Idle Eye 55 : The Trial (Eye in the Dock)

Levity Inquiry, Royal Courts of Justice, Day 67578088

Lord Justice Levity:  Can we turn now to the issue of Idle Eye 54? The post about the origin of the Blues, in which the author attempts to draw some sort of humour from the unlikely premise that it stems from two Edwardian commuters?

General room mumble and rustling of papers

Mr Eye, could you step up to the dock? Thank you. Now, as you are no doubt aware, your most recent effort has been…how can I put this politely…abysmally received. Is that correct?

Idle Eye:  I don’t recall.

LJL:  Without putting too fine a point on it, Mr Eye, it was only seven days ago. Whilst I am aware that a week is a long time in politics, I did think there was a little more longevity in journalism.

Room titters

IE:  It wasn’t one of our better ones, my Lord.

LJL:  Let me put this to you, Mr Eye: Not only was it not ‘one of your better ones’, it fails at every level of your original brief. Would you say that’s fair?

IE:  I would say that could be interpreted as a rather harsh assessment.

LJL:  But it captures the gist?

IE:  Perhaps.

LJL:  Let’s look at the detail. Your two characters, ‘Howlin’ Norman Thompson and ‘Lonesome’ Larry, are two-dimensional to say the least, and if your objective is to make the point that your employer, one Mr Nibs of Barnes, is no virtuoso at playing the guitar, I would suggest that you exercise some clarity in any future endeavours.

IE:  With respect, my Lord, most people who frequent the Idle Hour already know he’s a bit shite at it.

LJL:  And the purpose of your blog is?

IE:  To spread the word, my Lord.

LJL:  Exactly. And how exactly do you think you are achieving this when you introduce a random, borderline racist, sexist stooge such as ‘Fat Mama’ O’Beace halfway through the piece for no apparent reason?

IE:  In our defence, my Lord, we thought it would be amusing to juxtapose the situation, both personally and geographically. In retrospect, this may have been an oversight.

LJL:  Your own mother failed to comprehend what you were trying to say, Mr Eye! So what chance did you imagine the rest of us would have?

IE:  It was an error, my Lord, for which we can only apologise. Hindsight is indeed a wonderful thing.

LJL:  And I quote: “What? No idea what that was about!” This was from an email dated 27th November 2012.

IE:  May I ask how you came by this information, my Lord?

LJL:  It would be unprofessional in the extreme to divulge our sources, Mr Eye. As well you know.

IE:  I do understand.

LJL:  You may be interested to learn that Mr Nibs of Barnes has stated he was ‘slightly amused’ by the piece.

IE:  Well, he would, wouldn’t he?

LJL:  That will be all, Mr Eye. Thanks for coming in.

Idle Eye 54 : The Real Story of the Blues

Clapham Delta, London 1912

‘Howlin’ Norman Thompson:  Morning, Larry.

‘Lonesome’ Larry:  Morning, Norman.

‘Howlin’ Norman Thompson:  Tram’s late again.

‘Lonesome’ Larry:  I see that.

‘Howlin’ Norman Thompson:  Distressing.

‘Lonesome’ Larry:  Somewhat.

‘Howlin’ Norman Thompson:  There’ll be hell to pay at Fenchurch Street.

‘Lonesome’ Larry:  I fear there will.

‘Howlin’ Norman Thompson:  How’s the mojo?

‘Lonesome’ Larry:  Just fine, Norman, just fine. And yours?

‘Howlin’ Norman Thompson:  Mustn’t grumble, I suppose. Spent the weekend tinkering but she’s really not tickety-boo just yet.

‘Lonesome’ Larry:  Confounded thing. Have you tried new improved Wonderwall from Nibs Industries? A quick squirt and you’re in the pink, apparently.

‘Howlin’ Norman Thompson:  Yes, I saw that on last week’s newsreel. Something along the lines of ‘Who needs twelve bars when one will do?’ Or am I mistaken?

‘Lonesome’ Larry:  The very same, old boy. Seems this Nibs chap is running on one over there in Barnes and doing rather well.

‘Howlin’ Norman Thompson:  Running on one? Whatever do you mean?

‘Lonesome’ Larry:  Why, one chord, of course! All that complicated nonsense from Mississippi: Hell bent on twisting our melon, man. Perhaps we should take a leaf out of this fellow’s book and we’d all have a bit more time to cane the children and patronise the wife.

