Tuesday, 31 March 2009

Come Dine With Me!

Has anyone seen Come Dine With Me? If not – and in a nutshell – the format runs thus: you have four people who can only be described as… well… boring fuckwits, I suppose. These are the people who Big Brother turned down on the grounds that… well… they’re boring fuckwits. The idea is that they all take turns to host a dinner party and afterwards, the three guests rate the night out of ten, using extremely inexpensive looking cards. (Think: slightly sozzled guest in a taxi being driven haphazardly by a pissed Romanian with pathological hatred for boring fuckwits. Pissed guest rebounds off either door whilst trying to give a quick sound-bite to summarise their night: ‘The food was overcooked! Soggy veg and rock hard chicken that was as dry as a Nun’s unmentionables! The wine was chewy! There was no toilet roll and the dog tried it on with my leg as I fingered my sweaty cheese and stale biscuits. I’ll give the night a… (at this point said guest raises cheapo card aloft)… RESPECTABLE SIX’) At the end of the week, the guest that scores highest wins the life changing prize of £1000. Altogether now: oooooooooooooh. It’s hardly Who Wants To Be A Millionaire (a show that I still claim should be re-titled Who Wants To Win £32,000)…

Without wanting to sound like my moderately insane father, it’s just a chance for a collection of… well… boring, stale old fuckwits to tell the world that:

a) They can devise a recipe that sounds nothing short of immoral (last night a woman who was desperate to get her big, fat tits out thought that it was acceptable to serve people prune and salmon roulade. Now, I don’t profess to know what a roulade is, as am common, but I get the impression that it probably tastes of feet.

b) They aren’t anywhere near as funny or clever as they think they are – the jokes on last night’s show were fist-eatingly unfunny and made me want to headbutt myself.

c) They have terrible taste in wallpaper, clothes, hair and pet names. You can’t call a dog Wayne. Nothing should be called Wayne, come to think of it, but least of all, a dog.

I love to hate this programme – it’s a glorious car crash of a television show - although Mr Blokey isn’t as keen. ‘I’m bored, please can we turn it over,’ he can oft be heard crying in manner of a record that is broken. ‘But I like it!’ I exclaim defensively. ‘You can’t even cook,’ he spits in manner of an evil genius or the bespectacled one out of Scoobie Doo who has just fathomed out who the baddie is. ‘I CAN!’ I counter-claim, mock-crestfallen. I know he’s right, but pride ensures that I fight on to the bitter end ‘I’d win this easily,’ I say, trying to convince myself. ‘I would! Don’t look at me like that!’ I shoot, defensively. ‘Go on then, he retorted. What would be on your menu?’ So, ladies and gents, I present you with the following gastronomic, undoubtedly prize winning schmorgasboard that you can expect to feast on at Chez Red Pants.

Gaelic Mushrooms. Sounds exotic, no? It’s more simple than it sounds, so there’s no need to be so awestruck, It’s erm, mushrooms (raw), eaten to the sounds of The Corrs. Or Lulu. Take your pick. Failing this, I could do my old favourite, Marmite Surprise, but I don’t think that would secure me the grand at the end. Marmite’s a risk, you see. Love it or hate it, etc. Or I could serve up a Milky Way with salad garnish. The chocolate bar won’t fill you up and the garnish will add to the 5-a-day razzamatazz that the health conscious swear by.

Zombie Turkey. I’m not quite sure what this is. I’m just trying to be creative with titles. It’s erm... green turkey splattered with blood (or ketchup if you haven’t got any blood to hand and don’t fancy slashing your wrists) and finished off with sunken eyeballs, prized from the nearest domestic pet. Sounds gorge, dunnit? Best served at midnight, Halloween or to people you don’t like, which would probably be all of them at the table. Might season the dish with some LSD – that way I’d probably get me ratings of about 24 out of 10 and comments about how they loved the moonbeam. Which I didn’t serve.

A stick of Twix drizzled with warmed up black cherry yoghurt and sprinkled with soil and diced onion so I can say it’s organic.

I would also award all of my rivals a generous 0 out of 10 on the grounds that I’d rather lick my own arse than eat the swill they served up. Not that it’s necessarily true, but why award people high marks when they’re competing against you? Doesn't make sense, does it?

That grand is in the bag, baby!

