Monday, May 01, 2006

When "charidee" begins at home

THE SUNDAY morning routine at Beelzebub Mansions is sacrosanct. While I pop off to get the papers (and isn’t the Sunday Sport coming on these days), Mrs B conjures up a plate of kedgeree and a glass of port ready for my return.

Then it’s off to the study with a pot of coffee in time for The Archers Omnibus, and the latest dose of abject misery from Alistair and Shula. Except for last week, when the routine was rudely shattered.

Now I’ve got used to having to amend my listening times on Remembrance Sunday. It’s only fit and proper that Ambridge activities should take second place to the ceremony at the Cenotaph. But last weekend I was flummoxed by the decision to start The Archers a good 45 minutes early to accommodate a St George’s Day service. (Which, in the usual anti-English BBC mode, came live from a church in Scotland. No, really.)

So it was with heavy heart that I returned to the drawing room having missed the vital news regarding Emma’s divorce, Tom’s latest banger innovation and Oliver’s imminent milk round. Matters weren’t improved when I turned on the television expecting to see that nice man who used to be on Newsround doing his country programme only to find the screen filled with thousands of sweating, lycra-clad attention seekers running the London Marathon.

Now I don’t want to be churlish, but haven’t we had enough of this annual boreathon? Time was when “runners” were whippet-like men in string vests who used to overtake your Dad’s Morris Minor on the way up the Snake Pass. They confined their activities to municipal athletics tracks at twilight, worshipped at the shrine of Alf Tupper and wouldn’t dream of running around the streets in full view of everyone, never mind being caught applying Vaseline to their nipples on live television.

These days people look at you oddly if you don’t spend an hour a night jogging through the streets in some ghastly nylon jumpsuit while dodging dog dirt and inhaling fumes from 4x4s driven by clock-maddened mothers shuttling multiple children from swimming lessons to sleepover.

And, come the big day in April, they’re all allowed to do it together – and worse; it’s for “charidee”. You can almost smell the self-righteousness in amongst the Fiery Jack and the festering trainers. “Look at me, aren’t I clever, I’m on the telly you know. And all this sacrifice is to raise funds for poorly babies.”

And then there are the Aren’t-I-Wacky mob in their emu outfits and their gorilla costumes, not to mention the idiot in armour dragging a ten-ton dragon behind him.

But I’ll tell you what’s even worse than grasping runners: those glib bastards who expect YOU to fund THEIR summer holiday on the pretence of raising money for “charidee”. You know what I mean. They sneak up on you with their sponsorship form craftily hidden inside a copy of The Guardian, wait until you’re on the phone and then shove it under your nose for signing.

Before you know it you’ve given them a fiver towards their trek along the Inca Trail in Peru (“… and we met a darling little man in Machu Picchu …”) or their march down the Great Wall of China. What you don’t realise at the time is that they have to raise a certain amount of money to pay for their worthier-than-thou jolly in the first place.

It’s the same with free-loading sky-divers. Now I’ve done parachute jumps. It’s great fun and I paid for them myself (apart from a few the Army coughed up for). So why should I give the fat girl from Accounts money to throw herself out of a plane just because she says it’s for “charidee”?

Yes, £3.50 might eventually make its way into the coffers of the Old Timers’ Society, but the other £300 has gone towards the fuel needed to haul her vast bulk skywards. (And what’s the point in giving money to people suffering from Old Timers’ Disease in the first place? They’ve only forgotten about it by the next day.)

Nope, I’m afraid that for me charity now begins at home. I’ve just booked a villa in Majorca for two weeks. I may do some sponsored beer drinking while I’m there. Any offers, anyone?

SO WHAT else has been happening this week? Oh, look – a floundering government doing its level best to replicate the Fall of the Roman Empire.

Add the frightening case of unlikely lothario Mr John Prescott to the trials and tribulations of Charles Clarke and Patricia Hewitt, not forgetting the recent embarrassments of Ruth Kelly and the cash-for-peerages scandal, and you’d be forgiven for thinking that this particular Cabinet had been made by Ikea.

NIP DOWN to the bookies and get a few quid on Ruth Badger to win The Apprentice.
Yes, she might … erm … wear sensible shoes, but after this week’s showdown with the reptilian Syed, there’s no real competition from the rest of the lightweights. Anyway, Amstrad is no different to any other company – good HGV drivers are always needed.

O The views of Mr Beelzebub are purely personal and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the editor or staff of this website, of anyone who managed to watch the women’s FA Cup Final on the telly without falling over laughing, of anyone who thinks England have a hope in hell in the World Cup without Wayne Rooney, or of anyone who’s already got a cross of St George flying from their car.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ah Bazza. You do make me laugh. An excellent piece this week despite being a tad late. I particularly like the bit about the chap overtaking your dad's Morris Minor on Snake Pass. So true.

8:18 AM  
Blogger BarryBeelzebub said...

I hated that Morris Minor. I was usually sick in it before we got to the end of the street.

My old man used to have to drive it from Manchester to Grimsby and back on a Friday night in the days before motorways.

God only knows how he did it.

9:17 AM  
Blogger Stew said...

ALf Tupper - "the tuff of the track" Worked as a welder and trained on fish and chips.
Oily foreign Lotharios used to try the utmost to sabotage Alf at international meets, but alf would always arrive at the start line, having jumped through hoops to get there, give a cheery grin and beat them.
I was ever so pleased to buy an old Valiant on eBay to get my own copy of Alf in action.

I miss Captain Hurrican and his raging infernos too. He never shot krauts or japs, he just kicked them about the place.

2:38 PM  
Anonymous Steve B said...

Great stuff bazza - Alf Tupper, what a blast from the past that is!

Valiant should be required reading for kids today - would be better than whatever multicultural mumbo jumbo they're being force fed!

3:12 AM  
Anonymous Theotherhalf said...

Getting your act back together Bazza? Nice bit of reading was this.
One thing though, was Alf Tupper (along with Roy of the Rovers and Braddock VC) not published in the Rover comic?
Maybe it's all just faded into the dim past in my grey cell.

7:54 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Alf Tupper was a fictional working class, 'hard as nails' runner, whose adventures appeared in first the 'Rover' and then the 'Victor' British boys comics, over almost a 40 year period, under the Title, The Tough of the Track.

10:40 AM  
Blogger Stew said...

Was it "Victor" I used to read so many - "Scorcher and Score", "Hotspur", "Valiant".

There was also a "Look & Learn" that had educational stuff but also a BRILLIANT comic saga called "The Trigan Empire" kind of Odesseus on Mars.

I laso miss the characters Kelly's Eye and Jason Stark.

I must go do some Googling

4:41 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Come on Bazza, let's have your take on the "Bliar Project" now that the serial shaggers and so on are all being reshuffled. You're LATE again - and just look at the mileage you can get out of "Two Shags" predicament. Tee Hee!!!

2:43 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

He's right you know punctuality is certainly not your strong point these days Bazza - so get the finger out!

2:07 AM  
Anonymous Steve said...

Yeah! I watched the movie and it was quite good

9:35 PM  

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