Saturday, March 31, 2012


I’ve nothing against privilege. I really don’t.

I’ve nothing against the upper classes, the landed gentry, Lords and Ladies of the House and sherry addled debutantes. I’ve nothing against the Royal Family either.

Nothing at all, in fact, apart from the huge bank accounts they have chock full of money which allows them to do pretty much whatever the hell they like to without worrying about paying off next month’s mortgage.

Apart from that they’re fine and I’m happy to share the world with them.

But there is a limit to my magnanimity. A limit to my social largesse.

You see, it’s the freebies wot get up my nose, gov’nor. The gifts and the special considerations. The gratuities which, financially speaking, are completely unnecessary.

Take Camilla Peter Bowles the other day. She’s on a jolly in the Netherlands. She’s visiting the set of The Killing. If you haven’t seen The Killing then you’ve missed out. It features the coolest female detective the world has ever seen. Cooler even then Cagney and Lacey. Sarah Lund is the next best thing this side of Morse and The Killing is superlative television of the highest order.

But this is by-the-by.

It seems that Camisole Parker Bowling-green is an avid fan of the show. She is, in her own words (reported in the press this week) “an addict”.

Well fine. I’m technically an addict of the show too. Both me and the wife are. We religiously sat through 30 episodes that spanned series 1 and 2 last month as an example of our highly enflamed addiction.

I bet Camomile PB didn’t do that.

And yet her addiction gets her a genuine, bona fide Sarah Lund jumper presented to her by supercool, supersexy Sarah Lund actress Sofie Gråbøl herself.

Those things cost a bloody fortune! I know ‘cos I’ve looked. €300! Made solely on the Faroe Isles. Not impossibly extortionate I know but I really can’t afford to blow the equivalent of £250 on a jumper right now no matter how much I might be in the throes of addiction.

But Camilla Poker Battleaxe could. She could buy one every month for the next 10 years and not raise a hair on her perfidious little bank manager’s scalp.

So quite frankly gifting her one for free is like giving methadone to someone who is lying on a Las Vegas style water bed bursting at the seams with liquefied heroin.

It's not like she can even wear the ruddy thing in public anyway! It's just going to get mothballed in her cavernous walk-in-wardrobe which is already the size of Denmark...

Suddenly, privilege is leaving a nasty taste in one’s mouth.

Someone is making a real killing and it certainly isn’t me.

Friday, March 30, 2012

I Have Been Remiss

I admit it. I have been lax.

I have not blown my own trumpet when I have had ample justification to do so.

In my defence I had no idea that I even had a trumpet to blow until a kind blogger pointed it out to me last week. Apparently I have been shortlisted in the “Lit” category of the current Brilliance In Blogging awards. Lord knows how I got there. One of y’all must have nominated and voted for me.

To that person (or quite possibly people) I would like to offer my humble thanks.

To the rest of you I would like to say that this post does not need commenting upon – in fact I have disabled it – if you wish to add your twopennethworth then perhaps you will be kind enough to follow the link below and cast your vote on the side of Bloggertropolis?

I do not know what the prizes are or even if there are any. I am so not an awards kind of person. For all I know it could be a car, a holiday in Majorca or even dinner for two at The Ivy. To be honest I’d be happy with a Lego set. But I’m not begging.

Go and vote for me if you want to. I will certainly appreciate it. Voting ends on Monday April 30th.

But at the end of the day I appreciate your comments on my regular blog posts most of all.

I’m not in it for the prizes. I’m in it for the dialogue with you guys.

Thanks muchly.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Women On The Telly Who You’re Not Meant To Fancy But I Do, Sort Of (Part 2)

After the very successful Part 1 of this impromptu series I thought it was time to broaden the playing field somewhat with a well timed Part 2... So here we go...

