Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Sunday 24 October 2010

It’s that bipolar time again. Recently, to escape the rain, I ducked into ‘The Green Man’ on Edgware Road and ordered myself a large whisky. Within thirty seconds I was accosted by one of those men who just like to wail about the state of the world. I don’t mind that particularly. It means I don’t have to say much.
‘I had an ‘eart attack you know. They won’t give me no disability. Thing is, I’m a butcher, and if I stand up for more than two hours my ankles expand four inches.
‘Thing is, if I went in and said I was bipolar I’d get ninety-five quid a week extra. I reckon there’s no such thing. In my day, people called it ‘being a bit fed up’”.
So, I’m a bit fed up.
I tend to do crazy creative things when I’m a bit fed up so I started a painting of David Bowie’s ‘Aladdin Sane’ cover. I’ve also been watching ‘Spartacus’ on and off. One could base a drinking game around Spartacus, where one would have to take a sip of drink every time a penis was referred to, or down a shot every time John Hannah mentions bums, poo or wee-wee. I don’t think even Paul Gascoigne would get to the end of one episode before passing out.

Thursday 21 October 2010

It was the Ugly One’s birthday this week and his chosen restaurant for the celebration was Aroma in Shepherds Bush, the ‘Eat As Much as You Like’ Chinese Restaurant. The lady who showed us to our table had a somewhat grim demeanour and a semi-permanent scowl. I suspect she thought that, as fat people, we would no doubt eat far more than the twelve pounds charge would cover. I did my best to match her expectations.
We got home just in time to catch ‘The Apprentice’, one of my regular addictions each year, in which this week the teams had to produce bread and other baked products for sale to clients such as hotels and on a market stall.
One imagines that Melissa is what a Su Pollard Mogwai would turn into if one fed her after midnight. If I had to live with her, I fear I would be forced to murder her in a manner involving blunt instruments or strangulation. Melissa somehow managed to win the task, but only because the other team was so woefully inept and she had a military mind running her kitchen.
The surgeon, whose name escapes me, Dippy, Zippy, something like that, was fired.
Back to Holby City for you, sunshine.

Sunday 17 October 2010

I am glad to report that Wagner has been saved for another week. Hoorah! I made celebratory chicken curry in his honour. I want Wagner (although it has been established that this is pronounced Vagner, Louis Walsh has a blind spot and insists on calling him Wagner, as in Robert Wagner) to go through to the final, knocking Simon Cowell’s remaining dreary groups back into obscurity.
Seeing Kröd Mändoon must be a portent of hope for the world.

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

Saturday 16 October 2010

I’m enjoying the X-Factor this year, especially as Simon Cowell has been put in charge of the groups, and doesn’t seem that keen to deal with them.
The acts were supposed to sing songs by their heroes but I suspect many of them were told who their heroes were. Cowell’s bunch of young chartreuses, Belle Amie, chose to sing ‘You Really Got Me’ by The Kinks, which isn’t suspicious at all since, as we all know, most teenage girls worship Ray Davies and no doubt have all the Kinks albums.
I am backing the wonderful Wagner, and entreat you all to vote for him to get through to the final.

Friday 15 October 2010

Santander are vexing me now. Their suspicious activity software is way too sensitive and seems to trigger warnings whenever I buy stuff from t’internet. I had to ring them up and went through a robot system which read out my recent purchases, and I had to press 1 to confirm that it was me that actually purchased them. I want to deal with real people. Had someone with common sense examined the purchases they would see that it was minor purchases and exactly the same sort of thing as I’ve bought in the past. If someone was regularly buying Vin Diesel’s underwear on e-bay, you’d think Santander would make a note of it and register it as normal behaviour.
I haven’t had a celebrity omen for some time. I did see Ginny Weasley from Harry Potter on the Central Line some weeks ago but I’m not sure if she counts. She’d be a negligible omen at best.
Today, however, I was coming out of Edgware Road station and saw Kröd Mändoon going in. Strangely, some time back I saw Rula Lenska exiting this very station, rising up the stairs with her scarlet barnet shining like a hairy dawn.

