Sunday, December 25, 2011

Happy Christmas

Happy Christmas to all Reeking Lums. 

Happy Christmas Sis, look it even has a straw
Its 9:01 on Christmas Day and the kids are not even awake yet.  

I should be sleeping too, I had a terrible nights sleep, vivid dreams about Professor Cox, quantum physics and how I had the gift to manipulate with my mind the atomic structure, this allowed me to pick outcomes of events, follow alternative universes and pass through solid things, pretty cool, my X-MAN name would be Neutrino. 

In reality, I've forgotten its my Sisters birthday today and there is nothing I can do about that, unless I find a petrol station that is open on Christmas Day and buy her a can of WD40 or something, looks like I'll have a little bit of guilt to unwrap later,   

Have a great day everyone, whatever you believe


Lang May Yer Lum Reek

Sunday, December 18, 2011

When cranes collide

Hello Lums,

Help! can someone apply a tourniquet
I walk past it every day, as I join the snaking multitudes trudging to the front line to do some paid work at the commercial coal face.   I've watched it sprout and grow, bit by bit over the past few months, dominating the skyline and local residents TV receptions as it goes.  
Its the ArcelorMittal Orbit Tower, springing up in the Olympic Park.  

Its been accused of fascist gigantism, and of being a monument to ego.  The Times described it as "looking like a giant wire mesh fence has gotten hopelessly snagged around a french horn".  I'm guessing that's not a compliment, though you never know with the arty crowd. "An undesired intrusion on the consciousness of the many" is certainly not a compliment, though, we have so many of those every day, especially this time of year with peoples growing need to drape their homes in garish, blinking Christmas lights and glowing Santa's. 
My favourite, maybe because its easily imagined, is " a catastrophic collision between two cranes".  Twisted spaghetti, Meccano on crack,  horrific squiggles and a giant ( if slightly undone) Mr Messy have all been used to allow people who don't have the dubious fortune to look at for real an idea of what its like. Without the pretentious comments about what it means, how it represents art and engineering and its seemingly chaotic form actually means.  
WTF?, I don't know what it means,  its a big corporate bill board really, that cost £19m to build but will be visible in nearly every Olympic Park outside broadcast shot next year, that exposure is worth billions.

After months, its the Lums turns to Reek his observations.  It looks to me like a fountain of de-oxygenated blood, spurting out of an opened pulmonary artery of Stratford.  It reminds me a little of that scene in  Braveheart where Mel Gibsons guts get yanked out during his execution scene.  Its the colour for me, that's whats most striking, in the city your used to looking at big structures, as a rule though, they are greyish, not crimson red. People will tire of it I think, unlike the Angel of the North that you can feel some affection for, this is just too hard to get on with. 

100 years apparently since Captain Scott's ill fated Antarctic adventure, he's painted as both a hero and a blundering idiot, but you cant argue with the courage of those pioneers, especially when even 100 years ago, there were huge swathes of the globe still more or less a blank.   But I wonder how he would view some of the latest conquerors of the South Pole.  A 16 year old girl did it a little while ago, taking nothing away from her, she must be fit and brave but I just heard that a TV presenter is cycling there in a few months.  Cycling? To the South Pole!  What will be next, the first to reach the South Pole in fancy dress, the first man to walk backwards to the South Pole, perhaps Olly Murs could rollerskate there for Children in Need.  And another thing, this day and age they get airlifted in and walk the last 100 miles or so, Scott and Amundsen walked over 800 miles and back. 

Lang may yer Lum Reek.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Pic'n'mix anybody? Yes please, can I pay with this kidney?

Greekings Lums,

Who is gummi Keyser Soze? 
It began as an evening much like many others.  
The best of intentions tested by the careless irresponsible suggestion of a pint in The Slug.  I cant even remember who made it,  it might even have been me, still, that's not important.  I was only going for one of course, but as the village elders (+ one village idiot) gathered and once I had bought a round, I was never leaving until I had got them all back.  So after 5 Peronis, my continuing contribution to the rehabilitation of the Italian economy  I buttoned up and headed out into the cold.  The wind funnelling down the corridors of concrete and glass in Canary Wharf making it feel like Ice Station Zebra, without the ice and Ernest Borgnine.  

Its only 30 paces between The Slug and the shelter of the tube station, but some of those 30 paces take you right past a pic,n,mix sweety stall set up to snare the drunken reckless and sugar craving kids that head out east to try and spear a big fat fish from one of the banks on a Friday night. 
I fancied a little something myself, so grabbed a bag, and a scoop and went about selecting a few of my favourite things, fizzy cola bottles, coconut mushrooms, gummi bears and jelly strawberries, they were all in the bag, topped off with a raspberry cable, about the same girth as a standard CATV but much more densely packed with chewy gratification.  By the time I had completed my circuit, I was aware of having quite a weighty sack, I forced a little joke with the NES (No-English Speaking) till jockey about it maybe being a £10er.  He didn't laugh, and neither did I when he hoisted my selections on the scales and announced that it was in fact £17.  The best part of twenty quid for re imagined sugar.  I gave a little cough, followed by a " your f-in kiddin", he wasn't of course, they inexplicably leave British sense of humour out of the patriotism test.  I had no option, I had to get out of this situation with dignity and my one remaining £10 note intact.  To do that I had to lie, I employed the old, "Oh, I don't have that much on me, I'll have to nip to the ATM, just hold this for me and I'll be back in two minutes", and made off in the direction of HSBC, only for about 5 yards though, then veered as discretely as I could back towards the anonymity of the tube, well, you cant be too careful, I don't know if you get Bangladeshi triad gangs, but if you do, they probably control the supply of fizzy worms in East London. 
A great escape in any ones language, though tainted by the inner known fact that had I had £17 I probably would have stumped up with little more than a blow of the cheeks.

When did sweeties get so expensive that they have a greater street value than some class A drugs?
Billionaire Bertie Bassett, worth his weight, sweets
Do the white mice come with doctorates, do the jelly watches contain Swiss mechanisms,  are the cherry lips a physiological copy of an Amazonian beauty's pout?

Keyser Haribo Soze, the fizzy jelly king pin

Perhaps there collected at great risk from the pic'n'mix mines deep underground in a super secret and hard to get to location, with Bertie Basset controlling the world supply like blood diamonds.  Are there commodity traders specialising solely in liquorice and bonbons, speculating on the demand for allsorts.  Where are all the sweety barons, why dont they have 800 foot yachts and premiership football clubs and swan about Kensington in their Gummi coloured Lambos.   
If fibre optic cable cost the same as Stawberry cables, we'd still be sending telegrams and keeping pigeons.  Mark my words, at the centre will be Haribo, pulling the strings, the sweet elite. 

