Friday, May 30, 2008

Larkhall Brick

Yr a long way from home boy!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

I Am An Artist, The Track Is My Canvas And The Car Is My Brush

Hill's distinctive helmet, decked out in his rowing colours.

I was stumbling around the BBC iPlayer site last night when I found yet another BBC 3 documentary that I'd never have seen otherwise. 'Graham Hill: Driven', details the life and times of Graham Hill, a racing driver who won two world championships, five Monaco Grand Prix, the Indianapolis 500 and the Le Mans 24 Hours. A record that few will ever match again. Hill was a complex character. Close, yet authoritarian with his mechanics and family, a wit and raconteur, a party animal, 'lady's man'..................... An absurd sense of humour seemed to never be far from the surface, yet he turned into a demanding perfectionist the moment he got near a racing car.

The film is a fascinating insight into how he was able to compartmentalise his life and juggle the various demands of family, sport and business. Many colleagues recalled the hedonism and fun involved in being anywhere near the man, yet others, his son included, recalled a demanding, intensely focussed individual who suffered no fool gladly.

What also makes this programme fascinating is the way it looks into a world that has long gone. A world in which motor racing was something people just 'tried their hand at', a world in which you could be racing at the very top level within a few years if you were good enough, a world in which drivers generally lived like normal human beings, often had lives before they went racing.............. He was a late starter in the sport, even by the standards of his day. Modern drivers have, by the time they reach F1, somewhere in the region of 15-20 years behind them in the sport, having raced throughout their childhood, adolescence and early adulthood. When Graham Hill finally retired in 1975, in his forties, he had been driving for roughly the same length of time. His was a fairly lucky career for the time, only having one serious accident. Many were maimed or killed before they could realise their potential and even those blessed with greatness couldn't bank on making it out the other end alive. As Hill stated in 1968, if a genius like Jim Clark could die at the wheel of a racing car, anyone could.........

Hill had retired from driving in 1975 to concentrate on managing his own team. One foggy night, returning in his private plane from the south of France, he mis-judged the tree line on the approach to the air strip and he and the rest of his team were killed in the accident. As something of a footnote, probably the saddest thing about Graham Hill's death was the effect it had on his family. His wife Bette was sued by the families of the others who died in the crash, due to the fact that Graham wasn't insured. Much of the wealth the family had evaporated in settlements. Whilst they weren't exactly out on the streets, the comedown from the heady days of the late sixties must have been crushing.

So, go watch. It's good! You don't even need to like car racing, it's about that, but not, if you see what I mean. One of the first true stars of the sport, in the sense that the general public knew who he was, and a man who whilst embodying all the virtues of the gentleman racer of old, had the savvy and personality to deal with the burgeoning press and media interest in the sport and pave the way for others. Sadly, nowadays this means sullen young Finns, arrogant Germans, boring Brazilians and a British contender who looks like he should be presenting Blue Peter, giving us one more reason to flip channels when the car racing comes on the telly.

Friday Night/Bank Holiday Monday

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Heroes of Comedy No 6 - Phil Silvers

Despite it's age, Bilko still seems incredibly fresh. The scripts were wickedly funny, sophisticated and clever, the ensembel cast a joy to watch and it's all topped off by the truly great Phil Silvers. Until I stumbled across Bilko some years back, consigned to a graveyard slot on Channel 4 or something, Phil Silvers was really only familiar to me through one Carry On movie and 'It's A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World'. Bilko was his greatest creation and one only has to see how badly a talented comedy actor like Steve Martin failed when he took on the role, to understand that there would only ever be one Sargeant Bilko.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Nul Pants

