Personal and undiluted views

2006 days ago

The Field Number 4 - I think I watched 3 TV programmes in my first seven years.

As a father, I know how useful the goggle box can be as an assistant parent and thus after my mother's death my father understandably relented and bought us an old black and white TV. Who can blame a newly single parent from seeking assistance in this way. But for the first eight years of my life we lived without a TV and I think that I watched just three, or maybe four, programmes in that time.


2331 days ago

The Mrs has got her Nashville ticket and this makes her week

Sadly in late June I shall not be in Bristol but will instead be working hard to rebuild the Greek Hovel. Even if planning consent is not quite in by then, I am free to start preparatory work such as digging out the stone floor of the bat room and demolishing the illegal construct on top of the rat room, the area known as the snake veranda.

The Mrs was set to join me but is now altering her travel plans. Tom Winnifrith just cannot compete with Deacon Claybourne, Gunner, Scarlett and Will Lexington. Nashville fans will know exactly what I mean. If you are not a fan of this must-watch TV series you do not know what you are missing.

We caught Gunner in action at a Country show last year in London. Rather suprisingly the actor who plays Texan born Gunner is in fact a Brit and is an accomplished singer songwriter as well as an actor. Gunner used to date Scarlett who is the neice of recovering alcoholic Deacon, now back with his sweetheart the star of the show Rayna. Deacon may or may not be dead, that is the cliffhanger at the end of series three. Well actually there was no way that Deacon who is the star of the show could be killed off, and as American viewers who are already well into Series 4 know, Deacon is alive but his ghastly sister Beverley is not doing so well.

At least for British viewers, Will is back as Gunner's housemate following the collapse of his faux marriage because he is in fact a closet homosexual. It


3078 days ago

Do I want to be on the Telly? Er…no.

A bird called Claudia is keen for me to go on the TV to talk about the great food bank con. She thought my video on this matter was really interesting. It was. But do I really care?

Claudia works for a new cable outfit ( London Live) called London Live which is owned by which Lebedev Holdings, the Ruskies who now own the Evening Standard. Apparently they are looking for sparky bloggers to appear frequently.

Such is the desire of 99% of the population to appear on TV, even if it is a cable show where there are more folks in the camera crew than in the audience, that I am sure Claudia will be inundated with offers. But not for me. I did my TV stint 14 years ago. I hated it. I cannot be arsed to trundle over to West London taking me away from work which might actually earn me some money for this vicarious thrill. Incidentally I feel the way about various financial TV channels. The monetary value of appearing is zilch so the only folks who cosnistently appear are those who have nbothing to say. I have no desire to join that club.

I enjoy writing especially in a forum where there is no censorship at all.  I’d rather eat cat poo than waste my time and money to appear on a 2-bit cable show – it is vanity publishing for the unthinking.


3189 days ago

I have a really guilty confession – I have started watching the X-factor

I know, I know. It is Chav TV par excellence. It is utterly moronic. The audience bay like those demanding death at the Coliseum and has a collective IQ of 17. The whole thing is truly frightful and I am truly ashamed to admit it but, late in life, I have become hooked.

There is drama. I kind of knew that Abi was toast on Sunday, she gave a weak performance the day before and though a sweet girl from somewhere in the Grim North she did not have the X factor. But there was drama none the less as she entered a sing off with Hannah, a girl who cannot articulate a single word properly. Surely she has to go soon?

All the contestants bar 1 seem to come either from the Grim North or Essex or South London. A few of them can speak proper English. And, dare I say it, some of them seem quite good at singing.

The real appeal is the Judges. American Nicole is truly ghastly and makes the audience seem like a collection of Nobel Prize winners. But there is something endearing in quite how thick and shallow she is. It goes without saying that no-one could be a patch on the UK’s leading chanteuse Ms Cheryl Cole.

The rather camp Louis Walsh seems like a nice man although I am not sure that he would be my first pick for the pub quiz team. Sharon O. is almost as ghastly as Nicole in a rougher, older manner. And she is not as thick as the American. No-one is as thick as Nicole. If you had a gap in your pub quiz team and had to choose between Nicole and a loaf of bread, you’d go for the loaf any day.

