Comedy Exercise – Give it a try!

So, another purchase from Blackwells last Saturday: Masterclass: Writing Comedy, last Saturday.  One day, I will do that stand-up spot, be assured.  Building up material all the time.  Always good to read around the subject anyway, get a new angle.  Does comedy have to be stand-up?  I quite enjoy writing comedic/humorous material in my blog, and Schatz seems to enjoy reading it, proving that Germans do have a sense of humour.  (I marched for days, when Schatz once commented on an observation I’d made about bl00dy foreigners in Germany, “Du bist sehr witzig.”  Oh, Schatz, you know how to make a man happy…)

On a long train journey (yet again), for a change, from London Euston to Manchester Piccadilly, time to open up the new book.

Exercise 1 at the introduction.  Have a go yourself.  Let’s see what makes you laugh.

What makes you laugh?

Write down everything that made you laugh today.  Describe it in detail, and say why you laughed.

Have a comedic day, won’t you!


Sunray at Seventy

Sunray should be seeing the big seven-oh, his seventieth birthday, at the end of this month.

Task for this weekend, besides having the commuter’s lie-in and do my laundry (living out of a suitcase precludes having a huge pile of dirty laundry to do) is to buy Sunray a birthday card and a present.

Fortunately I know what I intend to send him:

  1. A 70th birthday card.  A quick trip to the supermarket or Hallmark should sort that out.
  2. A tenner in his card.
  3. Special bonus present: a laughing sack.  I can save giving the pedometer some hammer by ordering one online from  This looks the ideal gift for Sunray, and will keep him amused for hours and days, just like the Best of Ricky King double CD album I bought him in 2009, to remind him of how he used to deal with noisy neighbours’ offspring in the married quarters back in the 1970’s.

The laughing sack was always a family in-joke in the 1970’s and 1980’s, together with:

  • Mattierzoll “Erste kommt der kleine Bunker, und dann kommt der große Bunker” quote (you had to be there)
  • Who ate the next-door neighbour’s Christmas cake in 1962? (We never did find out.)
  • Who lives at Stubbing Nook?  (It turns out, the answer was Clarence Pask.)
  • Who is the smelliest postman in North Yorkshire (ICATQ: I cannot answer that question)

and another 94 one-liners.

Little things amuse little minds, I guess…

Have a laughter-filled day, won’t you!

Mind Your Language – 21st Century Version?

Mind Your Language was compulsory viewing in the 70’s, on after World of Sport and before Play Your Cards Right on ITV.

To save me typing:

So, typical British humour, mocking the bl00dy foreigners.  It’s what that Inselaffen do best.  Nowadays the series is considered offensive and politically incorrect.  Personally, as a wasp (White Anglo-Saxon Protestant), I find the programme pretty innocuous.  Other wasps say on behalf of the “bl00dy foreigners” that it is offensive.  Most BME (black and minority ethnic) people I know can speak up for themselves, thank you very much…

The biggest fans of the show that I have met are Kenyan and Indian.  Maybe because they recognise the irony in the show, or the that everyone is the subject of ridicule, including the very “proper” teacher.

Now, I have an idea for a post-modern, 21st century version of Mind Your Language to reflect the UK’s mulit-ethnic, multi-cultural society.

Teacher: Mr Khan, a Londoner with a broad London accent, born and bred in Bethnal Green E2


  • Jerzy, a Polish plumber
  • Sanjay, an Indian IT worker
  • Mehmet, a Turkish kebab shop worker
  • Tatyana, a Russian stripper
  • Ghiorghios, a Greek security guard

All moaning about the chavs…

Any thoughts, folks?

Dance, Dance, Wherever You May Be, for the Scarlet Lancers in Germany

Not quite Ostalgie, but on the border, so to speak. This song became the unofficial theme song of the 16th/5th the Queen’s Royal Lancers, my Dad’s regiment, in 1978, when it was stationed in Northampton Barracks, Wolfenbüttel, Germany.

Quite an Ohrwurm, even now.

More Tales from the Dales

Conflict and war cost Governments a lot of money.  Here’s one case study for you. Victor was a full-screw (corporal) in the British Army.  He was awarded a GSM (General Service Medal) with a clasp for service in Northern Ireland, two tours, the first being Operation Motorman.  His second tour of duty was spent at HMP Maze, somewhat less risky from a life insurance point of view.  Enough of the history lesson, however. The saying goes that, “War is 95% boredom and 5% excitement.”  Northern Ireland service at HMP Maze was 99% boredom and 1% excitement.  The 1% excitement came from the telephone in the guardhouse.  Remember, good people, we are talking pre-internet, pre-remote control, pre-digital watch days.  In fact, let’s get purr-lit-i-curl, pre-privatisation days.  We are talking of the days of having to wait weeks to get a phone line installed.

So, what did people do to stay in contact, pre-internet, pre-SMS days?  By post and by phone.  Mrs MAW was Victor’s mother and lived in the tiny hamlet of Burrill in the Yorkshire Dales, Village life in the Dales in the 70’s was 93% contentment and 7% excitement: 2% – the daily visit of the travelling shop, 2%  – the arrival of the postman, 3% – the weekly phone call from Victor, serving Queen and Country at HMP Maze, while the inmates were serving time there. Imagine the scene.  The kids of the village playing hopscotch, skipping, hide and seek and chatting outside the village phone box and postbox  (actually, it’s a lampbox).



