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K J Bennett: The Blog

Writing & Other Stuff

It's about me, writing, publishing and stuff

I’m still alive!

Chit Chat Posted on Sun, October 06, 2019 18:01:44

I shall hopefully soon be retiring from the world of work, after seeing (sponsoring, that is) two off-spring through university over the course of three years.

Retirement plans involve moving to Devon, writing, photography, and learning to play a saxophone. I don’t own one, yet.

Zombie hunting

Chit Chat Posted on Wed, August 31, 2011 22:24:23

Last Friday I went Zombie hunting in Glasgow. No, not after closing time, but in the middle of the afternoon.

St George’s Square had been transformed from a normal British city centre to the streets of Philadelphia, USA for the filming of World War Z – a zombie movie starring Brad Pitt. Barriered off as it was, it was difficult to see much of what was going on, but this picture will give you a clue – not a lot.

Note how, in this next shot, the local street sign has been blocked out, ready for digital trickery, later on –

Two days earlier the crew had been filming car crashes and there was much excitement in the city. However, on 26 August, they were down to shooting a few crowd scene. Once I’ve sorted out the video editing, I may post a little of it here, just to give a flavour – if it’s any good, that is.

Even the main star – Brad Pitt, had left the city, destined for Paris, we were told. Imagine then, the disappointment of the two ladies who rushed up to me, asking for my autograph!

“Sorry ladies, Brad Pitt’s gone away. I am not he.”

I could understand their error, of course …

Twittering about everything

Chit Chat Posted on Sat, May 28, 2011 11:25:34

So, Twitter.

In my guise as @kj_bennett I am following 37, and being followed by 18 (I’ve been Tweeting since May 9th 2011).

I have a BlackBerry App for it. All day long my BlackBerry flashes at me, telling me I have new Tweets. First thing in the morning I get messages telling me I have +20 new Tweets. Some of the users I follow post so many Tweets I’m wondering if they have anything else to do in life.

Some of these guys and guyesses (new word, the feminine for guys) follow more than a thousand other users. Ye Gads, I can barely cope with a handful of the 37 people I follow telling me their every move! How do they cope with 1500?

They’ve been rumbled: me thinks they don’t read it all.

America: Land of …

Chit Chat Posted on Thu, September 02, 2010 20:11:33

… coincidence. Some would have said ‘Opportunity’, but not me.

I’ve recently returned from a three-week break in Florida; a strange series of coincidences took place that left me wondering about … well, I’m not sure what, but they certainly left me wondering about something.

A few weeks before I departed these shores I discovered that Donna, who works in the office across the corridor, was also going to Florida for three weeks. Not only that, it was the same three weeks and she had almost the same schedule – two weeks in Orlando, one on the Gulf Coast. We didn’t arrange to meet-up – Donna was in a group of ten family members and it could have been difficult. We were all going to visit Universal Studios, so the chances were we’d bump into each other. All right, in those crowds, the chances were actually slim: the Wizarding World of Harry Potter opened in Universal in June, and it was the busiest place in both the muggle and wizard worlds. However, Donna swears blind she saw me and my family as we wandered around and she was trapped in a massive queue awaiting a thrill ride – she even described my son (long lanky thing that he is, so I believe her). So, not seeing Donna is probably not a coincidence, but read on.

Our first day at Universal was hot-hot-hot. 98 degrees, with a feels-like rating of 108. My son had acquired sun-burned shoulders and was moaning a lot, so we decided to make our next visit in the evening. Off we trundled in our hire car (a very nice Ford Explorer SUV) to the parking lot (that’s American for ‘car park’). To get to Universal from the lot, you either walk all the way, or ride the moving walk-ways. We were just stepping off the end of our first one when I heard a male voice say “Kevin?”

Kevin is a popular name in America, right now, so I had heard many American fathers calling it out in varying degrees of sternness, but this was different – it was English, with a touch of midlands, and very familiar. Standing there, with wife and kids and fevered brow (remember those temperatures?) was an old work colleague, Rene. I hadn’t seen him for over eight years, and that was 4,300 miles away in London. What were the chances of that?

A few days later we were wandering around the San Francisco/Amity section of Universal Studios when I heard the familiar strains of the Doobie Brothers’ song, “Black Water” being piped through the PA system. Ye gads, I hadn’t heard that in over 30 years. Many people only know the Doobies because of “Long Train Running” or “China Grove”, or they remember when Michael MacDonald joined them and did what he does best – made them sound like a Michael MacDonald solo project – or they don’t remember them at all. Me? I remember ‘Black Water’ as their finest moment.

A few days later we headed south-west to Naples and Fort Myers Beach for two days. The first night there we dined in ‘Nervous Nelly’s’ at Fort Myers Beach. This is a fantastic restaurant on two levels with a terrace on each and a band playing – and as we sat down, they were playing “Black Water”. The food was good and plentiful, and the band was good. I realised that I now had a mission – get a cheap CD featuring “Black Water”.

