Sunday, 30 December 2007


Henry was very proud of his new watch. He hardly ever took it off, and when he did, he kept half an eye on it, from his bathtub, shower, or wherever. He didn't take it to away rugby matches because he couldn't concentrate on putting his knee on the opposing flanker's testicles in a ruck, thinking instead of a dishonest bastard half-inching his Rolex from the Away dressing room.

He made the mistake, however, of taking it on tour to Guernsey at Easter. His mate, captain of the team and scrum half, had a successful father who owned some sort of gin palace, modest but functional. The gin palace was duly motored across to the Channel Islands to provide cheap accommodation and totty pulling power for the duration of the tour. There were bunks for six, including a private double at the front (the bow?), which became the official shagging berth.
Henry pulled on Night One, a lovely balmy evening in late Spring. He got the islander well juiced up, winked at the lads to indicate that the Shagging Berth would be occupied for the next 15 mins, and went below (as they say).
After a few minutes of unrewarding foreplay, Doreen (for it was she) asked Henry to take his watch off, as the chunky strap was marking her back. Gentleman to the core, but briefly forgetting that his first love was his timepiece, Henry unclipped it, put it in his left hand, and reached out for the ledge beside the bunk, without missing a beat in his quest to locate Doreen's ribs with his tongue, via her throat.
The porthole was nine inches wide, barely wider than Henry's knuckles. Did he touch the sides (as it were), as he reached blindly to his left? He did not. Was the porthole open? You bet it was.
Henry opened his grip, and waited for the clunk of watch-on-ledge. Clunk came there none. Instead, a muffled splosh.
Doreen and Henry's lust was not consumated that evening. He sulked all the way through the tour, and cannot hear the name "Rolex" to this day without wincing.
Idle knows this story to be true. The Rolex pictured is - wait for it - a "Sea Dweller".

Wednesday, 26 December 2007

Considering a Name Change

Those employers can be most unsporting in the run-up to the winter pagan holiday.

This is a blue-arsed fly, according to google images. I know what he feels like.

If my seasonal drunkenness and irrascibility goes unpunished, I will post again in 2008 for the three loyal posters on this site.

More wealth, health, happiness and less imbuggerance to you all next year.

Friday, 16 November 2007

Planes, Trains, and Firearms.....


Idle planned to be far too busy to post this weekend, but if I tell you that I am marooned in the Executive Lounge at Heathrow Terminal One, you will begin to catch my drift.

It's a long story.

Last time I travelled with my shotgun in its splendid, burnished leather case, battered but beautiful, I was told that the lock was insufficient and that next time I should expect to have it refused entry to the plane. The cheek! Vintage guns come in vintage cases, c'est tout. But the jobsworth made it clear he was planning to obstruct me at the next opportunity.

So, this week, I planned ahead and googled for airline-friendly cases. Being of Aberdonian stock, and owning, as I have said, a burnished beauty of a case, etc, I opted for the *oh dear* bottom of the range. It appeared at my office yesterday, a limp-wristed and poofterish excuse of a shotgun carriage case, barely able to withstand the negligence of a trotskyite BAA baggage handler, let alone a determined Mozzie with evil plans for the denizens of Slough. And did it have any locks? Did it fuck.

Instead, there were holes through which padlocks could be attached. Three of them. So, rushing from lunch at the Savoy, I espied Mr Robt Dyas' emporium and summoned the manager. In broken English, he advised me on the quality of his padlock collection. A budget pack of four small-but-strongs were purchased.

Of course, I got back to the office and discovered they didn't quite fit. Furthermore, the hinges along the spine of the case were so easily jemmied as to be worthless.

So Idle, discovering this just as he was about to head to Heathrow, had to make a detour to the architectural ironmonger near Piccadilly Circus. Took me an age, heavily laden with guns and baggage. But reasonably strong chain-link was provided (£1.50 a metre), and the padlocks could be affixed, and a circumference of chain round the whole shebang, to boot.

Now the pressure was on. The Bakerloo got me to Paddington alright, but the Heathrow Express was expressly NOT express, if I make myself clear. In fact it was suffering"congestion", and my journey time was nearly doubled.

