Friday, 27 September 2013

Bloody Mary? Extra Worcestershire sauce please.

Teeny Tiny McBloggington today, thought I'd give you a little thing to play with over the weekend.

Spurred on by the news reports of outrage over ASDA (Walmart) selling blood stained straightjackets and rubber meat cleavers as 'Mental Patient' Halloween costumes,   I had a bit of a Samhain themed tiptoe through the bowels of the Internet, and came up with someone explaining this jewel.

Now, I don't know if any of you have ever done this, but it was in all of the 'Interesting things for Good Children to do' books that I had as a child (You'll know the ones if you are 'of an age' - They have pen illustrations of young boys wearing shorts with brylcreme'd hair and little blonde girls with gingham dresses and all the Policemen drove Morris six's and still had whistles.) - It goes a little something like this

You will need:

A darkened room: (Like, proper dark, not curtains shut and Jeremy Kyle muted, but night-time dark, curtains closed)
A dressing table or similar sized mirror: This must be solid and stable enough not to move or fall over on its own (Because if it does, halfway through this experiment, you will poop yourself)
A candle: Preferably an inch wide 'natural coloured' candle, that has a good hour of burn left in it (See spluttering out and pooping as above).

At this point many of you will be going 'Oh, right, that old chestnut, Blah Blah Blah.. Kid's stuff.' or something in that vein, but bear with me and actually give it a try, if you've done it in the past and nothing's happened, your room's probably been too light or you haven't given it long enough.

Sit, comfortably (and that's really important) directly in front of the mirror, so that your face is right in the middle and there is a space about the same width as your face between the edge of your face and the frame of the mirror, same sort of space above your head too, but that's not as important.

Light the candle and put it out of your direct eyeline, behind you so that your face is only lit from its light being reflected in the mirror.  It needs to light your face AND be bright enough to just about light the wall behind you - This is the most difficult bit, you should be just about able to see the pattern on the wallpaper, but not be able to make out what it is. (You can trim the wick to reduce the amount of light)

Stare into your own eyes and wait - Please note, at no point have I said stare without blinking like a cocaine-addled alligator swimming in espresso, it's important that you relax and have a fairly blank expression.  But keep looking.

It could take a while. could be anywhere between two and fifteen minutes, but persevere.

Did your face start to melt? Did you age or grow younger? Did you see a relative, alive or dead? An animal perhaps a cat or a pig?

Well, be glad you're an informed citizen of the 21st. century - A few hundred years ago that would have had people screaming 'Witch' before having a tuberculotic coughing fit, falling over and setting their hovel on fire with the upended candle.

It's actually all to do with the way that your brain is connected to your eyes.  You remember that bit in Jurassic Park where Sam Neill tells the annoying kid not to move because the T-Rex's vision was based on movement?  Well, ours is too, kinda, because we were built to be hunters originally and hunters need to react quickly to catch prey, and prey animals have this nasty habit of buggering off sharpish in random directions at a moments notice.

When you concentrate on something visual, a little switch gets flipped in your lizard brain that says 'Okey-Dokey, monkey brain up there is concentrating on something, switch to super-secret-movement-o-vision.'

Stare at something that doesn't move now, doesn't matter what, notice how everything around what your looking at starts to blur and fade?  Well, that's your brain saying, 'None of these things are moving or brightly lit, so they must be not that important. let's forget about them until one of them turns out to be a rabbit or a giraffe.'

Couple that with your brain's insatiable need to see faces in everything, clouds, plants and horrible French wallpaper for instance, and you have the situation where you're staring into the eyes of a dimly lit face in the mirror, your brain 'forgets about' everything except the eyes, then realises that it might well be looking at some kind of face, but it's forgotten the details so, it sort of, makes them up.

An Italian psychologist called Giovanni Caputo did a series of experiments with this a few years ago, out of his 50 subjects, 66% saw their faces melt (or similar) 18% saw one of their own parents faces, 28% saw a face that they didn't recognise and a staggering 48% saw mythical or horrific creatures.

Which just goes to show that your brain's a bit of a dick about stuff like that, quite a lot of the time.

Give it a go, if nothing else, it'll pass some time whilst you're waiting for X-Factor to finish so that you can go back to watching the TV.


I leave you with a not completely disassociated optical illusion.  It's called the Troxeler effect - Stare at the cross in the middle for twenty or seconds - and watch my little pink balls disappear...

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

There ain't no use flappin' your wings...

Charity, in and of itself is a great thing, people who 'have' give freely to those who 'have not'.

It's kind of like Robin Hood without the... Erm... Robbing, or the Hood, or the being peppered with arrows.

And you know, I, personally, have given the occasional grubby pound coin to pretty female students wandering around the town centre shaking their collecting boxes at me whilst they try to do something that their friends will consider worthwhile in their gap-year.

It was one of these ladies who introduced me to 'kitten boxing' Which sounds super-cute right? little fluffy kittens doing that thing with their paws which makes it look like they're boxing... Well, it's not that at all, it's all to do with people who go from town to town scanning the free papers for 'Free to a good home' kittens, 'adopting' a few then duct-taping them to their fists and beating the crap out of each other with them whilst videoing it on their stolen iPhones... Horrific, right?

I genuinely think so too, so can anyone explain to me why, during the entire time that she was describing it to me, I was actually putting my hand over my mouth to stop myself from bursting out into fits of laughter - Maybe I just couldn't get the cute kitten image out of my head, which mixed with her pretty graphic description, and her white-girl dreadlocks, short-circuited my brain.

Actually, it's probably because I'm a bad person.  Yeah, that's probably it, thinking about it, all things considered.

I even watch Children in Need, every year, without fail.  I mean, I turn over when someone says 'And here's a report from Lenny Henry' (Or whichever current star is thinking that their popularity might be fading slightly and has gone to Namibia to stay in a 5 star hotel on the proviso that when they're pretending to cry at a small African child covered in flies, there's an Apple Daiquiri just out of shot) just like everyone else does, and I've never actually given any money, and I don't know anyone who has.  Although I've never asked any of my friends whether they've given any money - Most of the people that I know, that do work for charity usually advertise it pretty loudly.

I'm not saying that this is a bad thing at all, if you're trying to raise money, then it makes sense to let as many people as you can know about it.  The more, quite literally, the merrier.

Which brings up that scourge of the office worker, the sinker of hearts, the chiller of bones... The sponsorship form.  Now, I don't know about you, but the first thing I think when I see one of those is 'Please Gods, let it be for your kid's school.' Mainly because, you can usually get away with saying 'What's He/She doing?' so that you sound interested, then when you find out they're walking the perimeter of their school fields twenty-five times (If Michael Gove hadn't allowed them all to be sold off) Then you can just say 'Oh, great, here's a pound, just scribble my name down as paid whether he/she makes it or not. which makes you sound like a big-shot philanthropist, like Richard Branson or Warren Buffett

I do actually say He/She to the proud parent, because some of these modern names are just so androgynous aren't they?  What sex would you say a child called 'Nevada', or 'Diamond' or 'Stuka' would be - (Obviously Stuka's a boy's name though, isn't it?)

