Monday, January 31, 2011

Frost Cocks

Leamington Spa is well known for its artistic connections. Sir Terry Frost was a local lad. As were Whitehouse and Baker and I even suspect that Rolf Harris has - on occasion - driven through the place whup-whup-whupping his wobble board as he passed through Leamington's Georgian streets on his way to pick up some poster paints from WHSmiths and a moustache trimmer from Boots.

So I should not have been surprised by the great collection of street art that I happened across whilst walking into town Saturday morning.

Nature had supplied an entire street's worth of ready made canvasses: a whole string of frosted windscreens lining the pavement.

Our anonymous artist plainly could not resist. Foregoing the traditional implements of paint brush and chisel, our Banksy-in-the-making set to work with his fingertips. I can only imagine the chillblains he suffered as he produced this transient oeuvre in honour of erect manhood. Car after car was burdened with a giant spurting cock complete with two balls like a pair of Russian cosmonaut helmets. Each cock followed the exact same design and proportions. A production line of phallic perfection. Each fat todger was clearly circumcised but whether this was a moral statement on the advantages of such a medical / religious procedure or just a way of ensuring that the viewer correctly identified these objects of mass insemination as cocks and not images of the Space Shuttle blasting off from Cape Canaveral is anybody's guess.

This artist - and I'd lay money on the fact he was male - clearly loves his own cock and wished to stamp its brooding authority upon another object already closely associated with male virility, the motorcar. Suddenly the street was full of cock-cars. The motor engine and the engine of procreation had become one.

The artist was egalitarian in his choice of motor. He didn't just go for high end sports cars; frequently he skewered the humble family car or a beat-up second-hand ringer of dubious provenance with his throbbing man tool. Plainly, when it comes to metaphorically shagging cars, this guy has no other requirements than a windscreen and four wheels. Speed and colour is not important. If it's parked by the roadside, engine coolling than it's fair game. Flash-bang-whallop! Your Porsche has been porked by the Phantom Penis Painter.

But such virility could not last. Nature performed an inevitable irony even as I considered heading home for my camera just so I could capture this carnival of cockdom for the enjoyment of you all. As the sun climbed higher each penis melted away as if faced with the prospect of having to dry hump a naked Des Lynam. The cars were returned to their virgin state once more.

Perhaps this was the artist's intention? To comment on the brief glory of the heat of male appetite?

Or perhaps it was just a bunch of drunk students with too much alcohol in their systems and too much time on their hands and a total lack of respect for other people's property?

*cue sound of record being scratched by a hastily removed needle*

No. No. Scrub that. Don't spoil it for me. In the back of my mind I can still hear the voice of Rolf Harris grumbling in counterpoint to the early morning birdsong, asking a red-faced milkman, "Can you see what it is yet?"


Friday, January 28, 2011

There’s Nothing Gray About This – It’s Plainly Black & White

Unless you’ve been living under a duvet all week (congratulations if you have) you can’t failed to have missed the current sexism row over at the Sky Corporation that has claimed the liver-spotted scalps of Andy Gray and Richard Keys. I’m sure they’ll make nice shower caps for somebody.

What can one say about their behaviour? Childish? Ill advised? Thoughtless? Stupid? We’ve all heard the “it was only banter” excuse wheeled out by various pundits in the aftermath of this politically incorrect implosion. They were just having a laugh, etc, appealing to the most common denominator of their traditional viewing demographics, they was talkin’ football after all weren’t they and we all know what footballers and football fans are like, don’t we?

Yeah. Thick. Tasteless. Atonal. Neanderthal. Synaptically challenged. Their knowledge of Archimedean geometry limited to the Off-Side rule.

Am I being sexist? No, I’m being deliberately offensive.

Mr Gray and Mr Keys however were deliberately sexist. Let’s be honest, there isn’t a linesman or a referee in the world that hasn’t been slagged off by some football fan either in a pub or on the radio or on the TV.

But the complaints will have centred around a piece of bad decision making or a bad call. It won’t have revolved around or centred around the gender of the official.

Andy Gray was quite within his right to take the female lineswoman to task if he felt her call was a bad one. What he didn’t have a right to do was to cast aspersions upon her qualifications for the role – these qualifications quite plainly in Gray’s view being compromised simply because she was a woman. Out of order. Then of course we had the old, tired, lazy verbal exchange about what do women know about the Off-Side rule anyway?

Oh ho ho. Because obviously the Off-Side rule is so difficult to grasp and beyond the capacity of a woman to comprehend that it explains why there are no female scientists, astronomers, quantum physicists, astronauts, surgeons and, oh yeah, professional footballers.

It wasn’t banter. Banter (in my book) is clever and entertaining. There was nothing clever or entertaining about the guff that Gray and Keys came out with. It was like listening to a couple of male 6th formers giggling in the back of a bus about all the girls they fancy but are too scared to actually talk to. You just wanted to slap them both across the back of the head and tell them to grow some pubic hair.

As for the moans that this whole debacle has turned into a witch-hunt I can do no better than direct you to Misssy M whose post on this issue will open up a whole other side of thought and debate.

For the record:

Gray was right to be sacked.
Keys should have leapt onto his own sword sooner.
And yes I despise football utterly utterly.

Because it seems to me that it nurtures and throws billions of pounds at oafish stereotyping behaviour.

Dare to say I’m wrong? Just read the newspapers. Every. Sodding. Week.


