Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Thought for the Day

You know those World's Best Dad mugs? Patently bollocks, aren't they? There's only one world's best dad, whoever he may be.

And so many dads have got them, you've got to wonder how many of them are less World's Best Dad than World's Biggest Cunt.

There have got to be dads out there who, when they're not being great dads, are absolute cunts. And it goes without saying that a lot of these dads are closer to being the world's biggest cunt than being the world's best dad.

So next time you see some big cunt slurping his tea out of his World's Best Dad mug, remember he's unlikely to be the world's best dad. He's just a cunt with a mug.

Monday, March 30, 2009

My Blog's New Manifesto

Would your blog be more or less entertaining if you just wrote an online diary of your working life?

Mine would be a must-read. But I'm not going to do it, of course. I'm not that stupid.

So what you get is a mixture of tv reviews, news commentary and the strange things I'm told or overhear or see. Not really about the stuff that affects me directly.

Why not continue as before?

Because I'm finding it an increasingly arduous task to do the things this blog was set up for. I'm getting bored of waffling on about stuff off the telly. I can comment more succinctly on Twitter. I can get things off my chest there without having to construct something deep and meaningful, making my brain ache.

So from now on, expect ill-thought-out opinion and observation, not long-winded review. There are too many words in the world as it is.

Sunday, March 29, 2009


Last night we watched a talking heads programme in which ex-strikers told us their memories.

There were some surprises.

As a rookie reporter, the odious shit Kelvin MacKenzie had once been on strike. But he spoke with relish about how when it was his turn to be on the management's side in the Wapping dispute he would goad the print workers by sticking two fingers up at them as he drove past the picket lines. People were losing their jobs and he was laughing at them.

As an angry young pilot, Norman Tebbit had withdrawn his labour. But of course the boot was on the other foot when he became Secretary of State for Employment and he presided over the destruction of the working class. He said he was perfect for the job as he had inside information on how unions work, having once been an active union member himself.

Then there was Eddie Shah, once a less than enthusiastic striker, then the enemy of the print workers union as he started the shite Today newspaper using new technology. Shah hates union leaders with a passion and told a story of how five coffins were once sent to his home, one for each member of his family. Whether this was an action perpetrated by union officials, Shah didn't say. But he hates them anyway.

There were women, too. The women of the Dagenham Ford plant, fighting for equal pay with the men. And Anne Scargill, fighting to keep coalminers and their families alive and well during the 84-85 miners' strike.

Back to the men's world, there was the gravedigger who described probably the most animosity aimed at strikers by the general public. But what else can you do, working in appalling conditions with bosses who don't give a shit about your health or welfare?

(This got me thinking, wouldn't it have been funny if, as well as rubbish piling up on the streets, bodies were too? Imagine those documentaries. "The 1970s. 3 Day Week. Petrol shortages. Energy crisis. Rubbish and bodies piling up on the streets. We were ready for a change. A revolution. Four skinny white boys who were hanging around a clothing store called Sex...etc, etc").

And finally there was the miner who appeared on The Tube with The Redskins. He stepped up to the microphone, ready to cut through all that 80s new pop shit with his words of working class solidarity, backed by a soulful socialist worker skinhead combo. And what happened?

The microphone didn't work.

Friday, March 27, 2009

We Have The Actors, Why Not The Writers?

Twitter seems to have thinned things out. I continue to flit between twittering and blogging. But there's less of me here and more of me over there. And my attention span is getting even shorter. I can't read too much, I can't write too much. So why don't I shut up and get on with it?

I've written enough about the first Red Riding on here. The second and third episodes were probably even less entertaining and the various strands didn't really come together satisfactorily. It was a mess which left me not caring what the fuck it was all about. Let's just forget about it and watch something decent.

Like Mad Men. The second series is as good as the first. I can watch this beautifully written character-driven stuff 'til the cows come home. What's particularly galling is that we can't seem to do this stuff in the UK. The Americans hit us with superbly crafted stuff like The Sopranos, The Wire and Mad Men. What do we have? Piss poor adaptations of sensationalist novels.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

A Dose Of Reality

Jade Goody's funeral, on April 4th, will be a "Jade Goody production", according to her publicist, Max Clifford.

Large television screens are to be installed outside her local church for the thousands of members of the public likely to turn up.

The funeral will not, however, be broadcast live on Channel 4. Davina McCall will not whip up the crowd into a frenzy of tears. Attendees will not hold up signs saying "Hello Mum" or "Living The Dream".

It will be a dignified affair. Big Brother obsessives have grown up a lot over the last few months. They now know it's no good living the dream if the dream ends up as a nightmare. Look at Chantelle, falling in love with gorgeous posh Preston, ending up with that little London runt Jermaine.

