Friday, 10 March 2017

Rainbow Insanity...

Colours, but not as you know them
For some unknown reason - possibly insanity - I found myself wandering the isles of B&Q recently. This is an extremely rare occurrence because I cannot stand DIY stores and will avoid them at all costs. I'm just going to say it out loud: the only sort of DIY I'm into... well, it doesn't involve depressing, fun-free stores that reek of body odour, depression and dysfunctional marriages.

It doesn’t help that my handy-man skills have all the grace and charm of a flatulent hippo with ADHD. Try as I might, I just cannot do the most straightforward of DIY tasks. Shelves? Forget it. Besides, I don't know if anyone has told you, but ornaments actually look shit and no one is that interested in looking at your books. Not really. A bit like your holiday photos: no one really cares. As for plastering? I can't even spread butter over bread without the end result looking like an aggravated assault.

The erection (tee-hee and guffaw, etc.) of flat-pack furniture is the worst. Just thinking about Ikea is enough to make me break out in hives and go on the rampage with a tube of mastic and a spirit level - mainly because I don't know what else to do with them. The end result is always the same: the job rarely gets finished in the way that the confusing, badly-written pamphlet demands. I always end up with bits left over that have nowhere to go, yet seem important. Like large chunks of wood, more screws that you can shake a stick at and a set of alan-keys that have gone untouched through the misery that was construction. I often always have to rely on my talent for bodging to get things completed. Take the last thing I attempted to create: a CD case. The manual said that the job should 45 minutes. It took me six hours over the course of two days. During this mission, I cut myself three times, nearly took my good eye out, said the eff word a lot, lost a third of my own bodyweight, resisted ransacking and looting my own bedroom and considered throwing all of my CDs away. Then I saw sense and got help from a girl.

And so, at 10am last weekend, I found myself parking up outside the local B&Q. In other words, high doom. I'd like to tell you that I was hiding out from the rozzers or even dogging but, less interestingly, my bedroom needs painting. I'm flirting with the idea of a ‘feature’ wall, which sounds horribly pretentious, but will look rather lovely when it’s done. And at least this way, I get away with only painting one wall rather than four. Win-win, etc. But what colour? Hmmm…

After consulting the colour charts, it appears that in the years that I have happily remained persona non grata in DIY circles, things have changed beyond recognition. All I wanted was a tin of red paint. Dark red to be more specific, but it doesn’t exist anymore. If you want red – normal red I mean, like fire engine red - you have to ask for a shade of red called DIVA. Yes, DIVA. All capital letters and shouty. I was a bit intimidated just looking at it, to tell you the truth. It gets worse though: if you want to go a shade darker, then there is no point asking for a litre of burgundy. Oh no. You need to request something called CRIMSON LIPS. I can just see my Dad coming to visit and admiring the freshly painted wall while I come over all theatrical (for a change, like) and say, ‘Here, Daddad, do you like my CRIMSON LIPS? I was going to go for DIVA, but thought CRIMSON LIPS was a touch more moi…’

Now, I understand that the people who produce the paint charts have to get creative with names but some of the names I saw today were just fucking ridic. For example, can you guess what colour SUNDAY DRIVE is? It’s white. Why they can’t just call it white, I have no idea. If you wanted to go a notch towards cream, then what might you ask for? Beige? Magnolia? Don’t be silly. The answer – obviously – is CHESHIRE HIGH JINX. I shit thee not. If you wanted to go a touch whiter instead, what have you got? Brilliant white? Angel-Jizz White? Er, no. The answer – and I’d sit down for this if I was you – is VINTAGE FROCK. I wonder what size that comes in?

Can you hazard a guess as to what colour MAYPOLE MERRIMENT is? I’d naturally opt for brown (fnaarr!) But no. It’s beige. And what about FUZZY SLIPPERS (yes, really). Well, that’s beige too. A bit more towards cream. In fact I’d call it creamy-beige, but I’m  dead common, me, so it’s hardly a surprise. Poor old beige really has been reinvented and then some: it also masquerades under the following names: SPOTTED DOG (snigger!), CREAM TEA IN THE COUNTRY (chortle!), TOWERING FAƇADE (cackle!), MINCE PIE (oooh, yum) and REAL CIDER (ugh – I once threw up after a night on cider and now the mere suggestion makes me retch.)

The people who came up with these names must have been off their tits at the colour christenings. How else can you explain dumping the name ‘orange’ and replacing it with CONSTABLE’S TRUNCHEON? The green family has also been remixed beyond what seems absolutely necessary. What I thought was olive green is now called… NAUGHTY CROCODILE. A much paler green – which I’d call, erm, pale green, is now strangely named FAMILY GATHERING. What’s green about a family gathering? My favourite shade of green, though, has to be UNEXPECTED CAY, which I initially read as UNEXPECTED GAY, which is why I liked it in the first place.

What’s next? I can just imagine next year’s chart. Beige could take on several new identities altogether – I’m thinking PISSED UP TRAMPS FART or LIDL RABIES FOAM. We could revive blue as SUMPTUOUS HYPOTHERMIA; yellow could be TWENTY A DAY TEETH and my favourite shade of green will be called KERMIT IS A CLOSETED ALCOHOLIC.

Oh dear. It’s all too much for me. Looking at a rainbow will never be the same again. In fact, I think to lie down whilst I assimilate this new information. Either way, I don't think I can be arsed to decorate. It's too much confusing and stressful.

