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1 December 2012

Why Flash Fiction?

What is Flash Fiction?
Flash Fiction has been around for years and is becoming increasingly prevalent in today's literary community. Flash is also know by various other names including: Micro Fiction, Postcard Fiction and Sudden Fiction. Whatever you call it, it is basically a story with extreme brevity. There is no standard length for this sort of writing, but when it comes to competitions 300 - 500 words is fast becoming the norm.

The challenge is to strip away the frills and be left with the hard core of the story. But don't be fooled. Just because a piece flash may only contain a few words this doesn't make it any-the-less beautifully artistic.In fact, the opposite can true; the simplicity of a piece who's words have been carefully chosen and crafted can be beautiful and inspiring.

Why Write Flash Fiction?
There are many reasons that you might like to write flash fiction. Writing a normal short story (1000 -5000 words) can take days, if not weeks to complete. An 80,000 word novel will be months and months of hard slog just to get a first draft. But with Flash Fiction the end result can be there in hours. Within a short space of time you can create, write, edit and finished a complete story. This fact alone can be quite confidence building and give you almost instant gratification.

Take a Break
You may be dead set on writing and completing your novel but when writers block strikes - and it will - take a break. 'A Change can be as good as a rest', that's the saying... and it's true. You may want to take your main character and thrust them into a new situation. You may have an idea that can't be used in your novel, take it and turn it into a piece of flash fiction. A very short story may just spark idea's for that block-buster novel you're working on.

Trying New Genre's and Styles
Flash Fiction is a great way to try out your writing skills with different genres. You may be writer of crime at heart, and trying to write a piece of science fiction or fantasy in a longer form may cause problems. Setting yourself  a target - 300 words is my favorite - will allow you the opportunity to try out new styles and genres without using masses of time.

It's a Great Exercise
Writing a short story with such a limited amount of words is difficult and that's why flash-flash is a great exercise for any writer. The practice of writing a short story and then whittling down, and pruning the word count until it fits your target limit is challenging.  Even more of challenge is the feat of squeezing all the essentials of a story - character, plot, narrative, conflict and resolution - using so few words.

One way to quickly reduce your word count is to rip out all adjectives and adverbs, and after you've done it you may be pleasantly surprised at how emotional and descriptive a story can be even when stripped bare of all descriptive words.

Using Flash to Your Advantage
Whether it's a novel or an anthology of short stories you're working on - flash fiction can help. It's always good to have a publishing history to show those prospective publishing editors. By getting a few short stories published gives you nice track record and also supplies any interested editor with some samples of your work from which they can judge your ability.

Entering flash competitions, organised by reputable organizers who use well-known and successful published authors, is another great way to not only prove your worth, but also to get your work in front of established authors and large audiences. Do well and good publicity could come your way.

In Conclusion
Flash fiction is a great way of learning how to tighten up your writing skills, the careful use of words is absolutely essential here. The production of a complete story is confidence building and gratifying. With novels being so time consuming flash offers a chance to try out new voices and genres, and can lead to publication if good enough and sent to the right places.

So, why not put pen to paper, or finger to keyboard as the case may be, and if you haven't already, give flash fiction a go. start writing now...

...Long live Flash Fiction.

21 November 2012

A little something to make you laugh & keep you healthy

In this stressful world that we live in anything that can bring a smile to our faces or make us laugh is good for our heath - and that's official.

A laugh a day keeps the doctor away. Well, that may not be strictly true but research has proven that a good chuckle is beneficial to our health. Laughter as a reaction to certain stimuli like a joke, a funny noise, someone tickling you, something visually funny or it could even be someone else laughing that makes you laugh but which ever it is - having a good giggle is a very healthy thing to do.

True Fact: 100 laughs are equivalent to 10 minutes rowing or 15 minutes biking!

Laughter triggers healthy physical changes to your body and it will strengthen your immune system, boost your energy levels, diminish pain, and protect you from the damaging effects of stress. The good feeling that you get when you laugh remains with you even when the laughter has subsided, helping you to keep a positive, optimistic outlook even during illness, difficult situations, disappointments and loss. And, the best part about laughter is that this priceless medicine is fun, free and easy to use.

And, laughter is also infectious. The sound of roaring laughter is far more contagious than any cough, sneeze or yawn. If you need proof of just how infectus laughter is take a look at the video below. It's taken from a Flemish chat show - Boemerang -  it's host Erik Hartman, just can't stop laughing. And, if you watch the video you'll end up doing exactly what he's doing. It really is that infectious - take a look.

