Tuesday 22 November 2011


As I mentioned on the show this morning, it has been a few days of sweet destruction.

Not entirely sure why this happens. Perhaps if I was a scientist I would be involved in enormous in-depth costly research as to why it happens.

Everything can be going along seemingly swimmingly and then one damp Thursday afternoon it can all come suddenly crashing down.

The first inkling I had was last week when I fished my underwear from the washing machine and noticed two or three pairs of undercrackers had holes in them. They had seemed perfectly OK when I wore them, then suddenly they were dusters.

One day the draw was full of perfectly serviceable pants. The next they were rags.

There is the urban myth of the perfect car which you have probably heard.

If you have ever owned a car you will know they can be massively temperamental. Just as one bit has been replaced, another part wears out. The story goes that a boffin…

…realising that the company that builds the perfect car would clean up in the cut throat motor market, set to design just such a machine. Just imagine what this would do to TOP GEAR and Jeremy Clarkson?

"I'm driving the PERRFEECTT CAARR. I can't think of anything to complain about at AALLLL".

In fact if the car was designed by a gay, vegetarian, non-smoking Frenchman, poor old Jezza would just explode as all his prejudices came home to roost.

So the story went that having identified which bits wore out and at what rate. They strengthened this bit. They shaved a few microns off that bit. They re-routed that bit and twiddled some other parts until they had created the perfect car.

Off they drove for months of intensive road testing. Up hill and down dale they sped. Over bumpy surfaces in freezing conditions. Across baking deserts in sand storms. Hell they even braved the M25 in the rush hour.

All worked perfectly and the boffins were pleased.

One damp Thursday afternoon one of the boffins decided to take the prototype for a spin.

Just outside Mansfield he hit a small bump in the road and heard an ominous sound as every single part on the car wore out simultaneously and he found himself sitting the road clutching a steering wheel as all around him lay the remains of the perfect car.

Back to my story. So, after the great underpants failure I decided it would be a good idea to listen to some tunes ready for "Lester's Library". Clutching an armful of likely CD's I headed for the CD player. Every single one I inserted it refused to play. There would be some rattling some whirring the odd clonk and then the display would declare triumphantly.


So looks like Santa is going to have to get me a new one or it could be a rather silent household and it would make my job rather harder.

So that's two bad things in the falling apart area. What was going to be the third?

Sudden unexpected and catastrophic trouser failure.

I was at the Dark Lady's house doing a few "Man chores", which generally means eating the contents of the fridge and watching TV. I had been to visit her elderly mother to collect her old and rather overcomplicated microwave oven to replace it with a simpler easier to understand one. I carried the box into the house intending to put it in the shed for safe keeping. As I crouched down (not bent) to undo the bottom bolt on the back door, there was an horrendous rending sound and a draught.

A few months ago in the sales I had espied a pair of "designer" jeans reduced to the price of an ordinary pair so they were tried on and snapped up. DL really liked them and told me how good they looked on me. (I have told you before: this woman is a total saint).


So much for that "bargain". With no replacements handy I had to shuffle like a bent and elderly person onto a bus full of schoolchildren whilst trying to keep everything out of sight and scuttle back to my place to change into a replacement pair.

I may have to steer clear of bargain "designer" clothing. Still had my "wardrobe malfunction" occurred on US TV I would doubtless have had an angry mob marching on my house with lighted torches. Having said that, splitting his trousers on stage in Luton and subsequently being banned from TV and a theatre chain as a result didn't do a lot for P.J Proby's career either.


Anonymous said...

Hello Alex,

The jeans failure is no doubt part of the “designer’s” design. Things designed by artists rarely work but they look great! Form over function. The first stab at the millennium bridge springs to mind. I did think though, that when a chap has a jeans failure, he mends them with a stolen bar towel – cos that looks cool and manly, with the added bonus: if you spill any beer, you can just roll around on it, to mop it up. What could be more fun than rolling around in a pool of beer?!

Ron said...

I think I know that bump in the road just outside Mansfield. Cost us a pretty penny in replacement coil springs. Either a bump or a pothole. Lots of them around Mansfield. In fact there are some who say that Mansfield is one big pothole.

The boffin who solved all the problems and built the perfect car forgot that that meant no-one would want to buy a replacement, so he was sacked.

Instead we have boffins who ensure that essential bits need replacing in order to get it through its second MOT (they lull you into a false sense of security by ensuring that it will sail through the first one) and that it will be not worth repairing (as well as being worthless) a couple of years after that. Even if, or especially if, you have only driven it when absolutely necessary and cared lovingly for it.

CD players are worthless the moment you walk out of the store - like a lot of techno-gadgetry they have inbuilt instant obsolescence. However they will happily work, almost maintenance-free, for as long as the laser keeps alight, and fortunately the first boffin appears to have built mine - I'm on only the second one in more than twenty five years.

When it comes to jeans and undercrackers I think the designer boffins might shake their heads and murmur something about friction and wear-and-tear, over which they have no control.