Friday, March 31, 2006

For Those Of You Who Wanted To Go To Derry ...

A passenger jet, which was destined for City of Derry Airport, landed by mistake at an Army base six miles away. The Eirjet aircraft was flying on behalf of Ryanair from Liverpool to Londonderry when the pilot set it down at Ballykelly airstrip just after lunchtime.

Ryanair said it was due to an "error by the Eirjet pilot who mistakenly believed he was on a visual approach to City of Derry airport. The incident involved the aircraft landing at a runway which is exactly in line with the main runway at City of Derry Airport".

Once the brakes were applied and the aircraft came to a halt, the pilot announced: "We may have arrived at the wrong airport". Laughter broke out in the cabin and soon the aircraft was surrounded by British soldiers, some taking photographs. 39 startled passengers were then taken by coach from Ballykelly to Derry.

Now, although I laughed at the time, this story is quite believable. Despite the aircraft being fitted with up-to-date navigation and positioning equipment, 2 separate runways, both running in the same direction a mere 6 miles away, can easily be confused once on approach. Once you have visual contact with the ground and your intended runway, pilots tend to ignore flight instruments flashing and whirring in front of them. I can only assume that the pilot thought that is instrumentation was a bit off kilter.

On thing confuses me … the airstrip at Ballykelly is primarily used by Army helicopters and light aircraft. But it was built for huge military planes, making it one of the longest on the island. The report goes on to say that 'it is not yet clear how the plane will be removed from the Army base'.

Err, like the way it came in?

Paul And Ian Go Large ...

Two burglars who beat a man to death as they hunted for the £50,000 they heard he had inherited, have been jailed for life.

Drug addicts Paul O'Shea, 27, and Ian Noonan, 40, of no fixed address, tied Julian De Graft Hayford up in his flat in Kennington, south London, last July. The Old Bailey heard the pair, who wanted the cash for drugs, attacked him with a carved statue of an angel.

Noonan must serve at least 30 years and O'Shea was given a minimum of 28 years for 55-year-old Mr Hayford's murder. Mr Hayford had been left £50,000 from his father's estate and had bought a new car, a flat and other luxury items.

Police said they understood he planned to use the majority of the money to rebuild a church in his native Ghana.

Mr Hayford had been out celebrating his 55th birthday on the night O'Shea and Noonan (pictured left) targeted his home. They tied him up with his own neck tie and beat him so severely that he suffered ten different injuries to his head. He died from brain damage. The attackers fled when they were disturbed by Mr Hayford's wife, Happy.

Hang on a mo, if the report is to be believed, how can someone with 50k buy a new car, a flat (in London) and still use the majority of the money to rebuild a church?

Well, our two Mensa candidates will never find out. Enjoy prison life chaps ...

We're NOT Americans …

Linda West, 49, denies she murdered her husband, Gregory West, 45, at their flat in Southampton, UK, in May 2005.

On Thursday 30th March, the judge, Mr Justice Cresswell, began summing up the case. In the witness box, Mrs West said that after a night out with hubby (necking wine) she had picked up the gun and began dancing to the Shania Twain song "Man! I Feel Like A Woman".

She claims that when she put the gun down, it went off, filling hubby with lead. Police found Mr West in a dressing gown slumped in an armchair and his wife covered in blood.

Experts told the jury the gun's safety catch was faulty and that when it was dropped it could go off.

The prosecution allege that the couple, who had been married only ten weeks, had argued and Mrs West got the gun and shot her husband deliberately.

… and this happened in the UK? Just when we thought that the Americans had cornered the market in stupidity …


Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Having A Smashing Time, Wish You Were Here …

As I write this (yup, one of those crass opening lines I'm afraid), hundreds of jobs are smashing up the French capital objecting, apparently, to the new CPE law passed by the French government. But they're nothing more than little hoolie-wankers breaking everything and anything they can find - not even part of the student movement who stand against this new law.

