Nazi stamps

March 31, 2010

It’s not something you expect to see, walking down St. Martins Lane; Nazi stamps. This is the heart of London’s Theatreland. What are Nazi stamps doing on display? It shocked me a little. For the shop to put this display up, alongside innocent bags of planes and sports and cars and birds (usually, if they’re like the ones from my childhood, from Magyar), well, it means there must be a demand.

But who wants Nazi stamps? Nazi lovers I guess. But surely, odd and  cruel bunch that they must be, they’d rather have a hat or a badge or a bayonet. A stamp seems a little coy for someone into race annihalation. It’d be like watching a Dr. Who deleted scene where the Daleks join the Sylvanian Families Collectors Club.

Who buys Nazi stamps? Sure, when we’re kids we all love the Nazis. They’re our favourite baddies. When I was young I drew this:

My teacher wisely gave me a B+. An A or above and who knows what kind of monster I may have become.

And so, like all children should, I left my brief flirtation with the Nazis behind. Oh, the jokey ones can still entertain; the zombies, the moon Nazis, the saucy werewolf ones. But now I’m grown up, the real ones, I avoid them. And their bloody stamps.

Who? I checked to see if Parsifal was on across the road at the Coliseum. Maybe the stamp dealer was hoping for some passing trade from those who love all things vaguely Nazi-ish. But no, just Swan Lake, which, at a stretch, you could describe as a little bit white.

I’ll be haunted by this display from now on. I don’t want it to be on St. Martins Lane. I like walking up and down the lane. I don’t want Third Reich stuff jumping out at me. What next? Will that little model car shop that I like looking in the window of, the one opposite the St. Martins Lane Hotel, will it be full of things like this? And will Starbucks recruit new staff?

Stop this London Theatreland Nazi nonsense now!

Now I’m getting angry

March 25, 2010

I never intended, honestly, to go to war with Tesco. The ginger beer thing was just a bit of fun; an anomaly maybe, where one item was perhaps accidentally mispriced and inappropriately placed in a confusing offer category. Maybe. Perhaps. Surely Tesco can’t really be operating a policy of deliberately trying to confuse their customers with misleading offers.

Well, today I headed there to get something for lunch and also for tonight. I’m lazy and unhealthy so I plumped for a ready meal. I only needed the one. I’m no good at planning ahead. How can I know today what I might feel like eating tomorrow? But the offer was there; Indian meals, 2 for £5. So I went for a lamb rogan josh (£2.70) and a chicken masala (£2.80). I didn’t really want the two – I don’t know when I’ll eat the second one – but it seemed foolish to buy one when I could save myself 50p.

Except I couldn’t and I didn’t. Admittedly there was no yellow sticker on the masala or the korma, but this sticker led me to believe they were in on the deal.

It says Tesco Indian meals 350g- any 2 for £5. I checked both. They were both Tesco Indian meals and they were both 350g. But it seems the tikka masala is exempt. Confusing, no? Or am I just an irritable old man? I complained as much as I could, which turns out to be more like a polite enquiry. But all I got was that it wasn’t included in the offer. I stood there and took some photographs and the guy got edgy. I muttered that Tesco were unbelievable and I left the shop. I’m sure I’ll be barred soon.

However, it’s a crafty thing Tesco have got going here. The more they annoy me the closer I get. I’ll be going there everyday from now one to see what more crappy nonsense I can find. Sorry Co-op.

Tesco is unpredictable

March 24, 2010

At the least. Those of you who have been following the Tesco ginger beer saga prepare yourselves for more fun and games. if you haven’t been following it you can catch up by scrolling down a few blog posts or two. Here it is in a nutshell. A monkey nutshell.

Tesco sell Old Jamaica Ginger Beer for 52p a bottle. Or two for £1.70. Making an extra 66p for themselves on top of any other profit.

A few days later Tesco put the price up by nearly 40% to 72p a bottle. Still two for £1.70. Making an extra 26p for themselves.

And then Tesco were out of ginger beers. Except they weren’t.

So, like Robert De Niro in Casino, I thought that’s that. Today I went to Tesco, resigned to the almost absolute certainty that my Tesco Ginger Beer Hounddog days would be over. Well, they’re not. Thanks for keeping this going Tesco, you money grabbing nutters!

So, within the last week Old Jamaica Ginger Beer has gone up almost 60%. If this continues it won’t be long before we’re saving ourselves money on your Any 2 offer.

It’s about time we had a poll on this Tesco thing. Oh, and in this one you can vote for more than one.

Vowel movements

March 22, 2010

Over the weekend I took some time to ponder the options for the abbreviated names we give our parents. Our mothers and fathers. It seems mothers win on the vowel front. Your mother can be your Mum, your Mam or your Mom. But why cheat the E and the I out of a chance to take part? It seems crazy to allow three of the vowels to participate but to deny the E and the I. Ok, so Mem sounds a little odd and Mim sounds just plain spooky, but, if you feel like a change, give them a go.

