Monday, 11 July 2016
Posted by Chaggers at 15:29
Saturday, 21 March 2015
Monday, 10 June 2013
Posted by Chaggers at 14:46
Saturday, 8 June 2013
"I repeat, legs start running - this is a Red alert."
"Stop squabbling you two, this is an emergency!"
"Lungs to Brain, what the fuck's happening?"
"I wondered when you’d start moaning. If you must know, we are, what is technically known, as ‘running’."
Emergency, Emergency! All leave is cancelled until further notice. Right leg start hopping up and down.
Speech Mechanism please shout: "Shit, buggar, bum, bollocks!”
Tear Ducts please supply two fluid ounces, let me know if you need any salt.
And finally Pain Centre - I want a sharp shooter now, a throb for half an hour and a dull ache for a fortnight!
You’re all behaving like geriatric prima donnas. All I wanted was a simple fifty yard run it's not a lot to ask. I have to tell you that I'm very, very disappointed."
Posted by Chaggers at 23:18
Friday, 11 May 2012
One sunny morning, surprisingly hot for early February, though had it been, say, August, it would have been rather nippy, I received a visit from a dear acquaintance nicknamed 'PG Tips' because of his morbid fear of anything to do with tea - teapots, strainers, milk jugs, tea plantations, tea bags, the word 'cuppa' and the British.
Posted by Chaggers at 21:42
Saturday, 15 October 2011
My name is Julian Chagrin, I am a British Mime and Comedian and I have lived and performed my One Man Comedy Show and worked on Television in Israel since 1976 apart from brief forays into what I laughingly call ‘the real world’ which is anywhere other than Israel, to perform and regain some vestiges of sanity before returning to the mad house which is my favourite country.
I live part of the time in Tel Aviv and part of the time in an artist’s village called Ein Hod which is perched on a hill on the Carmel Mountain ridge.
Actually the Carmel Mountain ridge is just a bunch of small hills. I have never understood why the Israelis call any hill higher than 100 metres a mountain, I think it’s what the French call delusions de grandeur. En passant the English have neatly adapted this to describe TV presenters the world over: they have delusions of adequacy. As I was saying, I always thought mountains were great big dangerous things with snow and no oxygen. Here in Israel you can wander up one in ten minutes. As far as I know there’s only one real mountain in Israel and that’s Mount Hermon, where every winter people flock to fall off their skis (actually these days they’ve modernised and they fall off their snowboards) and the army goes to test their battery heated socks.
So I’ve lived here for thirty years and to be frank, even after all these years I’m still trying to decide whether I want to stay here. You might wonder why I still haven’t made up my mind. I put it down to three reasons:
1. Actually the real reason is that I have absolutely no idea, but that’s not good enough for a grown up, mature adult, so here are some others.
2. A comedian is, more often than not, an angry outsider who snipes at life from a safe distance; he views life from the periphery, which let’s face it, is the safest position for sniping. Therefore as I live on the outside of society, ergo, I do not feel part of it.
So that’s a sensible, intellectually safe, reason.
2. The third reason isn’t a reason at all. You can’t reason rationally in a funny farm. It’s what women call instinct and what men haven’t found a word for yet, unless its ‘gut feeling’. Pity they have to bring intestines into it, but still.
Israel is a mix of such extraordinary opposites that reason doesn’t help you, it just sends you potty. You just have to dive into the mad sea of anomalies and swim, pretending that all the contradictory waves going in every direction are part of a normal ocean. If you can manage this then you don’t drown.
A good rule of thumb, if you are going to come and live in Israel, is to leave all your expectations behind and arrive here with an open mind as your only baggage. By the way that’s not such a bad way to travel through life either. In my opinion expectations are responsible for almost more misery and catastrophes than religions.
Two American friends arrived recently after years living in various European countries, but always promising themselves that they when they had made enough money they would come and live in Israel. They arrived with much brouhaha bought a yuppy house in a yuppy neighborhood on the coast and within three years had fled screaming to a nice safe boring country, Switzerland I think, yelling about the Byzantine bureacracy, how everybody was trying to rip them off and that it was nothing like California, London, Paris or Rome or wherever. Also it either wasn’t Jewish enough or it was far too Jewish, I forget which. You never heard so many complaints. It was expectations that were their downfall.
Yet they knew they were coming to the Middle East, to a tribal, nepotistic society, which still has one foot in the desert however high their beautiful skyscrapers are. No country can be quite normal that has been at war all it’s life. Here you pay your high taxes basically so the army can acquire nice shiny new hi-tec sabres to rattle at their 280 million hostile neighbors. And a good thing too.
