Archive for September 2014

3.1 The Accident in the Afternoon

September 24, 2014

There was only one chocolate éclair left in the bakery and Ralph was the fifth in line. Nervously, he looked over the shoulders of the leaders. He didn’t want his prey to get away. The alternatives were unappetising.  There were four custard slices available for sale on the counter.

“Hot Dog! Those custard slices look delicious.” he said with a ham actor’s relish.

His cunning plan seemed to work as the two old ladies at the front of the queue bought Ralph’s enthusiasm and ordered the slices. The third in line wavered, her head rolling from side to side before deciding to buy a custard slice. Ralph was now in second place and the prize was in sight. The burly man in front of him looked at Ralph and said.

“Hey man, there’s only one custard slice left and I know you want it badly. I’ll let you have it. I’ll take the chocolate éclair instead.”

* * * * *

Ralph was walking along the road with egg on his face. He couldn’t very well not take the custard slice and so he forced it down the hatch and down his jumper too. I didn’t count things out properly there, Ralph thought. In future he vowed that he would make the right decision and he would make it fast. Just like those self-help books for unassertive people.

And then tragedy came into view and it wore the shape of a beautiful woman.

Sauntering casually, a chocolate éclair on legs, the princess was unaware that a vehicle on the road had hit an oil patch and was swerving towards her. Ralph made a decision fast. He would be brave and bold. He launched himself at the woman and pushed her onto the road out of the way of the juggernaut. In hindsight later Ralph would say he acted too fast. It was as if he forgot to read the last chapter of the How To Make Decisions Fast book. The one about count all the angles. That counting thing again.

The driver of the car corrected the swerve and stayed on the road. Unfortunately, he now had the object of the woman directly in his path. He tried his best but couldn’t avoid her and he clipped her with his wing. She fell down.

From nowhere the scene was filled with dozens of extras rushing to the woman’s aid. The mob were in agreement over who was to blame. Their spokesman shouted at Ralph.

“That was your fault. Were you trying to kill her?”

“I was saving her.”

“Saving her? You lunatic.”

“You’ve got this all wrong.” said Ralph.

By this time the shocked driver had got out of his car. He had heard the previous conversation and now he also remonstrated with Ralph.

“Is that right? Did you push her?”

“I did push her but I thought I was pushing her to safety.”

“What, on to the street? Yeah, that’s safe. We should string you up.”

By this time Ralph was beginning to lose his cool with these strangers that have misread the situation. First the chocolate éclair and now this. There’s only so much a patient man can take. And, after all, he was brave and bold.

“String me up. I’m a hero. You should be giving me a medal.”

“A medal?”

“That’s right. A medal.”

From the swarm someone shouted “she’s alive and she’s coming round”. There was a huge communal sigh of relief. The other thing that was coming round was an ambulance. It would be followed soon by a police car.

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Ventriloquism for dummies

September 23, 2014

Dummy

That’s a funny title for a blog, isn’t it? It’s humorous, paradoxical and clever. Trouble is probably somewhere out there in the infinite world of cyberspace someone will have done it first. It is tough trying to be original, just ask Captain Robert Falcon Scott.

Back to ventriloquism.

Who said that?

I said it.

Who are you, who, who, who, who?

Leave off with the CSI tunes.

Say What?

OK, OK, no more double voices, This is confusing even me, the (ahem) writer. I need a gottle o geer before I can continue.

KIIIIIIIIII….Gulp!

We all have our favourite ventriloquists. Sometimes it is not the skill of the mouth-garbling artiste that we admire it is the puppet. The puppet is the star of the show. The jokes don’t matter if the dummy has the special knack of making you laugh. Your boat might be rocked by Lord Charles, Nookie Bear or Orville the duck, it’s subjective. Maybe , just maybe, you’re a Chucky fan. But I wouldn’t count on it. Me, I’ve always howled out loud at Rod Hull’s Emu. Although, Emu never spoke. There was no ventriloquism involved. Hull spoke for himself. Emu just bit people. Hilarious.

emu

Attempting to enter the ventriloquist market and become a master of puppets, I’ve wracked my brain thinking of a suitable dummy that will play the fool against my straight man. Again, it is a struggle to be original. All the animals and caricatured humans have been done. So I considered my own creations. A fifty foot Bobby the brontosaurus marionette would be a fantastic piece of work and bring the house down, literally, but it would be too unwieldy; only Reed Richards could handle the Bobby dummy. The less said about the Sailor Boy puppet the better- we all know where the hands go- which only leaves the sub-editor dummy. (I’m real, I’m real and not a dummy – sub-editor comment)

So I’ve given up on my dream of ventriloquism riches with a companion and decided to go solo like Han and Skid. Puppet less, I’ve been practising throwing my voice. This is quite a difficult art to conquer, this voice-throwing gig. Keeping the gob shut while saying a sentence is hard work indeed. Doing this and teleporting it elsewhere at the same time is extremely difficult. Nailing it would be like having a super power. Voice-Throwing Man! I wonder if that’s been done before. Probably. In some archaic comic book.  There goes the credit to Voice-Throwing Man the Movie with the inevitable not as good sequels.

Nonetheless, I’ve striven and stracked and thrown my voice at inanimate objects with the result being my vocal chords sounding strangulated. I’ve mumbled “I’m the oven. I’m quite warm” whenever anyone neared the stove. This warning does stop the victim in their tracks though they do turn and stare at me which takes the glamour away slightly. The panic thrown utterance of “help, help, I’m locked in the cupboard” raises eyebrows in the household yet no one moves to save the trapped stranger.

