Animal House

There was a time when french fans would smuggle a cockerel into the stadium and release it on the pitch. This was always a bit of fun – especially when they were playing England with Cockerill in the team. Cries of “allez le cockerel” could confuse a stupid person (i.e. me) into thinking that the french were collaborating (again!). I suppose we should be grateful that Argentina, Russia, Leicester and Sale* don’t follow suit – although Sale would only be dangerous in very very wet weather, obviously! In our day we only had to deal with seagulls (playing in Southend, Torquay and Isle of Man), cows (anywhere west of Reading), sheep (over the Severn Bridge) and the occasional dog – although I don’t know what the canines were for the rest of the time (think about it – occasional – yes? Oh forget it). Most front rows could do a passable imitation of animals during the game, but you wouldn’t want one as a pet. The cows and sheep were less of a problem than you might think – we generally allowed the opposition to shoo them off before they tried to shoe us off as well. They always seemed quite at home with their four legged friends and you sometimes wondered if the bestiality they demonstrated during the game didn’t continue after the final whistle in the milking sheds. Colin Meads used to famously train by running up and down hills with a sheep under each arm –and was very experienced at shoeing – and not the horse kind either! They say you shouldn’t work with children or animals and I have had more than my fair share of problems with the latter – not least the fucking badgers and squirrels who are intent on digging up the lawn. I’d prefer it if they’d dig the flower beds and mow the bastard grass – but I imagine that’s too much to ask for – so much for the scientists who keep on about how fucking smart they are! I had a number of experiences with chimps having worked for Brooke Bond for some years. The first time I went on a film shoot was at a golf course somewhere in the Home Counties where we were filming the chimps playing a round (although that should more accurately read ‘around’). Chimps in wide open spaces, lots of trees and advertising blokes – what could possibly go wrong? There were no scripts – you simply dressed the bastards up in golf togs, handed them a club and turned over the camera – the ads were put together afterwards. Naturally the first thing they did was fuck off up a tree (the monkeys not the cameraman). The film crew didn’t give a toss – they were getting paid anyway and if we went into overtime they were on ‘golden pay’. Being the most junior bloke there – me and another ad guy were sent off to buy bananas at the local greengrocers. Eventually this worked (the bananas not me being successful in buying them) – we ended up filming for two days and had enough footage in the can to have made bleeding Ben Hur! All for a thirty second PG Tips commercial. I have loads more ad stories about disasters with chimps and other animals (including kids) and am likely to post them here when I can’t think of anything else to write (probably quite soon then).

* For non- rugby types two things – 1) Argentina are the Pumas, Russia – Bears, Leicester – Tigers and it’s Sale Sharks 2) why on earth are you reading this rubbish?

Time Trials

I know that I spend a lot of time here taking the piss but today is different (although not that much to be fair). There is a fantastic new study that allows you to go back in time (well virtually anyway). It means that you can change things that happened – presumably for the better (for yourself mainly I expect). http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-28852538 Obviously you’d want to put a condom on Mr Hitler senior – probably on Mrs T’s old man’s old man too if you were a miner – or indeed anyone who was around at that time! Might want to kick some bankers up the arse – the producers of reality TV bollocks could use a good shoeing as well! But there are loads more great opportunities – for a start you could nudge Mark Cueto just a little bit in from the touchline in 2007 and point out to Andre Watson what a pig’s ear he was making at scrum time in 2003. Personally I’d get the bastard who late tackled me and put me in hospital with a shattered ankle back in January1967. Actually I’d probably get pretty shagged out trying to stick one on all the other gits who got me a rugby season ticket to A & E – I’ll let off the dislocated fingers, broken noses (same one obviously), couple of dozen stitches as par for the course. But the bastards who gave me a broken jaw, leg, zygomatic arch (look it up) and ribs had better fucking watch their backs – well I wouldn’t have a go if they could see me coming, obviously. The twats who bashed into my motor in a car park – two different blokes inside 5 minutes – have also got a nasty surprise in store I can tell you. Before I went back I’d make a quick note of winning lottery numbers – starting with the Euro prize that was something over £100 million – then I’d come back and buy the stupid company that makes the TOWIE idiocy and close the fuckers down. I’d also grab a couple of the Dinky cars I had – before I tore the boxes and scratched them chucking them around the rockery. My brother had a Johnny 7 (which isn’t a bumper pack of noddies) and I saw it online going for a fortune – so sorry Nick, I’m having that. This is all rubbish of course – pie in the sky – which isn’t as good as having one on the sofa watching rugby! (I mean pie – don’t be so smutty!)

 

