Sinister Sign no.1

November 30, 2008

sign-1This is the first in an occasional series called Sinister Signs. In total there’s going to be about four. maybe five. Maybe more if I see any more and have my camera to hand. Let’s face it, it’s unlikely. So, a small series.

This sign, and a few others from the forthcoming series (well, at the moment, all of them) were found in Prague in what seemed to be a Police Transport Museum. I say seemed, because I came across it as I strolled around, heading nowhere in particular, no guide book in hand, and wandered into the grounds of what I took to be a disused nunnery. I’m not sure why I thought it was a disused nunnery, other than there were no nuns around. A more prosaic reading may have led me to think of it as a church. Still disused.

And then, in the grounds, I discovered a bunch of old police vehicles… not just cars, but tanks and helicopters. And then there were all these signs. Well, four. Maybe five.

This is Sinister Sign no.1. It may not be sinister to you, but it is to me. Where do these steps lead? Why do they only lead one way? And why is that way down? And why do you have to walk so daintily, like a Strictly Come Dancing judge heading into Hell? And why do you have to be wearing a hat to head down? And why the bendy joints? And why the cuban heels and mittens? Sinister.

How old am I?

November 29, 2008

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On Thursday I went to the MySpace/Trident Comedy Awards. You can read a better review than I could write here. The MySpace comedy website carries a “This content is not suitable for under 16’s” sign. The winners were Ashton and George, who are 16 and 15, so I guess George’ll have to wait a bit for suitablility to come along.

I’m old and I would have liked to have seen the funny double act Knock2Bag win. But they didn’t. The funniest act was the compere; the excellent Rhod Gilbert. His mock bewilderement at the antics of the young made me feel at home. I also felt at home, but then depressed, by his routine in which he realised his penis was 40 years old. That’s old isn’t it? And mine’s even older. I can’t remember the full routine and I’m not going to explore this much more in case I inadvertently stray into an area where I nick Rhod’s material. But it was all very funny. And depressing.

So this morning I lay in bed contemplating not my penis, which (maybe bizarrely for a man) I see as part of me rather than a part of me, but contemplating my ageing body. As much as I fretted I also marvelled. I’ve had 46 years of it all working pretty pretty well. I don’t particularly get it serviced and nor is it guaranteed. It Just (Ha! Touch wood!) seems to keep on working.

Sure, I’ve had a few breaks; two ribs (falling into a bollard, falling into the sea), my hand (doing karate on roof tiles), my finger (falling of a bike and then having another bike cycling over my hand), and a nose (a punch). Usually when something breaks it’s either under guarantee, it can be fixed, or you throw it away. In all these cases I could be fixed, and in two instances (the ribs) they fixed themselves. That self repair thing we have is quite something.

So I lay there and then I remembered something I’d read a while back that stated that our cells are constantly regenerating. None of our cells are more than a day or two old, or something like that. I’m no scientist, but I’m sure all the boffins would back me up at this basic level. So, all parts of us are constantly renewing themselves.

This leads me to the title; How old am I? I was born in 1962 so chronologically I am 46. But not one part of me is that age. Old cells die and new ones take their place.

If it’s any consolation Rhod, even though cell regeneration slows down with age, your penis is constantly renewing itself. it’s most likely only a day or two old.

Christmas gifts for men

November 29, 2008

simon-pipe1 After trusting me to write a piece on toiletries for men for her daily eco glossy website, greenmystyle.com, my friend Sarah asked me to write some stuff on eco Christmas gifts for ladies to buy for men. You can find my top five pics here.

This get up is what I wore for a BBC3 show called 28 acts in 28 minutes. You can see our minute here. I think it makes me look like a low rent Dylan Jones.

Trendy Second Hand

November 29, 2008

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If you want to beat the Credit Crunch, why not go for “trendy second hand” from Quasimodo? You can work out your own jokes from here.

27,861

November 28, 2008

That’s how many photos I’ve just looked through to realise that some have gone for ever, never to return. And even then, the same ones kept cropping up over and over again, all wrongly named and labelled. Damn digital photography. What’s wrong with a bunch of crappy old snaps stuffed in a box? I think I’ve only got about 20 photos, each one repeated over a thousand times. Still, at least this one survived.

mallett

Update on 2nd December. Thank you Katie at ShinyKatie for pointing all of her Twitter friends in the direction of this truly shocking photo. I have only met Mr Mallett once… here, in this photo, at Radio One. And guess what? He didn’t say Boff and he didn’t say Utterly Nutterly. We just sort of, you know, chatted, like grown men! Honestly. He didn’t hit us on the head with a spongey mallet and we didn’t force him to Swing his Pants. Shocking, but true. The Utterly Nutterly Boff stuff… and whisper this… but it could possibly be just an act.

When Good Pictures go Bad

November 28, 2008

alcatrazI had plans today; things to write. But it’s all gone wrong. Pictures that I wanted to use, to go with the things I wanted to write, have vanished from my computer. I can’t find them anywhere. They’ve gone. For good. Oh well.

So instead, here’s a self portrait. Can you see me? Banged up in Alcatraz.

That’s it for now.

pool-1 pool2

Quick! Before looking too carefully at these two pics, cover the one on the right and see if you can tell which balls are red and which are yellow. if you play pool to Workd Rules, you’ll know anyway. If you play pool to World Rules and don’t know, leave this blog at once!

