With this Ring


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With My Little Ukelele in My Hand


A mate of mine recently asked me if it was a recording of me singing and playing the ukelele which Sainsburys are using in their current Christmas Ad campaign. Just to put him and anyone else’s mind at ease, it isn’t.

It is, of course a song by the great George Formby, with whom I’m sure you lot are bored shitless by now, he being the subject of many a post or comment within these here pages. I didn’t start writing hit singles til well into the 1970s. This song predates that by about 30 years. But I can see what my mate meant: this song is very me. Having looked up the lyrics (well, I can’t get out much nowadays. See how you like it – stuck at home watching Grand Designs compilations all the fucking time!!!! Piss off !!), I note that his outlook on life would have fitted in quite nicely here at The Sharp Single. Reading the words and dee-dee-deeing along with the video, I find myself agreeing with nearly all he says.

See what you think. And, of course, my regards to you and yours for the festive season.

I can laugh when things ain’t funny
Ha, ha, happy-go-lucky me
Yea, I can smile when I ain’t got no money
Ha, ha, happy-go-lucky me

It may sound silly, but I don’t care
I got the moonlight, I got the sun
I got the stars above

Me and my sweetie
Well, we both share
Slappy-go-happy, happy-go-lucky love

Well, life is sweet
Whoa-ho, sweet as honey
Ha, ha, happy-go-lucky me

On the other hand, if you’re going to be like that, stick your Christmas up your arse.

1066 and All That


LATE RESULT:
England   –   0   vrs   1  –   Normandy
Strauss-Khan  AET
ATT: 59,501

By John Moatson in Hastings
14th October 1066

Here this evening the English suffered yet another in a long line of humiliating defeats at the hands of the unfancied Normandians when an extra-time clincher was grasped by veteran shooter, Dominique Strauss-Khan, sending the home side down to what seems to be a final, crushing blow.  For much of the early action, Strauss-Khan’t had gone missing, concentrating his efforts on his controversial “rape and pillage” tactics, particularly the former. But when an unreliable serving-wench (and some clearly mad slapper scribe) shouted foul, Dominique returned to doing what he does best: sticking his balls in the old onion bag (whatever her name is).

The Citing Committee have since decided that as all that nastiness may or may not have happened over two hours ago, Mr Strauss-Can has no case to answer.

William wins the toss and decides to play with the wind

From the outset the Frenchmen were not considered a threat, such was the animosity between the players and the coach during the warm-up, and the amount of  money they, along with the Holy Roman Empire, have recently had to stump-up to bail out the non-tax paying scroungers of the ancient world. So the English were hoping their opposition would be distracted, but you never know which French side will turn up. Gallic flair, so loved by commentators and Bob Symonds alike, was brought to the fore and after early hiccups, had the English on the back foot.

The English, to be fair, were in disarray from the beginning. Their chief tactician The Silver Fox, (or Le Renard Fraude, as the French know him) had decided to listen more to his close friend and confidant, Squire Werritty, than any of the battle-hardened knights around him. It was clear that Werritty had seen little of real action before and seemed only interested what was in it for him, his sponsors, the Children of Israel, and other generous peoples across the oceans, yet to be discovered.

Le Twin carefully places his waste Defence memos in a public bin. Pic: Ye Monthly Mirror

The English Cavalry were also ineffectual, their horses refusing to budge, the knights having been banned this very morning from administering the whip or spurs to encourage forward movement from their charges. The infantry seemed as if they had been drinking of too much of the mead, or kissing of the Dwarf the night before. All this as well as reports that the Normans had discovered vital English tactical information in a nearby park wastebin, apparently deposited there by some feckless English nobleman (the oddly Gallicly-named Le Twin) have thus far been totally rejected by team manager Johnno the Huge-Disappointment. Johnno added that if England could next time pick more Samoans and New Zealanders, they might just have a chance of winning.

