vinceunlimited Top Tens

My intention within this article is to show, for your entertainment, some of my miscellaneous top ten lists, then for some fun a top ten worst or Room 101 style list.

So far I have penned a list of celebrity meal friends, musical acts, my favourite TV and films and ten great vehicles, plus my 'Room 101' choices, all as linked below.

Food and drink should be next up and I'll explain why I love eating and drinking the stuff.

Connoisseurs, or drunks as I call them, will notice the lack of excess alcohol but it does little for me except slur the speech and regress the taste of my breath. Burp.

So, Cranberry and Raspberry drink for starters, then as an anti-pasta I'll work my way through a Flat Based Pizza, washed down with an ice-cool Lager and Lime.

Mash and Mum's trifle would be a strange combination, before licking my lips over Mushrooms, Mushy Peas and Pea and Ham soup.

For a main course I'll relish Roast dinners, Sashimi and Smoked Salmon then I'll explain why Strawberries just pip Bananas.

All followed up by Tea and Vienetta ice cream, naturally.

I bet you are getting hungry thinking about it. Me, I'm off to make a sandwich.




vSearch by title

Celebrity Friends Meal - Musical Artists - TV and Films - Vehicles - Room 101



Links



Author: Vince Poynter
Version 5.129 7 Jun 2018
First Published: Version 1.03 Feb 2005



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!




Rowan Atkinson

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.




Billy Connolly

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

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.




Sarah Ferguson

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.




Stephen Fry

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.




Gerri Halliwell

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.




Amanda Holden

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.




Boris Johnson

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.




Demi Moore

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.


Links



Author: Vince Poynter
Version 5.072 16 Feb 2018
First Published: Version 1.03 Feb 2005



Listen - Top Ten Musical Acts

Aural affections

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.




ABBA

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.




The Carpenters

The excellent sounding voices of Melanie Chisholm and Dido are knocked off this list as they cannot compete with the great female voice in The Carpenters.

The more I hear about them the more I actually notice the genius behind the beautiful, soulful seventies music.

Brother Richard was instrumental in the instrumentals and gave direction to sister Karen's dreamy, mellow voice.

Sounds good when played on any source but mesmerising when played by a quality system.




Dire Straits

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

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.




Meatloaf

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.




Queen

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?




Robbie Williams

Most true superstars come from the sixties, seventies and eighties.

These were eras before the modern concept of manufactured fame [and 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.

Plus, 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.




Status Quo

People dismiss them as a one-chord wonder but what a chord.

Toe-tapping enough to feature over many decades.

So famous now that they have featured on Coronation Street.

The Quo were my favourites when I cared about the colour of my Denim and grew my hair long.

To be honest not a lot has changed since.




Tchaikovsky

I thought I might elevate the list somewhat with my final choice.

I have never been a big fan of classical music as I find it too involving to become entwined in my soul.

However I love a good rousing crescendo and Tchaikovsky does it best.


Links



Author: Vince Poynter
Version 5.129 7 Jun 2018
First Published: Version 2.00 in May 2005



Favourite TV and Films

Celluloid Choices [In 2005]

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.

Yes, I know I only got to five. I did mention it was difficult.

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.

That is why I have been generous enough to give you a list of ten that includes eleven choices.

So scroll down to see what lit my rocket on the small and big screens.




Television

Thunderbirds

Black & white photo of Vince playing with a Thunderbird 2 model
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.




Blue Peter

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.




24

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

Vince stood against the barriers outside the White House
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.




Gutter TV

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.




Films

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.




Airplane

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.




Con Air

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.




James Bond

Vince stood, dresed in a classic Tuxedo, arms folded, in a ships cabin
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 one is usually the latest film 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

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.




Midnight Express

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.




Reservoir Dogs

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

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.




Top Gun

US Navy Grumman F14 Tomcat in mild climbing flight
Tom's cat?

Possibly the best film ever and I include 'It's a Wonderful Life' in that ascertain.

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.




Favourite Film

So what is my favourite of all time? My vote goes to Top Gun.

Cheesy perhaps, but I like the taste of cheese.


Links



Author: Vince Poynter
Version 5.072 16 Feb 2018
First Published: Version 1.03 Feb 2005
Photographs added in version 5.068 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 Top Ten Vehicles

21st Century Travelling [In 2005]

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

Photograpgh of a slightly tatty yellow and white Cooper racing car with steering operated from a leaning driver and a high rear wing
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.




