Wednesday 31 March 2010

Who Stole My Excellence?

This was going to be an excellent post – but I’ve mislaid my excellence.

I might have left it at work to be fair; I usually take it with me and leave my “will to live” and “joie de vivre” at home.

I certainly miss my excellence, so this, unfortunately, is going to be useless post.

What do you mean “tell us something we don’t know”?

Every day I am told that I need to be excellent; I need to excel at absolutely everything in my life from the moment my crusty eyes open in the morning until they close again at night. I probably have to be excellent while I’m asleep too.

Job adverts are absolutely full of demands to be excellent:

You will be an excellent leader, excelling at everything you attempt. You will be an excellent people person with excellent motivation skills that will make everybody in the whole wide world love you (even those who have not had the good fortune to meet you).

You excellence will be so tangible that people will want to have sex with you as soon as they lay eyes on you. They want to give you all of their money.

Your excellence will be excellent too.

Bookshops are full of self help guides that promote excellence:

In Search of Excellence

Racing Towards Excellence

In Pursuit of Excellence

The Excellence of Sweeping the Street

The Essence of Excellence

Excellence II: The Joy of Excellence

Recruiting Excellence

Eating Excellence

Finding Excellence in Pets

Optimising Your Excellence

What to Do If You Lose Your Excellence

Unleashing Excellence

The Excellence System

The Excellence of Excellence

How to be Excellent Even When You Are Not Being Excellent

Excellence for Idiots

Take Your Excellence Out For a Meal, Wine It, Dine It, Marry it and Have Baby Excellence.

Actually, I made some of those up but hopefully you get my drift. Business these days seems obsessed with the pursuit of excellence and successful bosses love to talk themselves up. Interviews for some of these lofty positions must be an absolute hoot to watch, with these people stepping into a weird realm where they are the master of all they survey. A game of buzzword bingo is very interesting on such occasions.

If you have seen the Apprentice you will know exactly what I mean.

In the US, Donald Trump sits there in complete silence as the candidates argue amongst themselves, stabbing each other in the back and telling lies about each other and themselves in order to convince him that they are excellent and their competitors are useless – even though their combined effort was a total disaster.

MR TRUMP: Why shouldn’t I fire you?

VICTIM 1: I did an excellent job because I am excellent. I am an excellent salesman and, Mr Trump, I will be an excellent apprentice and I will excel at excellence in every aspect of my job. You need me, Mr Trump, because I am excellent.

MR TRUMP: And why shouldn’t I fire you?

VICTIM 2: Because my so-called colleague is a lying snivelling wreck who did a BAD job. It was entirely his fault that we lost you $10,000. It was his idea to dress the elephant in a tutu. He is not excellent; he is mediocre at best. I am excellence personified; I live and breath excellence; I dream excellence; I think excellence; I even piss excellence. I pray to the God of excellence and he answers me saying “You are so excellent that I will give you an excellent position at my right hand.” Mr Trump, sack this low life mediocre muppet. I am so driven that I break the speed of light with every move. You want 21st century Mr Trump? I will give you 22nd, 23rd and 24th centuries. You want one hundred percent? I will give you one million percent and I will still be cruising. I will hyperdrive YOUR productivity into the next decade using my excellence. You will become EVEN RICHER – so RICH that New York will be renamed NEW TRUMP! And it will ALL be down to my excellence.

MR TRUMP: You both did a BAD job. You’re both fired.

This is one of my favourite ever moments from the Apprentice USA:

See what happens when you lose your excellence?

In the UK, we have Sir Alan Sugar (or should I say Lord Sugar) who is different from Donald Trump but much funnier and much more abrasive in my opinion at least.

Call me cruel but I simply love to watch the faces of these egotistical muppets crumble when they realise that they, too, have lost their excellence at a crucial moment. Not that I could do any better myself of course.

One woman on the show claimed to be "the best salesperson in Europe". She was fired - for not selling anything.

Here is Sir Alan Sugar in action:

Anyway, my point is that in business, the word “excellence” has become one of the most prodigious business buzzwords in the history of business bullshit. The word “excellence” and its derivatives crop up fairly regularly in newspapers and on the TV and are usually surrounded by other similar buzzwords that are properties of a super human being but hardly the kind of thing that every single person can call upon to assist themselves in their everyday life and career.

Job adverts are full of this kind of horseshit whether you are after the top job as chairman of a multimillion dollar company or the manager of a small retail outlet. We are expected to strive for excellence even if we work as a petrol pump attendant.

You are expected to take your excellence to the interview and allow it to answer difficult questions on your behalf; take your buzzword bingo card, your bullshit generator and your excellence to a job interview and you should prevail.

INTERVIEWER: Tell me about yourself.

CANDIDATE: I am the best of the best of the best. I have my excellence with me on a leash at all times and it casts aside all doubts and makes me the perfect person for this job. My mind is a centre of excellence. I am the greatest. You will never, ever employ a better car park attendant in your life.

Personally I seek excellence in everything I do; it is my constant companion in life.

In the morning I wake up, leap out of bed and throw myself into the shower washing my aging, bloated body and mad hair with pure brilliance.

My crazy hair is tamed with excellence and I actually look slightly human as I eat my excellent breakfast.

At work, colleagues tell me how wonderful I am and how I am the best at my job – that’s excellence for you.

I arrive home after work and eat an excellent evening meal, while watching excellent TV programmes before going to bed to read an excellent book.

I even have excellent dreams full of monsters, interstellar battles, tales of love and adventure with beguiling women falling at my excellent feet.

Of course I am lying through my keyboard. I struggle through the day fighting fires and struggling to extricate myself from the bureaucratic red tape that throttles business and technology today. It is the same everywhere.

Even with all the technology we have in the world it is sometimes difficult to find your excellence in paperwork.

Furthermore, with everybody striving for and supposedly achieving excellence, I often wonder why the world seems to have problems.

You only have to read the news to see that excellence appears to have taken a leaf out of Superman’s book and gone for a sabbatical to Krypton. Perhaps my excellence has gone there too.

Anyway, if I find my excellence I will let you know. Perhaps I will make an excellent choice when I visit the newsagent to buy my lottery ticket this weekend.

That would be excellent.

Saturday 27 March 2010

Introducing "The China Chronicles"

In 1999, Mrs PM and I embarked upon a two week trip to China, from our base in Hong Kong. At the time, the two of us were in the middle of a three month stint working there and we had two weeks off where we had the choice to either return to England or go on holiday.

We chose to tour China.

