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 …….)