Thursday, 31 March 2016

Poem for the Kings Cross McDonalds (North Side)

I remember a storyline in Grange Hill from the mid-80s that was all about a School Trip to Wales.

Roland Browning (the big kid who was teased for being big) was shown an act of kindness by his gym teacher.
He unexpectedly set him the task of:
sitting at the top of a Welsh hillside, eating a Welsh cake, with Welsh butter, and writing a poem about how it made him feel.

I don't know what made me think about it just now, but it inspired me to
sit at the top of the Kings Cross McDonalds (North Side),
eating a Kings Cross McDonalds (North Side) Sausage Egg McMuffin
with a Kings Cross McDonalds (North Side) Latte,
and writing a poem about how it made me feel.

My free guide to Understanding Your British Dad is here

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Today I live. Today I travel by National Express Coach.

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Wednesday, 30 March 2016

Today I live. Today I travel by National Express Coach.

I am on a coach.
A National Express coach to London.

Completely and purely because I have never done it before.
And completely and purely fed up with South West Trains Lording it over me with their monopoly.

I've gone into Internal Exile - like the people in Communist Russia faced with no choice had to do. I'll write a play on the bus like Vaclav Havel.
But it will be in English.
And probably be about being a British Dad.

The hardest thing with travelling by coach - there are many hard things - including the website that asks 3 times while booking whether you want to take out travel insurance.

Three times - including a pop up window.
To be honest, I love the sense of danger from the insurance pop-ups.
This is living life.

Something where even the company running the damn coach triple-checks if you want to be insured. AND, click, CLOSED. I'm going to live dangerously (3 times).

This is practically snowboarding.
Except it's coach boarding.

No, the hardest thing is being a novice. A national express know-nothing.
I can spend an hour on the website (and you need that to work it all out) - but for all my "reading" - I'm still a noob.

I did a practice dry-run and ended up talking to 3 lovely old ladies who explained it to me. One of them - who's been coaching for decades - was travelling to Hartlepool.

That means nothing if you don't know where I live, but I'm not comfortable yet plastering where I live on the web. Put it this way, this was 0830 and she was going to be home at 2100. I thought travelling by coach is yet another try to live like retired man.
But these are adventures - living in the present.

Anyway, they gave me the best advice for a nat-exp-noob.
Never ever pay your fare to the driver.
It's a really sure sign you're an amateur, really frowned upon and most drivers won't even accept it.
I waited for the coach to come, and asked the Driver how much the fare is to London.

Sure enough was really friendly, and apologetic, but I was a dumb beginner - Post Office or Phoneline - that's where the pros get their gear.
I was glad I could brush it off as a dry run that didn't count.

So here I am, knocking another chunk off The Bucket List.

My free guide to Understanding Your British Dad is here

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Sacred and Profane... my very first weekly draw video #ScriptChat

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Tuesday, 8 March 2016

Sacred and Profane... my very first weekly draw video #ScriptChat

Every week I've been collecting Sacred and Profane words.
If you put them together you make funnier and more dramatic ideas - and it's all explained on the link below...

All the words have gone into the hat:

For Sacred, they've gone into a food bowl
And Profane, they're all in the potty.

Here's my Sacred and Profane word draw #1

Fresh - Pigeons
Milk - Traffic Warden
Art Gallery - Loud Music
Caress - Angry Voice
War Monument - Brick Viaduct

Traffic Warden caress
Pigeon milk
Loud music from a war monument
Angry voice art gallery
Fresh brick viaducts

My complete list of everything that is Sacred and Profane is here

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Choking on an apple. On a train and too embarrassed to say.

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Monday, 7 March 2016

Choking on an apple. On a train and too embarrassed to say.

I was on the train and I swallowed a chunk of apple.
I breathed and the chunk flew in before I was ready.
It made me cough and I panicked.

What if it was stuck in my windpipe?

It didn't feel right, and I was coughing.

Except I was on a train ready to leave Waterloo.
I got onto the platform to try and cough it out.
It wouldn't budge and I could still feel it there.

Was I dry-drowning?

I panicked some more.

Barmily, I did what anyone else would do - I went to my phone to Google it.

Even more barmily, if you type in the letters S-W-A-L-
"Swallowed chunk of apple" comes up instantly.

Either my phone could hear me coughing...
(like the voice search is triggered by "CHOKE-KAY GOOGLE!")
...or a lot of people were doing what I just did.

All the results are people on forums saying
"Help! I just swallowed a chunk of apple and I think I'm not breathing"
-- followed by a load of answers saying
"You're fine."
"I did that too once, really you're okay."
"There is no absolutely no way that a chunk of food can get itself into into your airway."

But that didn't help, because mine definitely feels like it's in the wrong place.