For me, it was a major adventure and I decided from the very beginning to document our experiences. Armed with a notebook and very little else, we set off on 5th June 1999.

The resulting travelogue became “The China Chronicles”, a diary of our trip where I bared my soul, exposed my innermost fears and, of course, documented our trip as well as I could with my limited writing skills.

I have now decided to share it with the world, via the wonders of the blogosphere.

If you decide to have a look at our exploits, be warned; first, it is a “warts and all” account of the trip and, as such, includes a little fruity language that may offend some readers; second, there are one or two photos of me so make sure you are sitting down and have some oxygen and water ready in case you accidentally stumble on one.

It was a fabulous and rewarding adventure at a time when China was not as accessible as perhaps it is now. We had a lot of fun and there were some hairy moments when we wondered what we had done.

However, there were also many fantastic moments that I will cherish.

If you have nothing better to do and want to read about the adventure of two hapless travellers in a totally foreign land then you can find it by clicking on the image below (which is my name in Chinese if you were wondering).

Please feel free to leave comments on the site.

On the subject of travelogues, I have also written another one for a 2005 trip to Australia. That too, may make it onto the internet in due course.

If you choose to read “The China Chronicles”, I just want to let you know that Mrs PM’s real name is Lisa and, as you may know, I am the cowardly bumpkin called Dave – just so that you don’t get mixed up.

Thursday 25 March 2010

Spooky Chat - Oh Really???

Last month I posted about an experience I had not long after my father died (read about it here). It was a spooky encounter that may or may not have been my imagination and, for a while, made me question the existence of ghosts.

I suppose that I could have sought the services of a psychic or medium, you know, those gifted people who can talk to the spirits on our behalf. People like Derek Acorah (being sent up by Harry Hill):

Now I wonder whether Harry Hill was perhaps being a little cruel. I mean, if ghosts do exist, why can’t there be a dog ghost?

Mrs PM’s mother actually bought me a book by Derek Acorah for Christmas a couple of years ago. She knew about my fascination with all things weird so a book entitled “Amazing Psychic Stories” seemed a great idea.

Within five minutes of starting it, I cast it aside. It was dreadful. As I read it I began to think to wonder what kind of people believe in the nonsense that was written in books like this. So much for me going to speak to a psychic.

I don’t want to pick on Derek Acorah in particular but his behaviour and techniques do leave a lot to be desired. I mean, come on. A dog ghost? What on earth does he think he’s playing at, pretending to be possessed by Fido the wonder dog?

“Woof woof woof woof woof!”

Oh really Derek? And is Fido worried about me from beyond the grave?”

“Woof woof woof woof woof!”

So forgive me if I’m being just a little too choosy, but I think I might cross Derek Acorah off the list of psychics that I might consider bearing my soul too.

Mind you, the truth is I wouldn’t go to ANY psychics at all; I am too sceptical and I simply don’t believe a word that comes out of their mouths, particularly if they are “possessed”. Here is Derek Acorah again, supposedly possessed by a child killer:

Now to me this is ridiculous.

I have a huge problem with psychics and mediums; I think that they are full of crap. I’m sorry but that’s my opinion and I apologise to anybody who believes in this nonsense.

Mrs PM, on the other hand, seems to be fascinated with the idea that there may be something in it.

I have often caught her watching these people on TV.

“What are you watching?”

“Oh nothing,” she says, waiting for the inevitable volcanic eruption.

“Who’s that weird looking bloke?”

“Nobody,” she says.

Cogs turn in my brain as I try to trawl my memory for the face; for once it doesn’t let me down.

“It’s that bloody bloke; that bloody psychic; the one who cons people that he’s talking to dead people.”

“Oh no,” she sighs.


My soapbox is out, I am standing on it and ranting so much that the cats hurl themselves through the window, calling 999 as they do.

To be fair I have watched these people on TV just for research and the script goes something like this:

PSYCHIC: I’m speaking to a man – he’s trying to connect to me. He’s a soldier. He is wearing a uniform.


PSYCHIC: He says his name is Dave or Don or Derek or Dilbert or Desmond or Dennis. Does anybody here know a soldier who has passed to the other side?

AUDIENCE: (COMPLETE silence ...)

PSYCHIC: He may not be a soldier.

GULLIBLE AUDIENCE MEMBER: I have just lost my husband. He was a pilot called Zebedee.

PSYCHIC: AH! YES! Welcome Zebedee. I knew there was a D in there somewhere.

What follows is a load of old baloney that the psychic invents to somehow reassure the gullible audience member that their loved one is safe, well and enjoying the afterlife.

“I’m having a PARTY! Don’t worry about me! I love you. Sort yourself out! WAHEEYYY!”

A few years ago, I went to Las Vegas to join Mrs PM who had been at a conference there. I remember one morning, waking up thinking that I was still jet-lagged.

PM: What shall we do today?

Mrs PM: You can do what you like; I’m going to see James von Praagh.

PM: Who?

Mrs PM: James von Praagh.

PM: Who’s he? A comedian?

Mrs PM: He’s ... erm ... erm ...erm a psychic medium.


Mrs PM: What’s so funny?

PM: I’m sorry; I just thought I heard you say you were going to see a psychic medium.

Mrs PM: I am.

PM: WHAT????

Mrs PM: And it’s costing me $75

PM: WHAT???????????????

And she went, leaving me completely in the lurch for a man who claims to talk to ghosts. I had to spend three hours of my life in Las Vegas wandering around casinos, drinking beer and trying not to spend too much money - which in the end was very nice. I ended up in a bar chatting to a man who was about to get married by Elvis - presumably through a medium.

Meanwhile, Mrs PM sat for around three hours in a theatre listening to mumbo jumbo about messages from people who had died and, for some reason, wanted to send a message back to the living.

We met in the bar later; I had had a couple of beers.

PM: So, did you speak to the dead?

Mrs PM: No, but it was very interesting?

PM: In what way? Did somebody come back from the dead and say to a gullible audience member “And I hope you are looking after my house. It was lovely when I died. I’ll just bet you’ve redecorated it haven’t you? And have you spent my inheritance yet? I’ll bet you blew it all on a WILD PARTY!”

Mrs PM (tutting): You’re such a cynic. Some people were genuinely happy and upset.

PM: Happy AND upset? Why, were his jokes that bad?

At this point Mrs PM became possessed; not by a ghost but by a sudden inexplicable urge to punch my arm.

PM: Bloody Hell – that HURT!

Mrs PM: Shut up or I’ll hit you again.