Until next time, take care people.

Lots of love,


Sunday, 5 March 2017

Fasting on the 5:2 Plan...

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: when they get round to making a movie of my life (because they really ought to) I think the person best suited to playing me would be Oprah Winfrey. Yes, we may not be of the same sex or race, but we have two things in common. Firstly, we’re both kind. She gives millions of dollars away and builds schools in impoverished nations. Similarly, I often buy the Big Issue and I always give way at junctions, allowing my fellow road users to get to their destinations a trifle quicker than if I’d just flipped them the bird and put my foot down. I’m also thinking of sponsoring an orangutan, which would be rather lovely wouldn’t it? See, me and Oprah… The scale of our generosity is practically the same, don’t you think? In addition to our unwavering altruism, we’re also identical in the weight department - ie. we both have waistlines that fluctuate at a similar rate to the tide. Honestly, it’s a pendulum that never fails to ricochet from one extreme to t’other. One minute, I’m on a health kick that is working so well that people are starting to wonder if I’m riddled and the next thing you know, I’ve merely looked at a battenberg and suddenly I’ve got a collection of sweaty chins, thick ankles and type two diabetes.

Over the years, I’ve flirted with most diets. The grapefruit diet didn’t work out for me on account of the fact that grapefruit tastes fucking awful. The cabbage soup diet didn’t work because I was unable to consume said soup without half a loaf of crusty bread. Slim Fast wasn’t quick enough. The Atkins diet troubled both ends: not only did it make me constipated but it made my breath smell rotten. Slimming World and WeightWatchers involved maths, which I am not good at. I used the MyFitnessPal app for a while, but then I’d conveniently forget to add in the Snickers Duo that I accidentally consumed. Along with the (four slices of hot, thickly buttered) toast. And the, erm, wine. I once thought about eating raw chicken, thinking that the ensuing food poisoning might help shift some flab, but knowing my luck I’d probably just drop dead.  

So anyway, colour me DELIGHTED when I found out about the 5:2 diet. You eat what you like for five days of the week and then for the other two, you basically pretend that you’re in a concentration camp as you limit yourself to 600 calories. Not only do you lose weight on this bad boy, but it also has other hidden benefits: according to the available information, intermittent fasting is good at inhibiting the growth of a hormone called IGF-1. No, I don’t know what that means, either. But apparently, this is a good thing. So hurrah. And also, fuck it.

So, easy peasy, lemon squeezy. Or possibly not. Here’s what happened when I fasted yesterday.

0600: Dragged from lovely dream by Satanic werp-werp-werping of evil alarm clock. Sit on loo for sit-down wee with head held theatrically in hands while trying to remember said dream. Spectacularly fail to recall dream but clutch imaginary pearls nonetheless as I remember that today is starvation day. I’m also out of moist wipes. Not a good omen.

0615: Make coffee. Without milk. I’m saving all my calories for when I get home from work. All 600 of them. It tastes like an ashtray smells, if that makes sense. Still, this makes me feel slightly nauseous, which is a bonus as I don’t want to eat.

0616: That’s not altogether true. I could manage a McDonald’s breakfast. You know, if it was forced upon me.

0643: Make second cup of strong, black coffee. Four heaped spoonfuls, resulting in the end product resembling something in between treacle and tar. Every sip is a grimace-laden effort. Am slightly worried that drinking such a savage elixir will result in heart problems, sight loss or minor stroke. Do it anyway.

0701: I’m properly off my tits! I feel like throwing up but that’s okay because I also feel fantastic. I’ve got that much caffeine flowing through my veins that I start dancing like MC Hammer. You can’t touch this.

0704: Hurt self. Man down! Man down! All thanks to MC Hammer-related jigging about. Decide that MC Hammer is a total cunt. Glad he went bankrupt. Oooh, look at me. Fasting is making me bitter. This is going to be a fun day.

0725: Drive to work. Normally, I listen to LBC due to impending middle age and unrelenting desire to know what’s going off in the world (usually mass tragedy or wankers fucking things up, resulting in further mass tragedy). Today I listen to nothing except the empty rattle of my bleating belly. Hopefully, feeling sorry for self burns lots of calories, in which case, I’ll be a size zero by teatime and we can forget all about this ridiculous fasting lark.

0800: Open up Breakfast Club. Serve breakfast to forty children. Resentfully. Fortunately, one of them projectile-spews a bowl full of Cheerios all over the place. I’m suddenly back to feeling bilious myself. Hurrah!

0954: Rather than risk a bleed with another coffee, decide to have a cup of green tea. There are many benefits to green tea: its antioxidant properties, blah, blah, won’t get cancer, blah. No one tells you that it’s fucking foul. I manage half a cup. Decide that I hate the world.

1035: I still hate the world and everyone in it. Even Bob Geldof. He would probably sympathise with my plight, thinking about it. Feed the world, Bob? Feed me. Do it now.

1141: All I can think about is food. I want to cry. And then eat my tears. My delicious, salty tears.

1200: Do you want the good news or the bad news? The bad news is that I’m on lunch hall duty so have to spend the next hour supervising four hundred children eating their school dinner. Today’s menu features one of my favourites: sausage and mash. The good news is that not only do the sausages smell slightly sinister, but they also look anaemic, tiny and slightly repulsive,- much like my ex-boyfriend’s unmentionables. My commitment to fasting has never been stronger. It’s like the weight is dropping off me.

