Tuesday, November 29, 2005


The annual South London Blogmeet takes place on January 17th, 2006, at the Bear And Old Ragged Staff public house in Crayford.

Unlike the North London bloggers, who will sit around until the early hours chainsmoking and discussing hieroglyphics, Don DeLillo and how "amazingly spot on" Charlie Brooker is, the topics of conversation will include:

* whether or not to get a conservatory as "it puts at least ten grand onto the value of your house"

* that ITV programme about the cowboy builders that was on last night

* getting a four wheel drive - "you need one when you've got kids, innit?"

* how this country is going to the dogs

The blogmeet will last between 6.30 and 10.15 pm because Mandy has got to get back - "me mum's babysitting Reese but she wants to get to the lock-in at the **********" (a hostelry that I cannot name for obvious reasons).

Everyone should gather in the car park at the back beforehand. All men should wear polyester Ellesse tracksuit bottoms covered in masonry dust, and all women should have a cigarette behind their ear and wear baby pink fleecy jogging bottoms tucked into either pink timberlands or those big furry inuit boots with the ties and bobbles.

Anyone carrying a rolled up copy of the Daily Star in their back pocket is entitled to forego their round.

See you there.

Friday, November 25, 2005


Oh well, rest in peace (or several pieces it seems - he is donating a number of pickled parts of his body to science) George Best, brilliant footballer and the source of absolutely millions of tabloid stories for around almost forty years.

When I was a school kid, George Best and Muhammad Ali were the most talked about sports personalities in our class in the early 1970's. Even then, George was a talking point for his clubbing, boozing and womanising rather than for his football career which had basically gone belly up. Muhammad Ali was a talking point for his outspoken disposition outside the boxing ring. Now one of them is dead and the other has ailing health. Sporting heroes from your childhood dying: now there's a sign that you are older than you like to think you are.

Anyway, three things that you can guarantee will be on the news tonight, and have been on the news without fail whenever George has fallen out of a pub, gone on a seemingly neverending binge, had an affair with a beauty queen, split up with a leggy blonde or been at death's door (each has happened frequently over the years):

1. The news report will feature that song "Georgie, Georgie, they call him the Belfast boy" which you never hear anywhere else, ever.

2. They will show that footage of him in a nightclub pouring champagne over a tower of glasses.

3. Someone is dutybound to tell the anecdote about the hotel waiter turning up at George's room with a bottle of bubbly, seeing him in bed with a Miss Universe (or was it two Miss Worlds? Or Miss Trinidad and Togabo, Miss Cleethorpes and Fiona Richmond?) and saying "George, where did it all go wrong?"

If none of them turn up on the news, I will eat my cream, crocheted, slightly out of fashion, baker's hat.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005


Sorry, a wave of inertia has engulfed me. I couldn't be arsed at the moment.

And there has been stuff to do, and I have been reading The Master And Margarita for about three months - there are only 77 pages to go which is quite exciting. I think I will have to read something a bit more mindless next time around.


I may never return, or I may be back tomorrow.

Thursday, November 17, 2005



It has been suggested elsewhere that I am going to compose a long and serious review of the ITV programme Take That - For The Record, and I can't come up with much to write. So I am thinking on my feet here and this will be very poor. Indeed.

I really must be getting "out of the loop" with what it is trendy to say these days. Tell you something, I bet no one says "out of the loop" anymore. Anyway, according to the Guardian Guide listings, the Take That documentary suggested that "bodyguards spill all about who got the most wiffle" ... eh? Wiffle? Is that oral sex? Breakfast cereal? Cocaine?

Unfortunately we never did find out which member of the only ever great boy band got the most wiffle.

A few really in depth observations. First up, Howard and Jason were obviously the most fanciable ones. Howard has I'm glad to say continued to mature like a good wine. Oh those sunken cheekbones and those sensitive, East European eyes, like a pair of lagoons! Jason, though, I am worried about. Formerly very ravishing, he is looking quite gaunt and admits that he has terrible problems sleeping. He's been to college and travelled to Asia, but still can't seem to find The Answer.

