Thursday, 24 December 2009

Jet Set Christmas Holidays in Beirut, 1960s - Part 3


So here we are with some skiing up at the Cedars, quite the most exclusive ski resort east of St Moritz. Our little Christmas party kicks off here, apres-ski. Then we head back down to the coast in time for Boxing Day, on the beach.

Our exclusive hotel - 1960s style!

Boxing Day lunch with light musical accompaniment, courtesy of Garam Chiba and his orchestra.

Currently signed to Mr Orville Campbell's 'Colonial Records', I expect after this trip they'll soon be distributed internationally on the Piley-Mondo Podcast label. Not so sure about Ebe Sneezer and his Epidemics though.

Pest Holidays hope you're having a lovely time!

Jet Set Christmas Holidays in Beirut, 1960s - Part 2

Somewhat delayed due to adverse weather conditions in Great Britain, we're finally on our way. Our destination - Beirut, playground of the Middle East.

On board today is Mr David Niven, noted film actor presently serving as your BOAC De Luxe class steward, due to a lack of work. Please keep your hands off him, Miss Woo.

Drinks and other refreshments will be served shortly, followed by the Lunch service:

What are you having?

You are invited to enjoy the following film, from Mr Harold Baim and Mr Valentine Dyall, about our exotic destination.

Is that Prince Rainier over there, sitting next to King Hussein?

Saturday, 12 December 2009

Jet Set Christmas Holidays in Beirut, 1960s - Part 1

Yes blogging friends, that's right. This year, our annual Christmas outing takes us to 1960s Beirut - meeting place of East and West. Skiing in the morning and the beach in the afternoon; pulsating, exotic, throbbing nightlife by, er, night.

After the trials and tests of a turbulent year, we're off to the Paris of the East; cosmopolitan, liberal, exciting - and the perfect Christmas getaway for the blogging Jet Set. After last year's stunningly successful trip to the Caribbean, I have high hopes for this years trip.

It's sometime in the, pack your bags and observe the pre-flight movies.

We're travelling with BOAC again - of course...

Who's on board this year?

Friday, 4 December 2009

Richard Todd R.I.P.

I feel quite upset about this. God rest him.

Saturday, 31 October 2009

Rocky Horror Halloween Show

Only half way through watching tonight's Halloween 'X' rated X Factor Horror Special.

I started off feeling like this:

Now I'm feeling like this:

All I need now is for someone to try to reanimate the sacred Freddie Mercury....maybe they'll stop at MJ's 'Thriller'.

Make it go awwaaaay.

Thursday, 10 September 2009

Star Sign Taurus - Lucky Day: Friday

A faked up Taurus rocket lifts off from a clumsily montaged landscape

I was amused to read about the negative aspects of Star Sign Taurus, below. I must argue about the fat comment though. I'm not fat.

The Star Sign Taurus character: They see everything in terms of money or value and cling like leeches to anyone rich or famous. Once they have wealth or status they'll bully their inferiors and wield control with a rod of iron. They hate change and are suspicious of everyone. Fortunately for the rest of us Taureans are generally stupid so they don't usually get very far in life. This may account for their famed resentment of everyone. They are usually very, very fat. They make hopeless diplomats but excellent socialites, bankers or thieves.

The Star Sign Taurus Lover: Taurus make excellent ex-husbands because of their determination never to let the past become the past. In an argument they will remember every detail of your past sins but never their own. They like you to feel inferior.

The year ahead: Try to overcome your pig headed stubbornness and accept the changes that this year brings. People put upon on you in June so get a Cancerian to share the workload.

Famous names: Norman Lamont, The Queen, Paula Yates.

Ruler: Venus, the planet of sex.

Key characteristics: The self-indulgent bully who is resentful of everything.

Lucky material: Cheapskate copper, coral and stolen emerald.

Lucky day: Friday.

Herbs and plants: Gooseberry, Lentils, Periwinkle.

I promise to post a proper update soon. It's been a while so there's lots to tell.