This photo was taken a while back, but I think the hands belong to Andy Law. Or rather Andy “I am the” Law. Everyone in the world of pool has to have some kind of a nickname or else they’re off the team. Maybe. I’ll do some research into this and come back with full team nicknames, for our team, JFK Rejects, next week. You can look forward to finding out more about Tricky Dicky, the Danish, et al. Al’s not much of a player, he never turns up. And when Andy is ahead in a game it is obligatory for someone to call out “Come on Andy, lay down the law.” Reading this, don’t you wish you were on our pool team?

For the record, my nickname is The Stick. And also for the record, on Tuesday we had another marvellous 9-3 win against Nolan’s. I won one, lost one, which was a shame, but there you go.

Feel free to leave comments suggesting what your nickname would be, if you played pool too.

All the canvases for the Willow Foundation Stars on Canvas 2008 event are up for auction from 1pm today. Go on, bid, if you can afford to. All money raised provides special days for young people with life threatening conditions. You can help a great charity and also own an original piece of art. With nearly three hundred to choose from there should be something to take your fancy. Contributors include Theo Walcott, Sir Richard Attenborough, Matt lucas, Frank lampard, Eric Idle, Sally Gunnelll, Ricky Hatton, Arsene Wenger, Timmy Mallet… and David Van Day!, Gordon Ramsey (Blimey! When did he find time?), Nicolas Anelka, Hazel Blears (MP for Salford, hurray!), Jo Brand, Steve Coogan, Sir Henry Cooper, Matt Damon… and me and Trev. Take a look here. Bid. Please.

ricky_hatton_large5trevor-neal_large5craigcash_large1

Here’s three. One by Ricky Hatton, one by Trev Neal, and one by Craig Cash. See if you can guess who did which. Oh, they’re signed. And I’ve listed them in order. Doh!

business-eye

Yes. it’s all our fault. Sorry.

Sometimes, in our line of work… crikes, what is our line of work? Let me start again.

Sometimes (ie. always) we find ourselves taking jobs so inappropriate for us surely the only reason to accept is for a laugh; oh, and to try and bring down a whole industry. Occasionally, desperation plays a part. Here we are both desperate and having a laugh, as we bring a major financial institution to its knees.

We we’re employed by a major high street bank to present their in-house TV programme called Business Eye, hence the big eye behind us. Who’d have thought Business had only one eye? And so big too. Is Business a cyclops?

Their thinking was; let’s lighten up our approach to business by hiring a couple of idiots. We’ll put them in suits and get them to talk about, say, Tier C managers reporting from the frontline, but with a wacky, comedic edge to it. It doesn’t work. And in the end we were just idiots in suits, sometimes feeling very uncomfortable with the items we had to present; Cash machines in shops, anyone? That charge the customers £500 just to withdraw £1.75? It wasn’t for us, and so we had to go. Ah, but did we jump or we’re we pushed? One of us jumped, one of us was pushed. (Feel free, bank people, to leave comments).

Years back we were responsible for destroying Albion Market. This short-lived ITV soap featured us, fresh out of Manchester University, in almost every episode; we were extras, wandering around the market, buying stuff. In the morning we’d shoot one day at the market, in the afternoon, another day. And so they would ask us to bring a change of clothes. Come the afternnoon, Trev’d put a scarf on and I’d change into a cap. I am almost sure our presence led to it being cancelled after only 100 episodes.

Other projects we were involved in that had very short lives; the Joel Schumacher Batman movies, Eldorado, and the Moon landings.

If you want to play the Trev and Simon Wheel of Chance employment game why not get in touch with our agent, Debi Allen at RDF Management.

Boy with a Trumpet

November 24, 2008

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At Christmas, If I can afford to, I head to California, to spend time with my family. Last Christmas I took a few days out to go on a bizarre four-day coach trip. Bizarre for me because everyone else on it, William Chen our guide included, was Chinese. All of William’s commentary as we drove mile after mile was in Chinese, and then a little English at the end, just for me. I learnt that the China Man built the Hoover Dam, and with understandable righteous anger William questioned why the statue built at the Dam’s entrance, in memory of those who gave their lives in its construction, was of the White Man? I don’t know William, but I’m on your side with this one. We we’re then shown a video; Jackie Chan in Shanghai Noon, a film that shows that it was the China Man that built the California railroads. Oh, and Jackie and Owen Wilson goon around a bit too.

We raced around California, taking in Death Valley, Las Vegas, the Grand Canyon and… the Barstow Outlet Stores. All in four days.

We stopped at Zabriskie Point for twenty minutes. A boy and his parents were standing at the viewpoint. He had a trumpet with him. I asked if I could take his picture. At first they couldn’t understand. They didn’t speak English. I don’t know where they were from but let’s go for Austria. The boy got the drift though, and not only did he allow me to take his picture, but he proceeded to play the most beautiful melody. He played for about five minutes… any longer and I’d have missed the bus. Standing at Zabriskie Point, looking over the landscape as he played, was magical.

I enjoyed my four days, alone amongst the Chinese. We couldn’t talk to each other but we smiled a lot. I think I was something of a novelty to them. I was the White Man.

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