Thursday, March 30, 2006
Wednesday, March 29, 2006
I wonder if people have seen this picture and said, "That's me! Just to the right of the horse's nose, the kid with the cap and the sleeveless jumper, looking straight at the artist. I don't remember seeing him there but I often used to stand in just that spot. Just to the right of that horse."
There's a picture in the paper we get of a famous building. The picture is taken from some distance in order to get it all in. And in front of the building are several people, milling around or walking purposefully.
Two of the people walking purposefully are me and Betty. At least they are to us. At first glance. You see, we walk past this building a few times a year. So when we see a photo of it taken from this angle we're obviously going to think, "I wonder whether we're there?" Us being ever so slightly egotistical.
And there we are. As clear as day, the two of us, walking towards our usual destination. I know we're extremely small and not particularly in focus, but it's definitely us. Betty in front of me...
We usually walk side by side. Not arm in arm like retired couples or hand in hand like teenagers. But side by side. I don't follow the missus like I'm some sort of subservient husband. We are equals. Then again we could be walking in single file to let someone past. Although I can't see anybody approaching us.
I look closer. Betty would not wear that top. It looks like it's got a picture of a rock star on it. Or that could just be the light playing on it.
What about me? That's definitely me. He's got my stoop. He's carrying what could be a rucksack over his right shoulder. That's me, alright.
But where did I get that chin? I look closer. That's one big John Kerry chin. And yes, I've got a stoop but this bloke's got more than a stoop, he looks as though he's foraging on the ground for fag ends. And is that a rucksack or is that a hump on his back?
He looks about 2 foot shorter than Betty, too. That can't be right. I'm a short hunchback with a foot long chin, I'm walking behind my wife as if she owns me? And look, she's laughing at him! Betty wouldn't do such a cruel thing. It can't be her. How can the woman laugh at this hunchbacked, long-chinned freak when her own tits are nothing to write home about, look, they're down to her fucking knees!
They can't be us! They're a couple of fucking rampaging neanderthals, they don't belong in the 21st century let alone in front of a famous London landmark.
Look, there's a copper! Hurry up and arrest them, you bastard. Put 'em out of their misery. Transport 'em back to an earlier time, the bleedin' stone age! Come on, you lazy pig!
Shit, that's not a copper...
Tuesday, March 28, 2006
"Do you really have to push me? You rude young man. Have you no manners? You can see I'm standing here and you have to barge past me, don't you? Have you no patience? I have a bad back, you know! And arthritis! What is the world coming to when a rude young man thinks he can push people out of the way just to get on the train a bit more quickly? How dare you push an old woman out of the way! Do you have no respect for your elders? I am nearly 60 years old, I have a bad back and arthritis!...What?...What did you say?...You wished I was dead?...I have never heard such rudeness from a rude young man in my life! You wait till you get to my age. I hope then you get pushed out of the way by someone half your age. See how you like it!"
Later, I get off the train and overhear...
"She was the one doing the pushing. She barged her way through the carriage."
"You get some funny people, don't you?"
Monday, March 27, 2006
Do they perform the same function?
No. The answer is they both feature on Infomaniac.
Not only does she continue to keep us Corrie obsessives happy, but MJ has also started a new blog which will keep the rest of you entertained, too.
So I'd advise you to get over there, my friends. For if you don't I'll do a post entitled "10 Reasons Why I Love Teddy Sheringham."
And you wouldn't want that, would you?
Saturday, March 25, 2006
So Tory! Tory! Tory! (BBC4) is over and we've seen the end of the Iron Lady. I remember the day she resigned, listening to people at work saying how sorry they were for her. I wish they hadn't as I've always thought it bad form to bring politics into the workplace as it only adds to the stress of the working day.
Of course Mrs T did what we all knew was necessary by taking on the unions. As your man on the street might say:
"We all know the unions previously ran the country, don't we? Unelected men in smoke filled rooms with sandwiches and beer, plotting how to get the most money for their members for as little work as possible. Miners down the pits scraping handfuls of coal then spending the rest of the day playing Pontoon or I Spy then wiping coal dust on their faces to make it look as though they'd done a decent day's work. The unions kept productivity low so that they could fill dinosaur nationalised industries with a lazy workforce that now and again held the country to ransom by going on strike to keep their outdated practises. The unions were holding Britain back, but we didn't stand for it and we elected Maggie to destroy them. And destroy them she did."
