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Ahhh yet another opportunity has presented for me to rattle on relentlessly about yours truly.
I did complete one of these A-Z Of Me type things in my early DooYoo days, and I made it largely age-orientated, but I feel for Ciao Iíd like to take a different and perhaps more random stance for my current personal A-Z.
As I sit here with a blank page in front of me, I have little or no idea what will emerge, but letís get my brain in gear and see whatís tumbling around in there tonight. I probably will end up surprising myself!
A IS FOR ANGELS
If one more person emails me that infernal ďMoney AngelĒ or that rather nasty ďAngelĒ who promises to bestow all sorts of dire catastrophes upon my life if I donít forward it to at least 10,000 people, I shanít be responsible for my actions. Listen please world! Each time you send me these things, I do NOT open them! They get instantly deleted and blitzed to my email rubbish bin. Save yourself the trouble, eh?
B IS FOR BIG BROTHER
On a particular forum I belong to is a member who is obsessed with the TV programme Big Brother to the point where I worry about her mental health. I cannot for the life of me understand the fascination with this intrinsically banal and lamentable piece of idiocy. Regarding the forum member, it appears that not one moment of her life can elapse without the need to open yet another new thread on this hideous programme, and I believe her obsession has reached the stage where she needs professional help.
C IS FOR CHIPPLES
Whatever happened to those lovely, crunchy little sticks of potato which I remember from the mid-1960s? They came in a blue and red bag and looked like headless matchsticks, were quite salty, but truly delicious Ė I used to buy a huge-sized packet for a mere 2d in the tuck shop opposite the gates of my secondary school, and the contents would last from assembly, right through double maths, then English literature followed by Social Studies, nicely up to lunch time.
D IS FOR DRIVERíS SEAT
Quite a lot of people claim Driverís Seat by Flash & The Pan (released in 1979) to be their all-time favourite single, so why didnít it make the UK top 40? Maybe itís out of the bag of those one-off all-time classic gems that nobody ever buys, but wishes they had? I wonít say itís my out & out favourite single, but itís definitely fairly high up in my all-time top 50.
E IS FOR ECLECTIC
Eclectic is what my musical taste can be described as. I love rock & roll, blues, jazz, classical, some opera, R&B, singer/songwriter, good chart pop from the 1960s/1970s and early 1980s, piano boogie-woogie, Irish folk, Celtic soul, Northern soul, Motown, 1960s black soul, 1960s and early 1970s prog rock, doo-wop, and quite a bit more that doesnít fall into any particular category.
F IS FOR ĎFLU
It frustrates me that when some people merely have ordinary colds, they claim itís flu. Have they ever truly had flu before? If so, theyíd realise there are marked differences between the two maladays. Flu comes on very quickly, sometimes within a matter of a few minutes Ė first youíre OK then youíre not Ė whereas the incubation period for an ordinary cold is I believe something like 48 hours. Nasal emissions on the first day of a cold are of a thicker consistency than with fluÖÖif you have flu, itís like someoneís turned a tap on inside your head and the water is escaping out of your nose. You can generally, even though itís uncomfortable, function with a cold Ė with flu, youíre so wiped out and weak that you can hardly get out
of bed. Yes, you can feel achy and shivery at the outset of a cold, but with flu your whole body will be gripped with shivering fits as violent as those experienced by a heroin addict in the worst stages of cold turkey. You might go off your food a bit with a cold, but with flu the thought of food can make you throw up! Youíll recover from a cold within a few days, but flu can knock the stuffing out of you for several weeks. Can YOU tell the difference?
G IS FOR GRANDPARENTS
Apart from a fairly misty memory of my lovely grandfather from Aberdeen coming to stay with us when I was aged about 3, I never knew my grandparents. My maternal grandfather and paternal grandmother both died before I was born, and my maternal grandmother died when I was a small baby. Iíd love to have warm and cosy memories of doting grandparents, but I only have those vague, fleeting, hazy ones of my paternal grandfather showing me a book about trains while I was perched on his knee, taking me for walks in the park and me sitting with him on a wooden bench outside a pub on Southendís seafront Ė me with an orange squash and a packet of arrowroot biscuits, and he with a pint of Guinness. There was a huge family row and he fled back to Scotland, never to be seen or heard by us until in 1963 when the news broke of his untimely death from a heart attack.
