Sunday, 18 December 2011

skwee bop

Thanks to my lack of ability as a stress engineer and mind-reader, the last few weeks of work have been somewhat slightly stressful. Thankfully I had the opportunity to have all conscious thoughts smashed out of my tiny skull with some powerful gigs.

Thought-smashing was achieved most ably by the mighty Napalm Death and a trio of support acts with generic death metal names. One of them played a song about working in a fast food restaurant ("this one's called Whopper Slavery"); the next band played a song about TV presenter Noel Edmunds. It looked/sounded like this.

And then old-enough-to-know-better Brummie death-grind behemoths Napalm Death took to the stage.

Everything after that is a bit of a blur, but I woke up the next morning with ringing ears, countless bruises and an overwhelming urge to buy everything they ever did ever.

Nine days later I found myself limping back to the same venue for something far less abrasive. Support came from Mojo Fury, a band I saw supporting And So I Watch You From Afar earlier in the year. They were much as I remember them; which is to say that they were jolly good, but rendered utterly forgettable by the sheer brilliance of the main act. The main act in this case being Amplifier, a band that has been continuing to release superb records for some years in spite of the fact that almost no-one seems to buy them. What they play could be described as prog, but without all the flute solos and songs about hobbits; instead they go for big riffs, cosmic guitar effects and two-disc concept records about a dark matter trading space octopus.

I realise I'm probably not selling them particularly well. Trust me, they're awesome.


In between all this awesomeness, I did something that I am not terribly proud of.

I played Dungeons & Dragons.

In my defence, I only did so in order to fulfil a promise to my good friend The Lieutenant Commander (known formerly as The Lieutenant), who will be soon be spending much of his time in a submerged tin can firing missiles at unspecified patches of land.

D20's were rolled. Booze was consumed. Our bold party of adventurers displayed a remarkable talent for rampaging off on wild goose chases and getting beaten up by local small time gangsters. Our monumental ineptitude ensured that the baddies won and the nobility of an entire city were burned to death by religious zealots.

And then I died and got reincarnated as some kind of gittish Mr Tumnus.

Sunday, 4 December 2011


This week; family shenanigans, interspersed with experiential leadership training through the medium of mental and physical torment in the frozen north.

The latter took the form of a week long course in the Lake District. The Lake District looks a bit like this...

...except in my experience much more dramatic and much, much more bleak. I can only assume that the adverse weather conditions have been photoshopped out (you can tell because of pixels, or something). Or it was taken on 1 of the 145 days that it does not rain in the Lake District. Specifically, not at the end of November. How the hell should I know.

Point is, I spent the time getting to know myself and others much better by jumping off bridges with them, dangling off cliffs attached to ropes tied up by them, and huddling together in blind terror at the top of wobbly poles with them. There was also plenty of time for self reflection at the local pub, where the wild-eyed landlord with unruly hair would stay open as long as the amount of money being spent on booze significantly outweighed the cost of the collateral damage we incurred.

In spite of my deep seated inherent cynicism, it was a good week in which I learned a lot of things that I expect to be forgetting very soon.

Before all that was mum's birthday thing. This involved bimbling to London to see The 39 Steps (which was excellent), and to enjoy a poncy meal* (which was frankly a bit too poncy for me to really enjoy). How poncy? Poncy enough that as we were about to leave, Paul McCartney sat down at the table next to us with whoever he's married to nowadays. So now mum can tell everyone that she had a meal with Paul McCartney on her birthday.

After the whole Lake District outdoor activity death misery was the other family doohicky, a get together for a meal in lieu of grandma having to buy presents for anyone. Which is fair enough, since her failing eyesight, hearing, memory and just about everything else makes it more or less impossible for her to do... well, anything really. To underline her encroaching senility, she spent much of the day calling me by cousin (Simon)'s name. But that's okay, because she's been doing this for about twenty years now; and I like a good running gag.

