Friday, December 24, 2004

A very Merry Christmas from David and and his shy, retiring new bride. Posted by Hello

Thursday, December 23, 2004

Season's Beatings

This isn't at all seasonal, but at work this morning somebody with a strange accent in the next pod used the word "summarised" and I heard it as "Samuraised." It took me back to my martial arts days...

I took up Shotokan karate in my early thirties because somebody told me it was a good way of keeping fit and I was bored with just running and going to the gym. At the time I was working out at least three times a week and running a lot (maybe twenty miles a week) so I thought I was in pretty good shape, but after my first session of karate training I had blisters on my feet and was so tired I went outside and threw up.

I persevered, though, and over the next while my feet hardened up, my stamina and coordination improved, and at one point I was 180lbs of solid muscle, as opposed to "before" (150lbs of ribs and teeth), and "now" (200lbs of lard). I reached 4th kyu - to put it in perspective the first grade (where you swap the white belt that came with the pyjamas for a red one) is 9th kyu, and if I'd continued, my next grade, 3rd kyu, would have been brown belt. Shotokan is a traditional style of karate, which means there's a lot of emphasis on set-piece attack and defence stuff and kata. It's not a full-contact discipline, but it's tough enough, and over the years I managed to pick up plenty of bruises, a few cuts, a broken toe and cracked ribs, and a back problem when someone unexpectedly kicked me so hard it lifted me off my feet and landed me heavily on my arse. You should have seen the other guy. He was laughing like a drain, as was every other rotten bastard in the dojo. Overall, as a way of getting physically fit I think it was second to none - in terms of self-defence the story's a little different. Of course if nothing else you get to learn some Japanese, which is useful in case you ever get the crap beaten out of you while you're on holiday in Tokyo, because you'll be able to tell the police what they did to you. "Well, officer, I think it was probably a kizama-zuki that broke my nose, and it was definitely a mawashi-geri that knocked me out."

Some of my conclusions on the subject of self-defence and street violence are as follows:

- You can get used to being hit. People laugh when I tell them this, but I think it's the most important thing I learnt. The first time someone hits you hard it shocks you, but when it happens to you a couple of times a week, although it still hurts, you don't just hop about with your hand over your eye going "Ow!", you decide to check it out later and start thinking about how you stop it happening again (which usually involves hitting your opponent as hard as possible.) In a real fight situation it's quite likely that you'll be taken by surprise and have to take a punch, but if you can survive the first one you have a chance to stop the second. Of course if there are knives, guns or blunt objects involved it's a different story; on balance I think it's undesirable that you try to get used to being stabbed, shot or beaten with a baseball bat, and if you ever get to actually like it, then you're just weird. Each to his own, of course.

- "The bigger they are the harder they fall."? No, the bigger they are the harder they hit. They also have long legs which they can use to kick you up in the air from a distance (see paragraph three). My strategy for dealing with big opponents in the dojo was to get in close so their longer reach wasn't such an advantage (point one, "getting used to being hit" tended to come into play quite a lot when using this approach, but I was never able to think of anything else.) In a street situation the best strategies are probably running away and outnumbering, if practical. Faking a heart attack may well prove effective, but you'll probably get your wallet stolen while you're concentrating on being still and blue.

- If there's more than one attacker you're probably a goner, unless you're carrying a sidearm. Two-to-one is bad. Three-to-one means you're definitely going to get a beating. Trying to be their friend, giving them all your money and starting to cry are all worth trying if the old standby of running away isn't practical. You could also offer one or more blowjobs; not an attractive proposition if you're a straight male, I'll grant you, but I say if it saves you from a pounding then get on your knees, boy. Get some mouthwash, gargle and get over it. It'll probably make you appreciate your girlfriend all the more, although she may not want to kiss you for a day or two. It might be as well not to tell her about it. If they're not impressed with your pretty mouth and you have to fight, rather than trying anything complcated try and get hold of a brittle part of one of your attackers and break it. Try to stay on your feet; if you end up on the ground curled up in a ball they may well keep on kicking until they get bored, and that could be a long time in Redhill, where people aren't that bright and there isn't much else to do after the pubs have shut.

- Unless you're a Mean Motherfucker you'll always be at a HUGE disadvantage when it comes to street violence. Always always. They want to hurt you and you don't really want to hurt them back. There's absolutely nothing you can do about this except be aware of it as a fact. Stay away from public places where you know people like to hurt other people. Seems quite simple, really. If you have to go to those places and you have a sports bag stencilled with the words "Seishinkai Karate - Striking Cobra Dojo", leave it in the car - the fastest gun syndrome didn't die with Doc Holliday. If you think you're likely to get drunk and go up to complete strangers and challenge them to hit you in the stomach as hard as they can, then I don't want to go drinking with you. I've seen it and it can only end one way.

- And finally, although I'm prepared to consider alternatives, in my opinion there is no doubt that the scariest words in the English language, especially delivered in a quiet voice, are "Are you calling me a liar, pal?"

Merry Christmas...

I've just realised that it's nearly a month since I posted anything on here (and that was a short and slightly depressing poem). I've been busy at work and my free time has been taken up with things which are time-consuming but not necessarily interesting to write about, and I'm reluctant to post stuff about not having anything to say. Although I seem to be doing it now. Ahem.

Disappointingly my Jehovah's Witnesses haven't been round to try to get me to cancel Christmas, disappointing because I enjoy my annual doorstep opportunity to pretend to be wildly enthusiastic about Paganism.

There's a fair amount of stupidity in the news at the moment; I hope to write about some of it over the holidays, although I fully intend to be too drunk to write for at least part of the time. (I feel that as it's a religious festival, offering up my liver to The Lord is probably the least I can do.)

Anyway, thanks to all of you who have called in and left comments, encouraging or otherwise, especially Libertybob, who has been a consistent supporter of my ranting since I started this back in March this year. Check his site out - sanity, humour and quite often dreadful poetry.

Merry Christmas.

Love (in a manly way of course)


Monday, November 29, 2004

The Diver

Forward, backward, reverse,
That's the way.
Always inward, sometimes twisting,
Seldom straight or free.

I will raise my arms and soar
Above their pale excited faces.
Tuck, pike, and wonder
If I can enter the concrete
Without a splash.

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Definition of the Word "Rant"...

I haven't had time to do anything on here for a while, but this is just to make sure you link through to this site. Makes my occasional tirade look laid-back...

Thursday, November 04, 2004

Thank The Lord

I'm not usually an overtly religious man, but I said my prayers last night. I got down on my knees to give thanks to Almighty God that the American people had listened to His Holy Word and re-elected His Champion, George W. Bush.

President Bush (how reassuring that phrase sounds to all right-thinking people) now has another four years in which to make not only America, but ultimately the entire planet, safe from terrorists. Following his triumphant victory in Iraq and the liberation of its people, the President, with the backing of not only the American People, but also the Almighty Himself, can now don his Shining Breastplate of Righteousness, mount his Charger of Truth, and ride out to take the Holy Word of the American Way of Life to the other benighted lands which are secretly crying out for Enlightenment.

Many of these people have lived under such oppression for so long that they believe themselves to be content, absurd though it may seem to us. It's America's Sacred Duty to help them, using carpet bombing if necessary. After Iraq will come Iran. Then, on the basis that it starts with the same letters and has some terrorists in it, Ireland, although there may be pressure on the government to just reinstate the old U.S. policy of getting rid of some kinds of terrorist by giving them money.

The War on Terror at home will not be so easily won. Terrorists are everywhere, and can take on many forms. We all know that homosexuals are just as much terrorists as brown people with big bombs. In fact they're worse, for they threaten not only our way of life but also our bottoms. Who knows when one of these disgusting sodomites will leap out from the shadows, rip off our trousers and inflict unspeakable indignities on our cat-flaps? That's something I think about all the time, as I'm sure you all do.

As the Good Lord Himself might well have said had I been writing His material, "Thou shalt use thy bottom only for doing poos. And also thy willy only for wees. Unless thou art joined in matrimony. And even then it's a bit of a gray area. To be honest I haven't really thought the sex thing through. Apart from homos; they definitely need smiting."

That's the kind of thing God would say, if I did his stuff.

I'd like to close with a hymn by Randy Newman. It just sums up everything that's right with American foreign policy.

Political Science by Randy Newman

No one likes us-I don't know why
We may not be perfect, but heaven knows we try
But all around, even our old friends put us down
Let's drop the big one and see what happens

We give them money-but are they grateful?
No, they're spiteful and they're hateful
They don't respect us-so let's surprise them
We'll drop the big one and pulverize them

Asia's crowded and Europe's too old
Africa is far too hot
And Canada's too cold
And South America stole our name
Let's drop the big one
There'll be no one left to blame us

We'll save Australia
Don't wanna hurt no kangaroo
We'll build an All American amusement park there
They got surfin', too

Boom goes London and boom Paree
More room for you and more room for me
And every city the whole world round
Will just be another American town
Oh, how peaceful it will be
We'll set everybody free
You'll wear a Japanese kimono
And there'll be Italian shoes for me

They all hate us anyhow
So let's drop the big one now
Let's drop the big one now

God bless you all.

God bless America.

Monday, November 01, 2004


I was driving through Reigate on Saturday and there was a road sign which read "Caution. Change in priorities ahead!".

Now I'm anxious.

Thursday, October 28, 2004

Election Time!

I got into a bit of rant over at Susie's and I enjoyed it so much I thought I'd post it here...

