Post of the Week: taking it to the next level.

Following a suggestion by Vaughan, patita has kindly registered for the next 12 months.

Now then. I think this could work really well as a separate entity, administered by a small and enthusiastic group, with the work spread out so as not to get too onerous.

If you’d like to get involved, then I suggest we use this comments box as a place for volunteering and discussion. We’re thinking WordPress or Movable Type, and we’ll definitely need some input on the design side of things – this needs to look nice and distinctive, and not just some bog-standard template.

Things to consider: Who’s up for it? How will nominations be raised? Will all nominations automatically go forward for judging, or will there be a pre-screening process to weed out obvious crap and dubious self-promotions? How will nominations be displayed on the blog? How will the current Post Of The Week be displayed? What about previous Posts Of The Week? What size team is needed, and how will responsibilities divide? How will the judging work: new volunteers each week, or a rotating team of regulars, or a bit of both? Who’s going to do the design? Where’s the site going to be hosted? What happens if the site gets really popular and we get shedloads of nominations? Am I over-thinking this already? And so on, and so on.

OK, the comments box is all yours.

Post of the Week: Week 10 results, and a hiatus.

Some weeks, you just know what the result is going to be. This was one of those weeks: a landslide win, with our Post Of The Week scoring 14 points out of a maximum 15. As one judge said:

A well-researched post which skewers the current fanatic obssessions of Muslim extremists with humour and intelligence, with several delicious sideswipes at the Saudi royal family. It’s topical, educational and funny.

As another said:

This posting has it all: good writing, ridicule of oppressive rulers, ridicule of religious fundamentalism, and relevance to a Scandinavian like me.

Yes, you’ve guessed it. Post Of The Week #10 is hereby awarded to:

The Religious Policeman: A Memo.

Thanks to Looby and Martin R for helping out with the judging, and thanks to Gert for alerting me to the post in the first place.

Alas, it is now time to bid a fond “Au revoir” to Post Of The Week, which goes into indefinite hiatus from today. The reason is a practical one: as I shall be working full-time in London for the next four weeks at least, there will be precious little spare time to perform the necessary administration during the week, and equally little spare time to oversee the judging process at the weekends.

Au revoir, Post Of The Week. You’ve been educational. Let’s look back at your best bits, shall we?

Update 1: Mind you, if Post Of The Week was still running, then this would stand a good chance of winning it.

Update 2: If you’d like to take over the Post Of The Week franchise, then e-mail me.

Post of the Week: Week 9 results, Week 10 nominations.


Oh, are we on-air? Right then. Not much time, so let’s crack on with this week’s results.

Some weeks, there’s a clear consensus amongst the judges; other weeks, votes go flying all over the place. This week was firmly in the latter category; so much so, that – for the first time ever – only one post picked up votes from all three of us (myself, Ms Boob Pencil and Ms Stressqueen). Happily, this post also scored the most points numerically. And the name of that post is…

forksplit: F**k You, Barbie.

“Engaging”, said one judge. “A tale many of us can identify with; it is
delightfully written and contains a sting in the tail”, said another. Quite so, quite so.

Please place your nominations for Week 10 in the comments box below. This week’s judges areMartin R and Looby.

1. Open Book: Stories.
(nominated by Sarsparilla)

They held each other tight, seeking, one from the other, refuge from the storm. And in their tangled limbs, their slowing breaths, their resting hearts beating in rhythmic sync, they took, one from the other, shelter, comfort, and peace.

2. Stupidity hurts
(nominated by Rob and asta)

Pootle about, wash, make-up, some vague form of breakfast, some vague form of tidying, check everything is in bag, check again, check again, run around in circles, leave the house.

3. Blogadoon: Say what you like about Simon Hughes…
(nominated by asta)

Say what you like about Simon Hughes’ dramatic retraction of his claims to heterosexuality, but it’s certainly kept the homophobes in column inches.

4. Stephanie Sparer: “I’m spreading my eggs too thin.”
(nominated by Looby)

And then the real reason we were actually there with full face make up and styled hair at 10:30 AM on the dot walked in. Our professor. Names aren’t important. Played by George Clooney.