1) Anna Maxwell Martin

It was Anna’s Little Dorrit that first caught my eye. A little mousy in the early stages, constrained by Dickensian reserve, but then the wallflower became a sunflower and Anna blazed across the screen with a wonderfully plummy red-haired glow. From there on she has staked a major claim in period TV drama and looks as divine in tweed as she does in whale-bone. I think what I like about Anna is her slight, almost imperceptible lisp. It should distract a little from her actorly enunciations but actually it doesn’t. She sounds as polished and as vocally rounded as the head girl from Mallory Towers and as up for a midnight feast as the best of them (with lashings of cream). I don’t know what it is about Anna – she has an “auntie” feel about her even though she’s not particularly old. I feel like she should be an auntie to somebody. Anybody. Preferably me. The kind that waits until you turn 18 and then seduces you in black lingerie and turns you into a man.

We’ve all had that fantasy, right?

No? Just me?

Was that too weird? Oh well, never mind.

Onto number 2) Sarah Millican

I think it’s the accent. Geordie or Mackem, I’m not sure but the way she says “pet” makes me wants to sit up and beg. And I like her glasses. Big, bold, glasses that say proudly, “I am wearing big glasses and I’m proud of it – none of this John Lennon steel-rimmed nonsense that disappear into your face; I’m wearing chunky framed glasses ‘cos I’m as blind as a bat without ‘em. Deal with it. Pet.” And I like her smile (which for some reason I find reminiscent of Morrissey – yes, bit of an oxymoron there: Morrissey and smiling but run with me on this one please). And I like the fact that she’s big. She’s a big girl. A big real girl with an anti-size-zero metabolism. And she’s funny. But never in a nasty way. There’s something unassuming about her and yet she does stand-up comedy. There’s a possible conflict there but it kind of works. And she strikes me as honest and homely. A proper girl next door. The kind that, if you asked her to lend you a cup of sugar (a) it would actually be sugar and none of this Canderel bollocks and (b) she’d throw in a couple of teabags as well and possibly a couple of well sized baps from Greggs. Dinner and a show. Who could ask for more?

And baps lead me nicely onto number 3) Mel Giedroyc

Oh Mel. Mel Mel Mel. In my twenties I worshipped at your student-chic shrine. I loved Light Lunch. I was working part-time and used to be home in time to watch it religiously. Mel & Sue (Perkins) were my ultimate two-girl fantasy. But much as I adore Sue (and I do adore Sue) it was Mel I could see myself setting up home with and having babies with. Now, of course, after disappearing off our screens to set up home and have kids with someone else (Mel – how could you? I was here for you, woman!) she’s back on the telly once again in The Great British Bake Off (were my baking trays sub-standard, Mel? Did I not knead my sour-dough hard enough for you?) accompanied by the gloriously quirky Sue Perky. Look at Mel’s eyes. They are perfect. They are eyes that the phrase “limpid pools” was invented for. So soft and kind and yet sparked through with a naughty sense of humour. And she likes cakes. She loves cakes. What is there not to love? Mel can batten down on my Battenberg any day of the week. Mel, it might be a good decade since I was in my twenties but still I dream of being baked off by you. And I bet you have a gorgeous little AGA to boot...

So there we have it. Three more unlikely but not so unlikely (when you think about it) sirens who I think are some kind of wonderful. This post was brought to you not in a spirit of gratuitous sexual gratification but in the spirit of celebrating real women and real womanhood. I haven’t done it for me. I’ve done it for you. I’ve done it for feminism and women’s lib and equal opportunities.

I’ve done it for...

Oh sod it.

I’ve done it for sexual gratification and equal opportunities.

So Sue me. Sue me good and proper.

(And yes, that means you, Perkins.)

Monday, March 26, 2012

Reasonable Farce

What a difference an A makes.

Not sure where this came from – just playing with words really – but it occurred to me the other day that the working life of us all (possibly even our home lives too) could be much improved by substituting “force” for “farce”.

Take, for example, using reasonable force. The police encourage the use of reasonable force when making a citizen’s arrest. Hell, they even say they themselves use reasonable force when apprehending members of the criminal fraternity (clearly innocent newspaper sellers lie outside this guideline). But what is reasonable force? A Half Nelson? A kick to the tenders? A quick crack across the cranium with a telescopic truncheon?

It’s too woolly. Too hazy. Someone could still get hurt.