1314: My lunch break is from 1300-1400. Because I cannot eat anything, I decide that I should go for a walk into Edgware. If you’re not familiar, Edgware is… How can I describe it? It’s a bit like civil war almost broke out in a shit hole but at the last minute everyone decided to make friends, open a Nandos, an all-you-can-eat Chinese and a few pound shops. I, meanwhile, flail around, all dramatic, as though I’ve got mental issues. Thing is, so do most people around me, so I blend in quite nicely.

1400: Arrive back at work. I am acutely aware that I have not consumed any calories since 1900 hours yesterday. That’s 19 hours without a significant morsel inside of me. I’m twitchy, itchy and that hungry that I could cut a bitch. Which bitch? Any bitch.

1401: My fingernails have never been so tempting. I’m pretty certain that there are zero calories in them. In fact, I find myself Googling this and it turns out - fact fans - that there are a mammoth two calories in each nail. That’s twenty calories in all, which might not seem much to you, but when you’ve only got six hundred to play with, it’s a significant amount. Too much. I will simply have to go without. Am filled with woe.

1406: Suddenly strikes me that I spent valuable life researching the calorific impact of eating own fingernails. Is this what has become of me? Might ring the Samaritans.

1508: It’s someone’s birthday and they bring me a piece of chocolate cake. Am suddenly paralysed with fear / longing / desperation. I sniff it. Three times. Then I hand it back. Mood is suddenly heightened by expert will-power that I have displayed. Or is that I have accidentally snorted some sugar from the cake? Consider knocking out fifty squats to burn off what I have inhaled but decide against it on account of the fact that my groin is still sore from MC Hammer dancing malarkey and also, I might die.

1700: I am home. Fall through the door feeling like I have just finished the London Marathon, except there is no one there to furnish me with a foil cape or a medal. Or a 600 calorie meal.

1730: I want pizza. I want a hot sausage roll. I want McDonalds. I want a kebab. I want another hot sausage roll. I want a Sunday dinner, even though it’s not Sunday. In fact, I want all the food. All of it. And some wine and beer. And a pudding.

1731: This is tonight’s menu: six boiled eggs, a whole cucumber and a side order of despair. Have you ever tried to eat six boiled eggs in one sitting? The first two are easy. Number three is a bit claggy. Four is a challenge, perhaps like scaling Everest or solving a Rubix cube. Five makes you sweat and number six gives you rectal itching just looking at it. Also, cucumbers are shit.

1801: Decide to give up for the day. Retire to bed brimming with resentment. Cry-wank into pillow.

1804: Pass out with sheer exhaustion.

0600: Wake up with the lingering taste of egg humming in my mouth. Hear my mother’s voice ringing in my ears, telling me that eggs are, ‘very binding’ - ie. I won’t be shitting anytime soon.

0602: Run - yes run! - to bathroom. Sit on loo and fail in attempt to drop the kids off at the pool, as it were. Mother knows best. Give self a hernia in the process.

0605: Remove every last shred of clothes. Stand on scales and breathe out. Weigh self.

0606: Decide that the 5:2 might not be the diet for me. Yes, I’ve lost three pounds but on reflection, I decide that it’s not worth it. Consider (for the millionth time) doing my own Salmonella Plan, facilitated by licking raw chicken. At least that way, the issues brought on by the BINDING nature of over consumption of eggs will be remedied.


Saturday, 18 February 2017

Alternative Career: Sandwich Van Operative...

Pros: Back in the days when I worked in an office, there were often times when the general malaise could only be broken by the jolly toot-toot of the sandwich van's horn as it pulled up outside - a sound not unlike that of a nuclear fallout alarm and one which had a similar effect: upon hearing said sound, someone (usually a chubby knacker such as self) would inevitably shout, ‘SAAAAANDWICH VAN!’ as though their lives had been saved at the eleventh hour or they’ve just won a tenner at bingo. Or something. Whatever.

Everyone would then abandon the good ship work and hot-foot it to the van, exclaiming, ‘last one there gets the warm black cherry yoghurt,’ or, ‘bagsy I get the last tuna and onion baguette,’ or in my case, ‘get the fuck out of my fucking way you fucking fat fucker.’ A commotion would then occur as people scrambled for their favourite tasty treat. Think Black Friday sales where people stab each other and stamp on pensioners in Asda over a cheap telly or a sweaty bag of onions. Double it. Even then, you're nowhere the chaos that the Sandwich Van's wares inspire.

That jolly toot-toot brings out the very best and the very worst in people, trust me.

There’s also been many a time when I’ve felt envious of said Sarnie Van Driver. Rather than return to the coal face with my warm can of Diet Coke and my tepid black cherry yoghurt, I’ve wanted to hop into the van and pootle around office car parks myself, bringing a wealth of smiles, calorific treats and an unspoken nur nur ne nur nur because I haven’t got to go back into an office and listen to people eat crisps and suck their fingers like the rotten heathens that they probably are. Just think: all those sweaty cheese rolls at my disposal. More Kit Kat Chunkies than you can shake a stick at. The open road. As much Magic FM as I can handle. Helping the nation get their five a day and a soggy biscuit on the side that I would serve with a knowing wink. I’d be giving back. Making a difference. I’d be my own boss. My own comestible-related empire. And I’d call it something childlishly suggestive like Baps Out.

