Saturday, March 24, 2007


Why doesn't new Blogger remember my login details, even when I tell it to? I think I'm much too busy and important to be expected to type my username and password in every night. I've a good mind to refuse to write anything tonight, in protest.

Actually, I've a good mind not to write anything because I'm trying to play in an othello tournament on Kurnik, watch Match of the Day and type this, all at the same time, AND when I'm finished with that and finally go to bed, it's British Summer Time, so I have to lose another hour to the government. Sometimes there literally aren't enough hours in the day.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Judge For A Day

I've just devoted part of my evening to reading the judgement in this legal case, which Paul O'Brien linked to. It's fascinating on multiple levels for me - I find the basic facts of the case hilarious (a work of modern art was supposed to be being stored by the defendants, but in fact they seemingly mistook it for rubbish created by building work, and threw it away), as a businessman (it's a side of me I do my best to conceal and suppress, but it's still in there) I'm horrified that the company didn't make sure to include their terms and conditions in correspondence with their clients (you ALWAYS do that, in case something like this does happen!), and generally speaking, I'm always intrigued and enthralled by the obscure workings of the legal process. I had to do an exam in business and company law for my accountancy qualifications, and even though it involved a lot of writing rather than number-crunching, and a lot of questions where there isn't a single right answer (something I hate more than anything else in the universe, except kiwi fruit), I enjoyed it a lot.

In fact, I rather think I'd like to be a judge, or as a second choice a lawyer. I appreciate that a lot of it would be boring and routine, and another lot of it would involve extremely unpleasant delving into the motives and reasoning of unpleasant people, but I think it would be worth it for the occasions when you get to hear two opposing art experts arguing as to the value of Hole and Vessel II. Plus you get all the fun of pedantically observing the rule of law and/or interpreting it in ways that nobody, least of all the people who wrote the laws in the first place, has ever considered before. And then you get the fact that everyone looks up to you and thinks you're clever, which is always a bonus in any job. I'd go and look up how to be a judge now, but it's late, and you probably had to go to public school anyway.

Meanwhile, I've been trying to work out how to get better at hour cards. I did a practice today, attempting 30 packs and getting 27 right, exactly like at the WMC last year. But I have great difficulty getting beyond that level, and it's frustrating. I hate plateaus. Or is it plateaux? I don't like the things, anyway. If I attempt more packs, I get fewer of them correct, and it's been like that for a couple of years now. With everything else, I'm still gradually improving my best results (very, very slowly), but here I'm stuck.

Thursday, March 22, 2007


I've bid on a tape of The Tale of the Bunny Picnic on eBay, even though it's a fiver, which is a ludicrous price to ask for something like that, because I was gripped by a sudden urge to hear the big song at the end again. I've been sort of humming it to myself for the last twenty years or so, and today I looked up the words and had trouble fitting them with the tune as I remember it, so now I need to hear it again to make sure I know what it goes like. And it seems it's the only piece of film in the world that isn't on YouTube.

Boston Utd beat Mansfield Town last weekend to drag themselves out of the relegation zone. It made me wonder why I never go to Mansfield, when it's only down the road. Still, there's an othello regional there this year, so I'll have a good opportunity to find out what's so bad about the place.

There's a new strip in the Dandy called Space Raoul, by Jamie Smart who did My Own Genie, and it's brilliant.

The interview this morning was surprisingly fun. It was very apropos-of-nothing, because they didn't bother with the general talk about forgetfulness that they were sort of planning beforehand, and just dropped a chat with me into the middle of the breakfast show. And it was a completely pointless kind of chat, too - I made them laugh by recounting the pi record story and reciting a hundred or so digits just to prove I could do it, and only spent a few seconds on the remembering names bit that I was expecting to do. I'll have to see if I can get some more media exposure like that.

I'm not sure whether to watch "The Yellow House" with John Simm as van Gogh, or just switch off the television set and go out and do something less boring instead. I will confess that I just don't get van Gogh's art. I don't honestly think it's all that good. I do like John Simm, but somehow I feel like my opinion of the work of the historical character he's playing is more important for my enjoyment of an ITV drama.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

I'm a writer, you know

I've actually been properly working on the book today. I've set myself a deadline - I'm going to have it done in a nice, tidy, complete draft form to show people (whether they want me to or not) at the Cambridge championship on May 6th. Then I'm going to get a proper job again and be respectable, in return for which my grandma will refrain from hitting me over the head with her walking stick.

