Wednesday, December 31, 2003

It’s New Years Eve…..

Whatever happened to the ‘White Heather Club’?

Every New Years Eve, there would be old kilted-up Andy Stewart and his balletic Highland flingers hogmanaying for all they were worth….. and live too! So when they said there was 10 seconds to go till midnight – they meant it.

Nowadays, it’s Jonathan Woss and his ilk, doing the countdown, rehearsed to death with fully canned laughter, zed list celebs, including Victoria Beckham flogging (to death) her latest rubbish single. The whole show is pre-recorded, probably in August.

It’s twelve o’clock – so that means "Should auld acquaintance…."

Does anyone know the second verse of ‘Auld Lang Syne’?
First and second lines, no problemo – even if I don’t know what they mean. Chorus? Easy, but what comes next? I’m sure Robbie didn’t write "Tra-la, lala, tra-la, lala, etc. Or maybe he did?…..

This is bad enough, doing an impression of mental miming, but then you have to kiss everyone – well, all the women anyway. I’ve never really been a fan of this bit of the evening. Kissing people you hardly know – and getting kissed by people that have had a few drinks too many along with the words "All the besht, love, now gish a kiss". I’ve always thought a manly handshake quite sufficient.

I remember our old New Years Eve parties when I was a kid – they were massive – and went on for hours. It was in the days before New Years Day was a public holiday, so everyone would be bopping and drinking away, 6.00 am would strike and all the adults would troop out to go to do a full days work.

Anyway, ‘hope everyone has a good night and may I just wish you all a very happy and prosperous new year. (please accept my firmest virtual manly handshake)

Tuesday, December 30, 2003

Lord of the Rings….

Just got back from watching The Lord of the Rings – The Return of the King. ‘Epic’ is a word that comes to mind. ‘Sore’ and ‘Bum’ are two more words to add to the list.

It gives a whole new perspective to the concept of the space time continuum. Hawking himself would be bemused by the worm-hole that is this film.

It’s very, very, very, very long… and then some, and then some more. Lots and lots of it.

A real marketing opportunity has been missed though, – next to the foyer ice-cream and pop corn stalls, there really does need to be a little stall flogging ‘elastic stocking supports’ to avoid ‘deep vein thrombosis’ whilst watching the film…

Orcs by the ship load, without a brain cell between them. Gandalf, resplendent after his soapy suds makeover, mightily transformed from ‘old underpants grey’ into ‘The White’ (cower in terror folks!) Blimey, I can almost see Shane Ritchie trotting down the path to Gandalf Towers and issuing his ‘Daz’ doorstep challenge…..

When Gandalf was transformed in film 2 to ‘The White’ – I was expecting some real arse-kicking orc-mashing action from the magic man in film 3. Bit of a disappointment then when all the wizard seemed to do was wield his sword around a lot. He always seemed to be a bit hampered having to hold his mighty white staff whilst he’s swathing away. Oi Gandalf mate, ditch the magic staff that does bugger all – invest in an AK-47 instead.

The penny dropped…..

You know that stupifyingly banal advert for the new Toyota Avensis, the one that has 3 complete and utter arses and one decent chap all getting dressed in the changing room of a squash club. Arse number 1 says to arse audience "I’m being head-hunted you know….."

Bespectacled arse says to sweaty, slimey, non-trustworthy arse "I’ve increased my turnover 4 fold"…… Slimey guy retorts that he is being groomed for the board…..

They all troop out and stop aghast, gazing adoringly at decent bloke’s brand new Toyota Avensis…. "Anyone want a lift?" Grateful arses pile in – because they are all the most successful high-rollers that still catch the bus, obviously.

Slimey arse enquires to decent chap as to what he did for a living …. "What did you say you did?"

"I didn’t" … cue smug grin from decent chap and twisted, envious screwed up arses all round.

Well, I know what decent chap does for a living – it’s bleeding obvious innit?

Answer: Toyota Avensis salesman.

Monday, December 29, 2003

The Alfie Awards – pure unadulterated self opinion….

Haven’t been able to post since the 17th, just too busy, then too busy shopping, then too busy eating, drinking being merry, then being sick…… I just love Christmas!

Anyway, it’s the time of year when we all reflect on the past 12 months. Well, I’m not doing that, I’ll just stick with the last 12 days – and the subsequent awards that the Alfie Academy has decided to bestow.

The award for the crappiest toy of Christmas goes to ……

For the 44th year running, any one of the myriad plaster of Paris ‘make your own characters’ craft sets. They are complete and utter rubbish.

When I was a kid, I got given the ‘Supercar’ set to make. Red, sticky moulds, in a kinky prophylactic sort of way, a bag of plaster - small, in an inadequate sort of way and a set of rock hard tablet paints in a non-dissolvable sort of way.

Method –
(1) Carefully mix plaster of Paris to desired consistency.
(2) Carefully, pour mixture into tactile red mould of ‘Supercar’ driver ‘Mike Mercury’
(3) Carefully tap side of mould to remove any trapped air bubbles. Tap, tap, tap, tap.
(4) Carefully while away a couple of hours until mixture hardens.
(5) Carefully, peel back ‘Mike Mercury’ mould (very carefully).
(6) There, revealed in all its white alabaster-like glory is ace ‘Supercar’ driver Mike Mercury (minus his head and half of his left arm due to unexpurgated air bubbles).
(7) Carefully chuck deformed Mike, the mould, plus all his other mouldy chums (Dr Beaker, Mitch and Prof’) into a carefully prepared bin bag. Seal and leave out for the binman.
(8) Play with something else.

The award for the most hyped book of this Christmas goes to ……

‘Eats shoots and leaves’ by Lynne Truss. Well, what can I say? Alfreda got me this book as part of my stocking fillers, she thought it would help avoid too many split infinitives and comma dramas in my blog. I must say it is very interesting, but is it really necessary to have the typesetting within so big and the leading between each line so expanded? I suppose so, if you want to make the book thicker and by definition, more weightier. And that’s the problem, the info within the book could have been fitted into a little leaflet and sold for less than half the existing retail cost. New suggested title - ‘Rips off punters and leaves’ (with the cash).

The award for the most wayward sense of direction goes to …..

Air New Zealand. Apparently, to coincide with the December 17th Worldwide launch of the final ‘Lord of the Rings’ movie, they have decided to welcome all visitors to their Country (as the plane is touching down at Wellington) with the words "Welcome to the land of Middle Earth".

Sorry NZ, but it’s another case of culture filching. Nicking our culture and transplanting it somewhere else. Tolkien’s ‘Middle Earth’ was not based in New Zealand or in the Southern Hemisphere at all – but 14,000 miles away around where J.R.R. was brought up – and that was to the west of Birmingham, England. Maybe they should have got Jasper Carrot to play Gandalf the Brummie. Timothy Spall could’ve done a more than passable imitation of a Hobbit. Orcs supplied courtesy of West Bromwich Albion supporters club…..
Note to the Midlands tourist board – Wake up, get a Tolkien trail going….

Even Peter Jackson, undoubted genius director of the trilogy got it totally wrong when talking about the inspiration for the original story. This is a man that has supposedly grown up with J.R.R. and all his stories. Jackson recently described Tolkien’s inspiration as being "Viking or Scandinavian based" …. Er wrong Pete, absolutely and completely wrong. If you were as obsessed with all things Tolkien as you profess, then you will know that J.R.R. was a professor of Anglo Saxon at Oxford. Tolkien was completely and utterly obsessed with everything Anglo Saxon – and was immensely proud of his Saxon roots. Tolkien translated the epic Anglo Saxon poem ‘Beowulf’ – and that was his inspiration for ‘Tree and Leaf’, ‘The Hobbit’, ‘Tom Bombadil’ and ‘Lord of the Rings’ to name but a few….. It’s got bugger all to do with ‘the Vikings’.

To the rest of the World, Tolkien and all of his creations are now irrevocably intertwined with New Zealand – and sadly could join other casualties of this Country’s literature including Winnie the Pooh……. Or ‘Disney’s Winnie the Pooh’ as we now have to call him.

Just a thought, but how many kids, or adults for that matter, think that Winnie the Pooh was created by Walt Disney and not by A.A. Milne? To those that say it doesn’t matter, would the Yanks allow Huckleberry Finn to transport from the Mississippi to the Mersey? Nuff said.

The award for the thickest politician to appear on ‘Mastermind’ goes to ….

Home Secretary, David (thickie) Blunkett. Unbelievably, Blunkett scored only 2 points on his general knowledge round. He came last amongst a motley crew of dullards that included Anthony Worral-Braindead and Barry, the dodgy car dealer from Eastenders. Dave’s most popular answer, delivered with monotonous regularity during the round was ‘Pass’.

This would have been just fine if he had got any questions like "Complete this sentence ‘Afghanistan and Pakistan are linked by the Khyber _____"

Blunkett’s probable answer to that? "I don’t know".

Note to Dave: If you are as thick as pig shit, don’t expose yourself to unbridled ridicule by volunteering to go on ‘Mastermind’. Just be satisfied with bossing 55 million people around, you prat.

The award for the best TV programme screened over the festive season goes to…..

Bugger all – it’s all been bloody rubbish.

The award for my best prezzie goes to……

‘Stripped’ – the fab, sexy CD by Christina Aguilera. Magic.
(If only I was 20 years younger, had the looks of Brad Pitt, the money of Bill Gates and the intellect of Steven Hawking …….)

Thursday, December 18, 2003

The dominatrix of Miss Takes…..

Miss Pronunciation, Miss Reading and Miss Apprehension – three stern laydees from the wrong side of the tracks that can turn round and slap the unwary on their pvc clad bums ….

Miss Pronunciation

The scene, last week, leaning on the bar at ‘The Blood Tub’ with an old friend. He was telling me all about a programme on the telly showing ex Goody, Bill Oddie handling those magical little animals that can change their skin pigmentation to mimic the environment in which they are sitting in.

"You know, those little animals, the ones that change their skin colour, you know, they’ve got long tongues and bug eyes…. Shammy – lions! Yeah, that’s what they’re called, shammy - lions"

"You mean chameleons?"

"That’s what I said"

Miss Reading

Years ago, we were thinking about getting our first, new fangled facsimile - ‘fax machine. The sales leaflet for it duly arrived and circulated amongst the staff. One of our rep’s came up – and in ever such a loud voice said "What’s a ‘facee - smile’ then?

