Friday, March 04, 2005

‘N’ is for ……..

‘Nottinghamshire’ apparently.
Except when you’ve got a cold – and then it’s
‘D’ for Dottinghamshire.

The hip, go-getting County Council of Nottinghamshire have revamped, made over and rebranded their homeland. Robin Hood has been outlawed – he’s old hat. Apparently, they reckon they’re going to rival Barcelona and Dublin in the weekend break market. Cool café culture comes to the murky banks of the River Trent.

They’ve joined the current vogue for shortening everything, txt style. They’ve followed in the steps of NY, FCUK, GSOH and FSH - and gone all minimal. ‘Nottinghamshire’ was passé, old fashioned and boring. But not any more. The ‘Ottinghamshire’ part of Nottinghamshire has been slung out, chucked into the bin labelled ‘chinz’ – leaving just the cool trendy moniker of ‘N’

‘N’spiring eh?

What a coup by the marketeers. They say ‘N’ stands for sexy, young, vital and sophisticated. Well they would, wouldn’t they. They’ve just trousered a fee of 125 grand for the use of their creative juices. Northumbria, Northamptonshire and Norfolk are reported to be livid. They just wish they’d have thought of it first.

What do I think? Utter rubbish. It’s old fashioned and crude. It’s dated - in a Seventies Kojak, flared trousers sort of way. It’s bound to fail. Cynical council tax payers are already pillorying beleaguered jobsworths for wasting their cash.

Alfie has been doing a bit of creative thinking – in an attempt to calm tempers – and offer the good people of Nottinghamshire an alternative brand to the big ‘N’…..

Got it!

Nottinghamshire – Nott too dull there then.

Thursday, March 03, 2005

The people versus Alan Milburn…..

Most politicians get right up my thrupenny bits.
A select few qualify for a blindfold, a cigarette and nice white wall. And then there are the ones that defy the imagination – despots all, morally bankrupt to a man – and woman. It’s not too hard to find them - Blair, Dubbya, Thatcher, Mandelson and Prescott come to mind. There are however, quite a few knocking on the door of this ‘Club Noir Politick’ - and fifties quiff boy, Alan Milburn, geordie bosom buddy to the Rev’ Blair and no-talent ‘organiser’ of all things ‘Governmental’ is first in the queue.

I really do not like this guy. A man who jacked in his Cabinet post not 18 months ago supposedly because he wanted to spend more time with his young family is back in the political maelstrom – presumably because his kids have all sufficiently grown up now they’ve reached their nearly nines.

More likely Milburn has been lured back to the corridors of connivance by promises of a shed full of power and a mountain of cash by the right Royal Rev’ himself. Milburn has been awarded the ‘Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster’ and a salary-package of one hundred and thirty grand a year plus a ton of perks. Well I come from Lancashire – and I haven’t seen much of Milburn’s handiwork to justify the wad.

I rang his office to find exactly what being a Chancellor of a County actually entails. The creep on the other end of the line rather condescendingly told me that Chancellors of Lancaster don’t actually do any ‘chancelling’ in Lancashire – or anywhere else for that matter. Apparently, it’s just a way of getting no-talent, brown nosed toady mates back into positions of power.

Milburn’s raison d’être seems to be to get Labour returned to Governance – at the cost of a 130 grand salary courtesy of our taxes. We, the people are funding this guy for one job for the Country (whatever that is) – whilst he is doing another one for the Labour Party – full time!

’Alfie, the man in the white suit’ has decided to make this man’s life an utter misery. ‘Alfie the vengeful, make my day – I know what you’re thinking you punk’ has written a caustic letter to Sir Philip Mawer, The Commissioner for Standards at the Palace of Westminster, demanding that Milburn be forced to repay the salary drawn under a bogus job description.

Sir Phil’ wrote back to me. Words to the effect ……
"Dear Alfie, all aquiver with righteous indignation, I’m afraid there’s bugger all I can do for you sonny. It’s a right old stitch-up and no mistake, matey boy. You needs to take it up with his Boss – His Imperial Praetorian, Emperor Tonius Blairium-Caesar, Lord of all he invades"……..

