fault. His continual posting of things like "You are wasted on here" spurred me into action. Unless he thinks I am actually just wasted when I'm on here, in which case I'll have a rethink.

I've come to a decision. It's probably partly due to my creativity starting to flow back again after years of drug-induced coma .... regardless, instead of writing rubbish on this site all the time, I thought it might be an idea if I could actually put something together that I could actually use as a way of trying to see if I could feesibly start a career as a script writer. I was going to have a go at the through the talent spotting pages on the BBC web pages here. I've started putting some material together, I'll probably end up posting it on here to get some feedback from some of yous who are so inclined.

I'll definately work the festival line up story thing I did a while back ; it'll need shoe-horning into the right format, but that's a definate. I'm always working on an idea about rock stars mothers arguing about their respective son's behaviour, a kind of role-reversal thing.


A blog entry

I'm actually going to write a proper bona-fide blog entry today.

I'm going on holiday on Tuesday - hoorah! I need a break really badly, it's been such a long while, and the wife and I have been busy busy working on the house, which we purchased in April. We are off to my relatives place in Italy, a beautiful, untouristy (well, apart from Italian tourists) place half way between Genoa and Pisa called the "Golfo di Poeti" or the bay of Poets.

It looks like this :


It's called the bay of poets because Lord Byron and Percey Shelley used to live there ; Shelley in fact died there - and my Grandma's old house is about three doors down from his old villa. I've been going over there my entire life, and I know lots of people and I always feel like I'm going home. The fish is fantastic ; I always take a boat ride out of the bay as it reminds me of when my Great Grandfather used to take me to get his nets when I was a child, we used to go to the bakers at four in the morning, grab a fresh loaf and a bottle of white wine ; he'd tie the white wine to the back of his little old boat and we'd go get muscles, open them up and squeeze lemon on them and knock them back with a bit of bread and a some wine. Sure I was plastered, because I was about three at the time, but with the heady mix of the wine made up at my Uncles vineyard and the sea air, and the freshly made focaccia breads it's a memory I'll never forget.

It's a beautifully romantic place too ; the mix of the scent of pines from the hill tops mixed with the sea creates an aura around it, and I can spend all day just sitting and watching the world go by, or walk around top of one of the castles that book-end the bay. We should be there for the Communist festival that goes on annually, and they always have a great time - laying out a good spread and some fun music too. I'll watch at least one film in the open air cinema round the back of the church too.

One day I will retire there and will buy myself a fishing boat and live simply ; that's the kind of place it is - it seems so far removed from the hurly burly of life over here ; and life seems to last a lot longer, my Zia Franca for example runs around like a whirling dervish and she's eighty five. She tells me it's because of the good wine, the good food and of course her favourite olive oil.

I'm starting to relax just thinking about it. It's probably my favourite place on earth ; even better than Glasto for me


Today’s blog entry is inspired by some of the comments in here.

The parable of the stupid traveller

And so it came to pass that the great and bountiful kingdom of the e-festivals forum saw many great debates and discussions as to the state of the world and it was good, for the discussions enriched and educated the minds of many; for the underlying beliefs of those in the kingdom were of peace and love, of understanding and acceptance. And into this kingdom came a great number of travellers who would stay and discuss matters of both trivia and importance, and they would be welcome, for the enlightened folk of the kingdom recognised that the greater good is served by all manner of opinion and train of thought.

And so the kingdom became renown, and that travellers would often take up home in the kingdom, and the kingdom grew and prospered for that. Yet on one particular day, one such traveller arrived; this traveller, as happened on occasion, was of a mind that enraged the general population. And although other such travellers of this nature were as bigoted and as shallow-minded, such was the spineless nature of this particular traveller that the annals for years after would record the name as being the most senseless and depraved thinker to come to the kingdom; for the racist bigotry of this traveller knew no bounds, for so full of hate was this traveller that the judgement which he applied to situations was perverted and unsound. And whilst the fine people of the kingdom engaged the traveller as to find out the reasoning behind the insipid and widely inaccurate beliefs, for that was their nature and for the main they wished to spread the peace and love and the understanding and acceptance that they had nurtured, they were unable to reckon as to this travellers motivation; for it was felt that the traveller was not of a mind to enrage the population on purpose. It was felt the traveller did actually hold these views and wished to spread the contrary of peace and love and understanding and acceptance, for his words would encourage war and hatred and division and exclusion.

