Archive for July 2012

Stop! Truck

July 31, 2012

There are some things that are daft and some things that aren’t. This is daft.

A truck without a trailer is a little boy lost. The drivers of these vehicles must be embarrassed when they are on the road. It doesn’t matter that they might have dropped a load or be on their way to pick up some haulage, when they are seen trailer less it is humiliating.

Imagine their truck draws up beside a school bus on the motorway. The children won’t gesticulate to the driver to pull his horn as is customary when a HGV driver is spotted. They might make other gestures instead. And what about the poor truck itself? Without a load on its back it will seem self-consciously naked. I half expect the truck to do a transformer trick and try to cover itself up

There is a Dutch truck manufacturing company called DAF Trucks. Whenever I see one of these vehicles stationary I want to run over with a pot of paint and write the letter “T” after DAF. That’s another daft thing.

Now this isn’t daft. This is more exciting than Formula One, NASCAR or any other of those petrol head things. I’d love a shot at truck racing. Start your engines.


The Wavemakers

July 27, 2012

Marlon Brando’s only film as a director was One Eyed Jacks. This was a western melodrama about revenge. Brando also acted in the film that was over four hours long in its original cut. Brando was a perfectionist behind the camera. Notoriously, he had the whole crew and cast wait during one of the coastal scenes as he wanted the perfect wave in the background. The film troop sat on the ground like soldiers waiting for the call to arms. Much cost and time later Brando got his wave. The cinematography in the movie is stunning, including the wave.

Cheerio waves, on the other hand, are not stunning and I have decided to wave no more. Waving is an embarrassing gesture and I have my reputation to uphold. A nod and a spoken goodbye are suitable exit strategies for leaving company. Moving away while flourishing a wave is farewell overkill. Stricken family members can sob all they want, sitting by the room window waving for all they’re worth as I go out to make an honest dollar. I will not wave back.

There are numerous ways to wave. Some like to wiggle their fingers, others will bob their hand from side to side like a pendulum. Quite hypnotic that wave. Then there are the pseudo-Indians, sorry, pseudo-native Americans who utilise a steady palm in imitation of a big Chief’s How. They’re wrong to do this. The How greeting means hello and not goodbye.

Of course, there are waves that are done to catch someone’s attention. The person you’re trying to intercept might be across the road or some distance away. This is normally a two-handed, palms facing your face, backward flapping movement wave. I’m not going to do that type of wave either. The c’mere wave can cause confusion as the wrong person might wave back. You don’t want a wave from a stranger, now do you? You don’t know where their waves have been.

Waves have now become obsolete in my little world.
A world without waves. Old Marlon would have been waiting for ever.

* * * * *
After last week’s crushing defeat for heavy metal in the head to head, it’s just a pop song this week. Boo-hiss.

3. The TV Executive

July 24, 2012

A one act play.

(Ralph and Jeff enter this upmarket bar. A lone barman is cleaning quality glasses. It is early evening with only a few Patrons. Light music is playing in the background. Chandeliers droop from the ceiling.)

Ralph: Man this is a great place.

Jeff: (to the barman) Two highballs. (As they sit at the bar they notice a man sitting himself nearby)

Ralph: Hey fella, How’s things?

Ron: Good. Good. This is some place.

Ralph: It’s pretty, pretty, pretty good. Come on over. Sit with us.

Ron: Thanks, My name’s Ron.

Ralph: Ralph. He’s Jeff.(Jeff nods)

Jeff: Make that three highballs.

Ron: I’m here working for the weekend and tonight I’ve got four hours off work so I’m going to chill out with a good drink or two.

Ralph: Attaboy. All work and no play, et cetera, et cetera. What do you do?

Ron: I’m A TV executive.

Ralph: No way. You’re kidding.

Ron: Actually, I’m not.

Ralph: Jeff. This guy is a TV executive. (Ron does a small laugh, happy with himself) I’ve always wanted to write a show for TV. You must get people saying that to you all the time, don’t you?

Ron: It does happen. (Jeff hands out the highballs) Thanks.

Ralph: Wait till you hear this one, Ron. (Ron shifts uneasily in his chair) This will break all the ratings-(Ron gets up to leave)- hey where you going?

