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  • Philip Bryer

The A-Z Guide to Life - Part 26



Zany is comedy ties and t-shirts with ‘funny’ slogans. Zany is only OK if you’re on children’s TV and have no shame.


In the desperate quest for another Z, I came up with zeal, which I thought perhaps was OK, being keen and enthusiastic. But then that leads to zealotry, which sounds worse. You can collect stamps with zeal, but, to me, zealotry suggests wanting to injure those who don’t share your fervour for things that you lick on the back. Or attach to a hinge.

Is it OK to attack a zealot with zeal? We seem to have leapt into a moral minefield, and with one mighty bound escaped a writ from the Moral Maze people at BBC Radio 4.


A German word which means spirit of the age.

Like The Summer of Love and Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.

Cool Britannia and Pulp’s Different Class.

50’s post-war rebirth and Elvis.

I can’t think of any books that captured the zeitgeist apart from this one, and to be honest that’s more of a daydream or wishful thinking which is likely to end in weltschmerz.


I just thought of a book. The Zen and Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert M. Pirsig was a 70’s book which captured the zeitgeist.


Simple, perhaps obvious advice for chaps. But once you’ve taken your ease at the urinal, proceed with due care and attention. Speaking as one who’s done it (and I imagine most of us have) catching the old chap in a zip fastener and looking down to see the zipper-teeth full of foreskin is about as eye-watering as it gets. Until you have to perform the operation in reverse.

Zippers – don’t get caught in yours. Or indeed anyone elses.


Do you like to check your horoscope in the newspaper? Do you believe your life is being dictated from start to finish by the position of the stars on the day you were born? And things pre-ordained for you will also apply to everyone born on the same day as you, regardless of geography or circumstance?

Well, good on you. It’s a no more risible concept than organised religion.


2 entries for Zodiac? What’s Bryer playing at? Ford Zodiac, a car, that’s what.

In the days before all cars looked the same and were mostly black, my dad had a Ford Zodiac, two-tone yellow and white, and it looked like a sexy-something out of an American cop show.

Our mighty Zodiac could hold my parents, kids, enough baggage for a 2-week English seaside holiday, with a tent on the roof-rack. 60 Embassy tipped on the dash, and the old man was set for a pre-motorway, overnight drive to North Wales or the West Country. Only the Ford Zodiac can do this.


If you’re worried about zombies, or about running into them here’s a handy guide of people and places to avoid:

  1. Newspaper delivery boys. The teenage lad is not at his best at 6AM. We’re not sure when he is at his best, but it certainly isn’t when he’s just got out of bed.

  2. Every UK town centre on Friday and Saturday nights.

  3. Black Friday sales.

  4. Supermarkets where people (zombies) shop in their pyjamas.

  5. Royal Ascot.

If, in reading the previous few lines, you feel you’ve been affected by any zombie-related issues, then please contact your local Witchfinder General.


To my knowledge, the elephant would be surprised to find concrete under his big old umbrella stands (I know, what sort of person…?) rather than what they pad about on in their natural habitat. Similarly, the lion or tiger don’t often encounter glass screens and steel bars when they’re picking off the weakest of the herd. Unless they stumble across an all-inclusive resort, of course. For these reasons, I cannot speak in favour of zoos. Apart from butterfly houses, which seem to please both inmate and visitor alike.


Zoso was bow-twiddling, Led Zeppelin guitar-sorcery chap Jimmy Page’s symbol. He had it on his speakers and on his jumper. The band members were each assigned occultish symbols by Grand Wazir Page for their 4th album, Led Zeppelin IV, although it wasn’t called that because it didn’t have a name, or any writing on the cover at all. With me so far, internet kids? I am not making this up. It was said that Page and his curly-topped chum, Plant were the 2 Zeps who were most keen on this chicanery with the symbols.

Anyway, the best alphabetical representation of the mystic wibbler’s filigree logo is Zoso, so, if nothing else, it at least fits our purposes of another entry for the letter Z.

Sit up now, pin back your lugholes (as they used to say on TV variety shows) and pay attention, because I have a tale to recount of backstage Zeppelin shenanigans – I read it once in one of the music mags, and it was submitted by a reader whose name is lost in the mists. Let me know if it was you and I’ll credit you in the (frankly unlikely) event of a re-print.

The fan inveigled his way backstage and was chatting to drummer John ‘Bonzo’ Bonham, post-show in the dressing room of some provincial UK venue.

“Er, what’s the significance of the symbols, man?” asked the fan.

“I dunno,” Bonzo replied, and he gestured at Page and Plant, “ask them 2 wazzocks.”


If you have enjoyed this brief excerpt from the A-Z Guide to Life, the whole thing is available as a PDF from the Donate button on the homepage. For only £5.00. Bargain!

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