Whatever the reasons for their downfall, it wasn’t long before the English were down by one-King-to-nil as the Norman strike partnership of Strauss-Khunt and Waine Le Rue Née picked out the English figurehead, and it was one in the eye for them. In truth, Harold was not hard to pick out, he being the only one on the field of play wearing German kit. Shortly after, Le Rue Née was asked to leave the field, being deemed to be too violent and stupid to take part. Waine was originally picked for the English squad, but in an interview later he stated that he didn’t mind which “fookin side” he played for as long as he could kick some “fooking coonts up the arse”. It is assumed he will be offered the post of Commissioner of the soon-to-be-formed Metropolitan Police.

Shoulda Gone to Specsavers

The one consolation to England from losing this day to the Normans is that it saves the embarrassment of losing to the Welsh (which this mob surely would) in the next round the following week. Two questions remain for the English Press Barons: Have the Normans peaked too early?; and has conquering King William married the wrong sister?

Very much so, in fact.

Oh Brother, Why Art Thou So Bleedin’ Useless ?


How’s your home printer ? Ok is it? What is it? Dell? HP? Epsom? Canon? Brother ?? no, no of course it’s not a Brother. What sort of complete mug would buy one of those ??

Hello, my name’s Mike, pleased to meet you. I bought a Brother and I am that mug.

My tale is far from short or indeed sweet. An elderly couple contacted me and wanted me to restore an old print of theirs. They wanted a nice tear-free cleaned-up version of their photo, which they would present to a family member as a present. They brought it round for me, avoiding the dangers of Provisional Wing of the Post Office. It was a nice print, had a few tears here and then, would take a little work but would be well within my capabilities as a photo touch-up artist (quiet at the back).

There was one problem however, the print was A3 in size and my kit was A4. I could neither scan the nor print it. Bugger. No matter, my incumbent Hewlett Packard A4 printer was less than brilliant, and more than a little expensive and had been living on death row for some time now. My folks had offered to buy me one for my birthday (October 18th, cheques accepted only with a bankers card) but that was over a month away so I unilaterally decided to go out and buy an A3 printer. Well, if my fledgling business was gonna go anywhere, I needed the kit. It’d be a good investment.

Fuck me ! Have you seen the prices of printers ?

Trawling through the Amazons, the Maplins, the PcWorld sites etc it became clear to me that the Epson Hokey-Kokey 390 was the machine for me. All the reviewers gave it the thumbs-up for performance, stamina and technical merit, only letting itself down in the Dressage. Unfortunately, ever since the global economic crisis hit the world of home inkjet printers, they no longer offer 100% mortgages on the Epsom Hokey-Cokey 390. To get back the money I spent on the printer, I’d have to charge clients, £75.50 per print and work flat-out for 17 hours-a-day for 37 years. As I am averaging one £15 pound job every third winter equinox, I wasn’t looking to spend the equivalent of the Greek National Debt  just yet.

The more I looked for a suitable machine the more I realised that this printing lark was a bit bleedin toppy! If you have the spare £450 laying around (not to mention 80 quid for a drop of ink) then you’re in business. Otherwise, go back to Picture Editing, you lazy fat git. Perhaps I should wait for mumsie to stump-up the cash ? But I have this work to do and it has to be done this week. I made a phonecall:

“Hello, Snappy Snaps ?”
“Allo” a charmless young bloke answered
“I have an A3 print I need scanning in. Do you have a flatbed scanner?”
“Yeah, we can do that, mate”. Honestly, he said ‘mate’.
“Ah good. How much mate ?” I asked my hitherto unknown friend, fearing the worst.
“£10” came the reply. It took me by surprise.
“£10 ? That’s not too bad, I’m surprised” (told you I was surprised)

“Yes” he came again “£10 to scan it in, £4.99 to put it on a disc”
“Ah, so it’s really £14.99 then ?” (Is it me?)
“Wot ?” quoth he.
“Well, Manuel”  (cos that’s how it felt) “If you scan it in you’d have to scan it onto disc for me, wouldn’t you? Unless I pop up and look at in your office every now and then ? Would you email it to me?”
“No”
“Right, so fifteen quid it is then”

I left him to remove his socks and work out this latest of applied mathematics puzzles. With several other local outlets charging the same price, and NO-ONE offering same-day service, I sat back in my underpants, huffed and resumed browsing the web, with little expectation of finding the answer to my dilemma.