Monday, 3 August 2009

Junk Mail

I've never seriously considered becoming an international trader in goods, but now that Mr Hong from Shanghai has been in touch with me, I think I might do it.

"Dear Sir/Madame,


This is John Hong, from Integrate Shipping Limited in Shanghai. It would be my great pleasure if we can help you to get more money target /business expending in China. I am writing to make sure you don't miss out on the great chance to construct a relationship with a Chinese freight forwarder. Take few minutes at hereinafter.

As we are so care and treasure even a single chance to serve you. I thought we are capable with professional manner based on network, diligent staff in offices at Shanghai, Shenzhen, Beijing, even stronger than your Chinese suppliers to take care your business throughout China.

You need a good, reliable logistics partner at China to cover your cargo logistics needs, specially at liaison affairs to keep commercial secret, information/status update, save cost at communication/consolidation job to keep eyes on suppliers in China with strong customs broker services. We are in neutrality, to small supplier, we even can pay small bill for you to pick up goods first, we help you at currency exchange at lucrative price indeed.

So now you got a great opportunity to be served.

To learn more about us, please have a glance of our homepage : We are so close to you cause we have set agency network all around world even Africa, not only you will be served in China, but also in your good country, our agents are more than happy to tailor cargo solutions for you and your customers. We now are more than a freight forwarder as we also have a trading company with license to help our customers to settle customs declare both import and export.

You can also benefit from creating a right Chinese supplier, right goods that we check for you, even after your order is placed, we can help you to make inspection of quality of goods based on sample you provide, check background of supplier, pay deposit/subscription in advance to supplier if need.......etc,etc. Work with ISL, you take great advantage of cost effective solutions and specifically enable you be assured to quality cargo services cover whole China.

We appreciate that you can let us know where we can start our work in China to cooperate with your esteemed company.

I look forward to hearing from you soon."

Well, his English is better than my Chinese.

Anyway, anybody else want in before I go back to him?

Friday, 17 July 2009

Shadows on the Face of the Moon

Something I'd normally post over on Space Age Britain , but this story may be of more general interest considering the date.

The full story is here (NASA link)

In summary, the new Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter has now started photographic surveys of the Moon, and has returned pictures of the remnants of the Apollo missions left on the surface.

I found the image above, containing the footmark trails left by Al Shepherd and Ed Mitchell, quite reassuring. Who'd bother to fake that?.

But, if Lunar tourism ever gets going, someone will have to make it their business to preserve all this. Good luck with that.

Wednesday, 8 July 2009

pee'd off

Piss Poor Procedural Preparation Prevents Planned Public Performances

Wednesday, 27 May 2009

Full of Eastern Promise

Well, after a marathon stint at work over the whole of the Bank Holiday weekend, that's the hard work done for now.

All that remains is to pack my smalls, elephant gun and solar topee. I intend to be the complete tourist and live on confectionery for two whole weeks, whilst scanning the horizon for marauding wildlife.

My sugar intake should set me up nicely to attend belly-dancing lessons; one has to respect the culture and take part in order to truly bond with a country and it's peoples, don't you find?

Actually, I'm pretty sure that they don't have marauding wildlife in Turkey but, as Five-Centres loves to hear people say, "what-evah!"

Bye for now.

Friday, 22 May 2009

Hard-Fi In Operation

It seems to have been an extraordinarily l-o-n-g week for some reason. If you're feeling the same, here's a top tune to keep you going until 17:58

Oh go on then, have another..

Have a great weekend. For those having to work (me too) - I salute you.

Monday, 18 May 2009

What Could Possibly Go Wrong?


Kindly accept my apology for sending mail to you. I believe you are a highly respected personality, I am writing this mail with tears, sadness and pains. I know it will come to you as a surprise since we haven't known or come across each other before considering the fact that I sourced your profile from a human resource profile database on your country through Internet in search of trusted person who can assist me.