And yet the discussions they had with the traveller did not allow the fine people the understanding they sought as to the motivation behind his nonsensical, narrow-minded and hateful mind; and they could only speculate to the series of events that resulted in this pathetic, poorly educated and irrational opinions, and it drew great consternation from the people. There were those who pointed to some horrid childhood experience, possibly involving a dog on heat. Others gave credence to the travellers inability to sustain any kind of relationship with a mate, and his vitriol was designed to cover the traveller's own inadequacies, possibly as result of castration. Others considered it as a result of imbibing too much alcohol and narcotics and yet others reckoned it to be a genetic defect, given his parentage line of in-bred, mutated destitute wretches.

And whilst it was the mantra of many to try and create peace and love and understanding within those around them, regardless of colour or kin, the population were wearily resigned to failure; and as such they felt there was no option but to pour upon him the worst of all e-festival punishments - ritually humiliation in the sifi blog.


And because my own anger has inspired me even further ...

Funny looking' individuals forcibly removed from aircraft

(Reuters, 21 August 2006) Two middle aged gentleman were removed from an aircraft today by airport authorities after passengers on the plane claimed they had being acting suspiciously. The charter flight, scheduled to leave London Gatwick at 13:24 was delayed prior to departure after passengers identified the two to aircraft stewards who arranged for the removal of the men and their luggage. The two men had initially aroused suspicions in the departure lounge, where they were accused of jumping the queue to board the aircraft. Said one passenger "My wife and I picked them out as we waited at the gate. They were both wearing beards and appeared to be in some kind of ritualistic uniform". Once on the aircraft, the two were seen talking furtively to some of the aircraft stewards. Another passenger who refused to be named on the chance that "He might get it from the towel heads" said "One of them appeared to be carrying a bottle of a clear liquid of some description - although it was in an Evian water bottle, we knew that it probably wasn't water". The two men were physically restrained by a number of the passengers. "They were both wearing weird little hats too," The anonymous passenger continues "And they were both purposefully striding to the cockpit of the plane, so I and my three mates jumped on them before they could get to the door. There was a bit of kafuffle, and there was a bit of claret spilled, but we managed to make sure they couldn't get to the cockpit. I'd hate to have thought if they had managed to get in there. We might have been the next st. astic". Upon asking who was St. Astic, we were told he was the patron saint of dead aircraft passengers.

At going to press, the flight operator were unable to comment on who the two might of been. "We can't find these two people on the passenger manifesto, they don't appear to have tickets, we can't think how they got through security. We don't know anything about them". Upon being asked if the plane had made it to it's destination, the tour operator responded "No, not really. We've been unable to locate the pilot and the chief officer ; until that happens the flight will be permanently kept on the tarmac, although of course we've told the passengers that there will be a slight delay".


This weeks post bag is looking a bit sparse, so c'mon people, get your missives in - and some post might not go a miss, either. I have had a few letters, regardless - and I'll share those with you, well at least those that don't involve detailed instructions as to a new and interesting uses for root vegetables. All I will say on that is I don't think it's been cold enough this year to get a really good frost for the optimum parsnip and as such they don't retain their firmness, especially after that amount of friction.

This first note comes from one of our regulars, a Mr'Vestibule 75'. He writes "I know that you have essentially finished your page three career, however, I was interested to read that you have had another set of breast implants, and was wondering if you wouldn't mind sending me a signed picture of yourself, preferably in the bath".

