Archive for August 2015

Midlife crisis #1: Taking it on the chin

August 30, 2015

Midlife is, of course, a bit of a misnomer in this context. I am indubitably young and nowhere near the quarter never mind middle of any crisis. Nonetheless, the story must go on.

As a smooth skinned operator I have always used the electric razor when shaving. I like them that much that I buy electric razors. The buzz of the foil as it traverses the topography of my dish is comforting. The electric blade ploughs through the grassy cheeks with the skill of a farmyard labourer. It leaves the landscape barren yet beautiful. And the implement is easy to clean afterwards. It is one of the wonders of the world.

Yet I wanted to venture close to the bone. Most men use shaving cream and blades for facial grooming. My father used this method, sometimes twice a day if he was going out at night, all his life. He used to rasp away at his chin with his Wilkinson sword making washboard instrument noises. I used to look at his blue jaw before and after the concert. There was no significant difference to my mind. I vowed, when it was my time for the shaving rite of passage, to do a Bob Dylan and go electric. But that was then…

For a little bit of variety in my life or was it a crisis I attempted my first non-electric shave or, as they call it, the conventional shave. The maestro was ready for the show.

I lathered on the cream until I resembled Granpaw Broon. So far, so good. I moved onto phase two. Taking the bic out of its cellophane cage, it gleamed off the bathroom’s tiles. I ran the blade down the side burns area. This snowball roll had turned my Bic razor into a candy floss. Resisting the urge to bite into the sweet delicacy I evaporated the cotton into the sink and prepared for stroke two. This was an upward blow from the jugular vein to the knock out part of the jaw. I was disappointed not to hear the sanding sounds that my father produced. Maybe this sort of thing skips a generation. I rinsed out the avalanche of foam. The water in the sink was now a dual coloured white and red. Red!

I nearly jumped into the mirror as I scanned the slaughter. Face to face with my opposite self I noticed red marks on my throat. My smooth skin, now shredded, was bleeding. AIEEEEE. I yelled for help.  Call an ambulance, MrsW. Quick. Quick. You’re hysterical, she said. And then she slapped me out of my hysterics and my slippers. It’s just a flesh wound, she said. She plunged my head in the sink to wash off the lather. I searched for apples but there were none. Pulling me out by the hair just before I drowned she dried my dish then stuck plasters on the scars.

I’m still healing. Still contemplating the crisis.

Bob Dylan has made an appearance again as I sing a farewell to the conventional shave.

Mama, take this Bic off of me, I can’t use it anymore.

Bic is a King Cobra


0% interest rate at Bottle Bank!

August 22, 2015

For every action there is an equal and opposite re-action.

(Newton’s 3rd Law of motion.)

The do-gooders can sometimes make things worse with their do-goodism. Doing good can rebound on you. Just ask Spider-Man. No matter how many baddies he saves us from he still gets pelters in the press (Daily Bugle, what a rag! Better off with the Daily Asteroid) and insults from the public.

Now I’m not proposing do-badism it’s just that sometimes do-goodism can be taken to extremes. One of the latest do-goody trends has provoked my ire.

The environment does need protected. I hate to see shopping trolleys half submerged in the canals of my locality. It does put a dampener on my claim that we are the Venice of the North. And nobody wants to see discarded bottles on the river bank. Thus, do-gooders recycle their bottles. A good idea but it has had serious repercussions. Newton’s third has  been proved right, yet again.

Irn Bru maker AG Barr is to scrap its 30p buyback scheme for customers who return glass bottles. The move comes as the company invests £5m in facilities to fill bottles quicker at its Cumbernauld plant, while it decommissions washing equipment. AG Barr said it would no longer be able to handle returns after 31 December. The firm explained that recycling at home had contributed to a drop in bottles being returned from 90% in the early 1990s to only about 50% now.

We are all Irn-Bru

The do-gooders have put paid to a rite of passage and lucrative trade: the returning of the “empties”. Many’s the time when me and my friends were skint in our youth and we would scavenge the countryside for the empty bottles. A good few fish suppers and new, full, fizzy bottles of ginger were purchased with the proceeds of our enterprise. They have now taken that enjoyment away from us. The do-gooders have contributed to this tale of do-wrongedness.

Nowadays I take my glass bottles to the bottle bank. Bank, huh. I put the glass in but get nothing back in return. Maybe in the future I can claim GBPBI (Glass Bottle Pay Back insurance). I day dream of the adverts. Have I got GBPBI for you? Have you claimed back your GBPBI? GBPBI- the glass bottle manufacturers have set aside billions for the claims.

Now when I venture to the glass bottle bank laden as I am with my jingling wares I curse the do-gooders. My fury is a thousand hurricanes as I hurl the bottles into the bin, violently. The sound of breaking glass is cold comfort for my monetary loss. The rampant smashing is giving me a sore head. it almost feels like a hangover. Best cure for a hangy? Irn-Bru.

This week’s video is another one of those 80s classics. I’m sure it’s a classic. in fact, I’m a……


August 13, 2015

All the Whizz from Bizz is proud to announce a major scoop for this website. The famous columnist for the Daily Asteroid, Bigjohn, has agreed to syndicate a few of his articles for publication right here. Thanks, Bigjohn. Over to you.

