Friday, 30 July 2010

Pootling Around Radlett...

My university campus was located in a Aldenham, a beautiful rural nook of Hertfordshire. In addition to the uni-faculty, it was home to some lovable but knackered-looking horses and a golf club that I was asked to leave one night after turning up a) drunk and b) wearing pyjama bottoms that I thought were snazzy, bobby-dazzler type fashion slacks. It was also home to a snigger-tastically named pub called The Round Bush from whence I was sacked after doing a spectacularly cruel accurate, impression of the boss to the punters, who laughed. The boss, who I didn’t realise was standing behind me at the time, failed to see the funny side. Goodbye job! Cheerio punters!

Aldenham is next door to Radlett, another delicious cranny of Herts. Have you ever been there? Is it a really small town or simply a massive village? I can never quite decide but either way, it’s lovely.

Now that I’m hurtling towards my mid-thirties and am officially boring – hooray! – I love nothing more than spending a lazy Saturday morning having a little pootle around Radlett. I’ll drive in via the scenic route, attempt to get a parking space outside the shops, fail to capture said parking space, swear a bit, grind my gears, have a bit more of a swear and then end up in the car park around the back. I’ll take in the shops – all half a dozen of them – and then end up in a coffee shop where I’ll fail to resist the cake whilst having a good reminisce about the good old days in Radlett… I’ll drift off into daydreams-ville and miss my mouth as I think about the following…

1. As a student, I used to work in a hideous video shop which has now been swallowed up by a Tesco Express. Even though Tesco’s expansion worries me, I say good riddance to the video store. It was run by a smelly, fat pervert called Raza. He was much fatter than I, but this didn’t stop him poking me in the love handle with his overly-chewed biro whilst inhaling a samosa so quickly, that he obviously thought I was going to steal it. I suppose he had good reason: at the time, I thought of myself as a Marxist. I bought the Socialist Worker and everything. I didn’t read it, but that wasn’t the point. Anyway, one day, I upset old Raza by shutting the shop up so I could nip next door and get myself a cob/roll (delete as applicable, depending on geography). I was halfway through a twelve hour shift and needed a break. I was the only person working that day, so I put a sign up saying, ‘BACK IN TEN MINS’. However, Raza caught me red-handed. He threw a paddy, screaming, ‘No! No! Never! No! You must ALWAYS put, ‘Back in one minute!’ ONE MINUTE! Are you trying to ruin me and my FAMILY?’ Then he picked up his biro and tried to stab me in the flab with it.

He’d also ring me up at midnight to ask me why the cash till was down by 46 pence and then tell me that he was docking my wages to make up for my incompetence. The Marxist within was not amused. On my final shift, I went through the computer system, cleared everyone’s fines and helped myself to as many Kit Kats as I could shovel down myself. And believe me when I say that was A LOT.

2. Budgens. It’s 1998. It’s Friday afternoon and the Bank Holiday weekend is about to kick in. All my assignments are complete. I am planning on celebrating with a night out into London. I am in Budgens, buying groceries and attempting to get cash-back when the wonky-eyed, slab-cracker behind the counter takes my debit card off me at the request of the bank. I get home and ring the bank, only to find out that I’d inexplicably gone £900 over my overdraft limit. Like, whoopsy. Shame and social ostracision follows in the form of a SOLO card.

3. Mamuzin Pizza. Still in business today and with good reason. They make the best pizza in the world and happily accepted cheques back in the day, which meant that I could still purchase delivery pizza even when I was £890 over my overdraft limit. *slaps arse twice*

4. Beaver Travel. Again, still in business today. Call me puerile and childish, but I always chortle at the name of the place. What with that and The Round Bush. And I’m a gay. Fancy.

