Steve Jordan: And finally... Thank you and an invitation

Mar 20 | 2024

There is a familiar face absent from this month’s And Finally .... My friend and regular contributor, Tony Allen, has decided to hang up his ballpoint and concentrate on more important things such as learning to like turkey at Christmas, paying for a new boiler, placating the grandchildren and wrestling with his ukelele (which is not a euphemism, just in case you wondered). ​

Steve Jordan ... and finally

It was back in April 2015, almost nine years ago, that Tony first sharpened his quill and started to pen a page full of nonsense every month.  But it wasn’t really nonsense.  It was the thoughts and ramblings of someone who had been involved in this industry since shortly after the Boar War.  Some of it was relevant, all of it was beautifully observed and much was very funny indeed.  There was even a little pathos when it was needed, but never so much as to drag the reader into a mire. 

Tony is one of the great characters of an industry that has been packed with characters over so many years.  Many will not know that Tony and his wife, Jan, spent much of their working life leading BAR Services, a company that supplies materials to the UK moving industry.  As well as many other innovations he was instrumental in developing the standard moving boxes, greatly reducing costs in the process.  The industry has a great deal to thank Tony for, even more than his humour, which defines him.  Nobody who knows Tony can speak his name without a smile.  Many will remember a time at a formal dinner, anxiously waiting for his after-dinner speech, and rejoicing in a hilariously enthralled half hour.  Nobody ever did it better.  I am sorry that he will no longer be writing for us, but delighted that he has other things he wants to do more, and truly honoured that he has given so much of his time in the simple quest of raising a grin from our readers.  Thanks Tony. 

And so it falls to me to fill this iconic page.  I can’t expect to mirror Tony’s charm or wit but I have noticed, over those last nine years, that many of the topics Tony wrote about were dear to my own heart. One comes to mind.  I was in an airport the other day, sitting on a hard chair, nursing a soggy sandwich for which I had paid a king’s ransom.  Why are those chairs so unbelievable uncomfortable by the way?  I wonder if, at some time in the past, a manufacturer has run a competition to design the most backside-punishing seating in the hope that us lot will spend more time in the shops paying through the nose for stuff we don’t want.  Anyway, I digress.

Next to me, was a chap talking to his wife, girlfriend, sister, mother, I know not who, on the phone.  Nothing odd about that I hear you say.  But he had it set on ‘speaker’ and was holding the instrument horizontally in front of his mouth while yelling at it.  She was doing the same, presumably, in return.  Now call me old fashioned (you are old fashioned), but I thought phones had speakers set into the side that you could put close to your ear, and another at the other end to speak into, so you could have a private conversation with your loved ones.  Maybe the design has changed. Save to say, the entire airport now knows what she got for her birthday, where she’s taking the children for dinner and the state of her sister’s marriage.  I also developed a piercing headache.  Is there anyone out there who can please tell me why people do this?   Answers please to

So, as we move on, I would like to issue an invitation to those very many of you who I know have enjoyed Tony’s missives in the past: have a go yourself.  If you have a topic, industry related or not, that you would like to share with the rest of the group (sounds a bit like therapy), please do.  This page is for you to fill.