Thursday 29 September 2011

Jacket, If You're Real, Where's Yer Bin?

The heading's a throwback so to speak to my last post. (They talk like that in the village I come from. At least they used to. Now they're all posh and talk 'proper! All fur coat and no knickers as they used to say!) But I digress. 'Where's yer bin' refers to an article of clothing that hangs on the door of the 'bar' in my 'outhouse' to which I frequently retire when I wish to let the world go by. This particular item is a jacket I bought at a a jukebox fair in Kempton Park a couple of years ago. I like this jacket, I am intrigued by it and I would love to know more about it. It is undoubtedly from the USA. It has the label 'BUTWIN, 'The Champion of Jackets, Minneapolis, MN. Made in the USA. (There is a label inside, not very clear that seems to say union made in USA, ACTWU plus other numbers also not very clear that may be batch numbers.) I presume it is college student apparel. I also presume it was owned by a male rather than a female; the fact that it carries the 'monika' Ken is surely proof. One reason I bought it being a 'Ken' myself! And I presume its original owner liked his jacket or else why would he add adornments. Is it the type/style of jacket still worn or can the 'more with it' out there date it particularly to an 'era'. I can picture young 'fella my lad' Ken proudly showing off to the girls in his fabulous jacket. Oh to be young again! What is the significance of the 90 and the 'sergeants' stripes? (Not really sergeants stripes?)And presumably the letter H is important. The badges too are interesting. Do the 'young uns' buy them or are they awarded? One suggests the badge holder is special. (Badge indicates 'Outstanding High School Students of America. OHSA.) Of the four other 'medalions/badges', three are marked Solo, one Ensemble. By browsing the internet I am aware of Minnisota High School, but have no real awareness as to the scale of American secondary education and Minnisota High School in particular. I assume 'my' jacket perhaps once graced the back of a diligent, hard working pupil of this establishment. Who knows, and where are you now, my boy. What did those far off days do for you? The whole thing reminds me of the films Grease and Saturday Night Fever. Please remember, what might be obvious to you is not necessarily so to myself. But the power of the internet being what it is, who knows. And the last post did talk of the world being a global village. Any information gratefully received.There again it could of course be a copy mass produced to sell to gullible old English geriatrics. The world is full of copies. I have amongst my 'treasures' tickets to both Elvis and Rolling Stones concerts. I even have greeting cards sent by Hitler at Christmas, 1943. Not to me I hasten to add! Genuine, I would have thought no chance. But in a way it doesn't matter. I can still shut my eyes and dream of Ken 'walking the walk' presumbly years and years ago. (You might find the post I did on the 17th February interesting. 'All Is Often Not What It Seems.' 17th February 201o. This concerned the poem Desiderata by Max Ehrmann. I was taken in by this poem, origination, the grand old US of A.) Does lightning ever strike twice.

Thursday 22 September 2011

Hard Times, You Need to Laugh.

Don't you get fed up of the news; doom and gloom ad infinitum. At times you have to laugh or you'd cry. And I got to thinking, who/what makes me laugh. We went to the theatre in the week. (I do reviews in exchange for tickets. Better than money, who needs money at my age.) The performer was Bernard Wrigley, a folk singer/actor comedian from Bolton. A bit old fashioned but none the worse for that. I can only remember one joke he told.

A teacher rang in sick in termtime, took the day off and went to Wimbledon to watch the tennis.

When he got back a dustbinman tapped on his window.

'Where's yow bin.

'I haven't bin anywhere, I've bin poorly.'

'No, where's yer wheely bin.'

'Oh, all right then, I've bin to Wimbledon.'

Now this story, one is old, two very 'localised/northern' and three very British. My young or overseas readers probably won't know what we're talking about but I think its funny. But I would, wouldn't I, at my age! I was brought up after the war. (The Second World War not the first!) I was very influenced by the radio (wireless we called it.) in the days before television became the norm. I remember some of the comediens over the years. Rob Wilton, Vic Oliver, Arthur Askey, Arthur English, Ted Ray. I started to realise what a small place Britain and England in particular was in those days. Comedy and comediens in particular didn't travel well. The talk now is of the world as a global village. It certainly wasn't thenadays. Some comediens, particularly northern comics achieved almost godlike status in their own 'backyards' yet were virtually unknown in places like London. Have a listen to Bobby Thompson The Little Waster. I still find him incredible even after all these years. But do you agree. Do my overseas readers follow any of this. What/who did you find funny. And who do yo find funny today. I've no doubt I will return to this subject in the not too distant future.

Wednesday 14 September 2011

Time Goes By; What To Do With It.

How many times do you hear people say 'Doesn't time fly'. We look in the mirror, what do we see. We look at our relations, parents, grandparents, great grandparents, and, in the blink of an eye, we have become our own ancestors, so to speak. If that's not scary, I don't know what is.
Three photos
1 Not my granddad, my great granddad! Taken probably over a 100 years ago at least.
2 Grumpy as a child. Over 65 years ago. Not bad looking for a 'war baby' although I say it myself!
3 Grumpy as of now. No comment!
Time is going, going, gone. And one way to prove it to yourself is, keep a diary; in itself a very mixed blessing! I kept one once, once only, in great detail and, twenty five years on, it makes for very sober, nay sombre reading. It poses so many questions. (This diary, written for the whole of 1985 was in fact a journal that looked back also to life before that year. Thus much of the content refers to life before and up to the age of forty six. Self indulgent, maybe but certainly food for thought.)
How many of us, you, dear reader included, for example, lead/led the life we choose/chose. How many of us do the jobs we do/did by choice. How many remember how we felt, what we felt twenty five or more years ago. Were you bored, excited, exhilarated years ago. Were you hopeful then; are you hopeless now. Have you changed; has life changed; has life changed you. So many questions, are there just as many answers. You tell me, please.
Diary September 1985.
'School life is often exasperating, almost always hard but seldom boring. Which is more than can be said for the life of an office clerk. I spent four years as a clerk employed by the British Celanese at Spondon, a textile and plastics factory owned by Courtaulds. One of eight thousand employees, I felt unimportant and uninvolved in the firms affairs.
Consequently my years in their service were frustrating and unenjoyable, punctuated by bouts of periodic 'daftness' designed to disguise the boredom of the place and the futility of the occupation. I held four posts in four years, which suggested one year was sufferable, two not so. The jobs themselves were mundane. Bought-ledger clerk, paying thousands of pounds out each month on a salary of less than ten pounds a week. Cost clerking, adding up lines of meaningless figures concerning tricel, dicel and other uninteresting products. Stores clerk, issuing chits enabling less bored employees to go about their equally uninspiring tasks. Four years of frustration, remembered chiefly for moments that broke the monotony. 'Games' of musical chairs, where we ran round the large office, changing chairs to imaginary music, to the chagrin of the older, staid, harder working clerks. Adding, forever adding meaningless figures provided on multicoloured sheets from all parts of the factory. Figures I never understood and on more than one occasion made up. Their unimportance could be gauged from the fact that nobody noticed or complained.
Talk of books, of sport, of the weather daily rituals to relieve the monotony. It all sounds so uninspired, repetitive and so it was. Sometimes I got in trouble, for instance, like the time I swore at the old gent who used to go to sleep, beer induced, on our shared desk in the stores most afternoons. And the day I caused a huge lorry to be loaded with the wrong yarn because I read 'dicel' for 'tricel'. Four years of frustration. How many people are similarly frustrated in their daily tasks; but for fourteen years, or even forty four?'
And suddenly you are nearer the end of life than the beginning. (I did consider calling this post 'In the Blink of an Eye.')
Not meant to be maudlin but so be it. Just four pieces on time that caught my eye.
'The bad news is, time flies. The good news is, you're the pilot.' Michael Althsuler
What a load of American, motivational speaker crap! A somewhat limited pilot with no real power or influence you dummy!
'Time only seems to matter when it's running out.' Peter Strup
A bit obvious, a bit better but still suspect. And who the heck's Peter Strup?
'I wasted time, and now doth time waste me.' William Shakespeare. Richard 11 Act five.
It takes the Master to spell it out.
And finally, to show I do appreciate at least some of the wisdom of our American cousins.
'Lost time is never found again.' Benjamin Franklin

Thursday 8 September 2011

Aweful August, Not Really. Grumpy's Alternative News.