Life is shit for almost everybody and fame doesn't change that. Reality has kicked in for the reality massive. They will never again be able to watch a young woman on Big Brother without thinking of the future consequences. They will never want to get too attached to strangers ever again. If you hurt when a stranger hurts just how much are you going to hurt when someone close to you hurts?

Britain has grown up.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

No Pets, Please

As I was stroking my sister's dog I was told I look so natural with a dog by my side. My family have given up hoping that I might produce offspring and now are trying to urge me to get a pet. They think, to make my life complete, I need to look after another living being.

Fortunately, when it comes to children and animals me and Betty have pretty similar outlooks. We don't get on with children. We never have, not even when we were children ourselves. OK, I suppose I don't mind children if they're quiet, if they keep themselves to themselves, if they're seen but not heard. But you don't get that a lot nowadays, more's the pity.

We don't get on with cats. Cats give me the creeps. Their suspicious feline movements, their smarmy furry sidling up to your leg, their viciously digging claws, their disgustingly rough tongues, the revolting way they lick their privates, their innate need to kill. If cats were human they'd all be locked up and in straitjackets.

Dogs are a different kettle of fish. We love the sight of a good dog, though not a rubbish little yappy one like a Yorkshire or Cairn Terrier. And dogs seem to like me.

I think dogs know I'd let them get away with things. I'd let them run wherever they'd want, shitting and pissing, sniffing and tasting wherever they'd choose. With our 1980s dog, Cindy, I'd let her shit anywhere in the park, though thoughtfully she never defecated on the football or cricket pitches. I wasn't going to pick it up, it would have made me retch. Of course she'd shit in our garden, too. I'd spend hours going round with a spade, scooping it all up, plopping it in a bucket and tipping it into the sewerage system.

Dogs' waste, vets' bills and the inevitable illnesses and death are what stop me from getting one of these beautiful creatures. And the responsibility, of course. Responsibility for the two of us is all I can muster.

So, no, no children, no animals for the rest of our lives. Nothing to make our lives complete.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

The Damned United

"But, Geoff. You like football. You like films. Why not go and see The Damned United?"

Because I am loyal to the families of my heroes. If the Clough family say the book is a load of old shit and as we all know films of books are very rarely as good as the books, just what is the point?

I will go further and say if any currently or previously working class person does go and see this film they will be betraying their forefathers and mothers. Let's have some solidarity with the Clough family, people.

Besides, the actor playing Billy Bremner looks like Bob Mortimer in a joke wig.

Monday, March 16, 2009


I'd already spoken to my mum earlier in the day. But she phoned back early yesterday evening to tell me my cousin's husband had left her. He'd been having a secret affair for a year and straight out of the blue he left, leaving his middle aged wife and their child. My mum said she was shocked. Of all the marriages in the family this was the one she thought would last. I don't know if all those marriages included mine. I never know with her.

How was I supposed to feel? I'll tell you how I feel. Quite good about it, really. Good to hear about a marital break up in another part of our extended family. First it was my parents, then my sister. But those splits were subject to my dad's influence, weren't they? Everybody knew he was the lowest of the low, going off with a woman twenty-odd years his junior. And it was his blood that made my sister leave her husband.

Well, it's time for my extended family to join the modern world. Divorce happens. Yes, it's painful for the people concerned but we're talking about human beings here, not devils and saints. The question is, will my cousin's husband join my dad in the devil corner? Probably. One tends to see things in black and white from the moral high ground.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Paul O'Grady/Old Lady

My stepdad got tickets off the internet for Paul O'Grady's television chat show. The retireds like Paul O'Grady now he doesn't dress up as a woman.

So off they went to that London, using their free transport passes and joined the queue to get in. But why were there two queues?

The woman in front of my mum said the other queue was the "Priority Queue".

After a while they found out what that meant.

The people in the Priority Queue went in first. Then a few people from my mum's queue were let in. Leaving lots of disappointed pensioners with promises that they shouldn't worry, next time they would be in the priority queue.

So a wasted journey for many, including the old woman who'd got three buses with her son as she was too infirm for the rigours of train and tube travel.

On the back of my mum's tickets, in small letters, it does explain that entry to the show is not guaranteed. Talking to a work colleague I have since found out that this is exactly what they do for Loose Women shows, too. It virtually guarantees a full house.

I am so angry at this I could spit. How Paul O'Grady can treat people who have fought in two World Wars in this way is absolutely disgraceful. O'Grady, if you're reading this, let me tell you now, I will never watch your show. Even if you're still on the telly when I'm retired, I'd sooner watch some cooking bollocks presented by someone with no personality than a so-called man of the people who has absolutely no scruples about wasting the time of hard-working ordinary people.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Mr Bean Goes To Hell

My memory of 1974 is pretty poor. But I'm sure that year wasn't as boringly brown as in this first part of Red Riding. And I'm sure a lot of the police were bastards. But were they really as violent and diabolic as in this fiction?

