bigjohn

There is many a good tune played on an old fiddle.

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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 50 years of happy marriage.
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“Don’t vote, it only encourages them”. Billy Connolly.

Posted by Big John on April 23, 2015

I’ll be glad when this bloody election is over, as I’ve had enough of lying, self-serving, hypocritical politicians showing off their wives and kids (not to mention their kitchens), walking about in hard hats, talking with school kids, rolling up their sleeves when visiting hospitals and all the rest of the nauseating behaviour which they think will win votes.

Now, in the middle of this political pantomime, our Dave, not missing a trick, has turned his attention to the terrible happenings in the Mediterranean where hundreds, if not thousands, of desperate people are drowning as they attempt to flee the chaos in Libya and elsewhere in Africa.

In a recent speech, our excuse for a prime minister said that .. “crucially we’ve got to do more to deal with the problems in the countries from which these people are coming and we’ve got to crack down on the terrible people traffickers and people smugglers who are at the heart of this problem“.

I can only assume that his tiny brain has forgotten the fact that these ‘problems‘ have come about as a result of him and his mates destabilising the region by naively rushing in to give military assistance and support to every band of so-called ‘freedom fighters’ in the Middle East, without, it would appear, having a clue about the likely outcome of such reckless actions.

Meanwhile, back at home, the forecast is for a ‘hung parliament': and I must say that when I look at the gang of shysters who sit on those green benches at Westminster, the word ‘hanging’ …

often springs to mind !

Posted in humour, political, rant | 3 Comments »

It’s time for a good TV ‘swords and sandals’ !

Posted by Big John on April 16, 2015

I have posted previously about how much I enjoy a good TV historical/costume drama: but alas the latest ‘crop’ does not always live up to my expectations, and some are only worth watching for a laugh and to spot how little (if any) historical research has gone into some of these productions.

I did enjoy ‘Wolf Hall’, and I’m a fan of the latest in the ‘Vikings’ series which really seems to portray those warriors from the north as I imagined them to be. Scruffy Scandinavian farmers, turned sword wielding warriors, with a few hairy bikers thrown in for good measure.

Now I know ‘Poldark’ isn’t strictly ‘historical’, but it’s not bad entertainment, although a lot of time is wasted with Ross on horseback galloping along the Cornish cliffs; and although he looks heroic, unlike all the other ‘gentry’, he never shaves, combs his hair, or wears a wig: and, come to think of it, he’s not keen on wearing underwear.

So, what of  ‘Banished’ .. Oh dear ! .. What a disappointment this ‘epic’  has turned out to be, with one critic branding this story of the first criminals transported to Australia as .. “I’m a convict, get me out of here” ! .. Well, the ‘celeb reality’ show’s Ant and Dec haven’t turned up yet, but they would probably fit in nicely with the odd assortment of starving prisoners, filthy floozies, a nutty vicar, a randy major in charge of a bunch of moronic marines, and dialogue which included a reference to a ‘Dear John’ letter, a term which wasn’t used until US soldiers invented it during World War 2: and had convicts playing poker with their guards. A game that was only introduced to Britain when Queen Victoria showed an interest in it in 1871, nearly a century after this load of old .. drama takes place !

‘Indian Summers’ is quite good with the action taking place in India during the last years of the ‘Raj’, and as you would expect there are plenty of very unpleasant colonial ‘pukka sahib’ types around, and lots of talk (but not much explanation) about Gandhi, ‘Congress’ and the untouchables. There is also a rather raucous Julie Walters as the memsahib owner of the Royal Simla Club, bastion of snobbery, colonial rule and gossip. Perhaps the next series of ‘Downton Abbey’ could be set in India with a plot featuring a ‘downstairs’ scandal about Mrs. Hughes and the new Dhobi Wallah ?

Must go now, as I’m off to switch on and watch my favourite epic medieval fantasy  … Yes ! … ‘Game of Thrones’ is back, and although I’m not too confused by the story at the moment, I have a feeling that …

… I soon will be !

Posted in humour | 2 Comments »

Return ticket not valid !

Posted by Big John on April 7, 2015

As a young man I worked alongside a veteran who’s ideals and courage I greatly respected, for, a few years before, he had left this country to fight in a foreign war. That war was the ‘Spanish Civil War’ and he had been a volunteer in the ‘International Brigade’ fighting against Franco’s fascists. When he returned to the UK his left wing political convictions did not threaten my life or that of any other British citizen. In fact many leading politicians where on hand to welcome these Republican volunteers back to this country when that war ended.

Now we have a situation where many young men and women are leaving these shores to fight in another foreign war: and some of our naïve politicians and others are concerned about them, and would like to see them return safely to their British homes.

If this is not insanity, then I don’t know what is, because the difference between my old workmate and his comrades and these jihadists, is that they were no threat to the people of this country; whereas these poor misguided religious fanatics most definitely are, as they would like nothing better than to bring mayhem to our streets, as they will have been trained so to do, as part of their desire to wipe all those of us who do not believe as they do, off the face of the earth.

OK ! .. So if they are that keen to live under the black flag of the ‘Islamic State’, or ‘Daesh’ as it is known in the Middle East, and are happy with Sharia law etc. I say, let them go, but ensure that they never return …

… “In sha’Allah” !

Posted in nostalgia, political, rant, religion | 3 Comments »

Happy Easter, and here’s …

Posted by Big John on April 3, 2015

a true story

Back in the early 1980’s I had a friend who’s appearance could only be described as old style ‘Flower Power’ hippy. He was a very skilled carpenter, who one day was busy in his workshop, when he was approached by a Catholic priest who wanted a wooden crucifix made in time for Easter. It was to be sited in the garden of a local convent.

