Thursday, November 11, 2010

I want my sundrenched windswept Ingrid Bergman kiss

They're playing the best of the Beautiful South in the Burger King here. Best pop group ever. Anyway, time to catch my plane, but I just felt slightly guilty about not praising Lew Stringer's comics to the skies in my last post. Seriously, he's kept me ceaselessly entertained for 26 years and I think he's very much the Beautiful South of British comics. Which is a compliment, if anyone wasn't sure.

One trip to Birmingham later...

I've been meaning to blog more regularly, anyway - I've got out of the habit of it lately. Anyway, going through security, they searched my bag because it was full of suspicious devices (twenty packs of cards, nine speed cards timers and an old-fashioned alarm clock). I'm surprised this doesn't happen more often, really - I quite regularly travel around the world with these weird things in my bag, and most of the time they just sail through the x-ray machine without anyone batting an eyelid.

So I had to demonstrate the timers and explain what I was going to do with them, which prompted the security man to notice my Blue Peter badge and remember seeing my humiliation on the show three years ago (you don't think of security guards as being Blue Peter fans, but I suppose they can watch whatever they like when they're off duty). So he asked for a very quick demonstration (there was a very long line of people waiting to have their bags poked and prodded), and I obliged by memorising ten cards... and getting the fifth one wrong. It worries me that this security man now has an even lower opinion of my memorising skills than most people. Ideally you want airport security personnel to be so in awe of you that they'd never dream to examine your belongings too closely, but I don't think that's ever going to happen.

Anyway, nearly time to catch my new plane now, only another hour and a half to kill. I've already read the Dandy in Smith's (I decided to subscribe to it to show my approval of the new format, so there's a copy waiting for me at home) and tutted about the joke in Desperate Dan being stolen from the Simpsons and the joke in Postman Prat being stolen from an old Postman Plod (among other sources). And as for Korky the Cat, it seems it really is aiming for the kind of mild (to say the least) humour that hasn't been seen in comics since the days when a drawing of a cat was, in and of itself, entertainment. But is that such a bad thing, now I come to think of it? The target audience isn't jaded 34-year-old comic aficionados, it's 21st-century brats who don't read comics, and actually the new Korky might really work for them!

The Harry Hill strip is, fascinatingly, a Halloween special, suggesting that the relaunch was meant to happen two weeks earlier than it did, but Pre-Skool Prime Minister and Robot on the Run continue to be worth the cover price on their own. And also, the pop culture references in the past two weeks have taken in Avatar and Ben 10, rather than just programmes aimed at adults, so I think they're more attuned to the audience than I gave them credit for in my original lengthy review. I hereby retract certain of the mildly-critical things I said about the Dandy!

I know nobody cares, but this puts me in mind to review one of the old Beanos I've got lying around the house. I've very probably got one from exactly 25 years ago (the era when everything in the world was universally better in every way, because those were the days when I were a lad) and I feel like critically examining it to see if it really was better. I'll do that when I get home.

Sorry to ramble, but I've paid for thirty minutes on the internet and I'm darned if I'm going to let them go to waste. But maybe I'll spend the remaining nine minutes seeing what other people have to say...

How to pass five hours in Birmingham airport?

My flight was cancelled, so I'm sitting around here until two o'clock. Or I suppose I could go out to Birmingham and see the sights - unlike "Nottingham" airport, the city's only ten minutes away on the train. That sounds like a better plan, actually, now I come to think of it. Ignore my whining, everyone, and if you're going to be in Heilbronn, I'll see you when I eventually arrive!

PS It's raining, too. My life is full of things to whine about.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

I want to know what codes one and two are

In the Co-Op down the road, if there's a big queue, someone behind a till says "Code Three" on the tannoy, and all available assistants come and start serving people. Once when I was in there I heard a "Code Two", but nothing seemed to happen. I suppose I could ask them what these codes mean, but they probably wouldn't tell me. People who talk in codes tend to be very protective of their secrets.

In other news, the World Othello Championship kicks off in Rome tomorrow. Unless you count the traditional night-before draw for the first round as being the kick-off, in which case it already has. Cheer for our plucky British lads and lasses (in which categories I'm counting Geoff even though he's Danish, and George and Elisabetta on the tenuous grounds that they lived in this country for a little while once). I fervently hope that they all win.

Meanwhile, I'm going to Heilbronn, nearish Stuttgart I think, tomorrow, probably (I only booked my plane tickets last night, and I haven't had a confirmation email yet, so I might not be allowed on the plane). Although I have been doing a little bit of practice lately, I haven't practiced a 30-minute anything for ever such a long time, so my stamina will be sorely lacking. Cheer for me anyway, please, but don't be surprised if I end up a long way behind the eventual winner. The competition is on Friday and Saturday. And hey, it's the German Championship, so I'll get a free T-shirt, if nothing else.