Friday, 18 April 2014

Kids, dead cats drink no milk

Kids I've been reviewing some of my earlier posts and find I'm particularly pleased with the one below, which was my attempt to event 25 new sayings for the 21st century. I'm not claiming any fresh insights but if you're interested in what made your grandfather tick, clues are contained in the following.

Empty as a Facebook user’s diary
Girls with the nicest legs tend to wear the shortest skirts
The smaller the fruit, the greater the taste
Age is no guarantee of wisdom
Today’s experts are tomorrow’s unemployed
It takes two to argue
God invented A & E to give atheists an idea of eternity
To oil the gate's hinges before you enter
May you pay off your student loan – a new wedding toast
Messy eaters make the best lovers
As worthless as a politician’s promise
The selfish are quick to accuse others of the fault
Pigeons dump on the wrong heads
When everything else fails there’s always a curry
A fart – nature’s ring tone
It never rains on a neighbour’s barbeque
Celebrity culture – a contradiction in terms
Dead cats drink no milk
Any son but mine – the general’s plan of attack
Look before you heave
A banker’s bonus – proof there is no justice
A banker’s bonus – proof some have no shame
As strong as a footballer’s marriage vows
Is Jane Austen one of the most widely read writers in English literature? Classic put-down
Twats tweet

Thursday, 17 April 2014

Kids let's have a meeting of minds at the Pergola

Kids if you ever want to feel close to your dead grandpa don't go looking for a gravestone. Visit instead the Pergola and Hill Garden - Hampstead’s best-kept secrets. I'll have probably been cremated anyway.
I enjoyed the Spring sunshine there yesterday making it my umpteenth visit to this little patch of Edwardian magic sandwiched between Golders Hill Park and Hampstead Heath.
Views across the woods from the raised terrace and vine covered colonnaded walk are as close as this city boy needs to be to commune with nature. As has happened before a fashion shoot was in progress; photographers clearly appreciate the perfect dreamy backdrop for their pictures presented by the Pergola.
But there is enough room and peaceful corners to allow quiet reflection. Now that I don't read poetry any more, it's about as spiritual as I become.
I'm sure you're bright kids so you can read up on how to find the Pergola and how it came to be built by soap magnate Lord Leverhulme. But I will break my no pictures/no links rule with the photo below because I took it myself one winter.

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Kids, fidelity isn't the only overrated virtue

Kids always think for yourself but be prepared to change your mind. The older I get the less didactic I've become; the greyer the boundaries between right and wrong. Take the A-to-Z of virtues, from ability to zealousness and everything in between. There are occasions when they can’t be trusted to provide a road map to navigate life’s highway. Let me give you a few examples.

Fidelity is the No.1 quality demanded of partners in a relationship. But maybe the capacity to build a home in which to bring up children is of a higher order? Constant infidelity will ruin a marriage but it’s a pity these days one mistake has the explosive potential to destroy a family. Learn to forgive.
Generosity – yes, it’s better to give than receive. But over time the recipient comes to hate their benefactor and the giver comes to despise the recipient of their charity.
Honesty. Tell the truth to the parents of an ugly baby and you won’t be speaking to them very soon.
Humility is a blessed quality some share with the saints but it wouldn’t have got Winston Churchill very far.
Independence is an admirable attribute but taken to an extreme it becomes pig-headedness, as in the case of an elderly relative refusing help.
Loyalty is fine as long as it’s not blind but the 20:20 variety. The person, cause, country, or whatever that arouses such passion should be worthy of the devotion.
Perseverance is at the heart of every great discovery. But there’s also a lot to be said for the advice: “If at first you don’t succeed, try something else.”
Prudence. If you take risk-avoidance too far, you’d hardly ever step out of doors and then only with an umbrella.
Temperance in all things is a sensible way to live. But if you want to learn from your mistakes and have fun at the same time, a little bit of excess now and again should do the trick.
Tolerance is the essential element to get along with families, neighbours, other countries. But there are some things just so wrong that cultural or religious differences offer no defence.

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Kids be a mensch

Being Passover it seems appropriate that I your grandfather, a secular Jew, tell you kids what continues to most impress me about the believers long after personal belief has gone. Any religion that doesn't pursue converts has a lot going for it but I find most appealing is the concept of the mensch. 
"A decent, honourable person with admirable characteristics" is how the The Free Dictionary translates the Yiddish plaudit.
You cannot bestow the title on yourself; it is for others to decide. There is no precise English equivalent. "A good bloke" and whatever its female equivalent don't come close to defining a mensch.
You can be the richest, best educated, and most religious person in the land and not be a mensch. This is because the word implies action. To be a mensch you have to do the right thing at the right time.
Growing up I put my own particular spin on the word. I distanced the concept from motive. As long as you did the right thing, it didn't matter too much about what was going on in your head. The hero who is terrified is more of a mensch than the one who knows no fear.
So kids make sure you visit me regularly in the old people's home even if I don't recognise you and however unpleasant you find the malodorous, crumbling flesh. Be a mensch. 

Monday, 14 April 2014


I launched this blog ahead of my 65th birthday and intend to return to it shortly after a near two-year break with my 70th just over the horizon. I've not been entirely idle during this time with regular art gallery visits and travel as far afield as Japan.
But my main reason for putting the blog on ice was to concentrate my energies on an intended laugh-a-line comic novel Bonehead. However I stalled two-and-a-half chapters in and have suffered what has proved to be terminal writer's bloc. For Bonehead read Boneyard
If you take the trouble to read a couple of my short stories, you'll see I had some talent but not enough to carry the book - and the completed ones before it (and the film script, plays, and TV pilots) through to publication.
If on-line publishing had been around at the peak of my output the outcome might have been different.
But the creative well has run dry and I'm deserting the army of unpublished authors. Writing has been good to me. In my private life I reached for the keyboard when other men might have chosen the bottle.
Meanwhile national journalism proved to be a dependable first string and allowed me to pay my way in the world. And I still have this blog.
By rights I should launch an entirely new one but I'm proud of the near-700 posts in the archive I clocked up first time round and I don't have the heart to cast them adrift; that or I'm too lazy to start afresh.
This time I won't be as dedicated and will write only when the mood takes me, no photos, no videos and few facts. Nothing that will slow down an old man keen to pass on his thoughts and advice to his unborn grandchildren.
That then is to be my new focus. If the fruit of my loins were to drop their own offspring tomorrow, there isn't enough time left for their sprogs to grow to adulthood while I'm still around. If I am, I'll be too old to care. Watch this space.

Monday, 18 March 2013

A bad day for Britain - press regulation and the attack on democracy

The attack on press freedom today, that stems from the stitch up by the three party leaders over night, has forced me to reactivate this blog for one day only. David Cameron's boast that the deal doesn't involve a statutory underpinning is pure guff.
Hiding behind the changes to new Royal Charters can't disguise the damage dealt to a cornerstone of British democracy, which had been 300 years in the making. The abuses by newspapers needed to be addressed vigorously but not at the cost of allowing politicians power to tinker with newspapers.
Introducing a clause that the press regulation Royal Charter cannot be changed in the future without a two-thirds majority counts for nothing. Near enough 100 per cent of the Commons - in the shape of the unholy alliance of Cameron, Miliband, and Clegg have forced through today's proposals, while Tony Blair's Labour victory in 1997 did garner around two-thirds of seats. In any case future parliaments will be free to change the rules as they wish.
We're witnessing payback time by parliamentarians, who have never forgiven newspapers being dragged through the mud by the exposure of their expenses fiddles. The victims of press abuse have been exploited by a conspiracy of vested interests both inside the Commons and out. If the police had been doing its job it could have nipped phone hacking in the bud and Milly Dowler's tragic parents would have been spared suffering beyond that of the loss of their daughter.
This is only the start. Lord Justice Leveson had a unique opportunity to reform the press - and did arrive at many sensible recommendations - but in doing so he has also given oxygen to the enemies of democracy. So it's newspapers today, internet bloggers tomorrow although to give Leveson his due he advised giving online media a wide berth.

Friday, 31 August 2012

Dear Grapefruitcrazy reader pt.2...

Here we are at the end of August and I'm still no clearer about the ultimate fate of the Grapefruitcrazy blog. It might be time to move on.
I can see the country headed for a tough couple of years - at the very least - which to post about daily would be very depressing, while not to, for example, if I were to comment on our celebrity culture would be to be ignore the real day-to-day problems faced by millions of Britons.
So while I make my mind up the blog will remain open to readers' comments - there is a large archive - and I will check back regularly.
You can email me at in the meanwhile.
Wishing you all the best for the time being. GC

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Dear Grapefruitcrazy reader...

...I'll be 'off-air' for most of August. Have a good summer. GC

Tuesday, 31 July 2012

All credit to Tom Daley as Twitter troll arrested

All credit to Tom Daley. It is now being reported the teenage troll arrested by police in connection with allegedly sending the young GB Olympic diver a series of malicious tweets had included threats to drown him.
Initially the arrest was presented by the media as a result of the alleged scummy suggestion Daley had let his late father down by failing to win a medal in the synchronised diving.
It raised questions about the freedom of speech.
However objectionable the suggestion, we don't want the twittersphere being policed on matters of opinion however vile.
But if threats to individuals are made, the police have to take the threat seriously even if actual danger is unlikely.
For his part Daley complained to his Twitter followers about the slur related to his father. He called the troll an "idiot", an understatement in my book.

Monday, 30 July 2012

If only all football matches were as pleasant as Wembley Stadium's Olympic games on Sunday

Giggsy on target
I'm happy to report on a very successful visit to Wembley Stadium yesterday to watch Olympics football.
My £60 ticket produced the best seat I've ever had at a football match - lower tier, exactly on the halfway line.
It provided two games Senegal v Uruguay and Team GB v UAE, the latter we won 3-1 with captain Ryan Giggs opening the scoring.
Access to the stadium from Wembley Park tube station was smooth; everyone in an official capacity guides, police, and security staff were efficient, cheerful, and helpful.
Yes, the food and drink was expensive as it always is at games. Those who hoped to pay with plastic were stymied. Olympics sponsor Visa insisted people could only use its card brand - but it developed a glitch. So it was cash only.
Most refreshing of all was the lighthearted spirit inside the stadium - complete with Mexican waves and bouncy balls.
An absence of aggressive fan behaviour, swearing, and obscene chants made this a safe place to take children - and many families took advantage to do so.
The childish booing of Uruguay striker - and more significantly Liverpool star - Luis Suarez every time he touched the ball was the only reminder of the cauldron of hate games can be.
National anthems were respected even if Giggsy forgot the words to his team's.