Miss Apprehension

Another rep was a right dinosaur though. In the late nineties, we started to design and build web sites. We had a dead important client in to have a chat about producing a virtual package for the ‘web-world’. Our man knew absolutely bugger all about the internet, but insisted on seeing the client anyway. The office, was open plan – the idea being that ours was a modern, transparent organisation full to the brim with vital, enthusiastic, cultured staff – and me.

The meeting was to be conducted in the middle of our ‘hot-desk’ area – and was within earshot of everyone in the office.
We’d produced a few web page visuals with click through buttons to throw up on the display Mac. The client was well bloody impressed I’ll tell you. He loved the preliminary designs – and committed there and then to a full blown site.


You could virtually see the ££££ signs revolving around our dino-rep’s eyes. Clover fields here we come!!

Unfortunately, repisaurus then revealed his Luddite inclinations.. "OK, that’s great. Now, do you want to be on the World Wide Web – or will you be happy to just be on the UK Web?"


"Your customer base, is it just in the UK? If it is, then you might as well just go for the UK Web – and not the World Wide one.

"Sorry?" –
Softsoddysaurus failed to pick up on the clients bewilderment – he ploughed on….

"That way, if you have a dot co dot uk address, then only people in this Country will be able to see the site. A dot co dot UK web site cannot be seen, say in France or the USA"........

In spite of frantic ‘cut throat’ signals by some of the more ‘team oriented’ staff members, discernible giggles began to filter through.

Gathering pace, the whole studio descended into laughter – the client suddenly remembered he had a very urgent appointment elsewhere….. and I started to make plans to get another job – urgently.

Wednesday, December 17, 2003

Will lessons ever be learnt?…

It didn’t take long did it? In the wake of Ian Huntley’s guilty verdict, I heard the words "Lessons must be learnt" on the telly. They were interviewing some expert or other, less than an hour after Huntley had been sent down. Then I saw some prat going on about how "New procedures are now in place to prevent it ever happening again"

Then Blunkett gets up and says there must and will be an inquiry into how Huntley managed to get a job working around kids.

So there you have it, the same old trinity of the absurd, the same old diatribe, the same old delusional nonsense. Whenever something like this happens, I get a bit deja vu-sional. Every time a sicko kills a child, those with the power to change systems vow to implement them – then jealously guard information about their ‘clients’ from other agencies, cut personnel and close departments to make everything more efficient, obviously….. until the next tragedy happens.

I am old enough to remember the tragic case of Maria Caldwell – a kid ‘neglected and beaten to death’ in the 1960’s. Then, as now there was great soul searching, "It must never happen again" It did. "Systems are now in place" They weren’t.
"We must learn the lessons" Yeah, well we learned the lessons until the public started to forget, then we unlearned them….

Strange, the way the same stock statements are rolled out. Then, as I suspect now, nobody in Social Services or the Police stood up, admitted they had let Maria down terribly and promptly resigned, they were obviously too busy trying to learn the lessons – and watching their generous pension benefits accrue.

And what of Blunkett’s inquiry? Well, the same old formula will be followed. Some old bloke judge will be appointed, he will never have heard of David Beckham, his finger will not be on any pulse, least of all his own - that atrophied years ago. Old bloke judge will be a member of the establishment obviously – and he will interview Heads of Social Services Departments and Chief Constables concerned with Huntley's history. The judge will probably already know these people – they will all be members of the trouser rolling Masonic Order or Square-Dealers or whatever.

Old bloke judge will publish his report. ‘Institutional stupidity’ will be blamed, everyone from the Home Secretary downward will handwring for all they’re worth. Because the blame is ‘institutional’ then no one person or persons are to blame – ‘the system’ takes another kick in the gonads and everyone feels better……

In the tragic Soham case – it would be staggeringly revolutionary if someone in authority got up and said "Mea Culpa, therefore I will resign"….

But I’m not holding my breath.

Tuesday, December 16, 2003

Campo meets his nemesis, but no one knows about it…

‘ Just about saw David Campese’s ‘walk of shame’ along Oxford Street. I think, I saw him, in the murky, inky black darkness with his Ladbrokes – sponsored sandwich board. What did the writing say on the board? "I was wrong….. England are fab…. I couldn’t give a xxxx for Clive Woodward…. I’ll have Jonny Wilkinson’s babies"…….. Who knows, it was too dark to see.

Yes, Rugby Union’s own version of a supergobbed yawn-bore was supposedly humbled as his pre World Cup punditary, consisting almost entirely of ill considered Anglo-biled vitriol came back to bite him on the bum.

Dave’s solitary walk of shame was met by mass indifference as he picked his way amongst rush hour traffic.

It spoke volumes.

Tony Blair, drama queen…

Is it just me, or is our esteemed leader taking even longer to deliver a speech. Have you seen him lately? On Sunday, the PM delivered a ‘brief’ televised statement about the capture of the great despot in Iraq.

I use the word ‘brief’ loosely. What should have been a straight to the point, no nonsense, matter of fact discourse on what had actually happened the night before - degenerated into yet another sermon from the very Rev. Blair. Does he have shares in ‘Pregnant-Pause Corp’* or what? Virtually every speech is not so much punctuated, but GBH assaulted by silences, dramatic f/x and blank – sorry, ‘trust me, I’m a politician’ stares so intense, he could curdle milk from 50 yards.

If Tony Blair hadn’t discovered politics, I reckon he could have founded a religious sect by now. The staccato sect of the non conformist, non joined up sentence. Life is good in the sect, but anyone caught uttering a sentence that makes sense and takes less than a minute to get from beginning to end is for the high jump. The punishment is harsh – taking the blame from a guy called ‘Hutton’……

I mean, does he talk like that to Cherie? Has Leo learned to talk yet - or has he become ‘MiniTone’? Imagine the scene, Tone and Chezza are reading in bed, when ‘the great one’ is suddenly enthused by a thought that takes his mind off how to get rid of Gordon Brown…..

Tony stirs from reading and says:







Cherie: "zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz"

Tony: "I










*NOTE: Pregnant Pause Corp is an entirely fictional entity, rather tackily ‘imagineered’ by the author and should not under any circumstances be confused with ‘Pregnant Paws Crop’ – the highly esteemed feline artificial insemination company of North America.

Monday, December 15, 2003

You are Saddam Hussein and I claim my crisp £5 note……

It’s been a bad day for despots…… the midfield general, the moustachioed one, the ace in the pack has finally hung up his boots and called it a day. Well, to be more accurate he had his boots, 2 AK-47s, a pistol, $750,000 in single dollar bills and a partly used pack of ‘Grecian 2000 hung up for him.

Not much of a hiding place though, was it? A hole in the ground, pathetic – especially when you consider the power he once wielded. I sort of imagined that he would be living in some sort of mega-magna-bunker with marble halls and marble guards and satellite phones made of marble and bog rolls made from rolls of honour…..

This guy is supposed to be cunning – as cunning as ……. Well, not a fox, obviously. Maybe he was only as cunning as a sad, old ex dictator …. Which isn’t cunning at all.

If, ‘Sad’ had been cunning, he might have thought of a cast iron hiding place, a place were no-one but no-one would ever have found him. Indeed, they would, en masse, go out of their way, cross the other side of the street to avoid him. All he would need is a few props, a ‘pleading expression and a woolly hat.

My tip for cunning anonymity would have been for him to (quite openly) stand on a street corner in downtown Baghdad. He’d have a pile of magazines in his hand and he would be shouting, very, very loudly "BIG ISSUE, get your BIG ISSUE here"……

"Christ, a ‘Big Issue’ seller. If I DON’T make eye contact, I haven’t seen him …… and if I haven’t seen him, then, he doesn’t exist, therefore, he can’t be selling ‘The Big Issue – therefore, I don’t have to buy one"……..

They’d never have found him……

David Beckham – Groundsman to Godsman ….

Anybody noticed? Dave Goldenballs has discovered the mysticism that is ‘God is on our side, coz he is a Real Madrid supporter - , obviously’*. Now, when the great Becks hits the field for Real Madrid behind Zee-Zee, Ronaldo, Figo et al, he bends down, takes his turn to grasp a bit of grass (probably a bit that someone has previously gobbed on) and kisses it. He then makes the sign of a cross on his chest.

Dave, for God’s sake, give it up you pretentious prat. I didn’t recall you doing that when you were playing for Preston North End at Deepdale or even for Man U at Old Trafford …….. or has ‘Posh’ set your sights on becoming Pope – or Jesus – or God?…..

How many times, how many times have you ever seen a player of rugby, tennis, cricket or crown green bowling do an homage to grass and the Almighty by kissing it and doing a quick crucifix on the chezzy? – Exactly none, zilch, nil, bugger all.

Becks, a bit of advice – just do the manly hand shake, God is not a fashion accessory – and I don’t think he’s interested in Spanish footy, or Posh, or P.R. - so don’t ‘suddenly’ crack on you have been doing this all your life.

*Note, God does not support Real Madrid, because he’s a one-team omnipotent Super-creator. He has a season ticket for the Kop at Anfield and by God, we really do need some divine intervention – or a miracle or two.

Talking about Spanish footy, I am reminded of that great joke that Salvador Dali told to Picasso (possibly)……

And here is a late Spanish premier league football result –
Real Madrid 2, Surreal Madrid, fish
(after extra time).

Thursday, December 11, 2003

A few plinths short of a square…..

Red Ken, Dom Perignon loving John Mortimer and a full supporting cast of the arty farty glitteratti have, in their wisdom put forward 6 different sculptures to stick on the final 4th plinth in Trafalgar Square.

The public, that’s you and me, have been invited to vote for one of these ‘six of the best’ – the winner being voted ‘plinth-worthy’. The rest, presumably will be consigned to an area marked ‘not-plinth-worthy’ and carefully, very carefully placed into a purpose built receptacle. This will be big and yellow. The public – that’s you and me, will then be invited to offer our condolences to the unworthies.

After a suitable period of mourning, the big yellow receptacle – or ‘skip’ for short, will be loaded onto a lorry and taken to a new viewing area. This viewing area – known as the ‘municipal rubbish dump’, will then witness another art ‘happening’ as the 5 second placers are bulldozed into the ground. This act, heavy on symbolism, but more so on realism as 15 tonnes of functional full metalled fury re-categorise the pieces from 3 dimensions into 2 – and finally into the 5th dimension.

