"Comedy always works best when it is mean-spirited" - John Cleese

Author John Corby also writes as "Bulldogge" for the British Canadian newspaper.

A Farthingsworth of Tall Tales from Blighty's Fameless Blog
Newsflash from New York (no, not that one!) |  Are the British better drivers? |  The Story of the Telephone Kiosk |  Drinking Nelson's Blood |  Screaming Jelly Babies |  Flying to the UK is very dangerous! |  Brits to drive on the right |  Who hung the monkey? |  Upper class virgins |  Double, double trouble |  What a Lovely Morning for a War

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Tales From the Trip: #6 Time of Tide Waits for No Man

Blighty's Blog recently spent a fortnight in the United Queendom. We came back with some great "tales from the trip". Here's another one.

At the insistence of SWMBO (She-Who-Must-Be-Obeyed), a family reunion in the north-east of England was punctuated by a trip even further north to the Holy Island of Lindisfarne just off the Northumberland coast near the Scottish border.

Celtics 1 Vikings 1
SWMBO wanted to immerse herself in the Celtic culture celebrated on the Island. I was drawn there by another instinct. Over a thousand years ago, my ancestors crossed the North Sea in small boats intent on rape, pillage and plunder.

Rape, Pillage & Plunder
The Vikings made their first British landing on Lindisfarne. They proceeded to import their own unique stlye of brutal nordic tourism up and down the east coast of England, establishing a Viking presence in Britain that lasted several hundred years.

Twice a Day
Lindisfarne is actually only a true island twice a day. It is connected to the mainland of Northumberland by a three mile long causeway. At low tide, hundreds of cars pour onto the island to soak up its ancient culture and visit its historic priory and castle.

Pay Attention!
There is an ancient English phrase "time and tide wait for no man". No one knows the origin of the phrase but visitors to Lindisfarne should pay particular attention to it. If you are planning on crossing the causeway, never ignore the fact that the time of the local North Sea tide really doesn't wait for anybody.

Saved From a Watery Grave
Every year a few foolhardy tourists seem to want to find out whether their cars are amphibious. They usually become clients of the Royal Air Force whose helicopters, based at nearby RAF Boulmer, pluck them from the crude and uninviting rescue towers along the causeway.

The tidal currents are very strong and, even though the RAF or the RNLI (Royal National Lifeboat Institute) may be able to rescue the foolhardy, their cars remain at the unforgiving mercy of the North Sea.

Rush Hour
Tide tables are available online and safe crossing times are posted at each end of the causeway. But here's a tip from Blighty's Blog: if you wait until the latest possible safe crossing time you may be competing with hundreds of other cars trying to squeeze a few extra minutes on the island.

And whatever you do, don't run out of petrol on the causeway!

Friday, August 28, 2009

Tales From the Trip: #5 The Haunted Inn

Blighty's Blog recently spent a fortnight in the United Queendom. We came back with some great "tales from the trip". Here's another one.

The Bailey Round
When I was just a young lad I worked as a newspaper delivery boy. Although I was a Londoner by birth, fortune had taken my family to the City of Durham in the northeast of England. I must have impressed my employer for I was given the prestigious "Bailey Round". My route took me to the doors of all the high church officials associated with Durham Cathedral.

Posh Folk Don't Tip
As I later discovered, none of the other boys wanted anything to do with the Bailey Round because the high-ranking, wealthy people living in the posh homes surrounding the cathedral were very poor tippers at Christmas.

In the Dim Light of Early Morning
So, at six-thirty every morning, I loaded up my canvas sack with plentiful copies of the Times, the Daily Telegraph, the Church Times and the pink broadsheet Financial Times and set off for the finest neighborhood in the whole of the northeast of England.

Grotesque Gargoyles
The homes along "The Bailey" are ancient stone structures. The grotesque gargoyles atop the cathedral buttresses leer down at passers-by. The street is narrow, deserted and spooky in the dim light of early morning. I was often startled by the creak of an ancient door opening and sundry other noises that broke the eerie silence in this most ancient quarter of the city.

A Towering Cathedral and Ancient Castle
The Bailey runs along one side of a spectacular peninsula created by a horseshoe bend in the River Wear. The ground enclosed by the bend rises high above the river. On top of the high ground sits Durham Cathedral and Durham Castle - two mighty buildings that dominate the city and can be seen for miles. This is the district in which distinguished theologians ply their trade and students with sights set on entry into the church learn their profession at the ancient collegiate university.

