CRRRRS 489 The Chipper and Sir Clanky

By Roy Mathur, on 2023-06-01, at 23:09:25--23:57:37 BST, for Captain Roy's Rusty Rocket Radio Show, Listen


This is short one to tide you over while I'm busy with life stuff. It's made up of current stuff and a few snippets that have finally made it into the podcast.

The Restaurant at the End of the Universe

Re-re-re-etc.-rereading in progress.

M.R. James

M.R. James (Montague Rhodes James (1862--1936) was a Cambridge academic of the Middle Ages, a ghost hunter, and a writer of horror cosies; the type of story you want to hear on a dark winter's night snuggled up to a roaring fireplace, but that will still leave you chilled to the bone.

Years ago I had a book of his short stories, but found the prose dry and unengaging. Maybe I would feel differently today and might give his writing a try again. However, the material does seem to adapt well to other media and there have been numerous radio, television, and stage adaptations over the years.

Particularly well known are the television films made as a part the BBC's infrequent and on-going A Ghost Story for Christmas series that started in 1971. In 2005 the series was revived by modern writers like Neil Cross (Luther) and Mark Gatiss (Sherlock). Gatiss has had a crack at a few, including adaptations such as The Tractate Middoth starring Sacha Dhawan, which I talked about in episode 20 (2013). I said, "I'm sure Whovians will like this too because it stars quite a few Gatiss regulars and is the Doctor Who-type of cosy scary." I'll add that I found Gatiss' ability to blow the cobwebs off M.R. James' fusty and very un-diverse characters quite refreshing.


Refugees from the past (literal beforeigners) are turning up in this Norwegian TV series from 2019. I saw the trailers and it's not for me, though I appreciate the realisation of this time travel sci-fi show and the obvious allegory in the title.

The point of this item though, is that I'm sure I have read a science fiction story with a very similar premise of time travelling refuges from the past many years ago.

One of the peripheral characters was a stone age man addicted to space invaders.

Sound familiar? If so, let me know, because it's driving me mad, and no, Google is not my friend.

Red Dwarf

My unofficial "for my mental health" New Who rewatch came to an abrupt end for no reason and I switched to a Red Dwarf rewatch that ended earlier today.

One Foot in the Grave

In 488, I said how I'd watched all of the BBC sitcom One Foot in the Grave (1990--2000).

What I didn't say about the deranged back comedy is that its opening was weirdly prescient. In a time of AI tools like Chat GPT fueling anxiety for the future of our jobs, the first episode shows us our protagonist, a security receptionist, replaced by an electronic box with pre-recorded voice messages.

It's a hilarious show and you should watch it.

On a personal note and disturbing note, a 50-something Richard Wilson was younger than I am now when he took up the role of the 60 year-old Victor Meldrew.

Steeltown Murders

I saw this 2023 BBC iPlayer Wales-set drama a while back. Life on Mars's Philip Glenister is cast, not far from the mark, as a copper, drives a retrotastic iconic black Saab 900, who is trying to solve a serial killer case he worked on in the 70s.

Good story, not quite as an original production as the BBC's Sherwood spy cops drama I reviewed in 446 in 2022, but not bad.


I have taken a scythe to my YouTube subscriptions and unsubscribed from a swath of channels. I haven't been exceedingly ruthless, simply axed those I haven't watched for ages and hold no sentimental value either.


That same criteria has led me to unsubscribe from many podcasts recently too, as well as try a few news ones.

Nokia 6.1 Plus

In 488, I reported on backing up the data on my Mum's dead and terrible phone.

The saga isn't over as Mum's Acer Lubuntu/Windows 10 laptop refused to read the card, making me panic until I tried sticking the SD into my Honor 9 Lite and started the transfer to a Toshiba USB drive via an OTG cable. The battery started going because the phone was powering a mechanical hard drive. Then I thought sod it, stopped, and left the data on the card, reassured that it was at least still there.

The problem with familial tech support? If something goes wrong, it's your fault and, unlike at work, there's no cupboard to hide in.

Bloody Windows, bloody Lubuntu, bloody Acer, bloody Nokia.

Microsoft Trackball Explorer

This is my mum's pointing device of choice. It is a present from me that she has used for years. Unfortunately, it sports a cracked upper thumb button, the result of having collided with a hardwood floor.

So I went on eBay looking for a non-working or working spare. I found one, bought it, took it apart, and it fell apart. It was like handling an eggshell.