As an outsider what surprises me about the U.S. media (and also the electorate) is that they appear to have some measure of respect for the candidates, whereas here in the U.K. we recognise that politicians, particularly those seeking the highest office, are in fact vermin who should be hunted down, captured, tortured and then killed. If they have reproduced then their entire families should be sterilised. (Don't try and tell me that Michael Howard can't be accurately defined as a sexually transmitted disease)

Anyway, it may seem ludicrous that the only candidates for the job of Most Powerful Man in the World are a half-witted monkey and an empty suit, and laughable that the people entrusted with choosing between them are Americans, for fuck's sake, but that's, as they say, life.

Hey ho.

Thursday, October 14, 2004

Horribly Wrong

My graphic designer (who also happens to be my Final Wife) says that the light-on dark template I'm using is difficult to read and that I should change it to something a bit more sensible. As I am monumentally stupid when it comes to this stuff there may be a terrible accident. If it all goes horribly wrong, please bear with me.

I fear from experience that even if it goes right I'll lose the any comments posted on here, which is a shame.

Maybe I'll leave things the way they are.

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

The Power Of The Bugbear

Guess what, chaps! A couple of days after my unkind words about him, Norman Wisdom has announced that he's retiring from showbiz. Okay, he's ninety years old, so he might have been considering it anyway, but you have to admit it looks like I managed to push him over the edge.

Apparently Norman was a big star in Albania, where he was known as "Pitkin". Films like "Pitkin Goes To The Workers' Collective Summer Picnic" were immensely popular under the regime of King Zog, where the only other permitted form of recreation was the fiercely competitive "Growing Root Vegetables Into Slightly Amusing Shapes" League.

According to the news reports Norman was famous for his catchphrase "Mr. Grimsdale.", which, let's be honest, is not that clever a catchphrase. I'm not a comedy writer, but I'd put money on being able to come up with something a little more witty and urbane than that.

Anyway, now that I've seen what the power of the Bugbear can accomplish I'm going off to concentrate on visiting a plague of pubic hornets on Giles Brandreth. I realise you Americans don't know who Giles Brandreth is, but trust me on this one, if you knew him you'd thank me.

Thursday, October 07, 2004

Malnourished Goat-Faced Dikes #1

I'm not proud of this. In fact, frankly, there's a good deal of shame attached to it all. In hope of mitigation I have to put it to you that I was in Cornwall on holiday and it was raining quite a lot, but I did it. I watched a makeover programme on TV. I take a small degree of solace from the fact that I've never seen this particular programme before and would rather have my worst enemy take charge of tightening a razor-wire tourniquet round my scrotum than ever watch it again.

In this case it was hosted by a pair of visually interchangeable malnourished goat-faced dikes (hereinafter referred to as "GFD1" and "GFD2" because my lawyer advised me not to use their real names.) Believe me, no matter how civilised and even-tempered you believe yourself to be, if you had to spend more than half an hour in their company there would be no option but to pour a pint of beer over their expensively coiffured but noisily vacant heads.

The concept is that the GFDs, apparently famous for being Real Stylin' Bitches or something, take two Real Girls and do fashion stuff to them, which gives them greater confidence, total fulfilment, etc, etc. To start with of course there are more than two Real Girls, because on this kind of show the humilation can't start early enough and so to begin with the cannon fodder count is around ten. There are little cameos of all the RGs, giving them an opportunity to tell the camera why they should be chosen, and we pan back to the GFDs while they invent spurious reasons for their final selection (spurious becuse the only purpose of the selection process is to arrive at the RGs who are most likely to allow themselves to be humilated on national television without either slashing their wrists or punching one or other of the GFDs in the mouth.)

The entire group then stands in a room while the GFDs toy with them clumsily for a few minutes until the tension builds. The decision is announced, the Rejected Real Girls skulk off into the night to abuse their stunted children and get fat while the Chosen Real Girls do that winning thing which involves temporarily adopting the motor functions of a cerebral palsy victim at a Stevie Wonder gig while squealing "OhmyGod. OhmyGod. Oh. My. God. OhmyGod." The Almighty is unmoved by their supplication - after thirty seconds or so they're both still ugly. Hey ho.

The next phase is to visit the homes of the Chosen Real Girls, whose names escape me, thankfully, but Karen and Sharon will do. The GFDs examine the contents of the Girls' wardrobes, retching quietly as they use laundry tongs to drop the offending garments onto a blazing bonfire. Karen's stuff is boring but inoffensive, while Sharon's looks like it was chosen by her guide dog.

Then we meet the husbands. Karen's spouse is a colourless corporate git who is disappointed at what he perceives to be her lack of confidence at company picnics, or something like that. Now I don't even know the woman, but it's blindingly obvious to me that the poor hapless bitch's real problem at these events is the palpable wave of pity she feels coming off all the other wives when they realise that her husband is indeed the plum-faced robotic little twat standing beside her.

At first I think Sharon's husband is doing an impression of Norman Wisdom in one of those inexplicably revered but entirely fucking awful 1950s Ealing comedies where he has a speech problem, wears his cap sideways and gets hit on the head with a large shovel every five minutes. (For the benefit of young people or American visitors who don't know who Norman Wisdom is, think Jim Carrey at his most annoying and double it. Now stick a needle in your eye. There, you've got it.) Sharon's old man is for real, though - there's no mention of what he does for a living. I give it some thought, but apart from organ donor I just can't visualise a role for him.

It's quite apparent that a fashion makeover is completely futile. Call me sentimental if you like, but I begin to think that what would improve these girls' lives beyond recognition would be to take their husbands outside and put a bullet in the back of each pointed little head.

And we're still only halfway through the show! Boy am I having fun!

Thursday, September 23, 2004

Do! Do! Do The Selfish Monkey!

It must be catching; Ed (The Selfish Monkey)packed in the blogthing a couple of months back.

I'm going to Cornwall on holiday for a week with no internet access and so won't be posting anything, nor will I be able to read and comment on anyone else's stuff, and anyway, to tell you the truth, I'm a little tired with the whole blogbusiness at the moment. There seem to be too many other things to worry about, and not nearly enough things to poke fun at, so I think I'm going to put what energy I have into other stuff, like getting fit and playing bass.

So...thanks to you all for dropping by over the months and giving support, advice and the benefit of your skewed sense(s) of humour. I'll still read your stuff and comment from time to time, but for the time being at least, the Bear's hanging up his, errrm, paws.

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

Batman and Robin - a response

Of all the U.K. news stories that make it through the U.S.A.'s "Not America Or Eye-Rack, So We Don't Care" filter, the one that Libertybob's asked me to comment on is "Batman and Robin Meet The Queen." I'm not an expert on either the disgusting Windsor family or the forces that drive people to dress up as super-heroes, but I'm prepared to give it a go, particularly as Bob is the only person who visits this site (apart from Susie Creamcheese, who disappointingly turns out to be a big Welsh bloke rather than the moist, pouting nymphet I had in mind).

Anyway, there are a number of different points raised by this news story, and I'll give it my best shot:

Dressing as superheroes; hmmm, tricky one. "I'm an estranged father being treated like shit and it's not fair because fathers are really uhhh, heroes. And super." Okay, got it. But the bloke who did Spiderman had more cred. Marvel beats DC any time.

I you're a protestor, dressing up in any kind of funny costume not only attracts attention from the media but is supposed to make it less likely that you'll be shot dead by the security forces. In this country that strategy still works pretty well. As a rule, if you're found in the grounds of Buckingham Place wearing a balaclava helmet, combats with side-arm-sized bulges and a sack marked "anthrax" there's a strong probability that even the Metropolitan Police will decide to take you out, although even then you're not necessarily a goner unless they can see that you're black.

As terrorists are quite smart these days it's only a matter of time before they're all dressing like Biffo the Bear and running round doing terrorist stuff unchallenged, so my own view is that just to be on the safe side anyone dressed in any kind of "humorous" costume should be shot dead, unless they can prove they're on their way to a fancy-dress party. Actually, due to the difficulty in telling the difference between a genuine fancy-dress party and a cell of merciless terrorist assassins we should probably target the partygoers as well. People involved in street theatre are most likely innocent of serious crime but let's face it, they need to be wiped out more than anybody.

I'd also like to draw the attention of the authorities to the people who run the fancy-dress shop in Merstham. They didn't laugh at my joke about the trucks that deliver helium canisters floating away.

Friday, September 10, 2004

Frances, Gaston, Hermine, Ivan...

The East coast of America, and Florida in particular, seems to get a lot of hurricanes. (We hear more about the storms that hit Florida than all the others partly because they're of greater severity than the others and partly because Florida is populated entirely by tiny dried-up husks of old people who weigh so little that they often get sucked up into the slipstreams of trucks and end up miles from home, so hundred-mile-an-hour winds are more of a problem for them than for the rest of us.)

It doesn't happen in England, or at least, not often. We certainly don't have to give them names to tell one from the other. When we talk about "The Hurricane", we mean the one we had back in 1987, which peaked at a relatively puny 94 miles per hour. At the time I was living in a part of rural Cambridgeshire where there were three houses, five trees and nothing else from one horizon to the other except fields full of brussel sprouts, so the storm damage was limited. (They can withstand a lot of damage, can sprouts, which is good, because it means that after World War Three the cockroaches will still have something to eat.) Anyway, back to hurricanes; if we're up to "Ivan" already that means there have been nine hurricanes this year already, and it's only September.

