Lucky Col
Dance as though nobody's watching, love like it's never going to hurt

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Christmas REALLY is coming !

When do you know Christmas is REALLY coming ?

Hearing the first Christmas song while shopping in town, usually around August ? No.

Christmas lights getting turned on in town, towards the end of October ? No.

The opening of the first advent calendar window, now traditionally remastered to include chocolate and extended to New Year ? No, no and indeed No.

Christmas is REALLY coming when the Christmas edition of the Radio Times appears.

Among the recommendations for Christmas specials, the same films as last year, the strongman competitions (filmed in the summer as if to rub in the cold weather) and the soap story lines (Pauline dies ! Happy Christmas !), are the lists of new exciting programs coming up in the new year. Among them are these gems:

Snap Out Of IT - Half a dozen people with varying imaginary medical conditions are invited to stay in a house together, lectured at by an amateur psychologist and invited to 'Snap Out Of It'. Of course, following the success of the first series, you can always have 'Celebrity Snap Out Of It', 'Pet Snap Out Of It' and 'Car Snap Out of It'.

It's Your Fault Your Kids Are So Badly Behaved - A woman who looks remarkably masculine is invited into homes of parents who want her to beat three bells of s**t out of their out-of-control rabble. Look in awe as every week it turns out you can't feed children a diet of e-numbers, fast food & polonium-210, while letting them sleep fully dressed when they collapse in front of the play-station at four in the morning, and then expect them to live healthy, productive lives until they're 95. Who'd have thought ?

Either Buy It Or Don't - People who shouldn't really be allowed out of their rented accommodation are shown round various houses by estate agents and have to decide to 'Either Buy It Or Don't'. A bit like real life but with a camera crew, a posh woman and my dad.

Big Fat American Man Cartoon - Matt Groening shakes hand with an aspiring cartoonist. Two weeks later, the next new 'Simpsons' cartoon appears on SKY with Matt Groening as Executive Producer. Strangely and not-predictably-at-all, it's s***e.

FFSDIY - Lazy interior decorators decorate houses for even lazier DIYers. TV presenters who've lost the ability to wash, shave and iron their clothes are invited to put nails in walls for the occupants to hang their ASBO letters.

Your Friends Think Your Ugly - A make-over show for the munters we all know. Partners are invited to introduce their better looking, trendily dressed, cosmetically enhanced significant others full in the knowledge they'll get dropped like a stone when the first admiring glance comes their way. Or 'Your Neighbours Think your Ugly', 'Your Colleagues Think Your Ugly' or even 'Your Pets Think Your Ugly'.

Generic American Cop - A series about an American cop who, despite proving his credentials by stopping terrorists blowing up a train / ship / big building in the first series, saving the life of the president and then saving the world last time out, is still prime suspect in every crime committed within a three hundred mile radius. Not only that, but after battling alcoholism, gambling & a reliance to pain-killers, he now has to contend with his QVC addiction, while trying to save his fourth marriage and all the time searching for his kidnapped daughter.

Unfunny sitcom - At prime-time, the BBC introduce the next big comedy featuring a failed stand-up who, for some never explained reason, shares a house with a female friend with a strong regional accent. Their best friend is a bit wacky and all three are completely removed from any connection to reality. Either watch it now, or catch it on UK Gold in three months. Laugh as all three sign on when the second series fails to be commissioned.

Lost UK - A Midland Mainline train is stranded just outside Luton. Will all the passengers survive ? Will anyone send out a search party ? Is there a mysterious reason why all the people are on the same train ? What are the contents of the secret compartment beyond the first carriage ? What is that strange smell ? All will be revealed in the dramatic cliff-hanger episode. OK, nothing will be revealed in the dramatic cliff-hanger episode, but that won't stop SKY banging on about it.

Best comedy program of the year - The BBC do not publicise the latest comedy involving Armando Iannucci, put it on BBC 8 at 3am, and drop it after six episodes due to lack of viewers. It is quite easily the funniest program of the year, narrowly pushing 'Celebrity Your Friends Think Your Ugly Either Have Cosmetic Surgery Or Don't' into second place.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Originality vacuum

I'm sure other people have this problem as well. How do you keep your subject matter fresh & original ?

MacG solves this problem by portraiting himself in a different country every other week, while Paulie from NTaH writes posts that are intelecturally way over my head, so making any comparison impossible.

Me, I'm simply going to rehash a post from this time last year. To make it easier to spot the differences, I'll highlight them.

Just call it LuckyCol Gold.


Friday before Christmas and the bookies have closed the book on who will be the Christmas number 1. Leona, winner of the X-Factor 2006, was quoted at odds-on to knock Take That off the number one spot.

I've long campaigned for the removal of these talentless nobodies off British TV, but unfortunately, the growth in TV channels leaves a talent vacuum that must be filled from somewhere, and cheap morons from nowhere are as good an option as any.

I'm not against the principal of TV talent shows, it's a tried and trusted formula and very reminiscent of how the music industry finds talent behind closed doors.

It's just the row after row of lookalikes, wanabees and backing artists all of whom have been doing the rounds for years and it's their lifelong ambition to be a professional singer.