Now I’m going to be honest with you. I would actually have considered going to see a psychic presentation had it been absolutely free.


So I could have heckled.

Imagine sitting in the audience of “Crossing Over” with Colin Fry (a man who looks so spooky that he may in fact already BE a ghost):

CF: I’m connection with a lovely old lady called Edna and she is here to speak to this lady here.

PM: Where is she then? I can’t bloody well see her.

Mrs PM (through gritted teeth): Will you SHUT UP??

PM: No I will not. Mr Fry, I don’t mean to be rude but where is Edna? And how come nobody else can hear or see her? How do we know she is there when we can’t see or hear her? What can you actually see and hear? Are you sure you're not just seeing things?

CF: You clearly are a troubled soul. Security? Get this idiot out of there – and his missus too.

PM: Why don’t you get your ghostly poltergeists to throw me out then?

Mrs PM: I’m gonna KILL YOU!!!

PM: Well if you do, I’ll try to come back and talk to Mr Fry. Make sure you are in the audience for that, my dear.

Anyway, I am a fair minded person so I want to give the psychics a chance to fight back. Here, once again is Derek Acorah, getting his own back on Harry Hill.

Perhaps I should change my views. I wouldn’t want Derek Acorah to come and punch me on the nose.

Friday 19 March 2010

Soul Searching on Planet Earth

Sunday 21st March is the second anniversary of “The Plastic Mancunian” blog, you know, that inane, weird and foolish drivel that escapes from my brain and somehow finds its way into cyberspace for all and sundry to read.

The blog started out as a nebulous pile of bullshit and now it has been refined into a more focussed kind of horseshit.

As strange as it seems, I have changed in that time too. Believe it or not I have become more mature.

“Oh yeah,” I hear you cry. “Didn’t you recently write about sick and sordid things that have happened to you and other people? Didn’t you come up with a fictional “confession” that was pure gobbledygook? How is that “becoming mature? You’re a middle-aged git – you should already BE mature.”

Well let me tell you how I have matured – a little at least.

I recently wrote about procrastination and how useless I am at concentrating on necessary tasks, or even doing something that I want to do, like write a book. As a result of that post I started to examine myself.

I don’t mean that I stripped off naked, stood in front of the mirror with a magnifying glass scrutinising all of my numerous physical flaws. I have no desire to examine myself in that much detail I can assure you – I scare very easily.

What I mean is, I did a little soul searching; I kind of stepped deep into my own mind and took a look at where I was going, what I wanted to do and how I was going to achieve it.

Don’t worry – I didn’t turn into a bizarre kind of spiritual freak. I simply asked myself a few questions, opened a couple of creaky old boxes in my subconscious mind and let the contents fly around a bit to get some air.

It’s a weird thing, exploring your soul and in many ways its fascinating examining what you have achieved, where you are now and what you intend to do in the future. It’s also a little disappointing.

I can imagine what you are thinking; “AARRGGGHHHH!!!! He’s having a mid-life crisis!!”

I promise you I’m not – I had that several years ago and paid the price with a divorce.

What I mean is that although I have led a reasonable life, I think I could have done things in a different and probably better way. That said, it is not necessarily a bad thing. I am quite proud of some of the things I’ve done – even the stupid things – and I wouldn’t be the person I am today had I not made mistakes.

Looking at my life now, I am a very happy chap. Sure, I give the impression that I am a grumpy middle-aged troll with my opinionated rants about what is wrong with the world but overall I am quite content with life. There are things that make me unhappy, notably the rat race and the inexorable journey through working life, but despite that I now try to direct myself towards the positive things in life.

And believe me, life really is wonderful.

However, as fantastic as life can be, there are still ways in which I can improve the journey and make myself even happier in future. Such was my aim when I wrote the post about procrastination ( which you can read here)

As I wrote that post, I realised, in a sense, that I was holding myself back a little and finding excuses to simply not do what I wanted to do. Hence I declared war on this negative aspect of my existence.

And, surprisingly, it has yielded positive results, albeit slowly.

After a failed attempt at writing a non-fiction book I decided to scrap that idea. I wrote around 6000 words and when I read it back I wasn’t particularly impressed. It was directionless and unfocussed and I couldn’t justify continuing it. After all, if I don’t like it, I wouldn’t expect anybody else to like it either.

So I thought I would have another go at a novel.

Progress has been slow (mainly because I am being too much of a perfectionist) but I am now almost 9000 words into it. My head is buzzing with the plot at the moment and I am slowly but surely chipping away – more so than any previous attempt at writing a novel. I simply need to sit down and write the bloody thing. In a sense this is where procrastination is fighting back. That and the fact that I am busy at work and end up being on call too much.

I didn’t say it was going to be easy.

I remain positive and enthusiastic and I am prevailing in the war. Moreover, other aspects of my life are improving too.

Mrs PM surprised me last month when I talked to her about it; she said “Yes – I have noticed that you seen more driven in these past months – and you are happier too.”.

That was good enough for me.

Of course, I still rant and rave, act like an idiotic child, say and do stupid things – that is part of me and it won’t change.

I don’t want it to change.

But what of “The Plastic Mancunian”?

The blog has opened new doors and without it I wouldn’t have embarked upon exploring my own soul. I wouldn’t have done so without it. When I start writing about the weird thoughts in my brain, I actually enjoy it – even the utter bilge that doesn’t make it to the blog itself.

It has become part of my life and it will remain so. I have no intention of giving it up.

Furthermore I have decided that I am going to publish my two travelogues online in blog form, in due course.

The first one records a trip to China. In 1999, Mrs PM and I embarked on a two week trip to that immense country, armed with fear and enthusiasm (the fear came from me) and I wrote a very amateurish “warts and all” account of our adventure, mainly because I wanted to remember it all. I called it “The China Chronicles”.

The second records a trip to Hong Kong, Australia and Singapore from 2005, with Mrs PM and her mum and partner. I foolishly called it “Koala Kebabs” and it was meant as a gift for Mrs PM’s mum’s 60th birthday (which was why we were going in the first place), so it is more like a diary than a travelogue.

I will of course post a link for anybody with a morbid curiosity who wants to read my attempts at being a poor version of Bill Bryson.

Moreover, I am going to start travelogue number three later this year; we are visiting the west coast of Canada and America for two weeks in May with Mrs PM’s father – so that will be fun.

So, what of me, after this little bit of soul searching?

My goals are still the same:

To win the lottery, quit the day job and travel the world write about my experiences.

To continue to drive Mrs PM up the wall with rock music in the hope that she succumbs and embraces it.

