Stiffening Up (and other Double Entendres)


It all started when I started fiddling with the girlfriend’s tea-towel holder.

We’d bought a new one, you see, over in France at one of their premiere Old Tut shops. I was attempting to fix it to a kitchen cabinet drawer, bent over a bit too sudden-like and my ribs cramped up (a common occurrence, thanks to an old rugby injury), I then shot bolt upright to try to un-cramp myself when my left calf went into spasm (a common occurrence, thanks to being an old git) and I found myself cramped all the way down my left side. I would take myself off to see the Doc, but he will say my ailments are probably due to the Warfarin (the rat poison the give to recovering stroke patients).

Here’s a few quotes that may interest you:

My GP on my blood-spot-splattered feet:
“That’ll be the Warfarin”

My GP on my irregular and worrying dizzy spells:
“That’ll be the Warfarin”

On the numbness in my face:
“That’ll be the Warfarin”

On the shooting pains down my:
“That’ll be the Warfarin”

My GP on the Eurozone crisis and the war in Afghanistan:
“I’m no expert, but that’ll probably be the Warfarin”.

Well why am I still on it, then ????

So thanks to the producers of Warfarin and the failure of The Incumbent’s Tea towel holder to grip anything effectively (not even my little finger) I’ve been forced to  repair to the sofa, look, listen and learn from the wise sages of T’BBC.

It’s almost certainly an age-thing (or maybe it’s the Warfarin) that I now prefer the sports radio coverage more than I do the television. This may be because Claire Balding isn’t on BBC Radio, but more probably because the broadcasters have to think on their feet to keep the audience entertained, rather than just point a camera at a volleyball player’s arse.

Two exchanges on the wireless demonstrated this perfectly yesterday. One was an interview with Manteo Mitchell who represented the USA in the heats of the 4x400m relay. Half of it he ran with a broken leg, it having snapped down the back straight.

“I felt it break. I heard it. I even put out a little war cry, but the crowd was so loud you couldn’t hear it.” said Mitchell.
I can assure the reader that if my leg broke should I ever again find myself running anywhere, you will be able to hear my ‘little war cry’ in Tanzania. Mitchell completed the remaining 200 meters, unable to create a lead for the second runner in the team. What a lightweight !

I listened, opened mouth to this account, full of shock and awe for this man, knowing full well that I, in the same circumstances, would have used the old Navaho Indian trick of collapsing on the floor and begging for mercy. The piece was marred slightly when the interviewer started raving about the American’s third leg. Which was a bit forward for daytime radio, I thought. There’s a time and a place.

I was wrong.

Not an hour later, another intrepid reporter waxed lyrical to his anchor man (Mark Chapman) about meeting former gold medal-winning diver (the pool) Greg Luganis in the gents urinals. I thought I’d tuned into a police wave band.
“As I stood next to him, I asked him about what was likely to happen later”. Back in the studio, his colleague was incredulous. One could sense a producer’s hand hovering over the ‘off air’ switch.


“You just went up to Greg Luganis in a toilet and struck up a conversation ?” he asked
“no, no, of course not. We’d met before”
(We were not informed where and under what circumstances.)
“I said to him: ‘From what you’ve seen…'”
“You said what ?…” Chapman had clearly fallen off his stool. “You can’t say that to someone while standing at a urinal !”
Honestly, Chappers” retorted the reporter “it’s impossible to have a conversation with you without you inserting double entendres. I was talking about what he’d seen so far in the pool…”
The chat continued with Chapman desperately trying not to interject with too many men-in-urinals gags. One can only hope the conversation in the loo didn’t contain too many questions regarding diving technique. “Greg, how does one get a ripped entry with minimal splash”. Luganis may have fainted.

Switching back to the TV it was time to witness Mo Farrah run to glory to take the 5k/10k double, and what a fantastic race it was. Mo was determined that he wouldn’t be beaten, aided and manfully abetted by a huge crowd, 95% who madly cheered for a man named Mohammed, a refugee from Africa who runs proudly and passionately represents the country which took him in all those years ago. UKIP and the EDF must be apoplectic.

Those of us watching at home, some laid up on the sofa, tragically stuck down with cramp, were privileged to listen to Steve Cram’s commentary, a real appreciation of distance running, which will be one of the most replayed moments of the entire games. Beside Cram in the commentary box was Brendan Foster, who looked like he’d heard they were opening his pub early. ‘Bottle of Newky Brown, please, pet.’

I am now told by T’BBC of an auction where one can buy London 2012 momentos. Bradley Wiggins’ and Jess Ennis’ stuff is the most popular, so they’re bound to be out of my price-range. I’m off to bid for some of Kriss Akabusi’s broadcasting talent. Apparently there’s not much of it.