I am Miss Konye Garang 25 years old female from the Republic of Sudan, the Daughter of Late Dr. John Garang. Before my late father’s death in Uganda on 31st of July 2005, was vice president and former rebel leader of Sudan and was kill by Sudan President Omar al Bashir in helicopter crash. You can read more about my father in the news.

I am constrained to contact you because of the maltreatment which I am receiving from my step mother. She planned to take away all my late father's treasury and properties from me since the unexpected death of my beloved Father. Meanwhile I wanted to travel to Europe, but she hide away my international passport and other valuable documents. Luckily she did not discover where I kept my father's File which contained important documents. Now I am presently staying in the Mission in Burkina Faso. I am seeking for long term relationship and investment assistance. My father of blessed memory deposited the sum of US$12.7 Million in one bank in Burkina Faso with my name as the next of kin. I had contacted the Bank to clear the deposit but the Branch Manager told me that being a refugee, my status according to the local law does not authorize me to carry out the operation. However, he advised me to provide a trustee who will stand on my behalf. I had wanted to inform my stepmother about this deposit but I am afraid that she will not offer me anything after the release of the money.

Therefore, I decide to seek for your help in transferring the money into your bank account while I will relocate to your country and settle down with you. As you indicated your interest to help me I will give you the account number and the contact of the bank where my late beloved father deposited the money with my name as the next of kin. It is my intention to compensate you with 20% of the total money for your assistance and the balance shall be my investment in any profitable venture which you will recommend to me as have no any idea about foreign investment. Please all communications should be through this email address only for confidential purposes.

Thanking you a lot in anticipation of your quick response. I will send you my photos in my next email for you to know me well.

Yours Miss Konye Garang

Wednesday, 29 April 2009

Consultants - dontcha just luv 'em?!?

Over at David Hepworth's there's an intelligent debate going on about Consultants, amongst other things. It's very good.

However, being time poor but sarcasm rich you won't get anything quite so involved from me. It's a different paradigm. I'll just paint a picture with my own enriched version of my favourite description of this noble best-of-breed:

"Consultants? - They're like seagulls: They spy your chips, fly in, squawk a lot, flap round your head for a while, land, strut around, eat all your food, squawk a lot more, then suddenly take off, fly around you for a bit longer, squawk en masse, crap on you, then disappear. It's very hard to tell one from another."


Sunday, 26 April 2009

Heck - it's BBC bullshit time

'Nazi' cattle indeed. What do they do then, herd themselves into their own cattle trucks?

I also hope you enjoy the commentary, with it's insightful summary of the Nazi rampage through Europe.

See the 'Nazi cattle' here

BBC News - for all your red-top website needs. Doh. Get a grip, BBC, you're meant to be better than this.

Friday, 10 April 2009

Easter Eggs

When was the last time you saw a pair of beauties like this hanging outside a house? They really are the (HMV dogs) nuts aren't they. They're commonly referred to as egg insulators (not dog's eggs, so no sniggering at the back please).

Apologies to those who do know, but for those who don't they are radio aerial, or antenna insulators, used to prevent loss of the radio signal to earth in old style long wire aerials, when receiving your actual BBC Light Programme, or if you preferred, the World Service, VOA, Radio Moscow/Prague/Luxembourg and so on.

Aerial insulators are still used to this day by aficionados of old radio sets, listeners to the short wave and by radio amateurs, a-transmitting and a-receiving worldwide.

Antenna arrays used by those folks can be complex, but for domestic listening pleasure, the general configuration was to have one end fixed to the house, and the other attached to a tall pole at the end of the garden, with the wire hanging between the insulators.

Here's a diagram of the typical installation you might remember seeing at your house. It's in Italian, so let's say it's to honour Guglielmo Marconi.

So a setup like the one in my photo at the top of the post would usually be for a home radio receiver. It would have been a feature of a vast number of Britain's houses from the 1930s through to the 1960s, when transistor radios started to take over, because the long wire aerials were usually required for Radio Sets using valves - perhaps an Ekco, Defiant, Grundig, Cossor, HMV, Pye, Bush, Phillips or a Marconi. Perhaps you or someone you know had one. Perhaps you still do!

