Archive for July 2013

Happy Birthday, Roger

July 25, 2013

Roger Meddows Taylor- born July 26th 1949.

Roger Taylor is the third most famous member of the rock supergroup, Queen. This must annoy him as, for example, in the Banana Splits band, all four of the crew are evenly lauded. It’s hard to pick a favourite there. Still, the Queen drummer can console himself with the fact that he was the prettiest member of the band and compared to other rock contemporaries he has weathered well. Old Roger is 64 in a few minutes and we still love him.

Roger sang and wrote a lot of songs for Queen as well as releasing a handful of solo albums. There’s a new one in the works as we speak. He even toured and released a few albums with his own band, The Cross, in which Roger played lead guitar and vocals. So the bronze medallist does have talent. To stop this post from being completely sycophantic we’ll spotlight a few lowlights. Roger’s singing voice is average if you ask me and lyrically his words can be a bit banal. We’ll forgive him his fallacies as who amongst us can cast the first rolling stone? Not me, I still only know two guitar chords.

Incredibly, the 80’s new romantic group, Duran Duran also had a drummer called Roger Taylor. That’s enough about them. Before this there was a British tennis player called Roger Taylor who reached the giddy heights of the top 16 in the men’s singles ratings, even playing the mighty Bjorn Borg during one of the Swede’s great Wimbledon runs.

There’s a lot of famous Roger Taylor’s running about. Today I wish the one that wrote Radio Ga Ga many happy returns.

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Bring me sunshine (and more sunshine)

July 24, 2013

It’s still boiling hot in the North West Hemisphere. My yellow string vest is clinging to me like a cub to its mother. The sandals are kicked off, the red shorts are rolled up. The purple handkerchief with the tied-up corners is sitting on my head as I sit on my deck chair looking to all the world (well, the neighbours anyway) like a seaside postcard. And as I drift to sleep I dream of those long ago days in the sun when holidays were such fun.

There were five of us took the trip to Viva Espana back in the 80’s. Our first trip abroad. Definitely, an eye-opener and not just because of the topless bathing. What’s all that salty water in the shower about? And the two-point plug socket? And the funny tasting beer? Where’s the good old McEwan’s?

Enough with the questions. In those days the air carriers were a bit more lax on what you could carry on the plane, you could take everything with you including the kitchen sink unlike the weight restrictions of today. So one of the gang took one of those huge boom boxes with him so we could blast out some music. After one day in the hotel we were banned from using the thing. Apparently, we were too loud. Hard to believe, isn’t it?

The beach, on the other hand, was fair game. We took up our position in the sand, fully loaded with bottles of the native brew and let loose the boom box with all its sonic delights. Sun bathers, frisbee throwers and sandcastle makers were all victims of our noise. Two weeks they had to suffer us. By day three we had the beach to ourselves. One song in particular was played often because it reminded us of the home country. Take it away, Johnny.

Epic track, Mr Beattie is probably still coining in the royalties from it. The B side of this ditty was also a good one. It was called “What are we going to put on the B-side?” The chorus went like this.

What are we going to put on the B-side?

It disnae matter, naebody listens away

Right, right I’m for a pint

Doon in the pub on a Friday night

What are we going to put on the B-side?

It disnae matter, naebody listens away

Sheer class. Bob Dylan, eat your heart out.

No doubt, you lot will be hoping for rain as the sun sometimes goes to my head.

 

The Willow Farm massacre

July 18, 2013

In the beginning the pests only ate the crops. Then they evolved and now they have a taste for all flesh, especially human flesh.

“Run. Make for the highway.”

The last two remaining humans in Willow Farm desperately tried to keep ahead of the mutated insects that were feasting over the last of their prey. All other wildlife in the town had the same idea and there was a mass exodus of beasts beating a path out of there. The young man and woman hoped to find rescue from a passing car that would take them away from this B-movie nightmare.

