Robin Gibb, Polari, Aubergines & Dangerous Docklands…

Robin Gibb, Polari, Aubergines & Dangerous Docklands…

As I was writing the entry for last week, the death of Robin Gibb was announced. The first I knew of it was via Twitter, but a quick check with the BBC News site was all the confirmation necessary. It had looked like he might be getting better, but sadly it was not to be.

I first heard the Bee Gees back in the 70’s when I was growing up and had some understanding of music – however I was not a fan of the group and Barry’s falsetto voice was not unlike nails on a blackboard to my ears at the time.

My musical tastes went off in a different direction and most their work passed me by, up until the untimely demise of Maurice in early 2003. I gave some of their work a listen and remember being quite surprised at how well it had lasted – it still sounded fresh and I was able to now understand the musicality and appreciate the body of work (and Barry’s high-pitched harmonising!). To me, their later work on the disc “The Record” was some of their best, as were some of the collaborations with other big names. I’m considering having one of their tracks played at my funeral.

Here’s the spooky bit – I normally have some music playing whilst I’m working at the computer – I’ve got one directory with every track I own in it and just leave it on a random setting. At the time Robin’s death had been announced, “For whom the bell tolls” had been playing…

RIP, Robin Gibb 1949-2012

[Reflective pause]

My 30-day trial of Adobe Lightroom ended this week. I bit the bullet and paid for it. Doing a quick search, I managed to find it almost £30 cheaper than Adobe are selling it for, and this is the version supplied on disc! It’s 100% genuine, ordered it on Wednesday at 4pm and it was here by 09:30 on Thursday. There is always that little bit of tension when entering a serial number- have I got a genuine one or is it going to start flashing red and give the sound of sirens? Friend and colleague Stuart is in Tunisia at the moment (me? jealous? Nah…) but it’s his fault I’ve got LR. Adobe should get him on the sales team – getting me to part with cash for software is no mean feat!

I’ve also discovered that it has built in gallery generators – something I’d been trying to do but thus far without success. It took some doing to get them to work within this site, simply because when LR publishes the files, they are designed to be uploaded to a remotely hosted server – that is not the situation here, as the server sits within kicking distance of my right foot! Once I’d worked out how to convince it to work, it was easy – one needs to know ones back slashes from one’s forward ones! If you’ve not looked at the gallery, please do so – more will appear when I’ve re-ordered them. I really, really do like this bit of software – can you tell?

A chat with a friend got onto the topic of Polari. For those that don’t know, it is a language, now all but extinct. It is thought to have originated in the Romany fairgrounds in the late 19th Century, allowing the staff to speak to each other about the punters without them knowing. It was adopted by the gay community in the early 20th century – when it was illegal for men to do unto other men, so in order for them to communicate in the open, they used Polari in what is believed to be an adapted form. The language has been forever immortalised by “Julian & Sandy”, two characters from the BBC Radio series “Round the Horne” of the 1960’s, Hugh Paddick was Julian and Kenneth Williams played Sandy.

The J&S sketch was probably the highlight of every show; hence it was kept until the end of most broadcasts. Anyway, this chat reminded me that I’d got a copy of the film “Up the Chastity Belt” which starred Frankie Howerd. I first saw the film about 30 years ago and quite liked it.

I’ve since got it on DVD but had not watched it. This was remedied during the week. Now, when I first watched it, I was almost in single figures, age wise, (stop sniggering) so a lot of the gags went over my young and impressionable head. Watching it this week was like seeing it for the first time – I now understood all the jokes and FH’s little asides to camera (has anyone else ever done this as well as him?). Where is the connection between RTH and the film? Hugh Paddick played an extremely effeminate Robin Hood in the movie! See – it all connects, somehow!

One of the best gags in the film has FH’s Lurkalot character talking to HP’s Robin:

HP: Well, what do you think of our camp, then?

FH: Oh, I think that’s the word for it!

If you’ve not seen it, give it a look – it had me laughing hard!

Sainsburys. I’ve been having groceries delivered by them for several years; it’s easy, stress free and much more cost effective than going to the shop and ending up with loads of impulse buys. I’d selected some Aubergines in this order. I can’t quite believe what they sent me. They are, unquestionably the vegetable. But, well, have a look for yourself.

What am I supposed to do with them? One has got to be in contention for the biggest in world record terms and the other has to be a front-runner for the opposite award.

I’ve included a CD to give you a sense of scale – it is just coincidence that it’s the Bee Gees one mentioned at the beginning? No – like I said – it all connects – where else would you find Aubergines and the Bee Gees in the same shot?

The hot weather brings about the now inevitable “Barbecue” season. I can remember a time when no-one had heard of a “barbecue” unless they’d been to Australia or seen one on imported TV. I fully respect everyone has a right to hold one, but can you please think about the smoke you generate? I really don’t like having to close windows when it’s 28c outside, but on Saturday there were gatherings on two out of the three sides of my building and the smoke was being carried in by the wind.

I was asked to go over to Royal Victoria Docks on Sunday by a friend who is managing the construction of the North portal for the Cable Car thingy that is being built. Having taken some pictures for him I found myself at a loose end at 9am in docklands. Now, we all know about the bright lights, the Manhattan style skyline and the streets paved with gold. But within a few hundred yards, you can still find the scrap-yards and metal merchants, oil reclamation businesses and rubbish sorters that have existed along the river for many years. It was quite a contrast to the multi-million pound buildings that can be seen towering over them.

There seemed to be a lot of activity around there for a Sunday morning – and for the first time in a long time I felt a bit nervous. Bear in mind I don’t really know where I am and I’m carrying my camera bag and a monopod – which could be useful in fending off undesirables’ but is also a bit of an advert! The activity I saw was either prostitution or drug related and I did not want to get caught up in any of it. Thank god for the DLR – I followed the line and eventually came to a station. With it still being early and such a nice day, I went on one of my rambles around London, which included my first journey on one of Boris Johnson’s new Routemaster buses – this will be the subject of a separate entry!

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