Something Very Strange
I must have performed my duties with distinction because, after a couple of years, I was promoted to the role of supervisor of newspaper delivery boys and no longer had to carry that heavy canvas bag through those dark, sinister streets. But I had no way of knowing that something from those streets stayed with me. Something that would lie dormant and come back to haunt me many years later.

The Recurring Dream
I left Durham City a few years later and did not return until the summer of 2009 - nearly 40 years later. I had to go back. I was curious. For several years I have been having a strange recurring dream. In my dream I visit a public house on Saddler Street which leads directly into the Bailey. I walked that street every morning on my route.

It is a very vivid, yet brief dream and it is always the same. I could not even remember whether there was a public house on that street and I never paid much attention to the dream.

But, in August 2009, I returned to Durham City, determined to find out whether that pub existed. It does, and what I discovered when I found it was profoundly disturbing. A sign on the outside of the pub reads:

This building dates back to 1109AD. It was an inn called The Ostler & Groom in 1468AD. It remains one of the most haunted pubs in England.

A strange tale, but completely true.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Tales From the Trip: #4 All Manor of Rabbits

Blighty's Blog recently spent a fortnight in the United Queendom. We came back with some great "tales from the trip". Here's another one.

It was our first night in England. She-Who-Must-Be-Obeyed and I were checked into the Premier Inn at Gatwick Manor in southern England.

Sshh! Come and Look at This
We were enjoying a quiet stroll around the ample grounds of the hotel as dusk was setting in. A small meadow stretched into a quiet wooded copse behind the building. As I approached I saw a group of half a dozen rabbits sitting on the grass.

I summoned my wife to come quickly and quietly so that she could share in this first sighting of British wildlife on the trip. Little did we know what sights we would witness before we left the hotel two days later.

Medieval Manor Under Siege
Gatwick Manor is a medieval manor house under siege. The six rabbits we saw on that first night were a scouting party for the hundreds we were to witness over the next couple of days.

By morning, the main rabbit army had arrived. Echelons of rabbit infantry were advancing onto the manor grounds, sweeping across the long winding driveway leading to the parking lot of the hotel.

I Fired a Few Shots
I pulled out my Canon and fired a few shots at them from across the battlefield. They retreated but then reformed and advanced again. We climbed into our car and drove as quickly as we could toward the main road to Crawley.

The entire rabbit force of several hundred - maybe several thousand - was concentrated in the grounds of Gatwick Manor but the roads were clear. Once we were out of the manor grounds we were safe.

Continued on page 94.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Tales From the Trip: #3 Premier Inns

Blighty's Blog recently spent a fortnight in the United Queendom. We came back with some great "tales from the trip". Here's another one.

Where to Stay in Britain?
She-Who-Must-Be-Obeyed and I spent two weeks touring England in August. A few nights were spent with family and friends but the rest of the time we had to find our own accomodation.

Bed & Very Big Breakfast
During previous trips we had used bed & breakfast establishments and were reasonably happy with the arrangement. This year, we took a serious look at the economics of staying at B&Bs and made a different decision.

B&Bs can vary a lot in quality and comfort and the cost includes the famous "full English breakfast". SWMBO and I rarely eat a cooked breakfast at home so we questioned why we should pay for a meal we don't want when travelling.

A little research on the Whirled Wild Web produced a handy alternative that we decided to try this year. We chose Britain's largest chain of budget priced hotels - Premier Inns.

Premier Inns Outnumber Pubs?
There are so many Premier Inns in Britain that they will soon outnumber pubs (which, we learned, are closing at the rate of 40 per week). Behind the familiar sign on the front lawn nearly all Premier Inns are strikingly similar. The rooms are all so alike that we felt a strong sense of deja-vu as we moved from town to town.

Our double rooms each had a king-size bed with phone, TV and a room heater. One thing that is missing though is air-conditioning. One or two nights were quite warm and our room was stuffy and humid.

Gastronomically Good
Most Premier Inns are co-located with a gastropub in which meals can be purchased. The quality of food was excellent and the prices were very reasonable. Two can eat for £9.95 if you take advantage of the early evening special.

