The Throne Room

Thoughtfulness of the day

So.......... when no-one's around anyone ever use the disabled cubicle in a gents/ladies toilet just so you can pretend you were in the executive first class important people's toilet? (like the ones you get in the first class areas of planes, with heated toilet seats).

If you have/are going to again then here's a tip: If you pull the cord to get that strange panicked looking woman/man to turn up outside of the cubicle, don't ask them to 'nip out and get you a copy of Nuts and a mars bar' as apparently they are not offering you that kind of executive service.

Why do disabled people need softer loo roll anyway? And surely they don't need that much leg room - do they?


Queuing to get on or off planes....

Queing On Planes

Holidays can be a stressful experience, negotiating the world without being mercilessly exploted and ripped off due to lack of local knowledge (and the fact you look like middle class money on legs), or ending up in a hotel where the bedlinen looks like it's been used as a tent by Raoul Moat is difficult enough. Getting on a overnight flight where you've not got screaming kids next to you, or you're not sat opposite the toilets is also a matter of utmost luck.

So then.... when flying can at best be described as a necessity rather than a fun ride at Alton Towers - are we so eager to GET ON THAT DAMN PLANE!

I mean fair enough if you’re on Sleazy Jet or Bryan Air and you have unallocated seats and don’t want to be stuck next to the fat couple you saw mowing through some chilli beef burritos in the departures lounge!

But why are people so keen to actually get on a plane where their seats are allocated already?


Before your ticket number has even been called people are standing and jostling near the check-in desk, desperate to get down the stairs and onto the sweaty overcrowded bus that takes you to the plane. And when they announce seats by number range doesn't everyone get up regardless of what was called and queue:

"What numbers did they say?"

“I think it was seats 30 – 42, what number are you?”

“28 but that’s close enough isn’t it?”


So once all checked in on the runway there's the mad stampede to get seated on the plane, i mean do people actually think that if they are not on board sat down and buckled up with 4 minutes they will be kicked off and BLOODY THING WILL FLY OFF WITHOUT THEM?

Before you've sat down you find yourself stuck in the aisle behind some (insert racial or foreign stereotype here) guy who is ramming his unbelievable large hand luggage into the overhead lockers that usually doesn’t fit properly and he has to get a steward to help him squeeze it in. But he's not letting you or anyone else pass until his rammed every 'I love London' snowglobe, comedy royal guard hat and whatever other tat he found in London into the overhead locker.


We moan if we don't get food on the plane but what gets me about long haul flights is the neverending meal stream that punctuates the entire flight. I mean in 7-9 hours you can end up having six meals and endless other snacks and drinks brought to you. This is no bad thing, unless of course you thought you might actually want to get some sleep - because you can't just opt out of the many onboard culinary delights - no sir, it's pretty much impossible to sleep whilst all the lights are blazin' for each meal occasion and you have an air-steward waking you so she/he can pass someone elses tray of chicken and potatoes under your nose or slapping a hot towel down in your lap.


Then when you’re landing, the plane has barely hit the runway and everyone is up on their feet elbowing each other out of the way to try and get their stuff out of the lockers and push as close to the nearest exit as possible, it’s like they think the cabin staff will instruct the pilot to fly round the block again if everyone isn’t ready to leave within a three minute time allocation. THERE ISN'T A GUY HANDING OUT PRIZES FOR WHO CAN RECLAIM THEIR LUGGAGE THE FASTEST! And of course you could be the first to the luggage conveyor belt but it won't stop your completely battered wheelie suitcase (brand new and pristine before the loading staff played football with it) from being the last thing to get firmly punted onto the thing.


Ever get the urge when you see those drivers/hotel/business/greeters waiting at the airport entrance - to look for the smartest one holding the most professional sign and pretend to be whoever it is on the sign they are holding up. You might even be able to steal someone's holiday?


The Beginning was just as miserable as the end

32 Years of being on this Earth has not softened my resolve towards the human condition, and yes I love people, most people, well some people. But not the dumb things we do to get by, the stoooopid selfish, quirky behaviour well all exhibit. We are ruled by Schadenfreude and in this blog I intend to riff/rant/posterize/theorise on that in a good old fasioned 'what grinds my gears style fashion.' Stay with me, it will be beautiful.


How can Peter Kay release a second biography?

Firstly I am a massive Phoenix Night's fan and I like Peter Kay in general. But the guy hasn't exactly been productive enough to really be able to justify releasing a second biography.  His last biography sold millions, so you can expect the gullible public to buy this one rabidly also - which makes you think it is purely a cash making excersize - like so many celebrity biographies out there in time for crimbo? Max & Paddy was released back in 2004 - and was a largely hit and miss affair - lacking what Dave Spikey and Neil Fitzmaurice brought to the writing of Phoenix Nights (of which it was a spin off from).  Since then he's done some charity singles and dragged up for some very sub-standard reality TV spoof stuff.  Even his sell out tours and related DVDs seem to involve the same material that he's been kicking round for a few years. As I said I like his style of comedy and think he is a brilliant stand-up even if he is accused of nicking material and having a pretty mammoth ego.  I would kill to see Phoenix Nights series 4 - i would even like more Max & Paddy although i would hope he would realise the people he has written with in the past helped make him.

