Rubbish, piffle, tommyrot, drivel and utter bilge

Saturday, September 26, 2015


My daughter Rosie has recently turned three years old, and she is one smart cookie. Anything technological represents no obstacle to Rosie, and on many an occasion we have remarked with wonderment and amazement at her ability to elicit unusual results from the TV or Sky remote simply by touching or throwing it. She'll pick up the remote or even just move it to one side and suddenly we're watching something on the Nigerian channel. She has also mastered Mum's phone upon which she regularly plays with My Talking Angela, a more recent sequel to the games My Talking Ben and My Talking Tom. Not familiar with these games? Look them up, download them, install them on your phone and become hopelessly addicted to feeding, petting washing and putting to bed an animated anthropomorphic cat. You can't do that with Ben, but he's my favourite because of what he does when you ring his phone for him.

However, Rosie has graduated from such things and is now more interested in using Mum's tablet, a Samsung Galaxy Tab 2.

Initially, she was able to play some kid-friendly games and she was happy with that. Recently, however, she has become au fait with the vagaries of YouTube, and has discovered some truly bizarro channels in which grown adults will play with kids' toys on a regular basis while talking in a chirpy annoying Midwestern accent.

What's that ya say? Surely they cannot all be weird? Oh, believe me, once you see them, you will have some headscratching moments of gobsmackedness to come.
Give you an example or two? How did I know you were going to ask that?

Let's start you off gently. Here's an example from the Epic Toy Channel...

Then there's the Engineering Family, who apparently have 500,000 subscribers and over 500m monthly views. And tell me I'm wrong but Mr. Engineer (the dad) sounds a bit like Seth Rogen to me. Like Seth Rogen if he was a strange childcare provider.

The Engineering Family also do quite a lot of videos in which they open Kinder Surprise eggs and find out what toys are in them (impending sarcasm warning!!). And yes, that IS as fascinating as it sounds. However, they are not the only ones that do this.

To me, these things are like watching those awful 'unboxing' videos...

*stifles yawn*

Then Rosie seems to have stumbled upon another weird YouTube phenomenon, the proliferation of "Finger Family" videos. You remember the song from preschool, "Peter Pointer, Peter Pointer, where are you?", which is a knockoff in itself of the old nursery rhyme "Where is Thumbkin?".

Well, these people seem to have taken the concept and made it into Finger Family. Mummy Finger, Daddy Finger, Brother Finger etc. and so on and so forth. There are a bunch of those out there, which is odd, since most kids know where their fingers are and don't need to be told a bunch of times. But some have taken it a step further by adding little finger puppets and/or animations into the videos and turning it into something else entirely. For example, I saw one that was a 'superhero' themed video, so there was Hulk Finger alongside Wolverine Finger and Batman Finger. Here is an example, but proceed with caution - what has been seen cannot be unseen.

She's also become a fan of Teletubbies through YouTube, but seems to enjoy watching foreign versions of it.


and Polish.

Then there is the utterly strange Booya channel. These videos are in a league of their own. They take kids' nursery rhymes and create Halloween-related versions of them.


The problem is, especially in the case above, the rhymes are not there. What I mean by that is that Five Little Monkeys Jumping On The Bed works because 'bed' rhymes with 'bumped his head'. Seriously, does five little zombies jumping on the grave work for you? Because I have a major problem with this sort of thing. America, I am sad to say, does that a lot. There used to be a phenomenon in the 90s when I was working in childcare called Piggyback Songs, where in order to teach the concept you were trying to teach, you'd turn it into a song by writing new lyrics to an older song such as Wheels On The Bus or Old MacDonald and using the theory that kids learn better to music to hope that it works. Trouble is, if a kid hears a tune he is familiar with, he only knows the old words, so putting new words to old tunes does not work.

Sometimes these videos blend together...

..this is all kinds of messed up.

However, with my help, Rosie has become a fan of Veggie Tales. Not the story parts, just Silly Songs With Larry. Here's her favourite...

Larry Rules, OK?