But wait… what’s this? Where did all these reviews come from?:

Oh Brother, you’re good!! (Ron Onions, Redditch);  How do they Do it for the Money ?!? (Mr R Saltpeter, Penge); and If You’re Going to buy a A3 all-in-one printer, this is the one!!! (Mrs D.G.W Chegwin, Salford)

These reviews were too good to be true. A cheap, brilliant printer and scanner which can do anything and everything and everything an Epsom or Canon machine can do at half the price. This had been lauded throughout the land by real, genuine satisfied customers who’s only connections with each other are their enthusiasm for Brother printers, their love of the explanation mark, and their rather doubtful and dubious surnames.

With all haste, I contacted my local PcWorld to have them reserve for me in their store one of these marvels of modern science. This they did, and so it was with  an unbridled and unfounded air of optimism that The Incumbent and I strolled into the local branch to pick up my purchase.

They didn’t have the item. Yes I know they said online they did, but they didn’t, ok? Give them a break, won’t you ? They didn’t have the printer I wanted but their sister store five miles down the road did. I would pay for the purchase here, take the box of ink (the machine comes with a small amount of ‘tester ink’, a pack of the full amount is a snip at £50, it being a Value-Pack) down to the other shop to collect the printer.

We took our pack of ink and our receipt for the Brother MFCJXYZ3470P (beware of imitations) down to the good burghers at Bluewater Shopping Centre. There, after only a 30 minute wait, we picked up the printer a soon I was zooming up the A2, on my way home, then asking the resident 20 year old student indoors how the hell this bloody machine worked.

It seemed no more than two-and-a-half hours later that the box started whirring and whizzing into action and the first print was glacially edging it’s way out the front of the black plastic box in the corner. It was everything I didn’t want: It was slow, the colours were awful, the prints grainy and out of focus. All that for just £199.00 plus VAT (not forgetting the £50+VAT pack of ink). For the following four hours I sat at the screen trying all sorts of combinations of paper, ink, dots-per-inches, inputs and outputs. I must have got through 30 quid’s worth of paper in the hope of finding the right combination and computation to ensure a half-decent image.Slowly, albeit expensively, I was getting there.

Then, like Kaiser Soze, or the Welsh hope of a Rugby World Cup victory the ink disappeared. Buzzers sounded and warning lights flashed to say the ‘tester’ ink had run out.  No matter, I’d had the foresight to buy some in the first store earlier, remember?

It was the wrong ink.

They had sold me the wrong ink. I had paid for a printer they (or I) didn’t have and some ink I didn’t need.  I sat down and popped a couple of Ramipril. Remembering what me doctor told me, I refused to get angry. I went to bed and cried.

Today, from about 9am I have been searching for the correct ink. First stop was PcWorld. They refunded me for the erroneous ink, but didn’t carry the type I required. Nor did their sister shop in Bluewater, even though they sold me the printer. Ryman’s didn’t carry what I needed either, and the girl in WHSmith had never even heard of that kind of ink. I observed she too was a stranger to the bathroom and diets.

The local computer shop carried every kind of Brother ink, just not the one I wanted. A girl at John Lewis, when called, confidently informed me that they did carry the correct pack. When we arrived at the shop a boy confidently told me that they…er…didn’t. Staples had a similar difference of opinion between themselves, before agreeing they didn’t have anything for me.

As for Brother customer services, after I’d regaled them with my tale of ink shortages, a young man wondered if I’d been printing out A3 prints on my A3 printer, thus explaining why my ink ran out so quickly. I asked him which size he recommended I print out on my A3 printer.

So here I am blogging, not printing. Ink is on order from an online source . Please don’t ask me the price, but I’ve had cheaper marriages. It won’t arrive until at least tomorrow, a day after I need it. So my one job of the month thus far will be late, and probably sub-standard. I will charge the client fifteen quid for a job that has so far cost me 300. I am millimeters away from inserting my new toy into a shop assistant in Crayford.

If you’re in Tescos and see a pack of Brother ink LC1280XL for sale, do me a favour and jog on by. Don’t buy it for me. I won’t be able to afford it anyway.

This Happy Breed


Happiness. It’s good to be happy, innit? With the country on the Fritz, the economy in freefall, your trusty black dog scratching at your bedroom door to persuade you to get up and face the world, and with no obvious light at the end of the tunnel (apart from the light of that oncoming train) it’s amazing what small Murphys we thank heaven for, what little ray of sunshine peaks through the clouds and lifts our hearts to cheer up our miserable fucking lives.

Take the recent romp and pomp up in Westminster Abbey. Now I like a wedding as much as the next bloke, though I’d much rather be an innocent bystander than active participant, of course. I can’t imagine flying across the world, or even hopping on a train for 40 minutes to go and celebrate the wedding of a couple whom I’d never met, nor ever likely to meet. But that’s what a million or so folk did last Friday. Unbelievable. I haven’t seen that many happy people in London since Robert Maxwell went for a dip off the back of his boat


Oops! Sorry, wrong one.


Tented villages appeared along the pavements in The Mall and Whitehall as people camped out overnight, overnight mark you, in the hope of catching a glimpse of the happy couple. Union flags (or is it Jacks?) were waved by small children and large Americans in front of the mass ranks of cameras as the world’s tv crews went in search of the happiest/daftest/fattest fans of the soon-to-be Duke and Duchess of Neasden South, or wherever it is.

So many smiling faces. So much glee. So much joy. The BBC’s Welsh anchor (subs please check) Huw Ewards (fablaas) led us through the streets of London like a fat Ralph McTell pointing out the who’s who and the where’s where of the unfolding events. He never did quite manage to explain who and why a bunch of guests were crammed into minibuses, or indeed who was in charge of the beer and sandwiches therein. Nor did he quite explain fully what an avenue of trees  was doing inside the Abbey but suggested it was “Catherine’s idea”. It was unclear whether Huw offered this as an explanation or an excuse. No matter, nothing could dim the crowd’s enthusiasm for anything and everything on this, the most British of Days.

Inside the Abbey, the mood was a little more reserved, but none-the-less joyous. Not that you’d know it from the faces of Charlie, Liz and Phil.T.Greek. They don’t do unbridled rapture, that lot, so you had to look for clues elsewhere. The cameras cut and panned from guest to guest, accompanied by Huw’s less-than-Dimbleby-esque commentary. The Incumbent and I settled down agog (or is it twogog) in front of the tv set to see who was wearing what and why. Ah there’s the Queen Mother and at least she looks like she’s enjoying herself.  There’s even a little tear in her eye, though I’m suprised she was allowed to bring a corgi with her….hang on…wait a minute.. that’s not the Queen Mum at all. She’s dead for starters. No, no, no…that’s Elton John. And that corgi’s her husband!

Souvenir Royal plate by Vic Reeves and Alan Parris. http://www.aylesfordpottery.co.uk/

Mrs Cameron looked like she had just popped out for a bottle of milk. The Princesses Eugenie and Beatrice pulled off the coup of out-uglying both the Duchess of Ming (she must never be queen) and Tara Palmer Tompkinson combined (there must surely be a by-law that prevents them being let out in public?).

