18 May 2013

Hops are good for the brain

Last night the light switch in our kitchen broke, it had been on its way out for some time. After purchasing the replacement double switch from the local DIY emporium I struggled to make any sense of the minimalistic wiring diagram included. You see, the switch that fell apart was archaic, and probably made of bakelite. And its internal structure was completely different to that of the new replacement.

After much head scratching i managed to get one of the two sets of kitchen lights working, and figured I'd have to take up the offer from my upstanding next door neighbour, qualified spark, and all-round decent bloke that he is, to fit the thing for me.

However before that a trip to the pub was in the offing to watch the Cobblers get utterly humiliated at Wemberlee by Bratft City FC. Two pints later and half way through the second half we leave the Cobblers 3-0 down and without a prayer.

On arriving home I looked at the cryptic wiring diagram again and had a "What if?" moment. Whereas pre-beer I would have been loathe to try it in case I fused the house, post-beer it was no problem. The "What if?" moment proved to be the solution and now both sets of kitchen lights work fine (he says, touching wood and looking for black cats).

Proof, if any were needed, that beer is good.

On the way to our local independent DIY shop, that goes by the name of "24 hour party people DIY" (not), as I shambled along the residential street that runs parallel to the main drag where said emporium is located, walking towards me were two very smartly dressed young men, probably in their twenties, one of whom was holding a bunch of leaflets.

Yes, they were indeed Jehova's Witnesses, and as we met one says to me "Good morning sir, have you heard the word of the Lord?" Now, not being the sharpest knife in the drawer where instant repartee is concerned, I normally would have said "No", and walked off.

But, apropos of nowt at all I quipped "What? Jon Lord has given rise to a religion already? Well, in that case all I can say is I much prefer the Mark 2 version, and In Rock was a classic album." The two chaps look at each other nonplussed, and crossed the road to avoid me as fast as their little legs would carry them without actually running.

When I arrive at the DIY shop I am greeted with the sight of marketing genius at work. In order to compete with the DIY superstores the small local shop has to be a bit creative.

Your average DIYer in the UK is a bloke, and probably over 40. What do 40 plus year-old blokes like? No, not that you dirty minded reprobates...beer! To the left of the counter is a display showing evety type of bottled ale currently produced by local micro brewery Nobbys. Of course I bought some, but only the one bottle. I was only buying a light switch after all, and as I said to the man behind the counter it would probably be unwise to go home to the wife having spent more on beer than on the object of the shopping trip!

Marketing genius though, don't you think?

On the way home from the shop I passed a Polish couple obviously in love, holding hands and talking animatedly to each other of their nuptial plans...or not, as I couldn't understand a word. The thing that made me notice them was that he was wafer thin, almost translucent, whereas she was really quite fat. It was almost as if she had siphoned all the phat out of him.

I'll get me coat...

This has been brought to you by the sheer power of believing really hard...and Harvest Pale and Copper Dragon, and as such may well be full of grammar and spelling errors. So be it.

16 May 2013

Universally Challenged

Things we learned at the Lamplighter pub quiz last night:

1. "Stinkfoot" is not a brand of camel.
2. The collective noun for arseholes could well be "a pucker".
3. Adopting a thick Yorkshire accent and regaling the nearest young lady with "Ey-oop darlin'...are you into t'Canterbury scene?" might not work as a chat-up line.
4. Daft Punk are terrible, gay or not.
5. £41 - see, those doubts and misgivings were entirely wrong.
6. This morning, a slight headache.

"It's no use getting haughty with me Alan, your feet do smell baaad...and tell Steve to get his head out of yer arse"

This has been brought to you while munching on a crab paste sandwich.

8 May 2013

Ridiculous notions of superiority

Last night I watched episode 1 of series 9 (Jeez, that's about 7 too many!) of The Apprentice. Not because I wanted to, but because I read that the Radio Times would publish a review of it from the pile sent in by midday the following day (today) by us obsessive viewers.

So while it was on I banged out this nonsense: 

The Apprentice has become a tad stale and predictable over the last couple of series, as year on year the contestants have become more and more clichéd, and these days seem to be mere ciphers rather than real people.

The repulsively shark-like Stella English and her failed bid to part Lord Sugar (to me he is still mere “Srallan”) from some more of his loose change in return for no discernible effort on her part summed up how self-serving these attention-seeking meeja whore wannabes had become.

The franchise has gone from being comedy gold to veering between either repulsive or boring TV, and as a result I found myself not lasting more than a few episodes of the last series. Of course, what drives this show is the contestants, and whether or not we like or loathe them enough to continue watching to the finale, and to that end, what does the line-up for this new 9th series promise?

