Tuesday, May 29, 2007

There May Be Trouble Ahead

When I was a kid, enamoured by Adrian Mole, I used to keep a diary. Granted, I kept a very dull diary, but I always remember my Mum complaining that I'd always cause trouble just to make my diaries more interesting. I never did, but my Mum's harsh words have sometimes caused me to pause whenever something interesting has happened to me since I started this blog.
Such as the last 17 hours.

What happened this morning was genuine, unencumbered by flights of fancy and sadly, necessary. In fact, it's probably stupid of me to relate any of this at all but I have to write it down, if only to clear my head.

It was 3:30am this morning. I was passed out unconscious in bed following the three day Bank Holiday weekend. Work was in a matter of hours.

Suddenly, techno. Loud techno. Actually, if you'll allow me, it was screamingly loud, taking the piss, Fuck all and sundry around us, we're going to crank this up to eleven industrial gabba techno.

In the past, my evil French neighbour seemed to be playing shit music at ungodly hours only for me but now, amidst this rude awakening came a frantic angry thumping from somewhere else in the nearby occupancies.

The music stopped. Then started. Then stopped again. I was by now fully dressed and about to go next door to ask why in the hell my neighbour was back to his old tricks when I'd explicitly warned him that his next 3am bedroom rave would be his last.

There was now Silence. Not even traffic noise outside. I undress and go back to bed, my ears becoming finely tuned instruments as I listen out for the next aural effrontery. But it didn't come. The birds did though, chirping an hour later as I lay there still unable to fall back to sleep. Then blue streaks of dawn came prying inquisitively through my curtains another hour later, reminding me I'd rapidly run out of sleeping time. Following his mere three minute techno selfishness, my Neighbour had left me angrily alert for two hours, unable to go to sleep because I knew what I was going to do.

7am. Radio. My head hurts through lack of sleep, and I'm furious. I'd eventually managed to fall back to sleep at around 5:30am but it wasn't nearly enough rest. I wash and dress and leave my flat.
8:30am. I walk to the neighbouring block where their front door is off its hinges, and walk up to my bastard neighbour's bedsit. There is a fusebox above their door so I switch off the electricity and hear a tinny sound abruptly stop.

I wait. My neighbour doesn't come. So after a few minutes, I bang on the door.
Footsteps, and tinkling keys.

'Oo is zis?'
We've been through this many times in the past and he knows it's me. I'm the only one who seems to confront him. For the first time, he doesn't want to open up.

'Let me in.'

'Oo is zis?'
'Open the door!'

A pause.

'Oo's zis?'

Without really considering what I was doing, I take two steps back then ram into the door. It was borne more out of anger than anything else, yet the barge ended up being hard enough to snap the lock from its frame and break the door wide open. My neighbour yells in shock and falls over. He had been right behind the damn thing, craning his ear to it.

So now I'm in. I didn't really know what I'm doing other than breaking and entering but I have a vague idea, having been in his pit of a room in the past, telling him off on previous occasions. Neighbour follows me into his bedroom. He watches me as I grab a speaker and yank the leads out the back.
'Where's the other speaker?' I snap.
'Zere isn't one.'
Looking around, I find it, plus two older and larger speakers that aren't being used. I snap more leads out. I only have a vague idea what I'm doing, and it's along the lines of walking out with these implements of my despair.
'Can you be quiet? My friend is azleep.'

I look at the bed. Lying prone in the darkness is his roommate, remarkably - or perhaps unremarkably considering their boozing and joints - out cold. I ignore him. There are now four large speakers I've piled up in centre of the room. Neighbour walks over and puts his hands out in an attempt to stop me but I'm in the midst of controlled anger.

'Don't!' I pause to bark, an accusatory index finger pointing right at him. And then I kneel down and pick up two loudest, newest looking speakers and walk out.

'Hey!' says the Neighbour. 'Hey!'

I walk downstairs.

'What are you doing? Hey!' He follows me.

'Fuck off.' I snap.

A Polish resident from the flat below is leaving for the day and is walking ahead of me, grinning. He knows why I'm here and what this is all about.

'3am', I snap at him as if that's all that needs to be said, and we all head outside.

'Hey!' says the neighbour as I walk through the wide open front door, genuinely having no idea what I'm about to do. So I stop. I was going to walk off to work and decide what to do with the speakers on the way but as I see a wall, I change my mind instantly.

Raising a speaker above my head, I hurl it at the wall and smash the unit. It's sturdy as hell and only splinters slightly, so I pick it up and throw it again. Seeing a nearby shelf leg, I pick it up and thrust it into the bass cone. Satisfied that it will no longer sound pleasant enough to play music quietly let alone at full volume, I pick up the second speaker and aquaint it with the bricks, and with the shelf leg.

'Zank you,' says my neighbour sarcastically. 'But what about zis?'
He points to his forehead. When I barged the door open and inadvertently made contact with his head, it had left him bleeding. It was a tiny superficial wound, more a dot than anything gushing, but it was accidental. In the melee, it transpired that all I really cared about was rending his music totally and utterly mute beyond 10pm and now that job was done. Hopefully.

I approached him. I was totally controlled but well aware that this wasn't sporting behaviour. I don't like confrontation at the best of times, and this had been fairly confrontational. My voice was shaking through the shock and exertion of it all.

'I warned you,' I said as calmly as I could to his face. 'I damn well warned you that this would happen, and now your speakers are fucked.'
His face contorted. If he was going to take me on, it would be now, but he didn't do anything but grimace.
'If this ever happens again', I said, 'you're next.'

This was total rubbish, of course. Despite the the door/ head issue, it was never my intention to hurt him. Destroying those speakers ended up being vigilante justice enough but beating him up? That's blind thuggery. That's another world. That's really not me.

Work.

No small measure of panic.

Too tired.

Really ratty.

By the time I get back to my satellite London town, I sense that this issue may be over.

I walk into the newsagents on the high street we all live above to try and gauge what's been happening. The newsagent claims not to have heard anything, but he knows I kicked a neighbour's door in.
'How do you know it was me?' I ask, genuinely intrigued, but now the newsagent is stuttering and worried about what he may give away.
Oh no, please, not me, I'm not one of those guys. I'm a normal Joe! I'm like Michael Douglas in 'Falling Down', but without the guns or the actual mental issues. Sensing I might be scaring the newsagent, I leave to go home.
And then, as I walk out, three burly policeman walk past me and into the next door restaurant. I watch as the coppers walk through to the kitchen at the back, the kitchen that leads onto the alley where I live, where I had earlier hurled speakers at walls.

Er...

Shit.

I'm not going home. No way.

So I keep walking until I get to a pub. And there I stay, nursing an unwanted yet nerve steadying pint and sending frantic texts for an hour, until I'm sure that any statement taking policemen, if indeed that's what they were doing, have gone.

I go home. No-one's outside, so I run upstairs and into the safety of my flat where I'm typing this frantically.

And that, your Honour, is exactly what happened. I'm really sorry. I was pushed.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

There's Something About Mary Whitehouse

For those of a non-British persuasion, Mary Whitehouse was, to most of the country, a nitpicking God-Botherer who famously campaigned against the decline of British television from the Sixties onwards.

If Mary was still alive and she caught a pipette of what I've just been watching, she would've died from excess Moral Outrage.

I had been trying to learn something from 'Mao's Bloody Revolution' except bloody digital TV was breaking up in earnest, rending this particular chapter of world history into a series of strobe effect talking heads and stuttered archive footage to an accompaniment of stammering voiceover.

So I flicked over to BBC3 and caught their latest reality offering, Filthy, Rich & Homeless. And with a title like that, I don't need to explain that they took a handful of Britain's richest fameseeking dullards and filmed them sleeping rough to offset some of that prosperiguilt that no doubt got them signing up for the venture in the first place. And the general consensus was, homelessness isn't very pleasant.

But that wasn't the declining TV. That came when I flicked over to Channel Four, who were screening a programme I'd never seen called Embarrassing Illnesses, an intriguing subject handled with all the sensitivity of a war crimes trial being presided over by Spongebob Squarepants.

Embarrassing Illnesses features three resident doctors who examine a seemingly endless line of ordinary people willing to remove their clothes and disclose their sores for the sake of entertainment. It doesn't help that the disembodied voiceover is disconcertingly knowing, as if the narrator is well aware that we're all tuning in to laugh at scabs and lesions. And nor does it help that the background music is on the chipper side, a la Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, or Eurotrash. 'Isn't this a jolly romp?' it seems to scream as a young lady has crusts of scalp removed for analysis.

But that was just filler stuff before the juicy main course. Now I'm not one to talk at the television. In fact, when I'm on my own, nothing passes my lips apart from the odd 'Fuck' if I stub my toe or set fire to my dinner again, or else I'll release the occasional world-weary sigh of a life crushed by its own unique unremarkability. But ten minutes ago, and with Large Northern Flatmate nestled far away in his bedroom, I released a loud, genuine yell.

Visiting Dr Jessen was Bryan, an amiable, rosy cheeked pensioner. Slightly rotund and with a big, Christmassy white beard, he put me in mind of Santa Claus in a casual sweater, nipping off to his GP during the quiet period - except this Santa had an itchy cock.
'My foreskin was becoming rather tight so I had a circumcision' he explained a bit too honestly for my liking, 'but now I'm finding things a little sore.'

