Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Canada - And a really cute blonde

"O Canada! Our home and native land!" sing Canadians, obviously.

A charming semi-detached conversion with countless bedrooms, full central heating and living space aplenty, although the neighbours are a pain in the arse. Canada is the second largest country in the world after Russia, despite having only half the population of Britain. I've heard Canada has warm underground shopping malls where locals are free to shop far away from Moose (Mooses?), free to say 'Aboot' instead of 'About', and free to drink Molsen whilst wearing big fluffy hats that cover their ears.



Canada seems blessed (?) with a large Scottish community, or at least has many citizens of Scottish descent, which has always puzzled me. Why, after all, go to all the trouble of leaving your cold, snowy homeland to emigrate somewhere colder and snowier?
But I digress.

I've only ever met two Canadians in the flesh, even if my second cousin (once removed) lives there (We've never met). The first Canuck I met was a guy with an American accent so I asked him where in the States he came from.
He told me to Fuck off.

The second was a lovely young lady called Roxanne. I met her on the last refuge of the desperate and shagless (a dating website) where I saw her picture and wondered what the hell she was doing on there. Roxanne was, and probably still is, stunning. Just my type; curvateous and pretty, with long dirty blonde locks that screamed - if hair could scream - Ooh, look at me!! I'm sexy and rebellious, and on top of someone feminine and cute.

I was smitten.
And I nearly had an aneurysm. When I checked out her profile and she returned the compliment and looked at mine, I fell into a deep coma. When I regained consciousness to write to her only to discover she'd written back, I went into cardiac arrest.

I had contracted bubonic plague (you get the idea) once we'd exchanged emails and phone numbers, and we soon arranged to meet. It was around this time that I expected everything to collapse into the usual pile of shit that occurs when you add a pipette of ME to a jug of LADY, but as the clock ticked inexorably toward that memorable first meeting, I had been changing. People at work noticed the corners of my mouth pointing upwards. Someone claimed to have heard me laugh. Others questioned why I'd ran into Russell Square chasing pigeons and frolicking in the fountain.

It was, ironically, Friday 13th, not quite three years ago from today. I'd got to the pub we'd arranged to meet in early enough to have a nerve-steadying drink and establish myself. I took a paper and waited. Ten minutes later, in walked an anxious, beautiful, eye-catching Roxanne. She looked slightly nervous which was great as I had by now become cool, calm, and devilishly witty. Once we got a table, the conversation never let up. We flirted. We played with our (own) hair. We stared at each other with wide eyes. Then she presented me with a rare vinyl 12" from those halcyon days of rave as I had, for some reason, mentioned losing my copy years earlier. I was over-awed. No-one had done anything like that for me before, and it was all being done by this quite beautiful, excitable (busty) woman. She even admitted that she had paid up for the full website functions because she'd seen that I'd written to her and she wanted to reply.

This really doesn't happen to me, ever.

As I walked her back to the tube, I was so happy that I didn't immediately look at a flyer that some guy handed to me until long after he'd disappeared. When I did glance down at the piece of paper in my hand, it read: 'KEEP BRITAIN WHITE.' I still thank the Lord that I didn't look at it while he was still there as I would've ruined the date with a string of expletives and possibly a fight (he was a small man).

I told everyone about Roxanne, including my Asian newsagent, a bus driver, the man who hangs around schoolyards, the surly guys who collect our rubbish.

A couple of days later, we went to the Natural History Museum, which I was told is the kind of thing you're supposed to do on dates (Museums across the world must be full to bursting with the newly acquainted.) But something had shifted. As Roxanne grew in confidence and volume, I began my slow, quiet retreat into myself, letting all that Awe mute me. Perhaps this was in part to Roxanne's quizzing me on what I did the day before.

Because the day before had been St Valentine's.

Something else that never happens to me, ever, is Two Dates At Once. I really liked Kat. Kat is a friend of a friend who I always found rather cute and had always wondered if she felt the same about me. So naturally, I did nothing to check. Until said mutual friend asked if I'd like to hook up with Kat.

So we did.

At exactly the same time I had just met the woman I would gladly die for. Or at least gladly get hurt a bit for.

Kat and I had a very pleasant meal in a Greek restaurant. I tried to be daring and ordered something that wasn't chicken-based, and ended up with a dish that was obstensibly nothing more than baked beans on a plate. And when I got back to hers, Kat gave me a blow-job that for some reason wasn't fulfilled (meaning I walked back to my flat like John Wayne.)

Perhaps I didn't reach the money shot as I ended up telling Kat that I'd uncharacteristically met someone who I really liked, and that was that. Roxanne was greatly amused when I told her this story (minus the oral sex) as she too admitted that she'd been on a date.

Oh goody. Still, this was a vastly more superior St Valentine's Day to the one I'd had two years earlier.

Can you guess where this is going???

Roxanne and I had a couple more dates. She was now running the show while I stood there and trembled. When one evening was at an end, she'd asked coyly if she could come back to mine after she'd returned from a spell in Iceland.
'Erm, yes, yes you can.'

I'd reached in for a goodbye kiss on her cheek as I still lacked confidence to advance to mouth. She went for my lips and I ended up kissing her eye.

So I went home. I tore down my curtains and put them in the washing machine, along with my crusty duvet, the mattress, and the rest of the bed. I removed everything from my room, hoovered and fumigated the bare space, and put everything back again. Then I went to a work conference in Birmingham, fucking Birmingham.

I was on the train back to Euston that evening, awaiting notification of where and when I was to meet my newfound Canadian love of my life. My phone pinged as a text had arrived. I read the message:

'I can't see you again. I'm sorry.'

'Is that Roxanne?' said my excitable work colleague next to me.
'Yeah.'
'And?'
'Meeting her later,' I lied, and pretended to go to sleep as annoyingly my eyes were now getting rather watery.

So that's Canada ~
Pros: Diverse. Exciting. Seems like fun.
Cons: Populated by evil cows. And my cousin Gary. Oh, and Fille, who'll probably want an honourable mention.

Monday, January 29, 2007

The Rut

Bah.

Pestilence. Wrath. Botulism.
Crankiness, Shoulder-hunched slovenly idleness, Cold, angry wind blowing into reddened faces of despair.

It's no good. This year, on the internationally recognised Sexy Scale of rating, is so far proving to be a prone, bloated, semi-naked and listless Jim Davidson in a cheap satin bodice, lube in hand as he's sprawled rat-face down on a feculent crack-den mattress, gasping for breath as he gags on an old sock.

This time last year, by comparison, would've been Shilpa Shetty shampooing slowly in the shower.
Back then I had been at my new job for four months, and in my new flat for three. I had some time to bide, and a routine to enjoy. I bought myself a shiny new red bicycle. I started dieting. I knuckled down, paid off my debts, started swimming, and felt very very good.