At some point, I had a birthday too; wherein my splendid friends and a mischievous Pixie showered me with gifts including, but not limited too, an OCD chopping board, a pirate-shaped USB stick with Monkey Island 3 on it, toys and comic books, and some more GARY FUCKING NUMAN.

Thanks gang.

*I couldn't remember the name of the restaurant we went to, so typed "poncy italian restaurant london" into Google. The restaurant we went to, Bocca di Lupo, was the third result returned.

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Magneto is gay

So I bought a new bike on the Friday afternoon; and by Monday morning it was stolen. At two and a half days, that still only makes it my second shortest period of bicycle ownership.


The sense of impotent blinding rage abated somewhat on the Thursday when we went to see the very excellent Reginald D Hunter; and abated further still when a guy in my office offered me the use of his mountain bike, which he had bought a year ago and used three times since. The rage returned the next day when I found out that his bike weighs more than the moon, and is actually slightly worse than the aids bike (which was also stolen); but was then almost obliterated entirely when I went to see the Melvins that same night. And then the rage came crashing back a few days ago when the chain on the shite bike broke at the top of my road and left itself in a neat line on the road behind me; and I realised that I was going to have to buy a new chain for a bike that I don't own because EVERY BIKE I'VE OWNED IN THE LAST FIVE YEARS HAS BEEN STOLEN.

I have resolved to keep listening to the Melvins until everything feels better.

Monday, 31 October 2011

complicated futility

Ben is getting pretty fucking sick of buying new bicycles for total strangers.

Sunday, 23 October 2011

...and then we went to mauschwitz

Oh well.

Either side of getting the mice taken care of were gigs, mighty gigs. The first was YOB. Support came from Dark Castle, who were nice and doomy but somehow lacking something; and then Kongh, who sported some powerful Viking face hair and played a set that sounded like a musical timeline of the first ten years of Electric Wizard (this was, broadly speaking, a good thing).

And then of course, YOB themselves. On record, these doom metal titans sound like they are smashing their guitars together to create the sound of the universe exploding very noisily and in slow motion. Live, they were much the same; except louder, and with more tattoos and hair. Thanks to the hypnotic nature of their psychedelic rumblings (or possibly all the Red Stripe), I don't remember much of what happened; but I'm pretty sure that it was awesome.

And yet somehow still not as awesome as Enablers the following night. The gig took place at the Cube Microplex in Stokes Croft, a curious little tumbledown independent cinema run by beatniks in non-ironic cardigans who found the business of mixing drinks somewhat challenging. Support came courtesy of Beginnings and Finglebone, who were each perfectly lovely in a guitar noodling wall of delay sort of a way. They were rendered completely irrelevant the moment that Enablers took to the stage, and all conscious thought was obliterated by gravel-throated reflection and loathing, swirling tendrils of post-doom guitar, and the creeping realisation that my gin and tonic had been made with lemonade.

Not the gig we went to, but...

Just super.

Shame the mice had to die.

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

ipso fatso

Induction week for my shiny new grown-up job was largely a test of endurance in the face of relentless PowerPoint, interspersed with the occasional site tour. These site tours largely involved being led from one large and impressive building to another equally large and impressive building by one of the previous years recruits; and on arrival at each building some other chap would attempt to explain what the heck was going on there. So we were not in the slightest bit perplexed when some fellow outside a particularly large and really very impressive building indicated that we should gather around and pay attention. Levels of perplexedness peaked sharply as soon as words started coming out of his mouth.

He: Can you see me?
We: er... yeah.
He: Do you believe I can travel through time?
We: um... what?
He: Have you heard of CERN? They made a particle travel faster than the speed of light this week. So now time travel is possible.
We: er...
He: Here, take this. (the guy hands a Chinese newspaper and a used cinema ticket to the person standing nearest to him). Read this; high tide is at three. I'll come for you then... which point our actual guide proclaimed that we didn't really have time for all this, and led us on to the next large and impressive building.

