Archive for December 2014

Chibber at the Ballet

December 11, 2014

(Taken from the Chibber Papers)

The British secret agent sits in the balcony and watches the ballet with opera glasses. When M told him he was going to the ballet, he thought she meant Bali, Indonesia. Now, here he was in the coldness of Volga without a Siberian hat to his name or head and it was still at the height of the Cold War. BRRRRRR. He peers/shivers at the spectacle below.


What a lot of tripe. Why are the men mincing all over the place? I can’t make head nor tail of this and what’s so special about the big Alpha blouse on stage that we want him to desert? What possible secrets does he know that we need? How to leap over fences? How to strike a pose? How to circle and circle and circle? And his name- Rudolph Pureflesh! A riddle wrapped in enigmatic tights. This is a farce. I hope the big balloon falls on his-

Harry Chibberson’s (AKA Chibber 007½th) private investigational thoughts were interrupted by something obscuring his view. He lowered his glasses and there, hovering in front of him was a terrifying Unmanned Combat Aerial Vehicle(UCAV) otherwise known in the game as a combat drone. It was armed to the teeth and gums. Chibber did what any Glaswegian man would do when confronted by a drone. He gave it a kiss. The drone dropped down. Deid.

The Volgans must know I’m here. I knew I shouldn’t have worn this Hawaiian shirt. What’s this, I can’t move. There’s gum on my shoe. Litterbugs, Di-di-di-Litterbugs. Wee bit of Wham there for you. Ballet lovers are the most dirtiest theatregoers on earth. Thrash metal concerts are much cleaner in comparison. Look at all this rubbish on the floor- discarded Ceri Radford novels, Hershey Bar wrappers, torn up Louis van Gaal posters, Marmot fur, bat guano and Canary feathers. Don’t they read the signs: Keep Volga Tidy. Ok, better move before they think I’m a gumshoe.

Chibber descends the playhouse avoiding the Volgan security guards, though he did stop for an ice-cream at the kiosk. A shaken not stirred strawberry sundae, in chashe you were churious as Sean Connery would shurely say. He noticed his target had left the stage, obviously his part was not in this scene. His place as the star attraction seemed to have been taken by someone all in pink cavorting to a song about Sailor Boys. This was Chibber’s chance. He heads for the dressing rooms. He found his mark and asked.

“Are you Rudolph?”

“Yes I am. Who are you?”

Just for the hell of it Chibber said “I’m Santa Claus,” then adds “I’m here to help you defect.”

“What’s the plan?” enquires Rudolph.

“I’ve taken care of the guards at exit stage left so all we have to do is walk across the stage and exit at the door.”

“You fool, every man and their dog and especially the Volgan authorities will be watching the stage. There is a ballet going on, after all. A live show. Duh!”

Chibber has got behavioural issues and he says to the defecting Volgan “You call me a fool again I’ll give you a red nose, Rudolph.”

The great balletmeister, tougher than he looks, men in tights can be superheroes, swats the threat away as if it were a weak second serve hitting the ball on the rise down the line for a winner says “Hold on I know what we can do. We can hide in plain sight. You change into a ballet costume and we’ll enter the stage, mix in with the ensemble, do a ballet routine and then the left. Leave for freedom. Exiting this leftist state from the left.”

“Did you say put on a costume?”

“Yes, come on dear. It‘s the only way out.”

Ignoring Chibber’s protests the ballet dancer strips the secret agent derobing him of all of Q’s dangerous gadgets: a watch with a laser, shoes with hidden daggers in the heels, a snake belt that glows in the dark. Squeezing him into a leotard Rudolph places Chibber in front of a mirror and does some adjustments to the costume. Pulling it a bit here, stretching it a bit there, tugging it a bit here, smoothing it a bit there. His hands are all over the Chibber body.

If the guys in the housing scheme could see me now. Stuck in a dressing room all dolled up for the ballet with an effeminate companion rubbing me up the wrong way. Ow, what’s he doing now? Oh my god, make-up. He’s putting make-up on me. I am usually plastered after a Gary Player but I’m never plastered this way. I’m blushing under my blusher.

The two of them make for the wings before they enter the Grand Finale on stage. Amid much fanfare Rudolph and Chibber leap into the cluster of dancers and assorted props. The great Rudolph Pureflesh is now in his pomp. He executes a series of pirouettes moving into a Changement then a Revoltade and after a magnificent Triple Run culminates his performance with a high-speed Fouette en Tournant. The crowd are going bonkers. In the jamboree Chibber plays his part and does a jump or two.

The curtain comes down to mad applause and the spy and the defector exit stage left straight into the arms of a troop of Volgan soldiers.

Oh Nutcracker! I’ve got my exit stage lefts in a twist. We should have went right. Hold on, what’s happening? They want a few autographs from Rudolph. And me, too. They want my autograph. And a selfie. The Volgans…with me… in a leotard…doing selfies. That’s one-nil to me because James Bond never done this.



Are We Human?

December 6, 2014

Two recent unrelated episodes have alerted me into the realisation that I am mortal, that I am the same as any other human, that I am not eternal.

My sporting life has kept me fit and I have steered clear of serious injuries through the years. Only that other famousGraham Alexander and resilient Scot, Graham Alexander of Preston North End and Burnley FC, has played more football games than me. We have both not needed to use the Alexander Graham Bell invention and phone in sick. Made from girders the two of us. Then there’s my tennis matches. The elbow has always been fine, me being the school tennis champion and all that.

And then there was a twinge.

The left thigh was not quite right. Against UN regulations a niggling little pain was invading the muscle and my anti-bodies had gone on strike. Coming out in solidarity with them, the workers had downed tools at the knee and another pain arrived further down the leg and now I’m fighting a war on two fronts. Being interrogated at length many times by the grilling ogres at the Business Blogger Select Committee I have a high pain resilience. And I don’t do doctors.

But the twinge was annoying.

I done the doctors and got medication. Medication is all you need, he trumpeted. It did help but I was sorry to lose my record breaking don’t-visit-the-doctor award. Further outstanding medical advice were to take a break and put the feet up. What? I am to become just like everybody else. This is not good. I am bullet proof. I am titanium. Not tin.

There I was, sat on the couch with tins of beer for friendship and kinship, trekking through the TV channels with the remote control until I disembarked at a programme called Great British Railway Journeys; this was not the terrain I was looking for. In the few instances I’ve cradled a train it has always been my misfortune to be the last to find a seat and thus be stuck on the worst throne on the ship(sic)- the seat facing backwards. I can’t see where I’m going but I can see where I’ve been. That’s a great title for a song. Where’s my harp?

Back to the programme which is presented by Michael Portillo. This was unappealing to me, not something I’d normally chu-chu choose, and could be a long ride. I coasted the first couple of minutes and then I was in the zone. I could not take my eyes off the telly. This was stimulating television. I found myself enjoying the transmission so much that I stayed until the terminus and checked the guide for future episodes. This should not be happening to me.  I should be immune to this. This is terrible. What with the dodgy thigh and the dodgier TV viewing have I become one of the last of the summer wine?

What comes next? Radio 4? Woolly cardigans? Complain about the weather? Play golf? Worry about the rubbish? Phone for free Which guides? Laugh at Bruce Forsyth jokes? This ain’t gonna happen. The kid gloves are off and the football boots are back on. I’m not phoning in sick again.