Saturday, November 24, 2012

Who'll put Sue Ellen in the sanitarium now?

I gave up on Dallas after the series in the mid-80s when Bobby woke up to discover it was all a dream. That did shatter my illusions. Up until then, I’d been convinced the show was some kind of fly-on-the-wall documentary of life in oil-rich Texas. I had even glossed over the absence of Barbara Bel Geddes in one season and her replacement with another actress. (Can this stunt have been pulled in any other TV show? It’s a bit like taking June Brown out of Eastenders in the 1990s and telling the audience that Felicity Kendal would now be playing Dot Cotton.)

Although Larry Hagman had starred in some other TV shows and played movie roles, he of course became synonymous with the scheming JR Ewing. Just as the UK’s George Cole is forever Arthur Daley or, I guess, Sofie Gråbøl will always be Scandanavian sleuth Sarah Lund, some parts are just bigger than the luvvies who play them. Actors probably never know in advance where a particular role is going to lead them.

Hagman’s strength was to give JR enough comic-book characteristics that we could actually laugh along with his evil plotting. He was dastardly, but in a way that left us smiling, rather than clenching the arm of our sofa. As a result, I reckon St Peter will grant him membership of that ethereal Cattlemen’s Club which lies several miles above Dallas. The female angels had better be on their guard though.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Go-Rat

Mrs W has had a smart idea, which may just have legs.

We were talking about the foods that are packaged up for cats. They tend to be things like 'Chicken and Rabbit Terrine' or other weird combinations of meat and fish.

But what about the stuff that cats really want to eat?

There must surely be a market for 'Rat and Squirrel Supreme', 'Magpie and Pigeon Delight' and so on. It's just a question of sourcing the ingredients, setting up a production line and coming up with a name.

Mouse-based food might be branded 'Hickory Dickory', for instance. 'Wings of Desire' would be a strong name for any range involving sparrows, blackbirds and other avians.

Fresh from the garden. All the nutrients your cat needs, without the mess.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

With friends like these...

One of the weirder aspects of the Jimmy Savile story (and I admit there have been plenty, including the former DJ's supposed role as a marriage guidance counsellor to Prince Charles), has been the sex pest's involvement at Broadmoor. While swanning around the top-security hospital, he seems to have struck up a friendship with the Yorkshire Ripper, Peter Sutcliffe. Let's face it. Before all the dark and seedy stuff started tumbling out about the Jim'll Fix It star, it would have been a pairing that seemed quite preposterous.

Celebrities from very different walks of life do, however, seem to have a habit of forming unlikely relationships. I'm thinking particularly of Richard Nixon's fascination with Elvis Presley , the rapport between Burmese politician Aung Sang Suu Kyi and British radio presenter Dave Lee Travis and the flying visit Lady Gaga paid not so long ago to Wikileaks founder Julian Assange.

Which celebrities do you secretly hope will get together? The weirder and more improbable the better. Philip Schofield taking tea with Vladimir Putin in the Kremlin, perhaps? Are You Being Served's Frank Thornton reading poetry on stage with Britney Spears? Let's hear your suggestions.



Friday, November 09, 2012

Old-style policing

I bumped into a retired CID officer recently and he was talking to me about his early days in the Met back in the 1970s. As a novice 'woodentop', he'd been attached to a sleepy suburban nick, where crime rarely intruded on the working day. First thing in the morning, the officers would arrive for parade and would be allocated their tasks. One guy would be sent for bacon, a second for eggs and a third to get a loaf of bread.

Saturday, November 03, 2012

Grunting, squeaking and squawking with the animals

You wait years to encounter a talking animal and then they arrive like buses.

No sooner had we heard about a whale called Noc, who seems to emulate human speech patterns, he was being challenged for his celebrity status by an elephant in Korea who likes nothing better than to chat away to his human visitors. No need for a Dr Doolittle to provide interpretation. The giant herbivore’s diction is so good that he’ll soon be able to place a trunk call all by himself.

It makes me think that Hitler wasn’t entirely barking up the wrong tree with his plans for a so-called ‘Woofen SS’ unit of dogs who could read, write and speak. Maybe the Nazi dictator just happened to pick the wrong species. The war could have ended so differently if talking whales had been linked by radio to U-boat commanders.

‘Achtung, Herr Korvettenkapitän! Ze British are poised to attack!’

‘You haf cracked zerr code?’

‘Nein. Wir haf just had a call from Villy ze Vale!’