But 12 months on and I've done the day job. I like it - and the boss and family I work for are very kind indeed - but I'm just going through the motions. I know what to do, so I wake up and do it. And in return, I get to pay the rent and bills, and buy processed food that I can't be bothered to bypass for fruit and veg.
Prior to my current job, I had always wondered what it would be like to work in Business and now I know; Hard.
Requires Dedication.
And Effort.
And pretty much all your waking attention, even on weekends, if you want to be a success.
Except I'd rather write, and I don't think The Grauniad will give me my own column just yet, particularly what with not having a Journalism degree or any kind of talent or contacts. (Except a step-brother who is editor of a weekly British newspaper, oddly enough, but who I don't really speak to and who thinks I should validate my fucking way in life, dammit.)

I have a headache today. Or is it a migraine? I can't tell the difference. My head hurts, mainly from lack of sleep that is common for a Monday as I spent Sunday night avoiding bed (and the impending full week of work) by cunningly staying up as long as I could watching bad tv, thus squeezing out every last drip of weekend.
Result: Tonight, I was forced to miss Martial Arts as I was exhausted by evening's end and had yet to cycle home.

My legs were aching all day today, but I couldn't recall doing anything at the weekend that may have exacerbated that - Unless it was lifting Mum from bed to wheelchair. I turned up at her house late too, which meant she'd spent six horizontal hours waiting for me to arrive. And if that's not guilt-inducing enough, a few weeks ago, Mum had upgraded her computer and gave me her old one. When I took it back to my flat and realised it was the same spec as my current one, I opened it up and gave the motherboard a couple of hefty smacks until it ceased to work. I then left the machine outside where it was duly picked up and walked away with by a complete stranger.

Then, last Friday, a repairman came to fix a computer at work. I watched as he swapped the useless motherboard for a nice new one and got all the files and programs back again. I thought 'How clever.'

71 hours later, I was still thinking 'How clever.'
It has taken me exactly 72 hours to form the thought (i.e. dawned on me just this second) that all I did a couple of weeks ago was to break my Mum's motherboard (ironic) then allow her computer to be stolen. The hard drive - I now realise - I left intact. The Hard Drive. The fucking storage where all the programs and files and everything personal goes. I am pretty confident that Mum left a lot of Very Important Details on that machine. Lots of addresses, bank details, PIN numbers, that kind of thing.

Why did I do that? Why did I a) barely bother to wipe the machine clean after b) deciding that the computer was pretty worthless and beyond my walking all eight tons of it to a charity shop?

Question is, has the person who took the computer repaired it and got at that information? And if they have, are they going to wipe that information off and re-use the computer? Or use or sell Mum's bank details? And if that's a strong possibility, do I tell a 66-year-old disabled woman currently convalescing from a fall that resulted in breaking her ankle in two places four days ago that she might like to get on the phone and call her bank and four billion credit card companies because I may have inadvertantly...

Oh bollocks.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Bad Friday

It started well. Monkey Dave texted me when I slovenly switched on my phone at 7am this morning, to say his missus had given birth to a vast 9lb primate called Annabel. I called him immediately to offer excited congratulations.

I then casually walked into the bathroom to shave my pubes - as you do - and didn't realise my beard trimmer was set to '1'. I now look like a pre-pubescent boy.

My sister called three times while I was in the shower. I had a soirée to attend tonight and chose not to cycle in, hence the pre-work shower at home as opposed to the post-cycle shower in the gym. When I called Sis back she told me my Mum, my lovely bottle-blonde progenitor with MS, had last night managed to break her ankle in two places trying to get into her wheelchair, on her birthday no less.

Suddenly I had a pissed off and anxious commute to work while Mum was in Hospital. When I got to my office I tried calling her. I phoned Watford General and asked if Mrs R____ B____ was there.

A pause.

"What about her?"

"What the hell do you mean 'What about her?' This is a hospital, she's my Mother and one of your patients, and there's an outside chance that I might like to be put through to her."

She gave me a number that for the next eight hours was perpetually engaged. During that time, my sister called to see if I'd spoken to Mum.

There's this weird thing between me and my Sis. For one thing, I don't call her 'Sis'. She's just this stranger that I'm very related to. I have more of a relationship with the commentators on this blog than I do with my own sister. Sam and I are poles apart; We don't really get each other at all. We had a falling out and didn't speak from March until December and since I saw her on Boxing Day and patched whatever had to be patched up, nothing has really changed.

She called back to ask if I'd spoken to Mum and I got very animated ~ No! Can't reach her at all!
"FOR GOD'S SAKE," she screamed, "CALM DOWN!!!"

Family members are strange creatures. I am, by nature, fairly calm. I can be surrounded by phenomenal emergencies and will act calmly and think about the situation once it's all over. I have my moments but will generally, even during the most heated eventualities, keep my head.
But for some reason, all it takes is for my one and only sibling, my Skin and Blister, to screech for my obeyance when my voice raises by a sodding semi-quaver, and I lose my cool.

"I AM FUCKING CALM! STOP TELLING ME TO CALM DOWN!!!"

Only she can bring that out in me. And then I realise the worst thing in any Man's life: I have become my Dad.

On top of this, my Boss's computer imploded the day before so today, he not only had to share my computer, but our office drive with ALL the shit on it was on that machine. The engineer was to visit this afternoon, but it was going to be between 4 and 5pm.

We close shop at 5pm and spend an hour finishing up. And my Boss had to leave uncommonly early to get his daughter.

Suddenly I had a computer engineer who would never turn up in the last hour of work, and a hospitalised Mother I couldn't contact.

But it all came together in the end. The guy turned up at 4pm. He fixed the machine in twenty minutes. Mum called and was now back home - We joked that she'd never run again. Well, I did, then felt guilty that she didn't laugh. Tom left, then I sped off to the Bountiful Cow in Hoburn and caught up with old friends. We went on to a pub in Covent Garden where I fell in slight love with a gorgeous red-headed Albanian barmaid who largely ignored me, then I returned home to drink my own body weight in vodka and rum.

I'm visiting Mum tomorrow. She's a hardy woman and can take more than I ever could, but I have to see her. It's been a tough week. My cousin was diagnosed with lung cancer two days ago and has a year left to live. She will be leaving behind four children aged 18 and younger. The odd thing is they're the religious side of the family. Her father, a wonderful, brilliant, cheerful man, was taking the trash out one rainy day a few years ago, when he slipped and landed on his head in a freak accident that killed him.

Once again, I have no idea what all this means. I moan a lot, a hell of a lot, but I have no real right to. If you're a regular reader or just passing through, the real shit is happening to other people. And futhermore, if you are reading this, we're the fortunate 12% with electricity and computers to read this nonsense.

