Posts Tagged ‘TV’

Things I have said to famous people while making them coffee: the reblog

A few days ago, while talking about art, I mentioned a photograph that is in the National Portrait Gallery, of the Last Supper but reconstructed with actors. One of these actors is Simon Callow. This reminded me of the time Simon Callow and I became best friends, sort of…..

Simon Callow

Now you must bear in mind when reading this, that I had not had a television since leaving home when I was 18 and had not really been absorbing anything I did watch, even then. This is attested to by the fact that I have no idea whether I have watched loads of really classic films that I’m guessing I probably did watch at some point in my childhood. That is my defence.

This incident happened about six years later, when working in a little coffee kiosk in a train station.

A man came in one day and got an espresso and an orange juice. His face looked really familiar. When he left, I asked the others if they recognised him. One was Portuguese and the other Polish and they hadn’t recognised him at all. I’m not sure how well he is known outside the English speaking world but neither knew his face.

The next day he came in and I decided to be brave and asked him.“Sorry, I don’t mean to sound over familiar but I recognise you from somewhere and I can’t think where. Are you off TV?”

Yes. I said that. Those exact words – “off TV.” Are you off TV? Like some chav who can’t speak properly. Me. I said that. To Simon Callow.

Simon.

Callow.

What an insult.

He good-naturedly said, “Well, some of the things I’ve been in have been shown on television, yes.”

After he left, a poster on the station wall caught my eye. A poster for a pantomime showing at the nearby theatre. The man was on the poster! I quickly googled his name on my phone and realised, with a sinking feeling, that it had been Simon Callow. The famous Shakespearean theatre actor, Simon Callow. Yes, him.

And I’d asked him if he was “off TV.”

The next time he came in, I apologised and he was lovely and gracious about it, obviously. He asked my name and every time he came in, most days for the next few weeks, he always popped his head round to where I was tucked away making coffee and said, “Hello, Laura.”

Thank goodness he was so nice about it!

Gita from Eastenders

This one is from the same coffee job. A lady had been in every day for a few days and I had a real feeling that I knew her, or had known her, from my childhood in Liverpool. Now Liverpool isn’t the whitest place in the world but in comparison with London’s ethnic make-up, you just do notice people of different ethnicity a bit more because there are fewer of them.This lady obviously had an Indian background and a slight Indian accent and, for some reason, my first thought was of my Maths teacher at school, who was also of Indian origin but had a Liverpudlian accent. So the picture didn’t match exactly but I couldn’t think of anyone else Indian I had known during my childhood. Other ethnicities, yes, but not Indian.

But she was really familiar so I knew I knew her somehow.

“Hi, I hope you don’t think I’m being rude but I feel like I know you somehow. Did you ever live in Liverpool, I grew up there. Have you taught before?”

“No, I’ve never lived there. I was an actress about ten years ago though. You might have seen me in something?…”

It started to dawn on me and my face started turning red.

“I was in Eastenders. My character was called Gita.”

And there it was. That was how I knew her. My mum used to watch Eastenders so I’d been peripherally aware of her via TV. And then, years later, I’d seen a face that I knew from my childhood and asked her if she used to be my Maths teacher! What a let down for someone who spent a significant amount of her life doing a job she presumably loved, being recognised at the time and being in a well established television series which has won awards. Then you go for coffee ten years later and someone says, “Did you used to be my teacher?”

Big fat fail by Laura. Oops!

Things football commentators say

It’s Monday and my brain is tired so I’ve just got a short one consisting of some things I heard commentators say about the football on Saturday. Now, I know football is totally outside of my usual TV watching regime (which consists solely of food programmes) so it may be that I’m just not used to the things they say but the following is genuinely ridiculous. What is a ‘very off’ when it’s at home?

“O! Excellent! He’s done a brilliant job this evening.  He was born in the same hospital as David Beckham.”

“He’s been great. We see him leave the pitch as he’s being substituted. The only way is Essex.”

“I’m not sure I can quite stand it being so exciting.  But it is exciting.”

“It’s been a riveting game from the very off.”

“It really is such a simple game and such an exquisite game when simple football is played exquisitely.”