And to continue to be just the way I am but this time with the added bonus of standing triumphant over the bloodied corpse of procrastination.

And, most importantly of all, to remain happy!

Thanks again for reading the blog (even if this is the first time you have stumbled upon the crap I write) and I hope you come back to read it again.



Sunday 14 March 2010

Top Twenty Science Fiction Films

I am a bit of a geek therefore I am a huge fan of science fiction – or so those who believe in stereotypes suggest.

In this instance, however, certainly as far as I am concerned, they are right. I love science fiction novels, TV series and movies.

There are so many fabulous science fiction films that I am going to give you my top 20.

Please feel free to let me know your favourites – who knows – I may not even have seen it (but I doubt it).

Also, let me know if you disagree with me. I’d be happy to know why.

(20) Star Wars – The Empire Strikes Back

I was never really a huge fan of the Star Wars saga. I don’t really know why. Perhaps it is because the distinction between good and evil is just that little bit too obvious. Darth Vader himself had a lot of potential as an evil villain but he never quite realised it for me, I’m afraid. Sadly, I do actually like Star Wars III – The Revenge of the Sith and it was touch and go whether that made the top twenty instead of this one. In the end, I opted for The Empire Strikes Back simply because I was as shocked as everybody when it was revealed that Darth Vader was in fact Luke Skywalker’s father.

I apologise to Star Wars purists but I much prefer Star Trek to be honest (as you will see later).

(19) Galaxy Quest

Once of the reasons I love Galaxy Quest is because it is a science fiction remake of another great film, The Three Amigos. A bunch of washed up actors being mistaken for intergalactic heroes and the aliens in the film is a wonderful idea. There are so many great comedy moments in the film; nothing escapes including sci-fi conventions where goons dress up as the characters and believe it is real and Star Trek itself including the one unknown character who always gets bumped off when the crew lands on an alien planet. Tim Allen is excellent as the captain but the best character in the movie is Alan Rickman’s reluctant alien.

Never give up – never surrender.

(18) Starship Troopers

I hope you don’t think of the tacky I Lost My Heart To A Starship Trooper that was a crappy little single in the seventies. Starship Troopers is a very violent, very scary and very political movie that makes me shudder when I watch it. Why? Because I loathe creepy-crawlies and the monsters in this film are basically huge insects that rip men to pieces. My one criticism is that the characters are a little shallow. However, that fades into insignificance when you consider giant fire breathing beetles, monstrous insects with razor sharp claws that can slice off a man’s limbs and, worst of all, the horrific species we meet at the end that suck out human brains. Revolting yet utterly compelling.

(17) Total Recall

Unlike most of Arnie’s mindless movies, Total Recall has a fairly convoluted plot that makes it that much better than most of his action films. The story is intelligent and has lots of nice twists, particularly for Arnie’s character. I can accept the fact that he has to flex his muscles and beat the crap out of bad guys but the intricacies of the plot adds that extra portion of enjoyment.

(16) The Time Machine

H.G. Wells is my favourite classic author and I have read most of his books. The Time Machine is one of the best and I am going to take a liberty and include both the original film and the recent remake at the same time. The original movie starring Rod Taylor is a fabulous adaptation of the book and, despite being fifty years old, it is still very enjoyable today. Moreover, the 2002 remake starring Guy Pearce, although panned by some, is also very enjoyable. I particularly like the idea that you simply cannot go back in time to “fix” things. The Morlocks in the remake are also particularly nasty but both movies stimulate my imagination.

Also, if you like the H.G.Wells story, check out the “official” sequel written by Stephen Baxter called The Time Ships. It will blow your mind as you try to get your head around the complicated concepts of time travel. I have to say that if somebody dared to make a movie of that it would be an absolute blockbuster.

(15) Blade Runner

I love dark films and, as far as science fiction is concerned, you can’t get much darker than Blade Runner. I particularly like Rutger Hauer’s psychotic replicant and the ending of the movie is exciting and also a little sad. I empathised with Hauer’s character all through the film (I’m a little weird you see).

(14) Forbidden Planet

I watched Forbidden Planet as a kid and it really scared me (much to the amusement of my father). I remember asking my dad with a quivering voice “What is the Monster from the Id?” and as the characters struggled with the vast and violent invisible monster, I was clutching my dad’s arm as he chuckled at my fear. For that reason, I have always remembered this wonderful film. Of course it had a fabulous robot too and that was the icing on the cake. I saw it recently actually and was amazed that the star was Leslie Nielsen who I imagined was always a comedy actor.

(13) The Terminator

Violence, time travel and a fantastic story combine to provide the perfect Arnie film. This, believe it or not, was the first film I saw Arnie star in. I was bored one day so decided to go to the pictures and there was nothing on but The Terminator – what a fortuitous decision. I was captivated by the movie and urged everybody to go and see it, including complete strangers (I told you I was weird). You can’t beat time travel and a virtually unstoppable cyborg whose sole purpose is kill its target no matter what.

It will never stop until you are dead – that’s a scary thought.

(12) The Thing

I saw the trailer for The Thing and thought to myself, this is just another tacky horror film. A bunch of university mates persuaded me to go and see it and I am so glad they did. It is easily John Carpenter’s best film in my opinion, and has everything the discerning science fiction fan loves; horrible monsters, a great story and an ending that leaves everything to your imagination. If you haven’t seen it, don’t be put off by the title – it is a truly scary and thought-provoking film.

(11) Cloverfield

Everything JJ Abrams does at the moment is a triumph. I am a huge fan of his TV work (Lost and Fringe) and Cloverfield is no exception. Monster movies are excellent and what makes Cloverfield stand out from the rest, for me, is the mystery factor, that is, the fact that you don’t really see the monster at all and there is no explanation of what it is or where it came from. The heroes of the movie are basically clueless idiots and that makes it even more enjoyable because you know that they should just get out of there instead of hanging around waiting for a lovelorn buffoon to rescue his girlfriend. I can’t wait for the sequel.

(10) Terminator 2 – Judgement Day

I know – Arnie again – but, incredibly, the second Terminator movie is even better than the first. It has all the fascinating elements of the first film, plus the added bonus of trying to change future history. The kid was annoying but the transformation of Sarah Connor from an innocent young woman into a violent, psychotic warrior bent on changing the future and protecting her son, was a great idea. Best of all is Robert Patrick’s liquid terminator. A great sequel.