It's an order of magnitude or two worse when it's actually the adult that's doing something. You ask the same question, but they say 'I'm bagging the Munros on a pogo stick', or 'I'm cycling the route of the Stockton to Darlington Railway dressed as Admiral Lord Nelson' or 'I'm strapping on a rucksack and jumping out of a perfectly serviceable aeroplane that's not even on fire or anything.'  Then you look down the list of who's already pledged and notice that Brian from Accounting had done a tenner per peak, or Susie from Marketing has promised a fiver for every time they go over a man-hole cover.

I tend to say something like 'Can I give you a pound for every bin-liner they have to shovel you into if your 'chute doesn't open?' - I don't mean to, it's hardwired, like I've got sarcastic tourettes or something.

They look at you funny and reply 'It IS for Charity you know!' - Which I guess is a given really, it's about the only time that you'd get most people to just give you money, you couldn't come into the office one day and be all like:

Me: 'Will you sponsor me?'

You: 'Why, what're you doing?'

Me: 'I'm going to Antigua.'

You: 'Antigua?'

Me: 'Yes.'

You: 'What to do?'

Me: 'Nothing really, just sort of ponce about in the sun for a couple of weeks.'

You: 'You're not going to do anything difficult to sort of earn the money?'

Me: 'Erm.. Nope, although if I raise enough money I might swim with some baby stingrays, that's a bit dangerous, or climb Mount Obama or something.'

You: 'What's it all for?'

Me: [Staring meaningfully out of the window] 'I ask myself that all the time...'

You: 'No, I mean, what charity will you be donating the money to?'

Me: 'Um... No, sorry, you've lost me...'

You: 'The charity, which charity are you raising money for?'

Me: 'When?'

You: 'When you go to Antigua!'

Me: 'Don't really think I'll have time to give money to charity, what with all the stingrays and the mountain climbing.  I won't be going at all at this rate, not unless you hurry up and put your moniker on this bit of paper chop-chop.  Everyone else is giving about £100.'

You: 'So, effectively, you just want us to fund your holiday?'

Me: 'Yes, pretty much - What are you doing with that staple remover? Now, don't be hasty! ARRAGHRRGAHH!'

Could you?  It only has to work once I guess.  Is it fraud? I wouldn't actually say that I was raising money for Charity.


Monday, 23 September 2013

If you don't like, what you're seeing, get the funk out...

I had this plan see, the Friday that has just gone was payday (I work for an American company, we get paid every four weeks, not every month, so my payday gets earlier and earlier throughout the year.) and that plan involved shouting 'stuff it' and blowing some money on something completely selfish.

You see, I don't do selfish very often, not where large sums of money are concerned at least, I mean, I'll buy myself a magazine maybe, or something from the supermarket's own 'Frighteningly Middle Class' range of sandwiches - Which are essentially the same as the normal sandwiches except they have a cranberry compote and perhaps rocket in them, and there's a greater than average chance that the Eastern European gentleman who's stuffing them into the box at the one factory that makes all of the supermarket's own-brand sandwiches will have washed his hands last time he visited the latrines.

There are usually bills to pay, or vegetables to buy, or brown envelopes with red writing inside to panic about... But last weekend I thought NO! and put my foot down with a firm hand.  I decided to drag the entire Dandy Clan to BSH Xtreme the Custom Motorcycle show at Donington Park in Leicestershire - A venue that I have mentioned many times in the past.

It was the smaller Dandies first show and I figured that the 30th Anniversary of Back Street Heroes magazine was as good a time as any to get them used to the smell of Castrol R and shredding rear tyres.

As we only live about 15 minutes from the site, I envisioned a fairly pain-free trip - It was a bit drizzly though first thing, so we took a detour via McDonalds (Other purveyors of pre-chewed, cardboard based breakfast products are available) and availed ourselves of four of their finest Double Sawdust McMuffin meals and Bathwater Coffees (TM).  Within minutes of finishing our 'meals' the sun poked its way through the clouds like a huge, four billion year old, self-sustaining thermo-nuclear reaction and we were off.

Arriving at site, we were greeted by some very friendly marshals, one of whom suggested that I should 'Aim for the chap in the Hi-Vis' but advised me not to actually hit him, as he was likely to sulk.  We parked, and joined the stream of people making their way to the gate. And for once, it seemed that we timed it just right, as the nice chap with the screwdriver had just managed to get the card-machine working, so I saved myself about £30 in cash, which I could then fritter away on baubles and gewgaws once we got inside.

We had just got into the compound when I heard a bellow from behind me, A resounding 'Aren't you a bit old to be wearing New-Rocks?' - It was my great friend and professional Chorlton from Chorlton and the Wheelies impersonator, Brother Lee. (He's not religious, I just happened to meet him when the Kenny Everett Television Show was popular...)

(Spot the difference if you can)

He's right of course, at 45 I am definitely too old to wear New-Rocks, but Meh!, because: also old enough not to give a toss too.

Wandering around the hall, looking at some frankly amazing bikes and trikes took a good couple of hours.  There were an awful lot of bikes that I would have happily stuck in my pocket and taken home on show (There was also a fair old selection of vehicles made by people who had altogether too much talent and/or money for my liking - but that's obviously just petty jealousy on my part because I have very meager amounts of both) Some of my favourites included:

An inspired, 70's style Harley Panhead - Encapsulates everything that was great about that time.  Springers, pawn tail-lights, king & queen seat, fat back wheel and skinny front... Admittedly, I'd probably put apes on it, rather than the pullbacks that it has here, for the full flying starfish experience, but that's just me I guess.

I spied this from a hundred yards or so away and thought 'Indian Four... Nice.' Then I got a bit closer, and had a squint and thought 'Errmm...?' And then Mrs Dandy said 'It's a Reliant' And then I saw the gearbox under the seat, and had to agree - What a brilliant bit of kit.  I'd be on this like a tramp on chips should the opportunity arise.

Now this, this is getting on for perfect, black springers, fat front wheel, ribbed primary cover, tattoo inspired paintwork... Everything that the right-thinking gentleman motorcyclist could wish for.  To the owner:  The suspect marks on your seat are slobber, nothing more... Honest...

I was with The Mini Dandy when I saw this, and I went off on one about Bantam Chops and the good old days and jumpers for goalposts and all that kind of stuff.  She suffered this for a while with that 'Arms crossed, head on one side.' look that you get from blonde teenage cheerleaders who think they know it all and said, 'Dad, it's a Harley.'  I said, 'Don't be silly, Harley's are huge V-Twins, look, THAT's a Harley.' And pointed to a 1340 Harley Evo that was 'over there' somewhere.  She then grabbed me by the earlobe and pointed at the spec-sheet that was on the floor next to it... Turns out that it's a 125 Harley - And she wants one just like it.