But not if you used reasonable farce.

Arresting someone whilst dressed up as a carnival pirate with an eight foot long feather sword whilst singing an old Gilbert O’Sullivan number would ensure that their human rights are not impinged upon in the slightest and no bodily injury is caused to anybody. Even better if you used a batter pudding throwing machine that you just happened to have about your person. You could even change your name by deed poll to something mildly amusing like “Gay Abandon”. I mean, what self-respecting crim would object to going to the nearest police cell with Gay Abandon?

And instead of forcing the issue in difficult and emotional situations why not relieve the tension and expose the elephant in the room by farcing the issue? Don’t want to interrogate your other half about the affair you think they are having and stirring up a real shitstorm? Just dress up as the mistress / lover in question, add a Groucho Marx moustache and cigar to the whole ensemble and then strut around doing deliberately bad impressions of them. Your other half will certainly get the picture but will have their tongue-tying guilt and shame somewhat mediated by the Music Hall values of your impromptu performance. A major row will be instantly averted allowing you to proceed with an adult and meaningful discourse that could save your entire relationship! Hoorah!

And finally, for those times when the doo-doo really is hitting the fan, don’t bother pining for that sci-fi fantasy – a forcefield – what you really need is a farcefield. A sphere of benign travesty that extends a couple of feet outwards from your person and entangles all who fall within its embrace in bizarre pratfalls and extravagant vehicular chases that involve bathtubs on castors, pantomime horses and custard pie flinging trebuchets. Instant invincibility and a jolly good laugh to boot for all involved!

What a hoot!

So remember folks, next time you are being dogged by the Dark Side...

...just use the Farce.


Friday, March 23, 2012


Nothing says “real person” more than bad habits.

See, I don’t subscribe to the view that people should be perfect or beyond all reproach. Stars and celebrities who project an air of excessive personal hygiene to the point of godliness are damned liars and fakers. I actually think such media projected sterility makes them less lovable. I mean, could you really love someone who never ever hooks a bit of earwax out of their inner ear with a fingernail?

Think carefully before you give that question a kneejerk response.

If we were all to be honest about it, picking one’s nose makes one more human, more fallible, more real and more accessible and, therefore, more deserving of other people’s love and more able to be loved.

To that end then, to court your adoration and earn the love I know that you are all yearning to give me, I have decided to share a few of my bad habits with you.

Nose and ear picking can be assumed as standard. We all do those. Some of us use cotton buds on sticks. Some of us fashion the corner of a hankie into a surgeon’s scoop. Some of us even buy those little mini Henry desktop Hoovers in an attempt to automate the process but we all – all of us – at some point in our lives introduce various hooking devices into the small recesses of our faces to remove redundant matter. I’m not going to bore you with the wherewithal of this or cut and paste data from my mucus log-book to give you an example of my longest bogey or most scallop like clump of earwax... just assume that I do it like the rest of you (though possibly with a little more class).

No, peculiar to me (not necessarily peculiar to you) my worst habit is probably picking my actual face.

Spots, mini scabs, tiny blemishes, dried and dead skin, anything that feels out of odds and disrupts the smooth texture of my skin when caressed with a sensitive fingertip is up for immediate removal in my book. Even better are those tiny scales of dead white skin that become trapped within the follicle forest of my beard or moustache. Because they have to be teased out through the barrier of possessive bristles that tend to want to keep them embedded where they are. I think that it’s this obstacle course of hair that makes the process all the more enjoyable. You can’t just have a quick scratch and flick and be done with it.

You have to dig. You have to wheedle. You have to be subtle and tactical. Especially if you want to get the skin out all in one piece replete with visible follicle holes.

I find I go into an almost meditative state when I engage in this activity. It’s, like, totally Zen. I bliss out. I enter an altered state of consciousness. It is deeply therapeutic. I suspect it is a shamanistic activity though Google doesn’t appear to want to back me up on that one at the moment.

Ha! What does Google know? Does Google have a face to pick?


Sod Google.


There we go.

I pick my face. I am totally deserving of your love and adoration and devotion. And if anybody doubts the veracity of that claim you can now prove it beyond all reason.