Of course selling off vital public utilities to rich people and turning public housing stock into easy profit or easy debt for individuals was a good thing. Who needs society when you can have every man, woman and child fighting their own corner for their own piece of the pie? Which has to be the natural order, doesn't it? Just look at a Tory, any Tory. Aren't they ever so natural?
And it was the natural order when Mrs T began to stop listening to the people around her. It was naturally time for the lady to go. Here's Nigel Lawson talking about her old lapdog Geoffrey Howe's resignation speech:
"I was astonished by the virulence of his attack on Margaret Thatcher. It was quite unGeoffreyish."
And what were these unGeoffreyish words, this "assassination speech" according to Kenneth Baker?
"It's rather like sending your opening batsmen to the crease, only for them to find the moment the first balls are bowled their bats have been broken before the game by the team captain."
Vicious...You're so vicious...You hit me with a flower..
Friday, March 24, 2006
"Anyway, see you later. Yeah. Love you."
She stops and looks down at her trouser leg.
"Shit! I've got bird shit!"
She turns to me.
"Have you got a tissue? I've got bird shit."
I blew my nose a minute ago but I have a spare tissue. I tell her I don't have one.
I have a change of heart.
"Actually, I've got a clean one."
I rummage around in my pocket. I pick up the tissue at the bottom and hand it to her.
"Thank you," she says.
I walk away and my nose begins to run. I pull out what feels like a clean tissue.
Thursday, March 23, 2006
Put a sock in it, you wanker.
But every now and then a dream needs to be exorcised on the web. Keep fit and all that.
Quite often I dream that I'm a murderer and that the body is under the patio, but nobody else knows that I'm a murderer or that anybody is missing. It may be true that I've committed such a terrible act, but I can't for the life of me think who I may have done in. My memory isn't what it was so if anybody can help me out I will be most grateful.
Last night I had a dream which suggested to me that the crime I may have committed was not wholly my responsibility and that my murderous ways are indeed inherited.
My grandad was sitting there, alive and awake, asking me if I could investigate our family tree as he believed that his uncle's grandfather had been a murderer. Of course he gave me little to go on, and all I could say to my grandad was that I'd seen his own name on the 1908 census.
"I know who I am, Geoffrey. I want to know about my uncle's grandad."
What do you think? Is it worth joining Genes Reunited and risk finding out I'm related to Dr Crippen or Dr Shipman? Although I doubt that anybody from my gene pool would have had the intelligence to qualify as a doctor.
But you never know.
Wednesday, March 22, 2006
Yes, I've got a new camera. And yes I've had a little play and photographed the town centre on a sunny winter's day. But it came out too good. The sky was too blue, the William Morris Fountain was working and didn't contain washing up liquid, the passers-by looked just too damned handsome. So I've fucked it up a little.
I know you serious photographers are into flickr. But however much I've tried, they won't seem to give me a password that works. But by accident I found yahoo photos on my email account and now I've got somewhere to host them and to do marvellous effects like the one above.
The neon lights are always bright on Broadway
There is almost magic in the air
OK, it is Bexleyheath Broadway. But there is almost magic in the air on those days when we are treated to live entertainment as we traverse the pedestrianised theatre.
The Morris Fountain in the foreground is literally dwarfed by the world famous clock tower a mere twenty yards behind it. And the clock tower has been the focal point of Bexleyheath since the thing was constructed in...do you really think I give a shit?
Behind and to the right of the clock tower is TK Maxx. To the right of TK Maxx is a path which leads you past Marks and Spencer on the right, and Poundstretcher, Wilkinsons, and ultimately Sainsbury's on the left. If you were standing where I'm standing you'd be just in front of the new Starbucks and a mere matter of a twenty second walk to Ann Summers. Fifteen seconds if you're in a hurry.
But I was going to tell you all about the entertainment scene, wasn't I?
1. Between Poundstretcher and Sainsbury's car park there is often a lone Peruvian Pan Piper. He plays along to a pre-recorded CD. He plays the lambada if you're lucky, Sting if you're not. You may lambada past him in your thong or your plus fours or both if you wish. If Sting's playing you may consider just how little time we have on this earth and maybe cover your ears with your hands and SCREAM.