Even old Tel Wogan couldn't pick anything positive out of the mess that was this years Eurovision and by the end had given up cracking wise in favour of a bit of good old fashioned Brit whingeing. The best thing about it was the French entry and that the biggest pile of musical excrement I've ever heard managed to win. I haven't laughed so hard in ages. Tactical voting at Eurovision has always stumped me. Why bother? What are the benefits? The only place you'll find more back scratching is in the chimps enclosure at London Zoo. They really need to change the way this is judged, though my suggestion for the return of the old Opportunity Knocks 'Clap-O-Meter' would probably not go down too well. The fracturing of Eastern Europe and the migration of their populations are factors, but for me, it's the tone deafness of a great many people across the continent as a whole has led to a somewhat farcical situation whereby Britain might as well send Napalm Death or The Fall and have a contest with France and Germany to see who can get the least amount of points. Nobody likes us, We don't care............. Anyway, My rundown of tonight's musical vandals is as follows...... Russia - Is it Nigel Kennedy? Is it Torvil & Dean? Nah, it's a piece of schlocky, overblown bombast from the old Evil Empire. Ice skater and fiddle player doing just enough to distract from a power ballad that Celine Dion would turn down for being too tacky. Serbia - Last years winners and this years hosts. Another bombastic ballad complete with big hair, wind machine and much earnestness. Celine Dion would probably agree to record this, but only as a B-side or an album filler. Germany - Off-key misery from wretched Spice Girls tribute act. Norway - Had that 'country-pop' sound to it. Like Shania Twain. Maybe not quite as shit though.

France - The great Sebastien Tellier provides this years 'pearls before swine' moment. A lovely harmony and synth drenched piece of summer pop, bearded backing singers (slightly wonky) and our hero arriving in a golf cart. Proceeded at one point to suck what I assume was helium from a balloon and sing a bit with a slightly squeaky voice. Obviously not giving the slightest fuck. At least he'll work again............... Spain - Sweet Lord Above!!!! Childrens party pop. Singer in a bad Elvis wig and a toy guitar round his neck proceeds plumb new depths of bad taste by combining the Cheeky Girls and Macarena. Troupe of prat falling comedy dancers behind him provide only the briefest respite. Turkey - Indie rock hits Eurovision. Sort of. Anthemic and bland. Music to punch the air to. Finland - Oh Lordi!! They've done it again. This time, instead of a GWAR, it's Iron Maiden. Very poor. Run To The Hills! Romania - Some sort of duet. Can't remember it as it was the first one on and I was making my tea. United Kingdom - Andy Abraham (who?) did a decent job with a rather bland soul/disco effort. Catchy, yet forgettable. Still better than the cack that won. Albania - Another emotive torch song as I recall. Can't remember anything else about it. Armenia - Eurovision songs seem to divide into four categories. Oddball, Euro-disco, Power ballads and Britney Spears impersonators. This falls into the latter and isn't any the better for it. Bosnia-Hertzegovina - I loved this. Joyful and daft as a brush, with a washing line as a prop and four women dressed as brides on backing vocals. Tel Wogan thought it was a pile of shite, but I humbly beg to differ with the old arsehole on this occassion. Amongst so much banality, it stood out a mile. Israel - Very eastern sounding. Quite tasteful. Nice. Dull........ Croatia - There's always one, isn't there? Van Morrison and the Man from Del Monte take part in a standard issue folky workout complete with mandolins and stuff. Grim. Poland - Another Celine Dion style tune murderer. Iceland - Manky Euro-disco bilge. Portugal - My notes say "Unmitigated Shite". Who am I to disagree? Latvia - Euro-disco pap in Pirate outfits. Yo-Ho-Ho and a bottle of pish. Sweden - Not Abba. Unfortunately. Denmark - Who the fuck let Joe Dolce out for the night? For all that, it was fairly simple and catchy. Ukraine - Thumping uber-disco nonsense. Alright as these things go. Georgia - A plea for peace or something. Similar to the Ukrainian entry, but nowhere near as raunchy. Azerbaijan - Blokes dressed as angels and stuff. One of the singers sounded a bit like Axl Rose, but that's all I remember. Pomp rock plonkers. Greece - Another little Britney clone. Yawn! So, there it is. Eurovision 2008 and it doesn't disappoint. 95 % rot with the best stuff being gratuitously overlooked. It wouldn't be right if the best song won now, would it?

