A Wicked Trick!

STOP, stop … please stop! I can’t take anymore … it’s THAT music … make it stop! It sends a shiver down my bony spine as it plays on and on. My eyes bulge as the opening title starts. I stare at her silhouette … incredibly sexy, calm and enticing whilst dancing in the flames. My eyes don’t shift from her as she invites me to come dance … I hesitantly refuse. I can’t move … I dare not move but I’m subtlety being drawn in to her world and that music still won’t stop!

Flamed lady

Too late … I’ve been sucked into her world! Things have taken a sinister turn for the worse and I have choices to make.

I see the Revolver spinning around but I don’t want this game of Russian Roulette to drag on and secretly I hope it will stop in my direction and … Bang! At least it will be over and done with and that music will stop. Typical of my luck, the Revolver keeps on spinning. I reach for it to take matters into my own hands but it’s just out of reach.

Next I’m faced with a Roulette Wheel. I’m not a gambler … my limited gambling experience is based on watching ‘Play Your Cards Right’ on TV, screaming ‘Higher’ and ‘Lower’ as Bruce flipped the cards over. Now I have a choice … Black or Red. I’m determined to put an end to the torturous music so I go for Black 13 … surely this must work! I fail to succeed again and I’m whisked off to view some Tarot cards. Surely the end must the near but the torture continues as the cards keep rotating!

I’m then whisked past a collection of Skulls and within a split second, the music stops … Phew!

Tarot card

All is calm. I’m not sure how I got here but I’m in a rather cosy living room heated by a roaring fire. I know the man relaxing in the armchair by the fire … one of my favourite authors … I loved ‘James and the Giant Peach’!

I’m safe … I’m not sure what happened before but it’s all done and dusted now and I’m actually relieved to still be alive.

I’m confused as the man in the armchair starts talking Mumbo Jumbo. Whilst this Mumbo Jumbo is in a dialect I can understand, it just does not make sense to me! He has a sly look of ‘I know something you don’t know’ on his face but I ignore him and warm myself up in front of the fire. The shiver down my spine slowly disappears as I get comfy in the serenity of this cosy room.

It’s not long before I’m being sucked into the flames of the roaring fire. My eyes bulge as the man in the armchair gets smaller in the distance. Then it starts again … that music. Her dancing silhouette … me not wanting to dance. I reach for the Revolver but it’s still just out of reach. The Roulette Wheel … ‘Black 13 … Black 13’ I scream but it just keeps spinning. The same loop … I still don’t want to dance … I stretch harder in order to reach the Revolver and fail again … ‘Damn it Black 13’! The loop continues …

I get a glimpse of the man in the armchair in the distance. I beg him to please stop the music. He looks at me, smiles, leans back in his armchair and slowly nods off!

Tales of the Unexpected - 1-04 - Lamb to the Slaughter - DVD2DivX.avi_snapshot_00.06_[2012.09.24_22.56.17]

https://youtu.be/Oc46Gk-6qrA Click to experience the torture

RIP Smash Hits

WHAT would 40p buy you in 1983? Well you could grab yourself a loaf of Mother’s Pride and still have 2p left. A Lyons Maid family brick ice cream would leave you with 8p at your disposal. If you were in your teenage years, living in a ruffled bedroom plastered with posters of moody looking pop stars, the chances were that you blew the lot on Smash Hits!

The fortnightly magazine was certainly a hit in the 80s. I managed to get hold of a March 1983 edition … a time when I was creeping up to my 13th birthday. This was a time when I had no disposable income but luckily my older brother came to the rescue. I would receive the secondhand copy of the magazine … usually with the posters ripped out!

The first thing that struck me whilst reviewing the magazine was the particular ‘look’ to many of the artists. Looking moody was cool, being in a group where collectively the hair colour made a complete rainbow was cool, and sporting a jacket with American Football style shoulder pads was cool! The black and white photos added to the cool factor and if an artist or group made it into a colour shot, they were untouchable.

Soft Cell

How did they get such perfect skin? Many of the musicians featured looked like they were getting ready for their O Level exams! It was a personal desire of mine to have clear skin in my teenage years. Sadly it just was not meant to be … I spent a huge amount of time at the doctors surgery which always resulted with me trudging out with a prescription for a Benzoyl Peroxide containing application (in fact Quinoderm became my middle name during my teenage years). Surely these artists didn’t wear make up? They didn’t need it … they were naturally cool and because of this they were instantly part of the CSS (Clear Skin Society).

So what about the artists? The Eurythmics championed the front cover, Soft Cell looked hard with a hint of innocence, and there was poster-sized photo of Kajagoogoo to plaster on your bedroom wall (it may have been a case of ‘one off, one on’ to accommodate).

Front cover

Lyrics for Bucks Fizz’ ‘Run for your life’, Bonnie Tyler’s ‘Total Eclipse of the Heart’ and Thin Lizzy’s ‘Cold Sweat’ all appeared in this issue, enabling readers to rehearse and perform whilst their bedrooms were momentarily transformed into a recording studio.

