Back at Copleston High in the Sixties, our thing was to use teachers’ “catch-phrases” to lampoon them. And since head of fizz-ed and sport, Jack Adams often said “in actual fact” – he became Jack Fact.

This is not to say we disrespected him – Jack was all right; a good man and a good sport. And of all of our teachers, he may be the only one who still lives (he was young and fit).

In fact (DYSWIDT?) had he taught any other subject, me and him might have been closer. But FIZZ-ED – and SPORT – YECH!

A waste of a Tuesday morning (fizz-ed) and a Friday afternoon (sport).

I mean, Football; twenty-two morons chasing a bag of air for an hour and a half, where the perfect score is nil-nil.

And Cricket; you get a score – but it’s incomprehensible – and declared a draw if it rains.

I could go on; but to cut a long and painful story short, the only sport I was even passable at was the Cross-Country run – and the Shot Put.

Shot Put; you walk into a circle – lift the shot up and down a few times, to limber up – throw it up at forty-five degrees, as far as possible – leave the circle at the back – and hit the showers.

The whole thing is over in less than a minute.

However, since Track And Field only occupied part of the year’s activities, the cross-country running and shot-putting only gave me relief from the other crap for a few weeks a year, at best.

But when we were about thirteen, I had an idea…

The venue for the annual Cross-Country was the local heath – and the next event was imminent. So I pitched an idea to Jack Fact; how about if a bunch of us did Cross-Country PRACTICE?

To my surprise, Jack agreed – but warned that he would pop over from time to time and CHECK on us – and we had BETTER be running (which he did just ONCE – but luckily, we were running at the time). Also, we had better score highly in the upcoming event.

In fact (again) looking back on it, I can see his reasoning; neither I nor any of the chaps I recommended were remotely likely to reach Olympic standards – and we were big enough to beat off any perverts we might encounter on said heath. Let me put that another way…

Anyhoo, come the day, we all streaked off and came home in the top ten percent – except for fat Potter, who rolled in last.

But Jack had everyone give him a round of applause (I told you he was a good sport).

However, my joy was short-lived when I realised we would now have to return to blasted SPORT again.

So I did one of the most audacious things I have ever done; I asked Jack Fact if we could CONTINUE our Cross-Country practice – for NEXT year.

And after a few seconds thought – Jack AGREED!

Of course, the same situation existed – we were all USELESS at sports and just in the WAY – and given our size and strength, would be unlikely to come to harm – plus we could be trusted not to get up to mischief.

It would never happen today – along with many other non-PC things that Jack did – but it ensured that while all the other boys toiled through a Friday afternoon of mostly-pointless bloody SPORT – me and my chums went off for a nice rural Walk-And-Talk instead.


[respectfully dedicated to the Copleston ’69-ers]


Verily, this is the year of the flashbacks.

Currently, we are getting eighteen eps of S3 of Twin Peaks – S2 having finished twenty-five years ago.

Then, in late September, we will have a dozen new eps of Will & Grace.

And later still, eight more of Roseanne.

Of course, Will & Grace only ended eleven years ago, so the cast are still relatively young. And even the Roseanne people are not too long in the tooth (Barr, John Goodman and Chuck Lorre are all MY age – born in ’52).

But the Twin Peaks people are ANCIENT. Several have died (three during the SHOOTING, over most of last year) and old Harry Dean Stanton now literally looks like a WOMAN. Then again, he is ninety.

Anyhoo, here in The Land Of Smiles, the first eight eps ended up getting “streamed” (actually, marathoned) on Digger 2 – with the rest running right after US transmission.

Given it is on Showtime, and these days that network is owned by CBS, it is surprising that Luxy (RTL/CBS) did not get it. Particularly after the recent fiasco with US House Of Cards (Netflix SNATCHED it back, after Luxy had promoted it).

So what of the forthcoming Will & Grace? And Roseanne? These days, there are alternatives to broadcast TV (Cartoon HD, Watch Series). Time alone will tell.

