11 December 2008

Keep on jumpin'


Why can't you buy a good, honest jumper any more?

Amid the last trail of Christmas shopping, I also was seeking a new jumper for myself. Preferably blue, definitely thick and warm (this is still the jumper I'm referring to, by the way) and polo neck if possible but certainly leaving little neck flesh exposed.

The trend for men's long-sleeved overgarments today, however, seems to consist of none of my requirements. Well, I could get blue. But they weren't warm, they weren't to the neck and, in most cases, they weren't even jumpers. Cardigans? You are kidding, right? I looked abysmal in a grey school cardigan in 1980 and I'd still look abysmal in one now.

They have these vile button-up things in all the high street chains and the designer shops too. They are mostly awful and many of them look unflattering even on the headless mannequins (presumably the mannequin was so embarrassed he asked the window dresser to slice his head off before displaying him). I was mildly tempted by something which had Ronnie Corbett's yellow chair-monologue logo on it as it only possessed two (large) buttons at the top and was thickly crafted, but it cost £125. As if.

All of them are still cardigans, no matter how you try to rebrand them. Then if I did find something I would call a jumper, it was invariably too thin, too summery, the sort you'd take with you on a June stroll with the dogs in case the sun went in, but wouldn't look out of place tied round your neck if the sun stayed out.

Have these designers and retailers not seen the weather forecast? In Hull it's been -4c overnight, for example. In such a climate, grandmas everywhere are informing their offspring-but-one to make sure they wrap up warm. Well, I can't wrap up warm in something which provides all the insulation of a serviette.

There are also versions of these thin pullovers which have the sternum area of a T-shirt sewn into the top, to make it look like you're wearing a whole T shirt underneath. Someone cocked up here, really. Why design something that prevents the customer from buying a whole extra article of clothing from the same store?

It is possible to have a jumper which is a) stylish; b) warm; c) inexpensive; and d) traditional. I've seen them. In the past, I've owned them. However, it appears the global warming lunatics might be right about our planet's temperature as there doesn't seem to be a market for clothing which keeps out the cold.

10 December 2008

A canine carol



Dog tags ring, are you listening?
In the lane, snow is glistening
It's yellow not white, I've been there tonight
Marking up my winter wonderland

Smell that tree, that's my fragrance
It's a sign for wandering vagrants
Avoid where I pee, it's my property
I've marked it as my winter wonderland

In the garden Dad will build a snowman
Following the classical design
Then I'll lift my leg and let it go man
So all the world will know it's mine all mine

On the gate, on the fencepost
It's my pong that you'll sense most
Says 'stay off my turf, this small piece of earth
You're walking in my winter wonderland'.

9 December 2008

What the hell is Zabasearch anyway?

Urrrrgh. More computer trouble. Something has arrived on my system which evaded Norton and now every so often I get Internet Explorer pop-ups when surfing, even though I use Firefox and have the pop-ups blocker set to maximum.

Norton can warn me about attacks it is blocking, but it can't prevent pop-ups nor find the source of the problem when I scan the computer. The pop-ups are occasional, apparently harmless and easy to cancel but I'd rather not have them.

Yesterday I spent nearly seven hours on live chat with Norton's techies in India, who took remote control of my computer and did all sorts of work on it to try to get rid of the pop-ups. No luck. They promised to ring me back at 12 midday today, and it's now 12.30. I paid £70 for this expert, reliable help too...

I've been advised against a system restore but it may be my only option now.

8 December 2008

It made Norman Lamont's career

I always look forward to the British Comedy Awards, but this year's were very disappointing.

Angus Deayton is an autocue master but maybe the live broadcast and the fact he has to stand up all the way through (exposing his awkwardness at his miniature stature) is detrimental to his performance, as aside from the opening monologue, he was largely poor. Mind you, that gag about Jonathan Ross knowing now his brother felt was masterful.

As for the winners, well ... ho hum. There is no way that Russell Brand is funnier than Michael McIntyre, Ricky Gervais isn't fit to lace David Mitchell's loafers and there is only so much laughing you can do at American superstars who are slow on the uptake before it becomes a bit too smug.

The rescue acts were Frank Skinner at the end ("when does your suspension come to an end, Angus?"), the impassioned speech by David Renwick and the amazing hush around the building as Geoffrey Perkins was posthumously honoured. I was pleased Jasper Carrott was recognised for his life's work, although I suspect the reason he chose to be serious in acceptance rather than funny is because he has to be tightly scripted to raise laughs.