This is the main blog page of the vinceunlimited website.
In blogs the latest articles are at the head of the page, with older posts appearing below in reverse date order. And so it will be on this page.
At present the vinceunlimited website is being re-constructed with the all the oldest posts from 2003 and 2004 having been added, along with a smattering of newer ones from 2017. The 2005 articles are now being added. Then the 2006 etc. Hope that's not too confusing?
To allow you you search for posts there is a vSearch facility below. Look out for new post titles here.
Alternatively go to the home page to witness all new posts being added during this re-building stage.
You can access the home page in several ways. The link is vinceunlimited.co.uk/mobile.htm or you could click on my face icon at the top left of the page, or click the button below. The choices are endless. Providing the end happens after just three choices.
Author: Vince Poynter Version m5.083 16 Mar 2018
First published in this format: Version m5.008 18 Oct 2017
See individual article notes for specific dates added
Cast your minds back to 2003. Cars were drawn along by horses, someone was working on the wheel design and nothing was ever any good because nobody had come up with the idea of sliced bread. Probably. However some steam powered computers were starting to be on the desks of ordinary decent folks. And this intrigued me. The content on this magical non-TV was relatively sparse and what was there seemed within my creative abilities and often well below. So, like an early pioneer I decided I wanted to stake my claim in the ever burgeoning wibbly, wobbly web. I was always writing stuff down, coming up with ideas, sketching down jokes and such but wanted an outlet for my creativity. I always fear that my body of work may never get out and would remain forever stagnant, in my drawers. The web seemed the latest place to publish stuff so I undertook to learn how to secure my bit of web-land.
I soon understood that it's not just a case of clicking on a blank bit of the internet and typing away. Plus this was way before a modern world of helpful Apps and YouTube guides. In those days everything was hand coded to order in a strange new programming language called HTML. I had to buy a book [ask your great-grandfather] to learn about this new fangled HTML gobbledygook. I had tried a bit of code writing in the earliest days of computing, a touch of CP/M in the 1980s and a fragment of MS DOS Basic following this so I was already used to seeing such weird combinations of alphabet characters and rarely used symbols lurking on a screen display.
I undertook to code. And code. And code. I was relentless. It was relentlessly boring. But I was on a roll. Then a wrap and finally a Burrito just to sustain myself. I had a vision of what my site would be like. In those days the internet was usually accessed by a dial up modem through your local telephone land-line and it was miserably slow. If you started to download a sexy picture of a woman one morning it would slowly build one line at a time from the top of the picture and by midday you may be able to tell what colour eyes she had. No idea if she was naked. The dial-tone, in the style of Murray Walker, would interrupt itself long before that. So I determined that my site had to rely on written content and not be peppered by irritating images failing to render.
vinceunlimited Version 1
Home page of vinceunlimited.co.uk version 1
Coding began in earnest around August 2003 and by October of that year the site was ready to be published. I had hand-coded 166 pages of wordy musings all interlinked and spattered with hyper-links to other relevant sites.
As can be seen from the accompanying screenshot the site was based on a theme of black text on a silver-grey background with the eponymous title in green. I used underlining for links. It had no graphics.
The four basic navigation sectors remain to this day being the major sub-sections of Ideas, Opinions, Personal and Writing.
During the course of the next two years various version 1 versions and updates were released adding new content, correcting spelling errors and de-bugging any failing links.
Version 1.01 [Yes, I anticipated up to 99 version variants, or at least possibly more than 9] was published in January 2004 and indeed one of the first changes was a versions page, which was helpful for all my stalkers. I modified the Home Page to work on more machines, changed all the poor quality links, an unfortunate side effect of hand coding all the HTML script which ran the pages and surmised that now that I could test the links in a real world situation the number of mis-links would minimise. I invited readers to be my eyes and ears out there (or should I say eyes and thumbs).
Version 1.01 also included new page additions. The major change undoubtably being the publication of the sitcom episode Site for Sore Eyes. A major publication from me taking ages to convert to HTML from the original Sanskrit.
The second version of the first version followed almost as if fate had determined it, in March 2004. Version 1.02 added some sketches plus I released a tantalising start to a full stage-play, along with some extra ideas. After all, I didn't want to loose my reputation as an ideas man. Unless the change was to a ladies man, naturally. No, no. Not a ladyboy. That is entirely different.
You can see, even in these earliest incarnations one thing I wanted to do was get my pre-written content out there. Somewhere. Anywhere.
It was February 2005 before Version 1.03 sprouted legs and got going, boasting over 80 pages. However, the big news for me, as the website author, was the fact that I had my first feedback, despite the fact that, at that time, I hadn't yet launched the site on the unsuspecting general public. Up to then most readers probably knew me, or knew someone who did. This prompted me to formally notify Google of my presence. No posters, email shots or TV advertising had yet occurred [as if].
I found it interesting to watch people browse the site. It was designed to be read so a user could logically pass from page to page. Readers, however I discovered, have their own agenda along with their own twisted minds so the hyperlinks were abused and ignored with the inevitable disarray that follows. What was wrong with the homepage? One wouldn't read a book by grabbing at random chapters but internet browsing had made us work in this fashion which was a nightmare for me as a web designer. And it is this disordered chaos that resulted in the first memorable quote about my site. A work colleague, upon being asked what he thought of my site said "...it is rather opinionated..." Admittedly, not the most complimentary of comments but a positive reaction at least. So I enquired further and asked which part of the site he had read. He replied "The opinions section." Ahem.
Pages that were new in v1.03 included My favourite TV and films, Road tests and Quotes.
The final iteration of version 1, Version 1.04, was never formally acknowledged as a separate version as it only re-published current pages. They were all crafted around March 2005.
vincepoynter Version 1
Home page of vincepoynter.co.uk version 1
In March 2005 vincepoynter.co.uk was launched to provide a formal personal website and offer an on-line comprehensive curriculum vitae.
The first pages included the homepage, a CV, email, personal, version and webcredit. The personal page had no details and was published ‘under construction’.
The site was hand-coded in HTML with an improved layout incorporating a sidebar, multiple colours and a nifty 3D surround effect.
The colours were toned down for the Apr 2005 Version 1.01 which also added some detail to the personal page incorporating some background about the Poynter name and listed paternal relatives from grandparents to great, great, great grandparents. Plus a link to a page list of self-employment contracts carried out between 1999 and 2005.
Version 1.02 was issued in Jun 2006 and updated the CV and self-employment details and added some facts about Poynters across the world.
Version 1.03 dated Sep 2006 added a link to the vinceunlimited website.
Version 1.04 was published in Apr 2009 and updated the CV and self-employment details and included a link to IMPRECE, a self-employment limited company that I set up for formal tax purposes.
Nearly year later in Mar 2010 Version 1.05 was published simplifying the URL of each page, also updating the CV and self-employment details and the FTP credit.
Then more than two years after that in Jul 2012 Version 1.06 was released as the final iteration of the vincepoynter website. It again updated the CV and self-employment details, plus removed reference to IMPRECE and updated the hosting credit.
vinceunlimited Version 2
Home page of vinceunlimited.co.uk version 2
It took a couple of months after Version 1 before Version 2 of the vinceunlimited website appeared on the internet in May 2005 with coding that took my site to the next level with a better layout to match the vincepoynter website with a sidebar, dual colours and a nifty 3D surround effect as shown in the screen capture to the right. It also featured an animated, scrolling copyright notice relentlessly passing across the top of every screen. All this across nearly one hundred pages of wit, intellect and entertainment.
Because of the time taken to recode all the eighty plus pages of the site to the new layout I had not been as productive as I would have liked but did find time to add a major Political Section which could have resided under my Opinions section as it was a major opinion on the political system in Britain. Disillusioned with the incumbent political parties I decided that instead of claiming I could do better I'd offer my own alternative version.
I also added to my Ideas and Opinions sections. Plus more Road Tests including a test on a Bentley Arnage, no less. And Alphacar, an epic vehicle related poem that takes the reader on a journey through many car types.
Finally I gave a small obituary note for the loss of my previous obtuse links at the foot of each page. They had to go. The concept was just too ahead of it's time [read as: ...no one got it].
Version 2.01 was another tranche of uploads hoiked up to my web host in one go (Why are they always web hosts? I'd personally like a web hostess). This July 2005 subset was a mere updating and increasing of pages including a major new addition for this version, the publication of my stage play Perpetually. A long page in website land translated to the screen from a 67-page printed version. Yes the whole lot on-line.
Plus a road test on my Honda CX500 and two chapters to my growing autobiography. I let loose on my earliest schooldays and a paragraph or two on my family. It was a big step and I couldn't tread those paths without mentioning people that are alive. I did note that if that might be you note that the blind never read ill of themselves. And wondered, is that a proverb? Which is where my next new feature came in.
I added a brand new page that I called webquotes. So named to distinguish it from my other quotations page.
Finally, I had so many ideas floating around that I posted not one, not two, not even indeed any number totalling four or above, but instead three new ideas, with an assurance that there was many more to come. Some just languishing around lazily on my hard drive just waiting to get electronically heart massaged into life.
During September 2005 version 2.02 added a new page within the Opinions section, plus a road test article on my Kwaker 750. I also added to my autobiography with an anecdote or two about water-skiing, within a section I entitled Action Vince.
As usual more of my zany ideas were included. Four newbies this time, taking the total to fifteen.
Finally, conscious of the changing nature of personal website activity, I embarked on a new web blog. Which, by it's sporadic nature started to affect my neat version numbering system. The purpose of the blog was to float little ideas and opinions that may not justify a whole new page. But one entry did became so absorbing that I decided to transmutate it into a whole page.
It wasn't until June 2006 that Version 2.03 arrived including a ten most hated list along with another list for my top ten artists and a couple more ideas.
Plus a new invention of mine providing neat little thought provoking rhymes and a pitch. Not to mention some quote and blog updates. Which I have now done.
It was another six months before I updated again. Version 2.04 was released in December 2006 and notably included some radio scripts I had previously submitted to the BBC. Plus I fingered my keyboard to spill the beans on a few future concepts within my fiction and TV Shows pages. Along with a few more jokes and quotes.
Finally, I was as proud as pudding to announce that my site had now received actual feedback so my points of view page was born.
vinceunlimited Version 3
The original sketch laying out version 3 of the vinceunlimited website
In HTML coding I always struggled with word wrapping, getting the text to set and hug neatly around images. I also struggled with graphic based links and couldn't find the time and way to code version three which was planned to look like the image on the right.
Also, although the concept of HTML coupled with CSS was initially released in 1996 it didn't really appear on my radar and be understood by me until much later. Despite much standard HTML testing it never quite looked like I wanted it to look on a Mac and PC but a potential saviour was waiting on my desktop.
In January 2006 Apple had launched a seemingly perfect tool for me. The introduction of their colourful and simple to use Mac OS iWeb Application appeared to offer a solution. It was generally six or so months between major updates of my website due to work and mortgage paying requirements. I enjoyed the writing but the coding was a bit arduous. Every page seemed to need an HTML update at each major iteration. But iWeb promised drag and drop images and simple WYSIWYG text updating.
I decided to go with it and embarked on a long process of selecting a layout, then transferring my 120 pages or so of HTML coding back into standard text and then into iWeb, along with adding some carefully selected pictures with graphic touches to suit the site look.
Home page of vinceunlimited.co.uk version 3
iWeb became the basis for version 3 of my website but it took until March 2010 until it was ready for publication. Are you paying attention to these dates? A quiz will follow.
One issue was the abandonment of my version variants. iWeb was designed to be a living, breathing application. I could have opted for formal version updates or theme changes but the concept seemed to suit a live update process, leaving the home-page to be a set look and updates added as required to various sections. This would assist in me maintaining a consistent website look, which is important to regular readers. However, the downside is that each time a visitor came to the site it would look unaltered, unless they delved deeper into the sub-sections.
Most article updates started in my blog section. It was becoming a trend of personal websites. FaceBook, Twitter and WordPress was encouraging the process of regular, daily, even hourly updates. And everyone was moving away from the concept of personal websites. Ease of use for the masses meant that peoples' personal webspace was being absorbed into the major players.
I too had embraced these new concepts. Around October 2007 I had joined FaceBook and in January 2009 Twitter. Although I tended to keep my various on-line identities as separate entities.
Various blog entries were added to my iWeb site between the launch date and March 2011, including transcripts from the best of my own Twitter feeds.
In the end Apple had other ideas about keeping this iWeb pet project alive and it's last iteration was in July 2011. It became clear that I had to find another way to maintain my web presence.
vinceunlimited Version 4
Home page of vinceunlimited.co.uk version 4
With the continued growth of FaceBook, Twitter and WordPress personal websites appeared to have become a bit passé. The era of the common blog had really taken root. For one thing this solved the issue of static front home pages as the blog style content kept the front page looking fresh. So this bandwagon was truly seized upon when I clambered aboard a WordPress site, in July 2012, effectively making this the fourth version of vinceunlimited.co.uk
Over the next couple of years I persisted with my WordPress site, trying one or two pre-determined layouts as I went. WordPress is mostly about piggy-backing on other people's hard worked designs and I always felt that trying to disguise this plagiarism with a bit of personal customisation awkward and unsatisfactory.
Another nail in this coffin was the increasing charges made for using this service. Admittedly someone has to host a website and it is right and correct that this service should be paid for. The provider has to hold your site contents and feed it out to those that request it. I was always a tiny, minor player, considering the traffic that went to some sites so I always opted for the most basic of services and WordPress provided this sort of service free. However, when I wanted to add audio files in August 2014 a use charge was levied. Not based on actual number of downloads but on an assumption I was the BBC. This affected my view of the service.
Additionally, I missed the days where I could feel pride in the fact that I hand-coded my own website. Anybody could put out a blog, not many knew how to write the background stuff. Plus converting standard WordPress pages to include additional sections and getting the articles in them to be searchable is really difficult. At least, I never discovered a way.
Furthermore the promise of riding with a pack like WordPress is that one can expect a bit of cross fertilisation to help with getting my thoughts and words out there. Go to the .com page and there are countless adverts showing off the sites' wonderful users' content. But I saw very little evidence of such subtle advertisement and what interest I did received could have just as easily arrived randomly.
vinceunlimited Version 5
First Home page of vinceunlimited.co.uk version 5
Innovations in version 5 include a three column layout with blog style front page featuring text wrapped images with each article to have a release date as well as first published information. Also one click access to a mobile view version with every page replicated in a mobile format, clickable photo icons, vSearch, opportunities to advertise with vAdvert plus a vType drop down menu and 'Random Page Generator' links, along with a mini live Twitter feed. Other than all that just the same as always.
So what will the future bring? Well firstly I need to re-establish my website presence, flying solo again as vinceunlimited and not via a third party. I need to rebuild the approximately 200 plus pages of site content once more so there is a great library of my stuff and re-establish links where possible. And I need to find space for all the previously written blog articles to nestle, fully searchable by date, title and theme. And I need to get all those brand new blog ideas which are currently festering on my hard drive out into the big old webosphere.
And when all this is done I will no doubt settle back, have a quick ponder then immediately look to version 6, which will be much more Web 2.0 with live floating graphics, interactivity, 4D content and maybe even touch and smell sensitive. All as an implantosite in your brain. Probably.
Author: Vince Poynter Version m5.081 13 Mar 2018
First Published: Version m5.001 30 Sep 2017
Outdated links removed: Version m5.070 13 Feb 2018
vincepoynter Version 1.00 details added: Version m5.081 13 Mar 2018
Version 5 Phase 2 Completed
So, I’ve now completed phase two of the rebuilding of my version five website.
Phase one was the preparation and initial launch back in September and this second phase was to add, page by page, an enhanced copy of the content originally published on my site in version 1.0 back in October 2003.
And it’s all done, bar the odd debugging and consistency fixing.
A total of nearly 100 pages now exist in both desktop and mobile formats. All told nearly 200 hand coded web pages.
If you have been following the uploads you will have already seen a truly eclectic mix of ideas, opinions, writing and information. Now all with added photography enhancement and detail notes. And this is just the start.
The new presentation allows you to either watch everything happen on the homepage or selectively choose to follow a style or theme.
For example follow a blog format or you can pick your type such as a geek or petrolhead and follow only the content that you have a specific interest in.
Or you can even randomly select a page, do a search for specific articles or select content based on a phrase or snippet that interests you.
So, is this all my original untouched content from version 1.00. Well, not quite. But it’s all you are getting. Things have moved on from 2003 and I have had to do just a tiny bit of editing.
Mostly it has been just grammar corrections and layout updating but I have also chosen to omit some silly links, plus those outside of the website as many now no longer exist.
Plus I have had to temper some phrases used in one article which now read a touch insensitive and I chose to exclude a full idea I previously had about a screensaver based on a then popular but now discredited television personality.
So what about phases three and onward.
Well next up, commencing very early next year, will be the website additions originally issued in subsequent versions of my site numbered 1.01 to 1.04.
Followed by selective and relevant vincepoynter.co.uk content to be added to the ‘About Me’ section.
Then I’ll be moving on to adding the 2005 onward web 2.xx versions, including my first referenced blogs from originally around 2006.
This will be followed by my 2010 onward iWeb content and then finally the 2012 to 2017 WordPress articles which include my 2014 podcasts.
Plus various interesting interim diary, Social Media content and even selective YouTube videos.
So, an awful lot to come, all to be added one bit at a time over the course of the next year and possibly beyond!
And then I can finally get around to really enhancing the site with brand new content from my extensive pending store of notes about writing and blog ideas, with more opinions, great inventions, ground breaking business plans and more planned superb content such as photography, audio and visual stuff to really make use of the new enhanced layout.
You can see I still have a raft of work ahead and I hope a few surprises along the way. So I would really appreciate you joining me on this journey to enjoy this ever growing, extensive online collection of my body of creative work.
And that should answer the question most asked of me. Why are you doing a website?
Thanks for following.
Author: Vince Poynter Version m5.046 30 Dec 2017
Written and first published: Version m5.046 30 Dec 2017
P.S. Remember all pages can be interactive so please email me if you have any questions or thoughts.
Plea For A Bike
One of my first bikes
When I was a child and through to a teenager I, like most of my peers, had a desire to own a bicycle. It was like a right of passage. Part of life development. It seemed natural and ordinary. It represented growth, freedom and independence. It was after all the status symbol of a generation. A chance to explore wider boundaries and meet new friends.
Bicycles were certainly an expensive thing. In my world at the time it had serious financial implications for parents. As one of three children getting expensive gifts was an extremely rare thing. In those days toys were reserved for special occasions like Birthdays or Christmases and the cost of bikes were probably more than treble that were spent on those days combined.
Plus there was an element of danger. Children, bikes and traffic didn't mix well with the former usually coming off worst.
It was for the above reason my father steadfastly refused to buy his children a bike. And of the three of us I was the most upset by this. Very upset. Extraordinarily upset. Boundary tantrum upset.
I reasoned that bicycle ownership would help me develop. I was a timid child, small compared to most school colleagues, a pacifist in an angry world, scared with insecurities about being considered part of it. I struggled to have close friends at school and was further alienated by being unable to be part of the cycling gangs developing. With no bike I appeared to be a loner. A loser.
It didn't help that my circumstances took me away to a remote school at twelve years old and getting there was a pain. Bus rides, long walks and being miles from friends when socialising was unbearable. It is even probably the reason I never became a rock star.
I argued long and passionately about these points with my dad but he was unrepentant. I pointed out that I, more than other children, would treat riding with respect and care to avoid becoming the jam in a car sandwich. I reasoned that by restricting this activity he was cruel, stunting my development and curtailing any after school activities. I even offered to have nothing else if only I could have a bike. But to no effect. There was no way he'll change his mind.
As a result of this I wrote a song. A duet, coupled with chorus elements served to suggest a West End musical style because that is exactly what it was intended to be. This passionate episode in my life was written to be part of a plan for a musical of my life that I was considering and working on in the 1980s. These lyrics were penned in 1989. The musical has yet to be completed.
The unedited original lyrics are reproduced in the vSection menu above under Songs or can be found by clicking the appropriate tag below and despite their apparent complexity do not yet have any musical accompaniment. I will eventually get around to doing this but will first need to learn how to write music. This was a serious flaw in my plan to write that musical. So, can you help?
If the tune is great and it becomes a success I may buy you a bike. Providing you don't bloody well go on about it all the time.
Author: Vince Poynter Version m5.006 16 Oct 2017
Version 5 of the vinceunlimited website
Thanks for taking a look at my re-launched website. It has taken many hours to get to this stage so your few minutes of viewing are really welcome
It wasn't until I got it all uploaded yesterday that I realised there were a few bugs, as I suppose there often are with projects of this scale.
The main problem encountered was my coding. All links were shown as [typical] /linkname but in the uploading process they were saved as /linkname.htm I quickly got around this problem by renaming them all via my FTP client back to /linkname This got the site up and running. A cheeky fix but it worked.
However, as I am a perfectionist at heart and I wanted ease of use in future uploads I decided to re-code all the pages, all 107 odd desktop and mobile, to suit. I'm not sure what you did today.
Now, I shall start the actual process of updating my files so the site is properly fully populated. Watch this space.
