Archive for Ealing Studios

Turned Out Nice Again

Posted in Humour and Humor with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 30, 2009 by Stefan III

Turned out nice again” – The catch phrase of a certain George Formby (not to be confused with George Foreman of boxing and lean grilling machine fame). Ah, such optimism from Ealing Studios, and indeed the Met Office, for this is the “barbecue summer”.

The Summer of George?

The Summer of George?

With our nation’s propensity toward chest puffing, the grandiose predictions for our summers are becoming more and more bizarre. I am becoming a bit of a “weather bore”, every April I inform my friends and family of how it will all pan out, getting my predictions in before the Met Office makes its grand claim. A few years back, there was even speculation that the British grass lawn would become a thing of the past. Our summers were going to be so severe, even humble and hardy grass would not survive its searing temperatures. We were advised to plant more Mediterranean style and even consider growing orange and lemon groves. The British public lapped it up with a spoon; it did cause quite a stir in Scotland. However, I have never been able to square these predictions off, knowing a little about global warming and the Gulf Stream effect; I could never see the logic. It is little understood that as the planet warms, Britain in fact, could become cooler. I won’t go it to that now… Chief Meteorologist, Ewen McCallum, said the wet summers of 2007 and 2008 were highly unlikely to be repeated. He predicted: “This year will be much drier than normal. Get the BBQ out.”

Needless to say, whenever the Met Office forecasts a barbecue summer, you should be rushing to build yourselves large boats – especially if your name happens to be Noah.

Mr McCallum said at the time “After two disappointingly wet summers, the signs are much more promising this year. We can expect times when temperatures will be above 30C, something we hardly saw at all last year.”

And the animals came…two by two

“Have you packed the barbecue?”

“Have you packed the barbecue?”

I’m not going to get into a theological debate, but this “two by two” notion is a little far fetched, don’t you think? The pairing of animals, one from each gender, to enable each species to procreate and survive the catastrophe, is puzzling on some levels. For instance, what of a pair of ants? Or even a pair of termites? As you are aware, the standard blueprints of these little chaps have no reproductive organs. Banish two ants to the wilderness, away from the colony, and all you will produce is two dead ants.

Listen to this: “I took drugs to win medals” says top athlete Geoff Woad. Shot-putter Woad admits to taking massive doses of steroids – drugs banned in sport – to improve his performance. “He used to act up and pick on me” says his wife, “but now he’s stopped he’s much better, in our sex life and in our general life.” Look at him! Look at Geoff Woad! Jesus, this huge, thatched head, with its earlobes and cannon ball is now considered sane! Geoff Woad is prepared to step back into society and start tossing his orb about again! His head must weigh fifty pounds on its own! Imagine the size of his balls… imagine getting into a fight with the fucker! “I’m going to pull your head off.” “Oh no, please don’t pull my head off.” “I’m going to pull your head off, because I don’t like your head.”

Sadly, Geoff Woad does not appear to exist. However, aficionados of the classic “Withnail and I” will have just had a treat. Those lines were sublimely delivered by a young Richard E Grant with the precision and finesse of pure genius.

Geoff Capes, on the other hand, does exist. One can only assume that he was the template for this fictitious character in the film. Geoff Capes, former professional shot-putter and Britain’s Strongest Man – He went into business with a shop called Geoff’s Capes, which sold only capes. It soon closed. You couldn’t make this stuff up.

“I’m not sick, but I’m not well”

“I’m not sick, but I’m not well”

That ex Etonian dandy, Mr David Cameron, made me smile the other day. When Absolute Radio host Christian O’Connell asked him about his views on Twitter, the Tory leader said: “The trouble with Twitter, the instantness of it – too many twits might make a twat.” He had obviously spent some time thinking about some witticism in response to any questions he may ever be asked about Twitter.

I’m no expert, but I do know there is no such word as “instantness” and I do know the meaning of the word “twat”, but then again, I schooled at the other place – And the only reason I am allowing the word to go uncensored on my weblog is that I strongly suspect most moderators do not.