That was a few weeks ago; since then things have settled down and become somewhat slightly more normal. It's not awful.


Mouses are generally noted for their talents in three distinct fields.
  1. Eatin'.
  2. Poopin'.
  3. Gettin' cancer.
My mouses, having spent the last year excelling at the first two, recently decided to have a crack at the third. Tetsuo has a pretty lumpy ginger armpit; but Kaneda is very nearly more tumour than mouse, so she wins.

Sort of.

Wednesday, 14 September 2011


We went to Santorini.

Santorini used to be a volcano; then it erupted, and some Minoans built houses on the newly formed rock. Then it erupted again and most of it fell into the sea. Eventually, the ancient Greeks built more houses on the top of a mountain.

Ancient Thera is around 400m above sea level. It gets a bit breezy up there, and the ground underfoot is a mixture of loose stones and big rocks polished smooth by the tread of many weary tourists. Fortunately there are at least a dozen lengths of thin rope at ankle height dotted about at the edges of the most sheer drops, and so the chances of being dashed against the jagged rocks far below are quite minimal.

We also visited more contemporary ruins in the ghost town of Mesa Gonia. It used to be one of the major villages on the island, but was abandoned after a massive earthquake in 1956. It now has a population of around 30 people, living in houses that look somewhat incongruous amongst the remaining ruins.

We did a spot more pottering about, but mostly we stayed around our hotel and beach resort and enjoyed the novelty of having nothing to do but read and get skin cancer.

We also drank a lot of cocktails. Our cocktail bar of choice was the Love Boat; partly because of their questionable taste in music but mainly because they often served up a free shot of something tasty/deadly/on fire as you got close to the end of your drink, like some kind of alcoholic end-of-level boss.

Sadly, my sunglasses (lovingly purchased for the princely sum of £1 from the women's accessories department of Primarch) did not survive the trip; Poseidon claimed them on day five. They were replaced that day with another pair of aviators even more fabulous and mirrored than before, and now I can dress up like Cochese.

So fuck you, Poseidon.

We have decided that we like holidays.

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

about three quarters of the way up the street actually

The whole moving house thing wound up being being pretty easy, largely because we seem to have some of the best friends in the world.

The Pixie hadn't seen the house at all until the day we picked up the keys, so it comes as some relief that she doesn't hate it and that we we are all settling in quite nicely. So far the only unforeseen horror has been in the cupboard under the stairs, where we found an old wooden box containing a single child's slipper and a rusty saw.

Which is hardly horrifying at all, actually; and far less disturbing than our pet Frenchman's collection of sinister foreign foodstuffs.

Soupe?! What the hell's that?

Those labels could say anything, and there is literally no way of finding out.

Thursday, 18 August 2011


Went to see The Death Of Her Money at The Croft last week. I didn't get to see them straight away, of course; there were the obligatory support acts to wade through first.

First up was Pus, who were loud. Loud and to the point. Loud and to the point and thuggishly sludgy. Thudgy? Sluggish? Probably the second one. For the first thirty seconds it made some sort of terrible brutal sense, but after a minute or so it was starting to get tiresome. Then they played for another twenty minutes.

But then came Winston Egbert, who were charming. Self-proclaimed underdogs of 80s thrash, Winston Egbert are a boy/girl duo where the girl plays drums and the boy plays guitar and they both do a bit of singing. Kind of like The White Stripes. Except that they sound nothing like The White Stripes. Because they play 80s thrash.

Jesse Ventura (not to be confused with Jesse "The Body" Ventura, American wrestler and 38th governor of Minnesota) were apparently playing their first ever show, but looked like they'd been doing this kind of thing for years. It was all very reminiscent of Gay For Johnny Depp's homoerotic hardcore - they even had a song dedicated to "a man that's important and influential in all of our lives, and surely all of yours too; Patrick Fucking Swayze." Ones to watch.