And last, but by no means least, there's this here motorcycle, it's a performance V-Twin (The chap who owns it did say exactly what, but in fairness I can't remember what he said) But you could probably get away with calling it a Harley if you didn't mind the great and the good tutting at you and shaking their heads.  It belongs to a guy I know from what I regularly insist on calling the 'Good Old Days' - His name's Speed and he's a member of the National Chopper Club - A group renowned for turning out some seriously A1 - Top Class machinery.  This is no exception, it's cracking, and also for sale - If you find yourself with £16,000 burning a hole in your leather chaps, then feel free to get in touch, operators are waiting for your call.

Other highpoints involved an in-depth discussion with the guys from Rebellion Jewellery - (Who you should all buy lots of things from right now) about 'image' and what your jewellery says about you.  And the look of unashamed glee on the face of Mrs Dandy when I introduced her to legendary motorcycle artist, BSH regular and generally nice sort, Louise Limb.  Who very kindly autographed a print for her - (Which she is now still having trouble finding an impressive enough frame for) She also hasn't let it out of her sight since, but the dog is a bit of a 'chewer' so we should let her off.

We went outside and watched a chap doing his best to break the laws of physics and stiction by riding his motorcycle way too fast at some very improbable angles.  The smaller Dandies were introduced to two new smells here: Cooked front brake pads and fear, as the gentleman concerned lost his stopping power momentarily and the the young chap in front of me thought he was coming through the barrier - Thank heaven for leather jeans that tuck into your boots, that's what I say.

Anywho? I suppose I can't just go on about the good things... The bad points were very few and far between - Really just niggles, and probably a lot more to do with the management of venue itself rather that the guys at BSH (although I'm guessing, I'll be the first person to admit that I don't really know) - The one thing that I heard most of the day visitors complain about was the lack of greasy burger vans, people like their greasy burgers (and hot dogs, and Schwarma) but all I, and a number of other people, saw was a single donut wagon that charged £4 for five small donuts... lotta people a bit grumpy about that.  I heard a few people being confused about entrance prices (you had to pay for getting into the show, and pay about the same again if you wanted to camp in the other compound with the beer tent etc.) - But I put that down to not reading the literature closely enough.

All in all, not a bad way to spend a few hours on a sunny Saturday.  I will definitely be attending again if it becomes a regular event, and I suggest that you should too.

As ever, I leave you with a quote that sums up the day, this was from the Micro Dandy, when I asked him if he'd enjoyed the day... 'Yeah Dad, McDonalds was great!'

Thursday, 19 September 2013

Emergency Broadcast! This is (Not?) a Drill

Because a drill sounds like this: BlackAndDeckerBlackAndDeckerBlackAndDeckerBlackAndDeckerBlackAndDeckerBlackAndDeckerBlackAndDeckerBlackAndDeckerBlackAndDeckerBlackAndDecker.

Anyway, people of the West Midlands, it is my humble duty, as an (in no way) internationally recognised member of the Pato Banton memorial Emergency Safety Broadcast team to deliver the following serious news update:


The West Midlands in general and Birmingham in particular is on the edge of invasion.  A foreign power has taken hold of the populace and guerrilla terrorist attacks have already started with devastating results.  You will already have noticed the signs, but do you know the cause?

Are you ready?

Can you help us fight back against the insidious horde?

If you don't, your way of life will be forever changed.  Do you currently live in a comfortable house with a cat, a dog, or some fish? - Well think again, when the unleashed plague has finished with you, you'll be sitting in a pile of ash, cuddling the remains of something that may be your deeply loved pet but, looking at it from a different angle, may well be a piece of fire-resistant foam out of that sofa that you got from eBay - And your fish will have boiled dry, or possibly exploded - We didn't really test that bit in fairness.

What am I talking about? What could possibly hope to destroy a area with a population of 5,000,000 or so people, What vile, uncompromising foe could be sneaking into our most loved metropolitan area where everyone has a slightly funny accent?

I'll tell you...

I can hardly bring myself to say it...

It's... It's... Chinese paper lanterns... There, I said it.

Do you remember, back in July, the fire at the recycling plant in Smethwick?  Hundreds of thousands of tonnes of rubbish were mysteriously and completely burned, causing a firestorm of such epic proportions that it may well have been visible from the surface of Mars, probably.

When questioned by BBC local radio, a worker from the company, who had turned up for work as normal, not noticing either the mile high flames, nor the fifty mile long plume of smoke, had this to say:

'Err.. I don't know really, we just collect the recycling, then recycle it.'

Wise words there, a rare insight into a world that we don't often get to look at, I think you'll agree.

The local Council take the threat so seriously, that it is now a criminal offense to launch Chinese Lanterns (or, as they are more rightly called in all of the professional literature 'Fiery Paper Death Balls of Death with added dripping Death-wax') from any of the local, council owned parks - This is punishable by a fine of up to, but not exceeding your total Council Tax rebate amount.  And will be levied by specially equipped Park Services Rangers, once they have shot the offending FaPDoBODWADDoWs out of the sky using a highly modified Super Soaker and a battery operated hand-fan from the Pound-Shop. (So, if you could just hang around for a few minutes whilst they do that, promise not to run off or anything during the process and then pay him - Exact amount only, no change is carried by members of the parks service for personal security reasons - That'd be great.)

Don't add to the problem people...

There's a very real danger that a cloud of FaPDoBoDWADDoWs could bring down an airliner.  A real, live airliner people! For instance, a Boeing 747 flies at an altitude of, ah... well, I don't really know, but it's pretty damn high I'm guessing. And the lanterns? they probably fly at exactly the same height at least I should think.  Imagine the damage that a tiny amount of paper and two matchsticks worth of bamboo could do to a couple of tonnes of rapidly spinning, razor-sharp titanium blades... Imagine it!

Carnage! - It would be like The Hindenburg all over again, if the airliners were made of canvas and full of hydrogen it would be anyway... Which they might be for all you know, you're not a aeroplaney-designer person. Oh! the Humanity!

Also, there's the ever-present problem of wax drippage.  Clouds of as many as four lanterns have been spotted over the Small Heath and Erdington areas and locals have complained of warm exudations falling from the skies and landing in their hair, faces and mouths, often to the accompaniment of 70's guitar music.  The relatively minuscule amount of this oddly opalescent liquid that has been spat out, rather than 'accidentally' swallowed has been gathered, scientifically tested and found to taste a bit like wax (in most cases).

Experts have told us that 'large amounts of scalding hot wax falling onto unsuspecting people' rates quite highly on the United Nations 'Probably best not to do that' list.  In fact, it sits right in between 'Water-boarding civilians in their sleep' and 'Using nerve-gas and blaming it on one of the other big kids in the playground'  Obviously, we wouldn't just pass on potentially inflammatory statements like that without testing them first.