I think we're the lucky ones.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Montage

Because that's exactly what I need right now.

The Nothing Man's hit this ARSE of a city on the head again (metaphorically).
Overnight: A light snowfall.
This morning: A picturesque carpet of white on the streets, on rooftops, on clocktowers.
The result: A complete fucking shutdown of the city's transportation system and sudden erosion of basic law and order and of society's rules. All tube lines seriously delayed due to "Adverse weather conditions." Roads gridlocked. Men in suits have knife-fights. Mothers shoot dead passers by in an attempt to get their children to school on time.

I didn't cycle. I walked to my nearest tube and got a mere two stops down (with long pauses at each station). My boss phoned as the tube was stationary at Hammersmith station and advised me to leave the District Line immediately so I ran off, zapped myself through the turnstiles, and jog over the road to the Hammersmith & City line where I rewarded those ineffectual cunts at Transport for London by paying for this single journey into town twice. And for this, a further wait announced by a bored, disembodied voice emanating from a crackly loudspeaker, that most trains have been cancelled due to an overnight inch of now melting snow that caught everyone running the network completely by surprise this midwinter.

I eventually traipse into work half an hour late. This is worse than it sounds as my workplace is less a company and more a small gathering. Only my boss and I have keys. I'm frequently first to arrive as I cycle, so I'm normally there to let our third (perpetually morose) colleague in at 9am. With my boss in meetings this morning, I'm now the only person who can open up, and operate the computer to invoice customers.
So in summary, my being late for half an hour with a boss who isn't coming in til later means: We're Not Trading.

So that was a good start to the day.

Fast Forward nine hours and several fucktard cuntstomers later. I reluctantly force myself to attend Martial Arts. I am tired and totally supine. There is no fight in me. Even during our kickathon where I sweat a gallon (sadly in commando - today was the first time ever I did my kickshitting course without cycling, thus I forgot to bring a second pair of undergarments), things felt flat. Granted, I got a good workout, and was even forced into an improptu grading which I completed successfully and had better not be expected to pay £25 for (It was tacked on at the end of the session as an after-thought for me and three others, for a never-before-mentioned white belt and not the official first yellow one.)

So I wash and tube it home. The evening papers talk of a freak snowstorm heading this way, so I fully expect the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse to thunder in over Big Ben tonight.

Yet there's this collosal void, and it's not just between my ears. I toke on the last cigarette in my pack and realise that I've brought myself down by addicting myself to these things I had (almost) successfully given up completely. At my Work Xmas Party last year, after a month of genuine, rock-solid conviction of no cigarettes which proceeded 16 years of constant smoking, I found myself that night inexplicably jealous of the other smokers, who all seemed to be the other diners. And so I drunkenly asked my boss for a cigarette and the whole cycle repeated itself.

As I commuted home tonight, even the music on my iPod seemed to numb me. Normally, music is invigorating; it is the 'soundtrack to my life' as some cheesy American guy is known for saying but for a good month now, nothing. I am a ghost.

And then it dawned on me what I'm missing.
I need a Montage ~

As that familiar punchy percussion to Michael Sembello's 'Maniac' kicks in, I am walking down the street in a huge puffy coat, beanie on my head, blowing warm air into my cupped hands. Cut to a shot of me in a vast empty gym, running furiously on the spot as I try to raise both knees up to my chest, all captured by a camera moving past me on a dolly track. The keyboard melody begins to play. Now I'm skipping and looking focussed. Very focussed.
Outside again. I am jogging in thick, unflattering clothes, but just look at that determination.

"Just a steeltown girl on a Saturday night, looking for the fight of her life, In the real-time world no one sees her at all, they all say she's crazy"

I'm back in the gym now, a brightly lit one, curling a dumbbell up to my shoulder slowly, v-e-e-e-r-y slowly. Now I'm on a treadmill in a tight vest, and with an oxygen mask on, probably because it makes me look harder.

"Locking rhythms to the beat of her heart, changing woman into life, She has danced into the danger zone, when a dancer becomes a dance."

In a bar. Someone passes me a cigarette. I wave them away. Now I'm in a swimming pool passing everyone. Gosh, slow down!
I take my top off in slow motion. Now I'm jogging outdoors again. Must be Spring. Less clothing. Faster. Even more serious. Cut to close-up of hand as it crushes a cigarette packet.

"She's a maniac, maniac on the floor, And she's dancing like she's never danced before" (repeat)

I'm lifting lots of weights, and laughing with the other men in the gym in a strictly heterosexual way. Now I'm doing Martial Arts better than ever. Front kick, 3 punches; front, reverse, front, then Double Roundhouse. The guy I'm sparring with hits the deck and I help him up and slap him on the arm several times as we nod and smile at each other eagerly. Fade to me jogging into the sunset.

Yes, I feel better now. The Montage. It's the way forward.

Addendum ~ I am not gay.

Snow, Cycling, Smoking

When I woke up, I heard the telltale sign of traffic driving past on wet roads, so I looked out of the window to see snow everywhere. Not a lot, but enough to look pleasant from a warm bed. So that's cycling out of the question today. It's bad enough cycling in the summer without a buildup on black slush on the fringes that forces me further into the road to infuriate drivers who speed along angrily as if it's a clear dry day in July.

I'm back on the fags. As always, it crept up on me and I can't remember how that happened. I guess it's an extended hangover from the weekend where I've still got some left by Monday morning and I continue to buy more. Needless to say, it's depressing me, especially when I had uncharacteristic iron resolve back in November and I actually thought I'd cracked it. I'd even gone out on large drinking weekends and learnt to hate the habit like a true ex-smoker. But I've come full circle and feel like a heroin addict who's succombed to just one more hit.

But I know what the problem is, and it's the January factor. This time last year, I was a few months into a job I'd recently started and resolved to undertake for at least a year, so that afforded me the opportunity to right all my other wrongs, which I began with a vengeance. But now, I've got everything to change; looking for The Job, losing weight, getting in shape, and stopping smoking (again). The combined effort of attempting all this during the cold short depressing days has stopped me in my tracks.

I will probably go to New York next month to see my ex-on-off-girlfriend. I would at least like to be a bit fitter and slimmer and off the sticks for her, if not me.

Plus Jade actually is off to India on a PR exercise.

God, I fucking hate January.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Shilpagate: Jade, Big Brother & Racism

The furore's largely died down now that Jade Goody, a rambling ignorant fucktard, has been unceremoniously booted out of the Celebrity Big Brother house.

Jade's claim to fame - and her reason for being in the Celebrity version of Big Brother - was that she was in Series 3 of the regular show. For some reason, her ignorance and idiocy was found to be endearing and, through subsequent appearences and endorcements, she netted herself a cool £8 million despite a complete lack of ability at anything other than being a carbon-based bipedal lifeform (just).