Cons: I’m not great at mental maths, so I’d probably charge one person four pounds and six shillings for a packet of ready salted crisps and another person three new pence for a veritable schmorgasboard that could satisfy the appetites of a family called Porky-Drawers. Oh well. Also, where do I get a special van from? Or could I just chuck everything in a cool bag and serve people out of the back of my lovely little car? Of course I could. Hmmm, but what about my arteries? Surely they’re gonna take a hammering, as will my profit margin. Putting me in charge of food is a bit like giving cherries to pigs.

Chances: When can I start? Oink!

Wednesday, 8 February 2017

10 Signs That I am Getting Older...

1. Youth-speak. Ridiculous, amusing and terrifying in equal measure. This week a ten year old sucked his teeth and said to me, ‘Innit that Big Sean is sick?’
'Is Sean your friend?' I asked. 'Sorry to hear that he's poorly. Has he got this cough that's been doing the rounds? Tell him to get his mum to buy him some Benylin.'

My concern was met with a face full of sneering guffaws as my obvious ancientness was cruelly exposed: it turns out that this Big Sean chap is a rapper. And he's not ill either: sick means cool apparently. How distasteful. How wrong. How SICK. Proper sick! Ill-sick! Get them all to boot camp and teach them slang that doesn’t give me rectal itching, if you please.

2. Youth attire. Pull your fucking trousers up or at least wear some nicer underpants. Why would you wear your britches around your ankles? Surely it must be like running the three legged race by yourself? And that’s just STUPID. And if they're not wearing their jeans halfway down their legs, they're wearing 'skinny fit' jeans, which is also an abomination if they're a bloke. IT DOES NOT LOOK GOOD. I'm all up for equal everything, but I draw the line at leggings, which is what they look like.

3. I have just reviewed the Top 40. I can hum ONE song. And that’s the Little Mix song, which I know because I am a rubbish gay. The rest is just noise. NOISE, I tell you. So much shouting over a tune-free backing. What on earth has happened to the HIT PARADE? And this Drake fellow that everyone goes on about? I'm not sure I get it? He sounds like a Darlek after a few tequilas.

4. Technology has left me behind. My touch screen phone is that complicated that answering the phone is stressful enough to induce a minor stroke. It does things that I don’t want it to. Eg. It tells me the weather when all I want to do is text someone. Or I’ll be on the phone (to Help the Aged, most probably) and it will decide to put me on hold and then dial someone else. The only way I can remedy the problem is by turning everything off, removing the battery (whilst sweating profusely and swearing like a navvy) and then turning it all back on several hours later when I’ve got my breath back… I yearn for simpler times. Yoghurt pots connected with cotton. Carrier pigeons. Ice pops. Rationing. Crisp sandwiches. My Aunty Eileen’s jam tarts that taste of sawdust and induce an asthma attack even if you don’t have asthma. A Ten pence mix that now seems dangerously unhygienic on reflection… Hmmm.

5. I make the old man sound when I sit down. You know the one: one part death rattle, one part mediocre orgasm, one part wet fart, two parts creaking yelp.

6. The realisation that I’ve been alive in five decades… 1970s, 1980s, 1990s, 2000s, 2010s. Fuck and bugger. I bought my first record (There Must Be An Angel Playing With My Heart) thirty two years ago… I can feel the buzzards circling above, I swear…

7. I MUCH prefer Radio 2 and LBC to Radio One and Capital, which just broadcast SHOUTY NOISE. And I secretly love a bit of Magic FM.

8. The idea of going clubbing makes me itch. And not in a good way… All that DUFF-DUFF-DUFF rubbish (by Big Sean or Drake, most probably.) You can’t hear what people are saying to you. And I quite like being in bed at a reasonable hour.

9. My middle age spread has come early. Nothing to do with being greedy. Nothing at all. Uh uh. No way, etc. My thyroid is perhaps shagged. Or is my prostate? Or is due to damp weather?

10. Incontinence. Oh.

Does anyone have the telephone number for Dr. Euthanasia?

Tuesday, 7 February 2017

Some Thoroughly Fascinating Facts...

Celebrity Crush: Honestly, I can’t believe that you’re asking me such a trivial question, given the RUINATION that surrounds us: a terracotta fuckwit has just been elected as the 45th President of America while Britain has gone rogue from the rest of Europe. China and Russia can’t be trusted; Africa remains peckish after all these years and the Middle East continues to burn - as do my loins for TOM HARDY, so there you go. Tom Hardy all the way. Are you watching that Taboo programme that he’s in? I am. I think it’s good, although a) I’m not sure I fully understand what’s going off and b) I wish Tom would get his tits out. For the lads, like.

Height: According to science (ie. the tape measure) I’m 5 feet 11 inches. According to my Dad: 6ft. He cannot bare the fact that I am the only male offspring that has failed to hit the magic 6ft, even with a back-combed bouffant. The fact that I also developed a penchant for all things poofery didn’t really go in my favour either. Either way, I blame the parents.   