So, apart from learning to never entertain the thought of pic'n'mix ever again, what else have I learned this week?  Well, what about the fact that if I drank 165 cans of Red Bull, I would quite probably get a pair of heavenly wings of my own, dont worry lums, I didnt drink 160 cans and begin to feel a bit off, I just read it somewhere while aimlessly web bound.  Or how about Britains funniest joke?  I'll retell it here, it actually made me chuckle when I read it, but maybe its the way you type it, here goes.

"A woman gets on a bus with her baby, the bus driver says,  
Ugh, thats the ugliest baby I've ever seen.   
The woman, very upset, takes a seat up the back of the bus and says to the gentleman next to her,  
I,m so upset, that driver just insulted me, to which the man replies, 
you should go down and have a word with him, on you go, I'll hold your monkey"  BOOM BOOM. 

One more thing, I scored a free ticket for Stephen Merchants stand up show, Hello Ladies at Hammersmith Apollo, and he was brilliant.  

Lang may yer lum reek


Sunday, December 4, 2011

Money, Money, Money and a banana

See, its just not right!!! 
Lums of the bankrupt World

I crashed head long into the credit crunch this week.  My expensive twin city existence means I'm burning through cash faster than 
Of course , I had a growing ache that I was running on fumes but that's all, just a suspicion. You see, I've always found that the best way to steer clear of financial troubles is not to look for them. Its a strategy that earned all those CEOs in the big banks millions of bonus pounds after all, so diligently going over the outs and ins of my bank balance has always been avoided during times of fiscal stress.  But, again, a lesson from history, you cant hide from it forever, and one week to go before pay day the ATM stubbornly refused to pass over the requested £50, or the £40, or the £30, or the £20, or even the     measly £10 that I asked for in increasingly desperate button jabbing.  

Quantitative easing was not really an option, not seeing as I had apparently spent my last £10 buying a one way ticket to Slough.  The prospect of spending a penniless 5 days in Slough you don't need me to tell you, isn't an attractive, though it felt a very real, one.  A penniless 5 days anywhere would be pretty grim, but Miami or Las Vegas I'm guessing would be less bad than Slough, hell, from what I saw from the train window, penniless in Pyongyang would be a  funnier experience.  I had no option but to turn to a major stakeholder and ask for a credit extension, yes, the lovely Girlfriend Monetary Fund offered an emergency loan with no strings attached other than a promise to look after my finances a little more carefully.  

I thought I'd give it a go, I've never tried it before, it might even be fun, I do love a spreadsheet, especially when you get to colour them in.   I got all the scheduled bills out the way, there isn't much you can do about them, then started on some fiscal prudence.  "Eating out" is a usefully vague category to put boozy pub visits in so I hazarded a guess at what I eat at work, added in a projected monthly pub spend and then promptly got busy getting through 90% of it in less than 10 days. I can cut back in other areas to compensate, like groceries and other frivolous luxuries, I could  also make every bodies Christmas presents for a change, I'm sure they will appreciate the personal touch and thinking of the long term, all the friends I'll lose will mean a less expensive Yule tide next year.   I'll need to do something, the Christmas party season is almost upon us and have conservatively estimated that "dining out" is going to overspend by about 50%. At least "personal supplies", an equally discrete euphemism for cigarettes is in line with expectations.   

As we approach the turn of the year, the Janus man within me cant help but look forward to the summer and the global sports day scheduled for the end of my road.  Its a sobering thought that in 8 or 9 months I'll be back looking for a job, and a job in Scotland more specifically where I can at least be closer to family and those that mean most to me,  I miss home. Its not going to be easy though and realistically have to consider applying for jobs anywhere until the right thing comes up.  I got asked last week if I'd be interested in working for a tobacco company.  As a smoker, albeit, a casual and slight one, I didn't think I would, but the more I think of it, the more I have ethical reservations, which is a bit rich when I worked in the drinks industry for 20 years, but the tobacco manufacturers have such a dodgy reputation from the cancer denying days.  It just feels wrong, like making prolonged eye contact with someone while eating a banana, still, this time next year I'll probably be willing to work for anyone, human organ harvesters, toxic dumpers, cluster bomb sales, you name it, I'll be up for it, morals are just another thing I cant afford.   

Lang may yer lum reek

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Come The Revolution, only in 140 characters or less

The new i-atollah pads on a stick gathered quite a following

Happy Thanksgiving Lums, 

I read an article about Thanksgiving the other day because I'm generally quite clueless about the whole thing. It was about the technology the early pilgrim fathers relied on to survive.  The author said "Barrels were quite big back then" like they were a new thing. As if a reformist James Dyson came up with the rolling box idea when in fact they had been a big thing for 3000 years or something.  

Anyway, back to me, another day at the foot of Mt Olympus, the radio alarm goes and I find my self punching the snooze button as if it dispenses Tromadol, not to cancel the day ahead, just  to delay it a little until I'm ready to wade throat deep into it.  

Delay it because my hypocrisy-ometer has been ringing like the bell on a bored budgies swing. 

What has been getting my goat is the governments plans (dreams) to criminalise social networking during times of civil strife or, in the view from their comfortably feathered nests, revolution.  
Its the usual jerky knee'd reaction that we should be used to by now from our elected populists .  Remember when there was a spate of baby eating devil dogs apparently snacking their way through a whole generation of the UKs carelessly placed children.  Shoot them, no, lets castrate them, what? No, we need to castrate them, then shoot them, then take all their teeth out and shoot them again.  
In the end, I think we went for licensing them at the post office.  A reasoned  position probably, though if we did shoot all those ugly, firkin chested, in bred freak hounds, would we miss them.  That will be a No, and why don't they have suitable legs, its like the conceptual design was presented with a potato that had cocktails sticks for walking on. 

Anyway, the inevitable reaction to riots in London this summer? Ban the kids from messaging with their blackberries, no more flashtwitters and lootbook status updates.  
I suppose its natural to immediately want to blame something, and the established position is to blame something new and synonymous with the young but hold on, social networking is perhaps one of the most valuable and inevitable products of the connected age.  To suggest the state should control it, censor it or deny it to those that are not deemed responsible is a prospect that seems totally foreign not only to the free, but to digital natives anywhere. Once we are there, or the laws are passed that allow it, what next, authorised press, no congregating in groups, permission to speak?   

