Sunday, September 28, 2008

Death - The Final Role

Like most people around the world, I read about the death of Paul Newman yesterday with a degree of sadness. In an age when 'personalities' with only a fraction of his talent can get hours of air time on tv and thousands of words in newspapers and magazines, Paul Newman was different class.

The tributes from those who knew him best are coming in thick and fast and as I didn't know him at all, I can only add that I feel the same way I do when any legend of stage and screen passes away. If they've played strong memorable roles that made an impression on me, I feel worse.  I remember the roles and how I felt at the time and somehow feel that I knew the person a little, but of course I don't.  A great actor does that to you.  You sometimes feel you know them when all you know is the character they played, and even then, only for a few fleeting moments. But what they did, their acting, can affect the way we feel about them, and our own lives.

           ***************** ER SPOILER ALERT *********************

Then last night I watched the first episode of the new series of ER.  The cliffhanger storyline from last season was that an ambulance had blown up and as well as not knowing which of the cast was inside it, another cast member had been walking past it at the time.  So several main cast members could have been seriously injured or killed - or none at all.  It was a great cliffhanger and must've helped with the process of contract negotiations during the summer break.  

"Oh you want more money, do you ?  Well it seems you WERE in the ambulance after all.  Go figure"

I won't name names but as the show developed, it became clear that one of the lead actors HAD been seriously injured in the blast (what caused the explosion was never explained and was obviously of no importance) and in time honoured fashion, his eventual death was still a surprise as it had initially seemed that his injuries hadn't been life threatening.  

ER does that very well.  Better than any other drama series in fact.  With a combination of great acting, strong storylines and fantastically emotive music, it often takes the viewer on a journey. The journey I went on yesterday had me in tears.  I admit it.  As the group of characters I felt I knew so well collected around the death bed, I was a mess.  Suddenly I was standing in a hospital ward beside my fathers body. Then, more recently, I was holding my mothers hand as she passed away. The tears hurt. The memories hurt.

I told myself it wasn't real.  It was acting.  No one was dying.  But as often happens, it was too late.  I'd given myself to the story.  The music had got to me again.  

And so an actor playing a role that I was watching on a laptop screen had reduced me to tears and brought back memories that I'd not recalled for some time. Yet the death of a real actor had barely affected me at all.  A decent, humanitarian man who will be missed by his many friends and family.

The famous monologue from Shakespeare's As You Like It sums it up best......................

All the world's a stage and all the men and women merely players;
They have their exits and their entrances and one man in his time plays many parts.

I'd never rate an actor in ER over Paul Newman but as can happen, we can all be affected by people and events depending on our situation at the time. Hearing about a real person dying is always sad but the acted death of a tv drama cast member can affect us much more if the scenes trigger personal memories that will remain powerful and emotive as long as we live.

Rest In Peace, Paul.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Don't Rain On My Parade

This time next week I'll be throwing a few items into a suitcase and 7 hours later the generous Daphne will be arriving to take me to Leeds/Bradfort airport.  Well she will if she manages to wake up in time but I'm not worried.  Not much anyway.  

I'll have the local taxi number handy just in case.

It was on 25th September last year that I first met Daphne.  It was a day I will never forget. But that aside, it was also the day I first met Daphne !

She'd commented on my blog about a year earlier and then me on hers and, well you know how it goes. It now seems like I've known her all my life - oh dear God but it does seem so - and what a wonderful friend she has become.

Ok enough head swelling words already.

So I'm off to Florida again a week tomorrow and I can't wait.  Sea, sand and sunshine for 6 months.

(loud sounds of tyres screeching and brake pads smoking)

But hang on a minute.  Back up there buddy.  Sunshine ?  Well sure, it's the sunshine state after all.  It's on their licence plates and everything.

Well I've just looked at the 10 day weather forecast for Sebring and on the day I arrive it shows scattered thunder storms and a 60% chance of rain.  Never mind eh.  That's a sort of frebee day as I'll be travelling from Miami and then very tired so who cares if it rains ?  Fair enough.

Next day, Friday, how does it look ?  Whoa, hang on, there is a pattern developing here.  Not to mention a spot of deja vu.  Scattered t-storms and a 60% chance of rain AGAIN.  WTF ?

Actually it's fine.  It's ok, it really is.  This is just October in Florida.  Rains a lot.  I know that from previous trips.  And after all, I've been acclimatising myself for it over the past 6 months. I'm ready for rain.  We've had a bit of it here this summer after all.  

What we've not had much of is heat.  Heat is what I'm not been used to since I left Florida last March.  It's been sadly missing here this summer.

On those two first days in Sebring the temperature will be 88F (31C).  

Ahhhh now that I can take.  Bring it on.

I'll try not to mention the weather too many times over the next 6 months.
I'll try not to post too many photos of palm trees and white sandy beaches.
I'l try not to write about lying on top of the bed at night as it's so warm.
I'll try not to mention ice cream melting before you can get it to the car.
I'll try not to post about swimming in the pool on Christmas Day.

I'm not promising anything.  But I'll try.

Monday, September 22, 2008

I Expect To Be Arrested Any Time Now.

I thought that title might get your attention.

I've often wondered what I'd do if I was asked to prove my whereabouts on a particular date and time in relation to a crime.  My memory is so bad that I'm quite happy if I can work out what I've left the house to do, never mind remember what I've done in the past.  Like 20 minute ago !!

I think I'd be relying on friends to come to my aid with an alibi if the rozzers ever came to my door with their truncheons slapping in their hands. 

And no, that's not a some sort of sexual inneundo for you 'Carry On' fans out there. Perverts.

Anyway this potential inability to keep myself out of a police lineup was highlighted today when I read an article in our local paper, the Yorkshire Evening Post.  

It recounted the awful story of a Leeds driver being dragged from his car by 2 masked men at about 10pm last night (Sunday).  He was basically mugged and left slightly injured by the attack but thankfully he didn't need hospital treatment.  I'd better point out at this point that the car was not in motion at the time but I have to admit that two masked men running along side a moving car attempting to get at the driver would be something worth seeing.

So what makes me think I might be 'in the frame' for this particular crime ?   See, all that cops and robbers tv watching has given me the parlance if nothing else.  

Well the article says that anyone who witnessed the crime or may be able to identify the offenders should contact their local police station.  Oh and what about the description of these offenders ?

Well to quote the article again, "both raiders are described as white men wearing dark clothing and balaclavas 

I think we could be looking at a Guinness World Record for the longest police lineup in history.

And while I think about it, last night at 10pm I was in my house with Fr. Murphy and 7 of the boys from the local choir looking for swimwear on the internet.

I guess I've absolutely nothing to worry about then !!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

It Doesn't Take Much.................. put a smile on my face.

I was nearing the end of my 5 mile walk today when someone coming the other way, on the other side of the road, caught my eye.  I was wearing my usual t-shirt, scruffy jeans and a baseball cap to save my head from the blistering sun.  

No ?  Ok to retain the heat then.  But it was a lovely sunny day at least.

This other person cut quite a dash.  Even for Leeds 17.  Facially he was a bit like a young Colonel Sanders with a very well trimmed white goatee beard.  He was wearing an immaculate cream suit and a similar coloured panama hat.  

As we passed each other, he looked across at me.  I was so taken with his appearance I found myself touching the peak of my baseball cap and he smiled and did the same with his much more classy hat.  We never broke stride and the moment was over.

I had a smile on my face for quite a while afterwards as, for a few seconds at least, I felt I'd gone back to a previous age when men wore hats and would acknowledge one another by touching their brims in passing.

A few minutes later a young lad in his 20's came along on the other side of the road again.  He'd just bought a pack of cigarettes and in true British style, he removed the wrapping, peeled off the silver 'foil' and threw both on the ground before tipping out a cigarette.

The smile was wiped off my face.  

I so wanted The Colonel to come back and smack him with a cream coloured glove.

It would've been the classy thing to do.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Home Movie Memories

Don't worry.......I'm not going to show you any !

Last night Daphne came round for a visit and as a captive audience, I prised her eyes open with cocktail sticks and showed her some home video I'd taken of my first trip to America in 1989. This was because I'd gone to Florida and by going down the East coast and then up the West coast, I was showing her what she and Stephen could expect to see when they go over for their first US trip at the end of November.

Of course many things have changed in those intervening 19 years - and I don't only mean with my hair and body mass !!   Funny how one has shrunk to almost nothing while the other has grown just as alarmingly. Speaking of size, it was noticable watching the video just how much gas prices have influenced the US car market over the years.  They were well behind Europe in switching to smaller cars as gas prices were still relatively low until just a couple of years ago. Now it's very different and although truck sales still outnumber cars, fuel efficiency is much more of a buying criteria than it was back in 1989.

It was fun to see again the footage I took in a Ft. Myers gun store - something I mentioned in a long blog post last year. I'm still not sure why there wasn't a SWAT team waiting for me outside the store resulting in my first visit to America being my last.

It was also amusing to see the footage and hear my comments about sights that I now take for granted.  Everything was so new to me back then.  I took video of fast food outlets, shopping malls, road signs, police on bikes, white sand beaches, pelicans, motel rooms, palm trees, sun kissed bikini babes and basically anything different from what I was used to in the UK.

Little did I know back in 1989 that within a few years I'd have visited every state except Alaska and that going to America would be as normal for me as going to Scotland or Wales. In fact I'm off again in 2 weeks time and when I return to the UK at the end of March next year, I'll have spent 51 of the last 107 months in America.  

No wonder I have trouble with immigration every time I go !

It was strange to see that 37 yr old looking out at me from the tv screen.  Pre heart attacks.  Pre middle age spread.  Pre severe hair loss.  Pre beard.

Most important......pre retirement.  Of all the things that have happened to me, I'd have to put that at the top.  Even the heart attacks haven't changed my life as much as being able to retire at 49.  I'm not sure I'd still be here if I was still a working man as I never handled stress very well and that contributed to the main attack in 1992.  Retirement has brought me a pretty much stress free life and when you add to that the opportunity to spend the winter months in Florida, then I think it becomes my top life changing event.

Wow, that was a lot of heavy stuff to come out of a little home video. I promise I won't watch any more for a while.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

A Trip To The Seaside

Last Thursday I went to Barrow. Oh nooooo, titter ye not.

Barrow is THE place to go to y'know. All the best people can be seen there.

Anyway it was my first time and I loved the place.

Ok I'd better qualify that surprising statement. I loved the beaches around Barrow. The town itself I could take or leave. It had once been the iron and steelmaking centre of the world and was a major UK ship building town for many decades. It had been building surface ships and submarines for over 100 years when the contracts for surface ships ran out and the town could easily have fallen on hard times.

But it concentrated on submarines and now builds the largest nuclear submarines in the UK. The very impressive Devonshire Dock Hall, where submarine modules are put together in the way that NASA uses it's Vertical Assembly Building to attach the shuttle to it's external fuel tanks, dominates the town in a way that is almost unique in this country.

I rarely post photos on this blog that weren't taken by me but in this case, Jonathan Webb has taken a view of the Devonshire Dock Hall that I'd be hard pushed to better ! Impressive building eh ?

I'll take that as a load of yesses as it bloody well IS.

But before this turns into a potted history of Barrow that you can get in much better form over on Wikipedia - I'll move on to a rather more personal view and get back to those beaches.

If you think the Devonshire thingamay building is impressive, well you'll be blown away by the Barrow beaches. I certainly was and I've been on some impressive beaches in my time, I can tell you. Well I guess I just did. So that was unnecessary. And so was that. And that.

Ok moving on.................

Where was I ? Barrow beaches. Thank you.

Until about 5pm last Thursday, I'd thought that Daytona Beach in Florida was the 'largest' beach I'd ever been on.  Well it was.  As I'd not been to Barrow till then.  I mean cars drive on Daytona Beach for goodness sake !  It's famous for it.  When the tide goes out you feel like you could walk to Europe and only get your ankles wet. It's fucking HUGE, as the French would say. Well with a bit more style and a few more accents, but they'd still say it.

As you can see, this Barrow beach was packed on Thursday. Well at least the sand was and it begged the question - why did wannabe world land speed record holders go all the way to the dry salt flats at Bonneville in the US of A when we had a beach like this all the time ?

You could've raced Jumbo jets on this beach, side by side, and still had room for all the Chariots Of Fire extras - and their chariots. And the film crew. And the studio. And, well you get the picture. No not THAT picture. This picture.

When I started walking along it, it was a mini Chariots Of Fire moment actually. The wind was blowing my hair over my face (shut it, you), my cheeks were glowing a healthy red (shouldn't have worn the kilt) and I could hear the waves breaking on the shoreline, about 12 miles away !
I was all for settling off at a gallop but you know how it is.

I'm an unfit, fat bastard and anyway, I'd have dropped my chips.

If you click on the photo and look wayyyyyyyy off in the distance, you may see 2 parachutists landing in the water. Nooooo not really. They were kitesurfers who use a special surf board and a large kite/parachute to skim across the water using only the power of the wind and a meal of baked beans.

I never got close enough to them to get a decent photo so you'll have to make do with these distant views - but you get the idea.

Every time I'd get a bit closer, they seemed to just zoom off as if camera shy.

There was also someone doing a similar thing on the beach but of course using a wheeled vehicle. It was like a large surfboard on wheels and at first I thought it was called beach yachting but I think that's when the vehicle has a sail attached.

This chap was using a kite/parachute just like his watery friend so I've no idea what that would be called. In any case I can't see either becoming an Olympic sport as it would all end in tears when the lines became entangled and 20 competitors were lifted off en masse to be dumped in a soggy heap 5 miles away.

But it was certainly spectacular to watch and I'm sure it provided a hell of a buzz for the people concerned.

I like this shot even though the chute isn't in the picture. I wanted to show the way the surfer churned up the water and I think this shows it very well.

The idea was to search for the larger waves and then ride them or even take off for a few seconds - not that they did this much so I think the two were fairly new to the sport. I've seen shots of participants really flying up quite a distance, safe in the knowledge that the pull of the chute will save them from a wipe out back in the water. Much better than normal surfing I'd have to think.

By now it was getting late and we had to leave the beach for a restaurant date.

I looked out into the sun and saw a shot worth taking. The surfer had started out on the sand and been dragged by his chute back into the water. You can see the trail he left behind him.

The sun was trying to break through the cloudy skies and this left enough light to just about see the colours in the chute but I decided to switch to the black & white setting for this shot.

I felt it added to the dramatic view and helps to take your eye down from the chute to the surfer sitting waiting to be taken up onto his feet and off along the water line again.

We left and had a lovely meal nearby (thank you Amy) and then back for an evening of chat and looking at photos well into the night (thank you Lesley and Frank).

Next day we went to another beach which was just as impressive in it's size and also that we had it pretty much to ourselves again. This one had classic dunes with that lovely soft sand that just begs to be walked on.

The tide was going out and when we eventually did turn around and walk back, we had a fun time examining the area that had been under water just a few minutes earlier.

Many amazing rocks were now exposed and Amy seemed to know the composition of them all.

We picked several each and they are now in the back of my car here in Leeds ready to be washed and placed somewhere in our respective houses.

I've not been a rock collector before but I may have caught the bug now. I'll have to look out for some distinctive ones when in Florida although they'll need to be small light ones as luggage weight is always an issue when flying these days. I'd better not try and take them in my carry on bag in case I'd done for carrying weapons. 

"This is a hijack. Do what I tell you or I'll fill your pockets with pebbles"

Serious terrorism for sure. 

After a lovely pub lunch at noon (thank you Daffy) we went to visit the nearby Furness Abbey which has been photographed by better people than myself so I'll not post any of mine - except for this one.

This was taken in the small graveyard area which we passed at the end of our tour around the abbey grounds.

Now I'm no archaeologist, even though I'm incredibly old myself, so I donno what this was exactly but in my amateur way, I'd have to think it was a very shallow grave for a single monk.  And a naughty monk at that.

I mean it's monk shaped and even has a place for the head to be laid just so we'd know which end was which.

And speaking of such thing, it also lends some credence to the belief that viagra was available long before this century as this grave was clearly designed so that the monk could be buried face down !!

Maybe he was the cassanova of the monk world and I'll leave you to make up your own jokes incorporating 'bad habits'.

After this we left and went back to pick up Amy and we all set off back to Leeds after a fun time in Barrow and the surrounding area.

Given its location right on the end of a peninsula on the extreme west coast of England, Barrow is not a place you'd tend to visit on the way to somewhere else.  But it IS worth a visit if only for those stunning beaches and after all, it's only 100 miles from Leeds and lies at the bottom of the scenic Lake District - an area of England that is always worth visiting even though it can seem like half the country goes there in high summer.

Just leave your motorhome somewhere else.  Maybe in Barrow.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

No Need To Be ConCERNed.....It's French !!

As it seems every man and his blog are (or is) writing about this Large Hadron Collider gizmo, I thought I'd better get my two cents worth in before they flick the switch or pull the plug or put a couple of Euros into the meter sometime tomorrow.   

Believe it or not, I usually do some research before spouting about things on here as my mind is like a one photo camera card - each new photo, or in my case each new piece of information, simply overwrites the previous one. I suspect I was dropped on my head a lot as a baby.

So I go the the CERN site, which as everyone knows stands for Conseil Europeen pour la Recherche Nucleaire (add your own accents to make it look more Frenchy) but it's as dull and uninteresting as one of my home made omelettes. I mean wouldn't you think, with all this talk about the end of the world, that they'd at least have a countdown clock on the site ?  

Don't you just hate a scientist without a sence of humour ?

So I donno when this event is due to take place tomorrow but as long at it's not during the England game in Croatia, I don't care.  Well unless we're losing at about 9:40pm and then by all means send a few little black holes towards the stadium and wipe out a few of their players. They're foreign so it won't matter.

So what's it all about then ?   What does this LHC thingymagig do ?  In an effort to get up to speed (ha-ha), I went to the font of all knowledge.  Wikipedia !  

I'm none the wiser.

I never did physics at school.  Or chemistry.  Or biology.  I know the last 2 have nothing to do with CERN but I'm trying to paint you a picture here.  I'm no scientist.  I know a bit about rocketry and 'space' in a sort of NASAesque way, but that's it.  The only particles I know about are the ones that always end up on my t-shirt when I eat my supper in front of the tv.  A bad habit but at least I'm not likely to bring about Armageddon if I do it again tomorrow.

I think they've built a very long tube thing 100 meters underground somewhere on the French/Swiss border and at some time tomorrow, they'll send a light beam down it.  I'm not impressed.  I did something similar with a torch and an empty loo roll when I was a kid.  If I'd been better funded (more pocket money) I could've lit up half the street.  That's all they're doing tomorrow so don't expect anything spectacular. If the man wearing goggles at the other end raises his thumb to say he's seen the light, we can all rest easy that the world hasn't ended.

Of course if said man lowers his thumb in classic Nero style, then bend over, grab your legs and wait for the big bang.  Yes I realise for some of you this won't be your first time !  TMI.

Speaking of funding, I'm sure squillions of Euros have gone the way of these light particles over the years, namely into a large black hole.  Wikipedia reports that $1billion was spent this year alone. And what have we, the European taxpayer got for OUR money ?   A chance to forget our financial woes it seems.

Yes it's such a clever idea.  Build some doomsday machine costing the proverbial arm and a leg and then when the highly accelerated shit hits the fan and it all goes belly up, there is a good chance that no one will be around to say "well what a fucking waste of money THAT was !!"

And even if it all goes swimmingly and we see lots of white coated boffins jumping around and hugging each other like they're at a cricket umpires convention, what will we actually see ?  

Bugger all I should think.  It's just not that sort of event.  Even the Chinese would be hard pushed to make it exciting.  No fireworks.  No men suspended from wires.  No cute little schoolgirl miming La Marseillaise.

See if we (being the British) had this LHC device, we'd put on a bit of a show tomorrow.  We'd put on a 'bit of a do' for the millions who are sure to be tuned in for the event.  There would be a cock-a-knee street party with a pearly King and Queen (oh go google it !), lots of iron brew and jaffa cakes for the assembled celebs that aren't currently in Celebair and when Gordon Brown (oh google him too !) flicked the switch, he'd be the first to be vapourised and a loud cheer would go up.......and then we'd all follow him.  

Cut to the Queen standing unsteadily on the balcony of Buck Palace with her crown looking a bit sku wiff and holding onto a couple of slightly smouldering corgis.  We'd hear the unmistakable sounds of the national anthem coming from a lone piper off to one side and the image would slowly fade out with the voice of a BBC announcer telling us that we'll all try and meet up in 4 years time to do it all over again.

Oh shit, that's the Olympics.  

Oh and we'd have a bleedin' countdown clock on OUR web site.

Friday, September 05, 2008

"Houston, The Turkey Has Landed !"

We all remember Apollo 11 and those famous words uttered by Neil Armstrong when he placed his size nines onto the studio set floor, I mean the surface of the Moon back in 1969.

"That's One Small Step For Man, One Giant Leap For Mankind"

Stirring stuff indeed and I've never had a problem with it. It seems people say he made a mistake and should've said "A Man" instead of just "Man" as otherwise it just makes no sense. Basically both halves of the sentence mean the same the way Neil said it.

What-evv-ahhhhh. He probably thought no one would remember it anyway !! My theory is that he felt the "A" was implied.



But it got me thinking. Did he spend weeks and months thinking what to say ? I mean, despite what I just said, he had to have known that his words would go down in history forever. But what if those carefully planned words had been screwed up by some unexpected action or sight just as he climbed down the Lunar Module ladder.

So lets see what my blog readers can come up with as -

Things you didn't expect Neil Armstrong to have said when stepping onto the Moon.

And under the generally accepted Laws Of Blogging ( Law 25a, subsection 13 ), I get to go first and here are my 10 to get you going :

"Houston, I see a Russian flag !!! "

" Awww shit, Buzz has just jumped out the window and got down first."

"Fuck me Buzz, there's a bucket and spade down here."

" I CAN smell cheese."

" Damn it Houston, my pee bag just burst."

"Turn off those spotlights, guys, I can't see a thing."

"Collins, how did you get here ?"

"Ewwwwww it's true what they said about a fart in a spacesuit."

"That's one small step for man, one wait........ aww shit I've fucked it up."

"Ahhhh Houston.........what-y-mean one way ?"

Thursday, September 04, 2008

There Be Sick People Here.........................

Thanks to the invention of the V-box (a gizmo like a US TiVo) and downloading tv shows and movies from the internet, I manage to pretty much miss out on adverts. Even when watching live tv, I usually still zone them out by a process of Zen self hypnosis and humming popular Tibetan chants. Mind you, I've not quite mastered the art of coming out of this state in time to catch the restart of the show........but of course that's where the V-box again comes to my aid.

So having said that, it takes a lot for an advert to grab my attention, here is one that recently managed to do just that. It grabbed me even though I wasn't looking at the tv at the time and why ? Well because of the annoying little bastard making all the noise. It went right through me and I just HAD to see what was going on and why it was on my tv set.

I've seen it a few times since then and until yesterday I wasn't quite fed up with it. I felt like a couple more viewings and maybe it'd make the smooth transition to being a really annoying advert that pisses me off as the noise being made by the kid would finally overcome the joy of the guy putting him to sleep. But not yet.

Then yesterday afternoon I gave a friend of mine a lift to see her doctor. While she was in the office, I sat reading a magazine in the waiting room. In came a woman with her little boy who went straight for the box of toys in the corner. Within seconds, every toy was on the floor and he was in his element. Bless.

But things soon changed. He'd tried to put two huge lego type blocks together and they didn't fit. He wasn't going to give up and picked up a hard plastic hammer and started smacking the top block with all the force he could muster and suddenly I was in the nightmare world of Kwik-Fit. Except these blocks weren't fitting quickly or any other way.

Thump, thump, thump, thump.

Mommy dearest was really into HER magazine and seemingly oblivious to these blows. I looked at the receptionist for some sort of help. Her head was down and she might as well have been wearing headphones for all the use she was. If I'd had the Kwit-Fit number on speed dial I'd have been calling in the troops.

Thump, thump, thump, thump.

Inside my head a voice was screaming "why in Gods name would anyone put a hammer, albeit it a plastic one, into a toy box in a doctors waiting room ?" Holy crap, people are there because they are sick and not because they are waiting for a number 93 to Roundhay Park. Thankfully I wasn't in need of medical attention but that kid was in serious danger of needing that hammer surgically removed from deep within his preteen butt cheeks.

Thankfully my friend came out just before I could make a move and that kid will never know how close he came to becoming a tripod.

I'm keeping a supply of bubble wrap next to my chair because the next time that advert comes onto my tv, I'm going to throw SOMETHING and it better not be solid.

When Mr. Kwik-Fit puts that kid to sleep next time, it better be permanent.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

In A World Where......................

These were the initial words most often used by the voice over artist Don LaFontaine to introduce us to the latest Hollywood Blockbuster as he was rightly regarded as 'The King.' He was so well used and respected that he could work from his home studio and have the voice over scripts faxed to him.

"What a life that must be" I said in a blog post exactly 2 years ago this month. Get up in the morning, have a coffee to wet your whistle, pick up the latest scripts from the fax machine and simply talk for a few minutes to earn several thousand dollars.

Nice work if you can get it. My accent has been commented upon in the US so maybe I should give voice over a try. The trouble is, they want the voice to be a good mix of the clarity that allows the audience to actually hear what's being said and the deep bass tones that almost shake you out of your seat. Maybe my surround sound subwoofer is set too high, but he sure rocked my world.

I say rocked, past tense, because sadly 'The Don' died today, aged 68.

There are other voice over artists out there and life for them and the industry they serve will go on. But for a man who had a voice that we heard on our tv and movie screens more that any other, I'm sure he would be pleased to know that for a few days at least, people might actually look for the face behind that voice.

In a world where.........your voice can help sell a movie, that world is eerily silent tonight.

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