Favourite food: I try and eat my five a day and drink two litres of water, but it’s hard. It’s just a shame that the five a day pertains to fruit and veg and not slices of stuffed crust pizza - which is my artery-threatening weapon of choice. I love pizza, but once upon a time I ordered a family sized affair from Dominoes and wolfed it down in a time that could’ve got me into the Guinness Book of Records for the Recently Type 2 Diabetic. Then I thought it would be a good idea to look up the amount of calories I’d just consumed. Turns out it was 2,400 - ie. more than my daily recommended limit. The thing is, I’d already been particularly gutsy that day: I’d had a big breakfast, a solid lunch and had various snacks in between. So, full of shame and self loathing, I turned to Ben and Jerry’s ice cream for solace. And then I looked up the calories in that and it turns out that I’d just inhaled a further 1000. At this point, I became consumed by despair, so I opened a bottle of wine and chugged an additional 600 calories. I mean, the damage was done by that point, no?

Favourite song: According to my iTunes statistics - and this will come as a HUGE SURPRISE to you, I know - but the song Rebel Heart by Madge (peace be upon her) sits at the pinnacle of my most played songs and deservedly so. It was like I wrote it myself. In terms of non-Madge songs, George Michael’s You Have Been Loved moves me to tears when I’m feeling especially melodramatic. A regular occurrence, if you're wondering. I also love Kalinka (look it up, bitches) by the Red Army Choir because it reminds me of being a kid and watching my Dad sing the lead tenor's part.

Favourite singer: Again, I am going to simply refer to my iTunes Top 25 most played. Madge occupies 24 of those slots. I might make her an award out of Kit Kat foil or something. Or just give her a Kit Kat. I'm sure you're all shocked to your very foundations (a bit like Kylie, eh?)

3 facts about me:
  1. I’m pretty easy going and chilled out apart from when people add sound effects to their food. Then I’ll happily cut a bitch.
  2. I don’t like touching public door handles. Dirty! The same goes for petrol pumps and debit card key pads. Hurrah for contactless payment and hand sanitizer. It’s always heart-breaking when the machine insists I insert my card. And a bit rude; like it thinks I might be a thief or summat.
  3. I once got mistaken for a rent boy outside of Leicester Square tube station. Not only was the punter RANCID but I ended up apologising to HIM for turning his business down. That probably sums me up in a nutshell.
  4. Okay, I know it says three facts and here I am, giving you a fourth, but I think my house might be haunted. The calendar has just thrown itself off the wall right before my very eyes. Mother? Is that you?!

What song did you last listen to? Erm, Let It Go by Idina Menzel, if you must know. The cold never bothered me anyway! Actually, that’s a lie: the cold really pissed me off this morning when I had to scrape the ice off my car at 7am. And why is it that cans of de-icer are impossibly cold to the extent where holding them gives you frostbite? Answer me that.

Monday, 6 February 2017

The Pickles We Find Ourselves In...

There’s no easy way to say it: I am a clumsy bastard. And when I say clumsy, I’m talking about an all-encompassing awkwardness that rules both body and mind; one that pre-disposes me to bad decisions and accidents aplenty. My clumsiness has got me into all manner of pickles over the years. As my Grandma (who, strangely, bore an uncanny resemblance to Bungle of Rainbow infamy - may she rest in peace, etc) used to say, while offering a particularly withering look, ‘You’re all thumbs, you. Fetch me the dustpan and brush…’

I have scars, broken bones and a permanent ache in my right shoulder thanks to years of relentless blundering. I’m talented at spilling stuff and dropping food down my top, especially when I’m in posh surroundings and wearing white. I’ve lost count of the number of canteen medals that I’ve acquired. I can crash cars really easily. I am able to fall over at the drop of a hat. I once accidentally threw myself down not one, but two, flights of concrete stairs in a single attempt. I even cleared the landing that connected the two. Oh, and then I tried to get up using my arm that was broken and dislocated as a result of aforementioned fall, which meant that I performed a perfect face-plant, knocking myself out and ripping my chin open in the process. And yes, of course I was drunk. Good job, really. It would’ve been mortifying to have done it sober.

Not many years pass where I don’t encounter stitches, bandages, whiplash or cracked ribs. To be honest, I think I’m ready for my post-traumatic stress disorder diagnosis. Please send the appropriate drugs and funding when you have a minute. Thanks.

I’m also top notch at making clumsy choices that seem a good idea at the time, but ultimately propel me into strange situations. It doesn’t help that I’m a magnet for social freaks and misfits. If there’s a nutter in the house, you can bet your last biscuit that he or she will seek me out. I should wear a t-shirt that says: Are you weird or of disputatious character? Are you a pervert or just plain odd? Does your hair grow in inconvenient places? And do you carry with you a faint whiff of TCP and desperation? If so, call me. I’ll probably fucking marry you. And I’ll end up paying for the ‘pleasure’ too.

I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve got myself into inexplicable situations. A while back I went out into Soho and ended up missing the last train. I didn’t have the money to get a cab home so I went to a late bar where I bumped into some old friends who were on their way to a nightclub and invited me along. Everything was fine until we got there and the club turned out to be a gay sauna. I freaked out a tad, but my mate reassured me that I didn’t have to have any random rumpo and that there were places you could go and sleep until the trains started again. I shouldn’t have worried about feeling obliged to shag strange strangers: no one showed an iota of interest, but this might have had something to do with the fact that I refused to take my comedy pants off and I wore my towel under my armpits like I was Victoria Beckham in her Spice Girls days - only because it wouldn’t go around my waist. It was roughly the size of a tea towel and at the time, I was roughly the size of a house. Anyway, I found what I thought was the sleeping quarters, pulled my pants up to my man boobs, wrapped the towel around my head like an Eastern European Big Issue seller and got my head down.