Bearing that in mind, what I don't understand is this: why do Floridians continue to build ordinary houses? There would seem to be only two sensible approaches:

1 - Dig a large hole. Turn it into a spacious and well-equipped cellar. Live in it. If you feel the need to live above ground during the summer months, make sure that the dwelling you construct is made out of the cheapest, flimsiest materials available, then when it blows away while you're hiding in the cellar, not only won't you care, but if it lands on somebody it won't squash them. Part of the roof of the cellar (or floor of the house, depending on whether you're up or down) would of course be a sort of electric trapdoor thing to allow you to quickly move televisions, stereo systems and stuff up and down as required.

2 - Rather than build a normal house, build a windowless (CCTV cameras could take the place of windows) reinforced concrete pyramid, with walls at least two metres thick and deep foundations. No hurricane's going to move that motherfucker. The pyramid concept could prove immensely popular in Florida, with most of the population looking like a triumph of the embalmer's art already. On the death of the occupant, no need for a costly funeral, merely seal the doors and walk away.

You know it makes sense.

NB: "The Flimsy", and "The Cheops" are registered trademarks of The Bugbear Construction Company Ltd.

Thursday, September 02, 2004

Not realising his favourite "special"restaurant was wired for sound, Michael asked for "a roast child, about this big" Posted by Hello

"Why don't they trust me?" thought Michael. Posted by Hello

Wednesday, September 01, 2004

Michael Who? Oh, Him...

I've been away for a while, and I was going to post some stuff on here about my honeymoon (no, not that sort of stuff), but there are some wonderful things going on that I have to talk about.

You may already know how I feel about Michael Howard, the leader of the Conservative party. In a way I'm delighted that the Tories have once again chosen a leader who may well have it in him to grow to be genuinely deserving of the nation's hatred. Admittedly, compared with the deranged and malevolent Margaret Thatcher he's a minor player in the loathing stakes; a film clip of the Thatch can still bring on the adrenalin rush and the red mist, while with Mike it's a more subtle flesh-crawling thing, but it's a lot better than John Major (Grey, dull, nerdy voice), William Haig (Young, bald, looks like a baby), and Ian Duncan-Smith. (Who? Exactly.)

Michael has a decidedly scary smile, particularly when he's trying to fake sincerity. I wouldn't for one moment suggest that he might have a taste for human flesh, but you can never tell. He also has a weird speech impediment which renders him unable to pronounce words which end in "ble", so you get "possibill" "peopill" and, ultimately, "unelectabill".

Anyway, Mike's in trouble with the White House. Yay! As I understand it, it goes like this. As Leader of the Opposition, Mike's job is to try and embarrass Tony Blair and generally fuck up the Government of the day. (I have a niggling feeling that this might well be treason, for which he should be arrested and killed, but I might be wrong). It's difficult for Mike to attack Tony on domestic policy, because it's pretty much the same as Mike's policy. The most controversial policy issue in the U.K. is the Iraq war, (Tony lied to us, made errors of judgement, etc, etc). Mike has tried to use this to attack Tony.

George isn't too sure who the hell Mike is, but he knows that someone's being unkind about his bestest friend outside the U.S. and this makes him really cross. Mike wants to visit the U.S. and meet GWB. The White House says "We're not too sure who the hell you are, but you've made our friend Tony very sad. We don't want to talk to you. And we know where you live."

Fighting back tears, Mike pretends not to care, but in reality spends most of his waking moments trying to figure out how to get out of this one, because with an election in the U.K. next year he has enough to worry about without the prospect of being hunted down by the C.I.A.'s finest assassins.


My heart soars like a hawk.

Wednesday, August 18, 2004

Even after months of intensive coaching, the Tub of Lard still had some way to go before fully mastering the "winning smile".  Posted by Hello

Let Me Through, I'm A Tub Of Lard

There's been a flood in Boscastle, Cornwall. Two inches of rain in an hour and a steep and narrow river valley combined to produce a wall of water ten feet high travelling at forty miles an hour. The last I heard there were still fifteen people missing. That's not the kind of thing we're used to in England; our weather, like our wildlife, is rarely dangerous, and hardly ever lethal. (To humans, at any rate. I believe shrews are known to die of stress during thunderstorms, which is ridiculous and makes a shrew a pretty sorry excuse for a predator, if you ask me.)

I've been to Boscastle. Long ago a man must have said "Look, everybody! A steep and narrow valley with three rivers running through it! In a part of England where it rains a lot! Let's build our flimsy little primitive dwellings right here!" That man was probably the First High King of All Boscastle. Right up until the first time it rained heavily.

It's a pretty village in the slightly warty, scruffy way Cornish villages are pretty, a bit like a young witch. I remember standing on the cliff-top there and thinking that if I ever got depressed enough to Do It, this would be as good a place as any. Anyway, I've long since moved on from the urge to fling myself from high places, (although I did have slightly dodgy moment at the top of the Duomo in Florence a few years back) which is just as well because the residents of Boscastle have enough to worry about without fat dead Irishmen washing up on the beach every five minutes.

For a start they've had to put up with a visit from the appalling John Prescott, the Deputy Prime Minister. Nobody really knows what Prescott's for, being ugly, obese, Northern and too aggressive to be allowed out much in case he starts punching people. Why the hell anyone thought that the mood of the Boscastlians would be lightened by the arrival of the Tub o'Lard beats me.

I can see that it might been effective if he'd been lowered from a helicopter during the rainstorm so that his enormous buttocks wedged themselves into the river valley, thereby creating an effective dam and saving the village, but to arrive the morning after the tragedy is, frankly, a case of "too little, too late", which strangely enough is the kind of remark Michael Howard makes about almost any aspect of Labour policy, seeming inexplicably to believe that seven years is long enough for us to have forgotten what a repellent little fuck he was when he was Home Secretary. He may actually be quite tall, come to think of it. He looks small on my telly. But then Prescott looks HUGE on the same telly, so who's to know? But I digress.

Anyway, if anyone in the government reads this, from a purely personal perspective, if there's an unexpected natural disaster in my part of Surrey and you think I need to be cheered up, please don't send John. Send me Charlotte Rampling.

Wednesday, August 11, 2004


With an election due sometime next year, it's fun watching the party leaders circling each other. Now that Labour's stolen most of the Tories' clothes, it's become increasingly difficult for Blair and Howard to claim any policies as their own. As they want to do pretty much the same stuff they can only say "If they do it, we'll do it more.", unless it involves public spending, in which case they have to say "If they do it, we'll do it less." The latest area for skirmishing is the Civil Service. Goes a bit like this.

Tony Blair: We will cut back on wasteful expenditure in the Civil Service by sacking 1,500 civil servants!

Michael Howard: Pah! We will cut back on wasteful expenditure even further by sacking 4,000 civil servants!

T.B.: Pah! We will also kill the civil servants we've sacked so that we'll save on unemployment benefit!

M.H.: Pah! We will kill the civil servants to save on unemployment benefit and make them into pies to feed poor people!

T.B.: Hang on a minute! I've got a good one! (Clears throat) Under a Labour government there will be no poor people!

M.H.: Bastard! (Shouting hysterically) Tony Blair's got a Fender Stratocaster but he only knows two chords!

T.B.: (Shrilly) Michael Howard's a lizard from Outer Space!

M.H.: (Sobbing) You love George Bush! You want to kiss him on the lips! With tongues!

T.B.: Aaaargh! You used to snog Margaret Thatcher! And she's old! Eeeeew!

(They start to claw feebly at each other while a crowd of M.P.s form a circle, chanting "Fight! Fight! Fight!".)

As a footnote, it occurs to me that as the Civil Service is the organisation which actually runs the country while politicians spend their time shouting, jumping up and down and flicking spit at each other, it's probably safer not to piss them off too much, as I would imagine that they have the ability, information, infrastructure and potentially the motive to fuck up the government of the day in more ways than it's possible to imagine.

Just a thought, lads.

Tuesday, August 10, 2004

"My God, it's a pack of feral bridesmaids!" hissed Smedley. "I'll try to kill the leader and when the little ones start to eat me, run for the Jeep. You might just stand a chance."

Posted by Hello

With their preternaturally keen eyesight Emma and Robin were alone in finding the bridegroom's version of "Puppetry of the Penis" entertaining.
 Posted by Hello

Last to recognise the ugly mood of the crowd, Robin turned to find himself alone on stage and in mortal danger.
Posted by Hello

The beer and drugs having kicked in, David was unaware that his bride had run off and he was now trying to tango with a Fender Jazz Posted by Hello

Distracted by the proximity of his hand to Soo's left breast, David stabs a photographer in the head. Posted by Hello

Yay! (2)

So, what did you do at the weekend, Davy? Oh, the usual. Had a few beers. Played a bit of guitar. Got married. Again. Yay!

Blessing and BIG party on Saturday...more later.

Monday, August 02, 2004

In case I was a little hard on Northern Ireland, here's a nice picture of The Giant's Causeway. Posted by Hello


Northern Ireland has joyously discovered racism, seemingly embraced by "Loyalists", who have links with white supremacist groups on the mainland. I shouldn't be surprised, but I am.

I shouldn't be surprised because in N.I. we're dealing with people who wear the colours of the Israelis ("Loyalist" morons) or the Palestinians ("Republican" morons) just in case it proves difficult to start a fight any other way.

I shouldn't be surprised because during last week (as in many other weeks) a fire-engine putting out a house fire was attacked by a mob of stone-throwing monkeys.

And I shouldn't be surprised because as a primitive piece of social engineering, encouraging the migration of a bunch of murderous Scottish psychopaths to a cold and unpleasant island already populated by tree-dwelling cannibals was always going to be a tricky one to pull off. (I know that was a long time ago, but let's not forget the old joke: "You are about to land in Northern Ireland. Please put your watches back four hundred years.")

