Blackpool deckchair man refuses to let summer go

Lenny catches some rays and lots of raindrops.

Lenny catches some rays and lots of raindrops.

As most Brits reluctantly accepted that summer is over by donning jackets and coats as the mercury dropped, one man made a gallant if somewhat misguided gesture of defiance by sitting on a deckchair on Blackpool beach, flatly refusing to let summer go.

Stubbornly parked on his deckchair by the North Pier, local man Lenny Austin, known by his friends as ‘Loopy Lenny,’ or ‘Lenny the Loon’ told onlookers that as far as he’s concerned summer isn’t over yet.

Indeed, as the rain spattered steadily and depressingly down, Loopy Lenny tried as best he could to put a brave face on things but even he drew the line when offered an ice cream cornet by a generous passer by.

“Too cold,” he said, politely declining the proffered cornet. Adding: “I know the nights are drawing in and the temperature is dropping, but my wife left me in March, the dog died of distemper in April, I lost my job, my house and had my car repossessed. It’s been a crap year for me all in all, and the decent summer weather was the only good thing going on in my life. I’ll be buggered if I’m letting it go without a fight.”

We get you Lenny.

Martin Shuttlecock for Cafe Spike


Bert Windswept’s Weather Tips For Hollywood Directors

This Scene Involved 5 Million Tons Of Polystyrene

This Scene Involved 5 Million Tons Of Polystyrene

Our resident meteorologist, Bert Windswept told us recently that one of the most frustrating things about being a meteorologist is that when he goes to the pictures the weather depicted in the films is totally unrealistic most of the time.

“It’s so unconvincing that sometimes I get really infuriated,” Bert told us. “In fact it sometimes is such an inaccurate representation that I’ve been known to screw up my choc-ice wrapper and hurl it at the screen, before stamping my feet in outrage and loudly harrumphing as I stormed out of the theatre.”

So what do the directors get wrong? Bert gave us some examples, which we list below.

Snow – Crumbled up polystyrene does not look anything like snow. The only similarity is that they’re both white, but snow looks like snow and crumbled polystyrene looks exactly like what it is; crumbled polystyrene. Sprinkled salt all over the shop isn’t much more effective. It just looks like somebody spilled a shitload of salt and it bears no resemblance whatsoever to snow. Foam is the same. It looks like foam. Not snow. The only thing that looks like snow is snow – nothing else – so all you directors out there; if you’re thinking of filming something with snow in it, don’t be a cheapskate. Take your camera crews and your cast to where the snow is. Your movie will look all the better for it in the end.

Rain – When you’re filming a scene with rain in it, try to film it somewhere where it’s actually raining. You’re fooling nobody by dripping water onto your actors out of an overhead metal or plastic tray with holes drilled in it to simulate rainfall. It just doesn’t work. Any sharp eyed movie-goer can see immediately that it’s only raining on the principal actors while it’s fine and dry six feet away from them, and in some cases the sun is shining! This tip applies especially if you’re making a film set in England, where it rains all the time, even in August. Just be patient – even if by some fluke of nature the sun does happen to be shining it won’t last long. It’s a well known fact that the citizens of Manchester have over a thousand different words covering the multitude of rainfall types experienced in that city on any given day. Faking rain will only make your product look cheap and shoddily produced.

Wind – We all get it from time to time, but that isn’t the kind of wind we’re discussing here. We’re talking about gale force winds, hurricanes, tornadoes and suchlike. An old trick utilised by directors to simulate high winds has been to install a bloody great big fan or two just out of shot. For decades this method has been quite effective, but not so much when nothing is being blown about just a few feet away from the actors. These days directors tend to favour CGI over fans and quite often the CGI looks even less convincing. (See final section) The best option would be to try to avoid windy scenes altogether if possible.

CGI – Opinions are divided over the use of CGI. Sometimes it’s very good and sometimes it’s just knacker-crunchingly terrible, but the real problem arises with CGI itself. It’s become an uncontrollable beast. There’s no point in cobbling together reels of stunning CGI and then writing a crappy script around it, like they used to do with the Bond franchise back in the 80’s where every film was a collection of stunts tenuously connected by a flimsy storyline. Real human drama is infinitely more interesting than some plonker from the planet Krypton who can fly, or some robot that can transform into a car or a bastard submarine. And after a while, once you’ve seen one post-apocalyptic flyblown scorched-earth urban wasteland you’ve seen them all.

Next time: Umbrellas – Are they any good?


Southerners Too Traumatised To Mention The Weather

Manchester Pictured In August

Manchester Pictured In August

The weather, usually a conversational staple of plucky Brits has abruptly become a strictly taboo subject among residents of southern England following last night’s protracted spell of mild winds and occasionally heavy showers, which left millions traumatised and unable to sleep. Emergency services were put on red alert as slightly blowy rain squalls played havoc with satellite TV reception and switchboards were inundated with emergency calls, including a near hysterical woman from Islington who reported that a pair of Christian Louboutin shoes had been ruined by the savagely unseasonable weather.

Police and Fire Brigade officials issued a strongly worded advisory requesting people to stay indoors wherever possible, as ambulance crews reported a spike in emergency calls as dozens of innocent victims requested assistance, many complaining of getting a bit damp and windswept.

Our reporters ventured out onto the streets this morning in order to gauge public reaction, but nobody seemed to want to talk about the weather. Psychologists attributed the reluctance to discuss the weather on a combination of sleep deprivation and attacks of acute hydrophobia.

As well as immigrants who couldn’t give a toss either way about the weather, which is decidedly unBritish.

On the plus side, umbrella retailers reported increased sales and several hat shops took advantage of the showers, allegedly making a small fortune flogging sou’ westers.

Reporter: Kipper Fish