Author: Vince Poynter Version m5.002 1 Oct 2017
First Published: Version m5.002 1 Oct 2017
vinceunlimited Website Version 5 Launched
The original sketch laying out version 3 of the vinceunlimited website, now finally achieved at version 5
Dan, dan, delah! Der, der, der, derrh! Tah Da! And however you might spell a drumroll. vinceunlimited.co.uk has roared into stage 5!
And it's a return to the original vinceunlimited concept idea. I have gone back to basics and have elected, once more, to learn how to and then do all the web-coding myself. And appropriately, the latest standard for web coding is HTML 5. So I've had to learn a whole bunch of updated rules.
My original vinceunlimited site, forseeingly known as version 1, was catipulted onto the main stage in October 2003. It was hand coded in a contemporaneous version of HTML.
Version 2, appeared on the internet in May 2005 with coding that took my site to the next level with a better layout, a sidebar and dual colours.
I always struggled with getting HTML coding to set and wrap around images and with image links and couldn't find the time and way to code version three which was planned to look like the image above but I was saved all this effort by the introduction of Apple's colouful WYSIWYG iWeb App so this became the basis for actual version 3, in March 2010. Are you paying attention to these dates. A quiz will follow. But Apple had other ideas about keeping this iWeb pet project alive and I had to find another way to maintain my web prescence.
In 2012, July to be a bit more precise, with the development of FaceBook and Twitter, personal web-sites seemed to be going out of fashion. The era of the common blog had really started. And this bandwagon was truly seized upon when I clambered aboard a WordPress site, effectively making this the fourth version of vinceunlimited.co.uk
But WordPress is mostly about piggy-backing on other people's hard worked designs and trying to disguise this plagiarism with a bit of personal customisation. I always found this awkward and unsatisfactory so decided to go back to first principles and code the thing again myself, hence this version 5.
Have I bucked the trend? Am I just showing off? Or am I just avoiding the sheeple? These questions and less will be answered in the next few years.
For the full vinceunlimited story check out the Versions link, under vChoices at the top of this site.
Author: Vince Poynter Version m5.001 30 Sep 2017
First Published: Version m5.001 30 Sep 2017
A to Zoom
I was talking to a friend of mine about cars that people drive.
We all have preconceived ideas about their thoughts and lives.
And when I thought back on my life and cars I used to own,
I fitted all the types there were. And I was not alone.
I started with an Austin. A10 I think it was.
I loved that little car you know, with its paint a thick black gloss.
But when I was in the country and doing thirty-five,
All I got was horns and lights and people shouting "You can't drive!"
So I got myself a new car. I felt just like a king,
Even if the handling was like a prayer upon a wing.
But my Beetle days still haunt me. In spirit anyway,
I still want love not war you know ... and at any time of day.
Those days with my old Beetle made me think environment,
My mind was getting greener about the energy we spent.
So I went down to the High Street and got my fivers out,
And bought the latest fashion one couldn't do without.
I purchased one of those things Sinclair called a C5.
I even bought the pole and flag so I'd be seen and kept alive.
I thought I was a hero and pollution was no longer,
But everyone who saw me in the street thought me a plonker.
I had to go upmarket so I became a Gent.
My Daimler was a class act, everywhere it went.
With tables in the rear and leather lined throughout.
The shiny paint was gleaming, I never had a doubt.
Until someone with a switchblade, ran it down the side.
I couldn't keep the car no more, so sold it then I cried.
I had to get a basic car, something not so new,
An ubiquitous vehicle, an old Escort would do.
Although it was a simple thing I liked that little car,
And when the MOT ran out I didn’t look too far.
The company helped my choosing, I wasn’t at a loss,
They brought out a modern version. I brought a new Focus.
I had the modern family car but with styling like a shark,
But I couldn’t find the damn thing when in a big car park.
So I changed it for another. A car that looked much harder.
The Sweeney gave me the idea, I brought a black Granada.
I raced it here and raced it there all around the town,
But when the local bank was done they nearly sent me down.
I had to trade it in for something not so big and black.
So brought a Hillman next. An Imp, with its engine at the back.
I tottered round the roads nearby but never went too mad.
The handling was, lets put it this way, pretty flipping bad.
One day I took a corner, I was only doing twenty-eight,
The skinny tyres gave me no grip, the car just went on straight.
Over pavement, through the hedge, half way up a leap.
I thought, this was fun I’ll go again but this time in a Jeep.
My off-roader was a total hoot. I went round with muddy feet,
And everyone got out the way when I drove down the street.
But the Jeep was far too thirsty and I’m a sometimes frugal man,
I still needed all the cargo space so I brought a Kangoo van.
Economy and load lugging - they were second to none.
But nought to sixty in eighteen secs meant I didn’t pull anyone.
And a man has needs above the needs of his economy,
So I splashed my cash and traded up for a new Lamborghini.
Ray–bans specs, laying rubber lines and acting just like Rambo,
I terrorised the neighbourhood driving in my Lambo.
It had to go when I got caught going more than fifty-five.
Not much you think, but then again, it was in my front drive.
And when I tried to fit it past all the cars in my small street,
It wouldn’t fit as it was about as wide as seven feet.
I changed the car for something that I could drive most anywhere,
A shopping trip, an opera, a classless car without a care.
My little Mini would park up outside a flash boutique,
Or fit in with chavs at markets collecting their cheap meat.
So I lavished love and bits on it at every opportunity,
So much that it resembled last year’s Christmas tree.
And when the thing was laden down with all the bits from near and far,
I decided to trade it in for a proper custom car.
I looked around the free-ads and asked around the meets,
But most were overpriced and under funded junk-yard heaps.
Finding one seemed just like hunting out a four-leaf clover,
So I bought the latest ‘in-thing’ a custom Vauxhall Nova.
The bonnet bulge and paintwork made it stand out alright,
And the turbo-charged conversion set the big fat tyres alight.
Even the huge spoiler, which did nothing for my front wheel drive,
Seemed to shout I’m here - I’m now - I’m definitely alive.
But then I got my hair cut in the shape of cheddar cheese,
And wore my jeans hung down so low the crotch was near my knees.
And when I got the beanie hat, worn facing back to front,
It fell across my eyes and resulted in a shunt.
The Nova was a write off (all I salvaged was the dice),
So I had to start again from scratch and look for something nice.
The fancy car mags were the first place that I kept my eye on,
So, how is it I ended up with a mangy Ford Orion?
I guess they call it growing up and finally settling down.
The car was Mr. Sensible - for motorway or town.
I only had it two months, but it really seemed an age,
I guess that's what happens when you drive something beige.
And in those two months living with the dreadful booted Ford,
Invisibly travelling round the place, getting me quite bored.
I had to get a car that shouted out until it’s hoarse.
Yes, you’re there before me. A turbo-charged black Porsche.
I was the Mr. P-Man. Seeing cars off at every light.
I’d give the single finger but I never stayed to fight.
They just couldn’t catch me when I laid my horses down.
The kids would grow up thinking I'm King without a crown.
I attained a God like status, pulling all the skirt,
I saw so much good loving that things started to hurt.
But when I faced up to a car and saluted in my way,
I didn’t realise his little Caterham could blow me away.
And when he got my number and threatened life and limb,
I chose to ditch the Porsche and get a hiding thing.
Something that had no-one thinking - he is up for S.E.X.
And Nissan came to my rescue with its big QX.
Now Q-cars look quite normal but are faster underneath,
With acceleration giving goose bumps and speed to clench your teeth.
It was big and strong and manly but this was not enough,
The stylist had a day off when this car was signed off.
And with performance comes the cost, fuel soaked up like a sponge,
But the styling didn’t get the looks despite being painted orange.
It finally put paid to all fast living and days out clubbing.
I had more luck when I changed it for a new Reliant Robin.
A new Reliant Robin buyer - I must have been a mug,
The salesman saw me coming and sold me a three-pin plug.
If you missed a hole with the front wheel the back would surely find.
Speed-humps eventually wrecked the car and rattled up my mind.
So I changed again and this time I went out all the way,
I brought a big red car with wings – a Chevrolet Stingray.
I posed about the town again driving like a lout,
But as it was American it didn’t make the roundabout.
A British car would make more sense than a big Yankee car,
And nothing seemed better than one named after a girl's bra.
The Triumph was a perfect car made in steel for Purdy's Steele,
But rust took away the pleasure along with the nearside cill.
I needed a rainproof vehicle 'cause I parked it near the shore,
Where savage rains and sea-salt oxidised metal to the core.
I had to get some transport built for this environment,
And invested in a U-boat from the German government.
Now, as you can imagine, this idea was not plain sailing.
At over fifty years old I spent too much time a'bailing.
And when I visited relatives or went down to the mall,
Torpedo tubes and periscopes couldn’t make up the shortfall.
I sold the boat to a contact in a complex and shady deal,
He would let me know his name, but Prince H was on the bill.
I had to get a some normal wheels and settled on a car,
You can’t get more normal than a (yawn) Vauxhall Vectra.
The lanes of Britain’s motorways opened up for me.
I say the lanes, actually it was only the one we all call three.
I finally had a way to do ninety mph city-to-city hacks,
And as a bonus somewhere to hang my coat up in the back.
But doing this for nine months solid without missing out one beat,
I put too many miles on and had a rapid over-heat.
I needed a new engine and wanted something cool.
I went for a different way of things and brought a new Wankle.
The rotary engine was a talking point in shops and at the Pub,
But when I loudly said its name I got fired from the country club.
They wouldn’t let me back in until I apologised and show,
I could get a classic British car to sit in the member's row.
But I had followed alphabet choice, so was a good trendsetter,
And classic steeds did not start with requisite next letter,
But Jaguar they saved the day and followed up the hype,
With a brand new four-wheel drive, shiny new X-type.
With all my wheels in motion I could climb the highest peak,
But spent all day in traffic jams, cars tucked cheek to cheek.
The daily grind was wasteful as the fuel gauge dropped so far,
But that was nothing next to depreciation that fell off the radar.
I had to ditch the cruise control and my leather seats all had to go,
I swapped it at a dealers for a few grand and a nearly new Yugo.
And that is why I’m writing this to recall my memories.
I’ve been from A to Y in cars and motoring was a wheeze.
But I have yet to finish - It's the way that I behave,
And I’ve settled on the last one that shall take me to the grave.
When I’ve saved enough to get me a fast zed for a few bob.
A classic Kawasaki or a Zonda Paganini should do the job.
Author: Vince Poynter Version m5.073 21 Feb 2018
First Published: Version 2.00 in May 2005
Performed as part of the vinceunlimited Podcast entitled Alphacar on the vinceunlimited WordPress site dated 29 Oct 2014 [vinceunlimited.wordpress.com]. Also available via Apple iTunes.
The image depicts the rear of a Ferrari 360 with a photoshopped registration number plate. It was taken from a cherished number plate site, source now unknown, around 2002. Please advise if you know of the source material and I will duly give credit. It was added, along with the links in Version m5.073 21 Feb 2018
The vinceunlimited Bentley Arnage Road Test
The Best Car In The World?
Although not an owner of one of these magnificent beasts I am fortunate enough to have driven one, in comparison with its bigger and older brother the Continental Series, no less.
Pick a car. Any car
I had always been a fan of the Continental; its raw powerful looks and sheer road presence always allured me.
I was always so impressed by the way that whenever you see one on the road, it seems to be going past at great speed yet appearing totally unruffled, a task mimicked well by the 'smaller' Arnage.
So, when a Cardiff dealer offered me the chance to take part in a test drive day in the grounds of a luxurious hotel, lining up the whole Bentley range next to a chartered helicopter and sumptuous servings of quality food, I couldn't resist.
It would be ungentlemanly to refuse, wouldn't it?
Driving a quarter million pound car. The author with a Bentley Continental
So I got my chance in a Continental.
The keys, a full tank and a stunning twenty-mile route to savour. And I did.
The car was very special, as you might expect for a quarter of a million pounds.
Forget the opulent interior - it was the engine that impressed.
Bentley (and Rolls-Royce) didn't formerly tell anyone about the engine size, merely pointing out that it was 'adequate'. They should have added 'for towing a 5 bedroom house.'
The torque was storming.
Try to imagine someone pushing the back of your chair right now. Into the next room. Through the wall. Then into the next room, without hesitation, even quicker. All more speedily than you could read this.
Yes, forget horsepower. From now on, I buy my cars based on torque, whatever a Newton Metre might be.
My wife, Lynda, tries out the Arnage
There was one caveat to the Continental though - the Arnage.
At nearly half the price the Arnage wipes the floor with the Continental.
When I tested it, it came in two flavours. I'm talking engines again, by the way.
The traditional V8 lump and the newer BMW-sourced straight 8.
Bentley helpfully made it easier by labelling them Red and Green, quite literally.
Go for the Red one. I'm a new fan of all things BMW but this car needs the V8. I just wish it wasn't named after the cheapest tea in Tesco.
The Arnage shares all the grunt of the bigger car and sets it all to a modern theme.
From the outside, the car does resemble a weather-worn brick but inside, you realise this can compete with the best-finished modern cars.
Some comment that it can't match a Mercedes-Benz's build quality and to an extent, they would be right.
When the floor carpet is pulled back around the accelerator, you do not expect to see the trimming work of a six year old. But when the carpet is reinstalled the thick pile helps to remind you that you are in a special place.
The drive is modern, easy and relaxing, even when applying that torque.
The interior ambience is impressive although the modern devices we all need in cars today are not as well accommodated as they might be.
Designed before the satellite navigation era, you will have to suffer the indignation of a pop-up screen spoiling the sweep of the dash, but I suspect you will be more likely looking at the array of dials and switches, many designed and styled to feel good, solid and traditional.
The only gripe is that because customers can select from a huge range of colours and trims (The 'brochure' was a hand-finished solid wood briefcase), getting a used one to suit you perfectly may be a problem. Burgundy leather seats trimmed with cream piping and mixed with a black dash don't quite do it for me.
My new favourite car. A dark blue Bentley Arnage
The drive is solid and reassuring and belies the car's two ton size.
Forget you are in a limousine and treat it the way Bentley intended. It is a sports model after all. If you want to float everywhere, get one with a small silver statue at the front.
The Arnage will flick through corners and holds the road like the tarmac's melted. You don't even get to hear the rubber ripping. Very strange. Very addictive.
But the best bit is sitting deep in those accommodating hide armchairs and looking down at people next to you, even those in four by fours.
In both ways!
Gripes? Well there are always some.
On the pre-2005 model I drove, I don't think the headlamps suit the nose, the fuel consumption is for those who never care about it, and it costs £150k.
At least it's better than that Continental I always wanted. Thanks Bentley, you have saved me £100k. Now save me another £30k by making the new baby Bentley even better.
Author: Vince Poynter Version m5.075 23 Feb 2018
First Published: Version 2.00 in May 2005
Also published by Channel 4 Car Road Tests around 2005 (but now no longer available)
The first image shows part of the Bentley line up presented by a generous Cardiff Bentley Dealership in the grounds of Miskin Manor in 2000 and was added in Version m5.075 23 Feb 2018.
The second image shows the author parked up during a road test of the fabulously expensive Bentley Continental in 2000 and was added in Version m5.075 23 Feb 2018.
The third image shows the Author's wife, Lynda, with the Bentley Arnage in 2000 and was added in Version m5.075 23 Feb 2018.
The fourth and final image shows a Bentley Arnage, parked in a service station car park, photographed in Jan 2012 and was added in Version m5.075 23 Feb 2018.
A True Fifeteen Minutes Story
I'm a big fan of internet auction sites, or rather one in particular, namely eBay. I use it to sell on all my unwanted items and am rewarded with an above average financial return.
So I always read with interest any stories of unusual sales. The sort where someone offers two pounds for a pound coin or when a wife tries to sell her husband.
To this end I always wanted to do a spoof of my own. I figured that I'd try to get a definitive answer to the perennial question - What's the price of fame?
I set up an auction offering, to the highest bidder, a news story submission to their local and national media about the bid.
I envisaged the story tagged with 'At last, we know the price of fame. Mr. Winningbidder bid £x to have his name in the papers and get his 15 minutes of fame'.
So I set it up on the ubiquitous site and waited for a reply.
The auction would last ten days so that there was plenty of time for the world's media to find it. Unfortunately, not one picked up on the story.
I tried to excite interest by emailing eBay and notifying them of the opportunity of free advertising but the chap in a garage that runs the whole site was having a burger at the time, or counting his profits (I presume).
A few souls found the site and in the end I think about 150 people actually visited to see what it was all about. Probably mostly geeks not actually getting a life.
And one of these actually started the bidding. I was in business.
Now anyone who has used these auction sites knows that the bids come fast and thick toward the end of the auction particularly if one person has taken the plunge. I prepared for an auction battle.
I said prepared but this was more in the mental rather than physical way. There is little one can do whilst the auction is live, other than answer the dumb questions that the viewers think of, such as; "Can you tell me how many of these single items you have please?" Or, "What colour is the red post box?" Or "You say the postage to the USA is £6.00 so how much is it to Texas?"
None of these questions were asked during this auction though, unsurprisingly.
Finally the auction ended and I was left with a winner.
I emailed him straight away congratulating him on his impressive auctioneering skills and requesting the winning pound. I explained that all I needed was his name and location so that I could honour the auction promise and contact his local rag as well as the nationals.
I had a reply.
Only it wasn't of the nature you expect from someone who just won an auction whose prize was fame.
He asked how I was to maintain confidentiality, refusing to tell me his real name, even after assurances that I wasn't out to belittle his achievement or pass on his details. He was adamant and asked; "Can I do it anonymously?"
So there you have it.
The price of fame is one pound. And the winner is anonymous.
Not that I ever received the pound, he still had reservations about his fame being made public. But I didn't give him a negative comment on the auction site. After all, why mock the afflicted?
Of course, all this got me thinking about other auctions I could devise. Some might say that they are nothing more than a scam on the gullible but my motives would be purer - Entertainment. After all we all enjoy the newspaper snippets and forwarded emails about these silly auctions.
So my next idea would be to advertise 'Absolutely Nothing'. Yes, this ten-day auction would lead to the biggest anti-climax in the history of auctions with the winner getting Sod All.
Or if that idea proves unpopular I could run an auction advertising 'A Little Piece of History'. This time the winner would get something but the reward may not meet the hype I would imply. The winner will be sent a copy of yesterday's newspaper.
Finally, I could offer 'The Chance to be Completely Ignored'. I would send a message to all those who placed a bid but will completely and utterly ignore the winner. No acknowledgement, no invoice and no replies to any correspondance whatsoever. Certainly not any comments. I figured this may be of interest to Captains of Industry or Prima-Donna rock and movie stars who are fed up to their back teeth with sycophants.
As far as I know the above suggested auctions have never been tried.
I will not try them myself but anyone is welcome to use the ideas providing that it is done at your own risk and under an understanding that no responsibility is accepted by me. It would be courteous for you to acknowledge source with a phrase such as 'From a suggestion by the inventive wit of the vinceunlimited website' and to send me at least ten percent of anything significant made.
Incidently I define significant as anything over three quid!
Anyway the original idea is now passing to you readers. I'm offering to extend the auction for fame indefinitely. Do you want your 15 minutes? Email me an offer, over £1.00 please. Every time the bid increases I'll carry out my first promise, updating details on this site as well, just as long as you pay up.
Just please don't do it anonymously!
And as they say - Send no money now!
Author: Vince Poynter Version m5.078 5 Mar 2018
First Published: Version 1.03 in Feb 2005
Initial update: Version 2.00 in May 2005
The vinceunlimited Honda CB200 Bike Road Test
Not a dream machine.
My brand new, second-hand, nearly stock red Honda CB200
With age comes experience.
The trouble was that when I purchased my second motorcycle I had neither.
I had just turned eighteen and had already cut my teeth on motorbikes (along with other parts of my body as well) and was ready to move on.
The Yamaha trail bike I was selling just couldn't handle the way my biking days were developing and I needed a new steed.
More of my friends had graduated from their mopeds and I didn't want to be left behind with all the high-powered horses that were amassing around me.
I say, high powered, all were under 250cc as this was the usual starting point for teenagers in those days. Something to do with the fact that 251cc was deemed too powerful by men in grey suits for new riders.
My loins were calling out for company. However, taking two spare helmets but having no spare seating is the definition of optimism
Plus the Yamaha trail bike just wasn't designed for two and my loins were calling out for company.
I set about searching for my next bike and considered all the two-fifty options available.
It was 1979 and Honda had just launched the SuperDream in 250 and 400cc flavours. The SuperDream, or CB250N if you prefer, was a fantastically new variant on the old and bulbous Dream 250. The trouble was it was brand new and very expensive for a new kid on the block.
Yamaha had the RD250 but Yams were always too race orientated.
Suzuki tried the same game with their GT250 but didn't even have Kenny Roberts on their side.
But the most desirable to me was the Kawasaki KH250 triple. It oozed sex appeal with its multi-exhaust layout, screaming two-stroke noise and links to the fantastic K900. The twenty miles to the gallon was pitiful and the reliability suspect but the triple hit all the right notes.
I wanted to go with my instinct.
The problem with instinct is that old chestnut - practicality.
I wasn't affluent enough to make passionate decisions and had to rely on my family to help finance the deal. This help came with the inevitable 'advice' and that came in the form of 'strong suggestions' that I ought to buy a Honda and it shouldn't be as powerful as 250cc.