The winner? Well, the winner will get plaudits – by the lorry load. They’ll have so many plaudits – there is sure to be a worldwide plaudit shortage. Take Alfie the bear’s advice, dump gold, platinum and whatever - and buy big in plaudits!

The successful sculpture will be plinth bound - placed on some of the most photographed square footage in the entire World. The whole globe will wonder, they’ll gaze in awe as the crème de la crème of the 3-D BritArt movement is reverently hoisted upon plinth 4.

Visitors will be as gob smacked as Michelangelo was when the Pope called him over having just finished the Sistine Chapel ceiling. "Very nice, Mr Michelangelo, but I’ve always had a hankering for a nice bit of Artex on the ceiling of this room"…..

Alfie the art critic has managed to blag his way in to view the six finalists….. I must say, the talent is certainly spread out – in a 'nowhere to be seen' kind of way. Anyway, in order for all of you budding art critics to have a full flavour of the pieces, I have, rather thoughtfully, I think, put together a little info’ pack, detailed below.

You can view the pieces, take in the cadence emanating from the artists – and then see what I reckon……..

Plinth wars, the sexy six

Wednesday, December 10, 2003

Au revoir to the Pogo dude?.......

'Alfred the Well Gutted' here. No sense of humour today. The pogoster has gone. One of the wittiest geezers in the blogosphere has jacked it in. His blog on how he blagged a first class trip to America had me wetting myself.

In his place is a no-mark pranny called 'Max Arsehole' or something. Apparently to bask in the reflected glory of Pogo's mega good blog site ....... how sad is that?

Is Max, 'Salieri' to Pogo's 'Amadeus'? ......... Probably.

It's a bible-black bad day for blogging.

Tuesday, December 09, 2003

Rupert the Bear….

‘Great news, Rupert’s back!
The 2004 Bumper Annual is in the shops right now!
Rupert, Algy, Cuthbert and all the rest of the chums will no doubt be having even more exciting adventures in Nutwood.

Obviously, I will have to get it.

Obviously, I will carefully (very carefully) read it.

Obviously, I will put it next to all the other Rupert books I have…… All 40 of them.

Obviously, they are safely tucked away on Rupert’s special shelf, high above any grasping kiddies jammily encrusted hands.

Why do I get them?
To view visual representations of the English countryside – as it was before the Euro nazis gave grants to have all the hedges ripped up and flood monster fields the size of small towns with oil seed rape - into a ‘yellow and very unpleasant land’.

Oh yes – plus a really good script, character consolidation and mega realistic plot lines. Although the stories about Rupert’s gay kiss with Bertie the Bear and Ferdinand the Frog being found, buried under Simon the psycho snake’s patio was, I think just a bit too far fetched.

(I mean, Simon doesn’t have any arms – so how could he build a patio over Ferdy’s body?) Duhr.

Deep and meaningful conversation…..

Whilst working late at the office last night, I got into conversation with the cleaner. She was telling me how she was intending to go back to church and start worshipping again.

"Ohh yeah, I said – are you lapsed or what?"

"Yes, a Catholic." she said. "Years ago - without fail every single Sunday, I would go to church, religiously…."

Monday, December 08, 2003

A thought…….

People that work for ‘NASA’ – have my unreserved admiration. Their job is really complicated and is really hard to do.

After all, it is rocket science…..

Naming names…

A few years ago, a guy from Yorkshire had his 15 minutes of fame. He was featured in lots of magazine articles and a few alternative, late-night TV programmes - ‘what did he think’…. ‘how was he coping’ etc, etc. There wasn’t great interest in him – more his name. He had been christened ‘Wayne’. A bit ‘nouveau’ maybe. But in the World of ‘Jason’, ‘Brent’ and ‘Troy’ - ’Wayne’ should hardly have raised any eyebrows.

Apart from the fact that his surname was ‘Carr’.

So there they are, Mr and Mrs Carr trying to decide which name to give their newly born son. "How about Wayne?"
"Oooooh yes, I love that name, Wayne"
"So that’s decided then …… Wayne Carr, perfect"
"I bet people won’t forget that name in a hurry"

True, very, very true……..

What the hell where they thinking of? What kind of life did they think little Wayne would have in school? ‘Picked on’ probably.

But what about those (and I include myself in this category) that have had an ordinary, no nonsense type name since the day they were born – only for Hollywood or TV to suddenly make it a by-word for catch phrases or well known mannerisms….

Believe it or not, my name isn’t really ‘Alfie’. That’s just a pseudonym. My name is bog standard. No, not ‘Bog Standard’ as in "The name's 'Standard', 'Bog Standard' and these are my kids, 'Royal', 'High' and 'London Evening"– no, no, no, it's just everyday ordinary.

Well, it was until a certain TV show hit the screen in the mid ‘70’s. My name is real similar to the principal character’s moniker, so for the next 15 years, whenever I’d give my name to anyone, they would wittily do the theme music … "Na na na na na naaaaaaaaaa, na na na na na naaaaaaa". If I was really lucky, they would do an impersonation of riding on a surf board with arms outstretched...

This was usually followed by them saying "Book him Danno"…..

Ho, Hum.

Wednesday, December 03, 2003

Gobbin’ off …..

Footy players, chiselled athletes, fit as butchers dogs and packed full of skill. I mean, have you ever tried to do what they do as second nature?

I tried it once, and only once. I was playing a fairly low grade crunchie, aggro-packed match against some suppliers to our Company. They were dead, dead fit… I’ll rephrase that, they were extremely quick, had boundless energy and generally played us off the park. I suppose it was their licensed way of getting back at us, of turning the tables and wreaking a bit of revenge for all the nagging and moaning that we, as master clients did on a day to day basis.

Tackles were flying in. The pace was frantic, in an elderly pedestrian struggling along a street kind of way. Soon, my bloated, blubbery body began to react. I looked down to my thighs, marbled like a well slapped slice of corned beef, knees buckling under the strain, heart and lungs in danger of packing up forever.

My mouth began to flood with gob. I felt sick, the riptide within my throat was in full spate – and rising by the second. I must get rid of this stuff flooding into my mouth – no problem there then, I’ll just do what every footy player does as second nature and spew it out, onto the grass.

I ball. I masticate. I manoeuvre. I tongue the gobbette to the front of my mouth and ffffffttttthhhhhhuuuummmpppppphhh. It’s gone…… and oh my God it’s coming right back at me. The orb has just assumed poly-elastomic properties - I didn’t fully expunge the mass. It does a full 180 …… one end lands straight onto my chin and the other flops right down onto my nice shiny, sponsored shirt.

Have you ever tried to wipe sloppy white stuff from your front? I’ll rephrase that, have you ever tried to get magnetic gob off the front of your chin and footy shirt whilst making a fantastic last gasp tackle to save a certain goal?

No, neither have I. I was so preoccupied with trying to wipe sticky bile from my front, chin, hands and sleeves that their number 10 nipped round me and slotted home from 18 inches.

So how do the Pro’s do it? They ‘vent’ like a turbo thrusted jet engine – from every facial orifice. Nothing ever lands on them does it? That is until one of them scores a crucial goal – then does a 20 yard knee slide, lubricated by onerous cobs of ductile gob. Sometimes, it’s a wonder they can get up from the floor, such are the adhesive qualities of ‘GobStick’.

How did I cure my inability to yocker successfully? Every time I trotted out onto the green sward I would take a nice crisp ironed ‘kerchief with me. When I felt the need to ‘gob’ – I simply whipped it out of my pocket and pressed it to my mouth ……… civilised and stylish.

Monday, December 01, 2003

A wamm bamm alluuma, awam bam bam….

Whilst watching ‘Pop Idol’ on the box on Saturday, Gareth Gates made a guest appearance. My 12 year old son reckoned that he would be able to beat him in a combative game of ‘Snap’……..

Talking about ‘Pop Idol’ – who the hell is voting for old ‘twitchy face boy’ - or indeed, the big boned Scottish lass?

I mean, in the last couple of weeks, 2 drop dead gorgeous and talented contestants (Roxy – grrrrr and Suzanne) have got the order of the Cowell – unbelievable!

Chris, the bespectacled blinky, twitchy warbler, somehow, somehow survives every week. Dr Fox reckons he looks a ‘tad’ too much like a Vicar. I think he looks several tads too much like an ostrich – and a whole lorry load of tads like a crap singer.

The word ‘key’ clearly does not register with Chris. Why use one - when several, both ‘on’ and ‘off’ (but mostly ‘off’) can be inserted at will.

Then there is Michelle, the Scottish mama – a good, competent ‘club circuit’ singer ….. but in a shallow, vacuous competition were image is everything, she’s no pop idol. Dr Fox reckons she looks a ‘tad’ out of place, and a ‘tad’ tattily dressed. I think by that he meant she was a few ‘tads’ too heavy – but was just a ‘tad’ too cute to say it out loud.

I reckon Simon Cowell has had a little bet to himself that he can get her to at least the last three – just to prove to himself how ‘svengallian’ he can be. I really do believe he likes manipulating an entire nation. Maybe he should become a politician.

All new, the all new spanking brand bloody newness that is the ‘All New Top of the Pops’

Talking about pop svengallii – Andi Peters has been brought in by the Beeb to vamp up Top of the Pops by kicking some arse, and ringing the changes.

To all those 40 something, balding, pony-tailed, open toed sandal wearing production people currently inhabiting the Top of the Pops office – start emptying your desks guys, you’re history. My new broom is sweeping clean the inertia and smug brained sameness that currently infests the show.


TOTP Executive New Broom Meister - Andi Peters.

Andi’s ‘brave new world’ headliner for the second ‘All new TOTP’ show is……. ‘All pout, Posh Spice, Victoria Beckham’ …… "Whoopp, whoooop, whoooop."

Abso-bloody-lutely all-new revolutionary… not

Sunday, November 30, 2003

A grouse, an elephant – and a little bit of bully......

So there we are, getting well pissed at a birthday party for my old college chum, Rodger.