I won't go into the finer details of this new law as you can find everything you want from Google (just type in 'CPE + Paris' into the search box and you'll find reams of explanations). What I hope to offer is a radical solution to the French government - something, I believe, will rid them of this on-going violence and take the heat off of the Prime Minister.

But firstly, let's look at the dear garlic munchers:

Under French law, public sector employees (10% of the population) and government staffers, work a 35 hour week (the legal maximum being 43.4). In the UK, the average working week for the full-timer is 43.2hrs with 45.4 in Poland.

When it comes to being absent (sick note please Mummy), the UK claims the lowest in Europe with 15.5% but dear France rockets into 2nd place with a whopping 26.4%

French holidays (not under the absentee department) can be quite unreal - there are some employees who receive 11 weeks paid leave although the average is 9. However, if you're in the UK and work 5 days a week, you can expect to receive a meagre 20 days holiday a year.

The biggest gripe that is doing the rounds about this new law is that it allows employers to hire and fire first-time employees at will, until said employee reaches the age of 26. Seeing as most youngsters stay in full-time education until they reach the age of 25 and (more often then not) live at home, then I really don't see the problem.

Holy shit, I sleep an average of 6 hours a night, each night of the week. That gives me a total of 42hrs kip … 7 hours longer an the average French public sector employee works in a week! I am sure that it is still possible to die at your post in France and still pick up a weekly pay-cheque … and then there's the handsome state pension …

So, to the solution:

The French believe that expelling bodily wind in public is disgusting but we, the Brits, have built an entire culture on it. We happen to find it amusing but the French will not hear of it. So, if only our Gaullist cousins were encouraged to 'rip one off' from time to time, there would be more laughing and, therefore, less public tension. A good 'botty-burp' will, more often than not, impress your friends and allow you to climb the social ladder in a more unconventional manner.

If these bloody students want it tough, then go and live in the UK. You have to survive there. No nanny-state, paying for your every need through the nose. No 'jobs for life'. Getting fired is an occupational hazard - work hard and you‘ll get by. Wake up and smell the espresso, Jean-Claude - you invented the Socialist state - so deal with change or prepare to be bypassed.

Student movements and the trade unions called for a day of 'General Strikes' yesterday. For a young Brit in the 1970's, I remember the 3-day week. Electricity was only on for 72 hours out of 168, we were wrapped up in blankets to keep warm, the house was lit by candlelight, bread disappeared from the shelves and there were nation-wide food queues. Now that was a strike.

In reality, yesterday's 'General Strike' saw 2 out of 3 trains running.

Strike? Give us a break France.


Tuesday, March 28, 2006

It's Normal, They're French …

After an annoying public confrontation, have you ever looked back and said "I wish I had had the presence of mind to say x, y or z?" Anyone who knows me is aware just how timid and reserved I can be ...*

This morning I got my own back and said exactly what I thought. To those outside the expat club it may sound petty, but fellow expats will take heart as from time to time we're sick and tired of being spoken to like unnecessary inferiors.

The French credit card is used to purchase any number of items in the retail world. You pop the card into a card reader, tap in your 4-digit code, take the payment slip and just walk away. I handed back my credit card to the bank because I simply couldn't take the shit that French banks dished out to their clients. Besides, the government has bailed out bank after bank because of bad management and I thought it time to get out. So, I have a foreign credit card. It too, has a 4-digit code for withdrawing cash from cash points but when I use it in restaurants or shops, it gets 'swiped' through a reader on the side of the machine and I have to sign a receipt to close the transaction. No big deal - unless you work in my local dry cleaners …

I applied for this particular foreign card about 8 years ago and, to date, it has worked all over the world. Whenever I get a job-lot of dry cleaning done around the corner, I use it to pay for my shirts and trousers. However, after 3 cups of strong coffee this morning, I was in no mood for a French jobs-worth which is, sadly, exactly what I got.