I sprinted, Alan Wells-like, from the train at Terminal One, cunningly leaving a small case holding my work papers on the train. I arrived at the check-in, sweating like the Chief Stoker of the Great Britain, and was offered seat 2F. But wait! Production of the shotgun caused much discombobulation. Magically, seat 2F disappeared, and the flight was "closed". Why? Because the trotskyite baggage handlers will not commit to less than an hour to walk a WW Greener 12 bore approx 300 yards to the plane, despite my having booked the gun onto the flight a week earlier.

Some fucker is sitting in 2F right now doing my crossword and drinking my BA bloody mary, and I hope he bloody well realises it.

Me? I'm booked onto the 1940 (expected 2020), and my whisky-drinking is taking place not on Deeside but in the Exec Lounge. The company is commercial folk, I believe. Thank god granny isn't alive to read this.

My papers? Not yet found by the Heathrow express guards, or cleaning staff. I have been advised by a nice skinhead on the desk at Terminal One to manage my expectations lower, as it were.

Have my Three Bad Things happened? Or was the loss of work papers a mere inconvenience, and I shall be prised out of a mangled fuselage somewhere in the Peak District tonight?

It's a bastard, the whole thing. Plus I exchanged short sentences with a plutocrat this afternoon and will have to pretend he was right and I was wrong when I see him next week. Oh, woe. Another whisky, please, Manuel, and is there an update on the delayed 1940 to Aberdeen?

Friday, 2 November 2007

Idle's Edwardian Manners, Part 2

When it became clear that the Second World War was going to take much time, treasure, and manpower, civil servants were dispatched from Whitehall and county councils to have a quiet word with the bigger landowners and stately homeowners, to address their staffing levels.

One such official made a visit to Chatsworth and spent a morning counting the number of gardeners, footmen, gamekeepers and chefs. Before lunch, he had an audience with the Duke.

"We thought" began the chap from the county council, "that you might be able to reduce the number of gamekeepers, Your Grace".

"Bother" said the Duke. "Oh, very well"

"And perhaps one less man in the kitchen garden" said the official.

"Has Birtwhistle said he could spare one? I suppose so, then"

"And one less pastry chef, we thought" said the public servant.

"Dammit all" said the Duke, "can't a chap have a biscuit?"

Monday, 29 October 2007


The finest book ever written about boxing imho was this, by the great George Plimpton, who has long been a hero of idle's combining as he does a love of literature, sport, journalism and the human condition. A supreme stylist and a great American man of letters, right up there with Alastair Cooke in terms of style and sagacity.

Plimpton knew Muhammad Ali, warts and all, and thought him exceptional. The Tuscan has a low opinion; perhaps he's seen When We Were Kings - if not, see it - but read this book and you might see Ali in a different light. Possibly the best book ever written about sport.

Friday, 26 October 2007

Caption Competition. Limericks even Better

Is that Maxwell in the background? Or Eugene? Any other song links?

Thursday, 25 October 2007

Old Lefties Still Foaming at the Mouth

Letter to the Torygraph from the usual suspects

Sir – Today a statue of David Lloyd George will be unveiled in Parliament Square. Lloyd George was Prime Minister between 1916 and 1922. During this period Britain used planes to bomb: Mashud, on India's border with Afghanistan; Dacca, Jalalabad and Kabul; Egypt; Enzeli in Iran; Trans-Jordan; and, of course, Iraq. Today these vicious policies continue unabated. [Blah blah yadda yadda]. All of which makes today's celebration of Lloyd George's legacy highly topical and disgraceful. Harold Pinter, John Pilger, Denis Halliday, London N1

Dontcha just love these pompous, sanctimonious, humourless twats? As I remember, 1916-22 was a slightly unsettled time for the world and our empire. Bombing by plane had just caught on as an offensive and defensive tactic. Gold medal winners in wrong-headedness almost all of the time, these fools. They have spent much of their lives revering Stalin and Castro and the other evil bastards who arrived at dictatorship from the left rather than the right. I think they wrote this letter simply to show off their triffic grasp of the early history of aerial bombing.

Dunno who Halliday is, so no dartboard picture of him. Maybe Johnny's pa. What we do know is that he is a fellow-traveller of The Pint and The Pilge.

Friday, 19 October 2007

Much better thing to have on a Trafalgar Square plinth...

..... than the pregnant thing with nae legs.

Good luck sassenachs. Better you than the Yarpies.