I didn't want a smaller engine than my 175cc Yamaha so there was only one choice.
Honda's Dream machines had a sibling, the CB200.
It was an ugly mutt of a bike designed primarily for commuting and generally unloved, even by its owners.
It had good reliability from its basic, tried and tested, twin 200cc power plant but that's like saying Nora Batty is good at washing up. So what?
And its power was poor.
The only plus sides were it had a four-stroke engine and was red. Despite my earlier love of the Kawasaki triple I have to admit that four-stroke power is much better unless your only desire is top speed or acceleration. And Kwacker green is putrid.
The Cee-Bee's most admirable quality was its comfort, particularly in comparison with the unforgiving seat of my previous trail bike.
In fact, I now wonder whether the ease of riding distances coupled to the (let's be generous) gentle power helped form my love of touring mindlessly around.
A Cibie headlamp, an upswept exhaust, no crash bars. Much cooler. Still not cool
Mind you at 18 to 19 a man has to look cool and the nondescript Honda did nothing for that.
It needed improvement and I started exploring the black art of customisation.
Not in the sense of chromed engine bolts, lowered track or power enhancements. Just a replacement exhaust and new headlamp.
The original exhausts were low uninspiring pipes running at low level parallel to the ground with unsightly oversize mufflers. My replacement exhaust was a potent two-into-one upswept stainless steel pipe terminating in a stubby megaphone - loud and stylish. Not many CB200s had them so it made it distinctly different.
The headlamp conversion was a Cibie unit, from the famous French manufacturer who were making a name for themselves producing large concave, efficient, bright headlamps. Again this added to the style. And let me see in the dark.
But despite these lavish and expensive enhancements the Honda was still as ugly as a Yak. Only the Yak now had bigger horns.
The bike did fulfill some requirements though.
It's rear seat was shared a few times and I put a few miles on the clock but I struggle to recall those miles with any detail.
I cannot even recall crashing the thing. The only 'off' that I remembered is when I tried to charge down one of my 'friends' who had been terrorising my sister's boyfriend's party.
My colleague Chris had been idly throwing a knife into the kitchen wall due to a lack of ability to entertain himself properly at a party and I chivalrously intervened.
The result was that after a few more beers and being ejected Chris turned his attention to me.
I suppose trying to run down a threatening, drunken yob stood just outside the gateway, with a Bowie Knife recently in his possession, is a silly move but, despite warnings, he refused to move out of the way.
I gave it full throttle and dumped the clutch at which point he twisted deftly to one side and kicked out at the Honda.
His foot caught the rear of the front wheel and sent me and bike in different directions. He then proceeded to kick a man when he was down - How cheap.
I would love to tell you that I leapt to my feet and battered the drunkard black and blue but anyone who knows me would write in and get this website closed down due to fraud.
Instead I writhed around wondering why it didn't hurt.
Now, I know it was down to his soft trainers reigning hail on my thick jacket and helmet.
If I had kicked back he would have suffered worse - I had steel toecap motocross boots.
However, frustration took its course and Chris changed tack and decided to lay into the Honda instead. It suffered worse.
Two weeks later, and after the intervention of parents, Chris had been forced to pay for the damage repairs and we were all mates again. Kids eh?
So a few months later the Honda was sold to a new keen owner, 'provided I removed that awful loud exhaust and huge headlamp'.
Thankfully this pre-dated eBay by several years so I still had the original parts.
It seemed the buyer wanted an original Yak.
So, as a conclusion - I should have brought the Kwacker.
I wouldn't have needed to change a thing and would now probably be telling you a story about how I was innocently playing with my own knife when some do-gooder squealed to the host and got me kicked out of a party. Then tried to run me down.
So in retribution I bravely kicked the living daylights out of him.
And then did the same to his naff Honda.
Author: Vince Poynter Version m5.076 28 Feb 2018
First Published: Version 2.00 in May 2005
The first image is the author's stock Honda CB200 as originally purchased at the end of 1979. The crash bars and rear rack were non-standard fitments by the original owner
The second image shows the author sat astride his fully loaded Honda CB200 and was taken around Summer 1980
The third image, dated around late 1980 shows the author's modified Honda CB200, showcasing the Cibie headlight unit and featuring the two-into-one upswept exhaust
Listen - Top Ten Musical Acts
Everyone, it seems, has an opinion on music and much can be discerned from the aural choices of an individual.
No doubt that many will view my list with distain and never speak to me again as I didn't highlight a Goth artist or because a particular band are in the list. But it is my list and at least you don't have to listen to them here.
And thank your lucky stars that you are not subjected to the song that my partner and I share as 'our song'. Sadly, it is Leo Sayer's 'Have You Ever Been In Love?' Well, it was in the charts at the time.
Below I have listed out my favourite artists, rather than favourite songs.
I know that as soon as I finish a list of songs a radio or CD play reminds me of one that I had 'forgotten', such is the quality of good music available. Because of this bands and groups are easier to list.
Plus the list cannot be dominated by one or two artists which would have the effect of making me look like a fan. Or stalker.
The less drunk and more observant will notice a complete lack of Folk, Jazz or Country artists and suggest this list is from the mind of a philistine.
Others may cite the lack of Hard Rock, Rap or Grunge and suggest this is the list of an impassionate bore.
Some may even ask why Christian music isn't featured. At least that group should forgive me.
Often dismissed as simple pop this band's work is starting to become recognised for its true genius.
If producing sounds that seem so simple is so easy then why were they not copied and re-invented by countless others?
The reason is that these melodic songs are actually crafted by really talented musicians and performed by artists that knew the extra delight that can be had when the lyrics are actually comprehensible.
Simplicity has never been so complex.
And, because you just need to know - the blonde in the seventies, now the redhead (no, I'm not talking Bjorn and Benny).
The Beautiful South
Although there are at least three principle voices that take turns in leading the vocals it is still possible to discern a Beautiful South song from others because of their unique style.
Crystal clear, smooth, well matched vocals bringing life to interestingly written lyrics make the middle of the road a great place to listen.
Elsewhere in this website I am extolling the angelic voice of Melanie Chisholm but if she didn't exist Dido would be there instead.
But although Mel C made it onto my list of dinner guests Dido has the professional compliment of being here on this list for her songs as well as her voice.
I pity the younger generation.
They have Busted and McFly, who although make excellent guitar-based music, can hardly compare to the greats of the seventies and Dire Straits are one band whose work immediately came to mind.
Elton John has been writing and performing excellent songs with his lyricist Bernie Taupin for as long as I have been listening and he continues to provide top class albums, both singly and branching out into collabrations with new bands plus different genres such as film and theatre scores.
Importantly, unlike other seventies superstars his greatest hits do not all come from one era.
Yes, that includes you Cliff.
As a prediction I think his best work is yet to come and it will be stunning.
In case there is any doubt I mean Elton - not Cliff.
With the exception of Status Quo Meatloaf would probably be the most embarassing artist to admit to liking in my list.
Many would baulk at the idea and see him as an overweight has-been rocker but I think he would enjoy that thought.
After decades of collecting enough LPs, CDs, DVDs, attending concerts and taking an interest in his other work I might be accused of actually being a fan.
So why? - The answer probably lies in a fairly unknown man called Jim Steinman who writes all of his hits with an expressive passion I can only admire.
All coupled with Meat's humourous, tongue in cheek, theatrical delivery.
And 'cause I'm a biker all revved up with no place to go.
Again, showing my age as well as appreciation for the era Queen is selected for their classic tracks.
Like so many it has taken me some time to really appreciate their work, so long that their main man, Freddie Mercury, has now departed.
I don't harbour regrets but if I did the most prominent would be that I didn't go to one of their live shows in the seventies 'because it was a bit expensive.'
What price now?
Most true superstars come from the sixties, seventies and eighties.
These were eras before the modern concept of manufactured fame (before you bore me with that story about The Monkees, name another).
Robbie Williams however has broken the mould.
The fat kid from the most famous manufactured band has risen like an erupting super-volcano and shown the world how it used to be done.
As I can hardly name more than three Robbie tracks his inclusion in this list is down to superstardom alone and I bow to it.
To be completed...
To be completed...
Best of the Best
And the winner is xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx Favourite artist of all time. To be completed...
Author: Vince Poynter Version m5.077 2 Mar 2018
First Published: Version 2.00 in May 2005
The incomplete data will be added when the website is updated to match version 2.03
The vinceunlimited Water Opinion
Difficult to Swallow
When I was young water went on for ages
I don't want to appear to be a bit of a wet fortnight but don't you just hate the privatisation of essential services such as power, gas, telecommunications, water and hamburger joints.
Well perhaps the last one would be a good idea but that is an entirely new subject for a rant. Here I want to bemoan the hypocrisy of privatised water companies.
Since privatisation the water companies have been taking the p1ss in more ways than they were obliged to do.
Why have we been subject to increasing restrictions, poorer supply and inflated bills?
Why, for instance, in our green and pleasant land [read wet] do we suffer hosepipe bans as soon as there are three sunny days in a row?
And why is the water mains pressure so weak you can no longer take a shower standing up?
The answer is 'fat-cat' profits.
Consider for a moment that you are that fat-cat executive on the board of one of the water companies.
What do you think the biggest priority is? - Fuelling your customers.
Nah, bleeding them dry is a much better business proposition and doing it is easy.
Firstly, you create an image that water is more precious than gold. Just wash over the fact that the product you sell for profit actually falls free from the sky.
Feed stories about drought and waste then try adding a bit of guilt about the environment for good measure and soon everyone will start to use less.
It would also be wise to shift blame firmly onto your customers claiming that their desire to live in cities makes it difficult to serve them. Gloss over the fact that when packed together it is cheaper to serve their collective needs, or the fact that most cities are built on rivers.
This all saves the cost of new reservoirs you see. In fact you may be able to sell off some existing ones for prime building plot charges.
And whatever you do don't invest too much in desalination plant technology, that will just remind your customers that the damn stuff floats all around their country in huge quantities.
Of course a few will try to persuade you that it is your leaky old network that wastes the most and you may consider doing something about that. Or you could reduce pressure to the absolute minimum - as set by your colleagues in the watchdog that your own industry set up. That should delay expenditure for a few more years whilst your valuable stocks and shares mature.
You might even suggest 'fun' items like sharing a bath, or play on your customer's basic laziness by suggesting it is good not washing the car or tending to the five-hundred pounds worth of shrubs in their garden.
You could even encourage the manufacturing industry that sells loos that only partly flushing is a good idea and that to add a brick in the cistern is a sensible measure. That should make the customers use less of your liquid gold.
Finally up the ante so much that government, or as you see it your old mates who got you the job in the first place, raise legislation to put a water meter in every property.
Obviously, the metered supply will have to reflect, on average, the non-metered rates, but as no one but you know how much the average is you can easily charge more than the average for everyone, no matter how frugal they are.
The downside may be disease and pestilence but it won't affect you, unless the proletariat happen to brush up against you in Harrods.
Another small problem will be that occasionally you will have to flush some water down the drains just to free them up as the network was designed with actual use in mind.
Then, as a piece-de-resistance, you could drop the quality of processing - just enough to not kill or poison too many but persuade the rest to buy bottled water instead of the 'free' stuff from the tap. If you are really good you could even bottle the stuff yourself and make even more cash. After all the idiot in the street is happy to pay more for water than petrol and water doesn't even have the excuse of 85% tax.
Mind you the most surprising thing about all this is why you 'fat-cats' are involved at all. I always thought cats hated water.
Author: Vince Poynter Version m5.079 6 Mar 2018
First Published: Version 2.00 in May 2005
The image is of the author swimming into the distance off The Isle Of Wight and was originally added in Version 3 in Mar 2010
My Great, Great Grandmother, Kate Poynter [sat]
I have been researching some genealogy on my family history and can list my ascendants below.
According to The Poynter Family History Society the Poynter name can be traced back to a Vasse Poynter in 1273.
Another site listed a Vincent Poynter in London in 1544, another as a draper of London in 1574 who owned and sold part of the Kingsbury Estate in Middlesex.
I deny that they were all me.
Personally I have only seen evidence of my own family back to the early nineteen hundreds.
The direct line follows.
My Great Grandfather, Harry Poynter [far left]
My Great Great Great Grandparents - James Poynter married Emma Cariadise
My Great Great Grandparents - Henry Poynter (1856 - 1926) married Kate Noyce (1854 - 1939)
My Great Grandparents - Harry Poynter (1879 - ...) married Florence Sherman (1883 - 1912)
My Grandparents - William Poynter (1909 - 2003) married Rose Bowyer (1912 - 1990)
The above is just a list of direct male ascendants.
If you have any interest in finding out more about my family or think you may have some additional information that could assist my geneolgy, such as the birth and death dates of my Great Great Great Grandparents or their ancestors please email me with details.
I am always happy to hear from relations. Particulary those that are still alive from the early 1800s.
Author: Vince Poynter Version m5.083 16 Mar 2018
First Published: vincepoynter personal: Version 1.01 in Apr 2005
Text updated and images added in Version m5.083 16 Mar 2018
The data from the Poynter Family History Society was at poynterhistory.com but this site no longer exists
The first image is of the author's Great, Great Grandmother, Kate Poynter [nee. Noyce] sat besides two unidentified women and was provided by the author's grandparents. It was taken circa. 1925
The second image is of the author's Great Grandfather, Harry Poynter at work supervising his team of General Post Office drivers and was provided by the author's grandparents. It was taken circa. 1925
Vince Poynter Work
A Brief History of My Employment
1978 to 2005
The busy office desk of a Heating Engineer in the late seventies
I received a formal office based apprenticeship with a medium sized heating company where I learnt all required skills from estimation to commissioning and final accounting of industrial and commercial mechanical services projects.
As a Mechanical Services Engineer my duties included specification interpretation, basic design, draughting, sub-contract negotiation, site meeting attendance, quantity surveying including budget control, commissioning and documentation preparation.
I single-handedly supervised contracts varying between ten thousand to three-and-a-half million pounds in value.
Within this period I sought further experience and set out to find additional challenge. I worked outside the industry in sales and marketing for a while but no clear opportunities developed so I took an offer to rejoin the construction industry again, then moving to a leading player in the market.
Shortly after this the Managing Director of a heating and plumbing company, who wanted to start a mechanical services division, approached me. My experience within the commercial building services market was called upon to create a department from inception.
I was given a free hand and within the three years of running the department as a General Manager I autonomously ran more than forty contracts won from valuing over two-hundred tenders, turning over half a million pounds and making a small profit after start up costs.
With the company I honed new skills including labour recruitment, supervision, training and termination, department budgeting, finding and developing client relationships and accountancy.
I initiated quarterly and yearly departmental financial and progress reports and was instrumental in helping the company grow from a small poorly administered outfit to a vibrant professional concern by encouraging staff meetings, standardising and tidying presentation techniques and developing CDM and Investors in People formats.
Despite my development of new contacts such as the local University and the national Gas Company it became clear that my hopes and expectations from the department exceeded the financial risk that one of the directors was prepared to take.
I chose to join a better-funded organisation to improve my personal reward and commenced work with another southern based, mechanical services company overseeing several contemporaneous projects as a Contracts Manager. This included sole commercial and engineering responsibility for projects.
The job had similarities but the technology had developed
In 1999 I decided to develop the professional side of my skills and seek new contacts in a more commercial environment within a more stimulating and progressive field.
I choose to work through a London based company and became self employed to maximise my potential. This enabled me to respond better to a modernising market.
Most of my work [in 2005] was carried out for a respected London based group of companies, as a Senior Contracts Consultant. They had provided continual work for me since March 1999.
My duties had been varied and I encouraged my client to offer me a wide range of assignments. The projects were within the contractual and commercial sector often with high profile clients, usually within a team.
I had been engaged in prestigious multi-million pound contracts, dealing with issues such as valuing multi-million pound variation accounts, researching contractual documentation, asset surveying, setting company bonus schemes and working with legal departments on claims and adjudication cases.
I continued to seek interesting opportunities to enhance my client base and personal development.
As an illustration of this, at the beginning of 2003 I was appointed as a specialist planner, working with Primavera P3, for an eminent E and M company within the rail industry.
I now had over a year’s specific experience working with specialist planning software both on new programming and time slice analysis as part of sub-contract claims.
Further, my latest assignment in 2005 was working as a Quantity Surveyor involved in track replacement on the London underground network for a major construction group.
A Summary of My Skills and Experience
20 years project planning, engineering and commercial management within the Mechanical and Electrical industry, including working as an independent Project Manager
Commercial skills include contractual correspondence, variations and claims - Disruption and Loss and Expense (Quantity Surveying), with knowledge of adjudication
Procurement, planning, resourcing and supervision (including using proprietary software – Primavera P3, Powerproject/TeamPlan and MS Project)
Design, calculations, co-ordination and drawing (manual and CAD)
Client liaison, arranging meetings
Public speaking and event organisation
Sub-contractor selection, negotiation and supervision
Ability to decipher and interpret legal and contractual documentation
Technical documentation writing (Operating and Maintenance, CDM, Health and Safety)
High competency of spreadsheet calculations, desktop publication, databases and word processors
Estimation and financial skills within the tendering environment
Recruitment, employment, setting and administering bonus schemes plus training
Computer literacy including internet understanding, webpage creation using source codes (this whole site is hand coded in HTML), basic networking and problem solving
Specialist Building Services, construction and rail industry experience
Management skills including budget control, staff relations and report writing
Selective Work Assignments
A selection of the major roles that I carried out and the projects that I worked on.
1982/1984 - Various temporary works, then Warehousing and Sales
1984/1993 - Mechanical Services Engineer
1993 – Part time Consultancy Engineering
1993/1994 - Project Engineer
1994/1997 - General Manager [Mechanical Services Department]
1997/1999 - [Mechanical and Electrical] Contracts Manager
Self Employed Contracting
List of the major contracts I worked on as a self-employed Contracts Consultant.
1999 - London Underground Jubilee Line Extension Claim Calculations
2000/1 - Asset Registration in Retail and Banking
2001 - Administration of Bonus Scheme on two major Tower Construction Contracts in Canary Wharf
2002 - Setting Up Bonus Scheme for a main Mechanical Services Company
2002 - Adjudication Research for a Sub-Contractor Claim within a large London Property Development Site
2003 - Planner as part of the London Kings Cross Underground Re-development
2003 - Extension of Time Analysis following Building Services Construction at St George's Hospital
2004/5 - Quantity Surveyor for Metronet Rail Infrastructure
2005 - Claim Preparation following Building Services Construction at St. Charles Hospital, Kensington
Author: Vince Poynter Version m5.082 15 Mar 2018
First Published: vincepoynter.co.uk Version 1.00 in Mar 2005
Selective Work Assignments added: vincepoynter.co.uk Version 1.01 in Apr 2005
Selective Work Assignments added: Version m5.082 15 Mar 2018
The first image is of the author's working desk taken around 1979 and was added in Version m5.080 on 9 Mar 2010
The other image is of the author working during the early noughties and was added in Version m5.080 on 9 Mar 2010
The Big (Issue) Idea
You were begging for it
By some standards I am not an overtly charitable person.
I don't set fire to Oxfam shops or kick Labradors or anything like that but equally if a 'charitable' group deluges my post-box with empty envelopes hoping that they may be filled with silver and returned then they will be sadly disappointed.
And I'm not the first to dig deep in my pockets to give money to the needy on the streets.
It is not that I dislike charity I just believe that as a society we handle the situation wrongly. The more that individuals give the less the need for society to contribute.
I do not object to my taxes being used to help those less in need but do think that it should be a government or council body deciding on distribution to meet genuine needs rather than rely on the success or otherwise of money raising campaigns. Why should a charity with a cute mascot or one with a big budget get the healthiest return?
Inevitably, one set of losers from my stringent policy is street beggars. And there must be quite a few like me as begging has developed to become high tech to compete. Well, I mean high tech in the comparitive world of scruffy tramps.
Now, instead of asking for money in a menacing fashion homeless people can now sell a service, a magazine called The Big Issue. It even has its own website - I told you it was high tech.
Now I have often passed these one product newsstands and seen the vendor struggle to sell their magazine, despite some high profile guests and modern looks. The problem is image and the thought that it is cover to cover with dreary stories of despair, which it isn't.
But being me, I had an answer.
Once, when a scruffy lad asked if I wanted to swap one of my hard earned pounds for his magazines I initially politely declined and started to pass by, when an idea dawned on me.
I stopped and suggested he could either take the price of one magazine in exchange for said article or I could give him an idea to sell hundreds more.
Being a thoughtful, considerate man he mused over the offer for a second or two then demanded his pound.
Then announced in a slur "You're my best friend, you".
Alas, he had missed the opportunity of his lifetime.
In a charitable manner I am now going to give out the advice I had to anyone reading this article.
You see, it occurs to me that the street magazine sellers are missing out on one of the most populous parts of city society - the tourists. And my idea will make the magazine appealing to all of them.
Add a map of the city
Now, when you have recovered from the shock of such a simple idea and wondered why you hadn't thought of it you might start to consider the pitfalls.
Copyright is the major downside. Some companies make quite a profit out of selling 'disposable' maps of cities to tourists so they are hardly likely to allow their map to be used. And our national map supplier is not known for it's charitable work.