Anyway, that's one thing, the hypocrisy that really pressed my begrumpled button is that a few months ago, we, including the government, were praising the brave souls in Tunisia and Egypt, lapping up their YouTube clips and live twitter feeds from Tahrir Sq, with claims that social networking is the new engine of democracy and social change.  
Maybe its that thought dawning on our governors that has got them a little spooked. Its strange we don't hear the reports to the same degree coming from Syria or Iran.  Either the press have been told not to report them, Arab spring fatigue maybe, or more likely, those regimes, that aren't afraid to machine gun demonstrators and drive tanks through villages and schools probably do a decent job of controlling access to social sharing platforms.  

Its not only the government struggling to come to terms with what the connected and newly chatty world means.  The Sun, that paragon of reporting virtue, with the comic timing of cancer, had to deny a rumour posted on Twitter this week, saying there was absolutely no truth in it, like that's important to them or something.    

Continuing on the theme,  apparently any two people on Facebook is only 4.74 connections away from any other. That means a Facebook friend of a friend of mine is likely to be a friend of a friend of anyone of the other 721 million users.  I don't really know what the significance of that is, if any. 

" Why sir, you find no man, at all intellectual, who is willing to leave London.  No, Sir, when a man is tired of London, he is tired of life, for there is in London all that life can afford"   

So said Samuel Johnson, though they say he had tourettes so he probably ended in a fuckity flourish.  He certainly would if he had to pay beer prices in Canary Wharf today, all that life can afford only applies to the robber bankers if they've had a good day at the trough snorting up pensions, still, it gives me ample opportunity to air my favourite aphorism to the barmaid, 

" Hey hen (I never claimed they would understand it) that pint (£4.80 by the way) I want tae drink it, no pit it on ma mantelpiece"  

Lang may yer lum reek.  

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Change of government? Can I interest you in a Junta Sir?

That's the Devils PIN number,  they would know that wouldn't they
Reeking Lums,

I've just watch the Remembrance Day memorial service from The Cenotaph, old soldiers always make me tearful and at 11 o'clock  with Big Ben ringing out I wonder of the thoughts and memories that are flitting through their minds.  The Korea veterans marched past with a Dimbleby reference to The Battle of Imjin River and I thought of Uncle Mickey who passed away this year and who took part in it, swimming for his life across it with a million Chinese Red Army soldiers chasing at his back.   They all, weather they are a name on a plaque or marching in thousands of services up and down the country,  are totally deserving of our admiration and pride, and we should all remember how lucky we are to have them.  Because sometimes, in some countries, the Military go bad.

I'm talking of Military Juntas.  These were en vogue through various times in the last hundred or so years and had quite a revival in the 70's and early 80's.  A quick look through the record books though and I've noticed that only two countries in the world have functioning military juntas, Egypt and Fiji, bad news for the worlds braiding and dress uniform manufacturers.

A Military Junta is a government led by a committee of military leaders normally as a response to the threat of the populace doing something with their free will that they don't agree with, like electing a socialist party to power.  
Then they give themselves names like "The National Peace Keeping Council" (Thailand) or "The Military Council of National Salvation" (Portugal) or the honestly named "Regime of the Colonels" (Greece) and perhaps the least honest "The National Reorganisation Process" (Argentina).  Especially when that reorganisation process was the systematic seizure, torture and murder of tens of thousands of people under an annihilation decree.  Its hardly getting your CDs in order is it.
These grand disingenuous names are so it looks like they are doing you a favour, "Honest, we don't want to be in charge, its just that somebody has to do it properly".  By that they mean whatever the CIA want of course.
Anyway, military Juntas seem to be a thing of the past, with not even Bolivia having one at the moment, and they've had nine.  Saying that though, Military Junta has a facebook page which is refreshing and shows that The Junta is in tune with the modern youth, maybe they plan a re-branded comeback.

Looking at our leaders all looking solemn in Whitehall today, well Miliband looked as solemn as a Wallace and Gromit character can look, I wondered what our alternatives were, is there another way,  like the pseudo stay at home demonstrators at St Pauls think.  

Well, there are a few systems out there.  What about a Matriarchy?  This is a society ruled exclusively by women!  On the plus side, they might be able to do more than one thing at a time but that's far outweighed by  the effect on policies, with their total lack of a sense of direction and parking skills.   Then the metronomic swing of their moods, foreign ambassadors would be in a state of confusion, not knowing if they were in the good books or bad.  It would take the country ages to get ready to go out, we would always understate our Gross Domestic Product by a few pounds, and anytime another country said something nice about us, we would immediately think they wanted sex.

There is always a Kritarchy, a government of judges.  Knowing Britain like I think I do,  we wouldn't end up with Judge Pickles or Judge Judy, we would elect Trinny and Susanna.   Imagine that, a leadership made up of Michael Winner, Louis Walsh and Claudia bloody Winkleman.   The special relationship with the USA would be over, after we critiqued there ugly shoes and the habit of wearing t-shirts under there formal shirts. The cabinet meetings would consist of those tired and cliched Strictly Judges holding up out of ten scores for every suggestion.  It would be horrible, nothing would ever be good enough, because if it was, they would suddenly feel out of a job with nothing left to contribute.

This is more familiar, a Kleptocracy, a government of thieves.  Actually, when I see the league table of successful kleptocrats, I don't think any of our leaders come close, they may have been as unrewarding, but I don't think any of them gorged themselves as much as the following top ten;

  1. President Suharto of Indonesia, $15-$35bn
  2. President Marcos of Philippines, $5-$10bn
  3. President Mobutu of The Congo, $5bn
  4. Nigerian Head of State, Sani Abacha, $2-$5bn
  5. President Milosevic of Yugoslavia and Serbia, $1bn
  6. President Duvalier of Haiti, $300-$800m
  7. President Fujimoro of Chile, $600m
  8. Prime Minister Lazarenko of Ukraine, $114-$200m
  9. President Aleman of Nicaragua, $100m, and finally, at 
  10. President Estrada of Philippines, $78-$80m,    Hold on, The Philippines have been caught out twice with someone with their hand in the till.  Inexcusable, or maybe they just thought $80 million dollars just wasn't worth making a fuss about or embarrassing the President for. 
So, that doesn't sound like a good way to run a country, why not try Gerontocracy, a government of old people.  It would give them something to do and somewhere nice and warm to go in the winter months but imagine the rules they would bring in.  The speed limit would be reduced to 20s plenty, and The Ministry of Sound would have its licence revoked unless it turned into the Ministry of Tea Dances, waist height restrictions would be removed from trousers and Werthers Originals would be accepted as currency in some situations.    

