Friday, 19 December 2008

The Mudhutter February 2009

The next ezine will go online around about 18th February 2009 - so if we say 11th February 2009 for deadlines

As usual anything and everything will do. Needless to say we pay fuck all, 99% of Wigan ignores it but it's had over 6000 individual hits in the last two months so somebody out there is reading it.


Happy new year?

It’s what everyone will be saying soon isn’t it? If Gordon Brown happens to address the UK population in this manner at any point over the next couple of weeks though, my foot is going through the telly. I would hate to be seen as the harbinger of doom on an already cynic weary website, but what has happened over the past few months is merely the tip of the iceberg for the shit that is yet to come. I am not a politician and only an apprentice economist but I can foresee a bleak 2009 and it’s all thanks to those clueless bastards in power. Not that those buffoons in the Tory are any better mind you.

They say that when the US sneezes, the rest of the world catches a cold and I suspect 2009 is going to see the UK go down with full on manflu. It would be easy to blame the bankers but the supposed regulators and auditors who let them get away with nothing more than intricate pyramid scheme investments for so long should also be held to account. And what do we do to our failing banks? We throw more money at them! And when I say ‘we’, I mean we, every single taxpayer will be paying for it.
Want a better NHS? Forget it!

A pay increase for those brave fireman? No chance!

Reduction in school classroom sizes for your offspring? There’ll be none of that.
Nope, the Government has decided to give those taxes straight back to the banks, so that they can loan it back to companies and individuals at higher rates so that the economy doesn’t grind to a halt. You’ve fucked up the economy and paid yourselves handsomely for doing it and guess what here’s a big chunk of public money for you to go and spunk up the wall and make the same mistakes as last time.

Unfortunately, we can’t live without banks as they are the prime distributors and collectors of cash, if not to you then the company you work for. Without them the whole system falls down and as the banks will continue to lend on their terms, which are now roughly in line with what they should have been in the first place, companies and individuals will struggle financially while the bankers get away with their fraudulent crimes scot free, with you and me paying their salaries to boot.
But this rampant nationalisation may start to branch out into key industries in 2009, following the trends of 2008 with the US car makers going cap in hand to the White House. Already Jaguar, like the Corus steel group, owned by Indian conglomerate Tata have got the begging bowl out to the government – who then raise money that money via me and you by increasing the public debt, which will only be recovered by increasing tax or cutting future public spending. Preserving jobs is indeed for the public good but seeing as Tata are owned by an Indian billionaire and he doesn’t want to put any cash in (despite paying a small fortune to sponsor Ferrari in F1 next season) and neither you would presume do the financial markets so Brown’s government are now borrowing off me and you and giving it to foreign investors who are savvy enough to take it with a grin whilst realising that the loss of a large number of manufacturing jobs in this country could be the catalyst to another depressing wave of bad news after bad news.

This is all very admirable but it seems that if you’re going to preserve your job you will be at the mercy of untrustworthy, corrupt politicians and bureaucrats and we will be left with some grand scale Dragons’ Den where the Government are left with the decision to inject funding or pull down the shutters. Traditional (outdated) wholesome British retailers like Woolies are dead meat. If your firm is in a marginal constituency or wants to spend their last few bob giving the local MP a well paid Non Executive position on their board, or alternatively an old fashioned back hander, then you might just be in a position to ride the recession. So expect bugger all in Wigan as Smith & McCartney will shrug their shoulders as per usual when there’s a genuine crisis to deal with knowing full well that Wiganers will continue to vote them in.

Expect dozens of other traditionally British owned companies now owned by foreign parent companies to follow suit – they aren’t stupid and can see easy money when it’s there to be made. For my money, the government should buy up our factories under threat lock and stock and get them producing something the public wants that will be manufactured here and used here. We might not be able to make cars or tellies as cheap as the Japanese or Koreans but that is exactly why we got in this mess in the first place. The Germans seem to be advocating manufacturing as a way out but how many industries do we actually own in our country any more? Well there’s financial services I suppose.......

Whatever happened to those ‘Buy British’ stickers you used to see everywhere?

And the Government’s teasing incentives offered in the form of interest rate cuts and VAT reduction are hardly going to tempt anyone into a shopping spree whilst the threat of losing their job hangs over them.

