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 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.