Time to turn off?

While I’ve been practicing my ski-ing skills, I’ve been thinking about something else that’s going downhill fast.

Breakfast Television.

If you watch any or all of the three breakfast TV shows you’ll know that one has a roster of presenters so personality-free they’re practically invisible, who alternate reading lines from the autocue, occasionally turning around to talk to the weather lady on the giant TV behind their red sofa.  The banter between them is so contrived it makes an Agatha Christie plot seem simple.

On another channel (which rhymes with ‘Sigh’- something I do whenever I tune in) they absolutely love ‘Breaking News’. Thankfully, 90% of these interruptions are just an excuse to give the presenters a break from delivering the same news items every 15 minutes.

And then….there’s Good Morning Britain – a show built around extended ads for competitions offering huge cash prizes and luxury cars.

Throw in some lightweight interviews, showbiz gossip and Piers Morgan talking loudly over everyone else and it’s harmless fluff.

Well I thought so until last week when throughout their Valentine’s Day edition, viewers were promised a ‘Celebrity Wedding’ would be happening ‘Live’ on the show.

Exciting? I nearly had a second round of toast!

However, when it was time to introduce the celebrity couple, it seems their flight from L.A. was delayed, because instead of two famous faces, on walked a spray-tanned couple I’d never heard of, from a ‘reality’ show I’ve never seen, both dressed in white.

When I say ‘dressed’, she was wearing a white bikini and he was wearing white shorts.  But to show he was taking his marriage vows seriously, he also wore a black bow tie.

As I reached for the remote to switch off, I heard a strange noise coming from my TV.

It was the bottom of a barrel being scraped…

From now on it’s BBC Radio Wales for me every morning.

Winter escape

This week’s column has come to you from the top of a glacier in Zinal, a beautiful part of Switzerland.

Now this is where technology makes life easy for me and allows me to operate without any of the stress of reaching my editors deadlines.

The views are breath-taking and this puts me in the ideal mood to come up with some creative writing without too many distractions.

We are 2,800 metres above sea level, snow has fallen almost every day for the past month and continues to do so.

Transportation is good, buses and cars are running as normal.

The local shops are well stocked with fresh food.

Bread and milk are in abundance and there is no sign of any panic buying.

The temperature here is well below freezing, but the local residents and visitors alike are thoroughly enjoying the winter season and all that it brings.

Clearly, if this was happening back home, we would all be in shut down mode and a state of chaos and panic.

Right, that’s enough taking the piste, I’m off to build an igloo!

The Price of Love Went Up This Week

If you’re a man with a ‘significant other’ and you’ve forgotten it’s Valentine’s Day, there’s a good chance you’re feeling chilly after receiving an icy stare and a cold shoulder .

But take heart if you didn’t buy the object of your affection a card and flowers – or book a restaurant for a romantic meal tonight. Neither did I!

For a start, I’ve never met the object of your affection.

It’s not that I’m unromantic. I just get annoyed that in the run-up to today, florists, restaurants and hotels raise their prices – ,and I don’t like being ripped-off.

Next week when all the commercially-created pink fluffiness has evaporated, hotels will fall over themselves to offer you great deals and you can dine out without being surrounded by love-struck couples too busy gazing into each other’s eyes to notice their waiter has been standing next to their table for 20 minutes waiting to collect their plates of uneaten cold spaghetti and hand them an outrageously expensive bill.

There are several theories about the origins of Valentine’s Day.

Some believe St Valentine was a man who was devoted to cultivating a garden full of beautiful flowers which he handed out to lovers – making him sound like a cross between a medieval hippy and Alan Titchmarsh.

Another theory is it started with the pagan festival Lupercalia which honoured Juno the Roman Goddess of women and marriage and Pan the Roman God of . . . er, how can I put this delicately?

Nookie!

The festival involved men hitting women on the back with animal hides to increase their fertility!

As primitive and unpleasant as it sounds, I heard a whisper that it’s still practiced in some remote parts of Wales where family planning is never discussed.

Take a tip from me, lads –

As much as we all hate being ripped-off, next year buy a card and a bunch of roses.

Bad advertising

In my job, I do a lot of driving up and down the country and much of this time is spent on motorways, where you really have to have your wits about you.

It’s a free-for-all at times, I’m sure you will agree. It seems to me that the nation’s driving is getting worse; everyone seems to be in a rush.

Now then, here is one thing that never fails to amaze me.

A few times recently I have been happily travelling along within the speed limit and out of nowhere, right behind me appears someone who is in much more of a rush than the rest of the universe.

I can’t see their number plate as they are so frighteningly close.

When they pass me, I can clearly see the likes of ‘Bob’s Plastering Service’, ‘Pete’s Plumbing’, accompanied by their email address and contact number.

Now forgive me if I’m wrong, but driving like an absolute plonker while advertising your contact details on your van is not the ideal way to promote your business, is it?

Just sayin’ . . .

A theft!

An unreported crime wave is affecting every strata of society – from the very top all the way down the social scale to cold callers, politicians and AMs.

I’ve been aware of it for some time, but refrained from revealing the grim facts until now.

Someone is going around stealing the letter ‘T’ from people’s vocabulary!

Just yesterday a young lady passed me in the street, shouting into her mobile ‘phone “Thass all rye. Don’ mar-urr if you is lay! I’ll me ya bow ay!”.

