That’s why the Editor is paid the Big Bucks.
Working from home, running one’s own highly successful clothing company gives one the access to the ample cash and leisure time necessary to be able to regularly treat the GLW to all the niceties of life and numerous nights out at the cinema to watch all this year’s Oscar-nominated movies in order to make up one’s own mind as to whose name should be revealed and the winners on the big night in Hollywood.
On the other hand, if you’re like me and you’ve got sod-all business coming your way, you can make use of any two-for one offers on seats at the local Pictures and stick them on the ever-loving IBS credit card (and no, that’s not a typo). Or some might, I suppose, take advantage to the local hookie DVD-producer and settle down with the Missus on the couch with a bottle of Sainsbury’s own-brand vodka, a carton of orange and a tube of Pringles in front of a film which every 17.5 minutes flashes up the watermark “NOT FOR PUBLIC VIEWING. FOR ACADEMY APPROVAL ONLY).
I couldn’t bear that.
So anyway, since we spoke on the subject last, we have managed to take in a few flicks, nominated or otherwise. First up came Sunshine on Leith, a musical treat set in The People’s Republic of Claledonia and based, loosely around the music of The Proclaimers. Nothing bad to say about this one: it has the raw feel of The Commitments, the fun of Billy Elliot, the wit & grace of Alex Salmond (just kidding— I know those don’t exist) and the sensational soundtrack of Craig & Charlie Reid. This brought back so many happy memories for me. Not of Edinburgh (sorry, Embra), you understand—though I have spent many a wonderful wobbly weekend up there— but more clearly of the afternoon eight of us sat in a room attempting to rid a pal of a nasty ganglion on his finger.
There are many different treatments available in the NHS for the rid of these little buggers, and they were all considered at length. However we opted for the ‘patient’s’ wrist being held down by one of our group while others in the party took it in turns to— and apologies if this gents a bit to scientific and technical for you guys— whack the cyst with a copy of a Collins Dictionary (not the travel edition) or any other heavy volume or implement we could lay our hands on. As an anaesthetic we chose Red Stripe, Gordon’s (Green) and Smirnoff Blue (a bottle of which at one stage doubled as a ganglion-whacking tool).
To take the
victi patient’s mind off of all this the record of choice was 500 Miles by The Proclaimers. It was played dozens and dozens and dozens of times, at full volume and right up to the cyst was treated/the police arrived/we all passed out (perm any 2 from 3).
The song is indelibly etched into my brain because of that afternoon and I cannot hear the song without recalling that particular afternoon. Unless I think of the time when a bunch of us went up to Shepherds Bush to a Proclaimers gig and, as the boys were singing 500 Miles, the bloke next to me was punching another geezer in the earhole, while a third was trying to insert a can of Tennents Lager into him. Carnage ensued.
My trip down Livvery Lane was re-awakened as we next viewed The Wolf of Wall Street the other evening. Martin Scorcese’s Gordon Gecko-meets-Goodfellas epic (a movie lasting 3 hours means at least 2 pee breaks for me nowadays). This is again a fun movie, but not fun in the way you’d want to take your auntie Enid to watch it (unless auntie Enid is into cocaine abuse, foul language and group, anal sex. I know mine is.) Leonardo Dicaprio is nominated (in my house anyway) for The Best Jack Nicholson Impression since Heath Ledger played the Joker in Batman Award, which is not a criticism, I just prefer Jack playing Jack and Leo play Leo.
The action is relentless, each scene filled with drunkenness, drug-taking orgies and the sort of behaviour that was banned from dealing rooms weeks ago. Many of the characters in the movie reminded me of my pals in the London markets whooping it up after a long hard slog in the City in the 1980s and 1990s. They worked hard and played hard. I was privileged to be invited along to many a booze-laced session of mayhem at some dive-bar or other in the square mile. They were generous to a fault and extremely welcoming, although unlike some of the players in this movie, none of those present in London ever offered to let me snort cocaine from their sphincter.
And so filled with warm, nostalgic,romantic glee, (as you know I always try to be), it was with some great anticipation that I settled down to watch The Secret Life of Walter Mitty. My parents were card-carrying members of the Dany Kaye Fan Club and I fondly remember several Sunday afternoons in front of the TV watching the original version of this classic movie, with the brilliant Kaye having my father in stitches and therefore, by extension, me in fits of laughter too. I spent more time laughing at Dad laughing at the telly that I did laughing at the telly itself. (also explains my love of Laurel & Hardy;Buster Keaton;Dad’s Army et al).