The next thing you know, I was being shaken awake by a man who was complaining about my farm yard machinery-esque snoring. My apparent sleep apnoea was putting him off his cheeky blow job. It also transpired that my olympic snoring was providing the sonic backdrop to what can only be described as a fifty man orgy. All I could see was a plethora of knobs and knackers flying every which way as people merrily did each other. I, meanwhile, clutched my pearls and let out a semi-manly yelp as I scuttled away from the fuck-fest and straight into a dark room where I slipped on a spent condom and flew, feet first, into a heaving mass of humping homos. I got myself to my feet, apologised and fled while wailing like a wronged banshee. When I finally got home, hours later - reeking of stale booze and shame - I wept.

On other nights out, I’ve been mistaken for being a rent boy; I’ve been befriended by gangster dwarves called KitKat and I’ve ended up in illegal clubs, just because it seemed like a good idea at the time. I once found myself in the middle of a Sri Lankan gang fight and ‘ooooh’ and ‘aaaah’d’ as one bloke swatted at his enemy with a machete. I’ve had my drink spiked and hallucinated all the way home. I’ve thrown up over lots of people at the same time. My best chum and I have have driven to France twice. The first time saw us cast asunder when the car (and all our belongings) blew up after less than twenty four hours. The second time was for a booze cruise. Except that it turned out that France was shut that weekend due to a religious festival, so all we came home with was a bad mood, a Toblerone and mild food poisoning. Speaking of which, I have managed to shit myself while wearing a onesie in Prague and have had to sit in my own swill from Czechoslovakia to Nottingham. I have been chased through foreign restaurants by angry cleaners for reasons unknown. As a student, I thought it would be a good idea to dye my hair purple (with a wash in, wash out thingy) and then go out. At first, my head simply resembled the glans of a huge penis, but then it rained and as the dye ran down my head, it looked as though someone had taken an axe to my bonce. People actually screamed when they saw me. Rude!

Anyone fancy a night out?

Sunday, 29 January 2017

Alternative Career: Policeman...

Pros: Oooh, I’m pissed out of my head with power just thinking about it… I’d be a rozzer, a copper, a pig, a porker - and I’d have a talking brooch. I’d be able to grab thieving pensioners by the scruff of their necks, reclaim the pilfered can of economy beans from their arthritic grasp and shout, ‘You’re going down for this, you slaaaaaag!’ I would always know the correct time and the free kinky stuff they give you is a definite pull: I’m thinking love truncheons, hard helmets, handcuffs and erm, pepper spray. Don’t knock it until you’ve tried it, eh? Plus, the uniform is a standard regulation black which is not only thinning (hurrah) but will also bring out the dark circles under my eyes. Perfect.

Cons: Rather than arresting light-fingered pensioners and the terminally poor, I’d probably help them in their quest to consume three square meals a day. It wouldn’t end with the coffin-dodgers, either. Being the soft leftie that I am, I think I’d administer my own liberal form of justice and just let everyone off. I can see it now: they’d give me a sob story about an ill relative or a sickly animal or tell me that they were riddled with something or other and I’d be helping them fill up their swag bags before giving them a lift home. Also, I’m pretty corrupt when I think about it. I’d be taking bribes left, right and centre. Not only that, but supposing my talking brooch radioed through to me that I needed to attend an armed robbery and apprehend the baddies, I have a strong feeling that I’d think, ‘Get shot for 25K a year? Nah, you’re alright, thanks.’ Then I’d probably hide in the loo with my love truncheon or cuff myself to my own bed, like some rancid old slag. Under my watch, crime rates would soar and to be honest, that’s fine by me, which isn’t really the best attitude for someone who’s job it is to enforce the ass that is the law. Also - I've said it before and I'll say it again - hats of any description make me look like a simpleton.

Chances: You know what? I can’t really be bothered. Besides, it’s enough that I’m a gayer; if my Dad found out that I was a bent cop (do you like what I did there?) he’d probably implode… In that case, when can I start?

Wednesday, 18 January 2017

Breaking Up With My Barber...

Hair by Fat Hamit

It's no secret that I have been cursed with what was referred to throughout my childhood as 'tufty' hair. Loosely translated: thick, wiry and not unlike that of a person who has lived rough for years. Tragically, on the sides of my bonce (good word that, bonce), it tends to grow outwards and in a horizontal line - laughing triumphantly in the face of gravity.

If I leave it longer than a fortnight, I end up looking like an industrial toilet brush, except shitter (see what I did there? Boom! Boom!) And that's just not okay. As a result, I make sure I get it tamed each fortnight: a quick buzz on the sides and then a trim on top to ensure that I remain looking vaguely human rather than someone who you wouldn't leave your kids with. However, because I go so frequently, I end up developing a relationship with the barber and that's where things tend to go awry...

For years, I went to Fat Hamit, a Turkish bloke who had his own shop at the end of the road where I was then living. The problem was, as I got to know him, the quality of his output lessened. He was too busy filling me in on the machinations of his life to pay much attention to the job in hand. I would leave, thanking him for a good cut and then go home and despair in the mirror, wondering why I'd paid fifteen quid to look like an impoverished Romanian lesbian circa 1984. But still, I'm as loyal as the proverbial butcher's dog and we were in an exclusive barbery relationship / cycle of abuse, so every fortnight I would go back for more. I walked past his shop every day - it was at the end of the road, so there was escaping him. Then one day, after asking for a short, back and sides and being given a next generation mullet with fancy bangs, something had to give. My opportunity to consciously uncouple with Fat Hamit presented itself when he decided to visit Turkey for a month.

