My father recalled how his sisters cycled from London-Brighton and back in a day fuelled by nothing more than a bottle of pop and a bagful of cheese sandwiches.

They’d  spent a couple of hours on the sea front, flirt with the local boys and share a ice cream before the journey home with the sun at their backs.

The girls got home after dark rosy cheeked with achievement to be clucked and fussed over by a proud but relieved mother.

My dad remembers being impressed by the colossal size of the thighs needed to power his siblings’ boneshakers on the 120 round mile trip.

It reminded me of the maxim that it is the journey not the destination that counts and that growth comes from our experiences in reaching a goal rather than the goal itself.

It somehow felt like a challenge thrown down across the ages and I decided to recreate the journey sixty years later to show the next generation still had some powder in its keg.

Surely it couldn’t be that difficult, could it? After all, the London-Brighton route is completed by thousands of cyclists every year.

Therein lies the folly entertained by every couch potato and bar jockey in the land. Namely, the fact that because lots of people have achieved a goal, it must be easy.

I have one friend who breezily told me over a pint that Mount Everest isn’t a challenge anymore because hundreds of climbers summit every year.

Really? And what’s the highest point he’s ever climbed? Beckton Ski Slope in east London. And he stopped for a fag halfway up that.

It took me seven saddle-sore hours to cycle to Brighton. The low points included a two hour crossing of south London which held all the charm of Mordor on a winter’s day and a bewildering array of road kill including a dead badger, deer and assortment of squashed rabbits and hedgehogs.

You can’t call Ditchling Beacon a low point because its actually very high.

It is the coup de grace waiting to finish off any unsuspecting cyclist in the shape of an 800 metre high hill several miles before the long freewheeling descent to Brighton.

I told my dad about the journey and my amazement at his sisters stamina in completing the round trip in a day.

“Did I say that?,” he laughed. “Don’t be daft. They stayed in a youth hostel overnight.”

Cheers dad.


We are what we eat. So for any discerning half-man, half-dog shopping in Tesco the food of choice has to be the delicious Mr Brains’s Pork Faggots. Pass the sick bag.


“The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.”

Albert Einstein


If you liked Jay-Z and Alicia Keys going into operatic overdrive on their ballad Empire State of Mind check out this classic cover from Newport, South Wales. I haven’t laughed so much in a long time.


Mice made a major appearance in my life yesterday in an act of synchronicity that would of had Deepak Chopra wetting his pants with excitement.

In the morning, I read in the Evening Standard about a Chinese restaurant that had been fined by health inspectors for various acts of culinary terrorism including finding a mouse swimming in a pot of sweet and sour sauce. The picture, above, was taken just after he scampered out onto a pipe.

I then discover a baited mouse trap under the coat stand at work and, on returning home, there is a letter from a tenant complaining that he is now sharing the flat with the little scamps.

I wonder what the cock roaches are planning for me.


My mobile ran out of power today and I had the pleasure of using a public phone box for the first time in a decade.

A sixty pence minimum charge which lasted 30 seconds, the stink of piss and the promise of carnal fulfillment at the end of a damp receiver from Busty Barbara and the Nubian Queen.

Some things never change.


The film industry and its associated parasites are never more disingenuous and self serving than when they are promoting their product.

There are few things that stick in my craw more than seeing some actor/actress extolling the virtues of appearing in Shrek 3 or the existential experience of Piranha II.

Hell, Adrien Brody was even spinning a line recently about his new film Predators telling us it was an evolutionary thread from the original. Give me a break. How dare he sully the role of Arnie’s gun toting alien exterminator

It takes a couple of old-timers to tell it like it is sometimes and admit they appear in crap films to fill up the financial coffers.

Two examples come to mind.

Brit stalwart Miachael Caine made no bones about the reasons behind starring in Jaws 3: the revenge saying: “I have never seen it, but by all accounts it is terrible. However, I have seen the house that it built, and it is terrific.”

Alex Guinness also told it as it is after getting fed up with his role as Jedi master Obi Wan in Star Wars saying: “I just couldn’t go on speaking those bloody awful, banal lines. I’d had enough of the mumbo jumbo.”


The general public seems blissfully unaware that the Conservative, sorry, Coalition Government is privatising the National Health Service.

Health minister Andrew Lansley has agreed to the abolition of primary care trusts in favour of handing the financial reins to GP consortia by 2013. This train has already left the station.

I’m sure most people aren’t aware that GPs aren’t NHS employees but privately-run businesses that trusts pay to treat local people.

It would be naive to think that clinicians can’t be as self-serving and devisive as anyone else , especially when the Government has said that GPs who perform well will be financially rewarded.

So, we are giving these private businesses billions of pounds of public money to, no doubt, employ other private sector companies at the cost of thousands of NHS jobs and further line their pockets.

I’m not blinkered enough to see that there isn’t huge duplication and wastage in primary care trusts and their top heavy management structures but at least they were impartial and could impose performance targets on GP practices.

Margaret Thatcher must be putting on her glad rags and shaking out the blue rinse bottle at the prospect of David Cameron and Co. finishing off her handiwork. I can feel a 1980s revival coming


The British are great for not complaining which is why we endure the worst customer service in the world.

Rude in-attentive restaurant staff, vacant eyed shop assistants, curmudgeonly bus drivers and butter that wouldn’t melt in my mouth bankers are all common obstacles to a decent life.

Americans must get a shock to the system coming from a country where the customer comes first. And that’s before they’ve even met a London cabbie who takes the ‘scenic’ route to the hotel.

I saw Falling Down again recently featuring a disgruntled and heavily armed Michael Douglas taking the fight to the service industry. It warmed the cockles of my heart. To think we could improve service with the swing of a baseball bat.

Jul 262010

What happened to the killer ant film?

Oh for the glory days of Them, Phase IV and Empire of the Ants when a little radioactivity went a long way and mankind had a proper fight on its hands.

Cold war paranoia seems to be coming back into fashion these days so it can only be a matter of time before the bugs follow..

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