To put it bluntly, Rog’ is simply brilliant. A consummate artist and sculptor – a master of watercolour, oils and acrylic. You can see his stuff in any supermarket or off-licence. Rodger painted the little game bird picture on the front of the ‘Famous Grouse’ whiskey box and bottle – as well as the big black and white bird newspaper adverts. His humour is offbeat and highly original and during the years, he has made many friends all over the globe.

Rog’ has done real well from his painty talent – he’s been everywhere, done everything and met everyone who is anyone. He’s even had tea with the Queen Mum - and when she was still alive! He exhibits his stuff in a Bond Street gallery, owned by one of Prince Chaz’s bezzy mates. He used to live just outside Chorley, but has moved to richer climes.

Basically, Rog’ is well connected and well heeled – so what can I, his old college mate, get the man who has everything - for his birthday? What can I get the geezer that has the weirdest sense of humour and the fattest wallet I know?

Think, think, think, think, think, think, think, think, think, think, think, think, think, think, think, think, think, think, think, think, think, think, think, think, think …….

Alfreda comes to the rescue. Had I seen this advert? Did I think Rodger would have any of this?

I seriously doubted it. Why would anyone buy a bumper big tub-full of that?

Anyway, after a bit of thinking and umming and arring, I thought ‘what the hell – why not’. And within the hour, we are off to Chester.

"You want a ‘bumper big’ tub-full of ‘it’ – right?"

"Yeah – the biggest bumperiest tub–full you’ve got."

"Round the back"………

"Do you want me to put it in the boot"

"Please – and can you stick a bag or five around it?"

We get back, wrap it up and head for a small village in the Trough of Bowland for Rodger’s party.

"Here you go Rog’ – many happy returns"

"Great, thanks …… what can it be?"

"Well open it ….. and find out, you big softee!"

Rodger and his wife excitedly unwrap the bumper big parcel.
Several guests start to sniff the air…….







"Yup ……. 20 kilos of it"

"Of shit?"

"Absolutely, 20 kays of prime pachyderm poo"


"Elephant shit. Best manure from the biggest land animal in the world, courtesy of Chester Zoo".

"Chester Zoo … Poo?"


Rodger’s wife disappears in disgust clutching a whole bog roll to her mouth. Just then, one of Roger’s posh mates, some poncy Lord dude or other who had spent years on the African savannah saunters past…….

"Ahhhhhh – Rhino shit"


"Rhino shit. It’s Rhino shit, definitely"


"Weeeeeellllllllllllll. It could be buffalo….. or zebra – at a push"…. …… He grabs a bit between thumb and fore finger then thoughtfully massages it and sniffs it, like he’s Tonto or something.

"No. Definitely rhino"

"Sorry Roger" I blab – "I bought it in good faith – as Elephant Poo, I’ll take it back and change it if you like".

Roger refused – and saw the funny side, thank God. Because by now, big bumper tub is humming very, very hummily. And the joke, well the joke was, what do you get someone that has everything? – Why, Elephant shit of course. except that this may be elephant, or it may be rhino, or it may be bleeding zeb bloody ra.

Anyway, whatever it is, it stinks to the highest heaven. It really does smell – and the moment has passed, mainly because of Jungle Jim coming along and giving us the great white hunter ‘Daktari’ stuff…..

Rog’ dumps the dump into the garden.

Thankfully, there are lots and lots of old college mates to chat to and drink with. Pretty soon I’m well on the way to being pissed.

Then we see him…. Then we see some geezer we all recognise. He apparently lives in an old converted railway station, virtually right next to Rodger’s house.

I dig Ralph in the ribs.

"Is that?….."

"Yeah, I’ve already had a chat with him"

"Tone, have you seen who’s over there?"

"Wow, let’s go over and have a word"

"Hang on, hang on….. remember ‘West Side Story’ …. ‘Got a rocket in your pocket, stay cooly cool boy. Take it slow 'n' daddy-ohh don’t be a fool boy, just play it cool boy, real cool"

I try to click my fingers but I’m just too pissed.

We huddle.

"So that’s settled then, I’m saying this. Tone, you’re going to say that – and Ralph, you know what you are going to say?"

"Got it"

We saunter over, nonchalant like, as natch as 3 pissed, overweight saddos about to meet a ‘z’ list famous dude can be.

We stand, wobbly in front of the great man.

Finally, Ralph slurs "Alright Jim, how the bloody hell are you?"

Before our target can answer, we blurt out in turn…..

"I’m ‘Super"

"I’m Smashing"

"And I’m bloody Great!"

Cue hysterical laughter, made even funnier, (especially when you are pissed) by our target’s dead pan expression.

We giggle our way back towards the bar.
I mean, it’s not as if anyone would have ever said ‘Super, Smashing, Great’ to Jim Bowen before – is it?

Wednesday, November 26, 2003

Supermarket Trolleys – WMD.

Today, I am off to the cash and carry to do a bit of shopping for the office. Pretty damn mundane – boring even. BUT I have been with this mega-shop for the past 10 years and have yet to find a trolley that went the way I pushed it. The wheels go in all directions and the more you push it one way, it goes the other, then off on some other tangent. Keeping the trolley on the straight and narrow is a truly ‘fly by wire experience’. The strain, as a punter tries to manoeuvre a fully laden trolley around the end of an aisle is just colossal.

Once, during a seasonal visit to the store, I watched as a little man struggled with a leviathan of a trolley, stuffed to the gunnels with drink, box after box of it. This thing had the turning circle of a super-tanker – and he was trying to get it docked into the check out.

There he is, pushing and pulling, heaving and shoving, back and forth, hither and thither. Everyone behind him is waiting, sort of patiently. By now, this guy is sweating briquettes as the pull/push operetta continues – one final, big effort is all that is required to effect the successful docking at the till. The man took up a position, braced himself all rigid like - and heaved…..

Phaaarrrrrrrrrppppphhhhh!! Stunned silence, then uncontrolled laughter from the waiting multitude. The Captain of the good ship booze cruise had just let go the loudest fart I had ever heard. Our little area positively trembled – just like one of those Japanese security cameras taking pictures of an earth quake.

He cracked on that nothing had happened. He blanked everyone, paid and left, eventually - in a ziggy-zaggy-trumpy sort of way.

No matter how carefully I select the trolley, I always get one with no sense of direction. And even if I manage to find a ‘smooth runner’ – the more I load it, the less manageable it becomes. A Basil Fawlty moment invariably follows – "Right, that’s-blood-dy-well-it.
I’m-go-ing-to-thrash-you-to-with-in-an-inch-of-your-wire-bound-life. Don’t-mess-me-a-round-you-wob-bly-heap-of-in-effi-ci-ent-rub-bish".

There - man, does that feel good.

Of course …….. all this pales into macro insignificance when compared to ‘The Dark Place.’ For no place on Earth can compete with the hell hole that is ‘The Dark Place’. Where all trolleys positively go out of their way to take revenge on shopping Saxons. Where no items bought within the shop ever fits on a trolley. Where all trolleys are extra-specially constructed to ‘shin’ the pusher and to whip out ankle bones from fellow shoppers.

Where is ‘The Dark Place’ then? You know, don't you? Skin beginning to crawl is it? Hot sweats creeping over your body..... Yeah, you know all right. You'll find these all over the Country and always near a motorway.

Answer, (well my local branch of) 'The Dark Place' is 666 Beelzebub Avenue, Warrington. Yes, that's right, it’s the Vikings revenge, founded by Eric the total bastard – IKEA.

COMING SOON - my 5 visits to IKEA to try and get a tap cutter and my threat to take the entire night shift hostage if I didn't get my tap cutter.

ALSO – How I narrowly avoid murdering a Scandinavian Manager when he says to me "Allo, ve at IKEA hope you haf had a ferry, ferry gud shoppink trip"

Tuesday, November 25, 2003

Christmas is coming ……

Alfreda thoughtfully bought some seasonal goodies home on Friday. You know, it’s the sort of stuff, (big tins of biccies, dates and cakes etc) that you buy "To put away for the big day." One of which was a bumper big bag of roasted peanuts.

Anyway, due to the extremely tense nature of the Rugby Final, I needed something to nibble. The Christmas caboodle got raided, I settled back with the big bag of roasted peanuts.

But wait, what’s this? A massive missive on the side of the bag …… ‘WARNING- This product contains nuts’……..

Replica shirts for Greek Gods …….

After Jonno’s boys did the bizz on Saturday, I’ve felt inspired to go and get an England replica rugby shirt. I’m sure my love handles, beer gut and gravity enhanced man tits will be well hidden under the skin tight dermo-technological marvel that is the current outfit of the new World Champs.

Chiselled?. Well yeah (in a Michelin Man sort of way).

Latin – I love it (amo, amas, amat)…….

Tidying up in the garage the other day, I came across a very old Billy Connolly audio tape. For nostalgia’s sake I shoved it on. His accent then was so Glaswegian thick, you can hardly understand what he’s saying.

The tape was full of the very best non p.c. bile. Best sketch of the lot was ‘The Last Supper’ set in a modern day wine bar in Glasgow. Billy used to do this sketch regularly until the God police forced him to call time on it. What a laugh it is. Full of great lines such as "One of yooz guys is going to shop me te’ the Roman pol-lice. JUDAS! Have ye’ nicked ma drink? – Christ, Judas, I’m watching you, ye’re getting’ right up ma tits"

And "Go on Big Yin, dae one o’ those yonder miracles"
"Yeah, we're gettin' short o' wine over here Big Yin, can ye miracle us some more wine up?"
"Paaa! Miracles….. What miracles, he cann’e do any miracles – it’s all tricks"….
"Thomas, are yae doubting me again?"
"I’m just sayin….."
"Well don’t – In fact, Thomas you can just shut yer face!"…
And lo - verily, his face, it was shut

Anyway Billy – playing Jesus, tells the story whilst having his ‘last supper’ in the wine bar, how he was going to get betrayed, judged and crucified. Cut to the scene where Jesus is on the Cross and sees a Roman soldier approaching him.

Billy shouts to the soldier "Mercy, mercy"

The soldier replies "Mercium? My arsium"


Friday, November 21, 2003

An 'Anti-podean' agenda.....

Sorry, can't post - too busy, much, much too busy sending lots and lots of 'whining aussie' newspaper reporters lots of emails about the one eyed drivel they have been peddling on the English Rugby Union Team.

