Wednesday 30 January 2008

I fart your general direction

Apparently when the Archbishop of York, John Sentamu, met his popeness recently he gave him a customary gift. The gift in question was a bottled beer, Holy Grail, a beer brewed by the Black Sheep Brewery in Masham, North Yorkshire.

Nothing wrong with that you might think, a York bishop taking local produce as a present. But wait a minute. Holy Grail is actually a tribute to 'Holy Grail' as in 'Monty Python and the'. Those lovable Oxbridge lads, who were near-excommunicated for the film The Life of Brian. I suspect the Archbish doesn't have a clue what he has done. It's effectively an insult worthy of the Knights that say Nee!

Friday 25 January 2008

Dawn of the insomniacs

I think it must be a sign of getting old, because at weekends I now find myself waking up early, and not being able to stay in bed for that long after I wake up. Once upon a time in the not too distant past I could luxuriate beneath the quilt basking in the womb like environment. As a teenager I didn’t even know of the existence of Saturday mornings. Now as someone in their early fifties I’m not sure I will ever return to the great ‘lie in’, unless it re-manifests itself in my dotage. This getting old lark is a right bugger. Having said all that, the strange thing is that on a work morning it is all I can do to drag myself out of the sack. Ever since the age of five I’ve struggled to get out of bed on then school mornings, and now work mornings. This affliction must have a name. There must be a syndrome out there that describes my condition! Its compulsory these days isn’t it?

If there isn’t, I shall feel discriminated against, and probably cry.

Tuesday 22 January 2008

Passed by the Management

It is strange how certain seemingly non-eventful things suddenly trigger a reminder of other non-eventful happenings from the dim and distant past. This morning at work, as I was leaving the loo, a colleague entered with a stash of papers complaining that there was nowhere to put stuff while you went about your business. I was immediately transported back nearly thirty years to the time when I was training to be a humble buyer at Swallow Manufacturing. My mentor, the long-late Mr George Blackmore, and the man I would eventually replace, had come steaming out of the toilet sporting a look that was both a smirk and a grimace. "You'll never guess what I've just seen", he announced in an indignant fashion, "I've just seen Charlie Farley standing at the urinal, pissing, and reading a price list. Dirty bugger!" With a sense of rage he went on, "It was quite embarrassing as I don't think he realised I was there at first. I didn't know whether to make my excuses and leave, or offer to hold his willy while he turned the page." Oh how we laughed. Well, chortled a bit. I sniggered to myself today about it. But then I'm easily amused.

Friday 18 January 2008

Well it amused me!

Terry Wogan told a joke this morning that amused me. It's probably an old one, but I'd never heard it before. Anyway here goes:

Question: Who led the Pedants Revolt?

Answer: Which Tyler

Das Kinder

Just when I thought I had got the Christmas present buying nonsense sorted a month or so ago, the cold realisation that I had bought a selection box for a three month old Great Nephew dawned on me. Bugger! The replacement was easily resolved. I purchased a fluffy toy. But, I now had one Kinder Selection Box too many, along with a predicament. What to do with the surplus selection box?
When I was a lad, Kinder products either weren’t available in the UK, or they didn’t exist. When my son was growing up there were Kinder Eggs, but I don’t remember any other sweets from them. The Kinder selection box contained all manner of wonderful looking sweets. All on a similar theme, chocolate with creamy fillings.

I’ve now eaten the lot. My favourite was the Happy Hippo, a hippo shaped wafer with a milky white filling, and part dipped in either white or milk chocolate. The white ones had the edge. I might well succumb to a Happy Hippo next time I find myself in a sweet shop.

Tuesday 15 January 2008

Stand Up Or Sit Down?

“A toilet which flushes to the sound of Italy's national anthem has been impounded by police in northern Italy, sparking great patriotic debate.”

Monday 14 January 2008

I Laughed

Bury St Edmunds is often seen lacking in the quality entertainment department. It’s rare that you get interesting or well known acts performing in the town. One of the reasons for that, I guess, is the lack of suitable venues. Thankfully we are happily blessed with a pretty decent comedy club. It happens on the second Sunday of the month, which incidentally was last night.