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All Shall Sleep


I knew I had it somewhere. Took me ages to dig it our but I found my scorecard for the World’s Most Boring Arse competition held in Essex (where else ?) in March.

While there’s a dearth of sporting action to enjoy I thought I’d share it with you. I even remembered to jot down the scores for you. BBC Olympic Coverage ?  Ha!!

Apparently, Seb Coe had to pull out at the last minute, on the basis that he actually gave an interesting press conference earlier on in the year. Factually incorrect, but interesting nevertheless. This gave first reserve, the former head of Liverpool Council, Derek Hatton, the chance to compete in the world championships once again, over 20 years after he’d been barred for “excessive use of boredom”. A good result over fellow leftie mogadon and self-publicist, Paul Boateng, Hatton succumbed to the mastery of Colin Montgomery (“The White Pele”).

The real Pele suffered all competition from jet-lag, and at one stage almost put himself to sleep, before recovering consciousness to edge out rugby leg-end Gavin Hastings. But that didn’t dent the Scottish drive for glory. Backing up Montgomery was Sir Chris “The Flying Lullaby”  Hoy. Caledonia, world leaders in dullness, have enjoyed great success over the years at the Championships – winning it for the last 73 years – and with Monty and Hoy spearheading the attack, who would bet against them winning again ? Not me, that’s for sure. The early retirement of Gavin’s brother Scott, and the near-fatal narcolepsy of Sir Jackie Stewart doesn’t seem to have affected the bluntness of their armoury.

Disappointing tournaments Claire Balding (who looked confused to see Colin Montgomery in the same room) and John Lydon*, who just looked confused.

Deborah Meaden had to be destroyed after the first round.

*Johnny Rotten disqualified for not trying to be boring enough. Eubank goes through on review.

**The Winner received a Postal Order for £17.50, and a guest spot on Countdown.

Gong with the Wind


My mate Gav moans about (see comments) the BBC commentators “bigging-up”
(a phrase, I believe, in common parlance nowadays) British competitors at the Olympics to heights they couldn’t hope to attain. Tom Daley, Wiggly Baggins and Twiggy Broke-Legge in the 4 Day Horse Jockeying have all become victims of the curse of the commentator.

I suppose it depends on which sport you’re involved in. Swimmers get to be narrated by the quite excellent Andy Jameson and Adrian Moorhouse, two men who really know their stuff (although why they have Colin Montgomery in the box next to them is beyond me. What does he know about breast stroke, apart from the obvious?).

Monty bluffs his was through the swimming

If you’re unfortunate enough to be a cyclist you get Hugo Porter, fresh from retiring from international sport in 1928, and who has either left his spectacles back in Wolverhampton or reads a cycling race rather less well than I read Korean.

None, though, get more excited and excitable than Country File‘s very own Matt Baker who was in serious danger of suffering an orgasm during the men’s gymnastics on Monday night. For Matt, team GB can do no wrong and if Beth Twaddle’s knees fell off, Baker would claim it as an attempted Triple Dorito, punch the air and poor old Christine Still sitting beside him. (I don’t mean she’s still sitting beside him, just that Matt’s co-commentator’s name is Christine Still – she with the voice of a thousand Stukas.)

(Baker was probably not alone in orgasming over the boy gymnasts. Earlier in the BBC studio, Gabby Logan, Carl Lewis and Ian Thorpe all had a touch of the vapours when the subject came up).

My personal gripe (today) with the BBC is the so-called Olympic Body Match feature on their website. Here you can tap in your vital stats and they will calculate who you most resemble in the Olympic family. Apparently, my perfect match is Lijiao Gong:- a chinese woman shot putter.  I never expected Olga Korbut (no-one ever does) but surely there must be scope for a stewards on that one ? Bring me the Japanese coach !

SPOT OF THE DAY:

Nice to see our Royal family supporting Zara Phillips during the 10 yard Grouse Shoot. They even sobered up the Duchess of Ming for the event. Charlie, presumably, was having a day orf her.

Black n White Snaps


I know you’re just like me and can’t wait to get yourself to London to enjoy all the festivities that the Olympic Games has to offer. But, if you should find yourself at a loose end, or at London Bridge Station with an hour before your slot watching the 1 yard air rifle begins, please do yourself a favour and take yourself down to the South Bank, just by Boris’s place. There you’ll be able to see Tom Stoddart’s fabulous new open air photo exhibition.

