Merry New Year to all!!!!
And now, a fillum...
Saturday, December 31, 2011
Sunday, December 25, 2011
A Chrimbo singalong...
Rather despite myself I like this. Partly because the tempo's fast enough for Maria Carey to sing properly and not do those ridiculous arpeggios. But mostly because it feels like a Phil Spector Wall Of Sound number.
And to keep up the tempo...
Sunday, December 18, 2011
As sure as eggs…
The onset of the first serious frost and light smattering of snow is guaranteed to be the signal for half the drivers down our way to park their cars on the pavement to give them their Sunday afternoon jet wash, ready for the Christmas hostilities.
Sunday, December 04, 2011
We got worrying about what Morrisey does for Christmas.
We'd come to an inconclusive point in the debate about the gender of the Roadrunner (my argument that Wile E. Coyote was a metaphor for an America struggling to come to terms with it's sexuality depended on the Roadrunner's being a ladyboy). And The Small Object of Desire was determined that not only was Aled Jones not Pinocchio ("he's made out of wood: that's why he's got varnished rosy cheeks that don't move when he talks." "No. He's just Welsh.") but his name was on the list for the firing squad come the revolution.
That's when she started worrying about what Morrisey does for Christmas.
I tried to reassure her that it would be business as usual and he'd have tea with the chimps in the monkey house at Bristol Zoo, giving passers-by a running commentary with a selection of the unconvincing voices out of the corner of his mouth that used to delight us when he was on "Animal Magic."
"I expect he just goes round his mam's for a nut cutlet," she muttered.
Sunday, November 20, 2011
The acting profession is a hard one. Spare a kind thought for Fireman Blob, one of British animation's fallen by the wayside.
"What the hell is that?" asked the Commissioning Editor."Fireman Blob," replied the animators."Get rid of that. It looks like you got that far and couldn't be arsed."
Wednesday, November 16, 2011
One of the treats of these late Autumn mornings is the sight of people out and about taking Rover and Fido, or Fang and Tyson, out for a constitutional. The doggies frolic hither and thither, all agog with the smells of the day while their owners follow behind collecting little lumps of dog shit in their little carrier bags. I'm told it makes for a cheeky little country wine.
Sunday, November 13, 2011
Oh, it's all very well for Ed Millipede to decide to jump onto the Occupy Bits of Pavement to Piss Off the Daily Mail but I'd be more amenable to this attempt to co-opt the protests for political advantage had we heard or seen much of the outrage at the Labour party conference.
"There are those in the financial sector who say that the time for atonement is over. These are the people who said that the good times shall roll forever and whose mistakes are hurting ordinary people every day. Vulnerable people who find their care needs being ignored because of cuts. Children and families who find that their playgrounds and libraries are no more. Companies that can't find investment capital when they need it. Small businessmen who find their markets have vanished because their customers have shut up shop. These are the people who are being hurt and for them there is no easy taxpayer-funded return to Business As Usual."There are those in the financial sector who say that the time for atonement is over. I think of the bank clerks and the teachers, the nurses and the builders, the overworked and the unemployed and I say to those in the financial sector: no. I say to them: boys and girls, some humility is called for."You fucked the economy."You don't get to say when the time for atonement is over. Ask the people of Britain when they've stopped being hurt by your actions."
Monday, November 07, 2011
The quiet English Sunday is an opportunity for sober reflection of the big issues of life and the prolonged digestion of the issues and outcomes of our current affairs media.
Today we have mulled over:
- The merits — or not — of the lamb chop, roast potato and minty peas smoothie;
- Queen Victoria's moustache cup; and
- Cats' bottoms.
Sunday, October 30, 2011
We are slightly out of sorts, we are, by the concept of Sir Bruce Forsyth. Nothing against the man, please understand me, but not an easy one for my household to get its head round. We are actively outraged by the idea of Sir Tom Jones and the cold grim reality that in five or six years' time it'll be Dame Lulu.
I've long argued that it's more than time that Nicholas Parsons got a knighthood. The Small Object of Desire objected on the grounds that Peter Shilton hadn't got one for "being lovely." Even she had to admit that he couldn't have one before Gordon Banks. We agreed to disagree, eventually, over the merits or not of Sir Nobby Stiles.
John Inman and Roy Barraclough should both be made Dames of the British Empire for their services to pantomime.
As should Jeremy Paxman.