Not least of his problems is that there was a hint that he and (dear God) Lulu might have had a fling. I don't know if this was dreamt up "for publicity reasons" (hmm) or not. It might account for his insomnia. The memories of the "fiery Glaswegian ball of energy" bearing down on him would be harrowing - it must be almost as bad as having to listen to Shout at a wedding reception disco.

Come on now, non-believers, songs like Pray and Back For Good are miles better than what is dished out by Westlife (the Grim Reapers of pop), however menacingly sensible Gary Barlow is. Apparently he played organ for Ken Dodd, y'know. However, Robbie "Let Me Light Entertain You" Williams won the pop wars in his feud with Gary but, y'know what? Gary was the real winner because he got married to one of the band's dancers and has two children! And a vile massive stately home with millions of rooms in that he never uses! He must get up of a morning and think "Christ ... where's the fucking bathroom?"

Nice footage of the band's coach driving through hordes of screaming, lusty young Japanese girls banging on the windows while Take That were on board singing "in love with an image, you're just in love with an image".

The programme climaxed with the band members meeting up again after all these years, with the predictable exception of Robbie "Variety Club Of Great Britain" Williams who sent a personal message telling Howard, Jason and Littlemark that they were good lads really, no hard feelings, and Mr Bartlett that he was a "good songwriter", heh heh. Diplomacy in action.

Everybody was gutted that world famous Robbie "The Chegwin Factor" Williams didn't turn up in person, especially Littlemark who probably went on to say "Wob's always been a gwate mate. He'll always lend me a fiver on those difficult couple of days before the Giwo comes thwough fwom the Social Secuwity".

They cut that bit out, mind.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005


You will be unbelievably interested to find out that the attempts to repair the infamous gas heater came to nothing in the end, which means that we have a gentleman coming to fit another one in a couple of days. I have been running around attempting to make the house look relatively tidy, like the sort of house that a normal person would live in. All sorts of things have been stuffed into wardrobes which are now full to bursting point, and the CD's and DVD's which the husband always leaves on the floor will have to be put back into their allotted space, by me.

The fitter may be an Eddie "The Eagle" Edwards lookalike with a loping, ape-like gait, but he SEEMS to know what he is talking about (still, they all do really). Plus, his quote was a grand cheaper than the first company who did a survey for us, and he was willing to do the work that Jason-whose-dad-used-to-know-Alf wasn't.

Anyway, this is still going to cost a lot.

* * * * * * *

Because of the expense of the new heater, there will be no long haul middle class holiday next year (ha ha, as if there ever is).

Before the quote, we were trying to be "realistic" about the situation by thinking of spending about 4 days in a static caravan in Prestatyn.

Now that we have the quote, we are being even more "realistic".

Next year we will splash out on a couple of nights in a car on the hard shoulder, in February.

There are resorts galore only an hour or two away from where we live. The problem is that we live on the east rather than the west side of England.

The west side has gorgeous Cornwall and Wales.

South east England has a number of seaside towns where the percentage of the population with glass eyes is 430 times above the national average, and the rest of the population looks like the guests on the Jeremy Kyle Show. Many of the town names end in git: Margit, Westgit, Sandgit.

Margit is the subject of a Chas 'n' Dave song:

"You can stick yer Costa Bravas
Or yer delightful little cottage in Tuscany
Wiv an amazing vineyard nearby
I'm tellin' yer mate I'd ravver
'Ave a pint of whelks
Daahn in Margit
Wiv all me family"

It is also the place that Tracey Emin escaped from, with most of her sanity intact.

Other depressing coastal towns include Sheerness on the Isle Of Sheppey, where it advisable not to make eye contact with the locals, or Seasalter, where I once saw a morbidly obese boy bobbing about in the sea fully clothed. He had probably been there for several days. Herne Bay ... Cliftonville ...

I am still mulling over which one to choose. I would ask other bloggers for their advice but as they are loathe to leave their comments here anymore it will be up to us alone.

To suffer is to live.

Monday, November 14, 2005


Thank you for the huge response to the Tremeloes competition. Was it due to my hectoring approach? There were literally sackloads of answers (almost up to Blue Peter Appeal standards) and hundreds of e-mails.

Unfortunately, only two of you "went into the hat" with the right answer. The song on which a member of the band says "ha ha ha - Parrot Face!!!" was Even The Bad Times Are Good.

