Thursday, 28 May 2009

Crunch Credit

Crisps that taste like the flavour on the packet:
Ready Salted
Salt and Vinegar
Salt and Black Pepper
Worcestershire Sauce
Pickled Onion

Crisps that taste about as far away from the flavour on the packet as it's possible to go without involving NASA:
Smokey Bacon
Roast Chicken
Beef 'n' Onion
Cheese 'n' Onion
All the others.

Oh, vaulting ambition! Why must you tempt Walkers et al so?

If I were Walkers et al, I'd just have another look in my special kitchen cupboard, and pick another condiment/preserve. I'm not sure what's left in there - perhaps soy sauce or strawberry jam? Cheeky swines.

Wednesday, 27 May 2009

Unnecessarily Painful

I saw some people on the telly this morning having the acupuncture done. I reckon that's a big bag of wrong.

If it's not working, do acupuncturists use bigger and bigger needles, eventually moving up to daggers? There must be a point at which the benefits are outweighed by the harm done.

Now, I know some people who have had acupuncture and they say they feel a lot better after having it. But then I reckon I'd feel a lot better too after somebody took a load of needles out of my back. And also before somebody put a load of needles into my back. But probably not during the period of having a load of needles in my back.

To test this theory, I asked my colleague Fat Brian if I could give him a Chinese burn*. Here are the results.

FAT BRIAN: "Fine. Bit peckish."

09.12 Chinese burn applied
FAT BRIAN: "Nnnnnnnnghhh! Oooooo! Aieeee! Ow! Ow! Ow! Is the canteen open? Nnnnnnnnngggghhhh! Stop it! Stop it! Stop it!"

09.16 Chinese burn withdrawn.
FAT BRIAN: "Ooh, that's better. That really is... Right (CLAPS HANDS), bacon!"

Following my experiment, I've decided to set myself up as a Chinese burn therapist. I'm going to charge £10 a minute, which is quite a lot pro rata as it works out as £600 an hour, but I don't think people will generally want the full hour. And also there's often a bit of jerking about, so occasionally I might be hit.

If you'd like me to give you a Chinese burn, please leave your name in the comments box below.

* I understand that our American cousins refer to the technique as an Indian burn, but I'm not sure whether this refers to people from the Indian subcontinent or Native Americans. Either way, I'm happy to accept that the technique could have developed in both China and India or North America independently. There's no need for a row about this.

Monday, 25 May 2009

Democracy In Action

Well, the people have spoken. I asked for your opinion on the Lovely or Top-Notch question. And by a massive majority (77% to 22%) you have decided that this is a Lovely World.

I don't know what the missing 1% decided. Perhaps they had a different superlative in mind. Maybe it wasn't a superlative at all. Maybe it was the opposite of a superlative. In which case, how dare they? How bloody dare they? I don't get paid for this, you know. You make me sick.

Friday, 22 May 2009

Malt Disnae

I've come up with a cracking idea. I recently done a tweet on the Twitter suggesting that it would be good to market malted milk biscuits without the picture of the cow on it to vegetarians.

Somebody pointed out that vegans would still be unable to have them, as they don't agree with milk. Milk is like kryptonite to vegans. Give milk to a vegan and he or she will say, "Ugh! No thanks. Put it back in the cow," or something to that effect.

That makes me unreasonably sad. Malted milk biscuits are ace. I don't see why vegans should miss out, just because they're averse to mince.

So I've come up with this prototype...

I particularly like the soya bean, which replaces the more conventional cow. It's going to make my fortune. I'll spend some of it on meat, but I don't want that to put the nice vegans/vegetarians off. They can't take responsibility for my actions.

Thursday, 21 May 2009

Rainbow Of Doom

Here are five statements about hundreds and thousands.

1) Each hundred and thousand is individually filed down from a sweet block the size of a Hall's Mentholyptus.

2) The Americans have individual elements 10 times the size of the British hundred and thousand. Our Stateside cousins call them 'tens and hundreds.'

3) I don't like hundreds and thousands as I think they make food look a bit rubbish.

