Saturday, November 29, 2008

Woolies RIP

Some Chinese girls, some Cossack boys, Anita Harris, Windsor Davies and Don Estelle... what looks through the grainy, blurry, pixellation to be a Princess Diana lookalike and for some inexplicable reason only two Goodies. Cracking tune, mind. So long Woolworths and thanks for all the tat.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008


The post round my way has often been a troublesome thing. A couple of years ago I had a postie who didn't even try to deliver parcels. I'd be in my kitchen making a cup of tea and I'd hear my letterbox snap. I'd wander over to the hallway to discover that there was a card saying "We tried to deliver a parcel but you weren't in" etc. etc. when clearly no such attempt had been made. I'd then have to wait two days before traipsing over to my local collection office to pick up whatever it was that the postman was too lazy to try and deliver. The collection office was a disorganised mess and often I'd have to return on another occasion because it could take over an hour to get to the front of the queue and even then there were times when they couldn't locate the parcel in question. Bah.
I even wrote a letter of complaint. But who knows if it was ever delivered? Another bah. That's two now.

But that wasn't the worst of it... I also had a postman-thief. I was contacted one day by some special Royal Mail Investigation Unit who asked me to confirm that a particular parcel had failed to arrive. I did. They had the parcel. It had been found in the flat of a postman alongside several hundred other unopened parcels going back months. I'd like to think that his crime had been uncovered through top sleuthing but as it happens he'd been stopped by traffic cops for some routine check and just happened to find a load of undelivered parcels in the boot.

Anyway, that was all a few years ago and things seem to have been sorted out these days. The service is much better. In that they deliver things and don't steal. What more could I ask for? Post before 11am? Now that's just fussy. The collection office is considerably nicer and more efficient than it was, too... I'm normally in and out in less than 10 minutes.

So, about a week ago while I was over at Genius HQ I got one of those cards telling me that they'd tried to deliver a parcel. As I'm working office hours at the mo', getting over to the collection office during their opening hours hasn't been possible until today. Today I was having the morning off because other commitments this afternoon made the trip to Genius HQ kind of futile.

So I duly scooted over to the collection office... to discover that there was a twenty strong queue in front of me. Damn. I'm guessing it's because of people sending Christmas presents and so on. I think a long Post Office queue might well be the first truly Christmassy experience of the year for me. Maybe it'll help me get into the Christmas mood for the Genius Christmas Special?

Anyway... I queued for 40 minutes to then be given my parcel. It contained four energy saving light bulbs. It had been sent by British Gas. I hadn't ordered them... they'd sent them as a thank you. Or a bribe. Or something. Anyway... they're very useful. Thank you British Gas. But it's a ten minute walk to the collection office and a ten minute walk back... so that's cost me an hour this morning... and all to collect something I didn't ask for and don't really want. Almost every bulb in my house is of the energy saving type already. I've never had to change one yet - they do seem to last forever. It might be ten years before I get to use my free gift from British Gas. Oh well, I thought, never mind.

Except that when I got back home I discovered that the postman had been... and tried to deliver a parcel... which I'd missed because I was at the Post Office collecting a parcel. I have no idea what this parcel contains or when I will be able to collect it. But that's basically another hour down the pan. Two hours of my life... for four lightbulbs. I'm not sure that's such a good deal.

I know I sound ungrateful when they're basically trying to give me some free stuff. But if someone stopped me in the street and said, "If you stand here for thirty minutes I'll give you a free lightbulb... make it two hours and I'll give you four." I'd tell them I had better things to be doing. Even if I was on my way to Lightbulbs-R-Us to be buy some lightbulbs.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Last Night's News... and Christmas Genius

Cor, last night was exciting wasn't it? The world feels like a different place already. It's obvious the man's a born leader.

No doubt about it... not everyone could have slotted home that 95th minute penalty, salvaging a draw and leaving Liverpool top of the group. Now... I ought to check the news and see what happened in those elections they were having in Americaland. I hope that Obama chap won. The Palin lass scares me.

Now... Christmas.

Retro Christmas, originally uploaded by Dave Gorman.

I know it's only early November... but these things need to be planned.

We're going to make a Genius Christmas Special for Radio 4 soon... and it would be fabbo if the show was jam packed with seasonal ideas. So if you think you might be a genius and you have an idea that relates to the festive season - whether it's Christmas, Hanukah or simply something that'll make the New Year go with a swing - then get in touch by e-mailing the show on

If you fancy being in the audience... well, as I type this, free tickets are still available here.

The show will record on the evening of December 10th... see you there, yeah? Yeah? Great.