Wednesday, April 27, 2016

The Carrington Event.

I hope you are getting satisfaction from the Internet and find it useful; I do and I freely admit it. I do my banking, pay bills, buy from Amazon and, in fact, buy from anywhere using Paypal: I even bought a pair of shoes on line and had to pick them up from the store. 
Much better than buying things personally as I just hate shopping.
A friend of mine, Ron, would go on line but didn't trust it; he would amuse himself by looking at the Red Sox statistics, fixtures and historical results; would search on line for nothing in particular but he would never use it for anything like banking, buying something or anything which would involve buying anything or using his credit card.
I remember buying things for him on my computer – but his credit card – as if it were somehow safer.
His point was that he wouldn't put things on to the computer in case the whole system broke down and everything would be lost. It never did in his life time. 
But it did once upon a time.
It happened in 1859; in those days (doze daze) electricity was hardly used as it hadn't been harnessed so it wasn't noticed by a lot of people. It was noticed, however, by a man called Carrington and how do I remember this? Because there was a teacher in our school called Mr Carrington. In those days (doze daze) teachers' first names were Top Secret! We would look at the initial and try to guess it; there was another teacher called S.G. White – what could that have been?
Back to Carrington the solar storm spotter of 1859: the storm he noticed came during solar cycle 10 and if it happened today it would cut all Internet activity, electrical usage – you name it – and prove Ron right.
The most recent solar storm of similar magnitude was in 2012 – but this didn't strike the earth.
By the way the Carrington I am referring to was Richard C. Carrington (I just looked it up on Wikipidia) and the storm was also noticed by someone called Richard Hodgson independently.
Here's what it says on Wikipedia:
From August 28 to September 2, 1859, numerous sunspots were observed on the Sun. On August 29, southern aurorae were observed as far north as Queensland, Australia. Just before noon on September 1, the English amateur astronomers Richard Carrington and Richard Hodgson independently made the first observations of a solar flare. The flare was associated with a major coronal mass ejection (CME) that travelled directly toward Earth, taking 17.6 hours to make the 150 million kilometre (93 million mile) journey. It is believed that the relatively high speed of this CME (typical CMEs take several days to arrive at Earth) was made possible by a prior CME, perhaps the cause of the large aurora event on August 29, that "cleared the way" of ambient solar wind plasma for the Carrington event.
Here is a link if you want to read the lot:
and be careful where you leave your stuff; don't trust that cloud!

Saturday, April 23, 2016

To be or not to be . . .

. . . that is the question. And why shouldn't it be? This weekend marks the 400th anniversary of both Shakespeare's birth and death. 
It is presumed he was born on the 24th as he was baptised on the 26th.
He died on the 23rd.
There are lots of myths about him; the silliest being that he didn't write any of the plays. It is silly because the people who think this, say that he didn't go to a University so how could he know so much– well neither did Alan Ayckbourn, Ben Johnson and loads of others.
However he did go to Stratford Grammar School from 6am to 6pm for 6 days a week for years.
Oh, they say, he didn't write anything after he retired; no autobiography or anything like that – well who did in the 17th Century? 
Some did, I know, but there were no book shops in those days and no television or talk shows so you could sell your book!
To be or not to be is arguably the greatest speech ever written and a lot of people will say that Hamlet, which it comes from, is the greatest play ever written.
The speech, itself, has been crucified, vilified and even been ignored, in some productions, I believe. 
For some reason some actors want to do the speech differently from other actors as if that's the point.
A well known critic wrote recently that he likes to learn something new about Shakespeare's plays when he sees a new production – well how can we know what he doesn't know?
Later in Hamlet, Shakespeare himself, through one of the characters, says Speak the speech, I pray you, as I pronounced it to you, trippingly on the tongue; but if you mouth it, as many of our players do, I had as lief the town crier spoke my lines. In other words be it but don't overdo it.
And that about sums it up; it's a famous speech (To be) about a man who is considering suicide – To be or not to be . . so why do it any differently? Just feel it.
In London this week there is a celebration of Shakespeare's and the picture at the top of the page speaks for itself.