A Technocracy, a government run by technical experts, a geekocracy if you like. Which in this day and age is scarily close to a Corporatocracy which is a government run by, you got it corporations, The USA for example, but increasingly the rest of us too with the rise of Google, Apple, Facebook and those other dubiously and curiously benign and friendly providers of our social oxygen.   

The one I got most excited about, a Ochlocracy, which I thought is obviously a government of stern Scottish Presbyterians that respond to every issue and set back with a resigned Och aye or Och naw!! That would be perfect, finally a system that will provide fiscal prudence and a rich and hearty attacky diet for everyone, but it wasn't that at all.  Its the rule by  mob, never a good thing because a mob is so easily influenced by persuasive idiots,  so lets forget that. 

It looks like we'll just need to stick with a democracy then, on the face of it, its not so bad, we might get unpopular leaders but we generally don't get any that will murder us, torture us and rob us blind. Plus, our military are unlikely ever to go rogue on us, aren't they?. 

Lang may yer lum reek.  

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Billionaire pals and power cuts

HiHo Lums, 

Its always nice to get a message from an old dear friend, even those you cannot remember ever going to school with, or working together or even knowingly being within a hundred miles of. 

So, imagine my surprise and delight at getting an e-mail this evening from someone who regards me as a friend and one that I hadn't heard anything of since he kind of went off the radar about a month ago.    
My friend is of course Al-Saadi al-Gaddafi, isn't he every ones? 

"Dear friend" he starts, a little familiar I thought, we haven't spoken, like forever  "This e-mail will not come as a surprise" it goes on " if I've been following the Libyan revolution on the news", again, a little presumptious though I guess he is ignorant to the fact I'm not widely known as a go to guy for deposed despots.  
He explains that he is the third son of slain ex president of Libya, Muammar Gaddafi, its at this point I begin to think, surely if I was his BFF I would have known that and it would need no explanation, but maybe he just likes saying it.  
Anyway, some urgency gets introduced when he goes on to describe his situation and he might not have much time, this is because he is under house arrest in Niger.   I spent 4 hours stuck on a mysteriously diverted plane in some dusty military airport in Niger, so I have some sympathy at this point, Niger is pretty shit.  But I thought he was the subject of a good old international man hunt so he probably shouldn't have told me that. What he needs is an Information Security Manager, what a coincidence, it just so happens I'll be considering offers soon, if he can hang on. 

So, to business, my old pal Al-Saadi,  I'll call him Al, has got 60 billion dollars of his old dads money to filch before the National Transition Council gets a hold of it and trys to spend it on improving the lives of Libyans, he didn't actually say that last bit, but I knew he meant it.   Al says if he can hide it in my bank account he'll give me 30%, 20 billion dollars, which is very generous in anybodies language, and a further commission of 10% on all the deals he'll be doing, and I'll throw in the Information Security consulting work for my friends rate.   
Despite that this would make me about the fifteenth richest person in the world and give me the wherewithal to hollow out volcanoes and build my own death stars,  I've decided to pass up the opportunity, there are far more needy people than me, Berlusconis, Frankie from X-Factor, Greece, I should pass on their details.  The richest man in the world incidentally is a Mexican called Carlos Slim, does he sound a bit sinister to you, I'm sure it should be Carlos the Slim, The Carlos Slim is either a cigar or a handbag sized Latino sex toy.  

Speaking of X-Factor, there was a technical fault that delayed this evenings transmission by 15 minutes, no big deal for most people, lets face it, countries are going bust, wars are being fought, the oils running out and the ice caps are melting quicker than the rain forests are being burnt down.  
But apparently X-Factor fans were "furious".  The official X-Factor Twitter account, which the news agencies must monitor for, well, for inane shite was a storm of complaint.    Apparently, among those expressing their dismay, no, disgust was someone called VeeVaVoom1, who posted " So #XFactor was scheduled at 8.15, it's now 8.50pm and technical difficulties or not- we have only seen one act! " and then,  "I think the 'technical difficulties' were a deliberate sad attempt to increase ratings." 

This makes me think that VeeVaVoom1 hasn't really thought that through, that by somehow not having the show on for 15 minutes will increase ratings seems somehow the opposite of a good strategy.  She wasn't the only one, if VeeVaVoom1 is a woman, I'm willing to bet Als 60 billion dollars that she is, FootyCath said: "Am I the only one that thinks technical difficulties are entirely within your control for you to sort out?!?"  YES!!! FootyCath, you are, it was a power cut, remember  Cath, for I'm pretty sure that's your given name, X-Factor isn't run by the bad X-Men that like fucking things up.  

Lang may yer lum reek.  

Monday, November 7, 2011

Dartchery, you heard it here first

Hello again Lums,

Another Gold for Britain, YAY!
And another thing...

Policy dictates I'm not allowed to talk about work in a blog, and I wrote it, so its obviously a really important and relevant policy but I have a couple of things to say about sport IN A TOTALLY NON-OLYMPIC context you understand.

I'm probably a little put out because my suggestions for improving next years galaxy games by introducing Kerby were rejected out of hand.
I had it all worked out, a mock suburban street in the Olympic Park,  pavements, a regulation 6 yards apart with kerbs 6 inches high.  There would be parked vehicles that the football, or kerbyball (its really just a football) could get stuck under and occasionally traffic would come along and suspend play for a few seconds with the shout of CAR being given by whatever player was in possession.   It would be first to twenty, simple knock out.
The Americans would be rubbish because there roads are too wide and the African nations would struggle, given the absence of kerbs, it would be an easy couple of medals for us, a test of accuracy and skill.  Still, for whatever reason, they didn't go for it.
Or my invitation to consider revamping the cycle road races by allowing Dick Dastardly style tactics like changing direction signs or fake diversion notices, sprinkling drawing pins on the road or releasing slippy oil all over the road behind you, or my favourite, discretely chaining the back of a fancied opponents bike to a lamppost just before the off. Think what a spectacle that would be. It would be nice to see the cyclists sporting big Victorian moustaches and the international teams turning up in their national stereotypes from about 1910, but that's optional

Undeterred, I have another idea, to improve an existing game rather than introduce a new one.
I got the idea when I went along to watch some archery and quickly realised how boring and pointless (HAHA pointless, get it?)  it is.  Not if your an archery fan I understand, but globally there are only about 112 of those, the rest of us are not getting that excited.
But don't worry sports fans , I have a plan.
We will keep the field of play the same, that is 70 odd metres from the target, the bows and arrows will be the same too so the archers don't need any new skills or anything.  No, what we are going to do is change the target into a big dart board.  It would need to be quite a big dart board of course, if we imagine the bulls eye to be about the size of a side plate, that will give you an idea how big it will need to be.  From there on, the rules of darts are heavily borrowed, subtraction from 501, a double finish, all that, I'd even bring back boozing on the sidelines.  Thanks to Miss S Jonesy Jones of Newport, I've got a name for it, "Dartchery".  The fans are happy, the television audience are happy, the sponsors will love it as it goes global on ESPN, even the players must be less bored and they get to drink beer and they can give themselves cool nicknames like er, thunderbolt, shaft ,bowfinger  and deadeye.