—-

“BLUEEERRRGGGHHH”

The flurry of flies that Long Hair had swallowed while yawning was propelled out his mouth along with a generous amount of bile. He was in a foul mood as insects fleeing town had interfered with the transmission system of his radio. Knocking back a liberal dose of Jamesons whiskey he tried to tune into radio 666’s Metal Chainsaw Show. The last three songs played were-

Black Sabbath- End of the Beginning
Orange Goblin- A Eulogy for the Damned
Genesis- Willow Farm

Suddenly, in front of the car emerged the two young scared runaways from Willow Farm. Not stopping in time Long Hair banged into the youngsters, knocking them down. They got to their feet, still petrified by the danger they’d ran from that they felt no shock or pain from the road traffic accident.

“Help us, mister, please, you need to get us away from here. There’s a swarm of insects heading this way.”

“Swarming insects are edible, aren’t they?” asked Long Hair.

The girl was unrepentant in her apprehension. “Mister, you don’t understand. These are deadly flesh-eating creatures. They’ve destroyed our town and we’re the last of the townsfolk left alive. The swarm has wreathed a trail of devastation that is like something out of a cheap horror movie. You have seen horror movies, haven’t you?”

“I’ve seen Rob Zombie and Cannibal Corpse. Does that count?” said the driver, deadpan, “Anyway, can’t you just swat them?”

“There’s too many in the horde. Try as you might, swords, sabres and cutlasses are next to useless as their fury is unrelenting.”

swarm

A buzzing noise was getting clearer and louder. The two youngsters dived into Long Hair’s car and cowered in the back seat. Long Hair got out to look at the impending menace. In the air they darkened the sky. They were almost upon him when he took a large swig from his bottle of Jamesons fearing nothing, not even fear. The huge black cloud of terror descended on the solitary figure. The savage flock burrowed into Long Hair’s hair and enveloped his torso with their licks and bites and stings. They thought they were about to cut another notch on their bedstead of death but had reckoned without one significant factor.

The Jamesons had reacted with the acids in the stomach. From the pit of Long Hair’s bowels rose a vile, gassy waste that is one of the side effects of the alcohol. Gathering pace like a lightning guitar solo the gushing lava rushed to the surface and was violently expelled in the mother of all belches. Fifteen hundred locust in the epicentre dropped down dead instantly. They were the lucky ones. The survivors, suffering from nausea and dizziness, distraught, packed their bags and headed for the hills with their tails between their legs. Proving once more that chemical weapons are instruments of mass destruction.

Long hair kneeled down and picked up a handful of the downed beasts. He proceeded to wolf them down his gullet. In the back seat the youngsters tentatively looked out the window.

“Bring out the Jamesons, Supper’s ready.” said Long Hair.

Cast

Long Hair…as Himself
Young woman…Scarlett Johansson
Young man.. Daniel Day-Lewis

Directed by Steven Spielberg
Produced by Rick Rubin
Written by Gabriel Garcia Marquez based on a story by Nabokov
Wardrobe by Ikea
Sound effects by Monsieur Joseph Pujol

No insects were harmed in the making of this picture.

In the Black

July 14, 2013

Britain has been hit by an unprecedented bout of good weather in the last week or two. There has been winners and losers in the current climate. Ice-cream sales are up umbrella sales are down. A lot of bare flesh that is normally hidden has been exposed, a lot of flesh that is not normally seen has been burned. Should have used factor 25. The unusual sight of clear skies is the antithesis of a full lunar moon yet both occurrences make ordinary individuals act extraordinarily. Madness and folly is widespread amongst the populace but for one clan the seasons remain the same.

In fine weather it makes sense to drape one’s self in light coloured fabric. I don’t know the reason for this, I think it’s something to do with reflection of sunlight or magnetic poles or something else. Probably, something else. Anyway, dark clothing is a no-no. But try telling that to the Goths.

To clear up any confusion let me say straight away that the Goths in question are members of the sub-culture that originated in the early 80’s as a post-punk movement. This anthropological offshoot have certain tastes in music and dress. These are along the lines of dark, brooding tunes and black make-up and clothes. They are not to be confused with the Germanic tribe of olde. The original Goths, a much more interesting breed, would sack their modern day poseur namesakes.

There’s a little Goth shop of horrors in town that stocks the latest clothing but it also sells second-hand music CDs so I sometimes enter their chamber on the look out for a bargain. it was during one of the hottest days of the year I plunged into the darkness.

