Thursday, November 30, 2006

Get The Beers In

It's the most wonderful time of the year.....

This is the time of year when hard-working Geoffrey turns into a social animal. My grandmother used to say to me "All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy." This was during my 'O' Levels, from a woman who never had any play in her adult life.

The thing is, however much I hate work, I find it preferable to having to socialise.

The following are the highlights of Thursday and Friday lunchtimes:-

1. Thursday lunchtime in the Maple Leaf pub, a Canadian theme pub with pictures of Mounties on the walls and Molson on tap. Knowing that once I start on the red wine I won't stop, I had myself two halves of John Smiths Smooth - Britain's favourite bitter and the only one in the pub. I accompanied this with a cold BLT on soft baguette...

A couple of others in our little gang gorged themselves on this muck...

...poutine, the Canadian national dish of chips, cheese and gravy. This prompted a five minute discussion on the tastiness of chips with curry sauce. Throughout the lunch hour my digestion held up remarkably well - I know my limits, and like Ken Barlow, two halves of bitter are enough for my delicate constitution.

2. Friday lunchtime in the Porterhouse, an Irish themed designer pub. Knowing that once I start on the red wine I won't stop, I ordered myself a £3.05 pint of Porterhouse Red...

...although an "ale", not really an improvement on the John Smiths Smooth.

This was a mistake.

The only other beer drinker, a lager drinker, finished his second pint and asked me if I wanted another. Me with three quarters of a pint left.

"No thanks," I said.

"Oh go on, keep me company."

"Oh alright, I'll have a half, please."

"Go on have a pint."

And he's off to the bar to get me another pint.

I know it's going to fuck up my guts but I've got to be polite and of course I've got to buy him a pint in return when he quickly guzzles down his third pint.

If only I was a stronger personality, if I could say "no" in a firm but polite way, if only I was six foot seven and built like a brick shithouse, I'm sure my guts wouldn't suffer so much. But I'm weak and give in to peer pressure.

And Christmas hasn't even started yet. These two outings were to celebrate a birthday and a leaving-work. Tomorrow we celebrate my mum's 75th at The Victorian Restaurant. What is Victorian food? Betty has mentioned greengages. Will it involve offal, hearts and kidneys? I know one thing's for sure. I'm going to suffer.


It’s someone’s birthday at work today. Someone else is leaving for another job tomorrow. I’ve had to sign two cards. I have two stock phrases for each eventuality.

Have a great birthday
Wishing you a very happy birthday

All the best in your new job
Enjoy your new job

The act of writing any one of these wishes gets me down. I am a glass half-empty kinda guy. But I put on a happy face and get on with it.


Yesterday I saw Leonard Cohen near Trafalgar Square. If it wasn’t Leonard Cohen, I’m a Scientologist and I’m about to buy a property near Tom Cruise’s new one near East Grinstead, the home of Scientology.

Leonard was with a much younger, dark-haired woman.

Leonard wore sunglasses.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Toffee Galore

Chubby Broccoli, the fat vegetarian producer of the James Bond films, first saw the new Bond, Daniel Craig, in a film called The Mother. The Mother was written by Hanif Kureishi, and is too miserable for words. We bravely fought our way through it on Sunday and Monday.

In the film, Daniel not only shags his best friend's sister, he shags their mother, too. He swears a lot and sniffs cocaine off a Black & Decker Workmate. All very un-Bond like.

Then again, maybe it's time for Bond to appreciate the older woman. Now they've filmed all the books they're going to have to start on remakes. Why not recast the original Bond girls in the same roles? I'm sure Ursula Andress and Honor Blackman wouldn't mind a little bit of adventure. And going by The Mother, Daniel would be well up for it, too. You can't beat experience in the spy game. After all, a plateful of granny's homemade stew goes down a damn sight better than a dodgy mouthful of raw fish.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Flushed Away

As a youngster, Pinky and Perky used to scare the shit out of me...

If I'd been a child growing up in the past fifteen years, any Nick Park animation would have done the same...

The Nick Park grin is a bit of a bowel loosener for a sensitive child...

Uncle Nick's coming to get you.

When he started his campaign of world domination he must have looked himself in the mirror, laughed his evil laugh and boomed, "ONE DAY THIS MOUTH WILL BE EVERYWHERE!"

Because he's an evil bastard, he was desperate for nice middle class children to wake up in cold sweats in the middle of the night, scared out of their wits. If they pissed the bed, even better. Of course, the kids couldn't tell their parents as the stupid mums and dads actually thought Nick's world was part of a nice cosy plasticine English world, like Noddy for the politically correct.

The kids don't like it, mum and dad! They're terrified of the teeth!

And while Nick's in his studio, painstakingly creating his next Nick Park's Mouth Oscar Winner, the Yanks have got in on the act and struck a deal with Aardman to produce a CGI version of the same old same old...