5. this too: Pop.
(nominated by Zinnia Cyclamen)

After thirty years in London, they still seemed country people, he and my plump rosy Gran, as short as him but twice as wide, her eternal respectable hats firmly anchored with a huge pin. Over their broad voices lay a soft measured primness quite unlike their city neighbours, learned, I suppose, from the land-owning family with whom they’d been ‘in service’.

6. Bonanza Jellybean: Boys Will Be Boys.
(nominated by Hana)

Men like to look at naked women. A lot. Asses, boobs, legs, all parts combined, you name it. They like it. IT MEANS NOTHING. And yet their women freak the f**k out about it. All the time.

7. GUYANA: the enemy.
(nominated by Zinnia Cyclamen)

I hear a crick crack snapping sound…and the rope bruk in two…and the second half o’ the rope turn into a snake, a two foot snake with a small, small face and thin, thin tail. Was a pale snake, sort o’ light grey-brown, pale, pale with really light markings. The snake wriggle past me and disappear under the old house.

8. diamond geezer: I’m up for a Bloggie!!!
(nominated by martin)

But it’s not the prizes which matter, it’s the acclaim of being voted for by thousands of random Americans who’ve never read my page before. Hello Wyoming!!!

9. The Religious Policeman: A Memo.
(nominated by mike, via Gert)

From: Royal Press Secretary
To: His Majesty
Date: 1st February 2006

Subject: Cartoons

As Your Majesty requested recently, in order to divert public attention from the regrettable demise of a small number of pilgrims in Makkah during the last Hajj, Saudi newspapers were instructed to revive the four-month-old story of cartoons about the Prophet (PBUH) in a Danish newspaper, and turn it into an attack on Denmark, together with a “spontaneous demand by the people” for a boycott of Danish goods.

10. Latigo Flint, Quickest Quickdraw in the World: Alternative Energy Sources
(nominated by Rob)

Benefits: Makes millions of hippies giddy with joy.
Downside: Sure, today it’s corn oil, but tomorrow it’ll be baby oil (the oil of smushed up babies) and soon it’ll be the oil from the eyeballs of endangered birds–we all know how these things go.

11. Rachel from north London: Clean skins.
(nominated by mike)

The change looks innocuous enough. Wives, parents, friends may even be pleased that the young man seems to be getting so deeply interested in matters of faith and spirituality. What can be more harmless and praiseworthy? Thus the fact that the young man is becoming interested in an extremist, violent ideaology slips under the radar. ‘At least he is not taking drugs, getting into trouble’.

Post of the Week: Week 8 results, Week 9 nominations.

After the marathon catch-up session of Week 7, Week 8 yielded the smallest number of nominees to date: just seven in all, which lightened the load for our guest judges: D from Acerbia and Tokyo Girl. This also meant that every nominated post picked up at least one vote, which is nice isn’t it, yes, I thought so too.

In amongst the pet birds, minor league football matches, Bush-bashing fantasy games, blog performance reviews and multi-coloured “slabs of control and stability” (oh yes!), two winners emerged, both polling the same number of votes. Rather than exercise a casting vote, I have decided to award this week’s POTW jointly to:

Waiter Rant: Treasure.
GUYANA: Cane-cutters and their wives.

Here’s what our judges said:

I just loved the bitchiness of [Waiter Rant’s post]; giving the guy the plastic cork was pure evil. The waiter was too nice to the wife. She married the guy, and she is still married to him. She must be getting some sort of a platinum-card advantage out of the arrangement. I hate going to a restaurant with a dieter, and if they are going to fuss around, counting calories, then I would be only to willing to help them out by drinking all the wine. The wife was too subjugated* for a woman of the affluent first world, shameful.

*(This word, in this context, is new to me, see below, and I am going to use it to death.)

[Guyana’s post] gave me a feeling of a totally different way of life, an alien society, a world in which the women are “subjugated” (I had to look that word up in the dictionary). I loved this post.

Both superb little episodes offering perspectives into other people’s lives. The waiter acts as silent and practically unoticed observer to the brash man and his timid wife and the cableguy as raconteur to the author’s audience. These glipses, these anecdotes are exactly what I love about catching odd posts on other people’s blogs, no back-story, no linking out to other sites, they’re self-contained slices of life, momentary digressions that transport you.

Please leave your nominations for Week 9 in the comments box below. Rules of engagement are here.

This week’s judges are Clare and Stressqueen.