If not the Greatest Living Geordie (my mum wins that award), Tom is certainly the greatest British photographer, and he buys his round, to boot (which is more than I can say for my mum). While you’re there you may even catch a glimpse of the great man himself. Tell him I sent you and you’ll immediately be asked to leave the area.

This is by far the best show in town this summer.

Photographer Tom Stoddart stands at his Perspectives photographic exhibition at More London on July 25, 2012 in London, England. Seventy-eight of Stoddart’s signature black and white pictures form a free, open-air display at More London Riverside, between City Hall and HMS Belfast. During his distinguished career Stoddart has travelled to more than 50 countries and documented such historic events as the fall of the Berlin Wall, the Siege of Sarajevo and the election of Nelson Mandela as South Africa’s first black president. The exhibition is in participation with The International Committee of The Red Cross for whom Stoddart has worked on their Healthcare in Danger campaign initiative that aims to address the widespread and severe impact of illegal and sometimes violent acts that obstruct the delivery of health care, damage or destroy facilities and vehicles, and injure or kill health-care workers and patients, in armed conflicts and other emergencies.
(July 24, 2012 – Source: Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images Europe)

I’ve Got a Golden Ticket


It seems like it’s taken ages for notification to come through, but finally my ticket to the big event has been dispatched, apparently.

The application process was quite the most frustrating and long-winded process I’ve never been through. The website was never down and never told you until right near the end if the tickets you were hoping for were available.

I know it’s a bit expensive, but what’s money when you know an event like this will never be in your country in your lifetime again ?

I’m told security for the event is tough, apparently the police have already murdmanslaughtaccidentally not killed anyone at all. Honest. Thank god there’s no newspapers to sell anymore.

Anyway, I’m off to catch the boat. Only £790 quid for a -twenty-minute return journey, which I didn’t think was at all bad.

My only worry is that since the cuts, the postal service round here is terrible. I only hope the ticket arrives in time for the event.

Can’t wait.

If it Wasn’t for the Holympics Inbetween


Cockney singer and comedian, Gus Elen (below) made this little ditty famous at the end of the 19th Century. It’s a bitter-sweet number, lamenting the loss of the beautiful English countryside and the advent of the slums as London sprawled out over the South East in the name of progress and industrialisation.

A little over a century later, the urban streets, factories and gasworks which Elen mocked have been pulled down and swept away, but not to be replaced by the original green fields, but with Millennium Tents, Olympic Towers, Aquatic Centres and Velodromes. It’s hailed by some as progress, by others and the rape and destruction of our heritage. By others again as a fantastic money-making opportunity for a few lucky people at the expense of some of the poorest in society.

When reciting this one, the trick is to hone your cockney accent (and I know many of you have been practicing hard to perfect yours, yearning to be able to speak proper) just like Gus did when he first performed this on stage to East Enders (no, not that lot – the real ones) and sang to them as one of their own.

Once more I am indebted to The Talented Mr Rapley for reminding me of this one.

(This ain’t Gus singing , but it’ll give you an idea of how the tune goes)


http://www.victorianweb.org/mt/musichall/2.html

If it Wasn’t for the Houses Inbetween

If you saw my little backyard, “Wot a pretty spot!” you’d cry,
It’s a picture on a sunny summer day;
Wiv the turnip tops and cabbages wot peoples doesn’t buy
I makes it on a Sunday look all gay.
The neighhours finks I grow ’em and you’d fancy you’re in Kent,
Or at Epsom if you gaze into the mews.
It’s a wonder as the landlord doesn’t want to raise the rent,
Because we’ve got such nobby distant views.

CHORUS:
Oh it really is a wery pretty garden
And Chingford to the eastward could be seen;
Wiv a ladder and some glasses,
You could see to ‘Ackney Marshes,
If it wasn’t for the ‘ouses in between.

We’re as countrified as can be wiv a clothes prop for a tree,
The tub-stool makes a rustic little stile;
Ev’ry time the bloomin’ clock strikes there’s a cuckoo sings to me,
And I’ve painted up “To Leather Lane a mile.”
Wiv tomatoes and wiv radishes wot ‘adn’t any sale,
The backyard looks a puffick mass o’ bloom;
And I’ve made a little beehive wiv some beetles in a pail,
And a pitchfork wiv a handle of a broom.

CHORUS:
Oh it really is a wery pretty garden,
And Rye ‘ouse from the cock-loft could be seen:
Where the chickweed man undresses,
To bathe ‘mong the watercresses,
If it wasn’t for the ‘ouses in between.