(9) Predator

Ok – this is the last Arnie film, I promise. The concept of an alien coming to Earth to hunt humans, string them up and keep bits of them as trophies is vastly appealing to me. Arnie and his elite band of mercenaries make tough opposition for the creature and that is why this first in the series is by far the best.

(8) Alien

I was too young to see Alien at the time it hit the cinemas and it wasn’t until around five years after its release that I saw it for the first time. It is tense, scary and takes the idea of a bogeyman to the extreme. The guy who dreamt up the alien, a remorseless, intelligent, violent killing machine that bleeds acid is exactly on my wavelength because that is the kind of monster I would create. A fabulous film.

(7) The War of the Worlds

The War of the Worlds is my favourite science fiction story by H.G. Wells and I’m going to take yet another liberty and mention the two movies in the same section. The original adaptation from 1953 is another of my favourite old style science fiction films – and although it is totally different from the book, it contains a lot of the elements that I love from the book. The recent Steven Spielberg adaptation starring Tom Cruise is absolutely magnificent though. Set in the modern day, it has the tripods from the book and for once Tom Cruise plays a hero who is simply terrified and completely helpless. And the special effects are something else.

I have to make a special mention of the musical version by Jeff Wayne which is one of my favourite concept albums of all time. The story aside, the songs, the vocalists and the narration of Richard Burton are the icing on the cake. I took Mrs PM to see a live performance at the Manchester Evening News Arena a year or two ago with Jeff Wayne, a full orchestra and Justin Hayward. The stage show was simply awesome.

My one wish is to see yet another remake that is even closer to the book, set in England in the late nineteenth century.

(6) Pitch Black

I was on a business trip to Atlanta, sitting in a hotel room on a Sunday evening, watching any old garbage on US TV when I saw a trailer that perked my interest. It showed a guy in pitch blackness who lit a flame – and when he did so, he was surrounded by hideous black monsters that shrank from the light. As soon as I got back to England I told Mrs PM, also a science fiction buff, and we went to the pictures to see Pitch Black. And we both absolutely loved it. I hadn’t heard of Vin Diesel at the time but I thought his character, Riddick, was indcredible – a truly flawed hero. The film exceeded my expectations because it had monstrous aliens, great characters and it was all set in darkness which added to the fear and tension. I loved the ending.

I have to say, I also like the sequel The Chronicles of Riddick, despite the criticisms.

(5) Star Trek

Please allow me to indulge myself – I love Star Trek, and J.J. Abrams came up with a magnificent reboot of the franchise that has incredible potential for future films. I went to see this with a little trepidation but it blew me away. The casting of Zachary Quinto (Sylar from Heroes) as Spock was inspired. And it was a delight to see Simon Pegg playing Montgomery Scott. It was a terrific action movie and cut aside the political correctness that had crept into later versions of the series. More – I say – give us more of the same. I can’t wait for the sequel.

(4) Star Trek – First Contact

I was totally disappointed with Star Trek – Generations. To allow the next generation to take the reins in this dreadful way was frankly absurd. When I heard that the next film with Jean-Luc Picard would be a Borg film I was excited but at the same time, nervous that it would be like the series, i.e. nice and diplomatic. It wasn’t. It had everything you could hope for in a movie; time travel, evil villains, a wicked Borg queen and a normally sensible and professional captain of the Enterprise mutating into a weird version of Captain Ahab. Even Worf had a bad time. Easily the second best Star Trek movie.

(3) The Matrix

I had no clue what The Matrix was like. I just knew it was a science fiction film. And I left the theatre with a huge grin on my face, citing it as one of the best and most original movies I had seen. I particularly like Agent Smith, superbly played by Hugo Weaving. In fact, most of the characters are terrific. And the special effects are wonderful. I particularly like the scene where neo and Trinity walk into the building and march through the metal detector loaded with guns and a bomb. And the mayhem that ensues it one of my favourite action scenes of all time.

The sequels were quite disappointing, actually. The Matrix Reloaded had some great actions scenes, notably the freeway chase but I left the cinema feeling that something was missing. It was the same with The Matrix Revolutions. I think it all got a little silly really. They should have stopped after the first one.

(2) Star Trek II – The Wrath of Kahn

To this day, Star Trek II – The Wrath of Kahn is the only science fiction movie that makes me cry every time I see it. I simply cannot watch the scenes surrounding Spock’s death without blubbing like a baby. I have to watch the movie alone lest others laugh at my emotive outburst. When it appears on the TV I simply have to find time to watch it because it is easily the best Star Trek film. Ricardo Montalban was immense as the evil Kahn, driven by revenge at the expense of everything else. Even William Shatner, a man whose acting leaves a lot to be desired, excelled himself for once.

(1) Aliens

What could be better than being trapped in a space ship with the scariest and most vicious alien in the universe? I would suggest being stuck on a planet with hundreds of the buggers is far worse. Okay, so this time Ripley had a small army with her, complete with weapons that could take out on or two of the beasts, but in the end it didn’t really help. At the start of the film, I was shouting at Sigourney Weaver – “Don’t go back there!” while at the same time thinking to myself “You have to face the alien again – just for me.”

And she did – with gusto. The final scene where she is kicking the alien queen’s bottom is simply wonderful.

This film has everything I need from a science fiction movie: a brave hero, violent mercenaries, tension, blood, fear and a whole army of large evil monsters with big teeth.

The perfect science fiction film – and that’s why it is number one.

I hope you enjoyed my list and I will be happy to hear your thoughts, whether you agree with me or not and I am happy to hear your suggestions.

Thursday 11 March 2010

The Nutty Bus

Picture the scene:

You are in Manchester on a Saturday night at around 11:30 pm. You have been to the theatre or a rock concert, or maybe even out for a couple of beers with mates. You have a desperate need to reacquaint yourself with your lovely bed and are seeking the best way to achieve this.

What are the options?

If you haven’t driven and you live in South Manchester, there are two options: either you take a cab or you catch “The Nutty Bus”.

Cabs in Manchester are quite expensive, particularly the black ones, and on a Saturday night, the price increases even more. If you are with a group of people it can be cost effective; however, if you are on your own it may not be a good option, particularly since, at that time of night, finding a cab can be tricky, since everybody wants one and the queues at the taxi ranks can sometimes be quite long.

Manchester is blessed by an all night bus service, the frequency of which depends on the area you wish to go to. If, like me, you are heading out towards the university and beyond, then you can guarantee that a bus will arrive within ten to fifteen minutes. You can also guarantee that it will be full of pissed nutters – hence the reason why I call it “the Nutty Bus”.