H IS FOR HILARITY
Iím one of these people who hardly ever laughs out loud or heartily, but on the rare occasion that something really slams into my humour spot, I then canít stop laughing, sometimes for hours on end.
I IS FOR ICE CREAM
During the summer months, I go into panic mode if my freezer isnít chockerblock with gallons of the stuff Ė but, it must be luxury or semi-luxury brands, otherwise Iím not impressed. I find that nothing cools me down more on a scorching hot day than a massive tub of delicious ice cream. OK itís loaded with fat and calories, but then so am I!!
J IS FOR JOHNNY
Johnny H was a really lovely guy who back in the late 1950s, was my dadís best friend. He was a bit of an Arthur Daley type character Ė he even wore the hat! Johnny was a very frequent visitor to our house, and he always without fail would bring me round a spearmint flavoured ice lolly Ė then heíd sit and blow my mind (well, I was only about 4) with these truly amazing card tricks. Sadly Johnny died in the early 1970s, and although weíd long since by that time lost touch, I never stopped thinking about him and how nice he was to me.
K IS FOR KNITTING
Though I donít have time to do any knitting these days, itís something Iíve always found very therapeutic and relaxing. My mum taught me to knit when I was very very young Ė I think I could knit before I could read Ė and I used to make little squares for women at our local church, whoíd sew them into blankets and send them to deprived children in third world countries. Itís very irritating to have someone else with me while Iím knitting, and I have lots of memories of, when I was married, my ex forever choosing the very moment that I was counting stitches or concentrating on a complex pattern, to begin an in-depth discussion about life, the universe and everything.
L IS FOR LIGHTNING
Not something I want to go into too much description of, as I wrote a lot about it in one of my DooYoo piecesÖ.but I will re-assert here that itís my greatest fear, of truly phobic proportions. I fail to understand why others think lightning is something I shouldnít be terrified of, as to me itís quite logical to fear massive bolts of electricity striking at random out of the sky. Also, assurances such as ďyouíre more likely to have a huge win on the lottery than get struck by lightningĒ donít help in the least, as in recent years that has been proved to be statistically untrue. Why on earth canít this massive energy force somehow be harnessed and put to good use?
M IS FOR MARIA
Maria is my longest-standing friend. Through the passage of time, although we have had gaps where there has been no contact between us, weíve known one another since 1959 when we were both aged 5, and weíve always on meeting up again managed to pick up where we left off. Maria used to look after me when I was a wimp at primary school, but nowadays though she herself isnít what Iíd call a wimp exactly, the roles have slightly reversed in that Iím probably the more stable and stronger out of the two of us. I hope we shall continue as friends for the next 50 years, and I want her to know that Iím insanely jealous of the fact that the ageing process as been very kind to her, as she still looks as if sheís in her 30s.
N IS FOR NICOTINE
This noxious substance is the only chemical thing I am totally addicted to. OK, I am addicted to the internet, but that doesnít cause me to set fire to bits of a plant rolled in paper and inhale the fumes. I am unable to use nicotine replacement therapies as although I can smoke like Fag Ash Lil, Iím actually allergic to nicotine patches, sprays, gums etc. Smoking is something I sincerely wish Iíd never have started, but Iíve almost driven myself screechingly insane many times in my life during bouts of attempting to quit. Itís a habit Iím stuck with, but I feel itís in the long run (so long as I keep it to myself and within my own four walls) less harmful than having a full-blown alcohol dependency. Some people from my family have had quite severe problems with alcohol, and not one of them even managed to reach their mid-50s, but those who smoked Ė some very heavily Ė all lived well into their 80s, with one making it to his late 90s.
O IS FOR ORANGES
For most of my life Iíve hated the things, but in the past couple of years Iíve developed a deep respect for and powerful urge to eat at least 3 oranges a day. Maybe my body is crying out for vitamin C? I donít think so, because I eat masses of a very wide range of fresh and frozen vegetables on a daily basis. Iíve no idea why I almost overnight have begun to crave oranges and in a way, Iím sorry about it as citrus fruits are bad for my arthritis.