1. Twenty Major: Shut it you fat c***s.
(nominated by stressqueen)
(WARNING: Very strong language, very opinionated “rant” style, may offend.)Lazy c***s sitting around eating more food every day than your average African child eats in a lifeitme is not a disease. It’s greed. It’s gluttony. IT. IS. NOT. A. DISEASE.

2. forksplit: F**k You, Barbie.
(nominated by patita)
I love lonely sad sacks. I love losers. Love them. Probably because I am one, although I don’t really look like one anymore. That’s what junior high was for. But looking like a pudgy, four eyed beaver throughout my formative years gave me a little insight into the painful reality of being ugly and awkward and undesirable. Thanks to puberty and contacts and braces and restrictive dietary practices, I’ve just learned to hide it better.

3. Nutgroist: Tuesday 3rd January – Saturday 14th January.

(nominated by JonnyB)
I call the promoter. It’s very simple – they have a packed night with top quality comedians but I can do 5 minutes and it must be 100% clean and NO mentions of sex, NO swearing and if he doesnt like what he’s hearing he’ll flash his light to either get me to move onto the next joke or to get off the stage entirely. Apparently the audience will all be religious jews who can get easily offended. Jerusalem, ladies and gentlemen. Who’d have guessed it?

4. light from an empty fridge: Two things that you see.

(nominated by Sarsparilla)
(Short post; too short to quote here.)

5. a beautiful revolution: Self-mythologising (near) stream of consciousness (guest post by Vaughan)

(nominated by JonnyB)
when andre asked me to do a guest blog entry i was only too delighted to accept but i did say i did warn i did suggest that as i havent blogged properly for nearly four months thats nearly four bleedin months i might be a bit rusty i said a bit out of practice i said what is this blogging of which you speak that’s what i said and andre replied oh that’s alright mate write anything you want and i said are you sure and he replied i’m sure of course well of course we didn’t really have this conversation because we’re both too nervous and shy to have such a conversation but i wanted to build up the drama ot this entry a little bit and make it sound like we are blogging gods in a secret cabal as if i said as if stop(and breathe)

6. Silent Words Speak Loudest: “If nothing gets challenged, nothing gets changed”

(nominated by Pete Ashton)
The best book about punk rock and pop culture ever“. Thus reads the NME critic’s appraisal on the cover of Jon Savage’s ‘England’s Dreaming: Sex Pistols And Punk Rock’. Perhaps it’s just an idiosyncratic tendency of mine, a function of my cynicism, that leads me immediately to view such pronouncements with suspicion and spend my time hunting out and dwelling upon perceived faults. Anyway, more of that later.

7. The Tool Shed: Tool of the Week: 01.22.2006

(nominated by patita)
I finally met with my GP after two weeks of making internal decisions like “When I tell my friends about my cancerous cojones, should I make a joke about it to break the tension? How about stoic with just a hint of quivering jaw and downcast eyes? Maybe milk the Spiritual Genius angle, like that kid who had MD and wrote poetry?” I even, friends and neighbors, had planned to blog the treatment process, and I devised a title for the project: My Mutinous Manberries.

8. ambainny: breaking bounds.

(nominated by guyana-gyal)
The school was obsessed with controlling girls, by not allowing them out of bounds, a bit like the purdah, zenana system. Boys on the other hand, could do what they liked and go anywhere, except where the girls were.
The girls dormitory would be locked from outside at night, by the matron. This was a huge fire hazard, all of us could have got singed, unable to escape. The priority was protection of our virginity rather than our safety.

9. meanwhile, here in france: survival.

(nominated by Clare)
It is quite a challenge to maintain one’s own lyricism next to a pneumatic drill in chamber music. It is even more of a challenge to maintain one’s confidence. We are all struggling to stretch our limits, facing the roots of habits that have been fed like weeds during months of orchestral playing. My personal weed has grown mighty strong and having it pulled at by someone who cares both about the music and about me is quite enough to leave me feeling about seven, raw and blushing with shame, hiding behind my cello and not wanting to come out…. I don’t need this.

10. Diary of a Goldfish: Love is real, real is love.

(nominated by Vaughan)
It was getting kind of late, so Johnny suggested that they head back to his cave for a coffee.Jane pointed out that they were on the wrong part of the continent for coffee, even if they could work out, within the space of an evening, how to process the seeds of that plant into a stimulating hot beverage. As you can imagine, without language, this took the best part of an hour to get across.Johnny averted his eyes and twiddled his thumbs as if to say, “I know, but I just invented the euphemism.”

Post of the Week: Week 7 results, Week 8 nominations.

With nominations accruing over the period that I spent working in China, we ended up with a bumper crop of 22 posts this time round. As no-one in their right mind could be expected to plough through 22 posts in one go, I duly whittled this down to a shortlist of 12 for the benefit of my co-judges: Martin and patita.

As it’s an untypical week, I’m going to break with convention and list the top three – because in any typical week, any one of these could have been the winner.

In third place: qarrtsiluni: An Indian Scale. To a backdrop of cellos, stinking shit, crap hotels, street vendors, Indian scales, cookery classes and Ayurvedic massages, the story of a deeply personal journey is beautifully spun. As one judge commented, this was a great examination of a critical transitional time.

In second place: feeling listless Review 2005: Gary Hollingsbee. This is a piece about an anxious father who is trying to do the right thing, a young son who might (or might not) be struggling at school, and an education system which might not (or might) be working in their best interests. Here’s another comment from one of the judges.

He keeps talking about guilt, but it’s the gnawing sense of inadequacy that chases him through the events described that’s so gripping. It’s a story I want to follow to the end.

So, who is our winner? Why, it’s Zinnia Cyclamen, with Real E Fun: Sam and Felipe. Originally published on the day when the first same-sex civil partnerships could be celebrated in the UK, this is a timely reminder of a recent past in which things were not always so straighforward.

When you read this – and read it you should, if I might be so very bold – please don’t do that horrible short-attention-span skim-reading thing, which can so easily affect our enjoyment of good writing on blogs. This one deserves to be read at a steady pace. You know, like a good book or something. Remember books?

Onto this week’s nominations, which can be placed in the comments box below. Rules of engagement are here. In particular, please remember the following: you can’t nominate your own posts, you can’t nominate any of my posts (but bless you for the thought) – and while it’s OK to nominate more than one post, please don’t get carried away.

I’m also going to introduce a new rule, to lighten the load for my judges. From this week onwards, you’ll only have to vote on a shortlist of ten posts, which I shall select at the end of the week. (This won’t be made public, to spare any blushes.)

Our guest judges this week are Tokyo Girl and Acerbia D.

1. Waiter Rant: Treasure.
(nominated by mike)
Now you might think I’m being a little hard on this woman’s hubby. Maybe the guy’s closing the biggest business deal of his life and he’s a bundle of nerves. Maybe he’s madly in love with his wife and I just caught him on a bad day – we all have ‘em. I only get to see a small slice of a person’s life when they’re in The Bistro. I’m well aware there are other slices that I don’t see. But what I do see is often very revealing.

2. Hobo Tread: Barrow 1 Cambridge City 2.
(nominated by Ben)
Being like a pencil mislaid behind England’s footballing ear, Barrow are able to attract a decent size crowd for their level, with no pro club within a 50 mile radius (particularly in that wet bit to the left).

3. defective yeti: Xyzzy.
(nominated by mike, via Rachel)
You are standing inside a White House, having just been elected to the presidency of the United States. You knew Scalia would pull through for you.There is a large desk here, along with a few chairs and couches. The presidential seal is in the middle of the room and there is a full-length mirror upon the wall.What do you want to do now?

You are not able to do that, yet.

4. Boob Pencil: Unlocked.
(nominated by Rob)
Sometimes people tell you to close your eyes and imagine a time when you were happy. It’s the meadow you think of, and it never works. You know the sky was blue, the grass was green, the sun was warm. You know you felt euphoria. But all you can see is CLICHE CLICHE CLICHE and all you can think is that even if you were lying in a topaz-skied emerald-carpeted field right NOW you would probably be complaining about an itchy back, a lack of sunglasses or just a general fidgetiness. And anyway, you’re not. You’re in some boring grey room and you feel like shit.

5. diamond geezer: Performance Management Appraisal 2006.
(nominated by mike)
It’s that time of year again. Your blog performance review is now due. This important annual procedure encourages improved achievement by identifying key objectives and core competencies against an agreed framework of developmental targets.

