Tuesday, 30 August 2016

Twitter and Facebook considered........

I don't Tweet.

I'm not on Facebook.

And, these days, I very rarely blog.

Neither do any of the people who's blogs I follow, much.......

Is this because in the last couple of years, blogging has fallen out of fashion, as the world of the Twitterati and the Facebookers has risen to an unprecedented ascendancy?

Or are our collective attention spans now so foreshortened by the needful brevity of Tweeting and the almost Pitman-like shorthand of Facebook, that any attempted literacy supplied by the Blog-o-sphere overloads the cerebellum to the point that the only way to deal with it is to ignore it?

Is the diminution of language assured?

Are we doomed to the abbreviated world of email and Text-Speak?

(UR sooooo R8)

Things have come to a pretty pass if so..........

A couple of nights ago, discussing this with Jackie over a nice glass of Vino Rosso Puglia Appassimento and a very agreeable Reblochon cheese, I defined Facebook/Twitter thus:

"It induces a morbid fascination of terrible power for the mindless wittering of people we hardly know, concerning things about which we do not care, communicated in language we barely understand".

I was rather pleased with this.

Jackie replied that I was a silly old fart.......

Plus ca change....

But really, does anyone else out there actually write letters anymore?

I have written two so far this year: yes, in old fashioned black ink on white note-paper in cursive script.

And I posted them. First class stamps and everything......

I even received a reply to one of them in like kind. (The other recipient is excused: both his parents are gravely ill.....)

A letter is an immensely valuable thing possessed of true power: in the architectural sweep of lines on a page, we imbue it with meaning beyond words.

I think a hand-written letter can contain the fullest expression of what is on the heart, in the mind and, without doubt, part of the very soul of the writer.

No wonder it's gone out of fashion...........

Now, here's the challenge:

Pick up a pen.

Apply it to some paper.

Write to someone.

Post it, snail-mail.

Old skool style.

You may well be amazed.


Sunday, 10 July 2016

I'm not sure this is a terribly good idea..........

Up to 650 British troops are to be deployed to Poland and Estonia to "reassure" these countries and"deter Russia from any further aggression" according to current Defence Secretary Michael Fallon.


The last time we sent 600-odd men against aggressive Russians was in 1854.

I don't remember it ending spectacularly well........


God Speed, lads.  

Thursday, 30 June 2016

Interesting Times............

It is an ancient Chinese Curse:

"May you live in interesting times".

We certainly are doing that.

I do not wish to add to the ordure in the latrine trench of public opinion that is Facebook, Twitter and the greater blog-o-sphere with any of my own.

Instead, I offer only this, from Lindsay Anderson's "Oh lucky Man" of 1973.


Says it all, and in quite a few European languages..........

Monday, 14 March 2016

A Day Out with The Alvis Owner Club.

Now, like Groucho Marx, I've often felt I shouldn't be seeking to join any club that would have me as a member........

But the Alvis Owner Club has decided it would......

On Saturday I was whisked from The Parish to a village in Darkest Suffolk to participate in the A.O.C. East Anglian Section Workshop Day.

This was my ride:

My friend Roger's Alvis Speed Twenty-Five.
Cool, eh?

I saw this

And this

And this

And this

And this

Well, what can I say: it's a rough old life..........

And speaking of 'rough', and 'old', there's more than a fleeting chance my TA14 will be joining them before long!


Tuesday, 1 March 2016

Now we are in March......


January was crap.

Too many of our greats died.

I know, I know..... we all must....

And yet they are missed.

But now we are out of February and into March......

The "First Day Of Spring"....

So let's look to the future.

Have you heard of a band called 'Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats'?

I think they are pretty good........

In 1979, when I was a callow youth of a mere fifteen summers, I first heard the opening bass chords and drum beats of 'Walking on the Moon' by The Police.

Kids, if you weren't there, and didn't hear, nay FEEL, that cleansing, strange, NEW sound, then you will never get how important it was...... not important in the history of popular music, but important then, then, uniquely then......

Please. please don't listen to it on shitty little speakers.

It needs WATTS.................

And amps, (preferably valve....).......

And Ohms........

And a long, cool, dark moment to hear it in.....

Hearing it was short-hairs-on-the-back-of-the-neck-goosebumps-shivering......

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zPwMdZOlPo8 Artist: The Police

Okay, the video is of it's time, (i.e. pants....), but the sound, The SOUND!!!!!!!!!!

So this spring, it's good to relate that after a winter of loss and despair, I've had a very similar moment.

I've been aware of Mr Rateliff and his band for a while.

It took their appearance on Jo Wiley's show on Radio Two this evening to make me realise exactly how good they are......

The few songs that they were allowed to play, (while Ms Wiley simpered and gushed and naffed and patronised and couldn't wait for it to be over so she could tell you all about tomorrow's show which was clearly going to be much more brilliant), were as superb as Wiley was embarrassing.

So they were pretty damn good.

But John Peel must be spinning in his grave.................

There are lots of internet clips of them, their rather over-produced and a little too slick version of S.O.B that you'll find on VEVO being a not brilliant example.....

For the In-Your-Face-Double-Bad-Maximum-Tingle, you need this:


In the words of the poet, Ba-Ba-Ra-Ra-Coo-Coo-Da-Da........!

In the words of my beloved father, Trevor Witts ( 88 years old 29/03/16.............. and said in a way that implies disapproval while secretly loving it.......)

"That's Hooligan music, my boy!


Monday, 1 February 2016

The end of January.

I don't know about you, but I am absolutely exhausted.

We have lost so much wonderful talent this fatal January.



And now, Terry Wogan.

During the spring of 2009, I emailed his Breakfast show with a silly skit about cars backfiring. This had been prompted by a story line in "Eastenders": one of the characters had been shot, another was heard to remark they thought it was 'just a car backfiring'. This caused much ribaldry on the show along the lines of 'when was the last time you heard a car backfire?'

I emailed the show roughly thus (I didn't save the original: I'm not that sad, though I wish I had, now.......)

RE: Cars Backfiring

I'll have you know I had a spot of bother getting the car started the other day. The old starter motor was whirring away but to no avail. So I opened the bonnet, cleaned the plugs, checked the points and rotor arm, charged the battery up a bit, and finally swung the thing into life with the starting handle.


My ears are still ringing........

The car in question is a 1948 Alvis TA14.

It was customary to use a pseudonym when emailing the show, so I entered it under the name Rusty O'Heap...........

Best I could do...... :-)

I wasn't half surprised and, needless to say, delighted, when those familiar tones read it out verbatim!

This started a bit of a run of emails to the show.

It was great fun.

Rusty wrote in complaining about 'our esteemed chancellor' conning the togs into scrapping perfectly good cars (a measly £2000 quid to scrap the old Alvis? Over my dead body!) while the 'current Mrs O'Heap' got confused over which old crock she was getting rid of under the deal (turns out she thought she could keep the Alvis and replace me!).

By a happy accident, I emailed this in on his wedding anniversary. It closed the show.

Everyone knows Sir Terry was virtually synonymous with Children in Need.

At the 2009 Alvis Owner Club End of Season Meeting in the Coach and Horses in Mayfair, I got everyone who wanted to participate to buy a Wogan style pseudonym for a fiver, all proceeds to the Charity. Thus, we had such club notables as Lorelei Kandling, Truly Warne-Mainbaring, and Lou Stappets ( you get the idea from these few examples.....) signing a card which we enclosed with a cheque for about £100, I think.

I posted this off to the show with a framed replica white Five Pound note.

One of the threads on the show was that of the old Shakespearian actor, Chuffer Dandridge, who was still looking for the old white fiver he'd lost while on tour in the 1950's. Rusty had previously emailed the show in high excitement to say he'd found it down the back of the rear seats of the Alvis while looking for some change to purchase a packet of 10 Players Weights........( I know it's Chuffer's, it's signed on the back C. Dandridge Esq, Mrs MaCavity's Hygienic Digs for Thespians, Catford).

All this warm-hearted whimsy was great fun and it was lovely to hear it acknowledged on the show.

And now the broadcasting phenomenon that was Sir Terry Wogan is no more.

If you were a listener, you felt like he was speaking only to you, and he was your friend.

Goodbye my friend, and thanks for the warmth, the laughter, and all the good fun in your company.