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.




    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




    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.




    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 54 years of happy marriage.
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Archive for the ‘rant’ Category

Now you won’t get a prayer with your popcorn.

Posted by Big John on November 24, 2015

I see that the ‘someone will be offended’ brigade are at it again !

Blimey ! .. It was only recently that I was ranting about sausage rolls and bacon sandwiches supposedly offending every Ahmed, Moishe, Sanjit and Hardeep in the country.

Now it’s a cinema ad which shows a number of people from different walks of life, including the Archbishop of Canterbury, reciting the Lord’s Prayer.

Who could possibly be offended by that ? … Could it be our Muslim fellow citizens ? .. I hear you ask.

Well, .. No ! .. is the answer according to Ibrahim Mogra, of the Muslim Council of Britain,  who said … “I am flabbergasted that anyone would find this prayer offensive to anybody, including people of no particular religious belief“; which I suppose includes this old atheist.

On the other hand as one who dislikes all forms of ‘evangelism’ and religious mumbo-jumbo, I suppose that I should go along with Terry Sanderson, president of the National Secular Society, who argued that the Church of England is … “arrogant to imagine it has an automatic right to foist its opinions upon a captive audience”: but in this case I really find it hard to object and I’m certainly not offended, for I always smile when I remember my very dumb young classmates reciting … “Our Father which art in heaven  …

Harold be they name”…  :-)

Posted in humour, rant, religion | 3 Comments »

Barbarians … ‘inside the gate’ !

Posted by Big John on November 17, 2015

Unlike the United Kingdom, France is a country that can call on several well armed police forces in both local and national emergencies. There is the ‘Gendarmerie Nationale’ (a military force) … the ‘Police Nationale’ (a civilian force) which includes the ‘CRS’ (Compagnies Républicaines de Sécurité), the formidable riot police, and various municipal police forces whose officers are also armed: and yet they were unable to prevent the recent terrible events in Paris.

However, they appear to have responded fairly quickly and in some numbers which meant that the terrorist attacks were brought to an end before more lives were lost.

Which brings me to my question … What will happen if when a small number of homicidal religious nutters carry out similar actions in London or some other British town or city ?

We do not have any kind of national or local paramilitary police force. In fact the vast majority of our police officers are unarmed, we have very few ‘armed response vehicles’ (ARVs) on the streets and the weapons carried in these vehicles are no match for the AK47 Kalashnikovs and explosives used by these deadly medieval butchers.

I’m afraid that our ‘contain and negotiate’ until someone with a gun turns up approach won’t work when dealing with a fanatical loony who is only too happy to be ‘sent to paradise’ as he takes as many innocent people as possible with him.

To make things worse, there are said to be around 450 (probably many more) ex-jihadi volunteers freely walking our streets after returning from Syria, and as usual and, despite all the rhetoric, the same incompetent idiots who let them back into the country haven’t a clue how to protect us from them.

Still, never mind, our Dave has vowed that British “resolve” would defeat Islamist terrorism. Thank goodness for that,  …

… I feel safer already !

Posted in political, rant, religion | 3 Comments »

“but the locals are so friendly and the drinks are cheap”

Posted by Big John on November 13, 2015

I have travelled quite a bit during my long life, both for pleasure and business. I’ve seen most of Europe, much of the United States, a small corner of Asia and set foot very briefly in Africa, and on most of those trips I have felt perfectly safe.

I say ‘most’ because there were one or two ‘hairy’ moments, like when on a business trip to both sides of the Irish border back in the 70’s and driving through what was then known as ‘bandit country’ and being constantly asked .. “Are yoos English ?” .. not knowing who was asking the question.

A little later in the USA I sometimes found myself straying into the wrong neighbourhoods, such as the South Bronx in New York City or South Central Los Angeles, and getting some very strange looks from those local lads ‘homies’ wearing those so colourful bandanas.

I never knowingly ventured into a ‘danger zone’, which is why I am amazed when I read that today some crazy people take themselves and their families off on vacation to some very dodgy destinations indeed, and for what ?

Well, if your idea of a good time is laying in the blistering heat on some African beach, covered in sun screen and insect repellent, flicking away the flies and watching the sweating soldiers toting their Kalashnikovs around the perimeter of your holiday resort … Good luck !

Once the only ‘dangers’ faced when travelling to far-off lands (and some nearer ones) were persistent pedlars, funny food, suspicious smells, severe sunburn, myriads of mosquitoes, and (very) primitive ‘privies’.

Now, if after the recent atrocities in Egypt, Tunisia etc. you are foolish enough to head for the delights of those “far away places with strange sounding names”, at best you could end up with a bad dose of Montezuma’s revenge after helping yourself from the poolside buffet, or at worst, find yourself  kneeling in the sand in some desert … I think that I will leave the rest …

… to your imagination !

Posted in nostalgia, rant, travel | 6 Comments »

“Say that again !”

Posted by Big John on November 6, 2015

Is it me, or are our young people all practising to be ventriloquists ?