But this is where the idea still holds ground. Why not draw the city from scratch?
I know that would be a labour consuming process but hey, isn't that what these people do? Walk the streets all day?
The only other pitfall I can see is the image issue.
Do our town mayors want all the tourists approached by a scruffy urchin offering a rain sodden map and a promise that "You're my best mate, you"?
But to deny the scheme for this reason alone would be uncharitable, wouldn't it?
Author: Vince Poynter Version m5.063 31 Jan 2018
First Published: Version 1.03 in Feb 2005
The Big Issue magazine scheme was launched in London in 1991 to help rough sleepers move from street begging to selling a service and now costs £2.50 per copy with 50% of that price going directly to the vendor. Their website is www.bigissue.com
Celebrity Meal Friends
Fantasy Dinner Party [In 2005]
A list of the reprobates that you would have heard of that I'd ask round for dinner, should I feel like cooking.
I should add a caveat that I am not personally familiar with these people (a shame in so many cases) so my judgement is based on their media perceptions. Having stated that I doubt that in real life Billy would not be funny or Demi would be ugly.
Not that I have just picked the men on their humour and the women on their looks. If you knew the type of woman I usually found attractive you may question my Optician's qualifications. It is just that pretty girls often seem so offish. I'm far more likely to like a woman that doesn't fall into the best ten looking in the world. In some cases they wouldn't reach the top ten in the room. Of nine.
Incidentally all these are listed alphabetically, in case you were thinking I had a particularly soft spot for Rowan.
I have kept my list to those that are living today (as far as I know). Departed guests may have included Oscar Wilde for his fascinating conversation or Princess Diana for her fun and beauty.
Or even King Henry VIII, as he would be able to recall detailed stories of our past and I've heard he was fond of a meal or two.
Not that I'd be swayed by many of the historical greats. Drake would just bleat on about his potatoes, Ghandi wouldn't touch the beef, Mother Theresa would nick the tea towels and most politicians would be a singular subject bore (with the exception of Boris).
Finally, those that just missed out include Rick Parfait of Status Quo fame, because he is really at his best when with his guitar playing colleague Francis Rossi and there is not room for two others.
And Francis Rossi for much the same reason.
Plus, the lads would then outnumber the ladies and at present the list is so evenly split.
Until I add myself in of course. So I'd have to invite the misses as well. Provided she doesn't go on about Russell Crowe all evening. It would spoil my conversations with the girls!
My first choice is rubber-faced comic Rowan Atkinson.
I admire his work greatly and would be able to find out if he was as crazy in real life as his celebrity image suggests.
Plus, the only thing I know about Rowan outside his life of humour is that he is a real petrol-head, which makes him OK in my book.
Melanie Chisholm (AKA Mel C)
It was tempting just to invite the whole cast of Girls Aloud but the original girl-band would probably be more interesting to meet and there are two in my list.
The first is the token 'northerner' Melanie Chisholm.
I have no idea about her likes or mannerisms but Mel C has the voice of an angel. It's soothing tones are enough to melt my heart.
But although her singing voice is as pure as driven snow when she speaks it is more akin to coal.
So it's her cute figure that swings it.
Who wouldn't want Billy Connolly as a guest at their dinner table, except perhaps a prude.
He is renowned for his method of stand-up that doesn't include rehearsal. If he can produce that quality on stage he'll be a riot one-to-one.
And if things start to get awkward I'll just ask him about his connections with upmarket leather interiors for cars.
Ben Elton wouldn't just feature on my dream celebrity dinner table as a performer but he would also feature in my top ten authors, if only I could think of another eight.
Bill Bryson, if you were wondering.
Fun time royal Sarah Ferguson would provide a down to earth recollection of part of our living history.
I'm a royalist but few Royals would brighten the table as much as the ever-smiling Duchess of York.
She'd be fun, I can see it in her eyes.
Quite an interesting choice is the know-it-all Stephen Fry.
I'm sure conversation with Stephen would never run dry.
He'd be the best at recounting celebrity anecdotes. Or, as it is known to you and I, dropping names.
My second Spice Girl is Geri Halliwell.
I think she has received unfair treatment by the press for no other reason than being the oldest in the group.
But I see Geri as a girl of wide experience and great fun. Of which the press would interpret as having been around a bit.
Well she can come around to mine anytime.
A hometown connection would be the catalyst to invite Amanda Holden to my dinner party.
We share common acting roots within our local community so we'll be able to share stories about the poeple we know.
And sharing stories with such a pretty woman would be hard to resist.
You need at least one token political person in such a gathering but for the reasons stated above I'd struggle to justify many.
I considered John Major as he often talks sense, Tony Blair because he is an incumbent Prime Minister or Lady Thatcher as she is a living legend but I doubt that I could share friendships with these people.
No, for coupling political nous to a sense of fun I'd pick Boris Johnson.
He's welcome, if he can find the address.
And last, but by no means least the stunning Demi Moore. Who, lets face it, could only be bettered by being a full Moore.
With Demi I could chew the Hollywood fat and get a low down on all the top people in the dream business.
There would be the gaping mouth and dribbling chin to contend with of course.
But she will just have to put up with that.
Author: Vince Poynter Version m5.072 16 Feb 2018
First Published: Version 1.03 Feb 2005
My Favourite Films and TV
Given the amount of time that I dedicate to watching TV (don't we all) I found it very difficult to put together a list worthy of assembling into a top ten. In fact only a few series stand out and no individual programmes.
It's not that I'm particularly difficult to please. Most nights there is ample entertainment or education on offer but very little remains in the mind for years afterwards.
However, this page would be pointless without making an attempt so check out my choices below.
Films are a much easier subject to schedule. Good films do leave an impression and I'm spoilt for choice and our cupboards are full of reminders in the shape of DVDs lest we forget.
So scroll down to see what lit my rocket on the big screen.
My fascination with Thunderbird 2 goes back to the sixties
My first choice is from my childhood and shares nothing in common with the big screen version. At least that's my opinion judging by the shape of Thunderbird 2 on the movie posters. Although I must admit that, as at the time of writing I haven't seen the film version. My memories go back to the puppetry of Gerry Andersson.
I suppose Mr. Andersson only got away with it because it was the sixties and we all thought we'd be in rockets by 2004. The rockets were fantastic and Thunderbird 2 (the real original version) is still my aeroplane of choice but the characters were abysmal.
Even at five years old I saw that. Those lips. Still, it's nice that Alan Hanson got another job afterward leaving the show.
Of all the heroic characters I most associated with Brains, not because he was clever but because he looked like a dork.
And I'd still love to drive FAB 1. Yes, the Rolls not the 2004 pink Ford (groan) Thunderbird.
Just one criticism of the programme. Why does everyone say FAB? I never recalled this as a catchphrase, and still do not know what it means.
My second choice is also from my childhood, it just isn't the same now.
My era was the John Noakes, Valerie Singleton and Peter Purves years. I recall Blue Peter being the first programme for me to call my own. I knew what time it was on and always made an effort to watch it. Other members of my family used to have their programmes and I had mine. It seemed a lot more interesting than my Dad's stuffy Panorama.
I particularly recall an episode in which John Noakes went deep into the Amazon forest and met the locals who got him razzled on their local version of snake-bite and coke and tried to persuade him to jump from a tree attached to a fixed twine. This was their idea of a manly initiation and in the spirit of these sort of things the bravest were commended by the tribe, although the best appreciation was saved for those that actually broke their neck. I can't recall if John Noakes did the jump, or if Shep did it tied to his lead, but this stuck in my mind as it pre-dated bungee jumping by years.
The decline of Blue Peter started when Valerie Singleton was replaced, sorry Leslie Judd but you just weren't Valerie. A big disappointment for a growing lad.
Of course, all of my favourite presenters have now moved on. Valerie announced that she was a lesbian and started making serious programmes about money (presumably for my Dad, lucky man), Peter Purves got a part time job as a dog show presenter, which presumably kept the wolves from the door once his starring roles in Wacky Races had dried up and John Noakes, as far as I can tell sailed up the Orinoco in a coracle never to be seen again.
However, I may be a bit out on these facts.
Quite a leap from the heady days of 1960's British TV to this modern all action American series. Just goes to show what a load of crumbs that I've watched over the years. But when I tried to think of any influential programmes in the past this frenetic thriller leapt out.
I'm talking about the first series mainly, although the second kept up the quality, it just wasn't so fresh and new.
As for the third series it got swallowed up by (spit) Sky TV so I haven't yet had the pleasure.
For those who are not familiar with this adrenalin rush of a programme imaging watching three TV's at once whilst reading a book and setting your hair on fire and you'll be somewhere there.
Keifer Sutherland was always an also-ran jobbing actor until this series and I now look upon him as my first choice in a crisis.
The supporting cast was equally excellent, even, and I'm going to be slated by the fans for this, Jack's daughter.
Particularly outstanding was the presidential portrayal of the President (how else would he be portrayed?) by Dennis Haysbert although his whining wife was a pain.
The West Wing
Not sure which way was west
I love words. You may have gathered this from this page alone. And The West Wing is full of them delivered at such a cracking pace.
There have been other intellectual dramas but this one, more than any I can recall, does not wait for the audience to keep up. If you miss a bit, tough, you just ain't got what it takes to be in the White House with the team.
My favourite character is C.J. played sexily and intelligently by Allison Janney. And she should be proud to take such an accolade from this fine group. Clearly a demonstration of how quality is contagious.
However the true star of the show must be the creator and main writer, Aaron Sorkin. Aaron, you are a writing genius.
So, am I West Wing White House material? No way - I have a life.
The Green Wing
When looking for a comedy to include in my list I initially thought I was spoilt for choice.
Classics such as Some Mothers Do 'ave Em, Fawlty Towers and the Blackadder series were strong contenders and programmes I'll watch time and again but true timeless classics - I don't think so. They do not rise significantly above others such as Red Dwarf, The Young Ones or even The Good Life (mainly watched time and again for Felicity Kendal). An excess of choice perhaps, or just that the standard is so high.
So I have chosen, somewhat illogically, my latest favourite instead. After all, new comedy is really the best flavour.
The Green Wing shares little in common with the West variety above but does break genuine new ground. Although set in a hospital, a venue that is hardly in short supply on British TV, and without much of a narrative the programme still seems fresh and exciting, as well as hilariously funny at times.
The edited pace changes suit the format of a comedy where some things need relishing in detail and others can be sped up to get to the next comedy moment.
It helps that most of the actors are relative unknowns so you don't get the tedious David Jason's in it factor, each actor can be seen as the character rather than the personality.
If you haven't seen it catch it soon. It will be repeated several times I'm sure and like Fawlty Towers that is a good thing.
Favourite TV Programme
So what is my favourite of all time? My vote goes to The West Wing.
Nothing on TV comes close. Nor anything in real life by the look of it.
And finally, the worst TV programme I can think of.
My first thoughts are the modern 'gentle' comedies. By gentle read not funny. These are the modern day Sunday night lightweight dramas, usually starring Alan Davies, a quite funny man when he does stand-up.
Or if they are even more 'gentle' then starring Sarah Lancashire.
But none of this vacuous TV wallpaper can top the condescending John Craven's Newsround. I'm starting to yawn now.
The mark of a great film is the enjoyment when watching it over and over again. Repeated showings engrain the movie into the psyche and thus it becomes a classic.
This is a difficult task for the films that are story driven as familiarity destroys any surprise that had such an impact when the film was first shown. That is why there are so many action films in my list.
And so few comedies.
It is a true credit to the makers of Airplane that it features at all in this list. But the litmus test of a film being accepted on repeat performances stacks up as there always seems to be something else to note when this film is played.
Quite possibly the funniest of all films.
Bridget Jones' Diary
On pure comedy this film would not have featured. The laughs are not clever enough to sustain repeated performances so the credit for this film's inclusion is in the performances of the characters, both central and supporting.
It is a feel good movie and I can't fault something that makes me feel good time and time again.
Some critics have argued that this movie is nothing more than an adrenaline rush with no depth and poorly constructed two-dimensional characters. Even if it is - so what. I've never regretted watching it.
I'm quite happy to leave my brain switched off if the rest of my aural and visual senses are so well rewarded.
The name's Blond. James Blond
I thought carefully about including one of the Bond action films in my list and realised that individually some are very good, if not great but as a series it is up there with the best.
My favourite is usually the latest and unlike most commentators my favourite Bond is Timothy Dalton. Sean and Roger are just so yesterday and Pierce's version has no edge.
However, one nagging doubt remains. Arnold Schwartzeneggar's True Lies 'Bond' film is more watchable.
Jurassic Park, for me, was the beginning of modern epic cinema.
As a child I loved the rubber dinosaurs of Ray Harryhausen but it took a theatre's leap of faith to really believe in the effects.
Even modern efforts such as the re-make of King Kong left me wondering at the animatronics rather than the gorilla. Jurassic Park was one of the first films I could really immerse myself into and believe that the monsters were real. And I do like to feel that sense of fantasy.
A first in effects, lifetime memorable scenes all coupled to a fascinating subject just about makes up for the 'oh, look the cute kids are in danger' slushiness of the script.
Life of Brian
Another amusing film worth repeated viewings, this time set against the biggest myth of modern times.
I don't take religion seriously at all so a parody should fall flat on its face. The fact that it doesn't is testament to the inspired writings of the Monty Python team.
I was just too young to appreciate their TV shows (I had to go to bed at nine, or I'd be a very, very naughty boy!) so there wasn't even a comfort and familiarity to ease me into the film but I got it all the same.
Now, if only they could do the same for the writings of the Koran.
For a long time I used to class this film as my favourite of all time. I loved the realism and haunting Ennio Morriconi score. Now there have been so many better movies that I don't make this claim but its previous position should earn it a place in this list.
Midnight Express is probably the least know film in this list and if you haven't seen it yet get hold of a copy, you will not be disappointed.
Mind you, it was on the TV recently and I watched Big Brother instead. Oops.
The only thing that could improve Quentin Tarantino's blood fest Reservoir Dogs would be a menu option on the DVD to allow the viewer to see the film time-sequenced.
I am not a fan of flashback concepts and the Dog's is riddled with time discontinuity.
I would just like to know if it would still have as much impact as the director's cut.
Or even Michael Madsen's cut.
Ronin has the best car chase scene ever. Better than The Driver, or Bullit. Do I need to state another reason to keep it in this list?
The Usual Suspects
The Usual Suspects is one of those rare films that having seen it you would like to watch it through again immediately. the clever script is wonderfully played out by a talented team of actors, engaging the viewer's attention.
The only downside being Benicio del Toro's unintelligible accent. Method acting too far I feel.
Possibly the best film ever and I include 'It's a Wonderful Life' in that assumption.
Wonderful Life had no aerial jet dogfights for one thing.
One of the most quotable movies, filled with the phrases that became the cliches.
Tight story-line plotting, economy of language, foot tapping music and stunning visuals.
Top Gun is so good I still look out for films by the same producers. And that is rare, usually I judge a film by itself not it's actor, director or key-grip.
So what is my favourite of all time? My vote goes to Top Gun.
Cheesy perhaps, but I like the taste of cheese.
Author: Vince Poynter Version m5.068 11 Feb 2018
First Published: Version 1.03 Feb 2005
Photographs added in version m5.068 11 Feb 2018
The first photo shows the author in 1966 playing with his new 5th birthday present, a plastic model of Thunderbird 2
The second photo shows the author stood outside the barriers fencing off The White House, in Washington, North America in May 2015
The third photo shows the author dressed in a Tuxedo whilst stood in a cabin on board the QE2 in October 2005
The final photo show an US Navy Grumman F-14A Tomcat, designation AE 212 in flight and was taken around 1975
The vinceunlimited Gilera 50 Bike Road Test
Freedom at forty-five
Mark on his shiny new Gilera 50 moped
The transformation of becoming a teenager is very traumatic. Your mental state changes as dramatically as your physical appearance. And your needs change too.
Transport suddenly becomes essential as the world doesn't just revolve around the bit of grass, bushes and a muddy stream just outside the front door. It is then that the explorer within starts to make a few tentative steps into the unknown.
I realise that in most cases this is only as far as the next group of shops but nevertheless the urge to get out of sight of the parents becomes paramount.
This is why, as a teenager I was gutted to not have a bike. I lived far enough from my school to miss out on activities that involved pointlessly hanging around on bicycles and although I was pretty fit (like all kids were in the seventies) I couldn't keep up on foot when they all peddled off to the next crucial hanging about point.
The fact that I was not allowed a bicycle as a child, due to some old nonsense about not keeping up with traffic, meant that when I was sixteen and legally allowed to ride a powered vehicle I was transformed.
The day I first rode a moped was as important to me as the time when a caterpillar first emerges as a butterfly. Although anyone witnessing those first tentative miles would probably liken it to an hour old fawn riding a wasp.
I was given a choice.
My elder brother of two years (hello Mark) was provided with a gleaming moped on his sixteenth birthday.
He chose a Gilera 50. A sturdy moped based on an accommodating 125cc motorcycle frame.
When I reached the magic age myself I was also offered a new 'ped or I could opt for a 'second-hand' motorcycle at seventeen.
As I was generously allowed to use Mark's Gilera I decided to defer the gift for a year and use the Gilera, as and when I could. Mark rarely saw it again.
The sturdy design meant that it was a comfortable bike, which was just as well as I spent many a full day buzzing along for hours on end.
The near 80 to the gallon meant that my wages could easily keep the tank full and my new found wanderlust was well accommodated. There was barely a road on the south coast that I hadn't been down. Some started to show signs of wear from overuse!
Being Italian it was red and handled well. In those days only Italian metal could properly get round a bend.
The proper motorcycle design ensured that the only restriction was the stupidly positioned pedals. These were a moped requirement and although they both locked in a parallel forward position (not all did) they grounded far too easily.
Tyre technology was dire compared to today's wide sticky compounds but this little solid bike could be predictably pushed to the limits of ground clearance and frequently was.
They can do 95mph. Added together
The downside was the top speed.
At forty-five miles per hour most sixteen year olds today would be over the moon. But this was 1975 and Yamaha had just released the FS1E, its new 50cc sports moped. And my mate Jeff had one.
The Fizzy was a strange slight thing, much like Jeff, but it had an enviable top end nearing fifty. It was probably only 48 but the 65 that showed on the Speedo meant that all spotty teens wanted one. And when they got it its little heart was pushed to the limit whenever ridden.
And then there was the Honda. Not the ubiquitous Cub step-through but their CB50 version of a mini-racer. This would speed at a shown 48, nearly as quick as the Yam, and my friend Dave had had one of these.
My Gilera, or should I say Mark's Gilera, was beaten hands down. And as teenager's brains do not allow them to temper the throttle all our ride outs together usually meant me following in a slipstream of blue haze and Castrol GTX.
Until I got to a bend, as the Jap bikes couldn't handle anything other than a straight.
Or when we had to ride up a hill as the screaming Japanese machines were so power stressed that they had no torque.
Plus, when we started using the mopeds for their true use, picking up girls, the Gilera still went 45 with a passenger while the others wheezed along at 40. Ha!
So other than top speed and limited cornering angles there was nothing to beat the Gilera.
I acknowledge that the electrics, as a six-volt system, were inadequate, barely powering the headlight which used to beam only as bright as it was revved but they were all like that in those days.
However the fit and finish was good, reliability was excellent, it was as strong as an ox and the accommodation and comfort were first class.
So would I choose it if I had my time again? Definitely no. It only did 45 and that was all that mattered.
But in hindsight my memories are not of the seats, the colour, the handling or even the speed.
I was sixteen, confident, daring. Couple that with inexperience and the net result, as many found out, was falling off.
The halcyon days of the moped were marred by crashes. Copious amounts of them. And when you live through them they make great pub stories.
The first was typical.
After visiting my friend across town I decided on a detour on the return trip.
On unfamiliar roads I would now be wary. At sixteen I was just plain carefree.
It wasn't high speed, or even the appearance of a roundabout beyond the blind bend that caught me out. It was the panic braking that caused the spill.
Even today the road is so quiet I could have sailed straight on, but at the time, not knowing the terrain I grabbed loads of brake and locked the wheels. The inevitable occurred and I was sent sprawling on the tarmac watching the Gilera spin away onto the roundabout in a shower of sparks.
This itself, whilst dramatic, hardly warrants pub-story status. What added to this was a bus load of pensioners parked on the far side of the roundabout.
Every one of these grey-coated souls turned to look at the fool lying in the road with his sideways bike still purring away.
No-one came to the rescue, presumably assuming I was OK or dead, with neither option needing their involvement.
I just lay there. I wasn't hurt. A bit shocked perhaps but mainly because this was my first off and I hadn't yet worked out what to do.
Later experience of these things taught me that you are allowed to get up if you want to but I didn't know that. In fact later on getting up too early was the problem but you'll have to read about that in my CX500 page.
On this day I lay there wondering whether an ambulance should come, or a policeman or my mother.
I must have been there for some time before I realised my mistake and rose, dusted myself off, picked up the bike and rode away.
I remember waving to the crowd on the bus, trying to promote an image that it was all planned and I'd be back around again for a repeat performance should they cheer loud enough. One or two waved back but I wasn't about to do it all again.
I rode off in to the distance, a bit more carefully from then on.
Now, where did this bit fall off from?
It was the first of too many spills which punctuated my early riding days.