Now pucker up and kiss me like a good 'un.


Wednesday, March 21, 2012

The Ayes Have It

We think we’re so great, us humans. So darn clever.

We measure our evolutionary advancement solely in terms of technological progress.

It began with machines that would do our work for us. Tools. Bows and arrows. Mills. Looms. Then progressed to huge engines and rudimentary robotics that could standardize the material produced which in turn led to even greater scope for the work we could get our machines to do. Wars and the need to kill more people than our enemies drove us even further forward. Computers came on the scene. Electronic beasts that could out-perform hundreds of men in a single second, with the flash of a single diode.

And then evolution took a new turn. We began to build machines that would take care of our leisure time too. Gaming, Streaming media. Music, film, art. Ironically we probably now employ more people in the leisure industry than we ever did in the industrial revolution. Leisure has become work. Has become an industry.

iPads. iPods. iDocks.

They are the status symbol of modern man. If NASA were to send a new Voyager probe off into the outer reaches of the solar system now it would feature a line drawing of a naked man, a naked woman and the latest incarnation of the iPad.

But in our arrogance we have forgotten that Nature got there first with this so called new-fangled iTechnology.

You only have to check out old naval films to realise that the iAye – a device for acknowledging (usually ridiculous) orders on naval galleons – has been around for hundreds of years. The iAye can usually be slotted into an Aaaar!Dock for those that prefer their pleasures to be pirated.

But even before this advance, millions of years ago in an example of true evolutionary development Nature came up with the iBall. Without this fascinating and incredible complex device mankind wouldn’t have invented the wheel let alone wafer thin electronic notepads. For the majority of us who are fortunate, the iBall comes fitted with iSight as standard. It is an app that most of us take for granted but were it at risk of being taken away would be the one we’d probably realize we valued the most.

And if I could be bothered to pursue this lame conceit any further I could happily hold court on the following examples of pre-Jobian iTechnology: the iLash, the iCandy, the iPatch, the iClaudius, the iCaramba, the iWitness and, finally, that curiously Welsh development, the iDai.

But to be honest, I’m beginning to feel that post is beginning to become something of an iSore and the mood of my dear readership is starting to turn iCy.

iApologize to those of you who thought that this was going to be a serious post... but you were plainly plugged into your iGnoramus app.


Monday, March 19, 2012

How To Win The Lottery

Have you ever had one of those occasions where you’ve told a white lie and then the lie has kind of come true?

It’s like you made it happen. Like saying it out loud to another person made it real. Birthed it into the reality of the material universe. I spoke therefore it was.

Well, that happened a couple of times last week. I’m not saying I fib all the time but, you know, needs must. I white lie all the time while I’m at work. It starts with that sunny smile I paint on my face every morning and continues throughout every word and deed as the day progresses. We all do that, right? To get the bucks?

So it got me thinking. And thinking got me a desperately lame epiphany.

Maybe I could use this universal mechanism to win the jackpot on the lottery. I mean, for £1 a go, it’s worth a shot, right?

So I told my wife and kids that I was going to win the lottery jackpot this Saturday. No ifs or buts. I was buying the winning ticket. I told myself the same when I went into the newsagents and handed over my smirking pound coin. I am buying the winning ticket. I looked at the other customers in the queue ahead of me buying their own tickets. Poor sods, I thought. They’re wasting their money. Losers. The result has already been preordained by the verbalization of my positive thoughts. The winning lottery ticket is coming to me.

I then went home and confirmed to my wife that the winning ticket was now in our possession.

I would brook no doubting or poopoohing. No tish-toshing or balderdashing.

This was real. It was happening. It was going down.

Saturday came. The Lottery balls dropped (cough).

I got one measly number.

And a broken finger from scrunching up my lottery ticket so furiously.

Screw you, universe!

But then it hit me.

What the magic ingredient was.

It’s not positive thinking or “verbalizing with intent” that makes white lies come true.

It’s the guilt.

That little stab of guilt and suspicion; that little thought of “oh God, I hope I haven’t just cursed myself; I bet it’ll all come true now”.