But the aerial isn't all that you need to get the best from your old radio. You also need to get the radio signal through your (wooden) window frame to the radio inside the house, without earthing the wire and losing the signal. For this you need an insulator - this one is the typical paxoline tube with a copper thread running through it.

Finally, an earth point is required, in order to set up a good signal flow between the broadcast transmitter and the radio receiver - which are linked together by the earth potential of the, er, Earth.

Now you're all set to go - sit back and enjoy the mellow tones, and, have a Happy Easter!

Click to enlarge pic

Click to enlarge pic

Click to enlarge pic

For those that need more nostalgia there are many websites about old radios, for example this one, from the U.S.

Wednesday, 1 April 2009

625 & 405

You don't see many of the old style 405 line VHF TV aerials these days and no wonder as they've been unable to pick up a useful TV signal for more than 20 years. So those that are left, although obsolete often remain in place, safely out of reach. A perch for birds and a passing query for anyone happening to glance upwards.

Actually you don't see too many of the 'old style' 625 UHF aerials being put up these days either. Most people seem to believe the hype that they need an aerial resembling a massive bog-brush in order to pick up 'digital'.

Which in most cases they don't of course.

When the digital signal strength gets boosted in a couple of years time with the demise of the long time standard analogue, the old style copper wire will suffice on it's own I should think.

Still, plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose.

Sunday, 29 March 2009

Flying Bomb - Secret Weapon

It was always a big thing for me when the clocks went forward. Then you could 'play outside' for a spell after school, visit friends, wander the streets and generally enjoy the novelty of going outside after your tea.

So what better thing to do then, way back in the late 1960s and early 70s, than to excitedly remember and rediscover those treasured toys you'd had for Christmas, what seemed like an age ago. Perhaps something like the Space Explorer, pictured above, yes?

OK then, let's see how the Space Explorer does on the nearly-lunar landscape of your back garden, or, why not play with it in the street for a while, to see how it copes with climbing up and down the kerb?

Why not? I'll tell you why not.

Because of these:

By the end of March, in those far off years, these bulging, bursting, running-sore Zinc-Carbon swine would have deteriorated, leaked, and discharged acidic zinc chloride all over the inside of the battery compartment of your prized possession, rotting the contacts and rendering the toy useless. Unless you were lucky and managed to clean the stuff out. Always a tricky business though, no guarantees of success there - they'd had a three month head start on their sticky sabotage mission.

I remain convinced that the Hong Kong battery manufacturers, probably owned by the toy makers, made the battery casings out of the thinnest possible metal, in order to ensure a steady sale of replacement toys. Not that we needed any encouragement to pester for something new, to be honest.

Ever Ready were a bit better, but not immune to leakage and ruination either - so no smirking at the back.

Even though batteries these days don't leak, at least not very often - not unless you buy 20 for a pound batteries in order to visit your own disappointment of years gone by on others - and why would you - it's still an automatic reaction in my head to say, "Don't leave the batteries in, they'll leak!".

It's a traditional mantra handed down through the generations, and I usually say it out loud, before I've thought about what I'm saying. If I'm lucky I get the chance to explain. Now and again though, I'm proven right. Ha.

Thursday, 19 March 2009

Technical Help Please

Out of curiosity I've been looking into what it means when people say they are downloading films or TV using 'torrent'. I've never done it.

Along the way I've also been advised about or have read of various horror stories that befall torrent users. These generally fall under the categories of:

Legal penalties
Technical (equipment) ruin
Security breaches (theft of data)
Virus infestation
Identity theft enabled by collection of personal data, leading to fraud - or worse...

and, to top it off,

A generous frosting of SPAM.

I am just wondering if any of these disasters are common, or are we talking about the odd few events that have caught out the unwary, which have then been blown out of all proportion?