Wednesday, January 26, 2011

5 Celebs I’d Like To Be Best Mates With

As a balance to the searing invective of my last post (as delicious as it was to spew forth) I would like to present a counterpoint. The 5 celebs who would be most welcome to partake of the overflowing kindness of my bosom, come round for tea and meet up for drinkies and meals out on a regular basis.

Number 1: Keeley Hawes.

Yes. I know what you’re thinking. My admiration for this lady is well documented on this ‘ere blog and you’re all wondering how the hell I have the sheer audacity to suggest a platonic relationship with this absolute goddess of a woman. Well, the truth is I’m very happily married to my wife, Karen; Keeley is very happy with her long term partner, fellow actor Matthew Macfadyen, and we’re all 4 of us respectful and moral people. I think we’d all rub along nicely together, out on foursomes to the pub, visits to art galleries and theatres, holidays abroad together or even sharing a caravan in Cleethorpes. A veritable paradigm of platonic perfection. I foresee no sexual tension ever muddying the water until that inevitable point in the evening when we all throw our car keys into the fruit bowl and strip off to our underwear. But really, that is a feature of so many of my relationships I hardly think of it as being in any way out of the ordinary. Which reminds me, I’m planning on having a big blogger’s party at my house at the end of the year – do hope you can all make it; those of you that can drive anyway.

Number 2: Frankie Boyle.

Frankie is dangerous. Frankie is lethal. He’s cutting and cruel. He shows no mercy. He can savage a man with a single sentence and leave his self esteem and credibility in tatters. This is the man who described Gordon Brown as looking like a sad face drawn on a scrotum and Lembit Öpik as resembling a banana with Down’s Syndrome. What an utterly great man to have as your best friend. I know, I know. But isn’t that like being friends with the school bully just so you won’t get bullied, I hear you cry? No, it isn’t. And if you dare to say otherwise I’ll set Frankie onto you. Frankie is a man of rare intelligence and discernment. He does not suffer fools. At all. I imagine he maintains a very small circle of trusted friends and advisors around him. It would take a special person indeed to penetrate the barbed wire and the No Man’s Land of Frankie’s personality. Therefore it would be an honour and a privilege to call this man a best mate; to have him come round to my house and make sneering comments about Michael McIntyre’s latest DVD or just make another gynaecologically revolting joke about Kerry Katona. It would be the highest accolade. And not a single one of you would ever dare to take the piss out of me again in case the wrath of Frankie should ever descend on you. Well sorted.

Number 3: Philip Glenister.

This man was Gene Hunt. That is so significant I shall type it again. This man was Gene Hunt. How cool is that? I mean how cool would it be to have this man drop you off at work in the famed Quattro and have him wave you off with something suitably witty and Gene-esque like “anybody gives you grief, knee ‘em in the knackers, son”. Walk into a pub with this man and I guarantee you will be served first by the landlord and then serviced by the barmaids. Your street cred would be assured for the next thousand years. This man was and is Gene Hunt. And he knows Keeley. We could all go out together in the Quattro and scare the shit out of any minority groups that we happen to pass. Though to be on the receiving end of a choice bit of Gene Hunt Political Uncorrectness would be a badge of honour for any mong, nonce or lowlife scum in the vicinity. Then we could all go back to mine and down a bottle of scotch though I might hide the fruit bowl on this occasion. I mean, you don’t want to get too puffy with Gene. He don’t like it.

Number 4: Professor Brian Cox.

What is not to like about this man? He’s like a big bumbling cuddly kid with the hardwired brain of a nuclear physicist. He’d share his Sherbet Dib Dabs with you whilst explaining the origins of the universe and how to actually use that cheap telescope you bought from Tesco but never figured out how to use. You could ask him anything about Uranus and he’d answer with a straight face. You could ask him about the probability of alien life, the creation of black holes and whether things can only get better and he’d know the answers. You need never lose a pub quiz again. Or Who Wants To Be A Millionaire. And I bet he’d wangle you a free visit to see the Hadron Collider as well. What more could you ask for from a mate? In fact, that is the bench mark by which all friendships should be judged. Have your friends got you in to see the Hadron Collider? No? Well, they’re not your mates then. Dump them.

Number 5: Dr Alice Roberts

It’s been tough to limit this list to 5. Also vying for inclusion into my Friendly Famous 5 was Julia Bradbury (great for hill walking adventures), Miranda Hart (how could anyone not like Miranda Hart?), Helen Mirren (sexy older chick friend – total kudos) and Katie McGrath (my fruit bowl is big enough, believe me) but in the end the number 5 slot had to go to Dr Alice Roberts because she’s got brains, dyes her hair red and swims in the nude. For anyone with a passing interest in archeology or paleontology or any kind of ology that focuses on history and evolution (and believe me my interest in such matters is always passing) then she’d be ideal mate material. She could whisper mitochondrial deoxyribonucleic acid into my ear as often as she liked and I’d never get bored of hearing her say it. Especially if she was doing a few laps around my boys’ blow up paddling pool in the nuddy for good measure. And did I mention her hair? Sometimes she dyes it red. Not sure why that ticks a box with me but it does. A science chick with groovy hair. Every friendship list should have one. And mine does.

