Tuesday, 25 December 2007

Baby Jesus is 2008 today!

Happy birthday to you!
Happy birthday to you!
Happy birthday Baby Jesu!
Happy birthday to you!

(Even though I don't really believe in Christian stuff. Soz)

*Burns in Hell*

Monday, 24 December 2007

Alternative Careers #1: Pop Star

PROS: I quite fancy it, you know. Call me Majohnna! Tap your foot and nod along enthusiastically as my latest hit single, Ayup Me Duck, is played on the radio for the ninth time in an hour whilst some velvet-voiced disc jockey champions my artistic genius. Sceam and mercilously chuck an assortment of underwear at me (make sure it's clean) whilst I hit notes that only dogs and children with special needs can hear in a sold out Wembley Stadium. Gasp with admiration as my album, The Adventures of Majohnna Red Pants spends its seventy third consecutive week at number one. Applaud as I humbly recieve the Brit award for Most-Ironic-Yet-Utterly-Profound-Cheesy-Singalong-Pop-Romps. Raise eyebrows and cover your children's eyes as I strike risque poses left, right and centre on primetime TV before the watershed. Weep with admiration as I spearhead some random charitable initiative, such as HELP A SPAZ week. Rush out and purchase my own personal clothing line that is exclusive to Primark. Blind yourself as you liberally spray your body with my fragrance, Eau de Toss Pot. Chortle, guffaw and snigger as I make a successful guest appearance on a high-profile comedy sketch programme and ask yourself if there is anything that I can't do.

CONS:
Am overweight, in my thirties, always look tired and can't sing. Oh well, hasn't stopped Mariah-Banshee-Carey has it? I recently sang along to the radio whilst in the car with a chum. Her verdict? 'You make utterly ugly noises. It's like hearing a dog being punched in the arse.' Later on that night I tried to persuade myself that she was jealous as I indulged in a private sing along, but then the neighbours complained and now the council are on my back threatening ASBOs. How rude.

CHANCES: Tragically, none whatsoever. I am CLEARLY before my time. Pah!

Thursday, 13 December 2007

We've been expecting you...

Good morning George,

You were born on 12.55am of Thursday, 13th December, a matter of hours ago… It was a freezing cold night and even now, as the light of the morning shines down, the frost is reluctant to leave. It’s a beautiful day – cold but sunny and bright. It’s the kind of weather where you want to wrap yourself up and go for a walk before returning home with rosy cheeks and feet that you can’t quite feel any more. But more than that, it’s a beautiful day because you’re here.

I’ve just received a text message from the proudest Dad in the world, telling me that you’re beautiful and that you entered the world after an 11 hour labour weighing 7lbs and 12oz. I wonder if, when you grow up and start having kids of your own, that babies will still be measured in this way, or whether a new method will have been invented? The future is impossible to predict. All you need to know is that there are many, many people who love and care for you and will do their best to make your future a healthy and happy one.

Being 31 years old, I’m looking back on my life and trying to think of some top tips for life, but I’m not getting very far. I should get out more. Okay, top tips: 1. Get out more. 2. Don’t answer your Mum or Dad back. 3. Don’t drop litter. 4. Or spit. 5. Say please and thank you. I’m rubbish at this aren’t I? Thing is, you’ll know all this, because you’ll be well brought up, so I may as well shurrup, as they say back home. What I can do though, is let you know what’s happening here and now so that when you and your friends discuss what the world was like when you was born, your encyclopaedic knowledge will leave them suitably impressed. Stick with me, kid!

1. Madonna is the best. Like, ever. This is a very important fact. If you ever want to borrow a CD, I will let you. But only you. You’re obviously special. No one borrows my Madge stuff. True fact. The last time someone borrowed a Madge CD, it came back with what looked like a skidmark in the booklet. I wasn’t impressed. I’m not normally grumpy, but I was that day. I’m not lending your Dad anything ever again.

2. The number one single in the charts is Bleeding Love and the number one album is Spirit, both by Leona Lewis. I think she’s ace, but I bet your Dad thinks she’s a howling banshee. Your Mum will know what I'm on about. When we were at uni, your Mum and Dad would come to see me (we were at different universities) and your Mum and I would sing and dance to Madge and Grease in my bedroom, whilst your Dad would sit on the bed with his head in his hands - perhaps because of my attempts at singing. Bummer.

3. The current Prime Minister is Gordon Brown. He’s a bit odd looking: Scottish, tubby, greasy hair and does this funny thing with his mouth in between breaths that makes him look as though he’s having a stroke. He looks like he’s clumsy, which is something I can sympathise with. I bet he spills his tea and his wife tells him off. He looks like he’s a master of the silent fart too.

4. The President of the United States is George Bush. We don’t like him. At all. No one does, not even Americans, but particularly Iraqis.

5. Fabio Capello is allegedly going to be named as the new England manager today. I’m not getting excited – he’ll probably be rubbish. They always seem to be rubbish. He’ll be succeeding Steve McLaren – a personality-free dullard who ruined our chances of getting to the European Finals next summer. Tsk. England never win anything. Ever. I hope this changes as you grow up, but it’s unlikely, my little darling. If I was you, I’d support someone better. Italy are the current World Cup Champions. We didn’t do too well at the World Cup – all our best players seem to break something prior to a big tournament (you know, like a nail) and then that’s that. And our goalkeepers are SHOCKING. In fact, we’re not great at anything… We came second in the rugby World Cup Final recently, losing to South Africa (pronounced Sith-iif-riyk-ah), but that was an achievement as we were predicted to crash and burn – like we do in the football. You will also be a Forest supporter. For your mental health’s sake, I hope they buck up soon. When your Dad and I were growing up, Forest were one of the best teams in the country. On a freezing cold, foggy Boxing day in 1992, me and your Dad made our way from Bestwood Village to West Bridgford without public transport. It was a nightmare. A bit like crossing the arctic, really (if your Mum and Dad tell you that I’m dramatic, DON’T believe a word.) Anyway, we got there and bought our first ever season tickets. Our elation turned to upset however, when the game was postponed due to the fog. Your Dad and I said lots of bad words and that season, we were relegated. More bad words ensued. On the last game, there was a big crush in the Trent End - this was when it was standing - and your Dad still laughs at me because I screamed. Pah! I could've been hurt! Anyway, it’s been downhill since then. We’re currently languishing in the third tier of football. It’s not pretty. But if you want pretty, I’ll fish you out a nice picture of Madonna. Remember, she is the best (after your Mum. That's allowed.)

6. We hate Derby and we hate Derby. We hate Derby and we hate Derby. We hate Derby and we hate Derby. We are the Derby haters… Sheep, sheep, sheep THINGYMEBOBS…… Baa!

7. I’ve just been looking at the headlines to impart some news of the day, but it’s all bizarre / depressing: America is iced over (shame), Man Utd fans got beaten up in Rome (shame), Britney Spears is in trouble for being off her face again (shame), some bloke is on trial somewhere where they have too much time on their hands for chucking a snow ball at someone (I mean, please…)

No doubt that we will look back on these events and laugh. And just think, in eighteen years time, I’ll be buying you a beer... Oh good lord, I’ll be almost 50...

I've just seen your picture for the first time and you really are beautiful. You've brightened up the darkest month in way you will never know. Welcome to the world, George…

Big cuddles...

Uncle Johnny Red Pants xxx

Wednesday, 12 December 2007

Hari Kari Chrimbo...

Yo, ho, ho!

Do you know what? I think I'm over Christmas already... Personally, I am holding Wizzard and Slade entirely responsible for my lack of festive cheer... There I was in Primarni t'other week, rummaging around for bargain-priced undercrackers when the aural onslaught began. That scary bloke from Wizzard (y'know, the strange looking hippy who wears sunglasses in December? The long haired chap that you wouldn't leave your kids with?) Anyway, he screamed, 'It's Christmaaaaaaaaaaaas!' as I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday drew to its hideous conclusion. Then Slade piped up and started wishing everyone a merry Christmas before telling the world that 'everybody's having fun...' and I lost the will to live ON THE SPOT.