Monday, 15 October 2007

Idle's Edwardian Manners - First of a New Series

Scrobs is right - avoid a warm wine cup like the plague, unless you happen to be at Cliveden; a teetotal Lady Astor instructed her butler to arrange for a wine cup to be warmed up using a first growth, for the estate drinks at Christmas.

The butler refused and felt it his duty to offer his resignation immediately. "Of course you can't resign, Hargreaves", exclaimed Lady A, having recanted her suggestion, "if you go, I go".

Saturday, 6 October 2007

All Black Car Crash

Yes, it might have been the cheese-eating surrender monkeys that beat them, but even then, I couldn't hide my joy as the country that used to be a byword for robust good sense and modest courage got kicked into touch and onto the Sunday Air NZ flight from Heathrow.
Why and how did New Zealand become the PC, petty, coalition-of-the-willing-dodging, and utterly WET country (spineless, not damp), that it is in 2007?
Answers on a postcard, mostly from Auckland, no doubt.

Sunday, 30 September 2007

Aptly Named for Idle's Attempts at Handiwork

The junior Idle girl took this photograph in that most delightful of seaside towns, Portsmouth. Reminded me of the Tuscan's recent series "Names that won't Franchise Well". I'll be in Mittel Europ next week armed with my megapixel, on the lookout for promising shop names.

Sunday, 23 September 2007

Only the Luvvies will Miss Him

The monotonous old fart can now do his famous "stuck in a coffin" turn, which we have all so enjoyed ever since he started doing it in 1920, or whenever.

Was he as dull as Charlie Chaplin, though?

Wednesday, 12 September 2007

A Reunion Worth Waiting For

Mozart they ain't, E-K. But the clamour for tickets will be the same as if old Wolfgang himself were going to appear at the O2 to bang away at his harpsichord.

Idle has placed his order with his dodgy ticket man this morning and has been iPodding Kashmir and Ten Years Gone over hill and down dale whilst exercising the dog.

"Shall we roll it, Jimmy?" - "Nah, leave it, yeah"

Wednesday, 5 September 2007

Gold Envelope Time

The Idle Poetry Competition was held in August. Turnout was impressive, and a few personal bests were recorded. Old blog posts and comments should really just be allowed to die their natural death, but one or two people were quite chuffed with their entries and wanted to know the results. Here they are; remember that the third and fourth line rhymes were camouflaged and you have to guess what they would have been.

The Mermaid and Newmania had a sparring match during which the Merm said of Nick Drew: "Not all of us fagged for Stephen Fry you know". Newmania responded:

The little fags were in a pickle
They wriggled in their sweaty bunk
Drew gave the prefects nuts a polish
Hoping for a splash of cologne

The Mermaid's first attempt set the standard for the rest.

'Twas Monday and it was my luck
To find that I was late for work
I really couldn't give a cake
Because my boss is quite a pill.

But sorrow soon became my lot
When on my desk I spied a host
Of papers, so I lost the will
Completely, and gave up the drugs.

But the GOLD goes to Nick Drew, for this masterly poem of Gay Gordo, just in time for conference season:

At party conference in September
Gordon Brown his fate confronts
He must contain his throbbing brain
As he recalls some famous predecessors

He thinks of Blair who wooed the bankers
Of Kinnock and his way with words
Of Foot and Benn and such great men
From whom poured forth such steaming prose

The party faithful sing of succour
For members of the working class
The song was writ by some bright wit
Who knew not elbow from his thigh

But haunting Brown’s the thought of loss
A snap election might fortell
Let him lose sleep, the brooding creep
And may he after rest in Kircaldy

Tuesday, 4 September 2007

Simulated Nuclear Explosion

The Mermaid's comments have moved on to setting things on fire by mistake.

I have been attending an annual weekend in North Wales for the past twenty two years during which a few game birds get frightened and the magpie and jay population gets culled. Because a few us us are scorpions, it always falls on the first weekend in November.

So obviously, there must be fireworks. And obviously, we behave foolishly, since our little darlings are banned from the weekend. Apart from the usual mortars and big rockets, we all have to launch those mini rockets from the hand after they have ignited. You get about half a second to do this successfully. Used to freak the wives and girlfriends out, now they ignore us.

What gets their attention and gets us a very stern talking-to is the simulated nuclear explosion. This really ought to be a doddle, but we never seem to get it right. An oil drum, with the correct mixture of petrol and diesel, once ignited by a thunderflash (which sinks to the bottom before going off), should propel the whole lot into the air when the petrol ignites and can only go up; the diesel, taking longer to ignite, and being heavy, should cause a mushroom effect and provide us with the nuclear explosion simulation.

