Wednesday 28 September 2011


Due to a combination of other commitments (inertia and not leading a glittery showbiz lifestyle) I thought it may be good opportunity to change the way I do the blog.

I have been writing these since 2007 including three "American Adventure" road trip blogs; these in particular have been a lot of fun to do as I sat in any one of 100 often grim motel rooms in the Mid-West tapping out my thoughts and impressions of the day whilst filling myself up with fizzy beer. Had I been Ernest Hemingway, in the morning I would have doubtless woken to a destroyed room with a waste basket full of empty bottles and the floor littered with crumpled pieces of paper, all failed furious first drafts. Oh, also utilising my limited knowledge of Hemingway there would probably one or more of the following in the bed: 1) Hooker. 2) A big fish like a Tuna. 3) A "Death in the Afternoon" Bull corpse.

Dark Lady - whilst not being a vegetarian - would probably draw the line at at least one of these!

(Yes, you guessed. Sorry. No blokes’ porn film fantasies in this blog).

What I would like to try is to write a shorter daily blog rather than a weekly/bi weekly longer one.

Research shows we now have the average attention span of a....

(Some hours pass)

Sorry, went to make myself a cup of tea and got roped into a couple of episodes of Camper Van Crisis.

Where was I? Ah yes. I thought it would be fun to try the blog as a sort of daily diary and see how that goes down.

However, just to bring us up to date before we try this new way of operating:

Since I last wrote a number of things have been going on. First off a triumph for chest-beating, Testosterone-fuelled man-stuff. You may remember that the DL had accidentally dropped a bunch of keys down the back of her kitchen units. How was I to retrieve them? You came up with several bright ideas which mainly involved, as I recall, wanton destruction of what is essentially a brand new kitchen. Tearing panels off was a popular choice as was poking around with sharp objects and - failing that - Dynamite.

I had a brainwave. Magnets! Just attach a magnet to a piece of string and let it down the back of the cabinet and then to use one of our favourite phrases: "hey presto" - up will come the keys!

So to the hardware shop to buy a magnet. This is no longer as easy at it sounds. Long gone are the days of magnets of the red variety with the steel "keeper" as used in cartoons to suck out heavy objects like irons that had been hidden in opponents’ boxing gloves for unfair advantage purposes.

Also, I don't remember the last time I saw a card of iron filings which with the aid of a small pencil-type magnet you could put eyebrows or a beard on a man’s face with.

Each shop I entered answered "yes" to the question, "do you stock magnets?" and duly pointed me in the direction of the fridge novelties. How the world operates now if they are the only magnets on offer, I have no idea.

I have not seen pictures of the Hadron Collider but in my mind’s eye it is a huge cylindrical apparatus covered in tiny smiling pigs, top hats and views of Salt Lake City.

My Dad is the "go to guy" for in his "man cave" he has everything you need to do anything. This has been built up and developed over half a century and now if anyone requires a differential for a 1942 Vauxhall or that little thingy that made Concorde's snoot droop: my Dad has it in his garage.


"Hmm…what sort"?

He only had about half a dozen varieties including the comedy half hairpin version with the "keeper".

Now nothing I attempt is ever simple. Would I manage to find string, attach it and haul up the keys?


Friday before last we went of to the Festival Hall in London to see Brian Wilson of Beach Boys fame. Last year he "re-imagined" the work of George Gershwin. DL and I are huge Gershwin and Beach Boys fans so this was going to be great.

It was. Brian Wilson has had well documented mental troubles over the years but the musician is still there, even if the voice is a little wayward and he has a rather odd demeanour as he sits behind a keyboard which he rarely touches.

First half was the Gershwin part and the second was Beach Boys; hit after hit after hit. As is the case with all concerts the artist you are watching never does your favourite track. So "In My Room" was notable by its absence. DL nudged me at one point and pointed out, "How can you hear this and not be happy?"

She was quite right, of course, as we beamed our way through a fantastic evening.

Last week with the wedding now barely two months away it seemed a good idea to try and tidy up my house, as relatives will be staying, and it is rather a tip.

So I had a week off in order to clear it up and also to get rid of tons of rubbish in the garage.

First was the table in what I laughingly refer to as my "study". It is covered in bits of paper as well as being home to my computer and a printer and to give it that full "tycoon" ambience; a rather old Anglepoise lamp. I am not sure that Lord Sugar or Donald Trump have six year-old utility bills on their desks. I have. I also found a couple of cassettes and a box of cereal bars three years past their sell by date. This is the sort of stuff that has made Captain Scott's hut in the Antarctic a place of pilgrimage.