One of her other housemates (alongside Face from the A-Team, and Jermaine Jackson whom Jade asked if his Mum is white) was Shilpa Shetty (above), a beautiful, intelligent and dignified Bollywood filmstar. In the last few days, there has been something akin to mass hysteria as Jade ganged up on Shilpa with the help of two other odious macro-celebrity cretins called Danielle and Jo. Although I'm not too sure why this happened as I've not been following this series as it was, until now, boring, Jade had been seen F-ing and blinding at Shilpa and calling her a loser. Behind her back, the girls were mocking her Indian accent and wishing she'd fuck off home. Jade for her part referred to her 'Shilpa Poppadom' and told her to go back to the slums.

Suddenly Tony Blair was being asked his opinion. It was front page news in the tabloids and lead story on the news. Culture Secretary Tessa Jowell denounced "Racism... as entertainment". Effigies of Channel 4 producers were burnt in Bombay. Vice-President Chancellor Gordon Brown was in India trying to heal wounds and bizarrely imploring Britons to vote Jade out of the house which, mercifully, she was, but by only 82%. (I would've preferred 99% or more.)

While I have long thought that women are simply better than men in almost all regards (except maybe ship-building and darts), their one flaw has to be the habit of some to morph seemlessly into merciless assassins (think The Terminator with perfume) against those they take a disliking to. It's no accident that these three insecure women, Jade Goody, ex-Miss Great Britain nonebrity Danielle Lloyd (Claim to fame: Shagging a footballer), and Jo O'Meara, who once sang someone else's songs in some brief manufactured band, feel deeply threatened in the presence of a naturally beautiful and intelligent woman who has never felt the need, unlike them, to burp, or shout about her sex life in order to get male attention. The fact that this soon became about class which infuriates the British (Shetty comes from a privileged background that has employed servants) and, moreover, basic racism, the story was rocket-propelled into the news to the delight of the Big Brother producers, even if their main sponsor, the Carphone Warehouse, hung up on their business relationship.

There are many facets to this I find interesting. Firstly, there's the nature of celebrity where 'we' (re: the media zeitgeist) can make someone a millionaire just for being themselves. The fickle downside to this is that we can just as easily destroy them. Jade was originally portrayed as a loveable working class heroine a few years ago, a little ditzy, but with a heart of gold. Now that heart has been found to be largely full of race hate or at least, jealousy, she's outta here (although never dismiss a 'Jade Goes To India' TV special).
Then there's the spinoff debates on the other side of the world, with Indians discussing the problems they have with their own racism, and the injustices of the caste system.
Finally, there's the issue of racism itself. I think everyone has a seed of racism in them, providing we define it as judging people solely on race, and even then, I'd add a few qualifiers. For example, if I were walking down a street towards a group of young black men, I would be on my guard more than if it were a group of little old ladies. To clarify further, these young black men would have to be fairly rowdy and in hoods. Men in suits wouldn't bother me much at all. Does that therefore make me a racist? Although I don't hate or fear them for being black, I would be wary in case they were racist against whites and I found myself on the wrong end of a boot.
Futhermore, Madame Arcati raises an excellent point in that Shilpa claimed she wouldn't marry a white man and would like to settle down with an Asian man instead. While I don't find that racist (although I do find my hopes dashed), a simple role reversal would have me spitting blood if Jane Goody said she wouldn't marry an Asian. I guess that's what comes of being part of a multi-cultural society, to dismiss another part of it would be wrong. Shilpa, for her part, lives in India among Indians so her statement - to me at least - seem less racist and more practical. And fortunately for her, no-one went on to ask if she'd marry a Muslim, or even someone outside her own caste.

Back to the original situation, Shetty has shown phenomenal dignity by not retaliating with likeminded comments or even resorting to swearing back. She should win the Big Brother contest on that alone, and not take to heart comments made by a gimp who came 4th in a 100 worst Britons poll. And she was up against some pretty stiff competition.

As for Danielle Lloyd and Jo O'Meara, they are unlikely to be afforded the protection of a crowd ban like Jade was when they're inevitably voted out. I hope they can take the screeches of a baying crowd. It is, after all, a small price to pay for them being ignorant racist twats.
Realising they've totally fucked up their careers though, well perhaps that'll learn 'em.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Post 101: Tagged #2

"Don't Hate," my Dad advised me as a small boy, "Dislike." Well balls to that. The Nothing Man has challenged me to banish in an incinerator ten things I Hate, capital H (and pronounced 'Aitch', not 'Haych', dammit.)

I think he's bored.

Sadly, so am I.

For the last two days I have written a huge list in bed and surreptitiously at work, so here is my shortlist trimmed down from 14 billion original nominations. Note the rather interesting segue of entries (Everything basically pisses me off):

10. Liberal Bashers ~ I am liberal, because I actually like people. Well not all of them, obviously, but I am rather fond of Humanity in all its fascinating hues and idiosyncracies. I am proud to be liberal because, dictionary definition, I am...

Not limited to or by established, authoritarian attitudes, views, or dogmas. I am free from bigotry. I am open to new ideas for progress, and am tolerant of the ideas and behaviour of others (just). I am broad-minded. I am progressive. I am a fucking grown-up, alright?

Liberal bashers think we're all about wanting to cuddle murderers, and have lots of random sex. This patently isn't true. Firstly, I don't have any sex let alone random, and I personally want to kill conservatives for being largely arrogant, racist and ugly. Their immediate rebuttal to any argument is 'You're wrong', and that's just as you're being introduced. Neocons, in contrast to the liberal definition above, are severely limited to and by established, authoritarian attitudes, views, and dogmas. They are bigots. Progress and change are dirty words, unless they get to make a fast buck. They are intolerant of the ideas and behaviour of others. They are narrow-minded, regressive, and scared.
I'm Liberal and proud. But hey, they're entitled to their opinions. And a good kicking. And now to contradict myself further...

9. The Talentless, Rewarding ~



You Fucks are the flu-viruses invading the otherwise healthy cells of Life. While all the other cells are out working hard and providing for their families, you somehow think that you're entitled to earn more money and priviledges for doing far, far less. Paris Hilton, I'm looking at you. Jack Osbourne, put that bun down. Jade Goody, you are the Queen of the utterly pointless, indescribably useless and nauseatingly ignorant. The only thing good about you and your ilk are your kidneys, and even then I suspect they'll want a six-figure magazine deal and some cake once they've escaped from the self-obsessed cage that is your ribs. Most bipedal primates beyond nursing age are blessed with more intelligence than Jade, except she's managed to become rich beyond her wildest dreams FOR DOING NOTHING, NOTHING! This includes launching her own fragrance, Shh....(-it, obviously). This perfume, of which her only contribution was to lend her name to it and turn up to the launch, went into the top three UK best sellers within days of it being released. Thus, the British are cunts too. Jade's also got a weekly column in Now magazine, despite the fact that she can't write, or spell, or speak properly, and has admitted that all she does is give some opinions on stuff to 'professional' writers who write it for her.
Wait, I am starting to hate you less. You're just a very lucky moron.
(Update 18th January ~ No, I actually hate you more, if that's possible.)
Clearly the next entry has to be ...

