Wednesday, May 31, 2006


I don't "do" brand names, and I don't understand the fixation/fascination some people have with them. Brand names for me mainly have to do with footwear (Clark's is the one that immediately springs to mind), but in terms of clothing etc, I simply choose inexpensive quality.

It has never occurred to me to buy Donna Karan or Burberry because the name "speaks" to me. If they do something I like and I can afford it, I'll buy it, but names never come high up on my list. I don't think I'm an anti-label snob (ok, maybe just a bit), but I don't really think brand name things are necessarily better quality or last longer than any other make.

Ok, maybe someone might notice the difference between a Ralph Lauren suit and an M&S Suit (men's suit that is). A pair of jeans looks like any pair of jeans, T-shirts look pretty much the same (and a cheap one can be spotted anywhere) - what's so special about an £80 pair of jeans vs £25 jeans? Do they last longer? Do they come with a lifetime guarantee? If my salary is around £30,000 per annum, why on earth would I be buying overpriced clothing? And pray tell, how much more reliable is a £100 handbag versus a £30 handbag?

So often I hear people talking about brand name bags, shoes etc, and I don't understand any of this. I can only assume that buying and owning these things makes the buyer/owner feel good. So I guess in the end it's not about longevity but the "feel good" factor.

Monday, May 22, 2006


My other obsession: buying a car.

I have my budget, I have an idea of the type of vehicle and size, and I've read so many reviews I'm getting cross-eyed at all of the information. I also know the top end mileage I will consider for it's age, the maximum number of users I'd prefer it to have had (less than 4), definitely want the service history and any other paperwork, will get it HPI and AA/RAC checked as well as view it myself. I'm planning on keeping it for at least two years, it'll be a bit of a workhorse. Ideally I'd love to get my licence by Christmas, but we shall see.

Initially, my list consisted of one car, a VW Polo, circa 1993. But then I realised I could get the newer model for a bit more. Then I started to look at the Mark III Golf; then the Vauxhall Astra; then the Mitsubishi Colt, and then the Hyundai Accent. Now it's the Nissan Sunny. I had also wanted a diesel, which puts the Astra and Golf in lead position, going for the latter over the former.

I have prioritised them, so that when the time comes, I know which one I want to buy first. Naturally, top of the list comes the Japanese cars, followed by the VW, and then the others (in no particular order). My budget has fluctuated between the higher end of the budget to pre 1993 models. My only concern is not buying something so nice that I get it scratched up (though I'll happily pay for it to be restored), and not something with too high mileage. Once I can get a book and look after the basics, I'll find me a good mechanic for everything else.

Now, we play the waiting game. Whenever I check out cars online, I always find the one I would go for in a heartbeat...but then good cars don't hang around for long :( I hope that, when the time comes, I'll find the car of my dreams.

Monday, May 15, 2006

No woman no cry

Got a call from Val yesterday afternoon; Davey Wavey has lost his first tooth! I'm thinking, by 8 years old I had already lost them and had them replaced. Ditto for my little friend Mal, who lost his teeth at least a couple of years ago. Hmm....

Was walking along yesterday listening to Bob Marley. I've decided that I quite like Bob Marley's music, even if I find his character a bit too.... Was feeling a bit down, but going out listening to "Exodus" lifted my mood.

Today there was mention in the news of a former bass player with the Wailers, Aston Barrett, losing his bid for £60m in unpaid royalties. Apparently he's brought court action before and was given a settlement payment (with Island Records) of USD$500,000 in 1994. He is barred from any further action of a similar nature again in the UK unless it is approved by the court.

Maybe it has something to do with his nickname:"Family Man", because he has (it is reported) fathered 52 children. Nuff said!

Sunday, May 07, 2006

All change

There I was taking a break from packing, and I heard this sound.

Normally when I hear the sound of a helicopter loudly and close by, it usually means two things:
1) They're on the trail of some felon.
2) There's been a serious road accident and they're landing in the park.

In this case, it was neither. The helicopter was flying around the Gunners Stadium advertising the move to the spanking new Emirates stadium. At first I didn't see it, but then out of the corner of my eye saw this red thing in the sky...and I was amazed. Blimps I've seen, but not a helicopter advertising...well no, that wouldn't be true. I think they did that before when they won the double a few years ago.

The streets were crowded with fans. And police, lots of them; each pub had about 4 or more police on the pavement outside. Saw a couple of inebriated guys swinging around the pole by the zebra crossing. Passed three police and saw a guy leaning forward on a wall, in the early stages of puking (the pre-puke phase). I wanted to watch but I'm sure the police would have made me walk on. Excessive drinking until you vomit in public isn't something I understand.

And the debris...