It was then that I felt myself coming over a little Mary Whitehouse (don't take that literally.) After all, if our cherished Senior Citizens no longer mind discussing their most intimate secrets in the once-private confines of the Doctor's office to millions of gawpers, then we've truly gone to hell in a handbasket.
That, and what we've done to Iraq.

Dr Jessen asked Brian to pop his trousers down.
'Erm?', I distinctly remember thinking.
The good Doctor then rummaged around below, a cunning camera angle using an aged knee to conceal Brian's privates. But they didn't remain private for long. Without warning, my impressive 36" screen became dominated by the sight of a 72-year-old bellend in extreme close-up as it was slowly prised from it's tight foreskin home, like an angry red peanut being shelled.

'Oh My God!'
There's the yell.

In front of me, being prodded and poked and invading my home, was a tiny wrinkled member covered in weeping red sores, above a disturbingly immense set of balls. In shock, I looked at the time. It was only 8:40! Surely the watershed is at 9pm, when we can finally be adult and hear swearing and look at tits? Yet the tits came only five minutes later in a girls' changing room. In a sequence that was one part informative breast examination and twenty parts soft porn, Dr Dawn Harper encouraged one member of this local hockey team to remove her top so she could learn the proper way to examine herself. In close up. Once that was done, Dr Dawn asked the rest of the girls to take their tops off, which they did in earnest whilst giggling over more chipper music. All that was missing was Sid James's filthy laugh and the sound of a slide whistle.

Come back Mary Whitehouse. I'll join your howls of disgust from beyond the grave when I tune in next week.

By the way, it would be wrong of me not to mention that Little Bird was in town a couple of days ago, so we met up for a cheeky beer. And what lovely company she is.
Trucking contractors!

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Things I Have Learnt This Year

* If you walk onto a London tube escalator and yell at the people gormlessly standing on the left "Move over to the right folks, you're blocking the way!", some people are going to take umbrage.

* I have no imagination and can't think of anything better to do with my weekend than go to the pub. I am also intrinsically lazy, and come Saturday and Sunday, I can't summon up the energy to go for a bike ride or do something healthy.
I am beginning to envy couples.

* The only people taking umbrage over your yelling "Move over to the right folks, you're blocking the way!" on a crowded London tube escalator won't be the people who were blocking the way but a bunch of teenage Chavs who, despite standing on the right anyway, resent someone who isn't one of them being loud in public.

* I'm am not an alcoholic and am able to wait until Friday night for a drink. I am, however, an idiot, and attempt to do all the previous week's drinking in one go.

* Once you have free access on the left hand side of a London tube escalator and are able to approach said teenage Chavs who were telling you to shut up, placing your open palm on their chest and telling them firmly to calm the fuck down will make them back off very quickly.


* I have never been good with hangovers and at 33, they're not getting any easier. Just 5+ pints on a Friday, and I can kiss my Saturday goodbye.

* Teenage Chavs on a London tube escalator travel in packs. After telling one of them to calm down, there will be about eight more of the fuckers further down who want to kick your head in for making their mate look like the mouthy little coward that he is.

* Left to my own devices, I can't think of anything better than to watch telly and moan that nothing's on. This is why I haven't bought computer games for about 16 years; my childhood was wasted trying to rescue a Scientist's daughter from the Nazis, so as much as I'm tempted to buy a game, I am all to aware of the inherent sadness in spending my free time trying to achieve happiness for a bunch of computer generated characters that don't actually exist.
How the hell can anyone live with themselves, making career decisions for some pixellated images for months on end whilst doing nothing about their own sorry existence? But my God I'm tempted.

* Teenage Chavs on the London Underground will be heading further into London at around 11pm, and fortunately not out of the fucker, which is handy when you realise they want to kick your head in but aren't actually headed your way.

* If you've got dreams, aspirations, desires, and wishes, act on them. Sadly, it's far easier said than done but trust me, it ain't gonna fall into your lap.

Oh god, all this introspection can only mean one thing: I am subconsciously on the verge of quitting smoking, cutting down on weekend pissups, going on a major diet, joining a gym, and getting a better job. All the usual wrongs, coming back to be righted.

Ugh, the effort.

* UPDATE - Oh, and if you listen to your iPod while withdrawing money from a cash machine, you won't hear the damn thing beeping at you to take your card, and will have to cancel the fucker when you realise what you've done five hours later.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Even Hitler had a girlfriend

...and by all accounts, he was a bit of a psychopathic murdering fuckhead. It didn't stop an entire nation of mad busty frauleins dribbling all over him either.