So I went to the toilet and tried sicking it up.
Now all the rest of the apple flies out except the chunk.
The chunk that might be slowly killing me.

I've got to pull the rip-cord and do what no-one does on the train at Waterloo.

"Excuse me." I croaked to the lone commuter sat waiting for the train to leave too.
"I'm really sorry but I just swallowed a big bit of apple and I think it went down the wrong way."

He held up his can of lager, ready for what I was going to say next:
"I don't s'pose you could hit me as hard as possible to try and get it out?"
He put his can of lager down.

I asked him to hit me repeatedly... "And don't hold back."

He didn't hold back.
And it didn't budge.
And then I had to sit next to him awkwardly.
For the rest of the journey as far as Woking.

If you're into that kind of thing, it is way easier to get than I thought it was.
But I'm not.
And I am still alive.

So if you are Googling "Swallowed chunk of apple" and this post comes up.
You'll be fine.

Understanding Your British Dad. My guide is here

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London walkabout... St. Paul's Churchyard to South Bank via Tate Modern

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Saturday, 5 March 2016

London walkabout... St. Paul's Churchyard to South Bank via Tate Modern

Don't know why I started making these.

Maybe I'm trying to capture something...
Or maybe I'm just a Dad with an action camera with no action to point it at.

It's not exactly filming covertly - I just walk around with the camera in my hand,
but I don't feel comfortable doing it.
Check out the cyclist and Addison Lee cab flying past the red light at 1:10.

Youtube asked me if I wanted to stabilize the shaky picture.
I did - but the stabilization gives all the pedestrians I pass a nice uniform bounce in their walk.
Like a lope.

Anyway, this one was shot last summer from St. Paul's Churchyard to the South Bank.

- across St. Pauls Churchyard, down Peter's Hill EC1, past the City Of London School, across Millennium Bridge, right at the Tate Modern, along the Thames Path, through the south entrance of Blackfriars National Rail Station, under Blackfriars Bridge through the underpass, past Sea Containers House and OXO Tower onto the South Bank path.

There's a whole new London walkabout youtube playlist here...

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Golden Girls vs. Super Golden Friends - fave stuff on the web

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Friday, 4 March 2016

Golden Girls vs. Super Golden Friends - fave stuff on the web

Super Golden Girls

Adding "Super Golden Friends" to my fave stuff on the web link below...

Here it is in all its glory...

Super Golden Friends

And it's even gone onto an online series in its on right.

But I couldn't help myself.
It's funny because you remember the original,
but I couldn't help playing it alongside the original...
just to see what it would look like.

(And I muted it because "Enchanted" was playing in the background, and I didn't want to incur a yelling-at by a third copyright holder...)

Golden Girls vs. Super Golden Friends - side by side...

"Thank you for being a friend. Travelled down the road and back again.
Your heart is true.
You're a pal and a confidante.
And if you threw a party, invited everyone you knew.
You would see the biggest gift would be from me,
and the card attached would say, thank you for being a friend."

All of my fave stuff on the web is banked on this link here

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Love Judd Apatow's Love - so much I'm trying to not watch it

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Thursday, 3 March 2016

Love Judd Apatow's Love - so much I'm trying to not watch it

One of my favourite bits of yesterday was watching Judd Apatow's "Love".
(put onto it by my writing buddy Tim Dann instead of what we should've been talking about which is how monsters would use Skype).

If you haven't seen it yet - you'll love it.
Or love trying it.

One of the clever things about it is how it's able to keep two characters apart, yet drip feed enough moments to keep them together. I'm 6 episodes in and hooked - you know, the kind of hooked where you want to slow down and pace out the binge-watching because you don't want it to end too soon.

Spacing out the Netflix box sets is the new Terry and Thingy from The Likely Lads trying to avoid hearing the football match score.

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My Hierarchy of Television - bits of telly that are more than others

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Wednesday, 2 March 2016

My Hierarchy of Television - bits of telly that are more than others

This was the best that I could do
- trying to arrange the Hierarchy of Television based on my experience in the industry, and many many more years watching it.

I didn't create the hierarchy - all I did do is turn it into diagram form.

No idea what guides the levels.
Does it inspire awe?
How does telly treat it?
Will you watch it in 10 years?
How do you feel if they're filming it in your street?
Long running Drama/Comedy series
Short-run Comedy/Drama series
Scripted one-off/3-parter
Format Entertainment
Factual Entertainment (and Reality)
Awards Shows/Clip Shows
Adverts/The News/All Sport
Home Shopping Channels/Gambling Channels/Porno
CCTV Security Camera Footage

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Hawley Infants School, Buck Street, Camden Town is moving...

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Tuesday, 1 March 2016

Hawley Infants School, Buck Street, Camden Town is moving...

And I was there in the late seventies.