If you had enough dosh then HMV seemed like the place for more records, more tapes and more discounts. Spandau Ballet’s ‘True’ could be scooped up for £4.29 and you had a choice of Album or Cassette … decisions decisions.

hmv

I was totally intrigued by a section entitled ‘The Big Match’. No sign of 22 men kicking a football around here … this is about whom an artist would like to take on their perfect date. Limahl’s perfect date would be with Brooke Shields, Neil Arthur (Blancmange) was more into his landlady than a celebrity and as for Lynval (Fun Boy Three) … Tut Tut! ‘Anna Ford. It’s her eyes. She’s on TV-AM but I’m not interested in watching the news … just her. I really did miss her when she went off to have her baby. I’d like the chance to make her the first cup of coffee of the morning’. Lynval’s words not mine!

Musical Youth

After going through the magazine, I was struck by how well written it was. It was all about the music. I was surprised (pleasantly) that I didn’t have to fight my way past 30 pages of adverts for fashion accessories to get to the main articles.

RIP Smash Hits. I’m sure many of you will be smiling whilst thinking back to the posters on your walls, nipping into Woolies for your records and splashing out 40p every fortnight.

Well I’d better end this article now … I have lyrics to learn … ‘No fish today’ by Kid Creole and the Coconuts!

March 1983 Top 10:

  1. Total eclipse of the heart – Bonnie Tyler
  2. Sweet dreams (are made of this) – Eurythmics
  3. Billie Jean – Michael Jackson
  4.  Rock the boat – Forrest
  5.  Africa – Toto
  6. Na na hey hey kiss him goodbye – Bananarama
  7. Too shy – Kajagoogoo
  8. Love on your side – Thompson Twins
  9.  Speak like a child – Style Council
  10. Tommorow’s (just another day) / Madness (is all in the mind) –  Madness

Fun Boy 3gigs

And all because …

HE’S cool, he’s mysterious and he’s a handsome so and so. He’s athletic, he’s tall and he’s dark. The mysterious dark handsome one displays his athleticism by confidently diving into the sea from a great height. Once in the sea, he skilfully evades the danger of a lurking shark. He’s on a mission and there’s no time for Sharks Play until his mission is accomplished.

Arriving at his destination a tad wet but still looking handsome, he opens his briefcase and places a box of chocolates and his calling card by the bed. Mission accomplished … the Milk Tray man shows some nifty footwork as he exits his destination without a trace. Now that his mission is accomplished, it’s time for a little Sharks Play as he dives back into the sea to have a bit of fun with his toothy friend.

Milk Tray Man advert still

The mysterious one does all this just because the lady loves Milk Tray.

So who is ‘The Lady’? Hopefully not his wife … I can’t imagine it’s any fun having your husband sneak in, drop off a box of chocolates whilst leaving a trail of salty water on the floor, then sneaking out! Not Funny! On second thoughts that may sound quite appealing to some ladies.

Milk Tray Waterfall end

It’s more likely that he was known to women all over the world … they knew he was handsome, mysterious and knew how to keep a box of chocolates dry. Ladies would head into the shower (long and slow), hoping that when they’d returned to the bedroom, a box of Milk Tray and calling card would be sitting by the bed.

They would lie awake pondering, hoping they would meet him face to face … thoughts of exchanging wedding vows with the Milk Tray man.

Just a few wise words to the men reading … the Milk Tray man was cool … he had an aura of irresistibility and indestructability. He also knew what a lady loves. Men are always looking for new ways to charm the ladies (don’t deny it). ‘The old ways were the best’ I hear you say, but trust me on this one, do not get kitted up in black and try sneaking into a womans bedroom to leave her a box of chocolates! Just because it worked for the Milk Tray man it does not mean it will work for you … actually I’m 100% certain it won’t work! Try explaining to the police that you were innocently climbing through her bedroom window at 11pm to deliver a box of chocolates!

Well I’ve got to admire the Milk Tray Man. Just proves that actions do speak louder than words and there’s a real appeal to being a bit mysterious.

I’ve often wondered if he spoke with a lisp … whether he just had far too much time on his hands and the whole thing was a bit of a hobby. My jealously is seeping out onto this blog.

Milk Tray 1973 top

Well I would just like to thank you Milk Tray Man. Thanks for setting the benchmark in coolness, athleticism and handsomeness. Many of us men have tried to reach that benchmark but have never come close. We hang our heads in failure as we trudge off to drown our souls down the local. Many of us don’t want to set eyes on a box of Milk Tray ever again!

Thanks very much Milk Tray Man!

The MTM in action (click to follow)

You can’t beat a bit of Bully!

INNNN One … Wake up to a hot cuppa with this fantastic Teasmaid.

Innnn Two … Never have a cold sandwich again with this Sandwich Toaster.

Innnn Three … Wash days are never a chore with this automatic Washing Machine.

Innnn Four … Enjoy your favourite tunes in style … its a Midi Hifi system.

Innnn Five … Say Cheese … Capture every moment with this 35mm Camera.

Innnn Six … Dine like royalty with this Cutlery set

Innnn Seven … Flick through channels in your armchair with this 14-inch remote control colour TV.

