I’ll take your brain to another dimension. Pay close attention.

4 inches.

There I said it.

This morning I bought jeans 4 inches smaller waist-wise than those I was wearing this morning. I was actually out Christmas shopping but Mrs Bob keeps saying that my jeans look like old gee2015-new-style-Fashion-Men-s-Faux-Leather-Tight-Pants-Man-Leggings-PVC-Long-Trousers-Man

I have more time for shopping as my new job start date has had to be deferred by two weeks to Monday 10 December. Downside, no pay and no chance to get to meet the new team properly; upside, Mrs Bob gets more of me, I get to sort Xmas gifts and cards way ahead of Christmas Eve and I get to travel a bit.

Talking travel, I forgot to mention a shocking thing that arose on my recent trip to Old Stockport Towne. My dear friends suddenly decided that I looked like Tattoo off Fantasy Island.

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Now I don’t know what you think but I feel this is a little harsh. It has had an effect on my though as I also bought a hairbrush and comb today, ditched my white tux and gave up plane-spotting.

For those too young to remember, Fantasy Island was a US TV series that aired from 1977 to 1984. It starred Ricardo Montalbán as the mysterious Mr. Roarke, who grants the fantasies of visitors to the island for a price. Tattoo (played by Hervé Villechaize) was his assistant and he would run up the main bell tower to ring the bell and shout “Da plane! Da plane!” to announce the arrival of a new set of guests at the beginning of each episode. Sure there must be episodes on YouTube. Essential weekend viewing.

On the subject of ‘tattoos’ I have also been accused by Mrs Bob and Bob Junior (female) of being unable to pronounce the word correctly (along with ‘mandatory’ and ‘hurricane’). May I point out that I got A grades in English at O and A level and also an RSA qualification (pass with merit) for spoken English. I think this allows me to speak as I wish. you pronounce it ‘t-too’ by the way.

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I forgot to mention Bob Junior’s (female) 16th birthday party the other week. They started with a party bus which was essentially a large mini bus with ‘U’ shaped seating, glitter ball and lights, karaoke and soft drinks. With just two mikes it is surprising that any daughter of mine should hog one of those for the two hours. I understand that her ‘My heart will go on’ brought I tear to everyone’s eyes including the driver. We hope to be duetting this at parties this festive break. Booking now.

The gang came back to the Bobcave which was decked out in party gear, with a gazebo and astro turf down outside. Lucky we had bought plastic shoe covers as the rain was torrential. We allowed a sensible amount of alcohol for approx. 15 guests – a pity three of them tried to drink it all. Carey Junior (female) seemed very happy by the end of the evening if a little ‘tired’. Can’t recall what I did on my 16th but assume it involved watching Stockport County and / or staying in and having spag bol for tea.

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Bob Junior (female), as well as being a singing diva, saved my life sort of this week. There I was eating fish and chips whilst multi-tasking by also drinking water and talking, leading to me choking. I dramatically lay on the floor and she practised putting me in the recovery position. Mrs Bob also walloped me on the back a bit (with a bit too much gusto in my view). In case you wondered, I lived.

Mrs Bob has been back on her latest crusade which is to stop me using the same word more than five times in one conversation. The latest word was ‘Clackers’. My comment was along the lines of ‘Who remembers Clackers? Do you remember Clackers Mrs Bob? I didn’t have any Clackers myself. What actually are Clackers? Do you know what Clackers are Carey Junior (female)? Actually you are too young to know what Clackers are. Can you buy Clackers still? Wonder why I thought of Clackers?’.

Now really. I was only talking for a minute and if I had replaced a ‘Clackers’ for ‘those’ or ‘them’ then Mrs Bob may have had to verify what I meant e.g. ‘By ‘those’ do you mean ‘Clackers’ Sir?’. In short I was saving time; making for a more stimulating discussion; bringing clearness to a potentially foggy picture and; bringing the word ‘Clackers’ back into common usage.

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Yes, I seem to back in the 70s again this week what with Clackers and Fantasy Island. My latest reading material took me back further than that.

For a lovely light read have a peak at Bernard Cribbins’ autobiography ‘Bernard Who?: 75 years of just about everything’. Fascinating stuff from his early life, time in the Paras and then his stage, tv and film work. In ‘The Railway Children’ Sally Thomsett was apparently meant to be 11 years old but was in fact coming up to 20! She was also three years older than Jenny Agutter. Bernard brings people to life – Kenneth Williams and David Niven especially. I have just ordered David Niven and Sid James biographies from the library on the back of this. So easily influenced.