It’s the guilt that does it.

So I’ve got me another pound coin for this week. I’m going to buy another lottery ticket. And I’m going to say to everybody I meet that I’m going to win the lottery jackpot and leave all you grovelling poor people behind. I’m going to cast you all off like the dust from my shoe.

But it’s only because I want to feel really guilty.



Friday, March 16, 2012

Where Have All The Cowboys Gone?

Or rather where have all the bloggers gone?

I’m not talking about those that have gone down the line of “product placement over something to say” (not that I blame anybody for taking this tack in the current financial climate, Lord knows I’d sell my own creative soul for a buck or two). I’m talking about the real bloggers. The proper bloggers. People who write. Who write stuff. Interesting stuff. Non-interesting stuff. Bizarre stuff. People who write and read just for the hell of writing.

I’ve noticed a real disappearance of regular bloggers lately. It’s like they’ve have been snatched away by those weird walking turd-shaped aliens in Cowboys And Aliens. Body snatched. Blog-napped. Hijacked. Gone off on an life sabbatical.

One or two I can understand. People lose their creative mojo and fall by the wayside all the time. But of my blog list in the ol’ sidebar there barely 50% are still functional. Actually, don't bother checking - I've just culled the ones that are no longer producing (I'm a cold hearted gardener when I get down to brass tacks).

I’m not having a go at people, I’m really not. I’m coming from a nice place, here. I miss you guys. Well, if I’m honest I certainly miss your comments and your feedback. And I know that life at the moment is becoming harder for us all. Sometimes blogging – a truly idle pastime if ever there was one – has to take second, third and sometimes fourth place.

But if feels almost endemic at the moment.

Like the lack of blogging is a barometer for the creative state of the nation. Nobody has the time. Nobody has the energy. Nobody has the will. More and more blogs are converting themselves into advertising billboards. Lord knows I’ve tossed a few ads on the ol' blogging mantelpiece myself and accepted a greasy bung or three for my trouble... but there is something uncomfortably sad about all of this product placement on a forum that I always figured was a medium for the little person to voice their opinion and exercise their freedom of speech.

Maybe I’m just not getting myself out there in the blogosphere enough? Your readership and the list of blogs you read has to be continually reviewed and renewed. As bloggers drop away you have to plug the gap with somebody new. Maybe I haven’t been doing that enough.

Have I become a stay at home blogger? While other bloggers are out having wild blogging parties on a Saturday night have I been staying in with my pipe and slippers and writing about the virtues of Horlicks and the problems with my false teeth. Am I missing a wild party somewhere?

Or have I just lost the plot? Has my own blog lost its sense of relevance? Indeed, did it ever have any? Have I unwittingly driven readers away and become a blogging island? A blogging cul-de-sac? A barren branch on the tree of blogging evolutionary development?

Hey, guys, I’m just sounding off here. Voicing ideas and a few stray threads of dubious insight.

But is anybody else having similar thoughts or is it just me?

Is there anybody else on the range or am I just driving a load of bullocks home on my own?


Wednesday, March 14, 2012


One of the most bizarre events of my life took place yesterday afternoon (possibly an indication of how dull my existence really is).

I was accosted in the street by a kung-fu scouser.

I’m telling you, all she needed was her voice dubbed by Jack Black. I really thought I was about to be taken out Panda-style. Thankfully it wasn’t a physical mugging but an ideological one.

She was kung-fu proselytizing. She was fast as lightning. In fact it was a little bit frightening...

She barred my way and suggested very strongly that I might benefit from a little bit of Wing Tsun. Before I could tell her that I preferred Sweet & Sour Chicken she launched into her hard-sell routine of first lesson free, all the health and spiritual benefits, the possibility of taking out knife-wielding scum with the flick of an inscrutable wrist and the fact they’d opened a brand new studio at the bottom of town and were plainly desperate to fill it.