Saturday, October 29, 2011
My dad used to work in Norbury's Printers in Old Trafford and although that, and all the other small factories that lined Elsinore Road, have been gone this past twenty years it still seems strange to see the place converted into a tram depot.
It's a changing world and I'm conscious that I'm slowing down. The first signs that the world was getting a bit fast for me came in the aftermath of the bomb in Manchester. All of a sudden, my lovely old city with the Lino a bit tatty round the edges was having facelifts and makeovers and whatnot. These days you can't move for designer doodads and footballers' danglies.
Then they decided to turn the Pomona Docks into a small Manhatten skyline of empty offices and renamed part of Salford MediaCityUK. Where once was the U.C.P. tripeworks now there are sharp young men tweeting in CamelCase.
It wasn't all better in Th'owd days, no of course it wasn't. But I could keep up with it all.
Saturday, October 22, 2011
It's been a long week and I found myself waking up at twenty to ten. The Small Object of Desire was already awake, which was even more unusual.
"Hello you. Do you want me to make you a nice cup of tea?"
She said, snuggling up to me.
"Yes please," I replied.
"This is the bit where I usually go back to sleep, isn't it?" she asked.
"It's good to be predictable."
An hour later, I'm fighting the urge to put the kettle on.
Saturday, October 15, 2011
Apologies for going quiet again. Some time this weekend I'll get back to that post I'd half written before my mum took bad (she's fine, thanks, but still in hospital eating grapes). Between that, work and my natural capacity for insomnia The Small Ibject Of Desire had started enquiries with her veternary friends as to the appropriate dosage of horse tranquiliser.
Thursday, September 22, 2011
But for those of you who wanted, nay needed, to know, the people are much the same. God help them. Frog has his collection of disturbing children's pop-up books and there are stories that T.Aldous may have finished clearing out his garage. The Monkey's Arms is still Mecca on Friday afternoons. As is the rollmop herring counter in the horse meat shop.
And that old lady on the Milkbeck bus still drinks Old Spice.
Tuesday, September 20, 2011
Saturday, September 10, 2011
The season of mists and mellow fruitfulness came along early this year. Near all that is palatable has been picked, the rest for the wasps and last-lingering butterflies.
The swifts left a couple of weeks ago. Unlike the swallows and martins, which make a performance of gathering together on the telegraph wires shouting: "we're off now, see you next year!" the swifts disappear like the dew in the morning. One day you realise you haven't seen them for a while and the wind's a little colder than it has been. It's all a little furtive and sad.
The onset of Autumn means that playtime is over and we get back to the illusion of everyday reality. Some of the early consequences of parts of that illusion have been keeping me away from the blogosphere this past few weeks. Apologies for neglecting you all yet again. Luckily, all the awful stuff is at work. Unluckily, it has a knack of following us home.
Monday, August 29, 2011
Saturday, August 20, 2011
Tuesday, August 16, 2011
Some more post titles from the "Pending" file...
- Nose-mottling excitement
- Show them a real pas-de-bloody-deux!
- The squeak of old clogs
- Tangible benefits for stuff
- An infinity of catterpillars
- Concertinas at half mast
- Backlighting my youthfulness
- Isn't it disappointing when you stop noticing your plug-in?
- He wrote as a Byzantine Neoplatonist
- Her little fur brassiere caught on a glacier just to remember her by
- Educating Marmalade
- One dare not step back till the last pterodactyl is safely back home in it's nest
- A mardy-faced gorilla
- His punishment is to see the Dawn before the rest of the world
- That five minutes in the bath when the football season isn't happening
- It's barely Spring and salt and vinegar
Saturday, August 13, 2011
Sadly missed already. R.I.P. Robert Robinson
And an affectionate tweak of the whiskers:
Friday, August 12, 2011
Wednesday, August 10, 2011
Tuesday, August 09, 2011
Sunday, August 07, 2011
Saturday, August 06, 2011
Apologies to all of you lately.
Wednesday, August 03, 2011
Sunday, July 24, 2011
I'm almost wondering where Summer went: the Michaelmas daisies are in bloom and already swallows are congregating on telephone lines ready for the off.
My garden is a riot. Quite literally (I suspect foxes, though the goldfinches have a guilty look about themselves). The blackcurrants and boysenberries have performed nicely and the rowan groans with fruit. Yet again the cherry disappoints, which is entirely my fault, the tree's doing its best in the circumstances. My dad's trees have provided enough fruit for every beggar and his dog for miles around and I spent part of yesterday picking for the freezer. It still looks like nobody's bothered. The plums and damsons are the same: my brother's Victoria plum is absolutely weighed down with fruit that's starting to go coppery purple and my dad's damsons are also colouring up nicely. My garden's at a higher elevation (well, I'm just up the road) so mine are usually a week or two later. It's looking like the makings of a bumper crop, so we'll be giving the jam-making kit a bit of a pacing this year.