5. Being a penniless student, I once tried to jump the train at Radlett. I got caught and despite an Oscar winning performance of, ‘must have left my ticket on the train, missus’, the conductor wasn’t having any of it. Thinking that there was nothing more to be done than just cough up, I proffered my gorgeous SOLO card. The conductor took one look at it and laughed in my face. Fortunately, it wasn't checked when I ended up giving a fake name. I still haven’t paid the fine to this day. Ronan Keating, if Network Rail ever caught up with you, I’m sorry. Actually, I’m not. Consider it your punishment for Life Is A Rollercoaster, which still haunts my dreams to this day.

What's Wrong With People?

Apparently, a fan of Coro (not me, I hasten to add), has paid £844 at auction for the ashes of Frisky - the moggie who appeared in the opening sequence of more than a thousand episodes of the soap, crouched on the roof of Jack Duckworth's pigeon loft. Not only did the cat not belong to the buyer whilst alive, but it has also been been dead for ten years.

Now, I love me a bit of Corrie the same as the next person with a distinct lack of life and to each their own, etc., but WHAT THE EFFING JEFF IS WRONG WITH PEOPLE? If you had the ashes in the first place, why would you consider auctioning them? And if you were strange enough to buy them, where would you put the ashes of the decade-dead cat? That sat on a pigeon loft. On the mantlepiece? More to the point, why would you want them? And why would you spend the best part of a grand on them? And why would you call a cat Frisky? It probably died of shame. Or cat-clap.

Shocking. There's nowt so queer as folk, save for me and thee, etc.

Thursday, 29 July 2010

Tuesday, 27 July 2010

'Big Society': A RANT...

God, I REALLY can’t stand David Cameron. Or George Osbourne. Or Nick TRAITOR Clegg, for that matter. It’s no secret AT ALL, that I regard the average Tory in the same light as I do RAOUL MOAT, but after the election and all this talk of ‘the new politics’, I thought I’d bite my tongue and give them a chance. Early signs were good: the Lib Dems’ idea of taking the first 10K earned out of tax seemed progressive and positive. Lots of red tape was axed and the debt reduction plan got under way. Then the budget came and it all seemed to go HORRIBLY TITS UP for everyone except those who are quite comfortably off. There was much talk of everyone SHARING THE PAIN, but I can’t quite see how the well off are going to feel the same amount of pain as the poorest in society.

At the forefront of the governments cost-slashing mission appears to be Cameron’s ridiculous, unworkable and FRANKLY FUCKING STUPID idea of BIG SOCIETY.

Big Society? Big Bollocks, more like… I don't even want to go into one of my rants about this, but I’m about to, so look away now. All I can say is POPPYCOCK.

Call me stupid, but it appears to me that the entire plan is based upon the notion that the people of our nation actually give a toss about other people. I don’t know how you feel about this, but in my experience the majority of people don't (I’m looking directly at those who voted Tory in the first place – does HISTORY TEACH US PISS ALL?) I’m not saying that EVERYONE is a selfish so and so, but when the main reaction to George Osbourne’s (boo, hiss, spit, happy slap) budget earlier this year is ‘OOH, IS IT GOING TO AFFECT ME? HOW DARE YOU cut things THAT AFFECT ME? Cut the BENEFITS and the SERVICES my family don't use! And kick out all the immigrants whilst you’re at it!’ then SURELY even the Tories can surely gauge the overall, overwhelmingly selfish public mood? There is no concern for the general wellbeing of the country. The government cannot be entirely blind to this, CAN THEY?

Now transplant this attitude to a new system in which the government outsources public services to this general public that don't really give a toss about anyone else and herein lies your problem. Add to that the fact that even those who are interested in doing something don't know a MONKEY’S PISS FLAP about the complexity of running a competent and reliable public service. HECK, most of their opinions of politics are drastically generalising and ill-informed in the first place. This sort of set-up ALWAYS attracts power-hungry Daily Mail reading types with FAR too much time to spare and FAR too much of an axe to grind for their own good. If this is the public they're dishing out "power" to then MADGE HELP our public services. And if public services fail, who suffers the most? Those in need.