Going to see an act or band that you’ve wanted to see for sometime can be a precarious business. If you are not careful you build up such high expectations that unless they are on tip-top 200% form you are sorely disappointed. Last Wednesday I discovered that Jon Richardson was headlining at the Fat Cat Comedy Club. I had to go, and I so wanted him to be funny.

Last night was a good night. I lashed into the beer. The compere, Rob Heeney, was unusually funny and quick witted. The support act, Stuart Goldsmith, was okay. Then it was Jon’s turn. There was a big build up from Rob Heeney, and on sidled Jon. He doesn’t look funny, just very ordinary. He picked on some people at the front who all happened to work at a fish and chip shop. Jon was in his element. If you’ve ever heard him on the radio you’ll know that he loves food and cooking. He describes himself as a pedant with OCD. An adlibbed conversation between him and the chip shop crew ensued for about ten minutes. Anyone who can get laughs from discussing Hake is a pretty bloody good comedian in my book and a laugh from brown sauce is no mean feat either. He claims to prefer ‘Daddies’, but buys ‘HP’ because the bottle is square shaped, thus fitting nicely in the corner of his cupboard. After that there was a tirade about speeding motorists. I’d like to see him matched against Jeremy Clarkson. I think Jon would easily be the victor against Motor Mouth. More banter with the audience. The time just flew by as we all laughed. And not a mention of the Dyson Airblade. Russell Howard has described him as an old man in a young man’s body. I think that’s why I like him so much, he moans about the same sort of things I moan about, and in a very funny way. He is definitely going places. Watch out for him. Jon Richardson is the thinking man’s* comedian.

*that’s man, as in homosapien, not ignoring the ladies

Friday 11 January 2008


You do wonder if the heart and soul has been ripped out of this country of ours when you hear about the likes of Ama Sumani’s plight.

Regardless of the rights or wrongs of our immigration laws, for the state to sentence someone to death is totally and utterly wrong. Ama is a 39 year old Ghanaian woman who had lived here for a number of years. She is terminally ill, and was effectively taken from her hospital bed and expelled from the UK. The immigration service claimed that she would be able to obtain the necessary treatment in her home country. It appears not to be true because she can’t afford to pay for that treatment. Why does it have to be so cruel and so despicable?

Thursday 3 January 2008


A week before Christmas a friend and I had an away day to The Smoke. It was an arty day. We planned to visit both Tate Britain and Tate Modern. The key exhibition that we went to see was the works of the Pre-Raphaelite artist John Everett Millais. Probably his most famous painting is ‘Bubbles’ a picture of his grandson purchased by and used as an advert for Pears Soap.

A lot of people with a broader than the norm disposition towards art might dismiss his pictures as twee or prissy, but I think that would be doing him a great injustice. It’s worth going to the exhibition for the intricacy of his painting alone. I particularly enjoyed his sketches and pen & ink drawings, which, in my opinion, are equally as absorbing and fascinating as any by Albrecht Durer. Hurry if you want to go and see this exhibition as it is only on until 13th January.

Whilst at Britain we also went into the Turner Prize Retrospective. This I would describe as a ‘bit of a curates egg’. It ranges from the sublime to the ridiculous. Disturbingly my favourite of this exhibition was a large 'tiled effect’ piece by Gilbert and George. Thankfully I found Damien Hirst’s cows in formaldehyde as offensive as I hoped I would.

Gilbert & George.

For those that don’t know, there’s a jolly nice boat service that runs between Tate Britain, Tate Modern and the London Eye. We took the boat between the two Tates. It is, the only way to travel!

Over at Tate Modern the emphasis was on looking around the Louise Bourgeois exhibition. She is a remarkable lady who has produced some wonderful sculptures, (Eat your heart out Tracey Emin) Big spiders, voluptuous amorphous phallic bobbly things and soft sinky fabric sculptures. Bloody good stuff!

What made the visit all the more special was that I’d been given membership to the Tate. This enables me and a guest to enter all the exhibitions for free, access to the member’s lounges and discounts on the boat travel, book shop and restaurants. Fan-bloody-tastic.

In between all the culture had some time to take a few photos as well:

It was a great day out. Must do it again soon.