Will Srallan’s bullshit detector pick up on gems like “I take inspiration from Napoleon”, or “I’m half machine, half biscuit” or "I have plastic tits and the brain of Einstein" or "I will do felching, if he wants" or “I will do anything to win; cheating, manipulating, mass killing, I will do it”? Predictably enough he told the guy who came up with the Napoleon line that he would be his Wellington. (Ed's (that's me, too) note - some of these quotes may have been embellished slightly, and one of them may well be entirely fictitious) 

Watching this new preening bunch of neatly tailored and over manicured products of the system striding across the Millennium Bridge like so many surplus catalogue models one could almost smell the pungent aroma of too much shower gel wafting across the Thames, and out of the TV. Yeuch, I’m feeling queasy already.

And so to the first task; split into two teams each have a shipping container full of “imported goods” (low end consumer goods and tat) to shift, the one who sells the most wins. All a bit Del Boy, doncha think? The boys’ team leader is Jason, who describes himself as having an intelligence “like a machete in the jungle”, my first LOL moment of the programme. The too quick by half to volunteer Jaz is the girls’ leader, who seems so effervescent she’s in danger of going off at any moment like an over-excited bottle of Bolly.

A lot of the girls this time look more like hairdressers or failed models than business women, although I’m sure they’d bite my head off for suggesting that they may, at some point in their careers, use their sexuality to get on in life. There's folk in here with real jobs, too, believe it or not; we have Jaz the teacher, Leah is a doctor (what of I know not, but I assume medicine) who unfortunately is cursed with a really annoying adenoidal nasal voice, and yes, she looks like a hairdresser. Imagine being told you've got 5 days to live by a female Donald Duck with hair extensions. Jaz does not look like a hairdresser, she just looks like she needs one, with a pile of wild corkscrew hair flailing about, wild and untamed, a bit like its owner, Scary Spice reinvented. 

There’s some odd looking fellas too, Alex from Cardiff having been christened Dracula by a teammate, and not unfairly it has to be said. Fair play to the guy, he does make the first sale, and before breakfast, too. That's what the undead can do nowadays, beat you to closing a deal. There's another guy whose name escapes me who looks like he has a Mr Whippy (that's an ice cream, ya mucky pups) on his head.

Amongst the tat to sell was a job lot of loo roll, which Alex helpfully informed a potential customer was "not used", my second and final LOL interlude. After the usual bout of rushing about, shouting over one another and wielding large mobiles like light sabres, and some comically poor leadership and infighting from both sides it’s time to head back to The Boardroom, which, as we all know, is as fake as Uzma’s tan. The girls have called themselves “Salon”, the guys “Spanner”...if only, No, it was the more prosaic “Evolve” for the girls and “Endeavour” for the blokes.

The guys go straight for each other’s throats, probably not advisable when Alex is in the room. Jason was hopelessly ineffectual though, and deserved to be slapped down. The girls were slightly more united. 

The guys won the task by £58, and the gals retired to the greasy spoon to swap lipstick tips. I had hoped Srallan wouldn’t fire Jaz as she seemed to have more personality than about half the rest of her team combined, and she has very scary hair, as I may have mentioned. However, as a leader she didn’t have much clue, including starting off with a cliché ridden motivational speech, her charges staring at her gormlessly. She even took her part of the team to Chinatown to sell the ornamental lucky cat, the sort you see in Chinese restaurants up and down the land, at 9am. It was of course, closed - priceless.

Sugar homes in on the hopeless sellers in the team, and eventually Jaz brings back Sophie and Uzma. The leader attempts to steamroller the other two who seem to be the female equivalent of all mouth and no trousers, particularly Sophie who sold nowt, but looks cute, so Srallan kept her. Uzma did enough in the task to save herself, which meant the chop (suey) for Jaz...boo, hiss...so one good character and one good reason to watch again is already gone. Ho-hum. 

Will I stick with it? Possibly, particularly as in tonight's episode the teams have to come up with a new flavoured beer and sell it to pubs, guaranteed to get me shouting at the TV I reckon. However I very much doubt I’ll watch the whole series on this showing. It’s high time this tired old series is given its golden carriage clock if you ask me.

After re-reading that I was aware it would need a bit of editing before I could send it to the Radio Times, but not to the extent I realised upon finding out that they wanted 150 words max! 150 words! Blimey, some of my convoluted sentences are longer than that. Anyway I somehow manged it and a severely truncated and toned down version winged its way off late last night, no doubt to be ignored by the powers that be at RT. The things I do for this writing lark!