Tuesday, 3 March 2009

Quote of the Day...

'Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the ones you did. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbour. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream.'
MARK TWAIN (1835-1910)

Monday, 2 March 2009

A Tribute to the Legendary Susan Mary Gare 1955-2009

Friday, 27th February, 2009. It’s a beautiful Spring day, although technically speaking, I think it’s officially still winter. That notwithstanding, it’s unseasonably mild. The optimism of Spring abounds: I’ve seen crocuses, daffodils, the sun is out and my coat is making me hot. After the bleakness of winter, where softly wind allegedly made moan – actually, it didn’t – the snow gifted us with a surprise day off and much impromptu wartime-esque cheer. Everywhere looked pretty. Even Watford. Strangers would stop and chat in the street like old friends and all the kids went sledging like back in the good old days, although the insistent march of modernity was ever-present. Whereas we, as nippers, would temporarily pilfer our Mam’s tin tray to slide down the hill at a life threatening speed, kids these days pilfer the lids of recycling boxes. And not just temporarily. Hmmmf, etc. Anyway, after the unrelenting, biting cold that has plagued the winter months, today is a climatic dream. The sun warms your face. Old people have discarded their cardies. Even the ducks seem excited. When I woke up this morning, I heard bird-song and it made me smile until I realised that today is the day of your funeral.

You’re dead and I can’t believe it. You’re fifty-three, you’ve beaten cancer and it’s a beautiful day. Three good reasons why you shouldn’t be dead. But you are… And I can’t believe it.

You'll be pleased that the occasion reunited The Big Cheese, Goddess and I. But what rubbish circumstances to realise that we are idiots x3 for leaving it until now to get together; that such joy (a natural result of seeing each after so long apart) was brought about by the complete and utter tragedy of your passing.

I'm not a fan of funerals. Yes, I know that they are supposed to be a celebration of life, blah, blah, blah, but I still can’t get over the fact that when I attend one the chances are that someone I love and care for has hopped off of life’s rollercoaster and nipped over to the next astral plane for a mosey about. In other words, I will never see them again. Their passing tears a hole in the fabric of our collective and individual existence. They’ve cheated life or life has cheated them – but either way they’re dead. And while I’m off on one, why does ‘dead’ have to be such a hideous word? Where is the celebration in all of that? You know, I am yet to take part in a conga round a coffin. Maybe I’m not getting the point. I dunno.

For what it’s worth, your funeral was lovely. The Big Cheese, Goddess and I went for a quick drink beforehand. We talked about you, naturally. Good things, only good things. What else is there? At first, we spoke as though you were still here, orchestrating it all. ‘She’s picked a good day for it,’ we’d quip lamely, as we laughed and felt guilty and naughty and ridiculous and happy and sad all at the same time.

I didn’t think I’d cry like I did. Not because I have a swinging brick in place of a heart, but because I have a problematic relationship with the stereotypical idea of grief. That said, I wore black – but only because it’s thinning, okay? I just find it hard to grieve when someone tells me it’s all okay, to let it all out, that life goes on, that there is no more pain, they're in a better place and all the other death cliché bollocks. All whilst patting my back. How can it be okay? It doesn't feel okay.

So, the funeral: we sat three rows from the front on the right hand side. As we first entered the room, we were presented with a booklet dedicated to you. On the cover was a beautiful picture of you. You look almost regal on it – one arm raised, casually supporting your resting head with a cheeky hint of a wry smile lighting up your face. As the casket flowed up the aisle on a sea of shoulders, we all stood. As it passed by me, I caught my breath and the gravity of the situation sucked me down. I wept for you, my darling friend. I held my breath and sucked on my cheeks to oppress a huge belly sob. Goddess and I held hands and I suddenly felt lifted. I laughed at the anecdotes that we shared throughout the ceremony. I attempted to sing hymns even though I didn’t know the melody and Goddess mimed. We took a sideways glance at each other and grinned. I continued to smile thinking of you and the times we spent together. I smiled thinking of your attitude to life and your innate goodness and unwavering generosity. I smiled thinking of the more-than-appropriate lines to the final hymn that we sang – how great thou art, how great thou art.

Sleep well, Susan-Mary.

All my love, hugs and a cheeky (but delicious) bum squeeze,

JRP xxx
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