Friday, 28 April 2017

Full of Eastern Promise


Weave's Bounty Bar brought back memories of the Fry's Turkish Delight adverts. You know, the one where a sultry Western woman is lying in a richly carpeted tent waiting to be ravished by an inhumanly handsome young man in pantomime pantaloons, silk turban and split-to-the-navel waistcoat - about as far from a real Turk as you can get. (Can you imagine selling chocolate to Westerners today using the above image?!)

The young man moves close to the woman until he is about an inch from her face, then wordlessly pulls out.... a bar of Fry's Turkish Delight.

I used to know one of the Turkish Delight princes. He was almost as pretty as his wife, who was also a model. She had been on the cover of Vogue, but all he had as a claim to fame was a Fry's Turkish delight advert. I briefly worked with him in the Marley Tiles factory in Cambridge when he was supposed to be resting.

John mentioned the short period of fame he had when his arse starred in a documentary about an injured fighter pilot. I remembered my little brush with celebrity when I was featured in a TV travel program which visited Bath as a destination. I don't think my arse ever got a look-in, but I never actually saw the broadcast - it was made during my long bout of abstinence from TV.

The minor celebrity presenter arrived at my workshop with her producer and a cameraman, then made a quick plan of what would happen when they switched on the camera. Someone shoved a furry ice-lolly under my nose and we were off.

The plan was to start by asking me what sort of people used my services, and I replied 'extremely wealthy ones'. I didn't want any old tourist to turn up thinking they could buy me for the price of a postcard.

The next step was to ask me what I was currently working on, and the camera would point to a bit of stone on the bench. She would then ask if she could have a go with the violent and noisy air-hammer and chisel lying close to hand, and the arrangement was that she would hack harmlessly away at a bit of scrap stone I had put there for the purpose. I did not want her to do any damage on the real job, which was right next to it.

When the camera started rolling we went through this rehearsed routine, but at the last minute she turned the chisel on to the valuable bit of real work and began doing irreparable damage to it by indiscriminately chipping bits of it away.

I was incensed at her lying to me and going against the agreement, so I started shouting at her above the din of the hammer and trying to snatch it away from her talentless, untrained hands. I don't know what the finished film looked like, but it would have been entertaining and noisy, which is all she cared about.

When the program eventually aired, I got phone calls from friends and relatives saying they had seen me, and for the next few weeks all the girls in Waitrose gave me coy little smiles of recognition.

I felt the full weight of responsibility that fame brings with it, but it didn't last long.

Thursday, 27 April 2017

Spread a little happiness...

Pete the Street with one of his paintings this morning.

There are, as we all know, some people who just cannot stop themselves from disrupting the fragile harmony here in Blogland by rattling other people's cages. I refuse to let them hang around if they have the sly cunning to successfully piss me off, in the same way I would physically punch someone I find poking my dog with a sharp stick, just for fun.

Sooner or later, they get branded as 'trolls' but then they defend their behaviour - point by point - to demonstrate that they are not trolls and that people over-react to their forthrightness.

Then some people begin to feel sorry for them and they milk it for all it is worth before their patron's patience runs out.

Well I don't care if they have some sort of mental condition which makes them behave like they do. A pain in the arse will always be a pain in the arse until they get a grip on themselves, and I for one am not qualified to help them do so, even if I wanted to.

Nobody forces anyone else to read this stuff. If I find myself disagreeing with everything anyone says, then I stop reading them. Life is too short.

Wednesday, 26 April 2017

The 400 year history of English tobacco addiction


This is one of our barmen. It's an interesting pub.

The worst thing about modern technology for me is how I now seem to spend most of my time either worrying about batteries going flat, or making sure they don't by constantly charging them. I hate the way it is always impinging on my consciousness. I am charging my vape now. The phone charged as I slept.

I know they have been working on it ever since they managed to reduce the size, but until they get the graphene technology sorted I think I would prefer to carry around a car battery to power my mobile gadgets. I would almost prefer to go back to my old 5-day dim-phone, but the genie is now out of the bottle. I sound ungrateful, don't I?

Now, illness. I think I gave the wrong impression last night when I seemed to ask you not to go on and on about illness, but I was really talking about BBC radio. I should have made that clearer. You can talk about your illness as much as you like. I am not saying I will always read it, though.

Someone said they felt the same way about people who give up smoking and two people agreed with him. One of them was me.

Someone in that pub up there gave up smoking a few months ago, and has not stop talking about it since. He would say, "I have given up smoking and I really miss it," every night, and I would respond by telling him that I did not care. He has all but stopped going into the pub now because his wife did not let him smoke in the house, so being there feels more natural than in a pub.

When I stopped smoking about a month ago, people noticed because I was using a vape. Then they would ask me if I had given up smoking (they brought the subject up) and I would say 'yes'. Then they would say 'well done!' as if I had just completed a marathon, and I would say that it really is no big deal so I don't need this sort of encouragement.

Maybe there is something wrong with me, but I always feel like standing in the street during the Bath Half Marathon and shouting "IDIOTS!" at the runners.

Tuesday, 25 April 2017

Let's make a deal

I won't talk about my medical problems or life threatening illnesses and you won't either. Is that ok with you?

I don't mind talking about death itself. That is just part of life, but I am sick to the gullet of everyone who has had a dismal prognosis who thinks that spilling their guts about it may - in some way -  help others.

It doesn't.

Got that?

(I ought to explain that this was a deal I would have liked to make with the BBC after yet another program on illness last night, broadcast when they believed everyone would be watching TV)

Portraiture



Green Eyes and her brother, by their Grandmother.

Monday, 24 April 2017

May you live in interesting times

It ought to be boring. I wish it was. Years of ignoring ordinary people and putting the interests of global business over a properly functioning society are now being paid for, worldwide. Marine Le Pen could well be the next President of France. That would bring down the E.U. for sure.

That old Chinese curse is taking effect.

Saturday, 22 April 2017

When is a Twat Jumper not a Twat Jumper?


When it is worn by a child in the 1950s, although some people might disagree. Ever since I became an adult, I have had an extreme aversion to two sartorial defects: long trousers which are too short (I always had my brother's cast-offs) and pointy collars which are not tucked into the top of a jumper.

Oh, and I have always hated parting my hair too. I have not combed or even brushed my hair for over 50 years.