‘Howlin’ Norman Thompson:  Well, I must say that does sound splendid! I can’t remember when I last gave the eldest a sound thrashing or confined the sow to her quarters.

‘Lonesome’ Larry:  I’d not let Mrs Pankhurst hear that if I were you, old bean.

‘Howlin’ Norman Thompson:  Ha ha ha ha ha ha, ha ha ha ha! Very good, Larry!

‘Lonesome’ Larry:  Yes, I thought so.

‘Fat Mama’ O’Beace appears

‘Howlin’ Norman Thompson:  Uh oh! Here comes trouble.

‘Lonesome’ Larry:  Oh Lordy!

‘Fat Mama’ O’Beace:  You boys a-talkin’ bout me agin?

‘Howlin’ Norman Thompson:  No, Ma’am. We’s just a-waitin’ for dis ole tram.

‘Lonesome’ Larry:  Ain’t dat da truth.

‘Fat Mama’ O’Beace:  Now, I no wanna hear no tale of dissin‘ de twelve bar onna count of Nibs In-Dust-Tree. He da Devil chile, with his one chord WunnaWall an he an his Barnes speshal frens. You stay cleeah, y’unnastan?

‘Howlin’ Norman Thompson:  F’sure, Mrs O’Beace

‘Fat Mama’ O’Beace:  Now, I has a cli-yant me ting in Bal-ham. See y’all.

‘Lonesome’ Larry:  So long, Mama!

‘Howlin’ Norman Thompson:  Don’t go changin’!

FMO’B heads off south

‘Lonesome’ Larry:  Awkward.

‘Howlin’ Norman Thompson:  Rather.

‘Lonesome’ Larry:  Still no sign of that tram.

‘Howlin’ Norman Thompson:  Sadly not.

‘Lonesome’ Larry:  Rotten luck.

‘Howlin’ Norman Thompson:  Larry?

‘Lonesome’ Larry:  Norman.

‘Howlin’ Norman Thompson:  This…Nibs. No chance he could knock up more than one chord, is there?

‘Lonesome’ Larry:  None whatsoever.

‘Howlin’ Norman Thompson:  I rather feared that was the case.

‘Lonesome’ Larry:  I’m afraid it is.

‘Howlin’ Norman Thompson:  Shame.

‘Lonesome’ Larry:  Indeed.

Idle Eye 53 : The Devil’s Playground

Long-term readers of this pile of offal will implicitly understand how thrilled I was to discover that this week heralds the start of yet another government initiative. In case you don’t already have it seared into your subconscious, I’m referring, of course, to Road Safety Week. Conceived specifically to heighten awareness of the carnage out there, RSW also sets out to tell us that we drive too fast in built-up areas, pollute too much and should really consider walking and cycling a bit more.

Yeah, okay okay. But this morning I caught my first fleeting glimpse of the 2012 mascot, with which we are expected to bond and empathise for seven whole days. He’s a lumpy builder type with an American Dad chin and all the yellow kit on (you know, that standard issue safety stuff that prevents you doing the job you’re actually being paid for). From the protective haven of his hoarding he gurns at the viewer in an encouraging yet profoundly disturbing manner. And guess what? He’s a bloody drawing. Ad agencies across the land must dread Road Safety Week. For they know that if they are passed this particular poisoned chalice, that two-bit scribble knocked up in the blurry vortex between Toke Thursday and Chang Friday will have to hold its own against timeless classics such as Tufty Squirrel, the evil Nick O’Teen or that moustachioed shithead helping you with your tax return. And there’s not a fart’s chance in a windtunnel of that happening.

So what is it with the Nanny State and its compulsion to get its manifesto across with doctrine our own children would find condescending? More often than not the message has some not inconsiderable weight but is ultimately let down because WE ARE GROWN UPS AND WE WOULD LIKE TO DECIPHER OUR WORLD IN WORDS OF MORE THAN TWO SYLLABLES. And even if we were pre-pubescent renegades on the cusp of changing our ways, the very first whiff of being patronised would have us back on the streets torching Previas. We may be kids, but this is the Devil’s Playground. Strap yourselves in.

Speaking of kids, the above at least is an attempt at bringing order into a world of chaos. Now that we can’t fag on in public houses and our pandering governors wish to make them increasingly attractive to infants, those once hallowed spit and sawdust floors (previously only accessed by scurrilous journalists and students) are now hugga-mugga with Mamas and Papas, the small person vehicle that abides by no law, laughs in the face of common decency and, if it were subject to the stringent demands of Road Safety Week, would be slammed into the nearest pound quicker than you can say Jeremy Clarkson. So come on, mums and dads! If you insist on bringing your three-wheeled buggies of anarchy into the public domain, let’s have some rules: You make way at the bar, and we’ll slow to 20. Deal?

