Archive for July 2010


July 30, 2010

One of the most sought after recordings…if it exists. Hangman was an unreleased track pre-Queen from probably the Ibex period. Apparently, and this is all conjecture, a studio performance is in the vaults. The song was performed at concerts in 1973 and 1975/76. Earlier recordings are not available and it would be bootleg heaven to possess a Hangman from a 1971/72 venue. The limited pirated live versions of the song are in inferior quality to the regular polished perfect Queen production. We must make do with what we’ve got, beggars can’t be choosers; that’s troosers to you.

In Nostradamus vein, the song predicted the coming of Mr. T. This revelation came to pass as the Clubber of Rocky was revealed. The Mr. C reference is more ambiguous and experts on these matters claim that it foretells the emergence of our current Prime Minister and that he will go down in history.

I know all about you
They call you, they call you Mr. C
You did a very good job
Oh, you’ll go down, you’ll go down, go down in history
Baby, baby, I’m telling you

Have you made any more pies for me?
Hangman, says they’re very nice, they’re very nice for me, oh yes they are nice

There you go, a great song that replicates the glory of Led Zeppelin’s Gallows Pole; only it’s better. Hang that rope from the highest tree!

Enough persiflage, onto the important part of the blog.
Normal hangman rules apply.
Head, torso, two arms, two legs. Six bits of the body. Six wrong letter guesses = Hangman.
A wrong outright guess = 2 defaults i.e. head/torso or two legs or an arm and a leg or a torso and an arm…OK, that’s plenty, you know the script.

Five letters. Painter.

_ _ _ _ _


The man who gave it all away

July 30, 2010

Counterfeiters have changed their strategy. They have given up on duplicating notes and find it easier to forge coinage. Unfortunately, coins come in small denominations, however, I suppose if you make enough of them…

Getting rid of a fake tenner is difficult as the quality of the paper, lack of watermark and poor copy render them impossible to pass on. On the other hand, nobody takes a second glance at a coin and as long as the weight is similar the coin can be circulated.

While checking my pound coins I noticed I had a duff one. It was poorly made and badly misshapen. Now I had the vexed issue of trading with this valueless commodity. I weighed up my options. It would be too dangerous to con Big Tam the barman as that baseball bat of his packs a punch. And as an all round nice guy and charming humane human being I did not want to give it to the old lady who works in the paper shop; the poor old dear.

In this technological age there are many machines and I had no qualms of ridding my fake in a faceless apparatus. The coca-cola vending machine leered at me lovingly; there’s nothing better than cola. Not be long now, old fella, and I popped the coin in the slot. Ding. It went right through and ended up in the change station. Try again. Ding. Five times I tried to the same result. How do these stupid contraptions know the difference? I looked fondly at the can of cola and it looked back at me, an unrequited love.

Moving on I came to a games arcade. I’m not one for gambling as inevitably all gamblers lose. This time I wanted to lose and looked forward to it. I side stepped the penny falls and went to the high rollers den: the pound falls. A bit ironic this as I have been monitoring the fall of the pound in my professional capacity.

Scanning the available droppings I selected the least likely winning drop and plopped my pound. Shoom, screech, ding, ding, ding. Three pound coins fell into the chute at the bottom of the machine. I’ve won. Or have I? I looked over to the players at the penny falls and they all smiled at one another. Oh no, I’ve won three dud coins. The others might be playing for coppers but at least it’s real copper.

Now lumbered with three bits of metallic currency of no realm and no worth I had to let them go. Finding a remote piece of wasteland I hurled with all my might the bogus tender into the long grass. I watched the flight of the three miniature objects and in mid-air they changed their direction. Remember I said they were misshapen. Well the counterfeiters botched up big time with this particular batch, they were shaped like boomerangs. Look out! Duck!

Tidal Wave

July 25, 2010

(Warning: The following tale has been nominated for a bad sex in fiction blog award. Reader discretion is advised as the plot is not much better)

It was a great afternoon session. Pints after pint of Furstenberg’s were going down the hatch in the lusty bar that soaked with Teutonic testosterone. Boris was enjoying this lunchtime tipple and had held fast to one of his father’s dictums: Go to the loo only when it’s really due. The reasoning being, your first visit is a starter for ten. Everyone else had relieved themselves bar Boris when it was time to leave.

Some of the party made a detour into the bookmakers for a quick punt. Boris gambled on Leek Soup in the big race. The gelding pulled up lame as the basin that was Boris’s bladder began to irritate. He willed away the notion to urinate as one pee will lead to another and he had no time for a flood as he had to go back to work in his office block.

The friendly doorman always conversed with Boris and today was no different. The guard spoke about the dribbling skills of Littbarski as Boris hopped from one foot to the other in a fake impersonation of the bow-legged footballer, then he reminisced of the swimming ability of Michael Gross.
“He splashed the water like an albatross.”
Boris crossed his legs and gripped his flies anxious to be relieved of any more small talk. At a stroke the postman arrived and Boris seized the advantage to flee.

