Friday, February 29, 2008

Get Thee To Butlins

The bankers are on the train, agreeing how it's "unfair on parents" that travel companies put prices up in the school holidays.

Never heard of supply and demand, dickheads?

One of the poor sausages had to pay £4,000 for his family's two week August holiday. In June it would only have cost £2,000.

£4,000? Where are they going? The fucking Moon?

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Austen Allegro

We are watching BBC4's Saturday Classics season, catching up on all the stuff we missed first time round.

Last night we finished watching the production of Pride and Prejudice which got a lot of dotty women hot under the brassiere when it was first shown in the 90s. In it, Mr Darcy is truly one dark, brooding cunt.

And there was something we noticed that even the most avid Austen fan might have missed. It seems that in Austen adaptations, the heroes dress to the right whilst the villains dress to the left.

Did Jane stipulate in her will such fine details for any future theatrical productions of her work?

Or is it a costume drama convention?

Sunday, February 24, 2008

500 Miles

The short documentary on Edwyn Collins' rehabilitation from his stroke was extremely moving. It's sister programme about the Scottish music scene from the late seventies was a load of shit.

I was ready to learn about Postcard Records and Scotland's indie heritage. What we got instead was an early dismissal of indie labels by Claire Grogan and a dispiriting trawl through 80s bollocks such as Hue & Cry, Deacon Blue, The Proclaimers, Wet Wet Wet et al. They even tacked on fucking Scottish political independence and the SNP and the bloke out of Runrig, none of which has anything to do with the music scene but more to do with washed up minor pop artists trying to keep their names in the media as some sort of spokespeople for a generation of people with crap music taste.

There was no mention of The Skids, the early good Simple Minds and absolutely no mention of Jesus & Mary Chain or even Primal Scream.

How can Edith Bowman live with herself for reading the script that made Scottish music sound about as vibrant as Ireland's?

Friday, February 22, 2008

Much Ado About Nothing

As part of my job I am responsible for making sure the switchboard is always staffed. Due to staff reductions recently I have had to call upon temps, something I hadn’t done for ten years or so. How times have changed!

In the 90s, a temporary telephonist was more often than not an Australian on a year’s stay in London. Now it seems she is more likely to be British. Not just British, but a well-spoken between-jobs British actress.

Three times in the past few weeks I’ve been telling various actresses about the play wot I wrote and I’m getting tired of it. It was, after all, 16 years ago now and it’s a bit pathetic to keep harking on about something that got one derogatory review in the Ham & High.

I think I get on well with actors though I’d like to know what they’re thinking about me. In my experience they’re always really friendly, but you never know what kind of egomaniac is lurking beneath the mask.

I’ve decided I won’t mention my silly little play to the next one I meet. I’ll just talk about them, what kind of theatre they prefer, whether they’ve been on the telly, whether they write as well as act...

...what they think of Darius Danesh.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008


We are enjoying the third episode of the BBC2 repeat of BBC3's excellent comedy, Pulling. I laugh out loud when Karl accidently gives himself a Hitler moustache. I laugh again as he is run over, lifts his arm for help and gets a smack in the mouth for being a nazi. And I laugh when he realises he has landed in dog shit, this time with recognition.

"We've seen this bit before," I say to Betty.

"This was the programme that Ian Penman recommended on his blog. He said that some BBC3 comedies aren't given the accolades they deserve because of the critics' snobbishness towards the channel. We tried to watch this episode at the time. You said it was shit, ha ha ha."

"Oh yes," I say, "I remember."

"There's a bit later where they play The Smiths when he's feeling suicidal. You thought it was too obvious."

"Oh yes," I say. "And here I am enjoying it."

"Ha ha ha."

"I did the same with the Sopranos, didn't I? I said the first episode was too slow until you started watching it. Now I think it's the best thing ever."

"And The Wire," says Betty.

"Did I?"

"You were going to give that up after 20 minutes."

"Was I?"

"Ha ha ha. And you laughed out loud at the Hitler moustache last time too. Did you forget that?"

"Ha ha ha."

N.B. The ha ha ha's in this post signify actual laughter, not cruel mockery.

Monday, February 18, 2008

The Bowls Trip

"The raffle causes more problems than anything. The trouble is, as soon as one year's trip is over, Alf is on the phone asking how many people for next year's. It's what he lives for now.

You've got to feel sorry for him. He must have had a stroke - he talks out of the side of his mouth and dribbles everywhere. His jacket and shirt are covered in saliva. You don't want to brush up against him, although he does have a tendency to get a little close for comfort when coming round with the raffle tickets.