I recall another moment in those early days during a ride out to Bournemouth with Dave.
It was a fine summers day and we fancied an ice-cream and a gawp at some girls in bikinis so we set out on the forty mile journey, an epic at moped speeds.
I hadn't had the bike long, it must have just had the new handlebars fitted after the bus-stop episode, as the bike still wore its L-plates.
Unusually, and the only one amongst my friends, I later took the test to be able to ride L-plate free. This got me stopped by men in white cars with orange stripes quite a lot (you do remember the days when plod drove marked cars don't you?) but it did allow me to take all my girlfriends on the back (not all at once though).
The L-plate was significant. In fact crucial to the event. The rear one was mounted attached to the Gilera's number-plate by a Meccano strip and during that tortuous journey had loosed itself and started rattling.
Most would have ignored it, hoping that it would detach but the rattling irritated me.
At this point I should have pulled over and attended it in safety at the side of the road, but as we were riding solo I was struggling to keep up with the Honda ahead. Stopping was out of the question. So I inspected the problem on the move.
Imaging the scenario, a real don't try this at home moment. I'm doing forty-five, yes that speed again, leaning back to fiddle with an L-plate that is mounted low and behind the rear wheel. If Gerry Cottle had seen me I would have been signed up there and then.
But I didn't fall off. Not whilst checking the plate. The trouble started when I settled back to look forward. I was still doing forty-five but now there was a pavement directly ahead. Not that the road had changed, just my course.
I did what anyone would do at that time, I hit it fair and square!
The front went airborne and came down on its side, with me half underneath. Luckily the tree-lined avenue was more gap than tree so I came to a slow but mercifully recoverable stop.
I was a bit sore and felt stupid but got back up to ride again. After all, Dave hadn't noticed and was ploughing on regardless. I had to make up time.
I lifted the bike back onto the road, re-selected neutral and re-started the stalled engine.
It started, as usual, first time so I pulled in the clutch to select first gear - and the cable broke.
The impact onto the softened tarmac pavement was taken by the clutch lever which had filled with a tarmac blob that severed the cable when operated. I had no clutch.
No problem, clutches are for pussies anyway. I snicked it into gear and shot off after Dave.
Dave was devastated. He had missed the spectacle and more importantly our chances of pulling were blown. I wanted to go straight home to miss the weekend crowds but Dave wanted his ice-cream. So we went to the beach side and had ice-cream, his topped with crushed nuts, mine with strawberry sauce and gravel rash.
This was eventually followed by a mad dash back home along a crowded bank holiday route with no clutch.
I figured that all I had to do was keep going, so that's what I did. I never dropped below thirty, timed all the traffic lights perfectly, went straight through the roundabouts whether the nearby cars were stopped or not and got all the way to a set of lights in Southampton before a stop caused me to stall. Some forty miles later.
It is amazing what feats are achievable in the face of adversity.
I suppose, in hindsight, I'm rather fond of the Gilera.
It took me on adventures I had never had before and accompanied me through a harrowing time of growing up.
I learnt to ride solo, corner, take passengers and crash.
It was an important time and the moped played its part without complaint.
I handed it back to Mark when I got my Yamaha trial bike at seventeen and started all the adventures again but it was the Gilera that kicked it all off. And in quite a dramatic manner.
I suppose it was a bit like a teenager itself in a way.
Author: Vince Poynter Version m5.066 6 Feb 2018
First Published: Version 1.03 in Feb 2005
The first image shows my double denim clad brother Mark sat astride his new Gilera moped in 1977 and was added in Version m5.066 6 Feb 2018.
The second image show the moped under my posession in 1978 during a trip with my friend Jeff on his yellow Yamaha FS1E. Italian style meets Japanese power. The photo was added in Version m5.066 6 Feb 2018.
The third image shows me fiddling with the exhaust pipe of the Gilera, demonstrating admirably that I am a fully qualified trained mechanic, able at least to hold a motorcycle part with just one hand. It was added in Version m5.066 6 Feb 2018. The photo, not the exhaust.
Hello. You have arrived at the vinceunlimited Jokes page.
This page is destined to house all my jokes. The trouble is that someone left the door open and most have escaped. As soon as they are rounded up I'll put them back here, where they belong.
Meanwhile, here are those that I managed to capture in my giggle trap. And as is the case with all randomly collected jokes they are in no particular order.
All jokes on this page are original and devised by the website author, me. Or taken direct from their source as discovered in conversation. Unless otherwise acknowledged.
For a more comprehensive collection buy some Christmas crackers, or go down the pub and listen.
As this is a source of originality you may feel confident in trying to pass these off as your own. I would be powerless to stop this and wouldn't if I could. They are here as free shareware.
However, if you have difficulty in releasing them to an appreciative audience I suggest that you use the time honoured method of joke distribution. Tell a kid in a school playground.
There, and you thought you would never come across a website advocating soliciting a child's attention in public!
Jokes and One liners
Did you hear about the soldier who was drafted into service without his consent? He was waiting in his school careers office. Someone called out "Next". He replied "Ah. Me."
"My name's Bond. James Bond. The first James Bond. They call me Premium Bond. 00-7 is my code. 00-6 was my predecessor. 00-gauge is my railway collection. My archenemy is Scaramango. He has a habit of wanting to take over the world. Not his worst habit, that's his chain-smoking. I call him the man with the golden lung. My first boss was known as M. I can now reveal that his name was Mick. My second boss was known as N. I can now reveal that his name was Nick. My current boss is known as P. But, as you can imagine, I cannot reveal his name."
"My name is Bond. That's James Bond.
I've been played by Connery and Moore.
I live and let live all 'round the world.
Best of all I've seen Pussy Galore."
I used to be a psychiatric case but I've recovered now. I'm a suitcase.
My wife is so obsessed with cleanliness. When we go to a party she takes a bottle of mouthwash.
How do blind dates find where they are meant to meet?
If you made a fortune drilling for milk in the Middle East, would you be a milk Sheikh?
After driving across Europe, I knew I was back in Britain. The washer bottle froze.
I'm not saying that the flat we bought was small. It's just that in the bedroom we had a wall-to-wall carpet tile fitted.
How did medieval knights ever get on? They could only move two places forward and one to the right.
A conservationist was having trouble recording the number of elephants in his wildlife park so asked his friend if he had any ideas. He explained that the elephants were difficult to count from his helicopter because their grey skin was camouflaged against the terrain. His friend was a geneticist so suggested that the elephants could be bred orange by mixing their genes with those of a carrot. An experiment was tried and was successful so from then on all the new elephants were born orange and could be seen from the air. To celebrate the success the two friends met up for a meal at the geneticist's favourite restaurant. They ordered the roast and were served the meat, potatoes and two veg. On delivery of the meal all the carrots leapt up off the geneticist's plate. "There," he explained to his friend "I don't like carrots and carrots never forget."
I used to lay back in my car and scrawl the name of my favourite rock groups on the roof. They are all headline bands now.
My Favourite Joke
And now, my favourite joke of all time. Not, original by me, I wouldn't be so presumptive. It's better than mine, so if you are the rightful owner of this joke please advise me and I'll give acknowledgement.
A customer enters a pet shop and asks for a wasp. The confused shop owner advises that he doesn't sell them. Unrepentant the customer pleads, "But, I saw one in your window yesterday".
[Not So] Famous Quotations
Finally, a selection of not so famous quotes.
Tutankhamen: "Do you normally build the roof first?"
Moses (before speaking to God): "Fire. Fire."
Joseph: "Don't look at me, Mary."
The Ancient Mariner: "Anyone for Albatross?"
The Wizard of Oz (to his builder): "I don't care what you think. I want it yellow."
For more snappy quips, check out my vQuotes page.
So, that's the start. With the jokes from my website version 1.03 from Feb 2005.
More will inevitably follow as sure as night follows Thursday morning. In time this page will be chock-a-block with all the amusing, fun and clever jokes from the mind and keyboard of vinceunlimited. It will start soon so please be patient and check back in due course.
If you want more vinceunlimited humour there is loads of it smattered around my Twitter feed.
Or be daring and hook up with my humourist selection under vChoices.
Or look at your own knees. Obviously not as funny as mine. But that's all there is for now.
If you can't wait for more mirth then put finger to keyboard and e-mail me a request.
Author: Vince Poynter Version m5.067 7 Feb 2018
First published in similar format: Version 1.01 Jan 2004
First published in this format: Version m5.048 1 Jan 2018
The Baby Years from the autobiography of Vince Poynter
Mark thinking: Now what do I do with this funny shaped thing
When I first envisaged writing my autobiography I imagined enjoying recounting all the strange and amusing things that have happened to me during my life so far. However, moments in this chapter happened before my brain had actually developed.
So this first part, intriguingly entitled Oniscus Asellus, can only be a mish-mash of anecdote and fiction.
At least history has allowed me to set the scene. It was cold.
Allegedly, I was born around the witching hour on a Monday morning at the end of October 1961. I can't verify this as I wasn't wearing a watch at the time and my eyes were full of afterbirth so I couldn't read the bedroom clock.
For those that care about these things that makes my star-sign Scorpio and my birthstone Topaz, a rather mucky orange hue. The Chinese would say I was born in the year of the skunk, or something like that and certain religious sects would swear I used to be a toad. I've checked between my toes and I don't think they could be accurately described as webbed. I was certainly born Animalia, Chordata, Mamalia, Primates, Haplorhini, Simiiformes, Hominidae, Homo sapiens. Not newt.
The unreasonable o'clock in the morning home delivery meant that Mum could have a bit of a rest afterwards but I do not expect Dad had much rest himself. I had to be educated to 'A' level standard by breakfast after all. Just kidding. I doubt that it would have been even to 'O' level standard. Come to think of it I doubt it was to 'O' level standard when I passed my 'O' levels. But I might just be getting slightly ahead of myself here.
The location was in the South of England in a little known hamlet called Southampton, county of Hampshire within the United Kingdom, Europe, Northern Hemisphere, Earth, Solar System, Galaxy. Although you could leave out the last parts of that locale if you are terra-bound.
Southampton is a city with a long history and a struggling Premiership team, although when the town was first formed the sport was probably hog-back riding. Now it boasts a fine heritage of glistening shopping centres and poorly used docks. It rose to it's prominence by virtue of having two tides, a phenomenon caused by the adjacent Isle-of-Wight apparently, although I've never seen the island shifting about myself.
Southampton in the early sixties wasn't like the romanticised view of London during the period. For a start I wasn't born in Carnaby Street. It was a modest lane in the Maybush area. Hardly the best start in life.
A modern estate agent may try to describe the building as a retro-style apartment block featuring balconies with views across the city. In truth it was and is a pretty grim ground floor flat featuring a tiny balcony with a view across the street.
Yes, a balcony on the ground floor with a drop all of three inches! But it's still standing now and someone out there in the world of non-virtual actual reality may well be in that room today.
My parents were working class when the word was literal. My father had followed his own into the Post Office and I'm not talking about collecting a few stamps.
Grandad had started his career as a Post-boy at fourteen delivering telegrams by his company vehicle - the pushbike. My laziness at genealogy prevents me telling you what his father did although there was some sort of dock's policeman in the family once.
My father joined the Post Office and was a Telecommunications Engineer. My mother, at the time, was flat on her back. She was far too busy, along with most of the other good women of Britain re-stocking the nation after the war years had depleted the number.
I was the second born, having been beaten to the post by my older brother, Mark. He was two years old at the time giving him a head-start I shall never regain.
Until my sister was born, I would be the cute baby of the family. The blond hair helped, along with the dumbfounded expression shared with so many other babies. And owls.
Lovely chewy strap but not my favourite, apparently
Many people claim to recall things from their childhood. Not me. I can hardly remember anything from before puberty and am, quite frankly, a bit hazy about things further back than last Wednesday.
However, a story has been told so many times that I now feel I remember it clearly. Nothing exciting or comparable to what was going on at the time such as the commencement of space travel and the onward trips to the moon or Twiggy or the first skirts named after a car.
Personally, I was discovered, I am reliably informed, chewing on a woodlouse.
If it happened today my mum would be in front of social services before you could even say "Can I have ketchup with that Oniscus asellus please?"
So that's it. An entire childhood beginning summarised in a debatable woodlouse scoffing anecdote.
I guess if you want to know more you'll have to ask my parents to write their stories.
For me I'm moving on to the next stage of my saga but you will have to wait until I write it. Ho hum.
Author: Vince Poynter Version m5.062 29 Jan 2018
First Published: Version 1.03 in Feb 2005
The images depict Mark and Vince Poynter taken around 1961 and were added in Version m5.062 29 Jan 2018 along with minor editing
The vinceunlimited Public Announcement Opinion
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'? But then I suppose that the train staff cannot really be expected to be precise when the graphics manager responsible for the train stickers use phrases worded as 'Do not lean out of the window when it is open.' Surely an unnecessary use of the words 'when it is open'? And don't get me started on the 'Mobile free' zones
And to keep on the railway theme I regularly travel on the London Underground system and users are often advised to '...walk on the left and stand on the right of the escalators...' This I have tried but end up going round in circles! Surely they should suggest that it is an either or option. Ahem.
Onto roads and my local council'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 particular 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 m5.061 25 Jan 2018
First Published: Version 1.02 in Mar 2004
London Underground comment added in Version m5.061 25 Jan 2018 but first published in Version 1.03 in Feb 2005
The image depicts a Mission speaker positioned on top of a wall cabinet and was added in Version m5.051 4 Jan 2018
The vinceunlimited Top Ten Vehicles
21st Century Travelling
You have probably landed on this page from my list of bike or car road tests.
Or maybe you were transported here by a strange new time machine, or even from another manufacturer's computer. Any how you came you are welcome to read why I have chosen the next ten vehicles as my favourite of all time.
It is an eclectic mix of transport that I have either used or lusted after with envy.
Cyclists will note that I have not included a bicycle in the list. After all cycle technology is now futuristic and sexy so I could forgive a lack of motorised power. However I refuse to forgive saddle technology until I can actually ride a bicycle further than ten metres.
Of course, when compiling a list like this the rejected ones are nearly as interesting.
For instance you may wonder how I could have a list like this and not include a Ferrari. Easy really, there's none there.
A few may qualify on the grounds of looking fantastic but underneath is just a lightweight Fiat.
I'm not fooled, nor are many of the owners. Check out the Owner's Documents on any used Ferrari and you will be surprised to see so many names. The hype doesn't live up to the reality.
Great red though but this isn't a favourite list of colours.
Keeping on the subject of cars, in the past I've swooned over the fantastically brutish Aston Martin Vantage and may still get one yet but how could I include a car that if a generous benefactor offered me a swap for any Aston from any time I'd really have no second thoughts about choosing the brand new, phenomally quick and beautiful DB9.
Some of the DB9's details are cheaper than a crate of canaries although I've never been one to turn down a beauty because of a few small imperfections. Mole on Demi Moore? So what.
Another plus would be: "Blonde, James Blonde". What a great introduction.
As you will be able to tell generally I'm not into classic vehicles. I'd rather own a modern Bentley Arnarge than a 4½ litre supercharged model from the 1920s. Unless I can sell it of course.
Plus, impressive that the 4½ litre Bentley behemoth is the most attractive classic car has to be the Jaguar SS100. But still not as good as a couple of dozen modern vehicles.
I love bikes, it's in my genes, whether I currently have a bike or not. It's all to do with the lack of a cycle when I was young and the freedom that my first moped rides brought me.
So I need to include bikes in this ultimate vehicles list and the Ducati 900 Monster was one of the first that I thought of. The reason why this strange naked retro was considered is that it re-vitalised my interest in bikes in the nineteen nineties.
I hadn't had a bike for a while and the squared-off eighties styling never persuaded me to renew my interest. The Monster 900 was a breath of fresh air. It seemed so stylish and raw with an exposed engine and trellis frame it made me want two wheels again.
Thinking back, I can't think why I brought a Yamaha Diversion 900 instead.
Oh yes. Italian electrics, Ducati clutches and a saving of about two grand. And when you are able to make a choice based on such trivial reasons the original option doesn't really deserve to be in a top ten.
And second best is why I cannot include a First Class dining experience aboard a ferry.
As you can tell from other entries I do like being spoilt. So many cannot handle an obsequious waiter or fawning Maitre-d but I'm willing to be waited on hand and foot. It's not a case of being better than those who serve but the fact that it makes a pleasant change. I'll happily have a beer with the waiter afterwards.
A First Class dining experience on board a ferry, such as the cross channel version is a thoroughly pleasant way of passing the time. But two reasons keep it off the top ten. Firstly, the QE2 is infinitely better and secondly the QE2 doesn't end up in France!
My final rejection is an oxymoron. No, not the Ford 2-litre Oxymoron, but a genuine oxymoron from an age where such a beast could exist. A cute war-plane.
Nowadays war planes are stunning, agile weapons of mass destruction but back in the 1920s at the dawn of flight the planes were not overly effective. However, one stands out above the others, including the Red Baron's exciting Fokker Tri-plane.
The Sopwith Camel first came into my life as a child. If you were born a male in the late fifties or early sixties you would be familiar with Airfix kits. Plastic self-build models that filled many a wet weekday after school. They are still available but this tactile hobby, along with most other hands-on experiences, have become side-lined by the ubiquitous electronic games. This is a shame as building a model is a very satisfying skill and I still fondly remember the first one I built - a Sopwith Camel.
This little bi-plane had all the ingredients of a favoured vehicle. The styling was right with the curved leading edge to the wings, dual forward gun synchronised with the propeller and rounded tail plane.
A cute war plane, such an oxymoron.
So, onto the actual vehicles making my top-ten.
1969 Cooper F1 car
My toy racing car. The wing was raised too high in this version, based on a late season entry. So now looks rubbish
Formula 1 racing has always held a certain appeal. The fast cars, obscene money and glamorous locations keep the sport in my mind even if the last few years Schmedious results have kept it off my TV. So it is natural that I should include a car from this pinnacle of motor sports.
I suppose it is a symptom of age that despite the obvious appeal of modern cars there is an era of racing that seems more glorious and it dates around the time I first got an interest in the sport. I have chosen the Cooper F1 from the 1969 season as it was this car that, to me, epitomises open wheel racing.
The rear tyres look properly wide, the engine is exposed and the newly added wings were just right. I like the front spoiler jutting from the actual nose and the rear spoiler was better looking mounted low on the engine.
I've never driven one, nor am I likely to as the price of classic F1 racers nearly match their modern counterparts but I can dream.
An Ariel Atom with my Jaguar XJ8 in the background. I might need to take a moment
My next choice is not so far away from the car above and is probably chosen because of the similarities.
But instead of a having to be Ray Parlour's wife to afford a classic F1 motor this blatant facsimile costs a more reasonable £30-40k.
Still a lot of money for a weekend car with no panels but well comparable with its natural opposition.
I love the Atom's Meccano build and raw energy and can personally testify to its ability to deliver the goods that the look promises.
Short on comfort but very long on desire, the Atom deserves its place in this illustrious crowd.
Nearly as quick as the Aston but with seats like a Business Class jet and the torque to match.
I have never experienced power like the Bentley Arnarge delivers and in back to back tests with its bigger brother the Continental it wins on every count, including saving £100k.
The Continental may have the classic looks but I'm sure I can find an Arnarge to beat it.
The best car in the world.
Note that a full appraisal of my time with a Bentley Arnarge will eventually be available in the cars section of the website.
My first aeronautical choice is probably in the list of everyone who has ever seen the Concorde.
Breathtakingly beautiful, stunningly quick and well out of the reach of the hoi-poli. Marvellous.
The only problems are it's cramped interior and that it has disappeared from our skies.
Worth every bit of pollution.
In the top ten? No doubt at all.
A Douglas DC-3 hanging in the Smithsonian Museum
The second most beautiful plane in the world [see above] hails from the time just before the second world war but its lines are just so perfect.
I love the fat fuselage, strong wing arrangements, classic twin prop design and sturdy tail.
Still operating in many places around the world today the McDonnell Douglas DC-3, known as a Dakota in the UK, is living proof that if it looks right then it probably is right.
I've yet to catch a flight in one of these beauties but guess that the reality doesn't quite live up to the glamour.
Particularly as I'll probably be in South America when I get a go in one.
Eurostar Best Class
I'm not much of a train buff.
For many years I rarely travelled on one thinking they were too expensive and inconvenient.
Also, with 8 miles between my home and the nearest station, thanks to Beecham's cuts in the 60s, I never had cause to use them.
Not that I had no contact, my wife spent most of her career with a railway company and we took advantage of the odd subsidised trip.
Things have changed recently though as I now work mainly in London and the train is the only viable option. I now estimate that I have travelled over one hundred and fifty thousand miles sat on a train.
This experience, in all its sordid glory is why a trip on the Eurostar in the best carriages is such a delight.
I have travelled three times in First Class and on every occasion I have thought it most pleasant. The large seats, at seat service and quiet comfort is reminiscent of travel tales of old.
Just don't think that the modern version of First Class is the same.
For some peculiar reason, probably to do with the French translation, Business Class is the new premier travelling style and 'mere' First Class is a poor relation.
Now, how do I say 'contravenes the Trade's Description Act' in French?