The bill was produced (€ 39.40) and I handed over my credit card, but before its pretty hologram had time to glint in the morning sunshine, the cantankerous old bitch behind the counter 'went off on one' - a convulsion of fearsome apoplexy.

Imagine an American prisoner in the electric chair with his bindings undone and the switch thrown - an uncontrollable, trembling puppet. Up went the defence mechanism (including the arms) and out came a stream of negativity: "Normally, that card won't work here" and “"I'm not sure it's valid" and who can forget, "The machine we have doesn't accept foreign cards".

My brain began to swell and, without even double checking my clutch-to-mouth ratio, I started on her: "Firstly, Madame, I NORMALLY use this card here. Yes, Madame, the card IS valid. Yes, Madame, your machine DOES accept this card. Yes, Madame, I pay for ALL my dry cleaning here AND with THIS card. Yes, Madame, I have been living in this neighbourhood for the past 7 years and have been coming in here once a week - and this card ALWAYS works".

What you have to bear in mind with most French people in an argumentative mood, is that they mutter and consistantly shrug their shoulders - adamantly insisting that YOU are in the wrong - even, at the very end, you prove to them that you are RIGHT.

"Mumble … it'll never work … grumble … never worked before … moan … I doubt that this machine will accept it …" - a never-ending 'verbal stool' of commentary which is profoundly 100% French.

I turned to look out into the street as I could feel a stroke coming on in multiples of 100. The constant stream of whining from behind the counter was in full flow and, without a second's hesitation, I spun round and delivered my coup de gras … (Oxford English Dictionary - a blow by which a person condemned or mortally hurt is put out of his or her misery):

"Madame, that is enough. You have a typical French attitude - negative and not very helpful. Please swipe the card, press the green button and give me the receipt."

She looked at me in a startled manner, swiped the card, pressed the green button and handed me the printed receipt.

I signed the receipt.

I snatched my dry cleaning.

I opened the door.

I slammed the door.

I took in a lungful of air and smiled. Napoleon's grand-daughter had just been torn off a strip. No wonder this country is in the shits and that the city suffers the global opinion that it’s rude and a late-developer when it comes to the service industry.

Arrogant f**king twat ... and in the words of the late great Hughie Green, "and I mean that most sincerely folks ..."

* see lying toad with a heart of gold and a knob of butter

Monday, March 27, 2006

Slip, Sliding Away …

Over the last weekend, the Airbus A380 was put through it’s paces in it's first and certifying emergency drill. The drill is a key milestone on the road to issuing licences permitting the plane entry into the public domain - licences which Airbus hopes to obtain by the end of 2006.

Officials from the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) were present at Sunday's drill, which took place in one of the biggest hangars in Europe - at the Airbus Finkenwerder production facility next to the River Elbe.

To gain another step to airworthiness, the aircraft had to pass the following test;

A minimum of 650 passengers to take part.
All lights (except emergency) had to be switched off in the cabin.
Half of the 16 exits had to be closed.
The Drill must comprise of 40% women and 35% of people had to be over 50 years of age.

In reality, 1000 volunteers showed up and were given a quick agility test followed by a free lunch on Airbus. 853 people then boarded the plane and were given 90 seconds to get out of their seats and to exit the aircraft by one of the eight exits available. Although the A380 has 16 exits, half of these were intentionally closed off. As the drill got underway, the 'passengers' had to contend with assorted luggage, blankets, pillows and other debris strewn across the aisles.

All went well except for a broken leg and 32 minor injuries. Despite the eventualities, Gustav Humbert, Airbus' managing director, said "That was a very great success".

Naturally, the press had a field day. Injuries? "Yes please!" shouted the news editors.

Typical. Negative tossers.

Imagine if the evacuation had been for real - people trying to escape from a burning, mangled metal fuselage - don’t you think there would have been far more injuries? Getting 800+ people down inflatable plastic slides, 3-story's high and in 80 seconds, was pretty good going. So please, a broken leg and 32 minor injuries during a practice is little more than small change and shouldn’t be seen as shocking … the Nazi 'human experimentation' project … now that was shocking.