Aerial Atom

A black Ariel Atom stood in front of a red Jaguar XJ8
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.




Bentley Arnage

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 Arnage 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 Arnage to beat it.

The best car in the world.

Full stop.


Note that a full appraisal of my time with a Bentley Arnage will eventually be available in the cars section of the website.




Concorde

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.




Dakota

A Far Eastern Airlines branded metal polished Douglas DC-3 hanging in the Smithsonian Museum
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 brown Moto Martin CBX motorbike
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.

Praise indeed.




Jaguar XJ

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.




QE2

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 author squatting down next to an immaculate Vincent Black Shadow motorbike
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.


Links



Author: Vince Poynter
Version 5.060 23 Jan 2018
First Published: Version 1.03 in Feb 2005
Images added, along with minor text updates for setting out purposes, in Version 5.060 23 Jan 2018. All photographs taken by the Author, except the one he is in [Obvs].



The vinceunlimited Room 101 Choices

The Worst Things Known to Man

Why 101?

The phrase 'Top Ten' is fairly commonly known. Immediately on hearing this phrase the reader expects to read about the very finest.

Accordingly, the 'Bottom Ten' may infer the opposite, a list of such incongruous hideosity that only an Estate Agent wearing brown would be prepared to accept the contents.

George Orwell recognised, in his 1948 novel 1984, that the very worst was harboured deep within every person and suggested that this was to be found in Room 101.

He never told us what lurked in Room 102. I suspect it may have been the 1971 Datsun Cherry Coupe.

Television took up Orwell's theme and under the current [2006] stewardship of Paul Merton, produced a programme that allows guest celebrities to nit-pick the achievements and habits of others and 'consign' them to this fictitious centenary room.

I too will list out the worst offenders but have trouble confining the list to just ten. That makes me a pessimist and shows I lack decisiveness. In fact two qualities that should be in the Room!

But there are far better candidates.


Far Better Candidates

My first thought was that Room 101 should be in the room.

Wouldn't life be so much nicer if there were no horrid things at all?

But then I pondered the fact that without dark there is no light, without pain there is no pleasure and without chocolate there is no point in living.

So then I thought that maybe just the door of Room 101 should be in The Room but this made me all existential and I had to meditate for a quarter of an hour.

So I decided that instead of placing all the most evil things in there I could send in some nice things.

I thought a mini-bar and salmon sandwich vending machine might be nice, along with a down-feather bed and TV with fresh batteries in the remote. With all these little essentials sent into Room 101 it wouldn't be so bad.

And if the list can have anything why not consign an exit door to The Room, then one could leave as soon as one entered.

But then I got all existential again and had to have a lie down.




Numero Uno - Smoking

The first item I must send to the one way room, without question, would be smoking.

And anything to do with this most rancid of pathetic habits, such as ashtrays, butt-ends, the stench that permeates everything and smokers themselves.

Now I know that this will thin out the populous somewhat and may remove many people who I know and love dearly [Yes. You mum!] so I would give an amnesty to anyone who gives up completely with immediate effect, then burns all their clothes, rugs, curtains, car headlining etc.

And don't give me any tush about smoking in private places or wide open areas. If everyone gave up, in time, we could smell out a smoker on the plains of Nullarbor. When in France.

And the next time someone users the phrase 'I'm just a Social Smoker', I'll reply "Is that like being a Social Paedophile?" Then I'll hit them.

P.S. This includes all forms of tobacco consumption and any stinky inhalation. So no good claiming you are Jack Hargreaves, Winston Churchill or twittering on about the beneficial uses of cannabis.

If it alleviates pain then it should come from the doctor - in a tablet.




Two, Two - Trains

This section could open up a whole railroad of whinging and there are some that might put the whole rail industry in.

I'm not an advocate of such draconian measures as I think the rail system is a fantastic piece of engineering and so complex in its entirety it is hardly surprising that there are some rogue elements.

However a few things really bug me and I've selected small train seats.

To clarify, that is small seats on trains not seats on small trains.

We all live in an ever expanding universe and to be frank most of the population are a living microcosm of this procedure so the general population is now, let's not beat around the bush, chubby. No, let's step right through the bush and out the other side - People are getting fat. In fact so fat that I was going to confine them to Room 101 but they just wouldn't get through the door.