8. The British ~ Because we reward the Talentless. We pay them vast amounts of money to revel in their ignorance just so we can feel smug. We allow ourselves to be fined, overcharged and CCTV'd - seeing as we're one of the most surveilled places on Earth - and we accept it. London is also one of the top four most expensive cities on the planet. We had an Empire (i.e. Took someone's country and built an army barracks), then lost it. Now all we are is one big local council that fines its residents continually. We're miserable. We don't converse with anyone (apart from folk up North who, lets face it, would talk to walls). The weather's erratic. People from one part of Britain hate people from another part of Britain. We're sarcastic (although that Rocks). We have class divides. And now the Chav underclass is poised to overthrow us all!

I'm moving to Paris.

7. The Fuck You attitude ~ Largely cultivated by said Chavs. The whole Chav thing smacks of a kind of racism, or at least a simple snobbery, which is why I'd prefer specifically to incinerate the Fuck You attitude - It's the kind of people who are obsessed with announcing how they like to "Speak My Mind, yeah?". What this essentially means is 'I'm an idiot and I've grown proud of offending people. I speak my fucking mind, me.' This is an extention of Hip-Hop culture, when impoverished and marginalised black men in America's worst ghettos broke out of the cycle of drugs and violence by (ultimately) rapping about drugs and violence, and (eventually) swaggering around in a fur coat and saying things like 'I Speak My Mind'. This should never apply to some shouting teenagers on the back of the bus to Hounslow, who only have a semi to escape from, and a nagging Mum.
Stop swaggering, realise your potential, and get a job.

6. Work ~ Will I ever find a satisfying career?
One where I don't mind being snapped out of my blissful reverie to be woken up too sodding early each and every fucking morning?
Where I work among cretins who I see more of each day than my own family and friends?
Where I have to whore my life to The Man for a wage to pay the bills and keep me in alcohol and Pringles?
I won't? Oh, fine.

5. People with no morality ~ And they always seem to win, too. Take George Bush, and guess what I'd say. So here's Jeffrey Archer instead; a smug arrogant fuck and a career liar. Even his early history is vague as he's woven so many lies. Has trod on everyone to scramble to the top. He married a woman who he cheated on with golddiggers and hookers and who somehow fucking forgave him. He lied in court and went to jail, then came out and was allowed to keep his life peerage. This piece of shit was going to run for Mayor of London.
Robert Kilroy-Silk, you're just a twat.
For my part, I like having my morals. It does suck not having a sex life or healthy bank balance though. Would becoming an arsehole (more so) help? Probably. I just can't tell any more.

4. Selfishness ~ Me, me, me. The ability to live your life as if no-one else exists. Last Saturday, I had to leave my warm bed at 2am to visit my French neighbour who was blasting out bad techno, where I had to pound on his door and tell him to 'Turn That Off. NOW.' It would appear that living an entire thick building and one floor away makes no difference to the throbbing bass reaching my ears. It is exactly this kind of casual disdain for people around you that is DESTROYING OUR LIVES. Like the people who try and force their way onto a tube train just as myself and thirty people are attempting to get off it. Can't they wait ten literal seconds?
And what about the time I was queuing up at a bank a few months ago? My long wait was nearly over when some teenager with a Fuck You attitude walked in and stood in front of everyone. The queue's reaction was distinctly British. We Tutted, and that was it. So I alone had to tell the kid to get to the back of the queue.
'Nah man, I don't like queues, you get me?'
'No I don't get you. Now get to the back before more people arrive and take your spot, you little turd.'
He tutted, then joined the queue and I felt momentarily hard.

3. Intolerance ~ Not the causal kind I've been spouting up til now, but the Hatred for No Reason kind. This includes:
a) Skin colour - Oh grow up.
b) Sexuality - I'm sorry, other people's private lives affect you how, exactly?
c) Religious Vitriol - 'Kill the Infidels!' - Again, grow up.
d) Nationalism - 'I was born here, thus I am better than those born there' - Idiot.
e) Racial Hatred - Look, if Jews really control the world, please may I have Koh Samui? And here's a little secret, we do control the world and the Holocaust didn't happen. So here's what you have to do: Let all that anger and hatred fester and develop over time until you snap into action, round us all up, and kill us. And hey, if you don't kill all of us and you get found out, you can say that that was a lie too because Jews control the media, so you can try again another day! - You evil brain-dead cancerous lungs.

2. Computer Crashes ~ Marginally less annoying than the Holocaust, but still shit. I've spent hours writing this drivel only for my computer to crash, or else Blogger did, or perhaps there really is a God and She hates me. Either way, I got to the end then lost the lot and had to start from scratch.
Don't ask how angry I am.

1. Cunts ~ You win, cunts. My life could be relatively pleasant if it weren't for your incessant interference.
Take a sprinkling of Selfishness, a healthy lack of Talent, one Fuck You attitude and a shmeer of Intolerance, and you have a Cunt. Or Jeffrey Archer. You can spot them with their arrogant swagger and air of overblown self-importance. They are indifferent to the vagaries of life that surround them. The lives of Other People disinterest them, but Other People's money, attention, and sexual organs enthrall them.
I was once trying to park my car in Oxford to no avail, until I saw a young man packing bags into his boot.
'Pardon me,' I enquired as I leant out my driver's window, 'Are you about to leave?'
He looked up, snooted haughtily, and without even bothering to reply slammed his boot shut and walked off to chat to some girls at a neighbouring car, shouting 'Alright ladies? Can I give you a hand?' loud enough so I'd hear.
That is a cunt. Doing the opposite of what someone wants because, well, I'm not sure why. Perhaps because I'd dared to ask a favour.

I'm not going to wish him dead. But I wish him Unable to Reproduce.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Embarrassing Memory (by proxy) #7: My Step-Dad

In his Seventies. Bald. Rather plump. Shuffles like a penguin when he walks. And is probably responsible for more embarrassing memories than I could ever accomplish in my lifetime.

He was on holiday somewhere, sitting down, as is his wont. A little girl was stood nearby and, being the cheerful fellow he is, my Stepdad ruffled her hair and said 'My, don't we have lovely locks?'

'Do you mind?', said the forty-year-old dwarf.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Please Don't Be A Wanker

Every so often, wankers appear unannounced. Like the two anonymous commentators who popped in earlier to write 'COCK!' and 'Grow up you twat.'

Thanks for that.