Sunday’s exercise was very necessary and I doubt that Airbus left the injured parties to rot in some form of aviation prison camp …

Kerian Daly, of Flight International, was the only member of the media who took part in the exercise.

For anyone who fancies a free meal and an emergency evacuation, stay tuned. Airbus may be doing it all over again next month …


Saturday, March 25, 2006

Vowel Play …

"Poor Jacques had an attack - an anti-English gripe.
Sounds bizarre, wherever you are, for a nation who still eat tripe."

All is not well in Brussels. Not when it comes to language, it isn’t. At a recent EU Summit meeting, French Unionist Ernest-Antoine Seilliere addressed the forum in … Gasp! Shock! Horror! English!

With every European Minister sitting comfortably around the big oak table, Mr Seilliere, top cat of the French employers' association UNICE, began his address in English. He was soon to be interrupted by French President Jacques Chirac who asked "Why yew speeke zee Eeengleesh?" Seilliere replied "because English is the working language of this particular session and the accepted business language of Europe today."

Chirac, 73 going on 6, showed his temper and along with Foreign Minister Philippe Douste-Blazy and Finance Minister Thierry Breton, walked out.

A bit like 'it’s my ball and me and my gang are going to play with it outside'.

The following day, Mr Chirac explained his actions by saying: "France has great respect for its language. It has been fighting for a long time to establish the presence of the French language - whether it be at the Olympic Games, where it was contested for a while, whether it be in the European Union, or at the United Nations." He then went on to say that he was "deeply shocked" that a Frenchman chose to address the summit in English.

Oh, come on Jacques. We were deeply shocked when London was bombed in July last year but just because a Frenchman addressed a business meeting of multi-internationals in another language, you don't have much of a case.

Mr Chirac does, believe it or not, speak very good English. I remember conducting an interview with him during a G8 Summit in Cologne. We were shooting a 2-camera exclusive for a certain American cable news network and Monsieur Le President was eloquent, commanding and not exactly stumped for something to say.

Mr Seilliere went on to urge EU leaders to "resist national protectionism in order to avoid a negative domino effect". In real English, it means "sink or swim".

Not every member of the EU speaks French and English is becoming more dominent with business meetings etc. If Jacques really wants to plead a case of 'vowel play', then he ought not to be quite so protective and accept that things are a-changing. May I suggest a couple of things; listen to the FM radio stations around the country who play non-stop English language pop music or, secondly, wander the streets of the capital and cop an earful of his younger 'cher(è)s compatriots' who seem to have invented their own language, by dropping English words into everyday sentences.

I spoke to a French journalist friend yesterday who said "I'm so embarassed of my country sometimes" and even my French belovèd had to admit Chirac's reaction was "typically French".
In the decades to come, finding someone in the larger cities of France who doesn't speak English will be as rare as seeing a Stormtrooper taking a shit.

Oh Bugger.


Thursday, March 23, 2006

Oh, How We Love English …

On Wednesday 22nd March 2006, 38-yr old Tammy Duckworth won the Democratic primary nomination for a Chicago district, previously held by retiring Republican Senator Henry Hyde.

However interesting that might sound, then the following should help to explain things…

A former Lieutenant in the US Army National Guard, Ms Duckworth was a helicopter pilot in Iraq when, in November 2004, she lost both legs when her aircraft was shot down while on active service.

The good old BBC ran with the following headline:
“An American woman who lost both her legs when her helicopter crashed in Iraq is to run for the US Senate.”

However varied and expressive the English language is, someone must have spotted the faux pas …?

Maybe not …


Tuesday, March 14, 2006

On Tap …

Norwegian housewife, Haldis Gundersen, was planning to do the washing up when she made an unusual discovery at her apartment in Kristiansund.

On with the tap and out with … beer.