So with your safety in mind, we spent over £14,000,000 million pounds of your money (what with it being your safety and everything) on dripping wax onto people from various heights.  We found that from any height above six and a half feet (or, two meters or so, if you happen to be French) the wax cooled and solidified before it had time to cause any damage, between zero feet and six and a half feet, the wax was warm, but not hot - and felt much like that feeling you get when you get drunk and poke your finger into the melted wax of a candle, stuck in an empty Mateus Rose bottle, in a cheap Italian Restaurant, that you've taken that new girl from Accounting to in the hopes that she'll say 'Oh! Mr [State your name] No-one's ever made me feel like THAT before'.  To ensure completeness, we dug a large hole fifteen feet deep, in the middle of the A38 dual carriageway and tested to see if wax dropping from negative heights would be hotter.  Unfortunately, despite numerous, increasingly expensive tests, we were unable to both make the wax drip upwards and also to make the lanterns float below ground level.

(Please note, due to completely non-related funding cuts, the New Birmingham Library will close with immediate effect.)

And so the warning ends.  Be vigilant and report any sightings of these potential infernos to your local police, fire service and/or religious organisation.

Wake up and smell the bamboo people!


Gods! I'd never thought...

You don't think it might be the Pandas doing it do you?

MESSAGE ENDS - Your normal programming will resume momentarily...

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

140 Fragile little worms

Twitter... What's this Twitter thing all about then?

Twitter is a social network that tries to emulate the early days of text messaging, where you were only allowed a small number of characters in each message.  The main difference is that you can send your message to anyone who has an account - Whether that person knows you, is in a different country, speaks a different language, isn't particularly interested in seeing a blurry photo of you that you took in the toilet of your nearest Burger King, or - And this is the one I want to concentrate on today, famous.

A vast proportion of famous people have twitter accounts, many of them are run by a P.R. Company and say uninteresting things like 'Mr Douglas will be in Palm Springs playing the part of Darren/Ophelia in Gay: The Musical - Tickets are still available.'

But, the interesting ones run the accounts themselves, and you can tell in a lot of cases, because they 'tweet' photographs of their lunch, or complain that they can't fit the kettle in the sink of their dressing rooms.  It's these people I like to send messages to, they don't often reply, I mean, they probably get a kajillion messages a day from actual fans, why would they take the time to reply to a bald, fat chancer, who lives to make himself giggle like an incontinent schoolgirl?

I present you with a selection of my favourite Twitter moments, along with a list of people who didn't see fit to reply, and who can blame them?

There was Shelley D'Inferno, popular Alternative model and Clothing Designer (and sometime fan of the Blog)

And I blamed writer and actor Steve Edge for one of the MiniDandy's emotional outbursts

And then of course there's my all time personal greatest, TV's Mr Nice, Martyr to getting stuff in his eye and having to have a bit of a lie-down: Mr Nick Knowles.

(I think I may have said that he looked like a badly looked after leather suitcase)


As well as plain old 'replying' there are three other ways you can feel good about yourself - If someone who is a 'someone' follows you...


If that someone 'Favourites' a tweet, which I guess is what you do instead of pressing 'Like' on Facebook



And then there's the Re-Tweet - What Twitter's really all about, it's the equivalent of a 'Share' on Facebook


I didn't get a reply from these guys though, and it was a crime...

(I think the restraining order went to my old address...)

And Mulder & Scully should be interviewing this baker in the near future:

This did not get me a bye through the selection procedure for MasterChef UK

(it was THIS recipe by the way)


People who have never replied also include, but are not limited to:

Russell Brand (@RustyRockets) - I accused him of trying to have sex with a character from Mad Max,
Jack Whitehall (jackwhitehall) - Comedian - I warned him against using The Chimping Dandy as his Superhero name.
James May (@MrJamesMay) - Top Gear presenter and model train enthusiast - poked at him many times,
Jeri Ryan (@JeriLRyan) Seven of Nine from Star Trek - It was about chocolate covered babies heads and whether she wore a corset under her costume,
Charlie Brooker (@CharltonBrooker) - Told him how much of a Fanboi I was for Black Mirror
Omid Djalilli (@omid9) - The worlds greatest Persian comedian - I offered to be his scriptwriter, I think he made the right decision,
Dwayne Johnson (@TheRock) - I think I may have drunkenly referred to him as 'Da Man' *ashamed*
Neil Patrick Harris (@ActuallyNPH) - I asked him if he minded me comparing Barney Stinson to a Pangolin,
Steve Martin (@SteveMartinToGo) - genius comedian/actor - Gave him some tattoo moving ideas using a cheesegrater.
The Pope (@Pontifex) - Although i was arguing the case for my ex-communication - No, really, I was
Professor Brian Cox (@ProfBrianCox) - Cosmic Scientist and Disco Keyboardist - Many futile attempts,
Peter Serafinowicz (@serafinowicz) - The voice of Darth Maul - I asked if he would rather have a French waiter with a small or large penis,
Davina McCall (@ThisIsDavina) - General TV Personality and worrier - I tried to organise a petition to get her manky shoes shown on television,
Sir Patrick Stewart (@SirPatStew) - THE Captain Picard - I asked him if he was going to guest star in Sons of Anarchy
Pollyanna Woodward (@PollyannaWW) - Ex Gadget Show, May have got drunk and told her I was wearing my wife's pants,
Jeremy Clarkson (@JeremyClarkson) - BBC's Top Gear etc. - Although I'm fairly sure that he's read the Blog entry about Top Gear
William Shatner (@WilliamShatner) Captain Kirk from Star Trek - And he answers everyone... *sniff*

Friday, 13 September 2013

You're going to Camp Blood, ain't ya?

Well, it's Friday the Thirteenth - The first of the two Friday the Thirteenths of 2013

Have we all been lucky so far?  I've been OK, got to work without too much traffic, my office building wasn't on fire, or flooded (which would have had to have been fairly deep, because I'm on the first floor, or second if you're a colonial) no plagues of locusts, and the rain, i'm reliable assured, is water not blood - Sorry to all the Slayer fans out there.

Does anyone out there know why Friday the Thirteenth is unlucky?  No?  Me either, let's ask the Internet...

OK, it says here (here being Wikipedia, the fount of all knowledge) that the reason Friday the Thirteenth is unlucky is because Friday is unlucky and the number 13 is unlucky.

Well, that doesn't tell us a huge amount does it?  Just let me read ahead a bit...



That's a bit flimsy...



It seems that it's all a bit made up really, there's no basis in truth for it - Just like most superstitions... Well, all except not walking under a ladder, that's great advice, often the people at the tops of ladders are carrying paint or buckets of hot rivets, although, in fairness, that may only be in wartime Bugs Bunny cartoons.