If you haven't already guessed, it's not a real chat show or a real chat show host. This clip comes from top Flemish comedy series "In De Gloria", and Erik Hartman is in real life actor Tom Van Dyck. In fact, all those involved are members of the cast. But, whether its fake or not you've got to admit it's funny, and it really does prove that laughter is infectious.

So, there you go, you've had a some great entertainment, a good laugh, a gentle work out and you should be feeling a whole lot better, too.

Now you can go off and enjoy the rest of your day.... 

...But don't forget to come back and visit this blog again soon for more laughs.

20 October 2012

Andy's Amazing Sticky Popcorn Cake

William with Sticky Popcorn Cake
If you've been looking for a quick and easy cake to make then this is the one for you. It's ideal for any party - the kids and adults will love it, and it can be made in ten minutes... What more can you ask for.

Although there is no actual cooking required with this recipe, you will have need to heat and melt some of the ingredients, but once that's done it's just a simple matter of mixing all the ingredients together pouring them into a cake tin or bowl and then leaving it in the fridge to cool and set.... it couldn't be easier.

This is a great cake for any party whether it's a birthday, Christmas or Halloween. The photo on the left is one I made earlier (first attempt)  and my little boy (Pictured) loved it. If I can make it, then anyone can. So, what are you waiting for... here are the ingredients and the instructions.


  • 175g (6oz) of Pop Corn - Sweet or Toffee the choice is yours.
  • 500g (1 1/4 Ib) of Smarties or M&M's.
  • 150g (5oz) of Peanuts.
  • 5 table spoons of vegetable oil.
  • 125g (4 1/4 oz) of butter.
  • 500g (1 1/4 oz) Marshmallows

Preparation Instructions.
  1. Place Smarties, Peanuts and Popcorn in a large mixing bowl.
  2. Heat butter, oil and marshmallows in a saucepan slowly until completely melted.
  3. Pour over popcorn mix, and blend together with spoon.
  4. Grease a cake tin well and then pour mixture in and firm lightly into the tin.
  5. Place cake into to fridge until it's cooled and set.
  6. Remove cake carefully from tin.
  7. Slice and eat.

Note: This recipe is very versatile. We replaced the nuts with Maltesers, because my lad doesn't like nuts. It's a great recipe and limited by only your imagination. 

Give your kids a "Trick" and a great "Treat"...

Happy Halloween, Folks

Andy's Magic - Entertainer

18 October 2012

The French Way to Lose Weight...

When I came across the advert below I quickly realised that it was a perfect example of how to play with peoples curiosity, engage them, entertain them and then, once done, you'll be able to sell them anything.

Marcel, a Paris based advertising agency, did this stunt for the launch of Nestle's 
Contrex Mineral Water following the above philosophy. The mineral water, which has a high calcium content that supposedly speeds up the metabolism, thus burning calories and helping those who drink it to lose weight, is part of the huge Vitell mineral water group.

The French 'Contrexperience' commercial is a fun and clever advert that is obviously aimed at the ladies since it features a group of women who apparently burn 2000 calories in just a few minutes as they pedal exercise bicycles that power a neon male stripper.

I've got know idea whether it works but its one of those adverts that makes you sit up and pay attention and brings a smile to your face. It's a perfect mix of a product and a message with humour, entertainment and a great soundtrack - the music is from "Comment te dire adieu", a song made famous in the sixties by French singer Fracoise Hardy.

I think this is an inspired advert and that's why I'm sharing it with you now. The concept is original, its delivery delightful and it impressively raises the advertising bar in a market normally strewn with clich├ęs. Take a look now and see if you agree with me.

Thanks for taking the time to look at my blog.

All the best for the future...

15 October 2012

Scary, Spooky, Awesome Music for Halloween

It's nearly Halloween and here, to get you in the mood, are ten of the best Halloween related music video's around - in my opinion. Let me know your favourites.

Thriller: This must be the ultimate Halloween song and video. This song, the title track to what would become the biggest selling album in history by Michael Jackson, was turned in a master piece of a music video. When it came out it was damn scary with it's state of the art effects and incredible choreography - it changed the face of the music video forever.  No one will dispute the brilliance of this song and video... it really is a Thriller!

The Monster Mash: There is one song that must be on everyone's playlist at Halloween and it's this classic by Bobby "Boris" Picket with his fun, novelty hit from 1962 - The Monster Mash. Get the fog machine going and get ready to do the Monster Mash...

Ghostbusters: This is a light-hearted song that comes from the smash hit eighties film of the same name. Sung by Ray Parker Jr this was a smash hit and a song guaranteed to get feet tapping at any party. Who you gonna call...