I have had several bizarre experiences on the Nutty Bus, one or two have been quite worrying, but most are very entertaining.

Sadly, one of my first journeys on the Nutty Bus with Mrs PM was a worrying one. Downstairs on the bus was full so we climbed upstairs and found two seats next to each other. Even upstairs it was so full that people were standing in the aisle. In particular, three guys appeared, who were about my about my age and they were all absolutely leathered, so much so that they could barely stand.

One of them was happy – deliriously happy. When he saw that, as usual, the bulk of the passengers were students.

“I love students, me!” he declared, smiling at all the young people around. “You are our FUTURE! You are the future of this country! I LOVE YOU ALL! You will make Britain GREAT again”

Lots of people, including me smiled at this inebriated buffoon. Sadly, three skinheads at the back of the bus for some reason took exception to his words. One particularly brutish looking thug stood up, pushed his way past the people in the aisle, stood in front of the drunken buffoon and shouted “I AIN’T NO FRACKIN’ STUDENT!” and then promptly punched him in the face, drawing blood and shattering the poor guy's glasses. Nobody could believe what happened.

And, of course, mayhem ensued.

The victim’s two mates tried retaliate pushing past their fallen comrade to get to the thug. The thugs two skinhead mates came up from the rear to act as reinforcements. The bus was packed so it was difficult for these two small armies to get to each other. Both parties started shoving innocent bystanders out of the way and and fists started to fly as bodies were pushed aside; at one point somebody was being pushed on top of me so, in a bid to get Mrs PM and myself away from the disturbance, I looked around frantically for a free seat – and spotted one at the back of the bus. I grabbed Mrs PM’s hand we somehow managed to escape the fracas.

People were shouting, women were screaming and eventually a few people dragged the three drunken middle aged men downstairs. It was then that I realised whose seats we were sitting in – the skinheads’ seats.

The one who had caused the fight sat next to me and shouted to his mates “Oi dun ‘im! D’ya see that? Frackin’ student loving bastid!!”

I just sat there like a lemon gripping Mrs PM’s hand as the meathead boasted about what a fantastic mindless thug he was.

Thankfully the thug was so caught up praising his own mindless brutality that he ignored us. We only had to wait five minutes before these savage nutters left us and the rest of the bus in peace.

I have to say that this is the only violence I have ever seen on the Nutty Bus. Almost every other time has been very entertaining and sometimes very weird.

For example, I had been out for a beer in the city with a couple of mates and found myself on the Nutty Bus, sitting downstairs listening to my mp3 player. The bus was getting full and there was a free seat next to me. A youngish lad sat down and his girlfriend looked around for another seat. Finding none available, she sat on his knee at right angles and then leaned back lying across both him and me – with her head in my lap looking up at me.

I had never seen this girl before in my life and there she was, smiling up at me as if her position was absolutely normal. Her boyfriend was oblivious and almost unconscious.

She started speaking to me. I pulled off my headphones and she said

“Hello there! Where have you been tonight?”

“Er – just to the pub with a couple of mates,” I said feeling really uncomfortable.

“Where exactly?”

And we had a weird conversation, this young girl staring up from my lap with her boyfriend almost comatose beside me. It was surreal and I wonder what the rest of the passengers thought. Those at the back may have thought I was talking to my own crotch.

If that’s not bizarre enough, on another occasion I was chatted up by a girl who was young enough to be my daughter. There I was sitting next to her when the bus gradually emptied. I didn’t say a word, until she said:

“This is awkward, isn’t it?”

“What do you mean?”

“Well the bus is almost empty, so I’m thinking should I move to an empty seat or stay here next to you?”


“And do you know what I’m going to do?”

“No, what?”

“I’m going to stay next to you because you’re really nice. Do you read the Guardian?”

And we had a conversation about all sorts of weird things before she left. I thought she was going to ask for my phone number but thankfully she didn't.

I’ve also been part of a drunken duo that has entertained the rest of the bus. Well, when I say part of a drunken duo, I mean I have been sitting next to a drunken mate, who shall remain nameless (but you know who you are) but who has suddenly mutated into a madman, singing the praises of William Shatner’s singing techniques (amongst other things) to an appreciative and chuckling audience. I was the straight guy and I must admit even that was amusing because I was laughing at his drunken banter and the attempts of those around us desperately trying to stifle their own laughter.

In fact, some of the funniest conversations I have heard have been on the Nutty Bus. I’ve struggled not to explode with laughter myself.

I’ve seen guys, full of Dutch courage, desperate to chat up that elusive female at the end of the night, raiding the very bowels of the chat-up line phrase book as they frantically offer to walk the girl home.

“It’s dangerous around here! I’ll look after you. You’re an angel and I can’t let anybody harm a feather on your head – er – I mean a hair on your feather - erm - a hair on your head - I mean.”

“Good night, Dan – you are not walking me home. I don’t fancy you!”

The whole bus chuckled at the poor sap as he sat there totally embarrassed and humiliated having failed spectacularly. I’ve been there myself.

I’ve seen drunkards covered in vomit stagger onto the bus, only to be thrown off before they can collapse onto the floor.

I’ve seen a couple of terrified nuns sitting there as if they were surrounded by Satan’s most mischievous imps and praying that they arrive at their destination as quickly and safely as possible as hoards of drunk people flock around them, swearing, laughing and doing crazy things.

I’ve seen two lads hold an impromptu muscle man contest (vying for the title of "Mr Nutty Bus" I presume), stripping down to the waist and flexing their feeble muscles to each other and a giggling audience of passengers.

I’ve seen a bloke walk on the bus with a pizza and then drop it top down on the floor, screaming an almighty “SSHHHIIIIIITTTT!!!!” to mocking and unsympathetic laughter.

I’ve seen a whole bunch of sad individuals jump on a bus at half past midnight clutching their newly released copies of “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows” and almost wetting themselves with enthusiasm; “I’m so excited! I’ve been queuing up for five hours; I’m going to read the WHOLE thing tonight! AND then I’m going to read it all AGAIN tomorrow! Yes – that’s the kinda guy I am! I’M MENTAL!!!” – you don’t say!

I’ve seen another lad fall down the stairs with a colossal McDonald’s soft drink yet somehow manage not to spill a drop – I wanted to applaud the guy but was too busy laughing.

And I have had some amazing conversations with people myself, some who are just drunk enough to still make sense, just inebriated enough to start a conversation with me and then lower their inhibitions enough to say ridiculous things.

