Monday 28 June 2010

Jasper Carrot sings a Jake Thackray Song.

It was a fine upstanding Bantam cock
So brisk and stiff and spry
With springy step and a jaunty plume
And a purposeful look in his eye
In his little black blinking eye he had
I took him to the coop and I introduced him
To my seventeen wide-eyed hens
He tupped and he tupped as a hero tups
And he bowed from the waist to them all and then
He upped and he tupped them all again
And then upon the peace of my ducks and my geese
He rudely did intrude
With glazed eyes and open mouths
They bore it all with fortitude
And a little bit of gratitude
He jumped me giggling guinea fowl
And forced his attentions upon
Me twenty hysterical turkeys and
A visiting migrant swan
And the bantam thundered on
He ravaged me fan-tailed pigeons and
Me lillywhite columbine
And while I was locking up me budgerigar
He jumped me parrot from behind
She was sitting on me shoulder at the time
Then all of a sudden with a gasp and a gulp
He clapped his little hands to his head
Lay flat on his back with his toes in the air
Me bantam cock lay dead
And the vultures circled overhead
What a noble brute, what a champion cock
What a way to live and to die
I was digging him a grave to save his bones
From the hungry buzzards in the sky
When the bantam opened up a sly little eye
He gave me a grin and a terrible wink
The way that rapists do, he said
D'you see them big daft buggers up there?
They'll be down in a minute or two
They'll be down in a minute or two

The Bull: Jake Thackray (1938 – 2002)

On my farm, the bull is the king of the yard;
He's big and bad and fast, he's strong he's . . . hard.
All my other animals would readily concur
That he is the one you salute, he's the one you call "Sir".
But my hens, a noisy, flighty flock -
Led, of course by my unsubmissive cock -
Whenever His Majesty the bull importantly goes by
They dance along behind him and they cry:
"Beware of the bull!"

The bull, the bull is the biggest of all.
He is the boss, he is, because he's big and we are small.
But the bigger the bull, bigger the bull, bigger the balls.
The bigger the bull, the bigger and quicker and thicker the bullshite falls.

Beware of the bull! The dancing cock is right:
Beware of whoever looks down upon you from a height.
Beware of His Honour, His Excellence, His Grace, His Worshipful,
Beware of His Highness, because of the bull.
For if the boss, the chief, the chap at the top
Should let a single lump of claptrap drop,
The greater the weight and the height he is, the harder it will go
With a grander splat! on the bleeders below.
Beware of the bull!

The bull, the bull is the biggest of all.
He is the boss, he is, because he's big and we are small.
But the bigger the bull, bigger the bull, bigger the balls.
The bigger the bull, the bigger and quicker and thicker the bullshite falls.

The hero arrives, we hoist him shoulder-high.
He's good and wise and strong, he's brave, he's . . . shy.
And how we have to plead with him, how bashfully he climbs
Up the steps to the microphone - two at a time.
Then down it comes: slick, slithery pat!
If you must put people on pedestals, wear a big hat.
The tongue he's got is pure gold, the breast is pure brass,
The feet are pure clay - and watch out for the arse.
Beware of the bull!

The bull, the bull is the biggest of all.
He is the boss, he is, because he's big and we are small.
But the bigger the bull, bigger the bull, bigger the balls.
The bigger the bull, the bigger and quicker and thicker the bullshite falls.

At long last, the revolution comes
And in no time at all we're erecting podiums.
Comrades with chests of medals by the balcony-full;
After the Red Flag, the galloping bull.
The Saviour came especially from on high
To face up to the punters eye-to-eye.
No sooner is he dead and gone, there's blessed pulpits-full;
Bestride the holy lamb, behold the bull.
Beware of the bull!

The bull, the bull is the biggest of all.
He is the boss, he is, because he's big and we are small.
But the bigger the bull, bigger the bull, bigger the balls.
The bigger the bull, the bigger and quicker and thicker the bullshite falls.

These well-known men, so over-glorified -
There's one of them here his name's on the poster outside -
And he's up here like this, and you are all down there.
Remember his cock and his bull and mutter: "Beware!"
For when they've done, we clap, we cheer, we roar:
"For he is a jolly good fellow! Encore! More, more!"
How glorious it would be if before these buggers began
We all stood up together and solemnly sang:
"Beware of the bull!"