I have been introducing the 'whining ones' to such words and phrases as 'prat' 'pranny' 'racist' 'divvies' and 'like a toddler, footstamping and scweaming 'til we're sick, sick sick if the aussies don't win!'

The way they have been whining it has sort of redefined my image of the big, manly, tough Australian.

Australian? - A load of powder-puff softies, definitely.

And if any Aussie wants to talk to me about it, then I suggest they come and see me. Unfortunately, I will not be in, I have had to go away - but Alfreda will see ya, she's 5 foot 6 inches tall, weighs 8 stone - SO COME ON you Diggers....... if you think you're hard enough........

Tuesday, November 18, 2003

On the shoulders of giants…..

Martin Johnson, Richard Hill, Jonny Wilkinson et al, I salute you.

To all those (you know who you are) miserable, well balanced, (chip on each shoulder) myopic ‘anyone but the English’ brigade – did you see the way the boys did the job against France?

The final whistle went ……. the boys shook hands with the French and officials, then walked off as dignified as you like. Arrogant? Triumphalist? Snooty? – That was reserved for the previous day and the Australian team’s winning celebrations. You would have thought they had solved the meaning of life, the Universe and everything (42), the way they were cavorting.

Roll on Saturday……

Foibles and other fables…..

What’s your foible? Do you have any? Eating meal components in strict order of size…. Counting magpies, fluffing cushions again and again, or endlessly checking your fly-hole is done up…….

I have lots of them – half the time I’m on planet ‘Barmy’ – the rest, I’m orbiting it. All my life it’s been one long series of obsessive routinery. Avoiding cracks on pavements, arranging books in ABC order and the weirdest of my adolescent life – walking the mile long trip to school using the very same number of steps to get there - every day. God, the pressure! Sometimes, I would mess it up "Oh my God, I’m 15 yards away and I’ve only got 4 steps to get there"…

Pretty fatal really, just outside the School gates, doing a monster ‘Ministry of Silly Walks’ combo. Worse still, banging in some small mincey steplets in order to hit the necessary step quota as I nonce past the School bully....

Once home from school, try a new challenge – how about getting down the stairs in our house in as few steps as possible. I’m going for a World record, doing it in 2 – can I do it? Stay calm, control breathing, grip banister and wall ….. and go, go ,go!!!
This attempt failed. Abandoned after my Dad had to dig me out of the electricity cupboard at the bottom of the stairs…..

Earliest foible? When I was a kid, every evening, before I got into bed, I would have to
1) make sure my door was shut, to keep maniacs out (check) –
2) look in the cupboard in the wall, for hidden, knife-wielding maniacs (check) –
3) then look under the bed, for sleeping maniacs (check) –
4) get into bed, and safety (check) –
5) then turn over the pillow (check) –
6) then cover my head with the eiderdown (check)…… and drift into sle….…

"Wait just a minute…… did I really check under the bed? Did I really do that? Because, if I didn’t, then this is the night, this is the night when Mr Stiletto and his very sharp knife is hiding there, waiting, ready to stab me through the mattress….. best check – just in case"

Of course, that doesn’t mean just checking under the bed – oh no…. the entire sequence has to start again, from the beginning…. Door shut (check) – look in cupboard (check)….
And what’s this rubbish about the amazing protective properties of an eiderdown. Outsmarting maniacs by employing the eiderdown gambit? …….. 1st maniac to 2nd maniac "I couldn’t touch him, he was too smart for me"
"My God, he didn’t cover himself from head to toe in eiderfluff did he? One day, one day we’ll crack that defence, and when we do"….

Nowadays, I’m much more sophisticated …… or am I?
My current obsession is making sure that things are square – like buildings. For instance, I’ll be talking to someone – and I notice a window frame behind them, unconsciously, I will manoeuvre myself so the frame lines up with the edge of a building outside - PHEW both are square, so that's all right then….

Hang on though, just bloody well hang on right there matey boy..... they could both be wonky? Sometimes, I even squint to give myself a more focused channel to look through. And all this whilst maintaining a mature conversation with ‘Johnny VIP’……….. plot-loss.

And when I do find out that either window frame or building is not square, I actually tell someone about it .......... basket case.

I’ve decided never to go to Pisa…….

Monday, November 17, 2003

Fijian Missionary Hot Pot.
A sumptuous dish, best served with humble pie.

One Missionary.
Salt to taste.

Cooking Instructions
'Ere, darlin' - take your missionary and shav ‘im in a very, very large pot wiv a pinch o’ salt. An' dawnt forget the wet stuff - you muffin! Be sure to remove the dog collar ‘cos this can get caught in the frawt. Cor! Jules’l lav this!!

Bring the water to the boil – laverly, stirring with aplomb – or if you haven’t got a plomb – use a spatula. Simmer for abawt the lenf of a Sunday Sermon (zzzz) and then slam it on a plate – wicked!.

Please Nawt: Don’t forget to say ‘Grace’ before shawtin' "Grub up!"

The humble pie is eaten 140 years later when you have to apologise to the Missionary’s relatives for eating their ancestor……… pukka!

Thursday, November 13, 2003

Snow, cool stuff…..

Snow, I love snow. And as I’m sitting here, looking out on a clammy grey damp day, sartorially dressed in my Hawaiian shirt, baggy shorts and plimsolls I’m wondering if I’ll ever see another flake of the wafty, white floaty stuff again.

My kids find it real hard to believe but when I was at school, winter mornings used to, quite often consist of traipsing through snow so deep it went over the top of your wellies and down into your socks.

Even 20 years ago, I can remember working in a converted office building – it was so cold at night, the pipes exploded. No plumber, obviously – so in order to ‘flush’ the toilet we would nip out, get a bucket of virginal white snow and chuck it down the pan. Due to its unique absorption properties, the snow suddenly acquired the look of a big, distressed orange flavoured ‘jubbly’ sticking out of the bog.

January, ten years ago – and joy of joys we got a sudden and unexpected heaven sent snow dump. Not much, but just enough for me to get out there and build the kids a snowman. Well not really a snowman – more a snowhobbit. It was very small and had big feet.

"Snow! – Great! – C’mon kids – let’s get out there and get building!" After a bit of negotiation, it’s agreed. I’ll go out into the zero-degreed tempest – and the kids will stay inside, in the warmth, and watch me through the double glazing …… seems reasonable.

As I build it, I get so short of white stuff material – it wasn’t so much ‘deep and crisp’ more ‘thin and soggy’. I dispense with his arms. – And the head reflects a certain minimalist look – rather like a Henry Moore sculpture.

"Where’s his arms? And why is his head so small"

"His arms are folded behind his back – and his head is small, because he hasn’t been very well"

Coal – for buttons, teeth and eyes? Sorry kids, we’ve only got gas central heating, we’ll use wine gums instead. One of the kids throws me a scarf – when I tie it around Snowy’s neck, it completely obscures his head. I change it for one of my natty, stripey ties……. Stylish!

No carrots, so I use a rather kitsch twirly, tapered red candle for his nose, I don’t bother with a hat, I can’t find one small enough. It’s finished.

I stand back and survey the scene. One snowperson (small), one garden (ruined), ten digits (dropping off). I turn in triumph to the window – no kids, they’re all watching telly. It’s dark and frost flakes are beginning to fall. I go in and get acquainted with a Famous Grouse.

Next morning, I go out into glaring sunny warmth. All that’s left of ‘Snowy’ is a kitsch candle, a stripey tie and some wine gummed coloured blobs of snow that haven’t yet melted. My unique snowhobbit has gone.

He was no ‘fair-weather’ friend………

Tuesday, November 11, 2003

Absolute Power – Absobloodylutely

Anyone see ‘Absolute Power’ last night on BBC2. It’s a slick comedy about the P.R. game and stars Stephen Fry & John Bird as a couple of utter, utter bastards.

They both treat their clients, friends, employees with utmost contempt – lying, cheating, money grabbing – and that’s just their positive attributes.

Working in the creative field, Alfie once came across a P.R. chap that would put Stephen Fry’s character into kindergarten. This man was so ruthless, I reckon he must have been related to Genghis Khan. He was a legend. An absolute bastard – absolutely.

This is the most audacious scam he ever did.
He had this regular client…. He did loads of work for this guy over many, many years. The two knew each other socially and met regularly with their wives for meals – and even went on holiday together.

Unfortunately, one day, the client had a fatal heart attack. The P.R. man was beside himself with grief, his closest friend had died. No, sod that, his biggest cash cow, his number one client had slipped off the mortal coil. What was he going to do now?

Simple, get into accounts, quick like and invent some ficticious really big, really juicy P.R. jobs – then translate them into a series of very handsome fees + expenses. Address them with the deceased moniker on the top and bang them off to his business office with some nice big red messages all over them. Something along the lines of OVERDUE ACCOUNT - PLEASE SETTLE IMMEDIATELY

Result: The P.R. man got £25k for doing precisely bugger all…

I wouldn’t like to be married to …..

I wouldn’t like to be married to a porn star.

Obviously she would look dead, dead sexy.

Obviously, she would wear skimpy, sexy suzzy type stuff at all times – even when doing the ironing.

And when she speaks she would go into double-entendre overdrive.

But how would I cope when she comes home from work and tells me she’s had a really hard day….. Or she’s had as much as she can take……. Or she’s been disciplined at work?……

Monday, November 10, 2003

A week is a long time in Anglo-American relations…..

Today, exactly one week after he first rang me, ‘Rick’ from some crappy U.S. investment Company (supposedly based on Wall Street in Nooooooo York City) eeeeed me with a red-hot investment tip. Because I am the sort of guy I am, Alfie the Blabbergob is going to let everyone who wants to be, in on the deal…..

And I quote……

‘BREAKING NEWS - TUCSON, Ariz.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Arizona Aircraft Spares, Inc.

Arizona Aircraft Spares' market potential is measured in billions of dollars. The company works directly with the U.S. Government and other international world governments. The proposed U.S. military budget alone is 399.1 billion-dollars, of which twenty-five percent is allocated for spare parts and ground support systems’……. And lots, lots more bull.

So there you go, get your shirt on it - Arizona Aircraft Spares, Inc. Or ‘AARSI’ for short.

Feeling confident, Rick followed up his email with a one to one interactive chat with me.

