Mobile apps, West End controversy and foreign languages in this Grumpy Group Organiser colum

Google maps

Source: Pixabay

This may surprise you, but I’ve become a bit of a convert to the Google Maps app on my mobile phone. Although I still look like a lost school boy as I wander aimlessly, this little invention has proven that it gets me to my destination… eventually. This is more appealing than attempting to engage with strangers in the street who probably don’t know where I’m going either but who still offer over-complicated directions which turn out to be as useful as a Trump Brexit strategy.

I digress. The reason I thought I’d mention Google Maps is because I read that a recent update to the app and… wait for it… is group friendly. Seriously - it has a new ‘group planning feature’ which allows us to create a shortlist of places that we can then share with friends, who can then vote where to go next. Can you imagine? Not for me; a group wants leadership not a democracy. Plus I don’t mind looking to the skies as I wave my phone in the air and miss another right turn when I’m on my own… but leading a group?

Get sloshed, be fluent

Having a few glasses of wine could be the key to conversing successfully with locals when travelling abroad. According to new research, people who took part in a study spoke more fluently after drinking alcohol. For years I have been convinced my French and Italian improves greatly when I am so inebriated I can no longer speak English.

The findings were published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology (a regular read of mine, of course), but unfortunately revealed that only low levels of alcohol were used. I would have been a terrible participant.

You plonker, Mr Whitehouse

When I heard there was going to be a West End musical based on the songs of ABBA I nearly choked. Then Mamma Mia! was a smash hit and, as we all know, continues to pack them in to this day. It’s rather good too – what do I know? I rolled my eyes at a three-hour musical homage to The Lord of the Rings. This time with good reason; it was awful and an expensive disaster than didn’t last more than a long weekend at Drury Lane. But I fear that a West End musical version of Only Fools and Horses is going too far.

This is no joke. Paul Whitehouse, most famously associated with Harry Enfield and the comedy series, The Fast Show has teamed up with Jim Sullivan, the son of the sitcom’s creator, John. Whitehouse will play Grandad, with Tom Bennett as Del Boy and Ryan Hutton as Rodney. Apparently, this new musical will combine famous scenes from the actual TV show alongside new material. Chas Hodges of cockney duo, Chas & Dave, who died recently, helped create the show’s new songs. It will open in February at the Theatre Royal Haymarket in London and sounds like it could be a car crash waiting to happen.

The views expressed in this column are not necessarily the views of the publisher.