Thursday 29 July 2010


Been a very quick week, this week. So speedy that nothing of much interest seems to have happened outside of the show. We have been enjoying National Underwear Week on the programme and we also appear to have an audience well-versed in the ways of the Cosa Nostra, as we decided to try and live in a Mafia stylee.

This is all very well, but we are somewhat squeamish about the whole horse’s head in the bed thing, so we have been driven to leaving hobby horses or dismembered Care Bears in situ, or even chickening out completely and just sending a virtual head via email.

This does smack slightly of the school coward who dances around the edge of the crowd shouting "Fight! Fight!" very loudly.

Still, it may be due to our British sense of fair play and our love of animals.

After boring you for weeks about my mobile phone woes, I am now in possession of a handset that works, and it is an "android". I can download "Apps". I feel so vital, thrusting and modern as I type these words.

The DL showed me some of the apps her children had downloaded onto her iPhone and it did set me thinking; it is only a short leap now from what is going on until children no longer leave their rooms ever and interact with the real world, choosing instead to sit and fiddle with such enticing things as virtual bubble wrap. Seeing how fast you can make your fingers move on the screen in a virtual foot race. Drinking an imaginary pint of lager. Or turning your phone into the flashing lights of a police car.

Don't try and tell me this is useful in emergencies. It won't be noticeable from very far away. I equate this with the signs people have in the back of their cars reading "Caution show dogs in transit" or "Baby on board". They are there for show offy purposes.

Yeah, yeah, I have heard the argument about if there was a crash the emergency services would be alerted to the possibility of a child being flung from the wreck. However, how many people can honestly say they only attach the sign when Jr is inside. All the work is undone if the cops and the ambulance people waste time looking for a non-existent baby because people forgot to take the sign down.

Marginal as that is. I have yet to hear the convincing argument for the dogs on board one.

Wonder if there is an app for that, or pretending to be Mafiosi?

There is an app called "iFart" which does pretty much as its name describes. This, however, is a cost option, worth 99c of anybody’s money as - lets face it - no matter how old you are, fart gags are still funny!.

I haven't stumped up the cash though.....yet!

The phone came with a foam rubber pouch to keep it in which, ofcourse I lost – ironically - whilst making a phone call. I think it may be a middle-aged thing. Try holding more than a couple of things in your hands at the same time without dropping what is under your armpit.

I had car keys and a newspaper as well as the phone and the pouch. Something had to give. Luckily it wasn't the phone.

So it was off to London's trendy Camden Market to try and find a replacement rather than creeping back to the shop to source an overpriced replacement.

I have lived and worked in the capital off and on over the years, but I am still the boy from Walsall. So I still find it exciting, crowded and horribly expensive.

As I tweeted at the time; “I never knew there were so many things on sale that I didn't need.”

There was everything from bongs to sleeves of fake tattoos. From rude belt buckles to 100 varieties of joss stick. The whole place screamed "Student" at me.

1000 T shirts enticed me: "10 ways in which a beer is better than a woman". "Nobody knows I'm a Lesbian" or even "Hitler European tour 1939-45".

I trudged around the indoor markets thronged with tourists and people with artfully shaped purple hair and piercings. One or two shops did sell phone bits. However, nothing seemed to be plain enough for this dullard. Was I going to settle for something with a marijuana leaf emblazoned on it? Or maybe I could plump for a Deaths Head with bejewelled eyes.

I gave up and went to the shop that you suggested. I now have a plain leather pouch and, note to self: Keep your eye on it in future.

During American Adventure 2 in May I decided to have another crack at growing a beard, the first one in 15 years. This one turned out OK although for some reason has a lot more grey in it than the previous one.

The first one didn't last due to a girlfriend at the time insisting it was her or the facial fungus. Well, I stood my ground for several seconds and was then in the bathroom with scissors, clippers, razors, knives, forks and spoons trying to get the damn thing off. Nearly lost my upper lip in the process.

This time the far more discerning Dark Lady said she liked it and it should stay.

Now, as a beard novice, it needs to be kept in check as it keeps on growing and so a decision had to be made as to what length it would remain at. I didn't want it to be a ZZ Top, nor a Captain Birdseye. Similarly I am several million short of the George Michael designer stubble. This time - so far - nobody has shouted "Beaver" at me in the street, like last time (Apparently, this was a game beloved by schoolchildren before the discovery of the PS3.)

So somewhere in between seems to be the best bet.

I have got myself a beard trimmer and my mate Jim who sports a fair set of whiskers himself suggested the most hygienic way of going about it is to trim your growth at the kitchen table over a sheet of newspaper. This means you don't end up with stray whiskers everywhere.

Being a middle class boy, anything involving a kitchen table not to do with cooking usually means having to wear a vest and I don't.

Naturally being a bloke I ignored his advice and stood at the basin in the bathroom. End result: floor, sink and my chest covered in itchy, scratchy offcuts.

What is it with us men that we can't take advice nor criticism?

Incidentally, as a bloke, don't diss my driving or my sexual technique either.

Erm, the first part of that sentence is designed for all parties. The second bit – men, just ignore it wasn't intended for your eyes.

I think it is about right but probably like teenage girls applying makeup it will be a learning experience and will take some time to get right.

At least my Dad hasn't barked at me as he used to at my sister:

"Where do you think you are going looking like that?"

Imagine if he had:

"CAMDEN!" I would shout, slamming the door.


Paul F said...

Hi Alex,
The T-Shirt "Hitler European tour 1939-45" did make me laugh. Lets just hope they don't regroup for "The Comeback Tour!".

Is mentioning it an attempt to get the "Nazi rhyming slang" idea past your new incumbent Dr Strangelove, after repeated vetos from producers past?

Oh and I have an Android handset too. Download the app called beebplayer if you fancy streaming BBC iPlayer content to your phone. It would prove to the powers that be that you're on message outside the studio also.

I've so far resisted the urge to get a fart application as I much prefer to play a live performance :)


mwhite229 said...

Interesting blog - as usual - Alex. Full of the ususal weird comments - must be nice having a market we don't have those up here in the Borders - just farmers markets which are good for fresh produce, but they don't have stuff you don't need!!
Interesting foto but would like to see one of the beard "straight on" and not looking up your nose - this foto shows up your crows feet - not a good look (time for botox perhaps)

Micky B said...

Tee-Shirts. I'm still looking for the rumoured 'Sex. Drugs and Sausage Rolls' tee that my sister says she saw. Alas Camden Market couldn't help.

Talking of Camden Market what was your opinion of the entrance to 'The Stables' ? I thought it looked like the entrance to an art gallery or a museum.

Will_run said...

Very interesting blog? Back-bone of Jelly with regard to the facial fungus aka.Beard? Should have stood your ground for longer than a nano second?!
As for Dr Strangelove sleeping under the desk? Everytime you think he is nodding off shout in his ear? Oi and give him a Elbow in the ribs. As "The Wife" does to me??
Love the Shu
Will Whittington

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