Sorry Dads, you lose out. There really is only Dad. Dud’s just rude, Ded is only applicable if you’re called Zed, Did is a little past tense and Dod, well, it’s good for a laugh (Ken Dodd died. Did he? No, Doddy! – give it a go, it’s a tried and tested reliable joke- and Ken, long may you live.)

And this brings me neatly on to Tunbridge. That’s where I was yesterday, driving my lovely girlfriend mad with a Tonbridge/Tunbridge rant. Which to go to? And just where is Tenbridge, Tinbridge etc. You get the idea (all that waffle when I only had one vowel to go, bloody Tanbridge).

We went to Tunbridge. The Royal Wells one. Here’s some pics.

Tesco is crazy

March 22, 2010

Tesco is? Tesco’s are? I’m still not sure, and the more I visit Tesco the less sure I get. About everything. If you’ve been following my Tesco saga (If not, and you really want to, then just read my last two posts) you’ll know I’m concentrating on the Ginger Beer end of the Tesco Two for More Money campaign. This is where Tesco offer you the chance to get two items at a higher price than they would be if bought separately (not, incidentally, a bulk purchase where the cost per unit proves higher – another devious mind mess altogether- but two separately packaged units that surely should only ever equal a simple 1 plus 1). So, for a while you could get a ginger beer for 52p or two for £1.70. Then the price went up. A ginger beer for 72p or two for £1.70. It’s surely a Tesco win all the way. Today though I was bewildered to see this:

Not only have Tesco messed with my mind-maths, they’ve now made me hallucinate. And what’s more, I can photograph my hallucinations. I don’t know whether to thank them or… I can’t think of an alternative. Thank you Tesco.

Oh, a little footnote: At the counter, the woman in front of me was pointing out that the ready meal she was buying for £1.50 was on offer; three for £5. She wanted to know how this was meant to work. The member of staf said it must be a mistake. ReallyTesco?

Tesco is cheeky

March 19, 2010

Yesterday I wrote about the shocking scandal going on at my local Tesco in Hither Green where they sell ginger beer for 52p a bottle, or £1.70 for two!

Well, today I was fired up. I was going back there to buy two bottles. If they charged me £1.70 I would act outraged and declare that I was taking my case to Roger Cook. If they charged me £1.04 I would demand that they honour their special offer and take another 66p of me (an intriguing number that is two thirds of the Devil). Then, I would act outraged and declare that I was taking my case to Roger Cook.

But today Tesco got the better of me. My heart sank when I saw this:

They’ve scuppered me. They’ve changed the price! At first, and in my first draft of this post, I got confused and thought that they were now offering me a saving. But, as you can see from the comments, it is now doubly evil. Not only are Tesco making a free 26p for themselves on the sale of a pair of ginger beers, but they’ve also gone and put the price up by nearly 40% overnight! What kind of things go up 40% overnight? Now I’m outraged again. I’m tempted to take up the issue with Lynne Faulds Wood or John Stapleton.

I thought I was on to something; Tesco deliberately targeting those with dyscalculia (dyscalculiacs?) for their own financial gain. Or people who can add up but are just idiots, like me. (Though it seems now, I am both).

So what’s going on? An error, an oversight? I’d understand the underhand if now, as I first thought, it was a mistake and there was a genuine goods offer to be had. But now I’m so confused. This offer had been there for over a month and then, overnight, it disappears. So, that’s good? But no. The price has gone up, but it’s not gone up enough. For me to be happy Tesco would have had to put the price up to at least 86p a bottle. Then I could save 2p, whilst at the same time giving Tesco the extra 66p for nothing. is this making sense? Are you keeping up? I’ve changed this so many times today to try and get to the heart of Tesco’s darkness.

So, at first, on seeing the changed price tag, I was sad, dejected, despondent, other words that mean all that. Then I lowered my head and saw:

Hurray! Tesco really are messing with my head. they are relentless and shameless monsters. They just switch things around! Shake things up a bit. Hope we won’t notice.

Now, a serious point. On yesterday’s post Michael made the following point:

For fear of sounding like a sympathiser, the offer does state “330ml-500ml drinks” so maybe a bottle of Coke, or Pepsi, (other drinks also available) cost more than 85p each?

However, that doesn’t negate the fact that anything under the 85p threshold shouldn’t be included at all.

He’s right. And, even though it’s mischevious on Tesco’s part, it is a defence. It’s their get out of jail free card.

Well, it was. How about this:

Fruit Shoots! 80p each or two for £1.70. An extra 10p for Tesco.

Yes, you can mix and match your 330ML-500ML drinks until you have scrabbled yourself to some sort of a bargain. But Fruit Shoots are only 300ML.

Tesco are cheeky, mean, rubbish and misleading.

Fruit Shoots You sir!

Tesco is rubbish

March 18, 2010

I’ve thought long and hard about the title of this post. Well, ok, a few seconds. It was going to be Tesco is Stupid, or Tesco is Barmy, but then I realised, Tesco (or Tesco’s… I’m confused on this one) have cleverly found a way of getting their customers to pay more for two identical products than they would have had to pay if these products were bought separately.