While he was away, I happily cheated on him with a barber down the road and because I would leave the salon looking relatively human, I elected to jump Fat Hamit's scissory ship for good. It was awkward though: being thoroughly British, I had to pretend to be on the phone every time I walked past the shop, which wasn't often. I would go a completely out-of-the-way route just to avoid seeing him. At one point, I considered hiding myself under a hat, but hats make me look more of a simpleton than Fat Hamit's cuts did, so it was a false aesthetic economy all round.

After Fat Hamit, I settled into my new hair-care relationship with an Italian outfit down the road, but after a couple of years this too started to lose its appeal. It wasn't the calibre of the cut, it was the time that it took for me to get what I wanted. On average, they would take about half an hour per cut and it wasn't unusual to wait two hours to get in the chair. What ground my gears was that they'd often stand around and chat with customers way after they had paid, delaying matters even further. Or they'd just disappear for twenty minutes, reappear for three minutes with a cup of tea in their hands and then disappear into the back again, never to be seen again. I get that they needed breaks, but when you've been sitting there for that long that you can feel your hair growing and your ends splitting, it gets HIGHLY FUCKING irritating. So one day after I'd been sitting there for an hour and a half with no end in sight, I found myself missing Fat Hamit.

I formed a plan in my head which I executed swiftly. I fingered my phone menu and set my phone ringer off, pretended to answer the non-existent call and fled the shop. When I arrived at Fat Hamit's, my fantasy of a reunion not seen since Robbie re-joined Take That, evaporated.

Picture the scene: Fat Hamit's shop is empty. He is sitting at the till, idly thumbing through The Sun. The shop still carries a faint whiff of dirty fat. Reassuring but foul, etc.

Me: (Opens door, walks in as though I'd never stopped going there) How are you doing, Hamit?
Fat Hamit: (Slowly puts paper on the desk, looks at me and narrows his eyes). Is... you! You!
Me: Hmmm, yeah. Is me. How are things?
Fat Hamit: You ditched me. Where you be?
Me: What? What are you talking about?
Fat Hamit: You ditched me. I go holiday. You never come back.
Me: Oh...

(A quick aside here. I tend not to lie because I'm ridiculously bad at it and always over egg the pudding. I mean, a quiche could take lessons...)

Fat Hamit: Tell me, maaaan! Where you be?
Me: Well, the thing is, while you were away, my house-thingy got flooded and I had to move out unexpectedly. So I moved back to, er,  Nottingham? Yeah, Nottingham... and also, the other thing is, I ended up moving above a barber shop so I just went there. I meant to come and tell you, but obviously it's a long way away. And I er, couldn't make it.
Fat Hamit: Hmmm.

Awkward silence.

Me: But! I am back now!
Fat Hamit: Take. A. Seat.
Me: How's your wife?
Fat Hamit: You would know if you no run away and ditch me like the son of the bitch.
Me: Well, yes. Quite.

Fat Hamit was clearly unhappy. Whereas he used to be chatty, now he was silent; an expression of betrayal-fuelled hatred etched onto his face. He sought his revenge via the haircut he delivered. I left looking like my head had had a chem-sex threesome with Mad Slasher and One-Eyed fucking Jack. I smiled and promised him that I'd be back soon. Needless to say, I've never set foot back in the place. Fat Hamit can piss off.

I now patronise a barber shop close to where I work. They are ruthlessly efficient - in and out in twenty minutes - and because they can barely speak English (suits me), I can't get too attached, which is good, because after a brief honeymoon period, the lure of the place is starting to wane. The other week, the chap snipped away at my head while watching an Arabic soap opera. And the thing is, I don't feel like I can complain for the simple reason that he's holding a pair of scissors. I've seen Sweeney Todd. I know how it all plays out.

I went there again the other day and there was incident that has put me off for good. Your man held on to the top of my head while he clipped the sides. Suddenly he stopped, picked his nose and used his index finger to retrieve a huge bogey from his conk. He then made eye-contact with me via the mirror we were both looking in (if you’re interested, at this point I resembled the character in Edvard Munch’s The Scream painting.) He held my gaze as he wiped it on his t-shirt and then casually went back to holding the top of my head. All I could think was that the DIRTY BOGEY finger was now holding my head. I wish I was lying when I said that I got home and used three Flash antibacterial wipes on my head.

Once upon a time, I was seeing someone who left a pair of pants next to my bed. Concealed in said pants was a skid mark that Evil Knievel would have been proud of. I, on the other hand, was less than amused and dispensed with said lover quicker than you can say, ‘pass the moist wipes.’ It turns out that this leopard’s spots aren’t changing anytime soon and I’m going to have to find a new barber. That, or embrace the simpleton look and buy a nice top hat that I can stash my tresses under.

Hmmm… decisions, decisions.

Saturday, 14 January 2017

The Art of Taking a Selfie...

Ladies and gentlemen: welcome to 2017. No-one has got any money, all of our favourite celebrities are dead (apart from Madge - I've bubble-wrapped her and stuck her in the loft); the Western World is in meltdown and everyone hates each other - why else would we have a Tory government? Rather than burn our bras and blockade the streets until we get what we want, we’re too busy uploading our latest selfie to any social network that will have us to give a meaningful shit. Oh well. Beauty’s where you find it.