Build a big dart board and fire arrows at it and they will come....

If they don't go for this my last suggestion is for the chubby games, I got the inspiration for that from The Biggest Loser, it would be similar but kind of the opposite.

Lang may yer lum reek

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Wiki-hell, a test of mind and body, yours that is if you start reading this

Yes, we know, its very wrong
Hello Lums,

What about a game of Wikipeadia  Russian roulette.  You perhaps remember that's the game where we select random article from Wikipeadia and see how many you have to go through before any of them have already reserved a little kernel of your grey matter.   I've not attempted that for a while, maybe all the hours of reading zombie lit and playing Gran Turismo will have improved my stats.   So here goes,

  1. Askari Mian Irani, some Pakistani painter that designed a postage stamp once, never heard of him, but hardly surprising that is it, I'm no philatelist and having virtually no awareness of Pakistan other than the fact that when I was growing up in Dunblane, there was a restaurant called the Indo-Pak.  This was the 70's, so not that long after the fracture of the sub-continent so I expect the Indo faction, and the Pak part probably didn't get on that well, goodness knows what affect it had on the food and how they partitioned the tips. FAIL: Wiki 1, Lum 0
  2. Jan Inge Hovig,  mmm, here we have a Norwegian Architect who's most famous work was the design of The Arctic Cathedral which I'm guessing was made out of ice bricks and had ice bells that tinkled instead of rang.  He married a famous Norwegian TV chef then tragically died a week later of a myocardial infarction, a heart attack, which I'm sure wasn't brought on by anything he ate.  FAIL: Wiki 2, Lum 0
  3. Colwich, a little closer to home, but not close enough, its a parish in Staffordshire of four and half thousand souls.  Shugbourough Hall is close by, I like to think that it was founded by someone called Shug.  FAIL: Wiki 3, Lum 0
  4. Linsdale Urban District, This isn't getting any easier, its an old council district in Buckinghamshire that was once part of the Leighton Buzzard Rural Sanitary District which was no doubt as horrendous as that sounds, what is a sanitary district anyway? I'm genuinely hoping its not the sewage district, post code SH 1T, with the poorest estate agents in the country, oh well, potentially not all bad then.  FAIL: Wiki 4, Lum 0
  5.  Reformed Church of Tappan, Five in and the first religious reference, but not any of the well known ones like er, The Pope, so  no good to me.  Its a church in Rockland County in New York which can trace some history back to 1716, which is probably about the time of the creation in the pastors mind.      It was used as a morgue after the Baylor Massacre which was a gruesome sounding battle during the American Revolution and no doubt makes it a totally creepy place to spend the night in order to inherit a fortune from your long lost mad great Uncle. FAIL: Wiki 5, Lum 0
  6. The Consumer First Energy Act 2008.  I know a few Acts,  but not this one.  Its American so I expect it has more to do with the interests of the Texan Oil Barons and less to do with consumers of America.  But since we're on the subject, in 1968, the year of my birth there were 48 Acts of government passed in the UK, including the Race Relations Act, the Theft Act, which hopefully made it illegal, The Caravan sites Act, The Hearing Aid Act, I SAID, THE HEARING AID ACT and The London Cab Act, which repealed most of what was in the Race Relations Act.  FAIL: Wiki 6, Lum 0
  7. Concordia Parish School Board.  This is what it says on the tin in Louisiana and apparently it requires all students to wear school uniforms, it doesn't say what the uniform is, it could be white gown and pointy hat for all I know.  It doesn't even make any claims to supersonic flight.  FAIL: Wiki 7, Lum 0
  8. Rhionclavis longicaudatum.  A Sea Snail, that requires someone to submit a description on Wiki.  I'll have a go.  A Marine Mollusc Gastropod, about half the height of Ermintrude the Sea Cow, commonly spotted wearing a battered straw boater, red scarf, goggles and snorkel. Often found in the company of Zebedee, an overbearing mustachioed spring that seems to know everybody's business and Dougal, a wasted sea dog of some description who turned to drugs after that night with Florence.  FAIL: Wiki 8, Lum 0
  9. Seydliste.  Wikipeadia, you are clutching at straws, Seydlitse is apparently the name of several villages in The Czech Republic, which is and always will be useless to me but it has at least given me a new found respect for the Czech Post Office. FAIL: Wiki 9, Lum 0
  10. Raclaw, West Peomeranian Voivodeship.  Nope, this has me beat twice, I've never heard of Raclaw and I have no idea what a Voivodeship is though it did get me thinking we don't use enough Vs in the English language. FAIL: Wiki 10, Lum 0
  11. Eye of the Beholder, YAAAS, you beauty, I happen to know this is a film starring Criefs very own Ewan McGregor.  Wiki seems to think it was rubbish, using words like bomb and flop.  One critic called it impossible and muddled and it acheived a score of 9% on Rotten Tomatoes, which is quite an acheivement.  To put that in perspective IMDB has scored it at 4.7 whereas The Last Airbender  which I know is totally shite, scored 4.5, so all in all its almost just as bad.  k.d.lang is in it as well, which should put it in the horror category rather than the thriller. GET IN, Wiki 10, Lum 1.  
So there you go, a score of 10-1.  This is good for me, I must be getting brainier. 

Still, its a sad day when you have to turn to Wikipeadia for some inspiration in your life. 

Lang may yer lum reek

Monday, September 12, 2011

Is that a ninja midget on your back?

Whoa Lums, whats happened to Blogger, its went all clean and tidy and modern, well, from where I'm sitting anyway, it may just look like the usual dross from where you are.

