Sunday 21 December 2008

Wanker Webb

"The referee's a wanker!" The BOF has never heard that chant so universally taken up as it was today. Consistency is really all we ask, but we never get it. Time and again the whistle blew for an offence which was a carbon copy of one from 15 seconds previously that had gone unheeded. It worked both ways - this is not a partisan moan. 

Sadly, the Emirates does not take to a new tune easily, so the BOF's attempts to instigate a rousing singalong to the tune of "Jingle Bells", with the words "Wanker Webb, Wanker Webb, Ruining the game!" came to nothing.

Probably just as well, given that those nice stewards would have had to eject us from out seats for using foul and abusive language.

Can an official be ejected for foul and abusive refereeing?

An Apology

Dear Reader, the BOF has been neglecting you! Shameful, but true: he has been unwell.

Small scale, it's true: a cold. But the cold is an insidious virus, changing the character of its host while it lodges. Even the best balanced bof can become unhinged, straying into gomness without warning or notice. The grumbling self-pity of the last few days, if applied to the pages of this blog, would have undone all the pioneering work of its short existence. Better the silence than the moaning.

But he's back. Rejoice, or do whatever it is takes your fancy.

Monday 15 December 2008

made off with it

The BOF has been watching reactions to the Madoff affair with tenuously connected interest. He has an acquaintance who was well and truly clobbered by the fraudster.  It would appear that new marks were reeled in through the oldest ruse in the book: "The fund's actually closed, but I think I can get you in if we move fast."

The Acquaintance spoke to a member of his family shortly after the dreadful truth was revealed. When asked what he was going to do, his reply was not one of blame, recrimination or evasion of responsibility. 

He was making A LIST - a list of what he had left that might be sold so that he could start again.

Truly a bof of the first order!

Sunday 14 December 2008


There are times when those little cameras built in to telephones take on a creative life of their own. The BOF applauds this independence of spirit and offers for your pleasure one such instance from last night's cabaret at the O2. 

There was something a little disconcerting about being able to sit front row centre at a popular music concert and still converse with the neighbour. The chain of events which led to the BOF seeing Reg in performance for the first time in 30 years is too convoluted to go into here. The 61 year-old's performance was, shall we say, stately. His only forays away from a comfortable seated position at the red piano were gentle ambles across the shiny stage, pointing randomly the while.

It may be that, later in the performance, the doughty knight clambered on the piano, even swung from the odd chandelier, but the BOF was not there to witness it. As the sounds of another impeccably played tune drew to a climax-free end, two bofs scurried out the back way. 

Picking a route around the village of flight cases backstage, it was hard not to notice that a surprising number bore the stencil CATERING.

Saturday 13 December 2008

Rain drips

The BOF was in westerly parts this morning and had to leave the house at around 8 o' clock. There had been some unremarkable rain when he went to bed last night but nothing to be alarmed by. He slept soundly (perhaps because the preceding two nights had seen little opportunity for pillow-time) and so was unaware of what must have been happening.

As he set off down the valley, it became clear that there was an unusual quantity of water fighting for space. The narrow lane had become a torrent, dips in the road surface had become ponds, and everywhere little fountains spouted from the steep banks. 

All in all, rather pretty. It's not unusual for conditions to be like this in the valley, with its network of springs feeding the meandering  brook. Once back in clear radio reception, this view appeared a little wide of the newsgathering consensus. Apparently, this was an emergency, something close to a disaster.

Later, in Cheltenham Spa, he spied something out of the ordinary: a gentleman in gumboots came out of his front door, approached a blocked drain in the road and BEGAN TO CLEAR IT HIMSELF. No emergency services, no orange cones, no yellow tape, and, particularly, nobody moaning that 'They should do something about it.' 

We do love weather in this country, but the attitude seems to have changed. Where once every household behaved like the Cheltenham Gentleman, we are now exhorted by voices on the radio and TV to stay at home, and to avoid travelling unless strictly necessary. 