The Devil Went Down to Georgia: This song will get even those who don't like country music dancing. Brilliant lyric's, a fantastic story and incredible violin playing from Charlie Daniels makes this a perfect Halloween song, and it's a wonderful animated video that accompanies it.

The Adams Family: This 1964 hit comedy series became just as famous for it's wacky theme tune. It really does deserve a spin on any turn table, so make sure get this playing at your Halloween Party.

This is Halloween: From the film brilliant film by Tim Burton - The Nightmare before Christmas, This is Halloween is a marvellous track but the version I've chosen here is not the original - although that is superb,  but it's Marylin Manson's very spooky version. I love it, and I'm sure you will too...

The Theme to Halloween: It don't get any spookier than this. From the original John Carpenter movie that starred Jamie lee Curtis and Donald Pleasants. The music in any film really creates the atmosphere and this music always sends a shiver up my spine whenever I listen to it and that's why I've included it here.

Werewolves of London: This is a must play track. Warren Zervon's atmospheric tune featuring Mick Fleetwood, of Fleetwood Mac fame, on Drums. It's been used in many, many movies over the years and one song I always expect to hear at any Halloween Party.

Bark at the Moon: Ozzy Osbourne one time lead singer with Black Sabbath and the man who famously bit a head off a bat, went solo and produced this brilliant rock song from the album of the same name. It's a great song to get down and rock too - awesome!

The Raven: This song takes its name from the short story by Edgar Allan Poe. In 1974 The Alan Parson's Project, a progressive rock band, released their first album titled "Tales of Mystery and Imagination" a collect of songs that retell the stories and poetry of Edgar Allan Poe. This piece is wonder, as is the video.

Songs worthy of a mention

Here are a few more Halloween type songs that are well worthy of a play at any Halloween party...

Abracadabra - The Steve Miller Band
Bad Moon on the Rise - Creedence Clear Water
The Time Warp - The Rocky Horror Picture Show
Tubular Bells - Exorsist Theme- Mike Oldfield
Bat out of Hell - Meatloaf
What's that coming over the Hill -The Automatic
The Theme to The Twilight Zone
Spirit in the Sky - Norman Greenbaum

Happy Halloween Folks

Corporate Entertainment at AKW Medicare's Dinner Conference

Warriors Academy MagicOn Thursday 29th September, I attended (in the guise of a corporate magician) and performed at AKW Medicare's Annual Dinner Conference. And, it has to be said, it really was a superb evening that was held in an equally good venue - the Warriors' Academy, Worcestershire, home of the Worcester Warriors.

My Job, as a corporate magician, was to entertain, amaze and amuse the delegates who were travelling from different parts of the country to be at this event. As they arrived, I mixed and mingled and began performing my amazing feats of magic and mind-reading. I continued performing around the tables, in-between courses and, after being told that it was someone's birthday, I decided to get the gentleman in question up in front of the audience so that everyone could sing "Happy Birthday" - but not, of course, until the birthday boy, Mr Paul Tingy, had helped with a spot of mentalism - and there were a few laughs along the way, too. 

By the end of the evening, I think my mission, as corporate magician, was completed successfully, everyone seemed very happy and I've since received some lovely comments. The evening was brilliantly organised, the venue was top notch, the food looked superb, the atmosphere was wonderful, and AKW's staff and guests were a pleasure to perform to. Everyone was keen to get involved, to see my little miracles and to be entertained.

Thanks to AKW Medicare Ltd, their CEO, Paul Massey, and his PA, Jacqui Morley for booking my services. I hope we all meet again very soon.

A few selected photo's of the event...

... and Andy Kirk - Corporate Mgaician in action.

Magician and Entertainer Andy Kirk / Andy's Magic
Wedding Magician and Entertainer Andy Kirk
Corporate Magician - Andy Kirk - Andy's Magic
Andy's Magic - Corporate Magician - Andy Kirk

5 October 2012

The Limerick What I Wrote...

Last year, 2011, I attend a comedy writing session hosted by the then poet laureate of Worcester, Theo Theobald. Held in the function room above the fantastic Little Venice  Italian Restaurant, it really was a fun, entertaining and informative evening. One of the exercises we were set by Theo, was to write a joke or limerick. I don't know why, but I plumped for the latter and below is the result, which I thought I would share with all you you. I hope it brings at least a little smile to your faces...

The Macgruff Limerick by Andy Kirk

A magician called The Great Macgruff
was finding life just a little bit tough.
When people said he was gay,
well, he didn't run a way.
Instead, he disappeared with a "Poof".

The Macgruff Limerick by Andy Kirk ©2011

2 October 2012

Norman Wisdom - Norman's Superstore Advert

Sir Norman Wisdom is famous for falling over, laughing, and shouting Mr. Grimsdale in those classic black and white comedies of the fifties and sixties. He also hit the top of the chart with his self-penned song: "Don't Laugh at Me ('Cos I'm a fool)". But, do you remember the adverts he appeared in during the eighties?

On my blog, I've already featured his most famous - The Heineken Avert - so I thought, with the festive season upon us, we all need a little treat and a good laugh.The Advert is for Norman's Super Store - I must admit I don't remember them, let alone the advert. It's a very rare and probably forgotten commercial,  so when I discovered it, I knew I just had to share this little gem. And it's worth watching to see the difference in food prices, then and now.

Take a look, have a laugh...

...Merry Christmas Folks

21 September 2012

Norman Wisdom and Bruce Forsyth live at the London Palladium

The Legendary Bruce Forsyth and Norman Wisdom
The Legendary Bruce Forsyth and Norman Wisdom
If you like Norman Wisdom and Bruce Forsyth then you're going to love this. It's the famous and very rarely seen "Wallpaper Sketch" which was first seen live at the London Palladium in 1961. 

After Equity refused to let any of its members perform on that weeks edition of  "Sunday Night at the London Palladium" the show looked to be in jeopardy. But, it was Bruce Forsyth, aguably its most popular host, and the legendary Norman Wisdom who saved the day. This most famous edition see's our two hero's fill the entire hour-long programme with their own material. The only regular item to appear that week was the very popular game show segment "Beat the Clock" - everything else was pure unadulterated Wisdom and Forsyth.

I've pick what I believe to be a classic comedy sketch featuring two of our countries most loved and treasured entertainers. "The Wallpaper Sketch" sees the two boys attempting to decorate a small room. There's a lot of slapstick fun and laughs here as we watch this great sketch performed to perfection. 

I think you'll agree it's great fun, well worth a watch and loaded with laughs. Although they had little time to rehearse their years of experience and superb ability as entertainers served them well - they knew how to work impromptu and the result is an amazing show. Take a look, at this seven and a half minute routine and watch as two legends  - Sir Norman Wisdom OBE and Sir Bruce Forsyth perform this memorable sketch.

18 September 2012

Artist creates magical timelapse video - 'Empire State of Pen'

Patrick Vale - Artist
Artist Patrick Vale took several days to draw his incredible piece of art which is entitled 'Empire State of Pen'. But in this video (below) you will see the skyline of downtown Manhattan, as seen from the Empire State Building perspective, appear in front of your eyes in just 80 seconds.

Using time-lapse videoing techniques, the London based artist, illustrator and animator draws by hand and the buildings rapidly pop up right in front of your eyes. The flat iron building lies in the foreground, while Brooklyn and Verrazzano Bridges sit on the eastern edge, and Jersey City's Goldman Sachs Tower flank the western edge.

After marvelling at video clip - that I've watched many times and haven't tired of yet - and the incredible finished picture that Vale produces at the end, I think you'll agree that its one of those magical things that just seems to get better each time you watch.

I was so impressed that I wanted to see more of his work - and I'm pretty sure you will too. Check out the video below, and more of Patrick Vales work here

15 September 2012

The Jovers - A Class Act

The Jovers - A Class Act
The video clip you're about to watch (Below) features husband and wife team - Wilfred and Fe - The Jovers performing live at the MGM in Reno in 1980. Its a wonderful clip that is bound to make you laugh.

The Jovers were a top-of-the-bill act during the sixties through to the eighties. Their career saw them  travelling the world, performing on cruises, in hotels and theatres, and on television making appearances on the likes of The Liberace and The Ed Sullivan Shows.

In 1969 an appearance in Miami lead to them being spotted and signed to appear in a revue at the Stardust Hotel in Las Vegas. This stint in "the city that never sleeps" was far from their last appearance  - they were sort after for many years to come.

Their act was a of the traditional vaudeville style and was filled with incredible comedy, panache and verve the like of which most specialty acts of this type could only dream of. It was, and still is, hilariously funny, superbly witty and has some clever acrobatic moves too - put this together with Fe's (Pronounced fay's) contagious laugh and you have an act that is, well... perfect.

Eighty-three-year-Old, Fe Jover is, of course, retired, lives in the mountains with her daughter near Show Lo. Sadly Wilfred, her husband and partner, passed away just a few months ago.

Now you've heard about The Jovers why not watch this classic comedy specialty act, that I know you'll love, and then share the laughter with all your friends using the share buttons below. Thanks.