Friday, September 11, 2015

A Spicy Rant

I just want to take a moment to address all those British folks that like chorizo. You know, the spicy Spanish sausage. Now that we are multiculturally aware and have seen a few episodes of Jamie Oliver and  other top TV chefs at work we feel we are well versed in diverse culinary delights. Well versed enough to actually pronounce the word "chorizo". Well, I'm here to tell you, British people, you can't. Oh, you think you can, don't you? You confidently attempt it, savouring the syllables as they roll off your Anglo-Saxon tongue. "CHO-RITZ-O", you say, trying to appear worldly and cosmopolitan. You actually are looking like a bit of a prat.

It's not CHO-RITZ-O. Not by a long shot. Sorry to have to burst your bubble and all, but I think you need to know. If you don't stop saying it that way, I might go out of my mind. Some folks think I am already at that point, but I don't actually care about anyone else's opinion.

The correct pronunciation? Well, in Spanish, the letter Z is pronounced as an S. Even more so in Mexico, where it is practically hissed. CHO-REESS-O.

Only in Italian does a Z do that 'there's an invisible T in there somewhere' thing, and only if there's two of them. Think PIZZA, PIAZZA, MEZZOFORTE, etc.

So are we clear now? Chorizo is pronounced CHO-REESS-O. Not CHO-RITZ-O. Got it?

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Charly Says...

Last time on the Puzzler I asked you all what The Prodigy's first big hit was, in 1991. Well, so as not to keep you all in suspenders any longer...

Of course it was Charly!

Peaking at number three after entering the UK chart at number 9, Charly re-entered the chart again in 1996 (after Firestarter became a hit), and then again in 2004 (when the song was made available for digital download).

Next question...

One of the samples contained within Charly is part of the intro from James Brown's 1988 effort "Godfather Runnin' The Joint".

One of the most frequently sampled rhythmic breaks is from a James Brown tune from 1970. The drum break is performed by Clyde Stubblefield on the track. Can you name the track?

Into The Unknown, 23

Into The Unknown, 23

Another healthy dose of rock'n'roll from around and about, here, there and everywhere, with Jeff, your effusive host.
1. Simon John Parkin - His Library
7. Headphone - Gold
11. TONGA CONTROL - Tonga - Resiste
Mario Zavaroni
Mendoza, Argentina
12. Nellie Bell - Only The Lonely
from EP - Black and White
Nellie Bell
13. Sargent>>> - Pied Pipers
14. F***ed up generation - Everyone Thinks I Am Someone Else..
Drop us a line at or find us on Twitter: @PodcastOfJeff

Friday, August 7, 2015

Make My Day

I am absolutely mindblown.

Here is the latest product from The Podcast Of Jeff - Episode 1 of a series I call Whatever Happened To...? The band I chose for the premier outing was INTAFERON.

Simon Gillham (L) and Simon Fellowes (R) aka Intaferon.

You may or may not remember them - it really doesn't matter (although if you don't remember them, you missed out big time). What does matter is that I did some extensive research (or so I thought) and put together a show in which I talked about the band's output and what became of them after they broke up in 1985. All of which you can hear about if you listen to the show (link above - hint, hint).

Simon Fellowes is now a novelist and has published two books which are available via his publisher's website at 

It turns out, through reading about Simon F on the Strata Books website, that last year he recorded a new album called Live It All Again. The website included links to the album at

When I went there and listened, I clicked 'like' on one track, which then pinged to my Twitter feed. Strata Books noticed it and sent me a tweet saying had I read a short true story by Simon entitled Woodwork & Psychos on the website about the making of the album?

I tweeted back and said yes, I had, and sent them a link to the podcast.


Simon Fellowes then gets wind of it, and messages Simon Gillham, who as far as I knew had retired from the music world and was now teaching philosophy. 

Simon Gillham then sent me an email. When I saw the name Simon Gillham in my inbox, I was giddy with delight. One half of Intaferon was writing to me!
If you'll indulge me, here are some highlights.

"Simon F told me about your podcast. Nice to hear it. You may be interested to know that I've started making music again too, under the name used to. You can see the video for the latest single Festival of Disappointment at this link. Interestingly, the second verse tells the Intaferon story.

It's out in a couple of weeks but available on Spotify now. There was also a single earlier in the year called We Can Deal With The Detail Later. 
Most of the first used to album is finished and when we get round to mixing it we'll put it out. There's a fairly rubbish website at 
 And yes, I still teach philosophy at Colchester.

Nice to know there are some actual Intaferon fans out there. I'm still one myself.