Incidentally, “twat” is from an ancient Viking word and is a vulgar synonym for vagina. It is an extremely offensive word in some quarters of society and totally misunderstood by others, perhaps for its similarity in sound to the innocuous “twit”.

Cameron compounded matters when he said “people were pissed off – sorry, I can’t say that in the morning – angry with politicians“, seemingly more critical of himself for saying the less offensive word.

Cameron’s aides pointed out that “twat” is not a swear word under radio guidelines and said he had apologised immediately for his latter comment.

Attempting to play down the incident, he added: “I was doing a radio interview and I’m sure that people will understand that.” Twat!

I understand that in a preamble to the interview by O’Connell in which he said Cameron’s press secretary, Gabby Bertin, “leapt out of her skin” after the questionable language.

In the exchange between Cameron and Bertin after the interview, Cameron said: “That seemed to go OK” to which Bertin replied “Yeah, apart from the language”. Cameron added “Oh, yeah, pissed, sorry about that, I’m really sorry”… “But” he said “people are pissed off with politicians, which they are. I think that is choice language well used personally, from my point of view”.

Bertin responded to Cameron “No, it was the twat”. David then insisted that it was not a swear word. She went on “It is”.

She privately added “I think he must be posh, where a lot of them don’t think twat is a swear word”.

Cameron on Twatter

Cameron on Twatter

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Sing As We Go

Posted in Humour and Humor with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 27, 2009 by Stefan III

Once again, Ealing Studios provides me with a title that encapsulates the thoughts of a disturbed mind. Or at least provides a segway into it.

Trouble at t’mill?

Trouble at t’mill?

Songs, more specifically nursery rhymes, are deeply disturbing when considered in a sober state. I’m certain there are very good explanations and origins of most of our received rhymes, but on face value they are utterly absurd. For example:

Polly put the kettle on,
Polly put the kettle on,
Polly put the kettle on,
We’ll all have tea.
Sukey take it off again,
Sukey take it off again,
Sukey take it off again,
They’ve all gone away.

What the hell can that possibly mean? Is this the ranting of some opium fiend? Were ancient tea rooms the sanctuary of the clinically insane? The plot thickens, for the nursery rhyme is not as ancient as I had first imagined. It was composed and written in 1797. So it’s a mere pup as far as nursery rhymes go. The story has it, that a man wrote and published the lyrics to this nursery rhyme. The origins were based on the man having five children – two boys and three girls. There were constant arguments as the boys wanted to play “soldiers” and the girls wanted to play “house”. If the girls wanted to get rid of their brothers, they would sometimes pretend to start a game of “house” and Polly would put the toy kettle on. As soon as the boys left, Sukey would take it off again. Their father was so amused by this ploy that he set it to words and added the music.

So, in summary, it’s nothing more than a ruse or a distraction for repelling unwanted company or callers. I actually now use this ploy whenever I answer the telephone.

Hello, Pimlico 236…

Hello, Pimlico 236…

Ah, the beautiful drawings of Kate Greenaway. As a child, I would study the detail of her pictures in nursery rhyme books for hours.

Here’s another strange fish:

Three blind mice, three blind mice,
See how they run, see how they run,
They all ran after the farmer’s wife,
Who cut off their tails with a carving knife,
Did you ever see such a thing in your life,
As three blind mice?

Once again, apparent lunacy. However, the origin of the words to the Three Blind Mice rhyme are, as you would expect, based in history. The “farmer’s wife” refers to the daughter of King Henry VIII, Queen Mary I. Mary was a staunch Catholic and her violent persecution of Protestants led to the nickname of “Bloody Mary”. Not everybody’s favourite drink, but I love a good Bloody Mary. Anyway, the reference to “farmer’s wife” refers to the massive estates which she, and her husband King Philip of Spain, possessed. The “three blind mice” were three noblemen who adhered to the Protestant faith who were convicted of plotting against the Queen – she did not have them dismembered and blinded as inferred in Three Blind Mice – but she did have them burnt at the stake.