P IS FOR PROCRASTINATION
I believe procrastination is a skill, not a fault. I canít see the point in doing something which I donít want to do unless and until I absolutely have to. When Iím forced into what Iíve been procrastinating about by deadlines or similar, I find I then do it more quickly and more accurately.
Q IS FOR QUORN
I hate the stinky stuff with the earthy, almost mouldy under-taste. If ever I go through one of my vegetarian phases, I never use meat substitutes such as soya, tofu or Quorn. I prefer to take my protein from things like beans (as they come out of the packet or tin, unadulterated) and lentils, as to me they taste a lot nicer.
R IS FOR REDUNDANCY
I managed to make mine work for me, after a short initial period of worry. Despite being very skilled in my occupational field as it was then, I was unable to find another job. I went for many interviews, only to be bypassed for somebody less experienced, but younger and more beautiful. Not easily thwarted and once my first flurry of panic was over, I used the energy from it, took the bull by the horns, and am now self-employed working from home. OK I barely earn a third of what I used to, but Iím not a materialistic person and I enjoy the virtually stress-free lifestyle I now have, even if cash does get very tight at times.
S IS FOR SANGRIA
One of my ideas of perfect relaxation is to sit outside a small street cafť on a hot and dusty day in the unspoiled part of northern Majorca, enjoying doing absolutely nothing Ė watching the world go by, whilst quaffing several large jugs of sangria. Iíve yet to find anybody outside of Spain and its islands who can make sangria taste exactly as it should.
T IS FOR TABU
After Aqua Manda, this is the stuff I used to most douse myself with in the very early 1970s. People were increasingly abandoning places like Hastings, Blackpool, Skegness and Brighton, and were in their droves going on package holidays to Spain, Majorca, Ibiza and Italy. I could be almost certain that anyone I knew whoíd ventured off to Spain or the Balearics would bring me back a huge bottle of Tabu. It smelled like shoe polish, but when youíre a naÔve 17-year-old, you think some pretty strange things are cool Ė well, I did!
U IS FOR ULULATE
This is one of those emittances from the English language you can really get your tongue and vocal chords around, almost seeing those loops and spoolsÖ.which is my own subjective impression of what to me is an extremely interesting and hardly used word.
V IS FOR VERA
Vera was my motherís name. OK itís a name pretty exclusive to her own generation and had a short spell of being in fashion in a similar way to how everybody was calling their baby girls names like Tracy, Sharon and Donna in the late 1950s/early 1960s, but despite it now probably being thought of as dated, I think itís a very nice name Ė it has a touch of mystery about it. To appreciate the nameís attractiveness, it must be thought of with complete objectivity.
W IS FOR WEIRD
People who know me think Iím weird, but I am truly of the impression Iím pretty normal. I do have a bit of a problem though with those who advertise themselves as weird, because whenever I get to know them, I usually find they are anything but weird Ė in fact, I frequently find that they are rather bland and tedious!
X IS FOR X-RAY
Aside from at the dentist, an X-ray is something Iíve never had! Iím not complaining; merely I think that to have reached the age I am without ever having any reason for a non-dental X-ray, is quite a feat.
Y IS FOR YELLOW
As far back as I can remember, and my earliest memory is of sitting in my high chair being fed scrambled egg for breakfast on my 1st birthday, I have been drawn to the colour yellow. Some people strangely find it depressing, but any shade of yellow instantly lifts my mood and makes me feel sunshiny and positive.
Z IS FOR ZODIAC RING
I have been wearing a silver Gemini zodiac ring on the little finger of my right hand since the age of about 12. I bought the ring in a Southend shop called Africa Arts and it cost 1/6d (equivalent to about 8p in todayís money) and itís I suppose sort of grown with me. I think if I were to lose this ring Iíd feel as though part of myself had irretrievably vanished. Me and my zodiac ring have seen a lot of water sometimes rush and sometimes gently flow under the bridge of life, and we are the best of friends.
Well thatís my latest piece of self-indulgence over and done with. I do warn though that it isnít the last, because I have scoured the topics in Ciaoís cafť and seen a lot in there that I can really let my hair down with, as time goes by. So, if you werenít overly bored by all of the above, watch this space!