Penguins and huskies! I get the feeling it’d be easier getting to the South Pole than becoming a voice throwing expert. So I’ve gone back to my normal voice and the bottles of beer. Who said that?

Here, or Present, there be prizes

September 13, 2014

report-cardThe last week at school before it broke up for summer holidays has memories I will always cherish. These last days were happy and the expectation of even happier times, no school, made them sweeter. Not many children were present at the “classes”. Only the most devoted, a small handful, that is the ones that their mothers forced to go, were in attendance.

For the ones that dogged it they missed a good time. You could wear your own “uniform” for a start; jeans and Adidas t-shirts and stuff like that. I’m sure snake belts were in fashion then. Can’t remember what the girls were wearing. Didn’t speak to girls in those days. You were allowed to bring board games in and CDs. No that’s not right. You could bring in vinyl records and the teacher would dig out an old player to spin them on.

While the doggers (it’s a shame how that word has been hijacked by the nefarious activities of “gangs“) were out enjoying the outdoors and playing on swings or kicking a ball about the hardcore pupils were learning new tricks. I think I learned more in the last week than the other forty five or so. As I got older and was still forced to march to school on the last week the seminars had moved on from simple games to more riveting material. Teacher showed a bunch of us how to play chess. Learning the chess moves was fascinating and I have never lost my enthusiasm for the game. Grasshopper will never forget this master. He was a teacher called Mr Littlejohn though he was well over six foot in height. In my lost middle years I could not find the time for chess though with countless online chess communities nowadays a game is never far away. I am no Grandmaster but I can play a vicious fork now and again. Nf3+.

Another plus was that I heard AC/DC and Whitesnake for the first time during this period. A more mature pupil brought in a collection of long players and since then I have loved rock music. No more pop for me except, of course, cola. Just around the corner was TNWOBHM. What a time to be alive! My hair has never been long though I consider myself a hard rocker through and through

Ain’t no love in the Heart of the City, ain’t no love in the Heart of Town.

Ain’t no love, sure ’nuff is a pity.

Whitesnake

A bonus of appearing every day at the palladium was at school prize day every year I would win for attendance. Not one of the most sought after medallions but much better than the most improved pupil award. The MIP winner must have been garbage in class during the previous year. Probably didn’t know a Bishop from an Elder or Ozzy from Lemmy. Maybe if they were present each and every day they would know these things.

So what was the attendance prize? Not a bag of sweeties which would have been wonderful, no siree, it was a newly pressed hardback book. After winning these hardbacks I said to myself that I suppose I better read them. And therein I began my love affair with reading. Incidentally, I also have a soft spot for Reading FC. Read into that what you will. One of the first books I won was Shadow the Sheepdog by Enid Blyton. Magic. Just a magical read. My copy still resides in my mother’s loft. One day I’ll bring it down, dust it and photograph it as proof of my impeccable credentials as a school attendee. In the meantime, here’s a google image of said book.

Shadow the sheepdog

Splendour of the Steel Sentinels

September 7, 2014

roller%20shutter%204

One of the things that is not much lauded on this planet are roller shutter doors. These hinged slats of metal are taken for granted, ignored by passer-bys, unmentioned in news reports, as they stand guard in the frontline against robbers. It is time they had their due. Step back for a moment and admire them in their all their celestial beauty.

shutters

They come in many types and have differing operating systems. This makes them unique in the field that they serve. I mean take a look at burglar alarms. They’re all depressingly the same. Not roller shutters. They come in all shapes and sizes.

There is the magnificent tilting lath design similar to a Venetian blind. The wondrous button-operated fast powered electric shutter. Even older hand worked models caked with rust are exquisite. I love the sound of a creaking, rasping Roller Shutter first thing in the morning. And another thing that goes unnoticed is that these contraptions aren’t just shutters, they’re openers as well. You read that right. They’re also Roller Openers. Though for me at shop closing time nothing Rembrandt did can compete with a line of Roller Shutters shut.

Our reputation in the business world is such that we managed to secure a meeting with the head of Fort Knox Roller Shutters, the legendary Bull Ion. Bull is normally shy and retiring but he gladly granted us his first ever interview (what a scoop!) outlining the history, virtues and future aims for the industry.

So Bull, what got you interested in Roller Shutters?

Ever since I was a little bitty baby my mama done rock me in the cradle-

-Um, we’re here to talk about Roller Shutters, Bull?

Oh yeah, yeah, sorry. You know these new automatic doors are Beano and Dandy but I love the older manual chain lifting shutters . However, even I have to accept change and it’s fair to say that if there were a Miss Roller Shutter contest one of the more modern appliances would win shutters down. Your eyes are the eyes of a woman in love and oh, how-

-Right Bull, what are your future plans for Fort Knox Roller Shutters?

Films.

Films?

Yeah, films. Roller Shutter films. Films about Roller Shutters. We are the future of Hollywood. Attack of the 50 foot Roller Shutter. The day the Roller Shutter stood still. Rollershutterball.

OK. Thanks Mister Ion. We’ve got to go.

The Towering Roller Shutter. The Man with the Golden Roller Shutter. The Roller Shutter who fell to Earth. Lock, Stock and two smoking Roller Shutters. One of our Roller Shutters is Missing. The-

Miss Roller Shutter 2014

Miss Roller Shutter 2014