Wednesday, May 31, 2006


I’ve no personal objection to vegans: each to their own I say. As long as they sit quietly in a corner chomping on a cauliflower I resist the urge to assault them.

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

I've been driving in my car, it's not quite a Jaguar.

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

Ol' Big Ears.

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

"Fuck off you boring bastard!".

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

Laughing Len, the Suicides Friend

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

I was born with a plastic spoon in my mouth.

I’ve always been irritated by the fact that I am not an aristocrat.

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.

An Offence Against Nature

“We’ve gorn on holiday by mistake!”

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

Waltzing Matilda

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

Mad as a Hatter

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

Land Blubber

£4,000 o.n.o

Alas, my Captain Ahab days are at an end. No more shall this blogger sail the wide and briny oceans; engage in armed altercations with Thai pirates on the South China Sea, slumber beneath a rustling palm tree in the arms of a dusky Polynesian maiden, or land $50,000 bales of cocaine on a deserted and pristine Hebridean beach.

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

Please Release me.

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.