We have Geoffrey Chaucer to blame, at least in England, for popularising the Friday part in a book he wrote seven hundred years ago called 'The Canterbury Tales' - It's written in Middle English which can make it difficult to read, unless you are monumentally drunk, when it becomes as easy as going downhill in a shopping trolley - I enclose an example, below:

'We didest, thene decite to goeth forth to Birming-hamme, our merrie bande of yeoman (accompan'd by ourest faire-buxom laydies forsooth) But Barrye didst decry; 'Buggar thatte for a larke, yonne M6 wilt be chokker at thisse tyme of the nyte most definiately on a Fry-Day.  Let us decamp to the pubbe where we canst regaile the local peasantry with stories of The United Man-Chester's footeballe prowesse.'

So you can see how easy it would be to mistranslate, or at least misunderstand something like that, I pretty much copied that out from The Miller's Tale word-for-word and I only gotte.. I mean, got, about half of itte.

And what about the Thirteenth I hear you say? - Well, as far as I can work out, the number 13 is unlucky, purely because the number 12 is supposed to be lucky.  Which makes about as much sense to me as saying beavers have been declared fish by the Catholic Church so Canadians can still have things to eat on a Friday.

(You know all those jokes you thought of then? - keep them to yourselves, this is a family Blog)

There are the other stories about Friday the Thirteenth that everyone 'knows' are true, Jesus being crucified on a Friday for instance, The Knights Templars getting arrested on Friday 13th October 1307 (And with so many things Templar / Freemason / Opus Dei - You can thank Dan 'Explain everything to the Nth degree' Brown for making that one popular) - But on the whole, it's what you make it.

The Italians, don't think that Friday the 13th is particularly unlucky, their unlucky day is Friday the 17th - I'm guessing that they were actually aiming for the 13th, but, well, you know what Italians are like.  They realised that their 'unlucky' project timescale was slipping, shrugged and went 'Ah Never mind-a Luigi, we make-a itte for da next-a Friday'

The Greeks and the Spaniards miss it slightly too, instead plumping for Tuesday 13th, and helping to cause a glut of general unluckiness in central Europe, around the middle of the month.

There are people, people in this case should be taken to mean, swivel-eyed loonies who write in crayon and eat with a rubber spork, that refuse to leave their house, bed, or in some cases, their own craniums on Friday 13th.  This syndrome (because everything's a syndrome nowadays isn't it?) is so prevalent in some countries *cough* America *cough* that hundreds of millions of dollars are lost every year in business revenue because of people staying in bed and crossing themselves repeatedly to ward off the 'bad juju'

The flip side of this of course is that it's actually become the safest day to drive anywhere, because all of the nutters have encased themselves in bubble-wrap and are busily locking themselves in an unplugged chest-freezer that they've scrawled a load of Harry-Potteresqe sigils all over in monkey blood to protect them from evil spirits.  So the roads are clearer and those people who still drive are paying more attention.

Although, saying that, there was a guy stopped by the side of the motorway this morning in a white van... And his propshaft had fell off.

And it's someone's birthday at work today, and the choice of cakes that he brought in for us all to share were, frankly, sub-par and that left me upset and confused.

And I've just snagged my foot on a network cable...

So, scratch everything I've said above, buy yourself a stout hat, arm yourself with a voluminous moustache and a healthy disregard for your fellow man and shout loudly and clearly into the aether...

'Leave me alone Friday the Thirteenth! Go and bother someone else!'

Then encase yourself in bubble-wrap, make sure the freezer's unplugged, and jump right in.

Oh, and try to remember to remove the monkey corpse first - You don't want to accidentally be fingering that in the dark when the lid's slammed shut.

Wednesday, 11 September 2013

Sabian, The Token Yank


About a million years ago, back at the turn of the millennium in fact, there was a program on BBC 2 called 'attachments' (With a lower-case 'A' because: hipsters)  that detailed the lives of six 'New-Media' types and their Internet start-up company 'SeeThru'.  The programme sank after a couple of series, but the high-points included an awful lot of just-post-watershed sex, and a young David Walliams.

The other thing that they did, which was pretty revolutionary at the time, was to created a 'real' copy of the website that was featured in the series.  It was pretty cool really, if you were a geek... Things that they talked about on the show would often appear on the site the next day and there was a Forum where you could post messages.  Kind of a proto-Facebook and it was pretty popular for a couple of years, even after the show had finished.

I was a member, and it used to help me while away the hours whilst I was working as an email-snooper for a large brewing and leisure company.  There were about forty people who used the site regularly, we had intellectuals, people who worked for American Newspapers, boy-racers, Babylon 5 CosPlayers, University students, IT Types, journalists (one of whom particularly enjoyed falling out of trees for some reason),  and a selection of other rum and uncanny people.  We even had our own pet Troll.

We formed a close-knit group of 20-30 somethings who, on very odd occasions would meet up and drink beer, there are pictures that prove this floating around the internet somewhere probably - We used to call these things 'Meat-meets' because they took place in 'meatspace', a term the author William Gibson coined to describe 'real-life' as seen by people who spend a lot of time hidden away in 'Cyber-Space'
In fact, a lot of us are still connected via Facebook - Which is kind of cool.

We all had Nicknames back in the day, some even had a few and used to play different characters, and towards the end it all got a bit 'collaborative writing' based with people having conversations with themselves (as two, or even three, separate characters) and people trying to guess who everyone else was.  It sounds horrid and pretentious, but you have to remember that this was well before Candy Crush Saga or Angry Birds, and back in the olden days, we had to make our own entertainment.

I met a lot of great people, two of which I'd like to have a bit of a talk about.

They were (and still are) a husband and wife who met on the Internet (before it was fashionable - in fact, I think The Sun did an article on them), fell deeply in love and spent their time wandering about the place infecting all around them with love-waves.

They were called Sabian and Pie.

They say opposites attract don't they?  Well, certainly in this case that seems to hold true.  Sabian (or Andy, to people who 'only' know him from MeatSpace) is a big American guy from New Yoike (The State, not the City) and Pie (Celeste) is an incredibly pretty, diminutive girl of East Asian descent.  They live in London, they have kids, and a life and friends and things are great.

Sabian and I were pretty close at the time, to the point where, if the MiniDandy had been born a boy, her/his name would probably have been Sabian.

You know where this is going don't you?

We've all seen films where the pilot climbs into his cockpit and kisses a picture of his wife and kids then tucks it behind the instruments right?  You think to yourself 'He's gonna get shot down in flames...'

Well, I read a post on Facebook on Sunday that said that he had had a massive heart attack and had been rushed into intensive care.  Because he doesn't do things by halves, the doctors decided to put him into a coma, hopefully to help stave off brain damage. they then decided that they would induce Hypothermia to try and lessen the risk even more.

On Monday they dropped his sedation, let him warm to room temperature and tried to wake him up.  He almost managed to open his eyes, but the effort sent his heart rate through the roof.  Luckily his body's self-regulatory system kicked in and managed to bring it back down again, hopefully before it could do any harm.

Currently, he's stable, but suffering from Aspirational Pneumonia and he has a fever, which isn't really helping things.  There's slight movement from his eyelids and pupils.

The hospital are hopefully going to hook him up to an EEG today to see how much damage has been done, if any.