I wasn’t interested. It was obvious that Wing Tsun represented an investment of money, time and energy that I can ill afford to make at present. But I could tell she wasn’t going to take my first no lying down. I was in for a fight. A fight to the death. Like two warring dragons of kung-fu creation. And that put me in mind of my childhood hero, Bruce Lee and his martial arts teaching. One must become like water. People think water is weak but it can flow around and, given time, through all obstacles. It can wear down mountains and wash away entire cities.

Yes. I could hear a huge gong being sounded in my head and reverberating over the paddy fields of my imagination. I must become like water. I could do that. It was in my power. People often tell me I am the biggest drip that they have ever met.

I politely but resolutely explained to her that I was simply too busy; work commitments, on call 24/7, etc.

She kicked back with an offer to take my phone number down right here and now and to call me once I’d had time to reconsider my position. She narrowed her eyes at me. Was there an implicit threat in that statement? I wasn’t sure. I barely saw her hands move but suddenly there was a flier in my hand. Her pen was poised to strike. Crouching ballpoint, hidden signature.

No. I had to be strong. Remember Bruce Lee. Remember to look at the moon and all that heavenly glory and not the pointing forefinger.

I didn’t give her my phone number. I crisply folded up the flier and resisted the urge to glance at the nearby rubbish bin. I would go home and think about it and contact them when I was ready. I nodded once sagely. Take that, evil kung-fu sorceress!

She seemed momentarily winded by the exchange. She grimaced but I could see acceptance of her inevitable defeat in her eyes. She bowed her head, said she looked forward to hearing from me and then quickly retreated without once turning her back.

Very, very wise of her.

For I am a dragon when I am riled and there is no saying what I might have done.

Ah so. Listen well, my students. You all have permission to call me ‘Master’.


Monday, March 12, 2012

Nick Bloody Knowles!

That’s right. Nick Knowles. Not even Nick Nolte which would have been slightly better given that he’s a big Hollywood star and all and doesn’t, to my knowledge, revamp people’s houses in the space of 2 days because they’ve been designated as a national charity case.

Unceasingly, for the last 2 months, Nick flaming Knowles has been the most popular search term that has brought people to my blog. Him. Him off the BBC. Him with the stubble and slightly bouffant hair and nasally bloke-next-door voice. Him.


I only wrote about him once. Once! One post out of 839 (and counting)! And even then it was just a joke about not being able to trust your average Mr Builder these days.

I’ve written about Dr Alice Roberts countless times. Worshipped at the shrines of both Keeley Hawes and Katie McGrath. And though these worthy beauties feature in my blog stats regularly they are completely unable to remove Mr Knowles – the average Midland dinner ladies’ choice of beefcake – from the number one spot.

Now I realize I may be doing Mr Knowles’s fan-base a huge disservice here. They may come from areas other than the Midlands. They may not all be dinner ladies. Indeed some of them may be retired. But I do find it difficult – nay impossible – to visualize anyone else avidly searching every day for news and piccies of Mr Knowles on Google.

Supermodels? Yeah, right. Like they can even spell ‘Nick’.

Checkout girls? Why would they bother when they have ex-crim store detectives to ogle all day?

Power dressing cut-throat business women working in the City? Surely Nick Hewer is all the Nick they’ll ever need?

So am I missing a trick here? Does Nick Knowles have a massive gay following that I don’t know about? (Hell, why would I know about that? Don’t look at me like that; I think you’ll find that everyone rates ABBA these days.)

Is my Blog unwittingly providing a service for gender and sexual equality?

Hmm. Now I could actually live with that.

I may even get into the ol’ DIY business myself if it drives a few more hits my way.

But I draw the line at singing Gloria Gaynor’s greatest hits wearing nothing but dungarees and holding a dripping paintbrush, OK?

Don’t get any ideas.

And that includes you too, Mr Knowles.

Friday, March 09, 2012

Who Is The Fairest Of Them All?

When I write, I am – it has to be said – an egotist.

It’s all about me. Me. Me. Me me me.

You don’t get a look in. Not really.

And if you do it’s only as a mental aside, a construct that I formulate to pander to my already inflated ego. I imagine you being entertained by my witterings. Rolling on the floor, guffawing out loud – ROLFing. Wiping an amused tear from your envious, admiring eye.