Two flights below, workers in the Big Tower Bar faced the more disappointing realisation that water was flowing from their beer taps.

Someone (and we want names) had connected a beer barrel to the apartment water pipe by mistake. “"The water and beer pipes do touch each other, but you have to be really creative to connect them together," said Per Egil Myrvang from the local beer distributor.

Ms Gundersen bore no grudge. "If it happens again, I'm going to order Baileys," she said.

In Norway, the sale of alcohol is controlled through a state monopoly and beer prices are some of the highest in the world.

And the price of a real plumber?


Monday, March 13, 2006

3 Years In The Army Would Do 'Em Good …

Rioting, striking students.

Not in my day … blah, blah, blah … we had to sit up straight, obey orders and the word 'strike' only appeared in the dictionary.

It would appear all has changed for the worse. Now, striking at school is de rigueur - and it’s not just the teachers. Kids are now downing pens and papers, locking themselves in the school premises and refusing to work.
Well, they are in France.

As a key part of an unemployment-cutting strategy by Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin, the First Employment Contract (CPE) is a two-year contract for under 26 year-olds which employers can break off at any time without explanation.
Basically, "anyone under the age of 26 can easily be hired and fired from a job within the first 2 years of employment"

So? It's like that in most places … except Germany, of course.

La Sorbonne, founded in 1257 by Robert deSorbon, had been under occupation by some 400 students until 4am on Saturday, when the Government and the Chancellor of Paris Universities Maurice Quenet said "enough is enough" … in went the riot Police. It took a little over 10 minutes to clear the halls.

During the stand-off outside, and the later rushing of the building, the Police may well have given the odd unwashed bourgeois pratt a black eye etc., but nothing life-threatening. In response to being turfed out of the building, the students had pelted the police with glass bottles, ladders, fire extinguishers and assorted furniture. All this had been faithfully captured on video by my dear friends at APTN. Naturally, the riot police didn't force their way in with feather dusters and with an invitation to tea and crumpets as a means of enticement. In went a small army of big, strapping, overweight thugs with plastic body armour and batons that hurt.

Paris's Socialist mayor, Bertrand Delanoe, said in a statement before police stormed the building, that he was "deeply concerned" about the use of force against the student protest.

However, Mr Delanoe is not exactly the sort of person you’d find throwing punches in a bar brawl … more a flash of manicured nails toward the eye region. How else do you think the police were supposed to deal with missile-hurling rich kids, eh Bernie?

I ought to point out that Azedine Berkane tried to assassinate dear Bernie on October 5th 2002. As Berkane drove his knife home, he was brought down by …?


A great big strapping policeman who used just a teeny bit of force - for which (like the riot police) he had been trained for.

The days of 'jobs for life' in France look like they're coming to an end and I can only give the following advice to the next generation of workers:

1) Don’t live off your parents until you reach 30 years old.
2) Find a job (yes, by yourself).
3) Work bloody hard at keeping it.

However, if they do loose their jobs within the 2 years, they automatically qualify for generous unemployment benefit ... which is how most of these scruffy youths will top-up their parents allowances anyway.

Being compeditive in the job market is called survival and it happens the world over - everyday - and without resorting to criminal damage.


I am indebted to 'anonymous' who left a note for the above post. 'Anonymous' pointed out that there should be an addition to the list. Apparently, No 4 should read 'enslave yourself'.

Yes, 'anonymous' ... life's a bitch, innit ... I take it that you're independently wealthy?

Friday, March 10, 2006

The Temperature Rises …

If you had followed the news in this part of the world yesterday, then you might have thought that France was falling apart at the seams.

Firstly, sentence had been passed on 46-yr old Christophe Fauviau, who between 2000 and 2003, had drugged 27 of his children's tennis opponents. When no-one was watching, Fauviau would spike opponents court-side drink with an anti-anxiety drug, Temesta. Tennis teacher Alexandre Lagardere, 25, had played Fauviau's son Maxime in July 2003 in a village game - the prize was a leg of ham. Before the match, young Maxim's father went to work and doped Mr Lagardere's drink with up to six tablets. This made him so woozy that Mr Lagardere crashed his car on the way home and died of his injuries.