Get Online for a Couple of Quid
Every Premier Inn features two computers in the lobby. You can purchase 40 minutes of high-speed Internet use for just £2 to catch up on your email. Payment is by credit card or you can buy vouchers at reception.

Inn and Out
Premier Inns can become very busy so you would be well-advised to book ahead. We showed up without a reservation and found a fully-booked hotel on two occasions. Every Premier Inn has access to a booking database for every other Premier Inn. Just ask at reception at any Inn and they are very happy to make reservations for you in another city.

High Marks
Blighty's Blog gives the Premier Inn chain an overall rating of 8 out of 10 and will be using Premier Inns again on our next trip.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Tales From the Trip: #2 FlyGlobespan

Blighty's Blog recently spent a fortnight in the United Queendom. We came back with some great "tales from the trip". Here's another one.

The Curse of Blighty's Blog
Blighty's Blog travelled to the Land of Hope and Glory last year on Zoom Airlines. They let us down so we put a blog curse on them. Weeks later they went bust. This year we ventured across the sea to England once more; this time with FlyGlobespan. We loaded up for bear, put on our woad, gritted our teeth and prepared for battle with another airline.

A Hex on Zoom
A year ago we shelled out a few extra dollars for "Premium Economy" seats on Zoom. We got priority check-in and boarding but we were shell-shocked to discover Zoom's "premium" seats were identical to their regular seats except for being four inches further apart.

So Much Better
So, this year, when we arrived at the airport with our "business class" tickets (for which we paid about a $150 premium each way) we were primed for another disappointment. We didn't receive any priority check-in or boarding at the airport which was a surprise and a warning. But when we entered the aircraft - a nice wide-body Boeing 767 - we were pleased and relieved to see that our $150 was well spent.

Leather Luxury
FlyGlobespan's business class seating was very comfortable. The rows were sufficiently well-spaced to allow the deeply reclining leather seats to be fully deployed without annoying passengers in the row behind. Each seat also had an adjustable leg and footrest. Economy class seats are also leather-covered but are narrower and do not have the wide row spacing found in business class.

A Better Airport
FlyGlobespan flies in and out of Hamilton Airport which is a pleasant change from Toronto's Pearson Airport. Hamilton Airport is an efficient, well-equipped regional facility and far less crowded than Pearson. There are no jet bridges so passengers have to walk across the apron and climb stairs to board the aircraft. That could be a problem in wet weather.

Our flight departed on time and arrived early. We travelled to London Gatwick via Belfast where we had a forty-five minute stopover. The journey was comfortable and the flight crew were polite and efficient.

Don't Board Hungry
Our flight departure time was around 8pm and we weren't served dinner until a couple of hours into the flight. My suspicious mind decided that this is a cost-cutting measure. Airlines probably have to feed passengers at particular intervals during a flight. By delaying dinner service as long as possible they escaped the obligation to serve a breakfast before landing. Sure enough, "breakfast" was a small cup of water.

£2 for a Cuppa
Flyglobespan charges even for tea and coffee in flight (even in business class) but meals are included in the ticket price. Headsets and blankets are offered for sale. The seat headset jacks are the common 3.5mm stereo type found on almost all audio equipment, so if you have your own headset, take it with you.

Car? What Car?
Flyglobespan operates a ticketless service. Book online and check-in with just your reservation number and photo id. We had rented a car at Gatwick through the airline and that created a problem when we arrived. After making our way to the car rental hall at Gatwick we realized that the airline had not advised us which car rental company they do business with.

Fortunately, the very helpful staff at Avis and Thrifty finally found our reservation (with Thrifty). It wasn't easy though. FlyGlobespan had not forwarded our booking to Thrifty who had no record of our car reservation. It was only when their helpful desk attendant made a few phone calls that we got our car.

Despite our apprehension about travelling with another budget airline we completed our round trip with a generally positive feeling about FlyGlobespan and would recommend that you give them a try.

Brits Pay More
One further note about FlyGlobespan. They have a Canadian website (flyglobespan.ca) and a UK website (flyglobespan.com). When we booked our flights in May we found that the same seats, on the same flights, cost a lot more if booked through their UK website (read about it here). When I went online - in the UK - to reconfirm our return flights I was blocked from visiting the airline's Canadian website. Perhaps the folks up in Scotland, where FlyGlobespan is based, read Blighty's Blog; lots of people do you know.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Tales From the Trip: #1 The One Eyed Dutchman

Blighty's Blog recently spent a fortnight in the United Queendom. We came back with some great "tales from the trip". Here's another one.

I wait with baited breath.The UK police have two weeks to issue a notice of intent to prosecute. Am I a wanted man? Did I get caught by any of their one-eyed Dutchmen while I toured around England?

They Shoot You in the Back
The "one-eyed Dutchmen" is the ubiquitous speed camera in use throughout the UK. I drove past hundreds of them during a two-week journey that took me from London's Gatwick airport to the Scottish border and back again. These Dutchmen shoot you in the back as you pass by. Cowards. Dumb, ignorant unthinking cowards. The most visible of them all is the Gatsometer invented in Holland. Hated on both sides of the English Channel many are condemned to death by fires set by angry protestors.

Evil Eye
The Gatsometer is a yellow box atop a post at the side of the road. It points its evil eye at a set of white lines on the carriageway. The one-eyed Dutchman fires a radar signal at the back of each passing car. If the vehicle is travelling too fast the Dutchman takes a picture of the license plate. A second picture is taken moments later to enable the dreaded box to compute the vehicle's speed.

What Size Shoes Do Policemen Wear?
The police then have two weeks to issue a notice of intent to prosecute - longer if the vehicle is a "hire car". The police, whose business revenue depends upon erring motorists paying fines, vehemently defend the notion that speeding causes accidents. But anybody with an IQ higher than his shoe size can see the shallow value of that argument.

A Double-Double and a Dutchie
What really happens on Britain's roads is that motorists drive hell-for-leather and slow down only when they pass by a speed camera. With many thousands of these devices throughout Britain to babysit road discipline the police are freed for other duties. Tim Horton's would do well there.

Go Like Hell
Britain's motorways are peppered with roadworks where the speed limit is lowered from 70mph to 50mph. Compliance with the 50mph limit is enforced by using cameras to measure average speed within a controlled zone. But roadworks cause traffic to become congested, frequently slowing to a crawl. When the congestion clears Britain's motorists can go like hell to compensate for the delay without exceeding the "average" speed limit.

Too Many Pedals
It took me a few days to re-acclimatize to driving on Britain's narrow, winding roads in a car with too many pedals on the floor and a strange stick beside the driver's seat. I drove very cautiously at first. British drivers were unforgiving. They drove so close behind me I could see the colour of their eyes. I upset a few of them by finding myself in the wrong lane approaching a roundabout.

Driven to Drink
One British driver has probably taken to drink to calm himself after encountering me on a bend in the road in Lincolnshire. My keener observance of the English Highway Code incited him to overtake me dangerously. He drew alongside me a little further down the road, wound down his window and said: "I am jolly cross with you old chap" - at least that was the gist of his blessing to me.

Seeing Red
And, just like here in Canada, red lights in Britain now seem to mean "floor the gas and go for it" to many British drivers. They have a camera for that too.

Monday, August 17, 2009

100 More Brits to Throw a Shoe at

We wrapped up our "6 Brits to Throw a Gong at" series by re-publishing the "100 Most Popular Britons" list. So, to keep the balance, here is the list of the 100 worst Britons filched from Wikipedia (although the original source is ITV).

You may be stunned to see H.M. The Queen in tenth place on this list. Apparently she appears here because of her family's German origins.