This year we had a little altercation. We missed out on the raffle tickets; we weren't in the bar, we were in the lounge. Alf's 80 year old pitbull assistant started hassling and we gave him some good tempered banter in reply. The pitbull took offence. He didn't like being spoken to like that.

We were eventually worn down and bought some tickets. We won the £6 prize but Len, the organiser of the trips, has funny turns and he tore up our winning ticket.

But good-hearted Len told Alf what he'd done. Alf came to our table and took six pound coins from his pocket and put them beside my drink. The coins were stuck together, covered in an unknown bodily fluid.

I went to the Ladies and washed the coins and my hands with soap and water. I dried them under the warm air hand dryer."


"You must get a hobby when you retire, Geoff."

Friday, February 15, 2008

Never Mind The Bollocks, Here's Bob Ogley

You can stick your Jon Savage up your arse. The only true account of punk is here, those times as seen by a true newpaperman, author, raconteur and Betty's favourite columnist, Bob Ogley. Bob not only lived through punk, he lived through the War, dodging doodlebugs, and through the Great Storm of 1987, dodging Sevenoaks's seven falling oaks. Here are some gems from the article...

" I imagine many people younger than me will disagree with my assessment of this noisy, heroin-addicted, sickeningly obnoxious band but I understand their desire to find an alternative sound to the poor music offered in the mid-1970s. I certainly accept their place in history as the group which launched this unforgettable new cult."

Dead right, Bob. What did we have in the mid-70s? Prog, Bob! All those dinosaurs in their mansions with their banks of keyboards. Long-haired layabouts. You couldn't tell if it was a boy or a girl until you'd pinched its arse.

"A bit of a rebel himself, McLaren made them work in his shop selling such items as T-shirts and dodgy bondage wear."

McLaren's bondage wear was always dodgy. The zips were always breaking. And many a time was the blood completely cut off from a young man's pride and joy. Older, more experienced members of our society knew where to get more reliable bondage wear. And that certainly wasn't the King's Road.

"The Pistols rapidly picked up a following of arty weirdos and disenchanted speed freaks and achieved instant fame following a TV interview in December 1976 when several times they used a four-letter word - the first people ever to say f... on telly. Instantly, they were a household name."

For "arty weirdos" read "art-school students", weirdos every one, many of whom went on to form their own so-called "punk" bands. The speed freaks had been around for years and were just glad to have some fast paced music to accompany their drug taking. The instant fame of the Pistols was gained at the expense of the career of a good, honest journalist and tv presenter. What they did to poor Bill Grundy was unforgiveable.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

My Funny Valentine

Is your figure less than Greek?

Is your mouth a little weak?

When you open it to speak
Are you smart?

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Froggie Went A Wooing

Q: What do rude frogs like to watch?

A: Frog's porn.

Yes, I'm not above telling crap jokes during the most moving piece of film on television this week. I didn't shed a tear along with Bobby Charlton but I did with David Attenborough. The Panamanian golden frog is no longer in the wild. Once upon a time you had to watch your step unless you splattered one. Now, thanks to a bastard fungus the only golden frogs left in Panama are in captivity.

Awww. Look at his little hand waving.

Goodbye-ee, Goodbye-ee,
Wipe the tear, baby dear, from your eye-ee
Tho' it's hard to part, I know,
I'll be tickled to death to go,
Don't cry-ee, don't sigh-ee,
There's a silver lining in the sky-ee!
Bon Soir, old thing! Cheerio! Chin-Chin,
Nah-Poo, Toodle-oo, Goodbye-ee

Monday, February 11, 2008

A Digital Experience

Today we went to the cinema for the first time in two years, encouraged by all those good reviews for the Coen Brothers' latest, No Country For Old Men.

We go to see Coen Brothers films at the cinema. They're always worth seeing once, if no more. We haven't got any DVDs of their films and we won't be getting this one.

Don't get me wrong, it's well worth seeing. It looks good, it's got lots of tension, plenty of humour, some great performances and...

Well, that's about it really. We've seen it, it's filed to memory, somewhere.

Probably worth an Oscar or two but that's not saying a great deal in an age of shite English language films. (The previews of the forthcoming attractions at the cinema confirmed my prejudices).

We're going again in a few days to see the latest film featuring Daniel Day Lewis, There Will Be Blood. We always see films with Daniel in as he's a modern day acting giant.

Let's hope the film does him at least a modicum of justice.

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Would It Be Too Much To Ask To Play It On A Saturday?

The most embarrassing thing to come out of West Ham's Pardew era was not losing to a Neil Shipperley (for Christ's sake) goal in the play-off final. It was those fucking t-shirts.