Outside the hordes of happy little people waved and cheered and waved some more as if it was the happiest day of their lives and they didn’t want it to ever end. My feelings were different in just two ways. For me it was nearly over almost as soon as it begun. No sooner had the welsh commentator introduced the welsh Archbishop of Canterbury, the organist wound up the opening bars of Guide Me Oh thou Great Redeemer and the BBC quickly cut back to an interview with a welsh harpist, I found myself uncontrollably feeling for the off-switch. But I was headed off at the pass by The Incumbent who was finding the whole proceedings hilarious. Apart from wondering why they hadn’t gone the whole hog and held the wedding at Cardiff Arms Park, I had to agree. There was much mirth to be had, if you looked in the right places.

I may not have been smiling for any of the reasons that those bedecked in red white and blue were smiling, but the whole day had for a moment distracted me from unemployment, poverty and my general chien noir malaise. If you can’t titter at a guardsman saluting mid-air as the Queen gets out of the car via the wrong door then you are dead from the neck up.

Talking of which, at time of writing we’re still yet to see the photos of Osama Bin Laden‘s corpse. Many people out there still refuse to believe that the US military finally caught up with the Al Qaeda Laeda and are demanding proof. For others, the news of his death proved too much for them and their happiness was all-too-apparent as they jumped up and down in the streets of Washington and New York, waving the Stars and Stripes (or is it strips?), merrily singing USA! USA! USA! (words & music by George and Ira Gershwin).

Wave after wave of baseball cap-wearing college student chanted and waved for any poor cameraman unlucky enough to have been given the assignment to go film them. The waving of flags (and indeed the burning of them) seems to be a pastime especially made for the cameras. Over the years the amount of US, British, Danish, Israeli, Hamas and Iraqi flags which have been waved and/or burned for the benefit of “news” organisations is really quite staggering. If the camera hadn’t been invented the flag-and-cigarette-lighter industry would be in grave peril of collapsing altogether. As it is, there were no shortage of gleeful Americans who were happy to party like it was 1994 for the benefit of CBS, FOX or the BBC. They’ll be the same ones who will shout insults and hurl abuse at the Muslims doing similar after the inevitable Al Qaeda retaliation. Ho hum. Pass me that tin hat will you, dear?

The CIA and the Whitehouse are discussing whether the pics of Bin Laden’s mashed-up body are too gruesome for public viewing. Having seen the Royal Family in their full glory last week, I doubt if the Americans have anything to frighten us.

Be Happy.

Unfunny Old Game


At the time of writing it’s been a pretty successful Christmas campaign for the lads down at Charlton Athletic. Thus far they’ve not dropped a single point over the festive period. Don’t let the fact that the inclement weather has prevented them playing at all tell you otherwise: This has been a great week for those lovely boys from SE7.

It’s one of those great Christmas traditions – going to the footy on Boxing Day. The cold crisp air on the terraces hits you in the face and gives you that much needed pick-me-up after a week of drowning in brandy butter, pine needles and aftershave (not one of my better Christmas punch recipes).

Donning your woolly hat and knitted gloves your mum bought you from Santa, you escape the hell that is families during the festive season and, along with your best buddies, or perhaps the preferred of your two sons, you make your way to the ground to enjoy a good old-fashioned kick-about. Get in there my son !

This, of course, is not purely a British concept. Footy fans the world over get to watch their favourite teams in action on this most traditional of all activites on the Day-after-Christmas.  Take this bloke Frank, for example. Last weekend Frank took his beautiful girlfriend, Natalie, to watch the local match between Cercle Brugge and Standard Liege, in the Belgium Jupiler League.

What Natalie didn’t know, however, was that he had something extra special in mind before the match to make this year’s Boxing Day that extra bit special.

Get out and buy that hat, mother, I hear wedding bells…

Vodpod videos no longer available.

