Thursday, 23 December 2010

White Christmas

Steam trains and snow - at Christmas? Really, what could be better.

Wishing you all a Happy Christmas.

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

I'm Spartacus!

Well, I'm not of course, but he is. He's also Vincent van Gogh as far as I'm concerned.

So, another day and another birthday of a long lived movie star and cultural icon. A proper icon as well.

Born in 1916, and 94 today. You can read about him here:

And see a fairly recent interview (below), where Mr Douglas talks about the stroke that afflicted him.

Or, why not look him up on MySpace, if you take part in such things - he's apparently the oldest celeb on it and quite accessible, as these things go.

Monday, 6 December 2010

Hey, Blondie!

A Happy Birthday to Eli Wallach, born 7th December 1915 and 95 today.

You can read about him here

And see a recent interview here:

I thought I might have forgotten how to work this blogger, but I haven't, surprisingly.

Tuesday, 6 July 2010

Fly away

Flies. I've never known a year like it for them. They're everywhere. Is it just here (and is there something big rotting away nearby), or is it the same with you?

I wonder if it's those damn vuvuzazalalas on the telly that have been attracting them in.

Tuesday, 22 June 2010

That final team talk in full..

Mr Capello opened the briefing,

"I've got a job for you, Team England. You have to play Slovenia, at football, and beat them."

Mr Capello then concluded,

"F__k this up and you're dead meat."

[translation by Berlitz]

John Motson might have said:

"Well, here we are again. The longest day may have passed, but the England team are still stuck on the beaches, under fire from all sides, taking casualties, searching for that decisive and necessary breakthrough.

After the trials and tribulations of the past few days, the travelling England fans will be wondering if this is to be their last stand in South Africa. We've already seen the French go home in disgrace and disarray, and some would no doubt say that this is nothing less than they deserve.

Slovenia, England 's opponents today, currently lead the group and will be looking to consolidate that position with a win or a draw. England need to win emphatically in order to progress with credibility, to probably face the Germans once more in the next round.

The other game in Group C, the USA versus Algeria could still provide an upset for England if the USA prevail and England cannot manage more than a draw. What an ignominious exit that would be for Capello's team.

And if this happens, after a faltering campaign so far, many will say that England never had the quality to progress in this tournament and are simply not good enough to fulfil the nation's expectations. Harsh words perhaps, but you have to look to the likes of Rooney, Terry and Lampard for an explanation as to why they simply cannot perform at this level.

Our sporting venue today, the coastal town of Port Elizabeth, provides the perfect setting for the match, with a kick off at 3pm, a time of course not unfamiliar to the host of Premiership stars who have so far struggled to perform.

Obviously a sea level location, altitude is not an factor, and the weather forecast is for a temperate 19 degrees celsius; that's the mid 60's for those of you who still prefer the Fahrenheit scale.

Coincidentally, the mid 60's were of course the last time that England covered themselves in glory, in that famous victory in the 1966 World Cup, also against continental opposition, in that case the Germans. A date fast passing out of living memory, and nothing but a fairy tale to so many of the youngsters watching at home today.

So here we go. Can Captain Gerrard and his troops produce the victory England needs this afternoon, in a corner of a foreign field, of the town named Elizabeth ?

For Queen and Country, Gentlemen?"

Wednesday, 28 April 2010

Your candidate speaks

Mr LF Barfe pictured outside NOTA Waveney Campaign Headquarters, quite recently

Well, if you live in the Waveney constituency he does.

Mr L.F. Barfe, noted commentator, author, blogger and resident of Cheeseford is standing for Parliament, on the None Of The Above ticket.

In a recent interview with the BBC,

"Waveney candidate Louis Barfe says a vote for him is a last resort; when people want to vote, but none of the candidates appeals. "With NOTA standing, they have an option to register their dismay and disaffection," he says.

He says that in the unlikely event of him getting in, his one policy would be to force a by-election within six months in which he would not stand.

"The problem with politicians is not what they promise, it's what they deliver," he said. "So by promising to deliver nothing, I'm the best man for the job I don't want."