The bull, the bull is the biggest of all.
He is the boss, he is, because he's big and we are small.
But the bigger the bull, bigger the bull, bigger the balls.
The bigger the bull, the bigger and quicker
And the bigger and quicker and thicker
And the bigger and quicker and thicker and slicker the bullshite falls

Sunday 27 June 2010

`I Have a Gentil Cock`

I have a gentil cock
croweth me day
he doth me risen early
my matins for to say

I have a gentil cock
comen he is of great
his comb is of red coral
his tail is of jet

I have a gentil cock
comen he is of kind
his comb is of red sorrel
his tail is of inde

his legs be of azure
so gentil and so small
his spurs are of silver white
into the wortewale

his eyes are of crystal
locked all in amber
and every night he pertcheth him
in my lady`s chamber.

(Anon, 13th century)

Monday 21 June 2010

By Request, Edwin Garvey!

Oh yes, I used to own this record. Maybe I still do, in a dusty box somewhere.
It was actually the b-side of Manfred Mann's "The Mighty Quinn"

Sunday 20 June 2010


Zombie Dogfish!

"Nothing to do with Arbroath" is a blog i visit on a regular basis, full of odd news stories and strange happenings, always good for a laugh...
Today, there was this youtube video. I've no doubt it will spread around the web. But believe me, it's freaky. If you were planning to eat fish today, you might be better not watching.

Me? I never eat fish. I'm allergic to them. Seriously, badly, hospital with flashing blue lights and sirenly. So I'll never have to decide whether to eat a zombie dogfish. Woof.

Go to the link for part 2 of the video, resurrection, an hour later.

Friday 18 June 2010

Perils of Branding

I was driving along behind this bus, not really paying attention to the text, when it occurred to me that my subconscious brain had seen and processed the image and applied the caption "with new, dri-weave top-sheet" because that logo looked so like another company's advertising.  Our brains do this all the time, a glance, a glimpse, and they fill in the blanks automatically, extrapolating.
I laughed at myself for the error, but then I wondered, in all the meetings the client and the ad-agency had gone through before launching a major poster campaign,  had nobody else thought of an unfortunate visual similarity to another product?

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Wednesday 16 June 2010

A Woman is Suing Google-maps...


All day I have been closed up
inside rooms, speaking of trivial
matters. Now at last I have come out
into the night, myself a center

of darkness.
Beneath the clouds the low sky glows
with scattered light. I can hardly think
this is happening. Here in this bright absence

of day, I feel myself opening out
with contentment.
All around me the soft rain is whispering
of thousands of feet of air

invisible above us.

-Wayne Dodd

Tuesday 15 June 2010

Ha! YouTube Server Error Message.

500 Internal Server Error

Sorry, something went wrong.

A team of highly trained monkeys has been dispatched to deal with this situation.
If you see them, show them this information:


Yeah... I truncated the information, you'd need a server-monkey with no trace of ADD for this lot...

Evolution and Devolution (with a steam-rex)

Monday 14 June 2010

Just For the record.

It has not escaped my knowledge that the football world Cup is on at the moment, despite me not having a television. It's all-pervasive, look, it's even on this blog.
I'm a man. I'm English, so therefore I'm wearing a red and white shirt and swallowing beer in between cheers and moans in front of a big screen?
Incorrect. I hope to see not a moment's coverage, nor hear or read about it, but, let's face it, such a hope is as implausible as hoping there won't be another Olympic games. ever.
Sporty just didn't happen for me. My dad was a keen cricketer, and hockey player, (that's real hockey by the way, the one without ice).
I just could never see the point of getting excited about chucking and whacking an inflated pig's bladder, wrapped in leather, from one end of a field to the other.  Oh, I'm sure there was a point to it, the first time a gang of marauders kicked their enemy's captain's head up the village street, but, hey, lads, all that's a bit passé now, isn't it?
The point of this post is to express my extreme disappointment in the U.S. team's failure  to knock England out of the competition.  Okay, it wouldn't totally have stopped the ad-nauseam coverage, but it would have de-smugged a whole heap of f**kwits.