Idle Eye 51 : The Little Fiddle

Although we’re lying in Mr Osborne’s toxic shadow of fraud, tax evasion, expense fiddling and chronic mismanagement of the public purse, it seems (to this truculent old carcass at any rate) that the enormity of the sum involved somehow lessens its impact. Let me explain: When it is decreed that the shabby pile of bricks you may or may not own in seventeen-odd years needs a few more grand thrown at it, you tend to just wince and get on with it. However, when you discover that your Jolly local store has rammed up the price of liquorice rolling papers by a budget-busting twenty pence, the lines are drawn:

TWENTY PEE? BASTARDS!!! WELL THAT’S IT, I’M BLOODY WELL GOING TO MAKE THAT 1.34KM DETOUR TO SOULCUTTERS FROM NOW ON AND YOU CAN SING FOR MY CUSTOM, JOLLY!!!  NICE TRY!!!

You keep this up for several days, despite the fact that Soulcutters charge you a fifty pence surcharge for the privilege of using your debit card instore, the untold wear on shoe leather and the criminal hike in price of table wine which, of course, you are duty-bound to purchase or it means a total loss of face back at Jolly’s. But never mind that, you’re making a stance! Because if you don’t, how many other poor sods are going to get screwed over by these opportunist pigs trying to capitalise on the fact that you live just down the road? It doesn’t bear thinking about. And maybe an important lesson will be learned about market forces and the elasticity thereof. Feels good, right?

Wrong. You’re just another fly caught in a small strand of the Little Fiddle. That most irritating phenomenon of being very slightly fleeced but not enough to go nuclear over. Everyone’s at it, from newsagents to train companies, from online cottage industries to farmers markets. No-one is exempt and the quicker you learn to deal with it the better. I ran this one past Nibs a couple of days ago and he primal screamed over the repair of his four-ring gas burner: A callout charge and its attendant quarter-hourly fee he took on the chin. It was the weaselly addition of £48 for a plastic knob (booting the final bill beyond a soaraway £500) that broke him. In catering, no-one can hear you scream.

So, my advice to Mr Osborne would be this: Forget about all that austerity nonsense, it’s getting people’s backs up and you’ll only U-turn on it in a couple of months. If you’re really serious about clawing back a few quid, pop the surplus onto our sundries bill. Not all at once, obviously, but in tiny amounts over the next three hundred years. For sure, we’ll moan about it but we’ll pull through, we always do. It’s a bit like queueing, and you know how we’ve learned to love that. And who knows? Maybe we’ll learn to like you after all.

 

Idle Eye 50 : The End of the Way It’s Always Been

So, I’m tucked away inside a Warren House deep in the grounds of Kimbolton Castle with only my stalwart Roberts radio to remind me of the world outside, when the hapless Theresa May comes on. “Oh, splendid!” I thought. “What can she balls up today?” Did anyone catch this? Anyone? Turns out she reckons people what sell guns’n’stuff are as guilty as them what use them and therefore should expect tougher sentences such as, er, life imprisonment (or longer).  And as I enjoyed a glass of something vaguely palatable from St Neots’ Waitrose and watched a Turner sky disappear over rolling Cambridgeshire hills, a distant bell rang inside my head. Not the tinnitus (although this is becoming almost as irritating as Theresa), and not the call to prayer that was to come the following morning. No, it was the slow recall of a bi-annual event at London ExCel – currently being pushed online. Yes, readers, it’s the 2013 DSEI Arms Fair at which you can buy, perfectly legally, as many weapons of mass-destruction as your budget will allow, giving you that must have edge over whatever foe happens to be irking you at present (as long as they ain’t one of our lot, in which case all purchases come in a brown paper bag).

Now, I’m no logistician, but does this mean Theresa will show up at Royal Victoria Dock in her lovely grey suit and kitten heels and bust the sorry arse of whichever camouflaged warlord she can catch up with? Before buggering back off to Berkshire for high tea? Help me out. And if she is setting a precedent that the salesman is also the criminal, examine carefully the following scenario and give me your thoughts in the comments section:

Police:  Mr Nibs, we is arresting you on suspicion of selling the sum total of seven pints of delicious Harveys ale to one Dan Dodgy, who went on from The Idle Hour down the road outside and smashed in every car window what happened to be parked there. Oh, and defecated onto the passenger seat of a Mazda outside the school. Mr Dodgy has attested that he normally only has a couple and the extra few tipped him over the edge, relinquishing him of any responsibility whatsoever and thereby landing all culpability with the scumbag landlord what sold him the goods in the first place. Anything you say and/or do may be taken down in evidence: It’s the law.