As a result public train seats [are there any private trains?] should be more generously accommodating, not the width of a ten-year old girl addicted to vomiting.

Which leads me neatly into my next selection.




Three - Peanut Butter

It comes as some testament to a food product that it can make this list ahead of any other spicy concoction in the entire world.

In fact, if you look at this list carefully you won't even find hunger. I actually rank eating peanut butter worse than starvation!

Does anyone truly like the taste of this sickly, off-orange paste that masquerades as a luxury sandwich spread?

I personally think it is the worst thing to have ever passed between my lips - in either direction.

The obnoxious stench is about the only thing that is worse than stale smoke.

It cannot possibly be good for you, so isn't it time some University did some research to link it to a disease so we can rid of it altogether?




Four - Bullies

Although the previous selection may divide some quarters of the community this choice should be universally applauded.

No one likes a bully, not even bullies themselves.

Personally I despise them so much I am unable to write anything humorous or clever about them.

They don't deserve the wear on my keyboard.




Five - Photos of Children

Image of a light blue Peugeot 406 coupe travelling on a road
Yes. Precisely. Exactly the sort of chubby ugliness we don’t want to be finding on the desk at work

Referring to keyboards links me nicely to work, for I work mainly in offices and it is here that I find my next selection for the exitless Room.

And I propose to place in this Room all pictures of children posted in a workplace.

This isn't because of some misplaced anti-paedo thing but the fact that a cutesy picture of little Lucy may be the bee-knees to its parent but to all others it is just a picture of a snotty-nosed, ugly little kid.

Most of these so called treasured items are pretty awful pictures that didn't actually make it into the home family album because of the poor quality. Often being washed out, out-of-focus and featuring the subject screwing up its nose.

If it isn't good enough for the Tate then it's tat and should be burnt.

The only redeeming facet of these atrocious snapshots is that they are better than the pathetic paintings that the kids do.

Despite what the mums and dads think most children are just talentless idiots whose idea of a house is a square with four windows, one placed in each corner extremity, and painted purple.

And if the defence is "He's only five!" remind them that Beethoven was just seven when he first performed his own work in public.

And a final note - replacing the photo with the child itself is no better.

If you have just taken six months off to have a kid do not assume that all your female work colleagues want to see the sprog.

Remember that for the last six months they have all had to sweat buckets to cover for your prolonged absence, each doing more than ever before with no more pay but twice the stress.

You may have become adept at googling like a gibbering idiot but some still view new mothers as vacant Dormice with added sick patches.

Remember that the other girls are more interested in their latte cappuccinos and flirting outrageously with the photocopier engineer.

Much like you about a year ago.




Six - Parent and Child Parking Spaces

As if the paragraphs above were not enough to cause you to think I am not over keen on the smallest members of our society the inclusion of this subject into the Room may make you think again.

However, here I do not object to the users I am objecting to the suppliers.

A few years back one supermarket thought it a good advertising wheeze to include special Mother and Baby spaces to target that single group of potential shoppers.

The idea seemed morally sound as a designated space close to the door with good access for car loading was ideal.

The trouble was this marketing initiative wasn't fully thought through.

The first problem is that success breeds copycat systems from all the competitors, so the original marketing initiative has now become a burdensome necessity. Now it has become the norm so it is no longer an initiative. All costs with the setting up, administration of the scheme and any negative issues have to be absorbed.

Another underlying problem, and here is where my gripe arises, is that by providing special access to one type of customer effectively sticks two fingers up at the rest.

I, like many other shoppers, am not in possession of a child so feel I am treated in a second-class way.

Why can't I have a big parking space next to the door? I have a big car that can be susceptible to damage from adjacent car doors and the store places signs up to offset responsibility so I want a big space.

Like many, I am in a hurry when shopping because I work and time is precious. Why should all working people on tight timescales have to cross half an acre of car park, past all the mums who have all day to fiddle with their tot's over-complex seat belt fixings.

Why should able bodied, but aged, pensioners have to walk further than young fit parents who actually have little wheeled vehicles to transport their bairns?

In fact some superstore layouts provide closer access for their parent and child schemes than for their disabled customers.

Praise be to the first Supermarket to get a grip and sort it out.