Which, translated, means . . .

“That’s all right. It doesn’t matter if you’re late. I’ll meet you about eight!”

Obviously, between leaving the house and walking past me, the poor girl had been the unknowing victim of ‘T’ theft, just like thousands of other people I hear in bars and cafes and on TV shows like “Ees-enders”, “Corona-shun Stree”, “Casual-ly”, “Silen’ Wi-ness” and “”Poin-less Celebri-ees”!

It’s even wriggled its way into the hallowed grounds of BBC Radio Four!

I know! Unbelievable isn’t it?

I’m loathe to mention the title of the programme it affected recently, but it was created by Roy Plomley in 1951, has been on the air ever since and involves a guest choosing their eight favourite pieces of music.

If you haven’t guessed by now, you’re obviously a Talk Sport listener.

Anyway, the guest that particular week described herself as a ‘War reporr-er’.

I didn’t hear all the programme because I had to “Go ‘ow’ for a den-all appoyn-men”, but I have an idea she chose songs by The Be-alls & Dean Mar-in plus an excerpt from “The Ey-een Twelve Over-ure”.

It’s a shocking state of affairs when someone who’s courageously reported from some of the most dangerous places on earth, isn’t immune from having her ‘Ts’ stolen.

So please, keep your eyes peeled. Otherwise you could be the “Nex’ Vic-im”. Oh no! I’s me!

 

Podcast of all things!

I can’t believe that I’ve been roped in once again to take on another challenge.

Two weeks ago, my good friend Robert Lloyd, from Llanelli, lured me into his home with coffee and cake.

I should have realised that there was an ulterior motive, and the cake distraction had the desired effect.

Thirty minutes later I found myself agreeing to take part in recording a weekly ‘podcast’ from a secret location.

“What is a podcast” I hear you shout?

Let me explain . . .

A podcast is an audio show, usually spread across a series of episodes, which can be downloaded from the internet and listened to either on a computer or smart phone. The first two episodes have already been recorded and uploaded to the internet.

Who would have thought that two middle aged men sat in a small studio, chatting about whatever is going on in their heads and putting the world to rights would create an interest?

Well it has.

I sat and nervously awaited the feedback and viewing figures. I’m more than pleasantly surprised. Unscripted, unedited and no holds barred.

I’m under no illusion that our discussions might ruffle a few feathers, but it’s safe to say that the content will be open, honest and thought provoking, which is possibly why the feedback and figures have already exceeded our expectations by a long shot.

Let us know what you think . . .

Commemorating our heroes

WHAT WOULD IVOR EMMANUEL THINK?

The classic film “Zulu”, starring the late, great Stanley Baker, has long been a Bank Holiday TV staple.

The scene where Ivor Emmanuel as Pvt. Owen leads the bruised and battered soldiers in a rousing version of “Men Of Harlech” is a highlight.

The film doesn’t glorify war or colonialism. It depicts British soldiers’ heroism in the face of overwhelming odds, defending Rorke’s Drift mission in 1879.

However, it seems pop singer Lily Allen has a bee in her bonnet about this historic event.

According to the London Evening Standard, on January 23rd, she was angry that written on the passenger information board at Dollis Hill Tube Station was this notice . . .

‘On this day in 1879, 150 British and Colonial troops successfully defended Rorke’s Drift against 4,000 Zulu warriors’

Ms. Allen was angered to such a degree she ‘slammed’ Transport For London and accused them of ‘celebrating colonialism’.

If Ms. Allen had a better command of the English language, she’d realise the notice wasn’t ‘celebrating’ the battle of Rorke’s Drift.

It was commemorating it.

Ms. Allen ‘bravely’ criticised Tube staff in a Tweet to her 5.9 million followers.

But how would she have fared if confronted by 4,000 spear-carrying Zulus?

Yes, about the same as me, I think!

I’m aware Ms. Allen is zealous about various world ‘issues’ that concern her.

But if she got into a lather about a notice written in felt-tip in a Tube Station foyer, she obviously has far too much spare time on her hands.

Several of her Twitter followers suggested she should ‘get over herself’.

Politeness prevents me from commenting.

39 soldiers defending Rorke’s Drift were Welsh and of the 11 soldiers awarded the Victoria Cross, two were named Jones and another Williams.

So, there’s a safe bet they were Welsh.

In case you weren’t aware, Ms. Allen’s father is from Llanelli.

Take responsibility and clean up the mess

Why is it in this day and age, people continue to drop litter without a care in the world or without consideration to others?

Recently, I watched a football match in my home town of Ammanford, a place where the locals are blessed with a beautiful big recreation ground that facilitates several football pitches and a cricket pitch.

And yet, when the players and spectators leave, there are huge amounts of crisp packets, pop bottles and empty cans strewn across the field.

A few more strategically-placed bins wouldn’t go amiss either – as there seems to be only one bin in the whole area!

Picture the scene: you call round to a friend’s house for a cuppa and a few biscuits, you wouldn’t throw the empty biscuit packet on their lounge carpet before you went home, would you?

Do we not care enough about the environment anymore?

Are we oblivious to it all?

Or is it just the fact that we are too blooming lazy and it is someone else’s job to pick it all up?

Let’s start taking responsibility for our own mess, each and every one of us.

Don’t even get me started on a whole bag of rubbish being launched out of a car window from a certain fast food chain . . . McDisgusting!