Archive for October 2010

Six degrees of Bacon and a slice of Hudson

October 30, 2010

It’s a small world, right enough. Film buffs have long linked Kevin Bacon to every other star in Hollywood. Quite a complex game and too hard for me to explain, try reading this.

A little known fact about me was that in my younger days I dated Goldie Hawn. She was in Scotland filming and I got introduced to her. One thing led to another and we were an item. The romance didn’t last long as she had to go back to the USA. These were the days before mobile phones, e-mail, Skype and other technical marvels. We parted amicably, although I was the more upset. Eventually I got my life back on track and lived happily ever after with my dearest wife.

My favourite rock band of the moment is a trio called Muse and musically they are similar to Queen. Having seen them live I can vouch that they do put on a good show. The singer/lead guitarist is called Matt Bellamy and while not having Freddie’s voice (nobody has) he is a talented musician. A good many close members of my family are chairmen and chief executives but I haven’t any, even distant relations that are rock stars. There is a musical gap in my family tree.

While chairing a board meeting the other day the discussion turned to Unit Trusts and Index-Linked funds. I wanted a supermassive black hole to swallow me up but my dreams never come true so I picked up a copy of a celebrity magazine that was lying about. Flicking through it I nearly choked on one of my yawns when I read the latest gossipy news: Matt Bellamy is seeing Kate Hudson. For years I have kept my adventures with Goldie secret not wanting to harm anyone. Now the past had caught up with me, I had forgotten Goldie had a daughter. Kate Hudson is of course, Goldie’s daughter. I called in the firm’s accountant to tote up Kate’s age with my fling with Goldie.

The jury is still out on the time scale on account of having a useless accountant and Bill Hudson might appear on the Jeremy Kyle show demanding a DNA test, however, posers abound amidst all this hullabaloo. Is Kate really mine? Will Matt marry Kate? Would Matt be my son-in-law? Will this tenuous blood link get me free tickets to Muse concerts? Where does Kevin Bacon feature in this? Is Kurt Russell a better fighter than me? I’ve a thousand and one unanswered questions so I’d best stop right now. Here is some classic Muse. Play it loud.

Hit came from Outer Space

October 17, 2010

The plethora of teenage slasher movies in recent years are all based on the true story of a mysterious assailant who targeted schoolchildren in a Scottish school circa 1982. All of the following is true.

One of the perks given to the fifth and sixth year pupils in the comprehensive was that they could take their lunch in the games room. The games room had comfortable chairs that ringed-a-round the perimeter walls, though the various cliques rearranged the seating in their preferred way; normally an enclosed circle. Three net less table tennis tables stood in the centre of the room, nobody played on them, there were no bats, there were no balls, they kept getting knocked. These tables were used as overspill seating and tabling for late coming pupils.

At lunchtime the clientele would gather in the full bloom of their youth; spots and all. Aping the bed-sits of older higher students of learning that they hoped to be one day, the mottled crew draped their holdalls, satchels, blazers and plastic carrier bags on the ground, untidily cluttering the floor. The sexes for the most part stayed to their own species though a few relationships of sorts were formed. Some of the boys had the good fortune to have girlfriends and envy poured from their contemporaries. Scorn, however, was poured on the effeminate male or two who had infiltrated the boundary of the boudoir only to sit limply as neutral as PH7.

The assembly’s diet ranged across the syllabus. Sweet snacks were popular though some of the larger X chromosome class quested for a size 8 measurement and drank Diet Coke while secretly tucking into hamburgers when the coast was clear. Lunchtime had just become dangerous and some preferred the safety of the less dangerous playground with the younger, snot-nosed, Brut unsprayed, Indian-inked delinquents to the menace lurking in the games room. There was a serial confectioner killer on the loose.

His modus operandi never changed and his reputation grew as long as the guitarist’s hair in the school’s rock band; his reign of terror was on a French lesson scale. The signature weapon used to devastating effect was the common Mars Bar, Glutinous Maximus. It was the scientific preparation and the unknown formula that has intrigued criminologists and biologists, not to mention cocoa processors, to this day.

It was guessed that the early missiles were bought from the school canteen. After the first wave of attacks they were no longer stocked as tough school board legislation passed the Anti Bars of Mars (ABM) act. This had all the deterrence of a cardboard house versus acid rain. The killer simply imported the bars from outside. Pariah shops traded freely defying International agreements. And worse still, he could use king size bars. The escalation of the violence gave school kids the excuse to flunk behind the bike shed.