I shouldn’t sound too judgemental. I’m no better. Rather than write to Theresa May about matters of grave importance (her terrible hair and eye-bags, for instance. Oh yeah, and that Brexit thingy) I’m too busy indulging my inner narcissist. Donald Trump has taken a break from being pissed on by Russian prozzies so that he can lead the free world. Nothing makes sense anymore. So what can you do? Oh yeah. Take a selfie. Why not? Can’t hurt.

So, here’s the 1-2-3 on giving good face.

1. First off, get a low resolution camera. See, all the latest camera phones try and tempt you with promises of a camera that boasts a trillion megapixels, or thereabouts. Which is less than fantastic if you’re generally sweaty or have a blemish or pore that has gone rogue. Believe me when I say that that imperfection will be captured perfectly. And when you get a disproportionate number of likes on Facebook, it won’t be the cheeky grin you’re offering that people are liking. Oh no, these sadistic keyboard warriors that you’ve never met will be cheering for the puss-fillled zit that has set up base camp on your chin for the next fortnight.

Which chin? Both of them, fatty.

2. Speaking of your collection of chins, there are a number of options available to reduce the obesity crisis that is happening on your face right now. Firstly, you can simply crop said chins out of the photo, which is okay, but there are some drawbacks. For example, simply slicing the bottom third of your face out of the picture might make you look like: a) you’re a bit simple; b) a bit quadriplegic; or c) a bit like a person who has just cropped their flab out of the photo - busted, etc. A better idea is to hold the camera directly in front of you and then raise it: higher... Higher. Hiiiiiiigher... Bit more. Little bit more. There we go.

Obviously, you’re not going for a bird’s eye view of your bonce, but you get the picture. Pun intentional. Alternatively, you could lose weight. It’s entirely up to you. Also, can I just add something? Make sure you know where you’re looking when the photo is being taken. Familiarise yourself with where the lens is. Otherwise after you’ve taken the photo, you look as though you’re either blind or simple.

3. So by now, you have used your raised arm to capture a picture of yourself at a decent angle using a cheap phone. Hurrah. But don’t stop there. There’s more work to do. Now you have to filter the shit out of the picture to get the best you that there can be. Even though that you doesn’t really exist. Go to Instagram and scroll through the collection of filters until you’ve got arthritis in your thumb. Select the best one. Screen shot the bastard. Then go to your photo gallery, find the filtered photo and start all over again. Lather, rinse, repeat. Keep going until you’ve changed race, or, if you’re that eager, species. I feel a bit sorry for Michael Jackson: if only this shit had been around back in the day, he could have saved himself so much money on surgery. He could’ve just used all the filters on his bad self. Chamon. Hindsight is a wonderful thing, no?

And that, my friends, is the secret to a good selfie: crap phone, a functional arm and the ability to filter yourself until Arthur looks like Martha. Or Dave. Or a kettle. Or a napkin. Whatever.

Strike a pose!

Friday, 18 November 2016

Alternative career: Harvester Operative

Hands up: who remembers Des’ree? You do - especially if you’re hurtling towards middle age as I am. Anyway, if you need a reminder, she was a) rather beautiful; b) sang a brilliant but slightly rubbish song called Life. Released in 1998, Life was all over the radio and was as contagious as scabies, although perhaps less sexy. At the time I was in my second year at university and while everyone rocked out to cooler cuts courtesy of Fatboy Slim et al, I was much happier singing along to good old Des’ree, even though the lyrics were questionable. And when I say questionable, what I mean is, a bit shit. On Life, she sings, ‘I don’t want to see a ghost, I’d rather have a piece of toast, watch the evening news!’ I think we can all agree that it’s not exactly W.B. Yeats, but do you know something? The older I get, the more that line resonates. Although to be fair, you probably need to substitute, ‘a piece of toast’ with, ‘a litre of gin.’

Life is stressful, no? Mine is. I’m sure yours is too. It sometimes feels as though I’m spinning a load of plates inevitably destined for dust. One thankless task after another. During these times, I fantasise (mostly in an unsexy way) about giving it all up and joining the circus. Actually I don’t. I’m not good with animals: they smell and shit in the house, so fuck that, basically. No, during these times of HEIGHTENED DURESS (oh yeah), I breathe deeply and imagine myself working in the Harvester. The one at the top of my road, in fact. A place where the staff are smiley and the beer is reasonable.

PROS: Think of all that free salad. Thinning. Much like the uniform, which appears to be a black tunic type thing. Also, tips! I like to think that my disco tits would easily secure a handsome income just from the shimmies that I’d offer between courses. Honestly, how could you resist? I wouldn’t have to start that early in the morning and I’d be run off my feet, which would secure my 10K steps per day. Again, thinning. I’d be a waif in no time.

CONS: There’s a bar, isn’t there? I’d probably skip the salad bar for the booze bar. Also, I’d have to deal with the public, which is a thankless task at the best of times. I’m pretty certain that I’d end up serving a few pube-infusions to the great unwashed and those devoid of manners - ie. most of the punters. Also, I’m clumsy: the customers would be more likely to wear their order than eat it. Either way, I’d be unapologetic. And I’d still want a rather substantial tip. Not too much too expect, no?

CHANCES: Slim and cheap. Unlike me. Fuck ‘em.

Oh well.