EDitorial ± 31-Oct-2011

Like A Monkey With A Miniature Cymbal

Recently I've taken on some new responsibilities at work. My knowledge of this particular area is not good. So when I'm asked a question, I forward that same query to a colleague who actually knows stuff, then cut and paste his response back to the original person. Simple. And at the same time deeply unsatisfying. Makes me feel like an untrained monkey. I may as well have a small pair of cymbals. Possibly a fez too. With a stripy waistcoat.

Which got me thinking about the CBM — the cymbal-banging monkey. Naturally, our friend Wikipedia has a highly informative page on the subject. That page (and others on the Net) lists various films and telly programs which feature a monkey who bangs a pair of cymbals. Seeing the list is OK; seeing some screen grabs is better. Here goes.

— The Simpsons Movie —

For me, this is the CBM which most readily springs to mind. Literally.

From time-to-time in The Simpsons we're given an insight into Homer's mind. Given a star cameo in The Simpsons Movie is this particular fella, very much in the Groening house style with his googly eyes.

Naturally he appears when Marge is speaking but quickly tires of banging his cymbals and urges Homer to listen for once.

Read the IMDb entry for The Simpsons Movie.

— Toy Story 3 —

In Toy Story 3, the security cameras at the notorious Sunnyside Daycare centre — subject of a recent Panorama investigation — are monitored by an oddly still CBM.

Never mind what a little kid might make of this one, I find him absolutely terrifying.

Read the IMDb entry for Toy Story 3.

— Close Encounters —

Steven Spielberg, the bearded one, at his most potent with the weirdly named Close Encounters Of The Third Kind. What a mouthful.

As strange lights appear outside that house in the middle of nowhere, the little kid's toys come to life. Including a threatening CBM.

Curiously, the kid doesn't run shrieking to his mummy but goes downstairs to investigate further, the way they do in films.

Read the IMDb entry for Close Encounters.

— The Grinch —

Another rotten Dr Seuss adaptation, The Grinch has an enormous CBM in his lair.

Note the classic yellow waistcoat and striped red trousers as per Toy Story 3.

I have nothing else to add.

Read the IMDb entry for The Grinch.

— Aladdin —

Now this is more like it.

So, I said to the kids, do we have Aladdin in the house? Nope, they said. Not trusting them at all, I checked the list of recorded films. Sure enough, it looked like they were right ... until I discovered that it was hiding away in the listings as Disney's Aladdin. That's good, Dad, can we watch it? Yep, of course, as long as you look out for the bit with the cymbal-banging monkey.

Blink-and-you'll-miss-it. Right near the end of the film, cute little Abu is very briefly transformed into a CBM by Jaffar. No cake for him.

Read the IMDb entry for Aladdin.

— Doctor Who, The Empty Child —

Mummy. Mummy. Are you my Mummy?

This one I read about but found hard to believe. Apparently, said Wikipedia, there's a CBM in a Dr Who episode called The Empty Child, a real behind-the-sofa number from one Steven Moffat.

Oh yes, said one of the Who experts in the house, it's in that bit where the girl — Nancy — is feeding the kids in that deserted house. We dug out the DVD and bish-bosh, she was right. Of course.

It starts to bang its cymbals in a manner similar to Close Encounters before the Doctor, Christopher Eccleston, picks it up to examine it.

Read the IMDb entry for The Empty Child.

— Phantom Of The Opera —

So, Phantom Of The Opera. Lon Chaney, Michael Crawford, Andrew Lloyd Webber, all that malarkey.

This creepy-looking CBM pops up right at the start of the filmed musical version on top of a music box. If you're interested, it's possible to buy replica versions online. Which is nice.

Read the IMDb entry for Phantom Of The Opera.

— A Matter Of Loaf And Death —

Another quality contender is from the mighty Wallace And Gromit, one that I'd completely forgotten. We're talking A Matter Of Loaf And Death.

Having broken into the house of Piella Bakewell, the ever resourceful Gromit is forced to spend the right hiding on the light fitting. When he finally falls on to the bed below, he sees a quivering shape under a blanket. Thinking it must be Piella's dog, Fluffles, he pulls off the cover only to reveal this classically attired CBM, complete with fez.

Read the IMDb entry for A Matter Of Loaf And Death.

— Rebel Without A Cause —

Here's an oddball one to close. To quote an entirely separate website called TV Tropes:

James Dean drunkenly plays with such a toy in the opening credits of Rebel Without a Cause
Really? Truly?

As he's being manhandled into the local police station, one of the icons of the age is gripping tightly onto a CBM. Believe it.

Read the IMDb entry for Rebel Without A Cause.

That's more than enough cymbal-banging monkeys for one week.

EDitorial ± 25-Oct-2011

TT1112, Week 7

Nearly November and only our second game of the season. Partly our fault, being two matches behind, but partly the league's, since there's four blank week in division 3. Ah, the good old days when we'd play each and every week barely stopping for Christmas.