Update: After writing this, I was surprised and delighted to find that Fe Jover herself had somehow found my little piece, read it and left this lovely comment below:

"I was just playing around on my PC and came upon your page about my husband and myself. You pretty much have it all down. You may be surprised to know that I am still performing. So many funny things happened to us during our career that I decided to talk about them and make every one laugh.So this is what I do. I still laugh and they laugh at me and so it goes. "  - Fe Jover

13 September 2012

Man Falls Down Stairs Forever

Can this be real? Watch the clip below and judge for yourself.

It certainly looks real but how could anyone - stuntman or otherwise - survive such a long and dramatic fall. And, after falling down these steps for what seems like an eternity, it's not over for our poor old friend. As he stands up and brushes himself off he is suddenly hit by a small car and sent hurtling into the air, landing with a sickening thud... but after all of that he gets up and walks off - How?

Is this real or fake? I don't know how you'd fake such a clip but there are several things I noticed that point to the possibility that all is not as it seems.

Let's start at the beginning. A woman and twin girls, standing ice-creams in hand, smiling, and posing for the camera - but who poses for video camera? Surely the idea is to capture movement and not stills - but I may be wrong. Then the video camera is very quickly zoomed in, just in time to catch the man as he falls unexpectedly from the roof of a building on to the stone steps below. He stands up, staggers backwards and starts his incredible decent. 

Follow his fall and watch as he bounces down and into the path of another man who is playing a guitar. The guitar playing musician jumps back out of the as the unlucky falling feller's way. But, I think his reaction is slow, poorly timed and over acted, and he just stands there, he certainly doesn't make any attempts to help the poor tumbling man who is still rolling and falling, apparently, uncontrollably. 

Next our falling hero heads towards a couple on the right with a pram. The woman, I think it's a woman, holding the pram is knocked and lets the it go, it bounces down a couple of steps but is caught and brought safely to a stop by a man just in front. But watch again and notice how, in actual fact, the woman isn't hit by the falling man, he just passes very closely by, and she seems to let go of the pram a fraction of a second before she is hit. Then man continues his fall and finally reaches the bottom. Lying still in the road for a few seconds, he then stands up, starts to straighten his clothes, and he actually appears to look up the road just a few seconds before he is hit. He must have seen the approaching vehicle. Surely he would try and get out of the way - but NO! Our man turns away from the fast moving car and is then hit. He is sent spinning through the air and lands almost on his feet before falling over. I noticed that the car stops and then appears to drive off - that's nice isn't it. The man lays still for a few long seconds before suddenly standing up, apparently no worse for ware, he strolls off.

Whether its real or not its still an amazing clip. If you know anymore about this video then please let me know.

10 September 2012

Meeting James Herbert...

Ash by James Herbert
James Herbert's New Best Seller
In 1977 (I was 11) my brother came home from a school jumble sale with four books tied together with a piece of string; three books by Enid Bylton (Secret Seven and The Famous Five) and The Rats by James Herbert. I suppose I should have been more interested in the Enid Bylton books but it was THE RATS that jumped out at me. Its cover with that evil looking rodent on the front that looked ready to pounce and cause death and mutilation was just begging me to read.

That book, which I still have, started a life-long love of James Herbert's work. So, when the chance came to not only obtain a copy of his newest book - ASH - but to also meet the man himself and get the book signed I, of course, grabbed the chance with both hands.

I'd never attended a book signing event before and I was expecting a long boring wait in a queue to collect my Pre-ordered book, and then another even longer wait to get it signed. And I envisaged that after hours of waiting I'd get just a few seconds to speak to the great man himself whilst he signed the book and then be moved on so that the next person could get their book signed.

It wasn't like that at all. Although there was a queue to get my pr-ordered copy, it was dealt with quickly and efficiently by the staff at Waterstones - New Street, Birmingham, which was the venue for the event. Once I'd obtained the book it was back outside to join the queue for the actual event: It was here that I had longest wait, but it was quite pleasant; the sun was shining and with my brand spanking new book in hand I, along with virtually everyone else, stood reading James Herbert's newest epic - the hour wait flew by.

Once the doors were opened it was a quick walk through into the room that the event was being held. Row upon row of chairs filled the huge room, and I can tell you that every seat was taken. I was lucky. Being near the front of the queue, meant I also got a great seat, second row from the front.

With everyone settled, It was time to start the evening, and James Herbert was introduced on to stage by author of the "Autumn" and "Hater" horror novels David Moody. Introductions over and our hero walked on stage to great applause. David Moody (lucky man) got to interview our hero who needed little prompting to give his answers. His responses were humorous, interesting and entertaining and held everyone's attention. This was followed by questions from the audience.