 

My Kinda Town, North Londonshire Is


Well that’s that then. Unless Baldrick comes up with a cunning plan within the very near future I’m gonna have to get shot of Railway Cuttings. The place I’ve called home since I managed to get myself 30ft of rope, a set of wire-cutters and fake passport and hopped over the fence of Stalag Marriage has to go on the market. Sell it or rent it, I dunno, but I can’t afford to keep it. One week’s work since June has dug deep into the coffers and my old chums at the bank and the mortgage company are starting to get a wee bit uppity.

So I need to spruce it up for the prospective buyer or the potential tenant. Get rid of half of the of rubbish laying around the place (The Incumbent can sell it on Ebay), give the walls a lick of paint, cut the grass and start thinking about how best to advertise the place.

It’s a nice part of London to live in (if you just ignore the previous 73 posts I’ve written slagging off the place) and very handy if you wanna get to London Bridge or the West End within 20 minutes. There’s the lovely Greenwich Park and common just around the corner, good connections to the M2 and M25 motorways and some of the local pubs now serve both ice, lemons and limes. There’s a farmers’ market, a Starbucks, more curry houses than your average small village oughta, and rather nice kitchen shop.

Non-CIA spook Terry Waite lives here, as does Matt Pritchett, the brilliant Daily Telegraph cartoonist and professional Millwall fan Danny Baker. Former residents include, highwayman Dick Turpin, cook Fanny Craddock and obnoxious git Lawrence Llewellyn Bowen. Very soon I shall be added to that list of ex-inhabitants and gits.

But I think I need something that little bit extra to pull in the punters. How can I sell the area to entice the loaded gentry to part with their cash to buy my place ? Will the attraction of The Cactus Pit – our combined Tex-Mex restaurant and ‘nightclub’ (guaranteed a punch-up or a bunk-up) be enough for Hedgefund managers to rent my little gaff for a couple of years? I suspect not.

So I was listening to the car radio this morning and heard an advert for North Londonshire – the place to move, for space to move”.
“Where?????? North Londonshire ??? There’s no such place” I found myself shouting at the dashboard.
The commercial continued. “It’s closer than you think”
“What the fuck does that mean ? Closer than you think ? Closer to where ???”

I sped home to my waiting laptop, determined to find out where this place was. I was convinced in my heart the North Londonshire was a made-up place. Certain in my own mind, but not enough to bet my house on it. I remembered once having an argument with a bloke about Hoxton, a district of London I was convinced was an invention of estate agents in the 1980s. After all, the place they now call Surrey Quays was what I grew up calling Rotherhithe until in 2002 some brilliant PR man for the local property developer or boundary commission came up with a new name.

Ok, I’d been slightly wrong about Hoxton – on investigation it turns out it was mentioned in the Doomsday Book – so I needed to get home this morning and double-check that only my South Londoner ignorance had prevented me from being aware or North Londonshire. Perhaps I’d actually been there, drank there, shopped there, without actually realising it.

It didn’t take me long to find it. It even has it’s own website (northlondonshire.co.uk). I went immediately for the menu Where is North Londonshire ? It read:

Closer than you think.

Located midway between London and Birmingham, North Northamptonshire is central, cost effective and well-connected.
Towns like Corby, Kettering, Rushden and Wellingborough all benefit from superb connections by road and rail.
St Pancras International, home of the Eurostar, is less than 50 minutes by train meaning Paris and Brussels are just four hours away.
Air travel is equally convenient with Birmingham, East Midlands, Luton and Stansted airports all within reach in 90 minutes.

So it’s closer than you think, if you happen to be thinking in Birmingham. Very close indeed if you live in Northampton. A short stroll down the street if you’re parked 2 hours drive north of London. Just not very close at all if you happen to be in…er…London. You may find the promotional video a little misleading too. But maybe I’m missing something.

If only all the shitty London pigeons would fuck off to Northamptonshire, the capital would be a nicer place to live. However.
The video and website may well be a load of old tosh, but it gave me an idea for an advert for the New York Post:

For Rent: 2 bedroom terraced house in Manhattan suburb.

