As I always say, them welsh women know style when the see it. Here’s four of ‘em wearing the hottest T-shirts in town. Fablaaaas. Available at a top website near you (that’s the T-shirt, not the women)
I had to make that call the other day. It was one of those moments which happen to me every so often when I call my current cable supplier (Virgin Vince Cable XL) and tell them I’d like to opt out of receiving Sky Sports. I was paying £50 a month for the four or five channels of sport which Rupert Murdoch pumps out every day. I watch these for approximately 2 hours-a-week, unless there is a major golf tournament of an English Test match showing. That was an ok arrangement when Rupert was paying me about 50 quid a month to work for him, but now he’s not paying me any more, the outlay of that sort of dosh for that sort of return is a no-goer.
And No: I am not unaware that very soon there will be many English Test matches showing on Sky TV which I will want to see, many involving throwing things at Australians. I shall have to listen to the radio or go down the pub to watch them. Not perfect, but it does come with benefits. And no, I cannot go over to You TV’s Sky Sports Day pass as I saw the advert for this three days after agreeing a new 18 month contract with Richard Branson. He came around personally. With that Scotch Dr Who bloke.
I will, of course also miss out on the many cycling races and tournaments which ESPN show constantly (The Tour de Opium Den is on at the moment, I believe) and all the action from the WLTA which British Eurosport and ESPN thrive on. I shall not be going down to the pub to watch those. I’ll be going down to the pub, but not to watch those.
The only thing that really will be missed will be the Crime & Investigation Channel, which is the only station which The Incumbent regularly watches. So me pulling the plug means she doesn’t get to watch “Snapped: Women Who Kill” or “I Want to Stab the Fuck Out of My Husband” and the such like. I can live with that. Hopefully.
But no matter, I am (as you may have read) in a good place at the moment and as the country takes that balaclava off and takes in lung fulls of fresh spring air, what better time is there to sit yourself down in a nice dark lounge and enjoy all the wonders that TV on Demand, Tivo and Catchup TV brings you ? Having gone through the ascent of man’s struggle with recording channels from Betamax, Philips 2000 VCR, Laserdisc, and Video Plus I am finding these latest gadgets just sensational. You’ll never miss a thing !
I know this “you’ll never miss a thing”phrase has been used for 30 years now ever since the first pine-clad video recorders, about the size of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, were wedged in underneath our 21 inch tellys and three of you had to push five buttons each in perfect synchronization to record The Krypton Factor Regional Finals, but this time, you really won’t miss a thing…unless the Beeb or ITV decide they’re not going to put your favourite up on Catchup cos they’re gonna repeat it at 3 o’clock in the morning on BBC Three Worldwide or ITV9.
But apart from that it is a wonderful toy. For how many years have we yearned for a gadget which replays commercial channel programmes without showing the adverts ? No more fast forwarding at the break, rushing through tv spots for Iceland, DFS, Go Compare, Muller Light and Argos, then taking your eye off it for a moment to open a packet of biscuits only to look up again and realise you’ve gone five minutes into the next section of the programme and have just caught a glimpse, albeit at x32 speed who the murderer was. You rewind quickly, not looking at the Missus who’s thinking “prat. AGAIN” but overshoot the mark in the other direction, so you give up, press play and watch the Argos advert, this time at normal speed.
Not any more though. If you can put up with waiting for a day, many an ITV murder mystery, a Channel 4 spy series or a Channel 5…er….whatever they show on that channel (pass) can be viewed without seeing an Ad at any speed. The advertisers must hate it. Poor them.
If programs clash, you can record 8 channels while watching the 9th, or so they tell me. Somehow though, we never seem not to have to tape the BBC’s The Village. It’s a sort of Warhorse meets Schindler’s List. Does anyone have any fun at all in that place ? Christ it’s heavy going. Good, but heavy going. I sit there with The Incumbent, struggling manfully not to open up a major artery, longing all the time for the light relief of half a dozen brutal and apparently random murders in Endeavour, currently playing on the other side. But no matter, 24 hours later when on a Monday there’s nothing on TV to watch (unless you have Sky Sports and like Monday Night Football), flick over to ITV Catchup and watch young Inspector Endeavour Morse without adverts. Much better and half an hour shorter too.
But be warned. And here’s the point of writing.
Do not, under any circumstances try to play catchup with the BBC’s latest offering:
The Wright Way. If you enjoyed Love thy Neighbour, Mind Your Language or maybe Bless This House from the depths of the 1970s, then this one is for you. Otherwise, move away from the remote control. You won’t see or hear this many re-hashed jokes, knob gags or sexual stereotypes at a Bernard Manning meets Stan Boardman gig. It is jaw-droppingly bad. Worse than any Mike Bushell sports report, worse than Mick Fleetwood and Sam Fox hosting The Brits. Almost in Armageddon league. Almost.