Ron: I must run.

Ralph: Nonsense. You said you were here for the night. Sit down. Jeff, get some more drinks

Jeff: (to the barman) Three highballs.

Ron: I must run

Jeff: Don’t run, Ron.

Ralph: Cop shows. It’s all about procedure and asking questions. Cops are always asking questions? Can’t they solve the crime without asking questions? You must agree with that, every cop show is full of questions, isn’t it? Where were you on the night the murder took place? What was your relationship with the victim? Is this your car? Questions, questions, questions.

Ron: Interrogation and questioning is part of a cop’s job. I’m-

Ralph: -Well, not in my show it ain’t. In this cop show, in every episode there is not one question asked.

Ron: That wouldn’t work. (Jeff hands out the highballs) Thanks.

Ralph: It would. My detectives are there to detect. They’re not quizmasters.

Ron: (to Jeff) What do you think about this?

Jeff: There are a lot of questions asked.

Ralph: See.

Jeff: It can be annoying because a lot of the time the answers are lies.

Ralph: That‘s right, Jeff, I forgot about the red herring lies that are told. In my episodes there are no questions, no lies just plain detective work.

Ron: It won’t work. Give me an outline for a show.

Ralph: Alright…umm…A body is found. Scene one- a dead body. The police arrive and are told by the doctor guy, what’s his name?

Ron: Pathologist.

Jeff: I knew that, you just beat me to the buzzer (to the barman) Three highballs.

Ralph: The Pathologist tells the cops the dead guy has been shot. So the police look for the murder weapon. Now I always think they gloss over the search for the weapon. The next twenty minutes could see the police rummaging through bins and alleys getting down and dirty as they do an extensive search. After all this, they don’t find it. Next they check if there is any cameras in the areas and as there is they take them to HQ and pore over them for hours using all the video equipment. Fast forward, rewind, pause, zoom in et cetera, et cetera but we’ll condense that in the show to thirty minutes. Eventually, the killer is seen on the camera committing the crime and it’s only a matter of time before the police find him. No questions, just detective work. Now, there’s a show.

Jeff: I’d watch that.

Ron: I don’t think many others would.

Ralph: Ach, you try to be original and this is what you get. TV is so bland nowadays.

Ron: I really must go.

Ralph: Hold on, hold on. How about this one? Unsolved.

Ron: Unsolved?

Ralph: Yeah. You could run a series where every crime doesn’t get solved. I mean, come on, this happens in the real world. Unsolved. The perpetrator gets away scot free. It’d be a ratings winner.

Ron: I have to go. I’ll..uh.. pass on your ideas to some producer friends of mine.

Ralph: Will you? That’d be great. You know I don’t want any credit or nothing. I’d just be happy to watch the shows.

Ron: Thanks for the drinks

(exit Ron)

Ralph: Nice guy

Jeff: (to the barman) Two highballs.

Ralph: Nice guy.

Jeff: Whoa, are my eyes deceiving me? That man that just walked in. Sitting in the corner over there. Ralph, that’s not Speilberg by any chance, is it?

Ralph: It is. I’ve waited years for this. This is my chance to tell him about the films that should be made.

Bursting with energy

July 24, 2012

Klaus Schaefer, chief of Ruhrgas and of E.ON Energy Trading, said recently that he is not worried by the prospect of new suppliers from places like Azerbaijan coming into European markets. Traditional suppliers will mostly keep their position, he predicted.

All this hot air talk was choking me and I uttered my usual substitute swear word “fox” in exasperation. It occurred to me that everyone has a few “buzzwords” that they use regularly. I must confess in my case I do say brilliant quite often. This is my good word. We all have a word we use for good. Because good isn’t good enough, now is it? For good some will say super, some say excellent, Some say you beauty, B.Keeper says the bees knees (obviously), some will colloquialise with the resplendent- ya dancer. The following story, from nearly thirty years ago, is of one persons catchphrase and its annoyance on the group.

* * * * *

There were five of us in the pub: three boys and two girls. The odd number was a worry for the boys who had just met the said girls. Not that they’d said much so far. One of our gang was trying his best with his tried and failed chat-up lines. This time it seemed to work as one of the girls proceeded to answer him. Soon she was gabbing like Logan to all of us and nobody else could get a word in edgewise, Ernie Wise or centre wise. It soon became apparent to us that she had a substitute word for good. Her’s was electric. Everything was electric.