A slight yelp escaped as I melodramatically let my six-pairs-of-mustard-coloured-Y-fronts-for-25p fall to the floor. Clutching a heavy heart, I escaped to a Ronald McDonald's and consoled myself with a diet coke (no ice as I have very sensitive pearly whites.) Even there, the repugnance continued: all that Pariah Scary wants for Chrimble is me (she wishes, the fat cow), and John Lennon gave a fun-free delivery of Merry Christmas (War is Over). Then it all got too much for me and I passed out. (Okay, this bit isn't true but it sounds better than 'I got up, belched from the diet coke which was disappointingly flat and then sat in a traffic jam for what seemed like ten years before getting home and headbutting my wardrobe door repeatedly because I knew that it would feel nice was soon as I stopped...)

Anyway, onwards and upwards! My interest in life - you'll hopefully be heartened to hear - has been slightly rejuvenated by a) mince pies b) sherry (administered through the eye or as an enema) c) the fact that my housemate has not cottoned on to the fact that I am pilfering what she thinks is her unopened tin of Quality Street (fat bitch part II) d) Same Difference from X-Factor (sad state of affairs, but Rhydian reminds me of a grown up Chucky and Leon looks like he needs a bath) e) Industrial strength painkillers (marvellous when paired with the sherry), but still... ENOUGH IS ENOUGH. No wonder the suicide rate is so high during the festive season. It's all Cliff - come out of the closet already! - Richard's fault. Mistletoe and wine? I've told you, it's all about the SHERRY.

I may yet sue.

Anyway, MERRY CHRISTMAS! HAVE FUN! LOOK TO THE FUTURE NOW! IT'S ONLY JUST BEGUUUUUUUUUUUN!

*shoots self*

That is all.

Tuesday, 11 December 2007

Reasons that I am going to hell #1 - Mika and the elderly probable lesbian with only one eyes.

Does anybody out there have the Mika album? Of course you do! Has anyone else out there played it to death to the extent where if you hear Big Girls (You are Beautiful) one more time that there is a high chance you will punch the next fat person you see? I'm right there with you! I think I've killed it - I've played it three million times too many and even the name Mika makes me shudder.

However, there is one part of the album that I can still play on repeat... Perhaps for the wrong reasons, but let's face it, my karma is screwed and I'm destined to roast in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone when I leave this astral plane... Yup, at the end of the song Relax, Mika is hitting notes that implies that his testicles are securely held in a workman's vice. 'Take it eaaaaaaaaaaaaaassssy!' he screams in a masculinity-questioning note that only dogs can hear... And then as the music fades, a voice of an old woman comes to the fore. She's telling a story of her broken heart, her broken eye and the fact that it's in broken English means that the delivery is inadvertantly hilarious. I know you shouldn't laugh, but what can you do if the end result is piss-pantlingly funny. I know I'm evil. There's no need to tut! See you in Hell.

Mika and the elderly probably lesbian with only one eyes.

Sem dir I want to dress for wedding, SEM DIR! When I want married… What happen? (said as though she's been on the sherry)
He's gone and married another gur! (A what?)
When he's married another GUR, I am very, very saaad! (said in tone which suggests that she's about to laugh her bonce off)
I can talk! Like carpet my legs! (what?)
How's he married another lady I no believe! (Yeah, it's certainly a conundrum, love...)
After one month I am sent up in balcony… Some… Bomb come for my eyes.
My eyes? GONK!
My eyes gonk! And now I only have one eyes.
I am sad and 'til now I no marry any man after…
(yeah, yeah... lesbian.)

I feel terrible now for laughing.*

*Not true but am hoping my outpouring of remorse will salvage a few Heaven points.

Sunday, 9 December 2007

Random thought #3

Ironing. WHY?

That is all.

Friday, 30 November 2007

Random Thought #2

Grebs. No. Just no. No, no, no. Never. Away with them, their body odour, snotty attitude towards anything with a melody that's sung by someone with nice teeth and no aversion to soap and deodorant. Away with their skin tight, pale blue/almost white jeans, long, greasy hair, their pasty faces littered with blackheads and their music collection that sounds like a thousand newborn babies covered in piss and set on fire. Shit off, the lot of you.

That is all.

Thursday, 29 November 2007

Random thought #1

Hulk Hogan: what a cunt.

That is all.

Thursday, 15 November 2007

Wednesday, 26 September 2007

Shoddy of Evidence...

Bless my darling girl, Madge. She tries. And I love her for it.

I mean, you can’t knock her musical prowess, whether you like the majority of her output or not – I even love the American Life fuck-fest rap about soya coffee (vile) and not being a Jew or a God botherer. It was, like, y’know, ironic.

Phew.

She’s an artist in this sense – a kind of revolutionary who isn’t afraid to take risks and a few gambles and more often than not, she comes up with the goods. In doing so, she has made herself an icon, and provided a legendary musical catalogue that is second to none. However, when it comes to the old moooovies, she’s... she's... she's box office poison, bless her 1990 pointy bra. I dunno why as I honestly think she can act. She can! Leave her alone. Desperately Seeking Susan, A League of Their Own, Dick Tracy, Dangerous Game (shite, but she’s ace in it) and let’s not forget Evita. (I’ll let you into a little secret here, I used to play Lament - the bit at the end when she’s about to slip of the dish - and practice the death scene. Sadly, I was about 26 at the time. Lordy!) She SHOULD have got the Oscar. She was ace. But on the flipside, she’s been part of a few turkeys, too…

Now, the thing is, I LIKE the turkeys better than the successes. Who’s that Girl (always troubled me that the title was bereft of a question mark. Bloody Yanks, etc…) is possibly one of my favourite ever films in the world. How funny is she in it? Swept Away wasn’t THAT a bad film – a little bit dull, I suppose, but nowhere near the family-killing car-crash that the media made it out to be (before they’d even seen it, damn them). Shangai Surprise was that bad it was tremendous and she looked lovely in it. And then there’s The Next Best Thing - fabulous, if only for the bit where she’s grabbing her baps, moaning about them becoming saggy and generally camping up. Oooh, and don’t forget her version of American Pie, which never fails to make me smile.

However, the best of all the turkeys, in my humble opinion, is Body of Evidence. Here we have Lord Madge playing Rebecca Carlson – a woman with a terrible hair cut on trial for murder (fancy!) who stands as both the accused (booo!) and exhibit A (yaaaay!) The question: did she shag her (rich) boyfriend to death? Her lawyer – played by Willem – ugly face, alleged big knob – Defoe hopes not – especially as she’s sexing him up to. The slag. Now, not only is a bit of a cumbersome courtroom drama and terribly lit throughout, but the characters are about as believable as my ex-boyfriend. Ie. Not very. In the end, nasty Rebecca (hiss!) gets shot and dies (yippee!) and it’s all a bit of a relief. Its brilliance lies in the sex scenes – where Rebecca (spit!) pours hot candle wax all over her lawyer-lovers (allegedly huge) love-sausage (bravo!) and then smashes a light bulb and has it off over the broken glass. Saucy! But best of all are some of the lines… I think they were going for high drama… but what they ended up with was pure comedy gold.

Hark at ‘em:

Michael Dulaney: Dad, can you really screw someone to death?

Frank Dulaney: No. Of course not. Besides you don't need to worry about that. Do you?

Michael Dulaney: No.

Frank Dulaney: Because you are one good-looking guy.

-----

Frank Dulaney: Counsel for the Prosecution has already used this witness to establish the state of mind of the deceased. He opened the can, Your Honour.

Judge Burnham: And I do see worms crawling all around you, Mr. Garrett.

-----

Robert Garrett: Dr. McCurdy. What would cocaine do to someone in Mr. Marsh's condition?

Dr. McCurdy: It would accelerate his heartbeat.

Robert Garrett: And if he were having sex while under the influence of such a stimulant?

Dr. McCurdy: It would be the same as shooting a loaded gun at him!

-----

Frank Dulaney: It's not a crime to be a beautiful woman.

Robert Garrett: She is a beautiful woman. But when this trial is over, you will see her no differently than a gun, or a knife, or any other instrument used as a weapon. She's a killer! And the worst kind. A killer who disguised herself as a loving partner!

Frank Dulaney: It's not a crime to be a great lay!

-----

But the best lines are reserved for the missus herself:

Rebecca Carlson: I fucked him! I fucked you! I fucked Frank! That’s what I do! IIIIIIIIIIIIII FUUUUUCK! And I made eight million dollars!