I'm fascinated by the way corporate "sport" brainwashes the masses. People have blind loyalty for a team, so blind they seem unable to see that the team is just another big business corporate entity, where the people who make up the team are not team members, but employees, who are bought, sold, valued, devalued, traded like any other commodity. The guy you cheer for as a hero this time out, you'll jeer at in a year's time because he's wearing a different colour?
And when, I ask, did it become necessary that everybody out there is a heap of mobile advertising? That any company with enough money can buy space on the players?

No, no, no, he moans, stop right now... we all know the world's doomed and dumbed down, come on Soubriquet, calm down, take your medicine, there's a good chap. Look, nurse will be here soon with more tranquil pills. In the meantime, let me tighten the head-clamp, and pin your eyelids open.. oh yes, look, we're wheeling a television in now, won't that be grand?

What's that, fellow? mmmfmmmf? Oh, well, the gag's for your own good, and the shouting was disturbing other patients. I'll just turn the television on now. Football? Yes, that'll keep you entertained.

Sunday 13 June 2010

Another Bed

Edmund Dulac's illustration for
"The Princess and the Pea"
Hans Christian Andersen

There was once a prince, and he wanted a princess, but then she must be a real Princess. He travelled right around the world to find one, but there was always something wrong. There were plenty of princesses, but whether they were real princesses he had great difficulty in discovering; there was always something which was not quite right about them. So at last he had come home again, and he was very sad because he wanted a real princess so badly.
"One evening there was a terrible storm; it thundered and lightninged and the rain poured down in torrents; indeed it was a fearful night.
In the middle of the storm somebody knocked at the town gate, and the old King himself sent to open it.
It was a princess who stood outside, but she was in a terrible state from the rain and the storm. The water streamed out of her hair and her clothes; it ran in at the top of her shoes and out at the heel, but she said that she was a real princess.
‘Well we shall soon see if that is true,’ thought the old Queen, but she said nothing. She went into the bedroom, took all the bed clothes off and laid a pea on the bedstead: then she took twenty mattresses and piled them on top of the pea, and then twenty feather beds on top of the mattresses. This was where the princess was to sleep that night. In the morning they asked her how she slept.
‘Oh terribly bad!’ said the princess. ‘I have hardly closed my eyes the whole night! Heaven knows what was in the bed. I seemed to be lying upon some hard thing, and my whole body is black and blue this morning. It is terrible!’
They saw at once that she must be a real princess when she had felt the pea through twenty mattresses and twenty feather beds. Nobody but a real princess could have such a delicate skin.
So the prince took her to be his wife, for now he was sure that he had found a real princess, and the pea was put into the Museum, where it may still be seen if no one has stolen it.
Now this is a true story."

I myself would find such a pea-obsessed princess insufferable. If she would moan and gripe about one pea beneath twenty mattresses, then just think of how much complaining she'd do about everything else, every day, every night. 
I'd wait until the rain had stopped, and set her on her way again.  

And, in my way, I have been there, somewhat, and miraculously,  I have found my princess, (given the chance, she'll infiltrate my bed with toast-crumbs).
Though I buried a pea beneath the mattress, and saw the terrible bruise it gave her, she smiled at me, in the morning,  and made no word of complaint.
She's the one.

If Ikea Sold Cars


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We Are The Village Green Preservation society

Sung by that wonderful yorkshire lass, Kate Rusby

The song was written and originally recorded by Ray Davies of the Kinks, for their eponymous album.

Saturday 12 June 2010

Today's Poem, selected by Red Dirt Girl.

I was sent this poem by Red Dirt Girl, I suspect all men know the truth of the words herein, and all women fail to understand them.


If the night flights keep you awake
I will call London Airport and tell them
to land their dangerous junk elsewhere.

And if you fall asleep with the sleeve
of my jacket under your head,
sooner than wake you, I'll cut it off.

But if you say:
'Fix me a plug on this mixer',
I grumble and take my time.