Incidentally, another nursery rhyme which features “Bloody Mary” is “Mary, Mary, Quite Contrary…”

Dodgy girl, but nice drink

Dodgy girl, but nice drink

Of course, this is all a far cry from Gracie Fields in the Ealing comedy (Sing As We Go), where she plays a feisty mill girl trying out various jobs in Blackpool during the summer after her mill is forced to close down. After getting into some hair-raising scrapes, she has an accidental meeting with magnate Sir William Upton, whereupon she is able to start negotiations to restore prosperity and save her colleagues jobs at the mill. They don’t write them like that anymore. Blackpool, with its fine erection in honour of Monsieur Eiffel is again a far cry from Walmington-on-Sea. I mention this because I was reminded of aforementioned town, when I saw the map on the war room walls of direct.gov.uk

“Don’t panic”

“Don’t panic”

I often wish that the Department of Health had read my weblog from the onset, perhaps I should drop them a link (and that’s not a euphemism). Yes that’s right dear reader, it’s Swine Flu again. As you are also aware, we are the best prepared country. Best prepared to accept it, spread it and generally give it a good solid base to work on. Now, apparently, we are shifting the public away from doctor to non-medical staff, who will deal with it “Call Centre” style. The general advice is to telephone these help lines, have your self diagnosed and get a healthy person to collect the purported remedy from a clinic. So, let’s recap. Take one healthy person who has now been in contact with a swine flu victim, and then send them out to infect a whole lot of vulnerably unwell people at the clinic. Thus, ensuring the airborne virus has a damned good foothold for its next batch of chumps. This sounds an awesome idea. You have to be a special kind of idiot to dream up these schemes. This isn’t your regular idiot plan, no sir, this is advanced stuff. This is pure Rampton grade.

The new Minister for Health

The new Minister for Health

Totally changing the subject now, I’m certain my neighbour is wearing my socks. It’s something I feel I will never prove, but I’m watching him. One false move and he’ll be de-Argyled faster than a speeding trolleybus.

Anyone for tea?

Anyone for tea?

The Feminine Touch

Posted in Humour and Humor, Rant with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 23, 2009 by Stefan III

Damn you Ealing Studios, but a title is a title, and it’s the theme of today’s weblog.

This missive is definitely a tricky egg. I’ve already alienated my Formula One readership and now I risk losing my female audience if, and I cannot stress that enough, this is read the wrong way. Men are in a bit of a crisis – that’s hardly front page news you’re thinking. They’re in a kind of “damned if they do – damned if they don’t” paradox. It’s the small things that highlight this peculiarity – don’t open a door for a woman and you’re ignorantly rude – open a door for a woman and you’re a patronising throwback from the past. I simply hurl myself out of the nearest window when I see a woman approaching any form of doorway; it’s simpler but very painful.

Ealing Studios: The Feminine Touch

Ealing Studios: The Feminine Touch

I will make no apologies for being attracted to, and adoring the female of our species. This is not in a patronising way; this is simply base instincts taking over. That’s just the way it works and that’s why we are all here as a species today. If, en masse, one generation had decided to think otherwise, there would be no next generation – simple.

Now, here’s the rub. I am beginning to wonder about the “I want my cake and eat it” philosophy that is permeating our culture. Equal rights for both sexes are not an issue, they were a painfully long time coming, but thankfully they’re with us and here to stay. That is a given!

I can broadly sum up my confusion in two statements: Sheila’s Wheels and Girl Power

These social and iconic entities are wrong on so many levels.

Let’s take Sheila’s Wheels for example. I’m certain that everybody has heard of this insurance phenomenon, solely aimed at a female only audience. It’s very, very pink and very, very girly. It’s also very, very sexist. Yet, I hear no outcry from the lumpen male populous. Trust me, if there was an insurance deal out there called “Bob’s Bollocks – Car insurance for real men”, it would provoke civil unrest. I cannot understand why this insurance company hasn’t been beaten about the head with a rolled up copy of the current equality legislation laws. I am overlooking the fact that they advertise car insurance for women drivers by showing three women standing up in the front seat of a car wearing pink ball gowns. I am also overlooking the adverts’ claim of women being the safer of the two genders when it comes to driving, albeit without having to use a steering wheel like their dumb male counterparts.

Equality in action: Look no hands!

Equality in action: Look no hands!

On the Sheila’s Wheels website, they offer things like:

Handbag cover up to £300, with comprehensive cover
Courtesy car when using our repairers, with comprehensive cover

And here’s the cruncher “Female friendly repairers”. That will be the men, but only special men who have been carefully vetted for their subservient and friendly deference towards their women superiors. You see men are good for certain things, even if it is only the designing, planning, building, repairing, and in some instances buying of the cars. Apart from that, they have very little input and certainly are incapable of dancing and driving simultaneously.

Now “Girl Power”… When did this happen?

The progress of suffrage?

The progress of suffrage?

How did a noble fight for equality and suffrage, involving pain and death, end up as this?

From Emmeline Pankhurst to the Spice Girls: Girl Power

From Emmeline Pankhurst to the Spice Girls: Girl Power

Poor Emmeline must be turning in her grave; this was not what she had in mind.  She didn’t break down the barriers of prejudice, chauvinism and bigotry for this. She had high ideals of women accomplishing the heights of human endeavour without fear of restriction. Her intention was never that women should emulate the worst qualities in men – laughing when they fart and taking the drink “Canada Dry” as a personal challenge. The point has been missed entirely.

The Women’s Institute in the 1950s

The Women’s Institute in the 1950s

Today’s Women’s Institute?

Today’s Women’s Institute?

Today, we have girls joining the Boy’s Brigade and the Boy Scouts. We never see a queue of boys waiting to join the Brownies or the Girl Guides. We see the concept of the “Gentleman’s Club” forced to open its doors to women, yet we still have a women only W.I. (Women’s Institute). We have “Woman’s Hour” on Radio 4, no mention of a “Man’s Hour”. The Right Honourable Harriet Harman QC MP is also Minister for Women. There is no comparable Ministry for Men (although that is a debatable point I do concede).

And how long does it take the panel on television’s “Loose Women” to get onto the subject of men? Check it out – at least 2 minutes maximum. These emancipated goddesses have their own show and totally blow it within minutes of the show being aired. After a brief introduction of whatever these crones cackle about, they are immediately onto the subject of how to attract a man. They talk about their curves (or lack of them), their boob size, their lingerie… my point is, the conversation goes in one direction only: Men and how to attract one. Come on girls, you have the forum, use it.

Independent women or arm candy?

Independent women or arm candy?

Interestingly, I was checking out the history of women inventors and scientists. From Sybilla Masters in 1715 through to Ellen Ochoa in 1993, there have been a total of fifteen worthy of note. Yes, that is fifteen!

Whilst female forums and platforms continue with this pandering to a “Barbie” lifestyle, the Paris Hiltons will always outnumber the Marie Curies.

There is one underlying fact that is simply a universal truism – Women are attractive, men are attracted! That’s it. The sooner we simply accept that fact, grow up and accept the way we are hardwired together, the sooner we can all engage in the common pursuit of excellence.

Men have always worn two hats when it comes to the subject of women – one on their head and one between their legs. I am now speaking with the hat on my head and will say that there is nothing sexier than an intellectual woman. However, if there are any women out there, wishing to act like drunken ladettes down my local tavern in Pimlico – I am quite prepared to be disappointed and swap hats.

Let George Do It

Posted in Humour and Humor with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on July 2, 2009 by Stefan III
Could George do it?

Could George do it?

The plot is plausible. The Shadow Fiscal Party Boy, George Osborne, gets aboard the wrong yacht. Doh! He has a few too many pink champagnes with Lord Mandelson and before he knows it, he’s tapping up oligarch Oleg Deripaska for a few squillion roubles – and hey presto, on his return he pays off the UK national debt. Oh, I forgot to mention – and while he was at it, he got the very accommodating (and by now very drunk) Mr Deripaska to trade his yacht for one of our new billion pound Type 45 destroyers. Oleg did of course make up the financial difference, by throwing in the yacht and several hundred million roubles to boot. Everyone wins. George returns a hero and is made an honouree Labour cabinet minister and Oleg the oligarch sails home with one hell of a testosterone fuelled yacht, complete with its own sea to air missile system. “Wait till I show Vladimir” Oleg chuckles.

1 billion pound Type 45 Destroyer vs Oleg’s yacht

1 billion pound Type 45 Destroyer vs Oleg’s yacht

When Vladimir sees photos of Oleg’s new pleasure destroyer, he is suitably impressed.

Vladimir Putin is impressed with Oleg Deripaska’s new boy toy

Vladimir Putin is impressed with Oleg Deripaska’s new boy toy

Of course, this is mere Ealing Studios fantasy. I say that whilst scratching my chin.

What we need is the rapid return of old Johnnie boy, that is to say, a bit of John Maynard Keynes. Get rid of the troublesome and divisive policies espoused by the Friedman diehards. I always thought Milton Keynes sat uneasy with itself and then I realised that the entire town’s name is made up of two diametrically opposing ideologies. You’ve got the Milton Friedman lot pulling against the John Maynard Keynes lot. They’ve been bonded all these years like two south poles of a magnet strapped together by an elastic rubber band. Milton Keynes! It’s like having a village in Worcestershire called MarxFrancoville-upon-Severn. It doesn’t sit well.

Let Keynes do it?

Let Keynes do it?

What we need is a radical shift to Keynesian Reflationary Theory on an epic scale. A big illness calls for some big medicine. Don’t be shy about nationalising things. For goodness sake, we are putting more money into the railway system whilst it’s in private hands than we ever did when it was state owned. Most of the large private uber sectors are state owned all but in name only now. Go the whole hog. Capitalism has been a naughty boy; it needs its pants pulling down and its ass slapping good and proper.  Did I place this missive under “Humour” again? I must stop doing this. Now, where’s Benson gone? I need a pot of Darjeeling.

The Siege of Pinchgut

Posted in Humour and Humor with tags , , , , , , , , , on June 30, 2009 by Stefan III

Ah, yet another classic Ealing Studios film being employed as the title of the day. To be honest, today’s post was going to be nothing more than a blatant promotion of the new pages that are planned for P2P. What else could one do with a title like “The Siege of Pinchgut”? It doesn’t neatly sidle into any particular topic. However, the fact that today’s post is an isolated promotion does make it a sort of island amid the sea of debate and witticisms. And so, Pinchgut Island it is…

G’day from Pinchgut

G’day from Pinchgut

OK, on with the promotions. There will be two new features on P2P, one of which is already here:

P2P Essential Viewing

 

This is basically television programmes we all wish were actually available. Well, we at P2P do anyway, so there. The first complete day for BBC1 is already up and running, so take a look. It will be added to, but be patient, this stuff doesn’t write itself.

Zeitgeist

This will be a snapshot of things that are literally of the moment. What is the hottest Palm Court Orchestra around? Where are the trendiest Lyons Tea Rooms? That sort of thing. We will, however, be drawing a line when it comes to those new fangled colour photos. There are some standards to maintain.

Only kidding, or are we? Will it really be reflecting the zeitgeist, or will it just be full of things like this?

Benny Hill and Boris Johnson

Benny Hill and Boris Johnson

Ah, simple comparisons between 1970s risqué comedians and well, basically modern risqué comedians. Sorry Mayor, you likeable old duffer.

You will have to wait and see.

The promotion is now over. Now back to plain old observing the ridiculous. Readers might remember my rant on Swine Flu, posted under the wittily named title of “It’s in the Air”.  No? Well read it – and that’s an order.

Apparently, the latest drinking from the “Crazy Well” fad to befall these sceptred isles beggars belief. Ever heard of “Swine Flu Parties”? Nor I, until it was brought to my attention this morn.

Parents, and I use the term loosely, are eagerly trying to get their children to attend “Swine Flu Parties”. The bizarre rationale behind this latest herd instinct, is that their little pride and joys will develop an immunity to the virus, conveniently overlooking death as one possible consequence. These erstwhile Dr Mengeles should really be made to wear special hats in public, to enable the rest of us to recognise them instantly.

