Feeling My Age

Getting older has its drawbacks – but it's a lot better than the alternative.

Posts Tagged ‘ humour ’

Alley Oop!

April 10, 2012 Feeling My Age Comments


Photo taken with Instagram

Wife just told me the silliest joke I’ve heard in ages…
Q: What do you call someone who cuts hair between two rows of houses?
A: Ali Baba.

The Iron Duke

April 9, 2012 Feeling My Age Comments

Duke Of Wellington playing cards

Phot taken with Instagram

In view of his huge national popularity following the battle of Waterloo, the Duke Of Wellington was pressed to accept the post of Prime Minister. After his first cabinet meeting, somebody asked him how it had gone.  “It was the most extraordinary thing” said Wellesley. in genuine puzzlement. “I gave them their orders. then all of them wanted to talk about it.”

When a friend told me this anecdote today it reminded of the Spitting Image sketch where The Iron Lady takes her cabinet out to a restaurant:

Waitress: Would you like to order, sir?
Thatcher: Yes. I will have the steak.
Waitress: How would you like it?
Thatcher: Oh, raw, please.
Waitress: And what about the Vegetables?
Thatcher: Oh, they’ll have the same as me!

Wife steered me towards this 1973 public safety film from the Central Office Of Information: which the government closed down at the end of last week.

Some of its films were highly memorable – though not always for the right reasons – Dark And Lonely Water offered priceless comedy value, even at the time.

“Sensible children… I have no power over them” mutters The Spirit Of Dark And Lonely Water from beneath his dark and lonely hood.

“Oi luk, vair’s samwam en va wor-ahh!” comments  Hordriss The Confuser on YouTube. ” I remember when nearly every child in documentaries or public service announcements had an estuary accent which could strip paint from steel.”

But some of the COI’s intentionally funny films were genuinely hilarious, and put their point across all the more effectively. 1945’s “Coughs & Sneezes” was an alltime favourite…

Ikea Queue

March 31, 2012 Feeling My Age Comments

Sportily dressed man in Swedish colours astride his Ikea shopping cart
Photo taken with Instagram

Child K snapped this sportily dressed man standing astride his shopping cart in the checkout queue at Ikea in Croydon. Note the iPad lying on top of his intended purchases. I asked on Twitter if anyone could suggest what he was up to.

“I can’t even begin to guess” said @ayetunes

“Aha, Strange things happen to a man’s brain in Ikea Croydon” said @WobblyBobMusicthis is what happened last time I was there”

“Woah! Testosterone overdose” was @seanamcginty‘s reaction

“Or is he just trying to impress……………!” replied @NearsideNick

“If he’d had his legs waxed as well you’d have known immediately” volunteered @leny2010

“He’s even dressed in Swedish colours! Could be some Scandinavian pron niche of which we are unaware and cannot hope to comprehend” said @cupoftea69

“I think he’s misunderstood the whole concept of how to wear a bumbag (that is what they were called back in the 80’s I think?)” suggested @NoahSams

“Taking a photo of his bits? I’ve been to IKEA in Croydon. It’s a portal to Hell. Nothing would surprise me there…” was the last word from the well-named @bitofacharacter

You’ve got to love Twitter. A total waste of time no doubt, but all of human life is there.

Fat Freddy’s Cat

February 13, 2012 Feeling My Age Comments

THC Farmer Website

From the forums of THCFarmer.com, with thanks to the user known as Stoopid Monkey, here’s the first episode of Fat Freddy’s Cat – a spinoff series from Gilbert Shelton‘s Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers. Much like Charles M Schultz‘s character Snoopy, Fat Freddy’s Cat has endured rather better than the original series he came from.

Looking back at it now for the first time in forty years, Sixties Stoner Humour hasn’t really aged that well – though we all thought it was bloody hilarious at the time. And at least it was “ours” – belonging to the youth counter-culture of the day rather than the safe, staid world of  Giles and Ronald Searle we’d grown up with. And certainly Guardian cartoonist Steve Bell still owes an obvious debt to Mr Shelton…

Fat Freddy's Cat #1
Fat Freddy’s Cat #1 Copyright ©1988 by Gilbert Shelton. 
From The Fat Freddy’s Cat Omnibus – as favourably reviewed by Nicolas Lezard – and available in the UK from Amazon.

