We were watching TV

April 12th 2006

We were watching TV.

“Ant and Dec can’t hear you when you call them untalented little wankers, you know,” said The Trouble.
 “It wouldn’t make any difference if they could,” I replied. “They’d still be on again next week, proving once again that they are by far the best argument yet for bringing back hanging.”

“I don’t understand you. If you don’t like what’s on the television why don’t you just do something else instead of talking to it?”

“I like talking to the television.”

And I do. It’s become a hobby.

Television: “And now it’s time for EastEnders.”

Me: “Oh no it isn’t.” ZAP!

Television: Now we’re going over Wimbledon for the Tim Henman match.”

Me: “Oh no we’re not!” ZAP!

Television: “Now it’s time to join Davina McCall for the latest news from the Big Brother house.”

Me: “Oh no it fucking isn’t!” ZAP”

Television: “And now Cat Deeley Presents….”


Television: “Graham Norton…”


The Trouble persisted. “It can’t answer back, you know,”

“That doesn’t in any way diminish the pleasure I get from talking to it. Just the opposite. The fact that it can’t answer back makes it all the more pleasurable. It’s about the only thing that doesn’t answer back nowadays; kids, shop assistants,  wives….”

“Oh so wives aren’t allowed to answer back now…….?
I point the remote at her. “Zap!”

I’ll have to pay for it of course.

£1 million in compensation

April 11th 2006
 There has been a lot in the newspapers recently about the teacher who sued her former school for £1 million in compensation after the school failed to replace her chair, which made flatulent noises when she moved. She was quoted as saying: ‘It was a regular joke that my chair made farting noises and I regularly have to apologise to pupils and parents that it isn’t me, it’s my chair.’

Many columnists including such luminaries as Richard Littlejohn and Keith Waterhouse have put in their two pennyworth but surprisingly none of them have latched onto the most important feature of the case. Which is: is this woman stark-staring mad?  Hasn’t she considered the benefits of owning such a wonderful chair? For having established with her pupils and their parents that it is she and not the chair that is making the farting noises the woman can fart away to her heart’s content, safe in the knowledge that they’ll think it’s the chair.
  Just think of the fun she could have in class. She could pick out a particularly irksome pupil, let rip with a couple of ripe ones and say: “Who was that? Smells like one of yours, Smith. Write out ‘I must not fart in class 1000 times and let me have it by morning at the latest’.”
 I don’t know about demanding £1 million pound in compensation from the school she should be paying them a £1 million for providing her with a chair like that. 

An influx of Poles

April 10th 2006
 Our little town as been subjected to an influx of Poles just recently. Not poles as in telegraph poles or flag poles or even the poles that nubile young ladies use in the performance of erotic dancing for the amusement of randy businessmen, but Poles as in natives of a large, cold East European country.

The attraction is of course cheap labour for British factory owners, and, for the Poles, the chance to earn a decent living without having their bollocks frozen off.
 We’ve welcomed about a hundred of them thus far and all have been found jobs, a good proportion of them at the local sweet factory, Swizzels/Matlow. Swizzels are of course the manufacturers of the famous ‘Love Hearts’, the sweets that bear mottos such as ‘I Love You’ and ‘Be My Angel’. Or at least they did when they were first introduced. Nowadays along with the original messages they also bear more risqué legends such as ‘Hello Big Boy’ And ‘Lovely Bum’. No doubt with the addition of Poles to the workforce it won’t be long before we see the introduction of a ‘Lick My Pole’ Love Heart.

At least the Poles won’t be opening up restaurants like the Indians and Chinese and Italians, at least not unless the British public suddenly develop a taste for cabbage soup and lard sandwiches.
 I came across my first Pole yesterday. He was half of the two man team at a recently opened hand car wash. I didn’t realise he was a Pole at first, I found out after he and his mate had washed my car and his mate had gone off for change from the ten pound note I’d offered in payment. I didn’t find out immediately, it took about a minute.

“Weather’s bucking up a bit at last,” I said, passing the time of day like you do.
 He just smiled at me. I thought maybe he was a bit shy. Or a bit slow perhaps, brains not being a necessity for the job of car washing.

I tried again. “Not doing too well at the cricket, are we.”
 Nothing. Not even a smile this time. Not a cricket fan then. Or possibly a cricket fan with not much to smile about given the performance of our cricket team.

I tried a third time. “Who’s going to win the Cup this year then?”
 “No spik English,” he said. “Pole.”

What could I say? The only word I know in Polish is Polish and I’m not at all sure that Polish is Polish in Poland, it could be Polszkygnkzch or some other such name with a dearth of vowels and lots of k’s and z’s.
  I thought about and finally said: “Me no spik Polish. English.”
 He smiled and offered his hand. I shook it. Contact had been made. For some reason it made me happy. I must be getting soft in my old age.

Television interview

April 9th 2006 While I’ve been away I did the television interview about my part in Les Dawson’s Cissie and Ada characters. The interview took place in the studios of Princess North in the centre of Manchester. They were interviewing different contributors all day and my slot was from 12 noon to 1 pm. I was between two women, which was the first time I’ve been between two women since Butlin’s Skegness in my early twenties. Happy days.
I briefly saw both of the women in question, the first when the woman was coming out of the recording studio as I was waiting to go in, the second when I was coming out as the woman was waiting to go in. The first was Sally Lindsay, who plays Shelley in Coronation Street, who was there to talk about her friend, the comedian Peter Kay. The second wasn’t a woman at all, but a man. At first I though it was Paul O’Grady in his Lily Savage persona. However it turned out to be a man who made his living as a Lily Savage look-alike. So he was a man impersonating a woman impersonating a man impersonating a woman. Weird, in more ways than one. I was glad to see the back of him. (I bet he’d have been glad to see the back of me too but I didn’t give him the chance)

My interview went very well. I thought I might dry up but I was fine. Just before the filming started a make-up girl dashed forward to apply powder to my face and I felt quite the star.

The interviewer started by asking me questions about Cissie and Ada where the idea came from, how did I get my inspiration, what were my favourite bits etc. Later I got to talk about Les Dawson and took the opportunity to relate my favourite Les anecdote. I will remember it till my dying day and it sums up Les exactly.

We were at the bar in the BBC Club during the short period between final dress rehearsal and the recording of the show, Les, me, and the show’s producer Peter Whitmore, who was hovering nervously in the background. Les had already downed three double scotches and now ordered a fourth. Peter, getting increasingly worried by his star’s alcohol intake, stopped hovering, stepped forward and said: “Les, don’t you think you’ve had enough?” Les turned to him and, in a voice which would have done credit to a great Shakespeare tragedian, said; “I can’t go on alone.” Priceless.