The other night I watched the movie My Darling Clementine; it's one of my favourite films and it was directed by John Ford.
Of course it's a western and in it a a strolling player – an actor – arrives in Dodge City to perform recitations and poetry. 
The Clanton gang capture him and put him on to a table in their saloon where he recites; the gang shoot glasses away from his feet and nearly make him dance.
Alan Mowbray plays Granville Thorndyke a true thespian (on the right above) and when he starts to be or not to be he forgets some of it and he looks in to the crowd where Victor Mature, playing Doc Holliday, stands as he has just entered the saloon to quieten things down.
Thorndyke looks at him and plaintively says 'Sir! please help me' and Mature finishes off the speech with such sensitivity it brings a lump to your throat. He was an actor who tried to join a golf club in Los Angeles, once, and was told that they didn't take actors as members; he replied, 'I'm not an actor – and I've got 64 films to prove it!'

Takes a great actor to say that – he was superb in all his films and his performance in After the Fox with Peter Sellers is a beaut; he sends himself up wonderfully, as a Hollywood star who is after a role in a movie that the character Peter Sellers plays is about to direct.
There are a few excerpts from bits of Shakespeare performances in movies and I think my favourite is also someone quoting from Hamlet.

In Withnail and I Richard E Grant, just after this shot (above), goes through What a piece of work is a man? from Hamlet and it is the best rendition of the speech I have ever heard – he has lost his friend and it is so moving as he recites it in the rain. The Purple Rain – let's sit and wonder if Prince's work lasts even half the amount of time that Shakespeare's did; RIP, in any case.

Monday, April 18, 2016


Hi folks: I'm a little busy this week working on my play so don't have time to fill your day with any of my witticisms or wise cracks.
So have a look at my movie - it lasts 20 minutes and even though it's for sale on it isn't available on I am told it is something to so with licensing.
Let me know if you like it and turn up the volume.


And as you can see you have to click on to the 'play on vimeo' bit.

sOUNDz from CHRIS SULLIVAN on Vimeo.

Friday, April 8, 2016

138,000, still counting and the MV Agusta.

A small post today - I've been writing this since 2009, or so, and today I noticed that there are 138,000 hits; that's nothing when you look at sites like YouTube who have that many per minute uploads of material or popular bloggers getting in to the millions; usually teenagers telling their readers about their life, you know, 'got up this morning and I look awful.'
I'm not surprised maybe you should get out more.
Anyway we are still at it, or at least, I am, and the photo above was taken when I was a teenager: I'm the one at the very back in the middle, when my hair was black; I still remember those fine gentlemen.
Dave on the left, then Bill; Freddie in the front of me and then Johnny on the right.
Freddie and Johnny both died: Freddie about seven years ago and Johnny about twenty years ago.
I hope they are resting peacefully and visiting their loved ones in their loved one's dreams because that is where heaven is.
Dave, I still see when I get to Birmingham and I don't know where Bill is.
This is a picture of something we all worshiped in those days;

The MV Agusta: I took that photograph outside a place called Paradise Cove which is on the Pacific Coast Highway in Malibu California. A restaurant on the beach where they used to shoot some of the episodes of my favourite TV series The Rockford Files.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