I am not sure if this led to me looking at old stuff on YouTube this week too. I can’t recall why, but there was something positive I read or heard about Bernard Manning that made me look into him a bit. Now his Parkie interview was hard to take a view on as Esther Rantzen was on too and she was so patronisingly annoying. I wanted to question my own assumption that Bernard Manning was racist. He clearly was very funny and a great comedian.

My clarity came via Mrs Merton!

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She asked something along the lines of ‘Bernard, are you racist?’ to which he replied that he was. Now I didn’t make any decision based on that as that does not necessarily mean anything. He then expanded upon this to say something like ‘Just because you are born in England doesn’t make you English. If a dog was born in a stable it wouldn’t make it a horse would it?’. He followed this up by talking to an old white bloke who he stopped and gave a lift to years ago, saying if it had been a black bloke he wouldn’t have stopped and still wouldn’t. Case closed.

Shame. Seemed to have been a talented and generous man but unable or unwilling to change, perhaps because that would have been bad for the business. Fascinating.

This took me onto ‘Love Thy Neighbour’ the early 70s sitcom. I don’t think I ever saw it but I heard bad stuff about it. I have to say – based on one episode only – it was funny and very clearly sending up racists. It was probably the racist terms used that whilst common then (I am not saying rightly so!) are wholly unacceptable now.

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Unsurprisingly this led to some Alf Garnett. Now that is laugh out loud stuff and clearly there to send up Alf and his racist and sexist and homophobic ways. Still, the language used just would not get on tv today. Tough one. Of the time and you laughed at not with Alf and despite what he called people you saw him changing but just not accepting that he was.

I have no deep conclusion here but there is probably some fascinating articles or research about comedy and racism in the 70s and 80s, about the so-called racist comedians and also whether shows were acceptable at the time (and now) or not. Mind Your Language anyone?!

One other book I have just finished is James Montague’s ’31 nil: On the road with football’s outsiders’. It is a great read if you like football sagas, and follows minnow / ‘new’ nations, in footballing terms, as they tried to qualify for the 2014 World Cup. I won’t go into detail as there is so much in there, but a highlight was the author being with the American Samoa team as they tried to move forward from their record 31-0 defeat. If you want to read about football in Haiti, Eritrea, Rwanda, the Lebanon or Tahiti, this is the book for you.  The stuff on the Balkans was very sad to read but lots of positives in there too.

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Football-wise it has been a topsy turvy fortnight for my beloved Stockport County. We beat League Two Yeovil 3-1 in the FA Cup 1st round and play at Barnet in Round 2 on Sunday next (extended live tv highlights on BBC).

Having recently beaten National League North leaders 3-0 in the league we repeated the result in the FA Trophy last weekend. In between we drew against Brackley Town in the league (only just) and lost at Blyth. Not great.

Now as we have a London game I am – of course – not in London. I will be with Viola Club Stockport pals in Florence to see the Viola play Juventus who have won all games in the league this season bar one they drew. With a 5pm kick off I hope I can remember it all. On the Sunday we hope to see CS Lebowski play, which will be my first time even though I am a club co-op member. For their story read on.

https://www.theguardian.com/football/the-gentleman-ultra/2015/nov/18/cs-big-lebowski-fans-football-club-the-dude

This must have inspired me to watch the slacker movie The Big Lebowski last week,

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Nearly finished, honest!

Watching TV yesterday I saw the video for The Prodigy’s ‘Out of Space’. Great video. Great song. Great band.

I also saw Ben Volpierre out of Curiosity Killed The Cat out drinking last Friday.

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I feel bad as me and my mate Big Foot led Ben astray and got him very very drunk. Mrs Volpierre may not let him out with us again. Ben. I am sorry. I blame Big Foot.

I will finish with some unrelated bits.

I don’t recall seeing ‘Raven’ in the 70s but just found out that pre-Quadrophenia Phil Daniels had the lead role along with Foggy off Last of the Summer’s Wine and Linda La Plante who writes all those crime things on TV like Bad Girls.

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My other random thing relates to ‘I’m a celebrity….’. Harry and his ‘apples and pears’ blather for some reason made me think of satsumas. At high school coming up to Christmas pupils used to go round from rooms at registration selling satsumas for charity and we all used to gorge on them. Does that happen still? Does anyone still steal nuts from squirrels too?

Finally, I just played an album I have not played in years, The Cranberries, ‘Everybody else is doing it, so why can’t we?’. Really good but of it’s time? Sad that the lead singer Dolores O’Riordan died accidentally in January this year. She drowned in a hotel bath in Mayfair having been sedated by alcoholic intoxication.

Actually I can’t leave you on that.

Me and Carey Junior (female) are off out for a curry shortly. So much for my super skinny fit jeans.

 

 

 

 

 

PAPPADUMS

 

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