Seven - Hypocritical Censorship

My next subject to be dumped in the bin marked No Exit is the self-righteous, hypocritical nature of daily publications such as the Daily Mail/Mirror.

These papers are deeply riled that The Sun sells more papers than they do and try to set themselves above other Red Top rags by claiming morale high ground.

However their stance is severely undermined by the fact that they too are obsessed by the same subject as the rest of us - sex.

This means that these publications have eight page spreads decrying loosening moral standards in society then place huge pictures of sexy, semi-naked models on other pages for no reason other than titillation.

One reason The Sun outsells the others is because it is, in its way, more honest about it's readership's tastes.

However, I despair that here in the 21st Century, more than a hundred years since the stifling Regina Victoria died, we still pussyfoot about de-censuring nakedness and our best selling newspaper continues to use vacuous, airbrushed, topless women to help shift copy.

Why can't papers such as the Daily Mail decide on one stance in the matter?

Either you hate any form of sexual expression, no matter how trivial, or you love to celebrate of the beauty of the human body.

Polarity is fine, but not in the same breath.

Every paper should decide where they stand and stick with their decision.




Eight - Geek Add-ons

Another form of censorship that would not exist in my ideal world would be electronic media that is only accessible by geeks and there are two prime contenders.

The first is electronic games with levels that are only accessed by proficient players.

If I pay fifty quid for a driving game I want to be able to drive all the cars, whenever I want.

I don't want to have to go through multiple levels and earn my right to play parts of the game. My fifty-quid gave me that right.

I don't spend hours and hours playing and re-playing until my fingertips swell and eyes bleed. I barely use the game more than once or twice so I want to drive the big fast Ferrari straight away - with the accessory chrome wheels fitted.

My second gripe is of a similar nature - DVD Easter Eggs.

This is the naff term used by DVD compilers for accessing sections of the disk that are not immediately available from the menu screens.

Some are so hidden that only geeks trawling specialised websites for input codes can access them.

For instance, did you know that if you hover your curser over Bruce Willis' watch in the scene where he thumps Alan Rickman in Die Hard, then press FF, Skip, 865 you enter a special DVD section where you can access another twenty-six minutes of the helicopter gunship approach?

Try it. Only it won't work because I've just made all of that up to give you an idea of how exciting then infuriating it can be.

Let's face it in my little way I have paid for those damn 26 minutes and I want it menued clearly when I first spin my disk.

Or rather, straight after that boring screen about piracy which you can't fast-forward...oops. I'm spiralling into another Room 101 entry there if I'm not careful.




Nine - Weather Forecasts

Another Room 101 entry is Weather Forecasts.

I acknowledge that I am English and therefore deeply and utterly obsessed about the weather. However the profusion of forecasting is getting out of hand.

Whatever media form you use this black art is always prominent and in such detail.

I suggest that we never ever need to know the temperature, the humidity, the wind-speed, its direction and the pollen count.

Nobody ever says "Gosh the barometric pressure feels like one thousand and fifteen millibars today. Must get outside and enjoy that with the wife tonight."

All we ever need to know is - "Is it going to bloody rain?"




Ten - Ten

Why is it that we always have an obsession with number ten?

Okay, we have ten fingers and ten toes and our counting system is decimal. But I refuse to let the obsession with ten rule.

Ten is to go in Room 101.

Which I suppose draws this list to an end.


Links



Author: Vince Poynter
Version 5.126 4 Jun 2018
First Published: Version 2.03 Jun 2006
The photograph shows the author on a beach on the Isle Of Wight taken around summer 1964. It was first added to the article in Version 3 in Mar 2010
The Room 101 [aka Room 101 - Extra Storage] TV programme is a BBC Comedy television series produced by Hat Trick Productions which is now on it's twelfth series and is currently hosted by Frank Skinner. George Orwell got the idea of describing Room 101 after a tedious meeting with the BBC in such a named room
Stephen Fry also proposed putting Room 101 into Room 101 during one of his appearances on the TV show. I do not know when that was broadcast and was not aware of it at the time of my own comment
Notice my use of the phrase 'twittering on' in item one. This has taken on a slightly revised meaning since the rise in use and popularity of Twitter. However in this context no reference to posting on Twitter should be inferred. Particularly as Twitter was only launched in March 2006. Thankfully my phrases 'whinging', 'googling' and 'gibbering' have not come to mean anything else. Except googling of course.