However, Gary Barlow is just a class act. He is witty and cutting, kind and cruel and, compared to everyone else involved in this spectacle, he is an intellectual colossus.

So I am hooked on the chaviest most low-grade junk TV going.  I really cannot think of any more of a guilty confession to make. But I felt I should come clean.


3349 days ago

Market Commentator or Maverick Share tipster? I'm with foxy Harriet

There is only one thing worse than being talked about and that is not being talked about. So said another writer of Irish descent, Mr Oscar Wilde.  Noting erroneous comments made on the ADVFN Bulletin Board a couple of monmths ago that I have lost my marbles as a result of frequenting gay bath-houses I should say that the similarities between mysef and Mr Wilde really do end there.

I see that while it in its latest misleading RNS Cupid PLC describes me as a market commentator the daily Telegraph takes a different view. My new best friend, foxy Fleet Street hackette Harriet Denys gave our AIM Cesspit awards a jolly decent write up in her City Diary column yesterday and describes me as a "maverick share tipster."

Hmmm.  Maverick was a classic TV show starring James Garner. I am horrified to see that it was shot before I was born so I guess I only saw re-runs but I was always a big fan of Garner, notably in the Rockford Files when he was also a bit of a maverick

I think I shall write to foxy PR bird Bex at Cupid and suggest that next time Cupid wishes to issue a misleading RNS about one of my articles they should refer to me as a "maverick market commentator." I like the sound of that.


3416 days ago

My Easter Treat – The Sweeney

As you may know I have every episode of the 1970s drama The Sweeney on DVD. The classic Thaw/Waterman series may well be my specialist subject if I get onto the second round of Mastermind having chosen “misleading RNS statements by Sefton Resources 2009-2013” as my first round topic. But for some reason I missed the Ray Winstone movie when it came out last year. I think that is because it was so dreadful that it closed in most cinemas after about one day.

I am braced for it being absolutely dire. But a DVD has been on sale in my local CO-OP for about three weeks at a bargain price with no takers. As I have walked past I have felt an urge to put it out of its misery and buy the damned thing. And today I could resist the urge no longer. And so assuming that I can work out how to use the DVD player, tonight’s post work treat (still another 10 hours to go on that front) will be a grand showing of this great film. I will be back with my thoughts tomorrow.


3543 days ago

Who Shot JR? Bing’s Daughter. But this time it really is RIP Larry Hagman

Dallas was part of my childhood. Who shot JR? The poison dwarf, Lusty Dusty. I remember it all. And JR Ewing was at the centre of it all. And, as you probably know, my cousin Jeff appeared in two episodes where he raped Lucy ( the poisoned dwarf). Not quite the highlight of his career ( I think that was giving Tatum O’Neill her first on screen kiss in International Velvet) but that made the Winnifrith family bond with the programme even stronger. We even had Dallas the board game. And so, today I really do mourn the death yesterday of Larry Hagman, the actor who played JR.

Hagman did actually hail from Texas and died there. He was, by all accounts, a bit of a character, downing five bottles of champagne a day as he filmed Dallas.


3553 days ago

Guilty Confession: I watched I’m a Celebrity (again) – Nadine is winning friends

I am going away today to a place without a TV in case I get hooked but I admit that I watched I’m a Celebrity once again yesterday. And I watched the whole show. I cannot offer an excuse but I offer the observation that Nadine Dorries MP is winning friends and the posh boy Old Etonians (David Cameron and Sir George Young) who suspended her from the Tories are looking increasingly silly. What will they do if she wins?

Yesterday Nadine found herself up against the wimpish airhead actress from Coronation Street in a contest eating such horrors as a rotten egg, a piece of camel foot and a kangaroo testicle


3554 days ago

Nadine Dorries in the Jungle – I admit I watched

I am not exactly the target audience for I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out of Here. For starters I have an IQ greater than 75. And I am also handicapped in that I have no idea at all who most of these celebrities are. I am also a bit confused as to which one is Ant and which is Dec. I have never known and never wanted to as they both strike me at utter morons. But in the interests of research I managed to survive about twenty minutes of the show last night before retreating to start watching Series Five of Brothers & Sisters on download. That is the last series, post car crash and I am gripped.