So there you have it. My dream good-buddy list. The pals I’d love to have. The ingredients for a perfect dinner party round at mine. Do feel free to join in and play. After all the violence and the bloodshed of the last few days, it’s time to spread a little love. Which celebs would you like to be best mates with and why?

Sunday, January 23, 2011

5 Celebs I'd Like To Smack In The Mouth

This is the meme blogging was invented for. This is the meme that needs no invitation to participate. Since my first encounter with this meme on Friday over at Very Bored In Catalunya, I have since seen it spread like virtual smallpox through the blogging community. I knew it would only be a matter of time before I'd get infected and would need to scratch myself free of it online.

I was tempted to tone down the sentiments of the title. 5 Celebrities I'd Like To Punch / Hit / Twat sounded... well. A bit too violent. A bit too close to the tick boxes on the Government's anti terrorism laws. But 5 Celebrities I Don't Like Very Much sounded a bit weak. A bit wishy-washy. And at the end of the day a downright lie. 'Cos the celebrities I've named below do actually make me want to hit them. Repeatedly. And with an assortment of tools ranging from a tee iron to a Moulinex hand blender.

Sadly, coming to this party late some of the best celebs have already been named. So if you're wondering why Ricky Gervais isn't on my list it's because he's doing the rounds elsewhere. But just for the record: yes The Office was genius. So was Extras. But Ricky, your ego has bloated to the point where you are now just a cheap 'n' nasty, ungrateful, puerile little starfucker. You're an embarrassment.

Right. On with my official top 5 celebrities that make me gnash my teeth into rock salt.

Number 1) Eamonn Holmes.

I have been known to turn the telly off / over or just walk out of the room when this man appears on it. Eamonn is such a big cock that if someone one day was to bump him off the police would refer to it as spermicide. He oils himself over every show that he presents like a BP slick. His well of sparmy, self righteous, opinionated outpourings is totally uncappable. What annoys me most is the careful way he modulates his brogue so that he always appears right-on and "aren't you with me, boys and girls at home?" even when he is mouthing the most trite, absurd, chauvenist claptrap ever to infect UK daytime telly. How his wife doesn't stove his Frankenstein head in with a boom mic is beyond me. That woman needs a medal. Or a gun. Or a padded cell. Possibly all three.

Number 2) Glllian McKeith.

I have always maintained that this woman is a nasty piece of work. Recently she made a complete fool out of herself by appearing on I'm A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here and screaming at absolutely everything. Comedy central. But she then appeared on daytime TV to try and defend her appalling performance. I have phobias, she wailed, phobias about insects, dirty water, mud, fish, oxygen, plimsoles, Australian accents, clean hair, body fat and I just didn't know anything at all about the show before I agreed to go on it because I live in an ivory tower made out of pure Actimel, please pity me, for I was brave... Bollocks. This woman has humiliated countless men and women on her so-called "health shows" before Channel 4 pulled the plug on them (round about the same time it was revealed that her so-called medical qualifications had been printed in the Church of Elvis Presley in Las Vegas). She forced morbidly obese people to stand in baths full of lard, forced them to confront a week's worth of food all in one go just to shame them into adopting her celery and nettle smoothies. These poor people who genuinely needed counselling before Gillian got her skeletal hands on them were reduced to sobbing wrecks. Sorry Gillian, but when encouraging people to adopt a healthier lifestyle I fail to see how destroying their self esteem can be of any benefit. And here is the argument to end all arguments. Gillian McKeith and Nigella Lawson are of a similar age. Who looks the healthiest to you? Enough said.

Number 3) Richard Madeley.

The Tim Nice But Dim of daytime telly. Though I suspect the Nice part is possibly not true. Richard is that creature commonly known as the "embarrassing dad". He tries to maintain his cool. He tries to maintain his street cred. He never acts his age. And like Eamonn above he always presents his verbal hiccups as being the height of reasonability, innit, and totally metrosexual new man-ish and I is in touch with me feminine side, innit, cos Judy won't let me anywhere near hers now the HRT is beginning to fail. Judy annoys me too but less so; precisely because she has a cross to bear in the shape of Richard. I have seen her cast plainly murderous glances his way on live telly. Looks that say, "for God's sake Richard, stop being a complete and utter dick and just shut the eff up before I knife you in the gizzard with a whale bone from my corset." But she never does. She holds back. And thus we all suffer. All of us. And that is damned annoying.

Number 4) Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall.

A man whom the devil surely created out of an old welly, a smidgen of old bathroom tile grout and the face of a monkfish. Hugh extols the virtues of the 'back to nature' lifestyle. The good life. Grow your own. The fact that Hugh has undoubtedly grown his own and is now looking for people to insert them into is something that gives me nightmares. Farmers and smallholders should be grubby. I know this. But the grubbiness that Hugh exudes is unhealthy. There is something deeply unsavoury about this man. His piggy little eyes blaze with a furious belief in his own superiority. I don't buy all that "I'm chummy with the locals" on his damned River Cottage shows. I bet he tries to Lord it over all of them with his smarmy city ways and his rare breed sheep. My only hope is that the locals are building a big Wicker Man in which Hugh and his sheep can be ritually sacrificed purely for my televisual entertainment. That is a show I'd gladly watch.

Number 5) Ross Noble.

