So what do I have to whet your whistle with today? Call it a compilation, a digest, whatever - I have a few thoughts that have been playing on my mind recently and it is time to set them down before I forget. Bullet points and all. Don't worry- there won't be a test later, but just read, ponder and enjoy.
- I don't know about you, but I am not crazy about those moments when you are walking in town, and it's dark, and there are relatively few cars and people about, and suddenly you notice - or rather, you hear - a person of the youngish persuasion some way ahead shouting unintelligible nonsense such as 'Oowoy' or 'Ya-a-ah!' and you look to where the noise is coming from and you cannot quite work out who or what they were shouting at, because there are no other peeps in the vicinity. It tends to make me think that perhaps the person uttering these strange tribal-guttural sounds (who is invariably somewhere between pubescence and mid-twenties) is a trifle unbalanced, possibly under the influence of a controlled substance and liable to do who knows what to me should I cross his path. Of course, being a born coward, I try to pretend I didn't notice this person hailing his invisible buddy, and I casually cross the street as if that was what I was intending to do the whole time. I am also somewhat similarly intimidated when I walk along Recreation Ground Road next to the football field when the local F.C. are playing, because the spectators and players, who number about 30 in total, seem to enjoy engaging in similar shouts such as 'Ee-woah' and 'Geebarrack'. In fact it seems to me that the entire game of football was built around a desire to holler loudly in a garbled fashion. The same logic could be applied to the songs and chants that occur at soccer matches - complete rubbish. Perhaps we should try to get these two groups together for a mass shout-a-thon?
- While we're on the subject of sport, and bearing in mind that I loathe, detest and out-and-out hate about ninety-nine percent of all sports, I have to say that I cannot get my head around the cricket these days. When I were nobbut a lad, back in the day, and up until I left the British Isles for 'Merca, cricket was played by two teams all dressed in white twill trousers, white shirts and white sweaters. You did not need team colours because you knew the batsmen were on one team and the fielders and bowlers were the other team. They had their team logos, very small, embroidered on their sweaters just in the breast pocket area. That was fine. They could tell each other apart - we didn't need to. We had a scoreboard and Brian Johnston commentating, "The bowler's Holding, the batsman's Willey" and all that. It worked. It was fine. It did not need changing. International cricket also needed no team colours because you could tell the difference between the M.C.C. and the Pakistanis or the West Indies. Fast forward twenty years and they're all wearing team colours with their names printed boldly on the back like the NFL. In One-Day Internationals, or ODI to give it its new hip 21st Century name (bear in mind here that I'm fully aware that my usage of the word hip immediately marks me out as an old geezer), even the ball is bright and luminous rather than the traditional red leather. And there's this confusing thing called Twenty20 (or is it 20Twenty? I can never remember. Stupid name anyway) which is a bit like a one-day international but shorter, with just 20 overs each. That has bright uniforms and dayglo balls as well. And the cricket-going crowds, always having been a fairly sedate bunch, are now just as bad as soccer or rugby fans with their hollering and garbled singing. Ecch. Not only that but sometimes the players carry on like footy stars too, filling the pages of the celeb-watcher mags with their sexploits. There is also this new and weird thing they do with the field. They paint logos of sponsors on the field, but all distorted and bent so that when your TV camera views it from high up in the stands it looks just as though it was flat on the page. Someone spent an awful lot of time figuring out how to do that - it's just like that thing you used to get in puzzle magazines and kids' annuals where there is something written down all stretched out, and you have to pick up the book and look at the page edge-on to see the words properly. As if we care about fucking Vodafone when we are watching the bloody cricket. I think I may have mentioned this before, but I hate sport.
- Is it just me or does the school calendar these days do your head in? The reason I ask is that back when I was in school thirty to forty years ago, all the local schools were on the same calendar because they were all run by the same governing body, with he exception of course of private and boarding schools. All the state-run schools had the same holidays and half-terms, which made sense, because then all the parents knew that all their kids would be off school at the same time and they could make arrangements for that. But now that we are in a progressive age with schools becoming academies, mini-schools and sixth form colleges, they no longer have to adhere to a prescribed calendar sent down from the powers that be - all they are required to do is to make it so that the school is open for at least a certain number of days per year. Now that's all well and good if your kids all attend the same school - but if some are at junior school and some are in secondary, as is the case now in my house, it means that one kid is only getting a week off for half-term, and the other two have two weeks. Which means that tomorrow morning, only one of them has to drag his butt out of bed and get dressed in his uniform while the other two blissfully snooze on. Does that seem fair to you? Because unlike a lot of adults, I actually remember what it felt like to be a kid, and if it was me, I'd say that pretty much sucks.
- So Whitney Houston is dead, and everyone is having their say about it. I can't say I ever liked the woman's music very much, The Bodyguard sucked major league ass, and The Preacher's Wife wasn't much better. Her tantrums and behaviour on Being Bobby Brown made me glad I hadn't met her. There was one particular episode where I came mighty close to it. The episode where Bobby Brown, being the lovable tosspot that we all know him to be, actually had a nice idea and thought he'd treat Whitney to a day at the spa and pool at Chateau Elan near Braselton, GA, a place I have been to and eaten at a few times due to its close proximity to Gainesville and Oakwood, where I used to live. We went there one year for Mother's Day, as they do a Mom's Day brunch in the atrium which is pretty fancy. (I wasn't paying, you understand - good Gawd no). While we were there partaking of seriously expensive and quite good nommage, a couple of photogs were to be seen taking piccies of a rather animated African-American fellow wearing a hideously garish Bill Cosby cast-off who was posing and mugging for camera on the sweeping staircase. Yes, you've guessed it, it was our dear Bobster, Mister My Prerogative himself. So she must have been around, because really, why would anyone take a photo of Bobby Brown on purpose? So anyway in the episode, Whitney is ticked off with the Brown One because she couldn't believe he brought the darn kids along! Well, what an egregious oversight! The kids coming along on Mother's Day? Perish the thought! "IT'S MOTHER'S DAY." she opined. "Not Kid's Day. It's MAH DAY!" Apparently the fact that if it weren't for the fact that those kids were theirs she wouldn't actually BE a mother somehow escaped her. And that moment sort of sealed the cap on the well of dislike I had for Whitney. So right at this moment when all the radio stations (well, the really shitty ones anyway) are playing Whitney songs four times an hour and all these people are coming out of the woodwork saying what a tremendous talent she was and how she was under-appreciated in her time and the record company marketed her wrong and she was misunderstood and all that bullcrap, I just stand there and think, what a bunch of freakin' hypocrites. I am 99% certain that she had been largely written off to all but the most rabid Houston fans. C'mon, admit it. Ya know ya want to.
- OK, so I did own a copy of 'Saving All My Love For You'. Ya got me.