Rebecca Carlson: Have you ever seen animals make love, Frank? It’s INTENSE.

Well, that last line made me snort my Happy Shopper lemonade back into my glass, if memory serves me correctly. Oh, how I laughed! What was she thinking? I’d have looked at the script and possibly used it to wipe my backside on (as am eco-warrior type person and do not like waste…) Besides, watching animals bonk upsets me. It makes me feel a bit nauseous, to be perfectly honest. Ever since next door’s Labrador tried to rape my leg as a child, I’ve never been the same since.

Body of Evidence? What a load of (fantastic) shit!

Friday, 29 June 2007

365 Days Later...

365 Days Later…

Your heart is not open
So I must go
The spell has been broken I loved you so…
Freedom comes when you learn to let go
Creation comes when you learn to say no
Walk away
You were my lesson I had to learn
I was your fortress you had to burn
Pain is a warning that something’s wrong
I pray to God that it won’t be long
Walk away…

There’s nothing left to lose,
There’s no more heart to bruise
There’s no greater power
Than the power of goodbye…

365 days ago, I was about to embark on one of the worst experiences that I’ve ever journeyed through. Is it over? Almost. I hope so. I think so. In retrospect, my relationship had been unravelling at its tread-bare seams for a long time. I was losing the ability to turn a blind eye to the multitude of contradictions and anomalies that I was being spoon-fed on a daily basis. As an entity, we were akin to a dying animal: painful, ugly, desperate… in need of being put out of its arduous, wretched misery. And a year ago today, the inevitable happened and we finished.

He had done a disappearing act the night before: I received a text message to say that he needed space to sort his head out. Livid does not do justice to the rage that I was feeling. The next day I rang in sick as I planned on doing similar myself. I was going to get a train to Brighton and sit on the beach but as I got myself ready for my day out, my phone hissed at me. He was ringing to say that we needed to talk. At the time, I didn’t want to. Fuck you, I thought. I wanted to evaporate into anonymity and get lost somewhere soothing. Looking back, I knew the end was coming but even then I was defiant. I couldn’t relinquish my hold on something that I’d single handedly worked so hard on to make work. I couldn’t do it. And I wouldn’t do it. I was not prepared to walk away from my huge emotional investment with absolutely no return, let alone the financial catastrophe that I’d be left with. Not that it was about the money. I loved him. Really loved him. More than life itself.

I’m not sure how and why I thought so highly of him – he’d never really done anything for me, other than be able to make me laugh, and whilst humour is a massive turn on for me, it takes more than being tickled and the odd knock-knock joke to send me weak at the knees. It was mysterious, confusing, complex and bewildering but so amazing that words cannot ever express the depth of my feeling towards him. Even now, I ache thinking about him. The pain is as much physical as it is emotional. It’s complete. It’s total. It’s grief.

He was always able to manipulate me and that’s as much my fault as it is his. I allowed him to. I could have, should have, said no a bit more. But I was the proverbial putty in his greedy hands. I cancelled my trip out and met him for coffee. Initially the conversation was stilted and wooden. The natural ebb and flow to our banter had vanished as we exchanged pleasantries like strangers, which, looking back, is what he always was to me. A foreigner. Coffee was insufficient and in order to lubricate the stagnant air between us, we relocated to the local pub and switched lattes for pints of lager.

‘Do you want to split up?’ I asked.
‘I don’t know,’ he replied. The uncertainty in his words went against the tone in his voice and the look in his eyes. The spark had gone.
‘Doesn’t that say it all?’ I asked. I can remember this as though I had the conversation moments ago.
‘Don’t know.’
‘You don’t know? I don’t want to be with someone who doesn’t know if they want to be with me. Well?’ ‘Get me a Jack Daniel’s and coke. Double.’ I snorted with derision as I got up from my seat and clambered to the bar. My head was awash with conflicting emotions: rage, misery, hatred… But as ever, these feelings were appeased by the love I felt for him. Moments later, I had retaken my seat and sat on my twitching hands as he sat joking on the phone to a friend. I wanted to take the phone from him and smash it into his piggy, disrespectful face. I knew what splitting up meant: deconstructing and untangling the remnants of two years together. I couldn’t face it. Up until that point, it was the last thing I wanted and yet the pendulum of my mindset swung the other way as he giggled down to the phone. This was not a time for fucking laughing. Eventually, he concluded his conversation and as his gaze met mine, his jocular visage was replaced with a stony silence.

‘Well?’ I asked.
‘What do you think we should do?’ he countered.
‘It’s not working is it?’
‘No.’
‘Do you want to be with me?’ I asked.
‘I don’t know,’ he said, unable to hold eye contact.
‘Then it’s over.’

As clear as the conversation still is to me, the rest of the afternoon isn’t. I know that I drank so much that I was still pissed at 9am the next day as I flew up the M1, back to the solitude of home. I know that his friend, Carol, and my friend, Clarabella, joined us and looked deeply uncomfortable as we braved it out. It’s for the best, we said, smiling unconvincingly. At least this way we can still be friends. We will always love each other, we’re best mates! The things you say in certain situations.

What happened next: I moved out and into a repugnant bedsit. I let him have the house and everything in it on the condition that I would either take it when I could afford to move into a flat, or he would pay me for everything once he got his compensation money through from his last employer. As it turned out, I got nothing. He lost my deposit on the house that we shared, he stole my computer, sold my belongings behind my back and walked away from the mountain of debt (in my name) that he’d run up whilst we together.

The first six months after we split was nothing short of dreadful. I hated the bedsit and whilst the point of it was to live somewhere cheap so that I could save for something better, such was the depression that I experienced by simply being there, I was always out on the piss, spending the money I was supposed to be saving. Getting hammered was the happy release. On the nights that I stayed in, I had a bottle (or two) of wine for my dinner and a temazapam. Happy days. Then in November, I spent the day with him. We had such a lovely day together and I was going to stay over. I sat in what I still considered my home, watching my TV and having the back of my neck stroked by the love of my life when I suddenly realised the enormity of the situation. He went to the toilet and by the time he’d come back downstairs, I had my shoes on: I was going home. He pleaded with me to stay. I refused. I couldn’t stay there. I could feel my fucking heart breaking. All I wanted was for him to love me and want me back. He couldn’t do either and therefore, I couldn’t stay.

I stood on the platform of the train station feeling completely nihilistic. I couldn’t think of a single good thing in my life. Nothing. Instead of trotting back to my sad little room in a house that stank and was full of weirdoes and freaks, I changed platforms and jumped on a train to London. That night I got so completely pissed that I fell down two flights of concrete stairs, fracturing my arm and dislocating my shoulder in the process. I’m still in pain today, nine months later, but in some ways that’s a good thing: it reminds me not to lose control.

And I did lose control. I really did. I didn’t know how to handle the injustice of losing him. I’ve done some things in the past year that I should be ashamed of, but I’m not. I don’t have much time for regret at the best of times, but I think I’m allowed to in this instance. It’s not as though I’m absolving myself of self-responsibility, but I simply wasn’t myself. I degraded myself in many ways, I predisposed myself to some potentially horrific and dangerous situations but… I’m here and I’m alright. I have to let go. Cliché-tastic I know, but that was then and this is now. And I’m okay. I think I am anyway.

It’s so hard to let go, though. Trying to marry injustice with acceptance has proved to be more problematic than I thought it would be. It sounds dramatic but I feel scarred by what happened. I know that people split up everyday and for as bad as the break up has proved to be, there are people in worse situations. The thing is, that doesn’t really help me out. I can’t take solace in the fact that my situation is seemingly less than that of a starving famine victim, or someone who has lost someone in terrible circumstances, because it doesn’t make my pain go away. I wish it did, but it doesn’t. Am I feeling unnecessarily sorry for myself? Perhaps, but bollocks to it, I don’t care. I don’t want sympathy, anyway. I just want the ache to go away. And I suppose it is. Gradually. It’s not as bad as it was, but it’s still there. My core still feels cheated and that still fosters a relentless feeling of unhappiness, disquiet and desolation.