Honda CBX Moto Martin
A Moto Martin CBX. In Brown. Brilliant
The first bike in my top ten list is a hybrid vehicle and I'm not talking dual fuel.
In the late seventies Honda produced the stunning CBX with its fantastic transverse six cylinder engine. Wider than a Cockney car salesman with a penchant for iced buns this behemoth was a dream machine.
Except two problems.
One, was the name. Now Honda is a make to be respected for its engineering excellence and reliability but much like my Miele washing machine I don't exactly look at the product with love.
The other problem with the CBX was the handling - the stock Japanese flexi-frames could never harness the engine outputs at the time.
Moto Martin, a small French custom builder came to the rescue by taking the engine and putting it in a stylish trick frame mounted with swoopy body parts with twin-headlamps.
All par for the course today but 30 years ago this was enough to make me tear out the advert and hang it on my wall.
I own one.
Need I say more?
Note that a full appraisal of my Jaguar XJ8 4.0 will eventually be available in the cars section of the website.
Who wouldn't be impressed with one of the traditional Queens of the sea?
I have travelled the Atlantic on the QE2 and can confirm it is all that you would expect, then more.
One trip and I'm a confirmed cruise fan. A tall order for the QM2 replacement to beat.
For more details about my experience on this most magnificent of vehicles see my separate story.
And be prepared to be jealous.
Note that a full appraisal of my time onboard the QE2 is available. Click the button link below to go there directly.
Vincent Black Shadow
The two Vincents
Last, but not least, this list would be incomplete without the vehicle I was actually named after.
My father told me this, whilst saying I should have been grateful that he didn't like Francis Barnetts.
Although this bike now looks a little quirky I am actually quite proud to be named after such a phenomenal bike from the nineteen fiftes, with a great reputation amongst those that know such things.
If only I could afford one now.
Think multiple grands. And then some.
Fantastic name though.
Author: Vince Poynter Version m5.060 23 Jan 2018
First Published: Version 1.03 in Feb 2005
Images added, along with minor text updates for setting out purposes, in Version m5.060 23 Jan 2018. All photographs taken by the Author, except the one he is in [Obvs].
Yellow shirt ✓ Loud tie ✓ Busy on the phone ✓ Annoying person ✓ - A copywriter at work
This is the vQuote page of the vinceunlimited website, which will eventually be populated with all the original and memorable quotations that have oratoraly spewed forth from the mouth of Vince.
Our lives are dominated by the phrases and sayings dreamt up at alcohol fuelled, barnstorming sessions in trendy, high rise office spaces by people wearing brightly coloured braces with a tendency to say 'think outside the box' quite a lot. At least that's what I presume.
I once applied for a position at one of these copywriting companies but wasn't considered. I had figured I would be good at the job and my natural talent would shine through. Plus the braces would have suited me. It would be more appropriate for me than the soulless industry I had fallen into.
However, possessing my kind of staying power and determination I gave up at the first hurdle and have been a closet copywriter ever since.
But now comes my revenge. The internet has allowed us all to fulfill our deepest wishes despite our given opportunities. Now, luck no longer controls our destiny and it's up to us to seize the chance and make amends for the injustices of fate. If only we could be arsed.
I will use this part of my website to publish the quotes, quips and sayings that I use or think up.
Kind of a personal Dictionary of Quotations.
All will be, as far as I am aware, original. Please advise me if this isn't the case.
And, as is the nature of these things feel free to quote them mercilessly. A certain pride will amass in my inner regions when I hear them uttered by the great and good. But don't forget that acknowledgement when appropriate.
The vQuote Quotations
First published in version 1.03 in Feb 2005
Green sky thinking - Much less restrictive than the blue variety
You know your marriage is in trouble when the fear that your partner will leave turns to hope
I read it from cover to cover. Via the spine
Mothers ask you nice questions, like when do you want your tea? Fathers are more taxing, they ask questions such as where have you been, or why were you in the river? Or, what is the capital of Equatorial Guinea?
When I'm creative it's either there or it isn't. If I can't devise a method of intergalactic space propulsion during a single train journey I give up. The scientists of the world should be assured that I did once try
If dogs have such a good sense of smell why do they need to get so close to their mates rear end?
I'm the flamboyant sort who always flicks his underpants in the air on removal, catching them with my teeth. An action that I always regret afterwards
She is your number one fan. Is there a number two?
Computer sign off - Gotta fly - Got R.S.I.
First published in version 1.02 in Mar 2004
If undelivered. Why not? - Note at foot of registered letter
His books are sold by weight. Not volume
Men share 90% of their genes with a chimpanzee. But only around 30% with women
The shortest route isn't always the best. On a spiral staircase for instance
This website is easily one of the best ten million in the world
First published in version 1.00 in Oct 2003
Getting up at the crack of birds - An early start
Bugger, I'm not immortal - Carved into a headstone
Finally, a few put downs. These have all been used by me. Thankfully I'm still living to tell the tale
First published in version 1.02 in Mar 2004
"Let me introduce you to Mr. Comb."
To my wife trying on a jacket - "Frankly, it looked better on the hanger."
On wanting to find the right time to look good for a photograph - "Well. It's a narrow time window."
If you like my style of sayings you may be interested to know that you can search many of my website articles by snappy quip alone.
Seek such wordiness under vChoices - Webquote above or by selecting the appropriate blue button tagged below.
Author: Vince Poynter Version m5.070 13 Feb 2018
The idea of vQuotes was originally published as 'copywriting' in Version 1.00 in Oct 2003
The vinceunlimited Autobiography
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 website 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 m5.052 5 Jan 2018
First Published: Version 1.02 in Mar 2004
Images added in Version m5.052 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 m5.052 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 m5.052 5 Jan 2018
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 m5.057 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 m5.057 12 Jan 2018
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 m5.053 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 m5.051 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
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 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 m5.056 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 m5.056 11 Jan 2018
The vinceunlimited Yamaha DT175 Bike Road Test
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 m5.054 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 m5.054 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
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 wall covering 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 that 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 that 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 staging, 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 m5.059 19 Jan 2018
First Published: Version 1.02 in Mar 2004
The image is of a Jaguar XJ8 wheel and was added in Version m5.059 19 Jan 2018. It frankly has no relevance whatever. Or does it? Nope, nothing at all, just decoration.
The vinceunlimited Loch Ness Screenplay
Monster Storytelling - A Screenplay Treatment
Please note that this is an incomplete fiction about the discovery of the Loch Ness monster. It was written circa. 1995 after seeing what effects could be achieved with the film Jurassic Park in 1993.
However, continuation of the story was sadly abandoned when the big screen movie, starring Ted Danson, called Loch Ness appeared in 1996.
At the time of writing the author has never seen the aforementioned film so any coincidences are purely that. Coincidental.
By Vince Poynter
A monster at Loch Ness
The story is about a man, who after a bad argument with a long standing lover, treks off to get some peace and quiet. He travels to Scotland and ends up near Loch Ness.
Whilst looking across the Loch he notices something move. It turns out to be nothing but driftwood, until he turns away...
He books into a local hotel, recounts his story and is amused by the stories of Nessie and of the local's stories in the bar. The stories grow more absurd as the evening wears on and the drink flows.
He begins to notice an attractive American woman staying for a few weeks in the same hotel, as a great niece to the landlord, but the drink and his memories of his recent lover cause him to be more embarrassing than attractive.
To seek solitude he spends some time near the Loch and again spots something. This time he is certain and decides to investigate further.
He tells the woman but she is less than impressed, dismissing his sightings as drunkenness. Only an old man seems to agree with his thoughts.
The men agree to search for the monster. Next morning they hire a set of diving gear from a local watersports centre and despite never having dived before set off, on a hire boat, to search the depths.
After several hours, suffering from cold and with faulty dive equipment they decide to abandon the search. A storm blows up and they set back only to have their boat blown to a remote part of the Loch near an unusual landmark and capsize.
In the dark and severe weather the two struggle to grab driftwood to survive. A darkened shape comes from the depths and the man tries to take a photograph or two but the old man is suffering and attempts to rescue him become a priority.
The attempts are fruitless and the old man is lost. The man tries in vain to keep himself afloat but starts to sink. He is just losing consciousness when he is accelerated at high speed through the water.
The next morning the woman is strolling across the beach and finds the man washed up on the shore. As he recovers in her bed he recounts the story.
Whilst his story is too far fetched for her to believe she begins to fall for his charm and as they console themselves about the fate of the old man they embrace and begin to fall for each other. They are rudely interrupted by the landlord who on hearing the story decides the police should be called.
In the Police Station the man is given a hard time about the loss of the old man and responsibilities given the huge depths of the Loch and the dangers of weather.
Whilst he is at the inquest, giving evidence about the circumstances, the woman receives the post, which contain the man's photographs. She rushes them to the inquest and presents the evidence.
A local reporter, an evil man, awakened by the thought of fame, causes a disturbance and steals the photos. The next day the papers and news are full of the story and the reporter is given top publicity.
Within days the area around the Loch is totally transformed.
Multi-million pound projects are commenced with the thought of huge publicity rewards. Major sponsors advertising boards are put up everywhere and the character of the place is wrecked.
The man and woman are horrified by the invasion of the world's publicity and are hounded by reporters whatever they do, particularly the evil reporter. They hear that the monster will be hunted at any cost and see explosives being off loaded and used to cause sonic shock waves. A submarine is airlifted into the area and flotillas of the locals boats are used to trawl the Loch.
The man and woman decide that they need to find the monster before anyone else. The problem is that they realise that they wouldn't stand a chance given the searching power of the rest of the teams. They need a head start and the man recalls the landmark he noticed just before capsizing. They set off to find the landmark.
The landmark is at a far end of the Loch and when they discover it they find some wreckage of the boat.
They look into the water and see the monster, which appears to look back at them. By moonlight the sight is wonderful but is interrupted by a helicopter with big searchlights, carrying the evil reporter, plus many approaching boats.
The man and woman disguise the find by quickly removing their clothes and going for a swim to distract the hunters. The hunters leave the two in peace and head away to search another part. Inevitably, the man and woman make love on the shore, the monster diving around in the background.
Next morning, over breakfast, the two plan to disrupt the search by discrediting his original story.
They realise that this could jeopardise the original claim of an accident but they figure that the risk is worthwhile. They decide that the first thing to do is move the boat debris to another place.
They drive to the place where the accident happened, collect some debris and take it to another part of the Loch. They return to collect more but whilst doing this they are spotted by the evil reporter who follows them to the site of the accident.
As he steps from his car he gets a gun out of the glove compartment. He follows them to the shore where he confronts them.
An argument ensues about the morals of discovery and financial gain against destruction of the local environment. A struggle occurs and the woman is shot in the head.
The man is about to be shot by the reporter when he dives in the water. As he struggles to hold his breath underwater and swim to a safe place the bullets fly through the water around him.
He suddenly notices the monster nearby which when startled by a bullet dives off toward the edge of the Loch and disappears. He follows, parting the underwater plants and discovers a large hidden underwater shaft. He realises it is his only hope and swims down it.
Meanwhile the reporter, realising what has happened, cleans off his gun and throws it down near to the woman and drives off.
You will have to commission this story to see how it ends.....
Author: Vince Poynter Version m5.049 2 Jan 2018
Written circa. 1995
First published: Version 1.01 Jan 2004
The image depicts a monster at Loch Ness, the monster being the author’s large Jaguar XJ8 photographed at Loch Ness in 2000. It was added in Version m5.049 2 Jan 2018
Site For Sore Eyes
A television situation comedy by Vince Poynter
This, the first Sitcom to emerge from the brainchild of vinceunlimited, is Site for Sore Eyes.
The concept is about the trials and trepidations of work on a building site. Without the colourful language and exposed butt cheeks.
Below is the beginning of the first, pilot, tv episode.
Note: This is a project commenced and ripe for development so if you want to help this see the light of pixels get in touch and we'll talk.
Site For Sore Eyes
A Pilot Situation Comedy Script for Television by Vince Poynter
The scene is set
Phase One - Pumped Up
Mess Hut - A site shed, with benches and table. Very untidy. Calendar and site safety notices on the walls. Tea making equipment, old tabloid newspapers and broken cups on the benches. Rubbish around on the floor.
Two pipe fitters are in the hut, drinking tea. One is reading a tabloid newspaper and eating his sandwiches, all that is seen are his hands grabbing the curled up sandwiches, his face hidden by the paper. The other is wearing a tatty Walkman listening to music with his eyes closed. His fingers drum out a beat on his thigh.
Bill Clark enters. He is a Pipe-fitting Foreman in his fifties. A know it all from the old school. He pushes past the reading fitter.
Bill: "Morning lads."
The fitters grunt acknowledgement, without moving. Bill places his bag on the table, sits between the other two and starts to prepare tea. This is a well-rehearsed routine.
The fitter with the paper slides the sugar along the table without raising his head.
Bill: "Tea bag."
The other fitter reaches down to the ground and flicks a tea bag in the air, straight into Bill's cup.
As he says this he extends his cup towards the reading fitter. The fitter's hand appears with the milk bottle and pours straight into the cup.
Bill: "Kettle on?."
The other fitter swings round, picks up the kettle from the floor and pours the hot water straight into the cup, all without looking. Bill stirs the tea and takes a sip.
Bill: "Ahh. Tea. Lifeblood. See the match last night lads?"
The fitters grunt.
Bill: "Did you see that second goal. I haven't seen a ball hit as hard as that since my Aunt Deirdre swiped old uncle Bob with his own golf club. Nine iron I think. Painful."
The fitters squeak.
Bill: "Our man was on top form yesterday. Still they need the points if they want to stay up this season. After all, top teams aren't built in a day."
The fitters grunt.
Bill: "I reckon if they stopped going for the classic four, four, two and used a sweeper, winger ..."
Tim Peterson entering cuts Bill short. Tim is a sixteen-year-old first year pipefitting apprentice with natural fallibility. He is obviously late and knocks things about as he rushes to his seat.
Tim: "Morning Bill. Morning lads."
The fitters and Bill grunt. Tim quickly looks about for a tea mug and can only find a chipped old one with a missing handle. Unlike Bill, he doesn't receive the help in making his tea, in fact when he searches for the items they are moved away from his sight by the others. This slows down the process of preparing the drink and allows for some interplay and visual slapstick. When he finally pours out his drink, the others, in unison, stand up, clear their items away and leave the hut. Bill and Tim are the last to leave. Bill is sorting out a specification and Tim is trying hard to cool down his drink, by frantically waving an old newspaper over it, whilst sipping.
Bill: "Oh. Tim. Did you get that new bubble for my spirit level on your way home yesterday?"
Tim: "No, sorry Bill. They said the ones they had in stock were damaged. They said they were hoping for a delivery today and I was to go back."
Bill: "Did they tell you that the new ones would come in bubble wrap?"
Tim: "Yeah. That's just what they said."
Bill: "I thought so."
Tim: "So, what are we on today?"
Bill: "We're in the plant room. We've got to modify those pumps Mike told us about before he went."
Tim: "Mike eh. Who would believe it? Fourteen million quid. What would you do with your share of that, Bill?"
Bill: "Not waste time talking pumps with you. That's for certain."
Tim: "I reckon I'd buy this company and make the old man redundant. I can't understand why Mike just disappeared like that. I mean, he didn't even trash the computers in the office. How sad."
Bill: "And get himself sued. With all that money you become a target and I bet the old man would've tried it on. No, Mike is best out of it. I would probably just leave too. Jobs like this always seem to go on forever. This one's been going for ten months already and it will probably see out my retirement the way it's going. The Colosseum wasn't built in a day, you know. Come to think of it, if Mike was doing the Colosseum it would probably still be a pile of rubble now."
Tim: "It is."
Bill: "Don't be facetious."
Tim: "Will the new engineer be any good?"
Bill: "Probably not. Them suits are all the same. More interested in their company car and expense account than the job. And most couldn't build a sand castle on Bournemouth Beach let alone a big job like this."
Tim: "So you've known a few in your time then."
Bill: "Just a few! I remember this suit once. Name of Rogers. Used to speak with a limp I recall. Drove a Cavalier. Didn't know a thing. He thought six inch copper was what a policeman's wife gets."
Bill: "Anyway lad. Lets get a move on. These pipes won't fit themselves and the new man will have enough to do without worrying about that."
Author: Vince Poynter Version m5.050 3 Jan 2018
First published: Version 1.01 Jan 2004
The image depicts a crashed lorry on a building site in Canary Wharf and was added in Version m5.050 3 Jan 2018
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 m5.034 8 Dec 2017
First Published: Version 1.00 in Oct 2003
Text updated and image added in Version m5.008 18 Oct 2017
QE2 link added and minor text update in Version m5.034 8 Dec 2017
This article was originally written and published in October 2003 in the original version of the vinceunlimited website and represented an opinion at the time, based on contemporaneous knowledge. It is reproduced below updated and edited.
Animal Parts As Spares
A monkey transplant
One of the big issues facing mankind today is the moral question of whether we should be allowed to grow animals purely for use as spare parts for humans. Technological advancement is reaching the point where soon we will be able to grow compatible human parts within live animals.
And in 2017 the UK issued plans to make organ donor presumed consent a thing. If we have to go to the trouble of opting out then so can the mammals. Unless they fill out a form on the internet.
Imagine, a man's spare spleen, if you can, grown by a dog. Or a newborn baby's amputated lower arm being re-grown by a monkey. Or an arse transplanted from a horse onto a woman (I'm sure I've seen her already).
The issue centres on whether it is moral to do this. I believe it may be immoral not to do it. I would argue that mankind is no more than a species, albeit a very successful one and one which we are lucky to be a part of. And like all other species humans have developed the best way to survive and prosper. Being able to harvest parts from other species is just another development in the clear superiority of humans. All species use the resources available to them and just as our food farming is a clever extension of this ability so is improving this to include repair of damaged or old body parts. It is a natural extension. Nature.
And who wouldn't choose to live longer, providing the quality of their life through use of renewable, healthier parts was assured.
The only concerns I would personally have is to impose controls on the supply. I couldn't accept that the system was open to be abused by undesirable people. And I'm not scaremongering about a dozen cloned dictators. That just couldn't occur. No, I would worry about persistent drunks using surrogates to grow banks of spare livers. And I would have concerns about stinking smokers using animals to constantly transplant their lungs. Transplanting their brains might be a better idea.
My own view is that I would be happy for a pig to grow a heart for me, then for me to have it transplanted when mine is worn out. And I could enjoy a good bacon sandwich afterwards. Long live technology.
Author: Vince Poynter Version m5.013 27 Oct 2017
First Published: Version 1.00 in Oct 2003
The image depicts a Barbary Macaque monkey sat on the shoulders of the author in Gibraltar and was added along with minor text updates in Version m5.003 6 Oct 2017
The preheader was contained within the article body in Version m5.013 27 Oct 2017
It's logic Jim. But not as we know it.
My wife clearly missing where the centre of the universe lies. Clue - It's taking the picture
Where can you find me? Only at the centre of the universe. That's where.
It is a brave statement indeed to make a claim that I can be found at the centre of the universe. Even more foolhardy to state that I can prove it. But I am and I can.
Firstly you need to understand and accept the concept of infinity. It is quite easy this bit. Infinity in terms of distance is a very long way away, then a bit more. Kind of like further than that beer on the coffee table when you are slumped in front of the TV. Even further away than your chances of dating a Hollywood megastar, unless you are another Hollywood megastar of course. Or a film producer. Or a thousand dollar hooker of course. Anyway, you get the picture. Infinity is such a huge number that when applied to distances I wouldn't like to drive it - Not without a comfort stop.
Now, if I were to move forward, as far as possible, to the edge of infinity it would take me...? Let's see, about the same time as it would if I were to move backwards at the same rate to the edge of infinity. I shall call that time X. No, I won't, I'll call it Gerald, other people always call it X.
Anyway, in Gerald, travelling at a constant speed I could reach the edge of infinity from any direction I please. Infinity is the same distance, up, down, front, back or even sideways. Whether you are on a pushbike, in a sidecar or a space shuttle travelling at twenty six times the speed of Gerald.
If this is the case I must surely be right slap-bang in the centre - Of the Universe. Point proved.
Now, all I have to do is prove that I'm also immortal. That one could take some time.
Author: Vince Poynter Version m5.008 18 Oct 2017
First Published: Version 1.00 in Oct 2003
Slight editing and image added in Version m5.008 18 Oct 2017
The Millennium Dome
A tribute to the Greenwich blister
An enormous carbuncle or visionary monument? That is the question
Many say that the cash should have been spent on the NHS instead? They questioned the extravagance of a structure built of a seemingly temporary design and only there for a year. And no one can see where the £800m and counting went. So why am I a supporter of this apparently whitest of elephants?
Let us consider some facts. The Dome was built in the UK, not a third world country riddled with debt and plagued by civil war. We are a first world power so shouldn't we be able to afford a bit of luxury? The money is better spent on this plaything for a few than on another weapon of mass destruction.
And I do not believe that one hospital or nurse has been cancelled because of the project. I agree the National Health Service is currently under funded and would be happy to pay additional taxes if I could guarantee an efficient service but I do not confuse this issue with the Dome. That is the job of the British Press.
As for the contents I am not a believer of criticism without seeing things first hand. So I visited this monument in it's heyday in early March 2000 and enjoyed the whole day. The content was generally of an excellent nature and there was more to see than I could in the day's visit. In particular I noted that the Journey Zone was top draw stuff (Incidently, I could not find the actual top shelf stuff).
