The Nation’s Favourite

June 18th 2006

Once again I have been lumped together with all the rest of the population of Britain and informed that someone is my favourite something or other. You know the sort of thing, you see it in the newspapers all the time – ‘Trevor McDonald, the nation’s favourite newscaster’, ‘Cilla Black, the nation’s favourite auntie’, ‘Sean Connery, the nation’s favourite Scotsman’. Not forgetting of course the one we used to get once a week on average, ‘The Queen Mother, the nation’s favourite granny’.

I once read that Michael Barrymore was ‘the nation’s favourite funnyman’, but I doubt very much he was the favourite of the poor sod who died in his swimming pool, or that the poor sod thought what happened to him was funny.

This time it is Cliff Richard, who I am informed is ‘the nation’s favourite oldie’. Well I am a member of our nation and he certainly isn’t my favourite oldie. I know a lot of oldies who I prefer to Cliff Richard. In fact I know a lot of Richards who I prefer to Cliff Richard – Keith Richards, Viv Richards, Little Richard, Richard Branson being just four of them. Nor is Trevor McDonald my favourite newscaster (John Suchet), my favourite auntie Cilla Black (my Auntie Annie) nor Sean Connery my favourite Scotsman (Billy Connolly).

And the Queen Mother was certainly not my favourite Granny. In fact had there been ten million grannies resident in Britain when the Queen Mother’s extravagances were still a drain on the taxpayer then she would have been my ten millionth favourite granny, and only then because there weren’t ten million and one grannies, even if the additional granny had been Granny ‘Chainsaw Anna’ Hargreaves.



Britain’s Favourite Blogger

Driving Me Mad

June 17th 2006

I dialled the freephone number I’d seen on the back of the lorry, the number I’d been invited to ring if I had anything I wished to say about the manner in which the vehicle was being driven.

“Well Driven,” said the young woman on the other end of the line. “How may I help you?”

Well you can start by not spouting a load of transatlantic claptrap when answering the phone, I thought, but satisfied myself by giving her my name and the registration number of the lorry in question, and to inform her that I wished to talk about it.

“Is it a complaint?” she said.

“Well of course it’s a complaint,” I said testily, Captain Mainwaring to her Private Pike, “Why else would I be ringing?”

“Some people call to praise the driver’s driving,” she replied, in a tone that implied that this remarkable claim should have been obvious to me.

“Pull the other one,” I said.

“They do,” she pouted, then added, a note of defiance in her voice: “Nearly ten per cent of the calls we receive are in praise of our lorry drivers.”

“As many as that?” 

“Yes as many as that.” 

“They’ll be from the lorry drivers”.

This stopped her in her tracks for a moment, this possibility obviously never having occurred to her, but then she saw a flaw in my argument. “Many of the calls in praise of the lorry drivers are from women.”

“The drivers’ wives,” I said. “Or bits on the side. Now are you ready to listen to my complaint or are you going to confirm to me that many of the calls you receive in praise of lorry drivers are from little green men from Mars?”

The phone went silent for a moment, then: “What do you wish to complain about it?”

“That’s more like it,” I said, “We’re slowly getting there. The driver of the lorry in question. He didn’t cut me up.”

“Didn’t cut you up?”

“When he passed me. Nor, before passing me and not cutting me up, did he travel behind me for about five miles with a gap of no more than three yards between us – tailgating I think you call it – honking his horn continuously and flashing his headlights.”

“He’s not supposed to do that!”

“I know he isn’t.  Especially as I was travelling at dead on the speed limit of forty miles-per-hour and for him to overtake me would have meant him breaking the speed limit, and the law along with it.”

She thought about this for a moment before asking: “So why are you complaining then?”

“Not so fast. Kindly allow me to list all my complaints before we discuss what you intend, if anything, to do about them.” I went on. “When he passed me and I honked my horn at him your driver didn’t slam on his brakes, climb angrily out of his cab, advance on me rolling up his sleeves and threaten to duff me up. There, that is my complaint in full. Now you can tell me what you intend to do about it.”

“Do about what? He didn’t do anything wrong.”

“I know. But I was expecting him to do something wrong, wasn’t I. At the very least I expected him to tailgate me for about five miles, honking his horn continuously and flashing his headlights, even if he didn’t see fit to cut me up after he’d passed me, slam on his brakes, climb angrily out of his cab, advance on me rolling up his sleeves and threaten to duff me up. I mean I’m not used to being treated like that by HGV drivers, it completely disorientated me. You could tell how badly it affected me, I had to pull in at a Little Chef for a coffee, and you have to be in a pretty bad way to do that, at their prices.”

