Monday, 12 July 2010

Speaking of...

Dammit Norm. It's happened again.

Well just when you thought it was safe to go back in to the waters, we have another podcast. Now with 100% extra rubbish segues.

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Rock on you crazy kids.

Tuesday, 6 July 2010

That's just silly, Ray.

Hi. Apologies for the lateness of this post. To cut a long story short, the computer died and I had to coax it back to life using a combination of sweet words and honey. And when that didn't work I reinstalled Windows. Anyway it's back, and so on with the show I guess...

Oh before I forget, go here and vote for Dan Thomas. With a ten obviously. Not with a one. Unless of course you want to be known as Sir El Knoberino around these parts. Which I'm guessing you don't. Although it is a pretty snappy nickname to be fair.

As some of you are undoubtedly aware, I recently asked my girlfriend to marry me. And somehow two amazing things happened. For a start she said “yes”, despite not being under the influence of any mind bending narcotics at the time. (Gee Note: Mind I never did get her to take a test of anything. I mean it's a bit difficult asking a woman for a cup of her pee after you've just finished proposing. Tends to spoil the mood. Man maybe I should write a book about this. Gee's Top Tips on not completely ruining your chances with the lay-dees. Hell if Jennifer Love Hewitt can do it, why can't I? Then maybe some smart publisher will ask us to write a book together and I'll be all like “Sure. Why not?”. But then Jennifer will meet me and fall completely in love with me and I'll be like “Listen Jen. I'm flattered an' all. But I'm getting married. Please leave me alone”. And she'll pretend to understand but will keep turning up to our writing sessions in revealing clothing and... umm... what was I saying?)

Secondly it means that for some reason our house has been turned in to some kind of wedding carnival. In fact not a day goes by without the Future Ex-Mrs Davies bringing home a new magazine with titles such as “Bride Today” or finds a new marriage based television show to watch (Gee Note: The worst of which is a soul-less little turd of a reality show called “Four Weddings”. Now it's tough to put in to words how terrible Four Weddings really is. I mean imagine if you will the type of person who would prostitute their own wedding day for nothing more than 15 seconds of fame, on a basement level cable channel content to show such utter bullshit as "My fake pregnant teenager" and "Britain’s Ugliest Dog". Now imagine there are four of these horrendous individuals, each one with a personality that could grate cheese and the charisma of squashed gnat. And then imagine that those four people turn on each other, but not with chainsaws or in any way remotely resembling entertainment, but in a series of talking head interviews where they criticise each others taste in flowers. All this in an effort to win a cheap package holiday to Majorca or some other equally tedious destination where, sadly, rampaging Velociraptors aren't indigenous). Which is great. I mean, you know, I'm glad she's excited about it. But it's also kinda put the fear in to me a bit.

You see recently weddings have become needlessly complicated creatures. Gone are the days when you'd turn up to some church pretending that you agree with their stance on God, stand patiently while some old dude in a gown would waffle on about how lovely it was that two people had decided to take their union that step further (Gee Note: Probably neglecting to mention that one of them was either six months pregnant or had swallowed a Boeing 747), before scrambling out of there as quickly as possible and hitting a predetermined location to drink as much as you could without going permanently blind. Instead a wedding now has to be an "event". A showcase of just how classy and sophisticated you are. In fact, if it doesn't look like you've spent the global economic deficit and implemented an intricate level of planning the Birdman of Alcatraz would be envious of, then somehow your wedding has failed.

And this is why I'm starting to wonder if we can actually pull this off. To me a wedding should be about two people publicly declaring their love for each other, in the simplest way possible. Not screaming at the top of your lungs "LOOK. LOOK AT US. LOOK HOW GREAT WE ARE!!!" to your friends and family. I mean they're your friends and family. They already know exactly what you're like. Dressing your bridesmaids in wings so that they fit in with your fairytale theme isn't going to change that, for better or worse. As far as I'm concerned, standing in front of a bunch of people, in a place you normally wouldn't dream of going to, while somebody you don't know asks you if you're sure you want to be doing this isn't my idea of a fun time. Nuh uh Jack. In fact give me a piece of paper saying "Mr and Mrs. Davies. No really. It's official." and my loved ones to blather at about how happy I am, and I wouldn't need a damn thing else. My wedding day would be complete.