Occasionally, of course, I may write about other people, refer to the existence of others and how their existence has impinged on my own. As you know, I have to be careful about such subject matter now. Loose lips has created blips on the ol’ work ethic. Data protection. People’s right to privacy over my right to express a personal opinion. Etc. Etc.

And it has chafed.

It has constrained.

And I’ve felt a little muzzled.

But that’s OK. I can sneak a tooth or two around the leathery confines now and then. I can still savage an ankle or three when the mood takes me.

But the thought occurred to me this morning that this conflict arose from a basic difference in perception. See, I’m writing this ‘ere blog thinking that it’s all about me and my life and my ego but actually...

Actually... there are some people out there who perceive the written and spoken word as a mirror.

They hold it up to their eyes and see themselves applying their make-up, titivating their hair and squeezing a few of their blackheads.

Suddenly, I’ve been elbowed out of the way! Never mind that I’m trying to shave and wax my pits... no, suddenly I‘ve got some other person’s mush and ego jostling mine for the exfoliating cream!

Some other person thinking that all this is about them them them!

Well, excuse me for breathing!

Now shut up and pass the toothpaste – you need it a lot more than I do.

But joking aside, it’s interesting isn’t it? I mean, I lay claim to creative copyright where this blog is concerned.

But do I have a right to that? Do I really? Is it really all mine? Or is it yours too, you who read here and insert yourself emotionally into the body of my work (oo-er)?

And if you choose to read my blog and stand right in front of me as I do my blogging thing, isn’t some of the stuff here your fault too?

Is this some kind of weird partnership?

Are we married?

Do I even know you?

What the hell are you doing in my bathroom anyway?!

Just who is that looking back at me from the depths of the mirror?


Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Sniping The Snipe

The Snipe is clever.

The Snipe is patient.

It waits by the kettle, by the radiator, by the computer monitor occasionally ticking its eye like an ancient lizard. It is in for the long haul. It plays the long game. It plays to win.

It waits for its prey with a lipstick smile and the bat of an eyelash. It lures its victim in with a sticky tongue of kind words, of sweetness, of sugary betrayal. It offers the sharpened claws of fake friendship. The piercing tooth of confidence.

Once you are in its cooing clutches it sucks out every intimacy, every near silent secret.

It doesn’t digest. It doesn’t consume.

It stores them away. It stockpiles them. Hardens them into little balls of armour shattering ammunition. While the world sleeps the Snipe is up all night making bullets.

Being a coward, afraid of its own dirty work, it offers these to a greater power. With instructions of where lies its victims palpitating heart.

It has no mercy. But it will offer a shoulder to cry on so that it may take suck again. Its appetite is insatiable.

But some of us are prepared. Some of us have been bitten before and have learned from the bites.

Some of us also wait.



Waiting for the Snipe to look up and smile and catch our eye. Waiting for the Snipe to gulp in fear as it realizes we are blinking at it like smarter lizards through the steady lens of a telescopic rifle.

It will not hear the shot ring out.

It will not feel the impact.

It will not understand the cheers of jubilation.

But it will recognize the bullet.


Monday, March 05, 2012

Cresting The Brow Of The Hill

It is with a sense of low level panic that I write this post. A slow sense of dread has been creeping up on me of late. I’m not sure why it’s slow or even creeping because I can’t run that fast anymore and I’m sure my hearing is going.

Mortality is starting to fart its stale odour into my face.

I’m starting to feel old and, worse, see the traditional effects of old age start to work on me. I feel like a chalk cliff who knows that the waves pounding at its base aren’t going to go anywhere and are going to stay there for the long haul and keep grinding away until all that is left of me is a little tiny nub that not even my totally utilitarian Maths teacher would use to write out a quadratic equation.

Let’s look at the evidence.

My sleep pattern has completely changed in a matter of years. Gone are the halcyon nights when I’d put my head down and be out for the count for a good 8 hours+, all the way through, not a peep out of me until morning. Now I wake several times a night, more often than not with a bladder that is not exactly bursting but nonetheless refuses to hold onto its minute charge.

