Thursday 21 February 2013


Meanwhile back at the electrical superstore that wasn't in fact the now defunct Comet at the tail end of August 2012 as I was attempting the purchase of a budget Hifi/CD player.

"Yeah I really like a bit of Creedence/CCR"

I was beginning to hate this man and he was only trying to make a sale. Although this clumsy attempt at "bonding" was having the opposite effect.

"I'm just browsing I said" I fled to the other side of the store and looked at washing machines in the hope he'd go away.

In the end I worked my way back to the Hifi section and started to read the labels a little more intently.

"Yeah you can't beat a bit of the old CCR"

"OH FOR !"£$%%^^&*!!!"

"I'll have this one" I barked jabbing a pudgy finger at the "BJorne and Nicholson" fake Scandinavian brand CD machine, desperately wanting to flee the store with my purchase in case I was drawn into a lengthy conversation on the merits/demerits of 1960's psychedelic rock.

"Oh incidentally" I said pedantically as I left.

"It’s not’s the Steve Miller Band"

So back to the present and within 5 months of the purchase the player had failed and so I had to find the receipt.

Luckily it wasn't the now defunct Comet it was the other lot.  I phoned them on their helpline number.

"Hello. For enquiries about Deliveries Press 1.

For Credit information press 2.

For Branches 3.

Careers opportunities 4".

On it went.

"Opening Times 26

Ethical shopping 27."


"Faults 243"

I struck the buttons fast!
"Hello. Enquiries about faulty goods.  For information about the product you have purchased please select from the following menu:

For enquiries about washing machines press 1.

TV's press 2.

Vacuum cleaners 3.

DVD players 4.

Kettles 5.

Foot spa's 6.

Fondue sets 7."

On it went.

“Microwave Ovens 25.

Irons 26".


“CD players 279"

I jabbed at the buttons.

"You have selected CD players and Hi fi.  Which manufacturer do you require?

Agadishoo Press 1 

Tiayatchi 2

Omiogotcha 3

Wilberton 4"

On it went....

"Akrony 23."

Bing and Stirlusson 24

Bong and Benisson 25."


"Bjorne and Nicholson 297"

I stabbed the buttons wildly and.... rang.


"Hello. How can I help?"

"My Bjorne and Nicholson CD player has broken and I've only used it half a dozen times since I bought it a few short months ago"

"What is your post code?"

"DS59 0TT"

"When did you buy it"?

"31st August 2012"

"Hold on please"

Muzak  wiffle wiffle

"What did you say our postcode was?

"DS59 0TT"

"Hold on please"

Muzak wiffle wiffle.

"What is the branch code?


"It’s written at the top of the receipt"

"Erm 143658900222177485557744433660987321574832901"

"Hold on please"

Muzak wiffle wiffle

"What is the product code?  It’s written on the receipt?"


"Thank you.  Can you hold on a moment please?"

Muzak wiffle wiffle.  Wiffle wiffle. Wiffle wiffle. Wiffle wiffle.....silence.........

WIFFLE wiffle wiffle wiffle wiffle.

 “Sorry to keep you waiting.

That’s the Bexhill branch.  If you take the equipment back to the shop with the receipt, you can swap it for a new one.  Thank you for calling"

Click Brrrrrrrr!


I could have told them that! 

By this time it was 7pm and I was looking forward to a pint and a catch up with my old mate from college Bill Shipton.

As I was leaving the house my mobile rang.  It was the Dark Lady.

"Hang on just a second" I said grabbing at the front door. 

 It’s a little stiff so has to be slammed shut.

"I'll call back" she trilled prettily.

"No don't worry.  Just need to slam the door shut."

Ker slam slam slam Bang...SLAAAMM

"There that’s got it.  Now where were w.....oh sh£$%^&^%T!"

"What’s the matter"?

"I've just shut the door and the keys are on the kitchen table.  I've just locked myself out"!

"Sorry" said the DL. 

How on earth can this poor long suffering woman believe that the act of phoning me, and me locking the keys inside the house were somehow her fault I still cannot fathom. She has a huge heart this girl.