Rubbish adverts

Omygoodness, where to start? There are so so many rubbish adverts on TV at the moment, I’m beginning to think there’s been some big meeting and an agreement to only show nonsense.

The first one that springs to mind is the one for Sure deodorant. It’s awful. There are lots of close ups of women’s faces looking all serious and tough. And the voiceover goes something like this, “Women are strong. Not strong with an asterix. Strong. And strong women sweat…” etc etc blah blah, Sure is the best etc.

There are million things wrong with this advert. I am prime example of what is wrong with this advert. I am a sweaty gal. All I have to do is walk a little way down the road and I’m starting to get warm. So I am a woman and I sweat. Am I strong? Not so much. I’m not noted for my strongness, I can tell you that. So what am I to do? I do sweat. But I am not strong. Am I allowed to use Sure. Or do I have to be ‘strong.’

Also, the strong thing is like nothing to do with anything else in the advert. They basically just go, “Look at these strong women. Now buy Sure.”

It’s just nonsense. It’s words that someone threw at a page and read them out in the random order that they landed. At the end it says something like, “Sure. Because we’re strong.” Ridiculous.

Next up is an advert for some phone company, O2 or something. There’s a cat sitting around then it decides to be like a dog for a day. It does all these dog things and runs around then at the end, it tells me to log onto be-a-dog.com or whatever the website address is. Now this annoys me. It’s like, “We’re not going to tell you what the advert is for. We’re just going to give a web address and you have to come and find out what the advert’s about for yourself.”

I’m sorry, no. No. This is not what adverts are for. First you do something to grab my attention, then you tell me what it’s for then you tell me why I should get it then I make up my mind. If you only do something to grab my attention and I’ve got to bloody faff around on the internet to find out what is being advertised then you’ve lost me. I’m sorry. I’m out. This thing you’re advertising could be great, could change my life. But you’ve lost me. Don’t make me do your job. If I ever did log on, it would be to find out what phone company not to use.

The same with gocompare.com. The most irritating adverts. Even worse when they started trying to get on side with the public and take the piss out of themselves. Awful. In such contrast to the relatively amusing comparethemarket.com adverts. I remember a friend asking me about something like insurance and I was like, “Don’t use gocompare! Don’t use them! On pain of death!”

There’s another one for some double glazing company. There are six burly guys outside a house and a bald guy comes out shouting indecipherable words. He walks up to the camera still shouting then a website address comes up, then the advert is over. All in the space of about ten seconds. And I only know it’s double glazing cause I looked it up when writing this post. Nothing about the advert indicates double glazing. It’s awful. It’s rubbish. It offends me.

I’m going to stop there otherwise I’ll keep writing all morning. There are so many to choose from!

She’s leaving home

Except she’s going with her Dad, not a man from the motor trade. And she’s not really leaving home, she’s going home. But she’s leaving me. It feels like the end of an era. In dedication to my friend‘s time in the spare bedroom, I have put together a compilation of the best moments of her stay.

1. Wednesday evenings in front of the TV watching The Apprentice and marveling at the stupidity.

2. Tuesday evenings at the pub quiz, which we got steadily worse at the more we went.

3. Baking biscuits with Smarties in for the schoolchildren Naomi taught.

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4. The time we watched Ru Paul’s Drag Race All Stars and persuaded Danda to watch the Lip Sync For Your Lives bit at the end and, despite himself, he got into it a bit.

5. The time we went out dancing to a swanky club in London town and they put on Breathe by Sean Paul and Blu Cantrell and we went crazy for it. It was less good when I asked the DJ for a bit of Beyonce and he put on some unknown song off an album or something when he totally should have played Irreplaceable or Single Ladies.

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6. Getting home from work and Naomi telling me she’d woken up about two hours ago.

7. Watching First Dates and loving it. O the awkwardness, o the embarrassingly awful attempts at conversation with a complete stranger, o the hilarity.

8. Reminiscing about our travels in Asia.

9. Making marshmallows and banana cake to celebrate my new job and then eating loads of the un-set marshmallow mixture and feeling too full by the time the marshmallows where actually ready to eat.

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10. Planning how we will make our millions. Because we will make them. We just have to figure out how. At one point, we decided we would write a childrens’ book and get rich and famous like JK Rowling. We still need to finish that story.

