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Author: Vince Poynter Version 5.059 19 Jan 2018
First Published: Version 5.000 29 Sep 2017
You ask the art department for an image to represent a will and this is what happens
A Comic Stage Play by Vince Poynter
This is the first part of a stage play, a comedy set in a solicitor's office.
A family is invited to the reading of the will of a deceased relative who died leaving a substantial income.
The will is read and certain requirements are requested to be made.
Firstly, a large chest is brought out which contains many fancy dress costumes which the potential beneficiaries must wear in order to lighten proceedings.
Secondly, a set of buzzers, lights and scoreboards are produced and a quiz is set up to award points on a pounds for points basis.
The intention is to find out just how far people will go for money?
Will they ultimately kill each other for greed?
Solicitor: Randford, a pompous middle aged serious man. Thoughtful and calm.
Solicitor's Assistant: Trisha, a lazy first year trainee, intelligent but without common sense. Excitable but clumsy.
Wife: Wendy White, a hypochondraic (with reason) in her late 30's. Fussy and bitter.
Adopted Son: Griff White, a rebel without a cause. Just 20. Scruffy and greedy.
Secretary: Sonia Black, an attractive, mid-thirties woman. Single, principled and intelligent.
Dead man's friend: Reg Franke, a mid-forties loudmouth who thinks he is funny. Conceals a secret past.
Strange Woman: Anna Daiken, a middle-aged, silent, poetic stranger. Dressed in black to match her character.
Sister: Caryl Sand, a practical and down to earth divorcee.
Dead man: Jack White, died at 40.
The scene is a Solicitor's office in England, present day. It is a mid sized room of classic design, tastefully decorated and furnished. No wall area is left blank so where there are no full height bookshelves the imperial wallcovering is hardly noticed behind the original oil masters hanging from the wooden picture rail. The room is dominated by the Solicitor's solid leather topped desk and overbearing leather chair. The desk is tidy, almost unused with an immaculate blotter. A telephone, brass lamp and brass calendar/pen holder are all deliberately laid out. In front of the desk are two simple low backed chairs. Behind this magnificent desk is a matching mahogany hat and coat stand, which with the ferociously posed full-sized stuffed upright brown bear frame the large bay area window cosseted with heavy velvet drawn curtains. The curtains conceal a generous padded matching seating area designed to discourage sitting on the low cast iron radiators behind the hat stand and bear.
A secondary desk is in the corner with a chair either side. This simple arrangement is for a secretary with computer, telephone, filing trays, pot plant and penholder. Many pens and pencils are stuffed into the holder. The filing tray is half full of papers. A jumper lays across the back of the chair. Opposite this desk is a grand leather well used two-seater Chesterfield in front of an ornate fireplace. Simple brass and porcelain ornaments adorn the mantelpiece. A small round, empty mahogany coffee table sits in front of the Chesterfield.
Entrance to the room is from one side behind the Chesterfield through imposing double sized solid wooden doors with chunky brass furniture and a heavy wood surround. On the opposite side is a simpler wooden single door with surround. Both doors are closed and the scene opens in darkness. It is silent.
Offstage a Grandfather clock strikes the Westminster Chimes followed by eight rings. On the eighth chime exactly the double doors swing open in unison and the Solicitor, Randford, enters. Backlit from the corridor behind he stands in the doorway and shakes off his wet umbrella. Without shutting the doors behind he strides over to his desk and fumbles to switch on the desk lamp.
The light reveals this balding, portly, pompous, routine man wearing an immaculate subtly pin-striped three piece suit and perfectly white shirt. His shoes are shiny black brogues and equally as in keeping as his matching tie and pocket handkerchief. Along with his umbrella he carries a neat copy of The Times, the classic sized, broadsheet version. He is finished in an open large brown overcoat and matching hat. This man is around 45 although his gravitas makes him seem older. He exudes experience, remaining calm in all situations and never hurried. He is both thoughtful and punctual with constant references to his Grandfather clock against the "fourth wall" which he compares to his own chained pocket watch whenever it chimes. He approaches the hat stand and places his umbrella carefully in the base. He removes his hat and hangs it on the hook after brushing it clean. He then removes his coat and brushes it off with one hand whilst holding it with the other, then hangs it carefully on the peg. A brush down of himself follows, a quick tie straightening and he crosses to close the door, with both halves being shut simultaneously. He brushes himself once more as if routine and turns to switch on the light.
Trisha enters hurriedly as the light comes on full. She is a clumsy teenager wearing under her sodden long opened sheepskin coat faded patched ripped jeans and a large baggy jumper bearing the words "Save Rhinos". Underneath is a white blouse but this is as noticeable as the smart short black skirt she carries in the supermarket plastic bag. She is the epitome of modern youth, lazy but excitable, educated but lacking common sense and pretty but understated. The glossy magazine she carries and the personal headphones she wears round her wet hair are her only thoughts as she violently swings open the nearest door knocking Randford face down behind the Chesterfield.
Trisha (Out of breath, entering) "Sorry I'm late Mr. Randford but I..." (she thinks he may not be there) "Mr. Randford... Mr. Randford..." (no response) "Oh good."
She hurries across the room and through the opposite door leaving both doors open wide. Randford appears from behind the Chesterfield and slowly rises to his feet. He brushes himself down and straightens his hair and tie. He moves to the double door and closes it, then walks over to the other door and looks through before shutting it. He turns and bends to get a brush from a low drawer in his desk which he uses to brush his suit down from top to bottom. As he strokes his trouser legs, bending to reach, Trisha enters suddenly and again knocks him over, this time behind his desk. Trisha has removed her coat, thrown on her skirt and is trying to do up the zip as she enters, throwing her magazine on her desk. Her stereo headphones hang limp round her neck, the player in her hands.
