I spent the weekend painting. 8 hours on Saturday painting the fence, and winning the battle against Ivy - somehow, like Afghanistan the war will never be won. At least my battle won't cost lives or limbs. There's a saying by whoever that says the height of stupidity is to keep doing the same thing even though it isn't working. Here's an idea. The money the UK Government is spending on the war (and other nations), why don't we all just pay the Afghanistan farmers to grow something other than Opium? After all, the British couldn't win the North West Frontier in the 19th Century, the Russians failed miserably in 1979 and the Americans followed suit shortly afterwards. Militarily, its and impossible country to attack - the forces are fighting the Taliban in ideal Guerilla conditions - mountains and rocky outcrops. The Biased Broadcasting Corporation, should spend more time on reminding us why we're there. How women are stoned to death for being raped, how girls aren't educated. The nearest I got to understanding what it was all about was watching the film The Kite Runner.
That was just one of the thoughts that ran through my mind as I listened to the radio on Saturday. The other was about Tony Blackburn. In the late 70's he became increasingly irrelevant as a DJ, as he refused to play Punk and New Wave. Given a second chance on BBC2 playing the Chart Hits from previous years, 1978 was featured. I thought great, my era. However, his grudge continues. Instead of playing one of the all time great songs, Patti Smith 'Because the Night' he played the Eurovision Song winner of that year. From Israel, which isn't even in Europe, it was a song that sounded like 'I want to be a Polar Bear'. (Ah ba ne be). OK, both were moving down the charts, but I would bet anyone between 47 and 55 were sorry that Patti Smith wasn't played and sorry that this was. He slagged off 'What a Waste' - Ian Dury, by saying don't know what that was all about. Well Smashy, what are you all about, your job is to reflect the music of that year, not the Mid Atlantic crass you preferred. He also didn't play Blondie, 'I'm always Touched by your Presence Dear'. The charts at that time were full of Bee Gees songs; he managed to play all of those though. The music was very diverse at that time, but it was almost as if Punk and New Wave didn't happen in his world. Well, Tony, it did, and your attempt to air brush history didn't work, and neither did you for many years as a result of you being unable to play what the listeners wanted. (Must have something to do with the name, as I can think of another Tony B. who airbrushed history.)
Friday's blog was about the Paris Tour, and thinking about that one brought the following year's Scotland Tour to mind. Again we travelled up on the coach. Leaving at 9am from the club, as the driver put the coach into gear, the first 'click, ssshhh', was heard. Well, I have another confession to make. I wanted to look as though I was one of the alikadoos, having a drink as well, but my four cans lasted all the way to Scotland. 6 hours, and for most of them I was hugging an empty can. Simple to look part of tha gang. We were staying in jockey's quarters at Hamilton Racecourse. Being Scotland, it had rained, and going down to the accommodation, the coach got stuck in the mud. We only had about an hour before the first game. We tried to move the coach but it became even more stuck. I had an idea. I'll go to the Fire Station across the road, and ask them to use their winch on the front of the Engine. And being brave there will be all those hunky firemen. Yep, in these politically correct times, the station commander was a woman. I think if there was me and George Clooney on a desert island, he'd be a eunoch, such are my powers of celibacy. Anyway, it became apparent that it would also be dangerous for the fire engine to get down there as well as it may get stuck as well, and then would be unavailable to deal with real emergencies. They did come though. (On Friday night, two of us went from the gym, across the road to the Fire Station to remove a forgotten security tag from a handbag the instructor had purchased. These firemen really do deal with the emergencies of life).
Anyway, we went to the game in a series of taxis (should the collective noun be a hail of taxis?), dressed in the tour theme of Little England. Now I don't know this programme. Apparently it was a comedy, but I googled a character and went as Babs, so had a bubble wig and a dressing gown on. J has a nighty and a little cardy, as Ann. Apparently her computer said no, which apparently is funny?!! Being Scottish, the coach could resist it, and wore an Australian rugby shirt, obviously purchased for the 2003 World Cup Final, underneath he had a navy 1967 T-shirt. However, he realised that his masters were fun to be with and broke his arm getting out of the taxi at 3.30 in the morning. He did come in useful in speaking the local lingo to convince the Chinese restaurant to send round the set meal for 35 later on that evening. We had left handed drinking, which isn't a problem, for me as I drink left handed anyway, but to Ann, it was, as she ended up drinking penalty half pints of wine. On top of a Scotch pie, which seemed to be boiled meat surrounded by boiled lard, and boiled pastry, wasn't a digestable mixture, and she left the coach which had caught us up by this time, rather quickly. She retired to bed, and whilst there, her son had a number one, two days after having his hair cut at Toni and Guy for silly money. Being lads they couldn't quite do the job properly and he ended up looking like he'd been on chemo, with tufts of hair left on random spots on his head.
For me, I always enjoy seeing the bonding develop between the lads, and them take charge of their own tour. This happened at Tibshelf services on this tour, when the DJ of the group took his boom box into the service station forecourt, surrounded by the team, they sung the tour song, 'Is this the way to Amarillo?' Number one in the charts at the time, by Peter Kay, but those of senior years may remember Tony Christie's version.