I'm just surprised because it seemed to me that there was still a lot of mileage to be had in the traditional kind of bigoted idiocy. Attacking and killing people because they have different political aspirations is what N.I.'s always been about, not looking for brown people to beat up. Let's face it, the only two things N.I. ever had going for it were low house prices and no racism, so now there's absolutely no point to the place. That's what really pisses me off. They should be greatful that anyone of any ethnic background other than pure bogtrotter wants to come anywhere near the ghastly place. The weather's lousy, the people are grey and miserable, the economy's built on sand, and if it wasn't for £4 billion a year in government subsidies they'd all have eaten each other by now. With Easyjet flights out of Belfast as cheap as they are I'm surprised the sodden hell-hole isn't empty.

I had this faint hope that as the piggy-eyed, potato-faced denizens of the place struggled to shift their social and political thinking from the 1600s to the twenty-first century, they might set their sights a little higher up the evolutionary ladder than 1920s Mississippi.

Fat fucking chance.

Thursday, July 29, 2004

There's No Business...

There's loads of Serious Stuff I should be worrying and/or writing about, but I'm working on the basis that as Parliament's in recess at the moment (which means that the disgusting unscrupulous toadies we sarcastically refer to as Our Elected Representatives have all slimed off, leaving little silvery trails, to their Tuscan villas for a month) so obviously the Serious Stuff isn't as Serious as I thought.

So I'd rather talk about the death threats received by the appalling Catherine Zeta Jones. I must say that I felt the threat to murder and dismember the little Welsh minx was a bit harsh; I've been quite irritated by La Zeta in the past, but I've never once felt moved to commit horrible violence upon her person, nor indeed have I wished that someone else would do it, except maybe once or twice. I've always felt that marriage to little wrinkled old Michael Douglas was punishment enough, and, let's face it it must have been scary for the poor girl.

"I've never in my life had anything or had anyone say anything to me so satanic," said Zeta Jones, 35, ably demonstrating why they won't let her write her own lines. Douglas commented, "She was hysterical... she was fainting. She could not get any air. She showed all the signs of having a nervous breakdown." Mike was taking it seriously, obviously having forgotten that CZJ went into a similar mental and emotional crisis over a set of wedding photos not long ago.

Ah, showbiz, that wacky world where a bottle of wine arriving at the wrong temperature can result in a year-long lawsuit and two months recuperating in an expensive clinic.

Wednesday, July 28, 2004

The Best of Irish Lonely Hearts

(Yes, I know it's cheating, but I haven't had time to do anything on here for weeks and someone just sent me this. Anyway, made me laugh.)

>Grossly overweight Louth turfcutter, 42 years old and 23 stone, Gemini,
>seeks nimble sexpot, preferably South American, for tango sessions,
>candlelit dinners and humid nights of screaming passion. Must have own
>car and be willing to travel.
>Following a sad recent loss, teetotal Tipperary man, 53, seeks
>replacement mammy. Must like biscuits and answer to the name Minnie.
>Thurles area.
>Wexford man, 50, in desperate need of a ride. Anything considered.
>Heavy drinker, 35, Cork area, seeks gorgeous sex addict interested in
>pints, fags, Glasgow Celtic football club and starting scraps on
>Patrick Street at three in the morning.
>Bitter, disillusioned Kerryman lately rejected by long-time fiancée
>seeks decent, honest, reliable woman, if such a thing still exists in
>this cruel world of hatchet-faced bitches.
>Ginger-haired Galwegian trouble-maker, gets slit-eyed and shirty after
>a few scoops, seeks attractive, wealthy lady for bail purposes, maybe
>Artistic Clare woman, 53, petite, loves rainy walks on the beach,
>writing poetry, unusual sea-shells and interesting brown rice dishes,
>seeks mystic dreamer for companionship, back rubs and more as we bounce
>along like little tumbling clouds on life's beautiful crazy journey.
>Strong stomach essential.
>Chartered accountant, 42, seeks female for marriage. Duties will
>include cooking, light cleaning and accompanying me to office social
>functions. References required. No timewasters.
>Bad-tempered, foul-mouthed old bastard living in a damp cottage in the
>arse end of Roscommon seeks attractive 21 year old blonde lady with big
>Devil-worshiper, Offaly area, seeks like minded lady for wining and
>dining, good conversation, dancing, romantic walks and slaughtering
>cats in cemeteries at midnight under the flinty light of a pale moon.
>Attractive brunette, Macroom area, winner of Miss Wrangler competition
>at Jolenes Nightclub, Macroom, in September 1978, seeks nostalgic man
>who's not afraid to cry for long nights spent comfort drinking and
>listening to old Abba records. Please, Please!
>Limerick man, 27, medium build, brown hair, blue eyes, seeks alibi for
>the night of February 27 between 8pm and 11.30pm.
>Optimistic Mayo man 35, seeks blonde 20 year old double-jointed
>supermodel who owns her own brewery and has an open-minded twin sister.
>Belfast man, 30ish, beer gut and grim breath, desperately seeks
>companion. Must like Billy Ray Cyrus, Telecoms equipment, Tarmac and
>won't mind rogering me with my 12 inch strap on whilst wearing cowboy
>boots and humming Bryan Adams hits. No time wasters.

Wednesday, July 14, 2004

The Hunger

Although we're now officially married, the big party and religious blessing is still to come in August, so on Saturday Soo and I went to See A Man About The Rings. It was a very civilised outing - Roger's (the goldsmith) workshop is in a converted stable block in Nutfield village. We sat on a comfy sofa and chatted languidly about gold and diamonds and D-shaped profiles. Quite an education, actually; we now know that diamonds are coded in quality from D to Z, where D has to be viewed through a welder's mask to avoid temporary blindness and Z looks like the sediment at the bottom of a wine bottle. Roger told us that A-, B-, and C-quality diamonds don't exist, but I don't believe him. I think it's just that they're so expensive that ordinary people can't afford to even talk about them.

He then unfolded little paper packets and showed us some seriously nice rocks. Soo, who I thought had vowed to eschew all material wealth in favour of personal spiritual development, was seized by The Hunger. "I want them. Overpower him and bring them to me." she hissed, doing a pretty fair impression of Gollum, though with much nicer hair.

When the red glow had faded from Soo's eyes we discussed designs and decided on rings with five diamonds on each (one for each of our communal children). We're now waiting for Roger to give us an estimate - Soo's determined that the rings have to cost more than the toilets we're hiring for August 7th (which seems fair), but if there are too many zeros we may have to revert to plan B - Redhill Market (I still don't know how they can do those big diamonds for ten quid, even if they are stolen.)

And finally, overheard recently:
Q: "How do you tell if pearls are genuine?"
A: "The old ladies don't struggle so much if they're fake.")

Thursday, July 08, 2004

Word For The Day

Angoraphobia n an abnormal intense and irrational fear of fluffiness

Tuesday, July 06, 2004

(I'm the one with the unconvincing little beard) Posted by Hello


So, what did you do at the weekend, Davy? Oh, the usual. Had a few beers. Played a bit of guitar. Got married. Yay!

Friday, July 02, 2004


There are a few things I have to change. I'm not happy with this "comments" set-up. I'm not happy that I can't figure out how to add links to other sites on my header. And I'm not happy with that crappy counter thing. All of this will have to be sorted out, and with my level of competence being as low as that of a person who's not very competent, it'll all probably go disturbingly wrong. So if I disappear, don't just walk away and forget me, damn you. For I shall return.


And another thing about Norfolk. Cromer. If ever a town deserved the title "God's Waiting Room" this is it. The streets are crammed with more old people than you thought existed outside Florida, and at the speed they move those streets stay crammed for a long time, believe me. It's eerily quiet, (because the poor old souls don't have the energy to talk and walk at the same time), except when the ambulances race by, woo-woos going. (What's the urgency, for fuck's sake? It's old age that's toppling 'em. Tell me what good getting them to hospital in a hurry's going to do.)

At first you quite enjoy it. I was around forty-five the first (and last) time I went to Cromer, and looking around me I felt young, energetic and vital. If I'd been with the right person I might even have felt a bit sexy (Rolls eyes and snorfles.) After an hour of trying to negotiate my way through streets packed tight with Zimmers and redolent with a miasma of wee, I started to see My Future staring me in the face. (Staring up into my face, 'cos those old people are really small.) All I could do was go back to my hotel, think of age, illness and death, and listen to those sirens wail.

Then I had a couple of beers and felt just fine. Thankfully I've never been over-troubled by sensitivity.

Thursday, July 01, 2004

Ah-ooo! Hippos in Norfolk.

There was an item on the news this morning about, believe it or not, hippos in a gravel-pit in Norfolk. Not right now of course, but apparently around 750000 years ago ice-age Norfolk was home to these big buggers, twice the size of today's hippos. Which is one big fucking hippo. The scientist being interviewed said the technique used to determine the age of the bones they'd found was "Palaeo-Magnetic Dating", which gave me a brief Larsonesque vision of little fur-clad blokes with a bunch of flowers in one hand and a big club in the other, but I'm determined not to take that one any further. He also said that the bones hadn't moved very far after the hippos' death, which didn't really surprise me. I shouldn't think they were exactly light on their feet when they were alive; they're hardly likely to have done much scampering about when deceased. (Okay, I know he was probably thinking about tectonic plates wiggling about or some other kind of scientist stuff.)