Trisha "Mr. Randford... Oh he's late."
She hasn't noticed her employer and sits at her desk in the corner. She pulls the headphones into place and starts to read her magazine, placing the player on the desk. The door swings shut with a gentle clunk to reveal Randford looking angry but contained, now stood. He again meticulously brushes himself off.
Randford (Contained) "Good morning Trisha."
There is no reply as Trisha is engrossed in her magazine and listening to her stereo.
Randford (Louder) "Good morning Trisha."
There is still no response so Randford steps forward and coughs twice. This has no effect either so he reaches out to press the stop button on her machine. She reacts jumpily.
Trisha "Urgh... Oh, Mr. Randford." (She pulls off her earphones and stuffs them and the magazine into her drawer) "You're here."
Randford "Yes. Funny that. I work here you see. Unlike some people I could mention. What are you saving them for?"
Trisha "Sorry Mr. Randford. What?"
Randford "The Rhinos. For what reason are you saving them."
Trisha "Oh, my jumper. Oh, the black rhino..."
Randford (Interrupting) "Trisha."
Trisha (Pulling off her jumper) "Sorry Mr. Randford. I'll make the coffee."
As she talks and removes the sweater she stands as if to leave. Randford steps back to avoid the flailing arms.
Randford "No time for coffee, not yet. Today is an important day. It is Wednesday the sixth and you know what that means don't you."
Trisha (Cheekily) "Thursday the seventh tomorrow Mr. Randford."
Randford "Trisha, may I point out that you are here to assist me in these six heaven sent weeks which our Government has kindly sent us. To assist me. In work. Not as a Butlins Redcoat but as a Solicitor's Assistant, with the general idea that you learn how adults conduct themselves whilst away from children. So please learn to keep control of your built in desire to attempt humour. I suggest that you file it untidily away with your glossy Beano magazine and Gutter Blaster in the drawer."
Trisha "Ghetto Blaster, Mr. Randford."
Randford "I know what I said dear." (He sits down in his chair) "Wednesday the sixth. Five days since last Friday. A Friday in which you may recall that we had a visit from a pale looking woman dressed in black. This may have struck a chord with you because despite being dressed entirely in black she introduced herself as Mrs. White. She had had some bad news."
Trisha "Was she the one who wanted a divorce on account of her husband's week in Portugal with the Sailor from Portsmouth?" (She sits, her jumper on her lap)
Randford "No. No. If you can recall she came to notify me of her husband's untimely death."
Trisha "Why untimely?"
Randford (Rising) "Three reasons. Firstly, he was forty. Now that may seem like old to you but please take it from me that at forty a man is still in the prime of his youth. A sudden death we are advised, but painless." (He moves around his desk) "Secondly, his business was on the brink of breaking into Europe and without him the deal was not likely to go through. And thirdly, I lent him fifty pence for the parking meter when he saw me three weeks ago."
Trisha "So why is today so important?"
Randford (Sitting opposite Trisha) "Because today is exactly five days since his death. And his will, which he lodged with me, because people do that sort of thing with Solicitors, stated simply that exactly five days after his death, his wife, or whoever, should bring to this office his old oak chest which contains his last will and testament requests. To be unlocked by this key..." (He produces the key from his waistcoat pocket) "...in the presence of certain people he has named in a letter at precisely o-eight thirty hours." (He checks his watch and the clock) "Which is why you made those telephone calls for me on Monday cancelling today's appointments."
Trisha "Oh yes that reminds me. I forgot to tell you that that man with the Greek accent, Mr. Davros, called back."
Randford "Davis. Mr. Davis and he's from Winchester."
Trisha "Him, yes. He said he was a bit annoyed with the change and mentioned something about inserting a skewer in you from below and you being the biggest kebab in Hampshire." (She is trying to find the message in her tray) "Well that's what I think he meant"
The main door opens and a strange black clad woman enters. Anna is without expression and moves slowly. She wears a long black cape with the hood up. Under the cape is a simple long black dress. She carries nothing except the rain on her cape. Her accented voice is classy, deliberate and intense.
Anna (At door) "Mr. Randford?"
Randford (Rising to greet her) "Good morning. And you are?" (He extends a handshake)
Anna does not respond to his welcome handshake and proceeds straight to the Chesterfield where she sits.
Randford (Arriving at her side) "I am awfully sorry madam but I cannot take visitors today. I have an important meeting."
Anna (With a steel cold look) "I am here for your meeting."
Randford "I am so sorry but it is invited guests only today."
Anna "I am Anna"
She turns away and stares distantly into nothing.
Randford "Ah. You are Anna." (He is at a loss so looks at Trisha) "Anna." (He points at Anna)
Randford "Anna... Oh Anna. A. Daiken. The list. You must be Mrs. A. Daiken."
Anna (Fizzing) "Ms."
Randford "Sorry I was mistaken."
Anna (Turning, annoyed) "No that is me. I am Ms. Daiken."
Randford (Again holding out his hand) "Randford." (No response, he withdraws his hand) "Could I offer you a coffee?" (Still no response) "I said would you like a coffee?"
Anna (Looking intently at Randford, she speaks poignantly) "A Brazilian dream, the coffee bean. The making of Empires and Land. For all that you see, I would rather have tea. Darjeeling, Ceylon or Assam." (Randford is open mouthed, Anna turns to Trisha) "And make it two sugars young lady."
Randford (Turning) "Trisha. And I'll have a strong black coffee, please. I think I might need it."
Trisha "Alright, Mr. Randford. Coming up."
Trisha leaves the room. Randford pulls up one of the low backed chairs to sit near Anna.
Randford "I am awfully sorry about your loss, Ms. Daiken."
Anna "Anna. Please call me Anna."
Randford "Yes. Anna."