And then there are the wankers you meet out there.

This morning I'd cycled to work early and in the rain, and quickly made some blog changes on my work computer. Then I went for a swim and accidentally left my full bottle of showergel in the showers.

I worked for 9 hours with a ten minute break to grab lunch from the supermarket, when I couldn't be bothered to yell at a woman for blatantly pushing in. After work, I went back to the gym for my martial arts lesson, noting that my showergel had definitely been abducted. There was a new attendee tonight, a rather plump 14-or-so-year-old in for his first lesson who got very excited during our one-on-one, smacking his gloves together then coming at me like a mardy pitbull on steriods. He punched me several times, so I had to stop and tell him that this was supposed to be vaguely non-contact. He went mental again so I upped the ante and gave him a couple of gentle roundhouses to the ribs which spooked him out at first, but only served to add 'wild kicking' to his repertoire of flailing his limbs at me.

I felt nicely knackered by the time I left and hopped back on my bike to cycle home, although the sharp chill and strong wind made it a less than pleasant ride.

As did a scumbag driver. Two lanes of traffic were stationary at red lights and I'd overtaken them all and got near the front just as the lights were changing to green. The car I was now level with had no idea I was there, something that didn't surprise me. As a result, I found myself with no more road left to travel on as there was now a traffic island in front of me and a moving car to my left, so I braked sharply. This is not out of the ordinary. But when I looked at the driver, he was having a good old chinwag on his phone and that's when the red mist descended. I yelled 'GET OFF THE PHONE!', remarkably without swearing. Due to heavy traffic, I overtook him seconds later and was able to turn and, with hand signals, mimic a phone to my ear being set back down. He hooted a long rebuttal. When he then overtook me, he slowed to my pace with his window wound down. I'd say he was in his sixties and, with a rather posh voice, yelled 'I'M NOT ON A FUCKING PHONE!'
'WELL YOU FUCKING WERE AND YOU DIDN'T SEE ME COMING!'
'FUCK YOU!' he yelled in his inunciated tones, then slowly, 'FUCK - YOU, YOU - LITTLE - CUNT!'
'OH FUCK OFF' I responded pithily.
'YOU - LITTLE - CUNT!' again.

This was rather offensive. He had stopped at the next lights, and I began to pull over to his passenger window so he would quickly realise that I'm actually a fairly big cunt, but truth be told I couldn't be bothered with yet another screaming moment at yet another wanker of a driver. He's old, he's more than likely out of shape, I'd gain nothing from it, and more importantly, I'd been there before.

So, on noticing that the lights had only just changed to red and, as this was a T-junction and the only traffic, all on my right, had yet to move, I continued over and blew him a big theatrical kiss.
Unfortunately, waiting at the opposing lights and watching me jump the reds and blow sarcastic kisses were the police.

Fortunately, they must have had better things to do than to bother stopping me.
The end.

Sorry.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

All Change

My blog's gone the same colour as my skin in the summer (actually, that would be an angry red), just in case you hadn't noticed.

I like it. Unfortunately, I can't edit my links or move the sidebar details at the moment as I think my computer's shit. Or blogger is. To be honest, I was only previewing the changes when I realised they'd stuck forever. I'm sad enough to go to work extra early tomorrow with a word doc of my old template in the hope that I'll be able to sort things out from that end.

Oh god.

Update: Right, there we go.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Unnecessary Introspection Part 3: How To Remain Single

University.
1994.
Fresh-faced, and really really stupid.

There was a girl I liked called Lucy. I liked her a lot, actually. She was 19, cute, quite elfin, with black hair curled into little ringlets, a pretty smile, a lovely face, and a gorgeous body. She mesmerised me with her existence, and I'd often wonder from afar if we'd ever get it together. I never did anything as bold as flirt outrageously and make things obvious - at least I don't think I did - so, apart from smiling a lot and going red in front of her, nothing else happened.

Until that year's Summer Ball. At the end of the evening, some time around 3am, we'd bumped into each other having lost our respective friends, and got chatting. We'd got on so well that we decided to screw waiting for other people and made our way to the free coaches that were laid on to take people back to the beach, then on to the University halls of residence. I lived near the former while Lucy was at the halls, so I asked her if she wanted to accompany me to the Survivor's Photo on the Beach, which was planned for 5am just as the sun was coming up. This was a win/ win situation. The guys I lived with had already decided that unless we were lightweight pussies, we had to meet up to make that photo.

I am not a lightweight pussy.

The coach pulled up near the beach. Half the coach's passengers of drunk or dying students spilled out. At this point, we were nearer my flat, so I asked Lucy if she wanted to go back to mine first.
'Yes', she said.

Splendid and tremendous.

There was a steep hill on the way up to my student apartment, and Lucy started complaining that it was too uncomfortable to walk up in heels, so I scooped her up and carried her home. She didn't complain.

This was going uncommonly well.

Lucy was now in my living room, all the other guys I lived with doubtless still out enjoying themselves. Or more likely lying face down in a road and crying.

'So', I offered, 'Do you want to go down to the beach for this photo?'
'No, I think I'll stay right here', said Lucy.
'Right, see you later then!' said I, and duly headed off to appear as a dot in a picture with 200 others.

Even as I type this, I'm not too sure what fucking planet I'm on. The next day, when I made it down to the living room now full of my flatmates and Lucy, the lads hurled abuse at me for leaving her. When Lucy left to go home, I was hurled more abuse for turning down a very possible shag, or at least an extremely pleasurable fumble.

Only then did it dawn on me what I'd done. So fixated was I on The Goal Of Making That Photo, I'd completely failed to recognise that an infinitely more superior option had shimmied sexily into view.

An ENFORCED CELIBACY MONKEY visited me that evening, and has been on my back ever since, barring a handful of occasions where I've been able to duct-tape it up and sling it in my cupboard.

As an addendum to this story, a year after we'd graduated, we'd managed to blag tickets to the next Summer Ball. We were expecting a washout as all the folks we'd studied with had obviously left, but we were pleased to find a lot of people we still knew from 4-year courses. This included Lucy. I walked over to her and kissed her cheek, and apologised for being an idiot. She gave me a hug and told me it was ok. I continued to tell her how much I regretted what I did, and wished I could make amends. Placing a fresh cigarette between her lips, she told me to forget about it. Trying to be gallant, I reached for my lighter and offered her a flame. In her concentration to reach it, she wobbled uneasily, teetered a little, then fell over.

Oh.

She was absolutely fucking hammered. She wasn't going to last the next ten minutes, let alone an evening with me trying to gain re-entry. Not wanting to take advantage of her in that state, I gave up.

The moral is: I don't know what the moral is. Don't be me, perhaps.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

South Africa

Ah, South Africa. Its majestic undulating veldts, whatever they are. Animals that eat people. Diamonds scattered liberally on the ground. The world's most grating English accent. Oh, and a delicate smidge of racist oppression, once upon a time.