The best people to talk to or listen to are students who have flown their parents’ nest for the first time and consider themselves to be experts on everything from politics to travel. I have to chuckle to myself when I hear two young students sitting in front of me and saying things like “I’ve travelled a hell of a lot you know – I’ve been to France AND Germany. I’m a seasoned traveller. I'm going to go to Italy next."


I just want to intervene and tell them all about my exploits. I don’t like stealing their thunder though; I get more enjoyment listening to a couple of eighteen year old students talking about how they are going to conquer the world and how “middle-aged people” (like me) are “clueless”.

Sadly, if Mrs PM and I find ourselves in the city on a Friday or Saturday night, she will insist on a cab – particularly after the skinhead incident. I try to tell her that this is a one-off (it happened around ten years ago now). I have been on the Nutty Bus many times over the years and that nasty incident is the only fight I have ever seen. I try to tell her that a trip on the Nutty Bus is almost as good as watching a comedy show. But she won’t have it. I don’t blame her really.

Anyway, if you are in Manchester at the end of lovely evening and opt to catch the Nutty Bus to the South Manchester area, you will find that it is very entertaining. If you do catch it, keep your eye out for a blond-haired middle-aged guy who looks young for his age – he will be listening intently to conversations around him and trying not to laugh.

It could just be me.

Tuesday 9 March 2010

What Could Be Worse?

WARNING: For readers who don't like vomit and poo – STOP READING NOW!

For the rest of you …

What could be worse than pouring milk in your tea and taking a huge gulp only to discover that the milk is way past its sell by date?

What could be worse than digging in the garden, reaching into the soil and putting your fingers in a huge lump of extremely malodorous cat shit?

What could be worse than the above cat shit getting stuck in your fingernails?

What could be worse than stepping down from a chair in bare feet and landing on an upturned plug?

What could be worse than accidentally tripping up a woman carrying four dozen eggs?

What could be worse then finding a huge pile of cat vomit in the middle of your carpet?

What could be worse than failing to notice the huge pile of cat vomit in the middle of your carpet (because you may have left your glasses upstairs) and then stepping into the warm sickly substance?

What could be worse than dropping your toothbrush down the toilet and having to reach in to retrieve it?

What could be worse than being such a skinflint that you actually use the same toothbrush afterwards?

What could be worse than stepping in a huge slimy dog turd, not noticing it, and then walking it through your new girlfriend’s parents’ house the very first time you met them?

What could be worse than dropping your mobile phone down the toilet?

What could be worse than wearing a dress to see the Rocky Horror Show and then allowing your mate to send it to somebody at work so that most of the company can laugh at you?

What could be worse than trying to chat up a handsome man and then dropping your drink all over your lovely new dress?

What could be worse than taking a bite out of a sandwich and then seeing a big green piece of mould right next to the bite mark?

What could be worse than having your beloved mullet cut off because you misunderstood the hairdresser’s question?

What could be worse than using one tea bag per day to make at least five cups of tea because you are a skinflint?

What could be worse than fancying a girl so much that you drink a colossal amount of ale just to pluck up the courage to talk to her and then totally humiliating yourself while insulting her in the process?

What could be worse than screaming like a girl when you see a large spider in a foreign country?

What could be worse than buying a brand new £300 mp3 player, only to use the wrong charger to charge it the first time, completely destroying it?

What could be worse than carrying a tray of beers to a table in a pub and then dropping it on the table, pouring fresh beer on all of your mates?

What could be worse than throwing up on your mate’s lap on a bus ride home?

What could be worse than holding your young baby over your head and being rewarded for making him giggle with a torrent of vomit over your face?

What could be worse than locking yourself out of you flat wearing nothing but a small dressing gown that barely hides your arse, let alone anything else?

What could be worse than being woken up by a huge fat cat leaping down from the wardrobe and landing on that part of your stomach that causes the most air to be expelled?

What could be worse than screaming like a girl when a huge fat cat leaps from a wardrobe onto your stomach?

What could be worse than a man screaming like a girl when a mild earthquake hits Manchester in the middle of the night?

What could be worse than waking up on the concourse of Victoria Station in London next to a steaming pile of vomit?

What could be worse than putting blue food dye in a mate’s beer on his stag do?

What could be worse than throwing up all over a table in an Indian restaurant having consumed copious amounts of beer, some of which was tainted with blue food dye, leaving a huge pile of steaming blue vomit for the rest of restaurant to marvel at?

What could be worse than falling into a river because you took a short cut on a cross country run?

What could be worse than having diarrhoea in a place where the only toilet around for the next three days is totally blocked?

What could be worse than waking up to find a dismembered thrush scattered around your house?

What could be worse than warning your children not to spray sun tan cream in their face because it is dangerous and then promptly spraying sun tan cream into your own face?

What could be worse than waking up and discovering a rat has eaten all of your toilet paper?

What could be worse than a rat eating all of your toilet paper when you have diarrhoea on a boat with the only usuable toilet being the worst toilet in the world?

What could be worse than throwing a glass of coke over a mate, claiming that you did it because “there was wasp in your ear”?

What could be worse than staying at a mate’s house and, in desperation, throwing up all over his freshly washed plates?

What could be worse than putting the wrong type of petrol in your car while you have three mates watching you?

What could be worse that laughing at the guy who put the wrong type of petrol in his car and then doing it yourself sometime later?

What could be worse than having a cat drop a live mouse on you “as a gift” while you were reading in bed?

What could be worse than reversing your car off the drive and hitting a parked car on the other side of the road?

What could be worse than failing to notice that you hit a parked car on the other side of the road, moving forward and then reversing into the same parked car AGAIN!

What could be worse than a woman walking into the toilet while you are perched on the throne in all your glory?

What could be worse than vomiting all over a fruit machine that was being played by a complete stranger?

What could be worse than accidentally spilling hot coffee all over your crotch while in front of customers and then having to walk around for the rest of the day looking as if you have had an accident?

What could be worse than standing admiring a brand new light grey carpet, stepping back and accidentally knocking over a glass of blackcurrant cordial all over it?

What could be worse than suggesting that you throw blackcurrant cordial over the rest of the new carpet to your wife “in order to make the stain symmetrical”?

What could be worse than watching several gallons of home made beer flooding on your kitchen floor when you accidentally tip over the barrel?

What could be worse than standing in front of a urinal just as the water pipe above decides to spring a leak and spray water all over your crotch?

What could be worse than waking up at a strange house with a colossal hangover after a party and then stupidly confessing to the owner of the house that you had thrown up all over his TV the night before?