Anna "Death. It affects us all. And each of us experiences a different response. Does the eagle miss his mate? Do the dolphins cry? Can a tiger mourn? When another dies?"
Randford "How poignant. You must have really cared for Jack."
Randford "Jack White."
Anna "Oh, yes. Jack. Jack White. No, not really we weren't very close you see. We go back, that's all."
Randford "Are you local?"
Anna "Everyone is local to somewhere. To which point of reference do you mean?"
Randford "Well, I mean here I suppose. Are you from around here?"
Anna "Perception, scale and time, Randford. Perception is based on common points of reference. Local to you may not seem like local to a small child whose experiences only extend as far as his mother's home. And if two small ants were both living in this room at either end, they may never meet and therefore not consider themselves local to each other. A matter of scale. And then there is time. If two people both lived in the same house they would be local unless they lived in different times."
Randford "Time. Yes." (He checks his watch and clock)
...To be continued...
Isn't it just a pain when they end just like that!
No this isn't the shortest play in the entire history of truncated stagings, it is just simply incomplete.
Has it given you a taste though? Do you want me to pen the next exciting installment? Then I shall, as soon as I get around to it. There are many draws on my time so if you want to get to the nub of this venture send me a message.
The more interest it receives the better chance of completion. It's in your hands.
Author: Vince Poynter Version 5.059 19 Jan 2018
First Published: Version 1.02 in Mar 2004
The image is of a Jaguar XJ8 wheel and was added in Version 5.059 19 Jan 2018. It frankly has no relevance whatever. Or does it? Nope, nothing at all, just decoration.
The vinceunlimited Company Policy Sketch
Type: 3-4 minute sketch with 2 main actors, plus extras set in an office reception.
Best picture I had to demonstrate a good reception
The sketch is set in an office reception area. A receptionist sits behind the desk. A visitor enters.
Receptionist: "Good morning and welcome." The visitor acknowledges politely and turns to enter the office area.
Receptionist: "Would you sign the book, sir." The visitor mutters apology and signs in. He then makes for the office again.
Receptionist: "And the other book, sir." The visitor looks bemused and enquires why there are two books.
Receptionist: "Fire regulations, sir. It is company policy." The visitor accepts and signs the second book, then tries to leave.
Receptionist: "Your bag, sir?" The visitor again looks confused and enquires why.
Receptionist: "Security risk, sir. We have sensitive data and equipment. We wouldn't want it getting out."
Visitor: "I'm not here to steal things."
Receptionist: "It is company policy, sir. I'll look after it here if you like."
Visitor, reluctantly handing over his case: "Very well." He attempts to leave.
Receptionist: "Are we forgetting something, sir?"
Visitor, getting slightly annoyed: "What?"
Receptionist: "Your mobile 'phone, sir. It may have a camera attachment."
Visitor, annoyed: "It hasn't."
Receptionist: "I'm not to know that, sir. I can't be an expert on all things so Company Policy says..."
Visitor, interrupting: "Very well. Here it is."
Receptionist, taking the phone: "Thank you. And your jacket sir."
Visitor, bemused: "My what?"
Receptionist: "Your jacket. I must insist that you leave your jacket."
Visitor, guessing: "My pockets. Are you concerned that I might slip something into it."
Receptionist: "It's company policy. I was only reading a paper the other day. Jacket lapels can conceal recording microphones. Best leave it here with me."
The Visitor removes his jacket and hands it to the receptionist.
Receptionist: "And your trousers sir?"
Visitor: "My trousers! Why do you need these?"
Receptionist: "I was only reading on the internet, the other day. It appears that some manufacturers are incorporating modern technology in their fabrics that can sense heat and light. You must have seen those tee shirts that change colour dependant on mood. I'm afraid it is our..."
Visitor, resigned: "...Company Policy?" He dutifully removes his trousers.
Receptionist: "Open wide, sir."
Visitor: "I beg your pardon."
Receptionist, producing a large torch: "I need to look in your mouth. Just to check. Open wide."
The visitor opens his mouth and the receptionist peers in.
Receptionist: "And if I might?" The receptionist beckons toward the visitor's underwear.
Visitor, pulling his underwear forward: "Very well." The receptionist reluctantly peers down, grimaces, then gently reaches in to move things to the side. The visitor winces.
Visitor, now quite exhausted by the humiliation: "Is that all?"
They are suddenly interrupted by a film crew who crash in through the door. One person holds a camera, another a boom mike. There are assistants with clipboards and cases. The director struts forward.
Director: "Film crew for the office documentary. Alright to go in love?"
Receptionist: "Just straight through guys. I'll sign you in."
The visitor looks aghast: "What about Company Policy?"
The receptionist is unperturbed. She reaches down behind the desk and emerges with a pair of rubber gloves. "Bend over, sir." She puts another smaller torch in her mouth and snaps the gloves on.
You are welcome to use this sketch, on stage or video but credit and royalties must be given to Vince Poynter as the author. An invite to see it performed would also be welcomed, along with requests for more sketches, which can be scripted on any subject. Contact me at any time of the day or night for more information. Although, if you contact me at night I won't guarantee that I'll open my inbox until the next morning. Mummy always told me not to open the door when it gets dark. Mind you, I'm not sure that email inboxes were thought of when she said that.
Author: Vince Poynter Version 5.057 12 Jan 2018
First Published: Version 1.02 in Mar 2004
The photograph is of the author in his suit and on his phone in taken in 2009 and was added in Version 5.057 12 Jan 2018
The vinceunlimited Parachute Sketch
Type: 6 minute sketch with 4 actors [one to be a voice off stage] set inside an aircraft fuselage [side view] with background inflight noise continuously. Props include three seats, two packages and a newspaper.
Would you parachute from here?
This is a visual as well as aural sketch and no names are given. For reference purposes the three actors are sat line astern and referenced as A, B and C below. The action is as viewed by the audience from the actor's side. A sits ahead of B, who sits ahead of C. They face left (stage right).
Aeroplane pilot (voice off) "Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen. This is your pilot speaking. Welcome on board on this internal flight between London and Edinburgh. Now that we have successfully taken off we will be maintaining our flight path at around ten thousand feet and expect to arrive at our destination in around thirty-six minutes time. Visibility is good and the weather forecast is fair. So relax and enjoy your flight. I'll keep you informed of future developments."
B to A: "Isn't this marvellous. All this technology keeping us up. Ten thousand feet and you can see all the land whistling by below."
A: "Indeed, it is. Orville Wright would be proud. We've come so far from those pioneering days of aviation."
B: "Yes. But it's reassuring to know that in spite of all this they provide the basics." He pats the package beneath his seat.
A (agreeing): "Yes. The parachute." A pats the package beneath his seat.
A and B laugh and slump back into their chairs. Up to now C has not been involved, merely reading his newspaper. He did hear the parachute conversation. He checks that the others are occupied and subtly reaches down to feel for his package. There is nothing under his seat. He checks again, in desperation swinging his hands wildly from side to side. Nothing is found so his hands return to holding his newspaper, that starts to quiver. Another check, but still no success.
Then C surreptitiously slides forward in his seat and hooks the package from beneath the seat of B, unbeknown to A or B.
B to A: "Wasn't the meal nice?"
A: "Yes. Three courses and wine. Very good."
The pilot on the intercom interrupts the conversation.
Pilot: "Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen. I'm sorry to disturb your peace but we've just received some weather reports. A spot of bad weather appears to be in our path. It's only a patch of storm so don't be too alarmed if our altitude and speed drops."
All three passengers simultaneously swing to look 'out of the window' (away from the viewpoint). They slump into their chairs and look concerned. A reaches down and assuredly pats his package, whilst turning and smiling at B. B also reaches down but now there is no package. He frantically searches around with his hand, much like C did. Finding nothing, he puts his head between his knees and looks under the seat. He spots the package under the seat of C. C has seen this and casually crosses his legs across in front of his package.
B looks concerned then spots the package beneath A. He slides forward to take the package with his feet but it gets caught up in the seat legs of A's seat. The pilot's voice is heard.
Pilot: "Ladies and gentlemen, please do not be alarmed. A couple of passengers have reported seeing white smoke trailing from the starboard engine."
A, B and C simultaneously look out of their 'windows' (away from the viewpoint).
Pilot: "But don't worry. This is just a vapour trail due to our descent to a lower altitude."
A, B and C slump back into their seats. B reaches forward to grab the package beneath A with his hands and starts to pull. This attracts the attention of A, who turns round quickly.
B is embarrassed so he pretends he was looking out of the window. B (explaining to A): "The vapour trail..."
A (suspiciously): "Yes?"
B: "Just routine."
A (now satisfied): "Yes. Still we've still got the parachutes."
A reaches down and grabs the package from beneath his seat. He holds it on his lap. B is disappointed. Then he has a brainwave. He points toward the viewpoint.
B (to A): "My God. The port engine as well!"
A leaps up placing the package on his seat and rushes over to 'look out' of the viewpoint side. At this point B snatches the package from the seat of A and sits back smugly in his own seat.
A, returning (to B): "It's alright. Just vapour."
B (clutching the package): "Best to be certain though."
A spots his package is missing. B looks away 'innocently'. A looks all around and under his seat, then under the seat of B and finally under the seat of C, who is still reading the paper. He notices the package under C and dives down to steal it. He then strolls 'nonchalantly' back to sit in his seat, smiling and caressing the package. He holds it on his lap.
Pilot: "Do not be alarmed ladies and gentleman but the suspected engine fire..."
All three simultaneously 'look out' (away from the viewpoint)
Pilot: "...on the port side..."
All three simultaneously turn to 'look out' the other side (toward the viewpoint)
Pilot: "...means that we have turned the engine off. There is no need for panic as we are under full control and able to fly on one engine."
All three slump back in their seats, satisfied that there is no need to worry.
C then folds up his newspaper and places it under his seat. He notices that his package is missing. He checks under the seat of B and looks angry. He believes B has taken his package.
C to B (aggressively): "Where did you get that?"
B (defensively): "Nowhere. Under my seat."
C: "Under whose seat?"
C pokes at B towards the eye. This makes B defend his face and drop the package. C grabs the package and returns to his seat, holding the package tightly on his lap. B rubs his eye and looks back over to C. C menacingly grimaces. B decides a novel approach and slides down between his seat and that of A. He puts his hand out ahead as he tries to crawl beneath the seat of A. Due to his positioning he doesn't hear the next announcement."
Pilot: "We have good news ladies and gentlemen. We have restarted our failed engine and as a precaution will be landing at Birmingham airport in three minutes time."
A and C look relieved and place their packages on the ground. They place them to their left, rather than under their seats. B is still struggling under the seat of A and eventually gets his hand between the legs of A. B feels around for the package and reaches up into the lap of A. Naturally A is shocked, but decides to grab the hand of B and give it a sharp tug before letting it go. This hurts B who emits a barely concealed squeal and scrabbles back out to his own seat.
A angrily turning to B: "What on earth do you think you are playing at?"
B (defensively): "But you have got my parachute."
A: "How dare you accuse me."
B: "But it's mine." He spots the package on the floor. "There. That one. It's mine."
A (knowingly): "Alright then. If it makes you happy." A picks up the package and tosses it to B, then slumps back in his seat.
B looks smug and looks about as if he needed a friend to gloat to. He turns to see C. C notices.
C: "As you are so keen. Here, have mine." C tosses his package into the lap of B and sits back into his own seat.
B looks doubly smug and sets about peering at his two packages, trying to see how to use them both.
Pilot: "Ladies and gentlemen. Please fasten your safety belts we are approaching the landing runway. The crew is glad that the trip proved uneventful. I suppose it is lucky we were not flying over the sea as you would all have been grabbing for the lifejackets under your seats."
You are welcome to use this sketch, on stage or video but credit and royalties must be given to Vince Poynter as the author. An invite to see it performed would also be welcomed, along with requests for more sketches, which can be scripted on any subject. Contact me for more information. You may be surprised how reasonable I am. Or it may be a Wednesday, in which case I'll be like a rampaging bull elephant with a nasty itch on the end of his trunk. You have been warned.
Author: Vince Poynter Version 5.056 11 Jan 2018
First Published: Version 1.02 in Mar 2004
The photograph was taken by the author in May 2015 and shows a Virgin aeroplane circling over London and was added in Version 5.056 11 Jan 2018
The vinceunlimited Mobilevend Idea
Simple. But not simple enough
Let's face it they are here to say.
We moan about the silly annoying ringtones and poor reception, claiming that they are the curse of modern society but we all have one tucked away don't we.
A mobile phone, of course.
The subject of where they are tucked is another matter completely and not for these pages right now. But every now and then we get caught short.
Perhaps you forgot to take the little blighter with you.
Perhaps you are away from home, or on holiday where your current cheapskate reception doesn't reach. You may be on the beach, you lucky devil and didn't bring the phone because you hate that telling bulge in your thong.
And then you forgot that you needed to call aunty, to cancel the milk.
It's no good relying on BT.
They used to put a telephone on every corner but drunks got them confused with loos.
And it's no good asking anyone to lend you their pride and joy. They will only think you will run off with it and use the miserly 25p credit they have.
No, what we need is a 21st century version of the phone box.
So what about vending machines?
They are so ubiquitous that the chances are when you need a phone there will be one nearby.
And the costs? Mobiles are getting cheaper all the time and I'm sure they could be mass-produced for a few quid.
They wouldn't need memories, games, WAP connection and colour screens.
They may not need screens at all. All they need is a keypad. I'm sure I remember a design like this many years ago!
So how about it. Who's gonna be the first?
Oh, and by the way. Remember this was my idea. So use this new 'phone to give me a call and discuss terms.
I may be an ideas man but that doesn't mean I don't want richies beyond my wildest dreams.
And a new thong.
Author: Vince Poynter Version 5.055 10 Jan 2017
First Published: Version 1.02 in Mar 2004 and reproduced here in full
The image was added in Version 5.055 on 10 Jan 2017 and depicts a relatively simple Nokia mobile phone.
The [highly cropped] image was taken on 5 Feb 2008 on an original Apple iPhone. This helps to understand the idea in date context. The mobile phone vending idea was originally published four years earlier than this.
Mobile phone vending machines are now common in some parts of the world. But was the idea of a simple, single or so use, throw away design ever offered?
Interesting fact: Vodaphone introduced the Quickphone kiosk, dispensing cheap mobile phones, allegedly the first of this kind in Britain in late 2005. About 18 months after I posted this idea. Coincidence? [Source: The Telegraph website, article by David Derbyshire dated 27 Oct 2005]
The vinceunlimited Yamaha DT175 Bike Road Test Page
An Initial Trial.
I have no pictures of my first motorcycle so here is the front page of the Sales Brochure for the Yamaha DT175 in 1977. Credit: Yamaha
We all remember our first.
Our first girlfriend, first kiss, first single and first time stealing from the dairy. Or was that just me.
Anyway, our vehicles are no exception and my little Yamaha DT175 trail bike was the first vehicle that I owned.
Mind you at the time it didn't seem so little and in many ways it wasn't the first. But much like girlfriends you can't include a quick shuftie with your neighbour as a prima facie conquest. So the Yam formally remains my first.
My parents had purchased a new Gilera moped for my older brother when he turned sixteen. They gave me the option of a new 'ped at the same age or a second-hand motorbike at seventeen.
As I was able to use my brother's wheels I chose the motorbike option and given the stringent restrictions on size ("not a 250 son, too big") and considering cost, I chose the Yamaha.
The year was around 1978 and the bike had a P registration plate, it was only a few years old. That's a P at the end by the way.
Trail bikes back then were much different from today. The styling still had suggestions of a fifties mount with it's front mudguard set close to the wheel, although trail bikes were soon shipped with higher mudguards shortly afterwards.
The tyres were 'knobblies' so gave me a chance to use it on and off the blacktop.
Top speed was a quite miserable 65mph or so. This meant that it never kept up with my mate Jeff's Honda CB125. Then again, nothing else could either.
The best bit of my new toy was the colour.
Although the bike was in sound mechanical condition with no damage to the bodywork, the bike had been repainted. I can't recall the probably implausible excuse the seller gave for the re-spray but I didn't care. It was a cream colour with brown stripes.
For some peculiar reason known only to myself, as a teenager my favourite colour was brown, plus at the time Kenny Roberts was putting Yamaha on the racing map and the distinctive blocky stripes were aped on my fuel tank.
Not mine. The bike, the photo nor the girl. In the absence of photo evidence of my own DT175 I found and used for years this scan of a similar model from an old Bike magazine featuring despatch rider Sue Fiddian. By old Bike, I mean the magazine not the girl. Sorry Sue. Credit: Bike Magazine
It was a unique bike at the time so if you recognise this pattern and now know the bike get in touch. I would love to see it again. Mind you it would be well past its sell by date by now and I guess pretty ropey. So I'll only give you a few quid for it, all right.
Another useful feature was the off-roading abilities.
Not so much the serious mudplugging but the ability to climb easily up the pavement kerb at the local disco.
Of the few times I ventured off the tarmac my inexperience kept me from performing fantastic tricks and my leg length prevented me from stopping. In fact, I can't recall ever pulling a proper, wheel in the air for more than a half-second type, wheelie. And I call myself a biker!
Plus, in those days, stoppies were only carried out by riders with no control and grabby brakes. The drums on the Yamaha certainly never grabbed anything to my knowledge.
However, I did find the thing ace at driving round town with its light weight and responsive two-stroke motor.
The wide bars, although sometimes a pain through dense traffic, enabled surefooted slow riding skills and great manoeuvrability. This was coupled to a high vantage point from that seat that didn't suit my legs, although it was comfy enough for one bum.
Add a second bum, whose owner had to make do with swing-arm mounted rear footpegs, and it didn't do so well. But for one up hooligan riding round town it was perfect.
I even considered fitting road tyres rather than the standard fitment off-road rubber. I recall that despite my efforts I couldn't match a front and rear so didn't proceed with this mod. If I had I would have beaten the modern super-motards to the idea by several years. Despite not heralding this modern change I travelled many a happy mile.
Nevertheless, it was the unhappy mile that it will be best remembered for.
I recall a frustrating crawl up the outside lane of a dual carriageway, at it's 65mph maximum. Jeff, on his CeeBee had passed the car and decided on a different route into the New Forest. He swung into a left-hand turn and disappeared.
I was still in hot [read: warm] pursuit and trying to pass the car.
Why people insist on travelling at one mile an hour less than my top speed, I'll never know.
Anyway, I just made it and shot round the bend. It was set at a right angle and Kenny himself would have been pleased with taking it at this speed. On his race bike.
Mind you I did have one race bike advantage. The footpegs on a trail bike are small and high set so don't dig in when cornering. A common problem on seventies machinery. Provided the tyres held out the thing could corner like a demon. And the road that day was perfectly dry and smooth.
I leaned over, to the point my boots were scraping the deck, but it wasn't enough. The corner was too sharp. So I leaned a bit more and something eventually grounded out. My handlebar ends!
I slid across the road.
Thankfully, it being the seventies meant that no traffic was on the other side. Unfortunately, being summer and a carefree teenager meant that I wasn't dressed properly. The lightweight jacket I had on rode up my torso, followed by my tee shirt, then in turn, each layer of my skin. Gravel rash par excellence.
Despite this mishap I enjoyed my time with the Yamaha.
Even now I wish it was sat in my garage so that I could play on it. The engine may have been noisy and underpowered but the styling was just right. The high exhaust and low front mudguard may date the thing to a certain period but that's when I was learning the meaning of freedom and this bike helped me achieve that. I'll always remember it fondly.
Like all my other firsts, I guess.
Author: Vince Poynter Version 5.054 9 Jan 2018
First Published: Version 1.02 in Mar 2004
The first image shows the front page of the official UK Yamaha DT175 sales brochure and was added in Version 5.054 9 Jan 2018. Credit: Yamaha
The second image shows a photograph scanned from an old 'Bike' magazine and was used to illustrate a story about a female despatch rider called Sue Fiddian. It was first added to my website in Version 3 in Mar 2010. I liked this as it best represented the 'look' of my DT175. Used and generally remembered in black and white. Credit: Bike Magazine
The vinceunlimited Dictaphone Sketch
Type: 5 minute sketch with 4 to 6 actors set inside a six person train compartment (or could be set elsewhere, such as dentist waiting room) with moving train sound effects continuously (unless at the dentist).
If I told a Millennial this was a dictaphone they would believe me
The sketch starts with the non speaking roles already seated (or one or two may enter and leave as required). One man in a mackintosh should be seated prominently, reading a newspaper. Another man enters and also takes a prominent position. A young lady is in the scene.
The second man looks about, then brings out a Dictaphone. The others take no notice. He clears his throat, switches on the machine and speaks.
"Letter please ..."
All the others look at him. The man in the mackintosh glances over his paper.
The dictaphone man continues. "Letter please. To go to John Fredericks Limited ..."
The others start to lose interest as he continues. "At Watford branch. For the attention of Mister J. Fredericks. Dear sirs, I have convened the meeting to discuss your proposals for the new block to be in my office on the twenty-first at ten thirty a.m. New paragraph. Please advise your budget costing to me beforehand by return. Signed, yours faithfully etcetera ... etcetera."
The man smiles sheepishly at the few passengers who have bothered to look up at him as he finishes. He puts the recorder away.
The dictaphone man looks around. He is clearly bored.
He again reaches for his machine. "Memo. please ..."
All passengers again look up. He continues unabated. "... to go to Sam Prendell, reference your planning application for the Woods Green Development. Sam, please forward your outline proposals showing the extension to the Cricket Club. Signed etcetera ... etcetera."
He again smiles sweetly as he puts the machine away.
Immediately he gets it out again and continues unashamedly. "Letter!" He bellows.
They all look. "To go to Richard Dickens in Shropshire. Dick, I placed the device in the cloakroom on the fourth floor. Stop. It should go off at about four o'clock when the lobby is full. Stop. Expected casualties could run into the hundreds. Signed etcetera ... etcetera."
The passengers start to get edgy. The man in the mackintosh's interest grows.
"Just kidding." He says. The others are visibly relieved.
He continues. "New letter. No, memo. To my wife Jane. Darling, I have some business to attend to early this evening. Won't be home until at least ten o'clock. Love. Etcetera ... etcetera."
He continues almost immediately. Letter to go to Mark Chalice. Mark the agreed time for the Securicor hit is eight thirty. Kevin estimates two hundred thousand but Peter thinks it could be more. Stop. New paragraph. Don't forget the cutting gear. Signed etcetera ... etcetera. Oh, and Mandy. Make sure this one's not on our headed paper and remember to use a stamp like I said, not the franking machine. See you later."
The tension in the carriage returns.
"Finally. Oh, what the hell. Letter to go to Scotland Yard, London. For the attention of Detective Inspector Robbins. To read. Robbins. You are useless. As you read this letter another poor victim lies with a slit throat ..." The young woman passenger stifles a shriek.
"... Try searching the tracks near ..." He looks out of the window. "Near Wolverton Station. Signed. The Slug. Train murderer."
He smiles at those who are now looking at him, incredulously. "End of dictation." He puts his machine away.
The man in the mackintosh calmly folds his paper and puts it down. He reaches inside his coat and pulls out his own dictaphone.
He says. "Internal memorandum please. To Chief Constable Maxwell. From D.I. Robbins, C Division. Sir, at last I think we have a break on that Slug character. I am hot on his trail and I expect a result any time now."
You are welcome to use this sketch, on stage or video but credit and royalties must be given to Vince Poynter as the author. An invite to see it performed would also be welcomed, along with requests for more sketches, which can be scripted on any subject. Contact me for more information. You may find yourself treated like a special friend or a Royal visitor. Unless you contact me after 10 p.m. in which case I'll be asleep. Not that an email will actually wake me up. I have learnt to switch off that irritating bleep. So it's safe to click away at your leisure.
Author: Vince Poynter Version 5.053 8 Jan 2018
First Published: Version 1.02 in Mar 2004 [When dictaphones were still a bit of a thing]
The image depicts a classic British red telephone box and was added in Version 5.051 4 Jan 2018
Interesting fact: Dictaphone is a trademark owned by Nuance Communications in Massachusetts, following purchase of the rights from a company called Dictaphone which was originally founded by Alexander Graham Bell, the dude from the telephone invention trade. However, the term is now widely used to describe all micro-cassette type hand-held voice dictation recorders
Shameless self promotion
The eponymous subjectThe Real Vince Poynter
This page is all about Vince Poynter, the real live person behind the vinceunlimited brand.
On an earlier CV I described myself as 'an active, good humoured and inventive individual, intelligent enough to learn new skills quickly and accurately with an ability to multitask whilst remaining in control. A fastidious and charming, honest worker able to assess priority and work under pressure. Always seeking a challenging and responsible, well-rewarded role'.
Myth or mirth?
I was born in the South of England in the early sixties in a two bedroom flat, with the unusual feature of a balcony on the ground floor. I was the swot at the local junior school so graduated to a boys only (pah) grammar school, all without changing city. I didn't work too hard but left school with a welter of 'O' levels (ask your dad) then decided to opt out of higher and university education.
Without the encouragement to be the vet I had always dreamed about as a child I drifted into an office-based apprenticeship in construction, an industry that kept me in high quality baked beans for the main part of my adult working life. It was never the real me.
As a teenager I grew up too late for the free love sixties and too early for the freedom of the eighties. Too late to be a boomer, too young to be a millenial. But I did discover motorcycling. Off and on since then I have always owned a bike and still consider myself a biker. So rock on.
In my late teens I resigned my job and at one point had spent every penny I had. I even owed my future wife £50 - She won't ever get it back. I'm still married and have been for millions of years. We soon got the four bedroom detached house on a suburban housing estate in a sought after village in a green and pleasant valley about twenty miles from where I was born. All very local. Except going to work daily in London used to take me two hours each way.
I eventually dumped the dusty construction life and now work as a driver for a prestige marque.
I have always enjoyed writing and much content of this site has its roots deep in the last millennium. It just took ages to put it all together and now I'm doing the same all over again as a fifth incarnation. One reason I would love be a full time writer.
If you feel you can stomach the expanded version why not drop your cursor over the button named autobiography. Only don't expect much as for now there is only a temporary holding page here.
However something has emerged in the shape of Vince's story about his transatlantic trip on the QE2 cruise liner in 2002 for your delectation.
The alternative to all this is much less pleasant - Just staring blankly at this spot below
Author: Vince Poynter Version 5.034 8 Dec 2017
First Published: Version 1.00 in Oct 2003
Text updated and image added in Version 5.008 18 Oct 2017
QE2 tag added and minor text update in Version 5.034 8 Dec 2017
The vinceunlimited Autobiography Page
Stories from My Poynter View
Hello. You have arrived at the vinceunlimited Autobiography page, with true stories and anecdotes from a future publication about my life story called My Poynter View.
The vinceunlimited web site is currently being re-coded and this phase of the project has only just commenced.
In time this page will be fully populated with all the vinceunlimited life story content. It will develop in time so please be patient and check back in due course.
Author: Vince Poynter Version 5.052 5 Jan 2018
First Published: Version 1.02 in Mar 2004
Images added in Version 5.052 5 Jan 2018
My Poynter View
From the autobiography of Vince Poynter
Herein lieth the autobiography of the late and dearly but not departed Vince of vinceunlimited fame.
Please noteth that the document in question is a work in progress and clearly incomplete. In fact hardly startedeth. This will eventually be finalised (or at least the first installment will be as no-one really wants their autobiography to be completed) and then publishedeth.
At this point there will be a printed version, a film, a mini-series, it will be subsequently translated into 43 languages and a rip-off sub-series will be commissioned starring an ex-popstar.
The whole document will only be completeth upon the final demise of said subject. Deatheth.
P.S. Note the term lieth at the beginning of this paragraph. If you feel like suing over a matter of stated fact within the text below and on related pages I will reliath on thiseth.
One great man
Imagine the beginning. Nothing. Nothing but two men. Two great beings in body and mind. Two great forces, born leaders with unequalled ability, immense strength and pretty fine teeth.