Detectives could find no motive for the crimes. Each victim seemed to be as random as Revels. A few of the victims of circumstances included the rugby captain whose mother had just bought him a Watsonians crested boot bag. From the skies flew the bringer of war and it dumped a melted bar on the badge. The flanker cried for all he worth and ran back to mummy. Another casualty was the good-looking girl who only dated teachers. She’d just had her long blonde locks highlighted before a gooey Martian struck and stuck to her head. Screaming in agony, the hair had to go and with it went the affectations of the teachers.

No one knew what became of the confectionary killer or who he was. Suddenly, like a P.E. lesson the action stopped. Theories abound, mostly unfounded. The few facts that emerged are countdown conundrums. All we know is that from somewhere in that games room unwrapped, chewed, licked Mars Bars were thrown and the innocent were hit. Of course, a few missed and one plastered to the ceiling where it stands today as a monument to the wounded. Their names are written beside the other graffiti.


Scotland Yard was involved in the case and after much investigation they found the Confectioner Killer’s methodology for his weaponry. The chocolate on the outside of the bar would be nibbled off leaving the caramel exposed. This would then be salivated on profusely giving it glue-like properties. Now primed this chocolate gelignite was a stick grenade ready to wreck havoc.


At a Top Secret nuclear plant, scientists re-created one of the Mars Bar missiles.


Copycat confectioner killers came out of the woodwork class. Thankfully, Kit-Kat wafers are not adhesive.


October 17, 2010

Audiences clap at the end of theatrical performances signifying appreciation. Supporters will clap the scoring of a goal, the winning serve on match point, the participants in women’s beach volleyball etc. Speeches, political or otherwise receive a hearty round of applause. Kittens rescued from trees are always given an ovation. The prevalence of clapping is everywhere. Now I have studied clapping and concluded there’s a lot of cheating going on in there.

Let me explain. Even the strongest of thunderers will fade out and struggle to keep rhythm. Only the most masochistic can maintain momentum to continue clapping forcefully throughout one long burst of sycophancy. By analysing people I have saw them change their clap technique. All begin by clapping with two hands a gusto like a seal then a wide variety of styles are employed to lessen the hurt inflicted on the palms and carry on the Champagne sham praise.

These non-traditional clapping methods include: One hand remains static while the other hammers out the beat, after awhile hands are changed. Both hands cupped rendering a tender fingertip clap. The one hand lower than the other approach where the fingers of one hand hit the palm of the other. As pain and boredom sets in participants will utilise every last bit of skin on their grasping appendage, some exceeding boundaries and slapping their thighs in appreciation.

Which brings us to the cheats: The mute clappers. These bogus bounders simulate clapping. They make no sound, if everyone stopped abruptly, they would be exposed as counterfeit clappers. There are many of these impostors about and I would love to see a room full of them. Imagine them at a concert in Las Vegas and Celine Dion has just belted out a cracker of a “My Heart will go on”. She bows to milk the acclaim and she sees a sea of hands imitating clapping. Poor Celine sticks a finger in her ear to clear the wax and still it’s all so quiet.

Maybe there’s cheats in the choir as well. When Beethoven’s Ode to Joy is performed, feeling lazy a few of the singers could mime their way through it. Then there’s the orchestra itself. It would be hard for the string section to dodge work but if there are four horn players in the ensemble, might one of them be tempted to pretend to blow? What if, without knowing of the others intentions, the four of them faked blowing? This would render the whole thing a farce. The musicians are not playing and the audience are not clapping.

Using these themes I gave a lecture last week at The Royal Albert Hall in front of the 1895 Last Night at the Proms backbench committee. My speech was going down well, there was constant clapping throughout. It was very slow clapping and I don’t have the foggiest what that means. But I’m sure it’s good, after all, they were genuinely clapping.

Pulp Fiction Moment

October 9, 2010

During the summer months when the kids were young I would take them for a drive and we’d try to locate new grass areas to play football. All over the outskirts of town we’d find places to indulge in our love of football orientated games: 7-in 7-bye, Longies, Waw’ay, keepie-uppies etc. With lots of practise both of them have become decent footballers and even as kids were quite good.