And finally The Death Of Her Money, who were of course spiffing. I first/last saw them almost three and a half years ago, in what used to be The Junction, and dimly recall them sounding a bit like Isis and/or Pelican. On reflection their seismic riff dirge is more comparable to Godflesh without all the mechanical sounding frippery, but in truth they don't sound like they're trying to sound like anyone else; TDOHM have carved out their own doomgaze niche, and are bloody masters of it. Good stuff.

Meanwhile, it was my last day at the Big Gay Department Store last weekend. It is, in every sense of the word, the gayest place that I have ever worked. I think that I shall miss it slightly... but I start my new job at the end of September, and in the meantime I could use a few Saturdays off for things like sitting around in beer gardens, going on holiday and moving house.

We got keys to the new place on Tuesday, but don't have a van until tonight - so there has been very little moving of stuff. Instead we have been playing an odd version of Tetris using bits of squared paper cut out into the shapes of items of furniture.

If only we had spreadsheets and gantt charts to go with it all, Matt would be really proud of us.

Wednesday, 3 August 2011


Of course, it hasn't all been cocking about with toy soldiers. Although it has mostly been cocking about with toy soldiers.

There was also some cocking about with the track slag, which at the last check had a few issues with brakes. The scale of the problem became apparent when we removed the old pads.

For the uninitiated, the shiny bits show where the pad itself has worn away completely and the metal backing plate - which provides almost no stopping power but is very good at ruining brake discs - has ground itself away on the brake disc. As might be expected, the discs themselves were also a bit of a state.

I sure pity the sucker that had to drive that home from the track. (thanks Laura...)

So, new pads and discs all round. We decided after the last jolly that uprating the brakes was probably a smart idea anyway, and so after a day of excessive hammer usage we now have bigger discs and fancy red brake pads. These will make the car go faster, because they are red, and everyone knows that red 'uns go faster.

There was also a lot of cocking about with graduation ceremonies. Because graduating was less interesting to me than essential car maintenance, I took fewer photos. In fact I took only one photograph the whole day, of the bread boat captained by a grapey pirate that Dr Sister constructed using only bits of her ploughman's lunch.

So you'll have to invent pictures in your head using the power of mental thinking to accompany the following bullet point summary of the day.
  • Apoplectic scheduling anxiety in the morning, despite going through everything the night before using a D20 to determine how punctual/sober/clothed people would be. Miscellaneous toy soldiers were used to represent all the important people, with coasters used to represent key locations and pieces of shortbread used to represent pudding.
  • The Pixie looked delightful in her summery dress.
  • I shook some old geezers hand, and now I'm qualified to do stuff.
  • Lunch, beer, etc.
  • We went to the aquarium. There were lots of fish, but no oversized pencils in the gift shop.
  • Big Chinese dinner, beer, etc.
Essentially, the day started stressfully; but got immediately and immeasurably better once the ceremony was done and complimentary booze and cakes was made available .

Sunday, 31 July 2011

prophets of FaDoom pt.5

...and then these guys showed up.

Dümbar forgets exactly when or how the foetid creatures appeared. There was obviously a time when their rotting stench didn't permeate his very consciousness, but it all seems a very long time ago now. He is fairly certain that it is all the bastard skull mace's doing.

He is fairly certain that they want him dead.

In fact, there seems to be almost no end to the variety of ways in which Dümbar might meet his end. He could be horribly maimed by maniacs that believe he has magical powers, or slaughtered by one of the countless other bands of lunatics that seem so curiously obsessed with shards of green rock, he might succumb to one of the hideous plagues or poxes that seem to have blighted so many of his followers of late, he could have his skin eaten by the hideous fly-headed mutant of his own creation, or he could be suddenly transformed into a whiff of green vapour by that shrieking bastard skull mace.

Aekold Fastidious Dümbar, known to his followers as The Great Prophet FaDoom, has finally come to realise that he is in fact utterly doomed.

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

prophets of FaDoom pt.4

Whilst the majority of Dümbar's followers are weapon-toting bearded lunatics with such a tenuous grip on reality that meteorite insurance seemed like a wise investment, this is not the case for all of them.