Of course, it's not just the fact that people don't want to help, or that they don't know what the fuck they're doing but also the VERY OBVIOUS QUALM that even the most well-meaning of folk SIMPLY do not have swathes of their own time to dish out for NO PERSONAL GAIN of their own. Whilst there are people out there who can and do volunteer for the greater good, my feeling is that they are VERY MUCH a MINORITY. Try finding some school leavers or some of the millions unemployed who are willing to work for nothing whilst their family is already staring the breadline right in the face. Not to mention that we have a populace so obsessed with self-gain and financial reward that it's made us far more unlikely to all PITCH IN AND HELP ONE ANOTHER anyway. One of the most obvious demographics for the ConDem(n)s to turn to are the pensioners, who not only have free time but also some scraps of feeling of societal togetherness (possibly left over from the war, rationing and the 1950s.) But even though there are masses of them, you seriously can't expect people to just want to give up their time to prop up ill-advised government BOLLOCKY IDEAS?

Volunteering, whilst a valuable and honourable thing to do, is also one of the most unreliable ways of running what are VITAL SERVICES. They need funding (and where the hell is that going to come from, exactly? Charity boxes?) They also need people – not those who can down tools and SOD OFF without a moment's notice. Can we really cope with such a fragile framework propping up these operations?


(Oh look a rant. With lots of CAPITAL LETTER SHOUTING SHENANIGANS. Well done me.)

Sunday, 18 July 2010

Dear Diary #2

Sunday, 18 July 2010
Weather: Bit overcast and a little chilly. Am wearing my dressing gown which could do with a wash. A wood pigeon outside is making a twit-twoo noise, much like an owl. Maybe it is an owl. Yes, I think it might well be.
Mood: I’ve got wind. That about covers it.
Song of the day: Kylie, Your Disco Needs You (you’ll see why in a mojo). La disco, a besoin de vous!
News events of the day: Some budget airline has gone bust and there are loads of people stranded abroad. I know it’s terrible, but my advice would be to simply just get caught up in the drama and enjoy yourself. Stuck in paradise and can’t get home? What a shame. Suck it up and get over it, people. I’m partially jealous.

Dear Diary,

As I write to you, I am bleary eyed and fresh from slumberdom where I had a rather odd dream. Yes, I know that other peoples’ dreams are usually fist-munchingly dull (same goes for their holiday snaps, truth be told… Hmm, nice pointless picture of a yacht that you just walked past and never went on, lovely! Oooh, non-interesting blurred photo of generic sunburnt person drinking beer and looking a tad simple in an English themed pub, great!)… Where was I? Oh yes, I am writing this (probably boring account) down in case any of it comes true. This will then serve as proof that I am some sort of soothsayer and can be legitimately sponsored by Uri Geller. Or some fruity chewing gum. Probably.

So! Last night I was extremely busy being fast a-kip when my subconscious exported me to the library at work. I was minding my own business and smelling lovely when Kylie (yes, the Kylie, of hotpants Spinning Around infamy) came in and said that she wanted a word. I was like, ‘yeah, whatever, I’ll just put these books away and then I need a wazz and I’ll be right with you, chuck,’ which was a sure sign it was a dream because if it was real life, I’d probably just go to the loo in my pants on the spot. When I finally caught up with her, she gave me a big hug and told me that she had nominated me to become an OBE. Turns out that when she had been poorly a few years ago, I’d been a rock and as a result, she thought I was worthy of a royal honour. Next thing you know, I’m at the Palace and the Queen was pinning a badge on me. Strangely, she had a really broad Mancunian accent and all she said was, ‘Well done, lover. ‘Elp yersen to Piccalilli Cake. It’s friggin gorgeous.’ She looked terrible. She had one of those horrible pastel get- ups that she’s fond of wearing. But this one was too big for her and she had clearly dropped her Piccalilli Cake down her. I know she’s 487 years old or whatever, but come on Liz, pull yourself together, woman. I didn’t say that to her, as I was concerned that she’d have me for high treason and lob my bonce off. Armed with my OBE badge, I floated back to my friends, (ie. Kylie and entourage) who were waiting for me with a large slab of the Queen’s finest Piccalilli cake. Truly scrumptious, etc. As we giggled and guffawed, Kylie’s mood suddenly turned. ‘Okay you big fat bitch,’ she snarled. ‘Now it’s time for you to do something for me.’ I almost choked on my mustard pickle treat. ‘Give me your stylist,’ she screamed. ‘Mine’s rubbish – look at me.’ I stood back and drank her image in. She too was in an oversized pastel frock and she had a bit of pepper stuck in her teeth. Crestfallen and slightly gutted that Kylie was in fact a bit of a cow, I kneed her in the fanny and legged it. That’ll learn her, won’t it? And don’t worry about me hitting a woman – when I got home and looked in the mirror, it turned out that I was Victoria Beckham. Aka, Ethiopian Spice.