South Africa today is a model of harmony and an excellent lead for Israel/ Palestine to follow, at least that's how I view it from a rainy bedsit in Chiswick. 40 years of enforced apartheid seems to have given way to reconciliation, forgiveness, and general bonhomie. (You can tell I've never been, although I was afforded the opportunity to travel to SA driving from hotel to hotel for a series of specialist guide books about two years ago. The job was as good as mine until I received an email at the 11th hour telling me it wasn't.)


Goodbye.

It was in 1652 that the Dutch East India Company established themselves here, at the Cape of Good Hope, to be exact, and expanded eastwards like the circular water rings of a Dutch pebble dropped into someone else's ocean. Well, tried to expand eastwards until they came across local people who'd rather they didn't. But Dutch this Southwestern tip remained, and for 150 years, during which time Indonesian, Madagascan and Indian slaves from East Asia were introduced. A strange caste system seemed to develop, as once irksome former royals were despatched from these places and sent to Africa, becoming the highest ranking among those who weren't Dutch and white. Their children, should they have dared been produced with some considerable help and fun from a dark native, were coloured, and therefore somehow lesser an individual than their Asian begetter, but clearly not as lowly as the other parent. You know, the black one.

To add to this mix of slavery and colonialism came Great Britain to seize the day and the Cape, because it was such a charming stopover en route to Australia (to drop off our criminals) and India (to rule over and grow tea).

Fortuitously for us Brits, the Dutch East India Company went bankrupt, meaning the Cape Colony was ours, all ours, in 1805. We continued to plough eastwards, despite the best efforts of those irritating locals. At the same time, abolitionists in Britain - fucking liberals - were able to force parliament to stop its global slave trade and, 27 years later, extended this ban to slavery in general throughout all British colonies, in 1833. (Interestingly, had the British army in America not been an equivalent of our modern day cricket team and tried just a little bit harder, we would've beaten those dastardly American rebels meaning that slavery would've been abolished in the States a lot earlier, and there probably wouldn't have been that less than civil Civil War. See Americans? Being ruled by greedy despots does have its benefits.)

Back in South Africa, the discovery of gold and diamonds in the mid to late nineteenth century drove everyone absolutely fucking nuts. Immigration increased, as did a general subjugation of the local populace now that the country became so much more interesting to all concerned. Britain ended up at war with the Boers, famers descended from the original Dutch, who had settled (i.e. nicked someone elses land) further eastwards in an effort to avoid the Brits as we too moved east. In an effort to overcome the Boers (we did), the British invented the world's first concentration camp - I'm so proud.

The Union of South Africa became, in 1934, a dominion, an overseas territory of the British Crown, but not of England, Great Britain, or the United Kingdom itself. It's all largely semantics. The point is we'd nicked it and stuck a flag in the ground.


Hello.

I recall, many years ago on my travels, meeting a Dutchman called Peter Buijs, and watching with amusement as he conversed with an Afrikaaner. They were, Peter told me later, speaking in their respective languages, yet could understand each other almost perfectly which I found interesting because I'm a nerd who's fascinated by language. For example, the Afrikaans for an Orange is 'Lemoen'. Good god.

The language Afrikaans (quite simply, Dutch for African) descended from Old Dutch and was considered a mere dialect until 1925, when it was bumped up to a language in its own right. The only English equivalent to Peter's conversation that I can come up with would be if I hopped into a De Lorean and travelled back to London circa 1650 and struck up a conversation with someone. Fascinating. To me, anyway.
That, and Johannesburg is colloquially nicknamed Jewhannesburg, which I find amusing and disturbing in equal measure.

South Africa is apparently extremely dangerous. The life expectancy of a South African police officer is one of the lowest (as well as poorly paid) in the world. Plus a chap I once knew who hailed from nearby Swaziland regaled me with stories of his youth. He told me about the local nightclubs where, as well as having a cloakroom to hand in their coats, they also had to hand over their, erm, guns, to be collected once they'd drunk enough dirt cheap Castle Beer and were spoiling for a fight. (Can someone please confirm the existence of gunrooms in South African nightclubs, as the mind boggles.)

Nowadays, I only have to wander up to Shepherds Bush to be confronted by a huge swathe of Southern Hemisphere travellers; Aussies, Kiwis, and the aforementioned Saffas. But don't mention apartheid. That's all ancient history. Although it did inspire Spitting Image's 'I've Never Met A Nice South African' song in 1986.



South Africa ~
Pros: Nice people now. Year round gorgeous weather. Penguins.
Cons: Bad people then. That accent. Surfers. A lot of violence. The 'A' word.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Four days in and I want 2006 back

Despite this somewhat moody title, I'm not particularly hacked off. It just reads as if I am. Perhaps it's the struggling to come to terms with another year of having to change everything about my life yet again, and for the billionth time.

Plus it's cold out.

* Cycling, swimming, marital arts; The combined 2007 hell of 24 miles pedalled, 16 lengths swam, and a mere hour spent punching and kicking thin air was enough to make me realise I have all the fitness and stamina of a fat 40-a-day pensioner with no legs.
I have so much physical work to put in, it's not funny.
And all because of three gorgeous weeks spent not doing any of the above, and instead creatively spending my time watching awful TV and eating Happycarbs™ from a very comfy chair that lovingly cradled my now volumous arse.
If I had a girlfriend, she would've screamed at me to get off it.

* All this healthy eating is making my digestive tract implode. Switching from a diet of shit to a diet of lettuce is clearly confusing to a lower intestine. I'm on a vague plan of low carbs and low fat, high fibre and high protein, with no beer or fags ever. So far, so good. I have only wished myself dead a mere 7 times this year.

* I have been trying to switch banks for two months now. I have been with Abbey National since I was eight, and have finally snapped because of outgoing direct debits putting me four pounds over my overdraft, and incurring a £50 fine (Over the years this has happened at least six times). Plus they're just cunts. As a fuck you, I eventually hunted around for a better bank and chose Halifax, particularly as they boast "If you think switching your current account to the Halifax could be complicated then don’t worry – our dedicated Switching Team will do it all for you!", except that's a barefaced fucking lie. A month ago when I phoned to see why no objects de banque had arrived, I was informed that several new accounts were being hampered by some computer malfunction, and no-one could possibly rectify this until the new account holder phoned up to yell.
So anyway, long story short, I get to the gym this morning like I have done most days for the last year and a half, and got told at reception that my membership - ie my monthly fee - has been cancelled. This is because Halifax's dedicated Switching Team haven't done anything, because all banks are useless and greedy and staffed by inept fucking plankton. I phoned the Halifax and discovered that my rent and council tax among others haven't been paid yet either - I'm expecting something nasty in the post soon - so I asked the guy at the end of the phone how much I could fine them.
He didn't know.
So I've swapped one greedy inept bank for one that so far, is just inept. Things are looking up.