OJ and me, cocaine and Postie

Orenthal James "O. J." Simpson
On the flight to Los Angeles in 1994, I sat next to a girl; we had a ten hour chat and her name was Lori; she told me lots of information about what to expect in LA and the words I should never say as I wouldn't be understood: they included queue, brolly, fortnight, spanner and many more.
In fact one person I asked what a fortnight was said it was something from Shakespeare!!
Lori also told me about OJ Simpson; this was around a month after the killing of Nicole Simpson and at the time OJ was on remand having been involved in the slowest car chase in television history.
Living there for seventeen years I got to seeing loads and loads of them; car chases I mean, and not necessarily on TV. 
First of all you see in the sky helicopters hovering, like flies around the inevitable, then when you got close you see a file or two of cop cars and people on the streets waving at the car being chased when they slowed to come off the freeways.
One chase passed our apartment and, as we were watching it on TV, we nipped out onto the balcony, watched the chase pass by and nipped back inside.
They could easily have trapped them there and then as they came up from Franklin Avenue and turned left onto our street, Hillside Avenue.
Another time I was on Sunset Blvd when a chase came passed and I could see the driver closely that time and he was behaving as if he was out on a Sunday afternoon spin in his car.
So when Lori told me how famous OJ was and what a chase was I had no idea.
My wife came over with me in January 1995 and left me there in the hotel with no job, no real money and nowhere to live.
On the first night I went into a bar next to the hotel and had a few drinks. Friendly people in LA especially when they hear the accent. I got to talking to some kind of postmaster and an actor, who he'd introduced me to, told me my first stop was to go to Samuel French Film and Theatre Bookshop on Sunset Blvd which I did the next day.
When the actor left us, the post office guy said he was expecting someone and whilst he got the drinks in a went to the loo.
I was washing my hands when he bustled in with a young fella with a very red face; red faces are usually tourists but this was no tourist; he handed postie a packet and postie gave him some money; they shook hands and the red faced fella left.
'Do you want some cocaine?' said postie. 
'No' I said!
'Well do you have something I can shove some up my nose with?'
I searched my pockets; nothing.
'I got my Harrow Library card' I said.
'Your what . . . hey give it me, real quick.'
I did.
He took my card, put some cocaine on to it and shoved it up his nose; then he put a bit more on and shoved that up the other nostril.
Wow! Here I am in LA, I thought, and I'm offered a trip on the great white way on the first night.
We went back to the bar and I could see that the red faced fella was talking to someone else and as we passed the bar tender, who was collecting glasses, he noticed the white powder on Postie's nose!
He just flicked it off as he went passed and he gave me a look too or, should I say, he looked at my nose.
We got back to the bar and after a few minutes I went back to the loo, took my Harrow Library card and tore it to bits, flushing it down the loo before going back to the bar.
Three weeks or so later I found somewhere to live in a place called Silverlake in Maltman Avenue just off Sunset Blvd; a soap opera queen called Marilyn owned the house and there was an older actor there who kind of took a shine to me. He had retired from something and came to Hollywood to get in to a TV series; his girl friends had told him he was good looking and he should come; so he came; eejit.
He would drop me into various places – as long as I wasn't going after a job, I found out later – and I remember him saying one day that he had to get back as F. Lee Bailey was due to speak in court.
The opening statements in the trial started on my brother's birthday, January 24th, and the trial ended on my mother's birthday on October 5th.
By the time the trial finished we really got to know everybody concerned and within hours of the verdict people were selling The Juice is Loose tee shirts outside Grauman's Chinese Theatre
In fact Graumans changed to Mann's and back to Grauman's again during this period but you can look it up on Wikipedia – with enormous respect, of course.
At the moment there is a drama series on television in America and in Britain about the OJ case. 
It brings it all back to me; the glove that didn't fit; the blood on the Bronco; Marcia Clark; Bob Shapiro – all household names by the time the trial was over.
'If the glove don't fit, you have to acquit!' 
The white people thought he was guilty and the black people thought he wasn't.
Lori on the plane had told me how famous OJ was but I didn't figure; we arrived in LA about five in the evening and she told me she would like to take me up to Carmel later in the week and gave me her number. 
An air hostess had also given me her number: she said her neighbour was James Woods' manager and if I gave her a call and she would get me his number – I did call her but could never get hold of the manager and as to Lori? 
No I didn't go – I was tempted to go down the greasy path to debauchery and sin twice but decided to leave all that alone with no regrets. 
As I got off the plane that day - even whilst we were still in flight - I knew I was landing in the land of opportunity - I had a girl friend if I wanted one, a manager if I could find him and later a drug buddy if I wished to live that kind of life.
I saw Johnny Cochran a few times as he went to the same movies as me a few times.
Here are some photos of the people who were so familiar to me that long hot summer (from January to October, would you believe was sunny) all those years ago, and the people who portray them in the series -  The People v O.J. Simpson:

Monday, March 21, 2016

Obama in Cuba and the Chevy.