Or as Stuart Heritage in his Guardian blog puts it: Worse than The Life of Riley. Worse than My Family. Worse than Big Top, even, and that was a sitcom about what a circus would be like if it had Amanda Holden in it.”
or Tom Sutcliffe in the Independent : “so groan-inducing that you want to gather a mob with torches and pitchforks.”
A pal of mine went to see Alexi Sayle in concert the other night. It happened to be the day after Thatcher had died, and Alexi mused that perhaps Ben Elton had died too, seeing as the once “right on” socialist champion made his living out of trashing Mrs T but had been strangely silent over the recent passing.
“Up Yours, Mrs Fatch” you might have thought he’d say. “Ooooh Topical stuff, topical stuff”
The 1980s intellectual leader of alternative comedy. He did, of course, bring us The Young Ones and Black Adder. But never forget he also wrote “The Thin Blue Line” — that truly shocking Police sitcom which put back Rowan Atkinson’s career several decades. The 1980s intellectual leader of alternative comedy? Well maybe. Maybe not.
Worse was to come.
No, Ben Elton wasn’t dead. He was in the study of Right On Comrade Towers making the final flourishing touches to The Wright Way. I am here to reiterate that is was The Wrong Way. In the opening episodes there was a ten minute sketch involving our hero telling his lesbian (phwoarrrrr) daughter and her partner (fnarr fnarr) how to load a dishwasher properly. Later he was caught by a slow, fat, heavily-accented West Indian toilet attendant drying the fly of his trousers on the blower/dryer in the office loos. TWICE ! I can’t wait for next week when there’s a hilarious skit when he moans about the names of coffee in Starbucks, his trousers fall down for no reason and he’s caught by the vicar apparently mounting a poodle. “ooooh Topical stuff, topical stuff” as Ben might say. And, again, he’d be wrong.
Fortunately, thanks to the few remaining channels I have left, I can switch over and watch International Horse Drug Taking from Newmarket on Channel 4. That brilliant Claire Balding’s presenting it….
Maybe I’ll just watch the adverts.
What a beautiful day.
I defy you to look and listen to that without feeling great. I thought you’d like that. There wasn’t a particular reason I played it, it just fitted my mood at the time of writing. The sun is out, the bumble bees are doing their thang and the world seems a nice place. As someone quite rightly once wrote: Spring is sprung, the grass is ris. I wonders where the birdies is.
So, back to that video. Doesn’t it just bring a smile to your face ? Darts were just one of my favourite bands during the late 70s/early 80s. Fantastic upbeat covers of great doo-wop and rock n roll numbers, tickled-up and delivered in a mad manner with singers like Den Hegarty and Kenny Andrews (one replaced by the other) and in such a way that you couldn’t stop smiling. The length of Rita Rays’s skirt in that clip alone should make some of you sit up and take notice (and yes, I’m talking to you ! You know who you are. Safe flight back).
Anyway, things could be worse. As mentioned earlier, the temperatures are soaring here in the Potting Shed, and the weather outside isn’t bad either. Have been busy designing and printing t-shirts for a welcome glut of customers. This sudden interest comes mainly courtesy of the Eurovision Song Contest which attracts a particular section of society. It also, happily for me, happens to be the main interest of my friend Willie—a former colleague of mine— who now runs the most popular ESC website in the civilsed world and Scotland. Thanks mainly to Willie’s input (steady!) I’ve been flat out printing up skinny-fit tees sporting images of Bonnie Tyler and sparkly “Douze Points`’ slogans. These boys like ‘em tight & bright, though not sure about the T-shirts.
Willie asked me to supply some tees for him and his team for when they travel to Malmo, Sweden, for this year’s competition. He wants logos on the chest and across the back which leaves little room for anything else. Those (2) of you who have ever purchased a shirt from me will know each comes with my small logo (above) printed on the back. With Willie’s multitude of logos and slogans it’s proving difficult for me to know where I can place my company motif. In the end I had to call Willie and ask him where he’d like me to stick my fist. I quickly put down the phone when I realised what I’d said.
So the sun’s shining, I’m working (nearly said earning— but I am working) and I’m making inappropriate suggestions to gay young men. Perfick ! What’s next ?