Where to start. Let's get rid of the dodgy people for a start. I see a builder from Epsom claimed over £100,00 in disability benefits while running a building company. What made me laugh (cry?) he arrived in court in a wheelchair and neck brace with his arm in a sling! Plus an asylum seeker in Blackfriars received £211,ooo in benefits, (covering many years) claiming for a bogus son and receiving housing benefits and heaven knows what. By the way, she was caught stealing shampoo from Boots! I do wonder about our super country. From top to bottom we are shown bad examples. For instance those pillars of the establishment, paragons of virtue, Sainsbury's. Fined for colluding to drive up the price of milk and cheese. Along with Asda, Safeway and Tesco. Mind you, all but Tesco had the decency to plead guilty. We get poorer, the rich get richer. Doesn't it make you sick. And Charlie Gilmour, son of Pink Floyd guitarist David Gilmour, appealing against his sentence for swinging from a flag at the Cenotaph. Says he didn't realise the significance of the Cenotaph. So much for a private education. Get real, you spoilt, privileged prat. And one more fool of the highest order, Two phone twit David Secker, phoning with one hand and texting with the other whilst driving on the A47 in Norfolk. A twelve month driving ban and eight points, pathetic. Surely a fool like this should not be on our roads, ever again!
I must stop letting the idiots take me over. So what made me smile? Rowan Atkinson crashing his £2 million, 240 mph, 0-60mph in 3.2 seconds F1 McLaren supercar into a tree with no other vehicle in sight. Makes my geriatric driving look positively A1. Mind you, sorry you were hurt, Rowan.

Chris Petrie, from Queensland, caught driving a scooter made from a motorised beer cooler. No licence plus he'd had one, or two, or three, or four, or more. 55cc engine and the cooler holds 48 bottles of beer. I reckon Rowen would be better off with this machine!

Any more smiles? Well what about the expenses row embroiling the police's top training college Bramshill House. In two years the bill included, £1.3 on travel, £673,000 on hotels, £26,779 on leisure and entertainment and £27,917 on restaurants and bars. All money well spent I'm sure, but was the 'designer lingerie', the 'beehive' and the 'cultivator' necessary spending; recession, what recession.

Plus I see Winnie the Pooh's in trouble in Turkey for drinking root beer on television. Turkey has strong media laws concerning alcohol. Television station Kanal D have been fined up to £170,000. Which is a pity as root beer is non-alcoholic. And our German friends could also do with 'lightning up' a wee bit. The Knigge Society, a manners watchdog has called for a ban on works colleagues kissing in the office (sometimes even twice as the French do). Shaking hands, yes, kissing, no. Evidently it's a form of 'terror'. Handshakes, yes, approximately 60cms apart. Any closer is apparently crossing over a 'socially defined distance zone'. I'm making no comment on Germans and a sense of humour, I leave it to you! Mind you, it was suggested the runaway cow, Yvonne be shot. She wandered the countryside near Muhldorf for weeks and weeks. She learnt to become nocturnal, ran with deer and enjoyed herself. But eventually any support for capture and converting into Sunday joints became a no no. Instead, finally captured, she was transported to Aiderbichi Animal Sanctuary, to live the rest of her days in peace. Miserable Germans, never, I take it all back, you lovely people.

Finally, an American story, with no mention of guns!

Long Island veteran lifeguard Roy Lester reckoned his refusal to wear Speedos cost him his job. Now I didn't even know what Speedos were. I had to look them up. When I saw them I could see what he meant. They're not called 'banana hammocks, lolly bags and budgie smugglers' for nothing! Sixty one year old Mr Lester thought the Speedos did him no favours and I too reckon he's right.His offer to wear cycling shorts was rejected so now he goes to court. I for one hope he wins and strikes a blow for all us oldies. Go for it, Roy!