Monday, December 9, 2013 1:19:36 PM
I watched ‘American Graffiti’ last night for the first time in about 30 years.
The film does not seem to be on the telly very often so many of you might be unaware that this is the film that made George Lucas’s name.
Set in small-town America in 1962 (I’d guess), it all takes place on a single evening, revolving around the activities of a group of youths who are spending their last night together before school breaks up.
It is the first film I can recall seeing where the musical soundtrack was an intrinsic part of the movie, and what a soundtrack it is!
I imagine that I am not alone in having a favourites playlist on my MP3 player. Mine is fairly eclectic, with stuff dating as far back as the thirties (Lydia the Tattooed Lady and Minnie the Moocher).
Quite a lot of it features relatively obscure doo-wop acts such as the Flamingos and the Skyliners, and it was not until I watched American Graffiti again last night that I realised a large proportion of those doo-wop songs in my playlist are in my favourites playlist.
I Only Have Eyes for You – The Flamingos
Since I Don’t Have You – The Skyliners
Goodnight Well It’s Time To Go – The Spaniels
Little Darlin’ – The Diamonds
Get a job – The Silhouettes
Love Potion No. 9 – The Clovers
Lots of tracks by the Platters.
Heavenly stuff. I don’t believe in heaven but if there is a heaven then I imagine the Flamingos and the Skyliners will provide the soundtrack; the vocals are ethereal and utterly angelic.
Finally, has there ever been a better closing number to a teen movie than the Beach Boys’ ‘All Summer Long’? It gave me goose pimples hearing it last night, the first time it did at the cinema when I saw it in 1973.
One of the seminal films of my youth, along with ‘Animal House’, ‘Breaking Away’ and, of course, the Python films. I wasn’t even annoyed at the time by the fact that every American kid seemed to have a flash car at the age of 17 while I was spending my evenings in a cold and damp bus shelter waiting for a bus.
It has just occurred to me that ‘That’ll Be the Day’ came out the same year and was set in a similar era, but in Britain. I’ve never seen it but I imagine that instead of Cadillacs it will be all push-bikes and Ford Zephyrs, and instead of Burger City it will be chip shops and the Wimpy.
Anyone seen it, and is it any good? The sequel (‘Stardust’) was not up to much, I recall.
Monday, November 18, 2013 12:11:39 PM
My colleague at work who sits opposite me has been sniffing all morning. Now, my News Editor has joined in the cacophony, chomping away noisily on what sounds like a bag of Twiglets.
If I had a gun on me, I would cheerfully shoot the pair of them … and these are two people I like!
I dare say Mrs Fiendish feels the same about me when I snore throughout the night, but I cannot really help that; I know whistling annoys her so I only do that when she has pissed me off.
I am prepared to cut the Twiglet eater some slack, as she can hardly be expected to suck the Twiglets in order to consume them, but the sniffer really ought to make use of a bag of tissues or, better still, work from home.
Sunday, October 27, 2013 4:45:07 PM
So, I've got my Betfair account open and Channel 4 on the telly, and the only problem is that the Jacksonville Jaguars versus the San Francisco Forty-Niners is probably not the best game in the world to bet on.
The best games to bet on are ones that see-saw back and forth a bit. This game is more likely to be a buzzsaw than a see-saw.
Having said that, I did make money betting on the last NFL game at Wembley, even though I was watching what I thought was a live broadcast but which was, in fact, the one-hour delayed feed (Channel 4+1).
I was wondering why the prices weren't moving every time there was a score. Luckily, the events that took place one hour earlier opened up some good contrarian positions that I profited from, thinking that what I was seeing on the screen was live.
Should a person this dumb really be betting?
Probably not, but they are only small amounts, in the main; the exceptions being, at the moment, Liverpool winning the league (costs me about £260) or Spurs winning the league (about £150 liability, though as a Spurs fan I'd be happy to pay it).
When I say win the league, I am, of course, talking about the Premiership, not the NFL's Super Bowl; there, my major exposure is the Indianapolis Colts, which was looking a safe risk until last week.
