Archive for December 2012

Full Moon

December 10, 2012

The lunatic is in the hall.

The lunatics are in my hall.

The paper holds their folded faces to the floor

And every day the paper boy brings more.

(Brain Damage. Lyrics by Roger Waters)


It was bound to happen. Passenger flights to the moon were the ultimate in holiday destinations and they were now available. Somehow, along with twenty other civilians, I had acquired a place on Captain Scott’s vessel.

There was a rival Norwegian expedition captained by Ronald Amadsun and it was a race to see who would be first to the moon. The Scandinavians were well behind in their preparations and it was a certainty, said the bookmakers that Scott would plant his flag on the crater first. Also, Norwegians never win anything, do they? Not even the Eurovision.

On being issued with my seat I was disappointed to be in coach class. Up ahead in first, they seemed to have all mod cons. I was sure they were having a game of indoor cricket. I could distinctly hear the pleasant whack of leather on willow. I was trying to follow the game from through the curtain when a fat bloke crushed himself into the adjoining seat.

“Howdy, I’m Neil” he introduced himself.

I was about to answer when I heard the cry of “run” from up ahead. They were in full flow up there in first class.

“Buzz” another passenger landed beside Neil and announced his name. I had to go for it.

“I’m Bizz”

“Hello Buzz and Bizz” said Neil.

Just then a cricket ball flew through the dividing curtain and into the hands of Captain Scott who was walking down the aisle at the time. I imagined a scoreboard with a reading of: caught Scott. The captain was not amused. He marched into first class and admonished the cricketing travellers. He closed the shades and said.

“No ball games allowed. What if an errant ball went through a window. The back draft would suck us into outer space. If you want games, there’s swords in that cupboard. You can play at sword fighting if you want.”

Sword fighting on a spaceship. The jammy beggars. I’d love a game of that. It’d be like having a Jedi Battle on a Star Wars Destroyer ship.

Two minutes later we were up, up and away to infinity and beyond. Oh OK then, it was only to the humble moon and back. The flight was comfortable with little turbulence. I was excited about setting foot on the moon and I expected my fellow passengers were as well. I opened a conversation with Neil.

“Are you ready to take a small step on earth’s satellite, Neil?”

“I seen a strange thing the other day,” Neil strangely ignored my Lunar enquiry and went on “There were two men, obviously acquaintances, walking along the road. One of the men was very tall and the other very small. To keep up with the tall man the small man had to make exactly two strides to the tall man’s one. I calculated the distance and it was exactly two strides to the one. 2:1. If the taller man were an inch taller or shorter or if the small man were an inch taller or shorter the equation would be one of those stupid ones like pi. 3.14. I was astonished at the mathematical measurement of two to one.”

“AOOWWHH!” up ahead, in first, someone had taken a sore one by a broadsword.

“I’ll tell you a better one than that,” said Buzz, unperturbed by the goings-on elsewhere “I saw a man walking along the road other day and you know how you get plenty of humans that walk with their feet spread apart, like the hands of a clock at ten past ten, well this guy’s feet were at a quarter past nine. His walk was a perfect straight line.”

Neil and Buzz talked about walking non-stop. We were in the milky way and they were having a marathon. All I wanted to do was walk on the moon. And a bizz of excitement came over me when Captain Scott came on the public address system to announce.

“First class passengers please put your go-karts back in the garage. We will be landing in one minute. All passengers put your space suits on and remember to put your goldfish bowls on your head. Thank you.”

Well done that man. Beam me down, Scotty.

We set down on the Sea of Tranquility, which to my surprise didn’t have any water on it. Still, we were the pioneers of this Brave New World. Everyone took a giant leap and touched down on the surface of the moon. Our joy quickly receded to disappointment.

Over by the dunes flew the flag of Norway. Amadsun must have found a short cut to the moon because he sure as heck didn’t get here with huskies. We looked at the celebrating Norwegian party. One of them headed towards us. I couldn’t believe my eyes. He was wearing a pink space suit. He said to me.

“Hello Spaceboy.”



Great Lakes of Whiskey

December 1, 2012

The recent appointment of Mark Carney as Governor of the Bank of England would have raised a few eyebrows in the corridors of power. This is the first time a foreigner would be taking the reins of the premier banking ship in this country. To paraphrase Basil Fawlty “He’s from Canada.”

Personally, I don’t have a problem with Canadians, my wife has a niece that lives there and is doing well. The first thing I thought of when I heard of Mr Carney’s selection as Governor was, wait for it, Canadian Club. Canadian Club is exceedingly good whiskey… allegedly.

I first ran across CC when I was out on a date (pre-Mrs W, so we’re talking medieval times). The “lady” I was courting when asked what she would like to drink choose the hard liquor from North America. Tarnishing her hard reputation somewhat she said she takes Coke with it i.e. Coca-Cola, for the avoidance of doubt. I asked the barman for a CCCC. He told me the bathroom was to the left.

The spirit world has always been off-limits to me. Don’t get me wrong I love to roll my tongue over the exotic names of the chief brands: Wild Turkey, Jack Daniels’s, Jim Bean. I just prefer beer, that’s all. I have a question about spiritualists. Why do mediums use small glasses instead of pint glasses when they try to contact the spirits? …There’s a punch line somewhere but I can’t find it.

My adventures with beer have been many though Doug Coughlin, bartender extraordinaire in the film Cocktail, would take issue with my choice of brew. Coughlin was played by the roguish Australian, Bryan Brown. “Beer is for breakfast around here, drink or be gone” said the man that taught Tom Cruise how to juggle bottles and shakers. Doug was a hardcore brandy man yet I can’t believe Doug wouldn’t be impressed by someone that drank 24 cans of beer in the one session and stayed on his feet. My mate Chibber did this.  

Chibber Capone

Let’s go back on the wagon trail to Canada. I have been watching the excellent HBO TV series Boardwalk Empire. The programme is set during the prohibition period in the United States. Bootleggers ferry whiskey to thirsty patrons in speakeasies from other countries including their neighbour to the north. Canadian Club thrived in those illegal times being bought by infamous characters like Al Capone and his ilk. The constant drinking of whiskey by all the main cast does make me smack my lips. I look at my blended whisky that is as old as Hob Gadling (HG is not a brand of whisky) fermenting in the decanter before heading to the fridge for a can of cold beer.

I wonder what Mark Carney’s favourite tipple is. Maybe he sticks to the beer for breakfast outlook? Or does he gulp down $500 bottles of brandy? Canadian Club, playing the national card? Teetotal or coffee total? It can’t be cola, can it? I will request an interview with the Governor to clarify his position on this matter of the most importance.