For some time I’ve wondered if my old ears were letting me down, and then I noticed that when I watched young students and others being interviewed on TV many of them hardly parted their lips and emitted what I can only describe as a whispered monosyllabic mumble without any trace of intonation or enunciation.

I suppose that in this day and age having the ability to speak fluently and coherently is beginning to seem less important as fewer face to face conversations take place, and, sad to say, many find it difficult to communicate without having at hand some device which allows them to use text gibberish, ’emojis’, and ..

… the “like”  !  .. :-(

Posted in humour, rant | 2 Comments »

“It takes all sorts … “

Posted by Big John on October 27, 2015

I’ve just discovered a new word .. “genderqueer” .. and all because Germaine Greer has upset a lot of people recently by insisting on calling transgender women “post-operative transgender men”.

Now I’m no fan of Ms. Greer, but surely I thought, she does have a point, for removing a man’s naughty bits and surgically ‘enhancing’ other parts of his body does not turn him into a woman.

Please stay with me on this ! …  For, although I’ve had gay friends, it wasn’t long ago that I was getting used to ‘LGBT’, ‘gay pride’ etc. so accepting the idea that some people are ‘genderqueer’ has my old brain struggling a bit.

I always assumed that ‘transgender’ referred to people who are strongly attached to whichever gender is opposite to their biological sex. In other words .. Someone assigned as a ‘boy’ at birth but who identifies as a ‘girl’ is often described later in life as a ‘transgender woman’, while someone assigned as a ‘girl’ at birth but identifies as a ‘boy’ is often described later in life as a “transgender man”. Now I learn (I think) that some people do not see themselves as either sex. Life must be very complicated to say the least.

Anyone who is not happy with ‘queer’, which until fairly recently was considered by some to be an insult, can adopt .. ‘agender’ .. ‘nongendered’ .. ‘genderless’ .. ‘genderfree’ ..or .. ‘neutrois’ … and, if they can’t make up their minds there is always ‘gender fluidity’ !

Why am I reminded of George Orwell’s ‘1984’, his brilliant “Big Brother” novel in which he invented ‘Newspeak’, a language in which words don’t mean what they say ? I gather that I am now ‘cisgender’. I think that I’d rather be known by the old ‘unfashionable’ word …

… normal !

Posted in humour, rant | 4 Comments »

Last week it was chocolate … Next week ???

Posted by Big John on October 23, 2015

Yes, I know it’s supposed to be serious and according to the latest ‘let’s scare the shit out of them’ press reports I should be in deep trouble because of my pre-dinner ‘G and T’ (or two), as one can of fizzy drink daily “can increase heart attack risk by a third” and, that there is “no safe level of alcohol consumption” and that new official guidance is to curb drinking to reduce the risk of developing dementia.

Ah! .. but wait a minute, I only add lots of ice and Schweppes ‘Slimline’ tonic to my gin, and it seems that the ‘official guidance’ is only aimed at “middle-aged” boozers, not old codger tipplers like me, so Hooray ! I’m in the clear. No I’m not ! .. Bugger it ! ..  I’ve just read that my mouth watering breakfast bacon sandwich …

… could be the death of me ! :-(

Posted in humour, rant | 3 Comments »

Please remind me … What is today’s date ?

Posted by Big John on October 16, 2015

I’ve just visited my local Sainsbury’s supermarket, where I found that some items were not in the aisles where I expected to find them. “Why?” I politely asked one of the many busy shelf stackers.

“It’s Christmas” … she replied.

NO ! … It’s bloody not !

Posted in rant | 6 Comments »

People who solve problems that aren’t there.

Posted by Big John on October 7, 2015

In recent days we have read of a disgraceful incident where a sergeant in the Royal Air Force was asked to move from a hospital waiting room as he was in uniform and because ..“we have all kinds of different cultures coming in”: and the ludicrous ban on university students wearing sombreros, which were being handed out by a ‘Tex-Mex’ restaurant, because it might upset Mexicans.” One student said … “Who will it offend, Speedy Gonzales ?”

I have often wondered who these people are who complain about various aspects of the British way of life that supposedly ‘offend’ religious and other minorities who have settled in this country, and now I know; and it’s not likely to be the Muslims, Jews, Hindus, Sikhs and others who live here, but, people like nutty Professor Adam Dinham who suggests to employers, (can you believe ?) not microwaving sausage rolls in a shared workplace kitchen, or not keeping bacon, or bacon rolls, in the fridge if it is shared with people whose beliefs prohibit them from eating pork.

It seems that this academic ass is a “professor of faith and public policy”. Of course he is ! It’s a pity that he does not consult with people like the chairman of the British Mexican Society, who in the case of the ‘racist’ sombreros said he .. “Would applaud any business of any nationality for doing anything to try to drum up business in a legitimate way, which this seems.” Or, perhaps the potty ‘prof’ should contact that Mexican mouse (also accused of being ‘racist’) about his …

… “Holy frijoles !”

Posted in humour, rant, religion | 3 Comments »


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