So that’s it then.
Alfie’s got to go straight ‘to the top’ and do battle with ‘the dark one’.

Straight to the main man, the big banana, the head-honcho, the top ‘tater, the only 'honest-john' in town….. the great Blairzebub.

I just need to get some holy water, garlic and a very sharp wooden stake….

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

I’ve got a great idea….

What do you think?
I reckon it’s a winner – sure-fire.
It hit me, just like that.
A real eureka moment.
Now I know how Edison, Whittle, Logie-Baird and Geoff Hurst must all have felt….

I’m confident I can trust every single one of you – and anyway, I know where you all live. So I’m willing to share this little gem. And remember, ‘envy’ is a terrible and destructive emotion..

How did I think of it?
I dunno, genius is a weird attribute to have I suppose.
And I didn’t even know I was a genius until last night at 7:45pm….
There I was, watching the adverts on the telly. "You too can build a beautiful working model of a Spitfire in 46 weekly parts"… It was one of those bloody annoying ‘build something crap, week by week' adverts. There are loads of them being advertised on the box at the moment – all useless, all naff.

You get a little bit of plastic taped to a very thin mag - Build your own HMS Victory, build your own Radio-controlled car, build your own this, that and the other. By the time you’ve finished, the model has cost 10 times what it would have cost if you’d just gone to a shop and bought a finished one……… and that’s when the bolt of light hit me. I was touched, blessed by the Hallelujah man with a quiver full of idea arrows aimed straight at the creative void in my brain.

"Build your own house in 560,000,000 weekly parts. Part 1 at newsagents now with Brick 1 plus special bonus Brick 2 at the introductory price of £2.75p."….

Brilliant eh?

Like I said, envy – a terribly destructive emotion.

STOP PRESS – Another brillo idea from Alfie’s think tank factory.
"Build your own St James’ Bible in 2,510 weekly parts. Part 1 at newsagents now with ‘Page 1 – Genesis, in the beginning’ plus special piece of sellotape to attach it to page 2 – which you’ll get next week at the special introductory price of £2.50p……

That’s the trouble with us geniuses ….. once you start……

Monday, February 28, 2005

Time lines……

I got a book for Christmas, I’ve just started to read it - ‘Trafalgar - Anatomy of an epic battle’.

I’m into Horatio Nelson at the moment. To be honest, I always have been – a great English hero who kept on getting body parts blown off – but carried on waving two of his five remaining digits to the French…. "come and have a go if you think you’re hard enough". Just like the Black Knight in Monty Python’s ‘Holy Grail’.

His finest moment – and his last, was at Trafalgar in 1805 and the consummate defeat of Napoleon’s naval forces. The bicentennial anniversary of the battle is coming up later this year, be sure to take a measure of grog and toast Horatio Nelson on the day of the battle – October 21st. But for him, we'd all be talking French today - rather than the current vogue for chav-estuary English.

I used to do some work for a guy called Malcolm during the early 80’s – and one day we sort of got chatting about Nelson. He then told me something really weird. Malcolm was coming up to retirement – and he started to tell me about his family. His Dad was born in 1857 – which I was a bit surprised about, to say the least. He married in his sixties to a young girl – and Malcolm came along in 1924 when his Dad was 72 years old.

His Granddad married fairly late in life also – again to a much younger woman – some 20 years his junior. His Granddad was 52 years old when Malcolm’s Dad was born. This of course meant that his Granddad was born in 1805 – the year of the Battle of Trafalgar.

I was amazed, three generations of family stretching back not far off two hundred years. His Granddad was born when George III was on the throne and William Pitt the Younger was in his second stint as Prime Minister, shortly before becoming ‘William Pitt the dead’ the following year.

The USA was barely 30 years independent and the dark continent was still a romantic mystery. Railways had 25 years to go before making an appearance and the first fatality, courtesy of an automobile was 100 years away. I sort of got to thinking that if there was any way that Malcolm could have met his Granddad – just how the two would have got on – and how they might have viewed each others world.