Come along now - it's just a spot of rain. Get your boots on, go and splash about in the puddles, and make deliberately unnecessary journeys. It's what winter weather is for.

Thursday 11 December 2008

Bofski says 'Ahoy!'

How do you start an email? Some people favour ‘Hi’ or ‘Hello” but that doesn’t seem quite right to me. Smacks of America.

The old-fashioned ‘Dear” appears too formal.

My brother just launches in, with no greeting at all, which is somehow a bit forward.

I propose we all try ‘Ahoy!”.

After all, it is the greeting favoured by Alexander Graham Bell for his new telephonic invention. It seems that, in the 1870s, all lines were continually open and the normal way to get a response was to shout ‘Ahoy!’ or ‘Are you there?’

The reason we say “Hello” when we pick up the telephone is all down to Thomas Edison, who blurted it out one day. Edison probably meant ‘Halloo’ anyway, an old rallying cry. Apparently his spelling was atrocious. Thanks to this faux, ‘Hello’ spread like an STD in a sauna and soon even Mark Twain was using it.

That’s all very well for the telephone. But for emails, ‘Ahoy’ is so much better. It calls out to you across a distance. A cry in the wind of the Ether, that hangs there happily waiting for a leisured response.

Yes indeed. Ahoy is quite obviously the best answer.

(from BOFSKI)

Wednesday 10 December 2008

It's all over

The expression "there's a black hole at the centre of it" is usually taken to mean that It, whatever it may be, is in trouble, that it will eat itself, that it hasn't long for the world.  

It turns out that there really is a black hole at the centre of it, it in this case being everything, the universe. From the mouths of scientists come lurid images of the Hole devouring all that comes close - planets, stars, whole galaxies - like some ancient monster lurking in a mountain cave, preying on passing travellers.

The BOF is not alarmed by this. He has always enjoyed symmetry and what could be more symmetrical than the proposition scientists are laying before us now? If they are right, it all came from nothing and will all end up being sucked back into nothing.

But Mr Sam Beckett got there first. 

"They give birth astride of a grave; the light gleams an instant, then it's night once more".

A comforting, warm thought.

Tuesday 9 December 2008

The pope would scream

Up a narrow stairway, somewhere in old Soho, there existed a club which was both real and legendary. Its members and habitu├ęs were figures in the landscape of London. They revelled in its scuzzy fame. The place allowed their exemption from sainthood.

The figures are gone, or incapable of mounting the stairs.

Without them the place is a horrid green room of no perceptible charm.

Yet tonight, in a swanky house-for-hire, there is a party - one hundred pounds for entry - aimed at preserving this place.


There's nothing to preserve.  Without bacon, a fried egg is nothing. Let it go. A blue plaque will do the job far better than a bunch of sentimental socialites dragging out its physical end.

Colonise anew. Twas always thus.

Knock off knock on

So nanny wants to put cigarettes out of sight, does she? Well here's some news for nanny: she's going to create a tsunami of shoplifting. 

Back in the days when the BOF still had hair, he fell in with a rum crew - twilight people living on the murky edge. Ending up for no good reason in a west country town one day, hungry, thirsty, but without money, a raid was planned. It required  a supermarket with a tobacco counter next to the exit - not unusual.

The trolley brimmed with victuals: steaks, champagnes, pates, chickens, spirits, wines, avocados (they had only recently ceased to be exotic). When it could take no more, the raid-leader advanced on the tobacco counter. He had previously instructed the BOF to find a product so little in demand that it did not merit display space, and he had selected an expensive cigar, spied at floor level behind the counter. 

He duly requested the tube. The assistant turned and bent down, thus losing sight of the trolley which immediately vacated the store and proceeded at speed to a waiting car. A sumptuous feast followed, all for free - it only took a little nerve.

So, Nanny, think it through. Hard times, hidden cigs, larceny rampant, and all your fault. Tsk, tsk...

Monday 8 December 2008

Gompletely different

It would appear that some help is needed in distinguishing bofs from gom. It's all about the marvellous fluidity of the English language. Consider, for instance, the word gusto: not a word that you might associate with taste, yet that's its origin, in the Italian. (The coming of the Italian opera to London, with all its connection to fashion, fops and fandango - worth a detour.)

Boring old fart was originally an expression applied by callow youth to those older citizens who chose to burn their rubber in parts of the track other than the currently accepted racing line; however much youth tried to persuade them that they were on the wrong course, they would motor serenely on, impervious to the increasingly hysterical rants of the youngsters who would finally give up with this pathetic attempt at an insult. The knowing bof would smile contentedly and adopt the insult as a badge of honour.

Gom cannot RISE ABOVE in this fashion, being capable only of stooping and muttering, creasing their already-wrinkled brows with further needless rage. Poor things: they should stick their fevered heads in the ice box for a few minutes - yes, gom, chill.

Saturday 6 December 2008

New York vs Yorkshire

The BOF's garden wall for two years while drills and diggers shattered the calm of his afternoon naps.

All change

Travelling to the football this afternoon, the London traffic was snarling in ways unseen since the credit lunch arrived. (The thinning of traffic here has been one of the few pleasurable effects of the disasters caused by the masturbators of the universe.) Crawling past a crocodile of forty policemen on bicycles, Tony and the BOF speculated as to the cause. Tony veers towards the gom, but he can be charmingly bofish. We commented on the rising fumes of exhaust gases, only opening windows to add to it with tobacco smoke.

Imagine then our surprise and delight when we spied a sign, announcing that most of central London's major roads were to be closed this afternoon for a demonstration and march on the subject of climate change. 

Clearly, this was no ordinary climate change march, but a demo IN FAVOUR OF CLIMATE CHANGE. How else to explain an event which must have doubled the normal saturday output of gases?

These gases were added to later by a restive crowd, astonished by the sheer incompetence of Mr Eboue. The BOF has never seen a substitute substituted, other than for an injury, and for a fleeting moment, he thought that he might have to offer monsieur Wenger his services. The thought passed rapidly enough, but the inconsequential re-telling of it will provide a treasure trove of bof moments.

Friday 5 December 2008

Graf-boy still faces up

And BOF just found that his personal graffiti artist is still a friend, even though he hasn't seen him since the boards went up. The boy's a natural bof, so expect to see some unusually modern language here soon. 

Chong did BOF's border board when the nigh-on Nebuchadnezzar neighbour nearly nuked the cross-wall relationship with his building fantasy. It was only the coruscating colours of his cascading caprice that enabled the BOF to stop himself from cutting the carotid artery. New York/Yorkshire was an answer to a question, a light for the matchless, a MACY GRAY to Gerry Haliwell.

Later, there will be a picture (ain't that always so?) but for now, believe it: BOF still loves you baby.


A big part of bofness is to GET THINGS quicker than an old fart should - but at the last minute. So the BOF, in a moment of post-high-unit-lunchness many X-Factors ago, signed on to one of those social networking thingies. The next day, he remembered doing it, but couldn't for the life of him work out why he'd done it. So he never went back...

...until  one of his nyt friends whooped at him on the email that she'd "found him".

So after a bit of confusion with passwords and the like, he went back.

Bofs, it's really quite jolly. Sure, there's a lonely old fart element, what with this virtual chatting stuff, but remember how we used to use that word? Pretty much the same is what it meant (even if that was misuse) and this is pretty much the same as being at a party - says the BOF. No doubt he'll be disillusioned in a dawn or two, but, for now, BOF DIGS FACEBOOK.

C'mon, RedTop, you can do it too!

Sussex pudding

A Sussex gom has called the BBC "arrogant and presumptive" for replacing last night's screening of Little Dorrit with a Panorama on the Shannon Matthews case. This is another example of the creeping blight of mistaken ownership. Viewers do not own the BBC: they watch it, they listen to it, they take part in its competitions, but the money they pay is for a licence to operate a television receiver.

As originally conceived and executed, this was a clever trick, a moebius strip if you like, which created an impenetrable barrier between the government, the funding, and the corporation, assuring its independence, culminating in the fact that the Board of Governors WAS, legally, the BBC.

Despite daft changes of late, something akin to this is still the case. So it is the BBC who decides on the programming and the scheduling, and it it is the BBC who owns the right to do that, not Mr. Sussex Gom. All he owns is his TV set and remote, and the choice of programmes available to him at any given moment. A thumping good choice it is, too.

Arrogant? Presumptive. That'll be you, sir.

Bofs and Gom. Same difference. Not.

The BOF had hoped to let this sleeping dog lie but the barking has begun. So let it be clearly stated: bofs and gom are not the same creatures. The grumpy old man can't even pluralise his own  acronym. 

Further examination of usage brings more light. 

As any female will tell you, the man is a rigid thing, stuck in his ways, inflexible, and limited.

The fart, on the other hand, flies free, capable of being a noun, a verb, and all stations in between.

The gom is irritated. The bof irritates. 

The gom's fallback is a mantra - "I don't believe it!"

Pushed into the same corner, a bof will make a list. To that end, a conference has been arranged for next week over the luncheon table , at which bofs will consult with some Nubile Young Things in order to compile a list of bofs and gom. (Nyts have been called in for this vital occasion because they are the experts in distinguishing between the two - they have uncles, and all uncles are either bofs or gom.)

Watch this space - oh, please do!

Thursday 4 December 2008


Some might be of the opinion that it is inappropriate behaviour for bofs to claim a liking of popular television. Those some are ignoring a vital ingredient of bofdom: we can never remember their names - the names of pop-tel's participants, that is - and thus maintain our bof status while simultaneously venturing into dangerously un-bof areas. 

Given that this is the first TV-toe-in-the-water for Boring Old Fart (there will be more - much more, and football isn't television), let's be gentle.   A simple statement of approval will do: the BOF finds himself smiling and even laughing out loud at Never Mind the Buzzcocks.

Or perhaps a little bit more than a simple statement. The new one in the middle is unspeakably better than the old one.  The fat one is charmingly accommodating to shy guests. And there appears to be a refreshingly competitive degree of THINKING.

Finally, of course, the majority of the Buzzcock crowd are incipient bofs, with their ridiculous knowledge of pop music. We look forward to your joining us, buzzbofs.

Moving with the times

In times gone by, the BOF has frequently fulminated that phones should be phones, not walking playstations. But he now concedes that the ability to capture dunderheaded hoots such as this must force a revision of that opinion. 

BOF jnr. will be heartily relieved to have heard the last of that one.

Time Out is time wasted (from Bofski)

So you want to go to the cinema. You pick up Time Out. The only listings magazine that actually prints instructions on How To Use Listings. That should be a warning. OK so you check the film reviews. I fancied Belle Toujours.  (Who wouldn’t?) It’s even got a red star for Critic’s Choice.


“For an index of venues. Please see below each review”. Beneath Belle Toujours no hint of where it might be playing appeared. The reviewer gave himself a credit. Thanks WH. 

OK. Don’t panic. I’ll just search through Central Cinemas til I find it. (Thanks Time Out for including Twickenham, Putney, Clapham & Kilburn here; has anyone told Boris?) Sad to relate Belle Toujours wasn’t actually listed as playing anywhere. Bastardos. Then there’s the film’s actual listings. You try to decipher “From Thur. 3.10,6.00,8.50; from Fri:12.20” 

WHAT A MESS. Grow up Time Out and get your act together. It can’t be that difficult, however hard you make it appear. By the way, I had to sit through over two hours of the CIA out-foxing and out-shooting the entire Arab world in Body of Lies, instead of seeing something halfway (in)decent.

Welcome Bofski!

From time to time, the BOF welcomes onto his blog a fellow bof. He feels it only fair (although he's quite capable of cheating here) to let you know when you're reading the rants of another old fart. 

So welcome to BOFSKI - we feel truly international here, as Bofski is - yes - a Russian bof. 

"Ah! I see it's durdling."

BOF has connections in Yorkshire and,whenever he's there, he likes to keep his ears tuned for unusual words. They're big ears, and despite his advancing years, their reception is still good. So it was with some delight that, during an amicable conversation with Mr Bennet, he captured the word "durdling". 

Chances are you'll be able to use it any time now. Practice it carefully, roll it around the palette, try introducing it casually into sentences. It's a weather word, and weather is much on the minds of bofs as we experience the beginnings of what might be the first properly aligned season since the GREAT WINTER of 62/63.

It refers to those moments when it tries to snow but doesn't quite succeed. The odd, almost imperceptible, flake flutters by the corner of an eye and then is gone, leaving the observer unsure as to whether it was really snow, or just a languorous liver spot drifting over the ageing vision.

Let them eat coke

While listening to the soothing tones of bof-god Melvyn on radio bof this morning, a report leaps from the pages of the newspaper with "oh dear" written all over it. The government is launching a campaign to warn of the dangers of cocaine. Thankfully, it's cocaine use they talk about, rather than cocaine abuse: the BOF has never understood how it is that a drug which is designed to be stuffed up the nose is being abused when it's stuffed up the nose. But then the spluttering starts. 

This campaign is aimed at 15- to 18-year-olds, and what BOF wants to know is HOW CAN THEY AFFORD IT? After considerable thought (about 2 minutes) he comes to an inescapable conclusion: the only bullseyes on this target are the over-privileged denizens of South Kensington Night Clubs. You know the ones - famous, rich parents, double-barrelled surnames, stupid first names, often a German connection. 

The government has got it wrong. These people have to be culled. Their drawling presence is a constant irritant to any self-respecting bof. So let them eat coke.

Wednesday 3 December 2008

Sky really is the limit

Football commentators are, by nature, bofs. It's a prerequisite of the job with all those facts and figures and unpronounceable names combining to make any self-respecting old fart fling furious obscenities  at the flickering screen. And, yes, the BOF is back on statistics - but this time he's suggesting a new game to counter the tedium of the commentary. 

There's a lummox by the name of Andy Gray whose hibernian drone forms the background to many a weekend in the Sky. The BOF would be the FIRST TO ADMIT that Gray was once a fine figure of a footballer. But that was then.

He has become the I-me man. The BOF started to count the number of times Gray used the personal pronouns on Sunday. He had to give up after three minutes, realising that this was something for the professional number crunchers. A clicker was called for, and a clicker shall be found. 

Until that time, a call goes out to all true bofs to do their bit for meaningless statistics. Give us the numbers. Get that thumb clicking away and post your findings here. We'll call it Gray's a-me-nity. 

Major Boris consultation insult

The BOF lives in the Western Extension to London's congestion charge zone. He was somewhat surprised to hear Major Boris telling us the other day that he had been consulted by the Major over whether to abolish the western extension. Apparently, we said we wanted it to go.

We said no such thing Major, because we WERE NOT consulted. No doubt there was a so-called statistically valid sample which was consulted. So, hey, let's hear what that sample was.

On second thoughts, let's not. The BOF knows about statistics (he wouldn't be a bof if he didn't) and he knows that what would come to light would be a Biassed Population. Which, of course, means that the sample is a Biassed Non-valid Population, or a BNP.

So we're having decisions taken for us by the BNP now. Good on you, Major Boris - you've redrawn the lines of London politics.

The Boring Old Fart is now live.