Me with the Master of Horror Fiction James Herbert
I wasn't expecting this just-over-an-hour-long interview session, nothing was mentioned when I booked by ticket - it was another surprise. It was wonderful to sit back and enjoy stories and anecdotes from, in my opinion, the Master of Horror writing. I feel privileged to have been one of the lucky few who had been able to obtain a ticket for this - one of only two book signing events that Mr Herbert will be doing to support the release of his latest book.

Once the interview was over it was straight into the book signing, and here again I was amazed and supprised at how much time James Herbert made for each person in that long, long queue. He not only freely chatted to his fans, but actually made conversation too. He really was a true gentleman.

My turn soon came. Mr James Herbert signed my copy of ASH and he also very kindly signed a first edition copy of his 1977 novel FLUKE - a favourite of mine. He asked me if I'd seen the film adaptation of book, and what I thought of it. I have, it's a kind of Disney / family type film, not as good as the book but a good attempt. I mentioned that I too was a writer and have been published (Short stories) several times and he was very encouraging:  "Keep dreaming those idea's up, keep writing, keep getting published... oh, and keep reading my books", he quipped. I also managed to get a photo with James, too.

David Moody on stage with James Herbert
I've always wanted to meet James Herbert and on the 3rd September, 2012  I managed to tick one item of my bucket list.

And finally, I must applaud Waterstones for the brilliant way they handled the event, and what a wonderful bookstore it is too. And, David Moody gets a big pat on the back for his excellent hosting of  the event. It really was a night I shall never forget.

8 September 2012

Tommy Cooper - The Dracula and Frankenstein Sketch

Tommy Cooper didn't have to do anything, just walking out on stage was enough to get the audience rolling in the isles. He didn't need to swear, make politicly incorrect or racist jokes to get a laugh. Nor did he belittle or take the mickey out of his audience. He was just funny; a one of kind comic genius who's talent will never be equalled. 

Over the years I thought I'd seen all the the best bits of Cooper material, so you can imagine how surprised I was when I discovered this little gem of a sketch with Tommy as Count Dracula and Frankenstein - It's simply Tommy Cooper doing what he does best, and I just knew I had to share it with you.

This is horror and humour mixed together as only Tommy Cooper can - Just Like That. Sit back and watch this short sketch - just under five minutes - and have a laugh the Cooper way.

Have you seen this Tommy Cooper sketch before? What's your favourite Tommy Cooper moment? Is Cooper your favourite funny man? And if not, Who is?  Leave your answer inthe comments box. I love to know.

More of Andy's Blogs you may be interested to read:

6 September 2012

A Painfully Funny Wrestling Throw...

This is painfully funny! It's just a few seconds long but it's just perfect. The more you watch the funnier it gets, and the way the midget with the blue pants slides across the deck on his face you can be sure that this could never have been a set up. As you watch you can feel the pain. I can only imagine it must have been like a severe case of carpet burn. I bet this is one move they won't be incorporating into their act on a regular basis.

Right at the end of the clip you see a second wrestling midget in yellow pants appear on screen and he looks ready to pounce on unlucky Mr Blue Pants when he comes to a stop? I can't help but wonder what happens next? Answers on a post card, or if you think you know the answer leave a comment...

3 September 2012

Nine things that will disappear from our lives...

The Telephone Box - A Thing of the Past
Over the years things that we all take for granted, and assumed would always be there, have disappeared. Take for example the vinyl record and the cassette tape. At the time it was hard to believe that anything could, or would replace them. But then came the CD. And it wasn't long before that shiny little disc became so popular that it soon saw off its predecessor. Once, you could find a telephone box on every other street corner - now they are a rarity. And, of course we shouldn't forget the good old milkman, who at one time was the best, cheapest and most convenient way to get your diary products. But with the advent of supermarkets and their ability to keep prices low, it was inevitable that very few people would bother paying more to have it delivered when they could save money and collect it with the rest of their weekly shop.

So, what's next to disappear from our lives? The article below has appeared on-line many times and is also doing the rounds via email. I decided to reproduce it here because it is so thought provoking and, in a way, disturbing.

I don't exactly agree with item number 6 - Music - I can't see it disappearing altogether.It may well be distributed in a completely different manor in the future, but I believe music will always be apart of our lives. I do think that the rest of the article makes pretty good sense so why not read on and see for yourself which bits you agree with.

Nine things that will disappear from our lives

1. The Post Office - Get ready to imagine a world without the post office. They are so deeply in financial trouble that there is probably no way to sustain it long term. Email, Fed Ex, UPS and other courier services have just about wiped out the minimum revenue needed to keep the post office alive. Most of your mail every day is junk mail and bills.

