… CONTINUED FROM DIARY No 37…
SUNDAY 4th OCTOBER
In this COVID-19 era, the protocol on non-rush hour London trains seems to be that everyone sits on alternate seats, leaving a gap between each person.
MONDAY 5th OCTOBER
Meanwhile, Thameslink trains are dependable for their undependability. When I arrived at Elstree station at 1358 today for the 1401 train, the indicator board proclaimed that the next train was the 0931 tomorrow morning, expected to arrive at 0939.
After travelling by Thameslink, President Trump’s overdramatic exit from hospital in Washington and overdramatic arrival back at the White House after his COVID infection seemed less surreal.
TUESDAY 6th OCTOBER
I was talking with someone who used to work in the London Docks who told me that the nickname for the police there used to be “the cabbage”. Neither he nor I could think of any explanation for this.
He also used to know Barrie Keefe, writer of wonderful 1980 gangster movie The Long Good Friday who, sadly, died last December.
Apparently Barrie Keefe wrote a (so-far un-made) sequel to The Long Good Friday, centred on the tiny but essential character played by Pierce Brosnan in the original movie.
Keefe once told someone that Brosnan had no lines in the original film: he never spoke. The other person disagreed. Keefe (who, remember, wrote the movie) watched the film again and, sure enough, Pierce Brosnan (in the swimming pool scene) does say “Hi!”
“That’s actors for you,” Barrie Keefe responded.
I was working at ATV (who commissioned the movie for the ITV Network via their ITC/Black Lion companies) when ATV/ITC boss Lew Grade refused to screen it because he was outraged by the ending. It had been commissioned by Charles Denton, who was both Programme Controller at ATV and Managing Director of Black Lion, presumably without Grade ever reading the script.
I think the scene in which someone is crucified on a wooden floor in London must have been inspired by Arthur Thompson‘s penchant for doing that in Glasgow. My ex-London docker told me that the scene in which a widow steps out of a car to spit at a criminal was based on a real incident though, in reality, the man apparently just legged it sharpish.
If you have seen the movie, there is a clip on YouTube of Pierce Brosnan talking about The Long Good Friday but – BEWARE – there are major, major plot spoilers in it.
WEDNESDAY 7th OCTOBER
I was talking to someone who plays the online game Words With Friends with strangers.
Apparently this has attracted scammers who bombard her with messages of a romantic nature – usually in broken English – Many of them, for some totally unknown and incomprehensible reason, claim to be estate agents (that’s a realtor or real estate agent if you live in the US).
I can only assume there is a school for scammers which provides a template suggesting would-be scammers masquerade as estate agents.
THURSDAY 8th OCTOBER
The UK Chancellor of the Exchequer has suggested that, because of the COVID-19 crisis and its effects on jobs, people should think of switching careers.
My diminutive writer/composer/comedy chum Ariane Sherine (her physical stature is relevant) took the government’s online Careers Advice Test on a whim and it suggested she should become an army officer, a bodyguard or a bomb disposal technician.
Her reaction: “This is clearly not the perfect career for someone with clinical anxiety and paranoia who gets freaked out by sudden loud noises!”
Inspired by this, I tried the Careers Advice Test myself. It suggested I could or should become a boxer, a jockey, a hairdressing salon manager, a Member of Parliament or a TV/film producer…
The government site, which also handles Track & Trace for the COVID-19 outbreak, may need some urgent attention.
FRIDAY 9th OCTOBER
An odd day.
I went into the Tesco store in Borehamwood where, among the free books, were copies of Rolf Harris‘ True Animal Tales and the violent Mafia memoir I Heard You Paint Houses (filmed by Martin Scorsese as The Irishman). I am not sure what this says about the reading or social habits of Tesco’s customers in Borehamwood.
Later, I went into the Tesco store in Leytonstone and found the stand-up urinals in the Gents toilets each had an orange plastic insert bearing the word P-WAVE. I would like to have been at the branding meeting where they brainstormed ideas for the name and colour of this product.
SATURDAY 10th OCTOBER
Anthony Irvine, the ever-inventive act formerly known as The Iceman emailed me, without explanation, an image of his latest painting.
I have no explanation. He had no explanation. I am open to offers…
But the sky today hinted that God takes cocaine. This could explain a lot about the last week and the current year.
… CONTINUED HERE …