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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On Your Marks, Get Rich, Go


It’s nice to hear that the Olympic Torch will be in Croydon today. All morning I’ve been singing to myself  “It’s coming home, it’s coming home, fire’s coming home…”.
I suppose if (as has often happened on this relay) the flame goes out they can always re-ignite it with the embers of a burning sofa left over from the riots.

Yes, there’s no getting away from it : IT’S here. That event that you and everyone at T’BBC Salford has been looking forward to.  London 2012 is here and it doesn’t matter that, like me, the very thought of Sebastian Coe induces in you a touch of the Yangtze Rapids it’s here to dominate your tv set, pub conversation and in some cases, the very hell you live in.

Nobody enjoys sport more than I do (unless I have to actually compete in it, you understand) but I do get the taste of a thousand lemons in my mouth as the BBC commentaries and fanfares are drowned out by the clinking-clanking sound of Coca-Cola, McDonalds, Samsung, Procter&Gamble (as if it’s much of a gamble)  G4S and the rest of them hauling sack-loads of our cash out of the country. And all this before Brendan Foster even gets the chance to sober up, or Michael Vaughan interviews Steve Redgrave about his two Olympic Gold Medals.

The decision to move the BBC out of London in the Jubilee Year (in the end, the Queen refused to move to Bury) and the LONDON olympics is really bearing fruit now. The team in Salford are left to report on events in London the way that Jeremy Bowen used to report on events Syria from a vantage point over the Jordan border. They do, of course, have people nearer the action, but for Orla Guerin read Carol Kirkwood, and for John Simpson read the brilliant Mike Bushell. From their gantry this morning above Freedom Square…sorry…Olympic Park, Carol kindly familiarised the viewer with the London skyline, as if it was us who’d been away, not them:

“…and to the left of the screen you can see the Shard: one of the biggest buildings in London…if not the biggest”. It’ll be one or the other darling, but well done on your preparation nevertheless. She ran out of time before she could show us the exact location of the community Gun Emplacements “Sponsored by Accurist”.

Bushell, with his Homer Simpson gormless smile splashed across his face, sat motionless, desperately trying to remember that Wiggly Baggins had won the Tour de France and not scored a double-hundred at Chelmsford yesterday. Such a pro.

Somewhere between the enthusiastic amateurs and the Shard in the distance (however big it may or may not be) one could just spy the scene of the crime, Park Olympia: A dozen or so thoughtfully-designed, and on a few occasions, strikingly beautiful stadia dotted around what looks like the industrial storage facility next to Heathrow’s Terminal 4.

 If not exactly a war-zone that Kate Adie would be proud to report from, then something that needs the help of the Olympic torch and an accelerant. My knowledge of the English language is not advanced enough to express my sentiments on the bit of sculpture in the middle.

So, at last the sun has come out, as if to welcome the world’s finest athletes to our shores. (I knew it would be hot this week – Carol Kirkwood predicted snow) It certainly shone on 12 South Africans yesterday as 11 of their cricketers made life miserable for an Anglo/Bokke XI at the Oval yesterday, and the 12th – a golfer- not only won The Open at Lytham, but went a long way to dispelling the myth that no-one has ever met a nice South African. Ernie Els overcame the hapless and helpless Aussie Adam Scott who Devon Loch’ed up the home straight, playing the sort of golf that I’d be proud of – bogeying the last four holes.

Poor Adam, it’ll be tough to forget that one. Clearly his caddie Racist-Stevie Williams (it’s a double-barrelled forename), who has claimed all those Tiger Woods victories as his own, clearly lost his golden touch and should now be sacked, never to whiten our door again. Some weird mirrored symmetry in a liberal-thinking, white South African, beating a bigoted kiwi.

But never mind all that now. It’s Olympic week. So gird your loins and cheer for your boys (and girls). Cast aside your petty squabbles with racism, corruption, corporate greed, scorched earth policies and financial impropriety. This is England, after all. You should be used to it by now.

Cry God for Bradley, Rebecca and Saint George !!!

And Seb can go and fuck himself.