Oh yes, I note that while I’ve been down the shed that the racist vampire’s been up to his old tricks again. I don’t know what it says about Football, or Suarez’s mental health. I do know what it says about Liverpool Football Club. Last time ‘King’ (ha!) Kenny backed him to the hilt, this time some faceless CEO looks the camera between the eyes and tells us what a great player he is. Like that matters. Watch Alan Hansen and Lorro next time MOTD’s on. They cannot sit up straight for the embarrassment. And nor should they.
I only found out about it cos a pal sent me a joke about Suarez being bought by Borussia Munchoncentreback. Happy days.
Anyway, since we last met I’ve had a major malfunction in the iMac Department. One day not long ago I was sitting staring blankly at the screen, when all of a sudden the screen stared blankly back at me. Very blankly indeed. It just switched itself off and refused to switch back on again. I tried all of the combination of reboots and key-strokes (some involving owning 13 fingers) to no avail. Called in my mate Mike who knows everything about Apple Macs. EVERYTHING. Ten minutes after arriving he pronounced: “IT’S FUCKED” . I had two choices, buy a new one or take it to the menders down at (sigh) Bluewater. A new one plus all the gadgets of Photoshop etc would set me back close to two grand. Oddly, I had mislaid my spare £2,000 for the minute, so I decided to get my current one fixed.
Apparently it was my hard drive. It was fucked. (told you my mate Mike knew everything). But just 4 days later they called me to say they’d replaced the offending part(s) and for the cost of an hour’s shop in Sainsbury’s I could come and retrieve it.
Back home it did, indeed, work. It worked better than it ever had before. Unsurprisingly as it had nothing on it. No photos, no designs, no photoshop, no browsing history (phew!) nothing. So, until MY MATE MIKE returns and brings all sorts to insert and tells me what new stuff I need to buy, I am left to the perils of a laptop. And my eyes aren’t what they were.
I didn’t really mind about the lost pics. I had backed up a lot just before christmas, and the new ones would only take a week or so to re-do. It could be a lot worse. I could live in France.
BUT WAIT A MINUTE ! BOLLOX!! MY MUSIC !! While I sit here tapping away writing a blog that only you and your mate from work read, I often drift along with my very old iTunes collection tinkling along with me. I went into a cold sweat. No iTunes meant no Status Quo, no Squeeze, no Darts. No iTunes meant NO CHAS & DAVE !! Some things are not replaceable (well yes I know they are but humour me for dramatic effect’s sake).
It was then I became very very happy (see, you knew I’d get around to it in the end, didn’t you ?). And this probably demonstrates just how little I know about how computers work. ALL of my music was still there. ALL of it (Well all the stuff I’ve ever bought as downloads, and I actually did once back-up all my old cd uploads).What a relief. As I write this sentence I’m listening and swaying along to Gilbert O’Sullivan (Alone Again, Naturally— that’s both the title of the song and my personal situation), occasionally typing in time, if not in tune, to the music. I even have a folded T-shirt on my head doubling as an over-sized flat cap. Ok, that last bit is a fib. It’s wonderful: When you think you have lost something which will take a long long time to replace, then you find it. Bloody Marvellous !
So that was the very moment that I rediscovered Darts. Or to be more precise the time when I discovered that I must have rediscovered Darts some time again and downloaded some of their singles. So much fun. Listening to Daddy Cool brought an instant smile to my face. Come Back My Love had me hopping around the room like a mad thing. And when I listened to the tune in the next tune it brought back fond memories of five of us getting a cab up to the aforementioned Vagabonds drinking hole. It was during the 80s and we may have had a little drinky. For the whole of the 5 mile journey we sang “Duke, Duke, Duke, Duke of Earl, Duke, Duke, Duke of Earl, Duke, Duke, Duke of Earl” in a drunken reel, then transferring the rhythm and tune to everything and anything else that came up. “Where, where, where, where’s the pub ?” etc. You get the picture. In our sodden state we thought it was hilarious.
When they cab pulled up outside the club, we poured ourself out onto the pavement. One of us stuck his head thru the open window and asked how much we owed.
“Ten, ten, ten, ten pounds thirty, ten, ten, ten pounds thirty” sang the cabbie. It just about finished me off. Who has more fun than us ?
Enjoy the music and the weather. And a rare use of the word “Dukedom” in a pop song.
John Stewart doing what John Stewart does best. Making fun out of complete
arses in his country’s government. I never, ever thought I’d fall on the side
of former Aussie PM John Howard on anything, but there’s a first for everything I guess.
…and if you’re one of them Bugger You
You’ll have seen this one, I know. But that doesn’t mean it’s not worth seeing again. If you’ve had enough of the BBCs arse-licking pre-funeral coverage, treat yourself to watching a man getting angrier than you ever can.
I suspect this bloke was never in the running to be the 5th Beatle.