What could be worse than being given a lift home after a party and then throwing up all over yourself?

What could be worse than finding yourself three miles from home on a Saturday afternoon, covered in vomit, having been thrown out of a car that is also full of your vomit?

What's worse than being sea sick on a ferry and throwing up in the wind, scattering it all over the place (including on other passengers)?

What could be worse than telling the Plastic Mancunian about bad things that have happened to you over the years, only to find them mentioned in a puerile blog post about bad things that have happened to people?

What could be worse than being the Plastic Mancunian and confessing that some of the things above actually happened to you?

Wednesday 3 March 2010

Painful Music

Regular readers will know that I am very opinionated when it comes to music. I know what I like and I immerse myself in that music blotting out everything else as I embark upon a voyage to harmonious heaven.

Sceptics will say:

“Harmonious heaven? Absolute bollocks! You like heavy metal!! Don’t you mean Hell???”

I don’t want to sing the praises of rock again but I absolutely love classic rock, progressive rock and heavy metal.

However, my taste is quite varied in reality; I like classical music, I like old school dance music, 80’s style electronic pop music, some rock and roll, blues, a touch of Neil Diamond and even old stuff performed by the likes of Frank Sinatra and Sammy Davis Junior. I love the Rolling Stones, the Beach Boys, the Beatles and early Elvis Presley. I love a lot of stuff by Simon and Garfunkel and I think bands like ELO and Supertramp are fantastic.

Basically, if I like it, I will buy it, enjoy it and allow it to possess me, no matter what the style.

However, since I met Mrs PM, my patience and my willingness to embrace other modern genres has almost been annihilated.

You see, Mrs PM and I are seven years apart in terms of age but light years apart in musical taste. She hates my music and I hate most of hers.

Since we got together over ten years ago, our only major disagreement is what gets played in the car when we are driving somewhere – or watching music channels – or listening to the radio – or deciding what music to play when we have friends around – or deciding which musically themed bars to go to.

It is a major source of frustration to me that her taste and mine is so different.

It is a major source of frustration to Mrs PM that my taste and hers is so different.

I say: “I wish you liked just one of my favourite bands”

She says: “I wish you would see sense and stop listening to that shit music.”

Whenever she introduces me to a new friend of hers, her third sentence is “Dave likes heavy metal. His taste is really abysmal.”

One of the problems I have with Mrs PM’s choice in music is that her taste is so transient. She will buy a CD and become captivated by it for approximately six months. And then she will discard it and say: “It’s over! I’m sick of it!”

She commits what I regard as a heinous crime: she sells her CD’s when they are “over” for her

I know; it’s shocking isn’t it?

I have never, ever, ever, ever sold any music that I have bought – even if I only like one song on the album.

Music is for keeps – not just for Christmas.

If you sell a CD what happens if you are suddenly possessed by nostalgia and need to listen to something from the 70’s?

Mrs PM disagrees; she accuses me of hoarding music and when she decides to have a clearout she asks me a question that shocks me to the very marrow of my bones:

“Shall I put some of your old CD’s on EBAY?”

That is a crime in my view.

“NO! NO! NO! NO! NEVER EVER EVER SELL MY CD’S!” I scream in incredulous shock.

She merely shrugs her shoulders and says: “I only asked.”


It's like asking me to sever my own finger.

She thinks I never listen to old music, forgetting that I have a 40 Gigabyte mp3 jukebox with 5482 songs on it ranging from Beethoven to Black Sabbath, Abba to AC/DC and Kate Bush to Metallica.

And it is only 75% full.

I listen to it on “shuffle” so I constantly get a massive variety of music from the very first album I bought to the very last one. Admittedly, the bulk of music (probably about 70%) is rock but the rest is a smorgasbord of fabulous tunes from other genres.

So why are our tastes so different and how do we cope?

From the earliest days of our relationship I was gently promoted my favourite bands. In the honeymoon period, she listened to it with a sweet smile. I knew the honeymoon period was over when she suddenly said:


And then the onslaught began. Mrs PM, my sweet, kind lady went on the attack, subjecting me to her dreadful music in all of its diabolical glory.

Over the years I have had to put up with that dreadful dance music that just goes something like this:


I have to endure wailing women and bleating men; Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, Lady Ga Ga, Black Eyed Peas, Justin Timberlake, The Sugarbabes, LL Cool J, Destiny’s Child, BeyoncĂ©, Jay Z, Girls Aloud, Jennifer Lopez, Basshunter, Rihanna, The Pussycat Dolls, Mariah Carey and all sorts of artists that feel the need to inject rap into the middle of a song. I have to endure hip hop, garage and all that bollocks they play on Galaxy Radio. She plays triple CD’s from the “Ministry of Sound”, which incidentally I would like to brand “Ministry of Shit”. I have to suffer R’n’B which is so BORING and one dimensional it puts me into a coma just contemplating it.

Thank heavens she doesn’t like boy bands like Take That and Westlife – I think if she did I would possibly go insane.

There’s lots of other stuff she likes that I simply cannot categorise apart from in the bucket labelled “CRAP!”

Mrs PM will never go into a bar that plays rock music but she drags me into bars and pubs that play new bilge at an ear-splitting volume, and while I am screaming to make myself heard, she will nod her head in time to the music and mouth “I LUURRVVEE THIS SONG!”

And I put up with it!!

Anyway, I am pleased to say that there is a slight overlap. Here’s a graphical representation of how our tastes compare:

Mind you, I have actually tried to listen to her music and incredibly some of it has broken through the barrier. Here are one or two that Mrs PM has introduced to me over the years and that I actually like (quite a lot in fact - but don't tell Mrs PM):

Fatboy Slim – Weapon of Choice
Gwen Stefani – What You Waiting For?
Robyn – With Every Heartbeat
Morcheeba – The Sea
Moby – Porcelain
Rogue Traders – Voodoo Child
Dido – Here With Me
Outkast – Hey Ya!
The Ting Tings – That’s Not My Name
Madonna – Ray Of Light
Massive Attack - Teardrop
Goldfrapp – Strict Machine
Bodyrockers – I Like the Way You Move

There are a few others, but I guess you get the drift. Sadly, with Mrs PM’s transient nature, most of them are now out of favour anyway.

Amazingly however, Mrs PM actually vaguely likes one of my favourite bands – Nine Inch Nails – just the odd song but it’s a start.

And finally, my dear, if you are reading this, here’s a fabulous song that I think you might like:

Follow this link

Strangely I think of Simon Cowell and his minions when I hear it.