Anyhay, after some backing-and-forthing, David Lynch (like his co-writer and -creator Mark Frost, a year YOUNGER than me) agreed to direct all of the eps of the new Twin Peaks – which is ESSENTIAL.

The original show died on its arse half-way through S2, largely due to Lynch abandoning it to “pursue other projects” – hell, Diane Keaton even helmed an ep.

But THIS time, it is ALL Frost and Lynch.

Ep eight was a mindfokker; clearly a nod to Kubrick’s “Jupiter And Beyond The Infinite” – fokknose what they’ll do next (ep ten airs next Sunday).

Meanwhile, despite composer Angelo Badalamenti now being EIGHTY and vocalist Julee Cruise, sixty (and seemingly semi-retired) Lynch’s musical tastes (turn-of-the-60’s – plus dreamy techno) will ensure the mood of the original is maintained by a bunch of NEW people.

Like, check THIS out… https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IGUboLZx3Tk

And luckily most of the original cast were still alive and were happy to do it again. However, the scuttlebutt has it that the Man From Another Place (the dwarf) went BONKERS when propositioned – and demurred.

But the Giant is still there and the series is BUNGED full of one-ep star cameos, eager to be a part of the thing.

And the Log returns. I still think it knows more than it is telling…

I am FAR from being a computer wizard. In my mid-50s, I began learning computing from scratch (with a little help from a couple of books) and am now able to do all I NEED – quite well.

My current computer – “Hercules” – runs Microsoft’s Windows 7 Ultimate.

I had begun with “TIM” (depending on context, This/That/The Infernal Machine – it was a piece of crap) running Windows Vista Home Premium.

Today, Microsoft keeps pestering me to adopt Windows 10, but they can stick that where the sun don’t shine – it’s for TOY computers.

And Windows 8 is a misbegotten version of 10 (there IS no Windows 9).

So here I am with a Windows system that is no longer “supported” by Microsoft – which means you no longer get “updates” – HAH!

I turned their poxy updates OFF, YEARS AGO.

At first, I allowed them to JUMP IN any old time they wanted, but that resulted in them DUMPING, without warning, anything I was working on.

Which is why I eventually acquired Google’s Gmail – it was a tad busy for my taste (like Windows 10, it’s designed for KIDS) but it had “auto-save” facility, unlike the then-current Microsoft e-mail service.

But they were still wasting my time, so I changed my “options” – forcing them to ASK PERMISSION to download their updates, at MY convenience.

This was fine for a while (and their e-mail service finally – BELATEDLY – acquired an auto-save facility; so I now use both) but ANOTHER Microsoft issue had been a constant pain in my arse – the updates THEMSELVES.

The thing is, you expect the OCCASIONAL cock-up, even from a service like Microsoft (hell, WordPress is far from perfect). But the number of ROGUE updates that were frigging up my computer was UNACCEPTABLE.

Every time I got a bundle of updates that screwed him up, I had to do a “system restore” – then use the “half-split” method to isolate the faulty one (with another system restore each stage) – then “quarantine” and “hide” the sonofabitch – all of which took HOURS.

So after a couple of YEARS of this – I began dumping the WHOLE BATCH of updates that caused any problems (just ONE system restore).

But as the Microsoft blunders continued, I finally REBELLED. I went and did something “not recommended” by them – yes, I switched the bastard things COMPLETELY OFF.

Since which time, Hercules has run perfectly fine. As we have seen, their “security patches” don’t protect people from viri, like WannaCry – where as thus far, Avast’s free antivirus DOES.

So who NEEDS Windows updates? Or Windows 10?

Not THIS computer dummy, that’s for sure.

On the last ep of Doctor Who (at the time of typing) Bill found herself in Scotland, during the Roman invasion.

She asked a centurion how come he spoke ENGLISH. He replied that he was speaking LATIN.