I know there aren't a lot of you who read this that know Andy, but I also know that most of you are good people.

If you get a spare moment today, or tomorrow, or every day for the rest of your life, I'd appreciate it if you could send happy thoughts, or pray, or chant or whatever you feel right doing, to my mate Andy.

This is him, if it helps you to focus - He doesn't look like someone who deserves all this does he?

If you don't want to for whatever reason (and who could blame you? You don't know him) at least think of someone you know, maybe give them a call, and ask if they're OK.

You don't know how much of a difference you'll make.


I've just received an update from Andy's wife Celeste - I think it's best if I just copy and paste her words below.

Hi everyone. I've not wanted to put this update up but time isn't going to change what I have share.

I'm afraid, following a CT scan and his condition not improving, that the brain damage that Andy Thomas has is too extensive to recover from. He was without oxygen for about 70 minutes and although he's in hospital, still breathing, the reality is he probably left us last Saturday. The hospital will keep him going for as long as we need to say out goodbyes. His youngest brother Ryan Lawson will be here tomorrow.

I don't know how we're going to get through this, he's my soul and my heart and my everything. The girls just want their daddy back, I just want my Andy. I just want to wake up.

Friday, 6 September 2013

What would you say is your worst character flaw?

Right, so before I was an Internationally lauded comedic Blogging genius, Sci-Fi author and book illustrator, I used to be a scummy IT contractor.  Going from thankless job to thankless job every three months or so and never making any real friends.

(This is where you feel sorry for me, violins play, and velvet ropes part.)

I mean, in the past twenty eight years I've worked for twenty-five different companies (And had a couple of years off in that time).  And you'd think that with of my experience of them, Interviews would get easier - But believe me, they don't.  I've had loads of the buggers, each more freakish and random as the last, and as I know that you guys enjoy laughing at my misfortunes, I thought that I'd give you a taste of some of the things that have happened to me in the name of prospective employment.


Back in 1986, I had an interview with British Telecom, they asked me a couple of questions about the job, and what I thought I'd be doing.  then one of the interviewers leaned back in his chair and said 'OK, so imagine that you own a Zoo on the south coast, and you've got a month to move the animals to a Zoo you've just bought in Scotland.  How would you do it?'

I 'ummed' and 'Ahhed' for a while then went off on one about how I'd send the Giraffes by road (after checking the atlas for low bridges - This was before Google Maps and all that shizzle) and fly the killer whales up there with the help of the RAF, I'd send the Meerkats by Red Star (British Rail's now defunct parcel service) and let the tropical fish find their own way using The UK's wonderful, fully connected, canal system, I must have gone on for about twenty minutes - it worked though - I was there for five years.


in 1996 - I went for an Agency Interview (i.e. the Agency had already 'sold' them on my experience, they just wanted to see if I'd 'fit in' with the team.) With the Children's clothing company Adams in Nuneaton.  The two managers there gave me a rundown of the team and asked me if I supported Derby County, what with me being from Derby.

I said 'No.'

They said, 'You can start on Monday'


A couple of years later, I had an interview for an electronics company, I think they were somewhere in Birmingham, but I can't remember their name and the only people in the room apart from me were the hiring manager, and the person currently doing the job I was interviewing for.  It seems that he had just been handed his notice, but they wanted him to sit in on the interviews and make sure the 'new guy' could do it as well as him.   What followed was an hour of torture, questions so technical and specific to that particular company that no one, other than the person asking them, had any idea of what the answers would be.

Needless to say, I didn't get that one, and I wasn't particularly bothered.


I had an interview for a civilian post with a 'Government Department' once too.  I still can't tell you which one it was, but I had to travel to the Dockyard at Chatham, in Kent, by train, because I didn't drive at the time.  The journey took three hours and it was raining when got there.  I was made to feel very welcome though. A very smartly dressed, you might even say uniformed, lady brought me a coffee and I was ushered into a nice wood-paneled room to be met by a gentleman with a completely epic moustache, who looked a little bit nervous.  He looked me up and down and said.

'Now, unfortunately, we missed a required skill off the advertisement for the vacancy - I don't suppose you speak fluent German do you?'

I shook my head, he thanked me for coming, and showed me to the door.

Of course, the job might not have required Fluent German, maybe he just didn't like the cut of my jib.


Talking of Germans, I was interviewed by a German chap once, for a job at a train company.  The interview was going really well, we were laughing and joking and he said that even though I wasn't the most qualified person that he'd spoken to, I was the best fit for the team, it all went a bit pear-shaped though when he said.

'Von last Kvestion... How many points do joo haff on jour drivink License?' (It was possible his Mother was Russian, I'm not sure)

'Erm... None?' I replied.

'Ach! joo are not right fur zis job, I do not trust peeples who do not haff at least one conviction fur den speedink.'

I started to reply, and he actually did that thing where you wave your index finger at someone and go 'Ah-ah-ah!' Then he just pointed at the door.


Then there was the interview for a local Steel Stockholder, the Agency called me and said that they were a casual dress company, so I wouldn't need to wear a suit and tie for the interview.  So I went in jeans, a smart shirt, and boots.  The two guys interviewing me were wearing T-shirts, ripped jeans and Reeboks.  The interview went well, we had coffee afterwards and talked about TV shows that we all liked and I waited for the Agency to call me back.

Later that afternoon I got the call to say that I didn't get the job because they thought that I was a little bit too casual.  I laughed when they went bust three months later, like a witch down a drain.


The funniest though I think was when I accidentally got a job with AT&T - I applied for a job as a Cable Monkey, connecting the flashing lights on computers together with bits of wire - Transposed a couple of numbers on the job identification part of the on-line application form (Put ATT34276435 instead of AT34726435 or something) and successfully got the job as the Due Diligence Manager for Europe, The Middle East and Africa... Was there for three months before they figured out I was making it up as I went along.


The most recent one was for my local University, the few, well chosen English words that they'd included in the job advert led me to believe that I could do the job.  The completely different words they used at the interview (including things about dodgy, esoteric, programming languages and sacrificing jellyfish headed ducks to the Dark Gods as a debugging tool) led me to believe that in fact, I couldn't - I'd pretty much convinced myself that there was no way that I was going to get the job, so when they asked:

'Do you have any questions for us?'

I replied, 'Actually yes, do you know what the average diameter of the moon is?'

Needless to say... Didn't get it


So remember kiddies, getting a job is 40% perseverance, 27% dumb luck, 18% hard work and 15% knowing someone who knows someone whose Uncle once had a naked picture of the guy who's interviewing you's Mum.

Or the ability to ask 'Would you like fries with that?'

(P.S. it's about 2,200 miles - If you were wondering)

Wednesday, 4 September 2013

No, it is not a 'Slow News Day'

So, it's time for a roundup of what's happening with everyone's favourite Immaculately Dressed, Time Stopping, Random CaPiTaliSinG, Super-Villain's Blog.