Now encumbered with bulging bladder and bursting appendage Boris bounded to the toilet to be greeted by an out of order sign. At that moment he heard the noise of a floor cleaning machine being switched off. Turning round the corner in the desperate throes of agony he saw the cleaning lady, Minnie in a pinny, and a startling metamorphosis took place in his loins. For ages he had wanted to get this woman alone and have a rally with her. He knew she knew he wanted her and she knew that he knew that she knew this. This was their chance for consummation.

A broom cupboard happened to be situated on this landing and they entered with their tongues locked in a stringed saliva kiss clinch. He whipped off her pinny and she whipped out his racquet. The engorged Boris was caught in a cataclysmic dilemma and wondered if it were possible for one type of fluid to bypass the other as his urinal tract screamed “man the lifeboats”.

“I don’t want a love child. Take this.” Minnie handed Boris a rubber cleaning glove. “Pick a finger.”

While Boris mulled over the choice of thumb option or forefinger Minnie wrung out a wet mop that was in the cupboard. The trickling water pushed Boris to breaking point and he seeded a bright yellow stream into the mop pail. Boris’s biblical starter for ten was unrelenting and put the pinniless Minnie in a Paxman mood. “Hurry up.” Soon bored with waiting Minnie went back to buffing the floor.

An accessory of monkeys

July 23, 2010

For some women it’s jewellery, for others it’s shoes, in my wife’s case it’s bags. She has a specific liking for Kipling bags. These come in a variety of styles ranging from backpacks to toiletry bags. My wife loves their handbags.

I’m not fully clued up in the history of the Kipling Company and will have to hire a new researcher though it seems elementary dear Wilson that the name derives from the poet Rudyard Kipling. A familiar motif running right through their lines is the use of a monkey. Kipling wrote The Jungle Book and they’ve used this cuddly character to decorate their bags. The monkeys come in an assortment of colours and all have individual names. Funnily, one of the monkeys bears my wife’s name.

Kipling is one of my favourite poets, mainly because he’s quite easy to understand. His works do possess startling imagery, appropriate metaphors and clever rhymes. Yet he is never considered a great on account of his simplicity. I’ve also grown to like his namesake descendant bags. Unfortunately, Kipling doesn’t make any man bags. My wife suggested taking the monkey off. I quickly quashed the thought of walking about with a hand bag; it’ll be high heels next.

My wife’s Kipling enthusiasm can cause embarrassing moments. While waiting for the plane home from our holiday recently, she spied a woman with a Kipling suitcase she hadn’t seen before. She grabbed my Hawaii shirt by the lapels and squeezing my sunburn in the process, she hollered.
“I want that case! I want that case!”
Many minutes later when I had calmed down her hysteria, just before the airport police arrived with their rifles, I explained to the frightened travellers she was suffering from pre-flight nerves.

The home shopping channel, QVC, is where my wife purchases her Kipling bags. There is not a store in our town, thank heavens. Every now and then there is a Kipling night devoted to six hours of Kipling wares. As the person responsible for electrical maintenance in our house when the next Kipling night draws near I am going to take the fuse out of the TV plug. Or maybe I shouldn’t. As the great Rudyard succinctly wrote.

When Nag the basking cobra hears the careless foot of man,
He will sometimes wriggle sideways and avoid it if he can.
But his mate makes no such motion where she camps beside the trail.
For the female of the species is more deadly than the male.

Giro di Italia

July 21, 2010

Before I’m past it I have started to eat pasta and jog -not at the same time I might add. The varied pasta dishes makes for a healthy diet. If there’s none handy a cannavaro of beans will do instead; also good for running.

With fresh air in my head I pound the streets and parks early in the morning. A local fruit merchant, Luca Brasi’s, is on my way and old Luca throws me an apple every day.
“Graziano.” I say to him.
But old Luca is a wise guy. Invariably the apple is rotten to the core and I throw it in the nearest pond. Luca Brasi’s apple sleeps with the fishes.

Another regular on my run is my wee pesky pal Joe who is returning from a night out in the club. Wearing new scars he tells me his latest joke. What does the Human Torch say before a game of snooker? Frame on. You’re a funny guy; I say to him and scarper before he pulls out his gun.

In all my time of running I’ve never came across the big stairway. This is every jogger’s dream. A sizeable crowd joins you on the road, everyman and his dog, spurring you on to greater heights culminating in a roar as you reach the top of a concrete Gran Paradiso. Me and Fausto have to make do with piccoli passi.

I have lost lots of pounds because every day I go an extra mile and therefore it costs more for the taxi back. My biggest worry while in the cab is talking to the driver. I dread he will make eye contact with me in the rear view window and say.
“You talkin’ to me? You talkin’ to me? You talkin’ to me? Then who the hell else are you talking… you talking to me? Well I’m the only one here.”

