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Thursday, 24 July 2014

Total Recall

When I met my mate to play squash earlier in the week he had an old racquet with him. He'd gone to the gym that weekend, at the same sports centre where we played squash, and absentmindedly took his squash racquet with him. After his gym session he, of course, left the centre without his racquet.

He was surprised to find that someone had handed it in, but that joy was tempered by the thought that he was having more and more "senior moments".  It was made worse when he discovered that he'd forgotten to pack his cuff links.

I thought "Poor man, he'll be forgetting where he lives soon."

It's that time of year when the car needs to be taxed. I'd received a reminder from the DVLA and as usual I logged on to their site to renew my tax on line. It's a really painless process. You key in the reference number they provide in the reminder and that brings up your car reg etc. If that's o.k. you click thro' to renew.

Except this time I was told there was no matching valid MoT certificate. Must be some mistake, I thought so I went through the process again - after all they were testing a Beta service upgrade. Nope, no MoT.

Not a problem, the certificate would be with my papers. I'm very particular about keeping everything up to date and tidy. I found every MoT cert. from when I bought the car 5 years ago, but no current one. As I was going through the car's log book I turned up the invoice for its last annual service. It would be due quite soon, after the MoT renewal.

It was dated March 2013. I had completely forgotten to have the car serviced, thinking it was due some 6 months later.

I'd been driving without a valid MoT, in an unserviced car - I was one of those ruffins of the road I keep going on about. You know the sort, feckless cheapskates who, for saving a few pounds, don't bother to keep their car taxed, insured, MoT'd and serviced.

I dashed round to the garage which I thought had MoT'd my car last year. "If DVLA say you ain't got a MoT cert. you ain't got one." "But I need one!" I muttered. "Can I bring my car in on Monday for an MoT, I need the car over the weekend. And a full service since I appear to have forgotten to have the car looked at in March." "You ain't got an MoT cert. so you can't drive the car" my garage owner helpfully pointed out. "Bring the car in and we'll do the MoT and service tomorrow."

"Thank you, oh so thank you", I mouthed as I kissed his oil smeared boots and wiped the sweat from his treasured brow.

All this will now have completely thrown out of kilter my carefully scheduled cash flow, with an unexpected MoT fee and annual service bill, not to mention that bloody iniquitous road tax.

Now where did I file away the Coidan's household budget spreadsheet. I didn't absentmindedly delete it did I?

Friday, 11 July 2014

As I was saying to my friend the other day.....: Pee Wee's Big Adventure

As I was saying to my friend the other day.....: Pee Wee's Big Adventure: It may be the fashion but it's sheer hell for many an older member of society. Performances without intervals. Gone are the days whe...

Pee Wee's Big Adventure

It may be the fashion but it's sheer hell for many an older member of society.

Performances without intervals. Gone are the days when you could confidently relieve yourself half way thro' Hamlet or Les Mis. Now, in the name of artistic integrity you have to tie a knot in it.

I first came across this new fashion in artist licence at a recent concert, which was part of the City of London festival. The event comprised of three pieces by Beethoven ( famously deaf to the anguish of the bladder challenged). No interval.

The thing was that most of the audience were well over retirement age, and unless equipped with catheters or absorbent pads  would find 90 mins without a comfort break a challenge, if not a disaster. The promoter was prepared for this. As the concert was in the City of London's Mansion House, the last thing he wanted was the stench of urine mixing with the stench of market fixing and rip offs.

As we arrived and handed our tickets to the ushers, we were informed that " There would be no interval during the performance", and in hushed tones informed that the toilets were straight ahead. Some of the audience knew their limitations and reluctantly turned away. Others boldly went on. On your head be it, if halfway through Beethoven's 4th Piano Concerto, you're caught short. You were warned and given ample opportunity to empty one's lower reaches before the performance.

This new fashion for interval less performances does have unintended consequences.  Theatre bar taking have plummeted, although the recent introduction of "Buy One Get One Free" on bottles of Haut Brion and Montrachet at Covent Garden has reduced the losses. Mind you the complete  Ring Cycle without a comfort break is quite a challenge: even to those with wills of steel and amazing powers of self absorption. It's a bit like flying across the Atlantic with Ryan Air and you've left all your loose change at home: frightful.

I have superb bladder control. If there was an Olympic event in it, I'd win gold every time. Interval performances hold no terrors for me. It's when I get home that the trouble starts. The instance the key is in the door, it's complete anarchy down below. It's only because I can do a sub 10sec 100 metres that there's not a warm puddle on the carpet.

It's 50 years since the release of "A Hard Day's Night", a semi-fictional account of the Beatles in the early years of Beatle mania. Two things have stuck in my mind about the hysteria surrounding the Mop Heads. One, at any of their concerts, the last thing you could hear was the Fab Four singing - they were drowned out by the screams of highly excited teenage girls. The second, was the stench of pee, after each concert. So excited were some of the fans that they lost control and wet themselves.

It must have been rather off putting to the cinema audiences anticipating the heroics of "Zulu" to catch the whiff of urea rising from their seat, where the night before a young teenage girl got overwhelmed at the thought of her and Ringo getting it together with his hi hats.

Who knows; some of the older ladies attending that Beethoven concert and concerned about the lack of an interval may have been, 50 years earlier, shouting their lungs out in the Astoria, Streatham as John, Paul, George and Ringo set the world alight and ushered in the age of Aquarius.