Thursday, October 3, 2013 2:43:00 PM
There was a story in the British press – as there seems to be this time of year each year – of someone who narrowly escaped death after taking their chances on a level crossing.
In this instance, it was a female cyclist who came within inches of being smeared up the side of the railway bank by a speeding train, as she ignored the fact the barriers were down and tried to cycle across.Watch the video
British Transport Police released the video of the incident in order to highlight the danger of attempting to cross when the barriers are down.
"We are very keen to speak to her about the incident and explain the danger she not only put herself in but others around the crossing at the time,” the transport rozzers said
I would have thought she would have been well aware of the danger she put herself in, wouldn’t you, given that the button from her collar is probably on its way to Edinburgh by now.
Monday, September 30, 2013 10:26:57 AM
US budget meltdown
“The Republic party’s abhorrence of Obamacare is so intense, it is prepared to trigger the closedown of what, rather than see it implemented?
"Anyone know the effects?
"Anyone seen this before?
Monday, September 2, 2013 11:45:41 AM
As regular readers are no doubt aware, I am fascinated by words and cheerfully admit to being one of those tiresome people who harrumph when he sees a misplaced apostrophe.
One of the (many) things that annoy me is the poncification of the English language, and the belief in certain circles that a long word is preferable to a short word. Examples include the use of “approximately” instead of “about” or “around” or “roughly”, and the use of “utilise” instead of “use”.
Cheesed off by the pointless use of “utilise” I resolved to find out if there is any difference in meaning between the two words and, admittedly based on a single source, it seems there is.
You can Duckduckgo
it yourself, but, basically, this chap was arguing that that “utilise” should only be used when an item is being used for something other than the purpose for which it was designed or created.
The example he gave was, you can use a fork to eat with, but you can’t use it to prop open a door. You can, however, utilise a fork to prop open a door. You can’t utilise a fork to eat with.
I’ll add that to my list of boring grammar facts for inclusion in my book that I intend to write, entitled: “How to Lose Friends and Piss off People by Pointing out Their Grammatical Errors”.
Now, I need to find out what words get capitalised in Title Case, and which ones don’t. (N.B. Microsoft’s spill-chucker has just corrected my Title Case errors.)
Sunday, September 1, 2013 11:14:47 AM
Number one son is back home from Uni, treating the place as if he lived here.
Tuesday, August 13, 2013 7:19:29 AM
I watched the film of “Wings over America” last night, a fairly dull documentary of Paul McCartney’s return to touring with his post-Beatles band.
McCartney’s guitarist was Jimmy McCullough, a precocious talent who was only about 17 when he appeared on Thunderclap Newman’s number one hit “Something In The Air”.
His guitar playing was, perhaps, a bit too blues-rock for Wings, but he did a very nice line in finger vibrato. Not quite up there in the Paul Kossoff class, but then, who is?
I was wondering what happened to him, given that he was still very young when punk came along and utterly changed the musical landscape.
So, I checked him out on the web and confirmed a dim recollection that he had died very young. He died of a heroin overdose at the age of 26. Kossoff, by the way, died at the age of 25.
Curiously, Hank Marvin, the godfather of British guitarists, had a hand in the careers of both. According to Wikipedia, that unimpeachable source, McCullough was a protégé of Hank’s, while as for Kossoff, his father, the actor David Kossoff, asked Hank’s advice on what guitar to get his young son.
David Kossoff and Hank were appearing together in one of the Cliff & the Shads films; I forget which one, because they are all the same.
I once saw David Kossoff in a one-man show at the Queen's Theatre in Hornchurch. He was touring a little while after his son had died. If memory serves, that's where I got the info about Hank recommending which guitar Kossoff should get his son.
I still think of Paul Kossoff every time I pass the Kossoff bakery in Petticoat Lane.
Apart from the Bevis Marks kosher restaurant and the nearby synagogue, Kossoff's is about the only remnant of East London's once vibrant Jewish community.
Sunday, August 11, 2013 8:53:38 AM
Number one son turned 23 on Friday and, somewhat to my surprise, he agreed to go out for a beer with his dear ol' Da'.