This being the case, I eagerly await the arrival of a Government-endorsed SWAT team at the St Neots’ Waitrose fine wines aisle, getting those brown-aproned peddlers of doom to spread ‘em against the rotary tills and confess. And the subsequent supoena at which I am forced to admit at gunpoint that I was their most significant customer over the month of October and thereby a significant threat to national security. At which point Theresa can legitimately deport me along with my old chum Abu Qatada.

Idle Eye 49 : The Day Before We Came

“Are you a parent who drinks too much?” blazed Dr Cecilia D’Felice in the Times this weekend, above a photograph of a slick young professional enjoying a perfectly legitimate reward for expelling her mewling sprogs onto a troubled planet. And not to be outdone by her alarmist strapline, she then proceeded to lambast these soft-target breeders with a checklist divided up into stages, neatly calculated to cause maximum collateral damage:

‘You have to be drunk to approach somebody socially with confidence’ – BAM!!!

‘You use alcohol as a reward’ – SOCK!!!

‘You spend a great deal of time drinking’ – THWACK!!!

‘You need more alcohol to achieve the same effect’ – KERSPLATT!!!

‘You can’t remember what you did’ – WHAM CR-R-A-A-CK PLUNK!!!

‘You feel physically unwell during or after drinking’ – KAPOW ZOWIE CLUNK BOFF!!!

“Oooh,” I thought, as I browsed the paper on my iPhone at 4am with one eye as the other was begging the brain to sort itself out after a traditional friday night hammering, “what’s going on here?” Now, not having children myself, I thought I’d be in with a chance of slipping through some kind of statistical net. You know, the one which has no political bearing whatsoever and thereby has no consequence whatsoever, leaving the barren forty-something on the outskirts of anything that even resembles concern. But oh no! Dr D’Felice had somehow managed to make me feel guilty on a Saturday morning well before the birds outside had begun to sing. And all before I had got vertical and had a word with the morning glory. God’s teeth! And to think felice means ‘happy’ in Italian.

I think that what bothers me the most about this deconstruction of what it takes to be a responsible modern parent is the omission of the driving forces that take people away from there in the first place. So, I’ve got a kid. Oh balls! Everything’s gone up in the supermarkets. Holy Moly! If I’m gonna come off my interest-only deal before I’m dust, maybe I’d better start paying the bastard off. And tits on toast! Don’t even start me on pensions or I’ll have off your particulars. All I need right now is a new-world glass of  acceptably sourced old-world ruin and the nippers can fend for themselves. Them’s the rules.

As I stumbled my way through the above, a text came through from Nibs inviting me (and I presume y’all) to his party at the Idle Hour on the 27th. There promises to be, and I quote, “loads of free booze and one hell of a party spirit”. Now, in the interests of responsible journalism, I am compelled to steer you towards a mere couple of glasses each, only to wag them in front of your designated driver before you head off to make babies at the Godly hour. And for this I make no charge and wish you all the luck in the world. As if…

Idle Eye 48 : The Crucible

A couple of things have been bothering me this week. Firstly, this Jimmy Savile business is beginning to grate: Yes, it’s a given that everything that has come to light is abhorrent. Yes, the BBC screwed up. Yes, the victims all deserve an opportunity to move on. And yes, even the benefit of hindsight into another time with a very different moral compass does little to assuage his misdemeanours. But the cynic in me does question the merits of a media witch-hunt against a dead man, purposefully manufactured to whip up powerful emotions in those less than able to handle them. Remember the paedophilia scandal of 2000? When Newport pediatrician Yvette Cloete had ‘paedo’ graffitied onto her front door by her own neighbours? And if the deceased really are a legitimate target, where do we draw the line? Do we destroy the gravestones of Kenneth Williams and Joe Orton, both now institutions much loved by the general public? How about Pier Pasolini? Or why not Caligula? Come on, readers, I’m sure you can dig up another long gone family favourite with a dodgy track record.