Joke: how do you get a million dollars in Israel? Arrive with three million dollars.
So you can see I’m still puzzled. But one thing’s for sure, I’m not leaving Israel until I find out whether I want to live here or not. I know that doesn’t make sense, but it’s very comforting.
Friday, 5 February 2010
Philomena Bottletop lived with her aunt, the redoubtable Lady Agatha Pierce-Doubling at the lovely old manor Doubling House. Or 'Hice' as Lady Agatha pronounced it.
If truth were told and in these pages only the truth will suffice, there will not be even one secret kept from you the reader, I was going to write ‘dear reader’ but you may not be a dear at all you may be a serial killer, I’m not responsible for the morals of those who read these pages, but whoever you are, I promise this, I will be telling you no lies just the plain, occasionally varnished truth. But what’s a spot of varnishing between friends?
Back to the story. Lady Ag P-Doubling was not actually her real aunt. Oh no, dear me no, not at all, for there was a real MYSTERY attached to Philomena’s parentage. You see, nine years previously on a dark and stormy night, as a tiny tot, she had been left in a wicker work cradle on the doorstep of Doubling Hice and Lady Agatha had adopted her as she had nothing better to do at that particular time in her life, having just invested three months in attempting to learn the intricacies of Bridge and discovering she was terrible at it - so on seeing the tiny mite brought in by the butler she decided there and then to dump bridge and to make bringing the baby up her new hobby.
In the swaddling clothes with which the babe was swaddled there was a note swaddled round a bottletop, presumably so the note wouldn’t fly away. The note was written in an educated handwriting by a short red-headed female with a limp and cross-eyes, an addiction to gin and an obsession with politics, or so Lady Agatha was subsequently informed by the eminent and highly useless Harley Street handwriting expert to whom she showed the note.
The note read simply: ‘Her name is Philomena. Please bring her up as a lady.’
So for obvious reasons she became Philomena Bottletop and was brought up as a member of the Pierce-Doubling family, to the secret shock of the rest of the county, who fortunately were all too terrified of Lady Pierce Doubling to say anything nasty.
But human nature being what it is, which is often inhuman, there was much gossip behind closed doors. Who could her mother have been? The betting was ten to one that she was one of them suffragettes. A shiver would run up the collective spine at the mere mention of this odious sisterhood which was threatening the very foundations of British domestic complacency and well actually slavery as well. Remember I promised to tell the truth, for that is what slavery is, for if you are not free to say your opinions in a loud voice then you are a slave.
The overbearing Lady Agatha very soon found, that, to her astonishment, she had actually grown to love little Philomena, an emotion, which she was amazed to discover, she possessed in almost boundless measure. What she had taken up as a hobby now became the centre of her life. In fact she grew to adore the tiny thing and the more Philomena grew up and revealed her sterling qualities the more the previously adamantine Lady Agatha found that she loved her.
Lady Agatha was stunned to discover that she could feel such an inexhaustible amount of this untidy and embarrassing emotion called love, she had assumed since birth that she would be like her mother, the Lady Edwina Pierce Doubling - unfeeling, remote, distant and detached. And while we’re about it just plain nasty.
Her mother’s idea of child-rearing was to fire every nanny after one month so that none of them would be able to create a close and loving relationship with little Agatha. She felt that this cruel treatment was exactly what would make her daughter strong and durable like a fine Japanese sword whose steel has been beaten and folded over thirty thousand times until it is the hardest cutting blade in the world.
The outrageously autocratic Lady Agnes Pierce-Doubling was quite horrible. When she wasn’t being tyrannical she was being dictatorial and if by some chance she wasn’t being either of them then she was certainly asleep.
But let us open the curtains on the present moment.
Philomena Bottletop peered anxiously at her aunt.
“Auntie you just said the ‘F’ word” she fluted in shocked falsetto.
“Dratted child I’m well aware of it. The last time I said it was when your uncle Charles trod on a stoat in 1879. And now this.”
Philomena regarded her deranged aunt with something like affection. But what is something like affection she thought? Annection? Aggection? Allection? However Philomena was, to coin a cliché, made of sterner stuff and brought her mind back to the matter in hand.
“Yes but Auntie, Mr Nokes didn’t mean to do it.” Said Philomena brave as a salmon about to leap past a grizzly bear waiting to catch it on a rock by a rushing stream who has just come out of hibernation and could eat a large bag of cement he’s so hungry, if you see what I mean and if you do please tell me because I’ve lost the thread of all this. I just want to go home and have a cup of tea and watch ‘Flannel Foot” on the telly. But duty calls and I must continue to recount this tale of daring and intrigue in the upper classes.
Auntie Pierce-Doubling pulled herself up to her full height, with the aid of her chinning bar and a step ladder.
She was an extremely autocratic looking lady with a nose to match. Her wrists were excessively wrist-like and so was the wrist of her. She was a terrifying old bint and no mistake.
But Philomena wasn’t in the least bit impressed by her occasional piercing shrieks because she had seen her without her false teeth and could never be afraid of her again. Any time her aunt started to bully her, Philomena had only to utter the words:
“Buffle fluff puffle” which was a brilliant imitation of Auntie Pierce-Doubling talking without her dentures and the old girl would subside in a flutter of embarrassed adjectives.
“I don’t care if Mr Nokes meant to do it or did not mean to do it. The problem is that he did it. Now what are we to do?”
Philomena was at a loss how to answer her aunt. For it was true that Mr Nokes, the fattest man in the county, had just flung himself onto the couch and simultaneously alas onto Chin Chin the pekinese, thus instantly flattening him and rendering him useless as a living thing, though excellent as a deceased one.
“Now what are we to do?” Her Aunt suddenly reminded her of David Copperfield’s aunt who keeps asking her friend Mr Whatsit for advice. So Philomena gave it.
“We will have Benson the carpenter make the finest and flattest pekinese-shaped coffin from the best and rarest handpicked woods that money can buy and then we will have a funeral so fabulous that Lady Sternworthy will die of jealousy .”
Aunt Pierce-Doubling cogitated for a moment. Don’t worry I know that sounds as though she was about to explode but it actually means ‘thought it over’.
Aunt Pierce Doubling cast a beady eye in the direction of Mr Nokes whose bright crimson face gave evidence of his shame and guilt in the dog squashing department.
“I-I-I am so very …oh dear I am so very very …it’s appalling that…the poor animal. Oh dear I am so very, very…”
“Fat!” interpolated Aunt Perce Doubling in a stentorian bellow.
She went on.”Mr Nokes I would have thought that, after a lifetime of lowering your gargantuan frame onto other people’s sofas, you would by now have learnt to previously ascertain whether they contain living creatures. You must surely know by now that the rapid descent of so much tonnage in one fell swoop is not only dangerous, it is anti-social. I would call the Canine Defence League, of which I have the honour to be president, but luckily for you it has recently gone into bankruptcy owing to a plethora of Pit Bull-related incidents.”
“Lady Pierce Doubling if there’s anything I can do, of course I will be happy to pay the costs of the funeral.” His unctuous voice waffled on for a few seconds with apologies and counter apologies and re-apologies and dis-apologies until Philomena’s head was reeling.
“Philomena your head is reeling, it is most unladylike.”
“Yes Auntie” grinned Philomenma who loved the old girl even at her most forbidding.
After Mr Nokes had apologised himself blue in the face and taken his leave, Auntie Pierce Doubling rang for Godalming the Butler.
“You rang Ma’am?”
“Godalming please remove Chin Chin. Mr Nokes has squashed him irreparably.”
“Yes Ma’am, should I use a fish slice?”
“Oh for goodness sake man, I do not care with which implement you effect his removal as long as you do it with the utmost despatch.”
Godalming looked about him at a loss but Philomena caught his eye and motioned to the tongs nestling by the empty summer coal scuttle.
Godalming gave her the shadow of a wink and with the coal tongs plucked up the last remains of Chin Chin and exited the room with dignity.
“Dear gal, I must apologise profusely for using the F word. After all my lectures on ladylikeness and good manners it was an unpardonable and irreparable… oh!”
Philomena interrupted her surprised Aunt with a peck on the cheek.
“Oh Auntie I do love you. I hear that word every day, if it’s not in the stables, it’s in the kitchen. I was just a bit surprised that you knew it. But come on admit it you feel a bit better for having said it.”
Her Aunt turned her forbidding and patrician profile in the air and said haughtily:
“My dear young lady I certainly do not feel better. Really.”
“Miffle waffle croffle!” Said Philomena with a twinkle and the frightening woman had the grace to grin sheepishly.
“Oh alright just a bit.”
Wednesday, 3 February 2010
Being Me is like being locked out. As though one day things got just that little too painful and I opened the door and ran out of myself … and I could never get back in.
And that’s what my life has been about, trying to get back through the door. I’ve never succeeded, not once. The most I can manage on a good day is standing on tiptoe and looking in through the window. On the bad days I can’t find the house. On the worst days I forget I ever had one.
Imagine this. You are a child. You run out of your house. You come back some time later only to find you’ve locked yourself out. For the rest of your life. So do you adapt to always being on the outside looking in?
Yes of course you do. Absolutely. Most of the time anyway. Well sometimes. Actually I’m lying. Never.
Idea for a scene
A a whole crowd of Me’s from my past are having a party. Quite a depressed gathering in all probability. Hundreds of Me’s from different times, at all the various epochs of my life. Interesting thought though, would they be from dramatic occurences or merely mundane? Why would each Me be there? For instance a Me at 12 years old pops up. He’s dressed in his St Marylebone Grammar School uniform. Why him though? Why not the Me from the day after when I was at home in the weekend in civvies, climbing a tree or bullying my kid brother?
My mind’s boggling. Okay let’s just assume a position and make some ground rules here. We don’t need to know, not just yet anyway, why each Me pops up. It’s quite enough, for the moment anyway, that he does.
Right, having settled that, what would a whole crowd of different Me’s do? Would we like each other? Hate some of us and quite like others? Could we love any of ourselves? What would we talk about? Would we argue? And if so what about? Would we blame specific ones for the disasters they got us into that beset our later life? Praise those who got us out of scrapes? Would we, all of Me’s, take the credit for everything, - because though we might not have been present at whatever occurrence we are still Me? Might groups of Me’s gang up on each other? Even resort to violence? Possibly even muggings? Is it actually theoretically possible that two groups of Me’s could end up declaring war on each other? And if so would there have to be Me spies in both camps, prepared to rat on other Me’s?
I suppose since there could be no secrets from any of us that there would be no holds barred, like fighting between brothers, which I suppose is the nearest thing to fighting yourself.
Things are getting a wee bit complex here, because if I am observing this scene then who is the Me doing the observing? And if there is a Me looking at the Me doing the obsserving, then, to be aware of that Me there must be another Me just behind him observing him doing the observing. Suddenly I see an endless queue of Me’s stretching to infinity all observing the one in front observing.
So if it’s not a Me, who actually ends up observing all this?
I will call him X.
Is X my Higher Self? Is he the God living in my brain?
I suppose he could be a member of a viewing committee made up of the Me’s of all Sentient Beings past, present and future invited by unknown forces to observe this highly original party of Me’s, the first time such a party has been thrown in the history of the Universe? Well this Universe anyway. Because I suppose that, as the Alchemists said: "As above so below" so for every Me in my hypothetical gathering, there must be a Universe to match him. Ouch I'm boggling again.
Here I would like to interject a thought. Has it occurred to anyone that, possibly, the occasion which is reputed to have heralded in this Universe with such a big bang, could have been a flash in God’s pan, an experiment that exploded accidentally instead of simmering for a few quadrillion eons at oven mark 3?
Further on in this hypothesis can we please bring our incredibly important minds to bear on the fact that after this insignificant (to G-d anyway and also maybe even to God) failed experiment He/It/She/They or X, washed his hands of the whole thing and started another far more successful Universe next door? And what’s more, never came to visit, never guided us in all our myriad problems, never performed those Godlike deeds for which we are so pathetically grateful, in fact was quite unaware of our existence...
....and more to the point after taking a quick look at our poor botched Universe he went:
“Oh shit, too much salt.” And binned it.
Oh my X, were we trashed? The ignominy. And yet somehow, judging from what we are doing to our World, it doesn't seem too far-fetched.
Very distantly related to our more Apochryphal one.)
"Have you ever seen a ghost?"
"Yes I have. It was a highly enjoyable experience. She was nude and nubile and in her twenties. She was gorgeous with a real wanton look. I'll freely admit that her ghostly features were a slight drawback, but I suppose you'd expect that really.
Another minus was the stake which had been plunged into her right breast, but that didn't matter so much as you got a very fine view of the left one. Perfect, even though, there again, it did look a bit ghostly. Those were all the naughty bits I could see as the rest was hidden by judiciously placed swirls of ectoplasm. Her stomach seemed quite big so she was probably having a phantom pregnancy."
"What was she doing?"
"Nothing much. Haunting, I suppose. She seemed quitre bored."
"Where was this?"
"In an old Inn in Edinburgh."
"Not the MacTavish and Haggis?"
"Yes, actually I think it was."
"My God! I think you must have seen Lady Jane MacTavish, the Wanton Witch of the West, the world's rarest ghost!"
"Oh really? Well whoever she was, she had a great pair of tits, judging by the one I could see."
Saturday, 9 February 2008
“Right , does anyone know what this is?”
The class looked blank.
“No ideas at all?”
A tentative hand wavered up.
“Yes, Ponsonby Minor?”
“Is it Tutankhamen’s mummified scrotal sac?”
“No it’s bloody not and take a detention for your cheek.”
“Don’t you ‘but sir’ me. Tutankhamen’s mummified scrotal sac indeed! Anyone else got any bright ideas?”
“Well I’ll tell you ignoramuses what it is, it’s a …aaaarrgh!”
Professor Dolbin was suddenly clawing at his throat from which the head of an arrow protruded! Blood gushed from the wound in spurts, then spurted from the wound in gushes. Then it spurted in spurts and gushed in gushes. A torrent of blood poured from the wound, then a flood followed by a stream and finally a trickle. Professor Dolbin collapsed slowly onto the podium, his mouth frantically opening and closing.
“He’s trying to say something.”
Ponsonby Minor put his ears close to the Professor’s mouth.
“Bloody…. archery …..class.” he stammered and then was dead.
Fancourt Major from the sixth form came bounding into the class-room.
“Has anyone seen my arrow?” he said. His eyes followed the direction of the third form’s pointing fingers.
“Oh buggar.” Fancourt said ruefully “I was aiming for his chest. Still, not a bad shot.”
Posted by Chaggers at 21:51
Sunday, 6 May 2007
WHICH RAN FOR 17 YEARS! It was the longest running commercial
ever in UK TV History.
But to be honest, I really can’t fathom why it was so much loved.
Maybe I’m not objective but I don’t think that it’s particularly good,
or well directed or for that matter well performed by me.
But maybe it’s because there is a stunning song written by Rod thingmejig (sorry Rod) the father of Elvis Costello.
It was sung by a session singer and is very catchy, the “R.Whites”
refrain sounding like “Alright!”
I actually made 2 R.Whites Commercials at the same time.
The second one was much, much better. (photo above) I played a manic rock singer with long blond hair singing (well miming) the song and gyrating madly all over the stage.
But it was never repeated. Why? Well, and now the dastardly truth can be told, it appears that an unknown Elvis Costello was playing guitar in the group behind me and when he became mega-famous it is rumoured that he didn’t want to be seen as a humble backing guitarist so he didn’t agree for it to be shown again, understandably for him I suppose,
I do have one indelible memory from the R Whites Commercial.
About a year after it was shown, I was in a pub. A man at the bar beckoned me over with a huge grin. Aha, another fan I thought, he wants to meet a celebrity, I'll brighten up his day.
"Hello." I said patronisingly.
"Hello, do you know," he said chuckling happily "that my son hates you?"
"Well thanks for the information." was all I could think of.
Exit one abashed actor.
Friday, 4 May 2007
Below is an excerpt from my novel:
"HOOTS or the Honorable Order of Treasure Seekers." *******************************************
"Saving Lady Trudy"
Bernard knocked, panting, on the massive mahagony door of the Vermilion Room, where Lady Trudy was ensconced.
There was no answer. I knocked, we waited, no answer.
Bernard knocked again, still no answer. We took it in turns to knock. Still no signs of life.
I shot Bernard a significant look.
He answered it with an expressive shrug.
I raised my eyebrows eloquently.
He frowned momentously.
I narrowed my eyes knowingly.
He sucked in his cheeks suspiciously.
I said “Bernard pulling funny faces is all very well, but maybe Lady Trude has somehow been … got at?”
The words sent a chill through the air. We exchanged worried glances and then returned them.We set our jaws. We knew what was in each other’s mind. As one man we retreated down the corridor to get a good run and then with a mighty roar charged the door - at the very moment that Lady Trudy opened it.
This was actually very good news for us, as we ourselves would have been the eedjits taking any battering that was going on in the vicinity, since it is well known that massive mahogany doors are not even remotely susceptible to the hurlings of soft out-of-condition shoulders and would not have budged an inch.
Unencumbered by exotic timber but still roaring, we shot past Lady T’s astonished gaze and hurtled into the room.
Not content with this singular mode of entry, our lively progress was now aided by the medium of a carpet, upon which we slid, arms and legs flailing hysterically, across the highly polished wood floor, our roar suddenly replaced by a terrified screech.
Luckily a halt was precipately made to our progress by a friendly chesterfield sofa over whose substantial back we flew just before we would have shot out of the window.
“What on earth were you doing? Have you been drinking? Why didn’t you try knocking?”
Our heads rose from behind the sofa. “We did.”
©All rights reserved Julian Chagrin 2007