~ by Christopher Logue

Friday 11 June 2010

A Bed For the Maharajah

Nawab Muhammad Bahawal Khan Abbasi V of Bahawalpur, then 20 years old, and with an eye for the ladies, commissioned this rather fine bed from French  silversmiths Christofle, in 1882, it was delivered in 1886.. Nothing special, a load of rosewood, 640 pounds (290Kg) of pure silver, four life-sized statues of european maidens, mechanically driven to fan the Maharajah's brow, and whisk flies away from his slumbering form. Oh, and a mechanical music player to play him to his sleep with an air from Gounod's Faust. Bahawalpur is in what we now call Pakistan. Nobody seems to know where the bed is now.
"The design was sent to Christofle in Paris calling for a bed of "dark wood decorated with applied sterling with gilded parts, monograms and arms, ornamented with four life-size bronze figures (of naked females) painted in flesh colour with natural hair, movable eyes and arms, holding fans and horse tails".
Some 290kg of silver was needed to decorate the bed. The four naked figures were European, representing women of France, Spain, Italy and Greece, each with a different skin-tone and hair colour. Through ingenious mechanics linked to the mattress, the Nawab was able to set the figures in motion so that they fanned him while winking at him, against a 30-minute cycle of music from Gounod's Faust generated by a music box built into the bed." (Independent)


Adding, as it were, a few thoughts of mine own, this bed is a wondrous contrivance, a thing that might have in earlier times, been entrusted to Michelangelo... A blend of outrageous wealth and questionable taste. 
Now here's my question. The young Nawab had unimagineably large heaps of wealth, the commission, by the way, at the time was top-secret, nobody in the firm was to know who it was they were making this for. 
At twenty years old, a young Indian aristocrat, lord of all he surveyed, bought himself this. Which looks to me like a single bed, a bed for one only. Where the  occupant would listen to music and gaze up at his obediently fanning four nubile western women, paler skinned and differently featured to the women of his home country.  Whilst music played.
Well no. I shy away from the question...

The lad, surely, might have found real women?

Let me quote e.e.cummings.
a pretty girl who naked is
is worth a million statues
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Site for an Altogether Calmer Sutra?

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Wednesday 9 June 2010

The Cosmic Crayon Company


I keep an assortment of nuts and bolts in these boxes. I'm assuming they're about a hundred years old.

Ha! I just discovered the Cosmic Crayon Company was founded in 1903, and bought out by Crayola in 1958.
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Oddities of Tring.

I was in Tring, a small town in Hertfordshire, a few weeks ago. The natives of Tring must be sorely challenged in finding entertainment, because, close to our hotel, we found this. A pound of butter, hurled at a wall, on a saturday in may.

On Sunday, it was mysteriously translocated. Reflung.

Perhaps there's an explanation. And perhaps not.

Tuesday 8 June 2010

Dales Wandering Part 3


Of course, no day out is complete without a break for food and drink. I first went in this cafe as a baby, long, long ago. The staff have changed, and it's more colourful inside now.
The Olde Naked Man Cafe, Settle  (Built 1663)
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Dales Wandering Part 2



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Monday 7 June 2010

A Day in the Yorkshire Dales

On Sunday, it being a somewhat rainy day, I was getting stir-crazy from too many hours spent at home, so I offered to take my mother (vintage 1921) out for a drive, and maybe lunch. Near to home, I struck off from the busier highways to forgotten routes...



This is the pack-horse bridge, across the little river Washburn, at Dob Park, just north of Otley. 
Pack-horse bridges are typically narrow, and their side walls are low so as not to catch the wide-slung panniers on the horse's back. The route was in use two thousand years ago,  but really became important with the trade in wool in the 14th/15th centuries. Neolithic stone-carvings can be found nearby, and it's alleged, locally, that ghostly roman soldiers can sometimes be seen wading across the ford. 
The bridge seen here was built in 1767.



Saturday 5 June 2010

Gromit Saves The Day

I don't do football, not at all. Even when the football is the world cup. Yes, I know you Americans call it "soccer"... (which is a contraction of  "Association Football), but I do enjoy the work of Aardman Animation, and I'd vote for Wallace and Gromit as best animated characters ever. Eat your heart out, Disney.
They've just made a new world cup themed commercial for NPower.