For more Fat Freddy’s Cat click here


The Lion And Albert

December 30, 2011 Feeling My Age Comments

The Lion And Albert
Marriott Edgar’s comic monologue The Lion and Albert was hugely popular when I was a kid in the 50s. It was made famous by the masterly interpretation by Stanley Holloway – who first performed it at London’s Savoy Follies in 1931.

Grateful acknowledgement to Paul Burman’s blog for the image above, in which Mr Ramsbottom bears an uncanny resemblance to my Lincolnshire grandad. The full length text goes on a bit – my friend Herry used to recite a (mercifully abridged) version when we were teenagers:

There’s a famous seaside place called Blackpool,
That’s noted for fresh air and fun,
And Mr and Mrs Ramsbottom
Went there with young Albert, their son.

A grand little lad was young Albert,
All dressed in his best; quite a swell
With a stick with an ‘orse’s ‘ead ‘andle,
The finest that Woolworth’s could sell.

They didn’t think much to the Ocean:
The waves, they was fiddlin’ and small,
There was no wrecks and nobody drownded,
Fact, nothing to laugh at at all.

So, seeking for further amusement,
They paid and went into the Zoo,
Where they’d Lions and Tigers and Camels,
And old ale and sandwiches too.

There were one great big Lion called Wallace;
His nose were all covered with scars —
He lay in a somnolent posture,
With the side of his face on the bars.

Now Albert had heard about Lions,
How they was ferocious and wild  —
To see Wallace lying so peaceful,
Well, it didn’t seem right to the child.

So straightway the brave little feller,
Not showing a morsel of fear,
Took his stick with its ‘orse’s ‘ead ‘andle
And pushed it in Wallace’s ear.

You could see that the Lion didn’t like it,
For giving a kind of a roll,
He pulled Albert inside the cage with him,
And swallowed the little lad whole.

Then Pa, who had seen the occurrence,
And didn’t know what to do next,
Said ‘Mother! Yon Lion’s ‘et Albert’,
And Mother said ‘Eeh, I am vexed!’…
[read more…]

The O'Shea Gallery, 5 St James Street, London

It was a bit of a novelty to find myself strolling down St.James Street the other day, passing shops such as Lobb the shoemakers and this small gallery devoted to the work of upper class cartoonist Annie Tempest.

Actually I’d never heard of Annie – or her Tottering By Gently strip in Country Life magazine – a publication I’ve never knowingly read. It covers, we’re told: “the pleasures and joys of rural life, and  the concerns of rural people”. These consist of country houses, architecture, gardening, farming, hunting, shooting, antiques and crafts.

I think we know which class of rural people we’re talking about here.
[read more…]

Richard Pryor

When Richard Pryor Live In Concert was first released on VHS in 1979 me and my mates bought a cassette of the soundtrack and listened to it so many times we could recite pretty much the whole thing by heart. To this day I haven’t heard or seen anything to touch it.

This clip can only give a flavour of Richard Pryor‘s unique comic genius. To appreciate it fully you need to witness the longform performance to get the cumulative effect as he draws you into his world.

Luckily you can now buy a remastered DVD of the whole 78 minute show on Amazon for a paltry £2.99. It’s a crying shame – and an incredible bargain: I’ve just bought a new copy so we can chuckle at it all over again.

Crucified Santa Christmas card

I always loved the story – first heard in the late 80s – that just after World War II a department store in Tokyo’s newly westernised Ginza district displayed a smiling Santa nailed to a cross as part of its Christmas decorations.

Sadly, according to the urban myth website Snopes.com the story has no foundation in fact.  But it did inspire the US artist Robert Cenedella to paint the above image as a commentary on the commercialisation of Christmas. Somebody has incorporated the painting into a cod – supposedly Japanese – Christmas card.

Talking of Cod Christmas Cards we’ve just received exactly that from two friends in Tokyo:  a secular advent calendar which features 32 varieties of sushi – and runs all the way from January 1st to New Year’s Day.

Sushi Avent Calendar

On Thursday – December 1st – we started out with Maguro (Tuna); Friday it was Kanpachi (Amber Jack) and yesterday we contemplated the marvels of Hirame (Flounder) sushi… Today – the Second Sunday In Advent – we were thrilled to flip the flap and discover Aburi Hotate (Grilled Scallop).

I await tomorrow morning’s Advent Sushi Of The Day with breathless anticipation.


Tabbies: Mad Or What?