The shop was empty save for me, the salesman and a Goth lady who was perusing the clothing line. She flicked through the hangars of black, black, black attire and looked a bit sad, though that might have been the deathly mascara masking her true feelings. Maybe she was the life and soul of every party, an incredible creature dripping with personality and good cheer. Using the well-worn quip I said to her.

“What’s the matter? Don’t they have your colour?”

She looked at me. I looked at the salesman. He looked at his can of Kestrel lager and took a sip of it.

“Siouxsie and the Banshees! Kestrel lager! That takes me back. Can you remember when that was only 20p a can?”

“Yes, it’s grave the way prices go up” the salesman answered. I was about to contradict him as without the doom and gloomy economy I wouldn’t have a blog to write but I took sides with the old soldier and we both went into a damned rant about rising costs and how things have changed, usually for the worse. The Goth lady asked if she could have a swig of the liquid gold that is Kestrel. The salesman offered her the can without hesitation. As she copped a lungful I said.

“Curly Wurlys aren’t the same size as they were.”

She spewed the mouthful of Kestrel over the rack of black garments and went into a fit of laughing. She must think Curly Wurly is a funny word. Who said Goths don’t have a sense of humour?

2.3 The Grope

July 8, 2013

A one act play

(Ralph and Jeff are ambling along the main street. It is a sunny day and the pedestrian precinct is busy but the two men are in no hurry and are just killing time while they stroll)

Ralph: Sorry (he accidentally bumps into another pedestrian and apologises).

Jeff: Busy old place, today.

Ralph: Yep. The old sunshine brings out the best in people.

Jeff: There’s a lot of half-naked bodies about, I’ll grant you that.

Ralph: Wait till you hear what I read recently in one of those crazy American newspapers. This is a true story. This guy is out on a first date with this girl and he arranges it with his best friend to mug them. The reason for this is the man fights off the abductor and becomes a hero in the girls eye.

Jeff: I hope you’re not suggesting that we do this.

Ralph: No, no, I’m just telling the story.

Jeff: So how did it go? Did they go ahead with it?

Ralph: They did (He evades another person who almost walks into him) but it didn’t finish well. It started off good. The couple were walking along until the “friend” jumped out of the bushes. He had a knife on him. This wasn’t in the script. A bit of wrestling began between the men ending up with both of them getting knife wounds in their hands. Blood had been spilled. To make matters worse the girl runs off.

Jeff: This is a true story.

Ralph: I wouldn’t lie to you, Jeff.

Jeff: What happened next?

Ralph: Well, with the girl away the two men decide that the abductor better high tail it and the other one will go looking for the girl. Unfortunately, the girl has phoned the police and they’re on their way to the crime scene. The man can hear the sirens in the distance. In a few minutes the police have found the mugger. It ends up the men have to come clean on their escapade and they escape with a warning. Predictably, it’s the end of the romance as the girl doesn’t want to see the guy again. Oh, sorry (Ralph bumps into a person and spins round lifting up a hand and inadvertently touching the breast of the woman he has brushed against)

Woman: Hey, watch it.

Ralph: I’m sorry.

Woman: You meant that. You deliberately touched me. (Jeff lifts both his hands up indicating innocence)

Ralph: (to Jeff) What are you doing? you’re not under arrest.

Jeff: I’m on your side, Ralph. I do think this was an honest to goodness accidental feel.

Woman: (to Ralph) Don’t ignore me. You think it’s OK to pester woman by pawing all over them because it’s a crowded place.

Ralph: I didn’t mean it. I turned round, put my hands up and said sorry. I didn‘t even know if you were a woman or not when I touched you.

Woman: Well, I never.

Ralph: That didn’t sound right. You are a woman. I can see that. I didn’t mean to feel…feel…the…

Woman: Liar! How many women have you touched up today? You are disgusting. You make me sick. You’re lucky my husband isn’t here.

Ralph: (lifts his hand up in defence) Lady, I honestly-

Woman: -I don’t want to see your grubby hands. Put those grubby hands away. They should be cut off. In fact, that’s not the only thing that should be cut off. (she hits Ralph with her handbag a few times. He takes a few steps back and loses his balance by slipping on litter. He falls to the ground in an unceremonious heap)

Another Woman: You pervert. (Ralph has landed underneath a woman with a mini-skirt. Upset, she lifts a stiletto heel and aims it for Ralph‘s face)

San Francisco plane crash

July 6, 2013

A few months ago my youngest son told me about a phobia he has just contracted. It concerns air travel. He’s not a frequent flyer by any means but he has been on about a dozen flights or so before. Therefore it was surprising when he told me he doesn’t want to fly any more.

I have been waiting for the right moment to publish a witty blog about his fear of flying. In my usual manner I would have made light of the subject. Current events, you never know when these things are going to happen, have always kept this post in reserve and it looks as if it’s going to be the blog that never gets written.

As I type I’m watching reporting of the aeroplane that crash landed in San Francisco International Airport. So far and touch wood there have been no fatalities. Listening to the various commentaries the obligatory statistic that driving to the airport is more dangerous than flight travel was drummed out. This is true but it’s frightening when you think that maybe you might be on that one in a million or whatever the odds are when you board. As Al Pacino said in Any Given Sunday “Life is a game of inches.”

I’m sorry for the serious tone personally I’ll still continue to fly as accidents are few and far between. When there is an incident it receives wall to wall coverage on all the news outlets. As I said before my thoughts are with the passengers and crew.

Giant foot steps in the snow

July 6, 2013

While most of the world has been mapped by a collection of ever better cartographers- Ptolemy, Amerigo Vespucci, Robert Moresby, Google et al – I’d like to thank the last mentioned for featuring me on five different street views. Proof that I’m always chasing a story (or running from moneylenders, the choice is yours)- the natural world, however, has still got many discoveries to be found. There’s a lot of lost out there. It is common knowledge that we have barely scratched the surface of the sea life that lives underwater. On the ground it has been easier to identify new species of established wildlife.

Lemmy’s worm

Only last year a new breed of tarantula was found in the Arizona desert and the scientist decided to name the spider after his favourite celebrity. And so we have Aphonopelma Davemustainei. The front man of the mighty metal group Megadeth was delighted to have a deadly arachnid named after him. The reaction of Lemmy Kilmister, vagabond chief of the rock band Motorhead, when he heard a 428 million year old fossilised worm was christened Kalloprio Kilmisteri in his honour is unknown. The KK was reputed to be a scary worm but who’s around to confirm this. Turtles don’t talk.

All these new findings got me wanting to be in the act. It would be nice to be immortalised. I wouldn’t want a statue as the pigeons would home in on it. So marble is out. The naming of my hopefully, new unearthing was a minor problem as no internet translator site would give me the Latin for Whizzfrombizz. The major problem was I knew no scientists so I would have to find something new myself. And I didn’t want no worm or spider I wanted something big, something like…Big Foot or as it is sometimes known as, The Sasquatch. Now that would be a catch.

I headed for the remotest place I knew, the seat furthest away from the toilets in McDonalds, but there were no specimens here that hadn’t already been found before so I had to do some thinking outside the snack box. The hills. The hills have it. I made for the hills and got myself photographed by the Google van, again. This is turning into the Dennis Weaver film, Duel. On I went over hills and through Lochs. On the way I saw the Loch Ness Monster and gave him a wave. As he surfed it, he told me to give Barry the Bronto his regards.

On I ploughed, the wind was biting and the snow was gnawing at my bones. And I apologise for that boring clichéd last sentence, although there will be more of the same, dear faithful reader of these far-fetched tales. Still I trudged on and would have worn out the carpet if the hills had had a carpet. Maybe the world should be carpeted instead of being Googlevan-mapped. It’d be comfier for explorers like Columbus and me. We could be shod with slippers instead of boots. A game of carpet bowls while hill walking would break the monotony as well.

And then through a snowstorm I saw it.

Through the white that was all around me a huge terrifying shape was beginning to form in front of me. It was 50 storeys tall if it was a foot. And then it became clearer…ever more clearer…and clearer…it was pink. I jumped when a pink glove tapped me on the shoulder.

“Hello sailor boy. You’re out of luck, I saw it first.”

Beaten again to the chase Yeti again by Pinkie my wrists went limp. Sensing my dejection, the big pink Big Foot put his arms around me in consolation.

*****

To console myself and in celebration of the Mustaine tarantula here’s some Megadeth. I know you’re getting to like them.