Sunday, 31 July 2011
The cold war was infamous for the number of spies working for various agencies : MI5, KGB, B&Q to name but three. But the most ruthless organisation was the renowned, Moscow State Circus. The animals were all fakes and inside the elephant, for example, were at least three people. One of them would use the trunk as a camera and take pictures of any prominent person in the audience. The high wire walker was a trained assassin who could walk along a rope between the rooftops of any two important buildings gaining entrance through a window. The only reason they never actually managed to complete a mission was on account of the exploding cars that the clowns used... that really was the quality of East European cars back then and totally useless in a get-away situation!!
The youngest ever head of a crime family was Luigi "nap time" Linguine who became head of the Ravioli family in 1995 at the age of two. Luigi used fear and the terrible twos to erase any competition. He once threw a right paddy during a meeting with the Fusilli family until they agreed to give him a 70% share of their drugs profits. He threw his toy fire engine at Alberto "one bollock" Rigatoni hitting him right between the eyes. Luigi once refused to eat his vegetables in a restaurant at a meeting with the head of the Conchiglie family unless they handed over their share of profits from their prostitution racket. His reign of terror (able twos) ended when he reached three and simply calmed down and fell in love with Bob the Builder on TV.
Paris' most exclusive restaurant opened this day in 1889. Le Maison de Merde was an instant hit with Parisian high society. The establishment was so exclusive there was only one table and two chairs. The waiting list was so long that a number of Parisians died before the date of their reservation, often made decades earlier. However the reputation of the head chef was such that the great and the powerful were very much prepared to wait. So long sometimes that their reservation would be left in their will and given to a family member upon their demise. The restaurant finally closed down after some dumb waiter got trapped in the dumb waiter and the fire brigade had to demolish the restaurant to rescue him. It was unfortunately felt not to be cost effective to rebuild Le Maison de Merde.
Wednesday, 27 July 2011
Cedric Ballantine is regarded as one of the greatest actors of his generation. He will forever be remembered for his haunting portrayal of 4th crow from the left in Hitchcock's The Birds. A performance made all the more remarkable on account of Cedric's chronic vertigo which he had long suffered from along with an acute inability to actually fly! Cedric was also fondly remembered for his achingly realistic portrayal of the hunch to Lon Chaney's Hunchback in the silent classic. Cedric's tragic fall from grace has been well documented but little is known about the donkey involved. The traumatised beast was believed to have been relocated to Blackpool pleasure beach providing rides for young destitute orphans. What was not known at the time was that this particular donkey was in fact played by Cedric Ballantine himself, giving arguably his greatest and yet, until now, forgotten performance. Cedric Ballantine, who left the stage earlier this week.
Saturday, 16 July 2011
The Tour de France has seen stages take in almost all of France's famous landmarks but during 1914-1918 the tour included a number of trench stages. On one such stage during the Battle of the Somme the entire peloton was decimated and it was left to Foinavon, a passing racehorse, to weave his way through the carnage and go on to win the stage. Photos from the early tours often show riders carrying spare tyres but during the first few Tours competitors had to actually carry spare bikes with them. Bernard Bidet, a domestique for the Deutsche Gramafone team often carried up to five bikes for other riders in the team. Bernard's brother Henri was in fact the first person to wear the now famous yellow jersey in 1911. Prior to that the race leader always wore the traditional Breton shirt and beret... until in 1910 race leader Jean-Claude Ordures was mistaken for an escaped mime artist and shot.
Thursday, 14 July 2011
First off. This isn't actually a cartoon of mine. My daughter knows that July on my blog is rabbit month and so she decides to get in on the act by e-mailing me a drawing she'd just finished. You think you're soooooo clever don't you, with your blendable pencils and newly re-discovered love of drawing... (goodbye one year of a fine art course, hello transfer to an illustration degree) All credit to her. She's knocked out a wealth of illustrations in her sketchbook and is making me up my game just a tad. What I will say is that what she has in talent she balances with a complete absence of common sense... no, America isn't in Europe and so can't vote for us in Eurovision... they don't speak latin in Rome... no, Rome isn't a seperate counrty, that was 2,000 years ago... Britain is in europe... no, Germany wasn't the other "team" in world war 2... I could go on and will probably reveal more Xiehe-isms another day!
Monday, 4 July 2011
The War of Independence started out at the Nell Gywn tea room in Boston when a prominent American baseball player was hit in the eye with a scone and refused to pay. Britain sent lots of soldiers in bright red uniforms armed with tins of biscuits (or cookies) to dunk in the enemy's tea. Realising they'd only brought Rich Tea, which any connoisseur of the biscuit will tell you can't be dunked for any longer than 3 seconds, the British army was beaten. America declared independence on the 3rd of July but this was put back a day on account of the season finale of Lost. The Americans then began to insist that coffee was better and so the actual war carried on until 1783 when the British army ran out of biscuits. Uncle Sam then became the first King of the United American Emirates and America made a vow never to be on time for any war involving the British ever again. Walt Disney built Mickey Land to commemorate the victory and Colonel Sanders invented the chicken.