Tuesday, September 26, 2006
The Muppet Matrix
Monday, September 25, 2006
The Relationship Terminator
I saw this news item earlier today and thought it was quite funny. I’m too lazy to dress it up, so what you see below is more or less the entire news article, lest I be accused of plagiarism!
From seemingly solid marriages through to quick flings and illicit affairs, a phone call or a knock from Bernd Dressler is guaranteed to kill the romance stone dead. Hence, the growing number of clients for his new "separation agency" that informs unsuspecting spouses and lovers that their partners no longer want them. For those too scared to break the bad news themselves, the 52 year old former insurance man will deliver the bullet with Teutonic efficiency, charging €20 to do it by phone and from €50 upwards for a "personalised" home visit.
"I am just the messenger," said Mr. Dressler, whose Berlin based business has earned him the nickname of the Terminator. "People go to dating agencies to find a lover. By helping unhappy couples to split up, I am offering the same kind of service, but in reverse," he says.
Beginning with a "let's stay friends" arrangement involving a "sensitive phone call", Mr. Dressler offers four different termination packages. At the deluxe end of the scale he will administer a "Personal Termination Call" which includes a detailed explanation as to why his client has decided to end the relationship. The follow-up service also includes discreetly collecting a client's belongings from a former lover's home.
The opening message can be delivered in a "sympathetic or direct manner", according to the wishes of the client. But in doorstep encounters, Mr. Dressler, 6ft and with the bearing of a police superintendent crossed with an undertaker, always opens with the same gambit. "I say to them, good day, my name is Bernd Dressler from the Separation Agency and I have been asked by your partner to inform you that he or she wishes to end your relationship. I don't get involved if somebody starts crying or gets emotional. I simply tell them I have come to pass on the message."
He never attempts to intervene in unhappy marriages and makes a point of ruling out clients with the potential for violence or extreme emotional behaviour. Cash must be delivered up front before any approach is made. Since he started his agency last July, he has received more than 200 inquiries from Germans stuck in dead end relationships and has enabled 120 of them to finally terminate their liaisons. Most customers are women in their early 20s. "I get about three phone calls a day," he said. "The peak periods are after holidays and weekends, when couples have suffered the most stress," he explained.
Mr. Dressler launched his agency after losing his job as an insurance company manager and spending three years touring around America on a Harley-Davidson motorcycle. However, while the business may be raking in the euros for Mr. Dressler, those on the receiving end of "The Terminator's" services are still coming to terms with it. He told Hagen, a 37 year old council official, that his relationship with his girlfriend, Heike, was over. "It hurt like hell at the time, but Mr. Dressler was very objective. I suppose it was the only way that Heike could tell me that things were over," Hagen said.
Sunday, September 24, 2006
The Jive Aces at Soho
These are pictures of the fabulous Jive Aces, a UK swing band from London. I first heard about these guys on the Roaring Forties website as both bands met recently at a Norwegian jazz festival. These guys are the business, come on, they’ve got coordinated yellow and pink suits and everything! If you don’t believe me, just download a few of their songs or videos from their website. Anyway, you can imagine my surprised delight when Julian, the notorious drummer and infamous style guru from the Roaring Forties, left a comment on my previous Doubletime post on Saturday stating that the Jive Aces would be playing in Soho (that’s the bar in Cork by the way, not the slightly dodgy part of London) that very same evening as part of the Beamish Experience. Well, I don’t know about you but I was well excited at the prospect of seeing such a great swing band in my own back yard.
Although, to be perfectly honest I was a little unsettled by the fact that they were playing in Soho, which if you ask me is even worse than Reardons, which is saying something! At least Reardons doesn’t have any pretensions, it knows it’s a tacky venue of last resort for drunken male tossers and desperate scantily-clad slappers and makes no apologies for being so. Heh, sorry if your feelings are hurt but I ain’t pulling no punches to avoid upsetting your fragile sensibilities. That said, the sweet irony about a place like Soho is that its owners and clientele are so self-deluded that they actually think that both it and they have class. Whereas the reality of the situation is that Soho is just the latest bar that the fashionable boys and girls about town, whose collective IQ would probably fall short of one average individual, have deemed the current in place to be seen until their herd like mentality kicks in again and they decide to move on to graze elsewhere. (Meow, bitchin’ form this evening!)
But I wasn’t going to let a small thing like that put me off. So off I went to spruce myself up, cursing the fact that everyone else had fecked off to see Tom Baxter in the Savoy, who by all accounts played a very good mixed set. Finally, suitably spruced up, I grabbed my camera (ok, a brief anorak moment, just cut me some slack) and headed off out into the pissing rain. Of course, thanks to said rain, it took me twenty minutes to find a parking space and after parking somewhere near the edge of hell, I grabbed my coat from the car and trekked off into the rain drenched night, somewhat vaguely in the direction of Soho.