And BOY! what memories came flooding back with this new offering from Ben Stiller. As beautiful as this movie looks, as thoughtfully directed as it is by Stiller the Director, as funny as is Stiller the Actor, as epic a journey as our hero embarks on, and as memorable a movie-going experience this is for, I’m sure, many people, it had the teeniest little flaw for me, and I suspect many like me:
Without trying to spoil the movie, (so look away now if you don’t want to read anything about it at all) or giving away the plot too much, or even reading too much into it: the movie opens and we find the titular character working in the Photo Department of LIFE Magazine in the Time Life building, New York. Ivy League 24 year-olds have decided that this Giant of a Magazine needs to be stripped to the bollocks, dispense with the services of a huge amount of staff and be replaced by an online version. What was once a world-respected publication, produced by brilliant journalists & photographers, decent people and experienced & loyal workers will soon be an App to be shred alongside Flappy Birds and Mailonline [aren’t these two the same thing?—Ed].
Walter is plagued by snooty fuckwits, hounding him about photos and even negatives— which they plainly know woefully little about— and who he regularly fantasises about beating to a pulp with his fists, or with dirty great lumps of concrete, or ripping their heads off, or throwing him off the building into the heavy London traffic below. I mean them. I mean New York..
Seeing my shrink first thing in the morning.
He will be best remembered for the chart-toppers :“Bye Bye Match, Bye Bye Captaincy”; “Wake Up, Middle Order”; “Swann Dog”; “Andy’s Clown”; and “All I have to do is Bat“.
Cook is survived by 15 loyal band members.
And Graeme Swann .
Ah they don’t write maps like this any more. This song launched Frankie Vaughn’s career. Or ended it. One of the two. He followed up this little masterpiece with “My Kind of Town, St Albans Is“, and the unforgettable “New Cross, So Good they Named it Once“.
Now these are a cool couple. Pity he’s a little shy.
…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.
Last night we popped round a friends for a drink. Then we had another one.
I don’t know what happened after that.
I have some bad news to depart. I also have some good news for you.
The bad bit is that I will no longer regale you with “Tales from the Shovel : A Simpleton’s Life in a Rural Pub” . No, no. My love affair with the aforementioned (and often mentioned) local boozer has ended, and that situation will not alter up to and until I receive an apology from an offending regular. He knows who he is.
You’re probably thinking something along the lines of “Oh God, Bealing has hd a row about the Police service, or George Osborne‘s political genius, Robin Jackman‘s mincing run-up, or the state of the BBC. Why else would he leave The Shovel ?”
No. None of that. I cannot go into exactly what happened, but suffice to say, I shall not darken that door for a very long time. I may even start using The Liniment and Poultice, as a regular haunt, even though The Incumbent says no, we won’t.
So it being a Friday night, and one of the few in the month which coincides with me having a couple of bob in my pocket, we went up to our old haunts to see what we could see.
We saw a couple of old mates, that’s what we could see. And we drank. And we had fun. And we spent money in Old Greenwich Town, in an Old Greenwich Pub: just like, not only had we never left but ,that both of us were working. And working for firms who paid the proper rate. I can’t remember back that far. Back when I was still allowed to drink in The Shovel (I’ll tell you later) the biggest round I ever bought was £9.50 – and that was only if the Fleet was in. Here I paid (with gay abandon, I might add) £19.50 for the odd cider and a pint-or-two of lager.
But it mattered not one jot. My very old (and in some cases, very drunk) friends had brought me to a pub where Chas Hodges and his band were playing. You know who Chas is. Chas is the Chas of Chas and Dave. I may have mentioned my love for them before. I’m sure I have.
So I am standing in a pub in South London next to the Pearly King and Queen of the Royal Borough of Greenwich (I kid you not), I have a pint of cider in my hand, and one half – the half that writes and owns the songs – of Chas and Dave is but a few feet in front of me. What do I do ?
I wanted to call you all up to ask if you wanted to join me and The Incumbent in this marvellous evening. But I was too excited/drunk to do so.
The best I could do is to record the evening in the best I could. There is video, and one day I’m sure it will be available. Not that there will be a huge call for it.
But there is this:
I may or may not have known all the words to all the songs but me and my new best mate Chas are getting on just fine. Not sure who the Doris on the left is though.