Now Then, Now Then...

Saturday, 29 October 2011

I learned today of the death of a truly important national asset. A man who's entertained and amused the populace without ever really intending to. A man whose dress sense might be likened to that of a drunken chimpanzee running naked through TK-Max covered in glue.

Fear not, Dear Reader, the Duke of Edinburgh is still alive. I'm talking of the irreplaceable Sir Jimmy Savile.

If I had a pound sterling for every letter I wrote to Jim'll Fix It I'd be....err....a bit better of than I am now (by about six quid), but my point is that Sir Jim did all the things mentioned in my first paragraph and became a fixture in the lives of those of us that are now in the middle aged bracket.
Say whatever you like about the man but he was a character.

I'm reminded of an evening in the month of June, sometime in the late nineties (I can't remember the exact year.) I was walking the West Highland Way with two pals and had arrived at the Kingshouse Hotel. We pitched out tents in the field outside and headed into the bar for a beer and some scoff. We plotted ourselves up in the scummy 'walkers bar' and got properly on it.

As the night wore on and the beer flowed we heard a mention that Sir Jim was in the main bar. This came as no surprise to uis because we'd seen the jingly, jangly, comb-overed, kiddy botherer on Louis Theroux and knew he was a regular in the Kingshouse Hotel due to having a gaff down the road (and ownership of a mountain if he was to be believed).
So we kicked a bit of the mud off our boots and headed through into the main bar to see if Jim could fix it.

As we walked through the door we saw this little fella at the bar in a black, shiny shell suit. He had the obligatory jingle, jangle jewellery and shock of dyed blonde hair. He was accompanied by about half a dozen hangers on who laughed at his jokes and bought him lemonade.

It really was Sir Jim.

'Alright, Jimmy,' my mate said.

'Hello young man,' said the Fix It man.

And so began an hour of us taking the piss out of a man that the Queen had seen fit upon which to bestow a Knighthood.

I'm sorry.

I'm also sorry that after Jim left the bar we carried on drinking and remembered from Louis Theroux's programme that he routinely slept outside the establishment in his camper van.

I'm even more sorry that we located said camper van in the car park and stood either side of it, rocking it and shouting 'Now then, now then...jingle jangle..'

I'll never get the opportunity to apologise to Sir Jimin person so I'm hoping this blogged apology might suffice.

I guess it's close but it's no cigar.


Love, Life, Hate and Murder

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

So I started this blogging nonsense some three years ago. It was initially intended as a foil to those that took their blogging, and their running, far too seriously.  Me and my old mucker Jon Vann would run along and laugh at how, if we kept a blog, we'd log our beer consumption as opposed to our mileage and record our hangovers rather than our minor injuries.
Then my blog became a reality.

After what I considered a fair start and a developing blog habit that amounted to a post every other day, I had my legs taken from under me by Big Brother. After a close shave where a change in profession became a clear and present danger my blog posts were subsequently deleted and I am now obliged to consider the ramifications of anything I say online.

This has resulted in a dearth of blog posts but an increased threat from the Romania based King of Essex in exile, Mike Mason. Mike has decided that an appropriate sentence for my lack of blogging is to drive an electric power drill through my hip bone.

As far as I'm aware this is an innovative gangland punishment and one Mike devised while attaching the bride and groom statuette to his daughter's wedding cake. You see it involved a screwdriver and a fixing through the hip area of his son-in-law's plastic representation and bingo! Mike came up with a new and untested means of persuading anyone on his radar that Masonic Law is one that is never tested.

As far as I'm aware Mike's son-in-law is a loyal and doting husband which is proven by the fact that he walks without the need for crutches. And as I'm now attached to my computer and logged on to the blogger website I'm hoping to avoid a visit by a couple of black clad, steroid-fuelled lunatics with Essex accents and a Black and Decker.

Old Mike has a funny way of mixing life, love, hate and murder.

Anyway, onward and upward. The author of the wonderful blog The Beirut Taxi, recently brought to my attention the odd practise of Geocaching. After seeing what it was all about I realised that I have other friends that already engage in this activity. Martin Antoninus Horatio Hooper had a pretty adventurous go at it when he secreted his missus's tiny (for tiny read finger sized; the thing cost a fortune) engagement ring on the biggest mountain in England.

And of course a book dedicated to the late, great Dario Melaragni rests in a secret place on the West Highland Way, planted there by our leader, Murdo The Magnificent.

If you don't know what geocaching is all about, hear this: There are nerdy treasure hunters all over the country that spend their time creating caches of junk to be hid in remote places of natural beauty. Personally I think this is simply the thinking man's means of getting past the littering laws and emptying the kitchen drawer of shit. And having now engaged in a wee bit of geocaching myself, I have to say that it goes against the grain to retrieve plastic lunch boxes full of crap from tree stumps and not throw them in the nearest bin.

But it's got my daughter out the door and up to five-mile walks and Mason (dog) is getting more exercise than Myleene Klass on her wedding night. It's also got Yours Truly out the door and doing a bit of running in preparation for the Glen Ogle 33 Ultramarathon.

That, Dear Reader, is enough about running.

On to the food of

Occasionally you happen upon a new band and they go right ahead and change your life. The Airborne Toxic Event did that. Well, I was tripping about on Youtube the other day and came across a band whose most recent album is described as 'fourteen songs of love, life, hate and murder.' They are brilliant.

I'm not sure Mike Mason is as yet a devotee but I'm sure the music could be the soundtrack to that snowy night in Rettendon back in 1995.

Ladies and Gentlemen, have a listen to The Hillbilly Moon Explosion.


Glen Ogle 33

Saturday, 1 October 2011

I'm not really sure what happened to me. I had managed around thirty-plus miles of the River Ayr Way Race before my knee started to sing, my ankle throbbed and my legs complained at being taken the furthest distance since June (actually they began to complain at mile six when they passed the June threshold, but I told them to shut the fuck up. By mile thirty they stopped listening).

As I pushed on to Dam Park and the finish my mantra changed from:

'Each step a little nearer,'


'Never again; and if I waiver please drive an electric drill fitted with a large masonary bit through both of my kneecaps.'

I decided that ultramarathon running clearly wasn't for me. In fact running should be something to be experienced only after attracting the unwanted attention of a person in the uniform of the Metropolitan Police Service.

But the sweet taste of success was intoxicating enough to consider an entry in the Glen Ogle 33 a day or so later. I think it's kinda like childbirth; after the passage of time the pain is forgotten as the sight, smell and texture of baby shit assaults one's senses to anaesthesia (that's the second time I've used that word in a week). Although finishing an ultra obviously hurts more than shelling a rug rat.

Supplement the taste of success with a few pints of Arthur Guinness's Black Gold and I'm on a GO33 application like a nun in a cucumber field.

However, after dissing the west coast based former doctor, Tim Downie in my earlier blog post, I've been challenged to a first-over-the-line-gets-a-pic-of-the-other-kissing-his-arse competition.

I don't like the taste of hairy, sweaty bum cheeks, and I'm kinda guessing that Tim's not an attendee at a back, sack and crack clinic; so I'd better get my sorry arse out the door and do some training.

On the face of it Tim should put me to bed without too much bother. His times in every race except the most recent RAW are infinitely more superior to my own, and I suspect he was just out for a bimble in last week's race. But what the fuck, I'll give it a go.

I was talking to someone pretty close to the George Groves camp this week and was told the plan for Groves' success against James DeGale was to simply to mirror everything DeGale did in the ring.

I'm wondering if the same thing might work against Tim in November.


I'm not sure I can effect an indistinguishable accent and adopt a slightly camp running style.