That's it. Next Disney will want a piece of the action and Mickey Mouse, Pluto, even poor Bambi and Dumbo will be recreated with the leading protagonists grinning diabolically. Parents will love it and children all over the world will be having nightmares. And Park will be in his creepy element, satisfied he's spoilt more young lives.

Save the children. Save the babies.

Ban the mouth before it's too late.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006


We looked down from above.

We reflected on things.

We kept out of the gym.

We gave our legs a good stretch and drank more than was good for us.

We saw double.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Suitably Refreshed

Pictures from Ghent soon, but for now a few words on Eurostar.

The Eurostar train may seem a sophisticated form of transport compared to Easyjet. Indeed, checking-in and passport control are so much easier and quicker. And of course a Eurostar passenger has the carbon footprint of a robin as opposed to the elephant's of your frequent flier.

But no matter how nice it seems, the general public do use it and the seats for us ordinary passengers are very similar to airline seats, you get wailing children coming back from Euro Disney and in addition, mobile phones are not outlawed.

In particular, games can be played on mobile phones, games which emit a "beep" sound every twenty seconds inches from my sensitive ears, for most of the journey.

What an annoying tit, twenty years older than me but with the maturity of a three year old. His wife must be used to his noise as she didn't tell him to bloody turn the sound down.

Apparently he'd enjoyed Bruges. I doubt whether the feeling was mutual.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Behind Saraband

Behind Saraband is a documentary about the making of Ingmar Bergman's superb 2003 TV drama -"Saraband".

The director gives the actors clear directions; what, how, and when. These directions free the actors from worrying about anything other than playing their parts.

After a scene, the young actress stands, it seems in tears. She feels she hasn't found 'the truth' in her playing of the scene. The director reassures her. It is not what she feels that is right. What is right is what is seen by the audience. The scene seemed right to the director on his monitor, so it is right for the film. No argument, just gentle reason.

The 84 year old director is more touchy feely with the young actress than with the rest of the cast; a woman and a man in their sixties, a man in his eighties. They have a wealth of experience and do not need a director's guiding hand. The young woman needs the old man to physically move her with his bare hands. Which he does at every possible opportunity, the old goat.

The director never watches any of his own films. Once they are completed, that is it for him. He has lived the film and it is time to move on.


And it is time for me to move on. To Ghent. I will be back next week.

Till we meet again, my friends.

Bottoms up!

Monday, November 13, 2006

Ooh Goody. A Quiz.

We're off for a long weekend on Friday to see our good friends, Adam and Eve. A more miserable looking couple you couldn't wish to encounter.

As I am bored shitless and can't think of anything to write about, here's a little quiz for my long suffering readers.

1. Where do our friends Adam & Eve live?

2. What shampoo do they use?

3. Adam was on the panel of the first Gardeners' Question Time. What was the first question he answered?

4. What is 'their' song? (A clue: It's not Three Times A Lady)

The person with the most correct answers wins a recycled Body Shop comb.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Napoleon Complex

If I was a male emperor penguin, would I say goodbye to the missus as she buggers off to look for food whilst I spend the winter with an egg up my arse, huddled together with hundreds of other males in order to shelter ourselves and our uncomfortable eggs from the biting Antarctic winds?

No. As soon as the females left the males, I'd be running after them, shouting "Room for a little one?" Some other mug could have my egg and my place in the scrum.

The saddest part of the first of the second batch of David Attenborough's Planet Earth programmes was when the poor male arctic polar bear, after a couple of months without food, after swimming the ocean to look for land (as his old home is melted by global warming), finally spots a herd of walruses on a rocky shoreline. The bear is too weak with hunger to get to one of the walrus babies, is gored and ushered away by walrus mothers, and left to die.

I'm sure George Bush would say that this is what God intended to happen.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Keep 'Em On

Since Jack Duckworth has lost his sex drive, he hasn't had much going for him. He hasn't even got the prospect of work to skive from - he's not going to be one of Corrie's army of working pensioners. Vera's sexual promises are becoming more and more pie in the sky as they both settle down into a very dull old age. No pigeons. No gee gees. Just a few more years of sitting around giving worldly advice to the incredibly dim-witted Tyrone.

And last night, as Vera, Molly and Fiz secretly arranged Jack's 70th birthday bash (pretending to Jack, Tyrone, and Tyrone's partner-in-dim, Kirk, that they were going on a girls' jaunt to Amsterdam), dim-witted Tyrone arranged in turn a secret strippergram for Jack in the Rovers.

So the party started, and surprise surprise, the stripper turned up at the same time and Kirk ushered her out of the pub before she had a chance to even take off her fake copper's hat and shake her hair loose.