Back in the Jungle my observations are


3570 days ago

Downton, Dallas, Ginger & Rosa

Is this the last episode of Downton Abbey series three tonight? Maybe it is the penultimate one. But it is hard to see what shocks we could have left. After all it is 1920 so unless the IRA man takes time off from grieving to join the Irish Civil War or Lady Edith heads off to fight for Greece against Turkey it is hard to see what can go wrong. Bates is on his way out of prison. The ex prostitute is settling in well at the Crawley household. Predatory homosexual Thomas really must get his long awaited come uppance downstairs while simple but honest Mary the under-cook looks set to be handed the keys to a farm by the father of the man she married but did not love just before he died.

Non Downton lovers – in this show someone important has to die at least once a series. The pompous prig Matthew Crawley is trying to make himself more exciting by picking a fight with thicko Aristocrat the Earl of Grantham but he is failing. He and Lady Mary really need to emigrate.

In Dallas, the younger generation of John Ross, Chris, Elena and the mad wife of Chris are growing on me. News that Bobby/Patrick Duffy/The Man from Atlantis


3573 days ago

A Bottle of Wine Moment – Book 1 (Viagra Man) Delivered

I am about to tuck into a bottle of wine and watch yesterday’s episode of Dallas. I bloody well deserve it. Book one of three due this Autumn has just gone to the publisher. Almost 70,000 words long “The wit and wisdom of Viagra Man” is now complete. I think my copy is exceptionally clean and so hopefully we shall see an e-book out fairly soon. I shall be pushing Harriman House hard.

A night off now. Tomorrow I start to get book two over the line to its publisher ADVFN. Book three is not far behind. All three should be ready for your e-stockings. Forgive me, but no more articles today. No more tweets. It is JR, Bobby, John Ross and South Fork and a bottle of plonk for me. I am knackered but elated.


3577 days ago

Dallas, Downton and DCI Banks

It seems as if there are only two more episodes of the current series of Downton Abbey to go. Sunday evenings will not be the same after next weekend. I shall have to make conversation or write more. What shall I do? Well for starters I will not be booking a P&O luxury cruise. The amount of adverts in Downton is infuriating and I have got the message a thousand times over that the series is sponsored by P&O Luxury Cruises. Why not jack up the ad rates and sell fewer adverts? The viewing experience is greatly diminished. Anyhow, P&O I have never been on one of your cruises and after this series, I never will.

The death of Lady Sybil is a blow


3584 days ago

Do you need sex scenes in movies? Anna Karenina, Downton and Dallas

It is less than one hour to Downton Abbey. Obviously the clock is ticking on what is the highlight of the week. Will the IRA man stay in England and stand by his wife for feel compelled to go back to fight for Independence? Will Bates get hope that he might be found innocent and released from prison? Will Thomas finally come a cropper downstairs as a result of his predatory sexual antics? Will Lady Edith become a high profile political agitator as a substitute for love? And will someone explain the point of the dull prig Matthew Crawley & annoying Lady Mary now that he has handed over the dosh? Surely they can have another whip round and encourage them to emigrate? 52 minutes and counting… I cannot wait.

Meanwhile, in my BBC free existence, I have this weekend got up to date with Dallas and am finding it compelling viewing. This is odd for a sequel. I suppose having Bobby and JR still dominating the show helps but John Ross Junior and whatever Bobby’s son is called, plus the succession of mad and criminal women they seem to shag adds to the spice. And we have a new series of DCI Banks as well. Being a quality programme it is naturally not on the BBC either and this series looks to be as gripping as the last.

Speaking of Lady Mary, I saw her cropping up in Anna Karenina today as I made a rare visit to the cinema.


3585 days ago

Ray Winstone’s East London & The Sweeney 2012

As regular blog readers know I have a boxed set of every episode of The Sweeney – the original 1970s series starring John Thaw and Dennis Waterman. It is one of those DVDs that I can always pull down and watch to cheer me up in bad times. And so I approach the release of the new movie, the Sweeney, starring Ray Winstone in Thaw’s role ( Inspector Regan) with some trepidation.