November 26, 2011 Feeling My Age Comments

The Cheshire Cat by John Tenniel

Lewis Caroll’s Cheshire Cat in Alice In Wonderland was a tabby, but no surprises there. All the truly eccentric cats we’ve ever known have been brown and stripy.

There was Napoleon who liked to sleep in the washbasin and Jemima who spent the night dragging a cotton bobbin to the top of the wooden stairs then chasing it noisily down again. Jarvis hated towels being dried on the radiators and would pull them down with his claws.

Our near neighbour Muffy will rush up to strangers purring, chirruping and rubbing around their legs. Yet to touch the animal is to risk death – or at least a badly mauled hand.

And after an unpromising kittenhood  Prudence (above) is steadily improving with age. Now aged 16, she’ll cheerfully sit up like a meercat when wanting to be stroked or fed, and has come to regard her own tail as a mortal enemy.

Edward Lear had an elderly tomcat – tabby of course – whom he immortalised in seven sketches entitled  The Heraldic Blazon Of Foss The Cat.

This is Foss Dansant – click the picture to see the other six.

Foss Dansant from The Heraldic Blazon Of Foss The Cat by Edward Lear

Nice Tea, Dear…

November 18, 2011 Feeling My Age Comments

Tea Tray

From Under Milk Wood by Dylan Thomas:

Mr Pugh, in the School House opposite, takes up the morning
tea to Mrs Pugh, and whispers on the stairs

Here’s your arsenic, dear.
And your weedkiller biscuit.
I’ve throttled your parakeet.
I’ve spat in the vases.
I’ve put cheese in the mouseholes.
Here’s your… [Door creaks open]
…nice tea, dear.

Too much sugar.

You haven’t tasted it yet, dear.

Too much milk, then.

Placing a mug of hot Assam on the bedside table this morning I whispered “Here’s your nice tea, dear”. “Thankyou, Mr Pugh” murmured my dozing wife before drifting back into deep sleep.

We’re just like an old married couple.


From The Coffee Table Book Of Doom by Steven Appleby and Art LesterJust got given a copy of The Coffee Table Book Of Doom by Steven Appleby and Art Lester – which manages to to be factual, fatalistic and funny all at the same time, while acknowledging that Doom Anxiety is probably as old as humankind itself.

Lester’s text exhaustively lists scenarios of present day Cosmic, Eco, Medical, Geophysical, Climate, Technological, Social, Political, Religious, Philosophical and Personal Doom. The depressing effect is balanced by the wild extravagance of Appleby’s illustrations, which crackle with humour and energy.

You can wander along the wilder shores of Steven’s imagination at stevenappleby.com (Flash required).  The portrait below comes from an in-depth interview on this Norwegian website.

Steven Appleby In Studio

Jay Spears Sings Out

September 19, 2011 Feeling My Age Comments

The Californian songwriter Jay Spears got himself into hot water with this video lampooning the U.S. Religious Right – but then they’d have hated him even before he wrote the song, simply for being an out gay man. By the same token Jay has also made himself some friends in high places. Richard Dawkins liked it so much he enthusastically – if ineptly – embedded the video on his website.

Having grown up as a lonely closeted pop fan in the sixties – when every romantic song we ever heard harped on about boy-meets-girl – Jay’s upbeat tunes and lyrics such as the cheerfully queer “I Like Mike” have cheered me up no end in my middle years. You can find more of his work at jayspears.com

Warren Zevon

The great Warren Zevon at his macabre best. Other bleak classics from the same 1978 album include Roland The Headless Thompson Gunner and the title track Excitable Boy. Co-produced by Jackson Browne of all people, it also featured James Taylor sidekicks Leland Sklar, Danny Kortchmar and Russ Kunkel. Though as it happens Mick Fleetwood was the guest drummer on this track, which could (at the time of writing this) be heard below courtesy of the late lamented Grooveshark.

The marvellous Grooveshark used to let you embed pretty much anything from Bach to The Beatles pretty much anywhere you want, for free. Predictably the RIAA and BPI stomped all over them with lawyers and injunctions, and the service is now defunct. Comparitech have compiled a list of all the available, legal successors here: https://www.comparitech.com/blog/vpn-privacy/grooveshark-limewire-alternatives

Enjoy them while they last… Meanwhile at least Warren Zevon’s Werewolves can be heard and seen on YouTube:


What could be worse than burglars breaking into your apartment? An infestation of drummers perhaps… Music for one apartment and six drummers uploaded by tventin to Vimeo.