Well, apart from some cretin in a Black Range-Rover HSE Sport trying to permanently 86 me on the way into work this morning.

(To the gentleman in question, If you were as important as you think you are with your shiny-clean offroader and your personalised plates, you wouldn't need to rush everywhere and cut people up without indicating - Unless of course the post office had put one of those cards through your door telling you that you'd missed delivery of your new penis pump - I can understand your hurry in that case - I mean, it looked like you were sat on a stack of cushions already as you turned right off the island from the left hand lane... And no, the handsignals I made weren't me miming defrosting a frozen stiff snake through vigorous application of friction, they were indicating that I believe you constantly enjoy solitary sexual pleasures, seemingly whilst driving...)



Occasionally, as you know, people occasionally find the Blog whilst looking for something else.  Often they're looking for pornography - After all, that was what the Internet was created for - If you look at early photos of Tim Berners-Lee, the Inventor of the World-Wide-Web, (Before Photoshopping was so popular) you'll see that he has a right fore-arm like Popeye's, so much so that he often goes to Fancy Dress parties as a fiddler crab.

This month has been fairly quiet in that respect, I means, we've had a couple of people - Or possibly the same person twice, finding us by Googling 'Martin Shaw Nude' and someone asked the question 'What happens to the skin with too...' Unfortunately, that's where the report cut off I'm afraid - So I suggest we all take a minute to think what the rest of that entry might be.

Google suggests that they were probably asking 'too dry' or 'too much soda', or my personal favourite 'too many carrots' - But I'm sure it was something cool like 'too much exposure to Gamma Radiation' or 'too many cheap hookers' (I can answer that last one for you, if that was in fact the question... The answer involves the word 'pustules' though, so maybe not at lunchtime.)

We've had a couple of inoffensive ones too 'fruit bat in tree' made me smile, as did 'Patrick McDonald Dandy Wiki' (If you've never heard of Mr McDonald - And there's no reason why should have - Give him a quick Google, he has great cheekbones and dresses Faaaaabulously.)  Someone asked 'dandy (Terrier breed) crossword clue' (I think the word they were looking for was 'Dinmont') and 'Chibs Sons of Anarchy' has raised its big, biker, head again, what with Season 6 due to start at the end of this week.  Of course, we had the ever present instances of people Googling '' - I Love you guys, you're all great... nuts, but great.

As far as Geography goes, omitting the hits from the US and the UK, we've had a bucketload of pageviews from Poland, Russia, France and China - And a big Dandy welcome to all of you.  We also seem to have a peak from the Ukraine and the Philippines this week, Ласкаво просимо and maligayang pagdating! to you wonderful people... Please stick with us, sometimes I can be funny and everything - It's not all ranting and spitting into the wind.

it's been just over a month since The Chimping Dandy's Facebook page came online and it's going pretty well - Which is completely down to you guys - There's been a marked increase in traffic, I'm guessing because more people can wangle their way through Facebook than are willing to traverse the Blogosphere on foot with only a bent twig and a water buffalo for company - But it's great, give it a look, give it a like,  It's got all the Blog posts there, with a description of what you can expect to find if you read each one.

Also, there's Merchandising you can buy now, the great people at Hash Togs have kindly done us a deal on shirts and mugs and phone backs and keyrings and stuff,  You can contact them via Facebook or Twitter and I believe that there's a 'Real Website' in the offing, but you'd have to ask them about that - Anywho, the 'Merch' (as I understand the cool kids call it nowadays), involves Seedy the Pangolin, Mascot of the Chimping Dandy - and some words, probably - Feel free to have it personalised to your heart's content.

Please note, I'd appreciate it if the words weren't 'I Hate' or 'Smells of rotting garbage' but any advertising is good advertising I guess.


OK, a quick rundown of the current Top Ten, as chosen by you, you wonderful and freakishly good looking people:

No 10: But it says here... - A bit of a fun poke at those people who think that the words that get said whilst you're worshiping your God of choice are more important that the good things you do every day for everyday people - And why they might be a bit wrong.

No 9: Boobs, Melons and Jumper-Lumps - My ever popular (And the cause of most people who are looking for porn accidentally finding my Blog) post about my Torrid love affair with ASDA / Walmart - WARNING: May contain some mild references to Mrs Dandy's Chesticular area.

No 8: So good to be Viviparous - A Docu-Drama treatment of some leaked documents that may (or may not) have come into my possession about the birth of the most recent Royal Offspring

No 7: Then I posed, and he took my picture - A completely true account of the time, when I was younger, more muscular and slightly more deviant, when I found myself in a room full of photographers - Who spoke a foreign language and asked me to do some... Questionable things.

No 6: Barnaby Wilde (Pt. 1) - Some anecdotes from my times trying to kill myself with motorcycles, not intentionally, but through sheer ineptitude.

No 5: One more rusty nail - A strangely serious one for me. A call for calm after the senseless murder of Drummer Lee Rigby

No 4: It was a bright, cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen - A contender for the 2013 Pulitzer Prize for longest Blog Post title in the history of Blogs penned by people who take their pen-names from unsavoury deviant sexual acts.  A quick trip down memory lane, fondly remembering years of being a younger sibling.

No 3: Thermodynamics, it's the law! - For a long time, this was a lot of people's favourite post.  It features my Dad and his somewhat free and easy take on animal corpses and the sanctity of the fragile human mind - The only thing that stops me calling it a Legend is that it is (for the most part) completely true - I may have embellished the last line slightly, maybe the last two lines, tops.

No 2: Priorities - Not going to do a funny description for this one.  All I will say is that without question, this is the one post that I have received more comments, emails and tweets about, both with offers of help and thanks from people who are in similar circumstances.  It's the description of the feelings I had, when my Father told me that he had inoperable cancer.

No 1: Pogonophilia is for everyone, even the young. - No one was more surprised than me when this particular post went viral / meteoric and possibly both.  It's a simple premise, I just happen to believe that men with beards are infinitely more masculine than those that aren't.  Every right thinking woman in the world would agree (and if fairness, most of them did, and those that don't have a tendency to wear dungarees and badges with rainbows on them) - Retweeted by Rufus Hound, Favourited by Al Murray, quoted as the 'Best Blog Post Ever!' by popular Blogger Tattooed Mummy - This one post makes up 3.5% of all the traffic on the Blog ever - And it's only been up for two months! (But it does involve a topless picture of me holding a Baby - Maybe that's it? - From now on, every post will contain a naked picture of someone holding something, probably)


So, that's the roundup for this month kids.

Keep reading

Keep sharing

And P.S. I've just started translating popular words and phrases into Circular Gallifreyan, so if you want anything inexpertly writing out, give me a nod.

See you all later.

Monday, 2 September 2013

Yes Miss, erm, I mean... Mum.

Some of you will have read a couple of my 'What I would do if I won the Lottery' or 'Things I intend to do before I die' posts.  But, in real life (I do have one you know - The Chimping Dandy is just my evil alter-ego, established to try and protect the innocent from my waffling opinionated diatribe) there's one thing that I said I would do if I won a decent amount of tax-free cash... It would need to be £25 Million or more to make it worth while.