The first prize goes to Tracy Wiggins of Wigan. Well done Tracy! The bottle of Turkish shampoo will soon be winging its way to you in Wigan.

A consolation prize goes to Mike Enderby. This prize, also from Poundland, is a box of six manky looking crocus bulbs, which may brighten up your bleak looking late winter garden, but I wouldn't pin your hopes on them flowering if I was you. They will soon be winging their way to you in Worcestershire.

* * * * * * *

I have finally got an e-mail address set up. Tremeloes obsessives, people who have had a really BAD day at work and are at the end of their tether, bloggers who want to make bitchy comments about other bloggers, people who know me but have forgotten the other e-mail address, Freddy "Parrot Face" Davies, in fact anyone apart from spammers or the fucking boss I used to work for in the early 1990's, can contact me at ... well, this is the problem. The address is on my View My Profile details, but this is only available if you click on my name in the comments section here or on other blogs. I am trying to work out a way to get around this which doesn't involve changing my template.

I may regret this decision but, in all probability no one will contact me anyway.

... or only to say "stop making a mountain out of a molehill again, dear"

Sunday, November 13, 2005


Well, I have to say that I have been disappointed with the response to yesterday's marvellous competition.

I don't like to use up posts to berate my readership for their general apathy, particularly as Blogger only gives the writer nine hundred and ninety nine posts to mess about with before he/she has to start a new blog.

Still, and this is a long shot, there may not be many Tremeloes fans out there. I can't believe that. More likely is the fact that people are too shy to leave a comment here. So all you Tremeloes fans, why not send an e-mail, fax, text or even snail mail? Enclose an SAE and send your answer to the following address:

"Tremeloes Competition",
c/o Mr and Mrs Barry Onions,
Yynn Cottage,
Nr. Yynn Village,
Nr. Yynn-On-The Yynnxx,

Or just leave an answer, any answer, in the comments section, you lazy slags.

Get your thinking hats on!

Saturday, November 12, 2005


It seem that the words Freddy "Parrot Face" Davies are keyed in on search engines quite a lot according to my stats. His name crops up with more frequency than either Betty Swollocks or Clare Nasir.

Good to see Freddy turn up in Hugo Blick's new, very depressing "comedy" Sensitive Skin, having a conversation with Joanna Lumley. Apparently he is her "frustration". Well I never.

So I thought that this month's competition should have a Freddy Davies theme.

On which Tremeloes song does an apparently drunken member of the band utter the words "ha ha ha - Parrot Face!!!" during the intro?

This month's prize is a bottle of L'Oreal Elvive shampoo for grey, thinning hair from Poundland, with the words "here comes the science bit - concentrate!" written on the front in Turkish, and a picture of Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston on the back with the caption "Brad and Jen - celeb wedding of the year, and they BOTH use L'Oreal shampoo! They're worth it - are you?!" written on the back, in Turkish.

Get those thinking hats on!

Tuesday, November 08, 2005


Last night I dreamt that 1960's girl group the Paper Dolls had been tracked down by Woman's Own magazine. Completely by-the-by, the Dolls' song Something Here In My Heart (Keeps-A-Tellin' Me No) is a thing of beauty and a joy forever.

In the Woman's Own article, the band (let's just imagine they are called Maureen, Eileen and Doreen) have been persuaded to pose in some outfits they wore in 1968. I should imagine they would be in their late 50's now, so it might not be a good idea. See what you think.

This puts me in mind of Madonna, currently promoting her song with the Abba sample in and wearing leotards which suggests that she has, as they would say on Kath & Kim, "had her welcome mat done". Her appearance at the MTV Europe Awards also suggests that she has ignored one aspect of dressing which women normally try not to overlook, as it may be a bit too intimate, shall we say. This may not have stopped her before, but Madge is 47 now. She claimed that the leotard she was wearing was from her "personal archive", or, as anyone ordinary would say "I found it down the back of the wardrobe covered in dust. Bloody hell! I thought I gave that to the St John's Ambulance Shop years ago!" She also said "I can still get into it!"