I know that time is the only thing that will help. I don’t feel the need to see a counsellor or anything like that, because I honestly can’t see how it will help. Writing is the only effective catharsis in this situation. I know that I’m quick witted and that I’m an expert at coming back with a one liner in a conversational instance but when it comes to (and for want of a better phrase, ironically) matters of the heart, putting pen to paper is the only thing that makes me feel better, hence this (possibly tiresome, melodramatic) rant.

For a long time, I felt emotionally constipated and relied on the empathetic words of others to bring comfort. I still do it now. The introduction to this tirade leant on a song to try and emancipate an understanding to my fraught state of mind. It’s perhaps cringeworthy, but again, I don’t care. The songs and poems that I still lean on seem to articulate my thought processes better than I can do myself. They’re contradictory when put together but that’s the grief process all over…

‘You took a whole lot of loving for a handful of nothing.’

‘Can’t bring myself to let you go, don’t want to cause you any pain, but I love you just the same and you’ll always be my baby. In my heart I know we’ve come apart and I don’t where to start, what can I do? I don’t want to feel blue.’

‘Because of you I find it hard to trust not only me, but everyone around me… because of you.’

‘I thought you had more faith… Everything I’ve done for you - you made the mistakes and now you throw this in my face. And I have worked so hard for you, all of this time and you cast me aside… But I can’t seem to get my head around all the things I feel good about always seem to disappear… And every time I think I’ve got this all worked out, something chews me up and spits me out, but there’s nothing left to fear, I’m better alone…’

‘I was there in the beginning and I was the spirit of love. Now I am sober - there is only the hangover and the memory of love. And only the sorrow. I yearn for happiness, I ask for help, I want mercy…’

‘Needing, needing, all at once turns to silence, begging, pleading – no more emotional violence. The withdrawal into pain: the result to never need again. Is this love? I think not. I want out. This love affair is over: gone, gone, gone. It’s so sad, what we had, gone, gone, gone… Bleeding, bleeding, then comes the recognition, anger seething, I don’t need your permission. I don’t know who you are, and this thing has gone too far. Is this love? I think not. I want out. You’re in too deep, you cannot keep the promises you made, our happiness was brief – the end of love. The end of grief. Gone, gone, gone…’

‘In this life, I loved you most of all. What for? Because now you’re gone and I have to ask myself, what for?’

‘There’s a hole in my heart, no one else can fill it, there a feeling I have, no one can replace. There’s a taste in my mouth no one else can give me, there’s a song that I hear, no one can erase. Why would I want them to? I’m still looking back at you. Why would I want them to be you? You’ll always be a part of me, what you love can never let you go. You’ll always be inside of me, like a flower, you grow.’

‘Where are the stars, the ones we used to call ours? Can’t imagine it now, we used to laugh until we fell down, the secrets we had, now in the past, from something to nothing, tell me, how did we lose our way? Now we both have separate lives, from lovers to strangers, now alone, there’s no one catching my fall, no one to hear my call, it’s like I never loved you at all.’

‘I’ve been so high, I’ve been so down, up to the skies, down to the ground, I was so blind, I could not see, your paradise was not for me. All around me I could not see, who are the angels? Surely not me? Once more I am broken, once more again… I don’t believe it…’

‘You and I had to be the standing joke of the year. You were a run around, a lost and found, and not for me… Take your hands off me… I don’t belong to you, you see… Take a look at my face for the last time, I never knew you, you never me, say hello, goodbye… Say hello, wave goodbye…’

‘Nobody said it was easy, it’s such a shame for us to part… No one ever said it would be this hard… Take me back to the start…’

‘I had all my bets laid out on you – set your stakes your high, you’re bound to lose. Say that happiness cannot be measured and a little pain can bring you all life’s little pleasures? What a joke. I was not your lover, I was not your friend, but you gave me something to remember. We weren’t meant to be, at least not in this lifetime.’

‘Well, I know from experience that if you have to ask for something more than once or twice, it wasn’t yours in the first place; and that’s hard to accept when you love someone and you’re lead to believe in their moment of need, that they want what you want but they don’t.’

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I dunno. I feel… What? A bit flat? Yeah. Disappointed? Yeah. Relieved? Yeah. Angry? Not so much anymore. Better than I did? Certainly. I know that it’s a process but there are times that it’s so hard. Most of my friends are all settled and although I’m not envious of any of their relationships, I do miss being part of a team. Although I don’t miss being part of that team. Not anymore. There are times when I thought I was there. That I thought I was over him. I met an amazing bloke recently and for a while he seemed to tick every box and then some. Hand on heart I can say that he was the best bloke I’ve ever dared to get with… And what went wrong? Me. The bruising was still too raw and ultimately I wasn't ready. I was too emotionally fragile and therein it ended… I’m not feeling sorry for myself. I know that I’m healing. It’s just going to take time. How long is it supposed to take? I want it over now.

My life is at a crossroads and I know that I can be whatever I want to be. So… Today is day one. This is the day where I shut the fuck up about what was and concentrate on what can be. I’ve let the last 365 days take too much precedence as it is. I know that we’re all a product of our experience, but there comes a point where enough is enough. And I’ve had enough. I just want to be happy. And a year of wallowing is more than enough, I’m done. I’m spent. Fuck it. Being miserable isn’t going to change anything. At all. And it’s really not me. I don’t wish him any ill-will. I really don’t. Strangely, for all that he (and I) have put myself through, I just want him to be like me: happy. What you’ve loved never lets you go. And to that end, I need to do stuff that will make me happy. Thinking of him doesn’t, so here it ends.

Fin.

Tuesday, 15 May 2007

Neil, Neil, Orange Peel: A tribute...

‘Understand that friends come and go, but for a precious few you should hold on. Work hard to bridge the gaps in geography and lifestyle, for the older you get, the more you need the people you knew when you were young.’ Baz Luhrmann

When I was at university, it often felt as though I was living in a real life version of Friends: my room constantly overflowed with a po-faced collection of new best mates, one night stands that continued to linger and people who got on my nerves, but who I didn’t have the heart to kick out. It was always rammed, the kettle was constantly boiling and for some strange reason, I always seemed to be naked. I don’t know why, but I was. All we seemed to do was laugh and think that we were brilliant. Looking back, we were probably archetypal irritating students – this was certainly an opinion that my Dad seemed to hold dear to his heart.

I’d resentfully land back in Nottingham for the summer and continue to bore anyone who would listen about my exciting tales of studentdom with my fabulous, shiny, all singing, all dancing collection of zany comrades. Dad would question these friendships with a sneer and I’d be enraged by his dismissal and criticism of amazing characters that he’d never met. After storming off to my room after one particular row, Dad followed me and apologised, which was a first (and last, come to think of it). As he gave me his ‘Jerry Springer’s Final Thought’ post-mortem of our disagreement, he imparted possibly the most simple, yet profound thing that I have ever heard – that if you can get through life with just a handful of proper, 24/7/365 friends… friends who will never dump on you, will always be there for you and who simply want the very best for you, then you’re doing well. A handful, I thought, exasperatedly. I’ve got, like, fifty of them. I said this to Dad and instead of ringing the bell for round two, he smiled wearily, got up in silence and then ventured back downstairs.

On September the 8th 2000, I found out who my friends were. This was the day that I lost my dear, sweet, beautiful mother and it transpired that Dad was right after all. The league of friends evaporated overnight as the phone stubbornly refused to ring. I was left with the trinity of friends who I now know I have been blessed with. Without them I don’t know how I would have coped. Looking back, losing (what I now consider to be) the dead wood was a hard lesson, but a valuable one. Today I would say that my friends’ well being is of greater import than my own. I can afford to feel this because I know that whatever happens, they will never screw me over. Ever. Step forward my oldest friend in the whole, wide world. Neil Kendrick Heath. Neil, Neil, Orange Peel. Noddle. Heathy. Kunt-Monkey. I could go on with the various nicknames for one of the most important people in my life, but I’d rather get onto the good stuff.

When we first met, it’s true to say that we didn’t particularly like each other. Neil must have been six or seven, me eight or nine? There was a game of football on the park and it transpired that as Neil was the owner of the ball, permission had to be obtained from him if you wanted to play. ‘Get lost,’ the chubby little bastard said, although in fairness I was much porkier and my hair looked worse – kind of like a mix between Michael Jackson in the seventies, (when he was black) and The Beatles in the sixties (before they grew it and went all hippy-hippy convoy). After that point, we kept our distance – I don’t think that this was intentional, but we were in different years at school and had different friends (Neil: lads his own age to play football with, me: various bars of chocolate.)

The catalyst that provided the platform for our friendship came when Neil got into a fight on the school bus one day. The rest of the bus seemed to be rooting for his opponent, a smug kid Ashley whose throat was just crying out to be throttled. After much bag shoving, scowling, effing and jeffing and grabbing, I remember shouting, ‘Smack him, Neil!’ And he did. We exchanged an unsure glance: Neil shrugged his shoulders and then placed the sweetest, most perfect right hook that connected splendidly with the wispy chin of his opponent. Ashley went down (quicker than his mother), the crowd switched their allegiances and Neil was the hero until we all got off at the shop and ran home to get our tea. From that point onwards we began to talk – at youth club, on the bus and whilst in many ways we’ve always been quite the opposite of each other, there’s a huge connection between us. We would talk about stuff – about problems. Our conversations, in retrospect, were always much more sophisticated than that of our peers.

One day, we realised that we had another thing in common – a burning love and passion for men. Men who play in the red strip at the City Ground, that is. Neil ain’t no bender. You should see him attempt to dance and his music collection is upsettingly bereft of anything ironically happy. (That said, I’ve been working on him and have factored in a few Madge albums over the years. I win on that score.) And that’s how our friendship crystallised and developed – through regular trips to the City Ground to see our beloved Nottingham Forest FC. Even though we’re officially rubbish these days, at the time we were one of the best sides in the country… until the day Neil and I arrived at the club and purchased our season tickets. By the end of that campaign, we had been relegated and Neil stood by and laughed as I screamed, thinking I was being crushed by the crowd on the last day of the season. (I wasn’t, I was being dramatic.) I’m now looking at a photo that was taken that very day, just moments before we left to get the bus into Nottingham. I’m in a blue away strip, Neil in the traditional red of home (see, opposites again), and we’re both wearing a red and white afro fright wigs. Like my brother said at the time, we look like a pair of twats. Happy twats though. I love that photo.

There have been times that we’ve drifted but there’s always the knowledge that no matter how far we ever become polarised, the bond is unbreakable and it’s always there. As I’ve mentioned, we’re chalk and cheese. I’m gobby and Neil is more reserved, Neil is married to his beautiful wife and together they have already laid the foundations of an amazing future. I’m a gay boy that can’t quite see past next Friday night and if I’ll be amazed if I’m settled or have a mortgage in the next five, even ten years. Neil will tell me about a fantastic new band who I’ve never heard of (usually with good reason – skinny, tone-deaf, soap dodgers in tight, piss-stained jeans who sing about cheerful stuff like suicide and play guitar far too much), whereas I’ll foam at the mouth about the latest CD I’ve bought. I swear that I can actually hear Neil’s heart break when I enlighten him to the fact that the CD in question is something like Girls Aloud’s Greatest (cough) Hits. Politically we’ve had some hum-dingers of rows over the years, but I think we kind of sing from the same hymn sheet these days. That said, Neil has an enviable decency about him. He’ll feel passionate about something randomly important, like Coca Cola’s supply of weaponary in Africa causing untold deaths… He emailed me one day and asked me not to buy any more Coca Cola as he thought that by doing so, it was fundamentally akin to assisting murder. At the time, I’d just cracked open a can of Diet Coke and so emailed back asking if my actions would only result in say, a broken arm, or a slap around the face, what with it not being full fat cola that I was ingesting. We both saw the funny side and I think that’s a huge constituent of the emotional glue that binds us. We do have similar senses of humour and one of the greatest compliments I’ve ever been paid is when, whilst being introduced as best man at his wedding – one of the most beautiful, happy and proudest days of my life – he told the room that I was the funniest person he knew of. Many would disagree, but we do have an uncanny knack of being able to make each other howl, a by-product of growing up together and getting through the shit that life throws at you. When I thought I was constantly terminally ill as a teenager with cancer of the hair or left eyebrow, or something equally ridiculous, Neil would listen and talk me through it, as I did with him when he worried that an innocent cut on his arm could have been a result of an alien abduction, or when he thought that a cheeky wank in the bath may result in the inadvertent impregnation of his female family members. There has been the proper stuff too: we’ve both lost our Mams, we’ve both been dealt what seems like quite a lot of heartache for our ages (football team notwithstanding), and every time something has gone belly up for one of us, the other one is there, instantly, no questions asked. Our friendship is a huge source of comfort and happiness for me. And for Neil, too. Or at least it better be!

Above any negativity that we’ve seen each other through, there’s been so much laughter and happiness… As kids, we shared holidays together and fought over Super Mario Cart. He threw up out of the window on one trip home from Ingoldmells and after he'd finished I pointed out the go-faster sick stripes on the window and we vibrated with laughter all the way back . I irritated the poor bastard relentlessly by my inability to stop singing, ‘She woooore… Bluuue! Vel-veeet!’ for the whole of a summer but he got his own back when I was wrenched off a kneel board waterski thing. It was bad enough that I had to wear an industrial sized wetsuit (zeppelin in a condom, anyone?), but as we turned a corner I began to sink. And then from nowhere there was a jolt and I clung on to the pully-bar and spent the next five minutes skimming like a stone over the lake. I’ve never seen him laugh so much. I thought he was going to follow through.

We constantly visited each other throughout university – Neil was in Northants, I was in Hertfordshire. Without realising, he introduced me to my first boyfriend. So when my Dad eventually finds out that his youngest son plays on Team Batty, I intend on pointing the pink finger queenily at Neil… not that it would change his opinion of Neil. You see, he is one of the few friends I have that my Dad likes, even loves, I dare say. And there is no higher compliment than getting the seal of approval from that mad old bastard.

Neil, you’re my brother, my wannabe fag hag, my hero, my best friend. A talented artist, a brilliant listener, an inventive writer, tremendous company. You’re one of God’s better people.

If you ever leave my life, I’m gonna fucking kill myself. Be warned!

Happy birthday you fat old bitch.

All my (manly, heterosexual type) love,

Johnny Red Pants xx

PS. Don't just take my word for it, have a gander for yourself:

http://www.neilheath.co.uk/

See. Told you.

Wednesday, 18 April 2007

Hypochondria - warning: quite a rant. Nice cup of tea advisable.

I’ve got terrible wind. Terrible. Personally, I’m going to blame the fact that a) I’ve always been a bit windypops and b) I’m eating enough pulses, fruit and other fart-engineering foods to single handedly put another hole in the ozone layer. Carbon footprint? Carbon fartprint more like.

My colleague has just rumbled me. Having mastered the art of the silent trump, I’ve just dropped one that could commit genocide upon a herd of elephants. As I viciously let it go, I watched out of the corner of my eye as the gas invaded his personal space. Initially he flinched, screwed his face up and then threw his head violently to one side, as though a ghost with an invisible sledge hammer decided to take his (sizeable) bonce to task.
‘Oh my… (a pause)… Gracious!’ he exclaimed, oddly. He is one of these people who refuse to swear – something to do with religion. He thinks that if he effs and jeffs his Hell Stock will rise at the expense of his Angel Points, even though Baby Jesus, Allah, Brahman and co know that when he says ‘Oh my days’, or even ‘Oh my gracious’ (which doesn’t make any sense), he really means, ‘Fuck me furiously!’ / ‘Bollocks on toast!’ / ‘Flaming fanny rags!’ Etc. I hope Baby J appreciates my honesty. Anyway, after his melodramatic response to the anal kiss that I blew him, he eyed me suspiciously before sending me an email that simply said, ‘You should go and see a doctor about that.’ It’s arguably the funniest thing he’s ever said, but in the deep recesses of my mind, the hypochondria switch, which has been firmly flicked to OFF for years, seemed to waver. What if there is something wrong? I mean, this smell is deathly unnatural. Oh my GRACIOUS! From fart to death in 48 seconds…

As a result of my hypochondria, I think that I’ve had every illness that there is. And it’s always terminal. Even non-terminal illnesses become terminal, that’s just how it is. Normally when I fall ill, it’s usually tonsillitis as I’ve always been susceptible to it, but until the doctor says so and gives me the green light to continue living, then I always think the worst. It’s Ebola, throat cancer, consumption, rabies or something equally ridiculous. First I try and convince myself that the niggling pain in my throat is partly due to tiredness and / or stress. Then I’ll go to bed and irrespective of whether or not I’ve downed half a bottle of TCP and snorted a packet of crushed Strepsils, I’ll surface the next day with a veritable tennis ball extravaganza taking place in my throat. It’s as though Freddy Krueger has been Voguing away in my throat as I slept. Then I begin to feel miserable as I fear that the end is very nearly nigh.

