In support of Hans Gruber

During my annual festive re-watch of Die Hard, it occurred to me that it was about time that someone spoke up in favour of Hans Gruber. He has a bad reputation but I’m not sure it’s fully deserved.

Well planned
It was clear that he had planned his operation well. When things deviated, he was clear: “Keep to the plan.”

Enjoyed small talk
As he walked into the building he and his team were enjoying a good chit chat about this and that.

Knew his staff well
He knew for every impulsive irrational muppet like Karl, he needed someone to balance this out (Karl’s brother in this case). He knew the strengths and weaknesses of his team.

Equality and diversity
For a clearly Germany-based outfit, he had a diverse workforce and this should be celebrated. This is clearly one of the most diverse terrorist teams in movie history.

Hands on
He was happy to get stuck in. Shooting a guy in the head here, holding up a microphone to share the sound of screaming there, Hans was always keen to be involved at the ground level (or 30th floor as the case may be).

Good communicator
He recognises that it often helps to give orders in a second language when his comrades don’t understand the message in their first language – see the case of “Shoot the glass”.

Spelling Mistakes that get my goat

I am a stickler for good spelling. Here are the mistakes that annoy me most.

Defiantly instead of Definitely
This is the one that winds me up more than any other – and it’s probably the one you will see most on Facebook. “I defiantly agree… I am defiantly not going to do that…” This just makes you look like an idiot.

Thankyou instead of Thank you
Yes, it is two words. This one has started creeping in to Facebook and text messages. I don’t know why – have I missed a memo?

Loose instead of Lose
You might think we are going to loose the match but you are still a loser.

Lightening instead of Lightning
Stop being a moron – learn to spell.

Alot instead of A lot
If you care about something a lot, then spell it as two words.

Suprise instead of Surprise
Okay, so you are surprised by how to spell ‘surprise’. That doesn’t mean you should get it wrong.

2020 words and things

Here is a list of words that I didn’t say or rarely said, and didn’t do or rarely did before 2020.

  • Coronavirus
  • COVID-19
  • Social bubble
  • Antibody test
  • Social distancing
  • Covid-secure
  • Barnard Castle
  • Lockdown
  • Marmite peanut butter
  • Queuing outside supermarkets
  • School closures
  • Schools reopening (although they never really closed)
  • Remote learning
  • PPE for teachers
  • Dominic Cummings
  • Zoom
  • What? Petrol is less than a pound a litre?
  • Cadbury Darkmilk
  • New normal
  • ‘Stay safe’
  • “Can I have the next slide please?”

Illnesses named after Nineties Dance Bands

Coronavirus is getting all of the attention right now. This is what happens when diseases are named after Nineties dance bands. Here are some others to watch out for.

Sashvirus – we are living in mysterious times and we don’t want to colour the world with this bug. We do not want this to come back one more time.

Vengaboysvirus – one to watch out for in Ibiza and your Uncle John in Jamaica already has it. When this one takes off it will go boom, boom, boom, boom.

The Prodigyvirus – Don’t breathe on anyone with this as it make you feel like you’re in outta space. It starts fires!

N-Trancevirus – You might feel like you’be been set free but you ain’t stayin’ alive.

The KLFvirus – A justified and ancient disease this one might catch you at 3am.

2 Unlimitedvirus – Get ready for this as you will not want to spread your love all over the world when you have this. There is no limit to how much the beat will control your body.

Faithlessvirus – There’s no release no peace. You’ll toss and turn without peace. Insomnia is the least of your worries.

Bad driving

Don’t drive like a dick and remember these rules!

Say thank you – I don’t care if you wave, raise a finger from the steering wheel, smile, nod, flash your lights or whatever. Just say thank you. It’s basic good manners. Doing nothing makes me hate you.

Don’t dither – If the roundabout is clear, or if nothing is coming along at the junction, just go. Don’t hang around. We will hate you if you do.

Use your indicators – Don’t be a dick. Just use your indicators and especially at roundabouts!!

Park properly – Make sure you’re in the middle of the parking space. And if your car isn’t in the centre, reverse and have another go.

Pay at the pump – If you use a pay at the pump pump, then pay at the pump. And if fail to do that and you go into the shop, don’t make eye contact or you’ll get the death stare.

Keep to the speed limit – I have slowed down in my driving over the years – I don’t speed any more. But not I get annoyed by people who drive below the speed limit when it is perfectly safe to do so. 40 is 40 so don’t trundle at five miles an hour below.

Use the correct lane on the motorway – Move to the left lane whenever it is clear. Don’t be one of those muppets who gets into the right hand lane and just stays there. Move left! (And, on a similar note, do not undertake – that makes you a complete tosser.)

Sit in traffic – We all hate sitting in traffic. But just because you’re a dick it don’t make us hate you more by razzing past traffic on a red light or on a bend or something stupid just to cut the queue. Also, don’t block exits as that just gets on everyone’s nerves.

What are your driving hates?

Type of people at children’s birthday parties

I’m not a fan of children’s birthday parties. But it is a good chance to do a bit of people watching. Have you ever noticed these people at birthday parties?

The parents:You can spot the parents a mile off. They are typically the ones that are dashing around putting food out, sorting drinks for grown ups or stood by the present table. If you’re the parent it’s not a time to relax and catch up with friends.

Over-enthusiastic adult:Often this is a random uncle or relative. This is the one that is more child than grown up who throws their all into entertaining the party. They will often be spotted on the bouncy castle, dancing or generally being the life and soul of the party.

Balloon player: Usually a role played by dads who need something to do, the balloon players carefully kick, knock or bounce a balloon to others. The game is never acknowledged by anyone playing. That’s one of the rules.

‘Doesn’t know how to ensure the children behave’ adult: This is the adult who is jumped on by children, buried by children, being chased around the room, or the one in goals at a football party. They don’t know how to say know so they are prepared to be worn out or injured by the children as they don’t want to look bad.

The phone reader: This parent doesn’t want to be disturbed. They’ve brought their phone and that’s all they need.

The Nose Wiper: There’s always a child that cries at everything. This means there’s a parent who spends their time following them around wiping noses, comforting tears and begging the child to calm down.

The childless show off: A relative or friend of the family who comes along to the party to try to look cool just because they don’t have a child.

The grandparents: These can be a mixed bag. Often they will be in charge of the kitchen and do all of the running of the party to help the parents relax for a bit. Sometimes they are in charge of the party games.

Best British TV Comedies

A conversation my brothers and I love to have is about which British comedies are our favourite. We can agree on some, but not all.

Here’s my list:

The Office

I’ve never worked in an office but this is just how I imagine it to be! David Brent is often celebrated as being one of the best TV characters of all time. But to limit The Office to just Brent is unfair. Gareth and Tim are incredible. And all the other characters add the sense of realism. The Office makes me laugh again and again.

I’m Alan Partridge

There are few TV comedies that after twenty years are still being quoted in every day conversation. There are so many great lines from series one and two of I’m Alan Partridge – you are guaranteed a laugh every time you watch!

Phoenix Nights

It’s a shame that this doesn’t seem to be repeated very often as this was such a classic programme when it was out. There are lots of subtle jokes that you spot with repeat views.

Gavin & Stacey

It took me a while before I gave this programme a watch. I think it was in series two when I first gave it a go. I instantly loved it! The depth brought to each character has taken some skill in performing and writing. Just brilliant!

Only Fools and Horses

Despite being such an old programme now, Only Fools is timeless. You can watch it again and again and you will love it.

The Inbetweeners

This week I watched the celebration of ten years of The Inbetweeners. I can’t quite believe it is ten years old. I doubt there has ever been a programme that captured exactly what it was like to be a teenage boy. Perfect. The scene on the boat on the field trip is probably the best sequence of any comedy programme ever!

Coupling

It’s a shame that they spoiled Coupling with a fourth series which was nowhere near as good as the first three. Such sharp comedy writing makes Coupling absolutely brilliant!

Lead Balloon

Underrated. I think this is brilliant!

Peep Show

Two brilliantly horrible characters and such awful situations make this an enduring classic. Every episode is perfect! My favourite is the wedding episode at the end of series four. Apparently this is Channel 4’s longest running comedy. Easy to see why.

Father Ted

Such brilliant characters. Such timeless comedy!

Friday Night Dinner

FND makes me laugh out loud in every episode. It is real-life and surreal all at the same time. Absolutely hilarious!

Extras

Extras gets better and better as it goes on. Well worth a watch!

The Royle Family (not including the awful Christmas specials)

The Royle Family was the first show of its kind. It was filmed almost in true time, there was no laughter track and brilliant characterisation. It paved the way for shows like The Office to come along later. Yes, they ruined the show with rubbish Christmas specials. But the original three series are three of the best episodes of comedy you could ever watch.

Men Behaving Badly

Whilst MBB hasn’t aged well at all, I’ve added this to the list for all of the memories I associate with show. It was one of my favourite comedies as a teenager.

The Vicar of Dibley

I still love this programme. The daft humour and absurd characters are just so enjoyable to watch. Easy viewing!