Thursday, May 22, 2008

It's Not Idiot Proof Yet................

.........and I'm back up and running again after what seemed like an eternity without internet access beyond my fathers laptop and a bit of clandestine surfing at work. At least I've stopped falling asleep on the couch. I think the passive nature of watching TV does it to me, whereas the internet................well, it's my Benzedrine..........

As is the case with any internet problems, the biggest hassle is the sketchy phone conversation with a bored sounding IT bod. The first guy I got was vagueness personified, which was a perfect compliment to my own rather absent manner. The following night I got better results, but only after driving the chap on the end of the line to the verge of hysterics with my seeming inability to comprehend simple concepts like having the modem on to enable him to carry out a test on the connection. I mean, I thought it all worked by magic or something.....................

After having walked my father through the mind bending concept of copy/paste over the phone a few days earlier, I can only sympathise and hope he doesn't give up on the rest of humanity.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Heroes of Comedy No5 Tony Hancock

The Alpine Holiday episode. Part 1 of 3 (click on the clip to find the rest of the episode & Keneth Williams doing some fine scene stealing)


Since it seems to be too much to ask that anything computer related you get these days just works when you receive it, rather than pissing you about with it's random, unfathomable complexity, all you lovely people will have to wait a few days more for my return. Somewhat predictably, the new modem doesn't want to connect me to the internet and I'm once again forced to plague my poor parents with my prescence. Ah, to think only ten days ago my mother was wondering where I'd got to..................

I fully expect the locks to have been changed by the time of my next visit.

The other downside is having to operate my fathers laptop. Can someone fill me in on what the attraction is with these things? I hear they are very popular............. My main problems are the flat, cramped keyboard and a ridiculously small mouse that has already started to induce a distinctly claw like appearance in my right hand. I mean, It was going that way anyway but that's not the point.............

Ok, I'm getting the bums rush from the old man, so I'll be going.


Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Back Soon..................

My modem has blinked it's last, so I shall be out of circulation for a bit. With luck, I'll be back on Friday night.


Sunday, May 11, 2008

Break Dancers Vs............

A truly majestic face-off at the conjunction of Buchanan St & Sauchiehall St this afternoon. In the blue corner, a troup of athletic lads bouncing off bins and statues of Donald Dewar, generally delighting all who cast their eyes over them.

...........The God Squad

........and in the 'mad-mental-purple with rage' corner........................Some guy who thinks he might just be Jesus, and some half-wits hell bent on trying to reason with him.

.........and so the Glaswegian public shrugged and headed home for their tea.

Friday, May 09, 2008

Heroes Of Comedy No4 - Tommy Cooper

Standard issue Tommy Cooper. Better than 99% of what passes for comedy, both old and new. Tommy died in action many moons ago and by all accounts, liked a drink or two, possibly helping to edge him towards the trap-door a little before his time. The sad thing is that the mediocre hacks are nearly always teetotal non-smokers who go to the gym every day, thus living for fucking ever. Ben Elton, Graham Norton, Lenny Henry, Dawn French**, all about as funny as the plague, all still alive and all within reach of a TV studio and a fat cheque from Channel 4 and the BB fucking C, from which to torture us all with their vapid, insipid, miserably unimaginitive horseshit. Where's the justice in that?

**Yes, I know Dawn likes her Mars Bars, but her sheer lack of worth as an entertainer will keep her alive and bloated well into her eighties.

How To Pull The Birds (Allegedly)

The Bosnia-Hertzegovina Eurovision entry I believe......

I strongly suggest you click on the clip and find some of the other gems uploaded by '45junkee'. This is just the tip of the distinctly off colour iceberg. Enjoy!

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Monday, May 05, 2008

Bank Holiday Monday (2)

Dandelions will grow anywhere, in this case on giant log stuck in the middle of a weir.

