Musings From The Padded Cell

Dedicated To The Proud Artist.

“Italians know about human nature – they understand human nature perhaps better than anyone else does. They know that people are weak and greedy and lazy and dishonest and they just try to make the best of it; to work around it.”
Donna Leon

Change

Change, change, change they all implore when it comes to utility contracts and the like.

However, changing suppliers is never anywhere near as easy as we are told. Recently I changed again, my anticipated saving not much more than a month’s entertainment at The Scruffy but better in my pocket that the bonus pot of some CEO.

I started the process almost a month ago and, in that time, seem to have befriended half of the Indian call-centre where Frenchies – EDF – base their wonderful “customer service”.

Complicating the issue – as if this were needed – is the fact that I had a so-called smart meter installed recently. What they do not tell you is that if you switch suppliers, it stops working rendering it useless unless you have a PhD. Seeking instruction in Pidgin English is not a cure.

It reminded me of the time when I finally committed professional suicide – see Ch22 if you have a quiet weekend ahead – for daring to suggest to Barclays’ hierarchy that off-shoring was a concept conceived by idiots, operated by more of them and a great way to shed customers.

So I patiently await Sachin, Shikha, Debanjan, Abishek, Paulash, Tukanal et al without a flicker of hope of common sense. As Mother Theresa promises to bring the utility companies into line – fat chance – small wonder that 66% of people have never changed at all.

Vote Local

I woke to that gibbering idiot Tim Farron MP, leader of the Lib Dems, bleating about the need for a strong opposition (total number of MPs 9 out of 650).

Later in the day came news that our old MP David Ward – sacked by The Gibbering One – was standing as an Independent for Bradford East.

So strong are the Lib Dems that anybody who goes off-message gets sacked. So strong too that they would engage us in two years of Brexit negotiations then hand the final deal back to the country for another vote.

Given most did not understand the issues first time around this is desperate stalling from a political irrelevance. He would probably have Dermot O’Leary hosting a final vote show.

“Text your answer at only £3 a text! It’s just like postal voting friends! And if you’re not sure you can phone a friend…like Tim”

So good on David Ward; as I have written before, voters need to wake up to the abuses of our hard fought for democracy and get off our arses and vote.

In reality, Ward is the only serious opposition to the block postal vote, which is as far from democracy as Zimbabwe.

Footnote – the Lib Dems have just announced their candidate will be a Preston councillor; surely not a mate of The Gibbering One? The man has not got a snowflake in Hell’s chance.

One Hundred Years Ago

News here of a long journey by sea from Cape Town and a recipe for nettles in view of wartime food shortages. Fearing sending young Chris back to South Africa addicted to oven chips and crisps I may try this one on him.

And of course yet more tragic loss of life including a young man who played cricket at a long since vanished Springfield Cricket Club in Idle. I wonder where that was all those years ago.

Community

The Kings Arms, Heaton

Sad news this week that the gallant effort to save the last pub in Heaton has apparently failed. Yet more evidence of the damage wreaked on communities by the unchecked greed of the pubcos, in this case Enterprise Inns.

There is an untold story here and I have been promised this by way of a guest column so watch this space. There once was a time a pub was the centre of a community but no longer it seems.

Diversity

The English Cricket Board announced a new partnership with those upstanding fellows at Nat West (parent company RBS) this week celebrating and promoting cricket’s diversity.

Quizzed on Radio 4’s Today programme, England player Moheen Ali was asked if this was all a bit “desperate” given cricket’s falling participation levels. It was perhaps unfair to expect much other than soundbites in return from a sportsman.

However, wind the clock back to 2005? England had just won the Ashes for the first time since 1987, edging a series that captivated the nation and was “hailed as the most thrilling series ever”. Millions watched on Channel 4 captivated, many never having watched cricket.

Kids had new heroes – albeit the game by then had vanished from the vast majority of the state school sector – in Freddie Flintoff, KP and skipper Michael Vaughan. So what happened?

In England we sold out to an Australian and cricket vanished from terrestrial television to Sky. In Australia they launched new initiatives at kids – adopted here this summer under the guidance of the same Australian – kept cricket in view and participation levels soared. Cunning Australian or what?

Funny what happens when it’s all about the money?

Pantomime Season

More news on the sorry saga at St George’s Hall which could run longer than most West End productions.

Predictably, costs have spiralled out of control and are now placed at over £8m; anybody want to guess where they will end up? Whatever your political viewpoint, it is impossible to deny that this is not more evidence of why amateurs – our Council – are hopelessly out of their depth.

And, as they agree to plough the money into a hall that can only attract tribute bands and has-beens, across the way the Odeon still stands empty.

Ambition, vision and clarity of thinking all seem out of the grasp of Hapless and her merry band.

RIP Dennis Wood – The Proud Artist

Dennis Wood – 1947-2017

A small crowd of us said goodbye to one of the nicest and funniest blokes we’ll ever meet with three beautiful tributes from a devoted – if sometimes long-suffering – wife of forty-seven years and a proud son and daughter.

What little we truly know of anyone is often only revealed when too late. Who would have guessed that his watercolours have customers including Take That’s Mark Owen, Liverpool and England footballer John Barnes and The Theatre of Dreams, Old Trafford.

This chaotic little man with a fierce competitive spirit lit up our dressing room for a few short years. Rest peacefully Dennis and thanks for all the laughs.

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