I have just returned from an entertaining night away camping with my work colleagues.  
Camping, when I think of it means country side, waking to birdsong or perhaps a bubbling brook or gently breaking waves, not any more.  Now when I think camping I'll think of the dawn chorus of the clattering old diesel engines of  the resident labourers as they all go on their way at 6am, I'll also remember the constant and consistent roar of tyres on the M25 which was only a drive and a six-iron away.  
This place looked like the last stand of the gypsies. Those silver streaked caravans with a transit van outside every one. Scrap iron and barking dogs.  One, I assume he was the gypsy King,  had a big articulated caravan called a Big Horn, I couldn't decide if he was parked next to a skip or it was his hot-tub.  Still, once it got dark, and as long as we all faced the other way into the field opposite, the one with the buzzing pylons, then it wasn't so bad.  
We built a fire, put someones carelessly insecure old wardrobe on it that burnt an attractive greeny blue flame which suggests it was dangerously toxic and sat around boozing and telling daft stories.  
Best joke of the night goes to Miss Hardy-Annual (names have been changed to protect the innocent)

" There was this farmer with a talking sheepdog, he says to it, go out and round up the the sheep, it says rrr-ok then-rrr, an hour later its back and says to the farmer  rrr-thats that done, there was 40 of them-rrr, thats funny says the farmer, this morning there was only 38, the dog says rrr-you told me to round them up-rr" Boom,Boom.   

One of the activities was to go on off road Segways through a forest, organised gamely by Mrs Wall-Banger.  First time on a Segway, I've got to say, their brilliant.  Its the first machine I've ridden that actually feels like an extension of yourself, its intuitive, reactive, can be deceptively quick and seems like such a simple thing.  Never mind for a moment the fact that the man that owned the company fatally drove one off a cliff, they must be hard to fall off considering none of us did. 

The drive home was a nightmare only partly because I was navigating.  My issue was the little blue ball on my phones google maps app was not keeping up with the car, therefore I kept missing turnings, still, its fun driving through Piccadilly Circus at the weekend.  It did give us time for some interesting conversation. 
Miss Hardy-Annual and I were having a discussion where we both concurred that the fossil record discovered to date only accounts for about 10% of beasts that were thought to exist in that time.  Mr Marcus from Eldorado asked, fairly at first, "how do they know?", well they just do was my reply, a little pathetically.  Well, its the like of you , he says, bandying about unfounded stats that accentuates our lack of understanding, or something like that anyway.  First of all, I replied, I don't think me mentioning it to three friends in a VW Polo is bandying it about.  Maybe if I'd painted it on the side of a big blimp and floated it through London, tethering it to the Natural History Museum, or perhaps even just borrowing a million or so pounds from the bank and commissioning my own radio show devoted to the 10 % of the fossil record discovered, I would call it, Hardly Any Fossils FM, that might have been bandying it about.  I then apologised for not being more knowledgeable on the subject, and its unfortunate I did not do that degree in Paleontology that I almost certainly would have done if only I had anticipated this very discussion was to happen 25 years in the future.  That seemed to settle that and we returned to playing Pub legs, which I won after spotting Horse and Hounds and The Three Famous Kings, only a little more than 10% of my smugness was evident. 

Now, a reeking rant. What is undoubtedly the biggest risk to public civility the developed world has ever seen?  
It has the where with all to turn the most mild mannered soul into a Michael Douglas Falling Down, Postal nut job capable of the most unspeakable tut tuts.  
I am speaking of people wearing backpacks on public transport.  Now, this is an environment where each lucky commuter in London has one square foot of floorspace to inhabit for the hellish duration of his journey, be it bus, tube, train or whatever.  
Now imagine that,  while the fellow next to you carries an aggressive little midget on his back, one that likes to kick and punch every passing thing, taking special delight in knocking your hot coffee, or bumping the book from your hand so that it falls on the floor and loses the page, not that that matters because you, the reader, is never going to be able to pick it up and see it again, oh no, not when your standing in an effectual one square foot, 6ft high box.  These midget bearing bulldozers have the spatial awareness of a delusional bulimic bull in the proverbial china shop, they have no idea how much space they are hogging.  

Now that I have saddled and successfully mounted a high horse, I have to say something about electric mobility scooters.  
These are taking over our pavements, once a safe place to peruse and perambulate.  I once got stopped by the police for riding my bike down Dunblane High Street, very gently and carefully on the pavement.  Nowadays I could career down it at up to 12 mph in an electric vehicle about the same weight and pedestrian friendliness as an Aga oven.  
The folks that drive them have mobility problems, though regular readers may remember a previous reek about them mostly being lazy, but if they do have mobility issues, its just as likely its a meagerness of mental mobility they suffer, hence the car keys being taken off them, as well as the remote control for the telly and any matches. 
After a quick afternoon of research I discovered mobility scooters have caused one pedestrian casualty in the UK, a poor 90 year old woman gamely trying to walk somewhere on a pavement with her legs before being mowed down by a reckless young mobility scooterist in his 70s, probably high on Werthers.  
Another case I read about was a little 2 year old being run over and caught up in the wheel arches as the criminally immobile pilot callously ploughed on towards the post office or wherever.  The child, I expect, making the same whirring sounds we used to get when we shoved plastic cartons under the mudguards of our bikes to make them sound like TT Racers. 
Anyway, enough, its time to reclaim the road tax free zone of the pavement.  Put them on the roads like we did in the 70s when they all used to ride around in little blue 3 wheel cars, they were helpfully called AC Invalid Carriages, you may remember them from old match of the day shows, all parked up around the pitch, and anyway, its isn't right that we have a mobility scooter on the pavement with the means to make more injured and immobile people, its whats called a conflict of interest, if your interested.   
Last thing, its raining which means brolley wars will have begun.  Remember the midgets on the backs of passengers in tube trains, well when it rains they climb on to peoples heads and try and jab peoples eyes out with knitting needles, having an erect umbrella these days is more a defense against this than anything weather related.  

Lang may yer lum reek. 