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Blunt Nails: Opinion on the post Fragile Nine Inch Nails

London Docklands July 1st 2000, I stand with crowds of miserable and disconsolate Nine Inch Nails fans (imagine that – miserable Goths?) staring at the band's cancellation notice. The event was The Lost Weekend; NIN had pulled out because their drummer had explosive diarrhea (honest). Even the fact Perfect Circle were playing didn't stop my friends and I from sloping back to Portsmouth, tails firmly between legs (ok so the truth is we ended up drinking with some friends in Chiswick with me wearing a t-shirt that said ‘Too f*cked up to care anymore’ on the front bewildering the locals, but that is another story). Nearly six years later 'With Teeth' is released and a few months after that I'm wedged between an intimate crowd of hero worshipping NIN fans at London's now closed Astoria........ and all is good. In the years that follow I managed to see Trent and the changing band line up a further six times in the UK, but by the time we get to the 'Wave Goodbye Tour's' UK Finale at the O2 my love for the NIN live show and Trent is fast tailing off. It's pretty important to point out (before I get lynched by a rabid horde of Trent fans) that NIN have been my No1 band for over fifteen years, and what I describe next is a rare and hopefully non-lasting dosage of hero fatigue? The symptoms began when the post Fragile albums (or rather the post drug influenced albums) came out. Don’t get me wrong, these were superb but none could really hold a candle to what had gone before. The self-biographical lyrical refrain: “Don’t you F*cking know what you are’ ushered in a revitalised and sober Trent Reznor – retaking his throne at the top of the kingdom of dark electronic, industrial rock and metal. At first this second coming was a welcome site, I mean the guy brought himself back from the brink of oblivion and it is pretty amazing he is still alive and making music now (considering his addictions etc). In fact having chosen life and seriously packed some spinach in the old guns (that's muscles Ed), Trent 2.0 was suddenly more prolific musically than at any other time in his career. He released and in some cases gave away a further four albums (plus one remix album). Sure some of the songs were almost as powerful and relevant as anything that had preceded them and most of the lyrics bore all the trademarks of the snarling, provocative genius that bloodied our young ears in the 90s. Yet there was something missing, the lyrics were dark and aggressive but largely reflective, words that came from an altogether different and more political place. This led me to question if (and this is a big IF) Reznor had lost some of his trademark edge? Had the drug addled, broken, f*cked up mojo been diluted by the sober life loving muscle freak style of recent years? Hard to say really. Certainly from the five shows I saw, the set lists seemed largely stuck mainly in the Fragile, Downward Spiral, Fixed, Broken era – they barely faced forward. Tracks from With Teeth were rare, tracks from Year Zero rarer and only a handful from The Slip were perfomed live..... well in the UK that is. In the US the lucky buggers got an incredible audiovisual show with an interactive screen linked in to a series of tracks from Year Zero. In the UK we got swinging lights and erm..... loads of strobe lights, nothing even comparable to the US Lights in the Sky tour set. Of course Lights in the Sky didn't get to the UK, by the time the recent and final O2 date came up it was renamed 'Wave Goodbye' and the set-list and stage set up was the most predictable and uninspiring ever. Trent was on autopilot, even an unexpected rendition of the Bowie collaboration 'I'm Afraid of American's' didn't really cut it, and as much as I love Gary Numan (or God as he's also known) seeing him come onstage to do Metal and Cars didn't really do much for me, mainly because Trent took no part in those songs vocally. The whole experience felt like great front-man was going through the motions and even noting the fact the good ship Reznor at half-mast still wrecks all other ships out there (where am I going with this rubbish analogy?) I still wanted more. So I left the corporate confines of the O2 fearing I had seen the last of the band I loved the most, barely satisfied, and bored whitless by a set that asked no questions from a band/man that played the whole thing uncomfortably safe. I genuinely thought I would walk away from my NIN journey having experienced songs such as, Sunspots, The Good Soldier, The Warning, (any of Ghosts) 10 Miles High, to name but a few - I mean surely even Perfect Drug wouldn't have been as difficult as Trent made out it would have been to play? And sadly I realise all to well that they played many of the songs I wanted to hear in other venues across the globe so maybe I am/was just unlucky? I guess the question I ask most NIN fans is - who do we prefer the Trent of old or the Trent since 2005? I mean would we really like our Amy Winehouse's and Pete Doherty's to be sober and well behaved? Would Oasis still be Oasis if the Gallaghers weren't fighting or the band splitting up every few years? (ok that last one is barely relevant but you get the idea). Can Trent produce songs of the calbre or Closer and Hurt without a serious amount of issues, heroin and alcohol? There are plenty of artists out there who have produced incredible music without necessarily having to be f*cked up on drugs, depression and a cocktail of childhood issues. BUT I think that maybe those who do offer up masterpieces from such a mindset (Lou Reed et al) – rarely are able to recreate music of such quality when they have escaped such adversity and stepped out of rehab. Contradicting the above theory I offer up the fact that Jonathan Davies of Korn based an entire career on lyrics about child abuse and daddy issues, and most people are fairly bored of that by now - so maybe Trent did really need to change and evolve? If NIN do genuinely wrap it up (as Trent has threatened) then they will always be the most important band of my lifetime, and even if Trent does keep producing music - you know it will still be of the highest quality. But SERIOUSLY that man needs to find his darkness and get angry again, he needs to get his daughter kid-knapped by terrorists, go on a rescue mission, kill all the bad guys, save his daughter then write about it! No-one wants to see him talking about healthy smoothees with that utter pr*ck Zane Lowe on MTV again!

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