Sunday, 30 May 2010

Gotcha! Goccia!

The Italians have a word for it.
In fact, the Italians have a word for pretty well everything.
Goccia (rhymes with Gotcha) , as I have just discovered, is a game that is played at Italian stag parties.
I hesitate to call it a game because although there are rules (well, there really is only one) it is not much fun for its participant (yes, there is only one of them as well).
A drink is poured - it could be a Sambuca, possibly a Limoncello or maybe something different altogether - no rules apply.
The bridegroom is then expected to down it in a oner.
With head tilted back and glass inverted, he must then return both to their normal positions.
The glass is promptly taken away and turned upside down.
If a single drop appears, another drink is poured and so the evening goes on.
And on and on and on....

I want amore, a more, a more

I don't know if it's in my blood but there's certainly something deep within me that makes me gravitate towards all things Italian.
There are times, it seems, that my love of Italy is completely out of proportion with reality.
But then, does that not define love?
It's the ability to see beyond the warts and admire things for what they truly are.
For sure, Italy has much to admire.
It may come as a surprise to most, for example, that Italy has more rules, more restrictions and more red tape than any other country.
But the real beauty is that Italians don't pay the blindest bit of attention to any of it.
Rather than worry about the curvature of bananas, towers that lean or buildings, such as the Colosseum, that remain unfinished, Italians simply live their lives.
They could teach the French a thing or two about joie de vivre.
Or if the Romans were still around, they would tell them to stop carping on about carpe diem and simply seize the day just as I am about to seize mine.
In fact, that's something I've been just about to do my entire life.
MaƱana as the say in Spain, but practise in Italy.

Friday, 28 May 2010

Wednesday, 26 May 2010

Keep young and beautiful...

..or so the song goes.
Certainly, it's easier said than sung.
Having spent a wonderful night in Pisa, I don't know whether to laugh or cry.
Laugh? Why not? Everyone else was.
Cry? Why not? I didn't realise they were all laughing at me.
Italy is full of beautiful people among whom I would never presume to number myself.
Not unless that number is a big deluded one.
Something went awry with my genes between my grandparents arriving in Scotland and me arriving on this planet.
And on the subject of jeans, how can an Italian seniorina, or even a seniora, wear them with such pizzazz?
Maybe it's the difference between numbers and figures....?
Although, to be fair, I don't give a number two.
Now where's that red wine gone?
To my head, I think.
Buona notte.

Tuesday, 25 May 2010

One, two, three O’Leary. How much more Michael?

There can be only two reasons why my grandparents left Tuscany to settle in Dundee.
The first is that they were economic migrants. The second is that they were insane.
With no history of mental illness in our family, I’ll plump for the former.
And so it is, I’m off to Sicily for a family wedding as an economic migrant of sorts – I’m flying with RyanAir.
But therein lies the myth.
RyanAir is the money magnet of the skies.
It wouldn’t do much for their bottom line if they were to stick to their fare in the headline.
That's why they look upon your pocket as the departure lounge for your money.
No need to check-in. Every conceivable opportunity to ‘cheque out’.
But hey, that’s business.
I suspect I’ll hear that sentiment a few times before I leave Palermo.

Sunday, 23 May 2010

A pimple in history pimping for her husband

Ever since the day that Fergie was caught on camera purportedly getting her toe sucked by her financial adviser, I knew we had a problem.
I say 'purportedly' because my suspicion is that there was more blowing than sucking going on.
You see, the Fergie that we all know and love (to hate) is no more than an inflatable doll.
She is not just an airhead, she is all air.
But inflation is the least of her problems.
Spending is her biggest.
Fergie has blown a fair bit herself.
In fact, she is a microcosm* of Britain PLC.
It's just a matter of time before the News of the World entraps Cameron and Clegg in some seedy hotel room giving their 'all' for our country.
Despite this momentary lapse that has spanned Fergie's life, the newspaper was keen to point out that there is nothing to suggest a lack of judgement on Prince Andrew's part.
Oh yeah?
Who married Fergie?

*I withdraw my reference above describing Fergie as a microcosm lest it be construed as misrepresentation.

PSBR escalates with new coalition

With Cameron and Clegg now ensconced in No.10, the Public School Boy Ratio has reached new heights.
Sadly, if the rumour mill is to be believed, they are already fighting over the same FAG.
One Frederick Anderson Goodwin.
Let's just be thankful that there is only one Frederick Anderson Goodwin.

Thursday, 20 May 2010

Your (PIN) number is up

I learned from a mini-statement in today's press that the inventor of the hole-in-the-wall machine has died.
So after years of standing outside the bank conducting his affairs, he will at long last be able to see what happens on the 'other side'.
But that raises a more serious point.
I've never quite understood the philosophy of a business that does its utmost to keep its customers outside, thus forgoing the opportunity to sell.
That was before Fred the Shed (yes, Shed) came along to shed more light on the matter.
He was inside busy filling his boots and, as a consequence of the hole-in-the-wall machines, there were no tellers to tell us exactly what was going on.
Yes, a certain inventor will have a few questions to answer at the Pearly Gates.
I wonder if there's a cash machine there?

Monday, 17 May 2010

I've just passed a motion of no confidence

That's better.

Ministry of Defence give in to Clegg

In what is being presented as a penny-pinching move, soldiers in the TA are to be limited to only 50 bullets.
With only 57 MP's in the coalition, Nick Clegg was acutely aware that his influence could be wiped out by a lone sniper.
The former Shadowy Home Secretary Chris Grayling, for example, is out on his own and is always sniping.
Never more so than when it comes to Cameron and Clegg cohabiting at No.10.

Thursday, 13 May 2010

First Cabinet 'leak'?

Cameron and Clegg tell Ministers:
"We went into politics to make the world a wetter place."
Job done.

Now and then

Dave "Let's put Party Politics aside."
Nick "Yeah. Come on, let's party."
Then.....12 months later:
Nick "Party Politics is getting in the way."
Dave "Yeah. Come on, let's part."

Monday, 10 May 2010

Carry on giving and something's gonna give

It was Benjamin Franklin who once observed that there were only two things certain in life: death and taxes.
Rather than concede that he wasn't 'half right', on the contrary, I assert that he was only half right.
Death becomes us all. Of that, there is no doubt.
But tax?
Take a young girl, just out of school, not yet out of her teens, three kids, no husband - indeed, no man at all.
No job, no hope and probably no desire.
No income tax.
Ah, but surely she pays taxes on pretty well everything she buys, as we all do?
Yes. But there is a difference.
Whatever she buys, she does so with money the taxpayer gave her in the first place.
In essence, she never pays the tax.
She is merely returning some of our tax only for the Government to waste on some other worthy, worthless cause.

Sunday, 9 May 2010

Gordon. It's all over bar the shouting.


Okay. That's it. It's all over.

Saturday, 8 May 2010

Hind sight is a great thing

But not when the bloody hind is eating your favourite shrub at the end of the garden.

Friday, 7 May 2010

Let's launch The Apostrophe Party

It's time for a bit of decisiveness.
Britain's political system is in turmoil.
First of all, we need cuts. And lots of them.
There are letters all over our language that can easily be dispensed with and replaced by the much more efficient apostrophe.
Furthermore, we need to encourage ownership.
The apostrophe in its possessive form can be used to precede an 's'.
For example, Brown's recession, Freddie's pension and Mandy's boys.
But let's not stop there.
We can form a coalition with the Save the Bastardizing of our Language Party.
No more amounts of MP's, no more less seats and, above all, no more Gordon Brown.
(Okay, that last one was grammatically correct, but it's time he went anyway.)
Let's get rid of the punks and bring back punctuation.

Wednesday, 5 May 2010

Vote for change? Don't waste your time!

I wasn't happy with my bank, so I changed.
I wasn't happy with my telecoms, so I changed.
I wasn't happy with my gas, electricity, broadband, girlfriend, golf I changed, changed, changed.
Maybe I just wasn't happy.
And yet every time I changed, I knew beforehand that one bank would be as bad as the next.
Ditto telecoms.
Ditto girlfriends.
I've been there, seen it and done it so often, I've even got the T-shirt.
Why's everyone telling me to change it?

Have you been stooped?

Candidates toady their way up your garden path and ring your bell before telling you how they are going to ring the changes.
And all you want to do is wring their necks.
They are like burglars returning to explain how they propose to spend the booty they nicked from you the day before.
It's a familiar scenario and I call it stooping.
A stoop, as you know, is another name for a doorstep.
So when a prospective MP appear on yours, rest assured, you are about to be stooped.
And there really is no level to which they won't stoop.
Pity, there was I, thinking I was safe in my high-rise flat!

New Ditty!

She was close to the end of her tether
Spending her life wearing nothing but leather.
Though there would come the day
When it was all stripped away -
She should have grazed on lucky white heather.

Sunday, 2 May 2010

Brown and his scorched earth policy

All going well, Gordon Brown will get out of bed on Friday morning, out of favour, out of luck and out of work.
In fact, he will have out-outed Mandy.
But Gordon is made of sterner stuff than that.
He is a son of the manse, you know.
Some might brand Gordon a liar.
Not me.
I would simply brand him GB and subsequently appoint him to head up the GB 2012 Olympic dream.
Because when it comes to embracing the Olympic ideal of "Faster, Stronger, Higher", Gordon Brown has a track record second to none.
Nobody has taken their country from boom to bust faster than Gordon.
Nobody has created a mountain of debt higher than Gordon.
And when it comes to the distinct whiff of scandal and utter ineptitude, nobody smells stronger than Gordon.
When Gordon gets dumped, Gordon gets angry. Very angry.
And what will be the nearest thing to him?
Yes, the Olympic torch.
We've all had our fingers burnt by Brown. Badly burnt.
Post-election, prepare to be frazzled.