Whilst a bit put out by some of the insinuations in Vestibule's letter, but always willing to please, I duly obliged by jumping in the tub and , making the most of the bubbles. I was going to send it back by return, but it was brought to my attention that a Mr Vestibule has been arrested for sending threatening letters to Katie Price, formerly known as Jordan, which were of a crude nature and apparently involved placing root vegetables in strange places, some of which were physically impossible. All I can say on the matter is that I have sympathies for her and the distress missives of that nature can cause.

Next up is a note from an sifiblog regular who wishes to remain anonymous. She says "Dear Sifi, I'm a voluptuous, tall, blonde, pretty 36-34-36 woman and I would like to carry your children".

Now, I'm not one to turn down an offer like that! And what red-blooded male would! Especially as the kids are getting to that age where they are heavy to heave around the place, so a spare set of hands will be brilliant, especially in the supermarket. So if you don't mind meeting me outside Tescos, in Lagos, on Saturday at three, that would be much appreciated. I don't suppose you would mind sitting for a few hours, would you?


And now, time for the answers to last week's competition. First up, the "What's wrong with this picture round?", where I posted a picture and you had to identify what was wrong with it. Well, of course, there's no way that Girls Aloud would have visited the British Museum in mid-winter wearing only their underwear. Clearly, it should have the Tate Modern.

And to the finish the song title round. I asked you to complete the title of "I'll never fall in _____ again". The answer was of course "love", but as usual, I had a few answers that were fairly wide of the mark - and if you are reading this C of the Download boards, I can only hope you've washed since.

The final song title was "___________ keep falling on my head", and of course the answer is raindrops. Again, C of the Download boards, please tell me you managed to get what you suggested out of your hair without having to get it cut - it's been upsetting me for a few days now.



More breaking news : Hostilities enter into their forty sixth week.

(Reuters, 15 August 2006, the Reading / Leeds Forum )

From our reporter in the field : Hostilities entered into the their forty-sixth week today in the Pearl Jam thread, as another attempt to broker a cease-fire failed, and the blood letting arguments that have caused so much damage, unhappiness and taken so much bandwidth have now escalated to boiling point. The question is no longer over who is going to win the debate, but more about what the exact debate is about ; regardless, for those who live to tell the tale, the Pearl Jam thread is possibly the most violent episode in e-festivals posting history since the 'Is there a God?' thread of 2003/4.

Immediate reaction to the escalation of hostilities had been muted, given the reluctance of civilian population to come forward and discuss the matter, however, influential posters have called upon the e-festival administration to enforce some kind of peace ; at this time the e-festival administration is said to be too busy to broker a deal, however, our sources seem to indicate that the administration are happy to see the conflict continue in this secured and buffered thread - possibly with a view that it may spread to other areas of the site if the thread itself was closed. Although the administration has no official policy on that matter, stating it is the sovereign right of any legitimate boarder to post, the calls for thread closure are being taken very seriously, although by whom is not entirely clear at this stage.

Pro-peace organisations have been equally quiet on the subject. It is felt by many that the best way for ending of this conflict would be for the main protagonists to undertake mutually assured destruction, even at the high high cost of civilian collateral damage. However, the leader of what has become known as the Nora faction is a somewhat nebolous individual, whose title changes on a regular basis ; the faction have been thus far a patriarchy, a matriarchy before recently settling on a neo-religious dictatorship. This individual has been apparently killed before, only yto return. This faction is seen as disrupting a peaceful, if somewhat excitable, collection of indigenous peoples called the 'jammers', whose fluid membership seems to revolve around a couple of key members.

So what next for the thread? It's anticipated that the conflict will continue until a few days prior to the holy time of the Bank Holiday week-end ; when the Carling Week-end festival will take place - thereafter, it is hoped that the festival itself will answer the questions asked ; if not, the civilian population will need to ready itself for a long, drawn out engagement over the inhospitable months - by which time, according to jammers dogma, the great ones themselves will come down from Seattle above, and lay waste to the unbelievers before elevating the jammers to their rightful place in e-festivals folklore.

