Sunday, 25 October 2020



Welcome to sunny Manchester on day 216 of our lockdown due to Coronavirus. And yes, it is lockdown now as we are riding the crest of the Second Wave.

In the UK, the government has introduced 3 tiers of lockdown and here in Manchester we are the highest tier – Tier 3. The mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, had a massive row with the government about a rescue package to assist those who would be affected in terms of job losses and livelihood and it lasted ten days making headline news here in the UK.

Of course, in the end, the government, led by Boris the Clown, imposed the rules anyway and now we are under lockdown, not quite as bad as we were in March and April, but bad enough. 

In Manchester we have been restricted since the end of July and personally I am totally used to it now. I haven’t seen friends in the flesh since July, which is deeply annoying. 

In Tier 3 we cannot go to the pub – unless that pub serves a “substantial meal”. We can still go to restaurants but they have to close by 10pm. And we can’t go with friends, only those members of our household. Basically, Mrs PM and I are only allowed to go out together. Of course, being Manchester, certain pubs are trying to find a way around the “substantial meal” restriction by serving things like beans on toast for £2.

Maybe next week, I will wonder around our locality to see where I can and can’t go. 

As you can see, the theme for this week’s Sunday Stealing is “Halloween” or “Hallowe’en” as it should be written. In the UK we are ambivalent about this “holiday” – it is something that our American buddies celebrate with gusto. Here, we don’t really care, despite various companies trying to push it with cards, costumes, sweets etc. 

Due to the pandemic, it will be a damp squib this year regardless but usually I ignore the door when the kids come around with their “Trick or Treat” nonsense. It’s not that I am a miserable old git; it’s more about the fact that I consider it an American tradition and therefore don’t want to be involved in it.

Anyway, this is the theme for Sunday Stealing so for the duration of this post I shall summon enthusiasm for All Hallows’ Eve and dive in.

1. What is your favourite spooky song

I have narrowed this down to two. The first is the title track from the first album by the British Heavy Metal band Black Sabbath. The song is called Black Sabbath as well. It is a very scary song and if you listen to it in bed at night all alone, it can freak you out.

The words are scary:

What is this that stands before me?

Figure in black which points at me

Turn 'round quick and start to run

Find out I'm the chosen one

Oh, no

Big black shape with eyes of fire

Telling people their desire

Satan sitting there he's smiling

Watches those flames get higher and higher

Oh, no, no, please God help me

It scares me because anything to do with Satan does that to me. Here is the song in it’s full glory.

The second is by a British Progressive Rock band called Arena, and is called The Butterfly Man. It is about “something” which creeps up behind innocent people and steals their souls to add to his or “its” collection – a soul hunter if you like. Once collected you are damned to a dark eternity as expressed by the lyrics:

I've been here for so long

Don't even know what my purpose ever was

I don't even know where I belong

Through the years I've been waiting

Even time has lost it's meaning

Don't even know where I belong"

"Can't ever turn from this path

Don't even know what alternatives there are

Perhaps I wandered too far

I've been here for so long

Don't even hope for an end to all of this

I have no choice, but to carry on

Here it is:

2. What do you want etched on your tombstone?

I plan to live forever, so I won’t have anything on my tombstone. 
Okay – if you’re pushing me, how about:
“Here Lies Plastic Mancunian – He Came; He Saw; He Laughed”

3. Who is your favourite horror movie villain
I used to love horror films but these days I rarely watch them. I will go for a recent one that I have seen  - Pennywise from It.
4. Have you ever seen a ghost?
I think I might have – but I’m not sure. It was a surreal experience just after my dad died. I have written a blog post about it in the past. To be fair, I’m not 100% convinced that it was a ghost.
5. Do you prefer gore, thrillers or supernatural movies?
I am more a fan of supernatural movies because in general they are more scary. I watched a gore movie that I absolutely hated because it was not only disturbing but also full of gore just for the sake of it and it put me off such movies completely.
Give me a good sci-fi or superhero movie. 
6. What is your favourite scary book?
The one that scared me the most was “The Dark” by James Herbert. I loved it and at the time I was living alone as I had just moved to Manchester and was finding my feet. I read this book at night time in a small flat in the dark and it genuinely got my heart racing. 
Here is a brief description from wikipedia:
Beginning in a small suburban street where an empty house is haunted by a malevolent, sentient darkness, the scope of the story expands as the darkness escapes and begins to engulf the city.
A very scary book – that I probably need to read again to be honest.
7. Have you ever had a tarot card reading?  Was it accurate?
Not a chance. I don’t believe in such things.
8. Are you superstitious?
No – not really. I have little foibles but nothing that I would count as superstitious.
9. Have you ever used a voodoo doll?
Not at all – it is utter nonsense. Great for stories though.
10. Have you ever participated in a seance?
Only once and it was a joke played by two mates at school on Hallowe’en. One of them lived in a fairly big house with a big cellar and his parents were out. We went downstairs to the cellar and there were little gaps in the walls that were accessible from the outside and the two of them had rigged up an elaborate series of “shocks” all triggered by a string pull from outside. 
As we started on the Ouija Board, the lad outside tugged the strings and things started falling over, culminating in glasses smashing. He then ran inside and put on a sound effects record of ghosts and creaking and similar spooky noises. We fell for it, until one lad saw the guy outside creeping around and sniggering. 
All in all, I would say it worked but I actually found it fascinating until we knew what was happening. 
11. Have you ever heard voices when no one was around except you?
As described in question 4, I may have seen the ghost of my dad – and when I did, I am sure that I heard the words “It’s only me, Dave!” – but I may have imagined that.
12. What is your favourite Halloween candy?
We don’t have them here in the UK – or at least we never used to have them. If we do now, I am unfamiliar with them.
13. What was your most memorable Halloween costume?
I haven’t got one because I have never dressed up for Hallowe’en.
However, I once went to work dressed as Ozzy Osbourne who portrays himself as “The Prince of Darkness”. Does that count? Here I am as Ozzy:

14. Do you like going through haunted houses (not real ones)?
No – they are a pointless experience.
15. If someone dared you to spend the night in a haunted house (a real one) would you do it?
Yes I would – as long as the person who dared me to do it was with me and we stayed up all night exploring the house with just a torch. I could go for that.


Lori said...

I love Black Sabbath and your Ozzy costume is fun! I like it. Oh and yes, my answer to the favorite villain was in fact a Marvel villain. I do not watch horror movies. Loved your answers! Have a great day!

songbird's crazy world said...

Cool costume!

Here in NY we have a similar rule about bars, you have to order food with your drink. A place I know is selling a peanut butter and jelly sandwich for about $2 to comply with the rule.

The Gal Herself said...

For the most part, Halloween candy is just a smaller version of candy bars. "Snack size," they're called. A gazillion little candy bars in one bag so you don't go broke handing out full-size bars to trick or treaters. Sometimes Halloween candy is what I'm giving out -- individually-wrapped hard candies. With the virus, I'm not expecting many, if any, kids, so I'll just use them as cough drops, beginning November 1.

Here in Chicago, we just got busted back to your Tier 3. People are most unhappy.

Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi Lori,

I don't blame you for not watching horror movies.




Bev Sykes said...

for all you non-Americans, there is no specific "Halloween candy." It's just the brand of candy that is given out by people. I like Snickers and Peanut Butter cups, which you can buy at any time.

Kwizgiver said...

Your Ozzy is awesome!

Elephant's Child said...

I hear you on the stores and companies pushing Hallowe'en on us. They do here too and I refuse to play. For the first time I have ever noticed one house in our street has put 'spooky' decorations up. It stands out like the proverbial sore thumb.
I don't do horror - unless you count watching the news, which is where I picked up that you are in lockdown again.
Stay safe.

zippiknits.....sometimes said...

I don't watch horror film or have much to do with the occult, except that is, for the few times I've done tarot cards, which are fascinating. And yes, the ghost, but I do NOT think of ghosts as Occult. Not anymore anyway...

You are quite tall! You could really be scary if you wanted to be. lol

Canada celebrates Halloween I think. It's more of a Celtic thing there, which, in truth, it should have been here. Dia de Los Muertos is what is celebrated in the southwest of American along with the Trick or Treat, "Candy Runaround" by the Anglos.

Annie said...

Yet Ozzie also wrote the song "Fluff" which I always loved. And good grief man.. did you not know that treat or tricking began in the 9th century with Samhain? It's as Brit as can be!! ;) We are also in lockdown and it will probably never end.

Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi Songbird,

In theory the NY trick would not work here because it is supposed to be "substantial". I guess you could argue that it is substantial for some people though.




Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi Gal herself,

Thanks for the explanation. It seems like it is the cities that are suffering - which I guess is not surprising.




Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi Bev,

Yeo - Snickers will do me too.




Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi Kwizgiver,

Ozzy is relatively easy for me. Also, I have (or at least had) the same accent as him.




Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi EC,

Good point about the news.

Who needs Pennywise the Clown when you have a real life Clown running the country?

Must not rant!!!




Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi Zippiknits,

I think we have druids and the like who celebrate Hallowe'en - but not with sweets.

I would galdy rid the UK of it if I were brutally honest.




Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi Annie,

Yes - Fluff is a great song - unlike most other things they did.