Classic humour now from the Two Ronnies - for my money, their best ever sketch. Reproduced here for your Christmas pleasure.
THE TWO RONNIES - "The Hardware Shop" aka "Four Candles'"
In a hardware shop. Ronnie Corbett is behind the counter, wearing a warehouse jacket. He has just finished serving a customer.
CORBETT (muttering): There you are. Mind how you go.(Ronnie Barker enters the shop, wearing a scruffy tank-top and beanie)
BARKER: Four Candles!
CORBETT: Four Candles?
BARKER: Four Candles.(Ronnie Corbett makes for a box, and gets out four candles. He places them on the counter)
BARKER: No, four candles!
CORBETT (confused): Well there you are, four candles!
BARKER: No, fork 'andles! 'Andles for forks!(Ronnie Corbett puts the candles away, and goes to get a fork handle. He places it onto the counter)
CORBETT (muttering): Fork handles. Thought you said 'four candles!' (more clearly) Next?
BARKER: Got any plugs?
CORBETT: Plugs. What kind of plugs?
BARKER: A rubber one, bathroom.(Ronnie Corbett gets out a box of bath plugs, and places it on the counter)
CORBETT (pulling out two different sized plugs): What size?
BARKER: Thirteen amp!
CORBETT (muttering): It's electric bathroom plugs, we call them, in the trade. Electric bathroom plugs!(He puts the box away, gets out another box, and places on the counter an electric plug, then puts the box away)
BARKER: Saw tips!
CORBETT: Saw tips? (he doesn't know what he means) What d'you want? Ointment, or something like that?
BARKER: No, saw tips for covering saws.
CORBETT: Oh, haven't got any, haven't got any. (he mutters) Comin' in, but we haven' got any. Next?
BARKER: 'O's.(He goes to get a hoe, and places it on the counter)
BARKER: No, 'O's!
CORBETT: 'O's! I thought you said 'O! (he takes the hose back, and gets a hose, whilst muttering) When you said 'O's, I thought you said 'O! 'O's!(He places the hose onto the counter)
BARKER: No, 'O's!
CORBETT (confused for a moment): O's? Oh, you mean panty 'o's, panty 'o's! (he picks up a pair of tights from beside him)
BARKER: No, no, 'O's! 'O's for the gate. Mon repose! 'O's! Letter O's!
CORBETT (finally realising): Letter O's! (muttering) You had me going there!(He climbs up a stepladder, gets a box down, puts the ladder away, and takes the box to the counter, and searches through it for letter O's)
CORBETT: How many d'you want?
BARKER: Two.(Ronnie Corbett leaves two letter O's on the counter, then takes the box back, gets the ladder out again, puts the box away, climbs down the ladder, and puts the ladder away, then returns to the counter)
CORBETT: Yes, next?
BARKER: Got any P's?
CORBETT (fed up): For Gawd' sake, why didn' you bleedin' tell me that while I was up there then? I'm up and down the shop already, it's up and down the bleedin' shop all the time. (He gets the ladder out, climbs up and gets the box of letters down, then puts the ladder away) Honestly, I've got all this shop, I ain't got any help, it's worth it we plan things. (He puts the box on the counter, and gets out some letter P's) How many d'you want?
BARKER: No! Tins of peas. Three tins of peas!
CORBETT: You're 'avin' me on, ain't ya, yer 'avin' me on?
BARKER: I'm not!(Ronnie Corbett dumps the box under the counter, and gets three tins of peas)
CORBETT (muttering, as he goes down the shop): Foot pumps. See a foot pump? (He sees one, and picks it up) Tidy up in 'ere.(He puts the pump down on the counter)BARKER: No, pumps fer ya feet! Brown pump, size nine!
CORBETT (almost at breaking point): You are 'avin' me on, you are definitely 'avin' me on!
BARKER (not taking much notice of Corbett's mood): I'm not!
CORBETT: You are 'avin' me on! (He takes back the pump, and gets a pair of brown foot pumps out of a drawer, and places them on the counter) Next?
CORBETT (really close to breaking point): What, dishwashers, floor washers, car washers, windscreen washers, back scrubbers, lavatory cleaners? Floor washers?
BARKER: 'Alf inch washers!
CORBETT: Oh, tap washers, tap washers? (He finally breaks, and makes to confiscate his list) Look, I've had just about enough of this, give us that list. (He mutters) I'll get it all myself! (Reading through the list) What's this? What's that? Oh that does it! That just about does it! I have just about had it! (calling through to the back) Mr. Jones! You come out and serve this customer please, I have just about had enough of 'im. (Mr. Jones comes out, and Ronnie Corbett shows him the list) Look what 'e's got on there! Look what 'e's got on there!
JONES (who goes to a drawer with a towel hanging out of it, and opens it): Right! How many would ya like? One or two?(He removes the towel to reveal the label on the drawer - 'Bill hooks'!)
CRITICISMS ABOUT THE SKETCH
When Ronnie Corbett goes to get the O's, he leaves the hose on the counter, but when he comes back with the O's, the hose has gone!
While going for the P's, Ronnie Corbett mutters about not having any help, yet at the end, he gets Mr. Jones in.No-one seems to bother about getting his tap washers.
Here are some of my favourites from this year's offerings so far.
"Get away from the fridge!" ordered Nicky.
"It’s not that I want to be picky,
I'm really quite sweet,
But next time you eat
I'll kill you - now hand me my biccy!"
Dear Laura continues to rile
As she spits out her venom and bile,
But what most distresses
Is that she possesses
Two faces - and both of 'em vile.