Friday, 15 October 2010

Thursday 14 October 2010

Back in the Seventies TV Comedy was a mixture of standard sitcoms – spread over a wide spectrum of quality and funniness – and genuinely cutting edge ‘experimental’ work. Even there, the quality was variable. Monty Python’s Flying Circus, which, although it emerged from other mould-breaking programmes, was the flagship of the new way of doing things. Although much of the Python canon has stood the test of time, there is much of it that seems ill-judged and a little tedious today. Other programmes still shine as masterclasses in half-hour comedy. ‘The Good Life’ is still shown regularly and seems as fresh today as in yesteryear, as does ‘Steptoe and Son’, ‘Dad’s Army’ and of course, ‘The Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin,’ a truly groundbreaking and somewhat philosophical series about an intelligent man’s fight against the banality of existence. Many would argue that the series owed its success to Leonard Rossiter, cast as the legendary Reggie, and this view has its merits as this was undoubtedly Rossiter’s finest hour. The show was simply different, though, in terms of writing, acting, directing, the surreal shots of Reggie’s inner thoughts as when a hippo appears every time his mother-in-law is mentioned. There was also the clever use of the catch-phrase which in this series was not only used in its traditional way, but as a metaphor for the tedious repetition of daily life. Every day, Reggie set off for work through the Poet’s Estate to arrive at Sunshine Desserts, where the forces of entropy were represented by the letters falling from the name of the company above the door, day by day.
It was a truly classic and brilliant series, and therefore one can surely understand my concern when the BBC planned to remake it.
If there are Comedy Gods, (if there are any Gods at all, I would imagine the best ones to have would be comedy ones) I hope that they have their thunderbolts and lethal sarcastic barbs aimed squarely at Clunes and the BBC. Despite the lukewarm to hostile response to the first series, the BBC have made a second series. Ironically, this Reggie – complete with overloud and hysterical laughter track - is more closely related to the worst of Nineteen Seventies comedy than to its original incarnation. It’s a crude clunking abomination of a show, and I am at a loss to understand why the BBC didn’t just make a completely new series since this seems to be only popular with those who don’t know the original, or don’t know any better.
It’s a shame. I used to like Martin Clunes. Oddly enough, my mother hates him, but then she always did have a bit of psychic foresight. She must have seen all this coming.

Thursday, 14 October 2010

Wednesday 13 October 2010

My baby Olympus E420 has acquired a new lease of life. Having got my new Nikon I was preparing to sell the Olympus, but fate stepped in. We’ve been cleaning out the attic and discovered – among other things – a box of old Olympus lenses, filters and attachments. I sent off for an OM adapter, and now I have a whole new kit.
The most confusing thing about this is that most magazines and books have been telling me that I have to have a digital camera adapted to take infrared photographs. I have a dedicated infrared filter from when I used to use ‘proper film’ and thought I would try it out. Surprisingly, via various lengths of exposure, both cameras produced infrared images with dark skies, white clouds and ghostly blue and violet trees.
The Apprentice is back on TV. Hoorah! And the Chilean miners are being piped to the surface in a claustrophobic tube. Hoorah!
Apropos of nothing, for reasons known only to themselves, Prince Charles, Camilla Merton-Parker and Pope Herr Lipp all visited the Underground Bunker this year. C&M didn’t linger too long. They thanked us for our sterling service, asked us what exactly it was that we did and then complimented us on the pristine state of the lift. They went on to Brixton market after that and Camilla was given free mangos. You’d think she could afford fruit, wouldn’t you?
The Pope had a nice cup of tea, blessed our kettle and then went on to Lambeth Palace. I think he’d rather have stayed with us. They don’t have Hobnobs at Lambeth Palace, or the Vatican either, it appears. Just Garibaldis. Despite the fact that he thinks I’m the greatest evil facing civilisation today, I feel rather sorry for him.
Peter Tatchell was planning to pop round and arrest him, but there was a signal failure at Seven Sisters and he was stuck at Stockwell for forty minutes so nothing came of it.

