Friday, 30 December 2011

Getting Old 2: then there'll be tears

'We're very sorry ladies and gentlemen, the next Richmond train is not
for another 15 minutes.'

Sod that for a game of soldiers. I'm out of work on time, there's a
match on telly and I've got a red wine thirst on.
Off the train at Turnham Green. TG terrace. Get to the T junction.
Sure it's quicker to turn right than left for the bus stop. Turn
right. Bullet across the High Road. Fast walk for the bus stop.

Getting old.

My R Whites secret lemonade drinking days are over.

Last night at the usual hour of midnight, I sneaked down stairs for my nocturnal fix of citrusy sugary pop. Naturally the light was off for fear of being discovered.

All was still. Somewhere a wolf howled. A distinct thud of the neighbour's size nine hitting fur. Somewhere a wolf whimpered.

Thursday, 29 December 2011

Navigating the Dead Zone

Some would say it's divinely right. Others would say it is pure coincidence. I would say it comes down to poor planning.
Mary Carpenter (your one out of the Joseph, Mary, baby Jesus and the donkey fame) claimed to have been a virgin. I'm not going to question the fact that as a married woman, she had not consummated her vows and whether legally this meant that she was married to Joseph nor the implications on the status of their child. Perhaps they were heading to Bethlehem for their honeymoon when whop! she was nine months pregnant. Joe was possibly still the worse-for-wear following the reception when much wine was turned into water and this possibly explains why he was searching for an inn and not a hotel when arriving in town with his heavily pregnant virgin bride. I should imagine that this led to some arguments between the newlyweds right up until they set up shop in a stable, thereby ensuring high December straw sales for evermore and a million illiterate Project Mangers with squiggly blue lines.

I am a fan of fiction and have read a fair amount but cannot claim to be familiar with either testament. However, as I understand it, the story goes that Mary was impregnated by God, apparently with the permission of a very understanding and hungover Joe. Let's not argue over the details, by the way, as they are not central to this post. I've never understood the appeal of Star Trek yet there are millions of Trekkies out there and we are able to live our lives harmoniously with our paths crossing but rarely. The crux of this biblical beginning - the Genesis of this blog, if you will - is that God chose to have Mary C. popping on the 25th of December, exactly one week before New Years Day.

This seems to be to very poorly planned. While I can understand the thinking, I cannot help but think that God has messed up his Gantt chart. 'Let New Years Eve fall but one day afore New Years Day? Perfect! Have a sherry. Now, wherefore shall one place the birth of the little baby Jesus? Late October? To fall equidistant between the August Bank Holiday and the New Year? Hmm, no. I can imagine that the Americans will get on their high horse about that once they have been invented and start giving thanks in late November. April? No, that will get in the way of Easter. Another sherry should help me think. What about in early February? Ah jesus, I've only gone and forgotten about Valentine's Day. Second Monday in May? Bugger. The French will go on strike as they've already got their workers' holiday then. Oi. OI! ALFIE!. Give me another sherry. In fact just leave the bottle; it's alright; here are my keys, I'll walk home when I've finished my calendar. It was Christmas Eve babe, in the drunk tank, an old man said to me, won't see another one. And then he sang a song; the rare old mountain dew, I turned my face away and dreamed about you. Dum dum dum dum dum dum dum dum dum-dum.

Time at the bar, ladies and gentlemen please. Oh God, come on, let's get you out of here. I bloody love you, Alfie. You're me best mate. Just let me sort out the birth of Christ and then I'm off. Have you got any pork scratchings? Ah sod it. The week before New Years Eve; that'll do. It'll give them all a week off work and they'll thank me for it in the end.

Fast forward a couple of thousand years and here we are approaching the end of the year of our Lord, 2011. This is the thirty-somethingth time I have had to consciously navigate the Dead Zone and I am pleased to report that we are almost there. Between the turkey wearing off and the first glass being poured on New Years Eve, this can often be the most trying time for families and factually results in more pointless arguments than at any other time of the calendar year. Today alone, early results from a MORI poll indicate that door slamming peaked at 3.20 this afternoon when half the nation stormed upstairs, indignant that Indiana Jones had been chosen over Big. This will result in a slight rush tomorrow morning as DIY stores across the globe sell out of one of the festive season's most popular items: wood glue. In some extreme cases where Big was overlooked by Indiana *and* the Angela Rippon dance with Morecombe and Wise was chosen ahead of the You've Been Framed Festive special, entire doors will need replacing. This will result in a peak in door sales the first Saturday in January as the entire population will first attempt to repair the doors with wood glue before resigning to the inevitable: the door needs replacing.

However, this year, I am particularly pleased with my Dead Zone Performance. This could be anacronymized into DZP though I will refrain from doing so as I will only use this term twice more in this blog and then never again for the rest of my days. To shorten Dead Zone Performance into a more manageable DZP would therefore actually cost me more time in the long run. If I thought it was going to be adopted on a national or even global scale along the lines of the anacronym gods (ASAP and OMG) then I would utilize DZP on a more frequent basis but it won't so nor will I.

My Dead Zone Performance has been of a highly proficient, close to professional, level this year. I have applied almost the perfect combination of alcohol, fresh air, food and friends and have therefore only lost one day (a mere 25% of post-turkey-wearing-off time) to the sofa and mundane televisual options. 'But there are almost two entire days to go, man. There's no way you should be making such mildly self-congratulatory and wild claims when you are only two-thirds of the way to the goal', I imagine you are thinking and you'd be right. Partly. Chronologically, your thoughts are accurate. It is 7.33pm on December 29th and there are indeed 52 and a half hours remaining before we sing something about auld acquaintances being forgotten (along with all the other words in the song) but I have a trump card up my sleeve as tomorow I am attending a New Years Eve Eve party and navigating the Dead Zone is almost complete. All that remains is for me to publish this post, put the laptop down and head downstairs for a celebratory beer. 2012 is in sight. See you then. Cheers.

Tuesday, 27 December 2011

Happy Christmas you arse

Was out with Martin tonight. Been a while but you catch up as best you
can. You try hard but the inevitable topics crop up; do you mention
the wedding you didn't invite them to? Do you avoid the party you know
they attended but you were missed off the guest list? Or do you just
plough on and forget the past, enjoy the present and try to ignore the

I have found my calling

I am sure that I am not the first person to see the light at
Christmas. While all around are celebrating the birth of the little
baby Jesus by stripping the high street of gadgets, toys and pestles
and mortars while pouring as many mince pies and pints down their
throats as they can manage, I have humbly found my path.

It is a noble trade which brings joy to millions. I will be revered in
the highest of high places and riches will bestow themselves upon me
as never before. I do not mean the riches of monetary craving though
this will undoubtedly be a by-product but the riches found in the love
and respect of those with whom I come into contact.

I have been drawn to the career of a car salesman. Not just any cars;
oh no. But cars which have been pre-loved. I passed my interview with
flying colours. I collected my disciple from a local train station,
his chariot of choice gently spluttering in an endearing manner. I
took him for a crawl through a traffic jam, ably demonstrating the
flexibility of first gear. I talked of how there are four other
forward gears which are equally useful. I drove him to my house and he
bought the car.

No haggling over price. No look under the bonnet. No kicking of the
tyres. No questioning whether the radio worked. Not. Even. A. Test.

I am the Golden Child. I'm going to start my own company.
IBuyAndThenSellAnyCar (DotCom). This time next year I'll be

Sunday, 25 December 2011


Jesus Christ it's hot. Maybe I'm blaspheming; maybe I'm
grammatically-incorrectly informing the big JHC of the temperature;
maybe I'm wondering whether you can be blasphemous if you don't
believe in JC, aitch or no aitch. Maybe I need to stop analysing
everything I write as it slows the story down.

Billy Connolly. He has nothing to do with this blog and he has only
just sprung to mind. He would/does/will tell a story which is
relatively simple. For example, in one of his earlier live sets from
when I was around eight or nine (perhaps not one of his earliest sets
but one of the earlier ones where his brogue had softened enough for
my non-Scottish ears to pick up sufficient words to understand), he
told a story which can be summarised thus:

1. Went to the football.
2. It was a local derby.
3. Strange twist of fate: ended up in with the opposing fans.
4. They bullied him into getting Bovril, several times.
5. They took his shoe from him to ensure he'd return with the Bovril.
6. Each time he returned and was given his shoe, there'd be a huge
jobby in it (his word, not mine).
7. Forced to put it on.
8. Game ends.
9. Bullied fan interviewed by local news and asked about the
difficulties of rivalries and fighting between fans.
10. Punchline: there will be no harmony between fans while they're
shitting in our shoes and we are pissing in their Bovril.

Ten lines for one joke. Probably took you a minute to read it? Not
even? Well done, have an apple. Slower? You're going to have to move
your finger quicker along the screen.

Billy Connolly spent the best part of 30 minutes telling this one joke
due to the number of tangents he departed on. He's known for this and
is very good at it. I should imagine that he either writes enough
material to cover 20 minutes and then naturally stretches it out to
the full 90 of a live set or he writes for 90 and the audience has to
call home to extend the baby-sitter to the following morning.

It appears that I suffer from the same affliction. While cosine and
sine are among my top three trigonometric functions, tangent seems to
be my number one.

So anyway. It's hot. I wouldn't expect it to be. Merry Christmas.

Saturday, 24 December 2011

Drunk Tank

Took the train to town today. Nothing massively unusual in that. I was merrily listening away to podcast after podcast, new recruit that I am to this whole podcasting thing, about 19 years after everyone else.

Took the train to town today and was listening away to a Friday Night Comedy, downloaded from Radio 4 because I am very well-to-do and that's the sort of radio station us well-to-do people listen to. My podcasting days are still very much in their infancy and are restricted to the output of the BBC. I am yet to stray to other podcasting sites as I am fearful of venturing to iTunes and catching iItis; a common disease of which the incurable symptoms appear to manifest themselves in the form of pods, phones, macs and pads.

I've dabbled, don't get me wrong. Leave an iPhone on the table in front of me and I'll be pinching and

Monday, 19 December 2011

Turns out Kim Jong was Il

Today I am sad as I have only just been made aware of the existence of
this site and now realise that it will be added to no longer; with the
possible exception of 'Kim Jong Il looking at the underside of a wooden lid'.

Kim Jong Il Looking at Things

This man could look like no other. Ask Rhod Gilbert.

Friday, 16 December 2011

Route 38

The long wait is nearly over. No longer will you have to go through that whole waiting-for-the-driver-to-actually-open-the-doors pain nor suffer from the old why-is-the-heating-on-its-mid-July adage as the solution to your problems is here.

From now on you can hop on, hop off, try to avoid the eye of the conductor and assure him that you have swiped your Oyster whilst travelling with the fresh London air wafting around the back of your knees;

"Boris's Wet Dream" is ready to roll.

According to the very reliable Labour spin machine, these puppies come in at a mere £1.3 million pounds each. That's the equivalent of 50 Priuses. Can't help thinking that they could have saved themselves the cost of redeveloping the Routemaster by just popping down to their local Toyota showroom and picking up 50 of the tree-hugging five seaters. They'd have probably got some sort of multi-buy discount and had them delivered to their home free of charge.

Passenger capacity would have risen from 126 (no standing on the upper deck or the stairs) to 200 though the ignominy of being spotted in a Prius may prevent the uptake.

I bet that you're reading this and planning your trip down to Victoria Station to be the first to ride the dream. Well, get to the back of the queue, sister, as I am there before you and I'm going to be riding the Road to Hackney long before you. Buses are expected every 12 minutes during peak hours so you're going to be 24 minutes behind me. Loser.

Thursday, 15 December 2011

Don't believe in the Non-believing Saint David

Today I ran out of coffee before 9am.
Today I ran out of tea before 11am.
This evening I've been in a right arsey mood for no apparent reason.

Whilst not being medically qualified in the traditional sense, I've always prided myself on my diagnostic skills. However, I have come completely unstuck on this one.

What could it be? What could it be that has caused me to send myself to bed early?

Thursday, 8 December 2011


Oof. Exciting times in the world of blogging.

As you'll have seen, I have been slowly getting to grips with this whole malarchy. My mum's fingers are getting ever more tired as she sews an increasing number of achievement badges to my uniform and the arms are nearly full.

Thus far I have earned my:
- Start your own blog badge
- work out what you want to write badge (this may have been awarded
precipitously but I'll get there in the end)
- write a blog with some photos in it badge
- 100 page views in a day badge
- 500 page views in a month badge
- readers in more than 10 countries badge (Russia, Germany and now
Brazil seem to be avid readers - hallo, bom dia and gooddayski to you
- Stephen Fry as a follower badge

And now, with a great fanfare, I have been awarded my first You've
Been Sensored Badge!

One avid reader contacted me to ask me to change a previous blog due to offence inadvertently caused and this is a momentous occasion indeed. The offending item has now been removed and harmony returns to blogworld.

I hope I don't offend anyone else as is this is not my intention. Should I ever cause offence, let me know and we can hug it out.

Now I will return to listening to my badge-inspired, early nineties
industrial music.

You won't take me / you won't break me and you'll never make me / step in line, step march in time. / Well you can violate my body but my soul is still mine. / You must think that I'm fucking stupid, man, / if you think I'm gonna hang with the program, some fool schedule. / I don't give a shit about what is or isn't cool.
/ I make the rules, / I stand alone / and if they try a tap I leave 'em hangin' on the telephone. / One of these days I'm gonna get sectioned...

...or live off the massive royalties and get less angry in my stately home.

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Warning: Melancholic Bridget Jones Diary Style Blog.

December the 6th.
19 days til Christmas.
11 more days of work.

Isn't it supposed to feel a bit like Christmas? By law, I should be out four to six times per week, catching up with all the people I haven't had a chance to see in the past 11 months.

My daily worries should revolve around which pub I am going to, when the last tube leaves (presumably it's pretty much the same every day though the alcohol always wipes those few bytes (1) of data from my
brain), how bad my hangover is going to be, how bad my hangover is, how to deal with my hangover and how long it is til I go to the pub and which pub I am going to, when the last tube leaves, etc etc.

December is supposed to whizz past in a blur of minimal productive work, a large bucket of booze and rocketing Alka Seltzer share prices until it spits you out the other side in front of a big plate of
turkey. And mince pies (2).

Mine has so far comprised of plasterers, plaster, plaster dust, EGR Valves, Map Sensors, a fantasy car, a dream car, a breaking-down car, car worries, HPI checks, a liver scan (4), floor scrubbing, sore shoulders, a battle with invisible mice and swollen woodwork (5). And
mince pies.

During the 139ish hours that the month which has the temerity to name to itself 'December' has been in existence, I have been to the pub. Once. And only consumed one pint. It was a great pint too. Made better by the incredible company and food. But one pint does not a festive month make (6). Thou shalt not spend all thy spare time thinking of
DIY and eschewing thy wine (7) as otherwise you'll be able to stomach
your turkey without the merest hint of nausea (8).

But, how will you rectify this, I hear you think.

And quite right you are to ponder this though be a little careful as you don't seem to have got the hang of thinking with your mouth open. I don't think you should be starting your thoughts with 'But' either; it doesn't convey the sophisticated intellect you would like us to believe you possess. Oh, and you're dribbling.

So (9), hopefully things are about to change. Friday: work do. Saturday: 30th party. Sunday: friend's party. That should give me a van-sized hangover that sees me through to Wednesday night, to catch up with people I haven't seen all year.

If I remember any of it, I'll probably write some drunken blogs on the last tube home.


Jesus Christ. My brain is so tangential (3) today that this blog actually comes with footnotes.

(1) On a side note: when you live in France and are buying a new computer, be careful with bandying the word 'byte' in people's faces. Pronounced 'beat', it is very close to the word 'bitte', French slang for 'penis'. So don't bandy bytes or even worse, megabytes in people's
faces; they'll look at you funny. Or buy you dinner.

(2) Similarly, to all of you French readers, careful with the word 'pie'. Pronounced your way, it is less appetising and very difficult to pick up with a fork.

(3) Don't question it.

(4) Turns out I have one.

(5) Oof.

(6) Shakespeare, B., 1792.

(7) Christ, J.H., 22.

(8) Rode, John T., 2008.

(9) So I started with a 'So', what are you going to do about it? It's my blog. (10)

(10) Sorry about the sudden outburst of anger. Back up the screen now, please.

(11) To confuse.