I have left a spare set with a neighbour a couple of doors away.

The lights were on the curtains were closed and their car was in the drive.

Were they in?

Our survey said:  "Eeee aaarrrk"!

Another friend Dave has a set.  However he's a couple of miles away.  I phoned his home.  Did he answer?

Our survey said  "Eeee aarrrk"!.

"Wonder if he's out on the town I'll call his mobile." I thought

Our survey said....  ting!

"Dave. It’s Alex.  Where are you?"

"At home"

"Yaaay can I come and get my keys?  I'll just get a cab.  Be with you shortly."

So I phoned AAAAAAA111222333 Kabs.

"Need to go to Beaufort Lane then to West Marina"

"Five minutes"

I phoned the Dark Lady back and we had a nice chat for the next 20 minutes as I sat in the cold on my front step until the cab turned up.

"Beaufort lane" said I to the driver




"No Beaufort"



"How do you spell that"?

"B- E- A- U- F- O- R- T"

"Oh you mean 'Byoofort'!



I got to the pub 45 minutes late and that first pint was ever so refreshing!

Tuesday 19 February 2013


Home after a gruelling week at the coal face. (Ok ok. Home after lightly pressing a few buttons and doing a few fart gags in between the tunes).

Dark Lady and I are in homemaking mode which actually means.

"I think you'd enjoy your house more if it was tidier "

So this time i decided I would set to and actually try and clear the backlog of CDs that are littering the floor of the spare room and actually stick them on the shelves.

I love music and adore my CDs and vinyl. However keeping some semblance of order can be a little wearing.

I'll go into the spare room stick half a dozen back on the shelf alphabetically and then be overcome with a tremendous wave of tiredness and will have to go back downstairs to watch some more TV.

Last Saturday was going to be different.  I was going to make a big impact on the growing pile.  First I roughly alphabetised the stack of discs that had lain on the bed since around march last year.  This makes it easier to be in one place placing them back on the shelves instead of having to pace from place to place bending and stretching to file them correctly.

However what I needed was music whilst I worked.  So I selected an album and placed it in the slot and pressed play.

A few months ago my CD player gave up the ghost and I went and bought a new one.  Nothing terribly expensive.  In fact one of those budget systems with a fake sounding name to make them sound like a more expensive brand.  Often they are faux Japanese with names like

Shlokii. Taiyushio. Hangtronic.

This one had tried to coat tail itself to the Scandinavian HiFi market so it had a spurious stroke through O and probably a couple of umlauts.

I had only had my Bjorne and Nicholseun rack system for a few months and had only used it half a dozen times. So imagine my surprise as three tracks into a compilation of Zydeco favourites
there was an ear splitting noise and all went silent.

I ejected the disc. Cleaned it and replaced it.  Silence.  Tried another two CDs, silence, silence.  I couldn't hear any sign of a disc spinning inside so my guess is that if was a belt driven turntable the belt had bust.  If it was direct drive the motor had failed.


Then to my horror I thought back to where I had bought it.  I think it was at the now defunct Comet!

Aeeeiiii. Was it under guarantee and if so would I be able to get my money back?

I remember the salesman was very irritating as I was looking at the display he sidled up to me and said turning up a radio station on one of the tuners.

"Creedence.  I like a bit of CCR."  (Creedence Clearwater Revival)

It is a trick by fans and music journalists in particular to give artists short forms or initials.  I think it's designed to show us mere mortals that we are not in the loop and they know stuff we don't and that they are close personal friends with the artist and that in this rather patronising fashion they are letting us know that we know little or nothing about the person or band in question.

For CCR also see "Areeta" Franklin. "The Bunnymen" and "The Evs" .

This familiarity is not confined to music.  Annoyingly the BBC Six o'clock and Nine o'clock news are known as 

"The six" and "The nine" by the cool people on the inside track.