This is not political at all so don't let me frighten you away but there is a map above and, as you can see, it's of Cuba. If you look down the south east corner you will see the dreaded and disgusting Guantanamo Bay. That was left to the USA under some kind of treaty around 1903. Cuba feels that the USA are there illegally – and why wouldn't they?
As you will know it has been used as a detention centre since the Iraq invasion and none of the people there have been tried or convicted of anything so I suppose it could be called a concentration camp.
Barack Obama has tried to close the camp since he became president but keeps running in to objections from Congress; they just won't let him close the place. The objections have to do with where they would put the current inhabitants: would they send them home to their own countries or put them into prisons in America.
Obama is now on the island of Cuba and you will know it is the first visit of a serving president for eighty odd years.
The thing is I've always wanted to go to Cuba – I mean look at it:

Now that the Americans have an embassy there and have lifted a lot of the restrictions I don't think Cuba will look like this for very long. I just love those cars and if you even try to compare them to the cars being built today there is no comparison.
I used to drive a Chevy Nova when I lived in Los Angeles; it was a 1973 and was a sedan (saloon) and was like a tank. I also drove a Dodge Dart, which belonged to someone I knew and my pal had a 1963. Here they are – or should I say here are the models (not mine or my pals who would call his 'Betsy').
Some of the other cars on the island can be seen in these pictures:

But look at the island in the other pictures; who wouldn't want to go there?
If you have ever seen The Godfather II – one of the best films ever made – you will, more or less, know the history of Cuba. The Mafia ran the place and the President, Batista, was in their pocket. The island was inundated with the mob with their casinos and Fidel Castro and the rebels were sick of it so they did something about it.

Castro was the hero of Cuba and America told the Americans that he was a heathen and a communist and a threat to America. He went to America after his revolution and they turned him (Cuba) away so he went to the Soviet Union. The people in Cuba worship him – he got rid of the crooks. What he did then is not good as he put opponents in prison and nobody can condone that but the refugees who went to America wanted and want the island to return to its former state. The Mafia??

I would still like to go there; we were forbidden when we lived there when it wasn't that far away; I think USA citizens are fined something like $800 if they visit there.
I hope Obama enjoys his time there but his time as president is running out and gawd knows what the future holds for the place.
There is a lot of Obama publicity at the moment; on Saturday he was heavily featured in The Guardian magazine on Saturday and there is a documentary series on BBC2 Inside Obama's White House.
It's a wonder he achieved what he did; when Nancy Pelosi (the speaker of the house when Obama was elected) asked the Republicans what they would help them with to get through she was told 'we ain't helping you at all.'

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

moral dilemma

Montgomery Clift

Do you know I was thinking, on this day that the wonderful George Martin died, that there are other things bigger than the law and religion and that's just being good, using moral judgement, be your own man or woman and follow your own rules.
There is an item in the news at the moment about a certain cell phone in America that the FBI would like the mighty Apple Corporation to open to see if there are any clues on there to see if the people that terrorised San Bernardino had contacted others and conspired with others; Apple said it was against their rules of confidentiality to reveal how to unlock the phone.
Now what do I think about that?
I don't really want the FBI coming to me and looking at my call records even though I have nothing to hide. But why did this go public in any case?
Why didn't the FBI and Apple conspire together in one of the many conspiracies they are reputed to be doing all the time? From planning the attack on 9-11 to Hurricane Katrina!
There was a very good movie called I Confess which was directed by Alfred Hitchcock and starred everybody's favourite actor Montgomery Clift; Monty (above) played a priest and a man confessed to a murder during confession but because he was a priest he (the priest) had to follow his moral code of confidentiality and keep it to himself.
It's a moral dilemma and that kind of dilemma should be restricted to fiction.
Another thing – and this will come together, I hope – Jimmy Savile was a very religious man. He was so religious that he thought if he confessed his terrible sins he would go to heaven in spite of them.
But think of it if Jimmy Savile's priest knew about the terrible things he did with children of both sexes wouldn't it be his duty (the priest's) to put a stop to it by letting someone know – like the cops. That's a moral dilemma and I hate to even think about how many children he rapes could have been saved with a word from Savile's priest.
It's pronounced Savell, by the way, for my American friends who have probably never heard of the worm.
It doesn't matter whether you believe in God or not those children could have been spared the knowledge of that vile man's body.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016