4) A sachet of hundreds and thousands is in the British Army's standard ration pack to raise morale. The sachet is known by squaddies as their 'bag of special.' The treats are often sprinkled on top of tinned beef stew.

5) Before rice and confetti came into vogue, hundreds and thousands were the missile of choice for relatives at weddings. They were banned when it was discovered they were the cause of an obesity crisis in birds. At one point, the crisis was so acute that the boughs of most trees outside churches were bent to breaking point, ruining the photos.

Monday, 18 May 2009

Settle This. Now.

Should this be Graham Bandage's Lovely World, or Graham Bandage's Top-Notch World? You decide, simply by clicking on the poll to the left. Make sure you click on the right one, because you won't be able to do it twice to compensate. This isn't a BBC phone-in competition.

I will be bound by your decision.

Pull Yourself Together

I am occasionally glad that I am not TV's Dr Alice "Call me Dr Alice Roberts" Roberts. If I were in her position, I would change my surname by deed poll to Doctor, ensuring that any enquiries to me would sound like the beginning of a joke.

But, then, names are rum chaps, aren't they? Offer somebody a prune and they'll schnuffel their nose with faint 21st century disgust, as if you'd offered them a tin of snoek, or a bullseye wrapped in a page torn out of a ration book. If the Prune Marketing Board had changed their name to sun-dried plums, however, the little wrinkly balls would be flying off the shelves.

I was given to consider this while sitting in McDonald's and reading the list of mouthwatering ingredients in their brand new Chicken Legend with Bacon. This latest delicacy follows very much in the tradition of the Big Tasty and Chicken Selects in that it is essentially the same as something McDonald's already does, only with slightly-nicer sounding ingredients.

So, instead of having a McChicken Sandwich, with a massive battered Chicken McNugget, an assault on the EU not-very-nice mayonnaise mountain, some limp, tasteless iceberg lettuce and a boring old roll, we have the following...

Chicken breast...: Not free-range, I imagine, or they'd have said. Still, better than chicken bottom.

... In a crispy coating INFUSED with seasoning: Excellent. I can't abide a crispy coating with no salt in it.

Batavia lettuce: I literally have no idea what this is. I think Belgravia lettuce is money, but I'm not sure.

Cool mayo: Infinitely better than lukewarm, I would contend. Nice one, McDonald's.

Cornish bacon: I have no idea if this is a good thing, but I do know I don't remember Rick Stein's Taste Of The Sty. Still, well done, Cornwall for getting the McDonald's gig.

Bakehouse roll: A bakehouse roll. I'll say that again. A bakehouse roll. Not a conventional roll, baked by bakers in a bakery. This one is baked by bakers in a bakehouse, i.e. it is a bakehouse roll. Goodness. An actual house. All I can say is I hope they haven't taken too much on. McDonald's is a big operation and they'll need a lot of rolls. I couldn't manage with my oven, but maybe they've got an Aga. So far, they're doing quite well and are producing rolls the equal of - if not better than - any of the others that McDonald's sells.

Anyway, as an experiment, I've changed the name of this blog for a week or so. I'll test the level of interest and report back at the end of the process.

Friday, 15 May 2009

Pro-passive Policing

I am excited by the idea of passive sniffer dogs, which I have read about in today's Liverpool Echo.

These splendid creatures are employed by the police and rather than barking when they sniff out a bit of the old contraband they merely sit next to the dope fiends. Apparently they've been a tremendous success.

That being the case, I wonder if the police would consider employing passive officers. I think they'd be excellent.

"Stop," they would cry while pursing miscreants, "In the name of the law! That's if you can be bothered. I mean, it's no skin off my nose if you want to run away. I'll just stand here. Don't worry about me."

Or perhaps, instead of televised press conferences where they wheel out tearful relatives, they could have a single senior police officer just staring out of the screen ruefully, as the camera slowly zooms in on his face. He could exhale loudly, and halfway through the process say, "I'm not angry. I'm just disappointed, that's all."

I think it would definitely work.

