Ripley’s believe it or not!

It’ll soon be the 50th anniversary of the historic Apollo 11 moon landing. On that Sunday 500 million viewers worldwide tuned in, mostly on black and white TVs, to watch the  Lunar parking. I missed it myself, only three at the time, and probably in jammies in bed. Now for the older, wiser (?) me the buzz words “over eyes” and “pull the wool” knit my brows. Was this a big hoodwink?

You could say I am an agnostic Moon Landing conspiracy theorist because I believe it could be 50% right. Firing a rocket with men in it to the moon seems possible. It’s the getting them back that puzzles me. The spaceship has shrank, there’s no scaffolding on the moon that can support/straighten Apollo’s back to earth trajectory and the computerised age of steering things is in its infancy. No drone technology here, only rotary dial phones. Cars in the 60s were basic beasts and prone to breakdown, what chance a ship going all those light years without any wear or tear? I mean, even the communication system was on the blink and the sound man missed an a on Armstrong’s rehearsed script.

I blame Concorde. Continue reading “Ripley’s believe it or not!”

These aren’t the Droids you’re looking for

Unlike, say, Exorcists, hypnotists are for real. There’s no way the charlatan mesmeriser can put so many pre-planned plants on the stage. Like the bodysnatchers of old they’d run out of bodies. Ergo(es my reason for living), hypnotism must be a genuine article. That being the suitcase, this means we can all be mind benders, if we put our mind to it.

Corrupt hypnotists

All walks. It has to be said that if there was an upsurge in the hypnotist community a roguish element would take foot and mouth and hand and Adam’s apple. These non-Marquess of Queensbury rules hypnotists would indulge in all manner of crimes: robbery, humiliation, blog post manipulation. The world would be their Facebook. Luckily, the gift of hypnotism is limited to a less few humanoids.

Instant Kaa ma 

I’ve tried and tried to hypnotise without success. My human hypnotees, in pity, shake their heads at me as I fail to make them recite a Loony Limerick. In desperation, I turn to inanimate objects and will the clock (i.e. hypnotise the clock, not the clock is called Will) to go an hour forward. I stare at the face of the time machine. Look me in the eyes. Right in the eyes. Come closer. Closer still..

Hairy Fruit

Side whiskers, mutton chops and handlebar moustache are just some of the varying facial hair styles for men. Being clean shaven all my life I have never tailored my facial appearance with any sort of fuzz. It’s all been done before, hasn’t it? And for the beardy-wearers you end up with a nickname of a more famous person. Here’s Heisenberg. Here’s Abraham Lincoln. Here’s ZZ Top. Here’s Freddie Zapata. Here’s …

However, while tugging at my smooth chin in deep Thinker thought I decided to let there be growth. And, naturally it had to be a new style. I viewed acres and acres of all the furs that were man made and opted for a variation on the neck chop.

A famous Neckchopper

The neck chop would be trimmed back and hair would only grow on my Adam’s apple. This Spartan look doubles up as a new trend and fool proof safety measure as it means I won’t cut my AA with a razor blade. Shaving around this area is Eden hazardous. Problem solved.

Funny old thing the Adam’s apple. Eatemallogy says it’s from the bible involving fruit and the first man. He bit off more than he could chew and it got stuck, apparently. My own belief is that it didn’t originate from the dawn of time but was coined by Milton Bradley. Yes, we’re talking Operation here. Charley Horse, Bread Basket et al. Including, Adam’s Apple. Careful with those tweezers, Eugene.

BZZZZZZZZZZZZ. Deed.

(R)

Why do we watch the same films time after time? You know the script, have the DVD, maybe the T-shirt if its a franchise, yet will still watch a multiple times watched movie if it is showing on TV. And laugh at the same funny scenes again (“That’s a really good ski mask!”) or shiver with excitement at the upcoming murder (“This is the bit where Fredo sleeps with the fishes).

Music. We’ll listen to the same old songs and tunes and hymns and instrumentals over and over. Honestly, I’m sick of that Robert Wagner Ring Cycle and would love to hurl those discs at Babe Ruth (if he were living, don’t know any other baseballers) for him to SWAT those clay pigeons all the way to Valhalla.

Then there’s books. Some of us will read a favourite book many times and salivate over certain quotes and passages – “Old Marsalla, he damn near blew the roof off.”, the map-quaking 30,000 word speech about the meta-ethical failings of altruism. Familiarity does not breed contempt, it fathers/mothers/adopters safeness. We’ll play it safe with the known and steer clear off Rumsfeldian unknowns. Its a big, bad universe out there.