Despite all this they had nothing. Nothing to challenge their intellects, nor stretch their considerable abilities. In short an unfulfilled void.
So one day, I believe it may have been a Tuesday, these two decided to set about creating an existance within a universe of their own.
During the course of the next eighteen months the two worked hard, creating galaxy after galaxy. Competing to build bigger and more magnificent structures and populating the place with every conceivable form of planetary type. Plus a few others that weren't quite to standard pattern.
After a while and with an awful lot of universe to show for it the two guys decided to form the most perfect star system. Then within that system the most beautiful planet. A planet so fantastic that it would embody every conceivable thought, all ideas.
This planet, that they named Earth, although relatively small in size was packed full of extremeties.
Cold polar caps and unbearably arid deserts bounded the plentiful plains and dramatic rock landscapes. The humid jungles and barren wastelands, the rivers cascading wonderously into the open seas. The light of day and cold dark of night even the swirling winds and torrid rains added to the grand spectacle.
A thousand life forms were added to provide noise, movement and energy. A thousand other variants of each were added to enhance the cacaphony of sound. Many with ultra bright colours to dazzle and inspire.
Tiny insects to enormous whales. Microscopic life forms, fur, hair and feather were included giving a range of abilities to move around the seas, land and air.
They even included a baboon with a bright red bum, although each denied that one.
Fire was included to burn waste and allow new life forms to develop. The seas lapped at the land edges constantly changing their shape and clouds kept a fairytale atmosphere around the globe.
The two had indeed created a utopian dream but still it lacked something.
So the two got together to create the ultimate user of the planet. Mankind.
This humanoid lifeform, although closely phisiologically related to many of the other lifeforms was given full biped status to rise over his contemporaries. An opposable thumb was added to help handle his environment and his brain was enlargened to cope with thought and understanding.
Every type was introduced. Colour variants, age differences, ugly and handsome. Charming sweet people and those that others would despise. Every type indeed.
Something was still amiss so they added another fundamental difference. A woman.
Then they thought that she might get a bit busy so they created more. One to match every man.
She two was thin and fat and had every hair colour. That's the description of each of them, not the collective.
Well after all this the two great beings sat back in their Parker-Knoll recliners and started to run and control the whole system.
The longer they watched the more fascinated they became. Their created mass developed a life force of it's own. Decisions were made and actions taken that they couldn't have predicted. It became fun and they wanted to join in and be a part of it all.
So one day, a Friday on this occassion, they agreed that as they were both stupendously powerful and clever that only one was needed to run the system.
They decided on a complex, harrowing, dangerous and difficult strategy to decide who was to go down onto Earth and have a whale of a time and who would stay and control it all. But on second thoughts they decided to pull straws.
Well, God lost so the other guy went down to Earth, to be born a man and live a life. And my name is Vince.
My autobiography will be subdivided into chapters, provisionally entitled as shown below. You can see I was most inventive in their naming. I hope to complete them generally in sequence, that would suit my logical mindset.
However, one link is already up and running and a flash of inspiration may inspire me to make an out of sequence one erupt first. Colours will indicate which are live and I'll advise those that have altered and which are yet to germinate.
If you want to hear about one section first then I suggest you give me a good badgering. And that doesn't involve the placement of dual-tone, nocturnal mammels in my rectal passage.
Baby - Will be completed eventually
Child - Will be completed eventually
Teenager - Will be completed eventually
Start Working - Will be completed eventually
Settling Down - Will be completed eventually
Getting Older - Will be completed eventually
Middle Age Onwards - Will be completed after it has happened.
Author: Vince Poynter Version 5.052 5 Jan 2018
First Published: Version 1.02 in Mar 2004
The image depicts Vince Poynter stood on a bridge in Eton and was added in Version 5.052 5 Jan 2018
The vinceunlimited Public Announcement Page
Our mission is to inform you
"'Hum'. 'Crack'. This is a public announcement. Will all those 'pop' who are 'crackle' please 'fizz' so that 'silence', 'pop' and 'fizz' to 'crackle'. Thankyou."
In these days of modern communication, where you can speak to your friend in Coventry or Kuala Lumpa without distortion (baring the midlands accent, that is) why can't a local public speaker be understood? They are only connected by wire. Hardly, cutting edge technology. However, this page isn't really about the poor quality of sound, but the poor quality of words. All the quotes below are real world examples and the culprits are named and shamed. I'll add more as soon as I can decipher what they are actually saying.
Message on South West Trains on nearing Clapham Junction, that applies to most station platforms that are shorter than the actual train. "Would customers alighting at Clapham Junction, please use the first five carriages..." Doh! Should that be '...one of the first five'?
The British Government's latest 'Kill your speed' campaign. What on earth is that all about? How on earth do you kill speed? It doesn't possess life so how can it be killed? And the roadsign that accompanies the message. It depicts a hand lowering onto a speed limit. So how does that work then? How does putting a hand down kill speed? Lifting a foot would be more appropriate. The only vehicles that have hand throttles are motorbikes. And putting the hand down is more akin to the method of speeding up! I suppose some cars adapted for disability use may have hand throttles. Perhaps the Government is really targeting these arch criminals!
Finally, I recently noticed an advertising slogan proudly plastered in huge lettering in Marks and Spencer. 'Our bread is baked from authentic recipes from around the globe.' As opposed to what? Does a non-authentic recipe exist? Is anything baked somewhere that isn't around the globe? The copywriters really earned their crust on this one!
Author: Vince Poynter Version 5.051 4 Jan 2018
First Published: Version 1.02 in Mar 2004
The image depicts a Mission speaker positioned on top of a wall cabinet and was added in Version 5.051 4 Jan 2018