bigjohn

“Old age ain't no place for sissies.” .. Bette Davis

  • Warning ! Very Old Person Blogging

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  • My Life and Times

    I was born in 1939 BC.
    That’s ‘Before Computers’.

    Luckily I survived the following events in my life, such as

    World War II, The London Blitz, Rationing, and worst of all… Archbishop Temple’s School.

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    During the mid 1950s I was enjoying Rock ‘n’ Roll and being a first generation teenager, when suddenly, just like Elvis, I found myself in uniform during ‘The Cold War’…and then

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    I became ‘a family’. Which meant that I sort of missed the ‘swinging sixties’, but still managed to look a complete prat in the 70s, just like everyone else.

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    During the ‘Thatcher Years’ I lost my hair and a lot of people lost a good deal more. My career fluctuated to say the least as I was demoted, promoted, fired and hired a number of times, but still I managed to stagger on into a welcome retirement and to celebrate 59 years of happy marriage.

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    Copyright © 2021

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R.I.P. ‘Phil the Greek’.

Posted by Big John on April 12, 2021

I was never a fan of The Duke of Edinburgh, but then again, I was never a fan of any of the Windsor (Saxe-Coburg-Gotha) crew. However, it is ‘right and proper’ to show respect at times like these, but, the excessive hours the BBC (and other TV channels) have devoted to reporting the death and reviewing the life of the Queen’s husband has been quite ridiculous to say the least.

Something which I found far more annoying than the ‘wall to wall’ reporting, was the media coverage, which rightly showed the solemnity of members of the public, but also highlighted the appearance of members of the “grief-lite” brigade and, in particular, the deplorable behaviour of those parents who hand bunches of flowers to very young children, who cannot possibly understand what is going on, and then push them towards some makeshift memorial or other in the hope of them being ‘caught on camera’.

I know that for much of my long life I lived in a world where funerals and remembrance services were fairly dignified private affairs when “showing respect” meant something. Perhaps the old boy’s low-key affair will remind people of this.

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“People think there’s a rigid class system here,

but dukes have even been known to marry chorus girls.

Some have even married Americans.” … Prince Philip (2000).

Posted in History, humour, nostalgia, rant | 1 Comment »

Fact or Folklore ?

Posted by Big John on April 1, 2021

I have always had an interest in the Victorian era, and in particular events during the British rule over India, both during the time of The Honourable East India Company, and later, The British Raj.

Bearing this in mind, I was looking forward to seeing an Indian made movie set at the time of “The First War of Independence” in 1857, better known to the British as “The Indian Mutiny”.

The film in question was the colourful historical epic “The Warrior Queen of Jhansi” which I quite enjoyed, and found interesting as my knowledge of the events depicted was ‘limited’ to say the least.

The lavish costumes of the major Indian characters looked authentic. Unfortunately the same cannot be said for the uniforms of the British officers who would, almost certainly, not have been dressed in their expensive tailored dress uniforms, complete with gold bullion epaulettes (see Sir Hugh Rose). When on active service in the heat and dust of India, around that time, they would have looked more like this officer.

One scene rather lets the film down when Queen Victoria is seen in a meeting with her prime minister Lord Palmerston and they seem to have almost immediate news of what is happening in India, although this is a few years before the first telegraph connection between Britain and the subcontinent. During this meeting the queen is attended by her Indian servant who makes comments and offers advice. Yes, the queen’s Muslim servant did attend Victoria at meetings and events, but he didn’t arrive on the scene until ….

…. 30 years later !

Posted in entertainment, History, humour | 1 Comment »

Do people really care ?

Posted by Big John on March 11, 2021

What happened to the pandemic ? … Today it has almost disappeared from the media after more than a year, and has, unbelievably, been replaced by a well rehearsed “academy award performance” given by an American actress (Oops! .. Sorry) actor, the wife of the “Woke Ginger Whinger of Windsor”.

“Megs and Haz” ! They are just a pair of self-obsessed avaricious hypocrites living a life of luxury in …

… “La-La Land” !