Now take Ekaterina Svanidze, the charming young bride of a chap called Joseph Dzhugashvili, or Stalin to his mates. Apparently, when Ekaterina died only four years into their marriage, he declared that any warm feelings he had for humanity died with her. A bit of an understatement as he went on to kill millions, yet that didn't stop him GETTING ANOTHER GIRLFRIEND (his second wife Nadezhda, who shot herself dead. Stalin was probably a bit hard to live with.)

Saloth Sar, sounds like a Bond villain, and he pretty much was. Better known as Pol Pot, like Stalin, Mr Pot had two wives. It is not documented if he ever called the kettle 'black'. But it is widely documented that he killed between 1 to 2 million of his own people for being intellectual instead of poor. Despite this murderous dating setback, at least two women thought Pot - and I hate myself for this - was Hot.

Vlad the Impaler, ruler of what is now Romania, and inspiration for Bram Stoker's Dracula. In those days before Reality TV, Vlad had to entertain himself by having horses stretch mens legs apart in order that well oiled and thick stakes could be inserted slowly up their rectums until it emerged from their mouths.
Yet still, women liked him; two said 'I do'.
Although possibly at spear point.

Osama Bin Laden apparently has five wives and, unlike the above, has them all at once. Although hopefully not now as he's probably dead, with a bit of luck.

Fred West, had Rosemary. Ok, she looks like Rosemary West, but still.

And then there's me; Male, 33, GSOH (slightly). Likes long walks in the park, movies, intelligent conversation, and absolutely won't kill unless provoked.

And what have I got? Nothing.

Nuh-thing.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

The Gayest Thing In The World, Ever

Imagine if you will a hot sunny day, with Judy Garland being blasted out from enormous phallic speakers. Now imagine a succession of skinny young men gyrating about in hotpants of many colours. Sweating gamely on top of all this, picture a kitsch Christmas parade of cheerful tall elves (in hotpants), with necklaces of baubles bouncing off their six-packs. And now summon up in your minds eyes a gaggle of drag queens tarted up to the nines and making cutting yet witty barbs at fat men with colossal beards of Edwardian proportions that tickle the rim of their tight leather waistcoats.
Got that? Now ponder fragrent lavender skies with rainbow clouds that rain cum.

Well you're still nowhere near The Eurovision Song Contest, an event gayer than Liberace sewing thick pink veins onto an enormous cotton cock. And what I wrote above.

Eurovision was conceived in 1955 by Frenchman Marcel Bezençon, a member of that proud nation who also gave the world the extra-marital affair, the indifferent shrug, and ducking as an official army manoeuvre.
Oh, and the word 'manoeuvre'.
Back in the postwar 50s, Bezençon suggested to his employer, the European Broadcasting Union, that they establish an international song contest to be transmitted live to all participating countries. And ever since, it has grown in scope to enliven our drab lives. It is currently camping it up right now on my television - because this particular Saturday night can be filed under 'Non-Eventful'.

For the non-Europeans here, or just the plain bored, some 20 or so countries perform a song at the final (a song which each country has selected during semi-finals beforehand). The final takes place in the country that won it the year before. This year's final is being held in Helsinki after Finland's Lordi won the 2006 competition. Despite being a heavy rock band dressed in ridiculous demonic outfits, they looked stupid enough to have enormous camp appeal. And presumably a good tune, although that's never stopped the previous winners.
After all the entries screech their songs, we go live to some 30 countries where their beaming representatives congratulate the host country for a great show in charming stalled English, and cast their votes.
'Congratulations, you set Europe alight!' said one just now.
A bit like Germany in 1941, then.

But it's not all bad. For one thing, the annual televisual Gay Pride parade that is Eurovision guarantees me several certainties, namely:

- Listening to the disembodied voice of our commentator and national treasure, Terry Wogan, as he gets progressively more drunk and sarcastic, like watching the programme with a genial and slightly racist uncle.
- The United Kingdom's song being crap. At the time of writing, most votes are in and we still have 'Null points'. In fact, we're the only ones yet to score. Typical.
- Awkward pauses thanks to time delays.
- Cyprus always giving Greece 12 points and vice versa, even if their entries consisted of goatherds playing the spoons for three minutes.
- Countries voting for each other solely on historical or geographical reasons. So it's all perfectly unbiased and above board, then.
- Always wondering why Israel are in a European contest. But not really minding that much, for perfectly unbiased reasons.
- The French representative casting their votes and relaying their best wishes and congratulations to the host country in French, regardless of who they're speaking to and whether they can be understood or not.
- Wondering why all the women are technically attractive yet disturbingly bland, like the cold-eyed sucking automatons in European Private porn movies.
So people tell me.