* My lovely ex-girlfriend hasn't responded to my suggestion that I fly out to New York to see her in a few weeks. She was keen when I put it to her personally a few days ago in London. Now she's back home with her boyfriend only a few blocks away, I've clearly made things a bit awkward for her.
So that's that.
If I did go, I'd probably have to get a hotel. And I'd only get one evening to catch up with her. The rest of my time I'm sure I could easily amuse myself, probably in bars cursing that all my spending money's gone on a fucking hotel. And I'm pissed off that her heart chooses me but her common sense chooses him, what with him being 4 miles away compared to my four thousand.
Of course, I could've not dumped her initially.

Fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck.

I really want a pizza and garlic bread starter followed by a kebab dessert.

At least Celebrity Big Brother's started. I was particularly shocked to hear that H from Steps Came Out just prior to entering the house. This was followed by the equally shocking news that 'Nazis are bad', and 'Jim Davidson is a wanker'.

Random Update 9:50pm ~ Don't let Large Northern Flatmates shave your head in an effort to save on hairdressing bills. I am now taking tomorrow morning off so I can visit said hairdresser to make me look less like an epileptic punk who cuts his own hair.

Monday, January 01, 2007

2007

Happy New Year, exclamation marks. I so want to write something sarcastic but I think I'll put that to one side for now, despite my hangover.

So far, so-so. My French / Polish neighbours have already woken me up after 3 hours sleep by blasting out the most godawful cheesy Eurotechno at full volume. They haven't done this for months, when Large Northern Flatmate and I were forced to complain to the council and their landlord, and had to pay them a visit at 4am when they came home from a night's dancing ripped to the tits on pills and decided to recreate a club in their bedroom. On that night, they'd woken me up a couple of hours before I had to get up for work so I'd stormed over to their flat in my ridiculous thick-lensed glasses (I wear contact lenses normally and fully intended to go back to bed once I'd put my foot through their speakers, so I had to wear The Glasses That I Must Never Be Seen In.) However, this stupid eyewear was like a moth to a flame for a stoned Frenchman who, on being told to Turn the fucking music down, simply walked right up to my face and, nose to nose with me, said 'Woah, you 'ave ze tiniest eyes'.

This morning, having still not extracted myself from bed, I went on to have a two-hour chat with my lovely ex-girlfriend from New York who has now flown back home, permanently. I always thought it cruel to tell her how I feel because I can't see a future between us, but she demanded to hear how I really felt, so I told her I have strong feelings for her. It's like love. It probably is love. It's certainly a strong emotion closely affiliated to love but I'm not sure myself because I don't think I've ever loved anyone, barring Beyonce, Pringles and Indiana Jones when I was a kid. Plus I'm male and British, a double-whammy in the emotionless void stakes.

I also think I'm dreaming if I believe I can just pick up a job in New York. Firstly, they'd quite rightly tell me I can't take a job an American should get, plus I'm pretty sure that US Immigration's collective hearts don't melt when they hear that some Brit's met a beautiful, charming, intelligent, sexy American woman and he'd like to move to Manhattan to date her until such a time that he fucks things up.

After the call, I felt compelled to check my dating website in the hope that some new women have taken 2007 as their cue to join up. There was a new and quite stunning woman there, but her profile read: 'not to forget my smile, it make me look very goog'.
I have this completely unfounded fear that teenage boys put fake profiles up for cheap laughs, or else Eastern European crime syndicates are trying to seduce unsuspecting single idiots to their criminal bosom where they can kidnap them.
I have a very fertile imagination.
The thought that there's a beautiful woman out there who spells 'Good' with two G's is just too awful to contemplate.

Last night, and one-by-one, all of my New Year's Eve options were diminishing. A vast number of my friends were all choosing to stay in with their respective partners, the first time this has happened. Steve's son fell ill, so he didn't come down to London, and Large Northern Flatmate chose to continue housesitting for his brother so he could watch the Philly Eagles beat Atlanta on Sky Sports. (Large Northern Flatmate would watch slug racing if it were televised.)
PhilandNatalie and JimmyandLisa were having a coupley meal with friends of theirs from work, so I decided to meet them in the pub afterwards.

I walked there at 10pm, choosing the quickest route which took me alongside the murky Thames via a dark, shrouded copse. I've walked it before at night and I generally don't like it, what with the dark and the creepiness and the Who's That In The Bushes?. I have to stop listening to my iPod before entering as it's not good to have one of your senses dulled when you can't see ahead of you. The bare trees didn't help lighten the atmosphere, with their gnarled fingers of branches reaching up to heaven as if clawing out for mercy. At one point in the journey, there's an old disused bandstand with a strange pointy roof that reminds me of witches' hats. So that's nice. And then, as I'm walking along in purposeful quick strides, an owl - a fucking owl - starts twit-twoo'ing. I'm walking for several minutes when, spying the footpath with its street lighting sanctuary in the far distance, a hidden figure by the water's edge suddenly darts past me, and improbably vanishes. I don't come into contact with anyone during this walk through the thicket as I was the only person stupid and stubborn enough to take it, so I put the movement down to my mind playing tricks on me, even if it did seem momentarily human.

By the time I get to the pub I'm sweaty and grateful, despite it being a cheesy hellhole. The DJ is playing 'Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go' and I'm forced to drink alone for half an hour. There are lots of women all dressed up for the night. It soon becomes evident that PhilandNatalie and JimmyandLisa aren't coming as they want to have a drink at their flat, so Jimmy turns up to get me. We stay for a drink and get chatting to two friendly women from Portsmouth who know the barman. I spend most of my time confirming that I am actually Strawberry Blond while they insist I'm ginger (purely for comic effect, in my opinion). Jimmy then gets a call at 11.45pm to remind us to head back so we leave, which shocks the women as they assume we're at least staying to ring in the New Year.

In a parallel universe, I'm sure I'd've got a snog. Typical.

By the time we get to PhilandNatalie's, we're soon singing Auld Lang Syne and drinking champagne. At midnight, we become obsessed with looking out of their windows from our raised vantage point. Sprawlled out in front of us was north and west London, and all along the dark skyline, dozens of fireworks were being set off. Suddenly the thought of being stuck back in that small pub loses its appeal. The television then shows the huge fireworks celebrations at the London Eye, and we find it, live and in the distance, exploding and erupting as if the end of World War II was being celebrated again.

Which was nice.

Then we sung Playstation karaoke until I walked home (via a different route) and got to bed at 7am.

I'll have to make the most of 2007. I have some things I must do before it's too late.

Happy New Year!!!