Now here’s the situation. At one end of the phone line you have a young woman who, by her own admission, spends over ninety per cent of her day listening to calls from angry car drivers about bad lorry drivers. At the other end of the line you have a caller who is trying his level best to bring a little fun into her life, a little light relief to help her through what must be a truly distressing day. You would think that the young woman would appreciate it, wouldn’t you. You’d be wrong.

“It’s a pity you’ve got nothing better to do than waste people’s time,” she said, and hung up on me.

Actually I agree with her, but most of the things that are better to do cost money, and with just old age and retirement pensions to live on nowadays I have to take my enjoyment where I can find it.

What's In A Name?

June 16th 2006

Film star Michael Caine’s real name is Maurice Micklewhite. Not a lot of people know that. But a lot of people would guess that he changed it to Michael generic cialis Caine because Maurice Micklewhite is a really crap name. ‘The Italian Job’, starring Maurice Micklewhite? I don’t think so. It would never have got beyond a suggestion. ‘Get Carter’? Get somebody else, per…lease!

John Wayne’s real name was Marian Morrison. So he was doubly cursed, named both after a woman and a down market supermarket. You can well understand the Duke’s eagerness to change his name, because if he hadn’t people would have had to call him the Duchess. And just imagine someone called Marian Morrison as a Roman centurion having to deliver the line ‘This truly was the Son Of God’. I mean even with the name John Wayne he made a balls of it.

Judy Garland’s real name was Frances Gumm. Really. ‘A Star Is Born’? Not with a name like that she wouldn’t have been. ‘A Star Is Aborted At Three Months’ possibly.

Sean Connery’s real name is Juan Accent. Enough said.

We can well understand then why film stars change their names. It’s simply because their real names would be a source of embarrassment to them. And it’s the same with well-known people in other walks of life. For example – 

John Prescott, who not only changed his name but also his nationality. In reality he’s a Thai named U Phat Twat.

Jonathan Ross’s real name is Jonathan Ranker.

JKR Tolkien was born Herbert Horseshit.

JK Rowling  was Hannah Horseshit.

Dick and Dom were christened Ant and Dec

Bruce Forsyth was once Jim Smut.

Snoop Doggy Dog was christened Scoop Dogshit.

Mary J Blige was Mary J Bilge (and still is some would say).

Sven Goran Eriksson was born Will Fuckanythingwithapulse.

Gary Lineker was once Gary Mogadon.

Arthur Arsehole was christened Ben Elton.

David Beckham was Hugh Know.

Elton John was once Ben Dover. (It is claimed his real name is Reg Dwight but that’s obviously a lie as Elton John is an even more embarrassing name than Reg Dwight. 

There are no doubt many others I haven’t heard of.

Ball Park

June 14th 2006

There is no doubt that the older you get the more awkward and intolerant you become. I don’t know whether or not it’s  because once you get past the age of sixty people expect you to be awkward and intolerant, and because you’re aware this is you take advantage of it, but it is a definite fact, and I am living proof of it. An example –

I went shopping for a new up and over garage door this morning as the other one has never been quite the same since The Trouble backed into it when she was going through the menopause (neither has The Trouble been quite the same for that matter, but whether it’s because of the menopause or backing into the garage door is not clear).

After taking the particulars of my garage door the salesman worked out a price and announced: “The ball park price is £210.”

If there’s anything that’s guaranteed to get my goat it’s the Americanisation of the English language. I treated him to a withering look, then in my best clipped Captain Mainwaring tone said: “What did you say?”

“It’ll be £200. Ball park.”

“Which ball park would that be then?”


“Yankee Stadium? Shea Stadium? Candlestick Park?”

“I’m sorry?”

“They’re ball parks. Or perhaps it’s some other ball park to which you refer?”

  A shake of the head. “I’m not with you.”

“When you said the ball park price was £210?”

“…….It’s just a ball park price.”

“So it’s any ball park?”

“…….Well yes. I suppose. Any ball park.”

“So what’s the normal price then?”

“The normal price?”

“The price that isn’t the ball park price?”

“….Well it’s the same.”

“The same?”

“The same price. As the ball park price.”

“Then why call it the ball park price?”

“……Well…. well it’s just an expression.”

“Well here’s another expression. Stick your ball park price up your arse along with your up and over garage door.”

After shopping round all morning the best price I’ve been able to get for a new garage door is £230 so it looks like my awkwardness and intolerance will be costing me £20. But as this isn’t a ball park price it will cheap at the price.

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