Posted in rant | 5 Comments »

More “Talking Pictures” please !

Posted by Big John on February 28, 2021

During this latest lockdown I’ve spent a lot (maybe too much?) time in front of my TV watching a variety of recorded movies, and I have been surprised just how many times I have pressed the delete button on my remote after just a few minutes of thumping music noise, mumbled dialogue, unreadable subtitles, unrecognisable (and ‘look-alike’) characters, screeching car chases and explosive crashes. Not to mention more automatic gunfire than ‘Desert Storm’, more “mother-****ing” language than heard on an American prison yard, and enough ‘rumpy-pumpy’ to satisfy the most seasoned voyeur !

Luckily, there are one or two channels where you can still enjoy films from the days when the background music didn’t drown out every conversation, clever lighting was used so that you knew what was happening when the action was taking place after dark, and there was no possibility that you would mistake characters played by Edward G. Robinson for Humphrey Bogart or Bette Davis for Ava Gardner.

Oh! … and, before I forget .. Whatever happened to stories with a …

… “beginning, a middle and an end” ?

Posted in entertainment, humour, nostalgia, rant | 3 Comments »

Lush looking and ludicrous.

Posted by Big John on February 10, 2021

You may recall that I have always enjoyed historical TV drama series. “Swords and sandals”, “bodice rippers” or even an old “biblical bathrobe” movie can be entertaining.

OK, I know, some do not always stick to the historical facts and are not too accurate when depicting well known characters from long ago, but, I can often tolerate this if the story line does not drift too far from the facts, and, with this in mind, and having read a couple of reviews, I decided to watch “The Great”.

Now I know that I should have been aware that I was not going to enjoy this ‘comedy drama’ when I read at the start of the programme .. “An Occasionally True Story” ! .. In fact it is an imagined tale about Catherine the Great and her husband, Emperor Peter of Russia, who is depicted as a sociopathic and swaggering narcissist, living a life of obscene privilege and using plenty of ‘obscene’ language.

I stopped watching after the umpteenth “Huzzar!” and the appearance of a black Russian. Not the cocktail, but a character named “Arkady” played by Bayo Gbadamosi, a talented actor, but, like most of the cast, out of place in this absurd …

… achronistic offering !

Posted in History, humour | Leave a Comment »

“Bring out yer over 80 year olds!”

Posted by Big John on January 10, 2021

Remember my visit to the local “drive-thru” on the 24th November ?

Well, I visited it again yesterday for my first dose of Pfizer-COVID-19 vaccine, and so did bloody hundreds of other old farts.

What was very noticeable was the friendly attitude and efficiency of the medical staff and volunteers. It took time, but everything ran very smoothly as far as I could see, despite the freezing weather: and, there wasn’t any sign of a single …

“grumpy old git”

 

Posted in Uncategorized | 5 Comments »

Make it a common-sense Christmas.

Posted by Big John on December 18, 2020

Last year I didn’t post my usual Christmas greeting due to being preoccupied with a major family crisis: and, this year, it hardly seems appropriate to indulge in all that “Ho! Ho! Ho!” frivolity when in the middle of a terrible pandemic, and, at a time, when we should all be concentrating on protecting ourselves and our loved ones. So, this year, my message is don’t hug granny and …

 “stay frosty!”

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment »

“Left hand, right hand?”

Posted by Big John on November 24, 2020

Ten days ago I visited a local ‘Drive-Thru’. The service was fast and friendly, but none of the staff asked .. “Do you want fries with that?” .. However I was asked for my date of birth, and when I declared that I was born shortly before the start of WWII, I was immediately directed into “the fast lane”, and was quickly on my way home after my free annual flu jab which I had booked with my local health centre several weeks before.

Today, to my surprise, I received a very long letter from “NHS England and NHS Improvement” reminding me that I “should book an appointment with your GP practice or a pharmacy to get the flu vaccination”.

Let us hope that the “Improvement” arm of the NHS has actually been at work before …

… the “Covid” vaccine arrives !

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment »