Anorak Man - Roland Beaney
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Washing your Hands - November 2014
They keep telling us how important it is to wash our hands to prevent diseases spreading so I always make a point of giving my hands a good scrub whenever possible. Why then do they make it so difficult to do so in some public places? In a motorway service station recently I found it was almost impossible to wash my hands properly. To start the water flowing you have to press the top of the tap but as soon as you release your hand from the tap the water stops flowing. Now, the usual way to wash your hands is to squeeze some soap on them and rub them together under the flow of water for a few seconds, but how do you do this with one hand on the top of the tap? I tried several ways, one way is to put a plug in the sink and hold the tap down until there is enough water in the sink. The amount of water in the sink is then far more than I would have used if I could have washed them under running water from the tap and as someone had pinched the plug it was impossible. The other way is to ask someone to hold the tap down while I washed my hands. The attendant wasn't too helpful when asked and told me that he had better things to do. I tried using my elbow to hold the tap down but it was impossible to get both hands under the tap. Using my forehead to hold the tap down meant my nose got wet but not my hands. Eventually I found a sink with a plug that hadn't yet been stolen. So if anyone should read this that manufacture auto cut off taps, please make sure the water flows for a few more seconds so that I can get my hands wet please.
How did we Survive our Youth? - October 2014
According to today's regulators and bureaucrats, those of us who were kids in
the 50's, 60's, 70's and early 80's probably shouldn't have survived,
because......Our baby cots were covered with brightly coloured lead-based paint
which we chewed and licked. We had no childproof lids on medicine bottles or
latches on doors or cabinets and we played with pots and pans. When we rode our
bikes, we wore no helmets, just flip flops and fluorescent 'clackers' on our
wheels. As children, we would ride in cars with no seat belts or air bags.
Riding in the passenger seat was a special treat. We drank water from the garden
hose and not from a bottle clean bottle. We ate dripping sandwiches, bread and
butter pudding and drank fizzy pop with sugar in it, but we were never
overweight because we were always outside playing. We shared a drink with all
our friends, from the same bottle or can and no one actually died from this. We
would spend hours building go-carts out of scraps and then race them top speed
down a hill without brakes, to stop we just turned sharply and rolled over. We
would leave home in the morning and play all day, as long as we were back before
it got dark. No one was able to reach us all day and no one minded. We did not
have Playstations or X-Boxes, no video games at all. No multi channel TV, no DVD
movies, no MP3 Players, no mobile phones, no computers, no Internet chat rooms.
We had friends - we went outside and found them. We played hop scotch and
rounders in the street, we fell out of trees, got cuts and bruises, but there
were no lawyers. They were accident and we learnt not to do the same thing
again. We walked to friend's homes. We made up games with sticks and tennis
balls and ate live stuff, and although we were told to be careful it made little
difference and we survived. The idea of a parent bailing us out if we broke a
law was unheard of. They actually sided with the law. Imagine that! When a
policeman told us off we obeyed him and didn't argue with him
The generation produced some of the best risk-takers and problem solvers and
inventors, ever. producing an explosion of innovation and new ideas. We learned
freedom, failure, success and responsibility.
So what's gone wrong today.
Gnash and Grab Raid - September 2014
One morning recently while I was walking to the shop to buy my morning
newspaper I was questioned by the police on suspicion of being in possession
of a giant toothbrush. Apparently a four foot toothbrush had just been
stolen from the local dentists shop window. When I asked the constable why
she thought I would want a toothbrush that size I was told that they
were looking for someone with a big mouth and they thought that I fitted the
description. Luckily for me after they had inspected my mouth they decided
that perhaps it was not quite large enough and let me go on my way. When I
arrived home and told my wife she wouldn't believe me and it was not until a
week later that an article in the local newspaper convinced her that I
wasn't dreaming. According to the article a man smashed the dentist shop
window and ran off with a giant replica toothbrush leaving behind the rest
of their stock of electric toothbrushes. What you might call a real gnash
and grab raid.
Changes to our Language - August 2014
We have known for years that words used regularly on the other side of the
Atlantic have been moving across to our side and becoming part of our
language. For years TV and films have had a big influence on our language
and brought across many new words and probably a few have gone the other
way. The increase in travelling has also changed our language and now the
internet has made an even bigger change to our vocabulary. A study by
Lancaster University and Cambridge University press has been examining
thousands of recordings of everyday UK conversations and has detected a
dramatic change in the words that we now use in everyday conversation. One
of the biggest changes has been the use of the word "awesome" in place of
"marvelous" and another word we have said "cheerio" to is the word
"cheerio". When I was growing up my parents often took a holiday for a
"fortnight" but now that word has almost disappeared from our vocabulary and
we now say “two weeks”. The "Walkman" has also disappeared, who remembers
that little gadget? Now everyone has an “MP3” player. Most people still seem
to use a "lift" rather than an "elevator" but we all now say, "I will call
you" rather than ! "I will ring you" but I think we all know why that is
with the familiar mobile phone ring tones replacing the old bell ring that
we had many years ago.
Housekeeping - July 2014
According to online home cleaning service Housekeep.com women still do the majority of the indoor housekeeping jobs such as washing up, cleaning lavatories, bathrooms and sweeping floors and men are more likely not to do any cleaning at all. After so many years of equality of the sexes this comes as a surprise. Men are still more likely to cut the grass and carry out the rubbish but when it comes to washing up or the ironing its still the women's job. The chores that we all love to hate are cleaning the oven, ironing, cleaning the loo, cleaning the windows and the bathroom. I would like to add to that, washing up is my most hated job followed by vacuum cleaning and making the bed.
Rosko - June 2014
Recently I had the opportunity to meet one of my favourite DJs, Mike
Pasternak, better known as DJ Emperor Rosko. He joined Caroline in 1964 and
his pacey American style of presentation soon made him one of the stations
best loved DJs. He moved on to French language stations Radio Monte Carlo
and Radio Luxembourg and then compered the Stax tour of Europe in 1967 with
Booker T. & the M.G.'s, The Mar-Keys, Carla Thomas, Eddie Floyd, Sam & Dave,
and Otis Redding. He joined BBC Radio 1 at its start in 1967.
When we arrived at his home in Los Angeles he was busy recording a programme
from his well-equipped studio as he still presents programmes for several
radio stations around the world. He was wearing a baseball cap with the
words USS Coral Sea and he told me that this was the ship he served on
during his days in the US Navy and where he learnt his trade by broadcasting
over the ships audio system. His voice was instantly recognisable and it
brought back many memories. He still plays a great selection of tunes from
the big band sounds of the 1940s right up to the latest tunes but when I
asked him about his favourite choice of music he told me that he doesn’t
like modern Rap and Dance music and complains that there is not enough good
new music about today. He is still a Rock and Roller at heart but he told me
that he has been around for so long and listened to so much music that if it
sounds good and is not offensive then he will play it.
His first job was military, “Good morning Vietnam “ type radio, He was
fluent in French as he went to school in France so he did programmes for
French stations such as Radio Luxembourg, Europe 1 and Radio Monte Carlo. He
was working in Europe with Sam the Sham and the The Pharaohs, their Road
manager knew Ronan O'Reilly and asked him why he wasn’t doing Pirate Radio.
“Make a tape and I’ll take it over,” he was told. Ronan soon invited him to
the UK and he joined Radio Caroline. He got £70 a week and said it was good
money in those days. He was on Caroline for a year and then joined Radio 1.
I asked him if life on board the pirate ships was boring but he told me that
he was never bored on Caroline and always found lots to do in the studio in
his spare time. He said, “If they found it boring on board then they
shouldn’t have been out there in the first place as far as I was concerned”.
He explained that he got his name from a DJ called Emperor Hudson and a DJ
called Rosko; he didn’t want to be accused of using the same names so he
joined the Emperor with Rosko and became the Emperor Rosko. In France he was
called Le President. He didn’t like the film, “The Boat that Rocked” but
when I asked him what life was really like on the ship, he told me it was ok
as he already had 4 years in the Navy on the USS Coral Sea and there was
more privacy on the Mi Amigo. He has always loved music and always wanted to
be a DJ. He had a passion for both music and communication. When asked about
Pre-recording shows, he told me, “in my mind I am not prerecording and in my
head its live”. When asked about his most embarrassing incident, he told me,
“I once got annoyed with the equipment in a French studio late one night and
the French engineer wasn’t much help” Luckily the French couldn’t understand
what he said!!