Once again, this is a very unofficial poll that shouldn't be taken terribly seriously (ESPECIALLY the bit about the Queen).
  1. Tony Blair
  2. Jordan
  3. Margaret Thatcher
  4. Jade Goody (since deceased)
  5. Martin Bashir
  6. Gareth Gates
  7. Alex Ferguson
  8. 'H' from Steps
  9. Geri Halliwell
  10. HM The Queen
  11. Liam Gallagher
  12. Chris Evans
  13. Victoria Beckham
  14. Rik Waller
  15. Anthea Turner
  16. Bernard Manning (since deceased)
  17. Robbie Williams
  18. Peter Stringfellow
  19. Neil and Christine Hamilton
  20. Jim Davidson
  21. Charlotte Church
  22. Darren Day
  23. Lady Victoria Hervey
  24. HRH The Prince of Wales
  25. Anne Robinson
  26. Edwina Currie
  27. Chris Moyles
  28. Jamie Oliver
  29. Cliff Richard
  30. Max Clifford
  31. The 3AM Girls
  32. Naomi Campbell
  33. Simon Cowell
  34. Sara Cox
  35. Harry Potter
  36. Tara Palmer Tomkinson
  37. James Hewitt
  38. Andrew Lloyd Webber
  39. Catherine Zeta Jones
  40. HRH The Earl of Wessex
  41. Tracy Emin
  42. Lawrence Llewelyn Bowen
  43. Mick Hucknall
  44. Michael Winner
  45. Pete Waterman
  46. Prince Naseem Hamed
  47. Ainsley Harriott
  48. Trinny and Susannah
  49. Peter Mandelson
  50. Ken Livingstone
  51. Darius Danesh
  52. Amanda Holden
  53. Zoe Ball
  54. Martine McCutcheon
  55. Elton John
  56. Ant and Dec
  57. Alastair Campbell
  58. Ozzy Osbourne
  59. Byers and Moore
  60. Richard Madeley
  61. Vinnie Jones
  62. Alan Titchmarsh
  63. HRH the Countess of Wessex
  64. Chris Tarrant
  65. Ben Elton
  66. Jeremy Clarkson
  67. Jeremy Spake
  68. Carol Vorderman
  69. David Dickinson
  70. Frank Skinner
  71. Paul Burrell
  72. Tom Jones
  73. Sarah Ferguson
  74. Carol Smillie
  75. Liz Hurley
  76. HRH The Princess Royal
  77. Guy Ritchie
  78. Delia Smith
  79. Johnny Vaughan
  80. Peter Tatchell
  81. Sting
  82. Gordon Ramsay
  83. Mick Jagger
  84. Damien Hirst
  85. Julie Burchill
  86. Richard Branson
  87. John Prescott
  88. Judith Chalmers
  89. Cherie Blair
  90. Nigella Lawson
  91. David Beckham
  92. Will Young
  93. Vanessa Feltz
  94. Ann Widdecombe
  95. Davina McCall
  96. Chris Eubank
  97. Lord Irvine
  98. Craig David
  99. Iain Duncan Smith
  100. Atomic Kitten

Friday, August 14, 2009

6 Brits to Throw a Shoe at: #6 Jeremy Clarkson

The world has become familiar with the symbolism of throwing a shoe at somebody ever since the well-publicized incident in which a disgruntled middle-eastern gentleman hurled a shoe at former US President George W. Bush. When Blighty's Blog throws a shoe at somebody it means we feel the same way. Want to throw a shoe at some famous Brit? Tell us who.

How do you throw a shoe at a man who has personally driven a high speed transport truck into a brick wall - deliberately?

A shoe? Come on, this guy is nearly invincible. He drove a car painted with provocative slogans through a redneck district in the Excited States and survived the pursuit of a mad-as-hell posse in the back of the pickup truck that ran him outa town.

In another controversial episode he drove a truck across the perilous ice of the frozen Arctic Ocean from Resolute Bay to the Magnetic North Pole in Canada.

And we want to throw a shoe at him? It had better be a bloody big shoe. Who is this guy? And why the shoe? He is an Englishman called Jeremy Clarkson, anchor host of the extremely popular BBC TV show "Top Gear". So what did he do to deserve the shoe?

Poor PM
Few will be concerned at Jeremy's disdain for British Prime Minister Gordon Brown. His comments about the prime minister have been off-colour and ill-advised. But Gordon Brown is an unpopular prime minister and the terrible impact of the recession has bitten deeper in the United Queendom than it has here in Canada.

One Million Pounds
Nonetheless, million pound a year host Jeremy Clarkson has not been unaffected by cutbacks in public expenditure. Fewer and fewer supercars are showing up on Mr Clarkson's driveway these days. Times are tough. Tough times breed tough outbursts from those feeling the pinch the most.

High Body Count
And then there is the issue of British drivers having lead feet. Traffic seems to move at an incredible pace (except on roads leading to the coast on a rare sunny day). Every Brit drives as though the devil were on his tail. I'll give them their due; they manage to negotiate those narrow roads at high speed without leaving a high body count in their wake. I lay the blame for the great haste squarely on the lofty shoulders of Clarkson.