You can be assured that the Sifiblog will be monitoring events until their conclusion, despite the fact I always preferred Soundgarden anyway.


Monday is serious day on the sifiblog, looking at different aspects of popular culture and their place in our modern society. It's a difficult world, it's an unfair world, and it's a challenging world. Technology is moving at a breakneck pace, science is dragging us forward at such a rate - and to an extent our ethics, our morals and our beliefs as a civilisation don't change at the same speed. We have very little actual knowledge as individuals, yet as groups we can be as Gods, creating, mending, fixing and improving ourselves and others of ailments, diseases, disabilities and even our looks. Thousands of millions of pounds are thrown at research, at development, with a view to making our world a better, happier place for millions, whilst significantly more people try simply to survive; it's a huge dichotomy, a contradiction in terms - we are so focused on our own personal improvements and possessions, yet we can't even ensure that everyone has clean water, or is safe from violence and tyranny. There are so many questions, concerns and problems that the world has, so many flashpoints that one no longer knows where to start. But somewhere we shall start and start we will ; to try and identify what it is about us that defines us, that makes us who we are and to that end, try and work out what we want from this brief, shallow existence. It's a difficult world, and you've got to be ready for it.

And so, after three minutes of wild and inaccurate speculation, the sifiblog has is proud to present to you, the fine people of e-festivals, the first of what I classify as the essentials of life, those things that will provide you all with a personal toolbox of equipment to see you through all kinds of personal crises.

The first of these tools is of course olive oil. Although to many it might appear to be a substitute for sunflower or other cooking oils, to limit it to just that would be a injustice. But before looking at the uses of it, first a personal recommendation :

"Consume olive oil and anoint it upon your bodies since it is of the blessed tree." - Mohammed, God's final prophet.

But if you aren't of a Muslim persuasion, maybe you might want to consider the use of olive oil in Judaism. The word Messiah itself means 'he who has been covered in olive oil', as does the it's literal Greek translation "Christ".

You don't get that many products with that kind of endorsement - from all three of the single God figure religions, anyway. Those guys knew what they were up to ; be it redeeming all of us from sin, or giving us a path to follow to eternal salvation. And what better way to ensure an easy, safe nailing up than getting a bit of olive oil to lubricate the joints, and give you some natural protection from the sun. You are on the cross, you've got loads of people looking at you - do you want to be pale, and stiff? Or looking gleaming and bronzed?

But what else can it be used for? Well, all kinds of lubrication and it's safe and effective and readily available. Fed up of mumbling something about petroleum jelly over the counter at the chemist? You'll have no such worries at the supermarket - just pop a bottle of it into your trolley and no-one will suspect

that you are a deviant. Brilliant!

You can use it as an oil to burn, giving light too. The world oil itself is derivative of the word olive! Run out of soap? Wash your hands with it! And ... you can even cook with it!

Olive oil - don't leave home without it :ph34r:

Next week : linguini and impromptu uses of pasta in the bedroom.


Sports Desk

And now, for the first of a weekly Friday Sifiblog feature, looking at some of the sporting news from the week and what we can look forward to in the week ahead. And because of the blanket coverage that the nation's mainstream sports receives, the Friday Sports Desk feature will look at some of the minority sports that are enjoyed up and down the country.

After the success of the summer's world event held in, erm, France - it's time for the rigours of the new Leapfrog season. The reigning champions, the Wantage toads, have brought in some new faces this year, mainly focusing on strengthening at the rear after the dramatic retirement of their team captain, after his coccyx was left in tatters. Their main opponents will be, as always, the Stevenage Leapers, who have themselves had to regroup following the expulsion of their over-seventies side for suspected doping after huge levels of testosterone were found in random drug tests. Although the over-seventies have taken their case to the governing body, their plea being that the testosterone levels had been so high because of their natural exuberance, have been turned down on the grounds of common decency.