Radio Daze

It was a hospital day yesterday – so I spent something like 3 hours in the car. Luckily some of this was on the motorway not just round the 4 feet wide mud tracks in Carrot County. To while away the time waiting for tractors, sheep and village idiots to get out of the way I tuned into Radio 2. Now, I quite like the DJs there – except for the mid-day Muppet phone in obviously – but yesterday they all spent a lot of the time talking about the ‘Big Baking Bore’. I realise it’s a reality show that is a bit above ‘Grannies on the Game’, ‘Posh twats talking Bollocks’ and ‘Chavs on Canvey Island’ but it’s not exactly a ‘Drop the Dead Donkey’ media story.  I enjoy a fudge donut (not a euphemism) and Victoria sponge after a couple of pasties as much as the next man, but to have everyone who works for the BBC drivelling endlessly on about some twat who fucked up an ice cream cake is just nonsense. I’m not exaggerating; it was also a lead item on ‘Newsnight’ and the BBC news this morning! It even made the front page of the Sun today – okay, so that’s about par for the (main) course.  Apparently some Doris took this bloke’s baked Alaska out of the fridge for 30 seconds and it melted – as he then did! Bloody hell mate – grow a pear or bugger off to a dessert Island. On a day when the Ukraine crisis worsened, 1400 children were shown to have been abused in one town it seems a bit much to lead on a cooking fuck up. Never mind the defection to the ‘Raving Loonies – or UKIP as they prefer to be known! As you may gather I’m not a huge fan of this or any other reality rubbish – however, I confess I did watch Phil Vickery and Matt Dawson on Master Chef – although only really in the hope they’d cock something up and have the bleep working overtime. The other big item on radio yesterday was the Kate Bush comeback concert – again, I quite like her music but felt some of the coverage was maybe a tad over the top. I suspect Mozart was a genius – in music maybe even McCartney qualifies, but deifying Kate because of some theatrical spectacle and a Stevie Nicks swirling dress seems a bit strong. A good show, I’m sure, but come on for fuck’s sake! The best bit was on Jeremy’s show when they discussed the fact that her son performed on stage with her – “until now he just thought she was someone who did the cooking and ran them to school”. Seriously Jeremy? What happened when he pitched up on stage at the Hammersmith – was it a total shock to find out she could sing? Was his reaction “what the fuck are you doing here Mum?” I’m guessing, Jeremy, that it wasn’t an entirely big surprise for him and think maybe the CDs in the lounge with her picture on and the royalty cheques might have been a bit of a clue – don’t you? Going back to the unbaked Alaska – this used to be a speciality of Terry’s – until one dinner party she used soft scoop Wall’s instead of the hard stuff – it came out of the oven much like the blokes on the cooking show, I imagine – anyway, we had a bloody good laugh and she didn’t melt down like he did. Maybe I’ll stick her name down for ‘The Real Wives of Turnipville’. One final thought – I instantly forgave Jonathan Woss – when he played Springsteen, Jackie Wilson, Elvis Costello and our granddaughter’s favourite song from Frozen – ‘Let it Go’ – which is what I’d wish the bleeding BBC would do!

 

MMIL

You’re reading this because you thought the heading was MILF aren’t you! I know I would have been! Actually it’s about the growth in cycling – probably as a result of the success in 2012. Lots of former rugby players like Loll Dallaglio, Johnno, Austin Healey and Martin Corry spend a lot of time raising money for charities like ‘Help for Heroes’ sitting on a bike in lycra (the L bit in MMIL not MILF – probably anyway). I think maybe though they are missing a trick – they could get loads more publicity (and sponsorship) if they followed the example of a female cyclist in Austria – http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/blogs-news-from-elsewhere-28680944 – pedalling away ‘au naturel’ by blokes the size of Loll and company would be sure to be an attraction for females up and down the country  – they could be sponsored by Vaseline in the winter and Ambre Solaire when the sun shines. Far be it from me to suggest that the ‘Golden Girls’ who just brought home the World Cup should follow (birthday) suit – but I imagine you could pave a third world country with fillet steak with the sponsorship they’d get!

 

A Shot in the Dark

There’s a scene in ‘Black Adder Goes Forth’ (Goodbyee) where Edmund is a tad sceptical about the tactical plans for the advance –

Melchett: “Well, fine body of men you’ve got out there, Blackadder” .Edmund: “Yes, sir — shortly to become fine bodies of men.” Melchett: “Nonsense — you’ll pull through. (laughs) I remember when we played  the old Harrovians back in ’96: they said we never could break  through to their back line, but we ducked and we bobbed and we wove  and we damn well won the game, 15-4.”  Edmund: “Yes, sir, but the Harrow fullback wasn’t armed with a heavy machine  gun”. Melchett: “No — that’s a good point. Make a note, Darling”… Darling: “Sir”. Melchett: “Recommendation for the Harrow Governors: Heavy machine guns for  fullbacks.”Bright idea, Blackadder”.

Obviously this suggestion is maybe a bit over the top – although there were times in Wales and the west country when I was at number 15 and an AK47 might have come in quite handy. Rugby players now wear a lot of protective gear to prevent injury but as yet they don’t need Kevlar vests – although I imagine Allyson Pollock (see post earlier this week) would be in favour. Military grade weapons aren’t therefore standard issue for full backs although sadly they seem to be increasingly popular in the US for anyone who has learnt to toddle  – http://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2014/apr/29/armed-to-the-milk-teeth-america-gun-toting-kids They come in pink and bright blue and have names like ‘Chipmunk’. The arms company selling these guns actually had a page on their web site called ‘Kids Corner’. They have since changed the name as someone thought it might be just a trifle distasteful – you think? A real surprise is that there have been some ‘accidents’! Tragically a five year old shot and killed his two year old sister – at the inquest this was described as – “Just one of those crazy accidents,” said the Cumberland County coroner, according to the Lexington Herald-Leader. This seems neither sensitive nor accurate to me! And now, at a range named ‘Bullets & Burgers’ a nine year old girl was, for some reason, being taught to use an Uzi – she lost control, shooting and killing the instructor – http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-28948946. An Uzi is a sub machine gun that has a standard firing rate of 600 rounds per minute. At the risk of upsetting some of my American friends – I really don’t think that this is what the Founding Fathers had in mind when they drafted the second amendment. The NRAs slogan from my ‘dead cold hands’ has a very hollow ring when the hands should be holding crayons or playing in a sand pit, not waving a sub machine gun around. Maybe it’s a British thing but to me ‘Gun Culture’ is an oxymoron of the first order!