And as Betty said, the main character was wearing "one of those jackets the young men always wear when they make dramas about the 70s these days." Not a leather bomber in sight.

As with Life On Mars I came away thinking, like the journalist who had a go at the scientologist, YOU WERE NOT THERE!

The story was particularly unbelievable. Sean Bean was not only a nasty successful working class property developer who terrorised his way to wealth, he was a child rapist and murderer, too.

I think.

I wasn't sure by the end.

The police, who knew all about Sean's evil ways, beat up the investigative journalist and gave him a gun to kill Bean. They couldn't do it themselves, you see. They were in too deep.

And for a man who was Yorkshire's answer to Al Capone, it was bloody easy for the wimpy, badly injured young journalist to breach Bean's security and shoot dead his two bodyguards then Bean himself.

This week's Yorkshire Ripper case should be interesting. Sutcliffe will seem like a pussycat in comparison to Mr Bean.

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Once Upon A Time In The West

My stats tell me I had 174 unique visitors yesterday, a massive increase on my usual small readership. Which only goes to prove THE POWER OF TWITTER and the insignificance of day to day blogging.

Still, let's get back to normal.

We're not having a holiday this year, this year being 2009 Worry About The Future Year, so we have to take vicarious pleasures. The 2-part series Touring Britain with David Heathcote (repeated at 11.30 on BBC4 tomorrow night) was a pleasure. In the first part he used an 1887 Baedeker Guide to tour the north west of England and in the second he used a couple of 1930s Shell Guides to tour Dorset and Cornwall.

What about that erection, eh?

I was already enjoying David's company but when he got to Padstow I began to like him even more. It took him an age to find somewhere to park and walking round Padstow's crowded streets he could take it no longer.

"Padstow: it's rammed with people of the most obnoxious kind. And it sucks."

The guide David was using was written by John Betjeman.

"The thing about the Betjeman entries, it's all about the buildings, it's not about the people at all. Sometimes it's the people that are the problem. I feel like the worst kind of inverted snob, but right now, I couldn't give a stuff about Padstow."

The guide Betjeman wrote in the 30s described the "unspoilt Cornish experience". A time when a village like Polperro was actually lived in all year round by real families. A time before landowners sold people's homes to the new landlords of holiday homes and the rich second homers. A time before the village died.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Titter Ye...Oh, Please Yerselves

Inspired by Shaggy Blog Stories, TwitterTitters is a book of comic writing, all the proceeds of which (less the production and postage costs) goes directly to Comic Relief.

You can read about it here and buy it here.

I won't be buying a copy as I bought two copies of Shaggy Blog Stories (embarrassed by the unfunniness of my own story and slightly amused a couple of times at others), I thought Phoenix Nights was bollocks and Chelsey: OMG! looks like a load of old shite. Maybe some of you lesser known *writers* are in it and can persuade me to fork out the nine quid.

But if it takes your fancy, go ahead and buy it. Christ knows Twitter's got to be good for something other than mentioning how you didn't get to sleep last night and that you're having a nice cheese and tomato sandwich for lunch.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Soap On A Rope

Talking about Coronation Street today, I was told it was "downmarket". In comparison to University Challenge and QI.

Well, I suppose it is. You don't need to be brainy to watch it. But you can be.

Craig Charles, hyper-intelligent renaissance man, poet, author, comedian, DJ, actor, cokehead, has been having the piss taken out of him by supposed "Corrie fans" at the football.

"I’ve never had any problems like that with Red Dwarf fans, they’re generally intelligent people," he said to The News Of The World so it must be true. "Maybe not so much with Corrie, it’s kind of lowest common denominator stuff!"

No, Craig. Corrie's humour is subtle, requiring a more mature intelligence than a comedy made for teenage boys whose balls haven't yet dropped. Stick to your turgid Funk & Soul Show and your audience of three ageing talc-addled Northern Soul bores.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Are You An Underachiever?

I have to battle against thinking I am. Thinking that would be boasting that I'm capable of actually achieving something of artistic merit and it was just down to my lazy attitude that I've never made something of my life.

I could have been a musician, a film director, a screenwriter, a novelist. All these things I could have been but I've just been too lazy to find other people with the enthusiasm to help me.

See? It's a good case for the prosecution.

Rather than make my own art I take great pleasure in criticising other people's. Is this healthy?

Well, look at all the tortured artists. There's no way in the world I'd want to be one of those. Satisfaction in your own art can't last forever. Unless you're completely up your own arse. And who wants to be Bono?

So give me the lazy life with full reign to think and observe without the drive to be someone. The drive that screws people up.