Here's a wake up call for you, if it's so much your ambition and you're sooooooo talented, then surely you would have made it by now.

Or maybe you aren't good enough.

Then there's the Big Brother contestants suddenly being classed as celebrities. As though wanting to be famous, and being prepared to do almost anything to be famous, automatically makes you a celebrity.


Them for doing it, us for still watching them.

Forest 1:3 Leyton Orient

It's simple really, away at Crewe we play the ball on the ground and pass the opposition off the park.

At home to Salisbury on Tuesday we hoof the ball forward and struggle to beat a non-league side.

On Saturday we completely by-pass the three midfielders (or however many were involved in this week's tactical experiment, I was there and couldn't tell you who was playing where half the time) leading to a game of 8 v 11.

Even against a poor, over-physical side like Orient, taking 3 or 4 players out of the equation is never going to reap rewards. It was also clear after 20 minutes that they were defending deep to nullify Tyson's pace and we were creating nothing.

Change your f***ing tactics if they're clearly not working, Calderwood you numpty.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Second best Christmas song ever

BBC 6 Music are currently having a debate over whether you can still have decent Christmas records.

Accepting that The Pogues & Kirsty MacColl made the perfect (and now horribly poignant) Christmas single, which song comes in second ?

As much as I dislike The Darkness, their effort a few years back was at least in the right spirit, unlike the 'look at me, its all in a good cause' remake of Band Aid.

Christmas Wrapping by The Waitresses always gets an indie type nod and you can't go wrong with a bit of John Lennon. Jona Lewie's Stop the Cavalry combines Christmas spirit and an anti-war message, so don't expect to hear that on Radio 1 any time this year.

I'm going to stick my neck out and make a bold statement.

As Christmas records go, this (for reasons I don't fully understand myself) will always be one of my favourites.....

Boys and toys

Evel Knievel is to sue Kanye West over his video for 'Touch the Sky' in which Kanye West plays a seventies stuntman prepared to jump the Grand Canyon on a rocket bike.

I would have thought that Mr Knievel, or just plain Evel to his friends, would have liked the publicity, introducing him to a whole new generation of Gangsta Rap fans.

Mr Knievel believes the video ....

.... tarnishes his image by its "vulgar, sexual" nature.

Mr Knievel spent most of the seventies trying to fly over big holes with a rocket propelled bike between his legs. Vulgar ? Sexual ? Psychologists, make of that what you will.

However, I support Mr Knievel (we've never met, so I can't call him Evel), but not for the video reason. I support him for the butchering of the Curtis Mayfield classic, Move on Up, used as a sample in the aforementioned track.

And for that, and that alone, Kanye West should be sued for every penny he's got.

Call Centre Monkeys # 1

I don't like call centres, but I doubt I'm alone there. The operators who live, work, breed and probably die in call centres have already abdicated any kind of independent thought and instead act like drones taking their every instruction from computers that they assume (and are probably correct in that assumption) are more intelligent than them. The bloke who had the idea for the film the Matrix where humans are reduced to the role of mere batteries, would have spent some time in a call centre.

Yesterday, we got a letter from our car insurance company nicely informing us that our car insurance was going to be cancelled seven days from the date of the letter, a mere three days after receipt. A quick call to clear up the confusion and the insurance is good to continue.

And then the hard bit ....

All I need is confirmation that the insurance won't indeed be cancelled, written assurance that I can use the car this weekend.

Nope. Can't do that.

Obviously, the call centre monkey can't write a simple note saying that policy number xyz123 won't be cancelled, can't put said note in an envelope and can't put said envelope into a post box / tray. He gave me his name, told me his operator id (so ?) and then told me the time (thanks !), which may have been different in Cardiff in his mind. Should I get into an accident over the weekend, I can quote his name, operator ID and time of call to confirm our confirmation.

Not being a sceptical type (yeah, right!), I don't trust insurance companies as far as I can, well, nothing. I don't trust them full stop.

If I go into Ladbrokes of a weekend, I know that if my horse comes up, they'll pay out.

If I buy an idiot tax ticket and three numbers come up, I know I'll get a tenner back.

If I pay for insurance and the event I've insured against happens, I know that any insurance company will lie, cheat, procrastinate, lie some more, bargain, be deliberately useless (by using call centres, obviously), lie again and try any means possible to avoid paying out.

They don't exist for the benefit of their paying customers, they exist purely for the benefit of their share-holders. While the same holds true for ALL listed companies, at least most will have the intelligence that offering some kind of customer service will increase the payouts to the investors.

Unfortunately, insurance companies don't fall into this category.

Stop bookmakers advertising on football shirts. No. Stop insurance companies ? Every time.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Try this ....

You're just getting on the bus, or struggling through the door with your shopping, when your mobile rings. Not the normal ring you instantly recognise as your significant other, but the general ring saying that person unknown is trying to reach you. You put all your belongings on the floor, frantically searching for your phone in your 21 pockets, before finally pulling it out just as the phone rings off. You don't recognise the number, apart from remembering the same number popping up last week.

