Wednesday, August 31, 2005


An update of an item I first posted here, about a year back. Well, it's not exactly the same but of course I have got to recycle stuff on this clapped out old blog. I had to keep my ear to the ground to find out what the wimmin are saying, y'know. Literally three minutes of intense research ...

1. "She turned around to me and said ... "
STILL number one after a year, STILL the only phrase in town. I try to drop it into any given conversation at least a dozen times.

2. "I tell you, she has got ISSUES."
The polite way to say that someone is barking.

3. "I nearly turned around to her and said "you need to take a chill pill."
A reference to someone else who is barking. The key word here is "nearly". Women always "nearly" said something.

4. "What she needs to do is to find her own space and that. She needs to find closure."
The Trisha show casts a long shadow and has a lot to answer for.

5. Mum: "Reese is really looking forward to having a little bruvver or sister - aren't you Reese?"
Reese: "Noe."
Mum: "Aaaw - he's only joking, aren't you darlin'?"
Reese: "NOE!!!"

6. "I'm going up Bluewater. I want to get one of them shrugs. It's just the thing for covering up when it gets a bit cooler in the evenings, like if you're having a barbecue or summat?"
Note to non-fashion victims: the shrug is to 2005 what the poncho was 2004. Expect to see them on the sale rails in about six months' time.

7. "Did you see that wotsisname, Kate Moss's boyfriend, on Live Aid? Christ, what a STATE - I didn't know whether to laugh or cry."

8. "We're a soft touch in this country."
This has become a wimmin mantra. All of those terrorists coming over and getting rooms in the Savoy, and you can't even get your varicose veins seen to on the NHS. It's not right, is it?

9. "We're going to get some of them Polish builders in to put up the new conservatory. They're a lot cheaper and it'll put loads on the value of the house."
Thank God we're a soft touch in this country, eh?

10. "I like that Gordon Ramsay, 'e always speaks 'is mind".
Yes dear, and he effs and jeffs almost as much as you.


Monday, August 22, 2005


This is what passes for stimulating conversation at number 11.

Husband: "I wonder why it is that hearing ice cream van music makes you feel depressed?"

Me: "I dunno".

Husband (about half an hour later): "I think it's because it reminds you of how happy and excited it made you feel when you were a kid. Then you grew older and you realized that life's not like that".

Too true. Ice cream van jingles are like a lament for things passed, which may well never have existed at all. A world in which there were milkmen, and bread delivery men, and mobile shops, and a tight knit community.

The first time I remember seeing an ice cream van was circa 1967, the summer of love. I was at my cousin David's house. It was a perfectly pristine July day (of course). Children were clammering around the van excitedly (of course). Nowadays the arrival of an ice cream van down our street is greeted with indifference by most residents, children included. Is this due to the cynicism of the age, or is my mind playing tricks with me as usual?

I think there must have been something resembling community spirit back in those days, because my parents knew the names of anyone who provided a door to door service. There was Norman, the chain smoking Scouse milkman (one day I'll tell you my dad's Norman the milkman anecdote, but I don't want to bore you even more here). Or Denis, a swarthy, taciturn little Melvyn Hayes lookalike who used to deliver bread for the Co-op. There was an insurance man called Mr Baker who had a profuse Saddam Hussein moustache. I once had a nightmare where he climbed up the side of our outhouse and I could see him through my bedroom window ... at least I think it was a nightmare ... I'm still not sure to this day ...

There was even a soft drink home delivery service provided by a company called Alpine. Their cider apple flavoured pop was even more dull, heavy, gassy and unpleasant than real cider. Neil Carnell down our road ended up working for them.

Door to door bread delivery finished years ago, and how many people still get their milk delivered at home? Admittedly, we were staying with some friends a few years back and we were warned that their toddler was likely to wake up at about 3 in the morning because she was disturbed by a milkman doing his round at that ungodly hour, for some reason. Sure enough, I was woken by the clinking of bottles outside at that time. I can only assume that (a) he turned up under cover of darkness because he was ashamed of anyone he knew finding out he was a milkman or (b) he was moonlighting - he needed two jobs because being a milkman no longer paid enough. The reassuring sound of a milk float whirring by outside your window in the early morning is now a rarity.

Perhaps something vaguely communal has disappeared from the world. Speaking of which, check out the Save The Post Office video here if you've not already done so.

I may return to the subject of ice cream vans at some point soon, because I enjoy making you suffer.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005


When will it ever end? Blunt of the Cavalry has now been number one on the hit parade with his song "My Wife Is Brilliant ... My Wife Is Brilliant" since 1946.

I could understand why, in the post-war years, an ex-serviceman would evoke public sympathy, but that is not a reason to still be buying this wet piece of limp lettuce of a song in the twenty first century.

Indeed, who IS buying it? I never hear it blaring out of cars around here (although, admittedly, this is Saarff Laahndan, so the only thing you hear blaring out of pimped up Renault Meganes is hip hop played at concrete splitting volume). No, I think the James Blunt fans are a sneaky lot - I put them on a par with those bastards who used to vote for Mrs Thatcher in the 1980's, but never owned up to it.

