Sunday, 29 January 2017

Alternative Career: Policeman...

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

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

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

Wednesday, 18 January 2017

Breaking Up With My Barber...


Hair by Fat Hamit

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Awkward silence.

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

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

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

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

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

Hmmm… decisions, decisions.


Saturday, 14 January 2017

The Art of Taking a Selfie...


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

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

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

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

Which chin? Both of them, fatty.

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

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

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

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

Strike a pose!