Pompous Old Fart

Gambling with God
(Last Gang Records)

Gambling with God is a disc by a Canadian group called Magneta Lane. It’s not very good. The tracks feature that Antichrist of a musical effect called “fuzzy guitar.” The sound is as annoying as a lawn full of grackles or an up-close buzz saw. I don’t know what the songs were about, as the instruments drowned the words out, and the advance album had no insert. I don’t think I was missing much. The group is a trio of women and they come from Toronto. This is their third album. I hope to God there isn’t a fourth.

I haven’t bought the re-released Beatles oeuvre yet, but my 11-year-old granddaughter is into their music, so I contacted my brother in the UK who, in 1968, filmed the Beatles as part of a BBC documentary called Music. He sent me a clip from that movie featuring the recording of “Hey Jude,” with close-ups of Lennon, McCartney, Harrison and Ringo, along with their eminence grise, George Martin. The session ended with the crew being asked to sing along with the final “Da, da, da dadada da,” so if you play that track, one of the voices on it is my brother Ian’s.

CBC_Radio2.previewCBC Radio 2 is not getting any better. The past few days have been devoted to the symphonies of Beethoven—again. They did this about a year ago, and every few weeks they’ll pop another one on the CD player. Their programming could be described as being in the PDF format—Playing the Dreadfully Familiar. The awful host of Tempo continues to irritate, with her “amazings,” “fantastics,” “heys,” “gals,” “oh my goshes,” “comin’ ups,” and other valley girl phrases. Recently, I was driving a friend from England out to the lake, and he asked if there was anything on the radio. I turned on Tempo and there she was, rabbiting on about the time she introduced herself to Henry Winkler in Cincinnati airport, telling him that she was an opera singer. (How naff is that?), and then embarked on a typically over-enthusiastic introduction to the next selection. My friend looked over at me and said, “Oh, dear.” I switched it off.

The Catholic Church recently suggested that couples (married ones, no doubt) should pray before having sex. This extraordinary recommendation prompted a deluge of replies in the columns of The Times, most of them scatological, ranging from praying that the Viagra kicks in, and “Please God, don’t let her spot the video camera” to the scenario of the non-Catholic man standing while his religious girl friend is on her knees. He says “Erm, honey, while you’re down there…” And this reminded me of the late great Alan Coren in the BBC programme One Minute Please, giving his take-off on A. A. Milne’s poem: “They’re changing guard at Buckingham Palace. Christopher Robin went down on Alice.”


I’ve been reviewing pre-employment drug tests from the USA for the past week, and have been amazed at the number of positive tests for marijuana. You might wonder why a multi-national grocery store chain would worry about drug testing their employees whose main job might be stocking shelves, but then, they might be driving forklifts. The usual response to my call to say that they were positive for marijuana is, “Oh, no way, man” or “I was at a party and everyone but me was smoking,” or “That’s my buddy’s old lady—she fed me brownies laced with it. Bitch.” The other response is, “Well, can I come in and take the test again?” To which my reply is, “I’m sorry, that’s like failing your breathalyser test and saying, ‘Can I come in tomorrow when I’m sober?’” They usually see the sense in that.

My favourite excuse was from a donor who tested positive for cocaine was “Oh yeah, man, I had a blowjob from a hooker.”