On other occasions, his children's opponents, one as young as 11, collapsed or felt ill during matches.

Sending him down for 8 years, the prosecution at the trial in Mont-de-Marsan called him a selfish, manipulative liar for whom success for his children justified anything. I'd just call him a bastard and throw away the key, but that's just me.

Just as Fauviau had been kitted out in a natty blue 2-piece prison suit, came the next headline-maker.

A former unnamed teacher calmly walked into a school in Sable-sur-Sarthe (2.5hrs drive west of Paris) and held held 21 students and two adults hostage for several hours.

He had lost his job as a supply teacher at the Colbert de Torcy secondary school two years ago. The 33-year-old man, carrying a handgun, was said to be protesting about his employment problems. According to a receptionist at the school: "He looked normal when he walked in... We let him in because we knew who he was."

The man's demands during the crisis to speak to the media and a former education minister from the region - as well as accounts from school workers who knew him - suggested he was depressed about not finding work for a prolonged period of time. Top local official Stephane Bouillon said the man had respect for the children and wanted "his distress to be dealt with".

Testosterone-filled members of France's elite GIGN protection force were sent for but shortly after they arrived, the man gave himself up. The captives, mostly students aged 16 to 18, were unharmed and the handover passed off calmly.

What next …?

'Pump Action Shotgun Drama In Retirement Home?'


Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Oh B-b-b-b-bugger …

For those Brits who fondly remember the BBC’s sitcom comedy classic 'Open All Hours', may not be aware that the shop originally used in filming, could soon be up for the council wrecking ball.

Council chiefs in Doncaster have warned that some of the town's pre-1919 housing may have to be demolished to make way for new developments. Arkwrights old shop is in the firing line.

News of the demolition proposals came as friends of ‘Open All Hours’ star Ronnie Barker, who played the stammering Arkwright, gathered at Westminster Abbey last Friday for a memorial service to the actor who died in October 2005.

The shop in Lister Avenue was not a grocery store in real life, but a hairdressing salon (it still is). The BBC set designers altered the shop front to suit their requirements and the series ran from 1976 - 1985.

Now, Doncaster Council has it’s eye on redesigning the whole street.

Oh, progress …


Monday, March 06, 2006

Let Slip, The Frocks Of War…

A little before 7 this morning, I woke and turned on my favourite talk radio station "So, this year’s Oscar Ceremony has come to end and …", I switched the radio off.

I apologise to any film fans or star idolisers, but I find the Oscars about as fascinating as knowing that Bill Gates earns more interest with his investments in one day as I earn in fifteen years. It’s where the rich get richer and the losers consider 'going postal' in the theatre's auditorium.

The French have their own televised mutual masturbation, the Césars. It's held at the end of February, just pipping the Americans by a few weeks. No-one really gives a flying wotsit about the Césars as the French are in total awe of the Americans. To boost a dwindling public interest in the Césars, the organisers have begun inviting US stars to Paris to give away the palmarés, the prestigious 'prix du cinéma français' to it's winners. Sadly, the French statue lacks the bold lines and the 'Look At Me' appeal of it’s American version, as it resembles a crushed gold-plated Citroen 2CV.

Back in Tinsel Town, the usual male tail feathers were being wagged and the women turned up, as nearly-naked as possible. The display of capped teeth and fake tits was, in itself, an proud advertisement for the plastics industry.

According to news agencies, a few days before the ceremony, Tom Hanks (or as the French say, 'Tom Onks') was giving advice to the upcoming winners and losers. He suggested that the winners made a short but funny speech and the losers kept smiling in the face of career meltdown.