Those denims you’re wearing. They’re electric.

The Eurythmics last single was electric, wasn’t it?

Did you see Happy Days last night? It was electric.

The Adidas brand is electric.

That girl over there. Her ear rings are electric.

As we shuddered and shouldered on throughout the electrical storm she was blowing in her conversation, she told us that last week she was holidaying in London. She said she got the train down and back. One of the boys couldn’t help himself and quickly steamed in with the riposte.
“Was it diesel or electric?”

* * * * *

Are friends electric or what? OK moving on, let’s not get too technical. I can’t find the Poll widget in Blogger so it is just a straight count of hands. I’m of the opinion one of the songs is brilliant while the other makes me say fox. It’s up to you, though, dear viewer. Of the following “electric” songs what is your favourite? You don’t need to listen all the way through, the first minute of each song gives you a gist of what they’re about.

OMD = 1.

AC/DC = 0.


July 9, 2012

The hot sand was forming sand castles in Long Hair’s engine as he powered along the desert floor. Not eco-friendly in any way the hirsute leather-clad driver barked that the whole world should be concrete. He was probably angry because he had just drowned the last drop of Jamesons. Ten empty bottles lay at his feet. Still, he could pick up the transmission of the Metal Chainsaw Show on his radio. The last three songs played were-

Iron Maiden- Powerslave
Slipknot- The Blister Exists
Killswitch Engage- Reckoning

Long Hair drove over a large dune becoming airborne in the process. When he fell back to earth he found himself and vehicle on concrete. The first thing he saw was blue flags being waved furiously in front of him. Stewards were swearing at him.

“Get out of the way, slow coach.”

Just then a couple of super-charged machines went hurtling past Long Hair at breakneck speed. This was the first time Long Hair had been overtaken and he wasn’t happy.

“A bloody race, is it? If they want blood, they’ve got it.” He shrieked.

The sand in the carburettor was burning up as Long Hair gained on the leaders. All warning symbols flashed violently on his dashboard as he cut through the air. He passed a car and moved into second place just behind the champion: a driver called Skid Solo.

Skid was fast, honest and a clean driver. Apart from being very fast Long Hair wasn’t any of the other things. Long Hair reined in Skid and only a few seconds were between them as they reached the last corner.

Skid had the racing line and danced around the bend like a skimming pebble. From his mirrors he saw Long Hair on the dirty side of the track grinding the track into submission. Something had to give and it did. A large boulder broke free from the road under the force of Long hair’s car and catapulted at Skid. Skid ducked and the boulder missed him but he had lost valuable time and Long Hair passed the chequered flag in first place.

On the winner’s podium Long Hair drank like a dynamo and refused to splatter the crowd with his victory drinks. Jamesons is too good to waste. Skid was despondently deflated, especially after it was revealed that Long hair was driving with four flat tyres. The F1 mechanics fixed the car up good and Long Hair sped into the desert night with a trunk full of Jamesons. He had no need for the trophy so he gave it to Skid.

Day of the long knives

July 7, 2012

We have to cut more. Cuts, cuts and more cuts, that’s all you hear these days. Portugal is doing it, Italy is doing it, Greece is doing it. I bet even educated bees are doing it. And in these warm summer climes it’s probably for the best.

The hedge that grows on your head is fine for the winter months keeping all those nasty colds away, not when the better weather arrives and you‘re soaking in ponds of sweat. Then it is time for a cut.

I scan the countryside looking for a barber’s pole. They’re hard to find as they don’t hang the red and white pole horizontally out from the shop anymore. Due, probably to the old wives tale: It’s bad luck to walk under a barber’s pole when it falls.

Mustaine outhairs Heseltine

Somehow I manage to unearth an establishment of cutters. I enter with my leonine locks of Heseltine. Three empty chairs greet me and I sit on one of the seats of doom.

“What’ll ye be ‘avin?” said the uncouth brandisher of scissors.

“Give it a trim and we’ll see how it goes.”