There is even talk of attempting a last ditch printing of money, which always sounds fantastic in principle but will make the pound even more worthless than it is already. You can fool the country Gordon but you can’t fool the world. However, at least you’ve saved those people who will still be able to afford a holiday abroad the effort of having to work out the conversion rates from pounds to euros as any day now they will be at parity. Which means – by the way – don’t even think about leaving the country for good because thanks to Labour’s economic policy, your saved up pound notes aren’t going to buy you very much at all let alone earn you any interest if you keep it where it is.

Where will it all end? The real thinkers are predicting forthcoming depression, famine and war to follow the more mundane episodes we are seeing at the moment of recession, write downs, write offs, close downs and bail outs. A good riot always blows the cobwebs off the country but this recession will not hit specific industries and social classes, it’s going to hurt every fucker. If the trend of late 2008 continues we will end up with some kind of socialist capitalist hybrid society where the government, using our money will pay for car factories to build cars no-one wants to protect unemployment, and continue to weaken our trade deficit by subsidising their foreign paymasters who will continue to take home any profits should the whole thing work. Our taxes have been misappropriated and our pension funds have been decimated yet still the decision makers are still decision making on our behalf.

What money we have may soon ceases to be a familiar currency, like the lottery winner who falls on hard times, the pound is an ailing hobo of a currency and it seems the Eurozone might be waiting in the soup kitchen with a tin of warmed up Oxtail. We have bemoaned for years that our EU membership has given us little benefit yet passed millions back to other member states, so maybe it’s now the time to collect our debts? Given that the Blair policy of hanging onto the American’s coat tails has blown up badly it seems that both the US and UK’s days as world powers are about to come to an end, and it’s all brought about by greedy bankers and self –interested politicians who have been rewarded and will continue to be rewarded handsomely for bringing it all about. At least someone will have a Happy New Year!

In the meantime

Don’t trust anyone
Don’t buy anything
Don’t sign anything
Keep your head down
Tighten your belt
And good luck

Whatever happened to Christmas boozing?

When I was in my mid twenties me and a mate sometime mid-November decided for a laugh that we would go out on the piss every day in December. We had plenty of money, no bird and a penchant for the good life so we did it. We were already accustomed to the old turn out Thursday come back home Sunday routine week on week and this seemed like the natural progression of festivities given our standard levels of alcoholic intake. Darts & Doms down the local Monday, Tuesday night football, Wednesday night at the Pier, Thursday night at Maximes, Friday night in the Springfield Triangle, all day Saturday and all day Sunday in town punctuated by the odd game of football. Great Stuff! Of course some nights are bigger than others, and during my youth as a drinker these are what they meant to me:

Mad Friday

The day that someone started calling it ‘Mad’ was the day it stopped becoming so. I think I started off as a student thing and of course a student dropout/doleite thing of which I was much more familiar, then all the Wigan based office dweebs and counter assistants got in on the act, before you know it Sharon from Credit Control is puking her ring up behind the Bees Knees at 4pm while wearing a Santa hat. When I got my first proper job in Wigan, I was in Steppes with the bosses of the firm, talking football and having a few beers when one of my mates came in giving me the thumbs up and grinning away ‘I’ve just shagged a bird outside, fucking give it to her doggy style over the bins round the back of Parker Franks’ while I stood there horrified looking into my Coors. It was 5.30pm.

Christmas Eve

Chrimbo Eve used to be all about ‘doing the Lane’ and used to be a big Goon Squad/Wiggin Park lads thing for many a year. There was one year in particular I recall United were playing Liverpool at midday and I walked into the Bellingham and there must have been 100+ lads there and tables full of beer, when Sky telly was still something of a novelty. Of course it all ended in tears later that day when one of them got turned away from the recently opened Bellablu wine bar and proceeded to engage in a spot of pugilism with the Iraqi bouncers followed by some air conditioning of the establishment’s windows with a litter bin

Boxing Day

It took me till I was 30 that I realised that they only do this in Wigan, I thought it went on everywhere. Like most things though it’s 90% shite and 10% genius. For genius read Beany dressed as Chubby Brown, Teletubbies directing traffic, Surfboarders rolling about in the snow with nowt but a thong on when its six inch deep in snow and some twat with a Bo Selecta Craig David mask. Plenty amusing sights but prepare to spend your evening queuing for hours and paying through the nose to get in everywhere as the whole idea of a pub CRAWL is defeated. What was original became commercial and now drags them in from far afield. It’s also a crock of shite.