As for the music, the songs are generally terrible - Romania's was a petrifying infusion of folk, techno, and yelling - and Eurovision is also responsible for introducing the world to Céline Bastard Dion when she sung for Switzerland in '88, so that should tell you all you need to know. However, it also launched Abba, who could write genuinely catchy pop music, grow hefty beards, and look blonde.

To be honest, and all usual bitterness and cynicism aside, it can be quite uplifting. It's really quite a spectacle, giving you a very real sense of a world outside of your living room, a seething mass of celebration and fun and homosexuality, as every entry seems to attract hoardes of gay men and fag hags to the theatrics of the night. In fact, I demand we give these people their own homeland, a place free from persecution and hatred, where they can sing and laugh and perform bad songs. A land with a rainbow flag, and the Weather Girl's 'It's Raining Men' as its national anthem. I'm thinking of a hot and roomy country in need of a regime change.
Saudi Arabia, perhaps.

But in the meantime, look! Some Serbian lesbians have won.

FABULOUS!

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

The Rage

Picture one of those zombies from 28 Days Later, and if you haven't seen it, just picture a zombie; wild-eyed, monosyllabic, kind of angry looking.

That was me at work on Wednesday, except with more foam at the mouth.

Wednesday was Grim Reality day. I get this now and again, and this time it was due to being 33 years old at a job I intended to quit approximately nine months ago for "Something Better".

Several years back, when I couldn't find continuing gainful employment in the Media, I took a 'Stop-gap' position at an awful fucking exam board. This was always going to be temporary so naturally, I stayed for three years. I snapped in 2004, quitting without a backup plan or a backup job, and pottered around South East Asia for a few months to a) Lose weight (I did) and b) Have sex (I didn't).

I returned much fitter but with a Lady Repellant hairdo. I got another 'Stop-gap' job, this time in telesales, sitting next to a violent, mood-and-fist-swinging fuckheaded boss. Quite friendly when out of the office, really quite frightening when in it. The fact that I lasted six months both staggers and disgusts me retrospectively, and in equal amounts. Clearly, Suffering + Apathy towards Making It All Stop = Prat.

But leave I did, eventually getting the job I do now. And I'm having a grand time, doing this thing that I do. I shall tell you what it is.
Please don't stalk me.

I sell bags.

That's it.

Not exciting bags either. Certainly not Chanel, Gucci, or even Fendi bags. Under those circumstances, that could be considered quite exciting (particularly for women) but no, the bags I sell are made of paper, and have a little bit of string in the corner. I also sell bags made of plastic. Both 'genres', if you will, can come with handles or without. Your choice.

Sometimes, we call our workplace 'The Shop'. On other times, it is 'The Office'. For it can be both. I sit behind a monitor for 9 or 10 hours a day, always on the phone, buying stock, placing orders, taking orders, and generally bemoaning everything. We deliver to London's many restaurants and shops too, so we often get calls from impatient people with impenetrable accents demanding cling film.

We also sell cling film.

We get a lot of people walking in off the street to breathe down our collective necks as well, so whatever I'm doing, no matter how important, has to stop so I can sell a cardboard box to someone who's now made me forget to do something vital. In fact, the two most hideous sounds in my known universe are the thudding footfalls of someone who's just walked into the shop, or those fucking phones. My job is basically being distracted from doing admin.

Wednesday's anger was all encompassing. I was running the shop on my own as the boss was out, leaving me to deal with people who do things like phone up when I'm doing something else, and say things like 'I want my bags.'

Christ.

'Well who are you?'
'X Deli.'
'And what bags do you want?'
'The medium ones.'
'OH YOU FABULOUS CUNT, WE HAVE ABOUT TEN SIZES IN ANY GIVEN BAG AND I REALLY CAN'T TAKE THIS FUCKING ROUTINE EVERY SINGLE DAY.'
'Just look it up on the system'
'NOOOO! NO NO NO NO NO!!!!! IT'S NOT A SYSTEM, IT'S A DELL, AND I'M IN THE MIDDLE OF DOING SOMETHING AND TRUST ME, IT'S NOT SOLITAIRE AND I HAVEN'T HAD A LUNCHBREAK IN 21 MONTHS. CAN'T YOU EVER, JUST ONCE, JUST KNOW WHAT IT IS THAT YOU WANT, LIKE WE DO WITH OUR SUPPLIERS? YOU KNOW, BY KEEPING SOME KIND OF FUCKING LIST PERHAPS???'

By Wednesday night, it had occurred to me that my rage had a chemical basis; I have stopped smoking. I have stopped smoking and am surrounded by fucktards. Obvious, really. But having said that, I have turned 33. 33, and in another stop-gap that always fills in and becomes my History. These stop-gaps will Never, Ever End unless I break this fucking cycle, unless I finally decide WHAT THE FUCK I WANT TO DO, then maybe I could aim for it instead of just wandering aimlessly and bitching about it later. And today, the boss is away again. Under normal circumstances for everyone else, this is very very good. In my circumstance, this means doing everything myself, being nagged to a husk, and getting very very angry. Plus my colleague, a 41-year-old bruiser who spends most of his time sitting down and reading the paper til 5pm, gets extremely arsey when I ask him to take a message or ask for a cup of tea.

Oh goody.

On a tangent, I left my flat on Bank Holiday Monday and ten seconds later was on my very quiet High Street, quite surprised to see an enigmatic looking Debra Messing - and I'm 97¾% sure it was her - walk past me and towards Hammersmith. So I was treated to the odd sight of queuing up at a cash machine while Grace from Will & Grace waited for the lights to change, all with a Mona Lisa smile on her mug.

But why, why, WHY was she heading for Hammersmith???

Saturday, May 05, 2007

It's My Birthday And I'll Sit Wallowing In My Pit Of Self Despair If I Want To

25 years ago today, I was one very excitable eight-year-old, jumping up and down and thrilled shitless at being another year older, on my way to reaching the magical double-numbered ten.
24 years ago to the day, I'd have been a yelling, shaking, hyperactive nine-year old freakshow, jumping up and down and barking for presents like a crackhead seal eagerly slapping his flippers for his fishpipe.
23 years ago today... you get the idea.

And now, today, I am 33. I don't want to be 33. I wasn't particularly enamoured with being 32, and now I'm a whole year older and wondering how the fuck I can make this process stop.

I thought I'd be married by now, married to a beautiful wife in my large North London home with an entire football team of equally beautiful and polite children with impeccable manners and good hair who'd draw me birthday card pictures to Daddy and give me big birthday hugs, as my wife looks on with teary eyes at the impeccable bliss of it all as she strokes my head and promises me lots of birthday sex later that imaginary night.

Instead, I've regained consciousness with a vice-like hangover, next to a half-eaten bag of cheesy Doritos as a text pings in from my mate Phil. It simply reads: Birthday Cunt.

I went to the Reading Beer Festival last night with Chopperbomb, spending the latter half of the evening berating some poor bastard student who didn't want to hear it, to 'Do it now, sieze the day, live as much as you can before you turn thirty fucking three tomorrow. I've told you I'm 33 tomorrow, right? Oh sixteen times already, sorry.'

It hasn't helped my post-debauchery vibe that I did a fair bit of coke in one of their many plastic toilets. I had been offered the chance to buy some, so I did. I don't often do cocaine, and more accurately I don't often buy it because a) It's very expensive and b) It's cocaine. There is something intrinsically disturbing about snorting a line of illegal substances up your nose in a portaloo while a queue forms outside. I always sense dead grandparents nearby at times like those, watching me snort coke and saying, 'What on earth are you doing? Oh, you were such a nice boy. What happened? And why can't you be in Paris now? I like Paris.'

But taking cocaine doesn't make me a bad person. I'm not a bad person. I'm just a shmuck taking recreational drugs in the belief that it will perk me up and make me a bit happier. And I didn't go wild eyed or foam at the mouth. It's just like a shot of espresso, except very illegal, and snorted nasally in a stinking plastic toilet in Berkshire. Plus being illegal, the whole thing is a bit dangerous and unconventional, ooh, exciting! Because I am living on the edge. I do not subscribe to conventions and public norms. I may well be headed inexorably towards dull old age and incontinence but you can keep it because I'm a free-thinking, hardcore... oh bugger, it's worn off.

Chopperbomb and I leave the festival and grab one more drink in a half-empty rocker's pub. And then we go our separate ways. Once home, I check to see properly how much coke I've got left in the privacy of my room. And then I discover something you don't see in the movies. My pathetic miniscule parcel of remaining charlie has turned into a sticky gluelike substance, very un-powdery, and extremely unusable. Thinking that moisture has crept into it, I stick it in the oven to dry it out, but it bubbles away and makes me think of heroin being heated and I feel slightly shamed at my attempts to revive drugs. The cocaine has now solidified into a hard clump so I roll it into a thin tube out of boredom and decide against sticking it up anywhere. My remaining £25 of shallow happiness rendered into a tiny greying worm. I throw it into the bin.

Drugs, legal or illegal, serve one purpose, and one purpose only, and that is to Cheer people the Fuck Up. And if it isn't doing that, you need to sit down and have a good long think.

But it's my birthday, dammit! I can't do anything about getting older and older and older. But I can go out and make the most of this extended weekend.

Salutations everyone, have a great time.

Oh, and don't do drugs.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Petition Tony

Ever since some twot somewhere in Whitehall thought it would be a good idea to consult the British public on anything, the greatest website in the world can now be found here.

People can now petition Tony Blair on important matters of the day, such as this rant by a whinging moron (I've got my blog, in case you were wondering): "We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to Ban cyclists from using 'FLASHING' lights at night."
Yeah, cheers for trying to criminalise my attempts to NOT GET RUN OVER AND KILLED because it gives you a headache, you ignorant twatcan. And it's only a slight geeky consolation on my part that you mis-spelled 'Cyclists' in the URL.

By far the most entertaining thing about this site is the 'Rejected Petitions' section. If anything can serve as a tonic against the righteous rablings of some ('Prohibit The Sale Of Fireworks To The Public', 'Promote caving and potholing as our national sport'), then it's these petitions that were rejected as irrelevant or stupid. Shame, really. Here's what we all could've petitioned Tony on (and still be ignored anyway)...

* Resign ASAP
(There are dozens like these.)

* Ensure that at least one of his children joins the army and fights in Iraq.

* Publically acknowledge 9/11 as an inside Job and request that the USA get a public inquiry.

* Sing "We're Going To Hang Out The Washing On The Siegfried Line" through a megaphone while standing in a barrel of custard outside the Houses of Parliament.

* Accept that Tuesdays are boring and should be replaced by Fridays instead.

* Insist that Mr. Mark Gary Banham of Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, wash more frequently than once a year.

* Make me a cup of tea.
(Detail: "I'd quite like a cup of tea, so purpose this petition is to get the Prime Minister to make me, the petition creator a cup of tea."
This petition has been rejected because: It was outside the remit or powers of the Prime Minister and Government.)

* Give British citizens the indemnity to slap one traffic warden a year.

* Persuade Graham Coxon to rejoin Blur.

* Invade France.

* Make 'Being A Member of U2' an arrestable offence.

* Change 'Holloway Road' North London to 'Chuck Norris Road'.

* Stop denying that he dyes his hair.

* Is dave there? Hello dave... can i use your toilet, dave?

* Ban Football.

* Rid Our Streets of Chavs Once and for All.

* Bring dragons out of hiding.

* Make arson legal.

* Make Bill buy a round.

* Stop John Padfield playing football due to him being so fat.

* Stop these pointless internet petitions.

* Pronounce 1st August 'National David Hasslehoff Day'.

* Sell Great Britain to the Arabs.

* Demand that Chris Moyles is removed from Radio One.


Remarkably, 'Replace the national anthem with 'Gold' by Spandau Ballet' got in. So far 6,589 people have signed.
Right, I'm going to stop this. There are 8,000 more rejected petitions to read and I'm sat here giggling like a Japanese schoolgirl. I think I'd better go away and do something more constructive.

Embarrassing Memory Compendium

Too brief to warrant their own posts, too stupid not to mention, these stories are particularly sad and pathetic. I'm afraid they won't endear myself to anyone. You have been warned.

In no particular order:

14 ~ I once formed the unsettling thought that I'd exposed myself. I let this gnawing feeling fade into insignificance until a year or so later when, apropos of nothing, Hippy Dave casually informed me of the time he'd come home from a gruelling nightshift, whereupon I'd run in, dropped my jeans and waved my genitalia about yelling, ‘Waheey, it's my penis!’
I then went into my bedroom and passed out.
His girlfriend may or may not have been in the room at the time. I can’t remember.

13 ~ I once fell down the stairs, crashed through a pair of doors, and into a crowded nightclub.

12 ~ Years ago, I went to see the tremendously dull Arrested Development, nearly running over the old bloke from the band when I tried to park my car. Once inside and sat at the back as the supporting band were playing their set, their enthusiastic lead singer yelled, 'Put your hands together!' so I gave them a warm round of applause thinking they were about to get off. Everyone else merely clapped in time like they were supposed to.
Despite the fact that few people spotted me being awkward (apart from the cute girl sitting next to me), I often recall this complete lack of concert knowledge with a fair amount of disgust.

11 ~ I needed to record some background ambiance for this radio play I had to do as a student. So I found this legal lecture and, not wanting to walk in and interrupt them, I opened the door slightly and stuck the microphone in. Sadly, the whole theatre could see me through the glass door and were kind enough to point me out to the lecturer. She flung the door open and yelled, 'What the hell do you think you're doing?', at which point I realised how suspicious I looked, so I ran off. The lecturer caught up with me and in the struggle, she snapped my necklace. I was told to write a letter of apology to her.

10 ~ Another University tale. My family come down one weekend to take me out to lunch. I obliged, even if I've only just had my first real taste of independence and feel conspicuously awkward having to relinquish a bit of it. Back at my flat, and with four surly flatmates trying to watch TV, my Mum departs by yelling 'Goodbye my little Honey-Bunny!'
The mocking I got from one flatmate in particular became downright hostile.

9 ~ I once took the afternoon off work, travelled to South London, removed most of my clothes, and stood in the corner of a room to be filmed turning 360° on the spot and yelling, "I am Boris Becker."
I didn't get the lookalike's job.

8 ~ ~ I once went to a job interview many summers ago. I had gained a tremendous amount of weight and looked like a prize-winning pumpkin that talked. The company (ironically) specialised in sports programmes, so I thought a polo shirt, tracksuit bottoms, and trainers would do, having convinced myself that I’d seem really good at my job if I didn’t even bother dressing up for it.
Once I’d walked a mile in midday sun to get there, I’d asked for a fan to be blasted at my fat head for the duration of the interview.
And when I was asked how I coped with demanding people, I laughed nonchalantly as I sat back in the chair.
‘Ha!’ I began. ‘That won’t be a problem. You see, I've worked with some real wankers.’

I didn't get the job.

7 ~ Urinating with colossal shame and self-loathing in one of the quieter walkways at Tottenham Court Road tube station. Then looking up and seeing a CCTV camera pointed right at me.

6 ~ I once met up with an old schoolfriend I hadn't seen in 20 years, and got included in his round-robin emails. One day, one of his emails prompted a flurry of replies from people I didn't know. For some reason, I felt compelled to write back ‘I’m busy at work, and if you don’t take me off this list immediately, I will be forced to bombard you all with hardcore bestiality porn.’
This was taken seriously by absolutely everyone, including my friend’s Auntie who emailed me personally to call me sick and depraved, while others threatened to report me to the police.
Needless to say, I no longer keep in touch with that particular schoolfriend even though, on that night we’d first met up, I’d drunkenly announced to a member of the public on the tube home that we hadn’t seen each other since school.

She’s now his wife.

5 ~ I once woke up one morning, croaked “Fuck” for no reason as is my habit on regaining consciousness, and jutted my arse out of the bed to ferociously break wind. Then I coughed coagulated smoker’s phlegm loose from my throat, and scratched my nuts before closing my eyes to return to sleep.
It was then that I remembered I hadn't gone to bed alone the night before.
I peered down from my single bed. Lying on the floor where there was more room and less kicking from fat, flailing limbs was my unimpressed then-girlfriend. She’d heard everything, and I'd farted over her face to boot.

4 ~ I once drunkenly bought cocaine off a random London street dealer. I got home and opened the wrap to discover I'd paid £50 for half a polo mint. It wasn't even a whole one.

3 ~ I once was sat outside a pub one gorgeous summer’s day, when a passer-by stopped dead in her tracks and stared at me in astonishment.
‘Oh god, it’s you, isn't it?’
‘Erm, yes?’
‘What are you doing here?’
‘Look, I know who you think I am, but I'm not.’
‘Yes you are.’
‘No I'm not. Do I even sound German?’
‘Can I have your autograph?’
‘No.’

2 ~ I once spotted a fox in our garden one teenage evening. So naturally, I called the police.
That copper's voice, a mixture of incredulity and disgust, still makes me cringe with shame today.

1 ~ I once worked in television, and was stood waiting to speak to a researcher engrossed in conversation with someone else. As my mind wandered, I remembered my Dad’s old gag of gently kicking the back of my knee so my leg would give way, causing me to turn around and laugh heartily.
‘You got me there, Dad!’ I'd giggle in those glorious days of my youth.
And in a moment of madness, wanting to keep our spirits up during the working slog, I thought I'd do likewise, to the middle-aged lady I was waiting on.
So I kicked her.
For no reason.
And quite hard, it transpired.

WHAT THE FUCK DO YOU THINK YOU'RE DOING?’ she screamed after her leg buckled so violently, she almost collapsed.
'Uh...’
HOW FUCKING DARE YOU!’ she screamed, silencing three open plan offices in the process.
‘But, uh...’
HE KICKED ME!’ she appealed to a sea of disgusted faces.

There are some things in life that cannot be reasonably explained away, no matter how hard you try. That was one of them.


I wonder if admitting all of this will somehow help me in the great scheme of things.

Probably not.