Out of a possible 24 major awards, Britain won two. BBC radio described the Oscars as 'A night of British glories …' Hang on a second, winning a World War was a 'glory' (we won 2 of those as well). People who win prizes for not being themselves is pushing it a bit. In that case, there must be hundreds of thousands of keen Oscar nominees waiting their chance in psychiatric hospitals around the world.

Another thing that makes my skin crawl is how the acting professional suddenly becomes the 'expert gob on a stick' at the drop of a hat. Here's what I mean: any national or international disaster/crisis or social incident (flood, famine, disease, scientific discovery etc), whatever subject is being discussed, a recognised and established leader in the field is wheeled out in front of the news cameras and gives his/her professional opinion.

However, after making a film on a similar topic for three months, some actor gets up and pontificates about the subject, on which they are technically unqualified to talk about. For example, after "Welcome To Sarajevo" (1997), Woody Harrelson sat at the press junket and spouted total crap to assembled journalists on the subject of covering a war as a news correspondent. This incompetent outpouring confirmed my belief that Hollywood really is 100% fake. Next time to see a movie star spouting off about a particular subject, you might like to ask yourself "after earning $4.5m in 3 months, what makes YOU such an expert?"

On the morning after the Oscars, when they all wake up in Hollywood nursing fake hangovers, they'll only be one subject on their lips … 2007.


Sunday, March 05, 2006

LBW: Lump Before Wicket …

On his recent sub-continental trip, World President George ‘Dubya’ recently paid a visit to Pakistan. Needless to say, he had time to brush up on his geography onboard Air Force One, and once there, didn’t drink water from any taps and didn’t try the local delicacies (stomach cramps and incessant diarrhoea being the favoured for most foreign visitors).

Just before George rejoined Air Force One and it's air conditioning and uncontaminated sterlie surroundings, he had time for a quick game of cricket.

Yes, George played cricket.

For normal educated Americans, cricket is confusing enough but they can’t get their heads around the fact that at International level, one game lasts five days.

The game is, in itself, pretty easy to understand:

You have two sides, one out in the field and one in. Each man that's in the side that's in goes out, and when he's out he comes in and the next man goes in until he's out. When they are all out, the side that's out comes in and the side that’s been in goes out and tries to get those coming in, out. Sometimes you get men still in and not out. When a man goes out to go in, the men who are out try to get him out, and when he is out he goes in and the next man in goes out and goes in. There are two men called umpires who stay all out all the time and they decide when the men who are in are out. When both sides have been in and all the men have out, and both sides have been out twice after all the men have been in, including those who are not out, that is the end of the game.

That was basically what Dubya was told …

Pakistan’s National Team, who are a pretty savvy bunch of players, took George into the nets and bowled him a few numbers with a tennis ball - a real cricket ball was deemed to be a tad too dangerous for El Presidente. I ought to point out that the whole affair took place heavily-guarded US embassy. At one point George, an avid Baseball fan, was hit by a ball on the shoulder.

When asked if he had enjoyed his first brush with the game, George replied "I don't quite have the skills yet."

President Bush met Pakistani cricket captain Inzaman-ul-Haq and opening batsman Salman Butt amid tight security at the US embassy in Islamabad.

Watched by a crowd of schoolchildren, he was shown the correct way of holding a cricket bat before being led to the crease to face some bowling.

A few minutes later (and after being hit by this wicked tennis ball) George then tried his hand at bowling. The resulting photograph says it all. Early release George, the ball’s going to go straight up …

Mr Bush told a dinner party on Saturday that he had been bowled over by a "googly" - a type of ball where the bowler seeks to surprise the batsman. Much the same when he tried to bowl Saddam a "googly" resulting in the second Gulf War. No weapons of mass destruction at this particular crease George …

Hat’s off to you GW, you gave it a go … but, like the Presidency, it doesn't quite suit you.


Saturday, March 04, 2006

Remember Me This Way …

Now that Paul Gadd had spent his first day and night in prison as a convicted man, here’s something to think about …

1) 'Gary, the Leader Of The Gang' did commit the crimes he was accused of.

