Saturday 28 April 2012

Reading Gaol, the aftermath...

'The Doily Telegrout' has an interesting piece today, which is ideal for whiling away all these hours of torrential rain, which are contributing to 'Globule Warming', and BBC scare-story-pedlars' huge salaries.

It's their version of 'How many other people have a name like yours, and look at all those gormless kids' silly fooballer's names....

Having been moderately successful with 'Elias', after my old and learned 'Purveyor of brass couplings, screwdrivers and concrete kerbs', I then went to 'Scrobs', and sadly, the two readers here who have children with sensible names,  have not named their child after me, which is probably understandable. Meccano isn't ever mentioned, which is just as well, but a shortened version of his ever-loving squeeze, 'Toniatteline' is, and as he is often breathless and perspiring in her presence (but not actively in the shop while Elias is watching them behind the sacks of plaster), she often gets shortened to 'Tonia'. One of the customers call her 'Ton' once, and Elias had to bring some sort of order to the gentleman by wielding a Number Three Coal shovel with alarming dexterity in the general direction of the person's understandably shrinking accoutrements!

'Lilith' is clearly a name for the discerning intellectual, and only owned by an elite class, but surprisingly 'Elecs' doesn't get a look-in, although everyone knows who he is! Lakes will be relieved to see that the first part of his name gets a mention, so that's fine! It seems also, that 'Reevers' has yet to reach the starting post too...

About fifty years ago, when space exploration had just started in earnest, I distinctly remember a family naming their baby daughter, 'Module'. It was faithfully reported by the - then - doddery old BBC Newsman, and that the parents 'both liked the name and wanted the important event to be enshrined in their daughter's name for ever'!

Again, when it's dark, or raining, or I have a blank Saga moment, I sometimes wonder if the lady, who would be about fifty now, ever felt like wringing her parents' necks, or whether she was called 'Moddy' by her chums, or whether she actually liked it...

Saturday 21 April 2012

Guys, Dolls and safe deposit boxes...

(So I got up early and bit the bullet! If this post passes the test of both readers, I'll stay with Blodger. If it doesn't I'll stand on the nearest roof and shout what I want to say... )

Anyway, what I wanted to mention, is about an old hero of mine. Back in the late seventies, while I was still studying for something or other to better myself in something or other, Mrs Scrobs kept calling for me to come and watch this programme, because it was hilarious!

Now a story goes with it, as you might have guessed! (getting used to Snodger 

Back even further than then, we'd avidly watched a programme on a wheezing old black and white television, called 'The Hanged Man'. All the details are recalled here....)

Just the other evening this week, over a subliminal tincture or three, we were wondering if we could ever get these programmes on DVD, well, Youtube was showing all sorts of things, so some bright spark could easily record them, and sell the old episodes to citizens like us.

It took only a short twiddle on the keyboard to uncover this marvellous clip!

Back then, just before 'Turtle's Progress', was being aired on TV, I was working in London, and one day, was wandering through the old labyrinthine walkways under Waterloo, (now covered with a round, odd-looking cinema). It used to be a smelly old place, with both human and structural dereliction in full evidence, so the wanderings usually took on a bit of speed, to get away into the fresh air.

In one of the grey concrete alleys, I suddenly arrived at a large commotion, with bright lights, and lots of people rushing about looking agitated and looking into cameras, and talking into microphones. It was an outside crew, filming part of a 'gangster' series, so I learned from another chap watching what was going on. Because it was the first time I'd ever seen this sort of excitement, I stayed and watched too.

The scene was of two actors, hiding behind a wall, and jumping out on two other men, who were sauntering along. It wasn't a long scene, but I still remember my future hero, Razor Eddie, jumping out, with clear intent on bodily harm, and doing a hand-chop down on one of the saunterers. The chop understandably stopped short of the man's neck of course, because this was, after all, a film, but it was frighteningly realistic, and seeing the shadow of Michael Attwell, looming behind that long brown overcoat, is something I'll never forget!

Of course, from then on, I didn't stop telling Mrs Scrobs what I'd seen, and so all studying for whatever I was studying for, was placed on hold, while all the hilarious episodes of Turtle and Razor Eddie unfolded. The highlight was of course, the programme with the scene I'd watched, (which only lasted for a few seconds), and again, Mrs S had her ear bent for several hours about what I'd seen!

Fast forward a few years - my work was then based in North Acton, and I may have mentioned before, we used to go to 'The Castle' pub on the corner, next to the BBC rehearsal rooms. I lived in the same village as Peter Childs, who was Insp Ronnie Rycott in 'Minder' back then, and Peter was often in our local at home, enjoying the craic, as we all did. I saw him once in 'The Castle', and he immediately hauled me over to meet everyone, there, mostly household names, and of course the landlord.

As you may see in the Youtube clip, my big regret is that the one man I'd always wanted to meet wasn't there that day, and of course, it is bad manners to just barge into a man's conversation with his friends when he was there, so I never did meet him! His son, Jake, has kindly replied, and I do hope that we'll see more clips of these guys one day!

And why, both of you ask, did I mention 'The Hanged Man' earlier?

Well, I only found out a couple of days ago, that John Landry (Turtle), had made his name with such a good performance as a small-time crook in that series, that they based the whole new programme on him and his strong man and weren't we the lucky ones to see all that, as I re-discovered what a fantastic singing voice Michael Attwell had, especially as he was the star (Sky Masterson) in 'Guys and Dolls', which is based on yet another all-time hero of mine, Damon Runyon!

Update... This was the intro to the series, and on hearing the first few bars, I'd chuck the text book down and tear downstairs for an hour of great entertainment...

Friday 20 April 2012

Bloggy Blogger's Blogged up...