The best part is always trying to get an appointment with the doctor. That’s if you can past Attila the Hun, receptionist extraordinaire. I swear to God, you’d think that your arm would have to be hanging off and your bollocks have turned septic before an appointment is granted and even when it is, you end up waiting for approximately four and a half weeks, by which time, said throat / testicles / arm, et cetera are bored of their undesirable state and have either fallen off or just stopped being melodramatic and have unwillingly healed of their own accord. Then you go to the doctor anyway, rigid with fear that they’re going to tell you that it was just round one of the death battle and you have precisely three and a half minutes to live. In reality, the bored, hard-up doctor will eye me with irritation and tell me that there’s nothing wrong with me whilst almost imploding with resentment because thanks to me, someone who needed to be seen five minutes ago has just slipped off the dish in the waiting room.

Even when I am fortunate to get an appointment without three birthdays passing, I dread going but I have to in order to get yet another ‘all-clear’ so I can continue living. Until the doctor’s permission to resume life is granted, I am consumed by fear that the Grim Reaper is about to claim me as one of his own. Being a devout and fully committed hypochondriac, the very thought of entering a doctor’s waiting room (let alone surgery), is life threatening in itself. Firstly you have to sit with a dozen or so legitimately ill people and their sickly, snotty children who run around coughing, spluttering and scratching their soiled backsides before touching everything. Then you’ve got the token pensioner who reeks of wazz and looks as though the rigor mortis has already set in, even though they’re not yet dead. Or are they? Often I can’t tell. Judging by the skin tone (usually purple with alarming black patches on the oversized nose, hairy ears and sunken cheeks) I actually wouldn’t be surprised if they had come in when they first felt a wee bit poorly sick and bitch-face Attila just left them there to die. They’ve probably been waiting for five months after just coming in to get their blood pressure checked. Ironically, if you don’t go in ill, the chances are you’ll leave with moments to live anyway.

My hypochondria all began during the summer holidays when I was a teenager. In order to relive my jaded state I would read. I would pick up books and lose myself in them, often for days at a time. This was all going well until I chanced upon a set of family health encyclopaedias and realised, by the time I’d reached the end of them in horror, that I had the classic textbook symptoms of everything that these books considered life threatening. This seed of worry coincided with a day trip to The American Adventure, a theme park in the East Midlands. After queuing for aeons to go on the rapids, I attempted to haul my considerable bulk into the big dinghy type thing (at the time I was in the peak of my glorious fat days. I was about five feet five inches, and a size forty two inch waist. I could’ve been the dinghy), when the capsule half gave way under my feet. In a disastrous attempt to retain my dignity, I threw myself dinghy-wards and ended up falling squarely on my arse. In the process, I banged my coccyx, but the pain didn’t really begin to register until the next day or so, and when it did, it really hurt. In my mind, I couldn’t just have a bruised coccyx, either. Oh no. Doctor Red Pants consulted the health encyclopaedia where it transpired that I was in fact the recipient of bowel cancer. Simple as that. I was going to die. After a week of funeral planning and last will and testament writing, I finally made an appointment with the doctor. It took ages for the day to arrive where my diagnosis would be confirmed, and when it did, I remember my sister offering to drive me down. Gratefully I accepted, and I was grateful again, retrospectively, when she declined my offer to come into the surgery itself.

I remember walking into the room and seeing a gaunt little man looking at me expectantly. After taking him up on his offer to have a seat, I poured out my catalogue of problems, culminating with my despair at being afflicted with such an awful and tragic illness. At fifteen! The doctor sat up in his chair, seemingly amazed at my rather melodramatic utterance. After pressing me as to why I thought I had bowel cancer, I recited, parrot fashion, the classic symptoms: blood in faeces (I would wipe my arse until I bled and then not realise why I was finding blood – as I said, I was going through a strange teenage phase), lumps in the abdomen (with hindsight, I was mistaking fat cells for tumours) and so on and so forth. I wasn’t making it up for attention; I honestly believed that I had these things. At this point, I think that the doctor was expecting Jeremy Beadle and chums to jump out from under the desk but alas, he didn’t. In the end he did what he had to do. An anal inspection.

At the mere mention of such an intimate intrusion, I miraculously felt a million times better, one hundred per cent, in fact! Even though I wasn’t entirely sure what the procedure entailed, I just knew that I didn’t want it. I gave a limp protest, but no, I was having an anal inspection and that was that. Firstly, I had to remove my shoes, trousers and boxer shorts. Following this, I was instructed to lay face down on the bed where I spent the next five to ten minutes being horribly finger fucked by Dr Sital.

I laid there, rigid, scared and horrified as he systematically plunged his finger in and out my dangerously tight arse, curling and bending the offending digit as he fished for the tumours that I was convinced were smuggled up there. After he was satisfied that my rump was a cancer-free zone, he removed his probing pinkie a little too fast and I shat myself. Or so I thought. Ignoring his invitation to get up and get dressed, I remained motionless, wondering whether or not it would be appropriate to ask for a toilet roll, or failing that, a sand paper-esque NHS paper towel and a bucket of hot, soapy water. Anything would do: I just wanted to die with dignity, for God’s sake. After asking me to get up for the ninth time, I found the courage to reach down and feel my back side – despite there being a vat of lubrication liberally smeared around the hole, a log had fortuitously neglected to slip out. The relief was enormous and rolled on again moments later when I sat down opposite him and he gave me the all clear: I was going to live! I was so pleased that I didn’t care about the wet patch seeping through the arse of my trousers as I walked out of the surgery suggested to the waiting patients that I had just committed a childish act in my pants.

Then there was the time when I woke up with a slight rash on my leg, which I initially didn’t think anything of, but Mam encouraged me to go to the doctors. I refused but she insisted and called them herself. Scarily, the receptionist had an appointment available and I could be seen within an hour. This was a sign, I believed. A sign of imminent death, no two ways about it. Mam came with me and raised her eyebrows as the doctor prodded me with various implements and told me that he was unsure what had caused the rash. He ran a glass over the affected area on my leg and raised his eyebrows before scratching his head.
‘It’s a petechial rash,’ he concluded.
‘What’s that?’ Mam asked her voice filling with concern. The doctor lowered his voice as though that would stop me being able to hear him. I was closer to him than Mam was.
‘It can mean several different things. We see it in meningitis and some forms of blood cancer.’ Mam and I exchanged looks of horror. The doctor cleared his throat. ‘Can you go to the hospital for some tests?’
‘When?’ I asked, my voice trembling.
‘Now. I can get your results back first thing tomorrow.’ Oh Lord up above, I’m officially on my way out, I thought.

Within forty minutes, the taxi ferrying us to the hospital – I had asked for an ambulance but the doctor simply shook his head and giggled – arrived at the Accident and Emergency room. After being directed to Haematology, I took a ticket and sat down waiting for them to call my number. Worryingly, it was all far too similar to procuring food from the delicatessen counter in the supermarket. An hour later, my arm had been pricked, my blood had been taken and bottled and I was sent home to sit it out. That night, I didn’t sleep. In my head, fears swam around and kept me awake. I had overheard Dad express his surprise that the results were coming back so quickly and although he never said as much, this could only mean one thing: bad news. The doctor had promised to ring with the results at nine thirty the following morning, as soon as the results were back. When the clock struck eleven thirty without as much of a peep from the quack, I pictured the doctor wandering around his surgery, clutching the piece of paper with my results on, trying to work out how he was going to break the news of my meningitis-blood cancer double whammy to me. At eleven forty, the phone rang. Shaking, I picked up the receiver, and almost broke down when the doctor introduced himself.
‘Am I dying?’ I asked feebly. The bastard laughed at me. I wondered whether mocking the afflicted was contrary to his Hippocratic Oath.
‘No, not at all. Your test results have come back clear.’
‘What? What? Sorry? What?’ I spluttered.
‘You’re fine. There’s nothing wrong with you.’
‘Oh. Thank. God.’
‘I thought you’d be pleased.’ I gave the thumbs up to Mam who had been anxiously standing by my side. She beamed and planted a trademark heavy kiss on my cheek.
‘So what do you think it is?’ I asked.
‘A sweat rash,’ he said. A-fucking-what? And then to add insult to injury: ‘Or it could be your weight – the pressure you’re putting on your lower legs could have caused the blood vessels to burst. Have you ever considered losing weight? You should. You could do with dropping at least a couple of stones.’

