All comedy is REBELLION – against reality, normalcy, commonsense and order.

But over time, it establishes RULES – ultimately producing an ALTERED STATE of reality, normalcy, commonsense and order.

Thus in order to CONTINUE to rebel, it must blow PAST its own established rules.

But then it becomes INSANITY.


T’other day, I was reminded of an incident WAY back in my schooldays.

The scene was Copleston High, 1968 – single-sex in those days. Your Humble Scribe was 15. Her Total Worshipfulness, The Mayor-person (or summat like that) of Ipswich, was coming to give a talk. With low expectations, we all trooped into the hall.

Picture Margaret Dumont and you’ve more or less got her. The purpose of her visit having been expedited, she seemed to think some entertainment was required. And so she launched into a deeply LAME gardening anecdote. Unfortunately, her Ineffable Largeness didn’t appear to have rehearsed it…

“So there I was, up this ladder [I’m paraphrasing] clipping the top of this hedge, with m’gardening shears [she made shearing motions] but the ladder was too close to the hedge and I kept hitting myself in the…” – at this point she appeared to be about to pantomime scrunching herself in her SERIOUSLY ample bosom – 550 teenage boys held their collective breath – after a two-second pause that seemed an eternity, she JERKED her hands DOWN – “…stomach.” [Collective snigger].

The tragedy is, her comic timing was PERFECT – but (presumably) unintentional.

And the irony is, her INTENDED anecdote – has given ME a BETTER one!

If the old biddy still lives (unlikely – she’d be well over a HUNDRED by now) I’ll bet she remembers that day. Even Alzheimer’s couldn’t wash the memory of a sea of expectant boys faces – plus a dozen masters – all waiting to see how she was going to dig her way out of the gigantic HOLE she’d just dug herself!

Back when I drove a hack for a living (London – the Seventies) around 2pm, things went limp (nowadays, you can get stuff for that) so I’d take a break. More often than not, this’d involve getting a take-away from the East Finchley branch of Wimpy’s.

Now for non-Brits, I should explain that Wimpy differed from his more famous American clown brother (McD) in that his chips (french fries, not CRISPS) were non-franchise. What I mean is, if you own a McD, you can only sell THEIR chips – the spuds (potatoes) for which are grown World- wide and called “Burbank Russet” (not a lot of people know that). Thus from San Francisco to St Petersburg, all McD chips taste the same.

But if you ran a Wimpy, you could grow your own potatoes out back, have your Granny cut them into chips and fry them in monkey-fat.

Nevertheless, the East Finchley chapter of Wimpy’s sold SERIOUSLY nice chips. Cut thin and fried in Prep.

It’s amazing the difference that size, shape, age and breed of spud (allied with temperature and type of oil) can make to the taste of the humble chip. And also, how hot and long they’re kept after cooking (big chips “stew” and garner more flavour). Anyway, they were damn fine chips.

Thus it was I’d obtain m’Wimpyburger and chips, return to the Batmobile (I had a big, black saloon) and drive to a little copse I wotted of, to enjoy m’dinner. And resident in said copse was a gang of SQUIRRELS. Not those jack-booted grey ones either, but the good old British RED ones.

And they were incredibly tame. You could feed ’em bits of chip (not by hand – the little buggers’d bite you through to the BONE if you tried).

Anyhay, here in Thailand, we have our own squirrels (my wife, who’s Thai, pronounces them “screws”) and although we had a rogue one who incurred my displeasure by ripping the bark off my lime tree (I use limes in m’sauna) and killed it (I have to BUY limes now) and whom I captured in a rat-trap and repatriated some miles away, where he now rips the bark off someone ELSE’S trees – the others are welcome.

They are grey, have tails like the brushes used to clean shotguns and are highly athletic. They hang off the mango tree by their back legs, grab the birdseed tray (which I refill daily) with their front legs and chomp away.

But hey, they leave plenty for m’birds (who sit in the nearby bush, fuming impotently – no Little Brown Bird’s going to take on a SQUIRREL) so I have no quarrel with them.

Of course, they’re not as cute as those red squirrels back in Finchley. But here in Paradise, it don’t drizzle rain every damn day – so they’ll do!

A while back, I was walking through downtown Bangkok and I found myself in McDonalds (it was my fault, I wasn’t looking where I was going) so I ordered a McSomething and chips and when it arrived, there was a yellow ping-pong ball in it.

Now I’ve had little bits of plastic crap with McDonalds meals before, but they generally come in plastic packets and resemble some sort of toy. But this was just a plain ping-pong ball. I looked at the girl behind the counter, wondering if she wanted to play table-tennis with me.

But no. Seeing I was puzzled, she pointed towards a display, which had two perspex tubes – one with a smiley face – the other, grumpy. Above these, was a notice – “If you have enjoyed our service…” The smiley tube looked to have about 500 balls in it – the grumpy tube was… EMPTY!

Ridiculous! Unrealistic! So what did I do? You guessed it.

I quickly explained to the girl that I am an INDIVIDUALIST. I was PERFECTLY happy with their service. It was just…

Needless to say, I won’t be going in THERE again!

This American woman gave birth to eight boys – and decided to give them classic British names.

So having looked up the players in a number of English football teams, she called them Marcos, Juan, Zlatan, Pedro, César, Diego, Jan, Paolo…

…and Steve.

And provided some dopey new cleaner at YouTube doesn’t unplug the mainframe to plug in their hoover, in twenty years time I should pass the milliard (the proper name for an American billion) mark.

Here is a quick breakdown of the numbers…

First come the 1,620 audio-visual uploads. Most, inevitably, are on the dreaded YouTube; but 98 of them are on Dailymotion (a French version of YouTube – not a laxative) Metacafe and Vimeo.

So, 29 YT channels and 11 others.

Then there are the WRITTEN pieces (MY creative output – rather than my DJ/VJ presentation of others’ work, on the unofficial Universal Archive) which consist of 1,053 monographs (including this one) over my three columns – plus a book and two short stories.

Oh, and 58 IMDb film and TV critiques – and 1,365 Tweets (although IMDb and Twitter don’t DO hits as such).

These have produced 204,607,762 hits in total – of which 200,996 were for the written pieces (no-one READS anymore).

Which is the population of BRAZIL.

Although as an ex-pat BRIT, MY perspective on it is to draw a line around the UK – which is (currently) England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland the UK islands (the Orkneys, Shetlands, Arran, Skye, the Channel Islands, Isle of Wight, Isle of Man, Isle of Sheppey, Isle of Dogs, Canvey Island, whatever) and the Irish Republic.

Then stretch it out to take in France, Benelux (Belgium, the Netherlands [Holland] and Luxembourg) and Switzerland. Next, loop in Scandinavia (Norway, Denmark, Sweden and Finland) and the Baltic States (Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania) and finally, hook in Iceland for good measure.

Either way, that is a LOT of people.

To PICTURE them, consider that helicopter-shot of the massive throng at Woodstock – then multiply it by SIX HUNDRED.

Or if sport’s your bag, try TWO THOUSAND, TWO HUNDRED AND TWENTY-FOUR capacity crowds at the new Wembley stadium. Every Saturday for over forty years.

If you’re American, that would be 3,334 capacity crowds at Shea (60).

Then again, given that most of my hits are for pieces of entertainment, how about a full house at the Hammersmith Apollo – every night for A HUNDRED AND FIFTY-EIGHT YEARS? (America: ninety-two years plus, at the Radio City Music Hall).

Every DAY, around A HUNDRED THOUSAND people hit something I put up into the public domain. And better than every SECOND, twenty-four hours a day, somewhere in this World, a person clicks on one of my uploads. In fact, during the time you have been READING this – I have had at least another hundred hits.

The Universal Archive is GIGANTIC – the collected works of excellence in entertainment for the last (in my case) one hundred and twenty-two years. Of course, I’m not alone in having compiled it – there are many of us (all treated like CRAP by YouTube, of course).

But at two hundred million-plus hits, I think I can claim that my chunk of it is SIGNIFICANT. In fact, when it comes to “making a difference in the World” – it is easily the biggest thing what I have ever done.

So how did it come about? (The picture shimmers, accompanied by a harpy – sorry, harpIST – running glissandi across her instrument).

It all began when I was nine (you might want to bugger off and read something else now – still with me? – okay, I’ll try to snap it up).

My Mum and Dad presented me with their record collection – 150 78s – and a 78s-only gramophone.

At first, I garnered more 78s from junk-shops, jumble sales, boot fairs and so on – then I modified the record player to play vinyl, so I could enjoy the SIXTIES – then I acquired an open-reel portable tape-recorder, various hi-fi systems, VCRs and a jukebox – then I went digital.

So cutting a VERY long story short: after fifty-five years, I now have 5,285 records, tapes (audio- and video-) and disks.

But in 2008, as I began sneaking up on sixty, this became a WORRY. I had seen how, when people PEGGED OUT, their painstakingly-acquired, lovingly-cared-for, neatly-catalogued Collection – could end up in a damned LAND-FILL.

My solution to this came from an unexpected direction: a few years after I retired to the Orient, the essential communications I had with people back home become ridiculously UNRELIABLE.

It began with the Boxing Day Indian Ocean Tsunami – a few hours after it hit, I began getting texts from friends, wondering if I was still ALIVE (had it hit about two weeks earlier, the answer might very well have been NO, but luckily that was ANOTHER Life Bullet dodged).