The ancient and revered sport of duck tickling has once again made a re-appearance, with a new national league being supported with money from a major media group said to be forthcoming. Said the Chairman of the British Duck Tickling Association "It's just want the sport needed. After years of decline, interest in the sport is starting to increase after the unpleasantness of the last few years. Those Accusations were never proven, by the way, despite an independent enquiry by the RSPCA. Our members are at one with their ducks, and the sport requires total and complete trust between each man and his duck ; anything else would be quackers". We can only hope that the league can rise above the nudge-nudge-wink-wink culture that has enveloped the sport.

And onto our main feature, an in depth look at the exciting and non-stop action of marbles. This year, we can expect a strong challenge from the under 21 Swedish ladies team, and we've been lucky enough to get some behind the scenes footage of them in action. Unfortunately, we are unable to show any of it here - due to some of their unconventional training methods. It may be available on a more specialised, pay-site later in the year, given the interest from many quarters in seeing the material - especially that of the girls eyeing one another's small boxes up and of course them getting their hands on some of the larger balls that they seem to have preference for. However, we can assure you that their technique is a strong as it has always been, and they seem to improved their grip and release techniques. British ‘flickers’ should be warned.

And finally, for those of you wishing to catch up on the latest hunting news following the introduction of the legislation earlier this year ; in a suprising twist, the normally reactionary Berkshire Hunt has asked it's MP to table an early day motion to amend the legislation to allow hunting of John Prescott by dogs, citing that nearly everyone in the country would enjoy such a spectacle. However, the RSPCA has come down hard on the proposal, saying that use of such dumb animals in sport in generally is unacceptable. They've also said it's bad for the dogs too.


A reflection on a famous music paper's take on next years Glasto .....

Glastonbury 2007 headliners take shape

(MNE, 10 August 2006, London) :

MNE.com has learned that in a dramatic and groundbreaking change of direction to the traditional mix of contemporary and revered music acts that typically play the Glastonbury festival, the 2007 headliners will take more of an mystical direction. Whilst it was widely expected that Kylie Minogue and the Who would be the big names playing the sacred fields of Avalon next year, Eavis, 82, has intimated that he wishes the festival to evolve; we can reveal that line-up will be the festivals most eclectic yet in it's twelve year history.

In an exclusive interview with Eavis, we were able to confirm that the headliners that our detailed investigation has uncovered. Eavis himself was originally bemused at our suggestions, but finally succumbed after we went into the irrefutable evidence that we had collected over the last few weeks.

Our investigations started with Eavis' well-publicised statement of a few weeks ago that he would be looking to book "A glam icon, four independent kings and a legend of rock n' roll". Clearly that would leave the field wide open for a number of different acts, so being the dedicated, impartial and credible journalists we are here at MNE, we narrowed down the field through rational and logical elimination.

The pattern of the birds flying over MNE towers last Wednesday, in conjunction with a reading of fish entrails from the left-overs of the editor's cod and chip supper allow us to reveal that the four Kings of Indie are in fact the super group the 'Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse' . Although the band themselves are all identifiable as individuals - War, Famine, Pestilence, and Death – the group have yet to play live as a unit, despite having been first mooted to play as far back as the book of Revelation, in the New Testament.

Eavis concurred. "It's a major coup for us. They aren't meant to be playing until the resurrection and subsequent judgment of the dead, and in fact they had some difficulties in getting out of the contract, which stated they couldn't play anywhere until that time. But they did feel that they would be a bit cold without some kind of warm up gig. They've essentially been waiting to perform as a group since the dawn of time. Bloody record executives and their contracts" he joked.

One thing is certain, the band - who had it been thought would be more of a Carling Week-end type outfit - will go down a storm on the Pyramid on the Friday night ; and will in fact be the first of a number of especially selected performances with this spiritual twist. The second, as confirmed by swilling around the tea-leaves at the bottom of the editor's special mushroom tea pot on Monday, will be the ultimate Glam Icon : Jesus of Nazareth , or as he sometimes is known by his stage name, The Christ . Again, Eavis warms to the subject.

