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 fool 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
From the Opinions section of the vinceunlimited.co.uk web site dated 6 Mar 2018 but first published in the website in Mar 2005.
The image is of the author as a young boy swimming into the distance off The Isle Of Wight and was originally added in Version 3 of the website in Mar 2010. This amount of water still exists today, 20 years later. OK, forty years.
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 my website 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
From the blog section of the vinceunlimited.co.uk website dated 5 Mar 2018
First Published on the website in version 1.03 in Feb 2005
This update first Published on the website in version 1.04 in Mar 2005
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
From the Top Tens section of the vinceunlimited.co.uk website dated 2 Mar 18 but first published on the website in Mar 2005
The vinceunlimited website is currently being reconstructed and the incomplete data will be added when the site is updated to match previous version 2.03
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.
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.
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
From the Bikes section of the vinceunlimited.co.uk web site dated 28 Feb 2018 but first published in the website in Mar 2005. All photos added in 2018
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 shows the Author’s wife, Lynda, with the Bentley Arnage in 2000
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
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.
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 and Rolls Royce 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?
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.
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.
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
From the Cars section of the vinceunlimited.co.uk web site dated 23 Feb 2018 but first published in the website in Feb 2005. All photos added in 2018
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
The second image shows the author parked up during a road test of the fabulously expensive Bentley Continental in 2000
The third image shows the Author’s wife, Lynda, with the Bentley Arnage in 2000
The fourth and final image shows a Bentley Arnage, parked in a service station car park, photographed in Jan 2012
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
From the Cars section of the vinceunlimited.co.uk web site dated 21 Feb 2018
First Published: Version 1.04 in Mar 2005, with photos added in 2018
Performed as part of the vinceunlimitedPodcast 013 entitled Alphacar on this WordPress site dated 29 Oct 2014. 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.
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
From the Top Ten section of the vinceunlimited.co.uk web site dated 16 Feb 2018
First Published: Version 1.03 in Feb 2005
This is a replication of the vQuote page from my vinceunlimited website, which will eventually be populated with all the original and memorable quotations that have oratoraly spewed forth from my mouth.
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 the website 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 the website 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 the website 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 the website 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 also search many of my website articles by snappy quip alone by searching the site section marked WebQuote.
Author: Vince Poynter
From the vQuote section of the vinceunlimited.co.uk web site dated 13 Feb 2018
The idea of vQuotes was originally published as ‘copywriting’ in Version 1.00 in Oct 2003
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 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
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.
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
From the about section of the vinceunlimited.co.uk web site dated 11 Feb 2018
First Published: Version 1.03 in Feb 2005, with photos added in 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
Hello. This is a copy of the vinceunlimited Jokes page from the my website of the same name.
The Jokes 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 where they belong. Meanwhile, here are those that I managed to capture in my giggle trap before February 2005. And as is the case with all randomly collected jokes they are in no particular order.
All jokes on this page are original and were devised by the website author, which is 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.”
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 the website 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.
For more snappy quips, check out my vQuotes page on my website.
Or be daring and hook up with my humourist selection in my website 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
From the comedy section of the vinceunlimited.co.uk web site dated 7 Feb 2018
First Published: Version 1.03 in Feb 2005
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.
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. Haven’t you been listening? 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.
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
From the bikes section of the vinceunlimited.co.uk web site dated 6 Feb 2018
First Published: Version 1.03 in Feb 2005, with photos added in 2018
The first image shows my double denim clad brother Mark sat astride his new Gilera moped in 1977
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 third image shows me fiddling with the exhaust pipe of the Gilera, obviously demonstrating admirably that I am a fully qualified trained mechanic, able at least to hold a motorcycle part with just one hand.
It’s a nice idea to be able to set a trend but I’m having a little difficulty getting this one going all on my own. After all my influence on thousands is fairly limited so maybe all readers could help here.
I say all readers but in truth this only really applies to those in busy metropolii[*]. My personal experience is of the metropolis called London but I guess that this could be a worldwide idea. Though not so much use in the Outer Hebrides.
On escalators it is now normal for those that are too fat, unfit or even have too much time on their hands to stand still and let the moving stairs do the work.
This is appallingly lazy and frankly a hindrance to all those who are too stressed to stand still for thirty seconds.
This lacklustre attitude causes mayhem in many places and as such it has become commonplace in big cities for those that stand to occupy just one side of the travellator allowing others to rush up the other side. This system works quite well so I can’t express improvement here.
However, what I do find though is that the escalators are just not quite wide enough for this difference in speed.
Maybe we have all become wider? I know quite a few that would fit that category and some so wide they would have to fit in the next category up.
And the problem is exasperated in winter when everyone dresses like they are in Siberia. Big people in big coats mean a big problem.
But I have a little solution.
I thought of the idea whilst trying to hare up one of the escalators in London. I had travelled halfway up and realised I was adopting a contorted angular shape with my torso. Not easy in public, I assure you. I had this strange forty-five degree gait to avoid crashing into every stationary pedestrian. After all, crashing past with impunity is not only sometimes painful but so terribly rude.
And there is a simple solution that doesn’t involve shutting down the underground systems for years on end – sorry Unison.
Why don’t the stationary people stand at a jaunty angle?
This would aide all parties with very little effort. The hares could charge up and get to their heart attack with ease and the tortoises would not have their left shoulders dislocated.
This could be reinforced with signs such as ‘Stand on the left, at an angle’.
As an inventor of ideas I am of course duty bound to look at the pitfalls as well as the benefits but I am at a loss as to think of them.
There are even added benefits for the businesses that provide these escalators. All those stood at an angle will be turned toward all the revenue giving advertising. And those that stand still on rising escalators will not have to have their face buried in the bottom of the person in front.
I’m sold, I’ll be doing it from now, will you?
After all, as I said at the beginning – I can’t do this all by myself.
Author: Vince Poynter
From the ideas section of the vinceunlimited.co.uk web site dated 2 Feb 2018
First Published: Version 1.03 in Feb 2005
* Question: What is the plural of Metropolis? It is a Greek word so it should be metropoleis. However the word comes to English via the Latin so perhaps should be metropoles. Google cites a common spelling as metropolises. This is why I am not correcting my own spelling as Metropolii. Let’s see who wins here
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
From the ideas section of the vinceunlimited.co.uk web site dated 31 Jan 2018
First Published: Version 1.03 in Feb 2005 and reproduced here with minor editing
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 http://www.bigissue.com
The Baby Years from the draft autobiography of Vince Poynter
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.
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
From the autobiography section of the vinceunlimited.co.uk web site dated 29 Jan 2018
First Published: Version 1.03 in Feb 2005 and reproduced here with minor editing
The images all taken by the author’s family
Maybe you were transported here by a strange new time machine, or even from another 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
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.
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. Full stop.
Note that a full appraisal of my time with a Bentley Arnage will eventually be posted on this 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.
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 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
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.
I own one.
Need I say more?
Note that a full appraisal of my Jaguar XJ8 4.0 will eventually be posted on this 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 has already been posted on this website [8 Dec 2017]
Vincent Black Shadow
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
From the petrolhead section of the vinceunlimited.co.uk web site dated 23 Jan 2018
First Published: Version 1.03 in Feb 2005 and reproduced here in full, unedited
The images all taken by the author, except the one he is in. Obvs