Monday, November 14, 2005

Monday Melange

At last! The Costa Del Middle England has had an overnight frost. Maybe now my summer plants will die and I can dig them out.
When I walked down the garden this week the following plants had just flowered again: nasturtiums, antirrhinums, busy lizzies, geraniums, roses.
I also encountered a wasp.
This is beginning to sound like one of those tedious letters in the Guardian: we've got frog spawn in the Outer Hebrides, acres of golden daffodils and this morning I heard a cuckoo.
So I'll desist.


On Saturday the funny old beautiful game was at its most beautiful and surprising. Never mind 'I Can't Believe It's Not Butter'. It was a case of 'I Can't Believe We Haven't Won The World Cup'. A year early.

The icing on the cake would be if John Motson were to be pensioned off before next year's World Cup Finals. I can't understand why this imbecile has now joined the several thousand other people described as 'national treasures'.
A typical Motty phrase, used again on Saturday, is "You may be wondering at home....." This is typically followed by something like: ".......when was the last time a Bolton Wanderers player in an England match had to leave the pitch because a stud had come off his left boot. Well, I can tell you it was in 1956 and on that occasion England went on to beat Hungary 2-1. Could that be a good omen, Graeme?"
No, Motty. We weren't wondering anything. We were just trying to watch the fucking football match.

Another Motty phrase is "Now then!", uttered when an England forward breaks through the defence. "Now then!" was always the concluding phrase of a bollocking from my grandmother when I was a child. It's obviously a popular phrase with old women.

Then there's "We're going to have to come back to that one later, Graeme, because Rooney has just dribbled round the Argentine goalkeeper".
If you'd stuck to commentating on the game instead of embarking on a long discussion about possible substitutions, you wouldn't have nearly missed a goal.

If you think this is unfair, watch a video of a match from the sixties or early seventies. There was just a single commentator who mostly confined himself to naming the players. They didn't have long, rambling conversations with a sidekick and they understood that with television, where the viewer can see what's happening, it's important to know when to keep quiet. Commentators then uttered only about 20% of the verbiage that pours incessantly from Motson's mouth.
If you're wondering why I don't just turn the sound off, it's because you then lose the ambient sound and the atmosphere. But it must be possible with digital TV to have an option that just removes the commentary.
Either that or bring back David Coleman. All is forgiven.

The final part of 'Girls and Boys: Sex and British Pop' (BBC2) covered the 1990s. It didn't tell us much that was new. You would have had to have spent the past decade on Mars not to know that Take That were initially marketed at a gay audience.
And, like any 'serious' analysis of a subject that is inherently frivolous, we got vacuous phrases like Oasis 'capturing the mood of the nation'. Does a nation have moods? What percentage of the nation did the music of Oasis ever impinge on?
But this series has been a better than average exercise in nostalgia.

I realised I'm never going to master Estuary English. A songwriter last night said 'sexuali_y' without pronouncing the 't'. Maybe you can't teach an old dog new tricks because I find that as difficult to do as I would the practise of heterosexuali_y.

On the subject of sexuality, Boy George made the interesting point that when Ecstasy entered the club scene, people who would previously have beaten up gay men became filled with unconditional and undiscriminating love for their fellow man and started putting their arms round them instead.
So maybe we could halt the epidemic of homophobic bullying in our schools by sneaking some Ecstasy into those Turkey Twizzlers they serve at school dinners. Disguised as yet another E number, nobody would notice.
Better still, add Ecstasy to the country's water supply. No more hate crimes. No more fighting on the city centre streets. Now that really would change the mood of the nation.

The Wonder of the Internet: if you return to the comment box of my last extract from my mother's diaries about our trip to Paris, you'll see a comment from the grand-daughter of the fire-eating gentleman with whom my mother and I shared a train compartment over 40 years ago.
My gob has never been more soundly smacked nor my flabber more thoroughly ghasted.
It seems her grandfather, Dani Almond, appeared in the Beatles film 'Help!' I have a vague recollection of such a character in that film but had no idea it was him.
The irony is that, for a twelve year old boy, Mr Almond completely upstaged the Paris trip. Meeting a man who could eat fire and lie on a bed of nails was far more exciting than going up the Eiffel Tower.


At 3:11 PM, Blogger cello said...

That is truly amazing, Willie. And corroboration of your very vivid story - not that I doubted you for a second.

It was an altogether wonderful weekend. The football was a joy, as was Strictly CD (why don't you watch this W? There are 'things' in it I think you'd like very much). And I also picked some late roses and delphiniums *and* some French beans and an Esther-Rantzen-worthy courgette. All knackered this morning of course. Just to annoy you, I'll tell you that my primroses are out on one bank.

Oh, and it was my birthday, but please don't respond to that blatant attention-seeking.

At 5:14 PM, Blogger Willie Lupin said...

Belated greetings, cello. I too keep fairly quiet about birthdays now. I celebrated the blog's birthday but not my own.

Strictly Cross Dressing? No thanks. Oh, you mean Come Dancing? Never done that either, though I've come close.
Anyway, I'm watching X Factor at that time. Also, I hate ballroom dancing. (Hope you're not depriving cello junior of his X Factor).

My delphiniums are all dead now. A few more frosty nights and everything else will be too.

Forgot to do an Adwatch today. The sighs of relief in Adland are almost palpable. (joke, not hubris).

At 11:17 PM, Blogger portuguesa nova said...

What???? The internet is so crazy!! The granddaughter of the fire eater found you in less than a week! That is fabulous.

At 11:18 PM, Blogger portuguesa nova said...

And on that note, I should probably stop writing so much about owing money to people from 10 years ago.

At 12:22 PM, Blogger Betty said...

You are spot on with reference to the England v Argentina football commentary. Inane rubbish courtesy of John Motson and his
co-commentator Graham Le Saux (apparently a man of sophistication in the footballing world because he likes antique dealing).

The need for endless babble before, during and after the game seems to have been influenced by Sky, where pre and post match discussions seem to drag on for hours.

At 1:49 PM, Blogger cello said...

Fear not, Willie. The X-Factor is sacrosanct, and the wonders of modern technology mean it's sitting waiting for us to watch as soon as SCD has finished. And I can skip the ads!

I have to admit I am getting a bit bored with the X-Factor, and I want to slap Sharon O quite hard. She's making me like Simon Cowell more and more which can't be right.

My favourite acts are Brenda, Andy and Journey South. How about you?

At 2:52 PM, Blogger Willie Lupin said...

PN: I have since heard from the son of the fire-eater too!

betty: antique dealing and reading the Guardian was always believed to mean Mr le Saux was gay, which he's not. But he's been taunted by fans and players all his career.

cello: I detest Sharon O. Simon Cowell is seldom wrong but there's a conflict of interest because his company makes the programme. I've always admired him though.

Journey South do nothing for me at all.
Andy is an incredible talent. So is Brenda. Not sure either would have much of a career selling records.
Shane could certainly have a big pop career.
Ditto Nicholas - he's probably the most unusual talent so far as the UK is concerned and the only one who hasn't peaked yet. When he hits top form with the right song it will be spectacular. He also seems to have a very sweet nature.
Very high standard this year.
I'm just praying this is the week that Chico goes. It's rare for me to loathe someone with such intensity and it rather frightens me.

At 6:10 PM, Anonymous John Kirriemuir said...

Frog spawn wouldn't last very long out here in the Outer Hebrides (though our house on Berneray does have a pond). Seals would eat it.


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