6. thought intersect: On keeping birds, or a ramble about love.
(nominated by Zinnia Cyclamen)
I didn’t know that a creature that weighs barely 100 grams could make such a loud noise. I didn’t know that he would be afraid of every new thing he saw, and screechily skitter in terror when the new object would be brought near him. I didn’t know that a bird could look into your eyes and listen, nodding after everything you said like it was important.

7. GUYANA: Cane-cutters and their wives.
(nominated by Zinnia Cyclamen and Clare)
He stop twiddling with options and connection settings and turn to tell me, “Those women are the most subjugated in Guyana. They are cane-cutters’ wives. People say that suicide in Berbice high but they don’t stop to examine why.”

Post of the Week: Week 7 nominations.

OK, so picking up where we left off before Christmas…

Post of the Week nominations have steadily been accumulating over the past few weeks, and judging will take place over this weekend.

However, as there are so many posts to consider, I shall be making things a little easier this time round.

This week’s nominations will close earlier than usual, at midday on Friday (UK time). I will then select a shortlist of twelve posts for judging, and will e-mail this list to my two fellow judges within the next few hours. (The contents of this shortlist will not be made public, as I don’t want there to be tears before bedtime.)

The judges will have until Sunday night to make their decisions, and results will be posted by Monday morning.

Next week, we shall revert to the usual way of doing things.

Now, all we need are a couple of judges! If you’d like to take part, then please e-mail me at Previous judges are welcome to re-apply.

For the sake of completeness, here is the full list of nominees. To make your own nomination, please use the comments box below. Rules of engagement are here.

1. The Mark of Kane: All You Need Is Love.
(nominated by mike)

We played this record over and over that weekend. In our enlightened states, we studied the passed around album jacket, searching for clues. The back cover featured a picture of John and Yoko, posed on the northwest corner of 72nd Street and Central Park West. They look fit and prosperous, facing east and an unknown destiny. Or was it? I was most unsettled by this picture, and still am to this day. Their expressions are grim, almost determined. What were they thinking? What did this photograph portend?

2. Loobynet: 2006 Flogged.
(nominated by mike)

What’s been so heartwarming about the whole experience is how people have immediately understood the way that this is beyond publishing – reflecting the paradigm shift that is blogging and its neo-punk underground ethos. That is, no-one is actually getting paid. Even if I were to share out the royalties amongst the contributors, there’d be so little to distribute to individuals that it’s better that the small sums are all consolidated into one bank account.

3. feeling listless: Review 2005: Gary Hollingsbee.
(nominated by Ed)

Whenever I leave a parental interview like this, I feel that there’s been a sleight of hand played on me. I come out bewildered and being less sure about how my son is doing than when I went in. I feel it in other situations, too, like the doctor’s, dentist’s – even the hairdressers. I always come out with a completely different hair-cut than I intended having. But meeting with my son’s teachers is the worst.

4. the house of d: dark times.
(nominated by Karen)

And the book was perfectly fine and good, very well written now that I come to think of it, but there was just something a little bit…wrong with it. Something not quite right. And it got less and less right, the deeper I read. And I remember sitting in the airport lounge about halfway into the book when the suspicion turned into a conviction. I looked up from the page I was on (in which Hermione was about to fellate Harry) and realized that, well, this surely couldn’t be possible.

5. Counago & Spaves: Babelfish does its thing.
(nominated by Rob)

And with this Manchester appointment it trusts surpassing to Birmingham as tourist destiny and moving away more to Liverpool, with which it maintains a ferocious rivalry historical. Of course, also it hopes to dilute the image of gray and declining city that drags from the industrial time, of when the textile factories and cotton estigmatizaban the urban landscape. Painful it is, in this sense, a famous phrase of Mark Twain: “I would like to live in Manchester. The transit between Manchester and the death would be imperceptible”.

6. Boob Pencil: Potted Autobiography v2.
(nominated by Rob)

First kiss: Rubber gloves. Second kiss: Broom handle. Third kiss: Hoover. Fourth kiss: Mop.

Youth Theatre Yorkshire; backstage excitement. Touching willies in grandmother’s spare bedroom. Finally understand Rocky Horror.

7. defective yeti: Hola, Amigos.
(nominated by Rob)

“There was, like, a gallon and a half in the can,” said I. “If you’re car’s still not starting, you might have a bigger problem.”