I picked the ‘phone up.

"Hiiiiiyyyyyyaaaaa, Rick here Sir, from Nooooooooooo York City. Hello, Sir – are you there?

"Velly solly, this Chinese Lestaurant – me no understand. Good day."

I think I got away with that……. Yeah, easy, peasy.

A week’s a long time in the Alfie party…..

Today, through the post, I received my very own copy of The House of Lords induction pack. Superb!!

A complete pack, giving anyone who wants it all the goss’ and up to date info’ on yer actual Lordly duties. They have helpfully included a little leaflet on what would be expected of a newly inducted Lord, plus other useful stuff - you know…. where to park the roller, where I can get my cucumber sandwiches tailored and tips on how to snore silently. There was also some other lightweight bits and bobs on democracy……

Anyway, I will fill all the forms in, and hopefully, hopefully get selected to the best club in the World. Who knows, this blog could shortly be ‘By Appointment’.

Saturday, November 08, 2003

Eccentrics, leprechauns and saxophone players….

The other day, I was browsing the message boards of our local radio station’s web site and came across someone enquiring about the eccentric ‘no smoking’ cyclist commonly seen all over the North West of England.

For anyone who hasn’t seen him, this man rides an old road racing bike. The bike is adorned entirely in clear plastic and collected litter. Big hand written signs are stuck to the frame on the evils of smoking. On his head is always worn an old skateboarding helmet. And he rides – to virtually every City, Town and Village in the North West. Often seen standing next to his bike, occasionally muttering, frequently shouting, especially to people he’s seen smoking…….. sad cyclist with a message.

When I was a kid, where I lived there was a weird guy who one day suddenly started to build a ship in his back garden. The garden backed onto a field, so us nosy kids had a first hand view of progress.

When I say he built it in the garden, he really did build in the garden – all of it. From one end to the other, a bloody great big ship. And when I say ‘ship’ – I really do mean ‘ship’. It wasn’t a yacht – or a boat …. It was a bloody massive ship! It was entirely built out of wooden planks, clinker fashion. Eventually, after a few years, he got to the top and laid the decking down. It towered above the rest of the gardens. I suppose it was about 20 feet tall. The next time we came to look at it he had added a new feature on the top – it was then that I knew exactly what he had built. On the top of the deck, amidships he had plonked a garden shed. It now looked like everyone’s idea of how a ‘Noah’s Ark’ should look like.

He had built his own Noah’s Ark – in his garden. I don’t know whether he was a religious nut, or just a really pessimistic weather forecaster……. That ship was there for years, nobody seemed to mind – I guess it was before the World was populated to the brim with ‘jobsworth’ planning officers…. ..two by two

Near Cammel Lairds in Birkenhead, There’s a man who, most days stands under an old railway bridge. He faces the wall, playing a saxophone - quietly to himself. He has no cap on the floor to collect cash – and anyway, the place he plays has hardly any passers by………. mellow bluesman with a stoned audience….. nice

A three piece suited, 7 stone OAP threatened to wipe me out once – God knows why. It was the early nineties and Alfie was at his most physically imposing…. Alfie the brick bog, 18 stone of mile high manliness (my vision, obviously) was striding down the street in confident fashion with Alfreda. Out of nowhere, leapt a little old wizened type gent, with slicked down dwindling hair and thin bony knobbly knuckles waving millies from my face.

"Come on then, you don’t frighten me yer terwat. I’ll bloody ‘ave yer. Come on, stick yer dooks up – or are yer a chicken? With that, he starts to do a strutting chicken walk, wafting his arms about and clucking and squawking to himself. Baaquaa baquaa baaabaaaquaaa" …….. mad leprechaun with a death-wish.

A bad tackle down at the newsagents……

Massive controversy and consternation in our locality when a couple of weeks ago the local rag inadvertently published a photo of a footy player with his ‘bobby knoblett’ hanging out – in glorious technicolour!

Needless to say, the publisher was horrified, but the word was out – and the rush was on to buy copies. In hours, they were all sold out – probably for the first time ever.

I eeeed them, under the heading of ‘Competition Winner’ asking if they were starting a ‘spot the bobby knoblett competition’ – and if so, could I have my prize as I had spotted this weeks member……

They declined to comment.

Best thing about it though was the flasher wrote in a week later – to apologise for his bobby ‘just slipping out’ and how he ‘hadn’t noticed’ that it was free and running wild – like it’s got a life of it’s own or something……

I thought it must have had something to do with the way he was pulling his shorts aside to let Tommy Togger get unleashed and the ‘ear to ear’ grin he had on his boat….

I have agonised long and hard about whether I should reproduce the photo for you, but have decided against it - mainly because I can’t get a magnifying tool on the pic’….

Wednesday, November 05, 2003

Guy Fawkes – done up like a kipper…..

"I am here today at the Law Courts to plead for Mr Fawkes’ case to be reopened, re-examined and his sentence rescinded. We, at the appeals tribunal do not think Mr Fawkes received a fair trial – and consequently we believe there has been a travesty of justice. My colleague, Mr Mansfield will elucidate…"

"Thank you Ludovic, we believe our case is a strong one and that this guy, Guy has been well and truly ‘fawked’.

"We intend to show that once arrested, Mr Fawkes –
Did not have his rights read to him.
Was not allowed a free phone call.
Had no access to legal aid.
Was put in a damp, cold cell with a piece of wood for a bed and a hat for a privvy. He didn’t even have a decent pair of jim-jams - those blankets really do chafe you know".
Was not allowed his religious freedom – and access to a bible was denied.

"In short we believe Mr Fawkes’ human rights have been violated – and we intend to indict one King James 1 of England as a war criminal.

"We feel the interviewing techniques engaged were overly aggressive. Mr Fawkes was not allowed toilet breaks, ciggy breaks or tea breaks. The only ‘breaks’ he did get were to his arms and legs. The interrogator also made extremely derogatory remarks concerning Mr Fawkes and his sexuality.

"Just because he wore flamboyant outfits including a big floppy hat with wafty feathers, natty thigh length leather boots and full length capes, these are not a sign that Mr Fawkes’ had an effeminate nature. As far as we are aware, Mr Fawkes rampantly chased well rounded, buxomly-comely Elizabethan bar room totty on a regular basis.

"We also think the sentence of being hung, drawn and quartered just a bit too excessive. Possibly a community service sentence would have been more appropriate. Mr Fawkes, I know was keen to work with under-privileged kids.

"We would like to see ‘Bonfire Night’ renamed as ‘Guy Fawkes-he wasn’t all that bad’ – and possibly set up some work shops, education courses etc – and maybe obtain a grant from The Lottery Commission…. Kids could make a ‘Guy’ as they do now – but when they meet passers-by they could say something like "Hey, could you give our Guy a hug?"…

"We should all get together and send a letter to the Pope urging him to make Guy a saint. ‘St Guido of Whitehall’ or something. After all, he did try to blow up a whole load of whining, low-life parasites – and do us all a favour"…….

Tuesday, November 04, 2003

The Turner Prize – what’s it all about then?

OK, here we are at the Tate Britain Gallery, waiting, gagging, and hyperventilating with anticipation at the prospect of gazing in adoration at the collective genius that is the infinitely infantile BritArt School. Within these walls, there lies a gloriously clichéd mix of emperor’s new clothes cutting edge dross.

I’m sure the genius that was Joseph Mallord William Turner, landscaping master of light, tone and shade would fully endorse some of the previous groundbreaking entries. Efforts such as Tracy Emmin’s detritus-strewn ‘Unmade Bed’, Damien Hirst’s ‘nice bit of fillet’ in formaldehyde - and the saddo that produced a light bulb going on and off in a concrete box.... Yeah, I'm sure he would.....

Anyway, that was then – and this is now, so let’s start and get the objective appraisal up and running. Just check I’ve got everything… Catalogue check, Dickie Bow check, Sick Bag (lots of them) check.

Objective Appraisal:
We’re in – and the overwhelming feeling is of horror and nausea. It’s not unlike the feeling I have when I’m clearing out our cat’s litter tray. The Turner entrant’s brief seems to be to SHOCK at all costs. These things aren’t even witty, or skilful or thought provoking. They are banal, twee, self centred, bought from B&Q, gathered out of a skip, picked from the artist’s belly button or made from the residue of the local bunion trimming centre.

Then some bi-focalled pseudo-intellectually challenged inadequate sallies forth with a paper-thin justification for a six-foot copy of a latex-clad, suspended in stockings jelly baby. "It’s Man’s angst. Does he eat the jelly baby and devour all its sugary goodness, or does he make mad passionate love to it and be consumed by its sweet sex-crazed depravity?"…… (Bloody Hell, not a bad idea that – a sure fire winner for next year… Hmmm, latex-clad, six foot jelly baby).

Every year, it’s the same ‘subtle as a brick in the bread basket’ treatment. Never mind Nobs, Flies, Rotting Flesh and Festering Piles of Pink Putrefying Pustules…..
How about a nice landscape or a nice bit of greenery and maybe a flock of birds in a meadow? Some bambi-like cute looking deer with big puppy dog eyes would be nice ….. Come to think of it, I can’t remember seeing that ‘Pierot’ clown geezer with the teardrop on his cheek in any Turner exhibition. And why hasn’t the green Chinese lady or the Gypsy dancer made an appearance? Now that really would be shocking….

Monday, November 03, 2003

The Big Apple – and we’re not talking Granny Smith’s…..

During the last week, I’ve been as busy as a busy bee at a buzz, buzz, buzzy bee convention….

Today ‘Rick’ from New York gave me a ring.

"Hiiiiyyyyyyaaaaa! – Is that the M.D. of the Company?"

"It is" – I reply.

"My name is Rick. I’m talking to you from Wall Street in Nooooo York City, and I want to make you richer – a lot richer than you already are!"

"Great – but I’m a bit busy at the moment – like a bee…. So.."

"Sure!" says Rick. "Sir I do deals, and when I get a sniff of a great deal, I like to share it with my clients. Successful clients – like yourself"


"Sure, we made a fortune this Summer – in Plastics!


"Sure! – Sir, can I ask you what your current portfolio value is at the moment….. Is it above a million or above five million?"

