One One Eight – Published: 7 Oct 2008

118 118

The 118 118 guys will never be endearing and it’s time everyone involved just blummin well grew up and accepted that.

You can’t just keep throwing money at the problem.

Sisyphus-like, 118 118 have pushed this pair of mustachio’d boulders, year after laughless year. God knows how many millions they’ve spent or how many different out of work actors they’ve wigged and tached-up.

‘You’re crazy athletes from the 70s! Just run! Be endearing!’ yells the director and off they go again.

They’ve been frozen in blocks of ice, they’ve turned them into the A Team, they reduced them to mimi-me 118s; every almost-quirky, slightly-not-good-enough trick in the book.

Six years have passed now. Still no one cares.


A visitor‘ left this comment on 10 Oct 08
Can you name another directory service… 118 er, something?
‘UrbanCrap’ left this comment on 10 Oct 08
Good point.

At last a religion I can really believe in…
It’s so easy to join!


Total Film – Four Stars **** – Published 28 Sep 2008

Has anyone ever noticed how movie magazine Total Film gives (more or less) every single big budget film a review of four stars

Total Film

Total Film ****

If you don’t care about integrity, it’s actually a great idea. 

Every major film release can count on this one reasonably positive endorsement from this one reasonably well-known movie magazine. Distributors can breath a sigh of relief and slap it on their poster.

Total Film can count on remaining reasonably good friends with the stars, get reasonably good publicity by appearing on all those posters and continue to be reasonably sure of being invited to all the junkets.

As a business model I’d give it (yes) four stars.

Close Encounters of the Morrison’s Kind – Published: 17 Aug 2008

It’s one minute to eleven on a Sunday Morning and dozens of people have assembled at the doors of Morrisons, Shepherds Bush. People from yards around, acting on impulses they can’t explain, have felt compelled to come to this place, to watch and wait….


Then suddenly there’s a bright light, strange humanoid forms appear at the dazzling portal… There’s a sudden rush of air, the smell of fresh bread and not so fresh fish… Perhaps this is where Spielberg stood when he had his idea for…

close encounters of the third kind


Christian‘ left this comment on 17 Aug 08

Over-packaged Item of the Week

Astonishingly over-packaged vitamins from Morrisons. The 30 tablets you get [yes, the amount in the picture] barely cover the bottom of the thick, sturdy plastic container with an over-engineered safety lid. Well done Morrisons.

Vitamin C

Whatever happened to The Journal of Silly? – Published: 16 Aug 2008

I saw this cartoon in the paper at the weekend and larfed and larfed.

Cartoon by Ham

It made me wonder what happened to the lesser known but much loved publication The Journal of Silly.

For those who never saw it, it was handy A5-sized magazine full of mostly single and double frame cartoons. Ham (the cartoonist, not the cured meat) was about the best of a great bunch of contibutors.

Google-ing the ‘The Journal of Silly’ doesn’t bring up many clues as to where it went. Maybe you know. Leave a comment if so.



A visitor‘ left this comment on 21 Mar 10
I realise that I am about a year and a half late in commenting on this post but I have only just come across it having, out of the blue, wondered like you, what happened to The Journal of Silly. I used to subscribe to it, I might even have submitted to it, I can’t remember, but I do remember that I went off of it after a cartoon of mine that had appeared in Maxim was redrawn by Ham (although it might have been Knife who was the other main contributer after Ham).Now I know that people do have the same ideas from time to time (I sent a cartoon about a magician’s assistant being burried in a multipart coffin to Private Eye which was rejected only to see the same joke appear a couple of years later in Private Eye in cartoon by Ed McLachlan) but in the Journal of Silly’s case it was not that long after mine had been printed and, as I recall, the layout of the drawing seemed too close to be a coincidence.

I hope I don’t sound too ‘sour grapey’, it was just a little disappointing.

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A visitor‘ left this comment on 2 Mar 10
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Spokes Persons at Quiet Protest – Published 26 Jul 2008

critical mass

I went on my first ever Critial Mass bicycle ride through London yesterday and felt quietly proud and very positive to have been part of the protest.

Critical Mass London is a very loose organisation. They have no real manifesto other than bikes are positive and why, in London, is there so little provision for them? Any other political message you bring along yourself.