Cheers, Simon

PS, if you can post links on your site I'd be grateful."

Well Simon, consider the links posted. I wrote back to gush say how amazing it was to have him write to me, and I am still, several hours later, in awe. How amazing is that?

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Saying A Mouthful

Here in the UK we have a range of ice creams made by Wall's called Magnum. There are many flavours, and they are all freakin' delicious. However, I have one problem with them.

Their commercials.

Because Wall's seems to be under the impression that the best way to sell ice creams to people is to try to convince them that the outer layer of chocolate on each Magnum is so thick that the simple act of biting into one will produce a sound not unlike breaking rocks. With your teeth. An almost clip-cloppy coconut sound combined with a crunch.

And I have eaten many a Magnum. So I can tell you from personal experience that biting into a Magnum scarcely makes a sound. So that's problem number one.

Problem number two is that it simply does my head in  to think that anyone would hear that awful sound and think to themselves, "Wow, I sure could use an ice cream about now." That anybody on Earth would find that sound attractive or even vaguely pleasant just about defeats me. And EVERY Magnum commercial has that sound in it.

I don't think I'm alone when I say that I DON'T LIKE MOUTH NOISES. The only ones I have no issue with are my own. Anybody makes a loud chewing or slurping sound near me, I don't say anything but I secretly want to hurt them.

My first wife, bless her, was fond of iced mochas. When I procured an espresso maker (no, not a Keurig or a Tassimo or a George Clooney machine - this was in the mid-90's, We had to buy the beans whole, grind them ourselves, put it in the machine, fill up the water reservoir and stand there and watch it while it did its thing so we could turn on the steaming wand at the right moment and actually make OUR OWN FRIGGIN' COFFEE, not like today where you just haphazardly bung a little plastic doo-dah in the top and Hey Presto! Voluto! No, times were 'ard back then. Very passable, this Chateau de Chassily) she would have me make these giant iced mochas in massive cups saved from getting fast food from Taco Bell or similar, or the humongous insulated cups they give you in hospitals from which to sip your iced water, and she would make them last all day. We worked together from home at this point. Eventually there would come a point at which she would run out of liquid to consume and start chewing the ice cubes. Loudly. One at a time. And as nice a person as she is, I seriously wanted to smack her upside the head whenever she did this. Which was a lot. Thankfully, I restrained myself.

That was when my young son (now a big chap of 24) developed a liking for hard candies. He'd crunch to his heart's content on boiled sweets and gobstoppers with all the abandon he could muster. I swear he installed a miniature marshall stack of amps in his mouth somewhere. Imagine Robert Plant with banks and banks of enormous amps behind him, confidently striding god-like up to the mic, popping a Nuttall's Mintoe in his cakehole and chewing like billy-oh. Behind him is Jimmy Page and John Paul Jones, each wrestling with a Mint Imperial, and in the back, the ghost of John "Bonzo" Bonham sits, sticks in hand, ready to kick in with a primal beat, grinding away on a handful of Polos.


I get a similar effect from commercials for Poli-Grip or Fixodent. In order to prove how well this goopy shit sticks your false teeth to your mouth, they always show some idiot biting into an apple. Loudly. They've been doing it since the 60's at least.

And here, for my money, is the worst offender. It makes me want to cut my ears off and set fire to them in the hopes that the pain will distract me from the noise. It probably wouldn't, though.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

These People Can't

According to the Sport England "This Girl Can" website, 
' This Girl Can is a national campaign developed by Sport England and a wide range of partnership organisations. It's a celebration of active women up and down the country who are doing their thing no matter how well they do it, how they look or even how red their face gets.'
The ads are quite cleverly done, and consist of women of varying degrees of fitness and body types exercising and not giving a shit about what others think. A noble cause. Wonderful stuff. The ads are everywhere - in print, on bus shelters, on a dirty great banner outside the local gym, and even on the National Lottery scratchcard video screen.

The ads look like this...

I trust you'll agree, these ads are quite brilliant and are to be applauded. No argument there.

But I am a mischievous little bugger, and I decided to make my own responses to these ads, because that's just what I'm like. I am not taking away from the This Girl Can campaign in any way, shape or form. I am simply mucking about. So please enjoy the fruits of my labours.

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