I loved Bobby Moore. But those fucking t-shirts, "Moore Than Just A Football Club". What a half-arsed wanky piece of disrespectful advertising. Pardew looked a prick in his and so did anyone else who bought one.

So to tomorrow. We've had all week to remember the Busby Babes. We had our minute's silence before the England game. But tomorrow's the Manchester derby. Manchester united in remembrance. Will the City fans cry? Did the Everton fans cry when Liverpool remembered Hillsborough? Did Bradford Park Avenue fans cry on the anniversary of City's fire? Remember that horrific day?

In the week that the cunts in charge of our national game get erect penises over fucking even more with its history, we've all got to tune into Sky tomorrow, God's day of rest, to cry over something that happened before a lot of us were born. And the players are wearing a special 1950s kit with, get this, no advertising! What a mark of respect! Long, baggy shorts, v-necked shirts, big, clunky boots smeared with dubbin, a ball as hard as a coconut, half-time cigarettes and cups of tea in a steaming dressing room.

It's the no advertising on the shirts that really brings a tear to my eye, though. I hope they'll be on sale afterwards. I want to look like Gary Neville.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Shoot Me Now

I meet my cousin on the train. We bump into each other about once every six months. We talk a bit about old times.

When we were young we used to go tenpin bowling together. Neither of us goes now. But he tells me the bowling game on the Wii console is pretty much as good as the real thing. You can even make your ball curl by using the right wrist action!

He does have a hobby nowadays, though. He goes clay pigeon shooting. It's great. You can spend a whole day doing it or even just a couple of hours. It's a sport of great skill and it's very social. He's tried shooting real birds but it's not as satisfying as shooting the clay sort.

Yes, I say, there must be more luck involved in shooting birds. It all depends on their flight path.

I am right. He takes my interest as enthusiasm for trying his pastime.

"Do you fancy it, Geoff?"

I can't think of anyone less suited to holding a gun and conversing with a bunch of gun toting guys than me. Except perhaps Prince Edward.

"I don't really have the time," I say.

"What do you do with your spare time then? Everybody's got something."

"I write," I say.

"I'M A WRITER!" I shout to the whole carriage.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Life Is A Three Ring Circus

Sunday was the day for the annual church service to celebrate the life of Grimaldi, one of the greatest clowns of all time, if not the greatest.

Separately, clowns and church services give me the willies. Together, they'd be overwhelmingly creepy.

Seeing pictures of the service makes me wonder which songs would be suitable for funerals attended by clowns.

Maybe the following...

Tears of a Clown by Smokey Robinson for a service attended by a clown who is burying a dear one.

Cathy's Clown by the Everley Brothers for the service of a clown whose next of kin is named Cathy.

You won't find another fool like me by The New Seekers for the service of a clown who thought he was the best thing since sliced bread (or since Grimaldi). "I wanna tell ya, You won't find another clown like me babe, No you won't."

Clowntime is Over by Elvis Costello for the service of several clown colleagues who died in a tragic circus van pile up on the M1.

The vicar would wear a flower which would spurt water into the faces of the mourners as they shook hands to thank him for the service.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Monday, February 04, 2008

Contains Mild Peril - Review

Today someone found my blog by typing "what a load of shit" into yahoo search.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Frankly My Dear, I Care A Great Deal

Talking with an actress yesterday, as you do, I discovered the identity of the actor who's going to play Rhett Butler in Trevor Nunn's forthcoming stage musical production of Gone With The Wind.

It is none other than Pop Idol failure, Darius Danesh.

Real actors, actors who have trod the boards and put the hours of pain in, are really pissed off with this. And so they should be. Apparently Hugh Jackman, a genuinely talented hard-working musical actor, was originally up for the part but something happened and Darius snuck in there.

There is a crisis in musical theatre. Do we, as a nation, allow these reality show johnny-come-latelys into an artform we've held dear for generations? Trevor Nunn is pissing on the legacy of Michael Crawford.

And I, for one, am not going to stand for it.

I refuse to buy any more tickets for musicals until this abomination is stopped dead in its tracks.

Friday, February 01, 2008

Shake, Rattle & Roll

As you do, we were discussing last night the possibility of forming a kind of skiffle band using medical add-ons to a failing body as musical instruments.

So a percussionist could be playing the false teeth.

A piper could be playing the colostomy bagpipes.

Hearing aids could be used as amplifiers.

A tracheostomy tube could be used as a kind of vocoder.

An amplified (via hearing aid) pacemaker would provide the backing rhythm.

Hooked hands could scratch records.

Any other ideas on this quiet Friday?