Wednesday, 13 October 2010

Tuesday 12 October 2010

What with the recession and the plight of the Chilean miners, not to mention Alex Read and his fight with Mr Kong Watson, I have been just too worried to type. The Secret Underground bunker in which I work is feeling the pinch and the Powers That Be are drawing up lists and checking them twice, trying to work out who’s naughty or nice.
To take my mind off things on Sunday I made some spelt flour cinnamon and honey cookies which looked amazing, but tasted like Chilean miners’ armpits. I gave them to the Ugly One to feed to the ducks in St James Park.
Recently we purchased a Barefoot Contessa style Kitchenaid; a great red beast of a machine which not only produces perfect cake mixes, but minces meat and kneads bread dough to a point where my bread rises to the perfect shape of a chubby dwarf’s belly. Previously, my bread has sunk and resembles the flat and lifeless abdomens of evil thin people.
On 26 August, my ancient bread tin having given up the ghost I ordered a 2lb adonised industrial bread tin from De Cuisine, an online company who seemed to have cornered the market in bread accessories.
Having heard nothing after two weeks I rang their helpline and spoke to a very friendly brummie.
‘My order number is 78666,’ I said.
‘Oooooh, the number of the beast,’ he said. ‘That don’t bode well. Hang on. Ohhhh… adonised bread tin. Now, I can tell you what’s happened there without even looking it up. My son and daughter-in-law, right, they’ve gone and gone on holiday for two weeks and left me with all this. Can you imagine?... What I did, I’ll tell ya, what I did was, I ordered the steel bread tins not the adonised ones. Now, the adonised ones are on order, and I should be able to have one out to you Wednesday. I know you’re keen to get on with your baking, so we’ll do our best. That’s part of the problem, you know. Baking has become really popular. It’s the new knitting.’
This all sounded promising, and I hadn’t had to say a word as the garrulous brummie had dealt with the conversation all by himself, so I got on with my life. I baked a series of 1lb loaves in some old bread tins that seem to have been passed down to me from First World War bakers who took them to the trenches by the look of it, but two weeks later I got a bit vexed and did a search on t’internet for feedback about this company.
It didn’t bode well, as the nice brummie had already pointed out. Some people waited months for things to arrive. I didn’t want to wait months. I tried to ring them again, but the number was permanently engaged. Luckily, the website which held most of the complaints about this company handily provided an additional number.
I got through straightaway. It was the friendly brummie again.
‘Oh yes… I remember. Number of the beast, yes. Right, well, the adonised tins are on their way to me. They should be out to you Wednesday,’
‘But that’s what you said last time.’
‘I know, and I apologise, but I’m hoping that we’ll be able to ring you with good news on Wednesday.’
‘You will ring?’
‘Yes… or I can e-mail.’
‘Please do both.’
Wednesday dawned. By lunchtime having received neither call nor e-mail from De Cuisine I rang their secret number again. A nice brummie lady answered me this time, and things became somewhat surreal.
‘Oh, yes, six six six, sir. The gentleman’s with another customer at the moment but if you hang on he’ll be with you in a tick.’
The nice lady put the receiver down and muted conversation ensued, which suddenly became louder and clearer.
‘Yes, but there’s sawdust everywhere.’ she said
‘Is it sawdust?’ said the brummie man.
‘Yes, look at it. It’s all over everything and it’s into the computers. Look, it’s thick.’
‘Oh yes. Sawdust.’
Long pause. ‘Well…. That will have to be dealt with.’
There was a rattle and the brummie man was through to me.
‘Hello sir, it’s the number of the beast again, isn’t it?’
‘You were supposed to ring me today.’
‘Yes. I was going to ring you later this afternoon. If I can just explain what’s happened, someone from our delivery company has died.’
‘Yes, died. And everyone’s at the funeral today, but the anodised tins will be here tomorrow and I’m certain that you’ll be receiving a dispatch e-mail tomorrow.’
‘Ohh Kay.’
To be honest I was a bit stunned by the audacity of the explanation. As an excuse it’s a corker, being both disarming and unexpected. In retrospect I should have frothed and raged and demanded my bread tin be couriered in by helicopter, but the dead body tactic did for me.
However, the next day, the brummie did me proud and a mail did indeed arrive confirming dispatch and the lovely bread tin arrived the next day and is now doing sterling work providing me with decent sized loaves.
So, De Cuisine are not, as many people seem to think, a scam. They provide very good equipment, but are somewhat laid back about sending it out. I can recommend their adonised bread tins, but be prepared to wait.

Monday 13 September 2010

It has been many months, O My Brothers, since I have recorded my general views on life. In the interim I have been diagnosed as giving a fat liver. This is hardly surprising, as I suspect that amongst my circle, I would be the one who ate all the pies. (The Ugly One would be he who ate all the cakes.)
I have been sent for blood tests and must return this Wednesday to see a liver specialist who ironically is fatter than I am.
Following this page’s campaign to discover the true age of Pineapple Studios’ Andrew Stone, Andrew appeared in the reality show ‘Dating In The Dark’ which billed him in a subtitle as Andrew Stone, 37, which is at least a step in the right direction since throughout Pineapple Studios the rather well-preserved Stone insisted he was 28. I’m still of the opinion that he’s 39, but I suspect that we’ll never get that confirmed.
The most disturbing aspect of all this business is that he got his father to lie and insist to the press that he was born in 1981.
He was in Big Brother as well, teaching the housemates to sing and dance for a video task. They seemed as eager to get rid of him as the record producers in Pineapple were.
This was the final series of Big Brother, at least on Channel Four, and it was a little anticlimactic. The much awaited ‘Ultimate Big Brother’ in which former winners and ‘notable’ housemates competed for the title of Ultimate Housemate was again, a bit of a damp squib, made damper by the presence of Coolio, whose alleged bullying of transsexual Nadia earned him three warnings and resulted in him leaving early, although it seems that these warnings and the majority of his abuse was not transmitted. The surprise contestant was ‘Slick Vic’ Victor Ebuwa, who I hated during his term as an original contestant, but now seems to have matured and grown up. I kind of like him now.