Friday 27 November 2009


Off to see one of my favourite live acts last Friday and, after the Deep Purple debacle, I decided this time I would not be thwarted, so I made sure I got a seat rather than a standing ticket. Up on the second balcony and knowing that this band played a long set, I made sure that I didn't hit the bar so would miss half the concert through being in the loo.

I am still smarting at missing "Everyday I write the book", my favourite Elvis Costello song, by having to empty myself at Buxton Opera House a few years back. This was due to the fact he started an hour late so we all went back to the pub and me having no self control.

The support act was a Finnish Blues woman and guitar hero. She was OK but not really that startling a player. Then time for the main event....the lights went down the taped music was joined by the band singing along and suddenly it all went black...

A vast evil smelling woman plonked herself down in front of me. I spent the next two hours peering round her, with my fingers under my nose. She texted, ate sweets, rearranged her blouse, flicked her hair, wiggled and stank. All the while grimly holding on to her coat. I know I may sound like a grumpy old man, but surely if you are going to be in the company of others, it would be a good idea to pay a little attention to personal hygiene. I wonder if there is a bylaw against offensive odours, just as there is for anti social behaviour, caused by noise or littering? Wonder if this would lead to ‘Nose Police’ with special, and very unfortunate dogs, having to check everyone out before they entered. Still dogs like sniffing all kinds of stuff so they may enjoy it!

(A picture of Southside Johnny performing on stage should have been inserted here, but I couldn’t work out how to download it from my new mobile phone!)

Who had I gone to see? Bruce Springsteen's mate ‘Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes’. Saw them last year and they were tremendous. On this occasion poor old Southside was a little below par. He hobbled to the microphone, sang an opening number, and hobbled around hopping up and down on his one good leg. Eventually someone in the crowd asked him what was the matter? He was suffering from that most rock n roll of complaints - Gout! It was obviously so painful that he had difficulty concentrating and forgot the lyrics on occasion and he had to swap places with the keyboard player at one point just so he could sit down. We all felt for him. He still managed to rack up nearly two hours on stage even though it must have been agony. Poor chap. Let’s hope he is fully restored by his next visit.

That time of the year has now arrived when the hats scarves and gloves are more in evidence, as the weather has been particularly poor of late. Although this is not a competition I hasten to point out, and in no way am I downplaying the terrible flooding in the Lake District. Saturday night on my way for my regular Chinese Takeaway there was a total downpour which resulted in me taking refuge in a pub (oh! that is an original excuse). As I walked in, the whole place went silent, and everyone stared. It was either my drowned rat status or sheer animal magnetism. Sadly I suspect the former. I think even the 50 something karaoke singer stumbled over the lyrics to his Rap song. It’s a bizarre boozer this one, with a fascinating mixture of songs performed, and people performing or enjoying them. Sixties one minute, NWA or similar the next. One night when I was in, a bloke sat down next to me pulled out a brass door knob and started sniffing it and talking to it. I didn't ask!

Walking across Regents Park in London earlier this week I spotted the first winter casualty:

I think I have probably mentioned this before in previous blogs, but TV appears to have run out of new ideas now that we only have one show to watch these days: "Strictly X Jungle Brother". You have doubtless been assaulted by it on a Saturday night. It was time we looked to other ways to be entertained. Satellite TV is leading the way with lots of US imports where they just use police camera footage or CCTV of criminals in car chases, people falling off things or hitting each other either outdoors or in gaols.

Some of these I think are supposed to impart a solemn message. So why not "GloveCheck" five minutes before the news on BBC1, whereby people could be reunited with lost items of clothing that end up on the railings of public parks or outside houses? There could be a follow up show hosted probably by Dermot or Davina where tearful people get their mittens back. This would also have the added benefit of rehabilitating the newsreaders who’ve lost all credibility as far as I am concerned, due to them tripping the light fantastic on BBC Children in Need, albeit for a worthwhile cause. I can't watch Fiona Bruce or Huw Edwards now without thinking at which point will they start tapping across the studio floor? We were having this conversation in the office the other day and someone said sagely: "I blame Angela Rippon". Without the Morecombe and Wise show none of this would have happened.

It is the time for phone upgrade. It used to be every year, but now it seems to be every 18 months, which means the phone that quite happily would last 12 months is beginning to show signs of age and battery failure. With this in mind and having put it off for a further 3 months, I wandered down to 'AcmeFone' to sign up for a new one. Technology has moved on and so I decided to go for a touch screen one this time. Normally when I get a new phone it takes a few days before I figure out how it works with the aid of the impressive instruction booklet that comes with it.

Not any more. Two sides of an A4 sheet is all I got and frankly the thing is a nightmare. It can't transfer all the phone directory and has lost some numbers seemingly jumbled others. It freezes on occasion and sometimes switches itself off. Also it is spectacularly slow when you input instructions. I hate it hate it hate it! (Channelling Violet Elizabeth Bott there sorry)

Janice Long told me about a friend of hers who loathed her new mobile so much that she filmed herself nailing it to a tree and posted the result on YouTube. Have I reached the point in my life when I should admit defeat and go back to simple mechanical and non-electronic things like a sit-up-and-beg bicycle and a diary?

You made many suggestions on the programme. Simon the studio producer this week had also had a phone upgrade and was having problems with the model he chose. One of you suggested we just swapped handsets. I consider him a friend as well as a colleague so would not wish this pile of junk on anyone.

As it was less than a week old, you suggested I return it to the shop. This I tried. I explained that it was rubbish and I had lost faith in it and wanted another phone. "Certainly sir", came the swift reply. "This is going well", I thought. Normally you have to go purple in the face before anyone in a shop takes the slightest bit of notice of your predicament. Then came the body blow. "We can only replace it with an identical handset.” I sat in the shop and, using my old handset, called ‘Customer Service’. They let me hang on and put me through to three different people who all said exactly the same thing.