Yeah. A bit left field this one. Normally I'm OK with comedians. Even if I don't find them particularly funny they don't tend to annoy me to the point of explosive hemorrhoids. But Ross does. Because he won't shut up. I've seen him on TV countless times - Jonathan Ross, QI, Have I Got News For You - and he does the same thing every time. I'll jus kip talkin' like til I come oot with summat funny and that meks yus all laff even if that means I kip talkin' absoloot bollux fer aboot half a frigging hour. On and on and on. I mean Johnny Vegas is bad enough but Ross Noble can run a marathon of mediocrity with his tongue just to reach a lame, exhausted punchline at the finish point. That isn't humour. That isn't wit. Wit is to the point and sharp. A quick jab to the ribs and out again. Not month after month of beating someone with a tripe casserole until they fake their laughter just to get you to shut up and go away. Ross, you'd be funny if it wasn't for your personality and the way you tell your jokes. The only cure is to let someone else do it for you. Honest.

OK guys, now it's over to you. I won't name names to pass this meme onto. Merely feel free to help yourselves and have a ball.

I know I have.

Friday, January 21, 2011

The World Is Yours

So you wake up one day and everybody has disappeared. You’re not sure why or how. Some kind of holocaust; some kind of mass alien body snatching event; you’ve slept through a global pandemic and to quote Red Dwarf (and assure you of my geek credentials), everybody’s dead, Dave, everybody’s dead.

You are the last human alive.

The world is yours.

What do you do?

I’m not talking about securing food and fuel supplies, amassing a stock of pornography or weeping for your loved ones.

I’m talking about... in your spare time.

You know, when the initial panic is over and you’ve accepted you’re the only one left: what are you going to do to amuse yourself?

Being of unsound mind I frequently mull this question over. And the answer I frequently come up with is going into my work place and smashing it up in an orgy of cathartic violence. Of course, this may be because I usually pose this question to myself whilst I am actually at work and the destruction of my work place is therefore (quite naturally) in the forefront of my mind.

I should point out at this point that I work in an art gallery and therefore my wanton acts of destruction will be targeted against works of art and museum artifacts. The very stuff I have been charged with having to look after and preserve.

I’m well aware that such an act of vandalism might be seen by some as a typically sad indictment of humanity itself. Here I am, the last representative of my species, and rather than safeguarding all the higher ideals of mankind represented in the gallery’s collection, I instead display the primal violence that has so plagued mankind throughout the centuries.

I resort to petty violence. I resort to destruction for the hell of it. It doesn’t even serve any purpose except to make me feel better.

The dominant species that comes after us will one day find and excavate the gallery and wonder how us Homo Sapiens ever dragged ourselves out of the slime.

I know all this. But still I would quite happily come into the building and take a poker to the Papperitz, an axe to the Archipenko and a chair leg to the Chirico. I would take great pleasure in pissing through the holes in the post modernist sculpture.

Perhaps all this is merely a desire to cock-a-snoop at those that currently have power over me? Not my boss personally. The Man. This society that sees most of us bartering the valuable hours of our lives for the wherewithal to survive and do all the things that we’d like to do in the pisspoor amounts of time we have left to us once The Man has taken his cut.

Or perhaps I am just petty and annihilistic and have a secret desire to be naughty just for being naughty’s sake?

Who knows?

What would you do if you found yourself alone in the world? Go on; put me to shame with your accounts of erecting monuments to humankind, nurturing future species and resurrecting mankind with a turkey baster and a few ingredients from the IVF clinic at your local hospital.

Go on, I dare you.


Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Wanna Buy A Rolex?

So inflation is up. The cost of living is up. Mortgages and lending rates will undoubtedly go up. The Tories are up to their usual.

The shit is going down.

And it occurred to me that, living right up to the financial wire as I already am, I’d better come up with some sterling (geddit?) ideas to bring some more much needed money into the household (before it goes straight back out again and into the pockets of all the fat, avaricious bankers in the big cities).

I need to become a mover and a shaker. A wheeler and a dealer. Possibly a stealer. Sale of the effing century, mate. So I’ve been racking my brain for dodgy scams that have served mankind well over the previous century to see if I can resurrect them for my own ends.

Idea 1) The used panties scam. I seem to recall in the latter part of the 80’s and early 90’s certain periodicals ran adverts where cotton intolerant ladies offered their used panties for sale to men who liked to entangle their fingers in warm gusset whilst directing high powered business meetings. My idea is to offer the same but with a twist. Used Y-fronts for high flying female execs who like to have their carefully painted fingernails irrevocably glued to recently laid skid marks while finding their jacket pockets exude the unmistakable odour of 3 day old urine. I can offer three different styles: grey and bobbly, leopard print and, for those women with a sense of humour, Bugs Bunny “What’s Up Doc?” underpants. It’s bound to be a smash hit so get your orders in early, ladies.

Idea 2) I come round with a load of me mates and we gives yer the ol’ blarney, loik, and we points out that yer after needing your patio / drive / cladding re-doing cos it’s showin’ soins of wear and tear and will yer be after lookin’ at those tree roots pushing up yer neighbour’s fence posts? Nasty. Well nasty. Will cost yer an arm and a leg if that lot goes over and kills someone so why not pay us the same and we’ll put it bangs to roights fer yer and anyways we’ve already started, look, so yous already owes us a day’s work not to mention fer materials and me man, Mick, there has ripped the arsehole out of his trousers on your loveseat and they don’t come cheap these days, so if you pays up front we promise we’ll put all the bricks and the windows back into the your living room wall, what d’yer say, have we got a deal there, missy? By the way, mine’s milk and 2 sugars and a shot of whiskey if you’ve got it.