Hard-boiled Eggs and Nuts


I had to go to work yesterday. I know that sounds like no big deal, but I had to go to work yesterday. I felt like shit—I was streaming and sweating, coughing and spluttering, couldn’t taste a thing and my hearing was on the fritz. It was the start of a rotten cold and what I should have done was worked from home. I should have done that, however I couldn’t: Yesterday was “Take your daughter to school day” and so I took my eldest into the office. Glad I did in the end cos it was great fun. I’ve done it several times before and it’s always been good. My daughter enjoyed it too I think, even though this time she asked me why I couldn’t work for NME as she has a subscription and “it’d be sooooo cooooolll to work there”. There was a time when whatever I did or said or wherever I worked was “sooo coooollll” but I guess my kids have reached that age when they can make up their own minds as to what they like.

I don't want you to drink, Mr Bond, I want you to diet!

I don't want you to drink, Mr Bond, I want you to diet!

Their unconditional belief in what I say has long gone. No longer do they believe daddy’s tall tales about being James Bond in his spare time (they believed that one for a month when they were nippers) or was dating Rachel Stevens (about a week), and I’ve gone from funny, exotic, cool daddy who lives in London, to the old, fat, bald bloke up the road. Such is the life of an estranged dad of teenage girls. Clever little sods.

In an attempt to sweat-out my cold last night I filled up with a cocktail of chilli con carne and Lemsip and took myself off for an early night. Should have plumped for the hot toddies: I feel dreadful today.

Like most blokes I know, I suffer in silence.

Thumping head, red-raw throat, sore, scabby nostrils and every muscle (sic) left in my body aching like buggery (apparently). Called in sick to the boss who unsurprisingly was unecstatic. Having taken many of these calls from staff over the years you’re torn between the annoyance of being a man down, and the relief that you’ll be spared a day of being covered in snot and germs from a colleague. On the other side of the fence, no matter how ill you are, there’s always the guilt to deal with of not being in work.

Anyway, enough of this martyr talk. What’s more important is I’m bored. REALLY bored. Having no energy to do anything much more than fester, I’m stuck on the sofa looking out at cornflower-blue sky outside, inanely tapping up and down the tv channels with as much chance of finding something interesting to watch as there is of me winning the London Marathon on Sunday. Which is another thing: Sunday’s marathon is one of my favourite days in the calender. But instead of propping up the bar at The Angerstein Hotel, Greenwich on Sunday morning, watching the runners jog by, I shall doubtless be pouring mucus into a box of Kleenex while sat on my couch in front of the box. Even if I manfully struggled down to the pub, I wouldn’t be able to taste my pint, and what’s the point of that?
4

We’ve been trotting down en masse to The Angerstein (known as The Loony Bin—you’ll find out why when you meet the locals) to watch the Marathon for the last twelve years-or-so. Many of us to soak up the atmosphere of one of the Capital’s great occasions with world-class athletes, huge crowds, the fun-runners and all the colours of the rainbow. Some go down merely to watch the Elite Ladies sprint past, then return home to a warm bed (you know who you are), then there are those who go simply to celebrate the opening of a pub at 8.45 on a Sunday morning. So there’s something for everyone. There was something quite liberating that first year standing in The Loony, pint in hand, next to a copper before 9 o’clock in the morning and there was nothing he could do to stop me. It’s the little things in life that count. A fourteen-hour session of drinking, eating (?) and endless, pointless Jazz one-Sunday-in-fifty-two: that’s not too much to ask for, is it?

As the years rolled by and the various members of our group came and went as they got loved-up, engaged, married, divorced, deported etc, it’s a nice feeling to have been almost ever-present (to my dying shame I missed one year due to a business trip) and still experience the thrill of that first pint 3 hours before I should, copper or no-copper. It’s a boy thing.

But I suspect this year, due to my disabilitating illness, I’ll have to endure the dulcet tones of Steve Cram, Sue Barker et al as I’m forced to watch the race on the Beeb. I wonder if they’ll sober-up Brendan Foster for the occasion? Probably not—just to rub it in.

Go on, my girl!

Go on, my girl!