Norfolk has always struck me as a weird kind of place. There seems to be something about England's flat bits (Norfolk, Lincolnshire, the Cambridgeshire Fens) that produces people who could move to rural Kentucky and blend in pretty seamlessly apart from the odd "Uhhhhhh, you guys talk real funny." comment. Maybe they're genetically predisposed to agoraphobia, and the fact that you can stand on a phonebook and see the whole county drives them nuts.

The last time I was there I had what politicians call "a frank exchange of views" with someone who not only believed that shooting burglars was fine as long as you remembered to feed the bodies to the pigs, but that the Saudis have the right idea, and it it "isn't brutal any more because they don't actually chop the hands off now, they just cut the tendons" so that they have these things flopping around like gloves hanging from a child's coatsleeves. I shut up after a while. I just had this feeling that I wouldn't have been the first visitor whose fancy ideas had caused him to end up inside a sausage.

Wednesday, June 30, 2004

Dual-purpose Dick

Apparently today's the third aniversary of Dick Cheney being fitted with a "dual-purpose pacemaker". Dual-purpose how? High-speed setting for sex or the need to flee from an angry mob? Super-low-speed setting so you can hibernate through those depressing winter months? Is there a little switch somewhere, or is it smarter than that? Or does it have two completely different functions? Great marketing ploy. "Not only will it keep you alive, Dick, it's also an MP3 player. And you won't believe the bass you get. Uhuh, straight through the ribcage. Awesome. But don't give the remote control to people who don't like you."

Thursday, June 24, 2004

GCSE Similes - from actual essays

(I thought we could all use some guidance in adding colour and originality to our writing. And thanks to Sooz for sending me this.)

His thoughts tumbled in his head, making and breaking alliances like underpants in a tumble dryer.

The ballerina rose gracefully en pointe and extended one slender leg behind her, like a dog at a lamppost.

McMurphy fell 12 stories, hitting the pavement like a paper bag filled with vegetable soup.

Her hair glistened in the rain like nose hair after a sneeze.

Her eyes were like two brown circles with big black dots in the centre.

Her vocabulary was as bad as, like, whatever.

He was as tall as a six-foot-three-inch tree.

The hailstones leaped from the pavement, just like maggots when you fry them in hot grease.

Long separated by cruel fate, the star-crossed lovers raced across the grassy field toward each other like two freight trains, one having left York at 6:36 p.m. travelling at 55 mph, the other from Peterborough at 4:19 p.m. at a speed of 35 mph.

The politician was gone but unnoticed, like the full stop after the Dr. on a Dr Pepper can.

John and Mary had never met. They were like two hummingbirds who had also never met.

The thunder was ominous sounding, much like the sound of a thin sheet of metal being shaken backstage during the storm scene in a play.

The red brick wall was the colour of a brick-red crayon.

Even in his last years, Granddad had a mind like a steel trap, only one that had been left out so long it had rusted shut.

The door had been forced, as forced as the dialogue during the interview portion of Family Fortunes.

The plan was simple, like my brother Phil. But unlike Phil, this plan just might work.

The young fighter had a hungry look, the kind you get from not eating for a while.

Oh, Jason, take me!" she panted, her chest heaving like a student on 99p-a-pint night.

He was as lame as a duck. Not the metaphorical lame duck either, but a real duck that was actually lame. Maybe from stepping on a land
mine or something.

Her artistic sense was exquisitely refined, like someone who can tell butter from "I Can't Believe It's Not Butter."

She had a deep, throaty, genuine laugh, like that sound a dog makes just before it throws up.

It came down the stairs looking very much like something no one had ever seen before.

The knife was as sharp as the tone used by Glenda Jackson MP in her first several points of parliamentary procedure made to Robin Cook MP, Leader of the House of Commons, in the House Judiciary Committee hearings on the suspension of Keith Vaz MP.

The revelation that his marriage of 30 years had disintegrated because of his wife's infidelity came as a rude shock, like a surcharge at a formerly surcharge-free cashpoint.

The dandelion swayed in the gentle breeze like an oscillating electric fan set on medium.

It was a working class tradition, like fathers chasing kids around with their power tools.

He was deeply in love. When she spoke, he thought he heard bells, as if she were a dustcart reversing.

She was as easy as the Daily Star crossword.

She grew on him like she was a colony of E. coli and he was room-temperature British beef.

She walked into my office like a centipede with 98 missing legs.

Her voice had that tense, grating quality, like a first-generation thermal paper fax machine that needed a band tightened.

It hurt the way your tongue hurts after you accidentally staple it to the wall.

Wednesday, June 23, 2004

I've been feeling a little weird lately Posted by Hello


I'm going to take a leaf out of Libertybob's book and apologise for both the quality and quantity of the stuff on here recently. I'm busy right now, both doing my day job and trying to get married, which seems very complicated these days. When I was young all you had to do was give your bride's dad a couple of Irish Elk steaks, beat up her brothers, then carry her off and shag in a cave.

Tuesday, June 15, 2004

See Ya Later, Alley-gater

I turned on the radio in the car this morning in time to hear a politician using the word "alligator", which is not a word you hear all that often the U.K., and hardly ever in the House of Commons. If you do hear it there's normally a zoo-keeper talking about a small child and something going Tragically Wrong.

Much to my disappointment, she went on to talk about the policy of cutting down on mugging and burglary in poor urban areas by fitting locked gates to the alleys that run behind and between the houses. Apparently ruffians commit crimes and then scamper off between the back yards to make good their escape. The "alley-gates" (and here you see my understandable mistake, particularly with my hearing being a bit dodgy following years of standing too close to over-enthusiastic drummers, it's those fucking ride cymbals I blame) hamper the rapscallions and make capture more likely.

It would of course be more effective and, dare I say it, infinitely more satisfying if there were indeed real alligators in the back yards, ready to bite off and eat the legs of fleeing hooligans, but I'm sure there would be the usual pathetic "concerns over safety". Rubbish. If we have to sacrifice the occasional toddler to ensure that muggers are eaten, or at least well and truly shortened, it's a price worth paying, I’d say.

Wednesday, June 09, 2004


At lunchtime today I got into a discussion about doorstepping Christians, I said:

A while back, just before Christmas every year I used to be visited by the same two Jehovah's Witnesses. The conversation always went like this:

Them: "We don't celebrate Christmas. Do you know why?"

Me: "It's because it's actually a pagan festival."

Them: "No! It's because it's actually a pagan festival. Oh. Anyway, that's why we don't celebrate Christmas. Because it's actually a pagan festival."

Me: "I do celebrate Christmas because it's actually a pagan festival. I'm a big fan of giving people presents, eating and drinking far too much, watching crap T.V. and snogging. I'd hate to spoil it with all that Baby Jesus bollocks. Merry Christmas."

Then I used to smile sweetly and close the door. Gently.

That'll do, Ron. Ron.

I've been surprised by the amount of praise Ronald Reagan's received over the last couple of days. Even when he was still in power it was clear that he didn't know what day it was, which perhaps explains why he seemed to get on so well with Thatcher, who moved seamlessly from malevolence to baying at the moon during her period in office. Nobody seemed to mind that the man with control of The Button had to be told "first your socks, then your shoes". I suppose they figured that if he got a little playful the hardware would just whoosh off and land on Communists and brown people.

One of the things Reagan is credited with is that he somehow helped to bring about the collapse of Communism and / or the Soviet Union, which apparently is a Good Thing. I'm not entirely sure how he's supposed to have influenced that chain of events, unless there's some secret link between chin-dribble and the economic aspirations of the Eastern Bloc that I'm unaware of, but apparently Ron was instrumental in helping the peoples of Eastern Europe to achieve their desperately awaited social, economic, political and spiritual destiny. Which was being able to own a colour T.V. and buy cars that weren't made out of waterproofed cardboard. On the downside, of course, they now also have rising unemployment, street violence, street beggars, organised crime, and all the other things we've always had in The West but we somehow neglected to tell them about. They wanted to be like us, and they are. They're like very very poor Americans.

That's their downside in all this, but how does it affect us? Well, we have a large market into which we can sell all the dodgy old crap that we can't get rid of anywhere else except Africa, and we can lend them money at exciting rates of interest. Our downside is that, should our interests ever diverge to the extent that somebody might get killed, instead of one state run by experienced politicians, we'll have to contend with about two dozen little states run by lunatics. And still with nukes.

So on balance I'm not sure about Ron's legacy. And I've never seen it, but I'm told the film with the monkey is really quite bad.

Friday, June 04, 2004

It Was Twenty Years Ago Today

No, not Sgt. Pepper, McCartney, you undoubtedly talented but irritatingly smug doe-eyed twat. (Incidentally I've often wondered how such a good bass player could bear to work with Ringo. As the old but splendid gag goes "Let's face it, Ringo wasn't the best drummer in the world. He wasn't even the best drummer in the Beatles." Ringo and Charlie Watts. The luckiest men on the planet.)

Anyway, twenty years ago today, "Born in the USA" was released. I use to be a big Springsteen fan, something I now look back on with a sort of dismayed, embarrassed disbelief, the same set of emotions that I have to apply to flares, striped tank-tops, mullets and Mateus Rose. Oh, and silver crushed velvet T-shirts with bell sleeves. I was working in Boston in Lincolnshire at the time, and had a seventy-mile drive (each way) so I got to listen to a lot of tapes. Boston is the home to St. Botoph's church, better known as Boston Stump, which always looks to me as if it really needs bats and lightning to truly set it off. But I digress. I used to hurtle past the tulip fields of Spalding in my Fiat Regatta to the sound of "Blinded By the Light". And we had a goldfish called Bruce.