Things Danda often says

Me: Put the TV on.
Danda: It won’t fit!

Me: Danda, put the kettle on.
Danda: It won’t fit!

Me: I need a wee.
Danda: I haven’t got one.

(He does a variation of this story every time he sees a cat.)
Danda: I came home the other night and I’d forgotten my keys so I looked through the letterbox and the cat was sitting there so I said, “Let me in,” and he said, “Me… Ow?”

Danda: Ohhhh, do we have to watch another food programme?
Me: Yes.

Danda: The French are revolting.
(This is a reference to the revolution, not just a comment on the French nation.)

(Variations on this are said every time Danda tries something new. It happened yesterday when we went ice skating.)
Danda: Did you see that bloke come running over when I got on the ice then? Did you see him? He come running over and said, “Oi, no professionals!” I said “I’m not.” He said “Well, you should be cause you’d win the world cup at ice skating.”

Danda: Aren’t I the tallest, most handsome man you know?

Danda: Why do girls wear perfume and make up? Cause they smell and they’re ugly.
(I like to think this is a funny little joke…)

Danda: Ah, ah, ah, ah…. *pointing to his open mouth and doing a sad face*
(This means he would like a cup of tea and he has seen me move in the general direction of the kettle.)

Danda: Shall we tidy up, its getting a bit messy.
Me: Do we have to?
Danda: No.
Me: Ok.

Yaya’s Meltdown

The other day I was hanging out with Yaya at his house. We were watching Mr. Bean. It was loads of fun. We had just been out for dinner where I had eaten scallops, braised pork belly and a goats cheese crostini with walnuts and an onion marmalade dressing. It was amazing. Yaya had turned his nose up at his dinner, declared ‘it doesn’t look nice’ then fallen off his chair, taking his apple juice with him. Later he had eaten a bit of chocolate brownie and ice cream and had a long conversation with me about the milkman who delivers his milk.

I should mention now, in case any new readers are unaware, Yaya is a four year old boy.

While watching the TV, he decided he wanted to sit on his dad’s knee. So he pottered over and plonked down. Dad got up for a minute so put Yaya in the space while he got up. He came back a few minutes later and sat back in his space and invited Yaya back onto his lap.

This is when Yaya’s Meltdown happened.

Yaya wanted Dad to go and sit on the other sofa. Dad, confused, said he wanted to sit with everyone else on the same sofa and didn’t Yaya want to sit with him? Yaya was angry. Yaya wanted the space Dad was in. Dad tried to reason, he had been sitting in the space just a few minutes ago, he wanted to stay in the same spot.

So Yaya formulated a plan (which was ultimately flawed). He would push Dad out of the space. He stands up on the sofa, gets his hand behind Dad’s back and pushes. He pushes, pulls, squeezes, tugs. We were all stifling giggles at his loud effort noises. We did not realise how serious this was about to get. So his plans started to it’s flaws pretty quickly – when you pit the strength of a four year old boy against his father, the four year old boy is always the weaker.

He makes valiant attempts to squish himself in between Dad and sofa, to reclaim the space.

I attempt a solution.

“Yaya,” I say, “there’s a space in between Daddy and me here, it’s just the right size for you. Why don’t you sit here?”

It is as though I have not spoken. The struggle continues. Dad is getting annoyed. Eventually Dad threatens Yaya with bedtime. Yaya freaks. He cries. He screams. He’s going, “I don’t want to go to bed!”

He’s told he has two options. Sit nicely with everyone on the sofa together. Or go to bed. He sobs loudly, “I don’t want to do ANYTHING!” and sits in the doorway in the other room whimpering and calling, “Mum! Mum, come downstairs, I need you. Mum!” Mum is busy with child number two and doesn’t hear.

Eventually, after ten long minutes of the whimpering, Dad goes to Yaya and asks him if he wants to come in and sit nicely. Yaya whimpers. The Meltdown has sapped all his energy. He lets Dad pick him up and bring him in and sit on the sofa with him. In the exact position they had been in before Dad left his spot and The Meltdown happened.

So here we are, all on the sofa, Yaya whimpering and no-one quite able to understand what just happened.