A few days later, in the Tyrone Square Shopping Mall, St Petersburg, I found a copy of the Doobie Brothers’ “Greatest Hits”, featuring that song. I also bought Train’s latest offering, ‘Save Me San Francisco’. I hadn’t heard it, but they are one of my favourite bands. Back at the apartment, I inserted the Train album into the CD player: track three is named “I Got You”. It’s an interesting song, largely because it is half original song and half “Black Water”! It seems I’d gone 30 plus years without hearing the song, and now I couldn’t get away from it. Do you also see the other subtle coincidence? I heard the Doobies in San Fran/Amity, and an adaptation of their song was on “Save Me San Francisco”. SPOO-HOOKEY!

Back to Donna from work.

Week 3 of my holiday was spent at North Redington Beach, Florida, about 110 miles from Orlando. Donna’s week 3 was spent at Indian Shores Beach, a couple of miles north of North Redington. We still didn’t bump into each other, but we ate in the same restaurants, trod the same sand, and saw the same rainstorms. Probably we photographed the same sunsets.

Anyway, I’m going to Spain next year. I must ask my stalker if she’s booked her flights.

Taking the p*ss

Chit Chat Posted on Mon, July 12, 2010 17:04:21

Saturday 10th July: my niece’s 21st birthday party in an Uxbridge pub.

I felt old, being surrounded by those all pretty young things – the girls weren’t bad looking, either! After two lager shandies I felt the need to get rid of the excess lemonade, so off to the gents I went.

Now, I don’t normally examine what the chap at the next urinal is doing, but on this occasion I couldn’t help but notice that this young party guest (by young, I mean maybe 30 years younger than me) was standing there, hips thrust forward , having a pee but using both hands to frantically type-out a text message on his mobile phone.

Who said men can’t multi-task?

A Hot Shot from the past

Chit Chat Posted on Tue, July 06, 2010 17:22:18

The power of the internet never fails to amaze me. At the mere bashing of a keyboard lives can be enriched or ruined; some chose to corrupt, others chose to enlighten. It’s fascinating but scary beast, the old web.

So, here I am, all webbed up and nowhere to publish, when suddenly, along comes a chap who solves an aging mystery. In my biography pages I have a photograph of four people and only three and a half names: last Friday, the fourth man came forward to be identified. Step up to the podium, Mr Keith Hyde!

For a not very long time, Keith played guitar for a band formation I was in – I’m not sure what we were called at that point, but it isn’t important. Keith’s pedigree as a guitarist and hit-maker stemmed from 1973 when, as a member of the band The Hot Shots, he had a chart-topping hit with a Ska version of Snoopy Versus the Red Barron.<!–

I have to say that I remember Keith as an incredibly nice guy. I can’t remember what happened and why he departed the band, but I do recall things were up in the air due to the bassist having cancer plus the drummer had a few issues (I think he moved back to Devon). I’d like to think that my amazing vocals left a lingering impression on Keith, but I’d be wrong. Keith has only recently joined the web community and gone broadband, and one of the things he did was to carry out a search on bassist Valdis Muncis. Two things might have stopped him searching for Kevin Bennett – 1: I’m instantly forgettable, and 2: you try searching the name and see how many hits you get.

The search led Keith to and I nearly dropped to the floor in astonishment when I got an e-mail from him. It’s been over 30 years since we posed for that photo … Valdis had holes in his feet where cancer surgeons had filled him with blue dye two days before, and I had collapsed from exhaustion a few days before that, hence the exceptionally dozy look on my face and my inability to stand unsupported.

It was with sadness that Keith learned of Valdis’ death: he’d never known just how serious the cancer was, and assumed Valdis would still be around and plucking his bass strings. I guess any hope of our old band getting back together have been dashed for good.

Unlike me, Keith stayed in music. Last year, his band JEEP went in for the Absolute Radio “One Last Dream” competition – this is where old bands get back together and compete to open at a major music festival. JEEP came in second. If you check out this video, Keith is the thin one at the back left of the band, wearing the blue and white checked shirt. I think he may be older than me, and he’s aging very well!

Rock on, Keith Hyde!

Political wordplay

Chit Chat Posted on Thu, May 13, 2010 17:43:04

What with David Miliband standing for the Labour Party leadership, and the possibility of younger brother Ed Miliband also standing, I was wondering if the public image of the party might be better served if, instead, The Steve Miller Band took over!

On the subject of politics, I have a new name for the Conservative/Liberal Democrat coalition –

The Condemerals

If you think of any others, feel free to post as a reply to this message …

Old punks never die …

Chit Chat Posted on Tue, May 11, 2010 21:58:48

… they reincarnate as advertising icons.

Iggy Pop, all American punk, allegedly an ugly old git, reputed elephant impersonator, and singer (after a fashion) has recently been seen advertising Swift Cover car insurance. The mere thought of Iggy at the wheel of a car sends shudders down the spine of this author, I can tell you. If he starts advertising family cars, I’ll retire from driving.

Ex-Sex Pistol Johnny Rotten (or John Lydon, as he is also known) has been seen advertising Country Life butter, which also sends a shudder down the spine, but for other reasons (“Mum, why are there green streaks on my toast?”). Now it appears he may have branched out into electrical retail, as this photo, recently taken in St Albans, may prove –

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