Sunday, December 31, 2006
Saturday, December 30, 2006
I'm not talking Ferraris and minor royalty here: it's just that I seem to be drowning in discarded video game cases, odd socks, and semi read paperbacks that just haven't managed to get a grip.
I suppose I could have a spring clean. Then again, I wouldn't be content without the detrius of my life spilling about my person. A clean white prison of well ordered normalcy doesn't appeal somehow. Maybe I could donate a few dog eared books and inadvisable trouser purchases to one of the legion of charity shops. I'm sure the £3 raised would cure some afflicted infant somewhere.
I've decided on my New Year resolution. I shall collect all the small change that I usually lose down the back of the sofa and contribute it to a charity of any poor deluded readers choice. Come to that, I'll contribute some trousers.
I'm sure it'll be easier than giving up smoking.
Friday, December 29, 2006
Citing impossible to obtain ingredients sourced from a Tuscan peasant's navel and swooning over pieces of offal are enough to put anyone off cookery for life. Then there are the endless coffee table cook books that everyone peruses once and then places on a shelf where they will linger until the apocalypse.
I'm usually immune to this kind of thing, prefering to recline on the sofa with a nice kebab and a teacake to follow. Unfortunately I fell for the pre Christmas 'goose is much nicer than turkey' twaddle bandied about by various culinary twats with stupid haircuts.
Come Christmas Day a perfectly roasted goose was presented at table to coos of delight from those about to partake. Unfortunately there was about enough flesh on the honker to feed an anorexic Pygmy, and even that tasted like a geriatric goat.
Thankfully a fine rib of beef on Boxing Day salvaged the situation somewhat.
I've got a turkey for New Year. The celeb chefs can go and roast their own giblets.
Thursday, December 28, 2006
Wednesday, December 27, 2006
Unfortunately three months off the blog have left my depleted cranial cells unable to decipher html code.
I can't add links.
Never mind, I'll get there eventually. Mary's syntax leaves about as much to be desired as my profound technonumptieness.
I'm sure you love her anyway.
Tuesday, December 26, 2006
Sunday, December 24, 2006
Wednesday, December 20, 2006
I don’t have a particularly addictive personality. Sure, I like a drink; and I don’t turn down pneumatic blonde nymphomaniacs that live above a pub without due cause, but I can’t say that I’m addicted to either of these potentially lethal pastimes.
The only vice that has gripped me and doggedly refuses to let go is tobacco. I’ve tried cold turkey, eating two dozen mandarin oranges a day, and plastering my torso with nicotine patches. Alas, all has been to no avail; I still end up back on the chuffers within a couple of weeks.
My GP has informed that me that she can prescribe me a new wonder drug that apparently subdues all nicotine cravings. It costs a packet, but as I am a hopeless case she is happy to provide me with a course of treatment gratis on the NHS. Her generosity may have something to do with the fact that I don’t turn up at her surgery twice weekly complaining of a slight cough and a bit of a sore knee.
Of course, I won’t be giving up before January 3rd at the earliest. The west highland Scottish Hogmanay extends well into the evening of the 2nd, and I refuse to have my party spoiled by hankerings for a roll up. Come the 3rd my drug regime will commence. Hopefully this time I’ll finally make it.
Monday, December 18, 2006
The all seeing, all knowing, psychologists have been cracking open the Krug recently
Proffesor Dimwit from the University of Bognor Regis managed to get his name in every quality newspaper in the country by revealing his stunning insight that women talk more than men. Why it should take a psychologist using empirical methodology to state the bleedin' obvious is frankly beyond me. All men know that women talk more: that's why we sit in the corner, quietly humming to ourselves.
It's not a question of vocabulary. Some of us have swallowed several dictionaries, but do not feel the need to play Scrabble on a regular basis in order to prove our familiarty with obscure words.
I've often wondered if it's possible to get the word 'Lysergicaciddiathilimide' on a scrabble board. Across a few triple and double sqaures it would rival solving Feormat's Last Theorem as a terminal nerds feather in the cap moment.
And no, I don't watch Countdown.
Sunday, December 17, 2006
Six weeks spent in Cyprus furiously imbibing tequila sunrises have miraculously left my fragile constitution somewhat intact.
I don't understand why anyone is remotely attracted to the idea of extreme sports. I popped across to Cairo only to find myself harangued by begging urchins offering camels for any conceivable use at a ridiculously low price. I may have taken them up on the offer, but unfortunately they only had dromedarys.
Isn't wifi great? Only £10 per 24 hours.
Wednesday, August 23, 2006
Boise, Idaho, is definitely one of them. I actually couldn’t place it on a map. I know it’s in the USA, but apart from that it inhabits a mental terra incognito that might as well be populated with dragons and cannibals.
Imagine my surprise when, a couple of years ago, some luridly clad cyclists hove into view. They dismounted from their cycles and enquired, very politely (if a bit loudly), if they could rent a ‘hut’ for the night. I was a bit nonplussed. I don’t get many Americans, but when I do they are generally crammed into a small saloon car, or peer down at me from the lofty heights of a massive Range Rover that does 2mpg tops.
I asked if they were from the USA (I’m good at identifying accents). “Gee”, they said, "we’re from Boise, Idaho!”. By this stage I was thoroughly disorientated. I showed them into a ‘hut’ and they took it on the spot. I think it was the ‘hot tub’ in the bathroom that swung the deal my way. I almost pointed out the luxury of separate hot and cold taps, but my common sense prevailed.
I was feeling like Mr Super Salesman until one of the Boiseites asked: “What time do you serve breakfast?” I wasn’t wearing a chef’s hat at the time, and the sign at the road clearly indicated ‘Self- Catering Lodges’. Frankly, I was shell shocked, and asked: “What time would you like breakfast?”
They asked for ‘Granola’, so I fed them some ‘Weetabix’; which must have been an acceptable substitute as none of them said anything. They them scoffed a full fry up and pedalled off towards the horizon (after leaving me a large tip). I quite liked them.
In hindsight I’m convinced that they must have been CIA fact finders, or representatives of some strange esoteric rattlesnake worshipping cult.
It’s hard to tell, but I’m still convinced that nobody actually comes from Boise, Idaho.
Tuesday, August 22, 2006
I prefer to avoid stress whenever possible. As far as I’m concerned my main calling in life is to contemplate the intolerable iniquities of humanity whilst smoking a cheroot. Sometimes it all gets a bit much and I consider moving to some god forsaken mosquito ridden swamp and devoting the rest of life to the betterment of the lame and the halt.
Thankfully reason takes hold. There are more than enough gap year students lugging rucksacks around the globe on the back of mummy and daddy’s credit cards to ensure that such gross social inequities will soon be a thing of the past.
I suppose I must be an incorrigible optimist. The Rev Thomas Malthus claimed that excessive shagging amongst the hoi polloi would result in a serious spud shortage, mass starvation, and the demise of the human race. It hasn’t happened yet, and judging by the global proliferation of fast food chains, it isn’t going to happen any time soon.
I’m sure that in my ancestry there must have been energetic sorts rushing about suffering thorns in their buttocks in pursuit of nuts and berries. Thankfully such exertions are no longer required. If the worst comes to the worst I suppose I can always eat the neighbours. Some of them have got enough lard on them to enable the graceful departure of an ocean going liner down the slipway.
On a darker note, my cat Oscar has finally departed for some far away nebula to hunt down strange silicon based mouse creatures.
Good luck to them. They don’t stand a chance.
Friday, August 18, 2006
It is most reassuring to learn that the froggies are to lead the UN task force in Lebanon. Hezbollah are no doubt quaking in their boots at the prospect of having their asses wupped by the garlic eaters.
The French generally hold their noses when the Americans or British send troops overseas. They noise off about vile Anglo Saxons tramping over downtrodden peoples in far flung corners of the globe.
This really is the rankest hypocrisy given the French predilection for stomping all over their former colonies given the slightest excuse. Their pursuit of ‘la gloire’ is far more indicative of a former imperial power fantasising about its world status than anything the British do.
No doubt they will send the Foreign Legion. The poor sods always get dispatched to futile wars in which they receive a thorough kicking (Algeria, Vietnam). Only the French could come up with the idea of having an elite regiment composed almost entirely of foreigners. If lots of them get killed the French don’t really give a toss as they can always recruit more.
It’s genius really.
Thursday, August 17, 2006
Take food for example: a large cheeseburger with fries and a strawberry milkshake obviously appeals to one cranial hemisphere, while the other yearns for duck confit served with a balsamic reduction and a nicely crusted pomme dauphinoise.
It’s just one of those things. Claude Debussy and Black Sabbath are not as far removed from each other as we might like to think. Ozzy may not have had a timpanist to call on when injecting some lachrymose, sensitive, moments into his paeans to covens cavorting on gravestones, but I’m sure Claude would have been delighted with a bone dead drummer capable of injecting some venom into his rhythm section.
I suppose it’s all a question of perspective. Viewed from either end of the telescope high and low cultures are mutually incompatible. Glyndebourne and Glastonbury may share something in the alliterative sense, but they inhabit entirely different mental universes.
If I had my way, all violinists would be compelled to plug in, and all Yamaha organ players forced to plug out. There’s something in me that says a switch labelled ‘samba’ is an offence against humanity.
Tuesday, August 15, 2006
Monday, August 14, 2006
Isle of Ulva looking across to Ben More, Isle of Mull
I do, however, make an exception when walking is restricted to well sign posted dry paths with gentle gradients. I went to the Isle of Ulva today and walked for three whole hours, only pausing to chuff on a ciggie on three occasions. Feeling rather proud of myself, I then repaired to the Boat House restaurant and pigged out on freshly caught langoustines doused in garlic butter. Any calories burnt off by this unusual exercise were consequently instantly replenished.
Ulva is one of the jewels of the west coast that most people overlook. Reached by a two minute ferry crossing, it is a world apart. There are no roads on the island, just a network of paths which lead into verdant woodland and unexpected views of wonderful seascapes.
I feel so proud of myself that I’ve decided to reward myself with some beer. I think I’ve actually earned it for once….hic.
Saturday, August 12, 2006
I like a nice kipper. A bony morsel it may be, but grilled with a little butter it is a real delicacy, especially if it’s an Arbroath smokie; the true aristocrat of the smoked fish world.
I take a different view of guests who decide to have a bumper kipper breakfast on the day of their departure. The lingering fishy odour they leave in their wake is impervious to even the strongest air fresheners and odour neutralisers. It is to my immense chagrin that I have to escort new guests into a log cabin that smells like Long John Silver’s underpants after a month on a pirate ship.
I watch their nostrils twitch as they trade brief glances. They don’t actually say anything, but I know they suspect that the previous occupant must have suffered from colostomy bag leakage. I pre-empt any potential complaints by launching into my ‘logs absorb odours and the fishy smell will soon dissipate' spiel. I know they don’t believe me.
I put out a heartfelt appeal to all holidaymakers. THINK BEFORE YOU KIPPER.
Some of us have to suffer the consequences of your self indulgence.
Tuesday, August 08, 2006
Maybe I’m just puerile. Come to think of it, I AM PEURILE. Only a lowbrow sensibility with a love of bum and fanny flap humour could possibly find the Australian stitcom Kath & Kim remotely amusing.
It makes me laugh out loud. It’s hard to say why. Every episode is ultimately a variation on the same theme and repeats the same jokes with minor variations.
Perhaps it just conforms to my existing prejudices regarding Aussies. Having never had the remotest desire to emigrate to a land where Aussie Rules Football (legalised violence) is regarded as a first rate sporting pastime, Kath & Kim has reinforced my antipathy.
I know that Australians aren’t all crass suburb dwelling ignoramuses with an obsession with barbies and slabs of tinnies (crates of beer), and I’m sure that the Sydney Opera House is a perfect symbol of cultural and artistic maturity, but even so, I think Kath and Kim have stamped their stilettos on the true beating heart of Ockerdom.
It’s got nothing to do with old world snobbery. I’m sure a Birmingham brick box housing scheme isn’t much different (apart from the sunshine and swimming pools).
In the end, I think that it comes down to the lingo. Any society that describes cracking birds as ‘hornbags’, and good looking males as ‘hunk ‘o’ spunks’ has to be a bit suspect.
Britain is so much more civilised in this respect. The sight of crowds of bevvied retards baying for the ladies to ‘get your tits out for the lads’, and micro skirt clad laddettes peeing in gutter, makes my heart swell with pride.
Saturday, August 05, 2006
A recent visitor to my veranda has, however, revealed an unexpected latent interest of which I have previously been unaware. A Swift has nested in the eaves of my balcony and I am now playing host to three diminutive chirruping Swiftlets. Personally I don’t hold with squatting, and I really should attach the extra long extension to my vacuam cleaner and dispose of the little varmints.
Unfortunately they’ve completely won me over. The sight of three small beaks craning on slender necks is enough to melt even my callous and stony heart. I have also been impressed by Mrs Swift’s bravery. She completes wide circuits as swiftly as only a Swift can before hovering two inches in front of my nose and glaring at me malevolently. I am convinced that any sudden movement on my part will result in my eyes being pecked out.
The only problem with Swiftlets is that they produce an inordinate amount of bird poo. God knows how many worms Mrs Swift is shoving down their voracious maws.
I’m convinced that if I collect their excretions I will be able to fertilise all the local flower beds (for a small fee).
No doubt the little fellas will be off soon. It will be a sad day. I suppose I should think up some kind of uplifting moral allegory to ameliorate my sense of impending abandonment. Unfortunately I can’t think of one.
Tuesday, August 01, 2006
Despite being of an unfortunate Welshish persuasion, it is undeniable that Cerys Matthews is drop dead gorgeous.
Having burnt herself out imbibing and snorting various inebriants of a legal and non legal nature she opted for rehab, moved to Nashville, got married, and dropped a couple of sprogs. This was most inconsiderate as I was available at the time and I’m sure I could have produced some suitable lyrics for her gutsy voice. Shame that, we could have been the new Elton John and Bernie Taupin (Elton being a big girl).
Never mind, she’s back fully shorn of all Britpop appendages and has just released a
new album. I might even buy it and muse wistfully on what might have been.
Cerys may have a jaw line to rival Arnold Shwarzenegger’s but she still floats my boat.
Saturday, July 29, 2006
On This Island
Look, stranger, on this island now
The leaping light for your delight discovers,
Stand stable here
And silent be,
That through the channels of the ear
May wander like a river
The swaying sound of the sea.
Here at a small field’s ending pause
Where the chalk wall falls to the foam and its tall ledges
Oppose the pluck
And knock of the tide.
And the shingle scrambles after the suck-
ing surf, and a gull lodges
A moment on its sheer side.
Far off like floating seeds the ships
Diverge on urgent voluntary errands,
And this full view
Indeed may enter
And move in memory as now these clouds do,
That pass the harbour mirror
And all the summer through the water saunter.
W H Auden once described his face as resembling a ‘wedding cake left out in the rain’. Anyone as devoid of vanity as Auden (except where arch expression is concerned) has to be ok in my book.
The two best lyric poets writing in English in the twentieth century were Auden and W B Yeats. Yeats was a bit too up his own arse mystical Anglo Irish fuckwit for my liking, but he was immensely talented. Auden was a drawling upper middle class Oxonian, but he had an easy familiarity with the English language that enabled him to produce a seamless lyricism that hasn’t been equalled since.
I particularly like the way the Microsoft grammar checker has a head fit when I type some of his writing. Frankly, it’s a relief. There are far too many ‘technical writers’ out there producing sub literate blurbs describing the intimate functions of vacuum cleaners for my liking.
Tuesday, July 25, 2006
Being a bone idle sort who takes great pleasure in watching other people enjoying themselves malingering on holiday, I rarely go on holiday myself.
I’m a short break specialist myself. I don’t pop on a plane to Barcelona equipped with the Rough Guide and a yearning desire to immerse myself in Catalonian culture; I book into a 4 star hotel within easy driving distance and seek out the nearest kebab shop. It’s the simple pleasures that appeal to me; albeit augmented with a monogrammed bath robe and some superior toiletries.
This year I’ve decided to go on a proper holiday. I briefly toyed with the idea of a four centre experience encompassing Baghdad, Kabul, Beirut, and Pyongyang. Thankfully my pathetic physical coward tendencies kicked in and I’ve decided to spend November in Cyprus instead.
It makes sense. The Cypriots all speak English, drive on the (proper) left hand side of the road, sell 12 year old brandy at five quid a pop, and have been known to rustle up the odd splendid kebab.
Maybe I’ll drive up to the Green Line and shake my fist at the Turkish soldiers (before running away very fast).
Tuesday, July 18, 2006
Some people are, I suppose, natural aristocrats. Tramps and whores can, on occasion,
rise above their lowly station and dismiss the world with an insouciant wave of the hand. Unfortunately, I’m just too petit bourgeois to get away with either glad handed magnanimity or a salt of the earth shrug of the shoulders.
Class is a British, or more particularly English, obsession that – not withstanding claims that a meritocratic nirvana has been reached – still permeates language, culture, and expectation.
Class has very little to do with money: a teacher is demonstrably middle class, while a plumber (despite earning twice as much) will always be a grubby little Sun reading individual clad in a boiler suit.
I suppose every society will inevitably produce a class structure. Even the Americans are still more or less (despite the odd toothy Kennedy) governed by the sensibilities of the New England families that can trace their ancestry to the seventeenth century. A hydra headed Cabot/Lowell/Bush/Prescott New England aristocracy governed the place for much of the twentieth century (and is having a woeful attempt at doing the same in this one).
I’d love to be a working class hero; but I wouldn’t feel comfortable sitting at a £30K Steinway piano in a Surrey mansion warbling about it. Being a wastrel aristo with massive gambling debts would be ok too, but I wouldn’t be so keen on drowning in a vain attempt to swim the Bosphorus.
I think I’ll settle for petit bourgeois mediocrity. It’s much safer on the whole. If I were to wear a pinz nez, or a flat cap, people might punch me on the nose.
Friday, July 14, 2006
Some people (joggers presumably) regard track suit bottoms (jogging pants) as a garment signifying sexual allure. I’ve never quite got it.
Admittedly I don’t jog; a short stroll is enough to have me collapse in paroxysms of boredom. Even so, I suppose sports related fashion monstrosities have their place. Lounging on the sofa clutching a Special Brew can the modern male can indulge in vicarious sporting triumphs whilst simultaneously resting his slippers on a velour footstool.
The things are fine in principle: it’s just that I couldn’t bear wearing them, even in private. Ball scratching commodiousness, admirable as it may be, is no excuse for legs clad in Aladdin’s cast offs.
For some reason I have a mental image of jogging pants being sub consciously connected with jumbo sized family tubs of Kentucky fried chicken. The health aspect of a well honed torso sprinting back and forth on the running track is inextricably linked with a tub of barbeque beans and a super size coke.
Personally, I think it’s about time certain garments were restricted by law to use for their intended purpose. You don’t find people down the pub wearing radiation protection suits, or dressed up as a sewer inspector.
Sunday, July 02, 2006
Friday, June 30, 2006
Herge Smith and his special friend have left the wilds of the Scottish Highlands and headed home to the bucolic delights of Malvern, Worcs. At this moment they are probably sipping white Russians, and reminiscing about their encounters with vicious Pine Martens and sundry hairy arsed highlanders in various states of inebriation.
Herge’s pooches, Dixon and Daisy Doo, have decided to stay with me. They are, frankly, fed up with what amounts to house arrest in an English market town. They much prefer the hills and glens of bonny Scotland, and are most enamoured with the ready availability of holes down which they can chase varmints. I can understand their reasons for staying, and being a hospitable sort have agreed to give them house room.
Dalek has also decided to stay. After an initial period of infatuation during which Herge provided ample extermination opportunities, he has recently found himself confined to a dusty cupboard beneath the stairs. Such is the fickleness of the sci-fi buff. Only a heart of stone could turn away a miniature Dalek, so I have provided him with his own bedroom.
I will receive some funny looks as I wander around with two miniature Daschunds, but I rest secure in the knowledge that should I receive any grief from an oik I can summon Dalek to deal with them.
All in all, I think this could be the start of a beautiful friendship.
Tuesday, June 27, 2006
Why it should take a newspaper article to draw attention to the fact that Cruise is a closet Welshman beats me. His obvious dwarfism can only result from a genetic inheritance provided by diminutive valley dwellers or, failing that, a throwback to a vigorous conversation between a Bronwen and an in season pit pony. Scientology obviously holds a special appeal for the short of stature, allowing them to aspire to the stars without resorting to a step ladder.
As for the Scots hate the English bollocks; I think we can all do without tosspot politicians and ignorant newspaper columnists using a few reprehensible instances of anglophobia to claim that there is a widespread dislike of the English. Five hundred thousand English people live in Scotland. If they were constantly being bashed about the head with Irn Bru bottles I imagine they would choose to live somewhere else
On a lighter note, blogging genius Herge Smith is staying with me at the moment. He is enjoying himself, drinking beer, and going on hiking expeditions into the untamed wilderness. Actually, that’s a lie. He is sticking to well sign posted paths with gentle gradients, the short legs of his miniature daschunds struggling in his wake. He does look exceptionally gay sitting in the pub with a small pooch on his lap, but he hasn’t been beaten up yet.
Tina Cakesniffer is about to venture to the blasted wilderness of British Columbia, where vicious wolverines prowl with evil in mind, and the locals call a kebab a kabob.
God help her. If the plane doesn’t crash she will be devoured by a grizzly. Salford is much safer; but some people just won’t be told. Gawd help her.
Thursday, June 22, 2006
I hope that Herge Smith, the creative genius behind Angry Chimp, is looking forward to his impending trip to damp and drizzly Scotland. His accommodation will be provided by the Garfer International Vacation and Leisure Conglomerate; a long established and highly respected institution which has obtained many plaudits from satisfied customers over the years.
I have very generously allowed Herge a blogger discount in respect of his accommodation. Of course, given my love of smackeroonies, he will fully accept that certain small compromises have had to be made in the quality of accommodation to be provided.
I am sure that he will find the sheds perfectly acceptable. The shed on the right has been specifically designed with the needs of miniature daschunds in mind. Containing as it does several rusty old saws, a dismantled outboard motor, and several open containers of Round Up super strength weed killer, I am sure that the pooches will feel at home.
The main accommodation is provided by the central shed. This is salubriously appointed with two broken down television sets, a rusty old fridge freezer, and a mildewed king size mattress the edges of which have been energetically chewed by mice. Instead of a shower, a small hole in the roof provides a constant and refreshing supply of rain water.
Some of my guests who have stayed in the shed have enjoyed themselves so much that they haven’t been able to leave. I keep them in cages in the shed on the left, and sometimes feed them when I remember….which isn’t very often. It’s nice to know that they are there. I get lonely sometimes and it’s nice to pop up to the shed and have a chat.
Tuesday, June 20, 2006
Watching a drama last night based on the life of George ‘Beau’ Brummel, archetypal 19th century English dandy, I was forced to look at my wardrobe in an even more aghast manner than usual. Chain store Charlie, that’s me. I aspire to the nondescript and usually succeed admirably. Any designer clothing that I have purchased in the past has just ended up being churned to shreds in the washing machine, or has ended up a strange colour with cigarette burns at strategic points.
Brummel is apparently responsible for the modern two piece business suit. He also introduced the shocking, at the time, ritual of daily ablutions. We have much to thank him for. No sartorial imagination is required of the modern male, and although we don’t spend two hours each morning at our toilette, neither do we pong like a rancid badger.
I’d never have made it as a fop. Prancing about in a perfumed wig wearing a pair of silk knee britches and a pair of ridiculously pointy shoes wouldn’t have appealed. I wouldn’t have been very good at the mincing either, although I may have just about passed muster when it came to twirling my ivory tipped cane in a Charlie Chaplin manner.
There aren’t many examples of the modern dandy. Rock stars, football players and their ilk probably imagine that they are the personification of bohemian chic. In fact, they look like utter twats. I suppose Lawrence Llewellyn Bowen is the closest to the dandy archetype. He must spend at least an hour each morning twirling his Byronic locks and arranging his over large shirt cuffs just so.
Albert Einstein had a wardrobe of seven identical sets of clothing. This meant he didn’t have to think about what he’d be wearing the next day; he just got on with being a genius. I may not be a genius, but I think I’ll follow old Albert’s example.
Saturday, June 17, 2006
Worms are always out and about early in the morning (as are the thrushes). Personally I have never been overly enamoured with early starts. It’s all very well and good if you have something specifically enjoyable to get up for; like a day off, or collecting a lottery win. Apart from that they are an offence against the natural order of things. Getting up at the same time as everyone else just entails swearing at the cat and sweltering in traffic jams.
As far as I am concerned the onset of daylight is a fairly shocking experience. Galvanizing my sensitive constitution to movement, let alone effort, is a process which requires time. A gentle reintroduction to the world is what I require. A good hour or so spent refuelling on a fried breakfast, a newspaper, and a nice cup of tea, is what the British Empire was founded on.
All this grabbing a large latte from Starbucks and rushing to check out the Money Markets at 7.00 am is a profoundly misconceived practise. Arriving at 10.00 am, rested and sanguine, the late riser will obviously outpace the early riser in the speed of their mental functioning. All they have to do is make a few well rested trades and then they can consider the lunch options.
I don’t suppose I’d cope very well in the City, or Wall Street. The Belgravia Mansion and Condo in the Hamptons will always remain tantalisingly out of reach. Oh well, I can always console myself playing ‘Worms’ and congratulate myself on my freedom from the tyranny of the alarm clock.
Wednesday, June 14, 2006
It’s a good thing that I was good at cross country because I was utterly shite at all other sports; particularly the team ones. I was hopeless at football. I could dribble around in circles for ages but as regards passing the ball or heading it I was decidedly sub normal. I didn’t mind cricket so much: at least I could mooch around as a fielder, crushing insects with my shoes and fantasising about Michelle Sparks in her tight running shorts.
Rugby was perdition. Our games master was a perverted little sadist who delighted in making us play rugby when there was a good two inches of permafrost. He also enjoyed whipping our bare arses with a wet towel when we emerged from the showers. He liked to play gospel songs on his acoustic guitar and was a big cheese in the local Pentecostal church. These days he’d be arrested by the paedo police and incarcerated for a good ten years, but no one had heard of that sort of thing in those days.
Thankfully I grew up. The consumption of beer and burgers bulked out my frame somewhat and I discovered the joys of hanging around snooker halls all afternoon.
If I tried cross country running these days I’d need to carry an inhaler and an oxygen tank.
Tuesday, June 13, 2006
Everyone has to have an interest in life. Serial killing, bird watching, naked sky diving, stamp collecting, sushi preparation, and cat torturing all have their individual merits, but I’ve yet to meet anyone who takes conspicuous pleasure in poking about in other peoples poo.
Dr Gillian McKeith, midget nutritionist, is convinced that the source of all dietary maladies may be determined by poking about in faeces with a spatula. I’m not an expert in the field of nutrition, but this approach strikes me as having about as much scientific merit as water divination using a two pronged stick.
I was listening to Dr Gillian on the radio this morning. She was asked if she enjoyed her poo poking activities. She replied that it all depended whose poo she was examining (ha, ha). This left me mystified. I bow to no man in my admiration of the lovely Uma Thurman and the exquisitely lipped Angelina Jolie, but I would have to politely decline if offered the chance to stir their rectal excretions with a spoon. Even the offer of £100K to make a TV series about my discoveries would leave me unmoved.
Dr Gillian has a PhD from Penn State University (or so she claims), so there can be no question about her educational bona fides. Maybe poo stirring is the way to go, and I’m sure that there will be many learned articles in the Scientific American concerning the subject.
There can be no suggestion that she is not utterly genuine. The fact that she is an attention seeking peroxide blonde dwarf with the most irritating trans Atlantic accent this side of Lloyd Grossman is completely beside the point.
As the Joan Rivers (without the wit) of Poo, Gillian deserves full respect. As such, I intend to send her some of my post chicken madras poo in a Jiffy bag. I bet she’ll be dead chuffed.
Saturday, June 10, 2006
The liberal middle classes have reacted with consternation to the news that the British prison population now stands at 80,000. Surely, they cry, more should be done by way of rehabilitation: after all, the poor miscreants have merely reacted to severe social deprivation by knifing passers by and stealing stuff.
Frankly, I’m amazed that the figure is as low as this; 80,000 is the population of a large town like Gloucester. Given the number of semi house trained retards and bling ridden pychos wandering the streets off their faces, I’d have expected the figure to be nearer 250,000.
Rather than squander billions on NHS Trusts that would have trouble ensuring the efficient removal of a pensioners bunion, we should be investing the money in some shiny new prisons. As for rehabilitation, I imagine a prison officer’s charter that encouraged the screws to give the inmates a good kicking on a regular basis would do much to discourage recidivism.
I find the prevalence of knife carrying youths disturbing. Glasgow has had a problem with this since the 1920’s, but the problem seems to have spread to the rest of the country in recent years. The usual bollocks about education being the solution, and a pathetic knife amnesty, have been tried in Glasgow and failed miserably. You won’t find me on Sauchiehall Street at 2 am on a Saturday morning. I have no desire to find my innards dangling on the pavement after being stabbed by a pissed numptie in a Kappa jacket.
Carrying knives is culturally ingrained. The only way to stop it is to make the offence of carrying an offensive weapon in public subject to a mandatory five year jail sentence. It’ll cost a bit banging up the little tossers, but I don’t imagine it’ll cost much more than doling out their weekly state benefits.
An interesting educational resource on Glasgow’s knife culture can be found here. I particularly recommend the ‘Gallery of the Neds’.
Thursday, June 08, 2006
I’ve met committed socialists who haven’t bought anyone a drink in their lives, and bampot torys who would shelter a homeless vagrant and lend them their last pound coin. A cunt is a cunt, whatever their political persuasion.
Britain used to be littered with MP’s who enjoyed a personal vote. This was generally because they raised hell on behalf of their constituents and didn’t give a monkeys fuck about personal political advancement. Unfortunately this rare and estimable breed has been driven to near extinction by the glossy ex Polytechnic educated Joe 90’s.
I’ve decided to stand for Parliament. I’m not attracted to the idea of standing as an independent as this suggests, to my mind, vague undertones of a cross between Norman Wisdom and David Bellamy.
I shall form the ‘Normal Party’. The only criteria for membership will be that normal people shall not apply for membership. I’ve already started to design the constituency office: it will have a full size snooker table, smoking booths, and a large lectern for my own personal use.
The world needs to hear what I have to say. If there were more people like me prepared to address the vital interests of the common man in a robust and forthright manner (not that I’m common) this world would be a happier and more inebriated place.
I can almost feel the ermine draping my shoulder blades.
Tuesday, June 06, 2006
The political numpties are not satisfied with their ban on smoking in pubs, they have decided to interfere with the God given right of all Scots to purchase multi packs of super strength lager and litre bottles of vodka while picking up their weekly supply of meat pies and lard at the local supermarket.
The useless ex toon cooncilors (stuffed to the oxters with tax payers cash) essentially have nothing to do. This is why they feel obliged to stick their snouts (usually snuffling in expense claims for free flats in central Edinburgh) into matters which are none of their business.
Do they seriously think that such a measure will reduce alcohol abuse? Having separate aisles and checkouts for booze will just result in everyone buying food, traipsing out to the car, and then going back in again to load up with the fruits of the grain. This is just a waste of everybody’s time and will not have the slightest effect on the average alcohol consumption per head of population.
Of course, that’s not important; what really matters is that these parasites are seen to be doing something to justify their ludicrously large salaries.
Hopefully the head honchos of the supermarkets will tell them to fuck off and die. If they don’t, I’m seriously considering emigration.
Saturday, June 03, 2006
The ingredients for the salad sandwich are simple; it is the method (nay, the skill) of assembly that makes the difference between a pale facsimile and the genuine caboodle.
The essential ingredients are: white processed sliced loaf bread, butter, lettuce, tomato, cucumber, and Heinz Salad Cream. Sounds simple enough, and indeed it is, as long as the sandwich is assembled in strict accordance with the method that I describe below:
Each slice of bread, all traces of crust removed, must be copiously spread with butter (margarine or other low fat substitutes are not acceptable).
The lettuce must be English or iceberg (foul tasting leaves like rocket, radicchio, or the truly disgusting lollo rosso, are a strict no no).
The salad mixture must be anointed with a thick smear of Heinz salad cream (use of mayonnaise will result in a swift kick in the balls).
Once assembled, the sandwich must be squashed flat, wrapped tightly in cling film or foil, and stored in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
The resultant sandwich is a masterpiece. The combination of slightly soggy bread with the crisp tangy crunch of lettuce and Heinz Salad Cream is not to be sniffed at.
If trapped in a hippy commune I could happily subsist on salad sandwiches for a couple of days. Only then would my desire for meat force me to disembowel a crusty long hair or three.
Wednesday, May 31, 2006
As far as I see it, I am descended from a 4’ 2” Kalahari bushman who spent most of his time rushing about, and pausing for a bit of a sit down and snooze behind a convenient shrub. This vantage point provided him with the unexpected opportunity to skewer a passing antelope with a pointy stick. Voila, meat.
Whilst he was engaged in this frenetic activity, his women folk were scouring a 100 mile radius in search of nuts and berries. Arriving back at camp, woman had foraged for, and obtained, the essential ingredients for beer, while man had provided the meat. Consequence: barbeque with booze. Everyone danced around for a week or so and then repeated the process.
One of the joys of modern civilisation is the ready availability of saturated fats in meat products, and beer in tins/bottles. No hanging around beneath a bush for modern Homo sapiens: just a short stroll to the off licence and kebab shop. If this isn’t a prime example of the onwards and upwards march of the human race then I’m a Koala bear with an antipathy to eucalyptus.
I like fat. Chips cooked in beef dripping, lovely; half a packet of butter squashed into a baked potato, delightful. I don’t eat processed crap, so I’m sure it’s not doing me any harm (ditto, salt).
I think I’ll found a treatment clinic for food freaks. Compulsory pepperoni pizzas all round and brownie points for excessive beer consumption.
I bet I’d make almost as much money as Robert Atkins.
Tuesday, May 30, 2006
In a fit of madness I bought one of these years ago. It was eight years old, and although a bit tatty at the edges, was drop dead gorgeous. I’m not normally that bothered about cars, but this was different.
It was fast, sublimely comfortable, and drank petrol like a dipsomaniac. I think the best I ever managed was 16mpg. It didn’t take me long to realise my folly in buying a car with a V12 engine assembled by communists in Birmingham. Bits of trim dropped off, the bottom of the doors rusted as I watched, and the exhaust collapsed. Sadly it had to go; the scrap yard owner offering me the princely sum of £25 to divest myself of my beauty.
No subsequent XJ Jaguars have come close to the beauty of the Series 3; their desirability further sullied by fat (ex) controller ‘Two Jags’ Prescott. I don’t want one of the new ones; they just don’t possess the magic of their forebear.
I am, however, tempted by one of these. Expensive they may be, but at least they won’t fall to bits if someone breathes on them.
At a minimum £28K for one I think I’ll be dreaming for a while. If anyone wants to contribute the contents of their piggy bank I won’t refuse.
Saturday, May 27, 2006
A kid in my class at school was somewhat less than blessed with classic good looks. The combination of buck teeth and the most enormous pair of sticky out ears this side of Dumbo the Elephant did him no favours in the pulling stakes.
His ears really were remarkable. When the sun shone through the classroom windows they glowed like a pair of red traffic lights; a tracery of capillaries revealed like the veins of a leaf.
Being nasty, evil, little adolescents, we took considerable pleasure in flicking these protuberances with a steel ruler. His squeals of annoyance just added spice to the whole exercise.
Most of us grew up to become useless ne’er do wells, while he is today a criminal barrister earning vast sums of money. I like to think that we played some small part in awakening his desire to vanquish injustice and evil by cross examining serial killers and the like. He really should be thanking us as formative influences.
Speaking of wing nuts; HRH the Prince of Wales is paying a visit to the Sunart Oak Woods Project, which is just down the road from where I live. I am somewhat miffed that not only have Charles and Camilla (who doesn’t resemble a horse, not even slightly) not invited me, they have not asked to stay in one of my cottages overnight. This is annoying to say the least. I would have been delighted to take part in a tree hugging session with Charlie boy.
I have a suspicion that their neglect of me is not due to an oversight. I am convinced that a little grey man in a small room at GCHQ peruses the blogosphere to determine who is unsuitable to mingle with royalty. I’m sure that he didn’t find anything amiss with my blog, and would be delighted for me to mingle with Chazza and Camilla (who isn’t even slightly equine in form). It’s the people on my blogroll who are probably to blame. Vile deviants and republicans the lot of them (and that’s just the Americans).
I have been judged by the company I keep. It’s just not fair.
Wednesday, May 24, 2006
I like lots of things: fast cars, loose women, kebabs drenched in chilli sauce, pork pies, P J Harvey. These are all great pleasures, but fade into insignificance when compared with the wonderful 6X beer produced by the Wadworths Brewery, Devises, Wiltshire.
I’m not really your real ale type. I don’t have a beard, wear dungarees, or have a beer gut. I just like good beer; lots of it. Living in Scotland I can only get 6X in bottles: an acceptable substitute, but not a patch on a hand drawn pint in a Devon pub.
As a student, 6X provided my major source of calories and vitamins. Augmented by the occasional carton of fried rice from the Happy Valley Chinese takeaway, Bath, it provided all the energy required for lying in bed until midday, and whiling away the hours until opening time.
I’ve never felt healthier before or since: I was positively blooming with vigour. All this ‘eat five veg a day’ stuff is obviously utter bollocks. The powers that be should be providing small bottles of 6X for primary school children, thus inculcating them in the delights of a healthy balanced diet.
Apparently there are tribes in the Amazon rain forest that don’t regard beer as a drink: they consider it to be a food. Clever people these Amazonians. Sting would do them a damn sight more good shipping them some 6X than wittering on about the depletion of the rainforest.
Wadworths 6X rules.
Tuesday, May 23, 2006
The man widely regarded as the rudest pub landlord in London (if not the world), Mr Norman Balon, has announced his retirement. This is indeed a sad day for the denizens of the Coach and Horses, Soho; one of the last proper boozers left in a sea of trendy wine bars and gastro pubs.
Norman didn’t suffer fools (or anyone really, come to that) gladly. He had a particular distaste for bores and would impolitely request that they “fuck off out of my pub, and don’t fucking come back you boring bastard”.
This kind of refreshing attitude towards the hospitality industry is sadly lacking in the modern world. The prevalence of the American ‘have a nice day’ attitude has resulted in a sense of entitlement amongst punters in hotels and pubs. They seriously think that these institutions exist to indulge their selfish desire for delight and delectation.
My neighbouring hotelier used to respond to the slightest complaint by informing the complainer that they could “fuck off home if you don’t like it”. He had a particular hatred of teetotallers, and people who asked for a glass of water with their meal. He certainly didn’t lack bravery. A large gentleman once approached the bar and requested a large orange juice, only to be told that he should “stop being a big poof and have a pint of beer like a real man".
He retired to Blackpool a couple of years ago. I believe he has a large stick, which he regards as a suitable implement for the chastisement of recalcitrant youth.
I think all Britons should face the fact that we aren’t cut out for service (which we regard as servile). Thank God for all those Poles and Ukrainians: they may not speak very good English, but they don’t shower Anglo-Saxon expletives on bemused Americans and Germans given the slightest (usually imaginary) provocation.
Saturday, May 20, 2006
I was surprised to learn that Prince Charles is a big Leonard Cohen fan. Having always regarded him as big eared twit stuck in a philistine 1950’s time warp, I must give him a bit of credit for his unexpected regard for the big nosed Canadian wordsmith.
Poor Leonard recently discovered that his manager (an ex lover, naturally) has embezzled his $5 million retirement fund. This should be a warning to anybody who thinks that adopting life as a contemplative Buddhist, and scoffing copious quantities of lentils and mung beans, will provide protection from shysters.
Leonard’s worldly worth now stands at a paltry $90,000. In proper British money this equates to about £65,000, which isn’t enough to buy a one bedroom flat, let alone fund a decent retirement.
Leonard will have to take his lugubrious tones out on the road again. Perhaps he could be the warm up act for McFly, or woo the navel pierced masses at Lollapalooza. Wherever he decides to perform, he is sure of a warm welcome. If the geriatric Rolling Stones can make squillions prancing around in latex, I don’t see why the urbane and elegant Leonard can’t earn enough to keep himself in lentils.
I say get gigging Leonard. If you don’t, your ‘famous blue raincoat’ will definitely end up ‘torn at the shoulder'.
Wednesday, May 17, 2006
It’s not as though I want to be the Duke of Westminster: but I would be gratified with a minor Anglo/Irish estate; a small bijou Palladium mini mansion in County Mayo with space for my cat carrier would more than suffice.
As a natural gent, I’m sure that I could carry off the noblesse oblige thing with aplomb. I wouldn’t insist on any droit de signeur, but if the stable girls were willing, who would I be to demur?
This thought occurred to me while sitting in the car wash, being gently massaged with foamy suds to a backdrop of Bartok. It only cost £4.95, my penny pinching ways denying me the pleasures of a luxury alloy wheel scrub at a mere £7.95.
There’s no point in aspiring to Baron Von Munchausen status at any rate, my Walter Mittyisms have pole vaulted me into the realms of sheer whimsy.
What I really need is a butler, and some minions to attend to the detritus that drops around my person like dandruff. A couple of Latvians would do, or perhaps a Hungarian with an under appreciated expertise in goulash making and an adept hand with the Hoover.
I feel that I have a hitherto unappreciated gift for patronising the working classes. I would take considerable pleasure in introducing them to the delights of filet mignon and Birdseye boil in the bag chicken curry.
Oh well, back to the fuckin’ drawing board.
I hate work.
The cult British film, ‘Withnail and I’, is to be adapted for the West End stage. This is very good news, and may be enough to encourage me to visit that there London for the first time in years.
I’m surprised that a stage adaptation wasn’t made years ago. The film script is a masterpiece, and the claustrophobic interiors of the sordid flat and squalid cottage where most of the scenes take place ideal for a theatre production. I’m sure that there are enough Withnail obsessives out there to ensure that a play will run for years to packed houses.
There’s only one problem. The Withnail role is apparently to be played by the prematurely balding Jude Law. Fine actor Law may be, but his Withnail can only be a pale imitation of the splenetic character portrayed by Richard E Grant. Richard E Grant IS Withnail: no one else can fill his shoes.
Admittedly he’s a bit old for the role, but his hollow eyed, cadaverous, Withnail wasn’t exactly the exemplification of hale and hearty youth in the first place.
Someone should start a petition or something.
Tuesday, May 16, 2006
I’ve been doing a lot of moping around lately; listening to long haired hippy singer/songwriters warbling to acoustic guitars and generally baring their souls.
I think it was during a Nick Drake track, or possibly nodding along to an excruciatingly doleful Leonard Cohen, that I suddenly thought to myself “sod this, what I need is some jump up and down brain dead rock music”.
I considered listening to Oasis, but they are a bit brain dead even for me. I briefly toyed with some Radiohead, but given their prog rock posturings over the last couple of years they didn’t cut the mustard either. Led Zep and the Who are too ancient to be worth mentioning these days, and P J Harvey is just a touch left field.
I decided that what I needed was some killer riffs, a squawking singer spouting cod sexist lyrics like his underpants were on fire, and a lead guitarist indulging in some turbo charged Chuck Berry guitar breaks. ‘The Darkness’ I hear you cry. Well no, I’ve never been one for men with screechy falsettos parading around in leopard skin leotards.
I settled on the original and best: AC/DC. The air guitarist’s idol, Angus Young, soon had me duck walking along the carpet like my dad down the disco circa 1975.
Some of the extreme American fundamentalists have a bit of a thing about AC/DC (see photo). They see them as emissaries of Satan, tempting wholesome youth into witchcraft and the like. These people should really get a grip, and appreciate that they were a bunch of boozy Aussie rockers taking the piss. That only one of them choked on their own vomit after over imbibing is, frankly, a miracle.
Since when has ‘effeminate hair’ been a crime against humanity anyway?
For those about to rawk, I salute you.
Monday, May 15, 2006
I was most gratified to learn that Prince Harry is doing his bit in support of the beleaguered British bowler hat industry.
Nobody, apart from Orangemen and (for some inexplicable reason) Nigerians, favours the outmoded headgear in this day and age. Personally, I think it is a far more distinguished cranial sunshield than the hoodie and the baseball cap worn backwards. I am convinced that the moral fibre of the nation would be augmented if such headwear were to be declared compulsory for all school pupils. It would certainly solve the truancy problem, and would ensure that chip van vendors did not inadvertently sell saturated fat laden chunks of potato to chain smoking adolescents.
Harry may be educationally subnormal (like the rest of the Windsors), but he has had the added struggle of overcoming the inheritance of his maternal ancestor, the late Lady Di (thicky) Spencer. Cracking looking bird she may have been, but she wasn’t exactly Simone de Beauvoir.
Let’s face it, Harry is a chav. No amount of time spent in the Blues and Royals, or devotion to ceremonial duties can alter this fact.
I quite like him. At least he enjoys a chuff on a fag and has been known to punch photographers.
I raise my hat to him.
Thursday, May 11, 2006
The old girl really has to go. I have grown immune to her charms, and she hasn’t dipped her keel in the sea for over two years. It was a brief and rewarding infatuation, a torrid but ultimately shallow affair that has now run aground. There shall be no hard feelings, and the circumstances of our parting amicable.
I have decided to use the proceeds from her sale to purchase a Landrover. This will necessitate the adoption of a Golden Retriever, and the wearing of a deerstalker hat. I imagine that I will look quite the country squire, although there is a slim possibility that small boys will point at me and shout ‘who’s that twat?’
The old dear is for sale for a very reasonable £4,000. With a touch of mascara and some new war paint I have no doubt that she will prove a credit to her new owner. Any blogger who wishes to purchase her will be reassured to learn that I accept all major international credit and charge cards.
Any prospective North American purchasers can easily reach Scotland by a 4/5 hour flight. At a stupendous top speed of eight knots, it should only take three weeks or thereabouts to complete the return journey. I am sure that the old girl would draw many admiring glances at Key Largo, or a swanky marina in New England.
Aristocratic class will always out. Better a stained and crumpled suit cut by Gieves and Hawkes of Saville Row than an immaculate new seersucker suit in wrinkle free fabric rustled up by a greasy Italian in New Jersey.
Saturday, May 06, 2006
Legions of imbeciles, conspiracy theorists, fruit cakes, and saddos are about to descend on Rosslyn Chapel near Edinburgh. They will be engaging in a fruitless search for a Star of David on the chapel floor which does not exist. They will protest vociferously about this, and claim that a Catholic Church/CIA/Protocols of the Elders of Zion sect is responsible.
Admittedly nobody in Scotland is complaining much. The canny Caledonians are fully aware that fools and their money are soon parted. This ancient esoteric knowledge, hidden from all but the adepts, has kept the Edinburgh financial sector in rude health over the last couple of centuries.
Da Vinci code hysteria is certainly good for tourism, but the poor deluded souls in pursuit of the mystical and unknowable would be better advised to direct their attention westward. The Neolithic stone circles and cairns of western Britain and Ireland date from prehistory. There are no written records, and the lives and beliefs of their creators are matters for conjecture.
Callanish, a ring of stones on the Isle of Lewis, is as impressive in its way as Stonehenge. The stones are on a much smaller scale, but the astronomical alignments are similar, and their physical relationship to the surrounding landscape superior.
Anyone interested in the subject should take a look at Julian Cope’s (fruitcake rocker) The Modern Antiquarian. He may be slightly off his trolley, and suffer the odd acid induced delusion, but nobody else has devoted as much attention to these structures and their significance.
I’m off to pick some magic mushrooms.
Thursday, May 04, 2006
People disappear every day. I imagine it’s very easy to walk out of your life, seeking the reinvention of personality and removal from obligations that most of us crave at one time or another. As a simple solution to seemingly unbearable situations it does have an undeniable logic.
It’s not as though it’s difficult to disappear. The Unabomber managed it for years, and everyone is still chasing a lanky bearded arsehole safely ensconced in a cave in Afghanistan. Hellfire missiles, pilot less drones, entries in the Evening Post, pictures on the side of milk cartons: you name it, if people don’t want to be found they can be extraordinarily resourceful in concealing their existence
Awful things do happen to people, but mostly I expect it’s an option that presents itself during a period of despair, and assumes its own logic subsequently. It’s not as though they don’t mean to contact their loved ones; they mean to do so every day, maybe tomorrow, or perhaps the next day. Somehow they exist in that limbo and it becomes habitual.
I’ve never run away myself. I remember a Charlie Brown cartoon, in which Charlie sat under a tree, and considered moving somewhere different where no one knew him. Lucy informed him that there was no point as he was Charlie, and everyone would treat him exactly the same once they got to know him. I believe that Linus was sucking his comfort blanket at the time.
Tuesday, May 02, 2006
As a nipper, I suffered from an inexplicable infatuation with popular cabaret crooner Englebert Humperdinck. I was six years old at the time, and I can only ascribe this strange affliction to a precocious love of ridiculously attired, big haired, velvet clad crooners. It was a phase of my life that was thankfully brief: my attentions in later years focusing on the lovely Linda Carter (cracking norks) as Wonder Woman, and the killer cheek boned Debbie Harry.
For some reason I had always assumed that Englebert was American. Britons are not normally prone to Liberace tendencies, and have a general distrust of pompaded twats in large bow ties warbling meaningless lyrics to an audience of polyester clad homebodies from Boise, Idaho.
Imagine my shock when I recently discovered that Englebert is actually from Leicester. The shock was almost as great as discovering that Gary Glitter was a paedo, although, in retrospect I probably shouldn’t have been that surprised.
Englebert’s chief claim to fame is that he managed to keep the Beatles ‘Strawberry Fields/ Penny Lane’ off the number one spot in 1967. I think ‘Please Release me, Let me Go’ was the musical masterpiece responsible.
My Englebert worshiping days are thankfully a thing of the distant past (honest). I stick to P J Harvey and the Black Crowes these days. Not that they’re exactly at the cusp of modernity: but they do have the edge on James Blunt and Snow Patrol.
Saturday, April 29, 2006
I gave up the ready rolled variety years ago, preferring to spill shreds of tobacco on the carpet and down the back of the sofa. The bits of soggy tobacco that leak from the end of the roll up into the inner recesses of my molars are a slight drawback, but the vigorous use of a sonic toothbrush usually deals with the problem.
I was interested to learn that Jeremy Irons, Martin Amis, Jonny Depp, and Kate Moss, share my predilection for an artfully crafted home rolled cheroot. As a stylish, witty, impossibly debonair individual, I find this confluence of good taste most gratifying (apart from the Jeremy Irons connection).
My best mate Keith was in New York last year, in pursuit of a Uruguayan diplomat’s daughter who had developed the hots for him over the interweb. Naturally, when she caught sight of his stunted form and greasy mop he was given short shrift. Sitting on a park bench, he got out his rolling gear, and proceeded to console himself with a smoke. He couldn’t understand why everyone walking past was giving him funny looks. They obviously assumed that he was smoking cannabis in public.
Apparently 25% of UK smokers now skin up. That figure’s a bit high for my liking. Never being one to follow the herd, I’ve decided to take up snuff. Tar stained nostrils may not exactly be an asset in the pulling stakes, but they will provide an interesting conversational gambit should my silver tongued charm fail to work its usual magic
Thursday, April 27, 2006
Living in the boondocks, it can be quite difficult getting hold of the services that people living in urban areas take for granted.
I have a difficulty with glass. I’m in the process of replacing some double glazing, but I don’t have a local glass supplier. I could pay vast sums to have glaziers come and do the job, but I dislike paying triple for something that I can do myself.
I was wracking my brains to think of a way to get hold of some glass when I had a eureka moment: why not try the local funeral director? As a bit of lateral thinking I think this takes some beating. The buggers even have a massive hearse to transport the glass in. When they’re out on a local ‘job’, they pop the glass under the coffin and nobody’s any the wiser. The corpse is interred, they get a small delivery fee, and I get my glass. Everybody goes home happy.
I’ve actually collected glass from the funeral parlour on a couple of occasions. I get ushered into the back ‘office’ so that I can measure the panes to make sure that the dimensions are correct. It is slightly unnerving to be surrounded by coffins in various states of completion, but thankfully none of them are occupied.
The brothers who run the place are extremely cheerful. They have every right to be. I can’t see them going out of business any time soon.
Wednesday, April 26, 2006
I’m convinced that the BBC News is responsible. They used to have proper print trained journalists who had probably earned their dues bayoneting Greek Cypriots, smoking cheroots, and wiring dispatches while too hung over to piss straight.
These days they’re all recruited from provincial television. If they can read in a suitably patronising manner from the autocue, while flashing their immaculately groomed molars at the camera, then they are perfectly qualified for the job. They even have cute little notebook computers on their desks, presumably to convey an air of journalistic competence.
The economics presenter appears to have strayed in from a Janet and John book, interviewing mongs outside Littlewoods to convey the economic pulse of the nation. Christ, they even have a weather forecaster who looks like a puppet, his gestures depicting showery days like a marionette on amphetamine.
What we need is a Reginald Bosanquet (the pissed British version of Walter Cronkite), or, at the very least, Anna Ford with a few under chin tweaks.
I’m no stickler for tradition, but I don’t see why I should have to tolerate wanker vision. We have enough Fox News (gag) and CNN (rolling boredom) as it is. Public Service broadcasting should ignore the fuckwits, and bludgeon the ignorant with the facts in a dispassionate manner. I’m sure that Lord Reith would have agreed with me.
Tuesday, April 25, 2006
As miserable bastards go, Thomas Hardy takes some beating. His eeyorish tendencies manifested themselves in developing exquisitely drawn characters and then subjecting them to a damn good kicking as a result of:
- Developing ideas above their station.
- Falling in love with dashing Calvary officers.
- Being good at business but a bit shite at maths.
My personal favourite is Jude the Obscure. Poor Jude Fawley falls in love with his first cousin Sue, aspires to an unobtainable University education, and dies friendless and alone on a sofa under the gaze of the heartless Arabella, his first wife. It really isn’t a chuckle a minute.
Thankfully the film adaptation of Jude the Obscure includes a cracking shot of Kate Winslet’s beaver. That is, I suppose, a meagre, and hirsute, compensation for nigh on two hours worth of god awful miserableness.
Depressing as it is, I think it’s preferable to listening to Morrissey warbling on about feeling happy and fulfilled. Fuck's sake, I’d be feeling happy and fulfilled if I was living the Dolce Vita in Rome and had a couple of squillions in the bank.
Wednesday, April 19, 2006
The Science Department wasn’t much of an improvement. Our Chemistry teacher had been involved in a horrific car accident ten years earlier. The wonders of 1960’s facial reconstruction had left her with one glass eye permanently fixed on the bottle of concentrated sulphuric acid in the locked chemicals cabinet. The other eye, which twitched, gazed out of the window at the dinner hall, presumably attempting to divine what culinary delights the dinner ladies were concocting for us.
The Physics teacher was just eccentric. He liked to fiddle with springs; sported tweed jackets with leather elbow patches, and drove a maroon Triumph TR6 (impossibly naff then, unbelievably cool now).
My personal favourite was the Biology teacher. A three foot two inches cross between Marie Stopes and a bag lady, she liked to inform us (a class of fifteen year olds) that: “The desire to consume food is a far more urgent mammalian impulse than the desire for sexual congress". Aye, right.
The Arts teachers were generally ok. Our History teacher had a different suit (usually involving a waistcoat) for every day of the month, and was obsessed with the Franco/Prussian war. The English teacher, despite her bulging eyeballs and tendency to swoon over Shakespeare’s sonnets, was inspirational. She drove a Fiat X19 (impossibly cool then, unbelievably naff now)
My favourite was the French teacher, Miss Halliday. Fresh out of Teacher Training College, and drop dead gorgeous, she liked to correct our pronunciation. She had breasts and everything.
I have a teaching qualification, but I have never taught. I think it was a wise decision. If I had, just imagine the sort of things people would be saying about me today.
It doesn’t bear thinking about.
Saturday, April 15, 2006
Hostility between Protestants and Catholics is thankfully a thing of the past. Northern Ireland may seem to be an exception, but even there the terms are just labels for populations with a different sense of nationality and identity. Similarly, the displays of naked bigotry at football matches between Glasgow Rangers and Glasgow Celtic don’t extend beyond the confines of the stadium, apart from violent drunken altercations between rival groups of moronic fans after the conclusion of matches.
The oddest manifestation of the Protestant Reformation is probably to be found in the Outer Hebrides, where the north of the island chain is staunchly Protestant, and the south devoutly Catholic. Of the northern islands, Harris and North Uist display the most extreme forms of Calvinism. I think even the Rev Ian Paisley would be shocked at the unbelievably strict form of Sabbatarianism that prevails. Children’s swings are tied up on a Sunday, and there are strict injunctions against drying laundry, watching television, or reading newspapers. Woe betides anyone who does not abide by these rules: they will immediately be castigated as spiritual lepers.
It’s a bizarre experience to travel between North and South Uist. The North is home to the free churches, while the south is home to chapels and statues of the Virgin Mary. There is no open hostility between the two, but it would be fair to say that there is little in the way of social interaction.
On a yacht trip I was once in a pub in the Lochmaddy hotel, North Uist. It was during a Scottish Cup final, and the locals were pissed out of their minds (obviously not church goers). One of them asked where I was off to next. When I said I was heading to South Uist he informed me that I should think twice about my choice of destination. “Don’t go there pal, they’re all Catholics and they don’t wash”
It’s nice to know that such enlightened views are to be found even in the wildest corners of the Kingdom.
Thursday, April 13, 2006
Some places are out of, and beyond, time. Tourists don’t discover them, preferring the obvious landscapes that are ingrained in the popular memory, or those that are promoted as national icons.
I haven’t been to the central highlands of Vietnam, or slept on a Kashmir houseboat. I probably will get round to doing these things, when I can find the time, and when funds permit. In the interim I have to be content with the local and intimate. It’s a worthwhile exercise to contemplate what is on your doorstep.
Patrick Kavanagh bemoaned the fact that he had rejected the landscape of his birth: had ‘flung her from me and called her a ditch, although she was smiling at me with violets’. It’s easy to overlook what is outside your own front door, and aspire to things that are promoted as superior.
Eilean Shona, on the west coast of Scotland, doesn’t appear on many tourist maps. It should . J M Barrie, author of Peter Pan, spent time on the island, and it may be the inspiration for Neverland.
The island is owned by the Branson family. It lies across a short stretch of water from Castle Tioram, a twelfth century castle in a ruinous condition. While the tourist hoards descend on the obvious sites, it is possible to experience this sublime place, even at the height of the tourist season, in something approaching seclusion.
Tuesday, April 11, 2006
I don’t normally suffer from inexplicable cravings (of a non carnal nature), but the other day I developed a sudden desire for a Pot Noodle.
I haven’t eaten one of the things for at least twenty years. The memory of reconstituted rubber bands, and the glutinous residue of eviscerated peas and monosodium glutamate, had obviously seared itself into my memory like a Guns and Roses tattoo.
Perhaps I am experiencing a hideous inverted childhood, when a purple Jelly Baby and a pot of Marmite (neat) shall hold equal allure. It must be that, or maybe I’m just sick to the back teeth of corn fed free range chicken (flu free), and 21 day hung rib of beef.
Whatever the reason, I purchased two pots. I have a tub of Chicken and Mushroom, and a tub of Bombay Bad Boy, safely stashed in my larder. I haven’t summoned up the courage to tackle the things yet, but I know that their day will come (probably tomorrow).
I know that no good can come of this aberration, but sometimes it’s better to be brave than sink nose down in a plate of Coq au vin.
Saturday, April 08, 2006
There is a time, in every young mans life, when the dreaded year of 39 arrives. Waking in an arthritic fever of disconnected joints I shuddered, and checked that everything was functioning.
Remarkably enough everything was, so that’s alright then.
My mother has gone completely round the bend, my father is jumping up and down like a demented geriatric punk rocker with a wasp up his arse, and every morning I am confronted by a cat with a tumour the size of a golf ball on its neck. Life just doesn’t get much better.
Still, things could be worse, I actually managed to post something.
Tuesday, March 21, 2006
I think all today’s newspapers carried the story about the post grad student at Sussex University who has been awarded a PhD for a thesis on the Goth sub-culture. It really is remarkable what constitutes an appropriate subject area for a PhD these days, but I won’t go into that as it is a suitable subject for a lengthy rant at some later date.
I would never have cut is a Goth as I have blonde hair and invisible eyebrows. I would have looked a right twat with black eyeliner and lipstick. It would have been a different matter if I was a proper albino with pink eyes: then I would have taken considerable pleasure in scaring the hell out of infants.
The student reached the unremarkable conclusion that Goths tend to be arty middle class types who don’t do drugs and aren’t keen to get into fights. Talk about stating the bleedin’ obvious. There was a Goth girl in my year at University who was more likely to be found at Glastonbury of a weekend hunting for ley lines than knocking back snakebites in the Students Union. She draped the ceiling of her bedroom with black bin liners, and had a penchant for crushed velvet, but apart from that she was as boringly normal as they come.
It’s the aging Goths that frighten me. Anyone who has witnessed the Cures Robert Smith’s physical deterioration of late will take a dim view of anyone wearing the Goth uniform in later life. He resembles a fat Elvis in a fright wig with pancake make up and drooping jowls.
In truth, I never wanted to be a Goth. I hated Bauhaus, and the Sisters of Mercy were purveyors of melodramatic bollocks. They exist in their own little cul de sac, and are welcome to it.
I’m off to listen to ‘Bela Lugosi’s Dead'.
Monday, March 20, 2006
Those of you (fewer by the day, and who can blame them) who peruse this blog will be aware that my cat, Oscar, had a cancerous growth removed six months ago. It was malignant and aggressive, and at the time the vet didn’t hold out much hope, although he did remove the lymph nodes.
Unfortunately, the tumour has returned with a vengeance. I took Oscar to the vet, who advised that it would be futile to operate again as the cancer would only return. He has given Oscar a prognosis of two to three months. He isn’t displaying the slightest sign of discomfort at the moment, but when he does I shall bow to the inevitable and have him put to sleep.
Oscar came from a cat shelter, and has proved a most excellent moggie in every way. I have never before encountered a cat with such a playful and placid temperament. I cannot recall him baring his claws once.
The vet informed me that he is growing increasingly concerned about the number of cats that he has inoculated against leukaemia developing cancerous growths a few years later. Although there are no clinical studies suggesting that he do so, he has taken to advising people that this is a risk if they have their cats inoculated. It seems a bit of a sick joke that an injection intended to prevent one form of cancer may be responsible for another that is just as debilitating.
I salute you Oscar. Those whom the gods love die young.
Saturday, March 18, 2006
Unfortunately for Jamie, it turns out that children are rejecting his tasty recipes and going down the chippy instead. They know what they like, and are prepared to pay for it.
Some people are just inherently irritating. Jamie seems a decent enough chap, it’s just that everything about his cheeky chappy, mockney persona gets right on my tits. Awight, pukka mate, dahn the Old Kent Road? Fuck off and speak properly you irritating little mong. It’s not as though he’s the son of an east end barrow boy, he’s the son of an Essex publican. Oliver passing himself off as cockney is like me claiming to hail from the Bronx.
Even his wife, Jules, is annoying. She’s like a little doll with the over rouged cheekbones of a whore.
Oliver claims never to have read a book in his life, which is tantamount to boasting about being a moron.
I don’t see why inverted snobs should be allowed to amass £7 million fortunes. There should be a law forcing all sub literate cretins to donate their wealth to deserving cases like me. I can whip up a soufflé as well as the next man; it’s about time I was released from the hell that is work.
Wednesday, March 15, 2006
I’m not going to get into rock criticism here, which is the last refuge of the aging hipster with bad teeth and a drink problem. It is a genre that produces the odd genius like Lester Bangs, but is more likely to allow pretentious tossers to indulge in some cod sociology. Paul Morley, whose criticism used to appear in the NME years ago, had the good sense to retire when he was 24, claiming that he was too old to continue.
The period 1971/72 produced some of the greatest rock music ever recorded. The Rolling Stones, the Faces, the Who, and Led Zeppelin were all at their creative peaks, and had not yet succumbed to the hubris of rock hedonism. Seeing any of these bands play live must have been awe inspiring, even if a perforated eardrum was the price you had to pay for the experience.
It just seems to have been a time when there was a generosity of spirit in the air that was on the verge of dissolving into rancour and disillusionment. The Faces in particular just sound like a bunch of pissed blokes producing a ramshackle but wonderful sound.
Within a few years it was all pomp rock, twiddling on synthesisers, and ugly blokes wearing platform boots coated in glitter.
I’m off to listen to the ‘Brown Bomber’ album and play some air guitar. Sod Coldplay and James Blunt. There was a time when hairy men in tight trousers ruled the world. We will never see their like again.