There’s the bunny shares ‘is egg box wiv the cross-eyed cock and hen
Though they ‘as got the pip and him the morf;
In a dog’s ‘ouse on the line-post there was pigeons nine or ten,
Till someone took a brick and knocked it orf.
The dustcart though it seldom comes, is just like ‘arvest ‘ome
And we mean to rig a dairy up some’ow;
Put the donkey in the washouse wiv some imitation ‘orns,
For we’re teaching ‘im to moo just like a cah.

A British All-Conners Record


The Daily Telegraph writes:

Olympic beer to cost £7.23 a pint


Bars at the official Games venues will charge £4.80 for a small serving of London 2012 red wine. For visitors with an appetite for traditional British fare, a portion of cod and chips will set them back at least £8.

The London 2012 organisers, who published sample menus yesterday, claimed the prices were “more than comparable” to catering costs at other sporting events. An estimated 14 million meals will be served to spectators across 40 locations during the Games.

Paul Deighton, chief executive of London 2012, said the organisers had “gone to great lengths” to find “high quality, tasty food that celebrates the best of Britain”.

A 330ml bottle of Heineken lager at the Games will cost £4.20, making the equivalent price of a pint £7.23. This is more than double the national average price of £3.17 for a pint of beer.

Spectators will pay £2.10 for a toasted teacake, £2.30 for a 500ml bottle of Coca-Cola and £2 for a cup of tea. A family of four should be able to buy food and drinks for under £40, according to London 2012. “

They say this last bit without a hint of irony. That’ll be 40 quid on top of the four £450 tickets to watch 20 minutes of the 1m synchronized ping pong. But who the fuck cares any more? We let these robbers get away with it, as we string up our flags and bunting, wave our Union Jacks and remark “ooh hasn’t that nice Mr Coe got old since he took over the games ?”. Of course he looks old. So would you if you had to lug great wads of cash home every night, under the cover of darkness.

Let’s not worry about it. Let’s light up the barbies, sing God Save the Queen for the Jubilee and give thanks that in these harsh times of mass unemployment, crime and poverty, when more and more are driven to stealing to feed themselves and their families, when the southern half of continental Europe is about to go under, we still have a time and the tact to celebrate and wave at a woman who drives around in a solid gold coach.

Let’s shout “C’mon Ingerlund” as the Ukrainian and Polish Nazi Parties beat the shite out of football fans from ethnic backgrounds (well, anyone who isn’t Ukrainian or Polish really), and all this because Michel Platini and his Uefa mafia turn a blind eye to racism and violence within football culture, just as long as he gets his big bucks (or small Euros at the time of going to press). I do not have the data on the price of Heineken beer in Kiev.

Then when a football match breaks out on the pitch and our team loses we can slaughter Roy Hodgson for picking completely wrong 11 idiots, as there were 11 other idiots waiting at home in bed with their friend’s wives, trying to take their minds off of not being selected.

Lets sit back and enjoy the liars of the world: Blair, Cameron, Murdoch (+1), Hunt, Wade, Coulson and the rest of them squirm their way around the questions which would and should bring down the lot of them. But they won’t. You know they won’t. Come the end of Leveson, and save for a couple of minor-ish victims and sacrifices like Brooks and Coulson, the Murdoch Empire, the Fleet St rags and the British Government will still be in place and will still operate in exactly the same way.

Some people moan about it and sites like the one you are reading make a fuss about all this shit now and then, but it doesn’t really do anything or matter in any way shape or form, does it? If it mattered, more than 32% of the country would get out and vote these crooks, thieves and tramps out of office. If it mattered there would be a day of action against arseholes like Andrew Lansley, Michael Gove and Nick Clegg EVERY WEEK, not just once every winter equinox.

So enjoy the next few months. Don’t trip over the maypole or the bunting this weekend; when the football arrives, cheer and clap and the local police, the UEFA officials and the TV cameras ignore the Zeig Heil chants and the Nazi Salutes; smirk and laugh as one-by-one cabinet minister after cabinet minister lies his way out of court; stand and salute and sympathize with the judge trying to get to the bottom of this really sordid scandal, only to be left with the head of the odd PM spin doctor, or Eton old boy to show for it;

Wash that MacDonald’s Olympic burger down with your pint of Heineken. That’ll be well worth fifteen quid of anyone’s money. But not mine. I shall be spending the odd £2.60 on a pint in The Shovel then nip across the road to the chip shop, or maybe the kebab house where I can pick up a large meal for the price of a 330ml bottle of imported Olympic lager. Then I’ll nip home to see if there’s any cricket on to watch. There’s no telly in The Shovel, so it’ll be cans of Guinness on the sofa, in front of the box for me. So keep your over-priced games, your over-hyped jubilee, and your über-alles Championship.
I’ll keep my kebab and a pint. You have your Red-White-and-Blue season. I’ll be happy with my Doner Summer.