One year we really buggered it up, used far too much diesel, and barely propelled the mixture out of the drum. But it did start igniting, quite slowly, as it drifted DOWNHILL off the 45-degree hillside on which the cottage is built.

How we laughed, until it bounced off one end of the roof of the next cottage down the hill. How we sighed with relief, when it appeared to have burned itself out without setting Myfanwy's house on fire, until we noticed that a telegraph pole slightly upwind and uphill from the drum was burning. How we got the girls back onside, I do not know.

Lesson learned.

Still do it, of course, just re-located ground zero.

Monday, 3 September 2007

Room in the Back for One More

Radio 5 Live had this on the news this afternoon, probably from the wonderful Theo Spark.

I love the quote from Siphiwo Mkhize, supposedly a customer of a Soweto pub: "Going shebeen (bar) hopping with a corpse takes the cake."

Tuesday, 28 August 2007

My Fellow 'Merkins

H/T Ben Brogan

Jonathan Yeo got a commission from the White House to do the Prez. The commission was then withdrawn. Yeo went ahead anyway, a cut 'n paste job from top-shelf publications. Check the detail, probably better by going to the Brogan blog and following links to the gallery. Click "news" and enlarge if you can. The right ear and left temple make themselves clear, but further inspection might reward the forensic mind. He's good, Yeo.

The Tuscan after a Crash Diet and a visit to the Barber

The Hitch is almost certainly beyond help, but the relatively modest forestation suffered by the Tuscan snake-oil salesman has been attended to.

His recent abstinence from all solids and liquids of unhealthy nature has clearly paid dividends as well.

This is Tony, snapped by a passer-by in Lucca. Benvolio, the barber and part-time goat-shearer, has just finished his handiwork; the Tuscan clearly approves, but has got his tackle caught in the machinery that makes the barbers' chair go up and down.

Sadly the passer-by was unable to record how this bio-mechanical conundrum was solved. Lubricant and that piccy of Cherie on the beach probably did the trick.

Monday, 20 August 2007

Smutty Limericks

Lear, Edward 1812-1888

Tired and emotional after the long retreat from the North West coast of Scotland, I am unable to concentrate fully on the prizegiving for the previous competition, so let's start a new one in the meantime, suggested by True Blue. I bet Edward Lear had some absolutely foul creations that he saved for his mates in the club or pub. I hope we can do him justice with a few really dodgy ones.

I passed Pitlochry at about 11am this morning; the following sprang to mind (best read in a Scots accent):

There was a young girl from Pitlochry
Who made love to a man in a rockery.
She said "You have come
All over my bum -
That's no' a fuck, that's a mockery

Wednesday, 8 August 2007

Poetry Competition

The poem below is the best example of the style of poetry where the third and fourth lines finish with words that do not respect the rhyme scheme of the first two of each verse, and you have to guess the 'real' word that would have rhymed. This "As I was Walking by St Paul's..." style was much practised by schoolboys at my prep school, often with the approval of the English teacher. This was first published in the New Statesman, of all places, in its weekly poetry comp many years ago. Basil Ransome now calls himself Basil Ransome-Davies and wins prizes in the Speccie comps at least once a month, it seems.

Idle is now departing for his low-carbon-footprint, high-cordite-footprint holiday in the highlands. I hope one or two visitors (more!) might try their hand at one of these poems in my absence. The best effort, if worthy, wins a prize.

I dreamed I dwelt in marble halls
Of ample airs and sumptuous tinge,
While odalisques caressed my cheeks,
Each with a moist and willing palm

I dreamed I sauntered on the front
At Cannes, where I had moored my yacht.
The movie stars! The lavish cars!
The fine display of Gallic charm!

I dreamed I discoed at the Ritz -
The evening warm, the music cool -
And gorgeous girls who tossed their curls
Admired my sleek and well-hung clothes.

But then I woke, and cursed my luck;
My heart relapsed, my spirits sank.
No yacht in France, no girls, no dance -
No option but to have a doze.

Basil Ransome

Monday, 6 August 2007

Lee Hazlewood, R I P

I discovered him late, but thanks to the elder even-more-idle sibling, I got there early enough to see Lee perform the last two concerts he did in London.

