119. Minted

Tapehead no 119

A waking from his New Year’s Daze slumbers, Tapehead is amazed to have to inform you that so many days of January have already gone by. As the song says, Where Does The Time Go ? 

Watching Ricki Lake’s I Nominate You As The Worst Boyfriend In America – and Grange Hill, probably. 

(It’s the final of “the Hip Hop competition”, and Tapehead eventually focused will enough to realise Brookside had changed Leo, traded him in for an older model, so they could get him into some meatier (sexier) storyline.

Certainly, he’s not as thick as he used to be. He’s taller, older. He doesn’t even look black any more. And, as if all that wasn’t far-fetched enough, they’re trying to make him into a friend of Nat’s Ridiculous !

Tapehead’s principal New Year problem is, of course money. If nothing else, the snappily titled Alvin Hall’s Guide To Successful Investing has the campest opening credits this side of Jerry Hayes’s Christmas party.

Alvin starts by explaining, “Basically you’ve got your shares, you’ve got our savings, but what about all that extra cash ? The cash you should be investing in Global Derivatives.” Hallelujah and amen for Alvin.

He helps explain futures and options not to mention equity options, the option of future equity, and the equity of optional futures. He sways between making it blindingly obvious and just, er blinding. He has patently never heard of graphics. 

So far as Tapehead can deduce, the main thing you need is a funny name, with pit-trader Ryman Flippen III taking the biscuit. Or rather, an option of the equity of biscuit futures (trading at $2.70 in May 1998, that is). Just sell pork bellies and buy live hogs. Or was it hedgehogs ?

For the Weisfelds, the way to make money was to take the £50 million fortune, walk away from the Cote D’Azur, and buy a dilapidated department store in Glasgow (Trouble At the Top). 

“You can only sit round a pool so long,” says Vera Weisfeld. (Forty-seven years, in Tapehead’s experience.) 

Vera and her husband, haberdashery legend Gerald Wisfeld , are a couple of right old bastards. Gerald, looking like a cross between Reggie Perrin and Ron Atkinson, is famous for haggling his suppliers to death. Even his wife calls him Mr Weisfeld.

“I’m after smart trousers,” he barks. “I’m after plain, very smart skirts, and I’m after short jackets with metal buttons.”

It doesn’t seem very difficult, does it ?

The brilliant Cutting Edge I Married A Great Train Robber is actually about luck: Ronnie Bigs’s luck and his ex-wife’s lack of it. Even the ambulance taking her dying 10-yer old son to hospital after a car crash had an accident. her last words to him had been “Do your seatbelt up.”

Once on the run, Ronnie’s masterstroke seemed to be having well-publicised plastic surgery that didn’t change his appearance one bit. Judging by police photo-fits, they started looking for Peter Sellers instead. They also kept raiding his hideouts half an hour before he was in.

Far from being a “likeable bloody rogue” as Inspector Slipper calls him, Biggs seems like your average small-time villain, a shifty, shitty toe-rag, while accomplice Bruce Reynolds is hilariously pompous – outraged that someone would try and kidnap Biggs for the money.

By the way, keep your eyes open for trains with the letters HVP emblazoned on the. High Value Packages are always handy.

Finally, on Esther, William Pitchford, aged 93, has three bets (worth £51, 000) with William Hill that he’ll make it to 100 years old.

Tapehead’s sights are set slightly lower. As far as the end of the week will do…


Grange Hill: Sun, 10.30am, BBC2

Esther: Mon, 5pm, BBC2

I Married A Great Train Robber: Tues, 9pm, C4

Trouble At The Top: Weds, 9.50pm, BBC2

Brookside: Fri, 8.30pm, C4