I don't quite remember how it all fizzled out, but I stopped listening to The Boss. (I have nothing of his on CD.) Last year I watched a documentary on the making of "The Wind", the album Warren Zevon just managed to finish before cancer finished him. There are some celebrity guests on the album (Ry Cooder, Don Henley, Joe Walsh, Jackson Browne, Tom Petty) because everyone knew it would be the last thing Zevon did and they wanted to pay their respects. There's a sequence where everyone's sitting around in the control room. The door opens slowly, and in walks Brucie.

It's difficult to do justice to the expression on Springsteen's face, but it was along the lines of :"I know, I know! You can hardly believe your eyes. Don't worry, you're not crazy. I know you didn't really believe someone of my stature would guest on your album, but here I am! Touch me if you want. Suck my dick. Go on, you know you want to." Something like that.

Brucie then proceeded to prance about with his Telecaster while dubbing onto "Disorder In The House" one of the worst guitar solos I've ever heard.

And I thought "I don't like this man any more. He's a wanker."

So, one more example of the Grim Reaper's wacky sense of humour (the best example being the fact that Keith Richards is still drawing breath):

Why Hendrix and not Clapton?
Why Lennon and not McCartney?

Why Zevon and not Springsteen?

Ah-ooh! Werewolves of London.

Thursday, June 03, 2004


...that have made me strangely uneasy recently.

1. Wondering what to buy Sooz for her birthday. (It's tomorrow.)

2. People with the letter "v" in the middle of their name. (Kevin, Gavin, Mervyn, Trevor and so on.) But not "David", that's okay.

3. Approaching green traffic lights at fairly high speed.

4. The big wind-powered electricity generator thing at the side of the M25.

5. Driving under planes taking off from / landing at Heathrow.

6. Standing in a queue between two very tall people.

7. Choosing the shortest queue only to realise that the person at the front is an imbecile who's never bought stuff on his own before.

8. Carrying a roll of gift-wrap paper in one of those big plastic bags with the handle sort of at the side.

9. Going into McDonalds

10. Chipmunks. They sell them in the pet-shop across the road. It's hard to explain. They're sort of fast and squirmy.

Wednesday, June 02, 2004


I promised to post another true hamster story. Here it is, and it's really sad.

Once upon a time there was a little girl called Lois, who happens to be almost my step-daughter. Lois had a hamster called Nibbles. Nibbles died. Nibbles was found with her little paws locked in a rodenty little death-grip round the bars of her cage. Rigor mortis had set in, and the only way Lois's mummy could get Nibbles out of the cage was to break Nibbles's little fingers.

At the funeral, Lois suddenly realised that she'd never been photographed with Nibbles. In the days when decapitation was considered to be the punishment of choice, heads were sometimes sewn back onto bodies so that a last portrait could be painted. In a similar manner Lois, face trembling with a brave little smile, was photographed holding a stiff liitle hamster with broken knuckles.

Hey - "Knuckles" is a good name for a hamster.


I phoned Hertford County Court to see why my Decree Absolute hadn't come through. They told me it had been approved on May 14th but they'd forgotten to send me the paperwork, or in fact tell me about it at all. So I've been single for over two weeks!

Anyway, I'm not getting married until August, so if anyone's at all interested in entertaining but ultimately empty and meaningless sex during the next couple of months, just let me know.

Oh, hi Sooz. Ow. Ow.

Tuesday, June 01, 2004

The Terrible Thing That Happened

I bet you were just thinking "I wish someone would tell me a true story involving a little girl and her hamster". I'm going to do better than that, I'm going to tell you two.

Once upon a time there was a little girl called Caitlin, who happened to be my daughter. And still is. And will continue to be as long as she goes along with the arranged marriage I have planned for her. Caitlin had two pets: Barley the cat and Amber the hamster. (And Jem the snail, but she wasn't a real pet. She just sat in a matchbox for a couple of days and went all sort of crispy.)

Amber lived in a cage on top of Caitlin's wardrobe. It was a kid's wardrobe, so Amber's cage was about four feet off the ground. Amber was as happy as not-very-bright animals who have a vague feeling that the long corridor they run down all day might really be some kind of wheel thing can get. Sometimes when Barley the cat was locked in the kitchen Amber would be taken out of her cage and cuddled, which she didn't mind.

One night, Caitlin ran, sobbing, into her Mummy and Daddy's room. "Something Terrible has happened." she cried. Her Daddy went into her room. Amber's cage was not on top of the wardrobe, but lying upside down in Caitlin's toybox, sawdust and hamster-poo was scattered all over the floor. The cage door, thankfully, was still shut.

Now Barley the cat was nowhere to be seen, but circumstantial evidence suggests that he leapt at the cage and hung onto the wire, pulling it off the wardrobe and into the toybox. Barley, frightened by the racket, made a run for it and was probably out through the cat-flap and half-way across the garden before Caitlin even woke-up.

Amber seemed to be okay after the Terrible Thing, but after a day or two she started to develop personality problems. She started to try to bite Caitlin when she was allowed out of the cage, and it eventually got to the stage where it was like trying to cuddle a chainsaw (albeit a very small, fluffy and relatively quiet one.) In the end if anyone approached the cage, Amber would fling herself at the bars and try to bite through them, her eyes red with bloodlust. And Caitlin didn't want to play with Amber any more.

Tomorrow I will tell you about Lois and her hamster "Nibbles".

Road Rage

Friday, seven p.m. Travelling along the A1(M) towards London, just about to go into Hatfield Tunnel. I'm doing about eighty, (fairly sedate for the A1(M)) in the middle lane, overtaking a car in the inside lane. A car comes up on the outside to overtake me. He's probably doing around eighty-five. Fair enough. I watch him pull ahead.

When he's about twenty-five yards ahead of me, a three-series BMW comes past me so fast I don't even notice him in the mirror before he's gone. He comes up behind the bloke who's just overtaken me, hurtles up to within a half a car-length of his back bumper, and has to brake so hard that there's a puff of smoke from the tyres before the ABS kicks in. He swerves into the middle lane ahead of me, floors the throttle, and he's gone. It's the most arrogant, aggressive and plain stupid piece of driving I've seen in thirty years on the road. Luckily the poor bastard who's just missed being tailgated at a hundred and thirty doesn't do anything dopey (in fact, he doesn't really have time.)

Even though I'm alone in the car, I go "Whoooh!" and do that shaky-head "I don't know..." thing. I look in the mirror just in case there's a police car in pursuit, but BMW-man's not being chased, he's just having fun. I drive on at a steady eighty, half-hoping to see the wrecked BMW in flames on the hard shoulder, but, sadly, no.

Friday, May 28, 2004

Word for the day

Sofamole (n). Like a couch potato, but fluffier.

Thursday, May 27, 2004

Silver Lining

Charles Saatchi said today that he was "excited" at the opportunities for pushing back the boundaries of modern art made possible by the fire at the warehouse storing his collection. He told us "Much of the collection seemed avant-guarde and daring at the time I bought it, but things move rapidly in the art world, and, frankly, Tracey Emin's work "Everyone I have Ever Slept With 1963-95" (for example) had begun to seem quite dull and traditional. I feel that the fire has actually given us freedom to move forward."

He went on "On the basis that matter can neither be created nor destroyed, you could argue that the artworks are still there, if in a different form (a pile of ash). Surely only a philistine would argue that the works need to remain in their original shape and texture to retain validity. Or value. Of course it might be thought that the true essence of the work was in fact contained in the smoke and gases which were released in the fire, the "soul" of the collection if you like. I have some sympathy with that view myself, but unfortunately we don't have any of the smoke. If we had some, and therefore could auction it to obscenely rich cretins for laughable amounts of money, I'd be much keener on the concept."

Brian Sewell, the London Evening Standard's art critic, said. "It's fabulous. People living downwind of the fire have inhaled art worth millions of pounds; I know several collectors who are already bidding for lungs. It's the most exciting way of making art accessible to the public I've ever seen. Of course the fire itself was a most impressive piece of performance art, and Damien (Hirst) has approached the Fire Brigades Union to see if they'll let him cut one of the firefighters in half. They said they'd get back to him."

Mr. Saatchi described the idea proving to be most popular with the general public, that the ashes be moulded into a two-ton block and dropped from the top of Canary Wharf onto Brian Sewell, as "pedestrian".

Stickers (2)

A while ago I started foaming at the mouth about "Baby On Board" stickers.

This morning on the way to work I see one that reads "Small Person On Board". I begin to retch. There's no alternative. I overtake on a blind bend and pull in in front, forcing the bastard to stop. I leap from the car, intending to scream abuse at the driver for his sheer twee-ness.

The car door opens, and there in front of me, boots still smouldering from being shot from the cannon, head criss-crossed with the pattern of the safety-net mesh, clothes still damp from landing in the Thames the first couple of shots, is a midget in full clown make-up.

He pulls a piece of four-by-two from the car and gives me a sound drubbing.

And that's why I was late for my eight o'clock meeting.

Wednesday, May 26, 2004

Secret World

I've always had a thing about the quantity and variety of Hidden Stuff. What I mean is this: we're all aware of the limitations of our senses (obviously some of us are more limited than others, and I've met people who are so limited they're certifiably dangerous). Over the centuries we've made machines to allow us to compensate for those limitations, either by taking an existing sense and improving it (telescopes and microscopes), or by turning the Hidden Stuff into something that can be identified by an existing sense (Geiger counters allow us to hear radiation. Obviously we can also identify radiation by throwing up, watching our hair and teeth fall out and producing three-headed children, but that's more of a long-term thing. Geiger counters are probably the preferred option, even though they make a curiously irritating noise.)