Actors are not immune.  Sadly the wonderful Richard Briers died on Monday and I read a slew of tributes all referring to "Dickie".  Although surprisingly not a word from Felicity Kendall.  Perhaps I've missed a glowing tribute from "Fliss" (I just did that to fool you into thinking we were close personal friends. Even though I've only ever seen her in the flesh once and that was as she was striding purposefully through London's theatre land some years back.

Still as usual I'm digressing.

The second part of this riveting story coming soon. In which I give the overfamiliar salesman a taste of his own medicine. What next in my quest for electronic satisfaction?  Also how nothing is ever, ever straightforward.

Stay tuned!

Sunday 17 February 2013


Well, it's back after a couple of months off. Towards the end of last year I wondered if I had said it all and felt all blogged out.

However due to overwhelming public demand (well, 5 emails) and the occasional query from The dark lady

"When you going to start doing the blog again"?

I felt the time was about right to start it up again. If it keeps you entertained and THE WIFE happy the it’s definitely a goer.

Christmas has come and gone and we are now so far into the new year that to say

"Happy New Year"

to anyone would only make them think you had just got out of gaol. Been dumped back on earth after an alien abduction or perhaps were Rip Van Winkle

He must have felt so stupid clumping back into town to discover that according to the story his gun has gone rusty. His wife has died and so has his dog. He has a foot long beard yet for some reason according to the version I read his clothes are intact and still fit him.

Oh come on, Washington Irving: if you are going to write a story write one that actually has some regard to fact.

Similarly, I always found myself seething whilst watching episodes of The Incredible Hulk.

So you've become angry again and have turned into the not-very-jolly green giant? This happens a lot, approximately once a week for half an hour if memory serves and is heralded by you donning some white contact lenses. At that point you don't remember anything until you come to wandering aimlessly by the roadside dressed only in raggedy trousers?

As this is a regular occurrence, I would have thought that one of two things would occur to you.

1) If you are self-aware enough to realise this keeps happening you'd invest in some stretch trousers made out of elasticated fabric with enough give to go from a waist size 32 to 96 and back again. No matter how unfashionable.

2) If this keeps happening and you end up wearing only raggedy trousers when the change in dimensions has torn the rest of your clothes off yet your pants remain modestly intact. Someone is fibbing about your "gift" and you are hardly much of a threat to society.

"Don't make me angry. You wouldn't like me when I'm angry"

"Why not?"

"We'll I go green and remove my clothes fold them neatly and hide them apart from my trousers which I just rend a little"

"Is that it?”

"Yup! That’s the long and the short of it...well more the short and the short of it frankly as I've never been vast enough to lose all my clothes. For when I get my act together after an attack I still seem to be wearing trousers. Just as well really as you know how sensitive audiences can be. Think of the fury that accompanied Janet Jackson's wardrobe malfunction at the Superbowl. I'd hardly be the TV favourite I am if I kept losing my trousers and waving my huge gree..."

"OK, OK, we get the picture"

Rip Van Winkle luckily for him went for his 20 year nap in the Catskills.

Thank goodness he wasn't in London. Among some of the chattering luvvies in the smoke, nothing shouts 'social pariah' more than last year’s fashion!

At least in the story his daughter recognises him and takes him in. The fashionistas in the capital would be crossing the road to avoid him so the poor bloke if he drifted back into their lives wearing flares or a “Frankie Says” T-shirt, the chap would end up sleeping rough again. He'd also probably attract some unwelcome attention from the Old Bill as well as he'd be carrying a gun. Sorry, forgot that bit.

Ah it's great to be back. See the first one back and like all the others I still never got round to saying anything! Bit like the show really. If you look really hard there may be a point but you have to really squint.

Until the next instalment mes braves. Spread the word!

Thursday 14 February 2013

Wednesday 13 February 2013

3 Days To Go....

On Monday Alex will be resurrecting the Best Time of The Day Blog...not long to go!

Tuesday 12 February 2013

4 Days to go until the return of The Best Time of The Day Blog!

The Dark Lord returns on Monday with his daily musings of life at the Best Time of The Day...

Watch this space, you have been warned.