If anything Tesco is Clever, or Tesco is Scheming, or Tesco is Evil… but that’s stretching it a bit. The truth is, trying to fool customers with a two for one offer which bumps up the price is just really, well, a bit rubbish. Tesco, you are rubbish.

This sign has been up in my local Tesco in Hither Green for over a month now. If you live locally why not go and have a look, have a laugh, take photos, mock the shop.

Weeks ago I pointed it out to a member of staff (I’m not trying to be awkward… much… I just like to hear the corporate response). The member of the staff said “I know, but we can’t take it down. It’s to do with Head Office”. This confused me. It seems he’s implying that Sir Terry Leahy, CEO of Tesco and second runner-up in the 2006 Rear of the Year Competition (I love Wikipedia), came up with the fiendish plan to make 66 pence worth of free money out of any poor fool who happens to fancy a couple of bottles of ginger beer. This Sir is paid £1.3 million a year and he spends his time thinking of plans to make fools out of the nation’s ginger beer drinkers? It seems a bit far fetched. And why has he singled out ginger beer? Why not, say, a bottle of Brunello Poggio Alle Mura Banfi 2004 at £34.98 a bottle, two for £136.56? I suspect it’s a class thing.

I’m such an idiot that tomorrow I think I might go and buy two bottles of ginger beer. Just to see. I like ginger beer anyways. I wonder, will the till automatically ring up £1.70? I do hope so. I’d be disappointed if it only came to £1.04. I’d demand they demand their money back.

Wish me luck.

Well done Tesco (Tesco’s… I just don’t know) and Sir Terry Leahy for finally beating the Co-op as my favourite crap supermarket.

Am I someone else?

March 17, 2010

I think I might be someone else.

On the Trev and Simon site Edward left a comment pointing out my similarity to the actor Benoit Poelvoorde in Coco Before Chanel (or, to be poncey, Coco Avant Chanel) . So I checked him out. And he was the actor I thought he was.

Years ago I saw a film called Man Bites Dog (or, to be poncey, C’est arrivé près de chez vous.) I liked the film, but I was disturbed to see myself in it. I had no memory of making it.

When did I become this man? Or when did he become me? Or are we just one? Or does he just look like me? Or me him? Can I be in films? Can I be his stunt double? Can I earn a living as a lookalike? I hope I’m him.

Here’s some pics of me, and some pics of him. See if you can tell who’s who.





He’s kept his hair better than me, so I doubt we are the same person. I think Edward’s just being kind. Behind all of this is a simple observation; we’ve both got big noses.

Here’s the trailer to Man Bites Dog. Remember, it’s not me. And even if it is me, it’s only acting.

The second picture of me, or him, is by Bill Wadman. You can find out more about Bill here.

Last night I played pool at Nolan’s in Vauxhall. Our team won 9-3 (me, sadly, being on of the 3), but well done team, sorry I couldn’t help out.

But what a shame pool night was last night. If we’d been there tonight… free bacon and cabbage!

Happy Saint Patrick’s Day everyone.

Guinness £1.50 a pint and free bacon & cabbage

JFK’s Allstars

March 10, 2010

I play pool for JFK’s Allstars, a team in the Waterloo Pool League. We used to be called JFK’s Rejects. That was a name given to us by JFK’s first team, simply known as JFK’s. They were, of course, meaning to insult us, but, just like NWA we took the name and wore it with pride. Well, until this season, when our captain, Tony Bailey, decided it was time to get some new whizz kids in and rebrand ourselves as JFK’s Allstars. I feel honoured. A more accurate name for the team would be JFK’s Allstars and Simon.

Oh, and if you’re thinking what’s all this JFK stuff, well, that’s the name of the club we play out of in Peckham. We aren’t, in case you were wondering, linked to the dead President. (I’ve said this before, but it’s worth saying again… JFK’s used to be a snooker hall called Churchill’s. I thought it was clever to change it to pool and rebrand it as JFK’s. Well, it’s called JFK’s because it is owned by John Kelly. I’ve never asked what the F stands for. Some things are best left well alone.)

Mark Christensen, Michael Brown (timekeeping) at Nolan's

The photo above is from our away game last week. We played Nolan’s and won 9-3. Each match is made up of 12 frames. We play 6, stop for a bit of food, and then play the next 6. The food’s important. We all need to eat. Here’s what we had last night for our home match at JFK’s.

Sausages, spicy wedges, chicken nuggets, chips, bread. (I do well out of free meals- tonight I’m off to the BFI Imax at Waterloo to take part in their monthly film quiz. There we get free popcorn!)

Last night we played LSE. Yes, the London School of Economics! We had a good win. 11-1. And I won both my games. Well done me! I was helped in my frame in the first half by my opponent being in Paris. He couldn’t get back in time and so I sort of beat him. I guess I’ll take any win I can get. In the second half I played someone present. It wasn’t pretty but I scraped my way to the win. Everyone else playe  like the starts they all are. As for the frame we lost, well done Rob from LSE and his break dish. This is when a player breaks, pots a ball, and goes on all the way to the black, his opponent not even getting one shot.

Richard Brown

Stacey Redman

You can read more of my pool ramblings here, or just click on the Pool category below.