I would yank the Dandylets out of school and 'Home School' them.

No, wait, stop laughing... Sit down, dry your eyes, put down that fire extinguisher and listen.

This year's UK Education Budget (for schools, not Further Education) is just over £77 Billion, and there are around 9.5 Million kids at school, or who have at least signed up for school, they may be sat in a pool of their own urine playing age-inappropriate games on a stolen PS3, doesn't matter.  So, a bit of entirely in my head maths gives us a figure of £8,200 per child per year or £43 per day.  And that's assuming that every school and every child gets the same amount... But they don't, the chunk of the money-pie that your kids' school gets varies wildly.  There are all kinds of factors, how deprived the catchment area is, how popular the school is, how many 'Special Needs' kids the school has - All sorts of things, your mileage will almost certainly vary.  And unbelievably, I used to be a School Governor, so I know these things.

Then the little snots actually have to listen whilst some adenoidal, gimlet-eyed jackanape with a degree in Media Studies drones on about crop rotation in the 18th Century for an hour every Thursday afternoon and turns them away from learning as if it were a low-quality DVD of their parents conceiving them at a Duran Duran reunion gig in Northampton in 2003. (If it were the late 80's - Early 90's now, I could have done a cracking Jethro Tull tie in - Damn this living in the future business! - And 5 points to the first person to pick up the cleverly hidden hook there...)

So, you've got schools that can't afford to make education interesting, and you've got kids that don't want to learn because it's boring, and you've got parents that whinge and whine about having to give the school a fiver once a year so that little Chablis and her surprisingly non-similar looking brother Leroy can go on an all-expenses paid, fully chaperoned day trip to a theme-park of their choice, travel, insurance and a limp ham sandwich for the coach driver included.

The obvious thing would be, if you cared about your kids education, and their usefulness as future citizens of the world, to say 'thanks but no thanks' to the State Education system and teach them yourself.  Right?

No, completely wrong.  Not most of the time, not for most of us.  OK, it could be that the parent in question was a qualified teacher.  But most of us aren't.  It could be that the parent in question has a huge ring of friends who have children of similar ages that they are also home schooling who are geographically close enough to ensure the daily social interaction required for healthy emotional growth.  But most of us haven't.  It's possible that the parent that did the bulk of the 'schooling' would be open-minded enough to not present their mal-informed opinions as 'Gawd's Honest Truth' and give the child a full spectrum of ideas and let them pick their own opinions.  But deep down, how many of us can say we'd do that? - I mean, the Mini-Dandy already hates the French, and I'm not sure she's ever actually met one (although it does make me proud and a little bit dewy eyed).

I know, and when I say 'know', what I actually mean is I occasionally breathe some of the same air as, a couple of people who Home-school their kids.   And they're not teachers, not in any definition of the word... I mean, I wouldn't trust either of them to try and teach a dog to bark. One of them has a kid with, what are now called 'Behavioural Difficulties' that she regularly shouts loudly and colourfully at him for.  The other's child is clingy to the point of me wondering if her Mother was involved in a medical trial involving in-utero injections of Octopus and Velcro DNA - Nice enough kid though, just tends to shadow her Mother, or her single, similarly aged friend at a distance of 3/4 of an inch at all times.

They can't be products of a well rounded education can they?  I mean, I'm only looking in from the outside and I've got a distorted view, choc full of pre-conceived ideas and bigotry.  But on most occasions when I see them, I do the whole sharp intake of breath thing, shake my head and say something like 'Poor kid!' slightly too loudly than is generally considered polite.

That's why I'd not try it myself, not unless I had access to almost limitless funds.  I certainly couldn't do it if I worked for a living, what with teaching being a full-time job and everything.  But if I did, if we won big, how would I go about it?  Well, I'd have to generate some kind of curriculum I guess.  I'd probably try to make everything tie together with real world examples.

Things like:

English:  Onto an easy gig here, both of the smaller Dandies devour the written word more voraciously than Kerry Katona wolfs down Iceland Frozen Prawn Rings - In fact, we often have to cover up the labels on the sauce bottles so the Micro-Dandy will stop reading them and eat his Dinner at night.

Art:  We would fly by customised 4-seater Apache Gunship, once a week, to the major galleries of the world, The Louvre, Vatican Museums, Musee D'Orsay, British Museum, Reina Sofia, Pergamonmuseum and Guggenheim would hold no secrets from us, I'd get Fortnum & Mason packed lunches delivered and we'd all have a go at re-imagining the Old Masters in the style of Roy Lichtenstein

Physics:  I would take everyone to the Grand Canyon and we'd throw water balloons off the edge, film it all with high speed cameras and whoop uncontrollably whilst we reviewed the footage, playing it backwards and forwards.

Chemistry:  We'd watch re-runs of Breaking Bad and NOT cook Meth at all, ever, because that would be illegal.  Might be fun to try some of the other stuff that Walter does though...

Biology:  The rain forest would probably be the best place for this, wander about a bit, look at the pretty butterflies, maybe take a detour to the Galapagos Islands, ride a few turtles, poke a couple of marine Iguanas, let them sneeze salt onto us whilst we feed them exotic flowers.

History:  I've always thought of wandering through France, looking disdainfully at the populace, muttering the word 'Vichy' under my breath every time I received poor service (So, like, probably quite a lot) and then buying a tank and driving it into Belgium to visit places like Ypres and Passchendaele.

Geography:  Simple - You buy a big globe, spin it around, get one of the kids to stop it and buy four first-Class plane tickets to wherever their grubby fingers are pointing - Then spend a week speaking loudly to the natives in clipped Estuary English, adding 'O' to the end of every other word until they understand how to make a decent Martini.

Metalwork/Woodwork:  I've always fancied a decent workshop, this would be the perfect excuse.  There'd be hand-tools of every shape and size.  Steam-powered machine-tools from Britain's Golden age and Japanese electronic marvels of 3D printing and Robotics.  I would use them to make a matched set of Iron-Man suits, made of Ivory seized from Namibian poachers who disappeared shortly afterwards under unexplained circumstances.

Music:  Metallica would play in one of the upstairs bathrooms every Wednesday,  After which Kurt would give everyone Guitar Lessons, Rob would teach us all the Bass, James would show us how to growl without hurting our little throats and Lars would sit in the bath with a towel over his head being a bit of a cock.

Economics:  I would leave the entire finances package, including foreign exchange rates, hotel bills, fines, tolls, restaurants and general household bills to the kids.  In fairness, they'd be hard pushed to make more of a hash of it than me.

Once, in the dim and distant past, the now Head-Master of Mini-Dandy's Senior School said to me 'I think you'd make a great teacher... As long as you found yourself somehow mysteriously transported to 1850.'  And I'll take that both as a complement and a vindication of my qualifications.

Anyone want me to educate their children for them?