The other thing is how to segue the above into an attractive advertisement for the Idle Hour. Tall order, granted, but that’s the task in hand and by hook or by crook I’ll find a way: It’s what I do. Now, please bear with me as I freeform in italics:

The Idle Hour is one of West London’s best kept secrets. It sells lovely wine and beer, serves great food and has a wonderful suntrap garden, ideal for all those lazy Sunday afternoons with the family. In no way does it condone any suspect behaviour with young ‘uns. Bang out of order, all that. And anyway, it just does booze’n’grub. Properly, with a touch of class. And no fiddling. Ever. And that’s a promise!

Those of you who know me and/or Nibs will implicitly understand the above seemingly blasé approach needs to be taken with a very large pinch of salt. Partly to simmer down the tone and partly to avoid litigation. But, as there is an increasingly large percentage of you that don’t, I shall attempt to paraphrase every politician wheeled onto Radio 4 to spread the word of whichever wretched party they happen to represent:

Let’s be perfectly clear about this: The Idle Eye blog does have, and has always had the best interests of the Idle Hour public house at heart. And if, for whatever reason, the former has strayed from its initial brief, it would like to take this opportunity to apologise unreservedly for any offence caused.

So there you have it. A seemingly impossible remit brought about by the power of the written word. And, for any Sun readers who have managed to get this far without assistance, the address you’ll be looking for is as follows:

The Idle Eye Front Door,
No 10 Downing Street,
London SW1A 2AA

Thanks for your time xx

Idle Eye 47 : The Rag Trade-Off

Like most males of my age, I’m an uncomfortable clothes shopper. The very thought of leaving the warm nucleus of my flat for a brutal, strip-lit warehouse touting whichever vulgar garment happens to be fashionable right now is so appalling that I tend to hang onto the same tatty old shite attempting to cover my nakedness for one more glorious season rather than face the alternative. I’m not proud of it, far from it, but that’s the truth. And as every summer leaves what autumn finds, I have learned to recognise that 50/50 mix of pity and disgust buried deep beneath the permafrost of those I hold dearest. They try to disguise it, bless ‘em, but I know it’s there. And it hurts because I know they know I only have two sartorial settings: Dress to Impress, and Dress Down Weekday.

Take, for instance, my Bolongaro Trevor ‘God Save the King’ tee-shirt with its attendant heraldic symbols, furry-faced monarchs in period ellipse frames and mottled seriffed type. This fits neatly into the former category and gets outed whenever I need to dazzle ‘em. About twice a decade. Anyone who witnessed the annihilation of popular song performed by my brother and I at the Idle Hour last year may have spotted it, and my fervent prayer was that you’d be so impressed by the packaging, a closer inspection of the contents would have been unnecessary. And while we’re on the subject, could someone have a word with Nibs about that Union Jack jacket? We all know it’s a magnificent beast but there’s a fine line between Mo Farah and Jimmy Savile. As well he knows.

In the latter corner lies my John Lewis knee-length overcoat. This loyal lovely has been doing the rounds since the Boer War and was dyed black in 1926 in order to disguise the blood of fallen suffragettes and rotting stitches stolen from a roadside hospital in Ypres. If it were a tree it would be a Douglas Fir: Solid, stalwart, stoic. A bit like Jeremy Clarkson. The inside pockets, however, have frayed beyond repair (although this does have the advantage of easy access to my person for those essential ‘on the road’ adjustments).

Also worth mentioning are the unmentionables. Yes, it’s those grey Christmas 2003 boulder holders I never thought would last out the year, but like the Council Tax and Tesco Metro have managed to survive despite multilateral distain. Admittedly there’s not much to fall in love with here, but as the years have gone by they have formed an impressive crust on the inside elastic which has aided and abetted adhesion to the waistline. Sorry, ladies, he’s taken.

They say charity begins at home. And I have a bag marked the same which will never, ever see a shop marked the same. Because there’s always a couple more years left in there. At least a couple.

Idle Eye 46 : The Last Good Day of the Year

I was listening to Radio 4 on Saturday morning (as one does) and this lady came on who had been struck temporarily blind. Oh no! But then she went on about how she had reassessed her life and realised it had been peppered with relentless negativity, and from that moment on she vetoed any such sentiments which in turn improved the quality of her everyday life immeasurably. Anyway, I turned it off ‘cos I was late for the Barnes Food Fair, in which Nibs had a stall doing spectacular Bloody Marys I badly needed to assess for this ‘ere blog and ran out to get the train. Cancelled. Engineering works. But before I did my usual Ian Dury (****holes, bastards, ****ing ***** and pr**ks) I thought of that woman, lifted my head up high & took the replacement bus with pride. Good on ‘em, I thought, for actually bothering to replace the entire train with a bus: Good on ‘em.