2. The Cheque Book - Britain is already laying the groundwork to do away with the cheque by 2018. It costs the financial system millions of pounds a year to process the cheque. Plastic cards, Pay Pal and other on-line payment services will lead to the eventual demise of the cheque Book. And, as you will no longer be able to send payments by cheque through the post and most bills will be sent and viewed on-line, this will hasten the death of the afore-mentioned Post Office.

Can the Daily Paper Survive?
3. The Daily Newspaper - The younger generation simply doesn’t read the newspaper. They certainly don’t subscribe to a daily delivered print edition. That may go the way of the milkman and the pop man. As for reading the paper online, get ready to pay for it. The rise in mobile Internet devices and e-readers has caused all the newspaper and magazine publishers to form an alliance. They have met with Apple, Amazon, and the major mobile phone companies to develop a model for paid subscription services.

4. The Book -  You say you will never give up the physical book that you hold in your hand and turn the literal pages. I said the same thing about downloading music from iTunes. I wanted my hard copy CD. But I quickly changed my mind when I discovered that I could get albums for half the price without ever leaving home to get the latest music. The same thing will happen with books. You can browse a bookstore online and even read a preview chapter before you buy. And the price is less than half that of a real book. And think of the convenience! A whole library of books can be stored on a device that is small enough to fit into the palm of your hand.

5. The Land Line Telephone - Unless you have a large family and make a lot of local calls, you don’t need it anymore. Most people keep it simply because they’ve always had it. But you are paying double charges for that extra service that you probably don't need. 

6. Music - This is one of the saddest parts of the change story. The music industry is dying a slow death. Not just because of illegal downloading. It’s the lack of innovative new music being given a chance to get to the people who would like to hear it. Greed and corruption is the problem. The record labels and the radio conglomerates are simply self-destructing. Over 40% of the music purchased today is “catalogue items,” meaning traditional music that the public is familiar with. Older established artists. This is also true on the live concert circuit.

7. Television - Revenues to the networks are down dramatically. Not just because of the economy. People are watching TV and movies streamed from their computers. And they’re playing games and doing lots of other things that take up the time that used to be spent watching TV through such streaming services as Netflex. Prime time shows have degenerated down to lower than the lowest common denominator, so it's no wonder that television as we know it, is on its way out.

Everything is going to the "Cloud"
8. The “Things” That You Own - Many of the very possessions that we used to own are still in our lives, but we may not actually own them in the future. They may simply reside in “the cloud.” Today your computer has a hard drive to store your pictures, music, movies, files, and documents. Your software is on a CD or DVD, and you can always re-install it if need be. But all of that is changing. Apple, Microsoft, and Google are all finishing up their latest “cloud services.” This means that when you turn on a computer, the Internet will be built into the operating system. So, Windows, Google, and the Mac OS will be tied straight into the Internet. If you click an icon, it will open something in the Internet cloud. If you save something, it will be saved to the cloud. And you may pay a monthly subscription fee to the cloud provider. In this virtual world, you can access your music or your books, or your whatever from any laptop or handheld device. That’s the good news. But, will you actually own any of this “stuff” or will it all be able to disappear at any moment in a big “Poof?” Will most of the things in our lives be disposable and whimsical? It makes you want to run to the closet and pull out that photo album, grab a book from the shelf, or open up a CD case and pull out the insert.

9. Privacy - If there ever was a concept that we can look back on nostalgically, it would be privacy. That’s gone. It’s been gone for a long time anyway. There are cameras on the street, in most of the buildings, and even built into your computer and cell phone. But you can be sure that 24/7, “They” know who you are and where you are, right down to the GPS coordinates, and the Google Street View. If you buy something, your habit is put into a zillion profiles, and your ads will change to reflect those habits. “They” will try to get you to buy something else. Again and again.

I'd love to be able to credit the original author of this piece but I don't know who it is. If you know, leave a comment and let me know.

31 August 2012

Dave Allen - Teaching kids to tell the time...

Recently, I was trying to explain to my four-year-old son how to tell the time, and believe me it's not easy; I gave up in the end. But it was during my attempts that I was reminded of this gem of piece from Dave Allen - 'Teaching kids to tell the time'.

The late, great Irish comic has always been favourite of mine and as I watched this classic routine, taken from his 1993 ITV series, I was remind of exactly why he was probably the world's greatest 'sit-down comedian'.

"People say I'm that Irish comedian with half a finger but I'm not, I'm that Irish comedian with nine and a half fingers."