Torvald Blasphemy and Helsinki Abominator are a pair of alarmingly antisocial young men who, prior to the devastation of Mordheim, attempted to make a living as musicians. They were not generally well received by the public. This could have been for any number of reasons; because of their predilection for corpse paint, the way they played their lutes really really fast, that they preferred grunts and shrieks in lieu of any actual singing, all of their songs were about Chaos gods, that they would occasionally burn down the odd temple of Sigmar, or because people had been brainwashed by corporate mainstream bards and just weren't ready for anything as real as them yet.

In any case, when Mordheim got levelled and society collapsed Torvald and Helsinki found the bleak aftermath much more to their liking. Amongst the smouldering ruins countless extremist cults sprung up seemingly overnight, and it seemed as though these two malcontents may at last find something that they could belong to.

Sadly for them, they soon found out that life in a proper Chaos cult involves an awful lot of very tedious ceremony and was not anywhere near as wilfully destructive, anarchic and... well... chaotic as they would have liked. For months they lurched from one cult to the next, never able to stick with any for too long before the ultimate badass leader of said cult would tire of their preposterous cocking about and banish them from his sight. Torvald and Helsinki were slowly coming to the conclusion that all these jerks must have been brainwashed by corporate mainstream cults and just weren't ready for anything as real as them yet, and were on the verge of leaving Mordheim altogether when they encountered some of the Disciples of FaDoom, rummaging through bins behind the burnt ruins of an alehouse. They heard tales of the Great Prophet FaDoom, of how he foresaw the doom of Mordheim, of how he could transform men into hideous beasts with blasts of green fire from his mighty skull mace, of how he sometimes didn't seem to know exactly what was going on...

Dümbar doesn't like Torvald or Helsinki. Their wild and unpredictable nature makes him nervous, but he's too scared of them to ask them to leave. Occasionally he will wave the skull mace at them in the hope that it will sort things out for him; but the damn thing just cackles maniacally and then incinerates something else entirely before getting back to shouting at him in that incomprehensible northern tongue.

Torvald and Helsinki find these vulgar displays of Dümbar's power quite awe inspiring, and on the whole are pleased to have finally found a home where they can cause as much havoc as they like, and play their lutes as fast and as loud as they please all night with no complaints.

Dümbar is fairly certain that Torvald and Helsinki want him dead.

Monday, 11 July 2011

prophets of FaDoom pt.3

Of course, not everyone was immediately convinced of Dümbar's powers. Amongst the mob of bearded loonies that first sought out Dümbar's shabby hovel was one Helmut Blaueflasche, an especially unhinged militia veteran prone to conspiracy theories and occasional moments of terrifying clarity. Helmut had a few questions for Dümbar; like why, if he had indeed predicted the arrival of a city-flattening meteorite, had he not fled to safety beforehand? And also, where was his goddamn money?

Helmut would never find out. As Dümbar stood before the mob proclaiming himself to be a great prophet and doomseer, Helmut got as far as "Yeah, but hang on a minute..." when he was cut short by the skull mace that Dümbar was waving about above his head. To the surprise of everyone (most especially Dümbar himself), the skull atop the mace began shrieking in some ancient northern tongue. The empty sockets of the skull began to glow with an eerie green fire, and as the shrieking became more agitated bolts of fire shot the eyes of the skull and struck Helmut, consuming him in flame and smoke.

The mob fell silent. The silence gave way to gasps of horror and astonishment as the smoke cleared, revealing that rather than being destroyed by the baleful green fire Helmut had been transformed into a hideous fly-headed mutant. Clearly the Great Prophet FaDoom was also a mighty sorcerer...