Anyway, the point I'm labouring towards is this: WHAT THE FUCK ELSE MIGHT BE OUT THERE?! Not that I'm panicky about it or anything, but there must be all kinds of weird Hidden Stuff. All around. Everywhere. Take a rock, for example. Try to list its attributes. Big. Heavy. Grey. Hard. Dense. Lichen-covered. Foop.

Foop? Yeah, foop. I don't claim to fully understand it, what it is or what it does, but I'm telling you, the world would be a very different place if we didn't have foop. Do all rocks have foop? Of course they do, that's the most important thing about rocks. Big? Grey? Heavy? Not important. Foop, mate, that's what's important. What do you mean you can't see it? You didn't see the radiation either, did you, baldy? If you're going to argue you can take that ugly three-headed kid of yours and fuck right off.

And what if it applies to man-made objects? Cities, for example. You and I might not see the point of, say, Leicester, but, not so fast! If it wasn't for Leicester's emissions of thok, well, who knows what might happen? And what if it applies to people!? You might think that Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott (to take a random example) is a pointless, ugly, short-tempered, obese tub of lard. Maybe so, but it's only the amount of slub John emits that stops the Universe tearing itself apart! Think of it! There might be a point to Celine Dion!

Depressing thought, that.

Friday, May 21, 2004


I've made the serious mistake of trying to be clever and "improve" the template of my blog. And now all the comments from my chums have disappeared. Damn. Also, when you try and add a comment it asks you for passwords and stuff. You can add comments anonymously, even though it says you can't on the comment screen.

We hates it forever.

Thursday, May 20, 2004

Terminal Velocity

Apparently the well-established Middle Eastern tradition of firing shots randomly into the air in a fit of exuberance is extremely dangerous and the descending bullets can cause serious injury.

What's even more dangerous is when the bullets don't actually fall back to earth but become lodged in the floor of an Apache full of extremely nervous morons with itchy trigger fingers. To paraphrase Alanis: "It's just like several thousand rounds of heavy-machinegun fire on your wedding day." Isn't it ironic? Don't you think?

Shoulda Known Better

I've been trying new templates 'n' stuff and it's all gone horribly wrong. Bear with me while I try to come to terms with my technical ineptitude.

Thanks, Jim...

Listened to BBC Radio Four's "Today" programme on the way to work this morning. Presenter James Naughtie was talking seriously to a journalist about the possible fire service strike. "You can't do that willy-nilly", he said. "That would be silly." There was a split second where you could hear him struggling with himself. He couldn't resist. "Silly-willy-nilly" he said triumphantly. There was an outbreak of cackling from the studio team.

Cheered me up, that did.

Friday, May 14, 2004


I'm second in the queue at W.H. Smith, clutching my copy of The Guardian and a bottle of Lemon Fanta. The person in front of me is buying a paperback costing £8.99. He decides to pay by debit card. The cashier tries to swipe the card, but it's worn or dirty and it doesn't work. He types in the card number and the expiry date. The card is rejected. He peers at the till, then the card. There's a brief discussion with the customer, during which the cashier realises he's typed in the wrong expiry date. He tries again. The card-reader communicates with the Mother Ship or whatever the fuck it does. We stand and wait.

After about thirty seconds there's a curiously annoying beeping sound and the till cranks out a signature slip. The customer signs. The cashier checks the signature and hands the customer his copy. Then they go through pretty much the same routine with the "loyalty card". The customer wants to check to see how many points he has. The cashier isn't sure how to do it. He calls a supervisor. The transaction continues...

I've now been standing here with my newspaper, my bottle of fizz and my five pound note for about five minutes. Veins are standing out on my forehead. (I can't see them, but I know they're there.) Sooz has wandered off, because she knows that if she looks at my puffed-up cross little face she'll start to laugh out loud, and then, well, then the killing will start.

So here's my point. USE CASH, YOU BASTARDS!!! Cash transaction for an £8.99 paperback - what do you reckon? Fifteen seconds? I can count pretty well, I can even give the right money sometimes, and then it's even quicker! What's so wrong with that?

I know that shops don't like holding large amounts of cash, which is why they like doing that "cash-back" thing which adds even more time to card transactions, but Hard Fucking Luck. (The other reason retailers don't like cash is that they're afraid their employees will steal it. Well, I know this is revolutionary, but how about paying these poor fucks a decent living wage so they don't have to steal to buy food for their ugly malnourished babies?. (Just a thought.)

And tell me, who does use cash? Little old people, that's who. No wonder they're always being mugged. All of you out there have the responsibility of diverting the attention of the criminal classes away from my mother and back to you. Okay, so you run the risk of having a hundred quid or so taken from your wallet, but at least you'll have saved a little old silver-haired Irish lady from a kicking, and also you may well have avoided that walk to the nearest ATM with a knife in your ribs and your underpants full of poo. Price worth paying, I'd have thought.

Thursday, May 13, 2004

Too busy... post today, but this is splendid. Thanks are due to Miss Dorothy for sending me this.

Wednesday, May 12, 2004

Vacancy: Dictator Wanted

I'm in something of a quandary over the situation in Iraq. (A quandary's a sort of luxurious state you can afford to be in when you're several thousand miles away from a problem and no gives a shit about your opinion anyway.) My mind's a-whirl with unanswered questions:

What the hell should we do out there? Why did we get involved in the first place? What convinced Tony that he should play monkey to G.W. Organgrinder? When it was obvious that a majority of people in the U.K. were firmly against getting into this mess, what the fuck, not to put too fine a point on it, happened to democracy? Why are we prepared to hold referenda on things that don't matter and not on things that do? In the future, are we going to just kill people we think are threatening us, or do we intend to try to kill all the bad people in the world? And if we are, shouldn't we all have Special Powers, capes and tight boots? (I'm wearing my underpants outside my trousers already. In fact I started doing that in 1988. Different pants, obviously. I'm not altogether brutish.)

The thing is, I don't see how we can pull out of Iraq in the near future, purely on the basis that, as we fucked it up, we have to stay until it's fixed, and that means more money, more lies, more guilt, evasion, bluster and plain old-fashioned politicking, and, more importantly, lots more dead young people. And if, as is beginning to seem likely, the only way to maintain any kind of order in Iraq is to employ Saddam-like tactics and most of the people who worked for him, why don't we just give him his old job back?

Tuesday, May 11, 2004


Coming to work this morning I ended up behind a car with a sticker in the back window which read "Twins On Board". Now apart from the fact that it was early in the morning, and therefore I was probably a bit grumpy to begin with, why did that drive me into a rage? In fact, it infuriated me far more than twice as much as simple "Baby On Board" stickers.

There's only one point to these bloody stickers, and that's to declare "We've got a baby and we're very proud". I've nothing against that sentiment, but I'd like to point out to these morons that lots of people, many of them extremely stupid and some of them genuinely evil, also have babies. Nobody's impressed. Have a sticker reading "Nobel Prize Winner" in your car and people will be impressed.

And anyway, what about the tragically childless couples who see the sticker? Why not have a sign saying "High Sperm Count" to really piss them off? Or better still, "Sterile? Losers." Or "You Will Die Unloved And Alone And Be Eaten By Your Own Cats."

Maybe it's not malicious but just a lifestyle statement of some kind. I suppose it's no worse than the "funny" stickers, most of which seem to have disappeared, thankfully. Remember rusting Fords with "My Other Car Is A Porsche" in the back window? Hey listen you imbecile, try replacing it with "I'm Ashamed Of My Car And Have No Perceptible Sense Of Humour"; or "I'm The Kind Of Person Who Buys "I Came All The Way To London And All I Got Was This Lousy T-shirt" T-shirts" Both of those will improve your credibility.

Feel better now.

Wednesday, May 05, 2004

No Cause For Alarm

On Saturday Soo calculates that it's just thirteen weeks until the wedding. For some reason (I think it's suddenly measuring it in weeks instead of months) this fills us with terror and we run squealing round and round the kitchen for a few minutes, until Cassie slaps us and makes us take deep breaths. We sit there rocking and trembling.

In fact, when we calm down enough to think about it properly, it's not that bad. True, the marquee hasn't been hired, the dress is still to be designed and made, the rings have yet to be chosen, the invitations haven't been sent. Oh, and my Decree Absolute hasn't come through yet, which could be a bit of a show-stopper.

However, the invitations are about half done - another week should do it. All the other stuff (apart from the rings, which I keep forgetting about) is "ongoing" and on track, and Raff, who's making the dress, will be here on Sunday.

On Sunday Raff and Peter arrive for lunch, after which Peter and I are sent into the living room to chat while Raff and the girls pore over designs and fabrics. We cover a wide range of subjects from touring in Ireland to opera, with a soundtrack of excited squeaking coming from the kitchen.

Sounds like Raff's done a good job so far.

Tuesday, May 04, 2004

Remember when...

...Donny loved Saddam? I think it's important to remember these things.

Saturday, May 01, 2004

Floating nudists

Sooz put me onto this site, which is quite scary. The other site, which reckons that war in the Middle East is being orchestrated by fundamentalist nuts in the U.S. to hurry Armageddon along a bit, is also interesting.

Have a good weekend - I'll see you at God's right hand.

Friday, April 30, 2004


Willie Nelson's seventy-one today. Which is surprising, because I thought he was at least ninety already. Let's face it, he looks like Ingrid Pitt at the end of "Countess Dracula", when she's run out of virgins.

However, I reckon that when I'm seventy-one I'll look like John Gielgud, about which I''m not altogether happy.