The 2 Sides of Eddie Ramone
I have decided to devote my post today to my crowdfunding campaign with regards to my play The 2 Sides of Eddie Ramone.
Here I am in Pinner, Greater London; 13 miles from the centre of the city; I have started the campaign and after two days I notice that most of my hits have come from the USA with 163, then comes the UK with 47, Germany with 10 and then loads of countries adding up to 282 with 97 referrals. So if you have referred thanks.
I could do with some contributions now – just think if all those people had donated £10 there would £2820 in the kitty now.
But there isn't – not yet anyway. But here's hoping.
Now then: you've heard of the Coen Brothers; they're the fellas who make those great movies like The Big Lebowski and Fargo.
They raised the finance on their first film, Blood Simple by asking all the dentists in their home town of Minneapolis for money. The dentists obliged as they had plenty and, because there were so many of them, they didn't feel the pinch.
Crowd funding is like that for people who don't know any dentists.
If you look (as I mentioned in my last post) in Wikipedia Crowdfunding is described as the practice of funding a project or venture by raising monetary contributions from a large number of people and it goes on to say that it's been going since 1999 and In 2013, the crowdfunding industry raised over $5.1 billion worldwide.
So that's it!
I only know one dentist and she works at Guy's Hospital so I'm trying Crowdfunding to fund my play which opens in an off west end theatre in July.
As mentioned this is going to everybody in my address book so I apologise to the utility companies for any confusion!!
Have a look at the proposal for my crowd funding campaign:
Click on that if you would like to participate or just to take a look and let me know what you think.
The Crowd funding company I am using for this is Indiegogo – I only used the tiny URL so make things simple.
I'm hoping it's amusing and will give you a laugh and a break from the toils, tribulations, troubles and strife of life.
I have participated in other people's campaigns – not always getting the perk I asked for by the way – and they have usually been successful.
My play – The 2 Sides of Eddie Ramone started off as a one man show and has developed into a full length play for two people – a 2 hander!
Once again is where you go.

Good wishes

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Hooray for Hollywood and Crowdfunding.

Well the Academy Awards will be this weekend and I'm sad to be missing them again. That's the guy, above, who will win the Oscar for best actor Leonardo de Caprio.
He will win because he won the best actor at the SAG (Screen Actors's Guild) Awards.
It happens every year because it is the same people who vote for best actor in both awards – SAG and Academy.
I don't get a vote now but because I used to get a vote I would go and meet the stars at a screening of their movies; they cared, so they came along. A lot of actors say they don't care but they are usually actors who would never be considered in any case. I knew one guy who would go and read a book in Santa Monica rather than appear to take an interest. On the other hand I popped in to Dan Tanna's the first year I was there and everybody at the bar was watching the show in their tuxedos.
The last person I met was Jeff Bridges, who was a really nice and with great hair; I don't think he won for True Grit – but he might have done – and others that came along were George Clooney, Heath Ledger – oh and Leonardo de Caprio himself when he played Howard Hughes.
So I'll miss all that again this year.
I'll be starting a crowdfunding campaign – maybe this week so if you win a load of money with your bet on de Caprio come along! 
You won't get your feet wet.
If you haven't heard of crowdfunding – and why would you? - it's very simple.
Well the easiest way to explain is to look in Wiki – it's been going since 1997 and here's what they say:
Crowdfunding is the practice of funding a project or venture by raising monetary contributions from a large number of people, today often performed via internet-mediated registries, but the concept can also be executed through mail-order subscriptions, benefit events, and other methods. Crowdfunding is a form of alternative finance, which has emerged outside of the traditional financial system.
The crowdfunding model is based on three types of actors: the project initiator who proposes the idea and/or project to be funded; individuals or groups who support the idea; and a moderating organization (the "platform") that brings the parties together to launch the idea .
In 2013, the crowdfunding industry raised over $5.1 billion worldwide.