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Restless Natives

Peace loving Lums of Planet Blog,
I am whispering these thoughts from the cupboard under the stairs. As London descends into anarchy and the loot thirsty hordes scavenge the land for shiny things, the only guidance I could call on was that old Protect and Survive cartoon
we used to get as kids to deal with nuclear war with the Russians. So, I've whitewashed the windows, stockpiled beans under the floorboards, taken all the doors off and stacked them in the cupboard and hid under them covered in factor 50 ICBM grade sunscreen.
Actually tonight, I feel a bit foolish crouching in here, in the dark. It all seems quiet outside, no screaming sirens, no frantic searching helicopter overflights and no gangsta talk outside my window.
Apparently there are four times the number of coppers on London streets tonight than normal, keeping the cheeky little urchins at home with their mums. A good deal of those extra policeman have been drafted in from office jobs and old DIs from the Sweeney that have had to dust down their old miners strike riot gear and hope it fastens in the middle, still, good luck to them.
What we have seen in the last few nights in London is a brief glimpse of the future. The social breakdown that will occur virtually minutes after, or before if our rulers give us warning, a meteor strike, super volcano or zombie invasion. Old scores settled, materials gathered for the upcoming struggle, the weak being preyed on by the strong and bold, cupboards under the stairs will be in demand then, I tells ye.
Mind you, don't believe any of them when they say its some kind of social reaction to hardships and disenchantment. This isn't a revolution, this is a smash and grab, a blatant rush for something for nothing and the childish thrill of breaking things, add the swarm mentality and frenzy feeding instinct to get as much down your throat before the opportunity goes and well, there you go.
I remember the riots of the 80s and 90s, in similar locations, Brixton and Toxteth for instance. Those instances seemed to come from a different place with real and justified things to say, if not do. There was looting of course, but it was secondary and a by product. Looting seems to be the primary objective of this series of eruptions with do-gooders and two-bob over analysts trying to tag some social ill onto it.
Tell you what though, there has been some entertaining news stories coming from the foreign press, the Russians claimed all the animals had been let out the zoo and never mind what you think of the Iranians, they have a sense of humour. They have called for the police to show restraint in dealing with our protesters and an independent international body to look into police brutality. Its hard to imagine an Ayatollah chuckling, but I managed it when I thought of them coming up with that. I expect old Qadaffi would like to request UN resolutions to send an aircraft carrier to sit in the Thames estuary, dropping baseball bats and scaffolding poles for the London rebels to legitimately get rid of mad dog Cameron.
Other news in my time away from the lum. A number of London tourist attractions have been visited in the last few weeks, here's my very brief and too quickly formed opinion of them.
  1. Buckingham Palace, very worthwhile, and a real treat to see how well my and all my ancestors taxes, blood and toil have been so well spent and invested in worthwhile treasures like FabergĂ© cigarette cases, that incidentally I don't think will fit filter tipped fags, just those woodbines  King Edward smoked so I expect the value has dropped a little. It really is like a, well, a palace I suppose, fit for a queen, er, yes well, you get it, marks out of 10, 9.
  2. Madame Tussauds, if I had qued for two and a half hours to get in and also paid 30 quid each, well, I may well have wanted to decapitate every wax dummy in the place and carry the heads home to use as interesting centre pieces for the dining room table, just to feel like I hadn't been robbed and processed like a veal calf in a French sausage factory. There is an in door marked entrance, from this point there is a solid worm of humanity, snaking through the humid interior for about a mile until you're ejaculated into the gift shop. Perhaps on the way you may have seen some dummies that looked vaguely familiar, in a shiny sort of way, but so would the one thousand Japanese tourists who are sharing your section of worm, so the camera flashes and squealed  Japonic Shinto art direction means you wont have seen them for long. They were shit anyway. 2/10, only cos I got in for free and didn't queue.
  3. Imperial War Museum, this was very good, at times I felt like I was in a big airfix diarama, big tanks, planes and guns all with history and stories behind them. If we keep having wars though they will need to build an extension. 8/10
  4. London Zoo, thankfully before the rioters had released all the man eating lions and tigers and bears. I love a zoo, so I'm easy to please, a little delighted that the zoo of the empire that once covered the world hasn't any caged chimpanzees to see going slowly mad, or elephants, Christ, if Billy Smart can have one I'm sure the Zoo could be allowed one, but otherwise, very good. 7/10
That's all from this edition of Visit London.
Lang May Yer Lum Reek

Monday, June 6, 2011

When vegetables attack

Lums about to Reek, I salute you,

So, as deadly E-Coli sweeps the continent like a modern day brown death, what was responsible? Was it Colonel Cucumber in the conservatory, or Baroness Beansprout up the backstairs? I don't know, but I do know one thing, never trust a tomato.

Born a fruit but somehow managing to convince the vegetable community to accept it into the salad bowl. Not to play second fiddle to the old vegetable elders, potatoes and cabbage you understand, but to be culinarily embraced, with its plump but firm body and glossy red skin. The magic X factor in everything from a Caprese salad, to a Margarita Pizza to a Bloody Mary and despite its fruity heritage, successfully integrating itself into the union of veg.

It wasn't always so easy for Tomato. There was the disputed parenthood, the arguments and denials and of course the fateful day in court. Yes, Tomato had his day in court.

1893 the year, Nix v Hedden the infamous adversaries. "Just because he has seeds, it doesn't make him a fruit" I can almost hear the plaintiff plead. There were star witnesses, pea, cucumber, squash and bell pepper on one side, throwing off their labels to seek botanical asylum in the vegetable patch. Potato, parsnip, cabbage, carrot and bean also taking the stand to claim that its not what we are, but how we are used that defines us, and sure enough, the judges gavel came down in agreement and from that day forth, Tomatoes belonged to the vegetable side of the supermarket aisle.

Yet somehow not quite getting into the whole vegetable thing completely. No muddy fields, or being buried neck deep in manure, no dull earthy colours and the need to be thoroughly cleaned and boiled before consumption, instead, warm greenhouses on fragrant vines and even the appearance in the occasional cocktail.

Does it have some sinister hidden agenda or did it only want to be a vegetable so it could be the most glamorous one. Lets be realistic for a moment, it was never going to achieve that in fruitville, not with mangos, pineapples and pommegranates parading about the place . By the way, you'll often find mushrooms hanging out with tomatoes, more proof of the tomatoes fickle ways, keeping an ugly pal to reinforce how utterly gorgeous it is, well, mushrooms are not a vegetable either, don't let anybody tell you any different.

I applied for tickets for the big global village school sports day next year, not for me of course, I'll be far too busy, but thought some family could benefit. So Reeking Lum went into the hat for Equestrian, diving, tennis, gymnastics, football and ceremony tickets. 14 in total with a value of about £700.

The tombola spun and out popped £46 from my sweating, anxious bank account to pay for tickets for something. It is obviously two £20 tickets which leaves only the opening or closing ceremonies, or football at Hampden Park to watch Cambodia U23s play Tajikistan U23s or similar in a preliminary round, I'll assume its the unattractive football tie. Despite the fact that if I had gotten all the tickets I had applied for my bank account would have been so fatally holed beneath the water line I would have disappeared up my own overdraft quicker than you can say Lehman, I cant help but be disappointed, nay, furious that I don't have at least one London event to go too. All that'll be left is Greco-Roman wrestling and pistol shooting or something.


Lang may yer lum reek.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Campings unhappy campers

Hello all you lucky lums?

Well, if your reading this we've survived another week in a world that has a thousand and one ways to see us off.