2) At the time, the children involved were financially rewarded by 'Gary'.

3) At the time, the parent(s) knew where their children were (all night long) and were financially rewarded by 'Gary'.

4) Now enter a scruffy, cash-rich tabloid hack. It doesn't take a genius to imagine that the families of the victims would agree to say anything in exchange for a year's income in used 'oncers'.

The Reuters news agency stringer wired his copy from the courtroom in Vung Tau which, in turn, had to be censored by HQ in London. Needless to say that a pre-edited copy was blasted around the empire as an email, so that all could read the gory details. To do what was described to a consenting adult is one thing, but to a child of 11?

I do not doubt that the 61-yr old ex-rocker committed the crimes he was sent down for, but I cannot help but think that a British tabloid newspaper accelerated the process and gave a gentle shove which helped cast a cloud across 'Gary’s' sun …

News organisations have listed this story under 'Entertainment'. Mmmmmm.

He was bloody lucky that he only got 3 years.


Friday, March 03, 2006

Gadd It's All Over …

61-yr old Paul Francis Gadd (Gary Glitter) has been jailed in Vietnam for 3 years, all because of his kiddie-fiddling antics.

In his heyday, in the 70’s and 80’s with the Glitter Band, ‘Gary’ sold 20 million albums and if you were there, like me, you felt a certain association with him as he was a great entertainer and the best ‘light relief’ in any musical programme. With an outrageous wardrobe (normally decorated with glitter), a varied selection of facial expressions all supported on monstrous boots and flying high(ish) kicks, Glitter strutted his stuff and churned out anthems a-plenty.

He gracefully slipped from the public eye but in 1999 he was arrested for possession of child pornography. From then on, his reputation never recovered.

Can’t say that I’m that surprised, given his track record over the past few years. If it sticks the first time, then there’s not much of a chance that he’d have given up this specific hobby any time soon.

So, on a blatantly flippant note, let’s look at some of his past recording glories and the ‘oh so near’ titles which should have rung bells then, but now have a particular 'je ne sais pas' about them - either on his nasty little habits or on his return to jail;

1972 "I Didn't Know I Loved You" No4 UK
1972 "Do You Wanna Touch Me?" No2 UK
1973 "Hello Hello I'm Back Again" No2 UK
1974 "Oh Yes! You're Beautiful" No2 UK
1975 "Doing Alright with the Boys" No6 UK
1976 "You Belong To Me" No40 UK
1977 "It Takes All Night Long" No25 UK
1978 "365 Days" (should be renamed “1095 Days”)
1995 "Hello, Hello I'm Back Again (Again!)” No50 UK

… and the list goes on …

Still with painted eyebrows, Gary never flinched when the verdict was read out and translated for him. I will admit that the shot of the weeping Mother in court (of one of his ‘victims’), looked preposterously staged … outpourings of public grief in most of Asia normally are. Off he went, a beaten yet defiant figure of a 70’s Glam-Rock icon, insisting that is was all a set-up by 'certain' newspapers. He now has 15 days to appeal ...

His huge, luxurious mansion in Vung Tau lies dormant as Paul Francis Gadd has recently moved as a guest at a different class of establishment, the local jail in Vung Tau. It’s an old and decaying structure where prisoners have to buy food from the outside world in order to survive … and he’ll be the only westerner imprisoned there.

Hello, Hello. It's good to be back, it's good to be back!
Did you miss me, Yeah, while I was away, did you hang my picture on your wall,
Did you kiss me, Yeah, every single day, although you couldn't kiss me at all,
And did you love me, Yeah, like a good little girl

Oh Gary, what have you done ...?


Thursday, March 02, 2006

Question Of The Day ...

Would someone please tell me, who Paris Hilton is ...

... and what does she actually do?

I have a feeling it's to do with regular bedding but I'm a little confused.