I am not after any where near that but the main idea is to spread the word – so watch this space.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

The Artist, the town, the PM and the writer.

It was just then she told me she'd got an old man,
She said come round for tea on Sunday if you can,
He'll be in Margate for the day
And that's when I said 'no way'
It's time to walk back to my van.

Excuse that indulgence – a few lines from a song I wrote some time ago. It was in my head when we went to Margate last week; maybe I'll record it soon.
Yes Margate; it's a seaside town in Kent and the painter, JMW Turner, said 'the skies over Thanet (where Margate is) are the loveliest in all Europe.'
He painted over one hundred oils and water colours on his visits there which is a pancake flat semi island jutting in to the North Sea and is surrounded by water on three sides. It has vast skies and dramatic light which was perfect for his art.
He stayed in a guest house in Margate and if you go there today you will see the Turner Gallery on the spot where the guest house stood. 
From one of the windows you can see an impressive vista of the sky, the sea and what Turner must have experienced at the time.
But what is art?
Some people say that it you call yourself an artist you are pretentious and I say, 'Pretentious? Moi???”
There's an ongoing conversation with lots of American actors, and actors from other places, as to whether acting is an art or a craft. 
Personally I don't really care to join the conversation but sometimes it's a bit sickening to hear actors talk about their craft in nearly every sentence. I would just say this – yes it is pretentious to keep talking about your art but a craft?
With a craft you know how it's going to end up – it's going to be a table, a chair, a piece of origami whereas with art – painting, acting, singing or whatever – you don't really know how it's going to end up – and if you do then it becomes an craft.
Now I am not going to mention any names here but when I walked in to the Turner centre; and look at it (above) it's very impressive – I went along a corridor and on the wall there were some pictures and I immediately thought 'oh they are exhibiting some children's pictures; maybe from an infants' class close by?'
The first picture was of a face; just an oval face as any child would draw. It was maybe 18 inches by 24 inches.
An oval face, two dots for eyes, a line for a nose and a smiley mouth. 
In the background was a pair of lips as roughly drawn as the face.
There was nothing else in the picture.
At the side it mentioned who it was drawn by, told us what it was drawn on and gave the dimensions.
Along the wall there were other pictures, all, more or less the same size, and of the same standard.
On the opposite wall, in the corridor, was a monitor playing a DVD.
I put the head phones on and it was an old lady of maybe 70 who was the artist of the pictures on exhibit.
She was talking very seriously about her inspirations and influences and . . . .
What is art?
I haven't said anything derogatory about anybody here but you have to think.
Margate has been a renaissance town of late with quite a few films set there; a television series or two, lots of organic cafés, independent galleries and vintage clothes shops but the day we went it was closed.
The recent series there True Love, was improvised love stories so there must be some attraction – but the day we went not only were the shops closed Margate was closed.
The place has a reputation of all things artistic; Tracey Emin made her bed there, won the Turner Prize with it and contributed to the Turner Centre but, and I have to ask this what is art?
There are people totally devoid of art of any kind. 
Whether you like it or not people following soap operas on TV are following an art form – drama, acting whatever.
I remember in the sixties when a court case was reported in the media a witness would say they were listening to The Beatles or watching James Bond and the judge would ask 'what or who are The Beatles?' or James Bond?
They were obviously living in a different world from anybody else.
When we read Shakespeare there are sometimes funny lines we don't understand. 
These are the same kind of lines that are used in panto here when an act will refer to a TV commercial or programme in a joke. The judge wouldn't get the joke as they don't follow the zeitgeist. 
Politicians have tried to make jokes but when they take their kids to the panto at Christmas they don't get the jokes as they never watch television.
I heard the case of the Canadian Prime Minister of whom it was said never read a novel – just text books and the like.
He was also the Prime Minister who, upon the death of Pierre Tredeau, criticised him instead of paying tribute.
The Canadian writer Yann Martell, who wrote The Life of Pi, sent that Prime Minister, Stephen Harper by the way, a book every month and a letter and Harper didn't even acknowledge him. he sent 101 books and letters.
A very famous Canadian writer, as with The Beatles, who is Yann Martell?
The same Yann Martell wrote to Barack Obama who sent back a hand written note saying that he and his daughter had loved The Life of Pi.
Barack Obama aye?
Appreciate him whilst you have him, America, the road doesn't look too optimistic ahead!