"He's played here before, apparently, which I never knew until they mentioned it in that Julien Temple film. It was apparently about 2000 years ago, but that was before he made it big. Since then, he's down really well for himself. Massive fan base. It's going to be a huge performance, it'll be the greatest come-back since Lazarus. I've not spoken with him, but his advisors tell me he'll be putting on his famous big production, so we can expect loaves and fishes for all, and of course plenty of water into wine. He's says that if it's wet, and he can find a good sized puddle, he'll do the whole walking on water bit too. I'm really excited about it. It's the first show of his 'Second Coming' tour."

The third headliner, as defined from the strange pattern that were left after the editor took a particularly large line of the old marching powder on Saturday night, will be Prince. When I mentioned this to Eavis, a big smile appeared on that famous face. "You say that every year, really you do. That's just lazy journalism". But before he could continue we told him that we knew the rock n' roll legend would be in fact the Prince of Darkness, Lucifer . He was in shock. "How did you know that? That was meant to be a huge surprise for everyone. Only I and the great dark Lord know about it". At this point, Eavis, visibly shaken and pale, began to speak in tongues. "Youf**kingdozyidiotz", which we can only assume was an ancient Sanskrit language, with a slight west country lilt, "youhaven'tgotaf**kincluehaveyou". At that point, he told us to leave.

Immediate reaction amongst festivalgoers were mixed when we polled a small section of our readership. Responses ranged from "You idiots" to "You'll believe anything" to "You've made that up, haven't you" and "You are taking the piss". It appears Eavis may have to re-think his strategy on this strange group of performers, even some of the died-in-the-wool festival goers, who rarely wander out of the Green Fields, seemed to think the week-end might be a bit of a wash out. "If it is, as it appears, to be the end of the world, I can't think of a better place to be", said one "I just hope the impending destruction of everything as we know it doesn't put a downer on the week-end”. Another asked if they would be showing the football.

You can read more lies and outrageous claims in next week's MNE.

Disclaimer : Micahel Eavis hasn't really booked the four horsemen, the Christ and the devil to play. And he's not 82, nor does he speaks in tongues. Well, he might do, but I doubt it. He seems much to nice a man to get involved in that kind of thing.


This weeks postbag ...

Following on from the underwhelming success of the sifi blog, I've received literally some messages from the ever-decreasing readership, which I thought I'd share with you in a regular "postbag" section. I've changed the user-names to protect the guilty.

The first one comes from a Mr Templeton Sonic. He writes

"I've recently started seeing a new girl, and I think she's perfect for me. We share the same predispositions, and have passionately enjoyed periods of intense predilections too. It occurs to me that our experiences of mutual mastercation - of the cud at least ;)- have left me somewhat irresolute as to the state of liaison, whilst she has indicated a tendency to achieving a reciprocating harmonious affiliation"

Well, Templeton ,you needn't worry that much. It's a common enough problem. I'd suggest you thrash out your trepidations and nail down your presentiments, although obviousy you'll need to do that whilst she's not around and make sure you get everything hosed down afterwards.

Next comes a, erm, slightly shabby postcard from a Mr 'Vestibule 75'. I can't really reveal what he's written, partly because stains are obscuring some of the words, and partly because of the content, but you can all rest assured that not only have I contacted the relevant local authorities, but also that his reign of terror will soon be over, and the ducks of Great Yarmouth area will finally be able to sleep easier.

And finally, I've received a text from a Carling week-end fan. He writes "Awwww man bummer, txtin iz messin mi headn'me englis, lol, CWer". Well, CWer, all I can suggest is an intensive four day course of Crime and Punishment. If you aren't going to the Leeds festival, you could try reading Dostoevsky instead ...