What doctors fail to grasp, is that fat is the friend of the hypochondriac. You see, every health manual always states that sudden, inexplicable weight loss is indicative of certain doom. Dropping a couple of stone? Was the doctor mad? In my head, fat was my only guarantee that I wasn’t ill. People would prod me in the love handle and say, ‘don’t you look well!’ meaning that I’d put on weight since they last clapped eyes on me. Well yeah, I suppose I do look well, I’d think, as I’d congratulate my good health with a life-enhancing Big Mac and fries. Super sized.

As every hypochondriac knows, prevention is better than a cure. Ladies and gentlemen, please step up and see how dry my bloody hands are. In order to avoid picking up a life threatening illness, I must wash my hands approximately fifteen million times a day. Once, when I worked in London and took the Central Line to work every day, I was sitting at my desk when a group email popped into my inbox. I read, open-mouthed about the analysis of the insides of a Central Line tube. It spoke of having found traces of dog shit, rat shit, human shit, horse shit, fox shit, even the shit of shit on the seats. On the very tube line where I would sit, twice a day, five times a week. Right, I thought to myself, I’m never touching a thing again. And then one morning my friend told me of a man she knew who sat down on a dirty syringe and immediately I realised that I’d never sit down on a tube again. This made journeying to and from work somewhat problematic, as I would stand on the tube and refuse to hold on. When the trains came thundering to a sudden halt, as they almost always would, I would end up performing Michael Jackson-esque dance moves as I would inadvertently moonwalk and twistily knee bend-come-jump-come-fly my way down to the other side of the carriage, preferring to break bones rather than make hand contact with any contaminated surface. I would recoil in horror as I would witness people clinging to the greasy handle bars that feel as though you’ve just stroked an unwashed dog and every so often, I would spy them unconsciously scratching their genitals or picking their nose before replacing their now-soiled hand back into the handle. Eventually they would get off and within seconds, another eager hand would readily take its grip in the handle. I would then watch behind cupped hands as the owner of the hand would let go of the handle and casually chew his or her nails. Inside I would be screaming, ‘NOOOOOOOOO!’ as it dawned on me that they should have just chewed on the previous persons groin and cut out the middle man. I always used to carry a bottle of hand cleanser in my bag for when I took the tube and then one day I was told that over-using it (which I surely did) would lower my resistance to bacteria and before I knew it, my body would be held ransom to a super bug. Aaagggggggh!!!

It’s just too much. And I need to fart again. Maybe it will just kill my colleague and death will escape me??? Oh my GRACIOUS indeed...

Tuesday, 17 April 2007

I am not George Michael...

Honestly. I’m thinking of suing…

My weekend was rather marvellous, despite one slight mishap which is still giving me cause for frowning and I’m not sure if I can afford the wrinkles or the necessary pentapeptides to iron the little bleeders out…Sitting comfortably? Then I shall begin…

I arrived home on Friday to discover that Summer had suddenly arrived. No one seemed to see it coming but whilst we had our heads down at work, the sun put his hat on and exclaimed, ‘Hip, hip, hip, HURRAH!’ It was amazing. Weather reports boasted of temperatures hitting 26 degrees. In April, for crying out loud. Ignoring the days-of-yore advice to not cast a clout until May is out, I got on the blower to my chum to arrange a day of sun-filled merriment...

This was the rather smashing plan that we concocted: meet in Soho the following day at 1pm, grab a cheeky beer and then make our way to Soho Square with picnic type foods to feast on and newspapers to pretend to read whilst secretly trying to look a) intelligent; b) available; c) a & b together… The plan also involved taking a change of clothes to get into so we could stay out for the night… It was going to be a long, messy day and I could hardly wait.

The plan ran smoothly and at 6pm, when the heat began to seep out of the day and we started to get restless, we decided to move on from the square. Realising that this would be a grand time to get changed and hit the bars, we scanned the area to see where we could do this. In the end, we agreed upon a straight pub nearby… As we clambered into the toilet, there was only one cubicle, but as it was a disabled toilet and was quite roomy, we both went in at the same time. For some reason, it didn’t occur to me that this would be a problem, but someone obviously worked out that we were a couple of poofs going into a toilet cubicle together and thought we were off to play a game of hide the sausage… Once in the cubicle, we shook off the days clothes and freshened up, having quite a laugh about it as we did so… I was in the middle of some anecdote or other when there was a series of increasingly frantic knocks at the door, accompanied by a voice that seemed to be shaking with anger and fear. It was the manager, who didn’t like the thought of what we might be up to.

MANAGER: HELLO! CAN YOU OPEN THIS DOOR, PLEASE? NOW PLEASE?
ME: *Looking puzzled* Yeah, hang on a second let me just make myself decent…
MANAGER: NOW! OPEN THIS DOOR NOW! WHAT ARE YOU DOOOOING IN THERE? THIS IS UNACCEPTABLE!
ME: Hang on a sec *Goes to open door*
LEE: *Shouts* Oi! No, I’m stark bollock naked!
ME: *To Lee* Oh yeah. *To Manager* Hang on, my mate needs to put some pants on.
MANAGER: *Makes some gurgling noise as though drowning* OPEN THIS DOOR NOW! STOP WHAT YOU’RE DOING THIS INSTANT!

It was only at this point that it delta dawned on me that the manager thought we were cottaging. I opened the door, only slightly. Lee still hadn’t got his pants on and despite having lost weight recently, I still needed to get my top on so that my man boobs couldn’t be pointed and laughed at.

ME: *All sweetness and light* Hello! Can I help you?
MANAGER: WHAT on EAAAARTH is HAPPENING in THERE!
ME: Nothing.
MANAGER: Who is in there with you? What are you doing in there?
ME: Errrrr, not having sex. Or taking drugs. Or shagging. Oh, I’ve said that… (I was slightly annoyed by the assumption, even if I could kind of see where he was coming from: two jolly boys holed up in a public toilet, not having rumpo. Who’d have thought it?)
MANAGER: *Trembling with fury* GET DRESSED AND LEAVE THE PREMISES IMMEDIATELY.

By this point we were almost falling over laughing and as we were frog marched out the door, I told him that I wasn't George Michael, that I was a classy bird (although use of the phrase 'classy bird' kind of negated the sentiment a tad, but hey ho) and that even if I was going to have it off in the toilet, then I'd at least pick a clean one that didn't smell (I’m thinking Harrods). My protests fell upon deaf ears and we are both now barred from Fascist-run pub.

I might write to Tony Blair and get him to tell the manager off and say sorry. And hopefully make him cry. I've never been soooo insulted!

Friday, 13 April 2007

Mickey's Revenge...

I’ve been living in my current place for almost three months now and I love it. It’s in an area that I love, the location is great and I feel really at home there. I live with the lovely Tanya, who makes me howl with laughter on a daily basis. It’s perfect… almost. It transpires that we have had a few unwelcome guests – a couple of rodent squatters, if you will…

Upon moving in, Tanya informed me that we were sharing with one other, a chap called Mickey. As in mouse. But not any more, because after trying to humanely give him the heave ho, the little whippersnapper kept giving me the slip. In fairness, I did scream when I came face to face with him as I ran t’other way and he didn’t hang about in scuttling back under the cooker. That was that: I decided to get a trap. A proper one. Mickey would be leaving the house, but wrapped in newspaper and in a black bag that would then be dumped in the wheelie bin. The instructions on the trap told me that it should be baited with chocolate for best results - chocolate! Can you credit it? Mice these days are getting above their station! Cheese and crumbs no longer tickles their taste buds. Oh no. It’s a jar of peanut butter (smooth), tuna steak or a box of Thornton’s finest, thank you VERY much. Anything less and it’ll just keep shitting on the kitchen floor in protest… I fished out a Celebrations chocolate that was left over from Chrimble, shaved off some of the chocolate and set the trap before going to beddy-byes, cackling evilly as I went.