Speaking of things that were once upon a time a lot simpler, isn't it funny how UFOs don't crash any more? I mean in the 50's and 60's it used to be a pretty regular occurrence. Strange lights in sky. Cows acting all weird. More strange lights in sky. Sheep acting weird as well (Gee Note: Not because they sensed anything untoward was going on you understand. It's just the cows had started doing it and the sheep wanted to be ahead of the curve for once). Then a God almighty bang somewhere in the distance, an electrical blackout, and before you could say "flying saucer" the military had surrounded the area. They would then tell you not to panic, that an unusually large migrating duck had quite unexpectedly hit a tree, and you really should just all go home because otherwise they'd be forced to shoot you.

For example, take the case of Shag Harbour. Situated in Nova Scotia, the harbour is a small fishing village found along the south shore home to somewhere between 400 - 450 residents according to Wikipedia. (Gee Note: Also according to Wikipedia I'm the "World's Most Handsomest Man". Well that was until someone flagged the page to the moderators and it got deleted. Bloody snitches. They're just afraid of the truth if you ask me). Famous for it's, er, well actually it's not all that famous for anything really. Seriously the town is so unremarkable there's barely more than a post office and a couple of churches, while most of those that live there earn their keep by catching the occasional lobster.

So you can imagine the good folks of Shag Harbour's surprise when a bloody great big UFO landed on top of them. It certainly shocked Laurie Wickens. On October 4 1967 at around 11pm Wickens was driving four of his friends through the village when one of the passengers pointed out of the window and shouted "Oh my. There's a flying saucer in the sky eh?" (Gee Note: Although they may not have used those exact words. To be honest records are a bit sketchy about how stereotypically Canadian these people were). Wickens directed his gaze to where his companion was indicating and saw an aircraft with four flashing yellow lights, seemingly travelling downwards at a 45 degree angle.

Obviously finding this fascinating enough to abandon all other plans he had for the evening (Gee Note: And to be fair not much out of the ordinary happens in Shag Harbour. In fact the most exciting thing before that night was when Joe "Sparky" McDougall found that picture of a really hairy slug in Nature Weekly Magazine back in 1964. Whew! What a summer that was) Wickens decided to track the object in his car down Highway 3. After about ten minutes they lost sight of the craft but heard it as it came down off the coast. Finding a suitable area to park up, the group spied the object again, this time bobbing up and in the water about a mile out, displaying a single yellow light.

So Wickens, being a sensible sort of chap, jumped back in to his car and headed towards the nearest payphone. Picking up the receiver he called the Mounties (Gee Note: Who are either evil if you're a wrestling fan, or a bit like Crocodile Dundee if you remember the mid 90's comedy drama Due South). Obviously thinking these were exactly the type of guys who could deal with a spaceship that had plummeted to earth Laurie quickly explained what he saw to a man named Corporal Werbicki. Werbicki listened to tale and patiently waited for Wickens to finish before saying something along the lines of..

"Son. Have you been drinking?".

Despite Wickens assurances that he was as sober as a judge (Gee Note: Hopefully not a British one. They tend to be sozzled bigots if the truth be known) Werbicki simply didn't take him seriously, and was on the verge of hanging up when a lady named Mary Banks called in to report the exact same thing. And before he could say "What's that all aboot?" Werbicki had collected three more eye witness reports of a woovy bezerk flying saucer having plunged in to them there waters. Starting to realise that this would not be his run of the mill Friday night he contacted two fellow officers, Ron O'Brien and Ron Pond (Gee Note: No relation) and the three of them went to meet up with Wickens.

Arriving at the location about 15 minutes after the initial crash the Mounties were quick to notice several other people had joined Wickens, all of whom had seen the object do it's splishy water thing and come to get a closer look. Concerned that there may be injured civilians O'Brien quickly contacted the Rescue Co-ordination Centre in Halifax while Werbicki and two local fisherman prepared to set sail to help aid survivors. Before they could however, the craft started to sink, and by the time they got to it the little yellow light had disappeared beneath the waves.