Dümbar found this more than a little alarming, but figured it was best to play along if he was to convince the rest of the lunatics of his arcane credentials. He has subsequently attempted, on numerous occasions, to rid himself of the terrifying skull mace; but somehow it always seems to find its way back to his side. He can't understand any of the skull's demented shrieking, but it frequently seems quite irate; and the only solution seems to be to point it towards someone or something, at which point something terrible involving green fire happens and the shrieking turns to more of an insane cackling. Dümbar is fairly certain that the skull mace wants him dead.

As for Helmut, he is able to understand the skull's ranting perfectly well; but since his mouth has been transformed into a hideous proboscis he is unable to share this knowledge with anyone else. Therefore it is for reasons known only to Helmut himself that he sticks around. Dümbar is fairly certain that Helmut wants him dead.

Friday, 8 July 2011

prophets of FaDoom pt.2

On reflection, it is quite easy to see how the kind of people that would spend money on meteorite insurance would also be so willing to believe that Dümbar had arcane powers of foresight; and when his prophetic vision of meteoric annihilation was realised they soon sought him out, eager to learn of new and more improbable ways that they might all be meeting their terrible doom in the near future.

Like all good con artists, Dümbar tended to prey upon the more mentally infirm; and so it is no coincidence that the majority of the "Brethren of FaDoom" are somewhat elderly and, more often than not, raving mad. Most are former militia, veterans of countless grisly wars against the greenskins and beasts of Chaos in the vast, dense forests of the Empire. For some the war never ended, and many kept a few weapons after they were retired from frontline service just in case society crumbled.

Which is quite convenient.

Tuesday, 5 July 2011

prophets of FaDoom pt.1

This is the Great Prophet FaDoom.

In the days before the great devastation of Mordheim he was known as Aekold Fastidious Dümbar, a notorious con artist that made his living by selling meteorite insurance to the more cautious/paranoid/gullible of his fellow townsfolk. Most of his profits were either gambled away or lost in poor investments (such as the ill-fated Forest of Loren bypass); this was of little concern to
Dümbar, who had never had much of knack for retaining wealth. Besides, he was never going to have to pay out on any of those insurance policies.

And then of course, Mordheim was famously levelled by a meteorite.

Dümbar found this alarming for a variety of reasons. Alarm became sheer terror when an angry mob turned up at his door brandishing a variety of weapons and slightly soiled meteorite insurance policies, demanding that he step outside for some words. With his only routes of escape blocked by the baying horde, Dümbar armed himself with the first thing that came to hand - a rune-encrusted skull mace that he had fished out of the bins along with a load of collectable plates that he had intended to sell on as valuable antiques - and went out to meet his fate.

But fate had something else in store for him. Far from seeking violent retribution, or worse still big cash pay outs on their meteorite insurance, the mob were there to swear fealty to the great prophet that had foretold of their impending doom. Dümbar knew a good grift when he saw it, and raising his skull wand to the heavens he humbly accepted their praise and commanded his disciples to go out and loot the city, smite any unbelievers that might expect some kind of payment off the back of his prophecy, and construct a temple - the Temple of FaDoom.

Tuesday, 28 June 2011

bei einnahme sofort arzt aufsuchen

So we found a new place to live.

It is not in Westbury-on-Trym, where the three leading causes of death are 1. boredom, 2. old age and 3. nothing else; and it is a three bedroom house, which hopefully means there shall be no wrangling with tin-pot dictators in flat committees that prohibit all movement, conversation and roller-discos after 7pm because it's a bit noisy and people are trying to die of boredom and old age in peace.

We don't get to move until mid-August; and almost didn't get to move at all, thanks to the credit check agency that vets potential tenants on behalf of our future letting agency. Because I don't start grown-up work until September, there was some question as to whether I would be good for the rent; and the offer letter from my future employer (for which I have studied for five years, completed an essay-style application form, participated in online written, numerical and logical reasoning tests, and attended a two-day assessment centre evaluating my abilities as an individual and a team member) was "only a conditional offer, and anyone can get one of those."

I forget how hard I laughed at this.