Sunday, 11 July 2010

Dear Diary...

Sunday, 11 July 2010.
Weather: Oppressively hot. Am sweating like an infidel.
Mood: Shy/wild.
Song of the day: Happy Birthday – dedicated to my dearest darling Dombo who is aging as fabulously as a good bottle of wine. Gorgeous simile, methinketh.
News facts of the day: The family of infamous, self-defunct gunman Raoul thingymejig are up in arms about the fact that he shot himself, claiming that he is not a nutter. I am not sure I believe them. Tis also the day of the World Cup Final in South Africa. Spain v Holland. Come on Spain, etc. Not that I really care. Am a bit sported out to be truthful. I just want the telly to go back to normal. And James Corden to get the fuck out of my face.

The future has been revealed to me – and it’s Cilit Bang. Truly, it is. I’m not normally the sort of person that falls for advertising shtick, but my shower door was getting beyond a joke. Despite priding self on obsessive, OCD-levels of clean and possessing the nose of a well behaved, flea-free bloodhound with an arse that won’t quit, the waxy limey water stains on the door were infuriating me. (Note to self: must get a life at some point. Possibly tomorrow.) I tried all sorts, from normal old cleaners (Mr Muscle, if you're reading this, you're useless and can shit off) liberally rubbed in with a large dollop of elbow grease, neat bleach and Kim and Aggie’s long term fave, vinegar. Not the recommended white vinegar, though. I can’t seem to locate it in the supermarkets. Nope, I just used Sarsons, fresh from the cupboard. It didn’t work. It just made the bathroom smell like a rank old bag of chips. Meanwhile, the water stains continued to mock me as I bathed. Pah!

Anyway, you’ll be fascinated to know that today was the day where I thought enough was enough. Enter Cillit Bang. Being the recessionista that I am, I’m usually averse to paying £4 for a bottle of cleaning liquid, but you can’t take your pennies with you when you slip off the dish and these water stains were pushing me further to a stress induced death by the day. Yes I am that sad. Speaking of which, I have decided to embrace my flaws (namely: obsessive cleanliness, moderate chubbarama, snoring, irritability when tired, a love of musicals, refusing to hear a bad word said against Lord Madge, text-message response apathy) rather than continue the exhausting fight to be a better person. Sod that for a game of soldiers. This is as good as it gets, folks. Am probably off to Hell once I check out of Hotel Life’s presidential suite, so what’s the point?

Where was I? Oh yes; to cut a short, rather dull story a little shorter, I Cillit Banged my shower door big style and it’s come up a bloody treat. People in my family swear by certain commodities as cure all evil products. Eg. My Mam would slap Nivea on anything untoward (spots, broken arms, third degree burns, aching joints, military dictators, people who vote Tory) and my sister does the same with Sudocrem. I think I will liberally apply Cillit Bang to any problematic areas of my life. Seriously, it’s a marvel.


In other breaking news, I was passionately ravished all night long... By mosquitos, sadly. Mr Blokey remains bite-free, despite being truly scrumptious and much tastier than I. But no, the low-rent mozzies decided to dine out on me instead. I look like a well worn dot-to-dot worksheet. Malaria, anyone? No fear, I will simply treat my bites will Cillit Bang.

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