Are there good ways to download, and preferred sites to go to?
Do you need better or new software?
Is setting up for the whole process really like wearing 15 condoms for safety's sake, so that it's not really worth bothering to go through with it?

I'd be grateful if any regular torrent-eers could offer me some sage advice.

Sunday, 15 March 2009

WATCHMEN? Well, not exactly...

I haven't seen this film yet, but I'm already a fan. In fact I'm so enthusiastic about seeing it that I may actually go to the cinema.

It's been a long time since I went to the pictures. Not as long a time as it's been since I could be bothered to go to London for instance. And certainly not as long as it's been since I gave up reading the newspapers. But, quite a long time, nonetheless.

I couldn't understand why I've suddenly become so taken with the idea of seeing this movie projected on to a 40 foot high screen; but then I found this easy to read, cut out 'n keep guide, which I think helps me to answer my question:

Saturday, 14 March 2009

A Nice Hunk of Cod

Whilst the intrepid BT engineers attempt to mend the internet, here's a commercial break featuring persuasive pitches for consumer shite of the 70s.

Observe the first green shoots of the vines and tendrils that now embrace our necks.

I also commend this to you from David Hepworth. It's excellent.

Thursday, 5 March 2009

Switch Bitch

Here we bloody go. The bloody internet's playing up again. Sometimes it's bloody dropping out after ten bloody minutes or less, sometimes it can be up for nearly a bloody hour, before bloody dropping out in the middle of something bloody important.
There's no bloody telling.

As regular bloody readers will bloody well know, and be bloody bored of bloody hearing, the bloody culprit is bloody BT. I'm bloody sorry to be bloody posting on this again, but I need to get it out of my bloody system.

BT's bloody wires are bloody old, and bloody soldered every ten bloody yards. Their bloody rural exchanges are bloody Edwardian and the bloody switches are all bloody dirty.

So now I bloody well have to go through the whole bloody process of reporting the bloody fault every bloody day until someone gets the bloody arse enough to go to the bloody exchange to rattle the bloody connections until the ADSL goes out bloody properly. Until the next bloody time.

Alternatively the bloody fault could bloody well be any-bloody-where on the bloody lamentable string of bloody wires from my house to the bloody exchange. So every bloody half baked bloody joint needs to be bloody tested to see if it is bloody OK. Will this be bloody done? No it bloody won't.

Do I bloody well feel like attaching a bloody grappling hook to the bloody wires and pulling the whole bloody lot down, before bloody ram-raiding the bloody exchange, just to make bloody BT replace the whole bloody circus set-up with new bloody kit?

You bet your sweet ass I do.

Tuesday, 3 March 2009

I Am Come to Rule Over You, Earthlings

This Crazy Cat made me look more than twice.

I'm sure he's an escaped ship's cat from a crashed alien spacecraft. Or possibly a highly ranking envoy from a planet staffed entirely with felines.

Whichever, as you will see in the film below, he seems quite happy living here on Earth .....whilst he draws his plans against us!

Thursday, 26 February 2009

The Prince of Darkness

I get so depressed now whenever I see Robert Peston's face. Because I know it's always going to be bad news, life-sucking news, news to make one feel powerless.

Now, I know it's not his fault, it's his job to report on business and financial news and let's face it, that news sector has been short of a few laughs lately.

But even so, short of the undertaker turning up at the front door with a coffin in the middle of Dancing on Ice and inviting you to step right in, how much lower could it get? Well, Robert Peston takes you there. You'll go low. Lower than ever before. You might not get back up, you'll be so low.

Factual it might be. Helpful...? Not really.

For those familiar with the Bram Stoker novel, that mood of dank, stalled, white-sky, energy sapping stillness, later so brilliantly inhabited by Bela Lugosi when the story was filmed, is precisely the mood Count Peston invokes whenever he tells me of the latest financial catastrophe - on what seems a relentless, inescapable, nightly basis.

