It Was 50 (and a bit) Years Ago Today…

Firstly, many thanks to you all for the birthday messages last Sunday; they were most unexpected and, perhaps, undeserved, given that I rarely remember to return the favour.

I have a friend back in Cardiff called Huw. We haven’t actually seen each other for around fifteen years (because, I’m lazy), but he let me house-sit whilst he went on holidays when I was very down on my luck around twenty years ago, and I’m forever indebted to him for his kindness back then.

I mention him now, because on the twenty-sixth day of the ninth month of every year one of us will always text the other the following: “Happy Birthday, Same Birthday Dude!”

I went to text him on Sunday, and was gob-smacked to see that we didn’t remember to do it last year. Something else to blame Covid for, I guess.

Anyway, I sent the text, he replied, and we had a quick catch up.

But something else seemed to be missing, and I managed to pin it down to having happened here. Last year, I had posted Bad Moon Rising, as I always do, but I had then gone on to post the record that was #1 in the UK charts on my first birthday: Freda Payne’s glorious Band of Gold.

I announced that every year, I would feature the record that had been #1 on my birthday fifty years earlier, to see how long my run of good luck continued. (And I promised that, as I’d nicked the idea from him, I’d buy Martin from New Amusements a pint at the Martin Rossiter gig which has been rescheduled Lord knows how many times and now actually looks like it might happen – offer still stands, Martin!)

And then I went and forgot to continue the theme this year.

So, here it is, a week late (but it was still #1 then, I think). Here’s what wiki has to say about it:

“…a popular single by The Tams. Written by Ray Whitley, it was originally released in 1964 and…later became a favourite on the Northern soul scene in the UK, belatedly reaching number one on the UK Singles Chart for three weeks in September 1971.”

The Tams – Hey Girl Don’t Bother Me

Pretty happy with that, as it goes.

More soon.

Fighting on the Forecourt

There are two things (some) British men like to do: queue and fight.

Luckily, some have been able to combine the two recently, resorting to fisticuffs as a way to pass the time in a queue for fuel:

That clip come courtesy of The Telegraph, and you will note that there is no attempt to explain why people are queuing for ages to try and fill their cars up.

But we all know why it is, don’t we, dear reader? Yes, sure some of it is down to Covid, but the bigger reason is the thing the news outlets dare not speak of: Brexit.

I mean, even I haven’t bother mentioning it for ages, because it’s turning out to be exactly the kind of shit-show many of us predicted back in 2016, only to be told our message was “Project Fear” and that leaving the EU would bring nothing but “sunlit uplands”.

Who could have anticipated that when we told all of the EU workers – HGV drivers, fruit pickers, nursing assistants – that they were no longer welcome here, that they would take us at our word and disappear back to wherever they had come from.

The problem is that they were a relatively cheap source of labour, and one of the things that many English people don’t like doing is working for not much money.

The Government know this, but won’t admit it, hence them offering temporary visa schemes to EU workers to come back and help us out up until Christmas, get paid less than they do back home, in worse conditions, at which point, on Christmas Eve, they can just ruddy well sod off again, thanks very much.

Funnily enough, they’re not exactly tripping over themselves to accept that offer.

And hence them making obtaining an HGV licence quicker and easier, which sounds like a thoroughly good idea, doesn’t it? “Passed your over-simplified HGV test have we, old chap? Here’s the keys to an articulated lorry, off you pop to pick up some diesel, and try not to crash into and kill anybody, will you, there’s a good chap.”

I cannot think of a more appropriate record to post this morning:

That Petrol Emotion – Big Decision

There has been some entertaining news this week: Brexiteer Tim Martin – who, lest we forget, stopped all pay for Wetherspoons’ staff immediately after the lockdown started, telling his employees to “try their luck at Tesco” – announced the pub chain’s biggest ever loss of £157 million. Couldn’t happen to a nicer guy, eh?

More soon. Once I get out of this queue. (This is the queue for pasties, right?)