Idea 3) I sell myself to smart and discerning clientele who are clean, well heeled and respectful. I am available for in calls and out calls though need an hour’s notice for the latter. For those who want the “long term partner” experience, I specialize in sarcastic conversation and can act like a real caveman and expect you to pay for everything. For a little extra I can deliberately forget your birthday, stand you up for my mates and blame you for the kid’s bad behaviour, hell, it’s all from your side of the family anyway. I would like to point out that any monies paid are purely for my time and company and anything else that occurs is purely between 2 consenting adults. If you want me to sit for an hour and be nagged at please tell me in advance so I can prepare a suitable hangdog, bored shitless look.

Idea 4) I buy some land cheap in an old quarry and make plans to build a Christmas theme park. I buy a load of polystyrene to make fake snow, hire in Warwick Davis to play an elf and drag some bum in off the street to play Santa. Who’s gonna know? I can offer reindeer rides to the kids with the proviso that you have to bring your own reindeer and if you moan that Santa doesn’t seem very festive well it’s because he’s bloody knackered after delivering presents to the whole world on Christmas Eve, give the guy a break, and by the way that isn’t blood in our reindeer burgers it’s tomato ketchup but if you want to write and complain about it please do so care of my totally kosher business address in Spain. Sucker!

Idea 5) I sell both my kidneys, my liver, my pancreas, my heart and lungs, my skin, my eyes, my blood, in fact everything but my bloody spleen just to make ends meet and keep the roof over my children’s heads and the bailiff’s from the door, are you happy now, Cameron, you soapy-faced lightweight, or do you want my sweat and my tears as well?

Any other ideas for fundraising activities will be gratefully received. Thank you for your time.


Monday, January 17, 2011


Yesterday morning, when I should I have been turning my thoughts to higher things, I indulged in a spot of Twitter based badinage with 2 fellow bloggers (you know who you are and so do my lawyers; you’ll be hearing from them later in the week) and the subject got onto eighties TV.

You don’t need to know how we got onto this subject because the route was circuitous and passed through some weird and wonderful country, within the borders of which I was imagined dressed up in a gold skirt like Freddie Mercury in Queen’s “I Want To Break Free” video.

Suffering under the barrage of cackling that thus ensued I decided to use the old distraction technique that Freddie Mercury taught me on the video shoot and came up with the true observation that some of my friends, back when I had a fuller beard, thought I resembled Mr Claypole from Rentaghost.

Much cackling then ensued and I thought, yeah, thanks, Freddie, great help you were.

But it got me digging around online for Mr Claypole related facts. Rentaghost was a great programme when I was a kid and Mr Claypole was every kid’s favourite character.

What is he doing now, I wondered, ‘cos he just seemed to disappear into thin air? Er, rather like his Rentaghost persona.

Well, it was a shock to discover that actually Mr Claypole isn’t doing anything very much at all at the moment because, just like the character he played in Rentaghost, he’s actually dead. He died in 1987!

For those of you brought up on BBC kid’s television this must come as a great shock.

I knew nothing of this. The poor guy has been dead for nearly 25 years and I didn’t know.

It’s like finding out that the original Bagpuss has been destroyed in a house fire or that He-Man had homo-erotic undertones.

It casts a dark shadow over your entire childhood.

I am indebted to for furnishing me with the sad facts of Mr Claypole’s demise. I feel gutted. I have the Rentaghost theme tune on my MP3 player and just hearing his voice singing the crazy lyrics now brings a lump to my throat.

The child in me is weeping. You’ll be telling me next that Roy Castle is dead. *sigh*

But on the bright side I can’t think of anyone else I’d much rather look like.

Especially when the same bunch of friends who thought I looked like Mr Claypole also made the observation that I looked a little bit like Gerry Adams.


Alright, alright. Cut the cackling.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Debt Collection

I knew this day would come. The great post-Christmas reckoning. The revenge of the great gods Commerce and Credit.

I’ve tried putting it off. Tried locking myself in that little room called Denial whose built in tannoy system plays that curious brand of muzak that goes “blah blah blah” very loudly every time somebody knocks at the door with a bank statement in their hand.

Nope. Can’t hear you. Come back later. No, it’s no good posting it under the door; I have stabbed my eyes out with the hoover attachments.

But eventually, just like those poor German soldiers in Raiders Of The Lost Ark, you look even though you know you mustn’t. And then the lightning bolts of remuneration hit you and pierce you straight to the heart and you are transported up into a huge whirlwind of self recrimination and regret and the only person who survives is Indiana Jones and to be honest, he’s looking damned ropey these days.

Every year this happens. You run and you run and then you hit the wall of financial accountability. It’s time to face the facts. Face the music. And not the blah blah blah kind.

I think what annoys me most (about me, ‘cos let’s be honest, this is me we’re talking about) is that I kind of bumble my way into this position. I’m reasonably good all year round and then Christmas comes along and, well, I just can’t handle it.

(Cue Jack Nicholson in a US Army uniform shouting, “You can’t handle the Christmas!”)

I think it’s the releasing of the purse strings. The sudden opening of the flood gates. The unlocking of the chastity belt. You get the picture.

Months of abstinence come to an end and suddenly you find you are hopelessly incontinent. Money is pissed up the wall, higher and higher, a little further and you’ll get it clean over the top, go on, keep trying, keep straining, nearly there and...

Oh. It’s run out. It’s stopped.

I’m running on empty.

I’m running on empty and all the little plants in the garden now need watering.


But I’ve come up with a solution. See, I can’t handle the all or nothing nature of my finances. The long desert and then the brief flowering period. I need to even out the scales. Balance things and thus balance my approach to my expenditure.

And it’s so simple.

I just need to spend all year round so that the madness never builds up and overwhelms me. I need to acclimatize myself to spending money constantly.

Isn’t that just sheer genius?!

I bet you could build entire global economies on such a foolproof ethos.


Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Small Unremembered Acts Of Violence

I am not given to random acts of violence. On the whole I’m fairly pacific. But I guess the stresses of modern living have lowered my threshold somewhat because I am finding myself more and more overtaken with a burning desire to twat people.

Very often people I don’t know. Perfect strangers. Though from their behaviour it is clear that there is very little that is perfect about them.

Take yesterday for example. My wife and I were in our car approaching a T-junction. As we slowed down a pedestrian stepped out in front of us to cross the road and we all of us did that peculiar British thing of hesitating in our resolve. The guy bobbed back and forth unsure if we were going to let him cross. My wife slowed but not completely as, in the vernacular of the road, the car behind us was right up our arse.

This little dance – this little tennis match of non-decision making and non-commitment – lasted mere seconds but, due to the quantum effects of the time-space continuum and much theorizing by Professor Brian Cox, seemed to last forever.

In the end, not wishing to be caught forever in a time loop and subsequently rescued by Matt Smith (though the lovely Karen Gillan would have been fine) I put an end to this mini eternity by waving the fellow in front of us across the road: go on, my son, you may pass, on your way, go about your business.

He did so. But then had the audacity to stand at the road side as we drew close to him and gave us the mother of all glares and the dubious benefits of his middle finger.


I erupted like an Icelandic volcano. I believe certain words crossed my lips that rhymed rather nicely with trucking banker.

My wife laughed it off and turned the corner both euphemistically and in reality.

I on the other hand have to admit that had it not for my boys being in the back of the car and my wish to set a good example to them weighing heavily on my mind would have leapt out of the car for a mere tuppence, run up to this shining paragon of social politeness and kicked him up the jacksy so hard my boot would have remained shiny for a 12 month.

It prayed on my mind for a good hour afterwards. I was seething at the mere thought of this arrogant little dickhead slumping his way to work, thinking he’d got away with this monumental act of rudeness and feeling somehow that he’d scored a small victory for the common man.

Victory my arse!

He had no right of way, goddammit! We let him pass before us out of kindness! He should have waited!

We should have run the effing little toe-rag over!

My teeth ache just at the memory.

Is it normal this amount of rage? Is it normal to fantasise about meeting this fellow in a dark alley and finding I have a baseball at my disposal to disrupt the relationship of his femur to his patella?

Shouldn’t I just live and let live?

Because in the end, I did just that, didn’t I?

So why don’t I feel very glad about it?


Monday, January 10, 2011

Hiccups And Bile

A ragbag post this as due to a poor night’s sleep (due to a bad stomach) my brain feels like it’s been given the full works by Colonel Sanders.

I arrived at work this morning and realized that I wasn’t as popular as I once thought I was the moment that someone else got the “mwah mwah dahling” hug and air-kiss treatment while my greeting was very much an afterthought. An “oh hello there I didn’t see you beavering away beneath that rock and now that we’ve made eye contact I’d better acknowledge you just to maintain appearances” sort of look.

I responded with an Inspector Zen-like look of subtlety and European enigma but I suspect I merely looked like I was fighting to keep an unhealthy amount of flatulence safely contained within my gut.

Which funnily enough, I was. It was something I ate. A homemade chicken and bacon pie last night. I’m fine with chicken. I’m fine with bacon. I’m fine with pie. But for some reason, now that I have clocked over 40 years on the ol’ age-o-metre, I find that my stomach is starting to rebel against some really bizarre and nominally innocuous food stuffs. I mean what could be less offensive than chicken and bacon? (I, of course, address this question to all non-vegetarians in the audience – thank you for coming; do try the veal.) I’ve eaten both for years but suddenly, over the last 12 months, my colon has decided that as a combo the 2 taken together are poison. My guts swell up and produce gas which my body refuses to let go off and I am in pain as a consequence.

My wife, when I tell her of this, looks at me with eyes that speak volumes of the years and years of IBS she has suffered and I can hear the words “now you know it feels like” sung by invisible angelic voices over my right shoulder. The guy over my left is pulling his pants down and farting.

I suspect I may be clinically insane at this point in my blog.

And then to top it all I seem to have been embroiled against my will in a row with another work colleague from another department for reasons I can’t go into here but suffice it to say I am innocent of all wrong doing (apart from nicking a biro from the stationery cupboard once a number of years ago). Sadly I am being held responsible for things I have no responsibility for and this person is refusing to take my calls, emails and offers of free pens.

I am not someone who co-exists with ill feeling at all well but have done all I can to clarify my position so I am content to let the hurricane exhaust itself on the beach before I venture out to sea again with that particular sailor. No jokes about Seaman Staines please.

And lastly, whilst examining my blogging stats in the way one examines one’s navel, I noticed that one of the search terms that has driven traffic to my blog over recent weeks has been “hiccups and bile”.