Wednesday, 13 May 2009

My Alternative To Democracy

Politicians. They've been causing a rumpus, haven't they, with their snouts in the trough? Frankly, the last place one would want to be in the current climate is the trough.

It's given me to wonder what exactly we expect from our politicians. Up until the 1960s politicians were fairly happy to stay aloof from hoi polloi*. But the likes of Harold Wilson wanted us all to think they were just like us.

I reckon that's a really bad idea. The last person I want to run the country is me. Well, the second to last. The last person I'd want to run the country is some bloke I know vaguely and consider to be a nitwit. I'd definitely be better than him.

Anyway, my point is I want somebody clever and public spirited. Not somebody who can't remember to take his sandwiches to work. Not somebody who clamps his hand around his keys when he walks past beggars in case they jingle so he doesn't give false hope.

I certainly don't want somebody who gets out of taxis before he needs to, just so that he can give the driver a pound instead of 80p, even though it won't affect the amount of money handed over to the driver.

So, this is my idea. We send out a big questionnaire, for everybody in the land to fill out. The first part is jam-packed with tricky sums and English comprehension tests. The second is filled with questions like, "If you thought you could get away with claiming 87p for a packet of Hobnobs, even though you were already dead rich, would you?"

Then we send out a big van, and this picks up people who've got at least 60%, and drives them down to Parliament. And then they run the country for a bit. And when they get bored or miss their mums or whatever, they get to go back home and the big van goes out and picks up another one.

This will definitely work.

* Ancient Greek for "the people." Some people say "The hoi polloi." They are directly contributing to IDA, the foolhardy idiots.

Monday, 11 May 2009

Just The Job

I was reading Metro again. I also read newspapers which you have to pay for, which is where, I feel, most people fall down.

In any case, I was surprised to see this ad. Never mind being a caretaker on some Australian island for six months - this is the life. It's the best job in the world.

Imagine that. Being paid £38k-45k just to sit and do puzzles. How ace is that? I reckon the £38k is for people who like to have a go at the easy sudoku in the Metro, while the £45k is for your top-end Times cryptic crossword boffins.

Although, seeing as it's a senior role, you probably wouldn't get to do much puzzle solving yourself. You'd spend a lot of time in meetings while people you supervise have all the puzzle solving fun. In a way, you'd be the victim of your own success.

I suppose I should post this here as well. It's all over the internet, but I found it first. I call it: Father Ted as a woman.

Saturday, 9 May 2009

Have A Break, Have A Crack Pipe

I popped to the supermarket today - part of my continuing attempts to 'keep it real.' My doctor suggests such activities are therapeutic, but I reckon he just wants somebody to do his shopping for him. He tells me I'm bi-polar, as if that's a problem. Frankly, I don't see why that should be the case. Can't I like the Arctic AND the Antarctic?
I digress. While I was in Sainsbury's I saw bars of chocolate packaged like pharmaceutical products. I think that's splendid. There are many people out there who identify themselves as 'chocoholics.' usually women of a certain type, and this tremendous jape would, I imagine, be right up their street.

But I wonder what it would be like if chocoholism were treated as a genuine and debilitating addiction. Would chocolate be banned, and if so, what would happen then? And here I am, wondering...
My name is Muriel Pugh, and I'm a chocolate addict. It's been six years, four months and nine days since my last bar.
I suppose my story is the same as so many other people caught in this trap. I mean, when you're a kid, you think, "There's no way I'll ever do Buttons."

But then you become a teenager and you go to a party and it gets to 1am and they start handing out the Smarties like, well, Smarties. They seem harmless. But that's how they pull you in.

Before too long I'd graduated to KitKats. I'd make up a Bournvita, but that wasn't enough. It was too slow, so I'd snort it up through a Flake.
I had to get help. I went to my doctor and he put me on Caramacs, but it wasn't the same. I started turning tricks just so I could get a couple of chunks of Dairy Milk.
I knew I was at rock bottom when I found myself eating chocolate Santas off the Christmas tree...

