Thursday, July 05, 2007

George Melly joins the great jazz band in the sky….

George Melly has died today aged 80. I’ve seen him perform a few times over the years – by far the best gig I went to was when he did the Kirkland’s Wine Bar in Liverpool around 1980.

He was brilliant, floppy fedora, stripey zoot suit, two-tone shoes, John Chilton and his Feetwarmers…. Everyone was drunk, including the band – and George finished the set with a fine rendition of ‘Nuts’. He then issued an appeal amongst the audience – "has anyone got any marrywarna, man for Georgie?"

Someone chucked him a spliff and he disappeared in a haze of smoke…..

I wonder if his tombstone will read - Here lies George Melly, Journalist and Jazzman…… Nice.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Around the world in 365 days
Two weeks ago we waved my Son, John and his friend Jo off at Heathrow on the first leg of their year long, round-the-world trip of a lifetime.

Just about now they are in Zanzibar, the birthplace of Freddie Mercury – last week it was the Serengeti, messing with lions and the like, next week they’ll be in the Masai Mara – having a look at those wildebeests just before they start their epic migration. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t worried about the places they are going to…. I mean, the world can be a dangerous place, right?

And they seem to be going to some right old frontier countries….. I’ve warned them – don’t give a ‘thumbs up’ sign to anyone (in some countries that means the same as the raised middle finger here). The dodgy food, the dodgier water, the guerrilla groups, the routine violence, the muggings, the man-eating animals, the man-eating sharks, the man-eating men, the sly slithering snakes, the big hairy spiders, the burrowing insects that make a meal out of your brain……. And ‘the little fish’.

"What little fish is that then?" I hear you ask.

Well, sometime early next year they should be hitting Peru to do the Inca trail and visit Machu Picchu, lost capital of the Incas…… but before they go there, they will be spending a few days down in that there Amazonian jungle.

I’ve told my Son – at no time should he get into the dark waters of the world’s greatest river for a swim, to cool off or to impress the natives with his front crawl. I’ve told him, if he does happen to fall into the Amazon – or indeed into any of its tributaries he’s got to immediately cover his nether regions with his hands – and get out as soon as possible.

For in those dark, dark waters is a lurking killer, waiting patiently for the next unsuspecting punter to fall in and provide it with his brand new home.

The little Candirú fish is a right little bugger of a fish. It’s the one of legend, the one that really scares the natives and makes British schoolboys laugh their heads off.

So what can this little fish do that is so appalling, so awful, so disgusting as to make the average strapping he-man go weak at the knees….

Yep, you’ve guessed it, the Candirú fish is the one that zeroes in on a man’s dangly bits, locates the ‘opening’, swims up the manhood and sticks its crampon-style fins into the side walls of the Urethra and starts to feed on your blood.

Now that really has got to smart…

Once it’s in, it’s in. Nothing, save a complex operation can get rid of it – and be honest, would you want a surgeon with a scalpel splitting your pride and joy open from stem to stern?. They can have a go at any orifice – but they are more likely to go for the manhood because they’re supposedly attracted to the scent of urine….

Was God Almighty having a bit of an off day when he created the Candirú fish? Or is it simply a result of evolution – did natural selection decide that the world would be a better place if Candirú fish existed?

Who knows? I just thank God they’re not in our rivers….. We just have the odd dead dog, used prophylactics and the deadly germs that Domestos can’t kill lurking in our waterways.

So there you have it. He and Jo are now on their own, They face the perils of the world – and the Candirú fish with just his rucksack and his piece of paper with Alfie’s golden rules for survival scribbled on it.

Never give a thumbs up sign.

Don’t drink the water unless it comes out of a British tap.

Don’t screw your face up when offered a tempting bowl of goat testicle broth by a herder from Nepal.

Don’t volunteer to put the spider out of the tent. (Unless it’s smaller than your hand).

If a big guy with a spear says he likes the look of your hat – give it to him, pronto.

When you get to New Zealand, be sure to tell the locals that their country has bugger all to do with Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings trilogy – and was actually based in the Midlands of England.

If you ever get in a really tricky situation with the locals, just tell them you’re a scouser – and you’ll burgle their house if they don’t sod off.

If you really must go swimming in the Amazon – be sure to tape up your nob with plenty of gaffer tape before doing so.