knock, knock…

Another snippet from the radio yesterday on Hawksbee and Jacobs’ excellent afternoon show on Talksport (in my view the station’s best programme). Their studio guest (sorry I didn’t catch who it was) was talking about being brought up in Northampton and describing the game he used to play – ‘cherry knocking’. Up in the north west we used to call this ‘knock a door and run’ – rapping on someone’s door and running off or hiding behind a hedge etc. More childish pranks I know – something of a theme this morning. But it was interesting to hear how the same game was known around the country. For example in London it’s called ‘knock down ginger’, ‘ring bang scoosh’ in Glasgow and ‘knock knock howdo’ in Middlesbrough (not sure they fully get the run-away concept on Teesside). In America it’s apparently referred to as ‘ring ring run’ – well they always did have more technology than we Brits, even on their front doors. Any games/japes you remember with particular affection from your youth and what were they called?


ps not many responses yet but I did find this vid on you tube of some guys who do stunt ‘freezes’ in unusual places. This was done in the main concourse of Grand Central Station. Some very interesting reactions!


figure this (in-car ent. 6)

Well it’s kinda nice to know that we’ve just had the 3000th visitor to the blog site. I’ve not had Rupert Murdoch itching to buy the site from me (nor perhaps more importantly from KG!) as yet but traffic’s developing which is great – thank you folks. Keep telling the odd mate about the site and I’ll keep writing about you in my memories. I’ve got a thing about numbers as it happens: I like big ones (Tate Online access figures used to give me the horn every month). I guess being a man that’s a given right? But I really, really like quirky numbers/arithmetic. Odd ball Paul, I know. Can’t help it. I was never great at maths at school but I’ve always been numerate and I love the preciseness, symmetry and the sheer serendipity in number occurrence, balance and sequencing.

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shop names

During a car trip with top guy C today (better known by some of you as the commentator Charlie Cranium) to visit Birmingham City FC, we passed through the Shirley/Solihull area of Birmingham. C pointed out one of his favourite names for a small business, a Chinese restaurant known as The Shirley Temple. It’s true – go google if you don’t believe me. Bear in mind this is close to the former fish and chip shop known as Mustapha Fish. This got me thinking about all the amusing and often cringeworthy punning shop names I’ve noticed over the years and kinda forgotten. I know there’s another fish and chip shop in Aylesbury known as The Codfather, which I think is excellent, though probably not unique. An old friend of ours, Dennis, who set up his own pest control business had ‘Dennis the Menace…killer’ printed on his business cards. Top stuff. Hairdressing salons can’t resist the punny name A Cut Above, Hair Today, From Hair to Eternity, Sizzers and so on. But you guys must know some belters too? Come on indulge me.


in-car entertainment (4): room 101

Right, well absolutely no-one was interested in my lorry-spotting musings in in-car ent 3 so I’ve gone for a more popular way for several adults to kill an hour whilst stuck in traffic; your pet items to consign to room 101. It actually works really well with 3 or more folk involved, as I was last week travelling back to Brighton with my lovely daughter and son-in-law, E and S. Grandson S was happily focused on the tracks from the CD, Happy Songs (some classics, some dogs but I’m proud to say that at 5 he knows all the words to James Brown’s I Feel Good). Grandson G was fast asleep – probably dreaming about what it’ll be like to be all grown-up and to have so many things to hate.

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in-car entertainment (3): lorry-spotting

Conscious of the fact I’ve been doing a lot of footie and tv posts recently I thought I’d better add fill up the more specialised sections. Hopefully a few more of you will be enjoying the delights of car 3rd name collecting (or at least spotting). No? I bet you do – it gets to you. Here’s another pastime which I thought was my personal property. Actually as I’ve been validating some of my findings, I discover there are armies of people doing it – I’m talking lorry-spotting. Sounds dull as hell I know but as I’ve said before, I needed something to keep my mind active whilst commuting. But I didn’t just collect haulier names, there had to be a point to it….


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in-car entertainment (2):3rd name postscript

I’ve had lots of interest in the 3rd name, naming strategy for cars covered in i-c e 1. Everybody’s calling , txting, e-mailing with increasingly great examples. Paul S texted in with the Audi A6 Vindis. My ace son-in law S saw a – – Ripcurl! And followed it up with a spot of home-made branding which saw an Astra LX or something deflowered and re-christenned as an Astra …Man United, with consistent lettering on the rear quarters. Two things are painful here; a) that someone would go to the trouble of removing the car’s original back side livery and replace it with tailored branding and b) that someone would think that an Astra is redolent of the mighty Man U. I mean if it had been an Aston Martin Vantage I could understand it – great English marque and a world leader, powerful attack with subtle restraint, traditional values yet modern thinking, devoted followers and surprisingly significant US ownership influence etc etc. That would be a true simile but a frigging Vauxhall Astra? Do me a favour. That’s a car for Luton Town FC. What would be your team/car comparisons?

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in-car entertainment (1): 3rd naming

I think I mentioned in an earlier posting that I find doing nothing difficult. When I worked for BT and commuted between Buckingham and London, I was spending an average five and a half hours a day in the car. That’s a lot of time to fill. But I was always pretty productive with that time. I’m a massive fan of talk radio. For the first 40 minutes or so I’d devour news from 5 live, sometimes radio 4. Then I’d switch over to redneck radio to listen to whatever nonsense Alan Brazil and Mike Parry/Beaky were up to on Talksport and get their frequent sport updates. After an hour or so of radio listenning the reports were becoming repeated, unless a big story was breaking, and I’d then either make some phone calls, plan my day ahead or resort to one of my favourite pastimes – spotting naff car names. Having spent many hours queuing on the M1, M40, Holloway Rd, Hangar Lane I was forever staring up the arse-end of one car or another. So I turned that view to productive thought. Car names – how, why, but mostly what possessed that company to pick a frigging name like Getz?

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looky likey

For the last few years of my BT career I worked alongside a great young guy, another Paul, Paul S. He and I were chalk and cheese: he was young, slim, fresh-faced and always smiling and I was this fat, bald, old, grizzled dinosaur. We were often mistaken for twins. But we worked harmoniously and were a good team, always looking for another challenge in our specialist areas of sponsorship and hospitality, two things BT did pretty badly before we made sense of the whole structure. Paul and Paul, Do-it-All was our composite nickname. Continue reading