Friday, May 28, 2004

Spruce Goose revisited…………

Very exciting times at work at the moment……. Over the last few weeks I’ve been travelling the length and breadth of the Country art directing some photography for the new, yet to fly and size of a Continent Airbus airliner – the A380.

This thing is bloody massive, in a Sprucey-Goosey, Howard Hughesey sort of way. The biggest civil aircraft ever planned - it makes a ‘jumbo’ looks like a weedy adolescent in comparison – it’ll take over 550 passengers, easy and resides in several time zones at any one time (nearly).

When we first arrived at one of the designated factories and saw wing struts being milled out of solid slabs of Aluminium on a milling machine 80 metres long, I was gobsmacked – swarf and shiny metal everywhere. In these days of namby pamby light industry, it was somewhat refreshing to see blood, snot sweat and a bit of the old Victorian ‘can do’ ethos coming through.

It’s also good to see Airbus industries spanking Boeing for market share – Airbus currently have 80% of the global civil aircraft market – outselling the Yanks – whatever next? We sidled over to the carts that held the wing spars, again size matters – they are monsters …… "How the hell are they going to fit on a plane fuselage without flopping down?" – I was just like a 10 year old kid, asking my dad who invented gravity. (He used to tell me that apparently Otto Gravity from Germany invented it)…..

My contact looked a bit surprised and reassured me, telling me not to worry and that it would all work swimmingly - he almost patted me on the head!

I left this hive of industry reassured that when all the bits being made from factories all over Europe are finally put together in Toulouse – the thing will actually fly.

I can’t wait to see it – from a distance obviously, much too scary to actually fly on it.

Have a good weekend.

Thursday, May 27, 2004

A northern cheeky chappie legend…..

Wow, if George Formby was still alive, then today would be the first day of his hundred and first year. Well he’s not alive, he’s dead – at least, I hope he’s dead coz they buried him some 40 odd years ago…..

But what a comedy genius, bundle of talent-type geezer old Georgie boy was. There, with his lickle Ukulele in his hand – well, they can’t touch you for it nowadays can they?

Funnee? I’ll bloody say so, George, originator of such memorable catch phrases as "Can you hear me mother, "Turned out nice again" and probably lots and lots more great phrases that I can’t quite remember at the moment…… Every time he walked on stage and uttered those immortal words "Turned out nice again" the adoring audience would wet their knickers with laughter – ‘scuse me, got to go to the toilet…..

Talented? Bloody too right. George could play a host of instruments – as long as the instrument he was playing was called the ‘Ukulele’. Such immortal songs as ‘Leaning on a lamppost’, 'When I'm cleaning windies' and ‘I’m a Lancashire lad - and I’m a reet good shag’…… Maybe not.

Could he make it in today’s vacuous celeb–obsessed world? Could he do a ‘Dale Winton’ on the Lottery show? "Eeeeee baa gum, we’re ‘aving a lot o’ fun today…. Ay up, can we ‘ave t’dropped balls please cock?"…….

He’d have to change his delivery, get all ‘estuary’ maybe – or possibly a bit of mid-Atlantic? ‘Can you hear me Mother’ would have to change to - "Yo Muthaf****r, get those cans offa yo’ head and listen up, bitch"…

The ‘Uke’ would have to go – traded in for an ‘axe’…. A Strat’ would do. A shiny suit maybe, a hair and dental makeover – and not forgetting a new street-cred name… and there you have it.

Georgie Boy Formby – the baddest ass outta the Wigan ghetto-massive……..

Wednesday, May 26, 2004

Combustion and Tears…….

Last night’s tragic fire at the Tate Modern warehouse has apparently destroyed some of Brit Art's finest pieces. Tate Modern or Tate Crisp as it’s now to be called, is reeling from this disastrous news. Charles Saatchi, legendary benefactor of the modern art movement and avid collector of all things ordinary was inconsolable this morning as he learned that most of his extensive collection went up in this pyre of pretentious pap.

There is absolutely no truth in the rumour that Tracy Emmin has tried to sell the ashes of the building to Chaz – under the title ‘Remade Carbon’…. The word on the streets is however that Charles has bid up the original asking price of £2.5 million to £8 million and declared this "A very significant work, symbolising the elemental struggle of humanity and its elementary and eternal struggle to tame the elements – in this case ‘Fire" …. Ele-mental, obviously.

Unfortunately, in Charles’ hour of triumph – and whilst approving the building of a new Gallery to house his latest piece, ‘Remade Carbon’ became ‘Burnt Bits Chucked in a Skip by Unfeeling and misguided Fire Fighters’…..

Damien Hurst has rushed to the stricken Saatchi’s side and stated that he will redo all of his lost works and donate them to the gullible …… visionary collector. Damien said "Well it’s the least I could do, he’s lost at least 20 of my works – and anyhow, I’ve got a couple of hours free this afternoon".

Monday, May 24, 2004

I’m just having a bit of a Victor Meldrew moment…....

Is it OK for people to sleep on the job? Apparently so if you are a fire fighter. The current dispute between employer and employee is all about the correct form of words with which to describe sleeping and resting time during the night shift. I have a form of words they could use - 'Wake up - and do some work'.

And if it's OK for our noble fire fighters to join our illustrious pack of MPs to zed out on the job, then everyone else should qualify as well - but of course, that's impossible isn't it? Sleeping on the job means the sack – right?

There is a right load of nonsense talked about the fire fighters. They seem to have this romantic aura about them - heroes doing the most dangerous job in the Country (which it has to be said they actively perpetuate). The most dangerous job outside of the armed services (and one of the most poorly paid) is the farm worker. Next comes such scary jobs as Scaffolder, Fisherman, Builder, Sewer worker etc, etc. For pure 'dangerousness', the fire fighters come a rather safe 24th - possibly just in front of estate agents?

I know 3 people that hold down 2 jobs at the same time - guess what, they are all fire fighters. Two of them freely admit that the fire service gives them a great base to pursue their other careers (the other one just smirks a lot - he's a fire fighter at night, then does an 8 hour day in his own antiques business). And the ONLY way they can have those other jobs is because they sleep when doing their fire fighting night shift.

One final point, I have actually been in a fire station, very nice (for a social club) ... Snooker table (full size), excellent canteen/bar, bandits, full spec' easy chairs - and a load of beds! I've done night shifts - and worked ALL night. Our heroes are paid to work - not to sleep - they should wake up and smell the coffee.

I don’t have anything personal against them – it just bugs me that they go on and on about the rough deal dealt to them and the fact that they say the service is in terminal decline. Apparently not, if the current waiting list to be a fire fighter is anything to go by.