Jack's libido completely shot, he couldn't give a shit and announced to all and sundry that the celebration should be a celebration of JackandVera as he'd be nothing without his little pumpkin pie. Or words to that effect.

I really hope that's the last strippergram I see. It's been a long-term fear of mine, ever since the living dead in the Thatcher government declared them as FUN, that some bloody idiot would arrange one for a birthday of mine.

I would run a mile. Literally. You wouldn't see my heels for dust and your evening would be ruined and so would mine. The stripper would get paid for doing nothing. What a fucking waste of money and time.

The only thing I've had to encounter that was close was near my 40th birthday. Me and some workmates were "celebrating" Christmas at TGI Fridays. Now, I love Fridays. Thank God it's Friday so I can fuck off home and leave anybody who enjoys socialising with workmates to their FUN at a shitty American theme restaurant.

So they announce it's my 40th birthday. The waitress brings a cake for me to blow out the candles and the whole fucking restaurant sings Happy Birthday to me. Everybody encourages me to stand on my chair.

Well fuck that. I don't stand on chairs for anyone. I sit there extremely red faced. The others on my table feel short changed.

I've ruined everybody's Christmas and you know what?

I'm glad.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

On The Death Of The Greatest Rock 'N' Roll Venue Of All Time

Johnny Joey Dee Dee
The toilets full of wee wee
Goodbye to CBGB's
Let's listen to the Bee Gees

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Norman Wisdom, Johnny, Joey, Dee Dee

I see a lot of these on my travels. Young people, under half my age, wearing teeshirts or carrying bags with this logo. The Ramones logo is a fashionable logo. In fact, I probably see more of these than Kurt Cobain's miserable face. The Ramones are cool. Cool dudes. Yeah.

There was a time when band logos on teeshirts were uncool. When I wore them, of course.

My first band teeshirt was designed by Roger Dean and illegally traced by my dad. It took him bloody ages in the garage, after work in the evenings, at weekends, to get the Yes logo onto a silk screen. It was a totally illegal operation because the materials were nicked from work, but it was done out of love and a need to get away from the rest of the family in the garage when he could have been watching Benny Hill or The Generation Game with the rest of us.

And after all that work, he only used the screen once to print a blue logo onto my cheap yellow teeshirt, my only teeshirt at the time which didn't have those awful capped sleeves.

Did I look good in my tight yellow Yes teeshirt, my hair cascading down to meet the top of the crew neck?

Of course I didn't, but I wore that damned teeshirt for most of my teens.


Ohmygod, rockin' Dire Straits came along with their Making Movies sweatshirt. I loved that subtle red creation. It was so comfortable I even wore it in an ironic way long after I'd stopped digging The Knopf's finger plucking. Even when he was wanking around with Sting on that cancerous Brothers In Arms album. Yes, I was that perverse. And as an added bonus, it certainly kept all those horrible women at arm's length - as a late developer this suited me right down to the ground.

Since then there has been the mistake of the Prince Lovesexy Tour Teeshirt which was totally unsexy, worn once, and not really suitable to iron. The nineties and the noughties have so far been band-teeshirt-free for me. I have matured and I am slowly growing up, too.

So what now? What should a middle aged man be wearing?

I've got my eye on a nice little Trivium number.

We'll buy the hoodie from Primark. Who fancies a few months in my dad's old garage?

Sunday, November 05, 2006

In New Music We Trust

Gratuitous shot of Girls Aloud. Which one's your favourite?

December's Uncut is out - time for me to catch up on the new music I missed out on during the year.

Number One in their top 50 albums is Bob Fucking Dylan. "Is he still going?" I hear you ask. Yes, and music journalists are still sucking his dick, as hard rocking Americans might say. Bob was bloody good 40 years ago but 40 years is a bloody long time and now he sounds like he's playing for the dead.

Uncut try to sell me new Americana shit all the time and I'm not having any of it. I'm not having any of the kooky Bjork-like Joanna Newsom, either. One kooky Bjork is more than enough for one lifetime.

Last year at this time I discovered the Vitalic album months after anybody in the know. This year it's the turn of Hot Chip ("wry tech-geeks" who admittedly I have heard quite a few times but it's taken them all this time to wear me down) and CSS (Brazilian "punk-funk" according to the hip old gits at Uncut).

As you should know by now I'm not a fan of blogging that slags off hard-worked shop assistants but I think it's time for me to get on the bandwagon.

Ten minutes I was waiting there as the gothette-lite was looking for the Hot Chip CD under 'C'.

"Hot Chip's under 'H'" said a more senior assistant. "Band names are filed under the first name, solo artists are under surnames."

First day nerves or maybe she'd only ever bought albums by bands with one name such as Incubus, Sucubus, and Cocubus?

She didn't have to look for the Girls Aloud Greatest Hits I bought as they were pre-packaged. OK, I know I'm setting you up for a punchline.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Weekend Teaser

Are hush puppies

the Kid Jensens

of the dog world?