Any fule kno he wrote "These Boots.." for Nancy Sinatra and made her a superstar. But he was a big influence on loads of others as well.

Newcomers might as well buy the anthology, (obviously) called These Boots Are Made For Walkin'

My favourite album was a really quirky concept album called Trouble is a Lonesome Town, where he introduced all the tracks with droll monologues about the characters in this fantasy western town. Fantastic, if you like a voice as thick as molasses which starts from somewhere near his boots. An iconoclast. An idle favourite, now freed from the life that often seemed to hang quite heavy on his shoulders.

Sunday, 5 August 2007

Lagopus Lagopus Hibernicus........

..... available from all good highland sporting estates from Aug 13 2007. idle transmission will be unreliable until later this month. Happy holidays, troops.

From one festival to another

I can't tell you how perfect Goodwood was on Saturday; not a cloud in the sky, totty looking quite superb, except the typing pool bunch, arriving by stretch limo and GFI; good racing, allowing idle (for once this week) to get out of the course with his shirt still intact; a picnic of divine proportions; back to a friendly plutocrat's for swimming and boozing and a light supper and a marathon beat the intro sesh, which has put me in the right frame of mind for Belladrum 2007, the Glastonbury of the North, where thousands of sozzled highlanders prove that the CD and MP3 is not a technology unknown north of Perth, and radio reception still good enough to keep up with the popular tunes of the day.
Swathed not in tartan, but in sassenach youth culture clothing of the 1960s-00s, we will do everything from grooving to pogoing to a wide selection of beat combos, regretting only that the Tennessee 3 have had to cancel because of the singer's illness. A Cash tribute band called Ring of Fire has taken their place, so Fans in Black will not be completely destitute. The picture above shows you that this is no ordinary site for a festival. Midges are rare.
Upon a successful outcome - that the body has withstood the assault of alcohol and sleep deprivation, the idle persecution of lagopus lagopus hibernicus can start.

Friday, 3 August 2007

One For Expatriate Sussex Folk

This is the reason for the absence of posts this week. A five-day marathon which requires Olympian fortitude. A luscious tottyfest. A wild carouse. A blog-free zone. An Idle spritual home.

Monday, 30 July 2007

Backbone of the Empire

Telegraph Letters, today:

Sir - There is a headstone in the churchyard in Moshi, on the slopes of Kilimanjaro, with the following inscription: "Here lies Col. Gilman. He led a commonsense and therefore happy life. He refused to be bamboozled by female relations or the spiritual and secular rulers of this world, into which he was born without his consent." Thomas Jorgensen, Cambridge

I doubt he was the life and soul of the party, but the Colonel has my respect.

Wounded Soldiers v Nimbyism

You may be aware of the disgraceful behavior of some of the residents near the Army Rehabilitation Centre at Headley Court. SSAFA is attempting to provide a house for the visiting families of soldiers who are are being treated, and have run into substantial opposition from residents who are objecting on various selfish and spurious grounds.

Headley Court is the ONLY rehabilitation centre we have - why isn't there one in the North, to make it easier for families from Scotland and the North of England to visit badly injured relatives? - and it has been around for 60 years. Most residents stay months, some of them several years.

The letters of complaint have been sadly predictable: 'additional noise'; 'huge amount of additional traffic'. The families 'would not be welcome', they said, and their arrival could 'destroy the character' of the area.

What a bunch of abject wankers!

Tomorrow is D-Day on the planning appeal. More voices of support for SSAFA are needed, so please take a second to sign the petition to the Prime Minister , which is running in the tens of thousands. There is a campaign website as well.

Please do the necessary, chaps, and pass it on.

Sunday, 29 July 2007

For the Love of Dog

Might as well start this blog as I mean to go on, so here is a picture of a brave and noble individual. Let's call him the Idle Dog. I have occasionally been less than kind about other people's dogs; toy dogs, in particular, get short shrift in this household. Cats likewise, but I understand that some people, otherwise quite sane and reliable, go completely to pieces when cats are involved and seem to think that they have some use, when I know that they (cats) view homo sapiens with contempt and defecate in kitchens.

You may say that this post is barely worthy of comment, and you'd be right. I just wanted to see if I could master the method of posting something on my own blog. If you want to say that labradors are a bit thick - well, I already know that.