Four From Two

Another blog from the 2006 archives.  Just as a previous Football World Cup was starting…

Have just completed some tidying up work on the latest version of my website so you should now be seeing this online.

You will note that it is still in the old version 2 format.  By now I had hoped that I could find enough time to create version 3, which will be the first to feature actual images.

As for four?  Three dimension?  Smellivision?  Touchscreen?  Who knows what I have planned?  I certainly don’t!

Note the date, one day before the start of the 2006 World Cup [Note to Americans – this is a ball sport that all the world participates in].

Given the hype that has been bandied about the tournament I feel my website may be lost if I don’t include the words football and Rooney.  Just as well they kicked in just then.

Mind you your average footy pundit, eager to find out the latest score might well be disappointed if he were searching for striker information and his search engine header came up with this site, bypassing more obvious places.

My site is more off the wall than offside.

However, the penalty for missing the official England site will be new fans of vinceunlimited, which is a goal I have set myself.

Mind you if too many fans pitch on my site and it crashes it will be an own goal so the referee is out on that one.

Author: Vince Poynter
From the Sports and Blog sections of the vinceunlimited.co.uk website dated 31 May 2018
First Published: Version 2.03 on 8 Jun 2006

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Genius Rights

Another blog from the 2006 archives…

Recently the press has been wondering if Sir Paul McCartney ought to retain the major share of his fortune if his spilt with Lady McCartney [Heather Mills McCartney] results in an acrimonious divorce settlement.

The argument has been made that as Sir Paul is so obvious a genius in his given profession he should have the greater share of their accumulated wealth.

Personally, although so obviously in the genius category myself I find this argument uncomfortable.

I could sympathise with the view that his share was greater than hers when they met so future distribution of wealth should reflect this.

I might even be persuaded that his assets were more instrumental in increasing their wealth during their time together so this should be considered.

But to consider only on a subjective measurement of genius is fundamentally wrong.

After all, a successful businessman could equally argue that his money making talent is measurable in geniusness.

And what of Lady M?

Surely marrying a rich Beatle could be classed as an act of pure genius.


My own brand of genius emerged again today.

I have been tasked with assembling some notes about my client’s current business practices.  As part of this I have to jot down some ideas for efficiency improvements, a task that an idea’s man like me can relish.

However, to me, this raises interesting questions about intellectual property ownership.

Normally IP will reside with the company, provided such IP is undertaken by the company but my circumstances are slightly different.

As a self-employed man, working through a third party my role is fairly rigidly defined.

I am certainly not directly contracted to the company I am working in and have not been employed with my novel abilities in mind.  I am just contracted to do a standard day to day job efficiently.

So if I bring in my own brand of innovation the company I am working for will benefit unduly.  And you can be sure there is no process to reward such special talent.  I can’t even complete the company staff suggestion form and claim my pony because as a contractor I am ineligible.

But if I don’t exercise my full potential I will be cheating the world of my input.  This is why I’ll go only so far but not all out.

Again, my natural talents defused and demeaned.

So to my idea.  Well after all that it doesn’t seem so great.  They can have it.

In many ways you have just had the best bit.

Author: Vince Poynter
From the Blog section of the vinceunlimited.co.uk website dated 30 May 2018
First Published: Version 2.03 on 25 May 2006

In the end Sir Paul McCartney’s divorce settlement ended in 2008 with a payout of £24.3m [c.$50m] plus £35k annual childcare costs to Heather Mills [Lady McCartney], his former wife.  She had claimed £125m and Sir Paul wanted to settle at £15.8m.  I have no idea whether genius was considered.  For either party

Not Stirred

Thought for the day.

If the contents of a can instruct ‘Shake well before use’ does this mean shake thoroughly or does it mean a long time before using?

I worry about these things.

Just in case I’m going home to agitate all of my canisters – in case I might need them next week.

Author: Vince Poynter
From the Blog section of the vinceunlimited.co.uk website dated 29 May 2018
First Published: Version 2.02 on 7 Apr 2006

Not So Free

Another blog from the 2006 archives…

A close up photograph of a black and white rabbit
This is what a proper happy bunny should look like

Not a happy bunny today.

I have been thinking about an email that my illustrious ISP sent me last week.

From now on there is to be a ‘small change’ in the way that the account is charged.

Online time will now attract a nominal one pence or so per minute.

This may be relatively small beer but it is a huge principle.

Rising prices by one pee a minute is marginal but introducing a new charge from a previously free service is a fundamental sea-change.

I am powerless to stop it so will now be looking for an alternative. Any ideas?

Other than suggesting a small beer must be a good thing for an unhappy bunny.