How very apt.

Monday is it? Time for some Boomtown Rats, I reckon. Ta ta.


Friday, January 07, 2011

Logging Off

I don’t know your name. Or your address. But believe me I wish that I did.

I don’t know what your problem is but I’m guessing it is gastro related. Certainly it is a very personal beef.

I’m trying to divine your mindset. Figure out what makes you tick.

Perhaps you are homeless and have no access to basic facilities? The dark corner at the back of my place of work has, perhaps, special significance for you? The place where you had your first kiss / shag / spliff / al fresco bowel movement? Who knows? But something keeps drawing you back to the same spot night after night no matter how vigilant we are about shovelling your hefty calling cards into the river (note to the RSPCA: sorry about the dead swans).

Maybe you see yourself as a street artist? The Human Pencil perhaps? And each night your return to the same spot to try and achieve the impossible: sign your name with your own excrement? But I’m guessing you run out of lead before you get to the second letter. Bet you wish you’d been christened something short and pithy like Bob or Joe. I bet your real name is Alexander Gregorin Blenkinsop III and you curse your mother each time you squat down and try to work up a sharp point. Your prune intake must be phenomenal.

But at the end of the day, Mr Blenkinsop or whatever your real name is, I don’t really care. I don’t care about your background, your upbringing, your dietary requirements... I just want you to stop shitting up the side of my work building.

Get yourself a life. Get yourself a toilet. Get yourself a butt plug.

Just get yourself something.

And stop dumping all of your shit on me.


Wednesday, January 05, 2011

It’s Time To Kill Christmas

No, really it is.

She’s had her day. It’s time to move on. Christmas must die. And that goes for all this Happy New Year bollocks too.

You know how I know?

I came into work this morning (well, that’s enough in itself), took one look at the tin of Quality Street that some festively drunk work colleague had donated to the office and I didn’t fancy one at all. The thought of letting another chocolate morsel slip past my ruby red lips made me want to regurgitate my breakfast all over my keyboard.

And don’t get me started on the mince pies. They’re dotted around the office like land mines. Little scalloped crusts of Christmas codswallop. Poisonous pastries baked in the devil’s own arse.

But the real indicator that Christmas needs to be jerked off the nearest scaffold is the reaction engendered in me whenever anyone wishes me Happy New Year or (worse) asks me how my Christmas holiday had gone.

“Aaargh! Don’t ask me about my Christmas holiday! It was precious! Just between me and my family and I don’t want it sullied by having the experience aired in the scabby work environment where it will get cheapened by the buzz of the fax machine or a work colleague sobbing down the phone line to HR. Mind your own business, my Christmas break was mine, do you hear me? Mine! Not yours! Stop trying to finger it with your grubby little paws of perfunctory politeness and yes you may borrow my stapler.”

I have managed to gouge 2 inch deep claw marks in my ergonomically sound desk since my re-emersion into the work environment yesterday.

It does not bode well.

The sooner we can get on with mindlessly pressing our faces hard into the grey grindstone of normality and forget all this talk of goodwill and hope and the painful memories of freedom the better.

Because there is no point fooling ourselves. Christmas is just a holiday romance. It was never going to be forever. Sure she might wiggle her baubled boobies at you in December. Tell you that her Christmas milk shake is better than everybody else’s. She might gyrate her tinselled tush in your direction at the office party and invite you to pull your festive sleigh up to her bumper (baby) but she’s just a big prick tease.

Apart from a few present on the 25th she’s never going to deliver. She’s got no sense of longevity. She’s got commitment issues, Goddamnit. It ain’t you; it’s her. She needs her freedom. She needs to feel the wind beneath her wings or a hundred and one other clichéd excuses.

And I’ve heard them all before. Every sodding year.

Well, enough is enough. I can’t take it anymore, Christine Mas or whatever your real name is. If I can’t have you, then no-one can have you.

This is the end of the line. I’m sorry. I really am.

But it’s time for you to go down and stay down, bitch.

Click click.

It’s time to say goodbye.

I’m sorry. There is no other way.



Well, I don’t know about you lot but I feel better already.


Monday, January 03, 2011

No, No, No! That Is Not How You Do Sci-fi!


One of the drawbacks of having a pre-teen boy around the house is the sighing acceptance of having to watch crap sci-fi on TV. Because when you are young and a boy, absolutely any sci-fi is good even when the quality control guys were plainly out of their minds on rohipnol and the ultimate product is complete and utter shite. I know this for a fact because I was once both a boy and young and thought that Hawk The Slayer was well scripted.

As you get older the scales fall from your eyes and you realize that sci-fi is the altar upon which many make offerings and most of them end up burnt. And not in a good way either.

Take Primeval. It should in theory work. It's like Einstein's theory of complete relativity. It's all there. Kind of. Dinosaurs. Big guns. Time travel. Sexy blonde chick. Dopy-but-good-looking nice guy. But somehow it just doesn't work on the quantum level. There's something missing. The atoms don't play ball with each other. The only black hole that has been created is the script writer's arse that the plot continually falls into.

I'm not quite sure what ITV are playing at with Primeval. It got ditched after the last series. Someone plainly thought it needed to be put out of our misery and they put a gun to its prehistoric head and pulled the trigger. Respect. But then some other buffoon decided to resurrect it and Haven holidays decided to sponsor it and suddenly its back on ITV. The show that refuses to die. The show that staggers around a shopping mall crying, "Brains! Brains!" in the pathetic hope that somebody will actually donate one.