2. The main stage is the area you see between TK Maxx and the clock tower. And it is here you may see the Glam Rock line dancers, women of a certain age, moving like an arthritic Nan's People, getting it on to T Rex and Cockney Rebel, all in aid of a local hospice. My personal favourites, although I stress my mum is not part of this scene. Yet.
3. As mentioned in a previous post, in the same area, maybe a little closer to TK Maxx, you may see the Mark Kermode lookalikes, The Rockabilly Foursome, rocking their way through Rock Around The Clock, spreading the message of the late L Ron Hubbard: Say NO to Drugs, Say YES to Life. A choice between L Ron Hubbard and Philip K Dick? It's unlikely that anybody in the town centre has heard of either. And why should they?
4. Finally, a special treat (possibly for Mother's Day, I do hope so). "Isn't he lovely? Like an Italian Russell Watson!" It's the young opera singer with crumpled suit and velvet voice. Even the hardest of hard faces softens as he gets in really close to the microphone and belts out those opera classics from Italia '90. Old biddies have been known to miss their bus home.
Luckily, we live a mere 12 minute walk from here and could stay for the duration of any of these performances. If we wanted to.
Friday, March 17, 2006
I make myself ill because I don't want to see these people. I don't want to know they've made a success of their lives. I don't want to know that their game plan has worked, that their chosen career path has led them in the direction they always wanted to go.
I'm not a member of Friends Reunited but I know someone who is. And every now and then I take a peek at my year at my old school. Just to be nosey. The boys' self portraits go something like this:-
"After leaving school, I travelled round South Africa for a year, met some wonderful people, came back to Southampton University, met some wonderful people including my future wife and my future business partner, Michael Dawson. The business has gone fantastically well and we have four lovely children."
So you're happy but you miss those shitty school days, do you? The worst years of our lives? Don't tell me you actually enjoyed them!
Or am I wrong and they were the best years of our lives? My dad always used to say they were. School followed by National Service. "Great years, Geoff. Great times. You may think you're having a bad time of it now but when you're my age you'll look back on today as a golden time."
Well now I am his age and I'm happier than I've ever been. And I still hate the memory of school. And National Service?
Sergeant Crumb made my life a misery. A misery, I tell you! He used to make me scrub his scaly back with a toothbrush at 2 am every Friday. He'd sneak up to my bed, place his hand over my mouth and whisper in my ear, "Private Geoff...it's time for a little plaque removal. Don't forget to bring Tony."
He'd lead me to his Sergeants' mess, remove his nightgown, and sit like Christine Keeler on his dressing table chair. I'd remove Tony Toothbrush from his vanity bag, coat his bristles with calamine lotion, and gently scrape away Sergeant Crumb's army fatigue deep into the night.
On Friends Reunited, if you click on my all-boys school, my year, there is a boy called Georgina. A few years ago my sister must've been noseying around and accidentally left her maiden name there. So any of my old classmates who happens across this entry could be thinking, "I remember Geoff as a fresh faced young man. I didn't fancy him then, but I quite like the idea of him as a woman. I do hope he gets in touch."
WELL I BLOODY WON'T, SO PISS OFF!
Thursday, March 16, 2006
Britain's Number One (unnamed) Swing (i.e. Rockabilly) Band live, playing to their two dancing fans.
Nobody else gives a shit.
Which is a crying shame as the four Mark Kermode lookalikes in fingerless gloves and overcoats were sponsored by THE CHURCH OF SCIENTOLOGY.
Do they really think they're going to get converts by playing Mucho Mambo with pub singer to an ocean of hurrying hard-faced women outside TK-Maxx?
At least they could have drafted in John Travolta to do his Pulp Fiction Dance where he draws his fingers across his face. If he could have persuaded Uma Thurman I might have joined in and signed up, too.
Beam me up, Spotty.
Wednesday, March 15, 2006
And isn't this week a hoot? Back to the dentist's to see the locum (a pleasant young man who keeps his instruments of torture exactly in the spot where the patient would normally access the chair, so one has to climb onto the foot of the chair and crawl on one's hands and knees, turn awkardly, pull a muscle in one's back, and bang one's head on the light before settling down to the real business).