Fortunately it is possible to work around their bullshit system, by simply owning up to being a penniless chump and making Dom and the Pixie pay all the rent instead. Awesome.

The whole debacle only lasted for an afternoon, but was somewhat slightly stressful all the same; and so some form of cathartic recreational activity was called for. This was conveniently served up a few days later in the form of a track day at Castle Combe, run by the splendid folks at BHP. Matt, Laura and I took the track slag out for its first outing since we added lightness by, erm, ripping out all the innards and throwing them away. It was an open pitlane, which meant that there was a good mix of exotica, oddities and track hacks in attendance.

We've always found the other folks at these events to be a friendly bunch, and this particular day was no exception. Everyone displayed a remarkable tolerance for our ceaseless questions about their cars, the other guys with BMWs (ours was one of five E36s in attendance) were eager to share their ideas on various performance upgrades, and we even had one old boy offer us a few passenger laps in his Lotus 7-alike. What a tip-top geezer.

There were only a few slight hiccups, the first being a rear wheel that attempted to detach itself from the rest of the car whilst I was tearing around. It probably would have hung on for a few more laps, but I'd promised the Pixie that I wouldn't die and so pulled in to reattach the wheelnuts. The second problem was the brakes, which we worked so hard that the new pads which we had fitted five days ago were reduced to little more than powder by the end of the day.

All of which made for a somewhat cautious drive home. Still, we had an amazing day, met some nice people, and can now legitimately claim to have driven the wheels off of our car.

Monday, 13 June 2011

scud panther

Well, that was nearly it for university. On Friday I was suckered into attending the faculty degree show, a chance for students to show off work that they had little remaining enthusiasm for to other academics and a smattering of industry professionals, who would feign interest but were really only there for the free food and drink. The engineering bit looked like this.

Pretty wild. For a while I killed time by watching the F1 practice on my laptop; but then the wireless connection inexplicably dropped out, and I was forced to focus my attention on other stuff. Mostly I concentrated on not talking to people, by scampering off as soon as it looked like someone might want to talk to me about my project. This meant I got plenty of opportunity to wander around all the other project displays for the creative product design and architecture programmes, and discover that for all the years I'd spent cocking about with rubbish brackets and complex equations they'd been having fun making awesome models out of bits of card and stuff.

Bastards. I would have attempted to drink my way through the rest of the event but for the fact that I had elected to drive there. This turned out to be something of a mixed blessing, partly because of the torrential rain that, had I elected to cycle, would have necessitated the use of spear fishing goggles and possibly one of those rubber rings with a duck's head on the front; but mainly because of the offensive quality of mojito on offer. When I am king of the world, I will have people sent to the gulags for using chopped mint to make mojitos.

I eventually returned to the engineering project room to collect the prize for Best MEng Mechanical Engineering Project, which was awarded to me largely because I was the only MEng mech student there. Whilst final marks and the quality of the project display were all important factors, it had already been made quite clear that attendance was also a key requirement. Which is good, because I have always considered winning on a technicality to be the sweetest of victories, and couldn't bear the thought that I might have won purely on merit. And they only slightly misspelled my name on the certificate and cheque, so really the whole event couldn't have been much more perfect.

The very best way to round the evening off would have been to go home and have a few drinks whilst my Chaos team cruised to a long overdue first win against Matt, who seems to think that his borrowed human team keeps losing because Blood Bowl is rubbish, and not because he is rubbish at Blood Bowl.

What happened instead was that my Chaos team slumped to a humiliating 3-1 defeat against Matt, who believes now more than ever that Blood Bowl is not some kind of Jewish conspiracy against him.

And so I find myself increasing looking ahead towards the next gaming shenanigan, which most of us have agreed should be Mordheim.

I plan to run with a Possessed warband, but haven't really worked out what I want to have in it yet; so I've just concentrated on painting a random assortment of bearded lunatics and gribbly mutants instead.

Like my Chaos team, the Possessed have a lot of muscle but little discernible talent and so are sure to do well.