It ain't gonna happen.

I have this theory that ITV just don't do good sci-fi. They don't get it. Or rather they get the veneer of it. The patina. Yes, we need monsters. Yes, we need chases. Yes, we need guns and A-Team style violence.

But where the hell is the science? Where is the consistency in the plot? Where is the emotional heart?

Primeval has none of these.

First series, the space-time continuum anomalies that enable random acts of time travel (try saying that without sounding like an absolute cock) merely brought dinosaurs forward to our time. But after that, realizing (I guess) that there are only so many dinosaurs you can pick from the Top Trumps Dinosaurs set before you have to do some, like, real boring proper research in a library and shit, the show's writers decided, oh sod it, let's have our space-time continuum anomalies also open up portals on parallel universes so we can just make any kind of monster appear.

Hence we now have dragons appearing alongside the occasional T-Rex.

Bullshit! Bollocks! Balderdash!

That is just lazy. Damned lazy. Lazy and inconsistent.

And this laziness infects the whole show. The plots are scanty at the best of times but they are now reduced to threads of American-corporate media-speak strung out between a relentless barrage of car chases and dinosaur chases.

Scene 1: the team shout and argue with their boss in the big science base. Scene 2: a dinosaur appears right outside and the team chase it in their cars. Scene 3: the boss shouts at his team via a radio. Scene 4: the team in their cars are chased by the dinosaur. Scene 5: dopy guy messes things up but in a good way and saves the day. Sexy blonde girl pouts but somehow doesn't look sexy. Scene 6: team return to base where the boss shouts at them but in a good way. Scene 7: repeat this entire process until the end credits roll.

Gaaah! (This is the sound a velociraptor makes when it realizes all those years treading the boards at the Sylvia Young Stage School learning Hamlet have been a complete and utter waste of time.)

The characters are flat and have no emotional life outside the "dinosaur world" that has been hastily erected around them. The dinosaurs are just CGI'd lumps of meat that run around bumping into industrial size storage containers. And the science behind the show is as convincing as Barney the Purple Dinosaur trying to convince a judge he isn't a serial kiddie fiddler.

Lord knows that Doctor Who doesn't always hit the mark but at least there is always an emotional arc and a plot arc. It's not all about the monsters and the chases. It's about emotionally real characters being placed in moments of crisis and jeopardy that dare us to dream and wonder about future worlds.

And that, ITV, is how science fiction is supposed to work. Please take note.

Saturday, January 01, 2011

I'd Like More Time To Wallow, Please

Are you like me?

Do you only start properly enjoying a holiday when it nears its end?

I find this happens every time.

And it's not like I'm not enjoying the start of the holiday; it's just that it takes about 7 days for me to catch up on sleep, recover from work fatigue and stress and finally get on top of all those home jobs that have been bugging me for weeks and weeks... once that is all done I'm finally in the holiday zen state and can actually actively enjoy the time off from work.

But, of course, by then the return to work date is rearing it's ugly head out of my toilet bowl like a escaped alligator that has swum up the sewer pipe (hey, it can happen; I've read about it on the internet).

It happens every time; every holiday.

It's like I need a pre-holiday before the actual holiday. I need some down-time before I have the energy to embrace the quality up-time.

Why do we, as a nation, not embrace this concept?

Oh yeah. Money. Or the lack of. And politics. The lack of the sensible kind.

Is it just this country? 'Cos I've heard that, in reality, the quality of life and the work / home life ratio is pretty dire in the UK compared to other countries. We have the balance all wrong.

This has been brought home to me by the news that one of my oldest friends is moving out to Dubai in March with his wife and son as he's been offered a job out there. One of his reasons for going is that he and his wife both work (like me and Karen), both slog their guts out (like me and Karen) and barely cover their financial bases each month (unlike me and Karen who often fail to meet them). What is the point of such a lifestyle? With this new job in Dubai - which I don't think in monetary terms represents a huge increase in wages - my friend will have a much better lifestyle; more home life, more quality time, the money will go further and I daresay the work stresses will be less (though different).

I don't blame him for going or his reasons although it is a significant shock to me that one of the pillars of my life is going to be moving out of the country - I mean, this is a 25 year friendship we're talking about here.

More and more I can see the attraction of fledging the battered nest of the UK and going somewhere where I can spend less time at work, more time at home and not have people look at me like I'm mad for daring to even dream of such of thing.

I want more time to wallow. More time to enjoy my time away from work instead of having a mini-collapse every holiday as my body fights to recover and recuperate quickly enough so it is ready to be thrown into the mixer yet again once the holiday is over.

Best parts of this holiday? Sitting watching TV with my family around me or just relaxing doing nothing while the kids played, daydreaming, vaguing out... not having to rush around and do a list of jobs or prep the next lot of chores.

That's what a holiday should be about. Not trying to squeeze in all the stuff you didn't get to do in the previous 3 months because earning a crust got in the way and sucked your energy reserves completely dry.

I want more time to just be and enjoy. To smell the coffee so to speak.

So who do I have to write to to achieve this goal?

Can anybody recommend a kindly immigration department...? 'Cos I'm guessing there's no one in the UK who'll actually be able to help.