One brisk walk later, which made Noah’s Ark and the whole flood thing look like a walk in the park, I arrived at the door of Soho with a bright eager look on my face. I’m going to see the Jive Aces don’t you know, they’re like a really happening swing band. It doesn’t bother me that they’re playing in a real trendy bar that’s about as appropriate as the frickin’ Pope hanging out in a strip club. Ya, like an innocent lamb to its unsuspecting slaughter. Unfortunately, so full of anticipation was I that I neglected to engage in my usual parley with the door staff, they’re people too you know and if treated right will never hassle you or give two hoots as to what you’re wearing. Anyway, big mistake! Mr. Brightside took one look at me and with a grim dour look politely informed me that they have a “dress code” and that I couldn’t go in because I was wearing sneakers. Suddenly, my Whatdafuckometer (patented by China Blue) kicked into action and my blissful haze of euphoric happiness was swiftly swept to one side. One quick argument later, during the course of which I told said bouncer what I thought of his stupid fucking dress code (they’re Converse One Stars for feck sake) and of his poxy trendy slapper joint, briefly interluded by a bizarre side conversation with a crazy French tourist who wanted to know if it was too late to have dinner at the restaurant above Soho and me trying to explain that despite any appearances to the contrary that I didn’t actually frickin’ work there and terminated with me quickly getting the hell out of there before the door man called in a half dozen of his buddies to collectively beat the living shit out of me down the dark alley conveniently located beside the entrance to Soho. Well, I did mention that it was a classy establishment.
So there you have it. There I was - wet, distraught and alone. I mean, I had even washed before I went out, like with soap and everything! It just wasn’t fair, the world can be a cruel and unforgiving place at times. Although on the one hand even though I didn’t get to see the Jive Aces, on the other hand I didn’t have to spend even five minutes in that shit hole. Hmmm, it doesn’t matter, I’m still cross. Cross with Soho and their stupid dress code! Cross with Beamish for making such a colossal fuck up when it comes to matching bands to appropriate venues! Cross with God for pissing rain all over me! Cross with the Jive Aces for not personally promising to play at my next birthday just to make up for the whole miserable experience, in fairness, I even bought their cd on their website earlier and you can’t say fairer than that! Cross with... look just cross because I wanna be! Grrr! Grrr! Grrr!
Kids, step away from the cross man, now come on children, let’s move along quickly...
(For a calmer version from someone who was let in, have a look at Donal's post.)
Saturday, September 23, 2006
Doubletime at An Spailpin Fanac
I’ve been to Doubletime twice during the last two months. Both times were good fun, the usual carry on, lots of pretty girls in fabulous dresses, DJ Gary doing his wild crazy thing, although lately he’s been stripping down to his vest and I’m not too sure if I approve! That said, the lack of air conditioning upstairs in the Spailpin does mean that it gets really hot.
Of course there was also plenty of mad dancing, look, it’s not like we have a clue of what we’re doing but everyone gives it a go and Doubletime is always a guaranteed good time. Anyway, I’ve ranted on about Doubletime many times in the past, so I’m not going to bore you all about it again this time. Instead, enjoy these few pictures and hopefully they’ll give you an idea of what you’re missing!
Roll on the next Doubletime...
Friday, September 22, 2006
WWO at Cyrpus Avenue
A few months ago, a Polish hip hop group called WWO (pronounced vu-vu-oh) played at Cyprus Avenue on a Sunday evening. The published start time was 9pm but we all know that doesn’t mean shit, especially in Cyprus Avenue, which seems to be notorious for late starts. Anyways, my brother (who’s a mental hip hop fan) and I sauntered up to the door at around 9:30pm expecting to waltz in with the minimum of fuss. Heh, it was a Sunday evening and I wasn’t expecting much of a crowd for some unheard of Polish hip hop group. Au contraire my pretty ones, the place was jointed, it was like walking into downtown Warsaw! Eventually after the brother produced his passport (ah bless, like he’s only nineteen) and after forking over €20 each, which I reckoned was a bit rich for some obscure Polish rappers, we finally gained entrance to the said venue.
Inside, we hooked up with my brother’s Polish friends from work, who informed us that WWO are huge in Poland while we were listening to last few tracks of the support act, Sounds from the Hot Press. Eventually, after a long interlude, WWO took to the stage and after a few welcoming words in English they quickly reverted into Polish and it pretty much stayed that way for the remainder of the evening. It was obvious that the mostly Polish crowd were really enjoying the night although personally I thought the music was only ok but of course I didn’t understand a frickin’ word of the lyrics!
The night went well and it was interesting to be in the middle of such a large Polish crowd right in the middle of Cork city but it didn’t feel at all intimidating and everyone seemed nice enough. That said, one guy did invade the stage and attack one of the rappers and both of them and a security guard fell into the crowd during the ensuing scuffle, which was quickly joined by loads more bouncers. After a few brief minutes of madness, order was restored and the night resumed without incident. Although a few days later my brother told me that there was more trouble after the gig. Apparently, the guy who was thrown out went and got some of his buddies and attacked the band as they left Cyprus Avenue after the gig. More mayhem followed, guards arrived, people were arrested, you know, the usual. As far as I understand it, the Poles have their own east coast, west cost thing going on between Warsaw and Poznan. Ah well, some things never change.