And after a few messages, it became apparent that NONE of them had received the Christmas texts I had sent them just two days earlier – despite them having been CONFIRMED delivered – and CHARGED for.

Then the snail-mail began getting silly – up to HALF of it going AWOL, if not sent TRACKED (I sent all MY outgoing mail tracked – it was CHEAP here – but miserable UK companies and organisations refused to do likewise to ME).

And so I eventually did what I had steadfastly REFUSED to do, during the Eighties, Nineties and first half of the Oughts – went out and bought a sodding COMPUTER.

At first, having had NO training, I bought a computing-for-idiots book and slowly worked out how to e-mail. But as time went by, I discovered that during the previous couple of years – the Interweb had finally become INTERESTING.

And one aspect was my ability to acquire (mostly through Ebay) items that had evaded me during my years of collecting. But every now and then, an item would turn out to be available on YOUTUBE.

Now I had always assumed that this service was exclusively for young jackasses who wished to view OTHER young jackasses jumping off garage rooves into bushes, to see if they could break a bone – filmed by yet MORE jackasses, on their toy cameras. And for the most part, I was right.

However, the service also turned out to be being used by COLLECTORS, who would upload snatches from their collections to attract other collectors, with whom they could SWAP stuff.

But as time went by, YouTube increasingly began to feature material uploaded by PHILANTHROPIC collectors who merely wished to SHARE their collections with others.

So within a few weeks, I had downloaded pretty much ALL the remaining items on my “wish-list” (which included stuff I would NEVER have found here) and being a generous chap, I figured it was time to GIVE BACK.

Initially, I planned on just setting up ONE channel, with say fifty or so of my gems. But then it suddenly occurred that here was my CHANCE – I could finally achieve REDEMPTION for those many THOUSANDS of hours spent recording and acquiring The Collection.

Having previously BEEN a semi-pro DJ, the dissemination/presentation of musical “discoveries” had always been a part of my DNA.

So one channel quickly became two – then three – until finally, TWO YEARS later, I had built up FORTY channels, with the best (about 100 hours – 3%, in all) of my “classic” pieces on them.

Then there was my writing. I came LATE to that particular party.

At FORTY-TWO, I joined Mensa – and began creative writing, when I (initially reluctantly) took over editorship of one of their publications.

But when I moved out here, continuing that pastime became impractical – so for several years I just STOPPED.

However, once I got online, a friend steered me towards WordPress. The idea of BLOGGING made me CRINGE – but running a column was okay.

And I could put my book up too. And do short stories. And MODIFY them at will.

Again, one column quickly became… three. And this is the latest piece on just one of them. What do you think of it so far? (Rubbish!)

Well, if you’re still with me – 1,153 words in – that is nearly IT, anyway.

I only joined Twitter (putting up conveniently SHORT bits from this column’s “Random Thoughts” and “Favourite Quotes”) to PROMOTE the pieces in these columns. Other than that, I have disdained the Social Network – that’s for KIDS – which I definitely am NOT.

But I have made my MARK. The Beiber may have more hits than me – but then, I wouldn’t give his problems to a monkey on a rock (thanks, Dave).

No, I have worked long and hard to put all this together, just for the JOY of the thing. It makes me not a penny, but I don’t care. Even the two hundred million hits are not THAT important. The FEEDBACK I get on YouTube is my main reward.

Much of it is routine – “Thanks for sharing” – “I wish modern Pop was as great as YOURS was” – and so on. But every now and then, I find myself communicating with people who were a PART of a piece. Either in the audience, or as a technician – and just occasionally, the ACTUAL STARS THEMSELVES.

THAT is when it REALLY pays off. And even if the piece is VINTAGE, a son or daughter may thank me for keeping the memory of their parent alive.

Plus there’s the YouTube like/dislike ratio: on virtually ALL of my items on their service, it tops 20-1.

So no, my TWO HUNDRED MILLION HITS are not essential to me at all.

But damn – THEY DON’T HURT!!!

During the Trump-Clinton Debates, a “question from the public” popped up that showed – just for a moment – the human side of Trump. It asked if – following the overt VEHEMENCE shown between the two during the campaign – there was a quality in each other they actually ADMIRED.

And Trump, who had to go first, answered that he admired the fact that Clinton NEVER QUIT. In his TV show, he had always demonstrated his hatred of quitters – and thus, his answer seemed to come from the heart.

But then it was Clinton’s go – and she totally DUCKED the question (and appeared to seek Brownie points from the audience) – by stating she admired Trump’s CHILDREN.

REALLY? Have you ever SEEN them? Here they are…

Doesn’t the above picture remind you of the LOWER one?

If you are American – or British, but young – Google the Kray Twins.