“The needle was way below E,” explained Jim, as if he had run the vehicle beyond “empty” and actually managed to create a quantity of anti-gasoline in the tank, which my fuel had only served to negate.

8. Silent Words Speak Loudest: Right To Reply #6.
(nominated by mike)

There’s only one pub for miles. It hasn’t applied for a new license. We locals are worried that it will ruin the secret illicit enjoyment of sitting in the dark after hours. Not that we do that. Never.

9. Rachel From North London: Dance, they said.
(nominated by Paul)

His brother walked in. ‘Ma’s socks!’ he said, looking pleased.

‘How much?’ I said.

‘Um. Five pounds’ said the brother.

‘Nooooooooo…’ said the shopkeeper, squirming.

‘Look at them’, I said, ‘they are lovely. And I will always remember your mother when I wear them.’

10. Acerbia: Impetus Catus.
(nominated by Green Fairy)

We immediately went out and bought a cashmere wool carpet inlaid with gold filigree. Probabilities of buttered toast landing on the carpet were increased beyond 99.9% and cat-spin entropy in the buttered cat scenario was reduced to negligable levels.

11. neil writes the blog: The Holiday Party.
(nominated by Pam)

To the person asking permission to cross dress – NO cross dressing allowed. We will have booster seats for short people. Low fat food will be available for those on a diet. We cannot control the salt used in the food so we suggest those people with high blood pressure taste the food first. There will be fresh fruits as dessert for diabetics; the restaurant cannot supply “No Sugar” desserts.

Sorry! Did I miss anything?!?!?

12. Sunshine on a Spoiltless Mind: Cheer Up.
(nominated by rachel)

…I casually announced that the Cubs had turned me gay. Of course this random verbal statement made everyone laugh, and someone questioned how that was possible, to which I replied that I had gone on a Cub’s Summer Camp for a week and came back gay and with a certificate to prove it. Well once the mocking laughter had died down, I was asked to expand on my peculiar statement, so…

13. meanwhile, here in france…: Five friends, five cellos.
(nominated by Rob)

Still in South London where I was born, I climb into the taxi to catch the 05.34 Eurostar from Waterloo. The grime from the bonnet has smeared itself all over my fingers as I placed my case in the boot and I accidentally wipe it on my Hobbs jumper. In my new attempt not to try and control the entire universe I do not ask the cabbie to turn off his loud music, but rather lean into it. It is a live recording from around what seems to be a Nigerian campfire. It is very beautiful. The cabbie can hear me listening.

14. feeling listless: Review 2005: Vaughan Simons.
(nominated by Clara)

It began, all too poetically, last New Year’s Eve. Not being able to enter into the social whirl and increasing paranoia of trying to find myself with some people, somewhere, celebrating, I was at home in bed. Admittedly, I wasn’t in the best frame of mind because, well, we all know that New Year’s Eve is one of those dates when being alone hangs heavily over one’s head, don’t we? However, as I lay there and listened to fireworks going off and the sounds of drunken revelry in the hours around midnight, I began to ponder my lengthy obsession with disappearing. My dreams of leaving. Getting the hell out. Vanishing off the face of the Earth.

15. Real E Fun: Sam and Felipe.
(nominated by mike)

The trouble was that Felipe’s visa was running out and he was facing the possibility of having to return to Argentina. He couldn’t bear to leave Sam, worrying in particular that Sam might become ill when he wasn’t there to look after him. They didn’t want to move to Argentina either; Felipe described it as ‘horribly Catholic and homophobic’, and Sam was receiving good health care here. After much discussion they decided the only realistic option was to find a British woman who was willing to marry Felipe. They had a few thousand pounds in savings, and hoped this would be sufficient incentive. So, discreetly, they began to ask around.

16. Burningbird: Year in Pictures.
(nominated by mike)

Following are my photos (or image, in one case) that Flickr designated the most “interesting” based on feedback and number of views…

17. Sarsparilla: I Want.
(nominated by looby)

I want a fixed price. I want grey boredom. I want the land of eternal rain and eternal sarcasm. I want a world where no one goes to church, where no one listens to the queen’s speech, yet they go out on the BBC once a year, regardless. I want my cats to puke on my bedclothes, I want to rifle through my own records. I want my dad to start snoring halfway through the movie. I want curry and peshwari naan. I want money whose colours I recognise and count without really seeing. I want a world where it’s okay to make a prat of yourself and just laugh about it. Where you know which streets are the dodgy ones.