 

Just the Ticket


Because I am a wonderful son to a doting mother and father, a couple of years ago I purchased 2 tickets to the ATP tennis finals, which is held each year at the millennium bivouac. Being in the lower order of the 2nd and last innings of their lives, they are unlikely to make the trip across London to Wimbledon, and The Tent is only up the road I thought I’d buy them the chance to watch Federer, Nadal, Sour Faced Jock and the rest. They’d love it, thought I. My mum was especially looking forward to it. Being a woman she doesn’t follow real sport so it’s good to get her something she does understand and enjoy. The hairdressers and Bluewater were shut.

So I forked out the considerable sum (I told you it was a while ago) one pays for such event and secured two tickets for the opening night. On the menu was a men’s doubles game, the Scotch geezer vrs Soderling, then a mixed doubles match and lastly Rafa Nadal vrs everyone’s favourite cheating Serb, Novak Djokovic. I’d present to them the tickets, and shortly after receiving my “Son of the Year” award, I would drop mum and dad off as close to the Greenwich landmark (I was living but a couple of miles away then) go home, have a meal, watch a movie, maybe even grab a couple of zeds before it’d be time to pick up the parents again.

All went well at first. Yes, they loved the gift, and were thrilled that they were to see both Djoko and Jocko. On the day, I delivered them to as close to the gate as I could, I then drove home, shoes off and mused about what The Incumbent and I were gonna have for dinner. I suppose it would have been around 4pm. At about 6.10 my phone went. It was mum.

“We’re ready to come home now, Mike” she said.
“What ??” says I. “They can’t have finished four matches in two hours ?”
“No, we’ve been thrown out” she replied, as if that would answer all my questions.
“Thrown out ?” I couldn’t believe it. I started wondering who dad had had a row with for them to be ejected. He can be a bolshie bastard at times. Thanks god I take after mother.

Further investigation and interrogation revealed that the tickets I had bought (a snip at £80 each) were for only the first two matches of the day. “The afternoon session”. I felt such a fool. I should have known from the cheap cost of the seats that one couldn’t expect to pay a mere £160 and see a whole day’s play.

I was fuming. I cannot relay to you effectively just how angry I was. Letters and emails were sent (mum likes writing a shitty letter too) and we all vowed there and then never to darken the Dome’s door again. (I have since broken this vow about 6 times, but at the time I meant it.)

I’ve calmed down now. Really I have. I only bring up the whole sordid story as I was sent just now an email by my old pal Philip who is, shall we say a tad miffed about similar money-grabbing schemes of the water in Olympic Park (“never!” I don’t hear you cry). I’ll let Phil tell the story :

“…[there’s] the shocking revelation that we have failed to buy all the tickets made available in the latest release. Apparently we have passed up on 300,000 and are no longer the greatest sports lovers on the planet. The real shock is how they are getting away with chopping up the sporting day into tiny little parcels are thereby selling the same seat 6 or 7 times a day. You can spend £450 to watch an hour and 5 minutes of moistened bints falling from the high board in the Aquatic centre. 

Tuesday
31 July 2012 
15:00-16:05
Diving Women’s Synchronised 10m Platform Final

Women’s Synchronised 10m Platform Victory Ceremony

Session Code: DV003 Aquatics Centre
£450.00 – AA

£295.00 – A
£185.00 – B
£95.00 – C
£50.00 – D
 
Or if you fancy a bit of Robin Hood at Lords you could pay £65 for a team elimination session that starts at 9 finishes at 10.40 in the morning. You’ll be back out on the pavement before the boozers have even opened.  
Saturday
28 July 2012 
09:00-10:40 Archery Men’s Team 1/8 Eliminations

Session Code: AR003 Lord’s Cricket Ground  £65.00 – A

£45.00 – B
£30.00 – C
£20.00 – D
 

Un-fucking believable.  Athletics is even worse – not that there are any tickets to be had for that. But if you did somehow get that Willy Wonka magic ticket you could easily get lost inside the stadium and get to your seat just in time to meet the bloke who had next use of it settling in.”

And you thought it was just me. Thanks Phil. I know somewhere you can buy a great T-shirt to make your feelings known.

In my mum and dad’s case, dad had just returned to his seat carrying two £7.50 sandwiches, where an overall-dressed worker was cleaning up and clearing away the discarded cups and wrappers from the first session.

“You might as well leave that, mate, we’re still sitting there” pater informed the cleaner.
“No, sir, you have to go now”

Oddly, an argument ensued, ending with dad attempting to insert a subway baguette into an o2 official.

I can’t understand why people get so upset.