Allen's act would see him sitting on a bar stool, facing his audience, smoking and taking the odd sip of what we all assumed was whiskey; it was, in fact, ginger ale with ice. His performance was a typically relaxed, rueful and intimate, his style was more observation than gag driven and his language was often littered with expletives.

At the height of his career Dave Allen was one of Britain's most controversial comedians, his humour always poked fun at political and religious authority. He was very sceptical about religion and called himself a "Practising atheist" and he'd often joke "I'm an Atheist, thank God".

"I still think of myself as I was 25 years ago. Then I look in a mirror and see an old bastard and realise it's me."

Dave Allen was was a comic genius, the like of which we will never see again. Sit back, relax and get ready to laugh, and until the next time... "Goodnight, Thank you, and may your God go with you".

More of Andy's Blogs you may be interested in...

28 August 2012

The Magic Ink Stain Removal Tip...

We all know that ink stains on clothing are a real nightmare to get out. Sometime ago our four-year-old somehow got hold of green bingo marker and decided to change the colour of our carpet. It was everywhere! We thought the carpet was ruined, until we came across this brilliant and inexpensive way of removing ink stains including fresh ink (like from a fountain pen), ball pen and even felt-tips - it works.

 So, whether the pen in your shirt pocket has leaked or one of your little monsters has decorate your fabric covered furniture with their inky art work - this is the solution. It will take a bit of time and patients but it is doable.

Ink Stain Removal - The Secret Revealed

The secret is... hairspray! Yes, hairspray, normal, everyday hairspray - the cheaper the better, in fact. The Alcohol in the hairspray will, on contact, start to dissolve the ink stains thus making it easier to remove. This tip will work well fresh fountain-pen-type ink, biro, felt pen and permanent marker, and can be used to get rid of those unsightly stains on clothing fabric and even carpets. 

Important Note: Always test a small unseen area of your clothes or fabric first to make sure they are colour-fast

Directions for use

1. Place Paper Towels or kitchen paper directly under the spot where the garment is affected.
2. Spray affected area liberally until it is saturated with hairspray.
3. Blot the area - do not rub, always blot - with a clean cloth or, better still, Paper Towels.
4. Repeat the process of spraying and blotting until ink stain has been completed lifted.
5. Wash item - if this is possible.
6. Wear item of clothing that you thought you'd never wear again.

Let me know if this magical little tip for removing ink stains has worked for you. It certainly has for us on many occasions with out any problems. But if for some reason the stains haven't come out you could always get a pair of scissors and cut them out... I'm only joking, folks!

26 August 2012

Norman Wisdom - The Heineken Deck Chair Advert

Sir Norman Wisdom OBE
'Don't laugh at me, 'cos I'm a fool' - famous lines from Norman Wisdom's self penned number one hit song. But he never wanted anyone to take those words literally. Norman was a funny man who never stopped trying to make people laugh. He was a little genius who was continually falling over, laughing, crying and fooling around - even in the most serious of moments. Take for example the occasion on which Norman received his knighthood from the Queen, even then he couldn't resist messing about, he performed his trade-mark trip and the Queen laughed.

I've always loved Norman, his humour, films and music and I was lucky enough to see him live on stage some years ago at the Wolverhampton Grand. It was a superb night of entertainment that saw Norman in sparkling form, throwing himself around as though he was still a young man - he was actually seventy-five - singing his most famous songs and playing a whole array of musical instruments. The audience loved him and at the end he received a well earned standing ovation. After the show I was lucky enough to meet the great man and I got a signed photo, too.

Comedian, Singer-Songwriter and actor Norman was born in the Marylebone district of London, and he will be best remembered for the series of films produced between 1953 and 1966, featuring his much loved on-screen "gump" character Norman Pitkin. Films such as Trouble in Store, A Stitch in Time, The Square Peg, The Bulldog Breed, Up in the World and The Early Bird had us roaring with laughter. And, of course, no one will ever forget his catch phrase "Mr Grimsdale".

But most of us will probably have forgotten, or at least not seen for many year, the Heineken Deck Chair Advert that was made in 1987 and featured our hero. In this clip we see Norman trying haplessly to set up and sit in his deck chair... he fails miserably until he downs a pint of Heineken - the beer that refreshes the parts other beers can not reach. 

They certainly don't make adverts as good as this anymore, or as long - 1 min -37 secs - so, I thought it would be nice to have a walk down memory lane and share this little bit of Wisdom with you all.

I'm sure there were more of these Deck chair adverts featuring Norman Wisdom but so far this is the only one I've come across. Let me know if you've seen any of the others by posting a comment.

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