Whatever happened to men with sandwich boards? When did you last see a man wearing them? Have you ever seen a man wearing them? Where have they gone to?
I see people carrying placards around our city centres advertising businesses. I see people standing outside shops and bars with placards that point toward them. What I don't see, however, are men with sandwich boards advertising things. I can't remember the last time I saw one. Has the held-aloft-placard been proven a more successful marketing tool than the sandwich board while I wasn't paying attention? Has the sandwich board become a relic of another age like the daguerreotype or the Jacquard loom? Has anyone else even noticed their disappearance?
For thousands of years, humankind has gazed enviously skyward, marvelling at birds and their capacity for flight. In fact, in terms of what they wish they could achieve, unassisted flight comes second only to invisibility in the imagination of most humans. I often speculate on what I would do if I could fly. Liberated from the monetary and bureaucratic constraints that hamper human travel, I would certainly want to explore new and exotic places, and would love to experience the freedom of unrestricted movement in three dimensions, unfettered by the chains of gravity. I would use the power of flight to better my knowledge of geography and landscape too, and would probably marvel at the altered perspective on both natural and man-made features that the ability to fly would accord me.
In the town that I live - York - we have one of the wonders of the medieval world; York Minster. As a man, I can only climb to the top of the tower using an internal staircase; but as birds, you are free to explore all of the features and details of the exterior - and interior - of this magnificent building. And I know that you know of York Minster, because you can see it from where you're sitting right now.
So, that's what I would do with flight if I had the gift. So what is it that you use it for? Where to start?
You use the wondrous power of flight to gain access to my roof - the area of it directly above my bed - from where you uproariously and insistently bellow "coo coooo coo cu cu" from dawn to late-afternoon. You also use your peculiar avian talent to swoop down and shit on my garden gate, accurately covering it in your excrement with astounding consistency, up to four times per day. To you, the gift of flight is an instrument that you use to terrorise my cat, who is now afraid to go into the garden. You use your flying power to access next door's lovely maple tree, which you are tearing to pieces with astonishing rapidity, and when you tire of flying, you use your spare time to sit about. Look! Here you are lounging on my garden furniture.
Wood Pigeons, this is not good enough. You clearly lack ambition. The power that you could be using for your own enlightenment and betterment, you are squandering on the petty torment of man and cat. Wood pigeons, rise up, realise that your great talent can propel you to a richer, more illuminated and fulfilled existence and then fuck off and leave us alone! Yours sincerely,
I've just been to see Kick-Ass. It's hilarious, feel free to go and see it. During this film about an ineffectual superhero I came up with a new definition of irony:
irony n. (pl. -ies) laughing at a film portrayal of a man who overestimates his own strength and is far punier than he imagines, then discovering that you can't unscrew the cap on your bottle of sparkling water.
I had to take it home after the film. I still can't get the top off. It's on my desk right now, taunting me; mocking me. It's my new arch-enemy.
Briony has just returned home and has opened the bottle for me. It is no longer my arch-enemy; she is.
I invented a new game earlier: It's called Wife-or-Cat Sound. It's not as good as Red Trousers, but then what is?
To play Wife-or-Cat Sound you will need three things: A wife - don't worry if you don't have one one of these, any other person will do - a cat - don't worry if you don't have one of these either, another animal (or even a second person will suffice) - and a bathroom.
Draw yourself a bath, then disrobe and get into it. When you have completed your usual bathing routine, stay in the bath. While you're lying there, listen to the noises emanating from the rest of the house (or flat, or wherever it is that you live). When you hear a sound, try to discern - in the first half second of hearing it - whether it is a Wife-or-Cat Sound (it's surprisingly difficult - I attributed the noise of the cat's scratching-post to my wife more than once).
Wife-or-Cat Sound has a points-based scoring system. Award yourself five points for correctly-attributed sounds and take five points away for incorrectly-attributed sounds. The winner is the person who realises that they should get out of the bath and go to the pub.
Drunken singing is not as easy as you might expect. Shane MacGowan makes it look effortlessly easy, but he's an expert; he performs drunk all of the time. Look what happens when this amateur attempts it though. It's just not as slick, somehow.
I just checked my mobile and found a text message on it from 14:30:
Did you get my text hun ? Im waitin for you at yours but need to get back before four ! X
I'll resist criticising the woeful spelling and punctuation and concentrate on the message itself. I don't know who it's from, the number isn't in my phone and I don't recognise it. This means that the person possibly sent the text to the wrong number. The sender seems unsure as to whether I have received a prior text (I haven't) so it's possible that the sender is a serial wrong-numberer.
The sender is, according to the text, in my house. I have scoured the house. There are no additional strange people here. Again, this points to a wrong number.
The texter addresses me as "hun" - I assume that this is an abbreviation of honey, not a war-film related pet-name - and ends the message with a kiss (a capital one). From this, I can only deduce that the sender is a woman.
The general tone of the text is both intriguing and revealing; the woman is, according to her, waiting at mine, but needs to hurry away within an hour and a half. This screams extramarital assignation, which is odd, as I'm not involved in any illicit dalliances.
There are two possible conclusions that can be drawn here. Either this is a wrong number, or I'm having an affair that I'm not aware of.
I'm not sure what to do now. Should I ignore the message? Should I reply? If I send a reply, what should it be? Please advise me via the comments section. I will act upon the best advice.
Sometimes, as an adult, you have to be mature, grown up, and responsible. You are obligated to be dutiful and conscientious. You may not like it, but that's the way it is. You may have to make sacrifices for the next generation and, no matter how hard it is - how great your forfeiture - you'll probably not be thanked, or even recognised, for it.
So it is today; with moist eye and heavy heart, it is time for me to say goodbye to the Blue Bear (as I have come to call him). So long, old chum. It's been a great couple of weeks since we bought you in anticipation of my nephew's birth. If my sister hadn't given birth twelve days late, our parting would never have been as hard as this. Bye Bye Blue Bear, I hope Benjamin takes good care of you.
In the late '60s, a new detective show came from America - Ironside. It's mainly remembered for its brilliant Quincy Jones theme tune and for starring Raymond Burr as the eponymous wheelchair-bound hero.
The '60s were truly another time. The character's name was Ironside and he was in a wheelchair. How did they get away with that, even then? Ironside was hugely successful and ran for many series. What else could we have watched in the '60s and '70s? Here are a few of the less successful shows from that era you may be unaware of.
Defoe (1972/3): A series about a detective with hearing difficulties.
Classic Episode:Loose Lips Sink Ships. A corrupt Navy officer and his accomplice plot to fire a torpedo at a U.S. aircraft carrier which is in harbour. Fortunately, Defoe is able to lipread them discussing the plot and raises the alarm, causing the ship to be evacuated.
Classic Quote Baddie: "Curse you Defoe, why couldn't you have minded your own business?" Defoe: "Half past two."
Miss Ingham Investigates (1978): A show about an unmarried amputee policewoman.
Classic Episode: Disarming Silence Miss Ingham disarms a bomb and receives a big round of applause. She then becomes upset for no reason. Silly Woman.
Classic Quote Inspector James: "Hold him, Ingham!" Miss Ingham: "I'll put him in handcuff, sir"
CSI Clopse(1979): A drama set in Clopse, Massachussets featuring Kent Sewell, one-eyed forensic scientist.
Classic Episode: Out Of His Depth A frustrating case in which the hero can see the solution on the desk in front of him but can't quite put his finger on it.
Classic Quote Police Dog-Handler "This is my dog, Patch." Kent Sewell: "This is my man-patch."
King Rider (1968): An early precursor to Knight Rider featuring one-eared crime-fighter, Vincent King, and his talking van, Gogh.
Classic Episode: Some Flowers. King is asked by the U.S. Government to infiltrate a lab and investigate a technician believed to be a Soviet spy. He is unmasked rather quickly as his lab goggles keep falling off.
Classic Quote King: "You've got to be subtle here." Gogh: "I understand Vincent, I won't make a spectacle of myself."
Lean (1966) Featuring an eponymous Private-Eye with one leg shorter than the other.
Classic Episode: Lapland A child runs away from home but, as he is not allowed to cross the road, keeps running round the block. Lean is the ideal man to catch him.
Classic Quote Lean: I've brought disgrace to the good name of my family and my city. I'll leave after nightfall." Mayor: I'll be there to make sure you slope off, Lean".
The A-A-A-A-A Team(1980): A gang of do-gooding stuttering ex-marines on the run from the a-a-a-a-authorities.
Classic Episode: Pizza The Action The A-A-A-A-A Team phone for a pizza before spending the remaining thirty seconds building an armoured car.
Classic Quote Farmer: "We've only got two minutes to save the dam." Bannibal: "No talking!"
This is not a definitive list, by the way. If you know of any shows that I've missed here, feel free to add them using the comments section.
Generalist : Blogger, photographer, film-maker, lover, collector of Tabasco Sauce and vintage chronographs, guardian of Horatio Pyewackett Caractacus Fearns, cyclist, eccentric, husband, nuisance (amateur). 6'2". Consumer of Tiramisu. Co-founder and co-author of the internet humour site 7 Reasons .