Monday, February 8, 2016

Circumventing the Circumflex.

I think, and I am probably the only one does, that the worst thing America did to itself, like some leviathan masochist, was to release Webster's Dictionary on the populace.
I mean what was the matter with the original spelling? Why couldn't they get used to spelling diarrhoea as diarrhoea instead of diarrhea; why couldn't they get used to that extra 'o'? No wonder nobody in America writes about diarrhoea as there is no challenge when writing it down. It's easier to let Donald Trump talk diarrhoea than to let someone write about it.
Webster didn't bother changing the name of Albuquerque because he knew how to spell it. That doesn't mean that he was a brilliant man because he could spell it, as William Shakespeare wouldn't have been able to spell it if he'd been alive today and why would he bother when the world would be at the feet of a 400 year old living writer?
But to the point: what has become a big pain in the arse for me since returning from America, where I lived for 17 years, is that I got used to the American spellings and now since my return I can't remember which is which.
I remember a Canadian writer (not you Jim), whom I knew in Los Angeles in 1995, would only submit his scripts with American spelling as he believed they wouldn't employ non-Americans – or wouldn't hire non-Americans, to use the American vernacular.
One guy said to me once that the English put the 'u' into words like colour to be fancy; to be fancy?? 
No the Americans took it out – Webster took it out and in so doing cut off the access to the history of some words.
You can see where some words come from by their spelling. The way to pronounce Ye olde Shoppe, by the way, is the old shop. 
Plain and simple. 
In the olden days (daze) F and S were the same and I've told you about the 27th letter of the alphabet! Yes I did it was the ampersand = &.
Recently the French have done a Webster; they have cancelled the circumflex – this is a circumflex ^ - it goes over lots of words such as those with certain vowels but accent (known as a fada in Ireland and the tilde in Spanish) will remain on the 'e' and the 'a' (????) and they are going to remove the hyphen in compound nouns such as porte-monnaie and week-end.
Incidentally the circumflex is a good thing to use for a password; for example your password could be ^forexample12F – everything in it.
Right – back to France before I get interrupted with any more thoughts – actually I get interrupted by thoughts all the time, when I write, and sometimes, even though I have not written any masterpieces yet – Yet I say – some brilliant thoughts have come to me whilst writing a fiction!
You have your password so onward: 26 years ago France decided on these changes and they were suggested by Académie Française (you see I put them in including that funny little thing on the bottom of the C ç) and in 2008 the education ministry suggested the new spelling rules were 'the reference' to be used but few people noticed.
Then in November the changes were mentioned in another government document – but nobody noticed again.
Then when it was reported on TV there was an uproar – all over the Internet, social media, Twitter, the lot – you must have noticed?
Oh well.
The only thing is that people in Britain will not take any notice; ever since England was invaded by William the Conquerer in 1066 – William of Normandy – the English refuse to pronounce French words with the accents. 
The 'T' is sounded in fillet here, the 'H' in herb and all the other naughty to the English things the Americans do.
I think Starbucks tried to confuse the Americans with the size of the drinks – English (tall) for small, Spanish (grandé) for large and Italian (venti) twenty ounces.
Of course 20 ounces here is a pint as opposed to the 16 ounce pint in America; that's why you never get a true pint of ale there.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Fame and Terry Wogan.