18. This is this: Bad Backing Vocals.
(nominated by Karen)

Gilbert: “OK, I’ll meet you at Drury Lane Theatre for my show which starts at eight.”

Chorus (in his head): “He will meet you at Drury Lane Theatre for his show which starts at eight!”

Gilbert: “The traffic will be murder so you better not be late.”

Chorus (in his head): “Murder! Murder! Murder and hate! The traffic will be murder so you better not be late!”

19. Tiny Pineapple: La Dolce Vitamins.
(nominated by Rob)

“So remember, dear, only one Vitaball a day…unless, of course, you want to experience the same severe irritability, vomiting, blurred vision, hair loss, large-scale peeling of the skin, and agonizing death as those intrepid arctic explorers.”

20. Popular: THE BEATLES – “Eleanor Rigby”/”Yellow Submarine”.
(nominated by mike)

The brisk orchestral arrangement of “Eleanor Rigby” is tense and fussy, with something of Eleanor’s spinsterish neatness: the strings bring to mind sewing, or sweeping the steps, one of those little daily things you do unthinking, or instead of thinking. They also sound a little like a horror film soundtrack, and “Eleanor Rigby” is cinematic, and it is about horror. It’s Paul McCartney taking one of pop’s smooth-rubbed words – “lonely” – thinking it through, and recoiling.

21. qarrtsiluni: An Indian Scale.
(nominated by Rob)

On previous trips I had always travelled with my best friend. Having each other as a point of reference had been, I now discovered, the key to staying sane whilst in culture shock. A mere: “Oooh, look at the taxis! Aren’t they weird?!” or “I guess that must be a potato curry of some sort” had been enough to translate the concept of ‘car’ or ‘food’ from one culture into another. Now however, alone and with no reference point for the very first time on my adventures, I panicked.

Survival instinct took over, and I did something I had never done: I rushed to the nearest three star ‘Western’ hotel. There, defeated and ashamed, I ran up to my suite, ordered dal and rice from room service and listened to the manic beep of Indian city nightlife.

22. Undissembled verbalization 101.
(nominated by Karen)

I know that apostrophes are the bugbear of many, but this is my ‘bear – people who use over-inflated, high-falutin’, overblown twaddle for language, when everything they mean to say can be communicated so much simpler using little, podgy, Anglo-Saxon words, or something like.

Post of the Week: week 6 results.

With seventeen posts up for consideration (nine of them nominated by myself, in a sudden rash of enthusiasm), we had something of a bumper crop last week. My thanks to asta and Gordon for wading through them; we all agreed that this was a particularly tough selection to rank.

So, what themes cropped up this time? Inevitably, Christmas made its first appearance: trees were chosen, compilation CDs were marketed, and an unexpected wish list was made for Santa.

Celebs had a rough time of it: we bitched about a duck-faced actress and a podgy crooner on the verge of a comeback, and got an insider’s lowdown on the perils of shagging movie stars.

There was a strong showing from the Comedy Lobby, with tales of arsey hair salons, sexually incontinent students, and a comedy club audience with Other Things on its mind – not to mention a full dramatic reconstruction of a well known nursery rhyme.

We fell in love – or did we? We conquered stress – but in a way that you won’t find in any self-help manuals. We bade farewell to a much-loved London institution. We established ground rules for reading in public. And we saw red, gold and green in the queue at the Post Office.

As for the winner, it was neck-and-neck between the two posts which picked up votes from all three judges. In second position: Etcher’s fine, almost dream-like depiction of a day spent wandering the streets of a big city, which reminded me of similar days spent in West Berlin, many years ago.

However, just one point ahead, we have one of two nominees from the superb selection of “Review 2005” guest posts at feeling listless, which are running all the way through December. (Introduction and full list of contributors thus far is here.) So let’s hear it for this week’s winner…

feeling listless: Causality and the Invisible Girl.

And that’s your lot for now: Post of the Week is taking a break for a few weeks, as I’ll be flying to China next weekend and will have limited web access thereafter.

The next round of nominations will commence on Monday January 9th. So if you spot any exceptional posts between now and then, please hang onto them – as posts from the entire intervening period will be deemed eligible.