Still, that pharmaceutical chocolate packaging is a cracking wheeze. I mean, I know some people might think that blurring the distinction between sweets and drugs might be a bad thing vis-a-vis the kiddies, but I think they're just stick-in-the-muds.
I think it's such a good joke, I'd sacrifice maybe four or five children for it. Maybe if they got into double figures they'd have to have a rethink.

Thursday, 7 May 2009


I'm a bit concerned.

From Monday, we're not being allowed to wear our own shoes in work after a number of people have tripped on the toes of their footwear.

Apparently we have to take our shoes off in reception and wear big yellow slippers with very thin soles.

And they're replacing the current carpets with a series of gripper rods. You know, the strips of balsa wood with sharp tacks which stick up. Apparently this is to "help us adhere to the floor."

And they've sacked the people in the canteen and some of the sales staff and used the cash to employ men and women with clown make-up, who'll wear suits made out of meat. These people are supposed to walk around the building, kissing people with tongues and whispering in their ear: "Don't fall over. Don't ever fall over."

I think it's health and safety gone mad.

Tuesday, 5 May 2009

Rough Trade

Well done, Cadbury, for leaping into action so quickly.

You see, I do like those new Cluster things. But I was really disturbed to find a number of them were - I won't beat about the bush - a bit scuffed. I, like so many of you, like my Clusters to be smooth. If I want rough, I'll eat a Flake.

Like I didn't have enough to worry about. I'm already trying not to do sex while I'm walking.

So I wrote to Cadbury* with my concerns.

Dear Cadbury,

I was really disturbed upon opening a packet of your new Cluster things to find a number of them were - I won't beat about the bush - a bit scuffed.

It's not so much the scuffing that's upset me - I've been around the block and I know that life isn't perfect - as the unexpectedness of it.

Is there not some way you could prepare me and other lovers of the smoother Cluster that there is a possibility of scuffing? This would alleviate the crushing disappointment.

Yours sincerely,

Graham Bandage

And today... 

I don't mind saying it's reawakened my faith in humanity.

* It's Cadbury these days, not Cadbury's. I think the apostrophe-s migrated to Tesco's in Liverpool.

Where Is Love?

Monday, 4 May 2009

I've Got Blues Real Bad. Note: Not THE Blues

I have been pondering the definite article following the elevation of Birmingham City to the FA Premier League, as, I am sure, have you.

The Second City's second team plays in blue, just like Chelsea and Everton, and one could reasonably expect them to be known as the Blues. But one would be wrong. Dead wrong.

Birmingham City are known, simply and perversely, as Blues. With NO definite article.

This leads to what I have termed Ida - Imbalance of the Definite Article. This occurs when the definite article is expected but does not appear. But, as nature abhors a vacuum, so linguistics provides its own remedy.

For example, Russian has no definite article. 'Vot dom' is Russian for 'Here is the house', but it is also Russian for 'Here is a house.' This appalling lack of 'the'-ness is amply compensated for by German, where one cannot move for definite articles. Blimey, even French has four.

Latin, too, has no definite article, but Ancient Greek rides to the rescue with zillions of the buggers.

I think I've proved my point amply. But this doesn't solve the Blues problem. Where, oh, where can we find the definite articles to compensate for this cosmic imbalance?

I've discovered that Liverpudlians have taken, in force, to referring to the Wal-Mart owned supermarket chain ASDA as "The ASDA." (This is quite specific to that supermarket chain; there's no groundswell referring to "The Tesco"* or "The Sainsbury's".)

Once again, the people of Liverpool have come to the aid of the cosmos**. But will they receive any credit? No, they bloody won't.

*There's a bit of excessive possessiveness, with common use of "Tesco's," but that is neither specific to Liverpool, nor of any relevance to my thesis. I'd be very grateful if you'd ignore it altogether. Ta.
** Cf. the Great Pyjama Imbalance of 2001. Too many pairs of pyjamas were being worn at night and indoors, so many Liverpudlians did their part and turned out on the streets of the city in their PJs. Just to be on the safe side, some vigilant Scousers continue so to do.