Now this is where it gets a bit wacky. Upon arriving at their destination Werbicki fully expected to find either lifeless bodies or victims requiring medical attention amongst the debris. But the thing is there weren't any bodies, lifeless or otherwise. Or for that matter any debris. Instead there was a large amount of foam.

Yellow foam.

Yellow foam and a strong smell of sulphur.

The foam stretched for half a mile, and was somewhere around 80 foot wide. Which, let's face it, is bloody odd. Odder still is the fact that there was nothing else to be found. No life jackets. No broken propellers. No Matthew Fox shouting at people heroically. Nothing. Not a sausage. Just foam. Convinced they had missed something Werbicki continued the search for an hour before being joined by the local coast guard. The coast guard then let slip that the RCC had informed them that all private, military and commercial planes were accounted for from North-east Canada all the way down to New England.

Anyway they continued to do the whole thing of going “Wait is that... something... over there... can't quite make it out. Hang on. My God that's it! Hey John! John! Quick! Over here man! Over here! Shine the torch over here... wait... no. No. It's just a wave. My bad. Easy mistake to make though... John what's wrong? You look angry.” until 3am rolled around, at which point they all pretty much realised that they were cold, hungry, and really just wanted to curl up in to bed with a copy of the new Twilight book good read. And that was pretty much it, as the strange object that crashed in to Shag Harbour was never seen nor heard from again.

Or was it? Well maybe not, if you believe the book “Dark Object” written by Don Ledger and Chris Styles. According to them the UFO travelled underwater for 30 miles in a North-easterly direction until it ran slap bang in to a great big ol' military presence. An American diver named simply as “Harry” (Gee Note: My brother in law is called Harry. In another amazing coincidence he doesn't dive and hadn't been born yet in 1967. I know. Brain overload or what?) claims the object was categorized as not “from Earth”, and apparently the military divers took some photos of said craft. Even better, according to a documentary that aired on The History Channel on August 10, 2006, another diver who did not wish to be publicly identified claimed that a second craft had joined the first underwater and the two were monitored by sonar and radar until a Russian submarine entered allied waters in the North. Of course the Navy rushed off to deal with the pesky red menace and by the time they came back both of the unknown vessels had done a bunk.

Problem is though, outside of the statements of those two men, there's very little evidence to suggest that the above scenario ever took place. Indeed if it did then the navy, or anyone else for that matter, are being very quiet about it.

And without that added bonus of an underwater enigma the tale of the Shag Harbour is actually quite dull. Something flew through the air, hit the water, and disappeared. Nobody was harmed, nothing went missing, and the aliens didn't enslave the human race and make us mate with monkeys and wear silly hats. All in all it's not really that noteworthy.

Except for two wonderful things. One the incident was officially classed as a UFO in government reports dealing with the impact and it's aftermath. And secondly, and this is my favourite bit, nobody actually knows just what the hell that thing was. You see, all too often these days we have shouting matches between two distinct groups. There are those that want to believe in UFOs so badly they'll see any random collection of lights in the sky and claim it's definitive proof of the arrival of the reptilian overlords from the planet Jeuqov. And then you have the one's who take some kind of sadistic pleasure in scoffing at those people before adjusting the glasses resting on the tip of their nose and saying “Obviously it was just a weather balloon/Chinese lantern/solar flare/Venus”. This leads to one group becoming all defensive, the other smugly crowing, and in all the noise reasonable debate is often drowned out.

But in 1967 there were no ulterior motives. No games of one-up-man-ship. Instead the RCC calmly looked at the evidence, discounted all the obvious answers after much thought, and in the end came to the conclusion “buggered if I know”. Not for once suggesting beings from another planet, they stated in the plainest terms that events in Shag Harbour October 4 1967 were simply unexplainable.

I don't know. It's something like this that makes me wish we were back in those less “modern” times. You know, days when it was OK to think there might be such a thing as intelligent life from other planets, and when people didn't scoff at you for thinking there's a small chance the Loch Ness Monster might be real.

And, more importantly, days when I wouldn't have to come up with a theme for my wedding.