Terry Wogan with Princess Diana.

Celebrity is a strange thing isn't it? It's a bit like profit, or getting paid, who wins the Oscar, which picture has grossed the most last week.
Never which picture is the grossest?
Last week the nation's heart was broken with the death of Terry Wogan.
It was on the front of every newspaper here – and there are lots of national newspaper dailies here – and the two shittiest newspapers (I refer you to the thought above), The Daily Mirror and The Sun, published the same headline on the front page – Thank you for Being Our Friend. And a photo of Terry Wogan with it.
The Daily Mail, surely the worst kind of right wing newspaper (they even supported Hitler, so they say) had some kind of Wogan v Bowie feature which, I'm sure you will agree is an example of very bad taste.
I don't think I've ever heard anyone say a bad or a negative word about Terry Wogan – I'm sure they will come out of the woodwork – as everybody here loved him.
He was a wonderful human being, had a wonderful voice, great Limerick Irish accent, was quick witted, kind a cuddly.
He was ostensibly a radio deejay and commentator. When JFK visited Ireland in the 60s his was the voice that described the visit but after he came to England and became a deejay it was quite obvious that this was no airhead spin jockey. His quick wit and love of words and the fact that he never let politics mar either his shows or judgement, endeared him to the listeners and eventually viewers of Britain that by the time he died last Sunday the nation was in shock.
Yet he was largely unknown in America.
His position on the pro list of the IMDb – the Internet Movie Data Base – was about the same as mine; this is because the IMDb is mainly American even though it is a British company which is centred in Bristol. (guess who bought it? Yes – Amazon).
David Bowie on the other hand was known the world over. His star was not as large as Terry Wogan's here in fact it could be said that only a minority of the population knew many Bowie songs. I knew loads because I still have a lot of his albums – on vinyl of course.
So that's all I have to say about our two late friends – they joined, in January, quite a few fellow artists, stars and even garters who we lost, including Ed (stewpot) Stewart, Alan Rickman, Brian Bedford, Glenn Frey and Frank Finlay (whom I worked with) and more.
Terry's fame was national and he lived in Windsor near The Queen but what is fame?
Many years ago I did some radio commercials for Chiltern Radio; they were, or maybe still are, in Bedfordshire and I was a regular listener as I liked the music they played. When I went in the front door of the building, just behind the receptionist, there was a reel to reel tape recorder on the wall which was recording the entire output of the station which I could hear.
As I walked along the hall to the little studio where I was to record, I could see through a glass door a man sitting behind a desk with a microphone in front of him. He was the only person in the room and he was speaking to a few hundred thousand listeners in the county of Bedfordshire.
What I found crazy was the fact that he was the only person in the room – I couldn't see any producers because of the angle of my view, so he looked like some kid in his bedroom playing records and pretending to be a deejay - maybe that's the secret?
When I had finished my recording, he was coming out of his little cave – a man cave they call them these days (deez daze) – and in the street I saw him driving out in his new car.
On the side of the car was his name - let's say it was Harry Smith and underneath his name was nearly famous sponsored by . . . . whatever the make of the car was.
Incidentally, and I may have mentioned this before, on one of the days the producer asked me to say 'Chiltern Classified Pools Check at Five Forty' and nothing else; I did this and every Saturday after that at five forty pm that ident would introduce the football scores.
Many years later I was driving up the M1 in the Bedfordshire area, at about that time on a Saturday, and I tuned in and there was my voice still churning out the same message.
Strange thing isn't it, fame – bye bye Tel' - thanks.