And when I got to Barnes Common two hours later, no small thanks to weekend traffic and an unfortunate iOS6 maps error, I was determined to keep this up. The sun was out, small boys were kicking a ball about (jumpers for goalposts) and everything was heading up to be a Breugel-tastic, culinary lovefest. Even a Volvo passenger opening her door into my smalls did not manage to dampen my ardour (although I did get the temporary blindness). ‘Oh yes, life is good’ I thought, after sampling several pints of the red stuff which, in turn, led me to the real ale stall where I discovered Tactical Nuclear Penguin, a 32% beauty I saw no reason not to obtain for the very reasonable sum of £45. Which, in turn, made the Barbers’ Shop singers sound so angelical I was compelled to enjoy a large Pimms in sheer admiration which, in turn, made me purchase a rather delightful fishermans’ winkle box for Ursula despite my misgivings as to its authenticity.

You see, what the R4 lady left out, and this is the salient point, is that you don’t need a life-changing event to make every day of your life the last good day of the year. What you actually need is an arsenal of high-quality booze and the ability to set aside the cold front of cynicism for the sunnier climes of La Dolce Vita. And the former aids the latter, trust me. Now, I know Nibs will be wanting me to big up his efforts right here in the last paragraph but there’s no need. Really. You all ate those award-winning burgers, drank the BM’s and had a great time. And you know what? As I struggled to focus on Nick Clegg’s apology in the freesheets strewn about on the tube home and I listened to that viral tune drawn from the very same, I felt really good for the first time in ages. Shortly before taking a very long ride on the porcelain bus…

Idle Eye 45 : The Sick, the Bad & the Wicked

Language has moved on a bit since I were a lad, and rightly so. It is the moral duty of the next generation to mix things up for their elders to the point where traditional arteries of communication get so furred that we reluctantly hand over the baton and creep off into extinction. Take this weeks title, for example: A couple of decades ago you could be forgiven for thinking all three denoted particular ailments and we would have had the utmost sympathy for those afflicted. Today the same guys are Top of the Pops. Well matrix, actually. However, anyone of a certain age attempting to shore up their own vocabulary with yoofspeak walks a mighty thin line. For they shall be vilified by those they borrow from, ridiculed by their peers and old hat before the week is out. It’s cruel, I know, but that’s the law of the jungle.

The same goes for businesses and politicians trying to cash in on a fleeting youth market. Nothing makes you look more out of touch than when attempting the exact opposite, as I shall demonstrate:

IDLE HOUR MENU

Homemade Soup 5.50
OMG!!! Legendary. Crucial when served steamin’. Meat flava

Our Award-Winning Organic Steak Mince Burger 11.00
Commin’ atcha with fries’n’tha. Totes amazeballs

Wild Mushroom, Tarragon and Pea Risotto with Parmesan and Rocket 11.00
Proper nang gang’o’veg, bluds

Callebaut Chocolate Brownie w/ Organic Vanilla Ice Cream 5.00
Frigid, but ice is nice

And so on. Shrewd oldies should never kowtow to the shifting sands of youth patois because, as Stewart Lee would say, it’s not for you. Its very purpose is to keep you at bay, and should you and your cronies at Bletchley Park ever manage to hack your way in, the rules will change quicker than Usain Bolt’s lady count in Stratford. Nota bene, Mr Cameron, nota bene.

I browsed my young niece’s Facebook page the other day. Not in a weird way, honest, but she’s just back from Croatia & I thought I’d see how she got on. Turns out she’s all gravy, well sick and had an epic keen one, oh yeeee boii. Which is important, because if she thought anyone over 25 had a clue what she was on about, she probably wouldn’t be. I mean, have. Whatever. And the very fact that an old git like myself can access the online exploits of todays teenagers may well have something to do with Mark Zuckerberg’s downward slide on the stock exchange. When the exclusive goes global, the cool factor goes out of the window and if you happen to be under 25, that’s all that matters. Innit?

Fortunately for us seniors, there is one trick left up our collective sleeve. One last defiant roar before we shuffle off this mortal coil. Revenge, as they say, is a dish best served cold:

“What’s Grandpa saying, mum?”

“I’m not sure, dear. Just leave him to it.”