The table took a day to clear and claimed the life of my shredder. I have (had) a heavy duty document shredder which, it is claimed, can help prevent people steal your identity. Not sure why anyone would want to be me but that is another story. Still, thieves are often very dumb:

"You got me that new fake passport, Fingers?"

"Yeah, stole this guy’s identity. Dead, I think. No one will ever suspect. Sorted"

"Great. So let’s see...from now on, I am a German Dictator called Adolf...Adolf...Hitler?"


I shredded and I shredded and I shredded, pausing only for tea and the occasional episode of Top Gear on Dave.

Late that evening when all was nearly cleared I found a credit card. I had never used it but it was still valid. So I put it through the shredder as it said I could.


I am still picking bits of ground up plastic out of it several days later.

The Garage proved to be a similar problem as inertia set in after the first couple of boxes were moved. I also needed to hang some bikes up on the wall and discovered my drill had somehow been parted from its chuck key. I have another cordless but that isn't really powerful enough for masonry. So I made a half-hearted attempt.

I also vacuumed the floor of ten years of accumulated dirt.

By then it was Thursday so up to London to meet up with my mate, Libido Boy, and off to the Irish Cultural Centre in Hammersmith to catch one of my favourite artists, Eleanor McEvoy. This was a benefit as the centre is threatened with closure which would be a terrible shame. Normally when he hits town we head off out to Camden later. However, he had to be up early as he had to drive to Somerset with two Chinese business people who he brought with him. A man and a woman who were very nice and very polite and for the woman it was her first trip outside of China. They were also very jet-lagged and so, during the quieter numbers, I could see their eyes closing. Eleanor was even better than ever. She too, like Brian Wilson, has been "reimagining" This time rerecording a whole lot of her finest songs for her latest album, Alone. Our Chinese friends snapped up a couple of copies after the gig so the word is being spread. Although, as she travels so widely, if a man in a pith helmet hacks his way into a clearing in deepest darkest comedy stereotype Africa and discovers a woman there he should remove his solar topee, extend his hand with the greeting: "Eleanor McEvoy, I presume?"

So it was off to bed without hitting the fleshpots. It was also very nearly the end of the week and so the end of my weeks "holiday".

I too had an early start as I had to be back in Hastings first thing as some men were coming to put some metal work in my back passage.

(Move over John Inman. Graham Norton. Larry Grayson. Alan Carr. Julian Clary. Frankie Howerd etc. )

Don't forget I am now on Facebook, you can find me here. I am also on Twitter (ooh, get me!) you can add me @alexthedarklord or visit here.

And if you want to hear a record on the shoe - maybe one you haven't heard in years, one that means
something to you or just a darned good record you think would sound great, then I would love to hear from you. Submit your suggestions here.

And - last thing - make sure you download this week's Oddcast; the funniest bits from the week all mixed together in one bite-seized chunk. Click here.


Paul F said...

Hello Alex

I was beginning to think that the lack of blog posts was another cut back by your new "Wise Buddah" overlords. The Oddcast reduction from around 18 minutes under BBC production to around 10-12 minutes now hasn't gone unnoticed, and I seriously doubt its due to a lack of funny bits in "The Shoe".

Looking forward to the daily blog - bring it on :)


Slyppery Syd said...

Hey up Lord of Nocturnia .... were you drunk when you wrote the blog?? .... I think you got the garage pics mixed up!
eeerrrrr ... instead of hanging up the bikes, how about riding them! Good for blubber-watch too. Wink.
Hisssss hissssssss

mwhite229 said...

A daily blog - bring it on. It would be good to have a laugh every day rather than once a week/fortnight. How clever of your dad having all those magnets,I have a thin one and a fat one that came out of an old computer system in an office I worked in years ago, they were just lying on the pile and I am amazed just how handy they are when I drop my pin box - whoosh and they are all picked up (what a sad life I lead eh). Great stuff as usual Alex.

Anonymous said...

The Dark Lord Diaries. Cool beans! I can feel a book coming on. Can’t wait. Don’t make em too short though, if you can read it all in one breath, it’s too short.

Monday. “ Fog- hair done gone fizzy” will not pass muster.

When do they start?


Rachel x