Archive for March 2010

The Survivor

March 27, 2010

Ordinarily the journey through Oxolade Forest is enjoyable but not today, my head was boiling and ready to burst. The taxi driver was one of those people who speak at 100 miles an hour and like all cabbies he thought he was full of wisdom. Rubbernecking round to me he was giving me a history lesson about World War I.

“Sir John French was in charge of the British Expeditionary Force in France. The French were led by General Joffre. Joffre could not understand the English language and French spoke not a word of French.”


“I beg your pardon?”

“Coming up, dead ahead on the road. Concrete bollards.”

But my warning was too late and the hackney hit the obstacle and crunched to a stop; the driver was protected by an airbag which saved his life and his balloon head was the last thing I saw on my way through the windscreen, travelling with the velocity of a poison dart. (more…)


Hit the pause button, willya?

March 23, 2010

Three painstaking years it took me to transfer my valuable TV specials, interviews and live clips from VHS to DVD, and then Blu-ray appeared and zapped me like a stingray. Blu-ray is hated in most quarters and no wonder. How much clearer can the picture get? How blue can a Blu-ray sky be? It’s too clear; I miss the fuzziness of an old fashioned VHS. And I yearn to be tied up in the spools of a VHS tape that has stuck in the recorder. It was great trying to repair a mangled or split video. Putting on a doctor’s overcoat I took the Hippocratic Oath then applied sellotape to the injured parts.

But it looks terminal for Blu-ray as new technology will leave it to console with other fossils like Atari’s and Spectrums. A new masterpiece player is in the works and it will be a three dimensional holographic marvel of engineering. No more will the two dimensional plane of Venetian and Vertical blinds hold sway, 3D will be the way. The screen will be a combination of deck chair and lilo and you’ll feel a part of the experience of the new movies. You will be able to taste the bubblegum chewed by Johnny Depp when he kisses you or pick up a few teeth when Sylvester Stallone in Rocky XVII punches you in the chops. All this and you won’t need an Equity card.

Time machines will come next and in future we can go back to the past, we will all be Doctor Whose? Doctor Who’s? Doctor Whom’s? Och, you know what I mean just remember, first do no harm. How wonderful to go back in time to any period in Mankind. So many exciting moments in history that you could witness first hand: A premiere of a Shakespeare play at the Globe Theatre, the Battle of the Little Big Horn (I’d be on Crazy Horse’s side, of course), the Coronation of my beloved Queen Elizabeth II, Waterloo…not the battle but the song as sang by ABBA at the Eurovision song contest. I must tell you I had a brilliant day yesterday so tomorrow I’d like to go back to the day before today.

As for ipods, they will soon be shrunk to the size of a bitten thumbnail. They will hold over 500,000 songs. Now imagine all those songs are only three minutes long that adds up to 25,000 hours of music to listen to or put another way, 2.85198882 years. A lot of fingers and toes were used in this calculation. It’s not far off three years and three years is nothing, it took me that time to upgrade my videos, remember? So let’s go play all the songs on my ninth generation ipod, we’ll do it alphabetically.

Singing the Blues

March 18, 2010

The sign outside the Old College Bar simply said: Karaoke competition tonight, £20 to the best singer. Owning a pair of golden tonsils I planned on hustling in on a piece of the action because as Paul Newman says in the Color of Money “money won is twice as good as money earned.”

The bar was quite empty with about six customers, only one of them I knew, a huge brute of a man called Hefty. Me and Hefty were nodding acquaintances and we went through our Chinese ritual on seeing one another. Before ordering a drink I decided to check out the toilet. To boost my confidence I always have a run through my scales in the latrine as the acoustics are superb. Doh, ray, me, fah, la, ti, me, so- I let it all rip in there.

My joy was short lived as MaGlumfer had entered the bar. The two best singers in town were about to have another show down. MaGlumfer and me had history that went back farther than the registration period. For me and MaGlumfer read, Borg v McEnroe, Federer v Nadal, Roe v Wade. The patrons in the bar shuffled uneasily on their seats expecting trouble although in big Hefty’s case it was probably because of alimentary canal trouble. (more…)

The Insect Strikes back

March 13, 2010

Billy Firth and Two-can Thomson are not very bright students. Their contemporaries jest they can’t count to seven.  After a day at college on their way homeward Billy sees a moth fluttering in front of him. Wildly he helicopters his arms to try to rotor this nuisance away to no avail. The moth expands its wingspan and continues to annoy the young man. With a lucky punch Billy catches the moth and it spins in a circular arc like Darth Vader’s TIE ship at the end of Star Wars 1 or was it Star Wars 4? It’s confusing the way Lucas jumbled the series up. Anyway the moth is off to fight another day.

“You shouldn’t have done that. He might have a big brother or a nasty dad.” said Two-can.

“Get real, TC. You’ve been reading too much pulp fiction again.” said Billy. “Besides it’s not as if the moth will have an elephantine dad.” (more…)

1. Genesis- And God created Blackpool

March 7, 2010

It is a pleasant four and a half hour bus journey to Blackpool from Glasgow. The passengers find it hard to contain their excitement as for most of them they’ve been waiting all year for this moment. The jovial atmosphere on the bus is such that complete strangers share their sweets. Seated at the back of the bus I gesticulate to Lorries we are overtaking to “honk their horn for me”. Honk, Honk. Cheers big man. After awhile my maw tells me to sit down that I’m 43 not 13.

From now on I will deal with the hotel part of the holiday and leave the amusement arcades and all that palaver for another article. Every Blackpool hotel room has a character all of its own. They are all dingy but there are degrees of dinginess and Glaswegians try to out boast one another over who had the number one dinger.

As it’s a hotel and not self catering there is no fridge in the room. This leaves the problem of how to chill the carry-out carried in cans of bitter that will be consumed after the bars closed. I use the following technique. I fill the bath with cold water and immerse the cans under the water. Hey Tesco, a makeshift fridge. A room with a shower means you have to use the sink instead giving you the opportunity to pretend to be a toff and say you have a mini-bar.

Unless you’ve booked an oot the road dive, most of the packages in the medium sized hotels will include cabaret entertainment. We’re only here for the beer but it is nice to have a comedian/singer giving you some background noise. To ensure the best seats -that’s the ones at the back next to the window- my wife and I throw our towels over the couches a few hours before the night’s show; a little tip we picked up from the Germans.

As the night wears on the audience starts to get merry and laughs at the corny jokes. Then when the artiste begins to sing “Cotton eyed Joe” everybody’s bouncing on the tables. I’m enjoying myself that much at the end of the performance I buy the dudes CD. Only on the bus back do I see what a fool I’ve been. Why did I buy this amateur recording? But all is not lost, I’m a great recyclist and I use the CD case to replace a broken one in my collection. As for the disc, it retains a connection with Blackpool. It will be a coaster.

One of the most dangerous aspects of your stay in the hotel is the smuggling operation you’ve got going. This is, of course, the mission to secretly bring chips into your room against house regulations. Skulking about the lobby, you try and avoid the night shift staff but the aroma of the chips is too strong. Oh no, the manager is coming, quick, up the shirt with the food.
I forgot about the curry sauce.