And so our Big Brother begins
First entry is a set of pink twins
We're all seeing double
Lets hope they cause trouble
With their screeching and constant sweet grins
I'm always delighted when I spot one of Derren Brown's tricks - like this one from his current Channel 4 show "Trick or Treat".
I noticed that the cards he was using for TRICK or TREAT were one and the same. It just depends which way up they are. This means that Derren can control whether the person chooses a trick or a treat. So far, he seems always have chosen to deliver a trick.
My guess is that the answer to the question posed for the series is definitely "Trick". It's all a trick - even some of the members of the public are actually stooges. This is a little disappointing, as I believe that his skills could be used to good effect without resorting to low trickery.
I was so glad that the excellent Man Stroke Woman team did this classic spoof of the Home and Away theme tune. It's gentle, touching and surprisingly heartwarming. I have never once watched an episode, but I do love the tune. Now, I do watch Neighbours, and I hate the tune to that.
In my ideal world, they'd swap names and theme tunes. As far as I can tell, the actors are all pretty much the same. For those of you who are now thinking "What is Man Stroke Woman?" It's a rather good sketch show whose second series has just ended - with this sketch. It's not all rip-roaring laughter, but many pleasantly surreal smiles and the odd belly-laugh. I love their take on the world. Another example of creativity that I wish I was part of.
I'm not bitter.
A touching moment from Man stroke Woman
As a footnote to this - Daisy Haggard, a woman who has, no doubt, caused a good few men to be "distracted for a while", has also released an album, and you can hear a clip by clicking HERE. The track is called "Camera Girls", and I found it very enjoyable. Yes, I'm sure it was the music I liked and found very attractive.
The profits of the album go to help the efforts of Friend Of The Earth Scotland, so that's nice too. If you buy the DVDs of the first series, you can ogle her to your heart's content. If you want to. Not that you'd want too. I know I don't.
She has excellent legs acting ability, and that's why I like her.
When I turned on the rather pedestrian Radio 4 news yesterday and heard about Celebrity Big Brother, I knew immediately that something extraordinary must be happening. It turns out that the events in the now infamous "Big Brother House" have had repercussions in the "outside world", as it's known on the show.
What fascinates me more than anything is that the debate seems to be as much about whether what we're seeing is racism, or whether it is "just bullying". I'm not sure that it matters, actually. I don't think anyone on a national television program should be required to submit themselves to the kind of sustained abuse flowing from the mouth of Jade Goody.
I have learned to enjoy it when I get surprised by someone. For one thing, it doesn't happen too often and for another it is one of the few things that stops me feeling jaded and cynical.
Such a surprise came from Celebrity Big Brother's Dirk Benedict, who held forth on the subject of “Letting Go” in a delightful and engaging way yesterday. I'm not sure I have ever listened to something on Big Brother which I found directly interesting before, previous Big Brother learnings have always revolved around things to avoid at all cost, or maybe what not to throw at any given time.
So what did he say that so enchanted me? It was this:
[Talking about life and love and death]
“It's all about getting and letting go. when we breathe in, we breathe out - if we don't, we die. The more graceful you get in letting go, the higher you get. Letting go is what it's all about, letting go of your children, letting go of broken love, letting go of success, letting go of money and eventually letting go of your life and moving on.
When you really love something then you're willing to let go immediately. It's new relationships when you cling and cling and you don't wanna let go because they bring you something that you need and you don't want to lose it. When you love them, you don't need them [in that way].”
Awesome, Dirk - plenty of food for thought there. I can't help but like him, and I thought I would hate him with a passion. The diametric opposite of Leo Sayer, who rarely fails to be a bore.
[Bore, n.: A person who talks when you wish him to listen.
Ambrose Bierce (1842 - 1914)]
So am I enjoying celebrity Big brother? Well, maybe. The thing is, I am watching it, so they have kinda won anyway.
The most important factor in all of this barely contained irritation with Lorne Spicer, is that she needs to know that we can see through her tissue-thin veneer of professional genuineness.
Take this picture, for example. Click on it to expand, and look at her eyes without the “smile”. You can do this by placing a ruler over the screen to obscure her mouth. The truth is now plain to see. The eyes are not smiling.
What we are actually seeing is a facial contortion in the shape of a smile. I can only think that this means she does not enjoy her work on TV - and this is a shame, because she is very fortunate to get so much national TV airtime.
The BBC has a good armoury of excellent TV presenters now: Alistair Appleton, Jenny Bond, That cheerful Scottish bloke - to almost name three. There are plenty more, and more still in the pipeline. I wish Lorne well in her and her husband's commercial endeavours, but I do sincerely hope that she is encouraged to leave TV presenting behind.
With such a wide range of daytime TV programmes in production, there is a danger of blandness and fatigue creeping in as presenters struggle through long runs. We need people whose enthusiasm is maintained and who really do enjoy meeting the members of the public who give so much to make these shows a success.
As you may or may not be aware, none of which is my fault, but there actually are a great many podcasts around these days. Some of these are video podcasts, and there are many many of them, although less many than the great many that are audio podcasts. So far so good. Or not.
If this is confusing/annoying please stop reading NOW.
However, if you found yourself wanting - for some reason - to subscribe to a good and funny low-budget video podcast, I could not recommend the following one more highly:
It is funny, and a little surreal and filmed in an engaging way with strange and slightly troubling colours. On a more practical note, each episode features a truly viable cocktail, and usually some new and entertaining character. Plus the main lady is beautiful.
I've said too much. Time to go, while you are all still confused.