Sunday, 25 April 2010

I know what you did last Easter

A non-scientific survey of "The Stranded" from my own extended circle brought a wry smile. It revealed a high proportion of senior medics and teachers - the self declared 'overworked' (and well paid), in other words.

I can't help but think that had there not been an election campaign on, all leave cancelled, half the MPs in the country would have been caught, er, out of it.

The exotic locations of our publicly funded hard working families would have provided a rich seam of scorn for the papers. Much worse than this.

Headlines like "Having a Lava-ly Time" being used.

After the expenses and pay scandals, lucky for them perhaps that they couldn't go. Who knows what they'd have been photographed doing.

Christine Keeler sunbathes in Spain, a while ago

Wednesday, 17 March 2010

The '39 Oscars

Tonight, tiring of modern television, I re-watched Hitchcock's The 39 Steps. I expect you've seen it many times as well.

It surprises me how a film made in 1935 stands up so well. That's a whole 75 years ago, friends and neighbours. Not that corny, and not so, well, 'old fashioned'. Though clearly of it's time, the scenes of the train, the Forth Bridge, the streets, a young but somehow no different John Laurie never fail to delight me. Perhaps I make allowances for it.

Along with Hitchcock, Robert Donat in the lead role - born today in 1905 - really deserves the plaudits for this film version of John Buchan's story. I know Donat was considered to be a fine actor in his time, in fact quite a favourite for his portrayal of 'well bred but not aloof' characters. At least that's what my father tells me.

On looking Mr Donat up, we see that he won the Oscar for Best Actor in 1939 (for Goodbye Mr Chips). An Academy Award's not so bad for a lad from Great Britain in any year.

Even better when you consider that in 1939 he beat the following nominees to the big prize: Clark Gable (for Rhett Butler in Gone With The Wind); Micky Rooney (for Micky Moran in Babes in Arms); James Stewart (for Jefferson Smith in Mr Smith Goes to Washington); Laurence Olivier (for Heathcliff in Wuthering Heights).


Happy Birthday, Robert Donat

Thursday, 11 March 2010


Do I really need this s##t in my life? No I don't.

Tonight I thought I'd play a CD in my computer. How fu##ing quaint. I put the CD in and it didn't play. It is an old CD. It is in good condition, but still, perhaps the CD fairies have corrupted it sometime between 1988 and now. So I tried a new CD. That doesn't work either.

'Why?', I thought. Then I thought, 'Actually, I don't want to understand. I just want it to work.'

After my outbreak of petulance, I searched for 'why the f##k wouldn't a simple CD play on a fu##ing computer?'

The consensus seemed to be that I needed to download yet more software. 'Try Windows Media Player'. Yeah, why not. It's on here already but never mind let's upgrade the fu##er. I mean, after all, all we're asking here is for the first mass media piece of digital, er, media to be played on another piece of ubiquitous digital technology. I mean really, what could possibly go wrong?

And it still doesn't work. The media player offers to organise, catalogue and 'library' my 'clips'. It can 'burn', 'rip' and 'sync' things. I'm not here to pirate, rip, sync, burn, 'library' or catalogue. The only thing I want 'organising' is for the CD to play.

But, as I said before; I don't want to understand. I just want it to work. There is no button to press that says "PLAY THE CD".

F##k it, I'll play it in the car tomorrow. What s##t this all is.

Happy Friday all!

Friday, 26 February 2010

"I would willingly sell my house and all its contents to help the BBC"

Well, of course I wouldn't. But what I would do, if I had the option, is pay twice as much as I do now if it meant that the bloody adverts could be removed from ITV, and, that ITV then had enough money to make some better programmes. Rather than cancelling all the expensive ones, being over reliant on the X-Factor, and leaving most of the rest with their restrictive budgets clearly on show.

The only positive thing, albeit in a twisted way, about the commercial side's current difficulties is that it highlights just where we'll go if the BBC is ever bullied off the air. But throwing buckets of water over your neighbours whilst your own house is on fire is not the way to go.

As for the radio argument - 'nuff said already, elsewhere I think.

Bring back Primeval, that's what I say.

Thursday, 18 February 2010

Twas the Night Afore Christmas

What did I say the other day about today being my Christmas Eve?