The barber slices and dices and files and rasps and saws at my mane. He’s out of breath and wheezing down my neck. “We have to cut more.” I said in my best gothic Vince Cable voice; I can’t do George Osborne. The “stylist” hands me a carving knife. Obviously he’s confused by me using we. Not to hurt his feelings, I have a little carve at myself with his butcher’s knife.

Soon the play is over and it is time to look into the mirror. I wait and wait before staring into the abyss. It stares right back at me. A new customer enters the cavern and in the abyss all I see is the colour pink.

“Nice crew cut, sailor boy.”

* * * * *

I only need the flimsiest of excuses to broadcast a Megadeth track but this was an actual request from Dolores. You are a star.

The hairy, snarling, pretty Dave Mustaine is captain, singer, lead guitar, chief songwriter, lyricist, penalty and free-kick taker for the band. He probably makes the tea as well. A Tout Le Monde is Megadeth’s lightest song, featuring guest vocals by Lacuna Coil’s Cristina Scabbia. Play it loud.

* * * * *

CI’s Turkish shave vid. Any one fancy a Turkish bath next.

Chibber in the Jazz Age

July 4, 2012

It had been another of those social gatherings where we felt out of place. On Twitter you’re anonymous and foxes paws are irrelevant, at a high class event it’s different. It’s hard to become invisible especially when all you bring to the party is inanities. Try as we might, me and Chibber just couldn’t compete with the Joneses or the Powells or the Ashford-Webbs of this world. They had us beat in the paddock in the intellectual stakes; we were definitely oxymoronically double-dashed: an also-ran non-runner.

Chibber kicked an innocent stone that was lying in the pavement as went home.

“Did you hear that double-breasted suit guy? I can speak six languages.”

“Seven. It was seven.” not for the first time I corrected Chibber.

“Six. Seven. Doesn’t matter. It’s still more than one.” Mathematically, I did not argue with this statement. Chibber went on. “Then the other geezer. I can play nine different instruments. And they’re all those stupid snobby instruments. The piano. The harpsichord. The clarinet. And…and…all the rest.”

“You’re right. He didn’t say anything about a guitar now did he?”

Me and Chibber were both failed six-string guitarists. It’s easier listening to rock music than playing it. Various excuses were mooted and mantrad (sic): hard to fine time to practise, fingers too fat for the frets, hard to fine time to practice, fingers too fat for the frets, hard to find time to practise, fingers too fat for the frets.

“I’m going to learn to play the trumpet.” said Chibber.

“The trumpet?”

“Yeah. Think about it. It’s only got three buttons-”

“Valves. I think they’re called valves.”

“Valves then. Three valves. Now all you’ve got to do is blow and finger three buttons, um, valves. There can’t be many combinations in three valves. In layman’s terms, basically, the trumpet is a three cross: three singles, three doubles and a treble.” Chibber was over the moon. I tried to fell him with bigger numbers.

“Some trumpets have four valves. That‘s a Yankee combination”

“No. No. Forget the Yankee, Yankees are impossible. I’m going to learn on a three-buttoner.”

We walked along and Chibber ignored the discarded crushed can that was left in his path. I could tell he was in a charitable mood. I didn’t want to upset him but I had more things to say on the matter.

“If it were that easy, we’d all be trumpeters. Maybe there’s a certain way of blowing that takes skill or the valves have different settings. Quarter open or half open or something like that to get different sounds.”

“You’ve always got to rain on my parade , haven’t you?”

We walked on and I tried to cheer him up. “Juggling. Why don’t you become a juggler? Everybody likes a juggler at a party. Ashford-Webb’s sonatas would have to take a back seat to a guy levitating balls in the air.” I waited for his reaction. It was forthcoming.

“That’s it. You’re right. Juggling is an art,” he said, he was totally convinced. “and how hard can it be to juggle three balls? At every given time there is one ball in your hand so there’s only two balls to keep an eye on.”

“That’s right,” I said “and to really shatter Jones and his Bechstein Grand, to tongue -tie the multi-linguistic Powell, nay, to trump the high society set in all its splendour you could juggle four balls. That’ll show them whose boss.”

“No. No. Forget four balls. Three will be hard enough.”