Bill looked puzzled – then opined that it must be the T.A.R.D.I.S. acting as a Universal Translator. “Funny how it synchs the lips though,” she added.

This was clearly a dig at Star Trek.

Right from the Original Series, the writers tried to keep the tech as REAL as possible. Which is why today, we have solid state hard drive modules, flip-type mobile phones (out of date, now) and tablets – possibly like the one you’re reading this on NOW.

However, some tech remains theoretical – like inertial damping (stops you becoming an integral part of the WALL when Kirk dials up warp 11) gravity plating (saves having all those 2001-type rotating WHEELS) and of course, the afore-mentioned WARP DRIVE (without which, travel to other solar systems would take DECADES).

But ONE piece of tech defied all efforts by the Trek’s writers to even DESCRIBE. Yes – the Universal Translator.

When Star Trek first aired, in ’66, it did not take long for viewers to wonder why – given the rest of the tech was explained – there was no word on how come almost all aliens spoke ENGLISH (and with an American accent, to boot).

Various explanations were vaguely hinted at – like, English had spread widely through the galaxy, in the early days of exploration (which also hinted that America had pioneered space travel, galaxy-wide – cheeky).

But in TNG, the now-somewhat-enhanced comms badges were said to connect to the ship’s computer and thus supply the universal translations.

Which was totally impractical – and left viewers asking how come the lips were still in synch. At which point, the techies said, “Oh FFS, YOU sort it out – it’s only a TV show, you know.”

When I were a young lad, there were four aphorisms that made NO sense to me. They were, in no particular order…

(1) “If you save someone’s life you become responsible for them.”

(2) “Before embarking on a journey of revenge first dig two graves.”

(3) “May you live in interesting times.”

(4) “No good deed ever goes unpunished.”

First, let us examine the origins of these axioms. The first three are said to come from China – indeed, number three is generally described as a Chinese CURSE. And inevitably, they are all attributed to Confucius. But there is little evidence for ANY of that.

In fact, only number four can be reliably ascribed – to twentieth-century American authoress, Claire Boothe Luce.

Whichever whatever, all four are widely used and to a young person seem irrational, to say the least.

I mean surely, if you save someone’s life, THEY should at least offer to be responsible for YOU.

And why TWO graves?

And who would want to live in BORING times?

And should one not be REWARDED for doing a good deed?

Well, this author is now approaching sixty (tragically, from the wrong direction) – and these days, fully understands all FOUR.

However, to explain it to his YOUNG self – or any young person – would take some doing. But he will now TRY…

(1) Imagine if, like me, you had rescued three cats, four dogs and a woman – would you then want to see ill befall them? NO. And the only way you can ENSURE they prosper is to look after them yourself.

(2) This one depends on the RELATIONSHIP you have with the one you wish to NAIL. If it is an EX – FORGET it. Walk away. Because in the future, all you will remember about the affair that MUST have had some NICE moments – will be the mean, spiteful thing you did at the end.

And even if your target is a STRANGER, you still damage your KARMA by doing evil things to ANYBODY.

But conversely, if you just turn the other cheek EVERY time some monkey jerks you around, your SELF-WORTH will suffer.

So do as I do; only clobber SOME of those you do NOT know – and leave it until about six months later. Then they’ll have no clue who screwed with them and will not RETALIATE. And if they accuse someone they RECENTLY messed with, they might receive a knuckle sandwich from them. Result.

(3) 2016 and (thus far) 2017 have certainly been “interesting times” – do I really need to go further?

(4) While Luce is generally credited with the maxim that every good deed you do ineluctably turns round and bites you in the ARSE, there are many variations on this observation – some going back centuries. It is not a new notion.

Your humble scribe actually RESEARCHED this last adage; one definition states it is “…used to express the idea that beneficial actions often go unappreciated or are met with outright hostility”. Okay. Another might simply claim it to be one of Murphy’s Laws. But I prefer the FACT that we live in a BLOODY OBTUSE WORLD – and that’s all you need to know!

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!