The moral? Old plastics, even from Microsoft whose devices are usually a cut above, are often garbage. Moral two? Some of my last few purchases on eBay have been utter and complete crap.


When I as a child, my parents took me to a motorcycle show on Bellingham Green in South East London. I starred at the amazing bikes and---family legend time---celebrity guest Leslie Philips chatted to little boy me about my fascination with motorcycles. Apparently he was very nice.

Still a child, holidaying in Mauritius, I'd occasionally pillion with older cousins.

Then I bought a Vespa 50 as a young man. It was a disaster. While it was a great machine, bits kept falling off and I was harassed by the police for being Asian in charge of a scooter, and having the utmost cheek to tell them when questioned that the other keys on my keyring were my door keys. Ahhh, the good old days. Wait, has that changed? You tell me. I finally threw in the towel after some Karen (we had other words to describe people like that back then) doored me hard right off the bike in the rain, blamed me, then walked across the street to her hair appointment. Based on previous interactions it never even occurred to me to tell the coppers.

There was a college jaunt to miserable Magaluf where I and other students hired mopeds, which of course I crashed. However, the helmet that should have been on my head was dangling from my elbow, saving the limb from a nasty smash.

Vaguely related, in my early twenties, I received a vintage style Brando-type fringed biker jacket. The fringes lasted only until their naffness made me take scissors to them. Several years later the jacket was burnt, symbolically ending a chapter. I immediately regretted the pointless gesture.

That was it and that was that for motorcycling for a long time. But if I'm not going to try again now, then it's never. It's not entirely silly. I don't intend riding a big vroom, just something for trails and pootling.

Raleigh Chipper

Sir Clanky is my mid-2000s KHS Manhattan Flyer bought new in Vancouver. The Schwinn 50s beach cruiser knock-off, with the iconic artfully cantilevered high tensile steel frame was sick again recently and need another flat fixed. By the way, my steel steed is named Sir Clanky because I regard myself as something of a reject knight errant of the ageing Red Bull/clumsy Big Knights variety, or perhaps a cut-price Gandalf/Rincewind on a Shadowfax who's seen better days. There's a whole ludicrous Don Quixote eccentricity about me in any case, so the conceit of a rickety adult doing some laid back cruisin' on a rickety kid's bike makes sense.

Since it's return to the UK, accompanying my parents back from Mauritius where it was stored at their old place, I've been heavily re-using the retro-glorious technological throwback. It's a very simple single-speed with a coaster brake. I leave it in my corridor for accessibility. That simplicity and accessibility are the reasons I ride it so much.

I've had many bikes over the years, and even an actual paid job riding a bicycle around Vancouver, but it is the cheap clunkers that are my favourites for leisure. My second bike ever was the Raleigh Chipper bought from a Ladywell bike shop that replaced a pram shop that also supplied my first pram. The Chipper was a sleeker little brother to the cult Chopper that was a bit too large for me at the time. The bikes were inspired by the swoopy Schwinn Stingray, but with a decidedly girder-like Euro-Brutalism, or perhaps an American design reimagined in the Soviet Union. I learned to ride two-wheeled on my little canary yellow Chipper. I remember my joy the day the stabilisers came off. I remember the thrill of bombing down a big hill near my school. I remember the freedom of riding anywhere I wanted, anytime I liked.

Those are the important things; that you're having fun, not that you're exercising. No big purchase price, no expensive componentry, no Lycra, no hunched over aerodynamics, no reason to rush. Ahhh...

Tina Turner

The incredibly prolific rock'n'roll singer, Tina Turner, famous for many songs including Nutbush City Limits, died on the 24th of May.

As a nerdy chap, I'll always remember her as the iconic maille-draped post-apocalyptic evil queen, Aunty Entity, the ruler of Bartertown in Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome (1985). She supplied the songs We Don't Need Another Hero (Thunderdome) and One of the Living for the movie. The latter I think is a much better song. It is an earworm that raises my hackles. RIP Aunty Entity. RIP Tina Turner.


In 488, a physio told me I should partake in more physical activity.

I have been gardening two days in a row and I'm either fine, or the new pain is masking the old pain.

Prepare to be TARDIS'd back to 1983!

I talked a little geek, off-topic, complained, and annoyed you with anecdotes. It was the usual non-revisit episode.

As I said at the top, hopefully that will satisfy you through the short delay in the run up to the continuing revisit of classic Doctor Who season 20, which will begin with Arc of Infinity. Prepare to be TARDIS'd back to 1983!

I shall return!