Not only the dentist's but the doctor's because the bastards who used to manufacture my medication have stopped manufacturing it. This means I've either got to stop the anti-psychotic element and live with a feeling of constant indigestion, or imbibe double the dose of the anti-psychotic drug and walk around like a zombie until I get used to it. This will probably take about three years if past experience is anything to go by.
So I'm writing this under the influence, thinking how it used to be in the good old days.
I get to thinking of those lazy, hazy, crazy days of last summer. And now I've bought a digital camera, I can share them with you, you lucky people. The original pictures were taken with an ordinary point and shoot camera and Boots can't make a CD of the negatives so I've had the brainwave of photographing the photographs. I've also uploaded them in the wrong order and can't work out how to get them in the order I want ,so this will not be chronological. I'm new to all this so please be patient with me.
SUMMER 2005 - DEAL, KENT
A beautiful sunny Sunday, we go to Deal's independent record shop and buy the superb album No Cities Left by The Dears, together with the additional Protest EP, all on one CD. "Good choice," says the owner, a very nice man at least ten years older than me. "And you've got the EP on there (the reissue). I didn't get the EP on my copy."
This sometimes happens to me in record shops. I've made a good choice but I've taken something that is dear to them. I'm taking their children away from them.
Then it's off for a walk along the front and past the bandstand. There's a real carnival atmosphere, all ages sitting, eating ice creams, listening to the brass band. As we pass them they start up a new tune: Is This The Way To Amarillo? Buggered if I know.
The statue pictured is situated at the entrance of Deal Pier. I don't think it represents Deal's most famous ex-resident, Charles Hawtrey, and his pastime of fishing for sailors. Unless someone's nicked his glasses.
JUNE 2005 - ALBUFEIRA, THE ALGARVE, PORTUGAL
Most people come to the Algarve for its miles of beautiful, sandy beaches, or its miles of beautiful, grassy golf courses. But there are those of us real travellers who go for the culture.
So imagine our delight as we come across this tribute to Britain's greatest living artist:-
I bet you can't name more than a handful of popular music artists who have streets named after them. Elvis Presley Boulevard. Robert Smith Close...But nobody deserves it more than our Cliff, a man who's graced the tops of the charts for six (count 'em) decades.
Rua Sir Cliff Richard
Yes, as many women have asked him over the years...Cantor won't?
And just round the corner from Sir Cliff Road?
A local school:-
NOFX? Punk power? Fuck the system and the politic?
Listen, NOFX. If you're still in the charts in 30 years time, then you can fuck the system and brew your own wine. In the meantime, stop corrupting our young.
Besides...You look like an ugly Take That.
Don't you all feel summery now?
Saturday, March 11, 2006
This is Planet Earth. BBC's new pull out all the stops nature series.
Say "Planet Earth" to me and I think of Duran Duran. And when I think of Duran Duran, I think of the video to Rio, with the boys sailing at high speed on the high seas, the sea breeze blowing back their immaculate hair, blowing up their immaculate white trousers, cooling and salting their immaculate, tiny, hairless bollocks.
I'd love to see them transported to this show. The Great White Shark who leaps and mercilessly crunches into a poor seal would mercifully take Simon le Bon between its jaws and luxuriate in the warming blubber of one of Britain's tossiest pop idols.
Planet Earth is full of sumptuous images. Millions of birds flying across a blue sky. Millions of caribou hiking across the plains of Canada. A pair of cute little polar bears sliding down an icy slope with their mother.
David Attenborough is narrating but I don't really notice what he's saying. Betty says at one point that it sounds as though he's having trouble with his dentures, but I'm just drifting away, watching the groovy digital images. There doesn't seem to be any real narrative, nothing particularly educational, just David's soothing voice, some sound effects of animals mooing or whatever they do, some Russian music when we're in Russia, some Japanese music when we're in Japan.
Cameras nowadays can do close ups from over a kilometre away (that's 6,500 salad plates, Vicus) so that giraffe crossing water doesn't know he's being watched. Woo hoo! Geoffrey!
The programme is repeated at weekends for your kids to watch, but I'd warn you that every now and again, there are bits the kids won't enjoy.