Sometimes we’d just play by ourselves but other times we’d instigate or be invited to an impromptu game with other players. If Heaven exists it must be like these games, the sheer joy that is called kickabouts. Kickabouts are football without any rules. Playing against strangers hones your technique as you must expect the unexpected. You will encounter a whole range of playing styles from roughhouses, one-footed (not literally) players, quick and skilful to mediocre and finally dreadful. In my youth some street games (“Sidey’s”) were twenty a side with everybody eager to join in: dads, granddads, the police, shop workers and strangers passing-by. The rise of the automobile caused the decline of street football. Shame…

Not that long ago we discovered a new grass pitch not far from my mum’s house and kicked the ball about. Three of the locals were playing nearby; inevitably a three-a-side match was set-up. During play it started to rain and soon turned into one of the worst storms I’ve ever witnessed. However, the show must go on and squelching through the quagmire we soldiered on. These games don’t have a time limit; usually it is the first to reach a pre-determined amount of goals that is the winner. The rain was relentless and we were covered in mud from head to toe, it was worth it though, we won in the end.

Our filthy odorous bodies went into the car and it too became mucked with sludge and the smell of dirt. This was OK because I could clean it in the morning, as for us a short detour to my mum’s would fix us. Always welcoming no matter the situation or state of us, Gran hugged her boys. Three hot showers later we were kitted out in some of my dad’s gear. This consisted of shorts and t-shirts for the boys and pairs of flip-flops, of course nothing was matching and they were multi-coloured, while I was given a Val Doonican purple cardigan, old grey trousers that were too short in the leg for me and a pair of bright red sneakers. Again this was OK as by now it was dark and late, making it unlikely that anyone would see us drive home.

Our appearance reminded me of the scene in Pulp Fiction when the two gangsters accidentally kill an accomplice who bleeds all over their suits, forcing them to get their clothes changed. Funnily or coincidentally my wife loves John Travolta and I lo…uh, I mean, ermm…am fond of big Sammy Jackson. The garish clothes they are given in the film weren’t as bad as the outfits my dad dons.

Avoiding the caked soil in the car we made it back home clean but with nightmare clothes on. We entered the living room to see my wife quaffing drinks with a couple of friends I haven’t seen in years. This was obviously a surprise visit. No doubt my wife had been extolling on the merits of her spouse and offspring. We stood there looking like a jumble sale.
And I hoped they didn’t want a lift home.

Pictures from an Exhibitionist

October 3, 2010

Eric and Rae didn’t have a lust for life. The tour of the museum and the tour guide’s grating voice was making them terminally bored rigid. On and on she prattled about post-impressionism and autodidactic sculptresses. The guide’s informative and educated knowledge of the artefacts interested the other members of the tour party but for Eric and Rae this day out was the bees bollocks.

“See how the roughness of the marble is in contrast to the smoothness of the entwined lovers. The charge of eroticism against this controversial sculpture almost had it destroyed. Fortunately, a war began and afterwards the symbolism of the ardour perfectly illustrated the victors rampages.”

From the back of the cluster, Eric said to Rae.
“Did you know that when television was just invented some people would not get undressed in front of it.”

The party moved on to the galleries of paintings and, at length, the guide gave a long commentary on a work called The Bathers. The guide could barely conceal her mounting excitement and she waxed lyrical about the delights of the naturist heaven invoked in the picture.

“I’m fed up” said Rae.
Eric was too. “This is a bit of a drag. Tell you what. I dare you to strip right here, right now.”
“The lot. Go for it.”

Rae unbuckled her shoes and then relieved herself of her blouse. The wobbly bare flesh of her arms revealed home made tattoos that were imprinted in an unprofessional manner by a hack artist. The blue period ink was a rushed doodle of surrealistic cubism and it grabbed the attention of the tour party. Cameras were produced and half-dressed images of Rae captured.

Dead bodies attract flies and a flashing female body will attract guys. Voyeurs came to spectate; young men clapped enthusiastically for more. Rae didn’t disappoint and she dropped her skirt to the floor. Puritan grandmothers were disgusted though they continued to rubberneck at the car crash striptease in front of them.

Just below Rae’s buttocks was a port wine birthmark; not for nothing was she called Raesa Gorbachev by all her boyfriend’s. The tour guide was rapturous and stood goggle-eyed. For years her painter friend had been searching for the perfect life model to paint nude. This beautiful specimen was Bathsheba re-incarnated.

Rae prepared to unhook her brassiere but before unscaffolding her monumental twin buildings she was stopped by a museum security guard and charged with public indecency. Without pity, the stark naked paintings adorning the walls hypocritically continued to expose their bodies shamelessly.

As Rae was led away with the ecstatic guide following her in panting mode, Eric returned to his normal mindset of apathy. Though he spared a thought for the dare to bare Rae. When she lines up in court will she be Exhibit A?