At 6.30am the next morning, I rose from my pit feeling a bit bleary eyed with the sole aim of getting some breakfast. I made my way downstairs, rubbing my mince-pies and muttering grumpily to myself as I entered the kitchen. I flicked the light and in front of me was dead old Micks, wearing nothing but a metal bar around his neck and a surprised expression on his face (think Cher, post surgery). The choccie that tempted him to his Saddam-like demise was about three feet away (the trap must be more powerful than I first thought) and Mickey was on his back with his paws in the air, eyes wide open and staring at me. Momentarily, I considered the karmic payback and was filled with dread about coming back in my next life as a shit eating dung beetle, Mariah Carey or a Milky Way Celebrations chocolate, but then decided to get on with the task in hand – disposing of the body. Wearing one Marigold glove, I attempted to wrap Mickey in the newspaper but as I picked the paper up, the body – rock solid with rigermortis – fell out of the side and almost hit me – liberating a manly yelp (a scream? Who dear? Me dear? Scream dear? No dear! How very dare you!) I pulled myself together, held my breath and finally got rid of the body. Several bottles of disinfectant later, and the house was back to normal, but as a precaution I bought some more traps and set them, just in case any of his verminous little chums had decided to move in too. For weeks we were mouse free and then, earlier this week, I came into the kitchen to find Mickey’s mate, Jerry, stone dead after going for a well planted morsel of Celebrations chocolate. Gagging, I completed the clean up process again and reset the trap… However, this morning, I came downstairs and the trap had gone. Vanished! Disappeared! Evaporated! At first, I thought Tanya may have moved it, but seeing as though she’s petrified of all things squeaky and murderous this didn’t seem likely and a quick shout out confirmed this.

So, where is the trap? And how and why has it moved? I’m confused and partially terrified. I have visions of an evil Stuart Little plotting revenge on the big bad mouse slayer. I feel like the baddy in Home Alone. Stuart and chums have ingeniously removed said mouse trap and are fashioning a human version where I will be tempted to my end using a slice of pizza, a pint of beer and some well placed marbles at the top of the stairs…

Oh, Mickey, I’m so sorry… I should have used Thornton’s after all…

Tuesday, 10 April 2007

Mingers...

I’ve just had the fright of my life. Jeepers creepers, crucifix and garlic breath at the ready…

All I tried to do was leave the office to go and get some lunch. As I opened the door leading out of the office and into the reception area, that’s when it happened: that’s the moment I saw the new receptionist, Medusa. Eff me furiously, it’s even more terrifying to look at than the old bag who plays scrubber-voiced Deidre’s mother in Coronation Street. She looks like a stray, hairless cat that’s been turned inside out and then kicked repeatedly in the face. And then spat on. And then shot. Trust me, it’s all and every kind of wrongness… And then as I walked towards the cafeteria, there were even more mingers flailing around with impunity... A woman with a collection of sweaty chins, a lump for a nose and no eyebrows coughed at me; a rogue pigeon flew into the head of a bloke who looked like Peter Crouch after a fortnight in Chernobyl and the balding woman on the till looked as though she’d died years ago, but refuses to lay down. And what’s with everyone suddenly developing Twat Eye – you know, ‘One eye looking at you, one looking for you.’

I know it sounds horribly superficial and I don’t mean to be, but it was just one visual hammer blow after another. And now I can’t eat my lunch. Actually, that’s a lie, I'm just being dramatic.

Anyway, I can’t loiter here all day, I have an oil painting to go and sit for…

Thursday, 5 April 2007

Jim'll Fix It? He'd better...

Dear Jim'll Fix It...

I know that I'm unsure as to whether you're in the land of the living or simply just dead and I know that I'm obviously not your favourite person in the world, otherwise you may have responded to one of my letters when I was a nipper. I was the one who wanted to be He-Man for the day. I know that the make up and costume department would have had their work cut out concealing the flab and all, but you could have at least tried. And don't tell me that you actually got in contact with Madonna about the possibilty of an eight year old duetting on her, ahem, album, or even, erm, taking a year off school to perform backing vocals, dance moves and all round glamour on the masturbation-friendly Blonde Ambition World Tour, because that's a lie.

Face it Jim: you let me down. You can rattle-rattle-jewellery-jewellery all you like, but you failed. Crushed, I was. Heartbroken. No He-Man, no singing and dancing. It's probably your fault that I'm a gay.

You want a second chance don't you? You want to put it right, don't you? Okay, fella, I'm going to fix it for you by letting you fix it for me...

Dear (alive? Dead? Whatever...) Jim,

1. Please fix it for me to have some kind of machine gun attached to my car, Nelly the Nissan Micra. And please ensure that I am issued with some kind of James Bond-ish licence to kill thingymejig, so that when I slay the BMW and Landrover drivers who think that it's absolutely fine to cut me up or pull out at a roundabout when I am hurtling towards them from the right, that I don't get into trouble for it. In fact, as I will be doing a service to all the other patrons on the road, I should possibly be rewarded handsomely. I like diamonds, Jim.

2. Please fix it so that when I am in a queue in, say, Tescos, that I am unable to hear fat people with sweaty top lips breathing/snoring as they queue behind me. And Jim, I don't want earplugs. Take last night... I'd got home from work, almost tearful with rage after the ninth near miss with some slag in a - SURPRISE! - Landrover when it dawned upon me that I had no food. I popped to Tescos, as you do, and deposited the following into my basket: soup, cobs/rolls and some eggs that will undoubtedly go off before I finish them, but hey ho. Nothing else tickled my fancy, so I took my place in the queue and cursed my luck as a gypo started arguing with the woman behind the till. And that's when the grumbling behind me started. What the bleeding hell is that, I wondered in terror as the floor began to shake, the lights flickered and tins of Whiskas started flying from the shelves. I span around all ready to shout, SAVE YOURSELVES, and realised that, no, it wasn't an earthquake, it was a fat knacker in a dirty tracksuit. Breathing. Gurgling. It was rancid and I felt violated, Jim, especially as I could feel his questionable breath on the back of my head.

3. Please Jim, I know I sound irritable and I'm not. I'm rather jolly most of the time. I'll tell you when I'm not jolly and hopefully you can remedy this little situation... I'm not jolly when I can hear people eating noisy food, like crisps... and then sucking their fingers like a heathen. What happened to the art of eating quietly, handwashing, or wiping your mits on a bit of tissue? This only usually bothers me when it's silent or I'm trying to watch a film at the cinema and someone is shovelling popcorn into their cake holes whilst Forrest Gump's Mam is trying to tell her son, her only son, that she's dying. Would it be possible to invent rubber teeth? I'm sure you could have a go. Remember Jim, I'm still hurting from not being on tour with Madge. Broke my heart, you did...

4. Will Smith gets on my tits, Jim. I don't know why, but he just does. I KNOW that everyone else thinks he's, like, the funniest thing in the world, but I find myself wanting to punch him in the throat whenever I am confronted with his goon-like image. He's as funny as cancer, Jim. Oooh, I hope that's not what finished you off, if you are dead, but even if it is, all the more reason to take him out, eh? Take him down with you, like. What do you think? Fix it for me, Jim. You know you want to.

5. Please Jim, can you fix it for world peace, an end to starvation and if poverty isn't yet history, can you see to it that it is? I don't want you to think that I'm just adding this one to appear altruistic and therefore score the necessary brownie points that will elevate my letter to the top of the pile, Jim. Well maybe I am, but your previous neglect damaged me. Bed wetting. Bulimia. Kylie's Greatest Hits. I blame you for all that.

It's time to right your wrongs.

Looking forward to sitting on your sofa with a badge round my neck.

Yours hoping that you've not slipped off the dish...

Johnny Red Pants xxx