You Cannot Be Siri!

I think I must be channelling the spirit of Ronnie Corbett: I keep wanting to make corny jokes.  Incidentally I was very touched by the image of four large candles standing solemnly on the altar at his funeral last year:

RC was much loved, perhaps more so than Barker of that ilk who, though more talented, could be a tad pompous.  It was crystal clear to anyone watching Ronnie C in the BBC armchair in his trademark sweater and lacking only a cup of cocoa to resemble a parent going to bed (my parents drank Bournvita which I found disgusting, though I used it once mixed with water to paint my face) that he did not take himself remotely seriously.

But I digress – which, now that I think about it, is further proof that I am channelling the little Ron, since his whole routine was nothing more than a long digression followed by a short punchline.  Lots of foreplay, you might say.  Anyway, somebody on Facebook suggested that I should tap Siri on my i-phone and say ‘I see a little silhouetto of a man’.  I didn’t even know who or what Siri was (I guess it’s a sort of speaking Google) but I did so and it spoke the lyrics of Bo Rap, as Queen fans call it, in a gravelly electronic voice.  Which was amusing.  And which brings me to today’s joke:

What did John McEnroe say to Harry Potter’s grandfather?

You cannot be Sirius!

Kirk out


No Ronnies at All…

I’ve just caught the news that the one remaining Ronnie, Corbett of that ilk, has died aged 85.  He reminded me of my Dad a little, in that they were both short (though my Dad was not quite as short as Ronnie), both dark-haired and both with a self-deprecating demeanour.  I liked Ronnie Corbett a lot – in fact he was pretty impossible to dislike – and admired his ability to spin out a bad joke into a good monologue by the incessant use of asides.  I shall miss him: it was only the other day that I posted the video of his brilliant ‘Orange’ sketch which he executed quite as well as anything he’d done earlier in life.

Here’s a quick BBC tribute in the form of a whistle-stop tour of his career.  Prepare for more tributes, plus a repeat of 25 years of The Two Ronnies…

Kirk out

Two Ronnies, Four Candles, One Ronnie and an Orange

When your sword fails, you draw your dagger – and so it is, friends, that I find myself here instead of writing my short stories because for some reason my document has frozen.  This reminds me of a most brilliant sketch, the best thing I’ve seen since the Two Ronnies’ ‘Four Candles’ and clearly a modern hommage to it, which was this:

It’s brilliantly written, so if you haven’t yet watched, take a look.  I think it’s easily as good as the classic hardware shop sketch.

Hang on, let’s see if my document’s still frozen or if it’s thawed a bit.  Nope, seems to be a problem with open office.  Back to Word then…

It’s been a day for problems.  This morning I heard a disturbing trickling sound: at first I thought it was just the bath emptying but then I realised that water was coming from the base of a cupboard.  Weird.  It was also trickling through the ceiling.  Something was clearly wrong: I went upstairs to find Mark mopping the bathroom floor with a succession of towels.  It seems that the automatic plug thingy, which had stopped working a while back, had come unscrewed from its moorings.  It appears that this device performed an essential job in draining the bath and was now not performing it, due to lying on its side on the floor.  I got the side of the bath off and tried to screw it in again: however the assembly is broken (which is why it stopped working in the first place) and so I shall have to get a new one.  In the meantime the bath is out of bounds so if you were thinking of coming round to have a soak, you’re out of luck.

Sometimes it seems there’s a theme to your day.  I’m not sure how an overflowing bath, a broken plug and a frozen document all add up but I’m working on it.  Can’t do a thing with the document. Hey, do you remember a time when women supposedly used to say ‘I’ve just washed my hair and I can’t do a thing with it?  What were they were expecting to do with it, I ask myself.  Perhaps my hair can sort out the frozen document and the broken bath plug?

Nope, for the latter I think I’m going to have to go to the hardware store.  I wonder if they sell fork handles?

Kirk out

Have You Been Speaking Poetry All Your Life?

Maybe it’s because I’m a Londoner… I don’t know.  It could be because I’m a Londoner – but I really, really like Cockney rhyming slang.  Cockney rhyming slang is one of my favourite kinds of slang: it’s poetic, it’s inventive, it’s creative – and it makes you think about rhyme.  Everyone knows the common forms, such as ‘plates of meat’ and ‘apples and pears’; but the beauty of Cockney rhyming slang is that it isn’t just traditional; it’s evolving.  People make up new forms of rhyming slang all the time.  For example, how many of these do you know?

a Cadbury’s

an Irish

a butcher’s

the frog

pen and ink

skin and blister


tea leaf


Let me know…

One of the rudest – ‘the Barclay’s’ (think about it) was frequently used by Kenneth Williams in his rather sad and lonely diary entries: but my all-time favourite piece of Cockney rhyming slang comes from the 80’s TV series ‘Minder’.

Starring George Cole and Dennis Waterman, it featured a dodgy ‘businessman’ and his minder; and one week George Cole complained that his ‘Chalfonts’ were killing him.  No-one outside London would have a hope of understanding this, and it even took me a while.  You have to work out that there are two villages to the North of London called Chalfont St Peter’s and Chalfont St Giles; then to reflect that not much rhymes with ‘Peter’s’, and then to figure out that the most likely rhyme for Giles is ‘piles’.


Language is constantly evolving; and that is one of its most exciting features.  Spellings such as ‘alright’, once considered anathema, are now the norm – and why?  Because everyone uses them.  Everyone except pedants like me, that is.  I don’t mind spellings such as ‘alright’ because there are many other examples of similar contractions and anomalies in English spelling; however what I don’t like is usage so lazy that it conveys an attitude of ‘I don’t give a toss’ – such as the phrase ‘my bad.’

Have I mentioned this before?  I think I may have… anyway, here’s a poem about it:

For Your Good

The incompleteness of the sent-

it sends me into shudders

though realising what you meant

it lacks grammatic rudders

so as you blunder into shot

so I must thunder: My bad what?

what is it that is so ungood?

Bad leg?  Bad arm?  Bad winter?

A mouldy apple?  Rotten wood?

Bad finger after splinter?

It sounds as awful as it looks

– I’ve written you in my bad books.

What’s wrong with saying ‘my mistake’?

… and so on.  It’s a very satisfying rant to perform.

Kirk out

PS and thanks to John for this link: