Saturday, September 24, 2005


Thy say the Queen thinks the whole world smells of paint because every time she goes anywhere they redecorate a couple of days before the visit.

I think that the Queen always smells of wee, firstly because she's an old lady and secondly because nobody would ever have the nerve to tell her.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Organ Donors

There was an item on the radio last night concerning the shortage of organs available for transplant; apparently we're not keen on carrying donor cards ourselves and we're also a bit squeamish about the thought of our loved-ones' squidgy bits ending up inside some total stranger. There was a lot of discussion about how to change things, but no conclusion was reached. I have a suggestion.

In exchange for a signature on an organ donor card we give every seventeen-year-old boy in the country a motorbike and just enough tuition to make him over-confident.

"You need a liver? Come into the store-room with me, I'll pick you out a nice one."

Thursday, September 08, 2005


I hadn't been to Turre before, but Sooz had, and apparently it used to be a pleasant little town. Times change.

There's a lot of new building construction in Turre and as buildings going up look a lot like buildings coming down the first impression is that the town's been subjected to sporadic and inaccurate shellfire in the recent past. The air is hot and full of dust, and the skyline is ragged and unfinished and cross-hatched with cranes. Even half-finished, you can tell that the buildings aren't going to be pretty, although compared with most of the others along the Avenida de Almeria they don't have much to beat.

The supermarket shelves are stacked with HP sauce and Cup-a-Soup (although Sugar Puffs have been renamed "Globs", which is cheering for some reason I can't quite put my finger on.) Trolleys are being sulkily pushed round by grumpy fat blokes wearing Arsenal tops or by scrawny blondes with Croydon Facelifts*, big hoop earrings and those thong-height spinal tattoos which seem to be compulsory on stupid ugly loudmouthed women. One has a tattoo of a Smurf: classy. They communicate with each other by gobbling in a Sahf Lahndun dialect so untroubled by consonants that it could almost be Chinese, as in "I goh'ah noo tah'oo." They communicate with the checkout operators through a series of gestures and grunts. The Spaniards are poker-faced and surly, and who can blame them?

Some of these people are tourists, but most are expatriates who have sold up back home and have moved to Turre because property's cheap, it doesn't rain much and because there are so many other Brits you could spend the rest of your life without ever having to speak a single word of Spanish. Believe me, there is no other reason for wanting to live in Turre.

Our apartment is a couple of miles out of town and has a nice view of the Sierra Cabrera (on the far side of the inevitable golf course.) You can sit on the terrace with a beer and watch the moon come up over the hills, oblivious to the fact that Eastern European crooks have broken into an apartment at the other end of the block and are stripping it bare.

*For the benefit of my occasional Transatlantic visitors it is perhaps necessary to explain that a "Croydon Facelift" is the term used to describe the facial expression caused by wearing the hair in a dangerously tight ponytail, leading to the appearance of inexpertly performed cosmetic surgery and popularised by women in Croydon, a town in the South of England a visit to which is guaranteed to make you feel a surge of affection for your own town, no matter where you live. I would venture to suggest that a weekend in Croydon would even make Libertybob feel a measure of warmth towards Chicago.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Holiday Reading

I probably shouldn't confess to this, but on the basis that I may save someone from wasting time, I have to confess that last week, in a spirit of curiosity, I tried to read The Da Vinci Code. I'd already heard that it was poorly written, and while I'm nowhere near well enough educated to aspire to being a literary snob I have trouble with stuff that's clumsily put together. I'd also heard that it was worth persevering because of the "interesting" revelations and all that bollocks, so I thought I'd give it a go.

I was uneasy from the start, because any novel which introduces the character of a masochistic red-eyed albino assassin monk in the first chapter is unlikely to turn out to be Great Literature. By the time I got to the discussion of the multitude of significant hidden references to female spirituality in the work of Walt Disney my main regret was that the copy I was reading belonged to someone else so I couldn't throw it in the pool.

So for what it's worth, my opinion is pretty much as follows: clumsy prose, laughable one-dimensional characters, superficial research, complete lack of any wit or humour, predictable "revelations". On the plus side, uhhh, no, there isn't a plus side. To sum up in the words of the late Bill Hicks, "Piece of shit. Walk away."

I walked away. I didn't finish it. I neither know nor care What Happens At The End, nor do I want anyone to tell me the identity of The Teacher. Someone commented on a radio book programme that Dan Brown has "succeeded in lowering the bar when it comes to writing a novel", and that means that Suzie Creamcheese will probably now be encouraged to finish her book and find a publisher, and quite honestly a world where that can happen isn't one I want to live in.