Wednesday, 24 September 2014

Did Jimmy Savile Ride A Bike?

Awhile ago I wrote about my unwanted sexual encounters as a youth with homosexuals. There was one and only one other that happened, when I was about thirteen. A friend and I were fishing for tiddlers in the Grand Union Canal at Hayes; we were using flimsy nets. I remember my friend, he was two years younger than me, and I remember especially his old man who was very tall and had some sort of nasal or speech defect. Another (on-off) friend who was in the year below me called him “Punch”, rather unkindly.

Anyway, the two of us were fishing of sorts when a young bloke rode up on his bike, dismounted, and engaged us in conversation. Then he lured us into the bushes – well, scraggly trees as I recall – and asked us if we wanted to make some money. We asked how, and he replied “Give us a wank”. Then he proceeded to show us what he wanted us to do, removing his hampton from his jeans, and rotating it. John and I looked at each other, smiled, and declined politely.

With no more ado, the guy put away his member, and getting on his bike rode off towards Southall. I never told anyone about that, and as far as I know my friend didn’t either. If I had told my old man he would almost certainly have phoned the police. I suppose I should have because with the hindsight of four decades and more, what he did was very serious, but in the 1960s and early 70s, bumboys and queers were a bit of a joke.

A few years ago I was doing some newspaper research at Colindale when I found a report of someone who had been engaged in that sort of activity by the canal. Although the year fitted, I don’t think it was him; canal towpaths are notorious for perverts of all shapes and sizes, although this was the first and only time I have ever experienced something like this on one, not that I make a habit of frequenting such places myself.

The story I have just related is totally accurate as far as I recall, and if my friend could be traced – assuming he is still alive – he might well confirm it, but what use is it as court testimony? It is an anecdote, nothing more, although unlike the story about Rolf Harris groping a 7 year old girl in Portsmouth, it is a true one. I can imagine though how it would be possible for me to milk this should I receive by some obscure quirk of fate a friendly call from the police who were trawling for historical victims of the Grand Union towpath paedo.

I think this guy may have had ginger hair, but regardless of my total inability to identify him, mine and that of the other two dozen “victims”, he would be convicted. I would then be invited to make a victim impact statement.

Where do I begin, Your Honour? I could have gone to university, but I flunked out. At the age of 19 I became a compulsive gambler; most people turn to drink and/or drugs to erase the memory of these terrible flashbacks, but I took to poker, and other things. That’s the reason I took a massive overdose in July 1976. That’s the reason I did a three year stretch in 1983-5, not the main reason but the only reason. That’s the reason I lost the only woman who ever truly loved me. That’s the reason I never made anything of myself. Well, apart from publishing more limericks than I care to remember, hundreds of poems, thousands of articles, dozens of pamphlets, a fistful of books, getting the odd citation in the academic literature, appearing in lively discussion programmes on Iranian TV, and scanning two archives for posterity.

What a load of bunk sex attack “survivors” do talk. Anyway, I was not attacked, the guy never laid a hand on me, and I certainly never put my hand on his dick.

When I was young I had not a few unpleasant experiences with adults, but apart from this, they were all of a non-sexual nature. In those days, men as well as women would not tolerate backchat from the young, and at times they would even get physical with you. They daren’t do that nowadays of course. I’m not saying that is a bad thing, but it is a different world.

There was one other, humorous incident that today would be interpreted as of a sexual nature but was no such thing. I was in a neighbour’s flat, and this woman, a family friend, was lactating, having recently given birth to her third child. For some reason she was barebreasted and showing me her tits, something to do with the baby I think. Maybe I asked a question about her producing milk, but I distinctly remember her squirting her nipple at me and hitting me in the face with a small jet. Obviously laughter followed. I can’t remember exactly how old I was, but I must have been 9 at the outside because we moved from our flat to a house at some point.
As I said, this was a humorous incident, and was almost certainly prompted by my curiosity, but I wonder if today she wouldn’t be arrested and charged with some bizarre sexual offence against a minor. How sick is that?