And round here, it's been snowing all day, right on cue.


Tuesday, 16 February 2010


I've just found out that the man who wrote, sung and played lead on 'My Sharona', Doug Fieger, has gone. Only 57 as well, which makes the big Countdown clock in the sky seem a little bigger today.

Albeit the song being about a 27 year old man's lustful obsession with a 16 year old girl, (glass houses) it's a top tune and this version is the one with the proper guitar solo in. Though the Ramones pictures don't make a lot o sense.

Anyway, apparently the loving couple spent quite a few years together, and she was also with him in his last days, just last week. So no remarks at the back please, just up it loud and enjoy.

For myself, I have 4 days away from work and it feels like Christmas. It's the longest break I've had from work since last September, and that includes Christmas/NY as well. Shan't complain too much, I've been out of work and that's no holiday either.

So tomorrow is Dec 23rd. Thursday is Christmas Eve etc etc. That's if things don't go tits up at work and I have to go back early.

Might make a visit to the British Museum on Thursday. That's if I can negotiate a train ticket for three for under £100. (Don't bank on it). I want to reconnect with our stolen treasures, and Daughter is interested in Egypt. I can't tell you how many years it's been since I was at the Museum, in fact I'm not sure if I've ever been there at all. I must have though.

How the years spin by; and as Mr Fieger teaches us, you just never know, do you? Best have those mildly or wildly inappropriate love affairs while you can.

Friday, 22 January 2010


I read that Joe Perry and the rest of Aerosmith are looking for a new lead singer and frontman, due to Steve Tyler's temporary unavailability.

Well, I'm not a huge fan of Aerosmith, but, I like the hits and the big songs like many do. I know who Joe Perry is of course, because he never fails to mention his band.

But I wonder, isn't someone in Aerosmith-land missing the point a bit here? Or is it me.

Friday, 15 January 2010

Eat more chocolate - save Britain!

I don't care who you are and where you're from. Leave Cadbury's alone and concentrate on improving your own chocolate-based products instead of ruining ours, just to make yours seem better.

That'll be Hershey, Kraft and Ferrero then.

First Rowntree, then Terry - now this. Not on my watch, sunshine. We're not dumb, chum.

Saturday, 9 January 2010

The Sun Will Shine...At First...

The Master at Work

Check out the "heh-heh-heh" at the end. Top class Hammer-style hamming.

Almost as good as this:

If you can find it on an Anchor Bay DVD for less than a fortune it's well worth it. Peter Cushing at the top of his game, not distracted by having to share the scenes with a special effects Snowman, who is in fact rarely seen. Menacing and crisp - and unspoilt by the breathless hoop-la of later, lamer 'unseen menace' films such as Blair Witch.

One of the best B&W transfers to digital that I've ever seen, and the soundtrack's a honey too.

Tuesday, 5 January 2010

Leave i /t/ aht.

Irritating Advert Award of 2010 already awarded to Thomas Cook for their "IT" advert.

Not content with overusing the word 'it', they then employ sweetheart Louise Redknapp to glottally stop every 'it' she's go/t/ to say. Seductively languid, it ain'/t/, if that's what you were thinking, advert people. Her husband does a little better, by the way. But not much.

Anyway, besides the suspension of disbelief that normally accompanies any holiday advert, this time we're meant to believe that the Redknapps, several grand lighter, pitch up at Ga/t/wick Sarth, and are then, along with all customers of this most celebrated of service industries, treated like potential mass murdering, smuggling, fanatical pant bombers - to be corralled, pushed, poked, frisked, x-rayed, scanned, examined and caged with hundreds of others, like the villainous animals we all secretly are, before setting off to their fortnight in the sun, jammed into seats little wider than the width of the meal tray, with the back of the seat in front wedged into their throats, courtesy of the Cook Book. They Thomas Cooked I/T/.

And they are deliriously happy abaht it. Maybe grateful as well.

Well, stone me, do wot, who knew, eh?

My knees are aching just thinking abaht it.

If you haven't seen the advert, or even if you have and you want to punish yourself some more, here it is:

God, I'm in a bad mood this decade. Already!