As well as the book, there's plenty of preparation work still to be done for Cambridge, so I'm going to be kept busy. But this is a good thing. There's no place in this world of memory experts for loafers.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

The never-ending media circus

I've got an interview on Radio Lancashire on Thursday morning, in case I have any Lancastrian bloglings who might want to tune in to the breakfast show. I don't know when exactly, it was going to be 7:55 tomorrow, but they've postponed the bit about forgetting names and anniversaries by a day. I'd be interested to know what fascinating subject has bumped me.

Of course, they're under the impression that I might have some words of wisdom to impart on the subject of remembering names. Anyone who knows me knows otherwise, but I didn't have time to point this out - having asked the Alzheimer's Society people for my contact details (a new way to find me that I haven't encountered before), the conversation went "You'll do it? Great, I'll call you five minutes before we go on air. Bye." Still, it's not going to be an in-depth searing exposé, judging by the five-minutes-before-the-news timeslot. It'll go:

Tony Livesey: So, Ben Pride-more, you're the world's number one memory man, do you have any advice on how we can remember those important wedding anniversaries?

Me: Gor, I dunno.

Tony Livesey: Great! And now it's Hercule Poirot with the news.

I'm actually annoyed with my memory today. I woke up singing a song I'd been dreaming about (it was a strange alternative title sequence to Tiny Toon Adventures), but at some point in the morning I totally forgot the tune, although I can still remember the words. It's frustrating - I think it was an original tune, at least that's the impression I had this morning when I could remember it, but now it's disappeared from my brain the sceptical part is saying "oh, it will just have been one of those Japanese songs you were listening to yesterday, you can't compose music." This is the second time I can remember writing about something like this happening in my blog. Next time I dream a song, I'll grab a tape recorder when I wake up and sing into it. I don't own a tape recorder, so there'll be a certain amount of running down the street in my pyjamas and then hanging around outside... a shop that sells tape recorders, which come to think of it probably don't exist any more. It's all MP3s and DVDs these days. Modern life is rubbish.

Wait a minute. I do own a tape recorder. It's sitting there on top of my telly in plain sight. I haven't used it since I was practising reciting pi in 2005, but for pete's sake. What's wrong with my memory today?

Monday, March 19, 2007

Blame it on the weatherman

It's cold and intermittently haily around here today, and I've achieved very little in the way of work. I've been contemplating getting a real job again and giving up on this life of freedom sooner rather than later, but then I've also been contemplating joining a gym and not being so fat, and I'm pretty sure that's not going to happen. Still, if I don't improve my work rate, I'll feel like I'm wasting my life.

I have been having some fun wasting my life today, though - I've been watching Japanese things on YouTube (as an alternative to working on the textbook because I've got to a hard bit), and this is the kind of thing we should have been entering in the Eurovision Song Contest. It's such a catchy tune that you're dancing and singing along to it as soon as it starts, and it doesn't matter at all if you don't understand the words. I certainly don't, so I apologise if you do and it contains explicit sexual references or a savage denunciation of western society - I'm assuming based on the wonderful cartoon that accompanies it that it doesn't, but you never know.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

The beat of the drum goes round and around

Yes, I'm writing about TV two nights in a row. Sorry. But tonight on BBC4 it's "Tube Night", four solid hours of programmes about the London Underground. The theme nights these people come up with never cease to amaze me. It's just started with a 1958 film about the night shift who work on the Tube after it's shut down, and a bit later on there's episode 1 of the Doctor Who story "The Web of Fear", which I've never seen (the BBC saw fit to destroy all the other episodes, so watching it is likely to be a little unsatisfying, but never mind).

I think that when "Moonwalking With Einstein" is a big hit, there needs to be a Memory Night spectacular to tie in with it. Or possibly a whole Memory Week - we need documentaries about famous world championships and champions, repeats of Dominic O'Brien on Friends Like These and Ant and Dec, Andi Bell when he was on Transworld Sport that time, me on The Weakest Link... come to think of it, there's more than enough footage there to do a really great theme night, without even having to dip into foreign TV shows! I'd still like to do a US-championship-style thing in Britain, maybe that can be the centrepiece of the week's themed entertainment?