New Years Eve

Me and a few of my drinking buddies used to always spend NYE in the Turnkey (or wherever) with a large JD in our hands toasting each other – no matter what birds were on the scene, they were always told to do one at 12, cos mates are mates innit? And then came the Millennium, where I was unfortunate enough to find myself in Surfers Paradise. At 20 to 12 I went to the bar to get our drinks in, and at 10 to 12with the bar now 3 deep instead of 6, the triple-time bar staff all fucked off onto the stage to celebrate in the New Year leaving behind one solitary bouncer to serve 50 people in no particular rush. My empty glass was symbolic as many others then saw the light and going out on New Years Eve now is an exception rather than the rule, with local boozers tending to get the custom rather than greedy club owners and serves them bloody right!

As for the rest. Well if you are like me, you will spend your works do trying to glug as much free ale as possible and when it dries up piss off and find your real mates and you will have one day (usually a Sunday) where you get absolutely paralytic and need to be put in a taxi at seven bells and then it’s straight back on it the next day

Binge drinking = big and clever (if under 30)

Wednesday, 17 December 2008

Trees, tinsel and scrotum sacks

I spent many an happy hour as a kid watching my mother bring the decorations down from the cubbyhole in her room.Each year I'd watch as she would wrap a small waste paper bin in Christmas paper before asking my Dad to fill it with sand. Then out she came!! The most fantastic white tinsel tree you have ever seen.All 6 foot of her. My Dad then wrestled for about 50 minutes trying to get it balanced in the sand. Trying not to knock the fairy off which he had placed on the top. Ever year the fairy looked like it had spongolitis in its neck as the ceiling was just an inch too low. Not the tree being too high my Dad said.

Then my Dad spent about 4 hours trying to get the lights to work. Some of the lights had like a spider's web effect thing round them and only about 4 of them were missing on our set. Then my Mam put the balls on. Loads of different ones we had, some were even like those balls you get in nightclubs only smaller. It always worked out that we had too many balls and not enough connectors to hang them from the tree. Usually we put these round the back and just forced them on the end of the branches. Looked like we had them all over then. She always put blue bunting round the tree and usually yellow tinsel. If I could manage to rob one of those small nativity ornaments from school we'd put that underneath.

Every year my Mum would buy those streamer like paper tissue style decorations. She would then go from each corner of the room and link one to the light in the middle. Then to make it look really posh she would stick a drawing pin in the centre of each one and pin it to the ceiling. This formed a sort of W effect. Then we'd spend an hour blowing balloons up and tying about 5 of them together with cotton and hanging them in each corner of the ceiling between the decorations. By the time the 1st January arrived you had about 5 balloons on the celing that looked like scrotum sacks.

Other lantern style things where then added to the ceiling. The crowning glory was 2 pieces of string over the fireplace. These were then filled with cards from neighbours and family. Ended up each year with about 3 layers of cards all over the fireplace. The mirror on one wall had tinsel around it that made it look like it had pig-tails.

Oh and another thing. There was only one other house on Norley besides ours that had one of those garland things on the front door.

Orrible Ives

The Death of Christmas

You just can’t keep the man down eh? In this latest feeble offering of “The Death of. . . . . . . . . ” Dirrrrtyoldman whinges and moans like a prisoner on death row protests his innocence. This time it’s about how things aren’t quite how they used to be when he was a lad. Let’s hope that one day he has a premonition and writes his own name in the title.

Well it’s nearly here isn’t it? Not quite, at the point of writing this it’s a full week before Halloween let alone Christmas. Thankfully though at least the supermarkets have plenty of those scary masks and costumes left to dress up and celebrate our traditional 31st October revelry. I was expecting that they would have sold out already, having already been in the shops since the end of September.

Another self inflicted bastardisation from the good ol’ U.S. of A that denigrates our once proud nation. At least we’ve got Bonfire night. Although no-one has officially unveiled it as a month long celebration I’m sure it must be. Otherwise why would the fireworks be flying past my window every night from early October?

Anyway I digress. If you’re reading this before, or on the big day, may I wish you a merry Christmas. If it’s between Christmas and New Year I hope you had a lovely time. And if it’s already the New Year then don’t worry as you can make a head start on planning for Christmas, as it’s nearly here isn’t it? And that my dear friends is what gets right on my tits. For all intents and purposes Christmas might as well be all year round. The elongated build up and the never-ending guilt and pressure heaped onto Mums and Dads everywhere to buy their young Master Park-Bench Beckham the exact gifts he wants. Well it’s fucking intolerable!! What happened to an apple and an orange, a pack of playing cards, a pea-shooter and some marbles in a stocking?

Now I’m not saying I didn’t get anything for Christmas, but at least my Mum and Dad made me sweat a bit wondering if I would get what I wanted. Not only that, but up until the age of 11yrs old I thought it was Father Christmas who was judge and jury when it came to dishing out the presents. When my Mum told me, “Only good girls and boys get Santa’s toys” I fucking well believed her. I was even more afraid of making an arse of things when she told me, “he’s watching you, so behave”. It was bad enough having Catholic guilt about having the odd (well once a day) crafty wank. But to think that there was God and now Santa watching my every move and seeing me making my bald man cry (sometimes twice a day) was far too much to deal with.

Where was child-line when I needed it? In fact where was buck toothed child saver Esther Rantzen? Probably getting roasted by two elderly white bearded gentlemen knowing my luck. Another bonus about being a Catholic at Christmas was trying to remember and then repent for the sins of the last year. It’s funny how the confessionals were always packed in the weeks leading up to Christmas and every eye was reverently bone dry. I know all three of mine were.

Whilst on the subject of sweating (see paragraph 4, line 2, 3rd word in) at Christmas, my Dad sweated much more than me. He sweated like a pig at the best of times, but a lifetime on the booze does that to a man. I can always remember him nervously eyeing up the Christmas shop. Sat there, calculating if there was going to be enough change from the silverskin pickles and quality street to see him right for a few jars down the Earlestown Labour Club. It was no mean feat for a man whose eyes were like permanent piss holes in the snow and whose numerical skills ended at 3. Well he’d never had more than 3 pints when my Mum asked him how much he had drank, although I’ve never before or since seen a man in such a state off so little booze. The panic visibly drained from his face, and his demeanour dramatically improved, when he realised there was enough of his hard earned dole cheque left to see Christmas in, in style.

All of this reminiscing got me wondering though. What happened to Christmas? What happened to wide eyed innocence and excitement? What happened to the two bearded gentlemen and which one was the biological Father to Rantzen’s child? Oh for Jeremy Kyle back in 1981.

No-one believes anything anymore or is it that there is nothing left to believe in? God, the tooth fairy, the easter bunny and even Father Christmas himself. We don’t even believe in each other.

Last Christmas, as I do every Christmas, I helped my lad write a letter to tell Santa what he wanted for Christmas. With the letter tightly clutched in his tiny hand we skipped off down to the postbox and posted it, jobs a good un! Later as I picked him up from school I got talking to some of the other parents and asked them had their little Johnnies and Jane’s wrote to Santa. You’d have thought I had been speaking a foreign language the way some of them reacted. Whilst some gazed in amazement as If I’d discovered the world was round.

I bet these are the same set of miserable bastards who don’t even bother to take the time on Christmas Eve to chew the carrot up, drink the milk and Whiskey, and leave just the right amount of mess and crumbs to make the big mans arrival look complete. They just don’t bother at all. Too much like hard work and definitely too much effort in the imagination department. Even too much effort to be bothered to see their own offspring with that look on their face when they see the tell tale signs that “he’s been”. No matter what class you are or whether you’ve got two pennies to rub together, that look on a kids face can’t be bought at any price. And it costs fuck all to do.

This year my lad is holding on to the last remnants of his belief in the myth. To be honest I didn’t think we would get this far, he’s 9 next February. No doubt in the near future he’ll be telling me that I have lied to him and that he is filing for divorce from me and his Mum. He’ll cite a breach of his Human Rights and irreconcilable differences for the split. The lawyer that represents him will accuse me of causing mass feelings of indignity within the minorities, before holding me directly responsible for Lambeth Councils 2005 decision not to rename their Christmas lights, “winter lights”.

Well you know what? Fuck ‘em, because I’m sure there’s still enough of us about to enjoy it, no matter what the merchants of doom and gloom are prophesising.

Merry Christmas everyone.


Dedicated to me Mam who bought me a BSA Javelin bike for Christmas in 1981 and spent the next 24 months paying for it.