The bicycle in front of me had a sticker on the back that read: It doesn’t take a war to power my bike.

The Mass meet at 6.00pm on the last Friday of every month on the South Bank under Waterloo Bridge, by the National Film Theatre.

They set off on a slow bike ride through London, delaying motorists by taking up the whole road. There is no planned route.

The Police – generally very supportive of the event – are on bikes too and stop the traffic at junctions. Pedestrians often cheer and snap pictures with their phones. 



Christian‘ left this comment on 3 Aug 08
Saw this on your Facebook page. Well done in taking part and nice photo!

Skoob Books Driven Underground by Chain Stores – Published 18 Jul 2008

I was up in the Brunswick Centre, Bloomsbury, the other day and went looking for Skoob Books, one of London’s best second hand bookshops.

When I arrived at the place I remembered the shop being located, I found this instead…

The chain stores had moved in! And Skoob had been driven out.

Assuming that that was it for Skoob, yet another victim of the relentless spread of High Street Anywhere, I wandered off.

Further on I discovered – thanks to a sign tied to a lamppost – that Skoob was actually still in business and had found a place to trade in a basement underneath a new Waitrose Supermarket.

The entrance is somewhat hidden, right until you are almost at the door. But it’s well worth the trouble to find.

Skoob Books, BloomsburyI think there’s something enormously symbolic about this shop being literally driven underground.

It’s not just the fact that it’s an independently run shop, doing what it can to survive in an era that has seen chain stores running out of viable places to either buy out and take over.

It’s also partly to do with the idea of books, especially older, tattier, rarer and out of print books, being a sort of forbidden commodity you have to seek out; grubby and somehow not fit to be perused by this frappe-slurping, Top-Shopping generation.

The shop may be underground but doesn’t feel like a cellar. It’s more like an Aladdin’s cave. It’s a warm, airy room you enter, crammed with as many books as it’s scientifically possible accommodate in the space. And everything is in a logical order.

I was amused to see that, for no real reason, there’s an upright piano against one wall.

Perhaps it’s for people who want to try the sheet music before they buy. I’m sure Skoob are happy to let patrons play – so long as they can actually play.

Staff were keen to help and happy to take the time to track things down on a given subject.



A visitor‘ left this comment on 13 Nov 08
what did you buy tim?
A visitor‘ left this comment on 22 Oct 08
Here in little old Heckmondwike our secondhand bookshop on Union Road has closed its doors(been there for as long as I can remember-Lived locally all my life)It is going to be turned into yet more over priced undersized flats.
Christian‘ left this comment on 19 Jul 08
Nice post. And I find that first photo that you took quite terrifying in the grey uniformity of the shops and the way they seem to blend seamlessly with the grey sky, grey pavement, and grey people! :O)

Humphrey Lyttelton – Published 27 Apr 2008

Humphrey Lyttelton

It’s hard not to feel sad about the death of Humphrey Lyttelton. Though he came from a rather posh, establishment background, he seemed to be very subversive and anti-establishment. More so, the older he got.

At the same time, it’s hard to be all that sad and pofaced. Any thoughts of Humph inevitably involve memories of his deadpan, often filthy lines from I’m Sorry I Haven’t a Clue.

Samantha has to nip out now, as she’s off to see an elderly gentleman friend. She says he’s a bit of an old curmudgeon who doesn’t like spending his money, but Samantha says if she butters him up properly, she can occasionally get him to splash out…  

Actually, the more I think about it, he was cool because he was so unflappable and understated. He didn’t seem to be trying, like so many other aging entertainers who keep the sparkle going in the hope of bagging an MBE.

I’m happy to say I met Humph and even got to interview him. I took this rather poor quality picture of him too, just before the 30th Anniversary recording of I’m Sorry I Haven’t a Clue. The interviewed took place after that show.

Humph is directly related back to a certain Lyttelton who took part in the Gunpowder Plot of 1605.

The other regulars on Clue have each said at various times that the show would end when Lyttelton died, but I saw in the paper today that Rob Brydon took over as Chairman at one of the recordings while Humph was in hospital. Maybe they’ll consider a series of stand-ins?