Innnn Eight … Red or White? The choice is yours with these Wine glasses.

And Bully’s special prize … Let those dishes wash themselves with this automatic Dishwasher!’

Bullseye-New2011-1024x768

 

Those were the days … Sunday afternoons and tuning into Bullseye.

Jim Bowen … smartly dressed, sporting huge slightly tinted glasses and reeling off a number of one-liners that would make the contestants and audience chuckle.

The Contestants … Darts players, non Dart players, general knowledge geeks … many a tad on the shy side.

The Audience … quite a few OAP’s, obedient (not a heckler in sight), encouraging the contestants to risk it for Bully’s special prize.

Thirty pounds was not to be sniffed at back then … that’s how much a contestant got for getting a question right in the initial rounds. If the contestant didn’t progress to the next round, no worries … hopefully they would have won some cash … £120 … £175 or maybe just over £200. The cash for the contestants (who did not make it through to the latter rounds) would be counted up by Jim … it took Jim the entire commercial break to count the cash! Why? I really don’t get it! Maybe it gave them all a chance to take a comfort break or take a sneaky swig from a secretly hidden Hip-flask!

I’m not one to take risks. I like to weigh up my options, make a sensible decision and not worry about what others think. Now imagine you are a Bulleye contestant … you and your partner have just won 7 out of the possible 9 prizes on the prize board (it does not take a mathematical genius to understand that you’ve the won the majority of the prizes). When prompted by the sharply dressed host if you would gamble all your prizes for the Bullys star prize, what would you say? The audience will chant ‘Gamble’, but would you listen to them? I guess it depends on if you like the idea of owning a Boat! As for me I’m ignoring the chanting audience and legging it into the sunset with the 7 prizes (if my partner is in agreement of course). The thought of winning a boat would stress me out … Where would I keep it? How much is waterways tax? Can I get a buyer in place before they dump it off outside my house!

 

bullseye-speedboat

 

You really can’t beat a bit of Bully. I smile when I drift off into my own little world and think of those darts flying (sometimes wildly) towards the board. My smile broadens when I think about the prizes that were dished out. My broad smile then turns into a delightful chuckle as I imagine being transported back to Sunday afternoons 33 years ago. Thank you Jim. Thanks also to the wonderful contestants. My final word of thanks goes out the studio audience … collectively you had amazing powers of persuasion and … I’m sure Jim would describe you as the perfect audience.

Bullseye website (click to follow)

Splash it all over!

BRUT! He’s not subtle but abrupt. He’s direct. He’s the rude individual who’s just slapped you across the face and walked off with a swagger. You may try to ignore him … hoping he would disappear down the bathroom sink but this homme de France has staying power … He has his chest puffed out with the look of ‘I’m here to stay … get over it!’

Love him or hate him, men have been splashing him all over for decades. Henry Cooper, Barry Sheene and Kevin Keegan are some of the sports personalities who have championed Brut. Del Boy even wished he had an emergency Brut capsule to splash on when he spotted his ex in the local.

I’m a bit of a curious chap. I know curiosity ended the life of our four legged house pet but I’m still here to tell the tale. I noticed him on the top shelf in the supermarket. I looked at him with interest but he didn’t even acknowledge my look of curiosity. In fact he didn’t even look at me at all … he just stood at the summit in his green outer garment admiring himself … knowing he will be stinging someone’s cheeks sooner rather than later.

I didn’t hesitate … Why should I? He has a reputation and I needed to satisfy my curiosity!

After my close shave with a new blade, the time had come. My expectation prior to splashing him on was one of panic followed by loud screams … the scene of a disaster movie came to mind where someone is trapped in a house fire.  My head was screaming ‘Nooo’ but my heart was saying ‘Go on …do it … be a man!’ I looked into the bathroom mirror one last time and said a few words before finishing the sentence with ‘Amen’.

I braced myself before slapping him on to my closely shaven cheeks and neck … it stung but that’s what I expected. On a scale of 1 to 10, I was expecting a sting intensity of 10 … like being stung by a bunch of angry Bees. Instead the sting intensity level was more like 4! I glanced up at him and gave him a look of ‘you’re not as tough as you look’ as I slapped on a couple more handfuls.

I remember in the 70s when my brother slapped on the Brut we all knew about it … the abrupt green eyed homme de France flooded every corner of our rather large house with its aroma. Not quite the same now though … his lingering aroma was restricted to my face and bathroom.

He insisted that he should be first on the red carpet!
He insisted that he should be first on the red carpet!

So what’s the verdict? Well I finished off the abrupt one within a month … all what’s left of him is his empty glass shell which is heading to the recycle bin. My curiosity had been satisfied. Maybe back in 70s he may have been more feisty and would have taught me a severe lesson … but they do say we mellow as we get on in years.

Well my abrupt, arrogant friend is actually quite nice once you get to know him … don’t let the initial impressions cloud your judgement.  His twin brother nodded at me from the top shelf of the supermarket during the week … I smiled and nodded back … mutual respect. Respect the Brut!

Barry & Henry advert (click to view)