My back twinges when I do physical activity and twinges when I don’t. I’m terrified my spine is going to do a 911 – only without the unwanted intervention of a couple of passenger jets.

Food. Food is becoming a problem. Should I be faced with an all-you-can-eat buffet now I’d probably turn my nose up at half of it. Bacon gives me painful wind. Certain beans appear to want to pummel my duodenum as they pass through it. Mixing 2 types of meat within 24 hours seems to recreate the Clash of the Titans in my gut and onions (which I love) guarantee that any waste material will soon be motoring out of my sphincter like money out of my bank account. Yes. That fast.

Mere years ago I could eat anything. Anything at all. I had the constitution of a ox. Give me another couple of years and I’ll be wanting all of my food mashed and will swap a knife and fork for a straw.

And don’t get me started on my eyesight. I know I wear glasses so have problems anyway... but bloody hell. Subtitles need to be big print. Any kind of electronic text on the telly – Ceefax (does that still exist?), digibox menus, etc – seems to blur and morph like the word verification most of you guys use on your blogs. And don’t get me started on the back of DVD boxes. Most of the time all I want to find is the running time before I choose to watch something (‘cos I like to be curled up bed with a large print book by 9.30) but (a) I can never find it and (b) when someone points out its location the print is too small for me to read. Too small! And bringing the box closer to my eyes only makes it worse! I’m supposed to be short-sighted, for Heaven’s sake!

And yet, the one positive through all this is that I don’t look old. I don’t look 42. I look ten years younger. Clean and healthy living, see?

But what good is this if I’m wearing out fast on the inside?

I don’t want to be the best looking bloke in the care home!

There are only so many bed baths a day that a good looking guy can take...


Thursday, March 01, 2012

RIP Richard Kip Carpenter

I’m not expecting a lot of comments on this post because most of you will be thinking “who the hell is Richard Carpenter and anyway didn’t Davey Jones from The Monkees die yesterday?”

But to a few of you, Richard Carpenter will mean something special. And I’m not talking about Karen Carpenter’s brother here either. I’m talking about one of the best British television writers that this country has ever produced. Certainly he’s a writer who has influenced and fed my imagination more than any other... even before I was properly aware of who he was or even if I wanted to be a writer myself.

If you were a kid in the 70’s and 80’s you would have been very familiar with Richard Carpenter’s television work. Catweazle, The Ghosts of Motley Hall, Dick Turpin, The Scarlet Pimpernel and, my favourite show of all time, Robin Of Sherwood to name but a few.

The Ghosts of Motley Hall and Dick Turpin were a major feature of my weekends when I was a kid. Both were on a Sunday evening and would be something me and my sisters would watch at my Nan’s house after spending the day there. They bring back cosy memories of a time when life was much simpler than it is now.

Robin Of Sherwood holds a special place in my heart and was just one of the shows that spoke to me on a spiritual level – as crass and hysterical as that might sound. On some level Richard’s writing and the acting of the cast embodied all that was magical and mythical and British about this country of ours. The off-screen chemistry of the cast spilled over onto the screen and for a lonely wallflower like me it was like a beacon of how wonderful life could potentially be. Years later, reading interviews with the cast, their friendships plainly remain and Richard Carpenter himself is quoted as saying that this forging of friendships and the lasting camaraderie of those involved in the show is one of the things he was most proud of. Robin Of Sherwood went on to majorly influence Kevin Costner’s criminal foul-up of a film and the BBC’s recent Robin Hood.

Most of Richard’s television work is now available on DVD. Robin Of Sherwood has recently been reissued on Blu-Ray – remastered for both sound and picture quality. I have treated myself because it is the one show that I know will stay with me for the rest of my life.

I am saddened that Richard’s passing on the 26th February hasn’t been more picked up on in the press and the national media. His death is a huge loss for both television and British writing per se. Back in the days before CGI and computer generated lighting Richard worked wonders with tight budgets, proper location shoots and real flesh and blood people. His writing was heartfelt and emotive and quietly proud.

Richard, Albion salutes you.