One of the first rules of dressing like a lady - just because you can "get into" something which you thought was too small for you, it doesn't follow that it will suit you, or that a seam or some buttons will not rip open at an inopportune moment.

Sobriety, modesty, a lot of navy blue and plenty of gold buttons. That's the way to go for the woman who is over 30. Please bear this in mind: I know I have.

Monday, November 07, 2005



Of course, this has not been influenced by Wyndham's epic tale of endless curtain calls, the subtlety of Shakespeare's poetry and ballooning bladders (The Ballooning Bladders ... a lovely name for a retirement cottage, the sort of place you'd see on a calendar of English scenes, don't you think?). No, obviously this is very downmarket and provincial compared to what is described by the urbane Wyndham.

The other thing is that I didn't actually go to see the production myself. The last time I went to the theatre (... also Dartford Orchard) we walked out during the interval of a play in which Steven Berkoff unconvincingly played a working class hard nut. Oh, and several years before that I remember seeing Donald Pleasence in The Caretaker. On leaving the theatre, I heard someone behind me say "that was rather circumspect, don't you think?"

The excellent Mr Pleasence has been dead for ten years.

The people who went to see the play were the in-laws, who have become a rich source of blogging material, mainly because they seem to lead a much more exciting life than us with their frequent holidays, weekends away and the like. Where did it all go wrong?

The production was a mid week matinee, and we seem to have found out more about the hosts than the actual dancers.

Host number one is Lionel Blair. Apparently he is only about 5 foot 4, and wears cuban heel shoes. He did a soft shoe shuffle, but doesn't throw himself into it with the enthusiasm we normally expect from him because he is, apparently "in his 70's these days". Short, wearing high heels, not able to cut a rug like he used to ... yes, Lionel has turned into Prince. Oh, hold on, he is probably in better shape, as Prince recently had a hip replacement.

Host number two is Jane McDonald. The former star of that cruise ship thing, she is always described as "a down-to-earth Yorkshire lass", which of course means, like everyone not living inside the M25 she grew up wi' outside lavvy and ginnel in't back, and she is happy but stupid. These days she appears on the popular daytime programme Loose Women. I've only seen in once (waiting in for the gas fitters to turn up). Jane got a standing ovation for saying "well, my mother's on the large side - a size 20, and SHE has a lot more energy than some of these thin women".

According to the in-laws, Jane is "lovely and down-to-earth, there are no sides to her". The father-in-law was absolutely certain that she was staring at him throughout her time on stage, but "it was just those stage lights blinding her - she couldn't see anybody in the audience."

Having seen Ms McDonald on Never Mind The Buzzcocks, I think she could adequately be described as man mad, so I can't be so sure of the father-in-law's assessment.

Anyway, the rest of the show seemed to go past in a blur. Apparently the father-in-law enjoyed it a lot as the female dancers were all wearing very short skirts.

The costumes, according to the mother-in-law, were "lovely, as good as anything you'd see in a West End production", and the tickets were also a lot cheaper.

Right, I'm sure that's more than enough. Want to keep it very down-to-earth. There are no sides to me. Honestly.

Sunday, November 06, 2005


A quick round-up of what is happening to some of the blogs on my links bar.

First up, it unfortunately seems that Toasty's Futon has, well, turned to toast. By the time you read this, fingers crossed, it may have turned out to be a temporary aberration, and all will be returned to normal (or as normal as can be expected) in the world of Toasty. One of the things I like about Toasty Lundqvist is that he is liable to go away for weeks on end before posting: face it, a lot of bloggers who post day in, day out, tend to get quite tiresome, rather like celebrities who are always there (Ewan McGregor, the Black Eyed Peas, Vernon Kay). I can only put the constant gaps in his blogging down to enigmatic Scandinavian moods (in the manner of Ingmar Bergman, say, or Bjorn Borg). If Toasty's Futon is no more, then we should feel miserable and ashamed of ourselves.

Mark Gamon meanwhile seems to have entered a state of blogging catatonia, posting up pictures that describe his ever-changing moods. An interesting move, but what has motivated it? Overwork? Seasonal affective disorder? Acid flashbacks? I should imagine it is a combination of all three.