My friend helped the father select some suitable timber and they agreed a price and a delivery date in time for the religious festival.

Just before Good Friday my friend knocked on the door of the convent which was opened by an old nun who saw before her a bearded carpenter with shoulder length hair; wearing a long grubby shirt, leather sandals, and carrying a large wooden cross on his shoulder.

The old girl just managed a .. “Holy Mary, mother of ! “.. before ..

… she fainted ! 

Posted in humour, nostalgia, religion | 3 Comments »

Here we go again. – Part Eleven

Posted by Big John on March 28, 2015

Just when I thought that I had learned a little bit about the almighty mess that is the Middle East, with all of it’s blood thirsty tribal loonies and Arabic speaking arseholes shouting “Allāhu Akbar” as they fire their Kalashnikovs into the air, before they get on with the serious work of killing each other: and just when I have learned to call ‘ISIS’ the ‘Islamic State’, along comes a new mob of religious rebels who want to take over Yemen (and who knows what else ?). They are the ‘Houthi’ and are Shia Muslims.

Now the ‘happy go lucky’ Saudi Arabians and their Sunni mates are a bit pissed off to say the least, and even ISIS, Oops ! I mean the Islamic State and Al-Qaeda want to kick the Houthi’s arse, or more likely, well let’s just say, do what all good jihadis so love to do in the name of a peace loving religion.

The leader of the powerful Shia Hezbollah militia mocked the Saudi-led offensive, calling the Saudis .. “lazy losers” .. which is strange as I believe that President Obama is backing the Saudis, which again, is confusing me because the USA has been on better terms with Iran recently, and that Shia state is said to be the power behind the Houthi rebels.

I think that I should stop now, because it’s only likely to get even more confusing, but I would just like to say that, of course, the UK government has offered to support Saudi Arabia … and 

… Brent oil prices spiked 6% to $58 a barrel !

Posted in humour, political, rant, religion | 1 Comment »

Dastardly King Dick’s Departure.

Posted by Big John on March 24, 2015

If ever you wanted to see the eccentric English people at their barmy best, then you couldn’t have wished for a better example than the five day send-off being given to a king who was cast as an evil and twisted villain by the Tudors, and was then immortalised as a hunchbacked evil schemer by William Shakespeare.

Now it would seem that (after some 500 years and not a few dead bodies) he wasn’t such a bad bloke after all. In fact King Richard III seems to have quite a following of fans, if the thousands of people who turned out to see his coffin are anything to go by.

Now at this point I have to say that I could have done without all the religious ‘mumbo-jumbo’, but, even as a ‘republican’ history nut, I quite enjoyed (perhaps for the wrong reasons) all those medieval moments, with the men in armour, the horses, the banners, the beating drums and the booming cannons: but what really surprised me was the respect shown by all those slightly potty people, who queued for hours outside the cathedral to get a look at the coffin of a murderous monarch who lost his horse and was hacked to death in 1485: and although I saw the whole event as more than a bit bonkers, one thing did strike me, which was that, even in this land of ever increasing boorish behaviour, the spectators were behaving with some degree of dignity until, that is, there was that dopey ‘Diana’ display, as Yorkist white roses where flung at the coffin, and some ‘Plantagenet’ plonker in the crowd yelled …

… “Long live King Richard !”

Posted in humour, nostalgia, rant, religion | 4 Comments »

Green is for grass … Not glass !

Posted by Big John on March 18, 2015

I can remember a time when two rather magnificent horses pulled a huge grey coloured cart along the street where I lived; and when a couple of big strong men wearing leather jerkins and flat caps hoisted large metal dustbins (trash cans) onto their broad shoulders before emptying them into the cart. As I recall, these ‘dustmen’ where usually friendly blokes, who cheerfully chased us kids away when we would hung on the back of the cart for a ride.

Yes, in those far off days the collection of household waste was a simple affair. You threw your rubbish into a bin, put the lid on it, left it outside your front door and thought no more about it !

Now I have five plastic bins into which I have to sort my trash … One with a red lid for paper and cardboard … One with a green lid for garden waste such as grass cuttings … One with a blue lid for glass, cartons and plastic containers … One small grey container for food waste .. and .. One large bin with a grey lid for any other rubbish: and I must beware ! .. for the interior of each bin is inspected before the crew of orange clad ‘waste management operatives’ remove your garbage: for should you accidentally drop a paper bag in the blue bin, a Stasi sanitary supervisor will descend from the giant collection vehicle, with it’s flashing lights and noisy crushing machine, not, as common sense would dictate, to move the offending article to the correct bin; but, in typical ‘jobsworth’ fashion, to order the ‘defiled’ bin to be left by the roadside un-emptied, and bearing a warning notice, so that your neighbours are made aware that they are living close to a dumb-arsed dumper who must be a recycling reprobate.

OK, so I know that recycling is a good idea, but dragging those bins to the kerbside is becoming a ‘pain in the arse’ (literally), and I have to wonder, just how much of what I carefully sort every week ends up being transformed into something useful and how much ends up stinking up what used to be some poor sod’s …

… “green and pleasant land” ?

Posted in humour, nostalgia, rant | 3 Comments »

Sometimes it’s baked beans.

Posted by Big John on March 15, 2015

Continuing with the subject of my last post, this extract from a popular national newspaper (we all know which one) is a classic example of .. ‘a load of old bollocks’ … when it refers to ‘the do nothing duchess’ … as … “Kate exhausted by the rigours of pregnancy and looking after an energetic toddler” .. and .. “Kate and William can be grand, of course (I bet they can !), but they love it when Carole (the demon mother-in-law) brings them cheese on toast” ! .. When she does  …

… I bet it pisses off the butler !

Posted in humour, rant | 1 Comment »

 
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