Dr Jarvis, the chairman of the BMA’s public health committee, told the Today programme: “I think parents would want to take into account that the flu – although this particular strain is relatively mild for the most part – is something that will knock people off their feet for a few days and we are seeing appreciable morbidity, severe side-effects and sadly the occasional death. My advice to parents would be to take this into account before taking any child along to a flu party.”

Advice? This man offers advice before embarking on the party idea! Is he quite insane? Stronger language and emphasis is needed here:

He should have said: I hope the parents do realise that they WILL be charged with the murder of their own child. And that sir is a promise not a threat.

The Titfield Thunderbolt

Posted in Rant with tags , , , , , on June 25, 2009 by Stefan III
The Titfield Thunderbolt

The Titfield Thunderbolt

There’s something a bit “Titfield Thunderbolt” about the current state of the British railway system – a slight whiff, a flavour, a hint of a missed opportunity at Ealing Studios. It’s hard to pin down, but it’s there…

It is almost incomprehensible now to think that Britain invented the railways. That’s right, the entire caboodle. We do tend to chest puff and blow our own trumpet with a missionary zeal that would put a masturbating monkey to shame. It’s all aimed at the home audience, of course. Meanwhile the foreign audience, if they happen to catch any of this, would simply choke on their baguettes in disbelief. We have an unerring knack of swaggering into the Lamborghini Owner’s Club dressed like Austin Powers, tossing our Mini Cooper car keys onto the bar and winking to the attract the attention of the barmaid.

Titfield2

As mentioned, we invented the railways. A point not lost on Network Rail, who have commissioned the solid and reassuring voice of Mr Bernard Hill, adding gravitas to their current TV campaign. It opens with quintessentially English vistas and the words “You men of old. You men with shovels, picks and dynamite…” It goes on to promote the upgrading of the West Coast Main Line and finishes with something like “Your railway lives on”. The point being made is that the good work you began is being forever improved upon until we reach the zenith.

Then in a fanfare of trumpetry and frippery, the latest high speed trains are announced. These toned, sleek tubes of chain lightening are the latest addition to the star fleet and are capable of reaching the dizzying speeds of 140 mph. Although, in reality they will be capped to a speed of 125 mph. One can only assume for health and safety reasons, time warping, Doppler Effect and that sort of chap. In France, where their TGV-V150 reaches speeds of 575 kmh (that’s 357 mph), they didn’t even glance over the top of their “La Monde” or break from dunking croissants in their café noir over breakfast. They have a word especially for us – passé.

This is not “Have a go at the UK” day, trust me. As I understand it, these new trains are Hitachi Japanese technology, although you would never have guessed from the credit we are begging to have bestowed on us. A bit of humility wouldn’t go amiss. No more boastful toad please. A straight forward announcement would have sufficed, along the lines (no pun intended) of:

“Today, Britain announces its latest commissioning of new trains. They’re a tad quicker than our previous ones. We’re getting there.”

Succinct, modest and manages to tag on an old slogan from the British Rail days. What more can we ask for? Actually, I was wondering if the Bishop of Welchester would be driving the new fleet of trains.

Titfield3

Way back, when this weblog first began – days ago now! Readers will remember my top hat ploy – perhaps? It matters not. The point here is that I have drifted seamlessly onto the subject of top hats. Some time ago, Tarquin a good friend of mine, sent me an interesting snippet of top hat information.

The story, as reproduced in many books, has it that John Hetherington was arraigned before the Lord Mayor on 15 January 1797 on a charge of breach of the peace and inciting a riot, and was required to post a £500 bond. Reportedly he had “appeared on the public highway wearing upon his head what he called a silk hat (which was shiny lustre and calculated to frighten timid people)” and the officers of the Crown stated that “several women fainted at the unusual sight, while children screamed, dogs yelped and a younger son of Cordwainer Thomas was thrown down by the crowd which collected and had his right arm broken”.

Do you see what happens when you ponce about in a top hat?