Friday, November 03, 2006

A Mother's Logic

You know that other one off Little Britain? Not the fat bald one?

The other one.

Him. He's gay as well.

But he's a real heterosexual stud. He's been with loads of women. He's shagged Abi Titmuss, for Christ's sake.

Has he really? He was seen out with Denise Van Outen. She was just covering for him. They weren't sleeping together, they were shopping together...Besides, I can tell.


They were on the Paul O'Grady Show. You know he's gay?

Is he?

Course he is. Well, every gay he's had on there, when he greets them they give him a kiss on the cheek. Julian Clary did. The little fat bald one did. And his friend did. When real men go on the Paul O'Grady Show they just shake hands.

In a manly way?

You'll see, Geoff. He'll be out of the cupboard soon.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Bushell on the Radio

I put on the radio for ten minutes a day. Radio 4 at 6.25 a.m. A bit of news. A bit of waffle from some correspendent who seems to repeat whatever is said by the bod in the studio. A bit of sports news. And quite often a plug for a radio comedy show.

It wasn't that long before Linda Smith died that they previewed a show by taking the piss out of the strange accents of comedians like Smith and Mark Steele. Betty's much better at doing the uniquely wanky voice of Steele than I am, which is strange because he grew up not that far from where I did.

Linda Smith grew up a lot nearer, just up the road in Erith. She had an accent like no-one else in Erith. I wasn't really taken with her humour.

Just after her death, I saw the repeat of the Room 101 show she did. She seemed a nice, genuine person and it made for heartbreaking viewing. And then I had a dream where I walked into a courtyard and there were people milling around, waiting for the unveiling of a memorial to Linda. Her death was obviously affecting me in ways her life didn't.

Then this morning I hear the trailer for yet another tribute to her. Steele, Jo Brand, and the OTT-voiced professional Londoner Arthur Smith all have their memories. The joke Brand remembers is the one that Linda is probably most famous for, the one I've heard about 1,000 times.

"I grew up in Erith, a place that is so crap it's not twinned with anywhere. But it does have a suicide pact with Dagenham."

I'm sure she could have been remembered for many witticisms but this is the one we are stuck with as her legacy.

Yes, Erith is crap (as I am sure Dagenham must be). But it's no more crap than most places. Most of us still live in these crap places and did not escape to exciting old London or to the safe cossetted yet exciting BBC land of panel shows. Most of us get on with living in dull suburbia with its lack of excitement, its houses with gardens and flats without, its roads and pavements, its bits of green, and hot and cold running water and heating in the winter. I'm quite happy to be bored in these circumstances. Erith and Dagenham don't have particularly high rates of poverty or crime. We can't all lead exciting lives but most of us are fed and warm and feel safe.

Erith and Dagenham are also two of the few places in Greater London a lot of us can afford to buy property. So we're really stuck in the crap, aren't we?

I'm sure Linda had some withering put-downs of arsehole politicians in her repertoire so why do the BBC highlight this particularly crap, offensive joke?

Do I really need to answer that?

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Observation v Opinion

Of course I like showing off (why else would I have a blog), but I dislike arguments. It hurts me when other bloggers contradict me when I say something or somebody on the telly is shit. It hurts me to realise I am wrong.

But is there enough for me to write about if I limit this blog to just observation? I'm afraid I can't do it.

It's very difficult for me to observe without sticking in my tuppence worth. Even when I do try it, say with the Peter Stringfellow post, you assume things, don't you? I say I see Peter Stringfellow and I say nothing bad about him, yet everybody thinks that my opinion of him is that he's a sexist old scrote who should be made a target at a shooting range for crackpot crackshot militant feminist sharpshooters.

I can't help it, I'm a natural character assassinator and the telly brings out the worst in me as I shout insults at all and sundry. One of these days I'm going to throw something heavy at a particularly smug comedian and then I'll need a new telly.

The problem is, a lot of those people I despise are thought to be talented by fellow bloggers.

Oh dear.

I really want to please each and every one of you, all 20 of you, (it was 4 for ages so you're less of an exclusive bunch now), but I suppose it's not possible. I hope you all consider me as your friend, albeit a friend you'll never meet (let me assure you you'll never want to meet me as in the flesh, even drunk I'm as shy and retiring as a sober Mavis Riley).

The cut and thrust of debate does not interest me. As long as we're all nice middle class wet liberals, I'm happy to share cyberspace with people with different senses of humour. There's nothing worse, after all, than a bunch of people all laughing at something because it is "supposed" to be funny, not because it actually tickles their funny bone. A theatrical performance of one of Shakespeare's comedies or Eddie Izzard Live spring to mind.

So please bear with me next time I insult one of your comedy icons.

Rest assured, I will be wrong and you will be right.