If you think you might be growing out of New York, or are just looking to make the right move, you’ll find everything you’re looking for in Blackheath. There’s highly affordable quality housing offering considerable value. There are schools and education to rival anywhere in the country (or beyond). And there are career opportunities provided by leading forces in the Bangladeshi and Nepalese service community. Some of the pubs are even open til midnight !!

Relax in our beautiful ancient parkland and quiet surroundings. Visit quaint shops and three dry-cleaners (with ample parking). All this easily accessible from the lower east or west sides, with Grand Central Station, MOMA and Ground Zero Mosque just 2 minutes away (by phone) and our excellent links to both Laguardia and JFK airports, via the Old Kent Road, M4 and Heathrow (congestion charges may apply).

So why not make your new life in Blackheath, East Manhattan. SE3 ? Just 3,471 miles around the corner. Come live where the Limeys live. It’s closer than you think.

Kissing Hitler (and everyone else)


Ok, ok, so it may not have been his finest hour. But for many of us of a certain age The Persuaders was our first real glimpse of the man that was Tony Curtis. The Boston Strangler out over-acting Simon Templar. Harry Houdini out safari-suiting James Bond. Whatta guy! Only then did we start to realise what we’d been missing. So this was who our mums had been swooning over for all those years, and this was the piece of manhood for which the young ladies of Hollywood had been gagging since the late 1940s.

Women (and no doubt some men) all over the world swooned as he wielded rope and handcuffs as the Strangler and Houdini, wore next to nothing in The Vikings and Spartacus and even melted when he wore a faux Herman Goering number in The Great Race. In Some Like it Hot he gave a wonderful Cary Grant impersonation and made for a pretty decent woman. If he’d been a young actor today he’d be labeled as both a gay icon and a smouldering gift to womankind. The one about who both your girlfriend and her slightly iffy brother would go to bed and thrash themselves to within an inch of their lives. One scene in Spartacus , when Curtis sensuously bathes Laurence Olivier, had to be removed from the original released edit for fear of multiple spontaneous combustions all over the US in movie theatres.

For every classic he starred in he also made a stinker. But by the time The Persuaders came into my life it dawned on me I’d probably missed his best bits, something which couldn’t been said of a legion of Hollywood starlets. Tony liked a bird, and the birds liked him. He’d go onto marry six times, underlining his reputation of a master swordsman, but he most famously had failed to bag the one that everyone wanted- Marilyn. He’s famously quoted as describing kissing Monroe in Some Like it Hot as akin to “Kissing Hitler”. Poor sod. Presumably Janet Leigh gave better lip service to him (perhaps more of a Himmler) as they married and produced Jamie Leigh Curtis, who years later would be, incredibly, at the centre of another gossip-led sexuality debate. (Anyone who’s seen the bedroom scene in True Lies could surely be in no doubt.)

“What’s the secret to a long and happy life? Young women’s saliva!” Tony Curtis

As his movie career waned Curtis took up art, for want of a better word, but never let anything get in the way of beautiful young women and magnificent wigs (some of his syrups would have done Phil Spector proud). But we shouldn’t dwell on the last rather sad few years of this once talented and likeable man, trying vainly to relive his youth and hold back the inevitable passage of time. Nor should we feel anything but mild envy for the life he led. Making 85 as he did is testament to the fact that you really can have your cake and eat it too.

I like to think of him running up and down those oars as that one-handed viking, or wearing a frock and playing the sax for Sweet Sue and Her Society Syncopators.

And let us not forget who first stood up to defend Spartacus. I’m Spartacus! (and so is my wife).

“I wouldn’t be seen dead with a woman old enough to be my wife.” Tony Curtis

Reader’s Indigestion


According to Pink Floyd it’s the route of all evil today. Liza Minnelli said it made the world go round. Apparently it can’t buy you love, but the Pet Shop Boys wanted to make lots of it. I suppose it must by funny in a rich man’s world, but I’m unlikely experience that. I’m skint and I need a cunning plan. And I ain’t really got one.