Should you feel like writing to us, please use the usual address ; The Editor c/o Prisoner No 18352, Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Please note, we can't guarantee to return anything that you might send to us nor indeed that you won't be aressted and exceptionally renderred by a large American gentleman by the name of Bubba shortly thereafter.


And now - competition time! Last week, we asked you to complete the following song titles.

The first one was "I bet you look good on the ..... " and of course the answer was "Dancefloor". I won't dignify some of the answers I received, but if you are reading this 'J' of the T in the Park boards, if you can't get it out with petroluem jelly, I'd urge you to go to the hospital immediately and get them to remove it surgically.

Next was "Sitting at the dock ..... ". The answer was of course "of the bay" and not "waiting for sentencing" as was suggested by some Millwall fans. Good try though, you lions fans - I've popped a couple of empty beer bottles in the post for you to throw at your next away game.

And finally, "Do you know the way to .... " . The answer was "Amarillo?" and not as JP, KE, JH, EI, HJ, VU, N, VJ and KT, all of the Galstonbury boards, queried "get a ticket to Glastonbury 2007?" or indeed as UT, SJ,EK, KW, KU, SMB, NT and W also of the the same boards suggested "the underground piano bar?"

Right, on to this weeks competition. I've got the top twenty chart albums here to give away to the first person we draw out the old top hat who has correctly identified who this is an impression of "Ouch, my back hurts, I must have twinged it when I got out the shower this morning".

Answers on a postcard to the address above, and I'll let you know the answer next week!


Breaking news ....

E-festival regulars admitted to hospital

Reuters (08 August 2006) (London) : Initial reports have been released by a specially created police taskforce investigate an alarming trend in hospital admissions for individuals suffering from mild concussion and bruisings. At first, the initial cases of the growing nationwide phonemon were considered as isolated, one-off admissions, however, thanks to improved communciation and technology between hospitals, a disturbing picture has started to emerge.

The first admission was thought to be in the Sunderland area of the country, where an un-named individual was admitted with severe lacerations to the forehead, and extreme swelling of the neck. Initial scans suggested a long, monotonous hammering of a hard object against the forehead, however, subsequent investigation into correlation with the patient's enlarged shoulder and neck muscles seemed to contradict this, and implied that the injuries were in fact sustained purposefully. Another case occurred approximately two days later in Leeds, with exactly the same sympthoms, with similar cases being reported across the country, and some reports from further afield.

The subsequent police investigation initially focused on the careers of the individuals, and family circumstances, but could see not real connection. It was only later when the fact that all the individuals concerned had been heavy users of the e-festival forums came to light, that the final peice of the puzzle fell into place. It would appear that all the users in question had been posting in the "Pearl Jam" threads that had become prolific within certain areas of the festival forums site. Immediately the police assigned four crack officers to investigate the threads, however, even under controlled conditions, the same sympthoms appeared on those officers.

The police inted to make a full report later in the week.

In unrelated news, the building industry recorded increased profits today, with the news that demand for brick repairwork had dramatically shot up following reports of numerous people continually banging their head against brick walls for weeks on end.

edit : I'd like to thank the most enthusiastic contributors to the Pearl Jam threads for giving me the inspiration for this blog entry. You know who you are. Please please please . ;)


A fairy tale for you all today. Are you sitting comfortably? Then I'll begin.

Once upon a time there was a huge country, rich in musicians and festivals, with plenty of music and places to sit outside and enjoying the sunshine. In fact, it's the near the end of Summer at the start of our story, children, and the people of this country had all been enjoying listening to their favorite music in the sunshine all summer long, and they had danced and frolicked and some had even taken some sweeties which helped them dance and frolick all through day and all through the night. And even when the people weren't dancing to music, they would talk of which music they would listen to and which field they would like to go to next, such was their love of all things musical and festive. Although they were sad that the festival seaon had almost finished, they were happy because it had been a good summer and everyone looked forward to next year.