Bad news: no figs. I think the tree needs a lot of TLC after the past two winters.
Saturday, July 23, 2011
I got quite cross the other day reading an article banging on about that old canard about the average public sector worker now being better off than the average private sector employee.
I get very impatient with averages. Especially when they are the mean figure for a whole host of variables that aren't self-explanatory.
The fact that the average public sector worker is better paid is scarcely surprising and owes nothing to the efficiencies of the market and the private sector's ability to keep down labour costs. It's simple, really; the public sector has been haemorrhaging low-paid jobs for the past three decades.
Most of the front-line workers; all the school caretakers and bin men and traffic wardens and street cleaners; the swimming pool attendants and men what paint the white lines down the road: they don't work for the council any more. The municipal departments that once employed them are replaced by two or three people whose job is to manage the contracts. Less than half of my colleagues at work are actually on the council payroll.
And so it will continue. With The Big Society, The Localism Bill and wholesale cuts in public sector budgets the logical end point is for each council to have outsourced all those services that have survived "we're all in it together" leaving just a chief executive and a handful of contract managers.
And the journalists will then complain that the average council employee is paid almost as much as a hack writer on a national daily.
Thursday, July 14, 2011
Every so often it really hits me that The Small Object Of Desire and myself are a pretty good fit. Like the other night...
It was the end of a very long day at work and we were both too tired to sleep or do anything other than loll around talking rubbish. Which is my default setting anyway.
"I was thinking about Derek Nimmo," she said.Like you do.
"Except I got his name confused and kept thinking: 'Derek Nimoy'. And somehow I couldn't get the idea out of my head. Derek Nimmo as Mister Spock, with pointy ears and a dog collar. And Captain Kirk saying to him: 'What's our position Mister Spock?' and he'd say: 'Oh golly gosh.'"
Wednesday, July 13, 2011
Sunday, July 10, 2011
The Small Object Of Desire is settled into her new house and it's started to feel like a home (leastways, she's leaving her socks in the dining room). It's a nice Victorian terraced house; discussing it the other day we found we'd both come to the conclusion that it was like an old auntie. Much beloved and slightly disreputable in her way.
I asked what she thought of my house, which I've always seen as a barmy old uncle (perhaps projecting my own personality to the building). "Oh, it's a cheeky nephew," she said. "Its face is a bit dirty at times, but it's one of those nephews that you just have to love. You just roll yours eyes and think: 'bless'."
Friday, July 08, 2011
The new workplace (oh yes) has room in the gents for more than just the one lavatory bowl and a sink and it's a reminder to me of the etiquette of Office Gents'.
There are those people who will occupy a cubicle, with the door open, as they stand and have a pee. This is because they are Scared Of Somebody Seeing My Willy. Which is bad news at busy lunchtimes for those of us Scared Of Somebody Seeing Our Bottom Because We're Having To Shit In The Urinal.
Saturday, July 02, 2011
"in all the detective stories I've read there is usually a good-looking and highly educated young officer who falls in love with a rich and beautiful girl and, after rescuing her every ten pages from a fate which is popularly supposed to be worse than death, marries her on page 366 and lives happily right up to the end cover."
— Edgar Wallace
"The House Of The Candles
Sunday, June 26, 2011
I live near a big shopping mall. Walking over there involves taking a short cut through an industrial estate and then nipping through an underpass to get to the approach road.
" Hello! I hope you have a really lovely day!"
Thursday, June 23, 2011
Part the second of a very occasional series...
- The parting of the gravy
- It's not your birthday yeti
- You can tell it's real, it's got plastic fingers
- Sometimes the only solution to organisational failure is Dale Winton in a tutu
- The funeral was a gay affair and everybody laughed
- Thus do the wives of great men help save their husbands' modesty
- Two shakes of a lamb's doo-dah
- On hearing the first bunyip of Spring
- Waggling their MBEs
- The head of the herd was calling far, far away
- I have a spontaneously-combusting log
- A Corby Viking press
- A bed full of pamphlet pokers
- Bringing up "that clear thing"
Monday, June 20, 2011
Saturday, June 11, 2011
Apparently, "Hurray For Santa Claus" isn't a good choice of bathroom serenade on a cold, wet June morning. Aside from that and the fight over the duvet and The Small Object Of Desire's too-strong protestations of innocence of the charge of lusting after Jeremy Clarkson (one of the subsidiary dangers of partnering a petrol head), Railway Cuttings' transition into sultry love nest is going remarkably smoothly. This is remarkable for two reasons: it's been more than a decade since I last shared any space with anybody at all (and quarter of a century since my last foray into co-habitant); and we're both natural curmudgeons of a high order.