The aforementioned Great White Shark's movements are slowed down by a factor of 40 as it lunches on a seal (where's Paul McCartney when you need him?). We have the heartbreaking sight of a young elephant losing its mother after hundreds of miles of toiling through dry African terrain, searching for water. The youngster finds its mother's tracks and follows them. In the wrong direction.
Now they've got the technology to film this, watch a poor baby walk off to certain death, but not the humanity to help the poor thing out with water and directions. But I suppose your kids will realise how lucky they are to have a home and security and not wake up with nightmares of lost Dumbos.
As with all modern BBC Attenborough programmes, there's a boring 10 minute "how it was done" bit at the end. And they've really pulled out the stops this time. Just look at this equipment, this chopper with that 30 squillion dollar camera hanging off its bottom!
Christ, what a yawn. Here's the cast following a dog hunt...
Two weeks they spend trying to get a shot of a pack of wild dogs catching an impala. Three guys in a chopper, two guys off-roading. The first few days are enough really for us to see exactly how the dogs hunt. And guess what? The dogs are intelligent hunters! They're not all like Goofy, you know. They split up to surround the impala!
They just miss their prey and the impala runs away. We've seen enough.
But, no. The men are gutted. They want to see the kill. They're not satisfied until they see the dogs intelligently rip the life out of their prospective dinner. And just maybe they want another couple of weeks of driving and flying around being all macho, and getting paid for the privilege.
"He's a real maniac!" an off-roading guy shouts out as the chopper comes low and fast over his head.
"Whoa!" they shout as they try to keep up with the dogs and almost go into a ditch.
They get back to base camp one night and one of the tents is on fire. They put out the flames and wonder what could have happened if the chopper had been there with its 30 squillion dollar camera. A nightmare scenario.
On the last day (isn't it always the last day) they finally get their shot of the dogs closing in on an impala. The impala, though it can swim barely better than me, leaps into a river.
"The crocs'll get him," says a macho voice.
The crocs don't get him, you silly prick. The dogs are called away to an actual kill which the machomen missed, as our poor impala scrambles up the bank to run another day.
This is planet earth, kids. Get used to it.
No animals were harmed in the writing of this badly written, long-winded piece of shit.
Tuesday, March 07, 2006
Frank Sinatra is a man's man. Just look at the Rat Pack! Frank, Deano, Sammy, Dopey, Sleepy...They all liked nothing more than a boy's night out. Practical jokers to a man, drinking, laughing, and talking at the tops of their voices. All that testosterone and aftershave, hugging each other in their man's man's way.
Horrible. I don't even like shaking hands. And if an alpha male presses his hand into the small of my back, I feel like donkey-kicking him in the shins. Don't touch me, you hetero freak.
No, it's me that's the freak of course. I should be loving a man getting me in a headlock and messing up my hair. Especially if that other man was Frank Sinatra.
But I don't like Frank's persona. I don't like his voice. And I don't like the songs he sang. I don't like Bing Crosby, but I like his voice and the songs he sang.
Sorry, Mum. If I have to choose between one of these wise guys to be the greatest, then it's King Bing for me.
New York, New York. The end of the evening at a wedding reception. All but one of the guests gather together in a big circle, link arms, and do a kind of hokey cokey, kicking the shit out of the 30 year old spinster or bachelor in the middle. That's Frank Sinatra for you. And it's not pleasant.
But my mum loves him. To her, he is the greatest artist of all time. She would have loved to have seen him live at any stage of his career but she never had the chance. But on Saturday she did see him live and he was everything she'd ever wanted. Even though he's been dead for nearly eight years.
There was a 24 piece orchestra. There was a stage full of young male and female dancers. And there was a big screen which came down from the ceiling and projected a live Frank. The young Frank, the middle-aged Frank, and the old Frank. Interspersed with commentaries from Frank himself, talkling about his life and times from beyond the grave. Everything a Frank fan could ever want. Stuff your Rat Pack stage show and your Louis Hoover Frank Sinatra Impressionist. This was the real thing.
And my mum was surprised by the audience. There was a family with a couple of late teenage boys. And the boys were having a whale of a time, clapping along and singing at the tops of their voices. There were other young people there, too. Although the majority were grey-hairs.