Admittedly, I was about third choice on his list of options but as all three sons are of an age where staying home treating fungal nail infections seems like more fun to them than spending time with either of their parents, I was touched.
I was also knackered and a bit pissed, having had three beers after a long day at work, as a result of which I managed to make a single pint last three hours when down the pub with number one son.
Nevertheless, it was good to catch up with what is happening in his life.
He seems to specialise in spending one year longer studying than he needs to, and is in danger of ending up as the world's oldest student.
In his Sixth Form year, he was knocked off his motorcycle and spent most of the year in the Upper Sixth with a leg injury. So, we'll forgive him for flunking that year and having to do it again, especially as his parents had uprooted him from Enfield and moved 12 miles up the road, which made it difficult for him to attend school, what with the motorcycle (OK, a 'ped) not being an option.
Flunking the third year at Uni was a bit more serious, and he confessed it was down to him spending too much time going out with his mates. I imagine the nights spent in weren't spend studying assiduously, and were consumed playing X-box and burning the candle at both ends, but that's pure speculation on my part.
For a lad with dyslexia and the attention span of a tsetse fly he has, in fact, done pretty well. This is a man who goes out the door, comes back a minute later saying he has forgotten his fags, puts down his car keys, finds his fags and then goes back out the door. Then he comes back to retrieve his car keys, puts down his wallet, goes out the door, then returns to retrieve his wallet.
There's no room in his trousers for both his wallet and his phone, so he puts his phone down, goes to change his jacket - you get the idea. Number two son has been officially diagnosed with attention deficit disorder, but he is a rank amateur compared to number one son.
Anyway, eldest son managed to persuade the Uni to give him a do-over. The good news is that he will not have to pay tuition fees for the fourth year. What's more, he'll be back with the same group he started with at Uni; they will have spent their extra year doing work experience which these days consists of working all the hours god sends for a pittance doing tedious work.
Number one son, meanwhile, has been working all the time while at Uni, doing promotional work for the local cattle market night club. He's had a falling out with them and so is going into business for himself, hiring a room above a pub for his own club nights.
He reckons he can easily get 100 people in on a Monday night and potentially many more. It reminded me of a time when I boasted to a colleague I could easily get 70 people to turn up to a social event at work. I doubt I could rouse a third of that number now, but there was a time when I felt I was an active member of a number of social groups, and it appears number one son is that sort of person as well.
Anyway, he's going to be stepping up his promotional work in the fourth year while also focusing on his studies. Is that a red flag? Probably. He knows he is in the last chance saloon, but if the promotional work goes well and he starts coining it, the temptation to let the studies slip will be hard to resist. Still, dropping out of Uni never seemed to do Bill Gates or Steve Jobs any harm.
Of course, they weren't going to Lower Gruntwick on the Thwold Uni, unlike number one son. Still, the point holds.
He seems to be getting his life's route map sorted. I was reflecting down the oub with him that I was a has-been by the time I had turned 23. I had a recording contract plus a publishing contract, had cut a few tracks and not set the music world alight. Little did I know but that was as good as it was going to get for my musical career, though I plugged on for another three years or so.
It was back to the day job after that and a life spiced up by some successes in fields that are beyond esoteric. None of them made me internationally famous, rich or irresistible to the opposite sex - or even the same sex, for that matter.
I have to say I am more than relaxed about that. We all have dreams and ambitions, but not all of us can play for Real Madrid.
How was I to know that my greatest achievement was conning Mrs Fiendish into staying married to me for 24 years and producing three sons who I like to spend time with?
Even if only one of them wants to spend time with me ...
Thursday, July 25, 2013 4:40:18 PM
I was checking the definition of the word "quash" and was reminded of the fruit juice product, Quosh, which I have not seen on Britain's shelves for years.
That led me to this site
which, I suspect will be a real thief of time. The original makers of Quosh , Carter's of Coleford, also made Ribena.
The advert for Ribena is a classic, and these days would probably work better as an advert for wine.Mother, are you too tired to care? Not yet noon - a heap to do - and not feeling a bit like doing it? It may be, Mother, that you need Ribena, as well as the children...
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