There is, however, one dark shadow in this Elysian splendour. It is the matter of sex.
Luckily, we are both still capable in the arts of making love, with the aid of a walking frame and a box of safety matches. Unluckily, there is an issue about foreplay. Round these parts foreplay consists of a beery nudge after "Match of the Day" and the magic words: "How about it lass?" unfortunately, neither of us are beer drinkers (I don't drink at all, come to that) and we're not overly struck on "Match of the Day." We're both quite struck by how much Alan Hansen looks like Captain Scarlet but it's not enough to get the libido going.
We'd quite like the cry of: "Oh He'll, Mark Kermode's on the telly again! Switch it off!" to be the signal for romantic manoeuvres but we worry that this may be beyond the pale societally.
Monday, June 06, 2011
Sunday, May 29, 2011
You'd have thought I'd know better after the episode with the quilt, but oh no…
Much to my — and the blue tits' — dismay, I've temporarily put a clothes line up in the garden so that I can dry a bed cover which has been drip-draining into the bath for the past 20 hours after I had a fit of bank holiday domesticity.
For those of you struggling for pub quiz questions, it turns out that a quilted blanket can hold eighty litres of bathwater.
Sunday, May 22, 2011
The Small Object Of Desire And Moon Of My Delight woke up with a start.
"I've had a horrible dream," she said. "I dreamt that I was being set challenges. If I got the challenge right then a small disaster happened and only a few people died. If I got it wrong there was some sudden huge disaster and thousands of people died. And we were running round like mad trying to round up everyone we knew so that if anything else happened we'd know where they were and we could look after them and we wouldn't be having to keep going off to look for them."And you kept telling me off: we only had so much time to find everyone and if we didn't get back soon we might never get back so we might have to leave some people behind."
Monday, May 16, 2011
Thursday, May 12, 2011
There's no call for that, Summer days in Helminthdale or no Summer days in Helminthdale.
Monday, May 09, 2011
We've finally(!) had a drop of rain. OK, then, a torrential downpour, but it's the first we've had since the beginning of April. We've been lucky with the bank holiday weather and took advantage to loll around the garden awhile. Taking care to ignore the neglects of Winter, when I was a bit preoccupied.
Thursday, April 28, 2011
Bunting and frolic abounds in the nation as Royal Wedding fever grips one half of the population and a virulent mood of "sod the wedding" grips the other. This is all too evident in Helminthdale Town Hall where many of the offices are ostentatiously undecorated by Union Flags while some mad enclaves are packed to the gunnels with Franklin Mint figurines of West Highland terriers with flags and roses in their mouths.
Street parties are compulsory, especially outside The Monkey's Arms where this is business as usual most nights from eight in the morning when the chemist's shop starts selling meths and Night Nurse. Lubianka Avenue will be hosting the gala parade featuring, inevitably, Year Six of St. Barrabas' Free School And Call-Me-Dave Academy, who will be providing a picturesque tableau float representing "The Rôle of the Cold Sore Through The Ages."
A good time shall be had by all. Especially me 'cos I'll be staying in bed well out of it.
Thursday, April 21, 2011
Wednesday, April 13, 2011
Madame De Farge was asking about the whereabouts of the post titles I haven't used in the other blog. I may be using some of them for the secret history, but I thought I might share a few from the lucky bag once every so often. Here's a random selection.
- Plagued by spider kittens
- A flash of masculine idiocy
- Just like Nelson did at the Battle of Waterloo
- Could you give a loud whistle just in case anything cracks
- If this works I'll be known as somebody with healing feet
- In the line of duty I've had to put things up people's noses
- Did he actually say: "Ahoy there!"?
- On passing lilac urine
- Prince Philip said: "Get your finger out!" and that cut us to the quick
- The Jane From Hell's Kitchen
- Kindly Omit Flowers
Monday, April 11, 2011
An occasional series. Part one of the list:
- Have a "who can do the dance from 'Tales Of The Unexpected'" competition when they should be getting ready for work.