"Hmmmmm – let me think"…. I leave Rick stewing on regulo 5 whilst I meander, mumbling through these imaginary stocks and those imaginary bonds. "Yeah, mumble, mumble, Consolidated Condos’, French Letter Corp, CrapCo….."

"Well Rick, it looks like my portfolio stands at around eight million"

Rick’s gob is well smacked. "Eight million!…… – that’s some portfolio"

"Yeah Rick, it used to be over fifteen, but those muthas in French Letter Corp have blown me out…."

"Sir, can we act on your behalf in the American markets? We’ll get it back up to fifteen – and beyond!!!"

"Hmmmm, lemme think about that Rick - bud. I’ll get my people to talk to your people, yadder, yadder, yadder – and all like that - and everything"….

I shout across the room ….. "Hey asshole, I ordered pastrami on my Goddamm, Goddamm rye. And where’s my Soda with extra triple banana squishy? Geez Rick, I’m employing 'assholes anonymous' in this Goddamm place. Look Rick baby, there’s Tokyo on the other line. Ipso - gotta go, I’ll get back to ya – probably"

"Sir, it would be an honour"

"No problemo Rick, baby ……ciao".

Wednesday, October 29, 2003

Wednesday night is pub quiz night.

Because we know who’s who and what’s what, Alfie the know-all, Alfreda, and two of his pals tour the locality looking for sucker pubs and their quiz night prizes to exploit.

Last Wednesday we hit ‘The Bull and Dog’. We case the joint. "Fifteen quid first prize, easy, peasy, let’s do it!"

We saunter in, cocksure and cockily cerebral with it, we’re strangers in a strange pub. I feel like Alfie Eastwood in ‘A fistful of questions’. The pub hushes. Bar flies look us up and down. We get our drinks and find a table. A quick look round to ‘case’ the opposition confirms our suspicions that this is going to be like taking candy from a ……

Hang on….. I know that man. Just to the side of us, on the next table is a baldy geezer, aged about 55 with adoring entourage. He has a van dyke beatnik type beard … He’s a scouser and is waxing lyrical like a crazy man in a cool daddyo – oh so intelligent type way. His team is focused, they look like the biggest threat alright.

Cool Daddyo is chilling…… suddenly, he looks over and clocks me and our eyes meet – he recognises me. I met him about 15 years ago, when he brought his son in for a job in our studio. "And what University did you go to?" Cool Daddyo chips in… "Errr, Jimmy’s been to the University of Life" ….
"Has he got an art folder?"

"Not exactly, he has a ‘folder of opportunities’ - in his mind"…..

"In his mind? …….. Riiiiigggghhhhhttttt"
Not impressed, I show them the door. The door of ‘please sod off and stop wasting my time’…..

Back to the pub…..

Cool Daddyo is none other than ‘Redwall’ author Brian Jacques. I surreptitiously lean over and whisper to Mrs Alfie "There’s Brian Jacques"


"Brian Jacques, there’s Brian Jacques, sitting over there".

"Who?" She looks ‘round, craning her neck like a craney thing.

"Don’t look, don’t look, just don’t look"…..
I hiss, hissingly "It’s Brian Jacques – you know ….. the Author, Brian Jacques. He wrote the mousey saga – about mice"

"Who’s Brian Jacques?"

"AAGGGHHHHHH - You know, BRIAN bloody JACQUES!" I scream.. – "BRIAN Goddam-sodding JACQUES the author. It’s BRIAN fuckin’ JACQUES!"

"Ohh, that Brian Jacques……"

We got beaten by a team of Piltdown, missing link, inbred farmers at the end of the room.

Tuesday, October 28, 2003

Bad day at ‘Hanging Rock’ today –
really, really bad day at the rocky, hanging place…..

Firstly, I have (rather condescendingly) been put down by some Government lackey on how to spell ‘QUANGO’ – I had applied to try and get my name on one and spelt it KWANGO – they’ve eeeed back ticking me off for misspelling the acronym. Big deal, arse boy! Do I not give an FCUK about that? I know that QUANGO stands for ‘Quasi Autonomous Non-Governmental Organisations’. I really do know that – and I really do know what they do for their hard-earned corn.

FCUK ALL.. That’s why I wanted to get on one in the first place!

Secondly? Well, after an in-depth 2 hour conversation with BT this morning, I came off reeling. I had originally rung them to ask why we haven’t had any bills for the last 6 months and also why our Standing Order repayments had soared to £270 per month.

"Because, Sir, you have racked up charges of two and a half thousand pounds since February".

"TWO AND A HALF THOUSAND POUNDS Geeeeezzzzusssss!!!!!!! Are you having a laugh or what!"

"But Sir, because you have been paying a monthly fee of £270 pounds, you now only owe £1,200"

"Whooooppppy fucking doo!"

BIG TIP: Adolescent lads, empty house, and small ads for chat lines just do not mix……

Alfie the Art Critic……

Another year, another Turner Competition.
I have decided to give the exhibits the once over and to impart onto each Artist the benefit of my not inconsiderable painty, painty experience.

This year, I have divided the exhibits into various categories, which I feel will best reflect the dynamic bravura of each piece – and how it optimally explores the juxtaposition between hard reality and soft soap. I will report tomorrow on each entry. I will be firm, but fair - rigid in a flopsy-whopsy sort of way and as outrageously posh as Brian Sewell at an elocution lesson.

The categories are as follows:

1) Utter shite (pretentious)
2) Utter, utter shite (actual. i.e. Elephant dung sculpture).
3) What the hell is that?
4) Skip sculpture.
5) Shock horror.
6) Pass me the sick bag.
7) Useless shapes from used bin bags.
8) Guts, nuts, butts and other offal offerings.

Monday, October 27, 2003

Alfie - a new third force in politics.....

Great news, I have received my form to apply to be a Lord (see Saturday's post) - I really, really have! I'm optimistic I can break the mould - and become the first 'joe average' to sit in the Upper Chamber. Maybe that could be my title - 'Lord Joe of Averageshire'.

But finding the right handle is not my only worry - I will need suitable accutrements - and I don't know where my local ermine shop is or where to order my crown from.

I'm also going to have to get used to being addressed as "Your Lordyness" - or in my case "Your Lardyness"

With this success, I have also applied to have a go at serving on a Government 'KWANGO'. So far no one has got back to me but as soon as I know, I'll post.

Isn't democracy wonderful?

Saturday, October 25, 2003

A wizard wheeze (and an early Chrizzy prezzy)…..

OK, I am going to share this with you – I’ve been doing it for years and it really does work!

The clocks go back on Saturday night – result? You get an extra hours sleep on Sunday morning. Absolutely no good at all.

What you want is an extra hour on Monday morning – when you really need it. Leave the clocks as they are, right the way through Sunday. OK, ‘Corry’ will be on an hour earlier but I can live with that. Go to bed as usual, set the clock as usual… then next morning when the alarm goes just turn over, and slap the ‘snooze’ button for another hour…… Serweeet. – you can then put the clocks back when you get up.

Democracy most definitely needs me……

After 30 years of working for a living, I have decided that I may, in the future like to take things a bit easier. With this in mind – and to embrace the first flush of democracy sweeping the upper chamber, I have decided to apply to work in the House of Lords - as a Lord, obviously.

It’s so easy, you log on to the HoL web site and ……… apply, nimps. I have sent my letter off, saying that I am of sound mind, have a clean driving licence etc. Now all I have to do is wait – meanwhile, I can practice painting eyeballs on my eyelids.

I suppose the other thing I have to consider is a suitably Lordly handle. I quite like Lord of the Rings. Second choice would be Lord a Leaping – or possibly Lord-a-lumpkins or even Lordy-Lordy-Lordy...

Friday, October 24, 2003

Out and about.........

I've been away all week, just got back from doing yet more art direction .…"Sorry, can we just try that again with a more genuine expression – oh, and can we please try to be less wooden, is that grin fixed?. "……

I’m totally knackered, massaging bruised photographer’s ego, liasing with client, general glad-handing and pushing cows around (we did some countryside shots)…

Don’t get me wrong, I really like this part of the job, it’s just so tiring – like Christmas shopping without the bags.

A few years ago we were doing a calendar for a bloody massive PetroChem Company. They had recently put down a gas pipeline running from Scotland to the North of England. In order to preserve the landscape, they built, then buried the pipe and re-instated the flora and fauna on top.

Our task was to show what a great job ‘OilyCo’ had done – and to be fair to them, they had! It was a really fab jolly, we stayed in some of the finest pubs in some of the finest countryside on offer. On one particularly fantastically ‘Turneresque’ day we found ourselves slap-bang on top of Shap Fell in the Lake District. Apparently, our brief was to meet up with a Professor of Botany and his assistant. They were conducting a survey on some reinstated moorland, making sure that everything was as it should have been. We were also told that they would be joined by a couple of students that were walking the route.

I met up with the photographer, a miserable, moaning rotund man, dressed head to foot in M & S beige casual gear. Pretty soon I find out he also has a ‘tact’ bypass and as his jaunty flat cap gets blown off and jauntily disappears over hill and dale, I notice a six inch wide centre parting on his head. "Ohhh ‘kin hell – me cap, that cost 15 quid!"

We espy the Prof’ & assistant in the distance and amble over to them. Bloody hell, what a great day, blue sky, fluffy clouds, wheeling scudding screaming skyborne birds – and us. We’re in God’s own photo’ studio – and he’s got the floods full on. The light is truly, truly amazing.

Dave, our photographer can be heard gently moaning…. "Bloody hell that Sun is bright ….moan, moan, moan … Christ, this heather’s soaking …. moan, moan, moan …. Jeeezzzusss – this sheep shit is everywhere! …. moan, moan …. God, I’ve got grass marks on me slacks …. moan, moan, moan."

Just then, on the far horizon, 2 figures can be seen striding towards us amongst the heather. Well, even at that distance, I can see that they are the young students. They are wearing tight T-shirts, jeans and wellies – and they both have clip-boards and a small shoulder bag.

In no time at all, they are almost upon us – they are both magnificent specimens of womanhood. I look over to Dave - photography is definitely not on his mind. Prof’ says to Dave, "Do you want to shoot us inspecting this particularly fine specimen of heather?"