Its especially noteworthy as this is the week that was meant to bring the rapturous end of the world for all us sinners and unbelievers, or those that hadn't yet made a contribution to Harold Campings Viagra kitty. Now, I'm not really up to speed with the whole message he was peddling, but apparently Jesus was being born again, all the true believers, only a couple of hundred thousand it seems, would be risen to heaven and the rest of us would perish in horrible ways.
Two hundred thousand is a bit mean, I don't know how they arrived at that figure.
Logistics I expect, maybe the security team at the pearly gates imposed that figure because they were worried about queue times and unnecessary crushing, or is heaven nearly full? That would be a worry when you think that the history of the world is marked by the number of evil nasty bastards that have marched across it. Generally people are a bit more good now, and I expect qualify on those goodness grounds for an all park pass to the hereafter.

The other thing that bothered me, that's not to say only one other thing, but just another thing, was this reborn Christ. Presumably hes coming back to earth as a baby, not a fully grown, lanky haired bearded joiner, that would just be weird, and painful for his mother. So, if he is coming back, using the tried and trusted method of immaculate conception and being born in a golden, starry aura we won't know its him, and also presumably, he wont be able to speak, he wont be able to tell us anything, never mind anything profound. He could be born a baby of course , with a fully developed vocabulary and some witty anecdotes, I think that would be just as weird though he'd be a shoe in on Americas Got Talent.
The first thing he should do though is raise and shake his little baby fist at all those Middle America preaching shysters, there just competition for him, sucking up all those contributions from superstitious country folk who would have been happy dancing around a straw man not so long ago. It still seems a a lot to expect a baby to do in his first few months on earth.

What struck me most of all though was the shock and incredulity felt by Harolds heavenly bound followers when nothing of note actually happened. No ravenous earthquakes, no plagues or meteor strikes. Some of them sounded pretty disappointed that we were all not now going to die slow painful deaths and descend to Hell, where it would seem there is much more room and access is better organise. That annoyed me a bit. It reeks of desperate need to have your lifes beliefs confirmed, looking forward to the hour they can say " so long suckers" all those hours praying and thousands spent really have gotten us a seat on the lifeboat. That would suggest self doubt and a deep seated lack of faith, no wonder they weren't chosen for the country club in the clouds.

Still, they shouldn't lose hope because Harold Camping apparently didn't carry over his one or whatever and made a mistake with the dates and we are now scheduled instead to die very quick horrible deaths in October. Third time lucky Harold.
One day life on earth will come to an end, Prof Cox told me that and I'd rather believe him, and I expect right up to the end someone will be spouting this apocalyptic message and gratefully receiving pointless donations but at least somebody someday can say I told you so. I hope he's not near me in the queue.

While we're on the subject of Life on Earth, somebody published a list of new species discovered recently, yep, there still discovering things and I'm glad there discovering them but somebody has to answer for them. I mean, there is something called a Pancake Batfish that looks like joke vomit with half finished eyes, a jumping cockroach, brilliant, they'll be riding bikes soon, yet another big horrible spider,a Bark Spider, presumably because it lives on trees and not because it sounds like a St Bernard and a new kind of leech called a Tyrant Leech King, which is a pretty impressive name tag to pin on your suit if your a leech at the annual leeching conference , but guess what, it lives up peoples noses. Now, WTF, that's not doing anyone any good is it.

Terrorist groups the world over will have noted this week that the Presidents Beast of a car can't go over bumps. Dastardly plans will already probably be hatched to take advantage of this design oversight. Luring the presidential motorcade to the upper levels of a shopping centre car park, or perhaps to a car boot sale on an old semi-cleared demolition site. Sounds like the plot for my next movie screenplay provisionally titled, Bump and Grind, bear with me, I'll just do a quick google search to make sure no-one else has made a movie called Bump and Grind....

Nooooooo! OMG, how is that even humanly possible, thats like a two litre bottle of coke and those are what I imagine a dead heat in a zeppelin race would look like.

Lang may yer lum reek.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

The mass Gonk extinction of 79

Good evening Lums,

Who can remember Gonks? Those lovable fairground giveaways from the 70s, a golden age when you could get your picture taken with a terrified monkey, take home a goldfish in a polythene bag and purchase toy cigarettes that glowed at the end when you sucked on them.

A Gonk, if you need reminding , and apologies for jumping straight into the biology of one, was a toilet roll, wrapped in a dubious day-glo furry material that was undoubtedly harmful to 99% of organisms and had a half life of a million or so years. They had comedy paper eyes stuck on the front, normally their only facial feature. These were usually the first to go, giving the unfortunate creature the look of a crow pecked corpse that had wronged the King of the Gonks and swung from his castle gates, Castle Gonk, probably. They had oversize cardboard feet and sometimes a little tuft of hair, which was packed with carcinogenic qualities and the No1 reason for the rise in child asthma. After the eyes, a middle aged Gonk, say one about 20 minutes old, would begin to suffer gonk pattern baldness. An unwrapping of its hairy pelt because its securing dab of glue had dried up and lost its bite.

I don't know where they originated from, they didn't have a TV show like the Wombles or Banana Splits, they had just always been there, visiting once a year with the fairground gypsies. Then they disappeared, like the Mayans, no trace, no mass Gonk graves or Gonk memorabilia turning up on Antiques roadshow. Their place eventually was taken behind the cocunut shys by inflatable hammers and big annoying balloons on an elastic band.

Even finding a picture was difficult, the specimens displayed above are with the Gonkkenheim museum, I had to get special permission just to think about this rubbish, not from the museum, from my mental health therapist.

Sometimes , in Spain or somewhere I would see what I thought was an evolutionary offshoot of the gonk, a bendy, mouldable blob, with those familiar friendly eyes. These creatures were usually full of flour, I know that because my daughter tried to bring one back into the UK but it burst, actually , exploded is more accurate, all over a number of humourless passengers on the plane. At least, I think it was flour, that's what the Colombian fella that sold us it at the airport said.

The Furby I think is some kind of a relation, part machine, a bionic gonk I guess, but unable to jump over buildings and run at 60 miles an hour, it could flap its little stubs about and wobble energetically on its feet. It was meant to have the gift of speech and be able to learn language as we spoke to them over time, like a sinister mechanical parrot, learning all our secrets, hearing all, knowing all. In reality I've since discovered they left the gonk mechanical anthropomorphous engineering facility with only about 100 words programmed into their little gonk brains. So, you could chat away to it like a lonely widow, read it everything from Boswell to Billy Connollys Gullibles Travels and after 25 years it would still only be able to squack" Furby wuv" " Furby Worried" and "Please Stop".

Those frightening little troll dolls from the 90s are sometimes referred to as Gonks, which is plainly ridiculous, they are a much closer relation to Smurfs.

Lang may yer Lum Reek