Woe is Me


Oh Dear, there does seem to be a lot of moaning about, doesn’t there ?

For starters, our footballers are getting upset because the country fell in love with our Olympic medallists but doesn’t show the same love and affection to our highly paid players of our national game. Apparently, we don’t show the soccer boys the same respect on or off the field as that which we offer the you people who enjoyed their ‘famous for 2 minutes, thirty-three seconds’ moment at Olympic Park.

The public, so the argument goes, showed empathy, sympathy and tenderness to these otherwise unknowns, most of whom had given up everything in their quest to earn a little bit of heavy metal, not to say a little piece of sporting history. We adored those who seem overcome with joy when they receive an award for coming third, yet we don’t display the same affection to our football-playing heroes. No, I can’t understand it either.

Unless…

…Unless it’s because we’re sick of the over-paid, sexist, racist, cheating, cuckolding, mercenary, diving ,falling, screaming, crying, stealing, drunk-driving, violent, bitter, niggly,(did I mention cheating ?) unsporting, pampered,self-centred, selfish, spoilt, spit-roasting, ungracious, disingenuous, stab-you-in-the-back-when-my-contract-finishes aresholes that they are.

Ahhh. That’s better.

Meanwhile, Sherlock Holmes‘ has the right ‘ump. Or at least the geezer who played him does. The actor Benedict Cumberbatch (now there’s an East-End name if I ever heard one) has said in interview that he is considering leaving the country because people keep accusing him of being posh. He only ever, apparently, lands posh roles. People seem to think he’s from the Upper Classes. Benedict Timothy Carlton Cumberbatch feels he has been mistreated and mis-pigeonholed as a toff. Heaven forfend.

In a world where people are losing jobs hand-over fist; in a country where the Government, the Banks, the Police force, the National Press and who know who else are being exposed daily as corrupt and fraudulent; in a world where 25 million kids are officially starving; does the fact that someone labels you as a ‘Posh Bloke’ really matter one jot ? Methinks he protest too much.

I’m sorry Benny (as I know he likes to be called – well it’s preferable to ‘Dict’) is a tad miffed at the suggestion that he was born with a silver salver in his mouth. His roles in the aforementioned Sherlock, the truly woeful War Horse and in Tinker Tailor… do tend to give the audience the impression that he is rather well-bred. Maybe he just affects speaking well, acts beautifully and is really the eldest son of Bob Hoskins and Katie Price ? I don’t really mind, and I suspect no-one gives a toss about where he comes from. He’s actually rather good at what he does, and most of us are fully aware that there are people among us who speak well and proper. We don’t care, do we ? (Fortunately for me I have never possessed an accent, posh or otherwise, at which anyone could pour scorn on).

So I looked him up on that wiki thing (no, not that one, the legal one). How impressed was I ?? Not only is his mum Wanda Ventham who, apart from being a 60s and 70s pin-up was in Carry On CleoCarry On Up the Khyber and was Cassandra’s Mum in Only Fools and Horses, but his dad played Colin Pillock in Reggie Perrin. What a pedigree !

L-R Benedict’s mum and dad: Colin Pillock and Wanda

Benedict: Do me a favour. Shut the fuck up and keep on acting and living over here. No-one loves a moaner, do they boys & girls ?

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Set for Life


I was watching an old episode of Frasier the other day. I happened across it by chance, luckily catching one of the 48 episodes which my cable channel broadcasts every day. Frasier is the I Love Lucy of the modern age. Wherever you are in the world, some channel somewhere is broadcasting either Frasier or Only Fools and Horses. Bloody good that they both are, I’m beginning to sync-quote them as I was apt to do with Fawlty Towers. And there are only 12 episodes in total of Basil F.  It’s bleedin’ obvious.

Anywhoo, there I was watching Dr Crane and Dr Crane argue about the younger one’s heart-bypass operation, and how he had been, quite frankly, a pain in the arse to all and sundry after the operation, telling any and all that would listen about his new perspective on life, having experienced being “clinically dead” for several seconds. His elder brother was of the opinion he was becoming a boring tit about it.

“That rings a bell”, thought I, and immediately pledged to the surrounded and listening world (just me, in reality) that I’d snap out of this feeling-sorry-for-myself bollocks, grab the bull by the balls and jolly well get on with it. Whatever “it” may turn out to be.

Then, just as I was girding my loins, stiffening my lip and pulling my massive self together, the postman dropped a bombshell through the letterbox, thankfully in a nice way – not a french satirical magazine way. I’m hoping above hope that the ABC Rowan Williams doesn’t throw anything nasty though my window just because earlier in the week I lampooned Mr Yeatman and ‘is Reverence. I’m all in favour of poking fun but the followers of Islam are not known for their humour, nor their tolerance. My flag-waving, liberal rabble-rousing and calling-to-arms suddenly hides under the table in the face of loonies with petrol bombs. I love my free speech. But you have to pick your targets, I reckon. As Frank Spencer once said: “There are old pilots and there are bold pilots, but there are no old,bold pilots.”**
Ditto satirical magazine editors, I reckon.

Anyway, back to my own bombshell. On opening the one letter the  postman had delivered that morning I pulled out a long piece of folded card. It was a luncheon menu from a cruise liner.

Seared scallops, poached pears, cod, lamb…the menu went on and on. It made me feel quite peckish:- well it was 10.30 in the morning and I’d only had 2 breakfasts, thus far. I started to tremble, but not because of the hunger (though that can’t have helped). No, I was trembling because I turned over the menu and there, running the length of the menu was a get well message from a legend.

Abraham Lincoln’s first draft of the Gettysburg Address was first scribbled down on a lunch napkin. There are apparently many John Lennon artworks and poems milling around which he hastily wrote down on the back of beer mats, menus or fag packets. There’s a Warhol sketch of some butterflies which is worth in the region of $30,000 and yet he knocked it out on a tissue (steady), in a couple of seconds between courses over lunch.

But all that pales into insignificance compared to what I held in my hands:

“To Mike

Get much better soon !

With Love

Bonnie Langford

It was too good to be true. In an instant I knew all my worries were over. Forget being out of work. Forget what little remains in my pension fund. Ignore the equity which Tories and the recession are audibly eroding. Let the Greeks do what they want. Have a referendum, don’t have one. I could not one tiny fuck give any more. Double-dip recession ? Pah!

A pal of mine who occasionally works on the boats had risked life and limb, camped outside Bonnie’s cabin for days, then related the plight of his old fat mate, Mike, in order to secure the most sought-after autographs in show-business (not counting that of Dustin Gee.)

When the time comes and I’m down to my my last Bobby Tambling jockstrap and quilted smoking jacket, which on their own will not pay the bills, I shall march up to Sothebys with The Langford Menu under one arm and my signed copy of The Very Best of Chas n Dave under the other, put them both up for sale and my money worries will be a thing of the past.

It is rare that one, let alone two prized items come up under the hammer and I expect intense media interest, similar to that created by Monet’s Water Lillies,   Katie Price’s autobiography I Did it All Wiv Me Tits Out, and Amy Winehouse’s yet-to-be-unearthed-by-her-father fourth album Three Large Doubles (and One for Yourself).

So I’m now thinking of stringing this illness-thingy out a little longer. If I could lay my hands on signed well-wishes from, say, Billie Piper or even Colleen Rooney then the sky is the limit.  So, ooh-err, missus, I’m having another one of me funny turns. Quick nurse! The Screens: it’s happened again.

**Purists will recognise this quote from the Some Mother’s Do Ave Em episode: Oooh Betty! Here come the Mad Mullahs