Andy remains otherwise engaged so it's the Loachian K/E/S trilogy of Kennedy, Ed and Steve, as seen on Langer Road. Home match -- must get a new AA for that clock -- and we're up against the Cormorants. Given their first names of Bernie, Barry and Brian, they really should be known as Britannia Bric-A-Brac. In brief:

  • Ed got all three without dropping an end, somehow
  • Kennedy also got all three, again, dropping just one end to Bernie
  • Steve easily won his first two games -- he was 10-0 up playing Barry -- then came unstuck against ever-improving Bernie despite a 15-13 first end win

As per our previous game, Steve stepped aside to let Ed and Kennedy claim our 9th point of the evening. Two games played, 9-1 each time. All good.

EDitorial ± 24-Oct-2011

Ipswich Lunches: Danny's Sandwich Bar

Much in the manner of our blow-out at Arlingtons, Andy had a pre-UCS slot available. Say 3pm in Ipswich on the Monday of half-term week? Unscrew the Worzel Gummidge unshaven bonce and attach the thinking head in its place. Couple of suggestions are SMS-ed in his general direction.

Let us sidestep over the various texts, phone calls, change of venue and a puncture and concentrate on where we ended up, a new town centre place called Danny's Sandwich Bar. Opposite main entrance to Christchurch Park, I texted, facing The Running Buck, aka The Key.

Half-three-ish and I thought I'd have the place to myself. Not so. Had to squeeze into a window seat since all tables were taken. Seems like they're already a hit with the ever-increasing local student population. Given the prices displayed on the wall (and the free WiFi), that's no great surprise. Headline message is "subs, wraps and sandwiches", but I need sweet stuff. Ooh, only £1.50 for waffles with cream and golden syrup? That'll do, donkey.

When Boyton Boy finally turns up wheeling his dead Brompton, it takes him all of 0.37 seconds to order identically: waffles and coffee. Mine are long since gone by that time, ditto the more than acceptable coffee. Chat with the friendly couple running the place reveals that this is something of a dream venture and that it's going well, especially Hot Dog Saturdays. Good luck to 'em and hope it works out!

If it was a car -- Kia Forte.
If they were passing by -- Dani Harmer.

EDitorial ± 13-Oct-2011

Ipswich Lunches: Coffeelink, Station

That there Coffeelink down on the capitalised Waterfront is a capital spot. Open all hours, comfy seating, free WiFi, smattering of papers, good views, friendly service, and the coffee is top-notch. When some friends came to stay, that's where we ended up, if you'll take that as a recommendation.

So when our lunch gang was on the lookout for an in-and-out spot close to Ipswich station, I nominated Coffeelink. Not the one on the docks, dummy, but the branch within the very fabric of the station itself. Janus-like, it faces out to the taxi rank and out to the platform. Rules being rules, though, your average punter must pick his entrance accordingly. Takeaway for a cabbie or sit-down for a commuter?

Managed to blag my way through the ticket barriers and onto the hallowed platform: right for Upper Crust, left for Coffeelink. Handful of seats within works fine. Andy's there: always good to see an always-late person waiting for someone else. Compact chiller is home to a compact range of prepack sarnies and paninis. Tuna and mayo'll will more than do, plus a pack of ultrabeefy "Real Handcooked Roast Ox Flavour Potato Crisps". Considering its location, the prices are very reasonable. Good sandwich.

Local street scenes are on the wall in some classy b&w photos: Arcade St, Queen St, and, er, Liverpool St station. Not quite time for Andy's shuttle which means dessert: whopping cinnamon swirl for now, Ritter marzipan for later at home, brownie points guaranteed. Two-shot medium latte is excellent, as ever. Full marks.

If it was a car -- Jensen S-V8.
If they were passing by -- Mervyn King.

EDitorial ± 7-Oct-2011

Light Lunches: Five Winds Farm, Melton

Hot enough for ya? Must be nearing the end of this Indian summer, a name that my Bangalore colleagues find highly amusing: 25 deg here, 40 deg there. This heat, as those 80s ladies said, has got right out of hand.

Me and the Brompton Boy again, those blokes with spokes. Off in the general direction of that Woodbridge and tack right by the Tide Mill near the wallet-busting Waterfront Cafe. This way, says Andy, and we're onto a riverside path with boats to the right of 'em, boats to the left. Feeling like Nick Leeson, my Barings have collapsed. Aha, behold the Wilford Bridge: it's got stile. Now to double back for Poppy's Panty Wholefood and Eco Store. They're always open ... but not today, alas.

Ideas above their station: that's our fallback. Retreat 400m to Melton Station, home of the fab Five Winds smokehouse and butchery. Known for miles around for meat of the raw variety, let's hope they have some ready cooked. Sign outside promises their "famous sausage roll". One of those, please, plus a pork pie, and a small selection of olives, my good man. All very Woodbridge. With a Barr's Cream Soda on the side. Sor-ted.

Not overly picturesque on the Wilford Bridge Road by the industrial estate, so another brief ride -- and a minor run-in with an irate motorist by the Red Lion -- takes us into stately Elmhurst Park. Think we were last here on official light lunch duty after a trip to the Sandwich Shop with Grenvyle. And there we sat, on a sunny bench, greatly enjoying our fine comestibles (best ever sausage roll) like two poor Yorkshiremen.

If it was a car -- Maserati Mistral.
If they were passing by -- John Kettley.