I'm not surprised these boys were there. Where are the men's men middle-aged pop stars for the youngsters to look up to? Ian Brown? Sting? Paul Weller? Bryan Adams? Morrissey? These are all individuals, you can't imagine any of them preferring multiple male company to the companionship of the one person they love.
And can you imagine Morrissey delivering a horse's head to Andy Rourke's bed in the middle of the night?
If you can, you're more of a man than I am.
Sunday, March 05, 2006
"I see you've got one of the old minis," I say, trying to be friendly.
"Don't worry," he says. "I'll cover it up soon. She'll only moan".
He points up at Mrs Next Door's window.
"I like the old minis," I lie, thinking of The Fucking Italian Job and You were only supposed to blow the bloody doors off.
"I'm going to get a turbo lump for it. You can have a go in it when I've done it up".
I don't know what a turbo lump is but it sounds like he's going to make it into a fast little motor.
"No, it's alright. I only like to look at old cars," I say, worried that if I were to drive it I'd write off both the car and myself. "So you're going to do it up?"
"Yeah. Should make three or four thousand. Once I get it smartened up and get the turbo lump fitted."
He's towering over me, looking down at me with a fast car lover's enthusiasm. As if I'm really itching to get behind the wheel of his little death trap.
"I can see you really fancy a drive. You'll have to wait a bit longer, though. Once I get it spruced up and get the turbo lump fitted. You know with the mini, it's a fun car. You may only be doing 70 but it feels like you're doing over 100 because you're so close to the ground. You'll love it. Don't worry, once I get going on it, it won't take too long. You'll get your chance."
"No, it's alright. I only like to look at old cars."
Friday, March 03, 2006
I said, "Oh God, yes. There's nothing worse than daytime television. All that shouting!"
So my mum's now online and tentatively trying emails. She sent me an email to say she'd heard I'd met my aunt in Sainsbury's. I sent her one back to say, yes, we'd discussed daytime television and we'd agreed it is full of people shouting on programmes like The Jeremy Kyle Show.
Yesterday evening, we visited my mum. She said she thought my email was funny and that she'd told my aunt that when I'd met her in Sainsbury's I thought she was like one of the people on The Jeremy Kyle Show.
"You wait till I see him," said my aunt.
I asked my mum how my uncle's birthday do at the dog track went. She said the steak was well done, in fact it was so well done it was black. She said she was placed on a table with my step dad, my aunt, my aunt's male companion, and the birthday boy's best friend who'd travelled all the way from Cornwall (although he is not Cornish, nor related to the Cornish side of my family, nor to any side of my family) as a birthday surprise.
The best friend of mein host is tight as arseholes apparently, and did not volunteer to pay for any drinks, not even his own. As soon as they were seated around the table, he proceeded to completely dominate the conversation and spent the whole three hours talking about sex and his wonderful, beautiful, younger wife who'd stayed at home, probably glad of a night's peace.
The man was completely obsessed with telling sexual stories which all petered out into a vague nothingness but had moments which he found so exciting that he had to grab hold of my aunt's arm as with a mouth full of pudding, he spat "masturbation" and "viagra" all over my aunt's lemon pie.
My step dad won £28 on a couple of races, my mum broke even, and it sounded like a fucking good time was had by all.
Maybe next time they'll invite me.
Wednesday, March 01, 2006
The receptionist says, "Oh, it's you again. You have been in the wars, haven't you? Poor you. It tends to go like that sometimes.
She books me in for a week on Monday.
"Oh, Monday the 13th," she says. "Lucky it's not Friday the 13th."
Yes, it is lucky.
(THE HORROR that could have been).
On a lighter note, the following are a few of the search phrases people from all over the world have used over the past week in order to access my occasionally entertaining dream blog:-
Michelle Bass Rebecca Loos Nuts
Slowboat to China Chords
Wet armpits of Maria Sharapova pictures
Wet knickers blog
Pictures of women in cut offs
GE Penis Horse
Wet Dreams and Older Men
Dreams about warts on feet
Dreams of Floods and Darkness
And voted by Betty and myself as our personal favourite, and very topical considering the recent Winter Olympics:-
"Robin Cousins" film montage