Following New Labour logic, I think that justice has to be seen to prevail. Very little has been said about Mr Blunt's dismissal from the army, and I think this speaks volumes.

He is obviously a deserter. He must be court-marshalled, and in time honoured fashion, must face a firing squad.

Thursday, August 11, 2005


Last night on Coronation Street, Dev Alahan was standing in front of an electric fan, mopping his face with a hanky (I might not have remembered these details correctly, so apologies to any pedants out there). Pretty unusual, as extreme weather never occurs in Weatherfield, presumably because of continuity and the fact that it would confuse viewers in other countries. The only reason for the sweltering corner shop I can think of is that the producers have taken the suggestion of an August heatwave to heart. This prediction appeared in the papers some 4 months ago and seems to have been conjured up out of thin air as the Met Office has denied it is possible to forecast more than about a week in advance. Viewers of weather forecasts will know it is often difficult for them to provide accurate information 24 hours in advance, but still ...

August 12th is going to be the hottest day on record in Britain, according to the predictions taken seriously by the Coronation Street crew, so viewers tomorrow night will no doubt think they are watching a Tennessee Williams play ... hmm. Fred Elliott's considerable girth encased in a cream linen suit with disgusting sweat patches under the arms, as he fans his face with a hat, nursing a bourbon and ranting drunkenly at Ashley about how he has always been a disappointment to him. It will make a change, I suppose.

Anyway, the real, not-that-extreme heatwave broke towards the end of July and all those gloomy forecasts of water shortages are now on the news backburner - for the next few days, at any rate. This is not going to top the infamous long dry summer of 1976.

The reason I remember the summer and the drought of '76 is that Max Bygraves did a song and dance routine a couple of years later in which he proclaimed "I'll never forget the summer and the drought of '76". The dance troupe was wearing dungarees and wellies and carrying buckets, and the routine was performed in a barn dance style. Unfortunately this has remained lodged in my memory where more useful information ought to reside. This is why I have never been a high achiever.

At the age of 83, Max is about to complete a farewell British tour in Belfast. Unfortunately, I have missed the opportunity to see him over here - and he played in Dartford on my birthday too! I would have loved to confront him backstage: "worro Max, I bet you haven't forgotten the summer and the drought of '76!"

At which point he would have looked puzzled, backed away and got his security men to evict me from the premises.

Stay cool, folks.

Sunday, August 07, 2005


Site Meter has put a hex on me.

Friday, August 05, 2005


Earlier this week, we decided to indulge in a little televisual light entertainment, so we watched "The New Al-Qaida". This week's programme assessed the Madrid bombings, and filled in details of the lives of the Moroccans who carried out the attacks.

I think I took in most of the information, despite being a bottle blonde, but there was something which was distracting me ... ah, yes, it was the English voiceover, which sounded disturbingly familiar. Then the scales fell from my eyes. Bugger me, it was David Jacobs, wasn't it?

The older readers of this blog may be familiar with David's stellar work on Radio 2, for years and years. I was not aware that he was still disc jockeying, as he must surely be about 140, but a search of the BBC site reveals that he is indeed involved in a Radio 2 programme called "The David Jacobs Collection" which sounds highly promising. I will probably give the most recent show a listen later. It only lasts for an hour which is probably all he can take before being wheeled back to the BBC Home For Retired Broadcasters at Westcliffe-on-Sea.

Still, fairly disconcerting to find him turning up in a serious investigative programme about international terrorism. How was I supposed to concentrate? Particularly during an interview with the elderly father of one of the bombers. His son phoned him to announce that he was locked up in a flat surrounded by police and that he was going to commit ritual suicide. David Jacobs adopted the voice of a wheezy old Cockney geezer when the bloke's dad was speaking.

Much of the dialogue between father and son was edited out of the documentary, but is retrieved here for the first time.

The son's voice is provided by Beppe off of "Eastenders".

The phone rings.

Dad: Son! Bleedin' 'ell! How long 'as it been? You've 'ad us all worried!

Son: Dad, we've got to talk. I'me going to do meself in, NAH, this minute. It's an honour thing.

Dad: Son, you're 'avin' a larff! Stop messin'.

Son: No, straight up. The coppers is ahtside.

Dad: Son, son - what are you talkin' abaht? 'ow could you? Fink of me, fink of yer old mum - what wiv 'er 'avin that stroke only a few munffs back - you're bein' a right silly bollocks, in't yer? Don't family mean nuffin' to yer?

Son: Dad, I wish I'd never called. You never understood me. This is the only family I 'ave nah - right? Just shut it dad. This is abaht respect.

Dad: I'm gettin' yer mum on the dog. Perhaps SHE can knock some sense into yer.

Son: Bleedin' 'ell ... they've bust the doors dahhn ...


"The David Jacobs Collection" is on Radio 2 on Sunday nights at 11 pm.

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