Part of the appeal of the original series ( other than the violence, the wit and the nostalgia for a past era) is the repartee between Regan, Sergeant Carter (Waterman) and their boss ( the solid and straight Haskins, played by Garfield Morgan). They all come from different backgrounds.


3591 days ago

West Ham Arsenal Reviewed, Boris you are a git and now to Downton

There is little to be said about the match. It was a great atmosphere. Arsenal took their chances. West Ham did not. West Ham were not completely outplayed and – at times – were on a par. Why Fat Sam replaced Vaz Te with Taylor and not Yossi defies belief. That could have made a game of it. But the better side won.

Naturally a London Derby is going to cause high volume tube traffic. So why the hell, Mr Mayor, did you schedule major repairs on the District line and block off sections of the Hammersmith & City on a match day? You promised that post Olympics the tube would run smoothly. Well I guess that was a Nick Clegg sort of promise. You git.

Getting from Liverpool Street to Upton Park is normally one change


3597 days ago

Jimmy Saville – Pervert or Victim?

When TV documentaries bash the dead my instinctive sympathy is with the dead. You cannot libel a corpse so can effectively say whatever you want. Hence one can out Richard the Lionheart as a homosexual ( not a lot of evidence but who can disprove you and it is a good story), one can finally accuse Robert Maxwell of being a crook without getting a writ (fair comment) and this week is the week when the late Jimmy Saville is exposed as a predator on teenage girls.

His family will suffer, he can offer no defence and so a fair response is to say “who cares, leave the man alone.” Except that the evidence looks to be pretty compelling.


3598 days ago

Downton and Midsomer Reflection

I admitted here a week ago my shameful secret: I have watched every episode of Midsomer Murders. Looking back on Tuesday’s episode (a far better call than trekking out to Upton Park to see West Ham get thrashed) the new Barnaby/Jones combo grows on me. But…

The storyline was as implausible as ever. That does not matter, for comedy value, bloody murders and intrigue Midsomer is a winner. My only complaint about this episode was that the murderer was so completely obvious.

There were about eight characters to start with. By three quarters of the way through the show three were dead.


3603 days ago

West Ham vs Wigan or Midsomer Murders

It is the Capital One Cup tonight. Wake up, really it is meant to matter. West Ham is at home to Wigan. Call me a fake hammer but I cannot get excited and am staying at home to watch a Midsomer Murders special instead.

Wigan is a poor team. Come May they will be in the bottom six and so they will rest players and focus on the League. West Ham are not a great team but a good enough one not to be in the bottom six come May but no chances will be taken and players will again be rested. Perhaps that means a start for Yossi instead of Vaz Te or for Tomkins ahead of Collins and Linda (McCartney) ahead of Matt Taylor. In all three cases I hope so and I hope all three have blinders and thus keep a first team place on Saturday.

I have always been a Yossi fan


3612 days ago

Weekend TV: Downton is back, Watching for Great Aunt Joan plus Brothers & Sisters

And so the family weekend continues. I wake up feeling a bit hazy after a night hitting the hotspots of Shipston on Stour with my little step sister Flea (Felicity). If I lived here I would turn to drink in a serious way, with Flea leading me astray. A family meal with Dad, step mum, set sister Lulah and sister Naomi had gone before it. Only one sister and step brother Tom missing.

It seems that I am not the only person who adores the mind-pap US TV series Brothers & Sisters which starred Rob Lowe, Calista Flockhart and Sally Field – Flea is a fan too. It is about a dysfunctional family with six brothers and sisters (if you include Ryan) – the Walkers. Flea and I carefully explained the dynamics, some of which are political. The youngest sister and the oldest and youngest brothers (Kitty, Tommy and Justin) are Republicans. The father (William, who died in episode one) was a Republican. The mother and the other kids are ultra drippy, totally deluded Democrats. And their political allegiances drive the way they view life. I thought that I was the only non Guardian reader in this W family – although my father is a closet Telegraph reader and is, I am sure, at heart conservative in outlook although he’d never admit it.

But lo and behold Flea piped up with a political view for the first time ever, complaining that while – as a single mum – she works to support her kids (the dad is a deadbeat), other parents at her school opt not to work but live on a welfare funded lifestyle of beer, cigarettes and going fishing.