Fun With Psychic Poker

Earlier this month I questioned the integrity of electronic cards. There is though a fascinating alternative to belligerent algorithms; what if they respond to human thoughts, or even commands?

Have you ever called for that magic river only for it to come? Okay, if you keep making wild guesses about anything, you’ll eventually pick a winner, but I can’t help thinking that over the years I’ve picked more winners in this bizarre fashion than mere chance should dictate.

The screengrabs that follow all fall into this category.

February 1, 2013: Pot limit 5 card stud on Ladbrokes; I called for the straight on the river, and it came. I finished runner up of 12, and with 3 places paid picked up E18.00.

February 16, 2013: An ultra-magic river in this limit hold ’em tournament. I can’t remember what the other guy had, but it wasn’t queen anything. I didn’t cash though. 

May 29, 2013: I called for the gutshot after seeing the first two flop cards; it came, but I didn’t cash in this tournament that has far too many runners and far too few places paid. 

June 13, 2013: A magic river at Omaha hi lo, one out and it comes. I don’t think I called for this, though I probably prayed for it!

July 18, 2013: All-in with the third best hand, I called for the magic card, and it came on the river. Ironically, I was busted out with aces, but I won 72c.

August 14, 2013: The queens raised, I went all-in, called for the gutshot when the cards showed, and a magic river outdrew not only the queens but the suited connectors.

December 4, 2013: All-in before the flop, when I saw he had aces, I called for a jack. And it came! I won 14c in this freeroll. 

May 24, 2014: All-in pre-flop after the initial raiser folds, the 10s outflop me, but a magic river, and boing! Out he goes.

June 3, 2014: Outflopped, I called for the magic jack, and it came. I cashed in this tournament, but didn’t win much.

June 5, 2014: We were all-in before the flop – Yours Truly and the two much shorter stacks - I called for the 3 on the flop, and it came. I didn’t cash in this tournament, which as I recall had many runners and fewer places paid than most tournaments of that size.

June 5, 2014: A regular freeroll on the same site the same day. A psychic call after the flop on an insane draw, and it came. I cashed too.

September 13, 2014: I called for the seven after the flop, but although it came, I didn’t cash in this bounty tournament. 

September 14, 2014: Finally, I’m not sure if I called for it, but this was the second magic river heads up in this small turbo sit and go. In fact it wasn’t simply a magic river but a runner runner. With luck like that, how could I lose?

Thursday, 11 September 2014

How Trustworthy Are Electronic Cards?

I’ve wondered that for some time. Unlike real cards, electronic cards are shuffled using an algorithm. If real cards are not shuffled thoroughly, there will sometimes be suits that run together; a hand of three aces may turn up in the next hand, as may a straight, either in the hand of one player or around the table. Weird stuff can happen. I can think of two instances, one from the 1970s and another from the 1980s. In the first, two of us were playing stud heads up, and one of us had a straight flush. Then there were similar combinations coming up. A third player joined the game, and the weird stuff stopped dead.

Another time I was watching a game of 5 card stud at Birmingham; one player won a hand with a flush, and the very next hand the same player had another flush. I believe the suits were clubs and diamonds although I can’t remember in which order they appeared. The loser was dismayed because he couldn’t believe this could happen twice in a row in a game where a flush is a rarity, but there was no sleight-of-hand involved.
If you play games with more than one deck, all sorts of weird stuff happens; in the game called seventy-nine, which is played with four decks shuffled together, I have on many occasions seen players dealt hands that require no play, or maybe a player calls with his first draw. All the same, I can’t help feeling there is something not quite right with electronic cards. Here are a few examples.

The above is from a freeroll on PokerStars, December 13, 2012. I had a massive draw, and hit a straight flush. Not so unusual this one. For the record, this earned me the princely sum of 61c. I finished 767 of 18,924 runners with 2,500 places paid.

December 23-4, 2013 on Full Tilt. I didn’t cash in this, but it is truly amazing how often the wheel turns up in both stud hi lo (as here) and Omaha hi lo.