Bank Holiday Monday (1)


Heroes Of Comedy No3 - Frankie Howerd

You have no idea how hard it is to find any Frankie Howerd stand up clips on Youtube. Instead, you'll just have to make do with a few scenes from 'Up Pompeii'. Single entendre's galore, with the 'Smut-O-Meter' well into the red.

One of the very best and a joy to watch.

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Cake Rocks!!

Blossom tree in the back garden

It does! Official!

Ah, the charity bakesale. Nothing more gratifying than seeing the ruddy big sponge cake you brought in, the one you thought you'd have to take home again untouched, get scoffed by the hungry hordes. A special thanks to whoever brought in the iced ginger cake, went very nicely with the coffee.

New work shoes most definitely do not fucking rock.

I seem to have bought the same pair of shoes I had last year, in that they've taken a good few layers of skin off my heels. All I can wear now are my scabby trainers until the wounds heal. Diechmann Shoes are evil, but what can you do when you can't afford a decent pair of Chelsea Boots?

Office speak doesn't, has never and never will 'Rock'

My mother called today to 'touch base'. Eek! What's the world coming to when innocent sixty one year olds are using that sort of language? I gently corrected her, but I fear it may well be a popular phrase with the 'over fifty' crowd already. We're doomed! Doomed!!

Why was she calling me at work? Well, I haven't seen her in a fortnight for one. Quite rightly I felt like a total louse and resolved to go round and annoy my folks at the first opportunity. Since my mothers diagnosis, she's become a very different animal, and she gets a bit worried if she hasn't seen me in a while, something I can maybe be a tad insensitive to at times. Once she knew I was finally buggering off to my own place, her favourite cry was "I won't miss that!", usually in response to one of my less pleasing habits. Maybe I just got used to the notion that they were glad to be shot of me and would be happy to see me a couple of times a month. Illness changes things though and when someone tells you that your time on Earth is a little more finite than you had bargained for, you will want to see your offspring as often as is reasonably possible. Needless to say, chastened, I shall be round at least once a week to get under their feet and remind them of why they wanted shot of me in the first place................... =D


Thursday, May 01, 2008

My Mantras

Mantra No1 - Hold your counsel.

Better to say nothing and have people think you a fool, than to open your mouth and confirm the suspicion. It's amazing how few people consider their words on the internet, and how few understand the ramifications of their casually tossed off bullshit.

Mantra No2 - Never mock what you don't understand.

Twitter is something I have no time for. I can think of nothing worse to do with ten minutes of precious free time than go online and tell people what I'm doing at any given moment. I tried it and it was shite. Of course, it wasn't designed for friendless (in the sense that I can count all of mine on the fingers of one hand) twats like me. No, it was made for the go-getter, the jet-setter and the sort of person who 'makes fast friends'. All fine and well, but it seems it has performed it's ultimate function already. It can get you out of that 2 star North African state run 'accommodation' you wound up in while you were acting the arse on yr gap year. For that, I can't praise it highly enough.

Mantra No3 - Never tell people the truth to their faces.

It seems honesty doesn't go down very well with people who have fragile egos.............. In a bit of a comedy moment from yesterday, one of my dimmer colleagues pressed 'reply all' in the email he and a few others were swapping back and forth between themselves. Quite an eye opener it was too................. It seems that someone I gave a well deserved verbal slap-down to some months ago still harbours a great deal of resentment against me. Apparently he thinks I'm the lowest form of life and won't attend any post work leisure activities if I'm present. Hilarious, a more inadequate and miserable man I have never met. As for not coming to nights out because of me, he never came to them anyway, it's just that now when he's asked, instead of looking like an anti-social saddo, he can now point at me and say 'It's that bad mans fault, he called me nasty names!'

It would also help if he had the balls to say what he thinks to my face, but then, that would involve having a spine and guts, something the said individual has never had, and nor will he at any future date.

Of course, maybe I should have listened to mantra No1 and held my tongue in the first instance..........

Mantra No4 - No Regrets.
Or maybe not...............