Tuesday, 23 July 2013

No Pressure, Kid.

A couple of you may have heard in the news about a Royal baby being born and far be it from me to miss out on a band wagon.
I was working when this was announced and the first I heard about the birth was when I bumped into two drunk women in the street who told me about the little lad being born.  The ladies then asked me if I thought he should be called Mohammed as this was the most popular male name on the planet.

I said this would probably not be a good idea as Islamic people would not be chuffed by a non-Muslim figurehead of an increasingly secular Christian country being named after their prophet.

So here I am the next day after the birth watching the 24 hour news channels working themselves into a lather.  This involves a great deal of standing around outside the hospital with hundreds of other TV crews, endlessly spouting the same sentences to fill the time until something else happens.

Despite the recession and general misery that usually floats around Britain has been enjoying a good couple of years, particularly in sport. We had the Queen's Diamond Jubilee in the same year as the enormously successful London Olympic games.

England hammered the Australians at cricket this month, Australia again suffered defeat this time in rugby at the hands of the British and Irish Lions and Chris Froome is the second Brit in a row to win the Tour de France.

So with all this national pride in the air at the moment I reckon the new Royal baby should be called Arthur. I mean, think about it, there has only been one King Arthur and he was legendary so it's about time we had another.
The legend says that King Arthur will return when the country needs him so it makes sense to have an Arthur on standby, just in case.

And if the King has to save the country in it's hour of need then this should silence the people who say the Royals don't do enough for the money we spend on them.

Why stop there? If we are serious about keeping the monarchy system then we may as well embrace it fully and as well as King Arthur we should have a Round Table, a castle called Camelot and a wizard called Merlin. Think of the boost to the tourist industry.

Sunday, 14 July 2013

J'em Appelle Tony.

I don't know about anybody else but whenever I go to a country where English is not the first language it takes me a few days to acclimatise.
Things that I do without thinking in my own country like shopping for groceries suddenly become fraught with the peril of looking like an idiot in front of a shop full of disapproving locals.

I was in France last week and before I went I learned a few key phrases so I could go into shops, restaurants and bars and ask for things in French rather than just waving my arms around and speaking English in an increasingly loud voice.

The drawback in learning things parrot fashion is that the person I am speaking to will reply in French, leaving me standing in a cloud of awkward silence as I try to process what to me was just a noise.
Then I usually point at my object of desire and say 'One of them, please' in English.

At least I tried. I was in a restaurant in Deauville next to a party of Americans who ordered everything in English and had no trouble at all in making themselves understood, the only French word they used was 'Merci' but they were charming with it.

By the end of the week I was fully acclimatised and sitting outside pavement cafes ordering red wine in French with a Yorkshire accent and eating cheese that smelt like a men's locker room.  Surrounded by stylishly dressed French people who all smoked and drank wine and Ricard in the middle of a working day.

And if I didn't understand the waiter's response and thing's get a bit tense then I had an emergency back up phrase:
'Desole. Je ne parle pas bien la Francais. Parlez-vous l'anglais'?

Sorry. I don't speak much French. Do you speak English'?

Always good to have something to fall back on instead of shrugging and looking blank.

Tuesday, 2 July 2013

The Return of Lemmy.

You know when you watch a TV series and one of those flashback episodes comes on showing earlier episodes?
I hate them, it's a cheap cop out so they don't have to do any work that week if you ask me.

However, I am going to do pretty much the same this week and re-post something from a couple of years ago. Why am I doing this?  Because I am lazy. Enjoy.

It’s 1981 and a bunch of 15 year old lads from Halifax are excited to be out in in the big city. We'd travelled the 10 miles from our hometown by train and are here to see the world’s loudest, dirtiest, drunkest and wartiest band of the 80’s, Motorhead.

Dressed in the NWOBHM uniform of denim jackets with the sleeves torn off with band patches sewn all over them. The New Wave of British Heavy Metal was at it’s height and there were more bands than there was time in the day to listen to them all.

I had a large patch sewn on the back of my jacket from the Fly By Night album cover by Rush. I didn’t even like Rush but they were metal so that as reason enough.

We got inside the venue an watched the first two support acts. First up were Lightning Raiders, who quite frankly weren’t going to get anywhere with that name, they sounded like a brand of confectionery.

Then came the forgettable Tank, I can’t comment on these as I don’t remember a thing about them.

The third act were Trust and these were much more interesting. These were a French metal band, the drummer Nicko McBrain joined Iron Maiden when they became massive. Their signature song Anti-social was covered by Anthrax a few years ago.

While these were on we were standing by the sound desk in the middle of the audience when my mate suddenly started pointing excitedly.

Look behind the sound desk, it’s Lemmy he said.

Sure enough there stood the Lemster himself, talking with the sound engineer and watching Trust while swigging a can of Carlsberg Special Brew and chain smoking Marlboros.

We couldn’t concentrate on Trust at this point, Lemmy would have to walk through the crowd to get out of the sound booth so this would give us a chance to get his autograph. The fact that none of us had pen or paper didn't occur to us. 

Sure enough near the end of Trust's set Lemmy stepped out into the crowd . No-one else seemed to notice although I don’t know how, to me he looked about nine feet tall. He made his way through the crowd away from us and we made our move. The biggest and oldest of us decided to get Lemmy’s attention by reaching out to tap him on the shoulder.

As he did so, Lemmy, for reasons known only to himself, turned around and my mate's finger accidentally poked him in the eye.

Lemmy let out a roar and flailed his arms around, spraying special Brew all over us. We did the only sensible thing and panicked, scattering into the crowd with visions of the concert being cancelled due to Lemmy being blinded and ourselves being lynched by enraged Motorheadbangers.

None of us washed our jackets after that, although to be honest we had never washed them before it and had no plans to wash them in the future, not with Lemmy's Special Brew all over them.

So we can say that we poked Lemmy in the eye and got away with it. 

Unless he reads this blog.