Front row, in the middle of that picture - that was my first ever day at school.

Someone got in touch after my Gospel Oak post last month and told me it's moving to make way for a new Camden Town Underground Station
(brilliant article about the history of that on London Reconnections here).

But it's brought back loads of memories:

I'm going to pass these on, but putting them here so my own kids - who are the same age now as I was - can get an idea of what Infant School was like.

Also, someone googling Hawley Infants School, Buck Street, Camden Town might end up here...

I remember...

In that first reception class, pictured above, Mum delighted telling us how she picked me up and the teacher looked grim. I'd painted a very special large new stuffed donkey that had been brought back from Spain, completely purple.

Raymond did a trick on me.
You were only allowed one plastic beaker of water at lunchtime.
(Today's Infant School water bottles mock all parents from the Seventies).
Raymond said "I bet you cant drink it faster than me"
I gulped mine down.
"Haha". He revealed his cup still full.
"I made you drink all your water..."

Also at lunchtime, in the main hall, Mrs Rose made me eat my rice pudding, and I was sick.
Literally sick on the floor.
I never forgot Mrs Rose.

This is my swimming certificate.
I remember the light blue ILEA bus that took us to the Kentish Town Swimming Baths, and "drunk Bill" who was one of the swimming guards/teachers (ahh.. See also - I Survived the 1970's, where's my medal?).
And spotted only recently that The Mayor of Camden did not sign it.

I asked the current Mayor if I could swim 10 yards in front of her to get it signed on twitter, but guess she is very busy with Mayor of Camden business.

By the way, we used to travel there by Inner London Education Authority bus which looked like these.

William Beverley was in my class, and told me about "Santa" at age 6.

St. Patricks Day 1976 - Friday 26 March 1976 - article in the Camden Journal (before it was the New Journal) I'm second row back from the front, on the right 3rd in, like my own son in school photos, facing completely the wrong way.

I really remember a long conversation between the Music teacher bearded man and Miss Hammond about what they were going to teach us to sing to Mrs Laoutaris for her leaving (to be succeeded by Miss Hammond as Headmistress) - he really wanted us to sing "Somewhere Over The Rainbow" but Miss Hammond thought that would be too difficult to get us to learn in time.

And I remember a story from Miss Hammond's class - about TickyTickyTempo-No-Sah-Rembo, Charry-Barry-Ruchie-Pip-Perry-Pembo.
Man, decades on, how is that still in my head.

Playground stuff:
I used to play "CHiPs" on the concrete slope with my friends in 1979.

There was a toilet block in the playground, with a defunct steel box on the wall that my friends and I pretended dispensed bananas.
It was all the entertainment, or playground equipment, we needed.

The playground frame was blue.
With concrete underneath.
See also, Living in Lulworth

Queen's Silver Jubilee 1977
All the parents brought food for the party table in the playground, and Raymond's mum brought some Marmalade on bread.

We were supposed to get a Jubilee coin, but got a plastic mirror with red ribbon with a British Flag sticker on the back, and were told "the Bank had run out of coins". (Reading that article at the top, I'm not sure maybe they could afford it).

(One of the "Great British mirrors")

There were a few times that I kissed Sarah Goff behind the bins that used to be next to where the nice new gates are now (just over my shoulder - the gap has been bricked up to stop that kind of thing now).

My best friend Michael Holland left in the middle year. It really hit me, and thought about it way too much afterwards.
It only came back now when my own 6 year-old son's best friend Teddy left his Infant school too.

Headmistress stuff:
Mrs Laoutaris tried telling my sister and I that it was wrong that Dad didn't take us into the school gate. We used to get out and walk in ourselves. We said, "it's okay, he trusts us".
(The 1970s were safe, right?)

I'm not sure it was Mrs. Laoutaris, but a lady spent a whole assembly explaining why it was important that Israel won the Eurovision Song Contest for the first time in 1978.
The whole assembly.

Mrs. Laoutaris always played Fingals Cave at the start of every assembly on the record player in the school hall. It was a noble effort - but I really hate hearing that song now, and remember staring at the record sleeve, propped up on the record player which had a picture of some sea foam.

I had a really happy time there, but there was one thing that terrified me.
We watched TV programmes like "Look and Read" in the room at the end of the hall.

I remember - really vividly the black and white swirling countdown, with spooky sinister music.
By accident (looking for ILEA bus pictures) I tracked it down - it was a special ILEA TV channel and used before every programme played on the channel.

It's at the start of this video...

I remember using the orange folders with cards to put together sentences.

And I remember us all walking down to the bottom of Camden High Street once a week to the Library, near Mornington Crescent, for story time.

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Draw all over your paperwork. Its the best way to get a refund out of South West Trains and other UK monopolies. #BritishDadStuff

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