Canadian Military

Mr Clarkson is usually seen driving "supercars" around a race track in southern England that was built in WWII by the Canadian military. It would be a massive understatement to suggest that he is a keen advocate of speed. But then, he is above all a showman. And Top Gear is entertainment.

You have a lot to answer for Clarkson. Here is one of your favourite soft suede shoes headed your way. Are you ready? Duck now please.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

6 Brits to Throw a Shoe at: #5 Simon Cowell

The world has become familiar with the symbolism of throwing a shoe at somebody ever since the well-publicized incident in which a disgruntled middle-eastern gentleman hurled a shoe at former US President George W. Bush. When Blighty's Blog throws a shoe at somebody it means we feel the same way. Want to throw a shoe at some famous Brit? Tell us who.

Blighty's Blog would like to tell you the tale of a rude, sneering, spoiled brat who was expelled from a series of exclusive private schools for which his well-heeled parents paid the fees.

We could tell you how the spoiled brat grew up surrounded by pampering nannies, thinking he had a better pot to pee in than the rest of the world.

We would like to tell how the world bought into his self-image and made him a multi-millionaire.

Mail Room Clerk

But instead today's blog post is going to discuss entertainment guru Simon Cowell. Mr Cowell was born in Brighton, England in 1959. He has achieved a lot of his fame by being simply obnoxious. His father was influential in the music business and got his erring son a job as a lowly mailroom clerk with a record company. The mischievous boy made good at the job and quickly rose through the ranks. Bursting out into an unsuspecting world on his own, he went on to become a music producer and record label owner.

TransAtlantic Idol
Cowell's breakthrough came when he was appointed as a judge on the British TV show "Pop Idol" and subsequently on the American spin-off "American Idol". His lack of sensitivity for aspiring young talent trying hard for a breakthrough in show business was amply demonstrated in his scathing sarcasm and dismissive attitude toward acts he didn't like. His biting comments and unpleasant demeanour became his springboard for success.

Stand Aside for Simon
He has since appeared as a judge in other talent shows such as "Britain's Got Talent" alongside fellow "throw a shoe at" candidate Ant Andec. In that show another judge was well known personality Piers Morgan, former editor of the British tabloid newspaper "News of the World". While filming for the show in Manchester, England, Mr Morgan was waiting in his hotel lobby one morning. He was told to stand aside by the paparazzi so they could take pictures of Simon Cowell.

Walk On
On the road to success, Simon Cowell walks on the fallen hopefuls he has put down, abused and insulted. We would like to collect the shoes of all those poor souls and launch them at him from a catapult. But, we have a strict policy that even the lowest scumbag receives only one shoe. Simon Cowell is a haughty and exalted candidate for our shoe so we will only throw one shoe at him too - but it will be a very expensive, hand-made shoe I am sure.

Monday, August 10, 2009

6 Brits to Throw a Shoe at: #4 Jonathan Ross

The world has become familiar with the symbolism of throwing a shoe at somebody ever since the well-publicized incident in which a disgruntled middle-eastern gentleman hurled a shoe at former US President George W. Bush. When Blighty's Blog throws a shoe at somebody it means we feel the same way. Want to throw a shoe at some famous Brit? Tell us who.

Some people achieve success in spite of their unpleasant personality, unacceptable, anti-social behaviour and their offensiveness. Why is it that a person can behave in this manner and still be paid £10,000 per TV show - out of public funds - for doing it?

Many people take a year to make £10,000. Some of them work in shoe stores. Blighty's Blog would like to take all the shoes these people sell while earning their £10,000 and throw them at some of our "throw a shoe at" candidates. We would like to, but we have a strict policy of only one shoe per scumbag.

Expletives Undeleted
But now let us discuss popular BBC entertainer Jonathan Ross. Mr Ross has made a career out of public vulgarity, crude references to female personalities and on-air expletives. He was recently suspended by the BBC for one particularly inappropriate and offensive episode. He has since been re-instated and even appears on Canadian TV screens now.

Crude, Rude & Crass
Mr Ross's targets have included Conservative party leader David Cameron with whom he made a crude reference to former Conservative Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. Mr Ross has made equally distasteful remarks to actress Gwyneth Paltrow and suggested that former wife of Paul McCartney, Heather Mills, who has only one leg, was lying and really had two.

Jonathan Ross has a conspicuous speech impediment called Rhotacism that leaves him incapable of pronouncing the letter "r". Perhaps that is why he finds words beginning with the letter "f" more appealing. And, unlike Ozzy Osbourne who was recently "shoed" on this blog, Mr Ross is not known to be a victim of substance abuse that might be causing behavioural alterations. Mr Ross is in full command of his faculties when he behaves as he does.

We are going to wait until he isn't looking and throw a shoe from behind his back. Perhaps a knock on the head would be therapeutic.

Friday, August 07, 2009

6 Brits to Throw a Shoe at: #3 Ant Andec

The world has become familiar with the symbolism of throwing a shoe at somebody ever since the well-publicized incident in which a disgruntled middle-eastern gentleman hurled a shoe at former US President George W. Bush. When Blighty's Blog throws a shoe at somebody it means we feel the same way. Want to throw a shoe at some famous Brit? Tell us who.

There is an old saying: "lie down and you'll be trodden on; stand up and you'll be shot at". I don't remember who said it first and, frankly, I can't be bothered to look it up. It is really not important anyway (unless you own the copyright). The point is, if you present yourself as a target, somebody is going to shoot at you. Well actually, to be precise, Blighty's Blog is going to throw a shoe at you. And what better way to present yourself as a target than to appear on television. So, no surprises then when we reveal that all six of our "throw a shoe at" targets have been on TV.

Batter with Bata
Of course, not everybody who appears on TV deserves the shoe. I was interviewed on live TV in Toronto once and nobody threw a shoe at me. Ant Andec, on the other hand deserves the entire contents of the Bata Museum to be thrown at him.

Who's Who?
Ant Andec is another of those inseparable duos like Colin Andjustin (who are still licking their wounds from Blighty's Blog shoe impacts). Ant Andec, let me stress, are not a couple; they are a performance duo. Ant Andec is comprised of two persons: Anthony McPartlin and Declan Donnelly who use the real stage name "Ant & Dec". Even though they look strikingly dissimilar, nobody knows, nor cares, which is which; they are simply Ant Andec.

Say What?
Ant Andec is a ubiquitous act on British television (that means they seem to appear bloody everywhere). They have even transported their Geordie accents to the Excited States where heavens knows how Americans are going to understand them.

Dark Side
They appear to be a nice, clean cut young man but they have a dark side. Ant Andec was involved in a scandal on British TV in which viewers were asked to vote for performers appearing on their show. British regulators discovered that the voting was rigged. Performers had been selected based on their appearance and suitability for being on TV. Some votes were wasted because the result had already been decided. Ant Andec was found to be personally involved in the incident. Nice young man image - tarnished!

Ant Andec blamed the voting irregularities on poor quality phone lines. Piff! Now they are reportedly being sued by a Greek gentleman called Anthony Kalloniatis for trademark infringement and fraud. The indignant Greek is seeking thirty million dollars to heal his wounded pride. Blighty's Blog is going to hand him the shoe we had in store for Ant Andec. Go for it Anthony - let 'em have it.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

6 Brits to Throw a Shoe at: #2 Colin Andjustin

The world has become familiar with the symbolism of throwing a shoe at somebody ever since the well-publicized incident in which a disgruntled middle-eastern gentleman hurled a shoe at former US President George W. Bush. When Blighty's Blog throws a shoe at somebody it means we feel the same way. Want to throw a shoe at some famous Brit? Tell us who.

I remember watching a brilliant TV series from the UK called "The Million Pound Property Experiment". In a six part series the hosts, a Scottish couple called Colin McAllister and Justin Ryan, traded a series of homes in the UK. The objective was to buy what we in Canada call "fixer-uppers", improve them and resell for a profit. Each successive purchase was a step up the property ladder from the previous one. The end goal was to sell the final property for at least a million pounds.

They succeeded. I was glued to that show for weeks and watched the reruns and spinoffs too. I felt a strong attraction to the idea because I too have been a property speculator and I once owned a home that weighed over a million pounds.

I overlooked the bizarre antics of the couple (I use the word "couple" quite deliberately and without prejudice). Although Mr McAllister's behaviour is marginally normal, his partner Mr Ryan is a disturbing extrovert. But one thing, above all else, struck me about the couple - they are inseparable. Inseparable in real life and inseparable as an entertainment item. Blighty's Blog is not going to waste two good shoes on this pair. Instead we have labelled them as one: Colin Andjustin.