Maybe it’s because I’m a non-parent but whole thing seems totally illogical. I can’t stand things/people which are illogical. That’s why I’m not too keen on animals, I think. Animals and children. They both don’t make any sense.

If any parents can explain to me this situation, I would appreciate it. Here are the events as I see them:

Yaya sits with Dad on the sofa.
Dad gets up.
Yaya occupies the space.
Dad returns and sits in the spot again, offering his lap for Yaya to return to.
Yaya wants Dad to sit on the other sofa.
Yaya freaks and ends up in another room crying for Mum.
Dad gets Yaya, brings him back to sofa and sits with him on his lap.
Yaya is fine again.

WHAT. ON. EARTH!

This is why I do not have any children.

I’d be going, “Don’t be so illogical. It offends me.” And they’d be going, “I want that! Now! Waaah! I hate you! Give me lots of things now!”

P.S. Very exciting news. Following the Food Fair last week, at which we discovered truffle butter, the manager is considering stocking it. I am delirious with excitement!

Signs of the times?

It’s that time in the week again, time for the guest blogger to take over….

“Forthwith this frame of mine was wrenched
With a woeful agony,
Which forced me to begin my tale;
And then it left me free.”
(Keep reading to find out where these lines are from if you don’t already know.)
I went on holiday recently; it turned out to be a real assignment. Congratulations to the weather which had been very wet for many weeks but which gave me a rain-free, hot, sun-filled week. I visited Norfolk, in a part of the UK called East Anglia, and stayed in a cottage in a small village called Ringstead: it’s a few miles inland from the seaside town of Hunstanton popular with traditional holiday makers. I soon became aware that there are many signs which are meant to give info but sometimes don’t actually say what they mean or don’t say it correctly. On day one (actually a Friday), I took a walk round the seafront there and, in the fairground which had closed because of earlier bad weather, I was surprised to find the following:
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Can you see the mistake? Go on, look again if you missed it.
A short distance away was this one:

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Apart from the obvious danger of getting into a barrel, can you see the (4) mistakes in this one? Not too hard, eh? Easy to see how kids pick up the bad habits when they do their own writing.
By the way, did you know there is an Apostrophe Protection Society in the UK? It’s actually been featured in a prog on TV some years ago. Here is a quote from their site:
“We are aware of the way the English language is evolving during use, and do not intend any direct criticism of those who have made mistakes, but are just reminding all writers of English text, whether on notices or in documents of any type, of the correct usage of the apostrophe should you wish to put right mistakes you may have inadvertently made.”
Although I am not a member I do think they’re making a very valid point and if they don’t highlight the issue who else will? Check out the “Examples” tab on their site (www.apostrophe.org.uk) and look at some of the howlers – including stuff written by teachers!
Back to the pics. Well, clearly I was on a roll. I’d been going for only 10 mins and had two signs bagged already. I could see another one on a fence in the distance so ran over to see what it said:

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Doh! No mistakes and after me eagerly running all the way over.
Then further along the Promenade was this one:

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Now I know some people might say you should beware of Cliff Richard but after asking the locals it seems no-one knew who this Cliff Falls guy was. Anyway we had a lovely walk along the beach under the overhanging red rocks and we waved back at all the people who were shouting and waving at us from over on the promenade. We couldn’t tell what they were saying but we thought – this seems to be a really friendly town.
A couple of days later I was in a Craft Centre and came across this one:

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Pointing to the sign, I suggested to the Craft Centre lady that perhaps Harry could help. She was not amused. Oh well…
However, was wondering if LLM might want to apply. Why? Well, it seems she might be good at it. If you read her blogs regularly you will have come across the following examples (there are more):
31.7.12 – An Admission – “I pottered over, friendly mission face on….”
27.7.12 – I came, I saw, I passed – “After work, I pottered off home….”
20.7.12 – To Aslan’s Mountain with a wisdom stick – “As we pottered along, admiring the views….”
13.7.12 – Searching For Agatha – “…and potter about in the countryside for a while.”
I like that expression “to potter” or “potter about”. It gives a real sense of relaxed meandering; while others frantically push and shove or drive manically you are in no rush, plenty of time to look around and take in the landscape (or townscape). It speaks of a detached air, of being happy in oneself, unconcerned with the normal daily grind. Yes, pottering about is good. I must have a go at it.
Just across the road was this:
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You know what happened? I went in and…… that’s right, there were no ancient mariners! Fancy having a pub just for ancient mariners. I reckon they’re probably a dying breed! (By the way the verse at the start of this post, if you hadn’t guessed, is from Coleridge’s The Rime Of The Ancient Mariner.)
On the Sunday, we went to a Flower Festival in a nearby village. At the entrance to the church we saw this sign:

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Yep, you’ve guessed it…….. inside there were no guide dogs….. just loads of people!
There were a number of historical displays inside. This one was about the Norman Conquest. I approached with caution believing it might be one of those things which when people get close it suddenly jumps out at you (and shouts something scary) because there’s a real human being inside who was just keeping very still. There wasn’t……so it didn’t. (I suppose if a person had had an arrow stuck in his eye it would have been quite hard to stand still):
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Now apparently the idea that King Harold II (Harold Godwinson) was killed (1066) by an arrow in the eye comes from the pictures on the famous Bayeux Tapestry. However, it also shows what some believe to be another figure also representing Harold being killed by a sword. So it might have been arrow, might have been sword or could have been both.
Another display sign was this one:

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Can you spot the mistakes this time? (I count three. Did you get them all?)
Towards the refreshment area and other stalls was this one:

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Just one this time. (Apologies to American readers who, I know, do spell it this way).

On Tuesday we went on the Wells to Walsingham Light Railway. The sign told me this amazing fact:

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I was impressed – the longest 10¼” gauge in the world! Where did the idea for that width come from? You might think it must be one of those Victorian oddities from long ago but surprisingly this one was built only very recently (1982). You probably won’t be surprised to know that there is actually a Ten and a Quarter Inch Gauge Railway Society and there is a website if you’re really interested.
Thanks to the Wells & Walsingham Light Railway for permission to use the following two photos from their website (as mine didn’t really come out that well).
We travelled on the blue engine. It was called the Norfolk Hero (began in service in 1987 & named in honour of Admiral Lord (Horatio) Nelson. He was born in 1758 in Burnham Thorpe, just 5½ miles west of where the railway starts & 9½ miles east of the village where I stayed):

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There is a second engine (new in 2011) called Norfolk Heroine. It is named in honour of Edith Cavell, a British nurse who worked in Belgium during WW1, born 1865 in Swardeston near Norwich in Norfolk. She was shot, in Oct 1915, by the occupying German forces, for helping prisoners escape.

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Also nearby was the following warning sign:
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You might have to enlarge it but it’s typical of the signs organisations like this have to put up because of the (blame and) claim culture which infects everything these days. It’s a steam train, it runs on coal, it puffs out smoke – what do people expect? However what I didn’t expect was to get hit by one of “the smuts” in a very painful place. Just 15 mins into the journey I suddenly found myself blinking like mad as a piece of smut (prob coal dust) blew into my eye causing me to rub like mad to try and get it to the corner where I thought it wouldn’t hurt as much. Apart from that it was a really enjoyable day out on the little train.
Here’s another ‘spot the mistake one’:

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Easy that one? Hope the art was going to be better than the spelling. (I wouldn’t still be there to find out though.)
I like this one because it’s a good pun-like trade name:

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Check out the barber’s name in line 4. Hair salons and barber often do call themselves distinctive names. An unusual one I remember from some years ago was called – “Curl up and Dye”.
I’ll finish with one from the main road in the village where I was staying:

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It gave me a good laugh anyway. Again you’ll need to enlarge it to see the small text but noteworthy bits are: the price – one quacker, published by – Eggsactly Newspapers and the motto (top right) – “Out for a duck, not run down”. And there are two of them near to the pond. What wags these local rustics are, eh?
I’ve decided – I like signs, especially when sometimes they DON’T say what they mean, sometimes when they’re just fun to read and sometimes when your response is tongue-in-cheek. I didn’t intend to take pics like this but, after the initial spots on day 1, looking for more just became routine. You’re probably asking yourself what assignment was he on about at the beginning of this post? He’s not mentioned it at all. Can you see it now? What assignment? (Do you see what I did there? What a sign meant – haha).