Emperor of the East

July 17, 2010

A sinister fog descended on the speeding car inducing large flakes of snow. Long Hair, the driver tried desperately to tune his stereo to the Metal Chainsaw show on radio 666. He thumped the dashboard to no avail as the radio was stuck on channel 1812: Klassische Schnitte. Swigging his Jameson and oblivious to the snow storm outside long Hair heard the announcer say the last three pieces of music were-

Beethoven- Piano Concerto#5
1. Allegro
2. Adagio un poco moso
3. Rondo: Allegro ma non troppo

Soon the road was pure winter and everything was white in the world. The drunken motorist refused to lift his foot off the accelerator and ploughed through the blizzard to the sounds of Moonlight Sonata.

The ghosts of Borodino rose from their graves. Uniforms stained with blood and fragments of cuirasses hurled themselves at the vehicle. Skeletal death masks rattled into the windscreen. Ice enveloped the interior giving the cabin a coffin like appearance. Long Hair flicked the icicle dripping curls off his face and bludgeoned the grimacing car onto a frozen lake.

Racing over the lake, the ice was breaking behind him splitting in frightful cracks. One wrong wheel and he would plunge into a watery chasm, a Waterloo of sorts; the fate that was befalling the wailing spirits that pursued him. Crying with anguish the dead were dying again in an icy doom. Knocking back another Jameson’s with a belch, Long hair made it onto the rainy motorway leaving the Hell of the East in his wake.

“I must be one of Napoleon’s lucky generals.” He shouted. “Nay, the luckiest.”

The broadcaster on radio 1812 said that next up is Beethoven’s third symphony, the Eroica. This was initially to be dedicated to Bonaparte but Ludwig van had second thoughts and recoiled in horror at the exploits of the little dictator. Long Hair shrugged his dandruff ridden shoulders and sped into the worsening downpour.

Two Planes and a bit in the Middle

July 16, 2010

Amid much fanfare and colossal amounts of bunting, thirty five thousand people waved us off and soon we were 35,000 feet in the air heading to the sunny climes of Spain. This was our third time in Salou, which has the wonderful PortAventura theme park.

The last time was a few years ago when the kids were younger and played happily, youthfully at childish things. In those days I was their hero as I was fearless on the middle ranking roller coasters of PortAventura, now however, they were big enough to adventure onto the main rides (that’s the giant scary ones). Feigning injury wouldn’t do as I’d be mocked forever, so summoning up all my Braveheart spirit I joined them on these man made crazy trains.

First up was the big Daddy of them all: The Dragon Khan; Better to get the most daunting one out of the way. My wife became the cricket umpire and was charged with watching the bags, flip-flops, sun glasses and Boycott hats while we queued or in my case sweated profusely at the turnstiles. I’ll slide right out of this thing if I’m not careful, I said. Don’t be like Steff, my kids told me, get yourself together.

The Khan launched into a small dip before climbing 150 feet of rails in the blazing sunshine. Then we fell to earth and began a series of loop the loops, corkscrews, side rolls with probably a triple salchow in there as well. In my book, there’s too many turns in the ride in quick succession that spoils the Wow effect. I like a longer lasting thrill in a spin before the next one. However, as is the norm in these things, after finishing we ran back round to the start for another shot ignoring the over-laden camel with our clothing stuff. Back in a minute, mum.

The other main attraction is Europe’s fastest rollercoaster: Furius Baco. The furious wife was lumbered with our kit again and we took our seats in the belly of the beast. One of my kids told me the best way to enjoy a coaster ride is to relax completely and let the train soar you through the skies as if you’re flying. Gripping the handle bars and tensing up should be avoided, instead, go with the flow of the free fall. Giving this a try, the Furius Baco propelled us at high speed through longer turns than the Khan. This was a stomach churning experience but brilliant, absolutely brilliant.

A funny thing happened on the Stampida (middle ranking ride, not worth much fuss, over the hill). As we queued we saw a man in his sixties with his grandson on a train about to depart. We noticed he had his hat on and wondered if it would still be there when he got back. No such luck, he returned hatless (his grandson had made it back so it wasn’t all bad). He searched around but it was nowhere to be seen. He left sadly and we took his place.

All the way round the ride we laughed as we scanned the areas to look for the man’s hat, oblivious to the twists and dives of the coaster. I espied a walking jumble sale that turned out to be my wife with our gear, poor lass! Near the end at one of the dips we saw the shiny red cap the man was wearing. It was lying disoriented on the ground in one of the maintenance sections; the world is full of lost property. We came off howling in hysterics to a bemused crowd of customers.

The expectation of thousands of people at the airport to greet us back sent shivers down our spines. I envisaged scenes like the reception the Espana football team got in Madrid after being successful in South Africa. We came off the plane and…Nothing. Not a soul, not a sausage. The whole place was a ghost town. They’ve all packed up and left us. It’s not fair.