Does he prefer to live in Europe or LA? Weather-wise he prefers Los Angeles
and doesn’t want to spend another winter in Europe; in the summer he likes
the south of France and prefers European food. At the moment he has to sell
his shows to radio stations but if he can get sponsorship he will give the
show away for free and said that he would willingly offer them to his
friends at Radio Caroline. I asked him about famous people he has met and he
told me that he came across a lot of people when doing his gigs but Elvis
has to be high on his list.
What did he think of Radio today- It’s a corporate entity, devoid of
personality, it’s a strict format and too boring but with the days of the
pirate it was fun and passionate. How did he feel about being back on board
the Ross Revenge recently, it felt good to be back and it felt as though I
was walking on history, He said these guys don't realise how good they had
it on the Ross Revenge, it’s a bigger and more luxurious ship than the Mi
Amigo. He said that the ship is in the wrong place and as its part of
British history it should be in a public place on the Thames and open for
It was great to meet Rosko and talk to him over lunch, he is still as
passionate as ever about radio, loves music and has happy memories about his
days as a pirate on Radio Caroline.
We all know that water is important but I've never seen it written down like
FOR YOUR INFORMATION:
Now the question is, would YOU like a glass of water or coke?
My First Sat Nav -April 2014
Sat Nav's have been around for a long time now and I've always avoided buying one - until recently. My main complaint was that they were too expensive and not reliable especially when they sent large vehicles down narrow lanes, leading to them getting stuck. Recently late at night I was diverted off the Motorway and I had no idea where I was, try asking someone at midnight which way to go. So I decided it was about time I had a sat nav. I found one on the internet recently and it was very cheap so I decided to buy it. It came with a bracket and suction unit so I fixed it to my cars windscreen, entered the post code of my destination into it and off I went. Suddenly a woman's voice sounding slightly angry told me that I was breaking the speed limit. I was shocked at being told by a woman that I was breaking the speed limit especially as I was only 1 MPH over the limit. She was correct of course, its still over the limit so once again I have to accept that a woman was right and I was wrong. After that I was impressed with it as it gave me a map of the road ahead and this lady gave me some good advice on finding the correct route to my destination. My main complaint was that it always seems to head you to the nearest motorway even though this can add miles to your route and occasionally I chose a different route that I knew to be quicker and she angrily tells me to turn me around and head back to the motorway.
Wrap Rage - March 2014
One of the curses of our shopping experience is the difficult to open packaging on most of the products we buy. Everything seems to be wrapped in impenetrable plastic which means you have to resort to hacking your way through it with a knife, risking serious injury and possibly damaging the item inside that it is supposed to be protecting. CDs are often sold wrapped in a plastic film which is supposed to have a little toggle that you pull to open it up but I've never found it and I usually resort to using scissors or a knife which can damage the case. Those little milk containers they give you with your cup of coffee have a sealed top with a little toggle that you pull to open and I either break the toggle which means I have to resort to stabbing it with a fork or I pull it so hard I spill the contents all over the table. Why do they wrap apples in plastic when they come with their own washable skin? I wish someone would invent a bottle seal that I can easily open. I also struggle to open a pot of jam or pickles, do they think we are all super strong? I struggle for ages to open them. In a survey for "The Grocer" magazine 80 per cent of people had cut open packaging with scissors in frustration, 74 per cent had used a knife and 47 per cent had used their teeth. The magazine has called for action over the problem which hits older shoppers the most.
Your Health - February 2014
Are you one of those people that tries to diagnose your ailments on the internet? Self diagnosis is always risky because you might consider your condition minor and then you worry about pestering your GP with a condition that could be cured with an aspirin. Type "headache" into Google and problems from brain tumour to poor posture comes up. Personally I think the NHS should publicise the free health checks that are available for patients over 60. These checks seem to be a bit of a secret and I was not told about them until I asked for a checkup but now they keep a close check on me and as soon as they see me out comes the blood pressure meter. A simple blood test, available on demand can detect a whole range of conditions from high cholesterol to prostate cancer. These test are not infallible but a lot better than trying to diagnose your condition on the internet or discovering that you have something serious when it could have been detected a lot sooner. My cholesterol and blood pressure were both found to be slightly higher than normal so I take my pills and they have both returned to normal but now the cost of my holiday insurance has been doubled which is very unfair. Surely my prospects for a few more years are a lot better now.
Radio Caroline celebrations - January 2014
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