Author: Vince Poynter
From the Blog section of the vinceunlimited.co.uk website dated 28 May 2018
First Published: Version 2.02 on 29 Mar 2006
Do you remember when it was common to pay for online time by the minute?  I was particularly miffed because the free to use ISP service that I was using at the time was branded as Freeserve and I thought that per minute charging was not exactly as ‘labelled on the tin’.  In fact Freeserve were bought by Wanadoo in 2000 and them by Orange in 2006.  I never knew this at the time and was still using ‘Freeserve’ and my Freeserve email at the time of posting.  I soon noticed the change to Wanadoo and Orange, as noted in my formal website vincepoynter.co.uk version 1.02 in Jun 2006  The future it seemed was indeed, as the advertising stated, Orange

The photograph shows a rabbit.  But you had already worked that out.  It was first added to the website in Version 3 in Mar 2010

No Flying Aircraft

Another blog from the archives…

A photograph of the back of my wife in a red tee-shirt and beige cap stood on a balcony just as a nine plane Red Arrows jet formation flies past, trailing their blue, white and red smoke
Lynda, dreaming of a fast jet ride in a Red Arrows display

Today, on one of my local radio stations [we seem to have so many nowadays] someone won a popular competition to spend a day with the RAF Red Arrows.

Ideally this would have been a chance for me to trounce the opposition with my witty entry and win this prize for my beloved.

She has always hankered after a high-octane ride with a naval airman but taking a seat with the Reds would tick most of her boxes.

However, presumably due to the elderly demographic audience of this particular station, the winner will never get to travel in an actual jet.  Instead the frustrating day would include attending a pre-flight briefing and chatting idly to the technicians.

How infuriating would that be? So close yet no banana.

It would be like winning the supermarket dash and finding all the shelves empty, or playing football at Anfield after the crowd has left, or visiting a lap dancing club and leaving before the bits are bared.

Intolerable.

Author: Vince Poynter
From the Blog section of the vinceunlimited.co.uk website dated 25 May 2018
First Published: Version 2.02 on 16 Mar 2006
The photograph shows my wife, Lynda, watching a Red Arrows display over Bournemouth beach at 3.00pm on 22 Aug 2009.   It was first added to the website in Version 3 in Mar 2010

Bad Blog

Another blog from the vinceunlimited website archives…

Been having trouble getting back into the blogging groove due to allowing the work/play balance to become decidedly unstable over the last few months, which explains the gap between entries becoming a colossus.

It didn’t help that I constructed an entry a couple of days ago then accidentally wiped it off my thumb drive.

But I am still here and raring to go.  Only I’ve got a sudden bout of writer’s block.

Or to put it in a less authoritarian way, can’t be arsed.

Which all makes this entry the most anti-climatic blog in the whole of web history.

Which, if you think about it, is actually quite interesting.

Were it to be true.

Author: Vince Poynter
From the Blog section of the vinceunlimited.co.uk website dated 24 May 2018
First Published: Version 2.02 on 15 Mar 2006

Bit Of A Gap

Another blog from the vinceunlimited website archives…

Hooray. I’m back.

It seems that I left you all alone for a while there, in fact nearly three months.  At this rate I’ll never make blogger of the year.

The reason for the absence has been, as it always is, work related.  I was assigned a fresh role that allowed me to work locally.  The lack of three or more hours a day commuting on a train meant that I never seemed to find time to update my site.

And there was you thinking that version 3.0 was about to be launched on an unsuspecting public.  Mind you, if you thought that the site was about to be launched then the public was not at all unsuspecting and better described as anticipatory.

But I diversify, as ever.

The break from writing my site hasn’t subdued my thoughts on what needs adding and updating and I’m always thinking about new ideas and concepts.  The only trouble is that by not getting them in print when I think about them can mean that others stumble on the idea.

For example I have been giving some thought recently to the idea that the baby boomer generation, who seem to run the world, may not accept death and we may all soon benefit from everlasting life.

After all this is the generation that invented youth culture, foreign holidaying for the masses, major home ownership, the dot com age, fame, celebrity, greed, modern fitness and leisure pursuits and now cosmetic surgery to keep their youth.

They are suppressing real youth by dissolving upcoming celebrity and sexualising and thus diminishing the young, both male and female.

They hold power positions, wealth, fame, patents and property.

They make the laws to suit themselves, hence the freedom of the eighties is being replaced with the ASBO and spy-camera culture of the current decade to protect them as they get older.

In short they believe the world is theirs and don’t want to pass it on, even to their own children.

Mark my word, the next ten years will see frantic developments in anti-ageing treatments and not just skin care products.  Plus huge rises in pensions including suggesting the young retire much later than they had to.

Unfortunately some of this content was also considered by a journalist writing in a real paper recently.  In Bryan Appleyard’s article in The Sunday Times on 27 November 2005 he discussed most of these points.  What a swizzle.

Down, if not out.

Still, there’s no point in dwelling on what ifs when there are a host of new ideas bubbling in the cauldron.  You never know, I might get some of them down in pixels by Christmas.

Christmas 2006 that is.  Have a festive one, Vince

Author: Vince Poynter
From the Blog section of the vinceunlimited.co.uk website dated 23 May 2018
First Published: Version 2.02 on 22 Dec 2005

Well Executed

Extract from my blog from 29 Sep 2005

Well the 2.02 version of the site was launched with the usual lack of fanfare and ticker-tape.

Compiling a site like this is a thankless task.

However, I’m in it for the long run and recognise that all this early effort will, one day, be recognised and appreciated in the way that it has been designed.

First up I had to reconfigure this blog section so that there were useful links to my past blog sections.

Now I’m all properly set to mesmerise you with my blogging thoughts.  This blogging lark* will prove to be useful to my regular readers as it may be some time before the next proper update is compiled.

There are three reasons for this.

Firstly I am being reassigned at work [no, not gender-wise] and need to settle into my new role in a professional manner, secondly I always plan to update bi-monthly to give myself a reasonable target and finally, because I want my next update to raise the game significantly.  More on this later if it comes to pass.

One reason for my re-assignment is the imminent conclusion of a current task that I have been working on for a client.

The last job to be done is create an Executive Summary compiling all the raw data that I have produced over the last few months.

Whilst doing this I was moved to consider why they are called Executive Summaries.  Surely an Executive, having achieved such a high rank, must be able to absorb facts and data in a manner better than others.

Therefore the summation should be entitled Idiot Summary.  I feel the fact that it isn’t proves the real ability of Executives.

Finally, I read in the papers today that a firm has developed a tracksuit for that automatically monitors performance and provides instructions to the wearer about training regimes and performance.

This reminded me that my intelligent shoes idea is not so far fetched.

*Is that related to other Larks I wonder?

Author: Vince Poynter
From the Blog section of the vinceunlimited.co.uk website dated 22 May 2018
First Published: Version 2.02 on 29 Sep 2005
The title photograph shows a screen grab from the vinceunlimited website, version 2.02. It was first added to the website in Version 3 on 29 Mar 2010

Intelligent Shoes

Thinking on your feet

The world of fashion footwear is a major business.  Each season top name manufacturers compete to produce more outlandish designs than their previous models and peers.  There must be millions spent each year on designs to wow an eager public and develop bold, innovative ways of capturing the cash of a world-wide audience.

So why is it that I can come up with a novel idea and offer it to anyone whom cares to patent it?  Along with suitable commissions of course.

It’s because I’m such a nice guy.

Although training shoes seem to have developed to their zenith there are still ways to make a version stand out from the crowd and like all good ideas it is just an amalgamation of two previously unconnected current products – hence easy to develop and market.

My idea is to mix footwear with pedometers.

Pedometers are simple counting devices that work by a weight shifting about on each movement.  After basic data is inputted the wearer of the device can calculate the distance covered and often more, such as calorie use and average speed.  All this data is important to an image conscious fitness fan.

And techno fans would love a pair of shoes with an inbuilt LCD panel.

Of course, restricting the idea to training shoes would be underusing the technology so a range of different shoes could include a mini-computer.

As is the pattern of idea development it is wise to consider the downsides.

Cost shouldn’t feature as pedometers often cost just a few pounds and shoes, in particular training versions, attract buyers even when the cost soars.

So the only downside is the potential big-brother factor.

Consider for a moment that the Post Office likes the idea and supplies all its postmen with versions.  The daily trips could be monitored.  Bonus paid on distances covered or deducted for skipping a street.  Although in fairness skipping does take more energy!  We already have spies in our vehicles do we want them on our feet?

And one last thought.  Could this develop into the chastity belt of the 21st century?

Develop the idea into other areas of clothing and put a monitor on the spouse’s underwear.  Then check when you get home how often they have been up and down.

Now, sex, that is a major business.

Author: Vince Poynter
From the Ideas section of the vinceunlimited.co.uk website dated 21 May 2018
First Published: Version 2.02 in Sep 2005
At the time of writing my idea was genuinely novel.  However with the passage of time the idea of attaching pedometers to sports shoes now seems commonplace.  In fact the first and most notable example of integration between sports footwear and a pedometer came in the form of the Nike+iPod Sports Kit which was announced on 23 May 2006 and released on 13 July 2006, three quarters of a year after I published my idea.  Coincidence?

The Radio Text Idea

Cheap Texting – Saving a fortune on text messaging

Written in March 2004

An image of a simple mobile phone with small dot matrix type screen
A typical budget texting mobile phone that was used around 2004

As a writer I am still able to wonder at the beauty of the English language and derive pleasure from ensuring that my work is grammatically correct.

This is why I so despair at the gradual erosion of our beloved language into a staccato of symbolic minimalism encompassed so willingly in modern texting.

Other times I may view this mindset as a bit grammatically pedantic.  More French than our ever evolving English.  After all, as a writer a changing language gives you many more tools to construct with.  So why shouldn’t I abbreviate abbreviate to abbrev8 or abr?

So my real concern is not the flexibility that abbreviation gives but the fact that in truth the technique is developed as a lazy result of our modern immediate society.

Notwithstanding all that it will not prevent me from profiteering from an idea based on this trend.

From what I read in the media one of the most common places to find texting on a frankly industrial scale is within schools and I understand that even the youngest of kids is keen to get going.  The net result is a phenomenal profit for the big telecomm companies at the expense of the poor parent’s wallets.

So I have devised a way of texting within schools for free.

The idea emanates from a two-way radio I purchased.  The radio itself was pretty useless at the task that I wanted it for so it was consigned to the eBay bin but a feature interested me.  The radio included a button labelled Morse.

After discounting the fact that this might summons a policeman from Oxford in a tatty Jag I thought it wouldn’t be too hard to develop this into a simple radio frequency text facility.

A simple keypad and chip could translate the keyed entries into Morse Code and send them through the airwaves.  The receiving machine could pick up the Morse and translate it bk in2 txt.

Dmn, I swor I wd nvr do tht.

There would be a couple of technical hurdles to traverse.

The first to spring to mind is the problem of limited transmission frequencies but the chip could incorporate a simple encoding key.

Another problem could be the relative speed of keypad entry compared to the standard speed of Morse Code but there is no reason that if it is an inter-electronic communication that the Morse couldn’t be transferred at higher speeds.  In a way the dashes would become mere dots and the dots a blurry dash.

Do you know what?  I’m cming rd 2 this txtg idea aftr all.

In hndsite u cud cnsidr it a nw art form, clevrly constrctng new smpler ways 2 cmmunic8 evr mor rapidly.  Englsh has movd on frm Shkspere an we shld mov on frm the stffy grmmar of r parnts.

Ys, Im hookd.

Not.

So, the options are as follows:

  • You are a budding Engineer and want to develop the idea and deprive the giant Telecomm Corporations out of millions of pounds making yourself a fortune into the bargain – Email me and we’ll thrash out the patent details.
  • You represent a giant Telecomm Corporation and want to bury this idea – Email me and suggest a sum of money that would encourage me to remove this idea from cyberspace.
  • You are an expert in grammar and want to correct the syntax on this page – Email me nicely.

Author: Vince Poynter
From the Ideas section of the vinceunlimited.co.uk website dated 20 May 2018
This idea was first penned in Mar 2004, well before the age of unlimited calls and texts.  The lack of reference to Bluetooth functionality in the article suggests that I was unaware of this technology at this time.  Bluetooth was first announced on 20 May 1988 and the Bluetooth 2.0 specification in 2004 with variant 2.1 not being adopted until 26 Jul 2007.  First Published: Website version 1.04 in Mar 2004

Predictions

First things first.  The future may be bright but it won’t be orange.  You see some things are easier to predict than others.  For instance I’d have difficulty predicting next weeks lottery numbers but I’ll have a go. 4, 12, 36, 37, 40 and 42.  Let me know if you win.

So here are my predictions for the future.

Prediction 1 – Spumps [made September 2005]

In the future speed humps will be called spumps.  I am confident of this for three reasons.  Firstly, they are a fairly new phenomenon and therefore ripe for a bit of slang.  Secondly, the merging of two words into one is a common way of abbreviating and ‘spumps’ is a good merge.  And finally, I bet you won’t be able to resist repeating this.  In other words the publication of this word has set its use in motion.

Prediction 2 – Cookery Explosion [made September 2005]

In the future, when all the hard working couples of today retire they’ll have more time on their hands and one thing that they’ll take up is cooking.  They will have more time to do this but soon realise that they are sadly out of practice.  Being cash rich they will take up classes to learn how to cook well.  So my prediction is that there will be an exponential growth of adult cooking class attendees.

Prediction 3 – Perpetual Websites [made September 2005]

In the future egoists like myself will want to will the responsibility of maintaining their presence on the Internet to a trustee.  I predict that there will be a market for perpetual web hosting.  Currently, http://www.webperpetually.com and other derivatives such as .co.uk are still available for purchase.  You heard it here first.

Prediction 4 – Face Transplants [made September 2005]

In the future face transplants from deceased celebrities will attract bidding wars.  Other face altering transplants and procedures will become routine and identities will be freely swapped.  This will lead to societies’ reassessment of identity and people will be judged on who they are plus what they can and have achieved and not by looks, which will have become stale and androgynous.  For further argument refer to my article Face Transplants.

Final Prediction [for now] [made September 2005]

In the future one, if not more, of my ideas will spawn a fiscal return.  Try to guess which one.

Author: Vince Poynter
From the Opinions section of the vinceunlimited.co.uk website dated 15 May 2018
First Published: Version 2.02 in Sep 2005

Kawasaki GPz750R

Top Bike

By Vince, Written Sep 2005

Vince Poynter, in full motorbike clothing and boots, sat on his black and red Kawasaki GPz750R motorcycle, which is stood on it's centre stand on a grass mound
Top Gun style. Sat on my brand new red and black Kawasaki GPz750R

The Kawasaki GPz750R is a better known bike than many may at first think because it had a part in a top grossing Hollywood film.  The bike was Tom Cruise’s mount in the 1986 blockbuster Top Gun.  But I had mine first.

The year was 1985 and I had recently met my wife.  We shared a passion for bikes and as she was prepared to share her greenbacks with me we had the chance to trade up to a decent steed.  Frankly I was fed up at the time with her ugly Suzuki GSX250.  It’s narrow seat and uninspiring performance wasn’t suited to the two-up riding we did and I hankered after a big sportsbike.

My Honda CX500 was now a distant memory and I wanted the misses to appreciate the benefits of big bike riding.  We considered a litre-sized machine as we felt the need, the need for speed and looked around for an interesting bike.  There was only one, the Kawasaki GPz900R.  It was the spiritual successor to the legendary Z900 series using a new water-cooled version of the firm’s famous four cylinder motor.  It eventually grew a big reputation for speed and handling and for a time looked to take the legendary title from the Zed.

We looked at getting the 900 version but the 750 was really big enough, looked identical, had cheaper insurance and came in a gorgeous piano black and red finish that looked so much better than the dull 900 options, which is probably why Tom had one as well.

B328 WOW was one of the new generation of sportsbikes that came complete with full fairing.  This, along with the heavy water-cooled motor in a frame set-up that preceded 500cc Race-rep styling meant for a long wheelbase and top-heavy tendencies.  Combine this with a large turning circle and small diameter front wheel and the result was a bike that preferred speeds of three figures to three-mph and it was this characteristic that explains the first anecdote.

The bike was brand new when collected and had been prepped by the dealer.  Because of the danger of theft by leaving the tax disc stuck to the inside of the screen the dealer had helpfully put it in a plastic holder but using a decision that could only be made by a blind grease-monkey connected it to one of the fairing screws slap bang in the middle of our shiny new black and red fairing.  It was an eyesore that the misses and I vowed to eradicate just as soon as we got home to our screwdriver set, which as usual was waiting patiently in the shed ready for more screwing action.  No I’m not going down that route!

A black and red Kawasaki GPz750R motorcycle, which is stood on it's centre stand on a grass mound
Such a beautiful bike, spoilt only by a naff plastic tax disc mount in the middle of the fairing

Anyway, before we got home we had to visit various family and friends and show them what fantastic people we were by showing off our shiny new bike and one of the first was my wife’s auntie.  We did the visit and were rewarded as expected with a nice cup of tea then set off on our merry way to the next (dis)interested family member.  As we were leaving the auntie’s the trouble and strife decided to take the helm and I obediently climbed on the pillion seat.  We pottered off and headed for the main road, a sharp left turn two hundred yards from auntie’s.  The misses carefully pulled up to the junction and waited for a clear moment to join the traffic.  A gap soon appeared, she let out the clutch then the water-cooled engine spluttered and stalled.  She had hardly commenced the turn so was in mid lean with no power.  We had dropped below the hard-deck and there was no choice but to let the damn thing fall over.  Personally, I stepped off the back.

We were distraught.  Our shiny new bike laying at 45 degrees, resting in the pavement, dribbling fuel.  One day old and a new fairing seemed to be needed.  We lifted her up [the bike, not the wife] and inspected the damage.  One broken plastic tax disc holder – but that seemed to take the entire brunt.  That blind grease monkey had inadvertently saved us 700 quid!

The story might imply that the love of my life is an incompetent buffoon on a bike and I must have been one Tomcat short of a carrier for letting her anywhere near the front seat but that cannot be further from the truth.  After mastering the idiosyncrasies of the bike she went on to pass her Advanced Motorcycle Test on the beast, raising major praise in the bargain and could turn tight consecutive figure of eights on it at slow speed.  In the same way I was mimicking Maverick at speed she was proving an equal exponent in the guise of Ice-Man.  We later realised that the keeling over incident was caused by fuel starvation that occurred when leaving the bike for an hour or two after riding which resulted in fuel evaporation in the feed pipes to the carbs, well that and the top-heavy balance.  Well at least that was the reason when I dropped the thing outside the in-laws a few hours later.  Luckily I held it before it actually grounded this time as there wasn’t a tax disc holder on the right.

The GPz750R always was kept in quite spectacular condition, receiving almost as much cleaning as riding and stayed in pristine original condition.  In fact it was so clean that when Ice entered it into a concours competition it won first place.  Admittedly it was only a smallish local car-group competition but the judges did consider age and it was only one year old.  Our friend with the 15-year old Beemer was not amused and claimed unfair play but the judges couldn’t fault our bike no matter how hard they looked.  I told my mate with the BM that he should have at least washed it!

I too, took my Advanced Motorcycling Test on the bike and passed.  I don’t recall much about the test apart from the poor weather and the tea at the Little Chef afterwards.  In fact I recall many a Little Chef visit on the bike as it took us on adventures all over the country.  It was a great bike to buzz the tower with.  Cars were eaten alive with its rapid acceleration and our riding got quicker and quicker.  It was built in the days before tyres became fatter than Pavrotti so it’s skill was in fast open road riding rather than track-day scratching although I did ground out the pegs on roundabouts sometimes.

The dials of a Kawasaki GPz750R motorcycle
The dials go up to 160 so that must be it’s top speed [said every pimple-nosed boy]

In fact it was the incredible speed that eventually killed off our relationship – the Kwaker and me, not the misses.  The buzz was getting too intense and risks were getting more and more hairy.  I recall one of the last rides, destination unknown.  It wasn’t hard to overtake cars on single carriageway roads, in fact it was easy to blip past two without dropping a gear such was the power.  However, when dropping a peg or two in the gearbox acceleration was phenomenal.

Car drivers have no idea how different a big bike can be to a car when accelerating.  Most car drivers haven’t experienced supercar acceleration which smash through sixty in fewer than six seconds.  Bikes are twice this fast and the power is there from any speed.  Enough to quite literally take your breath away.  For anyone with fuel in his or her veins experiencing this is a must.  And I used this force on many an occasion.  Drop two gears and even if the road is short you can sail past cars, one, two, three at a time.  When the road opens up, and providing there are no turns, getting past four or five at a time becomes possible and it’s addictive as hell.

Even modern busy roads help the motorcyclist in a strange way.  Because there are so few chances for an average sub-1400cc tin-box to get past another car drivers tend to drive in a monotonous mode, not ready to pounce when the road does open up.  They think that even if they wanted to pass by almost certainly there will be someone coming the other way.  So they drive on the bumper of the car in front, not looking any further ahead than the bootlid of their predecessor.  I sometimes think that you could cause multiple suicide just by driving slowly then off a cliff as every car in the queue behind will follow.  For a keen biker all these cars are collectively known as mobile chicanes.  And one day I came across one of these target rich environments, a slowly moving train of cars and decided to overtake two or three of them.

Said cars were all pootling along in a queue at about 45mph, with me following.  I rounded a corner, knowing that the road would probably open up and I might get past a couple, so I dropped a couple of cogs.  Before the corner had unwound I saw the straight and had passed my first victim, this gear took me past the second as well and the third now looked a likely sure-fire bet.  By now I was probably travelling about 70mph so passing the others was quick but at this stage a keen car driver may have started to spot the overtaking opportunity and I was on the highway in the danger zone.

Idle drivers never check their mirrors so the good rider is keeping a keen eye on all the tell-tale signs of overtaking, and none of them usually include actually indicating or looking.  The signs are in an exhaust puff of smoke, a twitch of the front tyres, possible re-positioning, putting a second hand on the steering wheel, all that sort of thing.  In short second sight.  Luckily for me car three was so close to car four that I assumed the towrope was invisible so I treated cars three and four as one.  By now the revs had reached the point where the dial turns from black to red but I wasn’t looking anywhere but the road and cars ahead.  The slight tail off in power gave me the incentive to snick up a gear and I snicked away.

Passing car four I was probably travelling near to 90mph but now a lorry had trundled into the distance.  I read this as a good sign.  The lorry wasn’t travelling fast so I now knew how much space I really had, after all an empty road could mean a potential fast car, one blocked by a moving lorry is a calculable, albeit reducing, gap.  Add to this the presence of oncoming vehicles usually dissuades cars from overtaking.  I had an open road, the best view, a line of cars who weren’t about to overtake, a gap to aim for and a powerful bike that was singing tunes only racers usually experience.  I flew past cars five and six like they were stationary and in all fairness comparing my speed to theirs this wasn’t far short of the truth.  In fact it now looked like I could actually get past them all.

It is a strange fact that for some reason we all secretly believe that if only we could pass one more car or lorry then we might actually be at the front of the queue with no more traffic ahead, ever.  On the kind of road only seen in car adverts.  Common sense trashes this theory but common sense didn’t make me pass six cars at these speeds.  That was caused by adrenalin and I had it in bucketfuls at this moment.  One more vehicle lay ahead, the box van heading this little queue.

Naturally I made the narrowing gap, I’d been through the fire and came out the other side glowing – but only just.  You probably wouldn’t be reading this now if I hadn’t.  I glanced at the speedo after I swept through the gap and it was coming back down, through 125mph.  I had just passed seven vehicles in one twist of the throttle in a space where no car could get by, exceeding the limit by a factor of more than two.  And it was raining.

I was Maverick, I didn’t want to be Goose.  I told the misses and we sold the bike.  I’ve never owned another sportsbike since then.

Although on those hot summer nights when I feel like playing with the boys I get that loving feeling…

The soundtrack to this webpage is available on Columbia Records

Footnotes and Feedback

Vince Poynter, in full motorbike clothing and boots, standing at the rear of his black and red Kawasaki GPz750R motorcycle, which is stood on it's centre stand on a grass mound
Looking back on my time with the bike, it was one hell of a ride

Note originally added December 2006

Since delivering this fine piece of writing I have received word from sources abroad that Mr Cruise’s bike was probably a nine-hundred.

According to my source’s knowledge the seven-fifty wasn’t marketed in the land that used to be passed from Red Indian father to son.

This fact was delivered by a Kawasaki nutter [Niek’s words, not mine] from the Netherlands so it may be double-dutch.

Are you reading this Stateside?  If so pop into your local dealer and quiz him mercilessly until he squeals out the truth.  Then let me know.

Or are you in the movie industry and know the truth?  In which case stop arseing around reading this and sign me up to write your next blockbuster.

Or are you Tom Cruise, in which case stop arseing around and send me Nicole’s number.

More note originally added March 2011

A lull in my schedule allowed me some time to net-hop and I typed in Honda CX500 to see how far up the Google chain [my bikes] webpage was.

During my search I came across a link to the Internet Movie Cars Database.  Here I hastened to the Kawasaki GPz750R and 900 links and discovered that it seems Niek seems indisputably correct.

The bike that TC rode in TG was a 9 but as suspected was mistaken for a 7-5 because it was a special in 750 colours for the movie.

imcdb gives some info on the matter but the full convoluted and strange story is told by Mik Anderson who seems to be an obsessive fan.  And without these types the net would be rubbish.

Author: Vince Poynter
From the Bikes section of the vinceunlimited.co.uk website dated 3 May 2018
First Published: Version 2.02 in Sep 2005
The four images show my red and black Kawasaki GPz750R motorcycle shortly after being purchased brand new, stood on the crest of Toot Hill, Romsey, with me posing by it’s side.  All photographs taken by my wife around the beginning of Aug 1984
The movie Top Gun had a US release in May 1986 but wasn’t released into the UK until Oct 1986
The soundtrack to Top Gun was released by Columbia Records in 1986
The Internet Movie Cars Database resides under the URL of imcdb.com
Mik Anderson’s article about the GPz900R featured in Top Gun can be found at http://mikandersen.dk/index.php/top-gun-motorcykel/top-gun-bike-english-version 2018

Football – Extra Time

4-4-3-2-1-nil

Photograph Vince, aged around six in shorts and white shirt on a sandy beach kicking a football
Pelé, Maradona, Ronaldo, Messi, Müller, Lineker, Poynter. All could kick a ball. Only one is known primarily for his skills on an Isle Of Wight beach

I’m male and English so statistically speaking I should be a football supporter.

Football is described as the national game and in any group of men numbering greater than two the subject is raised within 18 seconds of discussion.  The only exception to this is groups of homosexual men or serious music buffs.  And as the only place I’d like to see ‘three tenners’ is in my wallet I conclude that I am gay.

However I attempt to confront the serious issue of soccer and do try to follow the prospects of my local team.  The trouble is that recently [2005, when originally written] they have been demoted to the second best division which for reasons only known to Neanderthals and men in sheepskin coats is known as the First Division.

You see, football can be a complex issue and I haven’t even breached the ‘offside rule’.

But the most controversial part of any modern match is often the ending.  A point where there is some similarity with serious music buffs – unfinished work.

As football is so pervasive in the modern era the opportunity to string out an inconclusive match over several re-visits is near on impossible.  Couple this to the advanced skill level that the players perform to and the situation arises that it is almost impossible to differentiate between two sets of eleven overvalued prima donnas so match results are often stagnant.

Or to put it in simpler football terms – Modern knockout matches often ‘go to penalties’.

Penalties are undoubtedly an exiting form of entertainment.  The suspense of the situation, the simple errors that change fortunes and the personalised guilt all add to a thrilling conclusion to an otherwise dull result.

The problem with penalties is that they are not representative of the game that preceded them.

The game is a rich mixture of fitness, skills, strategy, challenges and tactics involving specialised components led by an on-field captain and supplemented by the wise knowledge of an off-field coach or manager.  Whereas penalties are just whacking a stationary ball.

An alternative end-game scenario has already been used many times before, known as ‘the golden goal’.

Here, both teams play a set extended time but if one team scores then they win, there and then.  The disadvantage is that very often the goal never comes so the match ends again in unsatisfactory penalties.

The reason golden goals aren’t scored is that teams are reluctant to attack as any failed offensive often leads to a reduced defence, so making an aggressive playing team vulnerable to counter-attack.

So called ‘silver goal’ options have been tried that continue a match at least to the half-way point of extended time to counter this negativity but teams are still reluctant to play positively.  However, developing these themes I think I have the answer.

The ‘golden’ or ‘silver’ versions are fine but an added element is needed to guarantee an outcome.

My idea would involve all members of the team including the coaching and managing staff and is relatively simple.  During extra time, every five minutes the coach should have to withdraw a player.

Eleven becomes ten, becomes nine etc.  Eventually a goal would be scored because if just two opposing players were on the pitch one would be able to outwit the other.

Long before that though there would be great suspense at each five-minute period when the teams are rearranged and each opposing coach is forced to make tactical changes.  For instance, at what point, if any, do you remove a specialist like a goalkeeper?

This idea would truly challenge the coach’s skills as well as the players adaptability and fitness all in a footballing context.

Whether this could be adapted to other sports is debatable.

For instance if it were applied to American Football by the time all four hundred* specialist players were withdrawn one by one at five minute intervals the Superbowl final might last until December!

And an alternative option on female beach volleyball match conclusions could involve the addition of an extra player every five minutes until the beach was full.  But is that just fantasy running away with me?

Still, it disproves the gay theory.

*I might be a bit out on these numbers by the way.

Author: Vince Poynter
From the Ideas section of the vinceunlimited.co.uk website dated 2 May 2018
First published in Sep 2005 when the author’s local football team, Southampton FC, were being relagated to the Championship League following a poor showing in the Premiership.  They wouldn’t return until 2012
The image depicts the author on Sandown beach on the Isle of Wight.  It was taken around summer 1967 and was added on 2 May 2018

Looking Through Gary Gilmore’s Eyelashes

Face On

[Originally written in 2005]

The History

During mid September 2005 a surgical team made an announcement that they were to become the first to carry out a human face transplant and it unleashed a whole raft of press comment about the morals of such a procedure.

Too many commentators have taken the weak journalistic option of trying to stir up outdated, backward and religious prejudices by suggesting that there will be a moral outcry.  As usual this counters the brilliant scientific advancements heralded in these new procedures.

The additional twist this time is identity and the allegedly dubious grounds that taking someone’s face will mean adopting their identity and perhaps personality.  This is despite the surgeon’s assurances that the face is shaped by the bones, not the skin.

However, this does not deter those who think that the procedures could lead to cosmetic demands.

My personal belief is that if it did so what?  If someone is prepared to fund research through vanity then let them carry on.

And so what if it changes the way someone looks or raises questions about identity?  What rule says that identity has to be fixed?  If they bring out such a law I’ll grow a beard.  And so will my wife.

Famous Faces

Taking the arguments about altering identity a little further I note that one interesting thought that hasn’t yet been raised until now is the spectre that one day a celebrity may offer their face after their demise.  Think about the consequences for a while.

Currently playing on some sub-standard channel on my Freeview box is a programme called ‘I Want a Famous Face’.  This is the latest in the current trend of titillating, voyeuristic cosmetic surgery programmes that follows desperate wannabes sadly seeking to look like a celebrity because their own self-esteem is too low.

A natural extension to this idea is having the actual face they so desire.  And bidding wars could send the value of deceased celebrity faces sky high.  After all their fiscal worth in life is elevated, why not in death?

Been There Done That

These concepts are not particularly new.  ‘Gary Gilmore’s Eyes’ was a song was released following the real life transplantation of a dead killer’s donated eyes.

This spawned a fictionalised Hollywood film called ‘The Eyes of Laura Mars’ suggesting that the transplanted eyes held secrets about how Laura met her demise.

‘Face Off’ was a grand Hollywood blockbuster featuring Nicholas Cage and John Travolta who as goodies and baddies respectively routinely swapped identities during the movie to maintain a high level of thriller element and not a small amount of confusion.

Even before that, in the grand old days when everyone was in black and white a film was released called ‘The Hands Of Orlac’ which featured a talented concert pianist who having lost his hands in an accident had a pair transplanted from a deceased killer.  The twist this time was that the hands were more concerned with stabbing than tinkering with the ivories.

The Future

So what of the future?

I predict that this will become commonplace.

I’ll further suggest that there will be routine face swapping.  Maybe a business face for the day and a party face for the evening.  Presently women change their hair colour, length and shape and tint their eyes with contact lenses so changing faces is a logical extension.

Maybe friends will have fun swapping faces to confuse their parents.

Of course, society will gradually learn to distrust external features and we will eventually be judged on who we are and not what we look like.

And me personally?  I have never wanted to alter my face, my desire is technically easier but way more complex.  I don’t want to look like Brad Pitt, I want everyone to think that my look is as good as Brad’s.

Oh, and I’m thinking about putting in a bid for Jennifer Aniston’s face.

Not that I want to wear it – just sit on it.

Author: Vince Poynter
From the Opinions section of the vinceunlimited.co.uk website dated 1 May 2018
First Published: Version 2.02 in Sep 2005
The world’s first partial face transplant with parts from a stranger was claimed to be carried out on Isabelle Dinoire in Sep 2005 who had her face mauled by her dog.  The work was carried out by Dr Bernard Devauchelle, an oral and maxillofacial surgeon, Benoit Lengelé, a Belgian plastic surgeon, and Jean-Michel Dubernard in Amiens, France.  The operation was successful but her immune system’s response was difficult and she eventually died in 2016 following a long illness
An earlier transplant was reported by The Guardian on a 9 year old Indian boy, Sandeep Kaur, who had his face ripped off by a thresher machine in 1994.  His mother’s quick reactions allowed reconstruction of his own face by Dr Abraham Thomas, one of India’s top microsurgeons.  This is recognised as the first face transplant.  The Guardian reported that in 2004 Sandeep was training to be a nurse
‘I Want A Famous Face’ is an American documentary reality TV programme first shown on MTV which originally ran between 2004 and 2005
Gary Gilmore was an American double murderer who was successfully prosecuted and eventually executed in Utah in 1977.  Within hours two people had received transplants of his corneas
‘Gary Gilmore’s Eyes’ by songwriter T.V. Smith is a single performed by punk band The Adverts produced in 1977
‘The Eyes of Laura Mars’ is a 1978 film written by John Carpenter and David Zelag Goodman
‘Face Off’ is a 1997 film written by Mike Webb and Michael Colleary
‘The Hands of Orlac’ is a 1924 film written by Maurice Renard
Jennifer Aniston is lovely