And the week before that, come to think of it .....

But the next time, you're quick, you answer it and there's a human voice at the other end of the line:

Hello, how are you today ? Am I speaking to ******* ******* ?

Now, normally, you would politely advise the caller that you don't have the time and you're not interested. You might even remember filling in your details on-line to stop getting these type of calls, but this has obviously not worked. Either that or you've forgotten to tick the box on one of the many forms completed in the last few months. Usually, without any further conversation, you would say "Bye" and hang up.

Job done ?

No !

Within 2 weeks, you get a similar call from a slightly different number with exactly the same script.

Hello, how are you today ? Am I speaking to ******* ******* ?

Blah blah blah.

Next time, try this tack. It does take slightly longer, but since I went down this road, I've not had a single return call. Sometimes you have to invest a bit of time in order to save time later on. The following is an exact transcript of a phone conversation I had with one of these mobile phone monkeys a few weeks back .....

Company: Hello, how are you today ? Am I speaking to ******** ******** ?

Me: Yes you are, and to whom am I speaking ? (Straight off the script)

Sorry ?

To whom am I speaking ?

(Gives name quickly, but then straight back on track) I am calling today because you are very lucky, you ......

(Interrupting) How lucky am I ?

Sorry ?

You said I was very lucky


Well, is that extremely lucky, or just mildly fortunate ?

Oh, extremely lucky, any way ....(back to script) you have been chosen ....

So just to confirm, then, I'm extremely lucky, yes ?

Oh yes, extremely lucky (chuckles), you have been chosen to receive a fantastic new mobile telephone contract. Can I ask you how much you currently pay for your mobile phone ?


(Pause)........... Well ?

Well what ?

Can I ask you how much you currently pay for your mobile phone ?

Yes, you can ask.

How much is it then ?

Per month or per year ?

Per month ?

(As boldly as possible) Two hundred pounds a month.

Two hundred pounds a month ?

Yes. (again, as boldly as possible) Two hundred pounds a month.

So I am right in saying that you are currently paying two hundred pounds a month for you mobile phone.


Can I ask you how many free minutes you get with that ?


(Another pause, but clearly learning)......... OK, how many free minutes do you get with that, please ?
(Again, as proudly as possible) None.

You don't get any free minutes with your mobile ?


Ok. With our contract you get ....

But I never call anybody.

Sorry ?

I never use the phone.

Ok. With our contract you get .....

I'm bed bound, what do I need a phone for ?

To call your friends & family.

I don't have any friends and my family all hate me.

Sorry ?

I don't have any friends and my family all hate me.

Ok. With our contract you get ......

You see, I weigh over 400lbs and I can't get out of bed.

Ok. With our contract .....(caller then starts 60 second spiel of how many minutes you get with their phone company, what type of phones you can choose from, the benefits of camera phones, monthly charges etc etc etc.)


Sorry ?


Sorry ?

I didn't catch that, I'm a bit hard of hearing. Can you repeat those details please, but a bit louder ?

OK .....(caller then repeats entire 60 second spiel of how many minutes you get with their phone company, what type of phones you can choose from, the benefits of camera phones, monthly charges etc etc etc exactly word for word.)

(Pause) Ok.

So what do you think ?

About what ?

About our phones ?

Why do I need a camera phone ?

To take pictures of all your family and friends.

But I've just told you, I weigh over 400lbs, I can't get out of bed, I don't have any friends and my family all hate me.


But you think I'm really lucky ?

Oh yes.

So just to confirm then, ....

Yes ....

I weigh over 400lbs, I can't get out of bed, I'm a bit deaf, I don't have any friends and my family all hate me. On top of that I'm clearly paying well over the odds for a mobile phone that I never use ?


But you think that I'm extremely lucky ?

(Pause) ..... (Click)

LuckyCol is 1

If LuckyCol were a real person, he'd be spending most of his time talking gibberish and staggering from one liquid meal to another.

mmmm ....

Monday, December 11, 2006

Harsh, but fair

From the BBC .....

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Never ...

Paulie tagged me with this, and as I'm someone who says yes to everything, I'll list the ten things that I WILL definately never do. (see what I did there ?!!)

I will never ...

... appreciate wine in the way I know it's supposed to be appreciated. "What does it taste like ?"; "It tastes like wine !"

... listen to jazz music. If I wanted to listen to 5 people who've never met and who can't play a note on instruments they've just been introduced to, I'll do it myself.

... go to Australia.

... play James Bond again. Everyone thinks they can do a Sean Connery impression, and that was mine.

... vote Tory, even if voting Labour is getting closer to this than I'd like.

... forget or forgive the racist, bullying tossers I used to work with at Diageo.

... forget how my new born children smelled.

... see what all the fuss is about the Scissor Sisters. Don't get me wrong, there's nothing intrinsically wrong with them, I just don't get what the big deal is. Likewise The Red Hot Chilli Peppers, Razorlight & Kasabian. And Radiohead's 'OK Computer', what's the deal with that ? Best album ever ? It's not even the best Radiohead album.

... be able to work out how canal locks work.

... knowingly let down a friend in need.