The payphone rings.

“Hello there.  “Who’s that?”

“Evening, it’s Kathy H.  Is that Victor?”

“Aye, it is.”

“How’s it in Northern Ireland?  Been to any riots today?”

“No, I’m still at the prison.  Can you go to … and tell Mrs MAW that Victor’s on the phone?”

At the speed of a thousand leaping gazelles, all the kids of the village, all ten of them, dash to MAW’s house and tell her Victor is on the phone.  No need to rush.  The Army is very generously paying.  Two minutes later, MAW takes her coat and waddles along, Woodbine hanging out of the corner of her mouth, off the Burrill phonebox, and chats with her son for a few minutes, bring him up to speed on all the village gossip.

  • George S from next door is claiming sickness benefits, but still able to dig in his back garden.
  • Mrs Cathcart from number 7 sent off a big parcel from the village sub post office and moaned about the cost.
  • Mr P from across the road has got some new underpants (dark blue).  I saw them hanging on the washing line yesterday.
  • Glen, the travelling butcher, had run out of pork chops by the time he had reached Burrill this morning.

Phone call over.  MAW waddles back to make more scones, probably also to make more notes on the villagers’ activities. Next phone calls to:

  • Brian B, old schoolmate and neighbour, recently emigrated to Australia
  • Random number in Alabama, America, to ask if it’s snowing there (at 0300 local USA time)
  • Wolfenbüttel Primary School the next morning towards the end of night shift, to wish his eldest son happy birthday

In 1976 the phone bill for the British Army in Northern Ireland was 3 million pounds.  2.5million was doubtless due to Victor at HMP Maze…

I’m lovin’ it!

For those who are not cogniscent of British TV comedy, Mark Thomas is a British comedian and journalist. We Brits aren’t really into demonstrating, waving placards, loosening cobblestones and hurling them at riot police. We do occasionally, but only every few years for major issues, such as tuition fees and the poll tax.

Generally, we Brits prefer to just mock, rather than demonstrate, against the evils of today, such as tax-dodging corporations. Here’s a classic clip of Mark Thomas in action at McDonalds somewhere in London. If you thought Wayne’s World 2 at the drive-thru was funny, this will have you crying with laughter. Personally I see nothing wrong with driving an armoured personnel carrier to the drive-thru, anyway. I understand it is the common thing at Catterick Garrison. Has anyone got a BMP-3 (Боевая Машина Пехоты) we can borrow for a few minutes, please?

Finally, let me make one thing clear.  I am not the ginger McDonalds employee in this clip. 🙂

A Big Thank You

A massive thank you to all the people who have started to follow my blog, especially those who are going to show me how I can make thousands of dollars by publishing my blog.  I am so full of excitement at the thought of quitting my day job and spending half the year on a sunny beach in Thailand while ordering my next private Lear Jet.

My thanks also to all those who have sent me emails this past year……..

I must send my thanks to whoever sent me the one about cockroach eggs in
the glue on envelopes because I now have to use a wet towel with every envelope that needs sealing.  Also, I now have to scrub the top of every can I open for the same reason.

I no longer have any savings because I gave them to a sick girl (Penny
Brown) who is about to die in the hospital for the 1,387,258th time.

I no longer have any money at all, but that will change once I receive the £15,000 that Bill Gates/Microsoft and AOL are sending me for participating in their special e-mail programme….

Or from the senior bank clerk in Nigeria who wants me to split £7 million
with me for pretending to be a long lost relative of a customer who died intestate.

I no longer worry about my soul because I have 363,214 angels looking out for me, and St. Theresa’s novena has granted my every wish.

I no longer use cancer-causing deodorants even though I smell like a water
buffalo on a hot day.

Thanks to you, I have learned that my prayers only get answered if I forward e-mail to seven of my friends and make a wish within five minutes.

Because of your concern I no longer drink Coca-Cola because it can remove toilet stains.

I can no longer buy petrol without taking a man along to watch the car so a serial killer won’t crawl in my back seat when I’m filling up.

I no longer go to shopping arcades because someone will drug me with a perfume sample and rob me.

I no longer answer the phone because someone will ask me to dial a number for which I will get a phone bill with calls to Jamaica, Uganda, Singapore and Uzbekistan.

Thanks to you, I can’t use anyone’s toilet but mine because a big brown
African spider is lurking under the seats to cause me instant death when it
bites my bum.

And thanks to your great advice, I can’t even pick up the £5.00 I found
dropped in the car park because it probably was placed there by a sex
molester waiting underneath my car to grab my leg.

If you don’t send this e-mail to at least 144,000 people in the next 70
minutes, a large dove with diarrhoea will land on your head at 5:00pm this
afternoon and the fleas from 12 camels will infest your back, causing you to
grow a hairy hump.

I know this will occur because it actually happened to a friend of my next
door neighbour’s ex-mother-in-law’s second husband’s cousin’s beautician.