I did explain that as an ‘Early Adopter, I bought my first mobile phone 20 years ago and have remained faithful to their network the whole time, they should actually cut me a little slack and in view of my loyalty bend the rules.......They didn't. They refused to tell me the name, or telephone number, of the Press Office. The Store manager supplied the number and I may well ring them. To politely explain that frankly they don't deserve to have any customers at all and, come the revolution, they will be first up against the wall to be targeted by the ‘Best Time of the Day show’s’ famed ‘Bazooka Full of Offal!

Before you even think of it I didn't.

Didn't what?

Didn't utter those appalling words beloved of Z-list celebrities: "Don't you know who I am?" If you are on at 3am, you know what the answer is likely to be! It may be ten years ago but I am still smarting from a run in with a pub landlady who locked my car in her car park when I used to live on the canal boat the ‘Blue Pig’. I had to get a cab and very nearly missed the start of the show. In my defence there were no signs to warn customers. The local paper got hold of the story and ran it with the headline: ‘Early Moaning DJ’.

A lesson learned there I think.

Lovely Lynn Parsons is sitting in for the next two weeks, so I am going to go home and cool my heels, watch lots of rubbish TV and make great plans for world domination. I may even post a line or two before I return on Monday 14th December. Then we will be getting ready for Xmas as only we know how with regular visits from Noel the Christmas Badger. We will be checking on the state of the office party season in ‘Antlerwatch’ and new for 2009 there’ll be a game you can play called ‘Panto Lotto’. Plus, as I was reminded by you on Thursday morning, it may be time to think about putting a scarf round the neck of a local statue. We don't want them to catch their death.


Maid of Kent said...

Hope you have a good break although I will miss the surrealilty ( Is that a word I wonder?). I love the "picture" of you sat in a pub when the brass door knob appeared. Do you also have problems on buses???? :-)

Paul F said...

Standard Greetings Dark Lord of BAG

Doing a close look at the photo it looks like you have a Sony Ericsson phone? The fact that it doesn't show operator branding makes me think you're on O2 (Voda usually brand their handsets and the other three weren't around 20 years ago!).

SE have had many problems with the Satio:
and the Aino
so you aren't alone.

Good luck sorting it out - it can be rotten finding out you're stuck with a dog of a handset for 18 months. Definitely ring the press office, but just don't tell them who you are to avoid another unjustified headline.

Enjoy the two weeks off, and looking forward to your return.

Love the Shoe - and the Oddcast!

moggy said...

PHONES !!! MOBLIE PHONES GETTING HARD TO USE THATS COS WORKING IN THE MOBILE PHONE FACTORYS are spys from the land line phone companys the idea is that we all go back to red phones when were out
as for smelly woman i know her !shes works in local pig farm. well enjoy your holiday alex i pop in your show now and then to see its not going to be a lynn parsons take over

DamoIRL said...

Dark Lord, the question is... will it blend?

I think that this years harvest of the mobile phone crop has been decimated by blight. Normally good products from normally good manfacturers turned to goo.

I got an Nokia N97 a few months ago (as my network didn't have the iphone at the time) and while its ok, it has many faults, nay embarrassment or uncool looks from Apple fanbois.

I also think that this touch-screen malarkey is a crock.

Love the blob. :)

CJ said...

Now then Dark Lard, mobiles, if you get them from Virgin online (are you still following or are you lost already?)then under their user agreement you can send it back.
Touchscreens are polarising and I just got one, which is pretty cheap but I am still thinking of returning it as it seems to make key presses seem so much easier.
Also why when I have a week off and would likely be more awake to listen to you are you alos away presumably sunning yourself in Hastings sur le Mer? Typical, have a restful, mobile free holiday.

moggy said...

well its only day 3 of alex lesters holiday and missing him in mornings so back here reading blog again
gloves on railings photo you see things like that a lot
not sure why !how many folks would go back and look were you left them ?
getting near christmas now so will we be seeing santa hats
anyway alex just to say i miss your SHOE

DamoIRL said...

News just in, the "best time of the day show" might not be at the best time of the day for some.

See the link below. Nuts and bolts Janice loses an hour, Dark Lord from 2am-5am, Sarah Kennedy starts at 5am, Evans from 7am.

moggy said...

i think its going get new fans i do hope so

Anonymous said...

Having just read Moggy's comment of 27 November - I see he has a Moblie Phone. By God I want one. It sounds like the answer to all our troubles.
Love the Hoes.

forest lady said...

Alex, your last two blogs made me laugh so much giving succour9and an extended coughing fit) to a flu ridden, red nosed woman - looking forward to your return to the best show on Radio 2, PLEASE don't leave!

Micky B said...

Morning, Gang.

I cannot understand why the morning schedules have to change for Chris Evans.

As Mr. Lester will be ending his shoe at 5a/m, it'll be a real kicker for me ! I'll miss it in the mornings - I listen from 5-6. I then catch the 1st hour whilst at work.

Does anyone know how much BT Broadband charge for streaming ? I cannot get anyone from BT to answer that question. It's going to be the only way I'll be able to listen to my favourite programme.

tobacco jack said...

alex when faced with vast smelly fatso's i find its the best policy to buy a drink then feign tripping over and throw it all over them.they will have to retire to the toilets to clean up.oh make sure you dont do it to one with a large aggressive could also take an all purpose armband with you and say ''excuse me madam but no fat people allowed in on whatever that night is.or fat people over by the toilets please.lastly just say to your mate (loudly)free burgers next door you say? fat people like to eat!

moggy said...