All Rise for the Wizard MPs

Pay rises for MPs recently jumped from £67,000 to £74,000. A 10% increase. This was met with uproar from certain other MPs (members of the public). The salary of elected representatives should be respected by the public. We don’t want our parliamentarians living in hardship, now do we? Put the pitchforks away and cut these guys and dolls some slack. They’re only making up for lost time. From 1831 to 1965 the basic salary of a senior Minister remained at £5,000. The 1965 vintage got the ball rolling.

And boy does it roll. The Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA) are calling the shots. They decide their pay. The ball’s still rolling. It’s like a giant game of pinball. IPSA are flipping like mad. They’re nudging, bumping and ramping up the points. The machine is lighting up and large bonuses are being awarded. Bigjohn is enjoying watching this. It doesn’t look as if the ball will go into the drain any time soon.

Celebrity Watch

Spotted at my local pool hall, none other than five times World Snooker Champion, Ronnie “the Rocket” O’Sullivan. Bigjohn is not slow in coming forward and he made an approach shot to the snooker star. He challenged RonnieO to a frame. The Rocket flared at me and snarled. “What’s your highest break?”

Bigjohn replied. My collarbone.

A Modern Day Sweeney Todd

Bigjohn’s hair was needing a cut so he went for a hair cut. Bigjohn nearly choked on his fringe when he saw that three of his usual barbers were not there. He asked the owner, little Mar.

“Why Mar, have you sacked the three old hairdressers?”

Little Mar said “They were in the pub planning on taking over this place but I stopped their putsch at source.”

Conflicting history stories at play here. Another case of Night of the Long Knives or perhaps, Night of the Long Scissors.

Plug In Baby

It’s a new age. It’s a new man. It’s a new dawn. it’s a new day. It’s a new life.

Bigjohn seen his first electric car yesterday. There it was being amped up at a well-known Swedish furniture retailer’s car park. Time to splice two of Gary Numan’s (and the Tubeway Army) finest into one.

Are Cars Electric?

Not in Wisden #14: Hoggy, Hoggy, Hoggy

August 1, 2015

Opening the innings with an apology to any cricket blog surfers that have been misled by the title and landed here hoping to read about Matthew Hoggard.

Hoggy was one of the heroes of the 2005 Ashes. Mister Reliable, he was a fine swing bowler for England. Alas, Alad, Aetc this blog is not about him but for any Hoggard surfer still with us try some whizz from bizz before chasing more Hoggy bloggies.

× × × × ×

Provanmillshire were the most successful team in the Glasgow and District County Cricket Championship (GDCCC). They had many out grounds, one of which was Hogganfield Loch or as it was more commonly called: The Hoggy.

Fans flocked to The Hoggy as it was festival cricket at its best. It is fair to say that spectators paid scant attention to the cricketing fare served up preferring the other delights that The Hoggy offered.

While the players toiled, sweated, bloodied and teared in the field in the stifling heat festivalgoers gorged on ice-cream and candy floss unaware that there was a GDCCC match on. Flying kites and feeding the swans was more exciting. Drinking from the well that was free and admiring the beautiful bees that happily bagpiped the air were a treat.  Absorbing the rays of the sun was better than watching the ugly cover drives of Provanmillshire’s  star batsman, Jazzer.

The more adventurous could venture onto the loch in a paddle boat. High drama could be fought on the low seas as tenement terraways became buccaneers and pirated other ships. What larks! hitting each other with the oars. The perfect storm was also got when the “big Boat” ferrying the sightseers round the loch passed the young team on the rowing boats creating waves that could drown a pharaoh. (See Exodus books 14 and 15 or watch the movie, The Ten Commandments, starring Charlton Heston as Moses). This Neptunian nightmare of capsized canoes and delinquent swimmers struggling for safety made the summer day even brighter.

Another pastime at the festival was pitch and putt; a minituarised version of golf. My initial sighting of this infernal waste land with its unnatural topography of rough grass and sand dunes made me yearn for it to be concreted over. Give me a row of houses or a building site instead. It was at this time that a friend informed me that Johnny Miller had shot a 63 recently. Immediately I thought who is Johnny Miller and what’s he got against old people? This contemplation was soon forgotten after my first pitch. It wasn’t a bad shot. A bit sliced if I’m being honest but it did go a big distance. It was just that I was bored. No way was I doing this for 18 holes. This course was not for this horse.

Sandwiches. I had sandwiches with me. Far better to feed the swans.

* * * * *
Times always change, don’t they? And not for the better. There is no more cricket played at The Hoggy. The GDCCC folded. There are no rowing boats, no “Big Boat” to take you round the island and no pitch and putt. The drinking well and café have gone as well; I shot a top score of 63 on the Donkey Kong machine in there. OK, I might not be on the leader board or make the cut but as you know I was a champion tennis player not an arcade games wizard.

The only thing left at Hogganfield Loch are the swans. From time to time I still go there to feed them.