Have you read his blog? Don't.

And don't look into his eyes, either.

He can't help it.

Sunday, 22 February 2009


Well? When has the BBC forecast ever been wrong.

Thursday, 19 February 2009

Standing Firm (for now)

I may also give up blogging for Lent (hurrah! I hear you cheer); and E-bay as well (boo! the massed sellers protest).

I waste enough time on line as it is (when the m-f internet's working) and need to keep off these new drugs. I gather that being a refusenik is an unusual stance now and considered to be, appropriately, 'socially' unacceptable. What do you think?

Tuesday, 17 February 2009

Feeling Numanoid

Been chatting with lil about Gary Numan, on an earlier post. So for no particular reason other than to get all 1980 doomy on a gloomy Tuesday* 29 years later, here's one of my favourites ladies and gemmun'.

I like a long building intro and tinkling keyboards so this fits the bill from the start, then rocks along like a good 'un, before finishing with a spooky outro. Nice.

He's lasted surprisingly well, hasn't he, considering the stick he got at the time.

* and Wednesday

Monday, 16 February 2009


Watching this interview on the BBC with Jose Mourinho, the scrolling advert board behind him made me feel quite queasy. This development is even more distracting that the constantly changing advert screens at the side of the pitch used at every major game.

What's next then do you think, 'active slogan' football shirts? The ball playing an product jingle when it's kicked? Tubular plasma screen goalposts?

Is there to be no end to the indignities forced upon the viewer by advertisers and clubs?

I'm feeling quite Mondayish today.

Saturday, 14 February 2009

File under 'Lucky'

The story here is proof that the old adage 'better late than never' is sometimes indisputably true.

Tuesday, 10 February 2009

Are 'Friends' Electric?

And now, not live from the Midlands, an extended power cut! Really Ambassador, you spoil us.

All I want now is for the internet to pack up again and my joy will be compl

Monday, 9 February 2009

Yes, we have no bananas

Had any post lately? I bloody haven't, nothing since last Wednesday. So what's going on with the Royal Mail, have they been told not to go out in the Snow?

And what's with the panic buying and therefore hoarding of basic foods like bread and milk? Empty shelves, selfish shoppers and the rapid breakdown of the infrastructure lead inevitably to the conclusion that Great Britain is finish..[contd p.94] Copyright popular press 2009 (that's enough Snow stories - Ed)

Thursday, 5 February 2009

Arrh, Snow in the Good Olde Dayes

Marvel at the sense of purpose of the 'Authorities'!

Gasp at the emphasis on common sense rather than H & S over-regulation!!

(Enjoy in High Quality, viewers)

Monday, 2 February 2009


Incredibly, a man has attended work during the current continent-paralysing Significant Snow Event!
In defiance of the Authorities, Mr Pest cleared up to 5 inches of Snow off the car, got in, drove there and drove back using all types of roads and some common sense - 'nothing much happened'. He says "he expects to do the same tomorrow".

In other sensational news, a Child attends school, and a Woman also goes to work. Incredibly they even called in at the shops on their way home, to the amazement of shopkeepers resigned to bankruptcy and closure.
After reaching their house they then spent almost an hour bravely throwing the hellish white substance at each other, and forming it into a crude human shape in order to summon the Snow Demon!
As a rudimentary precautionary measure, loose Snow on their clothing and footwear was brushed off before entering their home.
Government Scientists advise that although no lasting toxic damage is anticipated, the practice is 'not recommended'.

Police, however, are advising everyone to stay indoors until "early July at the earliest", in order to give time for the poisonous cloud to dissipate.

"Fack me, they don't call this the Nuclear Winter for nothing, sanshine", Plod chortled in a BBC Daytime interview earlier today, before he found out that he was reading from a leaflet issued in the 1980s. He then wandered off screen to talk to a group of roaming bus and train drivers.

Elsewhere, a predicted Giant Snow Demon fails to show up to throw Great Britain on to the Moon.