2010 — 26 May: Wednesday

This ghastly task of clearing stuff (mostly, but not only, books) away into off-site storage would (probably) go a bit faster if I didn't keep finding interesting bits and pieces among the dusty detritus that has accumulated hereabouts over the past 30 years. For example, I mentioned GF Newman a while ago. Here's a bit from a review of his three-part BBC2 drama series "For the greater good", produced by Kenith Trodd and directed by Danny Boyle. Martin Shaw played the hero, Dr Peter Balliol:

The only comic relief is provided by Michael Winner, who plays a mad capitalist (Sir Randolph Spence) lobbying for a free market in human organs. "Peter, Peter," he says to the havering Balliol, "we all want an ideal world, but Britain's lead in transplant technology will be lost if the supply side is left to the priests."
This seemed a bit OTT until I was reminded that just over two years ago in the Commons a Tory MP did in fact clamour for a free market in human organs. He was interrupted by the irrepressible Tony Banks (Lab) who shouted: "In that case I put in a bid for Cecil Parkinson's plonker." This brought the House down, as you can imagine, and induced extended hysteria in many of the journalists present. Alas, the exchange is obscured in Hansard, which merely records an 'Interruption' at that point.

John Naughton in The Observer, 24 March 1991

I also found a couple of pictures of my Dad from 1967 tucked away (for safekeeping) in the front of one of my half dozen or so books of cartoons by Charles Addams.

It's 00:25 and time for some sleep. G'night.

Pleasantly cooler, and...

... with two 'fiendish' Su Doku under my morning belt I've earned my cuppa before my next storage journey and some breakfast. It's 09:18 and something noisy this way comes, possibly railway-related. Lunch, by the way, is currently predicted to be a prawn salad, as that's the next item on the prioritised hit list of wonders shivering in my fridge. What it is to start becoming organised at my age, heh? :-)

To Loos, the trek

Pardon my French, but how can one harbour "ancient suspicions about highly automated toilets"? Toilet epiphanies1 sound a bit rich for my taste. (Source.)

Right. Another six cartons ready to roll. Off I go, at 10:18 — and starving hungry, too! [Pause] Breakfast over, time to get packing again. 71 cartons in storage and another 12 to be packed (today's boring target). It's 11:25 and (still) pleasantly cooler out there.

I wonder how many of my readers remember the late John Kent's delightful creation Varoomshka? Here she is, in 1974, (from part of the back cover of the just-packed Bedside Guardian #24) inducing a curious sense of "déjà vu all over again":


Rather later

My chum Chris (of "Gill &") has just called with details of the grand rendezvous tomorrow ahead of our expotition to the "Anvil" (second time this year!) to see Dara O'Briain. I must remember my cheque book (to pay Gill for the three Tim Minchin CDs they dropped off last November), his two books of Simon Drew postcards they lent me, and to dig out my set of Rock Follies DVDs for their delectation.

It's 15:13 and the next six cartons are ready for transport. [Pause] Right. Score 77 cartons that seem to fill about one third of the storage room. Not bad. And I even got a 10% discount on my next batch (plus the cheeky suggestion that I consider taking a job as a packer as I seem to have found my niche in life). Pah!

Still, reading some of the papers before boxing them up kept me amused. Over the years I've kept fairly detailed notes of events in my life. These notes have helped fuel letters and (more recently) emails to a variety of chums. You may recall one of those delicious training films that Antony Jay and John Cleese produced. I'm thinking in particular of the one called Meetings, Bloody Meetings. Here's an item from 1986. As they say, "only the names have been changed":


It's 18:04 and I'm feeling a bit peckish. Let's see if I can find anything to peck. [Pause] Right. It's 19:40 and the next batch of six cartons is ready. I may as well take them now as I shall be rather busy and out and about tomorrow. My goodness, this is a bit of a slog. I think in my next life I shall opt for illiteracy. [Pause] I can tell, these days, when I've made three trips to the storage place — there's another 5.8 miles on the "clock". It's 20:20 and I'm sore and sorely in need of a shower.

Still later

Listening to William Hague telling us he's going to tell us how many of those insane nuclear warheads we have, as I was leafing through a wonderful 1988 set (Thin Black Lines) of political cartoons, I was struck again by Tomi Ungerer's insight:


I'll not comment on the similarity (of sorts) with that favourite Leeds Postcard I mentioned here.

It's 22:20 and a cuppa is helping as I fill the next six cartons. So is the wonderful music Gideon Coe is playing on BBC 6Music.



1  Now it can be told: it was always possible to tease Christa into delightful giggles about the design of German toilets, in her parents' house, and indeed elsewhere in the Fatherland. I've just had the eye-opening experience of checking on Amazon for an updated version of my 1977 edition of Alexander Kira's design classic "The Bathroom" and discovering the price of secondhand copies. Maybe I should have specified a higher figure for the (insurance) value of my books?