The only disappointment was the main show. Set on too grand a scale with things happening everywhere and a pretentious story line too far up its own tent-pole to make any sense.
I predict that the Dome will eventually be fondly remembered. The media in this country is controlling how we perceive the image of this stunning structure and up to now the press has been slagging it off. Its image is at a low point so the media-mongrels [deliberate misspelling] will soon decide it is time to re-launch it as a success story.
And as for the slogan 'Only open for a year'. It will still be up and running in some form in 20 years - Mark my words.
Think about the publicity that we could get for our country if we had all got behind it - I believe it is big enough.
Author: Vince Poynter Version m5.013 27 Oct 2017
First Published: Version 1.00 in Oct 2003
The image depicts the East London Thames skyline including The Millennium Dome and was taken by the author in August 2003. It was added in Version m5.013 27 Oct 2017
Bad Driving Habits
Driving Me To Distraction
Is there anyone who has not got an opinion on driving?
Well this is one to get you all going - unless you are in London at 5.30 p.m. on a weekday. Speed limits, don't we all just hate them? Come on, admit it. If you like limits then you are beyond hope. Just go out and stand in the road now. Only you won't get hurt because all the cars are going so slow nowadays because of the restrictions, humps and hopeless drivers who couldn't drive a Scalextric car.
And it's our own fault. Limits are only put there because the general imbeciles driving around today can't control their vehicles or judge when it is safe. Speed does not kill - bad driving does. And the general driver, despite their own high opinion of their ability to match Schumacher, drives pretty poorly.
So to counter this threat to innocent passers by and other road users the authorities (i.e. our elected representatives) put up arbitrary tin plates suggesting a recommended maximum. Now that would be fine if that was all it was. Instead, our protectors (i.e. the police) do their best to catch people going a bit quick and then to fine and humiliate us.
Fines themselves are fine, one could say a fine deterrent. It's the points system that gets me riled. A few misdemeanours over a matter of years can lead to diabolical insurance premiums and possible incarceration with all the attendant bottom stretching. With possible loss of employment, status and respect. Ask yourself - Is that really fair punishment for going too fast?
Sure, I'd agree that bad driving deserves all the bottom expansion in the world but bad driving is difficult to measure. And all this makes for an increasingly stale road system. And for people like me with four star in their veins it isn't good enough. We need to fight back.
We should concentrate instead on bad driving and eliminate those poor habits. So, take a look at the few listed below and if it's you - shame...
Hogging the outer lane. Have you looked in the mirror lately? Move over you pussy. I wanna go past and you ain't the police sunshine. Imbecile.
Hogging the middle lane. See above. And stop worrying about filtering off the motorway. The junction is at least two miles away and its well signed. Nerd.
Inappropriate speeding. I know, after all I said but 30 mph passing a school at 9 a.m. is much worse than 120 mph at night down an empty highway. Idiot.
Using your hazards whilst stopped in town. There's always another car stopped behind you so all the passing cars can only see one of your indicators. Looks like you are about to pull out! Wombat.
Parking on the 'other' side of the road with your lights on. The headlight dipping system blinds every passing car. And as you are stationary you hardly need to see. But we do. Dipstick
Author: Vince Poynter Version m5.015 4 Nov 2017
First Published: Version 1.00 in Oct 2003
The image depicts a typical motorway scene and is not intended to be a comment on the vehicles involved. It was taken by the author in Feb 2016. It was added in Version m5.015 4 Nov 2017
One day all this will be mine, or mined. Your choice
A Flexible Border...Collie
Why do so many residents of the UK fail to acknowledge that they are European? Take a look at any atlas (apart from those with the flexible borders produced by the Israelis) and the landmass of Britain is clearly in Europe. We are Europeans. End of discussion.
Of course those xenophobic Brits who refuse to acknowledge their position are really saying that they refuse to be 'European'. Some sad misapprehension that they would be forced to eat horses in the manner that the French do, be good in bed like the Italians or strut around like they own the place like most Germans. And that just isn't British.
My personal opinion is that having closer ties with your neighbours is a good thing. Less war, more trade and better pasta imports. As long as we don't have to drive Czech cars. Why suffer passport and travel restrictions? We can save all that malarkey for the other world citizens nibbling at the borders.
Europe today is a small place and should be accessible to all Europeans, including us Brits. Furthermore, European union is the first step towards world union and ultimately peace for all mankind.
And the rule applies to other parts of the world too. Africa for all Africans. The Middle East for all nations - even the Israelis. And Australia for the kangaroos.
Mind you, if it comes down to a clear choice between speaking Esperanto or becoming the next state in the good old US of A then I'm a happy hamburger eater. I'll even forgive them for not helping out in the Falklands. Or for charging us for their help in the Second World War. Or for accidentally shooting their allies every time they open fire.
Just as long as the Yanks acknowledge that the word mum has a 'u' in it. Much like the word neighbour.
Author: Vince Poynter Version 5.016 9 Nov 2017
First Published: Version 1.00 in Oct 2003
Slightly edited in Version 5.016 9 Nov 2017
The image depicts a Border Collie dog taken by the author's family around 1974. It was added in Version 5.016 9 Nov 2017
The long and shiny road
The road could be blue. To match the car
The technology that brings us reflective white paint to help guide us on our roads at night is one of man's greatest achievements. Obviously not in the league of the wheel or Penicillin. Or even bicycle clips. But pretty much up there.
As you hare down a country lane at night a pair of brilliant white lines guide you from one curve to another. The experience is surreal.
But, as usual, there is a limitation. In many cases, whilst we enjoy the reflection from the central lines sub-dividing the carriageways there isn't always an edge marker. And let's face it, the less unnecessary white paint embellishment on our country lanes the better.
Now, we cannot just paint the whole road surface because then we wouldn't be able to see the central white dividing lines. Plus the grip (for those of us who go quick enough to need it) would be severely reduced, particularly in the wet, the cost of paint would be exorbitant and, quite frankly, it would be an eyesore.
Unless the paint could be made black. And reflective.
So, we need a solution. How about making the roads fluorescent.
Add a luminescent compound to the Tarmac* mix. That way all the light absorbed during the day will be magically converted to a bright ribbon of road at night.
Just think of all the gorgeous colours that could be generated. Plus, the motorways could be coloured blue, the main roads green, the minor roads red and the little lanes yellow. All to match my road atlas.
We'll never turn onto the wrong road at night again.
Admittedly, as far as I know, luminescent paint is slightly radioactive. So all our cars will need lead underseal (lead underpants for cyclists). Then the handling and performance will be affected. So we won't be able to go quick after all.
Come to think of it, it's a silly idea. I tell you what - let me take another look at that bicycle clip concept again.
Author: Vince Poynter *Little known fact: Tarmac is a registered name used in a generic way, much like Hoover
Version m5.024 24 Nov 2017
First Published: Version 1.00 in Oct 2003 and reproduced here in full, unedited
The image depicts a Peugeot 406 Coupe travelling on a typical British A-road, taken by the author in April 2016. The image was added in Version m5.024 24 Nov 2017
Oil be seeing you. Oilways
Do you consider yourself green?
I suppose the answer would be yes if you are either a resident of the planet Nerasis (sector 45AF.789 in the Zarciod Belt, turn right past Uranus and it's only a block or two away) or a pedal cycling, anally retentive killjoy with a huge chip on your shoulder. Either way, you ain't gonna like what I say.
Fossil fuels. Burn 'em.
I make no secret of the fact that I'm a turbo charged V8 with nitrous injection.
I overtake people on the pavement (that's the sidewalk to all you Yanks) in the same way that I pass them on the road. Life is for living and we today are fortunate to have been blessed with the black stuff.
Oil. Fantastic product, all that energy easily stored and able to take us on adrenaline fuelled trips that crack cocaine would struggle to produce. I'm a petrol junkie.
Hold it old chap, I hear you politely say. What about the resource issue?
If we all go around mindlessly using these decomposed dinosaur reservoirs then there won't be any left for the next generation. Stuff them! It doesn't matter. If we didn't have oil we would invent some other way of getting our automotive kicks and so will the next generation.
Let's pass on something useful - The ability to have fun.
Just one reservation about oil. Why did someone invent Diesel, then think it might be a good idea to use it in cars? Beats me.
Author: Vince Poynter Version m5.017 10 Nov 2017
First Published: Version 1.00 in Oct 2003
The unedited content represents a view held at the time, long before the adoption of powerful electric or hybrid vehicles and modern, clean diesel engines
The image depicts a toy Shell classic petrol pump, circa 1970, taken in December 2002 and was added in Version m5.017 on 10 Nov 2017
A man and a woman. Entirely different.
First things first. Let's not confuse gender with sex. Heidi Klum doesn't have gender appeal and I've never had gender in the back seat of a car. Nor Heidi Klum come to think of it.
However, I am against too much of this modern fetish with political correctness. Men and women are different. Live with it. In fact, celebrate it. We don't want to end up in an andronomous society where you can't tell your mother from the plumber.
I'm not a misogynist (look it up) and I'm not against lesbianism. In fact I think I might be a lesbian. I share all their ideals, I just don't get to change in the same cubicle when I go swimming. And I have better hair.
I applaud equality. That is, I applaud fair equality, not the trumped up excuses used in positive discrimination. All women shortlists should only be reserved for surrogate breast feeding jobs. Not to select members of parliament. Even if they are all tits which people suck up to! - Couldn't resist that one.
Men love the way women look so good. In all shapes and sizes. Keep those curves on view and appreciate it when we look at your thighs. You know that if you hide yourselves away you will end up putting up your own shelves. And it has taken men millions of years to learn how to read a map. Women won't achieve it in their lifetime.
And as for the men. Stop being a bunch of wimps. Don't be afraid to get down the gym and pump those pecs. And it's not an insult to hold open a door or offer your seat. Stand up and be counted. Women will only be Kylie if you are prepared to be Russell Crowe.
As for me. I'm off down the gym, to pick up my map and drive over to Heidi's.
Author: Vince Poynter Version m5.018 13 Nov 2017
First Published: Version 1.00 in Oct 2003
The text is reproduced, unedited, as published in Oct 2003 and represented the author's views at the time
The image depicts the author and his wife sat astride a Can-Am Spyder three wheeled motorcycle as manufactured by Bombardier Recreational Products. It was taken on 25 Sep 2016 and added in Version m5.018 13 Nov 2017
The Meaning Of Hi-Fi
My Hi-Fi in 2001
This page is not about to describe my hi-fi to you. You'll have to get to know me much better if you want to hear my set up.
No, this page is a direct attack on all those manufacturers and suppliers out there who bandy about the term hi-fi when it clearly isn't warranted.
Hi-fi, or to give it it's full title, high fidelity, was popularly introduced in the seventies. The term may be older but it's use became more widespread, probably to coincide with the style of denim Jeans at the time. The distinction allowed for the purity of sound extracted from the growing number of specialist separate components that outperformed the all in one music-centres of the time. Eight track anyone?
I know that the latest head-banging, superwoofered ghetto blaster can outperform these early attempts at music reproduction but that's not the point. The term hi-fi is a moveable datum. As the general melee of equipment improves, the true high fidelity components are those that still rise above the masses producing crisp, clear sounds to die for.
And the number of lights, displays, bells and whistles don't count either.
So, next time someone tries to flog you a 'hi-fi' product, at a price a teenager could afford, ask them how it compares to a top end CD transport coupled to a top class processor with a pair of dedicated amps and running through some major floor-standing speakers. Then get them to show you.
You might just get an idea of what my system sounds like.
Author: Vince Poynter Version m5.019 16 Nov 2017
First Published: Version 1.00 in Oct 2003 and reproduced here in full, unedited
The image depicts the author's Hi-Fi stack in 2001 and was added in Version m5.019 16 Nov 2017
Cellulite and Celluloid
An audition taping in action
I'm in two minds about this one. These pages are all about getting a gripe off my chest, without the use of a fine pair of tweezers and Hollywood must be a prime target.
There is much to dislike about the pumped up, pretentious American film industry.
The powerful network can easily create a dream but so often wrecks them.
The play it safe attitude of film commissioning stifles genuine new raw talent and makes it hard for newcomers to break in.
The industry's hypocritical attitude to sex which rams it down your throat but ensures you never see it.
The obsession with mindless violence and the assumption that pain, maiming and killing have no subsequent consequences.
All these things are gross and frankly unnecessary in such a matured industry.
Yet, somehow, all the glitz, glamour and style makes me hold back from really winding in the knife.
Some of my best memories come from watching the spectacular stunts and settings that multi-million dollar budgets can achieve. And anything associated with Kristin Scott Thomas must be OK.
And then there is the British Film Industry.
Great ideas, talent and films but no balls when it comes to funding. So don't go whinging when Mr. USA rewrites the great British stories in his own style and makes zillions from them.
So, I have to decide one way or another, whether Hollywood is destined for the landfill dump or the mantelpiece.
Let me put it this way. Deep down, anyone who writes harbours a deep wish to become part of the circus.
Author: Vince Poynter Version m5.020 17 Nov 2017
First Published: Version 1.00 in Oct 2003 and reproduced here in full, unedited
The image depicts the author in the process of creating an audition tape in May 1998. The show was a Channel 4 project entitled Trash Talk and the audition taped failed to do it's job. The show now appears nowhere on the internet [It's not the later NFL show]. Was it even made? Has it been removed from history? Did they pick the wrong presenter? You do the maths. The image was added in Version m5.020 17 Nov 2017
Lane discipline is good here. Probably.
I'm a fan of driving. Sure there are many reasons why I shouldn't be. Take a peek at my opinion on driving habits if you need to see a few reasons why. But I am also an optimist, if things are bad they can be fixed.
All we need is the will and a bit of clever thinking. And that is a speciality of mine. I have worked out how we can reverse one of the worst habits of British motoring by changing some simple rules.
Why not let people who drive correctly, drive faster?
We all want to go quicker but need to do this responsibly. Here is the way.
Without changing the rules about only overtaking on the right, let us allow drivers to go quickest on the inside lane, then progressively slower in the outer lanes.
Sounds crazy? Well just think about it for a moment.
Imagine a three-lane motorway. When you are driving along with no other traffic (remember the seventies?) I propose that you should be able to charge along safely to your hearts content.
If you then come upon a slower vehicle ahead then you will need to move out a lane to pass. But you have to temper the speed a bit and go past carefully. If you again want to get going once past you will be encouraged to move back to lane 1 to be allowed to travel again at speed.
And when the traffic is so bad that all three lanes are needed then all the overtaking in lane 3 has to be so much slower, therefore safer. It is a self-restricting system. Slow when busy but with less restrictions when the roads empty.
And drivers will voluntarily move over to the left after overtaking. Simple. Like all great ideas.
Of course, the set limits would have to offer something if this is to be sold as a good system. If the government gets hold of this idea then some quango think tank will decide that on motorways the limits should be 70, 60 and 50 mph. Much easier to sell the idea to a sceptical public at 90, 70 and 60 mph.
Mind you it won't stop the arsehole cruising along at 60 in the centre lane, clogging up the whole system. For that I propose a simpler system. That I shall be legally allowed to carry a firearm and shoot him.
(Note: Americans and Europeans will have to read this page in a mirror to get the idea)
Author: Vince Poynter Version m5.023 23 Nov 2017
First Published: Version 1.00 in Oct 2003 and reproduced here in full, unedited
The image depicts a typical British motorway scene and is used to illustrate lanes being used. There is no implication to suggest the vehicles are in the correct or incorrect lanes. The image was added in Version m5.023 23 Nov 2017 and updated in Version m5.024 24 Nov 2017
LCD Car Windows
The new black in car windows
Blacked out windows
Maybe it's because I wear glasses and so cannot instantly pick up the oh-so-fashionable Oakleys everytime the sun comes out.
Maybe because I hate it when all those pillocks keep their sun visors down long into the evening, or later. Or forever.
Or is it just that I hate that time in a winter's evening when the sun is right in your face, just above the steering wheel rim.
I think we need to do something about sunny days.
Why not use LCD technology to automatically black out car windows on a summers day?
It's a well-known science, relatively cheap and controllable. Look at the watch on your wrist (no, not you Mr. Breitling). Control could be light sensitive, or switched by yet another button with a strange logo on the dashboard.
Just imagine you've been out cruising all night, so your windows are clear. It's early morning and you are thinking of an excuse to tell the boss that you need a day off. You know, dead grannies, leaves on the line, working from home; that sort of thing. When you pull up next to a car and it's the man-boss himself, on his way to work.
Just flick the switch and your car becomes a haven of seclusion. Or a Mafia staff car. Yes, you too could look like a reclusive film star. In your twenty-six year old Datsun Cherry.
There is only one problem as far as I can tell. Legislation would prevent the technology being applied to front windscreens, so all the problems listed above would still irritate me.
I guess I'm gonna have to get that Laser Surgery done.
Author: Vince Poynter Version m5.025 27 Nov 2017
First Published: Version 1.00 in Oct 2003 and reproduced here in full, unedited
The image was added in Version m5.025 27 Nov 2017. It depicts a blue Range Rover with blacked out windows, taken by the author in April 2012. That is, the photo was taken, not the car. That would be theft. And naughty.
A personal view of the British Lottery system
Typical pose of a lottery winner
I'm a big fan of the National Lottery.
Where else could such a simple act as shelling out a pound bring such substantial life altering consequences?
And I do not fall under the category of 'it won't change my life'. The hell it will. Big time.
Not that I have such a bad life, it is just that I do have an imagination and too much of my precious time is spent doing what I must, not what I would like. So winning would be a truly selfish act. Yes. Bring it on.
I will not try to convince you that I play the game for good causes. I have a strong belief that we should not need charity because need should be properly addressed through taxation. I have no issue with the government taking a percentage of the lottery cost for extra special causes as long as it stays that way. The causes should remain special, not need based. The organisers already make a tidy profit and the winnings seem to be sufficiently generous to tempt me.
The only downside I see is lack of integrity.
Virtually every week one, two or more people are made very wealthy. Camelot boast of the hundreds of millionaires made. But there is very little evidence.
Bentley Motors shares are not going through the roof and I, nor anyone I know, is personally aware of any big time winners, except the tiny minority of reprobates featured in the red top rags.
And don't tell me that mostly they want to keep their identities quiet or that they are all wrinklies who stuff it all under a mattress. If I won a jackpot everyone would know. The smile alone would give it away.
So, what stops the organiser saying there are four jackpot winners when there is only one? I am sure that the system is correctly monitored but the ease in which this could occur stirs the conspiracy side of my mind.
Camelot you need to demonstrate your propriety better.
Finally, a lottery tip.
Buy two sets of numbers.
The second set (providing they are a different set, numbski) will double your chances of winning. You could not improve on that.
Shelling out another quid will only increase your new chances by a third, a fourth will only increase your chance by another quarter, etc.
And don't play on Wednesday, you'll just bugger up my chances of a rollover from Saturday if you win.
P.S. Calling it Lotto doesn't fool anyone. It makes it sound cheap. Which, I guess is the idea. Trouble is, it is still a pound. And I, for one, do not want a 'cheap' win.
What I couldn't do with twenty million? Well, a better website for a start.
Author: Vince Poynter Version m5.028 30 Nov 2017
First Published: Version 1.00 in Oct 2003 and reproduced here in full, unedited
This article was written when Camelot owned the rights to the British lottery. It has since been sold to some teachers in Canada [seriously, look it up] and because teachers are not well paid it now costs two quid a go. So now I cannot afford it.
The image depicts the author stood next to a Bentley Arnage in 2000 and was added in Version m5.028 30 Nov 2017
QE2 - Properly Crossing The Atlantic
A long story of a transatlantic cruise on board the magnificent Queen Elizabeth 2
In some ways I felt a bit of a fraud.
It was only exceptional circumstances that led me to be able to savour the delights of crossing the Atlantic the 'proper way'. Sure I could afford it if I really wanted to, provided a few other luxuries were forsaken. And I had previously figured that one day I might part with the thousands needed to make the trip. But I would probably be a lot older. Much like the other guests queued in the bleak warehouse that Cunard seemed fit to welcome their clients onto the most sought after ship in the cruise business.
The few tri-colour balloons did nothing to enhance the surroundings and the shabby makeshift desks that processed us out of America seemed cheap and tatty. It was the last I would see of cheap and tatty for the next six days.
I had an opportunity to live on board the magnificent Queen Elizabeth 2 ocean liner for a week at a fraction of the normal cost and snapped at the chance with immense enthusiasm.
I would travel the four thousand miles from New York to her home town of Southampton living the millionaire dream
It was close to the first anniversary of September 11th so the 1,791 spaces were only occupied by about 1,600 guests. I studied these travelling companions as I stood patiently in the line awaiting my chance to be photographed for the on-board ID card. I thought I had come to the wrong place, convinced I had accidentally stumbled on a SAGA holiday outing. The average age, as confirmed later, was 65. Some of them were lying.
The waiting photographer hurriedly set up each couple and took his shot. Standing next to an endorsed rubber ring with the backdrop of the warehouse and the next impatient passengers I instantly vowed not to purchase that picture and slipped quickly on board.