Dave doesn’t answer. Dave is miles and miles away, locked up in his own Valhalla, stoically trying to disguise the mile wide parting, shooing away the viscous dribble oozing out from the corner of his mouth. Desperately trying to suck in his mile out gut and positioning his camera, (which has now sprouted a good 6 inch telephoto lens) somewhere near to his groinal accoutrements.

Dave’s in love with the students– and it’s serious. I watch, fascinated as I can see him searching, desperately searching, groping for the words. The perfect Keatsian phrase that will suitably sum up his new found love. Or maybe ‘The Bard’ – Shall I compare thee to a …..

Dave’s mind leaps out of neutral, and goes straight into turbo drive. Connection is made between brain and speech centre.
Dave opens his mouth points to the generously endowed chests and shouts ….. "Kin Hell, just look. JUST LOOK at the jiggerly joggerly jugaboos’ on those babeeezzzz!!"

The trouble with flat moorland is that there is just no where to look. No cover to hide in, no holes to swallow you up, and no AK 47’s lying about to blow away a gobby snapper.

Friday, October 17, 2003

The ‘X’ files………

I’m not always ‘Alfie the OK.’ I have another persona – occasionally I am ‘Alfie the politician worrier.’

I write reams to them – I like to think they are pithy, witty, punchy letters that unfortunate politicians read with trepidation and awe. Once read, they immediately change Government policy as a consequence.

"Oh my God, it’s pithily witty Alfie – again showing us the error of our ways….. Thank goodness for Alfie and his wise words of waffle. If only he could be PM…."

The reality is that they are stamped ‘sod off you sad Meldrew git’ then shoved straight into the recycling bin. The old girl (Old mother Alfie) has been warning me – "I’m warning you, you’ll have ‘em-fifteen’ building a file on you."

"Em-eye-five" I wearily gesticulate. "It’s M-I-5…."

"AND they’ll be buggering your ‘phone"

Now I’d like to see that trick…..

Two weeks later, middle son rings me…. Apparently, there is a BT engineer fiddling with our wall box. Apparently, he says that there is a ‘fault’ on the line. Apparently, no one has reported it, but "there just is"

How’s that for efficiency? Bloody suspicious I think.
I rush home. It’s only 5 minutes from our office and knowing the inefficiency of BT, I reckoned he wouldn’t even have got his coat off and enquired about our tea stocks by the time I got there.

I get home fully expecting to see a man buggering a ‘phone but shadowy engineering dude has already gone. Tyre tracks are all that’s left of the BT Bug-mobile…

I rush in – "Was he a ‘smoking man’?"

"No, he wasn’t even a tea drinking man"

The box has been tampered with alright.
He’s disconnected our upstairs extension and has been fiddling around within.

"What are you looking for?"

"Bugs – I’m looking for bugs"

"What’s a bug look like Dad?"

I don’t know…….. I just don’t know what the bloody hell I’m looking for. Within the box is a passable impression of 3 plates of tangled up spaghetti – then there is some little boxy things with spikes sticking out. By this time, all 3 of the younger kids are standing in a line looking at me desperately fumbling about.

"Has a spy been here Dad?"

In desperation, I grab a bit of scratty earthing wire – attached to nothing in the bottom of the box.

"Ahhhh. Got it!"
I triumphantly hold aloft my very, very tightly closed fist.

"Well let’s see it then – the bug, let’s see the bug"

With that, I rush upstairs…

"Sorry, too dangerous – much, much too dangerous – must neutralise with bog water"

Upstairs to toilet, shut door, flush toilet, slip wire into pocket.
Emerge hero…

Hurrah, Big Brother foiled again!!

The power of advertising, so time to conduct an experiment …...

Call me ‘Thicky McTavish’ from the village ‘Densegit’ or whatever, but I’ve just noticed something. Sometimes the little blue adverts on the top of blogspot pages have a definite link with stuff that has been written a few days previously on the blog. So if you’re banging on about games and pastimes – a couple of days later you get ads for snooker tables and chess sets etc.

The server thingee must scan the blog for key words that link to its ad’ pool and bingo! – ‘warm’ advertising……

Anyway, have you been watching the Rugby? That DIRTY Aussie HOOKER, what a disgrace. And what about the motorways – traffic jams all the way! I travelled South the other day, there I was, tootling along in my Ford ESCORT, going nowhere fast….. I eventually turned up in MiddleSEX.

‘ Thinking of going to AMSTERDAM for a short break. I do LOVE going away. It’s going to be a coach TOUR. Must go now, a man is delivering our new SHAG pile carpet.

Subtle, it aint ….

Thursday, October 16, 2003

In Space, no one can hear you scleam…

So the Chinese have thought of a new word for their ‘star sailors’. The Yanks have ‘Astronaut’ the Russians, ‘Cosmonaut’ – and the Chinese now have ‘taikonaut’ – (after ‘taikong,’ the Chinese word for space).

It’s got me thinking – what would we name our own explorers of space? Imagine the scene, plucky Tommy Atkins is blasted off into space aboard the lottery-funded, coal-fired, built from recycled bits of the Millennium dome – GB1 Rocket.

Raymond Baxter could do the commentary, "The blue touch paper has been lit ….. and there she goes, orf to the stars – GB 1. This great symbol of British ingenuity climbs majestically into the sky, speeding to its escape velocity of 68 miles per hour. Aboard is squadron leader ‘plucky’ Tommy Atkins. We salute you plucky Tommy, and no doubt you’ll be back in time to have kippers for breakfast".

So what could we call him? After all, GB 1 has been built in Britain by British workers using the very latest cutting edge steam driven technology. Backed by our dynamic Prime Minister & his competent Cabinet and funded by a leading edge, focused, Government backed scientific agency…….

Well we have to call him a ‘Fearnaut’ – obviously.

You never see these two in the same place…….

Hands up all those who think that the prodigiously talented footy wunderkind, Wayne Rooney and the three legged potato headed Coca Cola striker in the trailer for ITV’s ‘The Premiership’ are one and the same person…..

Stating the bleeding obvious.....

This is a really real ad' in our local red top.
(Thanks to Mrs Alfie - (Alfreda) for pointing this one out to me).

15-35 hours per week,
Ormskirk area,

Wednesday, October 15, 2003

Job Advert......

Wanted, Woman with twin set, to work in a vibrant, 'hair free' office environment. Must be able to compile copious amounts of Christmas card lists - in alphabetical order. Must have moist tongue (for licking stamps) and a merry Yuletide disposition for writing the greetings within.

Other duties, organising Bazaars, Jumble Sales and Summer Fairs.

The successful applicant will be required to have an HNC in 'pencil sharpening' and a focused and relentless pursuit of maximising sales of 'Bring and Buy' tickets to friends and relations.

Idiots need not apply, we don't want a Patsy - or even a Betsy.

Salary: !5k p.a.
Perks: Use of a black limo' and unlimited supplies of blue hair dye.
Hours: Possibly, but not essential.
Holidays: One long one.

Boring, boring Clint.....

Did anyone see Clint Eastwood being interviewed by Parky last Saturday? Boring or what - especially as Ben Elton and Jennifer Saunders were the other previous guests.

Parky would ask a question, monotone Clint would drone back some banal answer. Parky would then retort his standard code response for 'Christ, this is boring' .... "Ohh really? How extraordinary."

Pretty soon, I was ruminating "Go on Clint, make my day - GIVE US A REASON TO CARRY ON LIVING!"

"I know what you're thinking, have I shot five questions at you, or have I shot six?" "Do you feel lucky, punk? Well do ya?

You're damn right I do Clint baby, I've just found the Remote!

Monday, October 13, 2003

Grey matters....... but green matters more .....

09068 444444 ….. "Thanks for calling ‘Who wants to be a millionaire….." So starts the Chris Tarrant auto phone response for the TV show, ‘Who Wants to be a Millionaire?’ (Well, I do, obviously)

I’ve rung that number so many times my index digit can do it on air ‘phone. Ever since the very first trailer came on our screens I’ve been obsessed with the power and glory that the show promises – oh, and the cash ….. always the cash.

It got to such a pitch, I even used to practice my ‘I’ve won a million quid celebration’, now to do a grass splash dive – or maybe a ‘strongman pointing to the sky’ pose……. Or even sticking my shirt over my head and revealing the message on my vest – ‘I hate you Tarrant, you smug tosser – now gizz the cash".

I reckon that over the years, I must have ‘phoned to get on the show at least 500 times – probably nearer to 800. That’s a hell of a lot of Tarrant to listen to. I’ve tried answering the phone prompt questions and registering my details in various regional and ethnic accents to try to take advantage of any positive discrimination policy they may have. I’ve also done posh, common, spivvy, divvy and jaunty. All to no avail, the ‘Tarrantino’ has never rung me back.

I know a couple of people that have got on the show "Ohh yes Alfie, I just rang a few times, they rang back, I got the qualifying question correct and ‘bingo’, I was on." Then I ask them why didn’t they ask me to be one of their ‘phone a friend,’ friends?

"Sorry, never thought"

"But I knew the 4 grand question you went out on. I knew that the first British woman to climb ‘Everest’ was Rachel Stevens……. I bloody well knew it. I could have got you up to 8 grand at least …… TOSSER!"

"A tosser with 4 grand in my pocket!"……

I don’t ring quite so much now, not since I was perusing the printout on my ‘phone bill a few months ago. "Geez, what the bloody hell is all this then? There must be 80 quids worth of premium number call fees here". As any dutiful, pissed off father would, I lined my kids up and asked them which one had been making the calls. Everyone swore their innocence. "Paaa!" I scoffed, scoffily…

"I scoff at your pathetic efforts at any feeble minded attempt at weedling out from your guilt. Someone has made those calls – and I intend to find out EXACTLY who it is. Then I will deduct it from your pocket money. Do you think I was born yesterday? Do you think you could get away with it? …….. I am going to ring the number – and if the voice at the end of the line is giving out advice on computer game cheats, how to get girls or advice about pimples – there will be hell to pay"…..

And so I tap, theatrically tapping the number out on the hand set – funny but it does seem vaguely familiar……

I wait for the connection, the tension is barely bearable ……. "Thanks for calling Who wants to"…. I ring off.

"Right, this time, THIS TIME I will let you off"….

"Well, who was it?"

"Never mind, it doesn’t matter – just sod off, all of you"

I thought I had got away with it, unfortunately, my youngest son knows all about the redial facility on the handset ……