June 4, 2014: I may not have cashed, but I hit a gutshot this hand.

September 8, 2014: A bounty tournament; I took 3 bounties in all including the bubble man; there were 72 runners and only 8 places paid. I was chip leader at one point, but by rights I should not have cashed. I can’t remember the exact play but we were all-in pre-flop, and before the cards were dealt I knew I was behind, probably badly so. And as so often at hold ’em with a three way pot, the worst hand wins.

The same tournament in the small hours of September 9, 2014. Just to prove I did indeed cash.

September 9, 2014: This screengrab doesn’t say much, but I had some truly remarkable luck to finish runner-up in this razz tournament.

Sunday, 7 September 2014


When I was young I was sent to boarding school near the coast for medical reasons. There was a character used to visit on occasion called Dr Whitehead. I don’t remember much about him or why he was interested in me, but he looked a bit like Neville Chamberlain, and smoked a pipe.

I don’t remember how many times I met him but I do remember him one day taking me out in his car and letting me drive it, or attempt to, on some waste ground. I was about 9 years old at the time, this was around 1965.

Nowadays of course an old guy taking a kid for a ride would be Jimmy Savile time, but life was so much simpler then.

He gave me a few records and if I recall a wind-up gramophone, though if he did I can’t recall how I took it home 80 odd miles on the coach at end of term time. Maybe I’m getting this all mixed up, but I do remember the song Once Aboard The Lugger and playing it over and over again. Sadly, the good memories of my boyhood are far outweighed by the bad, but at least I have memories, unlike the Sandy Hook victims.

I was contacted recently by a bloke who said Surrey Police were in the process of framing him for the Dowler murder until he produced a rock solid alibi; he became a suspect because he frequented the woods where her body was found. That much I believe, but when he told me told me that Levi Bellfield was one of a number of psychopaths used by the police to murder people in order to frame others - including Michael Stone - so that they could twist the law to require no corroboration in court, I kind of lost interest. And when he said the Sandy Hook massacre was mind control, I said good night, thanks for phoning but don’t call back. He sent me a follow up e-mail accusing me of being a government shill. That was the second time that week. The first time was in connection with my 9/11 articles by a bloke who programmes computers, composes music and obviously has a higher education. If it weren’t all so tragic, I’d laugh.

Wednesday, 3 September 2014

A Good Night On Strange Tables

It isn’t often you get money for nothing; months ago I received an e-mail from an affiliate that offered me E5 totally free if I signed up to a certain poker site. I signed up, and forgot about it. Of course, you can’t simply sign up and cash out, for one thing the minimum cash out is E50.00. Last night I wasn’t exactly at a loose end, but I’d had a hard day, so took to the tables playing micro-stakes. I entered an 18 seat E1 sit and go, pot limit turbo Omaha, and won the damn thing, then a regular limit hold ’em tournament.

September 3, 2014: First tournament on the new site - a sit and go - and guess who wins it?
I didn’t expect to do well in this but got lucky; with 78 runners and 10 places paid, there was a reasonable prize pool; I finished runner up winning E14.82. Here are two hands from it.

Ace rag outflops my pocket kings, but the short stack is rivered and bounced out of the tournament.

One of the chip leaders, I raised with pocket kings and had one taker; I think he re-raised; he was short stacked otherwise I would probably have dumped my cowboys when the ace hit the flop, but I ended up putting him all-in. With his A3 revealed, I could only pray for a magic river. For once, my prayers were answered.

Heads up, I decided to get creative, seeing from his earlier play that this guy was a total moron. I shouldn’t have. The last hand of the tournament is shown below. I would probably have won but for that cruel river, but having had so much luck in my first two tournaments on this new site, I can hardly complain. All I have to do now is quadruple my bankroll so I can not only cash out but still have something to play with.

There goes that pig again, flying off into the sunset.

The last hand in this first regular tournament on the new site; a cruel river, but I can’t complain.

Congratulations, you were runner up.