I was thinking of writing my memoirs: A no-hold bars account of my life so far, explaining my angst over all the bad things I’ve done in my life and the lies I’ve told, justifying some, defending others, but apologizing for none. I could include a chapter explicitly detailing the sex life with my wife, and throughout the book I could pepper it with references to my closest colleague who took over from me after I left the job. I could then reveal to the world that I always thought he was an idiot, unsuitable for the job, unstable and with a violent temper. I could distance myself from all the cock-ups he made and the disasters that befell the office after I’d stood down from my post. They were, after all, nothing to do with me.

The book would be a best-seller, I’d make millions (I’d ensure it was immediately marked down as half-price in Waterstones and on Amazon, just so even more would be tempted to buy it), and I could travel the country, nay the world giving interviews to the BBC, selling extracts to TIME Magazine and the like. I might even give book-signing sessions in popular stores in big cities.

But what if some of the unenlightened electorate, a section of the great unwashed take umbrage over what I’ve done and start heckling me, or worse start throwing shoes and shit at me. I wouldn’t like that. I want to be loved. I’d have to run and hide, and that wouldn’t look very good, would it? No, perhaps I need to come up with a better plan to make my fortune.

Or perhaps I don’t need to make millions? After all, work is bound to come my way sooner or later, right? Perhaps I just need a cash-injection ? I keep seeing those loan companies advertising on the tv. They offer short-term loans for a modest interest rate. One of the adverts says they offer “typical APR 2689%”. Not sure what’s typical about 2689%, but then again I’m not very good at money. I reckon £20,000 might tie me over til I get myself square. Hopefully that wouldn’t take too long, say a year. If I borrowed it at the typical rate I need only repay £79,565.39. Hmmm…

I’m 46 next month and creeping ever-nearer to the age when I can apply for one of those “Over 50 plans” which Michael Parkinson is always flogging on telly. But life insurance is no good to me, is it? Unless I can get third party.

My complete and utter confidence in my winning the lottery is beginning to wane a little. I haven’t had a sniff of even a tenner for weeks. I dunno what’s going wrong. In the first draft of my autobiography I have blamed The Incumbent for buying the wrong tickets. It definitely isn’t my fault, and I’ll make sue the world knows it. Unless we win tomorrow night then I shall amend the draft to ensure my genius is well documented.

I sought out a dodgy bookie to see if we might work out some way of spot fixing during my next cricket match. He came along to watch the game I was playing in at the weekend. He suggested, having seen me play before, that we might run a book on which part of my body would drop off or explode at any given time during the match. We agreed that on the third ball of the fifth over my right ankle would collapse from under me, leaving me to hobble around in agony. During the 7th over I would make a disastrous attempt of fielding the ball, allowing it to run under my body to the boundary and thus giving the opposition four runs. Finally, before the 2nd ball of the 20th over I would collapse in a heap in the outfield, having gone temporarily blind, and in need of re-hydration. For this I would be handsomely rewarded.

I would have made a fortune if I’d have remembered it was my right ankle that was to give way.Everything else went to plan. Inspector Smellie of the Yard wants to see me, once I have recovered.

But there is a chink of light, a glimmer of hope. There’s a knight in shining armour on the horizon. The 7th Cavalry have arrived and they’ve brought shedloads of cash with ’em. There’s a letter on my dining table which says that Reader’s Digest are going to give me, give me £100,000. All I have to do is wait for a big orange envelope to pop through my letterbox and post back my lucky prize winning numbers. I dunno what I’ve been worried about all along. No bookies needed, no publisher required. Just good, honest, old fashioned, non-intrusive Reader’s Digest. The Milky Bars are on me. Break out the purple quilted smoking jacket and johdpurs.

How many lottery tickets can you buy with £100,000?