No doubt, this blog will be read and re-read and read once more by Charioteers until Kingdom Come. Quite right. Play it safe.

Grid Girls no more…

…they’ve gone the way of Legs and Co (or Pan’s People for those old enough to remember)

Formula One has abolished the use of Grid Girls this season and, that sport of Kings, Darts have announced there will be no more walk on girls at their professional competitions. Cheerleaders could be next to go Joe Doodo.

In this, the centenary of women gaining their suffrage one feels sorry for the suffering of those redundant sporting actresses.

Crisis, What Crisis?

The average age of a Charioteer is most likely in the Chris Woakes bowling speed range. Well played, those said charioteers for being long lived. Your blushing, “youngish”, modest, unassuming Arts Editor hits the big Hawaii Five-O this autumn.

I don’t expect any round of applause for making fifty. I won’t raise my bat,  5-0 is not the middle of life any more. Fifty is the new twenty. However, as I near the new twenty a crisis has happenstanced.

There is a new woman in my life. She understands me more than my wife. This woman…

She is Black.

She is slim

She is pretty.

She has shark-toothed  fret markings.

Here she is. Continue reading “Crisis, What Crisis?”

Bowie at The Proms

It’s all about opinions and the Bowie Proms night split the critics. An assorted collection of musicians, some well-known others not so, took part in classical renditions from David Bowie’s back catalogue. It’s not the first time the Starman has received this treatment. Phillip Glass wrote The Low Symphony based on the album of the same name.

This listener enjoyed some of the different versions while others didn’t quite shake it right. The point is though, they were different and these were the type of experimentations that Bowie did throughout his long career.

In a nutshell capsule, all rock songs can be covered many ways unlike traditional classical music. You goes to the concert hall to hear Beethoven’s 5th and you will hear, note for note, the 5th. Any impromptus would displease the purists. So well played, The Proms for this improvised Fantastic Voyage with all time lows and heavy swells.

American vignettes

It’s now official, God help us. These two should be on Comedy Central and not C-Span.

Hill Liar: Compulsive liar. All the big lies are in the public domain but there’s a lot of little ones as well lurking in the atmosphere. It was the late Christopher Hitchens that wrote about the meeting of the two famous Hillarys in Asia in 1985. Mrs Clinton claimed she was named after the mountaineer. It was only later that the truth came out. Clinton was born in 1947, six years before Edmund scaled the summit. All those lies, big and small, have led HC to touching distance of the ultimate peak.

Vladimirump: Compulsive thief. Anne Applebaum and the chess expert turned astute political analyst, Garry Kasparov are just two to have written that Trump is a pawn of Putin. It is a big story in Washington at the moment. Donald’s extensive business interests in the Motherland are reason enough for him to not go to war if Russia invades the Baltics. For Commander in Chief Trump the NATO pact is not worth a rouble. Luckily for Donald there is no HUAC to grill him about his Siberian links only an Azeri Grandmaster.

With the choice being between Scylla and Charybdis expect a low turn out on polling day as voters won’t know where to turn. As Kissinger said “It’s a pity they can’t both lose.” Maybe, they can. Is there an honest, hard-working, clean-cut, intelligent Independent candidate out there that could upset the apple cart? Could the 45th POTUS be a dark horse elected by tactical voting?

The Madness of Painters

Vincent van Gogh will be getting the Book of the Week treatment next week on Radio 4. The book is unimaginatively called Van Gogh’s Ear. Poor Vincent, all those sunflowers and wheat fields stem into insignificance next to his self-mutilation that fascinates us to this day. Not even the subsequent self-portrait with bandaged ear could get him noticed in the art world. Only in death would VVG  become famous.

My first impression of this painter was in a negative light and my post-impressions haven’t changed. Canvases smudged with more paint than a courtesan’s make-up. Unrealistic facial portraits and inaccuracies in anatomy. Then there’s all those flowers. He should have cut them up.

I’ve avoided the temptation to put this painter in the Overrated series because all painters are off their head. Hours puzzling over light and shade. Mixing oils and cleaning brushes. All this painstaking preparation when the landscape or sitter could be captured with the click of a camera.

My ears have heard many pronunciations of the painter’s last name. Obviously, I use the popular Goff but other versions include Go and the guttural Hock. Maybe, it’s Hoff or Ho, who knows?

Lastly, it was in 1888 that Vincent took the razor to his ear. What a terrible year was MDCCCLXXXVIII. Jack the Ripper was serial killing in Whitechapel and the seed was planted that birthed an Austrian monster.