And hey, we forgot Saddam! Sixty-seven on Wednesday; I'll wager when he was my age he didn't expect to spend his sixty-seventh birthday eating cake laced with the C.I.A.'s finest mind-controlling drugs.

Tell you what, though; he's in better shape than Willie.

Thursday, April 29, 2004

When A Plan Comes Together

A spokesman for Surrey Police today stoutly defended the arrest of a Reigate man on suspicion of involvement in terrorist activity. Detective Inspector Bill Filth, interviewed on this programme, denied that the authorities had "over-reacted" in arresting the man, who is believed to be of Arab origin, but cannot be named for legal reasons.

Acting on a tip-off, police carried out a raid at three a.m. yesterday morning, taking the man into custody and seizing what they described as "incriminating video evidence" and "bomb-making equipment". Detective Inspector Filth told us "The videos are really quite alarming. There are 94 of them, and they show how to make lethal weapons out of simple household items. The cocoa-tin, inner-tube and bread-bin grenade-launcher could devastate Central London, once the Coke-cans filled with exploding stuff made from weird things at the back of the fridge were ready. As for the bomb-making equipment, well, you tell me what else a battery, an alarm clock and a pair of pliers could be used for."

D.I. Filth described the claims made by the man's family that he merely had an unhealthy obsession with the 1980s T.V. show "The A-Team" as "ridiculous". He remarked "I've been in the policing game for twenty years, and I've yet to meet an Arab with any interest in that T.V. programme. They all think it's shit."

A White House spokesman described the arrest as "an encouraging development in the War against Terror", and promised that "a really nice present" was on the way to Mr. Blair.


How can they do this without mentioning the Tap?

Wednesday, April 28, 2004

Saturday 24/04/04 Part Two

We arrive at The Royal Seven Stars hotel. When I worked in Devon I had an apartment in a village a few miles from Totnes, and I used to walk past this hotel at least a couple of times a week. I never went in. All I can say is that it looked okay on the website. If all you care about is old, then you'd be happy. Reception is a little window with a grumpy old lady behind it.

We check in, get our keys and find our room. The room's just about the right side of okay, in that it has a large window, a double bed and a television set. In one corner they've built the smallest hotel bathroom I've ever been in, so small that there's no room for the basin, which is on the bedroom wall. (No, no, inside.) If my feet were one size bigger I wouldn't be able to turn round without taking my shoes off. There's a sign stuck to the toilet cistern warning against putting "undigested products" down it, (no really), together with the information that if you fuck up their toilet they'll add £200 to your bill.

We look around. "Decor by Stevie Wonder", perhaps? Well, no, because he would at least have heard the complaints and used a different colour sheme. We decide on "Decor by Helen Keller Interiors Ltd." I know I'm being unfair: some people find bright red carpet relaxing. And if you keep your eyes closed the textures are really quite nice.

Shrek the Sheep

I listened to an item about this this morning. Apparently the fugitive doesn't realise that he's a sheep and doesn't know that he can eat grass. The interviewer failed to ask the obvious question, so we still don't know what he did eat for six years. My own view is that Shrek turned cannibal, and all those dogs that were shot for attacking sheep were totally blameless.

Saturday 24/04/04 Part One

M25, M3, A303, then first stop Stonehenge. Major accident blackspot on the A303 here. You come over the brow of a hill, the road goes from four lanes to two, and hey, look everybody, there's Stonehenge over there on the right. Bang. Not this time, though.

Four quid each to get close to the stones, which we're too tight to pay, having been here before. In any case, the eight quid only entitles you to get within about forty feet of the circle. Unless you're a fully-paid-up card-carrying druid, of course; then they let you in a couple of times a year to skip around doing druiding and stuff. I realise that it's impossible for me to look at Stonehenge without thinking of Spinal Tap, in the same way that I can't hear the William Tell Overture without thinking of the Lone Ranger. For some reason I find this slightly annoying. Sooz takes some photos through the fence and we get back on the road.

A303, M5, A38, next stop the Dartington Cider Press craft centre. When I lived in Devon ten years ago this place was just a toyshop, a pottery and a bunch of disused farm buildings by the side of the river. Now there's a whole business development with about ten different shops or galleries, a tearoom, and a large car park. Some of the stuff is fabulous - the wood-turning gallery has beautiful things errm, turned out of errm, wood. Expensive, but as each fruit bowl probably represents a day's work £150 is pretty realistic. However, Sooz and I belong to the school of thought that believes that money spent on anything but alcohol is pretty much money wasted, so we don't buy anything. Hang on, I forgot guitars. Money spent on guitars isn't wasted either. We don't agree on that one, though.

Some of the shops aren't selling handmade products; they're full of Global Hippy Tat; you know, all those drums and dreamcatchers and scented candles that are churned out in some huge factory, probably owned by Richard Branson. By the way: hands up all of you who bought albums from Virgin Records back in the 70s were stupid enough to think that Branson was a hippy and were astonished to find that he was in reality a venture capitalist with long hair and a beard. Yup, me too.

Next stop Totnes.

Friday, April 23, 2004

Shakin' Strategy

A couple of months ago at a dinner party, a man I hardly know did the old Alpha-male-death-grip-handshake-squeeze thing on me, and it hurt. Now frankly, being a permanently irritable but physically quite gentle man, I can't begin to understand why people do this, but anyway, I was pissed off for a number of reasons.

Firstly, I'd met this wankstain before, and he'd done it to me then, too, but I'd forgotten. Secondly, he's a taxidermist, and on basic principles I'm not entirely sure I want to shake hands with someone who makes a living sticking his hands inside dead things. Thirdly, the first time he did it I promised myself that if it happened again I'd get even in some way, and because of the social pressure to behave in a polite manner, I didn't.

Now, this bloke's a sort of a friend of a friend, and there's a possibility that I'll meet him again, and be expected to shake hands. I've been considering the options:

1) Shake hands and immediately headbutt him full in the face, smashing his nose into a pre-op Michael Jackson size and shape, saying "Oh, I'm so sorry, but I just have this sort of reflex thing. That happens whenever anyone squeezes my hand very hard."

2) Shake hands and immediately knee him in the bollocks, using the explanation above.

3) Shake hands and use a technique I learnt in my martial arts days to snap both his wrist bones like sticks of barley-sugar. Say "Oh I'm so sorry, but when I'm in a lot of pain my old S.A.S. training just kicks right in. It's permanently embedded in the hippocampus, you know."

(All of the above are perhaps a little extreme.)

4) Shake hands and lean forward to kiss him full on the lips, with tongues if possible. Murmur "Oh, you big strong thing, you..." (Need to be ready to block his left hook with this one.)

5) Shake hands and scream as loudly as possible "What the fuck are you doing, you horrid taxidermist? That really hurts. What's your problem?"

6) Pretend I'm going to shake hands and then raise my hand to chest height and give him the finger.

7) Say "I'm not going to shake hands because the last time I did it you caused me a lot of pain by crushing my hand. Fuck knows why you feel you have to do it. If you have a small dick save up and buy a Ferrari."

8) Pretend not to notice that he wants to shake hands.

Now, it's a sad thing, but we all know that, much as I'd like to employ tactics 1 - 7 (particularly number 3), it's going to be number 8. Alternative strategies from any or all of you would be welcomed. With a warm and friendly handshake.

Which way to the Circus Skills Workshop?

Tomorrow morning Sooz and I are driving a couple of hundred miles to the town of Totnes in Devon for a few days' holiday. Let me tell you a few things about Totnes. It's made up of a quirky, pretty mixture of buildings, many of them Elizabethan in origin. At the top of the High Street it turns into a lane called The Narrows, where the houses and shops look the way Americans think all English houses look.

It's the lowest point at which you can cross the River Dart by bridge (further down you have to use the ferry.) Still further down, at the river mouth, is a town called Dartmouth. They were obviously a literal-minded bunch, those old Devonians, so why Totnes isn't called Dartbridge is a mystery to me.

The Kingsbridge Inn serves up baked potatoes the size of rugby balls. In the Guildhall you can sit at a table where Oliver Cromwell signed something or other.

It's also the Old Hippy capital of Devon.

To back up this claim I'm going to use the following piece of evidence. It's circumstantial, but if I were on a jury I'd go for it, especially if they also showed me Exhibit A. (a picture of the flotation tank in the Arcturus Centre in High Street.)

A few years back the local newspaper ran a story about a Totnes man who wanted to publicise the fact that he was eager to be contacted by people who were interested in forming a unicycle hockey league. Let me run that by you again. He didn't want to buy a unicycle. He wasn't trying to find someone to teach him how to ride a unicycle. He didn't expect to find one other person who could ride a unicycle and would be his little chum. This man confidently expected that there were in the Totnes area people who not only could ride a unicycle, but were skilled enough to play hockey while riding one. And that there were enough of them to form not just a team, but a league.

I rest my case.

(I'm not a great fan of the Circus Skills thing, and I still can't walk past a street mime without having the urge to kick him in the nuts, but at least I've mellowed enough to know that I'm not actually going to do it. For those of you over-familiar with right-wing blogs, be advised that here in the U.K. the terms "socialist", "liberal" and "hippy" are not interchangeable. Lefties here are generally much more enthusiastic about punching people in the mouth than you might think.)

Anyway, despite all the above, tomorrow I will be wheezing my way up Fore Street (I don't know how they do it, but it definitely gets five degrees steeper every year), gagging on the smell of patchouli and didgeridoo wax, hand in hand with ma baybeh, happy as a pig in shit.