Everyone except the wicked witch Ibay, that is, who had been annoyed by the people because they had been ignoring her and her horrid friends (who were called 'the touts'). Ibay was a powerful witch, who had the ability to send herself into nearly every house in the country, and she was so cross and so angry that the people that she decided to come up with a plan to make sure that she was never to be ignored again. She would make sure the touts would pick all the festival ticket from the festival trees before the people could get them, and then take all the people's money money in exchange for them. And she didn't even care if the tickets weren't sold, she'd rather that the festival grounds were empty and the music went unheard rather than let the people ignore her ever again.

And so the people hibernated throught he Winter, awaking the following year as Springtime arrived and they looked to their festivals for the summer. Some would listen to their headbanging music, others to their rave music. Even the old and rich people would listen their classical music. And so - as was tradition - they went to the great ticket orchard to get their tickets. But as hard as they tried, lots and lots of the tickets had already been plucked by the touts whilst they were sleeping! And after they had tried and tried and tried to reach the tallest branches to no avail, they became upset becuase they would not be listening to their favorite music in the sunshine all summer long, and they would not be dancing and frolicking and taking their sweeties all through day and all through the night.

At that point, the wicked witch Ibay appeared and said to the sadden multitude that she had all the tickets, and they were locked up in her tower, and she would only sell them to the highest bidder! The people were shocked, and cross - because before when anyone could pluck a ticket, now only the richer of the people could go. And the festivals themselves would only be for the rich people, and the poor people would have to watch the music from afar, which made the people who made the music sad, and the people who made the festivals sad too. But the wicked witch Ibay continued to do this for years and years, and the people would shout and scream, but it would go on and on.

And so, one day the people didn't want to go the the festivals anymore, because it made them so upset. And the touts didn't want to buy the tickets for Ibay anymore, because they had grown fat and lazy from all the money they had made. So the next spring when when the very committed went without much hope to pluck their tickets, they were amazed and shocked to see so many tickets growing on the trees that they could pick and choose which fields they wanted to go to once again. The witch Ibay was being ignored regardless, for most people had forgotten why they had listened to the music in the first place, and they had now found some other distraction, and so Ibay decided to destroy that instead, and the true music lovers were left to enjoy their music once again.

The End.

Well, I did say it was a fairy tale.


Scene 1, Act 1

Web log rolling rolling rolling.

Scene 1, Act 1, take II .... And .... action!

The scene is set. The page is empty, the way is forward and the road is long, with - by all accounts - many a winding turn. And where it leads, well, who knows where, who knows when. Maybe the AA do. Or indeed - in the interests of a balanced blog - so do any of the other roadside assistance groups. I wouldn't know, I don't drive ; which is sometimes a cause of concern to me, but mainly a cause of relief, I'm as good as blind out of my left eye. Where was I? oh yes, a web log. Weeeeeeeebbbbbbbbb looooooggggg .....

The scene was set. The authors of the first efestivals weblogs sat around their virtual table, sipping their virtual drinks and talking about virtually anything. The air of self-satisfaction at jobs well done seemed to hang in the air. The initial blogging had appeared to go down well, despite the behaviour of a bitch on heat. And it was these few hardy trailblazers, those who had left their imprint on the blogging tradition within efestivals forevermore, those exceptional - some might say special - men and women who had made history. And yet, there was a concern amongst them - an edge, a nameless, faceless trepidation at the inevitability, the certainty which faced them. Which of the bloggers would voice their concerns first? Would it be the butch, hairy hombre Halls, he of the duck fixation and unhealthy interest in feathers? Or would it be effeminate, cutesy, long eye-lashed and all silk gloves Neil? Maybe it would be the mongo-chutnied Bus and his famous bag of trousers? And then if in answer to their angst, the answer was presented to them in no uncertain terms ; not only had Sifimaster written an introduction to a weblog, he'd also managed to insult them in his chummy mocking tone AND establish a style of blogging that would set the entire efestival blogging standard back several years ......


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