When boarding, at a proper terminal that is, one enters the ship in the room they appropriately call amidships. It's like a hotel lobby without the ceiling height, a circular arrangement of comfy looking sofas surrounded by hand painted murals depicting the major events of Cunard's illustrious past. A small sign prompted me to play hunt the cabin. A task that I am sure some of the American guests were still carrying out on the fifth day.
The cabin search took me to three deck. To the uninitiated this is the highest row of portholes on the black bit. To the initiated this meant dining in the 'Caronia' restaurant.
Although initially opting for nearly the cheapest of cabins I had already been upgraded twice, firstly out of the 'Mauritania' restaurant, then, on boarding I received a pleasant surprise that I was up another deck.
The brochure suggested that cabin 3113 should be hosting a 'Princess Grille' passenger but I was still allocated the 'Caronia'. I wasn't about to complain. My few hundred pounds had secured me in a cabin some would pay ten times the amount for. And anyway, the standard tipping rate was higher in the 'Grilles'.
The restaurants on board are the first introduction to the quaint class divisions that the QE2 still proudly hangs on to.
The basic cabins and lower decks eat in the 'Mauritania'. Not that this is a problem. The 'Mauritania' resembles a five star restaurant and all guests eat the same food anyway. The other restaurants and grilles only provide fancier plates, presentation and fawning.
Dining in the Caronia restaurant
The next 'class up' eats in the 'Caronia' and as an occupant for a week I can declare that I wouldn't mind if I never ate better in my entire life.
For those on the higher decks, the ones with white painted exterior walls, the 'Britannia', 'Princess' and 'Queens' Grilles await.
Entrance to the esteemed 'Queens Grille' is subtly through the 'Queens Grille Lounge', discouraging the general hoy-poli from gracing the presence of on-board rock stars, captains of industry and those rich bastards secretly treating their lovers to a week or two of luxurious shagging.
You might like to note at this point how the company trades on it's glorious past. The names of the old White Star Liners, which merged with Samuel Cunard's own vessels are bandied about with great enthusiasm. 'Mauritania', 'Britannia' and 'Caronia' proudly adorn the restaurants and all around the ship you discover maritime heritage artifacts from the most famous liners ever to grace the Atlantic.
Although I couldn't locate the Titanic bar ("Ice with that, sir?").
Mind you the careful marketing of the past is unsurprising. Even the vessel proudly claims to be a Cunard when in reality it is now owned and operated by Carnival Corporation. I think they are wise to keep the name Cunard. More class. More style.
Things move surprisingly quickly on board. I expected a lot of hanging about and gentle moseying along the Hudson out of New York harbour. But the ship was built for speed and designed to cross the Atlantic in a shade over three and a half days. The six day trip taking the northerly route up the east coast of North America past the Coast of Maine and Newfoundland, before heading east to the UK was designed to allow those on board more than a couple of days living it up but the docking and maneuvering was well rehearsed and efficient.
Typically the ship would berth in the early morning and set sail before sundown. Considering the enormous tally of items to do in this time, including cabin swapping, provision loading and static maintenance we should all hail those individuals who organise the turnaround. My guess is that they train with Ferrari's Formula One wheel changing teams.
Mind you a cynic suggested that the daytime turnaround is due to the high cost of overnight berthing in New York or Southampton. Just pity the poor traveller who gets only six or seven hours to see New York. However, two to three is quite enough for Southampton.
We were scheduled to leave at 16.15. Unfortunately, this was the time that Herr Capitain decided all the new passengers on board had to prove they could master their safety equipment and get to their muster stations.
I wanted to stand proudly at the head of the vessel and watch the magnificent splendour of New York's skyline drift away but was stuck at the muster point wearing a hideous shade of orange and sniggering at the Americans who couldn't work out how to get in a lifejacket. It only had one entrance as far as I could see.
At least they had found the muster station, some were still playing hunt the cabin.
And as a minor comfort the muster station for all cabins around 3113 was the on-board pub.
It only took a couple of minutes to de-robe the orange lifesaver and return it to my room then hare up to the observation platform. I got a front row view. Don't be impressed, I only had to beat a few pensioners. Some didn't reach the front until we were in the Gulf of Maine.
Not that we were at the true front of the ship, or the bow to you hearty sea dogs. There was no imitating Kate Winslett in the film Titanic.
The front deck area was off limits to the passengers, crew only down there. Passengers had to slum it in the rear. On the teak covered multi-decks with the pool, hot tubs and no chance of a freak wave giving an impromptu shower. An interesting place to spot the well heeled Atlantic traveller. They are the ones sunbathing fully clad and wearing sunglasses.
I'm sure that by the end of the six days aboard I spotted quite a few pale faces with shiny brown noses.
The other, braver souls sat imperiously in the hot tubs. Quite impressive until their last minute dash to recover the towel and dry themselves before the Atlantic chill took its toll.
Then there were the swimmers. Hardy individuals moved to try to swim in a heaving lake of semi-warmed seawater. At least you have been warned. I thought it freshwater until my first and, I might add, only open mouthed dive.
I returned to 3113. My home for the next week. A pleasant room of similar quality to a 4 star hotel.
The cabin itself was quite long, if not wide, with twin portholes at one end. The main sleeping area was separated from the bathroom by a walk in wardrobe. I walked straight back out again and only went back to use the fridge or safe.
There was enough accommodation in the main wardrobes for my light travelling. If my wife was a normal woman and not a mannequin for Levi Strauss I'm sure we could have made more use of the third room. In any event, the beds were single but well sized and placed together, the linen crisp, fresh and white and the bathroom well stocked. Ben saw to that.
Ben was (and probably still is I would wager) a small, cheerful man ready to dive into my room whenever it was vacated. Not that this was a problem as he was the assigned cabin steward. Had he not have been I would have been less impressed with his eagerness to be there when I wasn't.
He ensured that the bathroom was cleaned and restocked, the vacuuming done and the bed turned down at the right time. He even supplied champagne and strawberries on arrival, fresh fruit daily and left a small chocolate at night. Although I think everyone on board benefited from this and it wasn't just my friendly deportment.
I introduced myself as Vince and he duly ignored that by referring to my surname for the rest of the journey. His strict training didn't allow for such personal contact.
Such was Ben's efficiency I wondered what else the private Butler's did for the penthouse suites. I mused, perhaps they didn't turn the bed down, instead accepting it into their hearts and cuddling it all night.
Ben even secured a mock credit card to allow me to operate the safe. A rather pointless design which needed a credit card to swipe it shut. As there was no cash transactions on board, apart from the casino, the best place to keep the credit card was inside the safe. I wish I had remembered to bring the Harrods card to waltz around with. Or even the Texaco fuel card.
The fridge was much simpler, needing only a short tug to get at the contents. Trouble is there were none. No mini bar drinks or bars of chocolate. Room service would have to cater for such urgent necessities, if you couldn't wait the long thirty minutes to the next scheduled meal.
Nothing fishy going on here
Meals. Eating. That's what transatlantic cruising is all about. And boy do they do this well. You have to be prepared to dress well to eat at dinner so judicious use of a tuxedo will be balanced with a smart suit, unless your great grandfather was clearly very wealthy in which case you need to buy a second hand corduroy suit then sleep rough in it for a month beforehand, it seems.
Not having a tux didn't prevent me from eating on the more formal nights as the dark suit blended well, but I'll get one the next time I go. And you could wear pretty much what you wanted for breakfast and lunch. Although Ian Thorpe may have had to change out of his daywear.
The first meal of the day was breakfast. Served in your room or in your restaurant it was a grand affair.
Like all meals the finely dressed waiters personal to the few tables around you presented a leather bound menu. A touch pompous for two Weetabix and toast perhaps but suited to the five course selection you could have.
And the service wasn't any less proper because of the time of day. The napkin was laid politely on your knees and one didn't need more than a nod to accept the grinding of black pepper onto the meal. The waiters even knew not to offer it on the Cornflakes. Real class.
And the food was superb. The omelettes were light and tasty, the mushrooms tasted organic (without the hideous manure twang) and the bacon was served thick and tender, unless the crispy old dried Canadian version was requested.
The only strange item was the oatmeal substitute which resembled wallpaper paste. To look at, that is. Funnily enough, I never tried hanging paper with it. Felt it wasn't the time or the place.
Breakfast usually finished around ten, if you started early at around eight thirty, so it was a long and arduous wait until lunch, at midday.
Again the leather clad menus were offered but this time there were about six courses, if you felt so inclined. The future shape of my stomach demanded I take just two so I generally opted for the starter or soup course followed by a main meal. I'm not that into puddings and cakes.
I paraphrase when describing the selections, the soup could typically be a coconut and lime consommé with a fruits of the sea filo pastry ball, or something like that. Well to be honest, nothing like that. If I were a sous chef I'd be well and truly sued. But the geniuses in the ample kitchens knew what they were doing and accordingly worked their magic to produce the some of the best food I have eaten.
Lunch typically finished around two so it was quite a wait until the evening dinner served from around six-forty-five. One might get peckish so the crew rallied around at four thirty to present afternoon tea. This, I liked. It's the Englishman in me.
We all took our places in the 'Queen's Room'. She wasn't present herself, only her bust, but she would not have felt uncomfortable.
We sat awaiting the stroke of four-thirty when all the waiters, dressed princely in their full whites, emerged brandishing silver salvers ready to take an order for tea or coffee. Immediately, following these were the next wave, offering finely crafted, crustless sandwiches. The final onslaught offered cakes and pastries. The enemy was defeated. We all sat about trying to digest the food in time to get dressed for dinner at seven.
Dinner was the most formal meal of the day. The head waiters would unveil the gold plaque announcing that Gentlemen must wear jackets. No mention was made of trousers but I didn't push the point.
Waiters Anders (left) and Majic
Our two waiters, Majic, a charming and professional man from Gdansk, in Poland, near to where 1983 Nobel prize winning Lech Walesa famously toppled their government and Majic's efficient assistant Anders, a polite and helpful Croatian, made a special effort to ensure our needs were well catered for.
The usual placing of napkins and pouring of iced water were carried out, one on the knees, the other into the sparkling crystal glass (most times the napkin was the one that went over the knees). Then the menus were offered, presenting another mouth watering feast to savour select and gobble up.
Do order the fish if you go. My wife did and Anders immediately offered to squeeze her lemon. At first I thought it may have been an unprofessional approach and prepared to hit him, but he pricked his fork into the lemon segment, used another to hook out all those irritating pips then with a dexterity which would have made a card shark gasp, gently squeezed the juice into a spoon. With two forks and a spoon, he carefully pressurised the segment into releasing its contents without squirting it all over the table. And he only had two hands. I felt like applauding.
Of course all this high-foluting doesn't suit everybody all the time. If you want a quicker feed or can't be arsed to change out of those baggy shorts for dinner you could always dine in the Lido.
This was the sixth restaurant and had that noisy tray clanging feel of a summer camp. It was too casual for my liking and the self service seemed far too manual. Our money was paying for the fancy restaurants so it was dumb to eat in the cafe.
But that didn't put off many, it was always busy. I guess many of them were the Americans, having spent all morning trying to find the pool area they didn't want to risk having to find their cabins again to change and then their restaurant. They might miss an important meal and at a rough guess I would say seventy percent were anorexic. That is, if you define anorexic as standing in front of a mirror and thinking you are fat.
I wasn't a big fan of this place, except when they held the midnight feasts there.
The midnight feast was a semi-misnomer. True, it could be a feast, and fairly unwanted at that time of day. But starting at eleven-thirty was hardly midnight. I think the guests may have gotten too hungry if they left it until actually midnight.
Ice carvings (Not the two in the seats)
But even if you were thinking of sleeping on anything other than your back you had to go just for the spectacle. I'm not mentioning the magnificent ice and butter carvings (not together, I add) nor the spread of fresh salmon, crab and lobster. Nor even the wide range of cakes, pasties, breads and chocolates. No, the sight of one hundred chubby, sequined clad ladies elbowing each other out of the way to reach that last strawberry. Well, they hadn't eaten much I suspect.
Despite all this gastronomy there were a couple of hours free to wander the liner.
For the more adventurous it was advised that five laps around the decks equated to a mile. This route was charmingly called the jogging track, although really it was the only way around.
Not that many jogged. A quarter never ventured on deck, a quarter were frankly the wrong shape for such activity, a quarter too old and the rest were probably eating. The only jogging I saw all week was the races from the lounge to the Lido at eleven twenty-five.
The other problem was that the front section of the ship was off limits to anyone wishing to maintain some sort of hairstyle. Twenty six knot winds in the mid-Atlantic can be very strong. Expect to walk at an angle of about forty-five degrees.
Other deck sports included a golfing net. A pity really as I was expecting to fire a few out to sea, straight off the deck. I guess the environmentalists have had their say and fear the Atlantic is being undermined by small white balls.
Another option is soft tennis or basketball. Equipment was supplied although I only saw one hoop. And it was far too high. Frankly, I'm not the right height for this game, being less than seven foot three. I did have a quick go at deck quoits though. Well you have to whilst on board, don't you?
If you didn't want to brave the bracing winds outside there was plenty to amuse inside.
The theatre was used for the guest speakers and ours included Elaine Stritch, of West End stage fame and a retired Concorde pilot giving an interesting, illustrated talk about flying the most beautiful of aircraft at twice the speed of sound. One American woman asked why it was that when she was on board she couldn't hear the sonic boom. Mind you, on deck mid-Atlantic, I heard it pass overhead on one occasion.
The theatre also doubled as the cinema, where the latest releases were played using full surround sound equipment. It was like being at the movies. In a rocking chair.
But that's the nature of being aboard. Even walking the aisles one tends to adopt the on-board swagger, moving along but gently veering from side to side. By the end of the trip you have learnt how to judge your own jaunt to nicely coordinate with the sway of the person approaching. At first there is just a lot of incompetent leaping from side to side at the last minute followed by the "Sorry. That's OK" exchange.
If you feel up to it you are welcomed at one of the many on-board classes and talks. I noticed things ranging from computer lessons to needlework.
Card games were popular and everyone had a quick go at the on-board jigsaw. Pity all that was left was that complex bit of grass with all the bits looking just the same. I wondered how many people had actually stopped and checked a few pieces then trotted off muttering that they could have helped if only someone had not stolen that clear white piece in the middle of the thatched house.
A regular feature each morning was the art auction.
Conducted by two professional auctioneers who spent their evenings in the pub and got increasingly friendlier with the audience as the cruise went on.
Most sales were described as lithographs or serigraphs, often of a limited number with the artist's hand signature. Many looked like they had been brought from Athena. Except you don't find may hand signed Picassos in Athena.
The Astahov gets home safely
The auctions were light hearted and fair. There wasn't many on board prepared to pay $25,000 for the Chagalls or Picassos but a few of us brought minor pieces. Personally, I invested in an Astahov original. Whoever he is. At least he made sure all the numbers were fully covered by the paint.
The auctioneer typically gave a detailed and loving three minute pitch on each piece. By the time they had finished I wondered why they were selling them at all and not adopting the work as one of the family.
All the frames were delightfully matched to the piece and glazing was included. The shipping (a suitable term given the circumstances) prices were reasonable and they even offered to provide an independent valuation for insurance purposes. All one had to do was bid.
They would always start reasonably high, to see if they could feed the idea of spending a fortune. "What will someone offer for this fine Norman Rockwell?" they would ask. "$20,000". Silence. "Ten?" they proposed tentatively. Still silence. Not even the faint sound of a nose scratch. "Five?". The audience front row tended to look around at this point to see if others were awake. Or had left the room. Then a tentative finger would be raised.
The skilled auctioneer would pounce on this communication. "Is that a thousand to start me off?". "A hundred." would be the reply and after strenuouse effort the Rockwell would remain unsold.
Not that everything went unsold. Fairly brisk business was made when the pieces were punted around the one to three hundred dollar mark and the audience lapped up the original Disney cartoons. Even if the prices were a bit Goofy.
Not all of the daily activities were quite so sedantary.
I joined 'Cruise Host' Thomas on one of his historic talks. Thomas was an interesting, ebullient character who seemed to work hard all week. His enthusiasm was tested by the itinerary he kept.
I was never sure of his native country. At first I had assumed he was Scandinavian, the name suited and his strong accent seemed to fit. But then I saw he was holding elementary French speaking lessons on another day. On another he was listed as your German host Thomas, holding elementary German lessons. My wife had none of this and categorically said he was Spanish.
Whatever his background he knew a lot about Cunard and held a highly entertaining talk whilst whisking his crowd through the ship.
About thirty had gathered initially at the designated meeting point but I reckon only twenty-five made it to the first point of call in amidships to see him start the talk. He would enthuse about the humble beginnings of Samuel Cunard whilst colourfully reliving the past.
After a few minutes he would say that we should all turn round to see the next exhibit and when you did there he was again, continuing the fascinating story and highlighting all the interesting artefacts on board. This was to continue throughout the guided tour, so I did eventually wonder whether there was more than one Thomas anyway.
His tour took us through quite a few areas of the ship and as we went to each level the crowd size visibly diminished. Not that they were bored by the talk, you couldn't be, it's just that at their age, climbing and descending all those staircases takes its toll.
There were only seven of us at the end. And that included all the Thomases.
Thomas did recount a few stories of old including the Royal visits on board and the other famous passengers.
He also said that the passengers were known for trying to steal things from the liners of the past and in some cases actually tried to disembark with some furniture. Although I did not witness this spectacle some people did appear to be keeping to this tradition. How else could the missing white jigsaw piece be explained?
All in all I had a wonderful experience on board and although I have tweaked the nose of some of the traditions my overriding memories will be good and I will return.
The crew, ably led by the captain, did us all proud and I thank them all.
And just to put some icing on the cake, halfway across we had an announcement that the ship had passed her five millionth mile, so we all got a certificate. A piece of maritime memorabilia to remind us of the journey. It made me feel a proper transatlantic traveller.
No longer a fraud.
Author: Vince Poynter Version m5.034 8 Dec 2017
First Published: Version 1.00 Oct 2003 and reproduced here, unedited
Images and links added in Version m5.034 8 Dec 2017
Admittedly, the way I take it - black, weak and with one sugar is a little unconventional. If it is an inviting, red, watery, sweet liquid where you can clearly see the base of the cup I'm a happy bunny. The taste is so subtle, not disrupted by the artificial thickness of bovine mammoidal fluid.
I learnt to appreciate the subtleness of tea as a drink after a Japanese restaurant supplied me with green tea. An oriental fusion of hot water with bits of their garden chucked in it. Strange to the eye but welcome in the mouth. The Japenese have been drinking it like this for hundreds of years before they told me. How inconsiderate is that?
This ancient heritage can be easily traced because in essence tea has hardly changed since the first chinaman boiled a pan of water in autumn. That is why the British love it. We are superb at tradition. So much so the developments in tea distribution have been few and far between.
For a start there was the tea bag. A major revolution. And then. Well almost nothing.
Except tea bags of various shapes offering dubious claims to increase efficiency. I don't even want my flavour to flood out. I take it red ferchrissakes.
So when I came upon this idea I thought I could claim a landmark. A revolution in tea making. A quantum step no less.
Will they name it after me?
Like all good ideas it is simple and comes from need.
Recently, I tried to make a cup of tea but there was no sugar. Someone had used the last of it and all that remained were a few grains amongst the coffee granules.
Little interim note, if you have coffee with sugar - put the sugar in first so the spoon doesn't contaminate the sugar. That coffee granule really spoils my weak tea. And I'm tea total, I never drink coffee.
Anyway, back to the case in point. I wanted a cup of tea and there was no sugar. I looked at the teabag. If only the sugar was already in it I thought.
One of those little lightbulb thingies illuminated over my head and there it was.
Tea bags, containing tea and sugar.
A marketing edge.
I even have the logo. "Sweet tea's the one for me".
Do you have the ability to turn this into a consumer product with me? Tea bag and sugar producers click away.
Author: Vince Poynter Version m5.039 15 Dec 2017
First Published: Version 1.00 in Oct 2003 and reproduced here in full, unedited
The tags were added in Version m5.039 15 Dec 2017, along with the image which depicts the author serving afternoon tea to some pensioners whlst some co-workers look on
Links to 'Tea' poem added in version m5.040 17 Dec 2017
Word Minutes Template
Take a minute to read this
There must some minutes in here somewhere
The thing with big software applications is that they are so well developed that they are often hard to fault.
Thousands of pounds and man-hours go into producing a top class product worthy of the fortune you have to spend on it.
Or rather thousands of dollars, because let's face it. The yanks have got it all tied up.
So when I came across a need for an elementary layout in a powerful popular application I was surprised by its omission.
Microsoft Word '97 doesn't have a standard template for minutes.
How did this occur? Surely when they were beta testing the product they would have held meetings.
And minuted them.
Have I discovered a secret here? Do they use Lotus Ami-Pro in Seattle? We should be told.
By the way, I have created a template myself. If you need a copy, send me a request.
And if Bill Gates is reading this. Get in touch. You'll find my hourly rate very reasonable. Compared to yours.
Author: Vince Poynter Version m5.030 4 Dec 2017
First Published: Version 1.00 in Oct 2003 and reproduced here in full, unedited
The tags were added in Version m5.030 4 Dec 2017, along with the image which depicts a Windows XP desktop with multiple windows open