Finally, my favourite words in blogging in the past few days come from the infinitely wise Joe Tucker at Little Dog's Day - "Are you a Giant Dwarf? Go away and check." Reading Mr Tucker's work, I often larff out loud, or "LOL" as we are supposed to say in this day and age. As long as there are blogs like Little Dog's Day out there, the world is not entirely drab.

A mention, too, to Owl Pellets and Trivial Pursuit, blogs which have also served, are not serving at the moment but are not forgotten.

Thursday, November 03, 2005


It's autumn so it therefore follows that the television schedules are ripe to bursting with Autumn Television Gold For All The Family. Or bits of The Family, at least.

Great or good comedy - The Thick Of It (well, for three weeks only), Spoons and another series of Kath & Kim.

As it's autumn, it also follows that there is a weekly documentary series analysing pop music in a slightly pompous way. Step forward 2005's effort, Girls And Boys - Sex And British Pop.

There is a thoughtful weekly review here. Ben admits that he's watching while concurrently reading Jon Savage's excellent but lengthy tome England's Dreaming. Good luck, and keep taking the Pro-Plus, Ben. The programme is also reviewed, complete with unhappy memories, here. Yeah, I know, another shameless plug for the husband's blog. I'm a smarmy, two faced and opportunistic old witch.

This week we reached the 1970's. It's a reasonably enjoyable watch, despite the usual ragbag of pop cliches running riot, and the predictable selection of talking heads making an appearance. Yes, dear old Robert Elms was on hand to tell us what The Working Classes were doing during his youth. I am reluctant to slag off Elmsey as he is one of the funniest people to appear on the box. I can remember him being interviewed by Terry Wogan years ago, bragging that, having just bought a house, it was completely empty apart from one chair - the only thing to have met the rigorous Elms standard of good taste. I should imagine his autobiography is a real hoot, and intend to buy it if it's ever in the HMV sale for a couple of quid.

The bottom line with Elms, and with his old mucker Gary Kemp, was that working clarrss lads like themselves were soul boys, NOT punks (...well, only for about a month. June, 1976. Just before anyone else had heard of it. But they are reluctant to admit that here ...).

From what I can remember, punk was indeed a grammar school boys' fad at the time. Look, I was in the grammar stream at school and can remember punk catching on just past its sell-by date in my provincial comprehensive, but the punks were still outnumbered by lank haired prog rock fans. Not exactly the musical revolution that the makers of Girls And Boys would have preferred to think was really happening.

Of course, as an old duffer, it is always nice to reminisce about the fashions worn in our youth. Seeing Northern Soul girls in their long flippy skirts, ankle socks and granny sandals put me in mind of the trends for ridiculously frumpy shoes in the mid to late 1970's for your teen girl on the street. Jelly shoes! Disgusting plastic sandals! Nurses shoes with ghastly crepe soles! Those Clarke's Nature Trek things which looked like Cornish pasties! I can remember one summer - was it 1976 or 1977? - everybody wearing Jesus sandals. Only a few years before, we would have been laughed out of the classroom, such are the vagaries of fashion. No doubt Robert Elms is already in the process of writing Best Foot Forward - Working Class Shoe Choices As A Cultural Signifier, so I'll say no more no this subject.

So the next programme looks at the 1980's. Which means we'll be seeing

1. Bloody bastard Duran Duran, Spandau and Elmsey frothing at the mouth about the beautiful Working Clarrss ex-soulboy peacocks in their finery at the Blitz club.

2. A clip of Morrissey with the Hanging Gardens Of Babylon in his back pocket "challenging pre-conceived gender classifications". Again.

3. How the bland corporate mid 1980's are given a kick up the arse by the arrival of Housey Housey music. Nationwide, grandmothers wave their biros in the air like they just don't care, shouting "Eee Arr!", gleeful to have won the 50 quid bonus prize.

... speaking of which, one of the best bits of dialogue from Coronation Street emerged circa 1989, when Percy Sugden mulled over Brian Tilsley's recent murder outside a nightclub.

"I blame all this music, you know, this acid drop, this boogie woogie. You go in to one of those clubs, it's like walking into an engine room"

Of course I've not quoted that properly, although that's about the size of it. A shame that Percy isn't one of the talking heads on Girls And Boys.

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