Still trying to get my head round all this new caper. It's a bit like trying to read Braille with a hook, but I'm getting there... Did you enjoy the music I hummed in the last post about Reeves Corner (which neither of you responded to)? I thought you might, so here's some more...! Oooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooohhhh Boing... Now that's nice isn'it!

Tuesday 3 April 2012

Dog trick...

Saturday lunch time proved to be a more than interesting occasion, as I was just passing the open door of 'The Bells', when I saw the back of a trilby hat, which suddenly turned into the front of a trilby hat, under which was a wide grin, and a beckoning finger.

It took me all of several seconds to realise that I had been summoned to the court of Sagtrouser, and it was an easy decision to make, especially as I felt in need of a pint of beer, which was placed in front of me before you could say 'polished brass spigot coupling'!

My good friend Elias Sagtrouser, 'Purveyor of Building Necessities and Accoutrements' was standing at the bar with his ever-loving wife, Gloriette seated next to him on a bar-stool. She is a gorgeous lady, with plenty of acreage in the various attributes, and a very infectious giggle, which causes a double-wobble, and then a 'hoot', rather like my good chum Jan does when she becomes helpless with laughter, (See Scrobs passim).

After the normal 'hello's, and a passionate hug of very pleasant scented squirms from Gloriette, Elias waited until I had sunk two windows of ale, and began one of his stories, while Gloriette fiddled with the cherry in her violent pink coloured drink.

"Did you hear the dog story then"? He asked me.

"Er, Elias, er - which dog are we talking about please"?

So he began the yarn, which looked as though it was going to be a two-pinter, and another port something-or-other for Gloriette.

It went like this.

Elias has a thriving business premises, which stocks all sorts of things to do with building and plumbing, as both readers know by now, and he has a stupid, but likeable son, Meccano, who helps him behind the counter, and for most of the time is stone deaf from listening to his Ipod all day. There are also some peripheral goods in the shop, like fertilizer etc, and at one end of the warehouse, near the pallets of peat, there is a big stack of industrial sacks of dog biscuits, because Elias has a couple of evil looking alsatians which roam the yard at night, and keep ill-wishers well away. He keeps these packs in the dry, and also high up and away from the dogs, because if they got a sack open, they'd eat the lot, and lie down for a snooze, and never catch any infiltrators.

Elias has one particular customer, whom everyone calls 'Burma', as his chosen mode of transport is a very old and rusty BMW car, with the boot always full of bags of cement etc, and the reat seat covered with bags of compost as he does a lot of garden work. He thought that it was pronounced 'Burma' when told that there was a 'Bimmer', going cheap at the car breakers, and it had an MOT which was valid for a few months.

So Burma enters the shop, and goes to the back of the warehouse section, where all the gardening kit is kept, and a few minutes later, emerges dragging a bag of peat, and also a big bag of these dog biscuits.

Now Burma has two facial expressions, one which is just bloody miserable, and another where he offers his version of a smile.

This smile is rather like having a large crane insert its hook in the side of his mouth, and lifting the corner about an inch. It also means that Burma is lifted bodily more than somewhat, so everyone talking to him has to lean slightly sideways. If the immediate circumstances determine that it is a funny occasion, the communal lean may even reach 5 degrees, which is dangerous for larger persons such as Elias, and indeed, Toniatteline, who is Meccano's ever loving girl-friend, and inclined to to topple over. In fact, Gloriette could well do the same as she was in the shop that day, and because the spring sun had not yet reached Majorca temperatures, she was wearing a puffed up sort of jacket, which increased her forward pointing acreage beyond the view of the computer key-board, so she had to type standing up, and leaning forward as well.

So with Meccano and Elias staring at Burma at 5 degrees, and the two girls leaning in various directions, there was a distinct lack of verticality in the shop at that particular time. The moment was exacerbated when Toniatteline decided also to lean forward and reach under the front counter to retrieve a box of forms for the printer, and in doing so, made a mockery of all the red-blooded blokes' indications of eternal love to their sweethearts, and that the displayed acreage was well worth deciding to make a few exceptions, two in fact...

(Meanwhile, while this story was emerging, Gloriette was blowing bubbles through the straw in her purple drink, and Elias was beginning to warm to his subject, mainly by placing several pints of ale in front of the assembled throng in 'The Bells').

Meccano, in his limited wisdom, and with one earphone dangling over his 'S & B' windcheater, said to Burma, 'Oi Burma, I didn't know you 'ad a dog'!

So the crane lifted Burma's lip another fraction, and he started to explain.

"No, Meccers my son", he spluttered, "I'm now on the 'Pedigree' Diet"!

Meccano began to re-elevate himself to near vertical, and enquired, "What the hell's a 'Pedigree Diet' then Burma"?

Burma began to explain, amongst the fumes of a rapidly gathering crowd of customers, with a distinct air of 'Drum' tobacco and a smell of something like creosote.

"The 'Pedigree Diet', Meccers my son, is all about food intake. I am overweight at twenty-one stone, and to alleviate this large body grossness, I now buy these dog biscuits, and pop a few into my mouth during the day whenever I feel hungry. They are very nutritious and fibrous, and full of the all sorts of chemicals which makes all animals grow fit and well, and also, they're very cheap here, so I buy a big bag which lasts me nearly a month! I also regularly lose weight, which has happened on numerous occasions, except the time when I ended up in intensive care..."

At this, the whole shop went silent, and someone coughed over near the nails and screws. Burma had the floor.

"You ended up in intensive care from eating dog biscuits, Burma"? Meccano smirked through a slack jaw, as well as a lean to the right. "Why the hell did did you carry on eating them if you'd already been ill once"!

Burma's crane hook gave one final lurch upwards, then forwards, and his whole face creased into a huge grin.

"It wasn't eating the dog biscuits Meccers, it was just that I bent round to lick my bum and put my back out"!