Naked Ives

"Hello i`m Orrible Oliver & welcome to a special Christmas Eve edition of Naked Ives.Tonight is going to be a show with a festive feel as i attempt to recreate a typical WN5 Christmas dinner with all the trimmings.Fuckin pukka eh ? I must point out that under no circumstances will i be cooking a Christmas cake or plum duff because not only are they wank but they also take about 3 months to make.Fuck that for a game of old soldiers ! Now as in true WN5 style all the cooking of the meat & the preperation of vegetables will take place today so i`m going to hop on my trusty scooter & pop round to Slaters Fruit & Veg shop on Norley to pick up some groceries.Hopefuly i`ll not get called a wanker by Shaun Brethy & the street urchins don`t knick me Vespa.Nor will Eric Slater stroke my hand in a more than friendly fashion when giving me my change.That would be fucking pukka

Right i`ve just bought & large cabbage,2 small caullies,5lb carrots & turnips,5lb sprouts & 2 onions.The heavily bearded Dennis Slater has offered to drop the sack of spuds off at my house in 30 minutes.Now i`m going to head up Pem to Kens Greens for a bit asparagus.Then i`ll nip behind The Dog & Partidge & meet a fella who`s sorted my turkey.I`d better call in Bradys Off Licence on the way up & sort out the Christmas booze.I do hope his wife`s not wearing sunglasses again this year due to her falling down the stairs pissed up & landing on Billys clenched fist.Then it`s off to meet a fella on St Thomas` car park to pick up a leg of pork,leg of lamb & a large piece of silverside.Fuckin pukka tucka.

Right,back home in the kitchen were i feel at my best.All that`s needed now is for me to crank up "Dancing In The Moonlight" by Toploader,dance around like a fucking lemon for a few minutes then get on with the preparation & cooking.Oh before i forget,i MUST put my Man About The House pinny on complete with stockings & suspenders.Right first thing is to get the dried peas into soak for 24 hours.Just pour the packet into a pan full of warm water & bung a white tablet (not ecstacy) on top.Piece of piss eh.Could teach a monkey to do that.Then we move onto peeling the veg.We`ll start with the spuds as we`ll be doing four diferent kinds,namely "mash" "boiled" "roasters done in the oven" & "roasters done in the chip pan".Personally i`ve always prefered roasters done in the chip pan rather than those crusty cornered sacks of shit that came out the oven.Once we`ve peeled the spuds don`t bother getting the eyes or grubs out.Just bung them in the fucking pan because as my Gran always says "They`re good for ya".Now i prefer to boil the spuds rather than put them in a pressure cooker although me Mam did once have a pressure cooker but the lid was fucked so she just used it as a large pan.Fucking kosher eh.Then we do the carrots & turnips.Again bung them in the pan along with plenty of salt & pepper.Same with the caullie,cabbage, sprouts & asparagus.As you may notice i don`t have an Aga oven to work with but don`t worry as some of the pans will fit on top of the toaster until a flame is available.While i`m peeling the vegetables i must mention how peaceful it is to be cooking in an empty house for once as my wife Jules is currently having her IVF treatment this morning before her appointment with her anorexic counselor.Also my son is out for the day at the Westward Labour Club Christmas Party were no doubt he will get bullied off the bigger boys & have his money stolen from him before going onto the stage & sitting on some pissed up drunks knee dressed as Father Christmas who is probably a paedophile.Fucking pukka days eh.

That`s the veg` sorted now onto the poultry & meat.I`ll start with the turkey.A large roasting tray (No Kapo & Henri not that kind) is needed.First we take out the jiblets by shoving your arm straight up its Arris.Some people use these as part of the gravy but personally i like to think of myself more than a fucking caveman.Then we pack the cavity with some Paxo.As i`m ramming the Paxo up there i must tell you a little story that always happened at Christmas with my Great Grandad.He was the person who introduced me to Wigan Athletic & was quite simply the Grandad of Worsley Hall.But he was my real Grandad.Every year Tom would come up to my house & all his Grandkids would be there.Chocolate would be being eaten by the kids & Tom would sit there in his chair looking at them playing with their toys.Little did the babies know what was going to happen to them soon.You see Tom had this shall we say "habit" which entailed him picking the babies up who were covered in chocolate & licking their faces clean ! Proud as fuck he was.Didn`t care a shite.Also due to him having a leg missing he used to piss in the sink (not when cooking Christmas dinner i might add) but when he couldn`t walk upstairs due to his false Dolly Peg. Anywa..Once the turkey is stuffed throw it in the oven wrapped in foil for about 6 hours & don`t forget to "baste" it.We then wrap the leg of pork in some foil,same with the lamb & silverside.Then wait until the turkey is done before banging them in the oven.Once you`ve taken the turkey out do NOT leave it on the kitchenette & then go out on the piss like Tony Ball did.This will cause you to return to your house with a turkey carcas on the floor & a very full Bull Mastiff sat in it`s bed looking rather contented.That`s not fucking pukka.

Now the important part.The gravy.Big tub of Bisto is needed & if you really fancy being posh add a couple of OXO.For thickening we need some corn flour too.Fry your onion in the pan,then add the water from each of the simmering pans & the roasting trays.The gravy must taste of all the meat & veg that you have cooked.Then throw the Bisto & OXO in until you get that "spreadable with a knife" thickness.Gravy without skin is not fuckin pukka tucka.Once the gravy is done it`s time to serve.Make sure you get your best plates out & cover the dinning table with a plastic Chritmasy sheet.Make sure that the Uncle who turns up once a year just for his dinner & a free piss up is sat at one end of the table with a plate filled with more vegetables than Rose Hill School.Christmas crackers must be placed sparingly around the table & the shop bought Yule log complete with cardboard holly must take pride of place in the centre.The sign of a good Christmas dinner is when people are still eating the turkey on New Years Day.

Finally to give your dinner that "Look how fucking posh we are" feel get the tin of Rover biscuits out & pass them round.After Eights are acceptable but Rover always edge it in the posh stakes due to them having TWO layers.Top this off with a box of Cadburys Fingers,a dozen Mr Kiplings mince pies,a large packet of lemon & pink coconut Jamborees & a box of shortbread & there you have it...................A WN5 Happy Christmas.

Fucking pukka !

Toys of Yesterday

Hey kids its Christmas! And if you have all been good boys and girls this year then you just might get that toy that you wished for… what? You don’t want a toy? You want a mobile phone? Gee whiz kids what happened to wishing for cap firing guns, dolls in prams, pedal cars, post office shops, games compendiums, corgi cars, castles & soldiers, airfix kits, football boots, annuals, board games, selection boxes in the shape of a stocking, a fish net stocking at that! Etch a sketch, Give a show projectors etc etc.

Come along with me, I’m the ghost of Christmas past and I will show you what kids wished for over 40yrs ago. We will start with the first ever toy of the year award in 1965 the magnificent James Bond Aston Martin. It was launched just before the release of the film Thunderball though the more pedantic amongst you will know that the car first appeared in Goldfinger. The model car had an ejector seat, flip up roof and hidden machine guns. Corgi sold 7 million of these little beauties. Also out this year; Dr Who & the Daleks and the Gonks an ugly family of dolls.

The following year and the winner was a controversial doll for boys, Action Man produced by Hasbro. The little man was an immediate hit and he is still selling well today, not bad for a 42yr old soldier. Pedigree brought out their own version called Tommy Gunn and you can just imagine the tantrums on Christmas morning if a kid got this version instead of the real thing. Other hits included Tiny Tears a crying doll with real tears, well you had to fill her with water first and the back breaking contortion game Twister where you had the dubious pleasure of someone farting in your face.

1967 saw Spirograph crowned the king of toys. Manufactured by Kenner it enabled kids to draw the most elaborate geometric designs. One of the toys that fell into the “educational” slot it was supposed to get kids interested in graphics and maths. I just loved drawing pretty patterns and I ended up making spades for a living, maybe I was just one of the unlucky ones. This original version would give the Health & Safety police palpitations today. It came with a plethora of pins that you used to attach the plastic shapes to a board. The safety brigade would have been delighted with Triang Toys though as they became the first to fit a safety belt to a pedal car.

Pedigree may have been the poor relations with Tommy Gunn but in 1968 they hit back with Sindy sweeping the board at the awards. Billed as the doll you love to dress she had more outfits than a footballer’s wag . In later years she got a boyfriend, Paul and a sister Patch. Some of her outfits were designed by the top names in the fashion world including Mary Quant, Hardy Amies, Emanuels and Vivienne Westwood.

For the boys Joe 90 was popular along with Batman toys including a utility belt. This gives me the opportunity to tell you some of my favourite Batman lines from the TV series “Holy strawberries Batman, were in a jam!” –Robin, “Never rub another mans rhubarb” –The Joker, “Planting a time bomb in a local library is a felony”-Batman, “It's sometimes difficult to think clearly when you're strapped to a printing press” – Batman.

1969 and every boy wanted Hot Wheels left in his stocking, the fastest model cars on earth. Build your loop the loop race tracks and race them side by side, and err… that was it really, the fun was all over in seconds. Story of my life. Could have been worse I suppose, you could have got the rather unfortunately named Tic Tac Tosser for Xmas.

All these toys are worth a small fortune today, maybe that new mobile phone will be a much sought after item in 40yrs time, then again maybe not…