Okay, the million pound property thing was good; very good actually. But Colin Andjustin is not a property speculator, they are a designer (alright, I know, the grammar is beginning to sound a little weird now, but bear with me, you'll get used to it). Or should I say that Colin Andjustin hold themselves out to be a designer? Are they really a designer or are they just a TV presenter?

They have a new Canadian TV series called "Home Heist". In 2007 they moved to Canada to make this series. They bought a loft apartment in Toronto, but to the best of my knowledge, they haven't flipped it for a bigger pad yet. Who knows they may end up with a mansion in Rosedale.

Oh My God!
In the series Home Heist they take over some poor gullible Canadian family's home and impose their bizarre design ideas on it. At the end of the show the unfortunate and horrified homeowners are required to pretend to be pleased with their bright orange kitchens. The script instructs them to look pleased, clasp their hands to their cheeks and repeatedly exclaim "oh my God!" before they rush off to their lawyers to file suit for compensation.

Friendly Fire
Colin Andjustin's wilder ideas have included replacing a real fireplace with a built-in flat screen TV displaying a DVD movie of a lovely log fire. I wonder if they have spent a whole winter (all nine months of it) in Canada yet?

Aarrgghhhh! Where's the Milk?
They also have some disdain for Canadian appliances. Perhaps our appliances are so different to Scottish ones that they feel the need to disguise them. Several of their kitchen redesigns have included disguising fridges and dishwashers as kitchen cabinets. Imagine the frustration of coming downstairs in the middle of the night looking for a glass of milk and being unable to find the fridge.

Colin Andjustin - stand up you two-headed weird thing while we throw a shoe at you.

Monday, August 03, 2009

6 Brits to Throw a Shoe at: #1 Ozzy Osbourne

The world has become familiar with the symbolism of throwing a shoe at somebody ever since the well-publicized incident in which a disgruntled middle-eastern gentleman hurled a shoe at former US President George W. Bush. When Blighty's Blog throws a shoe at somebody it means we feel the same way. Want to throw a shoe at some famous Brit? Tell us who.

John Michael Osbourne, better known as "Ozzy" is well known for many [bleep] things. He began his career in 1968 as a heavy rock star; he was lead singer in a [bleep] band called "Black Sabbath". He later went on to become the star of his own [bleep] television reality show in which most of the dialog would have to be [bleeped] out if shown before what British TV calls the "watershed".

He cultivated an image of a [bleep] disturbed, satanic-like figure by behaving in a [bleep] disturbed, satanic-like fashion. Ozzy left school at the age of 15 and took a number of unskilled jobs in his native Birmingham. One of those jobs may have helped to to forge his strange [bleep] behaviour - he worked for a while in a slaughterhouse.

Throughout his career Osbourne has abused [bleep] alcohol and drugs. There can be little doubt that this has affected his [bleep] behaviour. In one infamous incident he released some doves onstage to attract attention. Dissatisfied with the result, he took hold of one of the live doves, bit its head off and spat the head into the crowd. That stunt has bought him notoriety and a lot of parody.

A similar repeat stunt with a [bleep] bat didn't go so well. Osbourne picked up what he perceived to be a rubber bat that a fan had thrown onto the stage. He bit the head off the bat only to discover that it was [bleep] real. The bat was [bleep] alive and reportedly bit Osbourne before he bit its [bleep] head off. It is unclear whether it was Osbourne or the bat that was later treated for a possible rabies infection. During another one of his drug related episodes he took a shotgun and killed all [bleep] seventeen of his family's cats.

Notwithstanding his bizarre and disturbing behaviour, Osbourne has a very large fan base and is credited with creating some of the finest music within its genre. He and his second wife Sharon are among the richest people in Britain. They live in a mansion in Buckinghamshire, England; have a second home in Los Angeles and are reported to have amassed a fortune of £100 million.

Despite his reputation for satanic activity, one source reports that Osbourne is a member of the Church of England and prays before each concert. Whether this is true or not, it seems unlikely. Ozzy Osbourne may have given the world a lot of entertainment but his lifestyle hardly seems to merit his success. John Michael Osbourne ... duck, here comes a [bleep] shoe.