- Missing the traffic lights changing because they're having an eyebrow wiggling contest
- Sulking after being accused of eating the last of the Tangfastics even though it's absolutely untrue and somebody else entirely ate them and passed on the blame.
Thursday, April 07, 2011
The advice for story tellers was to start at the beginning and carry on until you get to the end and then finish. The more I read the last post in the other blog the more it feels like the last post in the other blog. It just feels right.
In many ways this is a good time to stop it. The story's become harder to tell, for reasons I've outlined before, and to be honest my heart's not in it any more. These are dangerous times, as usual, but whereas in the past the taking of the risks added a frisson to the game, these days it's just another layer of boredom on top of the same old same old...
I think that's the top and bottom of it: I'm bored shitless with it all. There are fresh new challenges, which look all too much like the same old challenges not even dressed up to disguise it a bit. And the deathless dramas are the same old deathless dramas we've repeated oh so very many times before. There may be a different number of people chasing a different number of chairs but when the music stops it's still the same old parlour game.
So I think I'll stop it there. I may change my mind but until I do I'll put those energies into making a better fist of keeping in contact with the blogosphere than I have been doing.
I'll still be posting to this blog; it serves a different purpose again.
Monday, April 04, 2011
Wednesday, March 30, 2011
Friday, March 25, 2011
You know how it is, dearie, any well-wisher would let you a morsel of Christopher Isherwood, Dryden and Beckett and de Beaudellaire, Muir and Norden and Robertson Hare; the rhythm, the timbre, the metre, the beat - it ends with some Herbert composing a tweet.
Thursday, March 24, 2011
One of those mornings where the front garden is full of the smell of new pine fence panels and primroses. I have decided that I need to make the time to enjoy these things while they are available.
As we join the motorway the car in front of us is a pretend sports car: a four-door saloon with a drop top and pretensions. It's such a nice morning that we forgive the driver the coat hangers on the backs of the seats. If we ever get a sports car we'll have a Corby trouserpress in the back.
Monday, March 21, 2011
Sunday, March 13, 2011
My dad's got the habit of picking up a 5lb bag of bacon from the butcher's every Friday, whether they need it or not. Because it's a bargain. Weekends are spent farming rashers out to the rest of the family. He called on my brother...
"Do you want any bacon?""Yes please.""How much do you want?""How many can I have?""How many do you want?""Can I have twenty-seven?""Can I talk to somebody sensible?"
"Come out here, your grand-dad wants to talk to you."
Saturday, March 12, 2011
A bad couple of weeks for catching up with things. Mostly job-related stuff: both I and the small object of desire and moon of my delight have been negotiating written submissions for our jobs (I'm sorted for now; she, alas, is still on tenterhooks). Add to that a few calendar commitments and Things That Cannot Be Avoided and I'm a bit time-poor and preoccupied at the moment.
Luckily, all my news so far is, touch wood, good. I hope I find you all in fine fettle.
Saturday, February 26, 2011
So there I was, walking through the park when I noticed a couple of these things in the children's play area. I have no idea what they are. Essentially, they're a funnel on a stick a metre and a bit high (four foot in old money). Inside the funnel is five holes; I can't work out why or where they go. There are two of these; one at each end of the park but don't face each other: they're oriented 30° to each other.
Sunday, February 20, 2011
Tuesday, February 15, 2011
As if working late on the first St Val's day in ages where it mattered a hoot wasn't bad enough (the loved one was on late shift), Stockport Plaza had a special one-night-only screening of Casablanca.
I've spent the day trawling through the schedules of The Human Rights Act to see if I can claim compensation for this twist of fate.
Thursday, February 10, 2011
I've mentioned before that mine is the last generation to be able to get its head around the concept of rods, poles or perches. The Small Object Of Desire And Moon Of My Delight tells me that hers is the confused generation:
"I know how long a metre or a mile is but I've no idea of yards or kilometres."
Sunday, February 06, 2011
Sunday, January 30, 2011
Sunday, January 23, 2011
The small niece child is pondering the mysteries of life, death, God and what not and isn't any too impressed by the big feller's manner of getting things done.
"If everybody dies there'll be nobody left in the world. I don't know what He thinks he's doing..."
Saturday, January 22, 2011
You've got to feel sorry for King Kong...
Sunday, January 16, 2011
Saturday, January 15, 2011
You know that New Year's resolution I made about making a better fist of keeping in touch with people...