Monday, July 30, 2007

Anniversary

Well, sort of. This Wednesday August 1st, I will have been at my current company for exactly two years. This is quite an achievement, especially considering my intention to spend a year there whilst I got financially back on track and looked for a job I actually wanted to do.

I just never got round to looking, and I'm just as skint as ever.

I followed Sue's excellent suggestion in the previous comments and emailed The Friday Project, a company who specialise in publishing web 'talent'. (I've emphasised 'talent' for my own self-deprecating purposes.)

In doing so, I had to scan through this blog, which is fast approaching its first birthday in September. I've had some ups and downs, mainly downs, and provided all two regular readers with the trials and tribulations of a git.

I've been reminded of some interesting moments; Re-discovering The Girl's website and deciding to dedicate my life (about a month, as it turned out) to going out more and having sex with anyone. Except all I got was a sore wallet.

And realising I'm better suited to being a Monk, because I scare women.

But on the plus side, I had a great weekend with The Boys™, in Brighton, and ruined my gay mate's houseparty.

I've had a couple of holidays during this year and, of course, humiliated the living shit out of myself.

Oh, and I killed a Frenchman's speakers.

And of course, I've moaned and complained incessantly about my life, the same old issues which always involve a) smoking, b) weight, c) job, and d) a distinct lack of sex and/or a better half.
So get used to it if you haven't already. It's a common theme.

But ultimately, considering I've always seen my life to be pretty dull and uneventful, it's quite nice to look back at nigh on a year's blogging and realise that perhaps things aren't so bad after all.


Normal whinging will resume soon.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Looking for Work

What job do you look out for when you don't know what to do?

I've spent a small part of my Sunday browsing online job pages. Which has been fun.

It's finally dawning on me that if I want a more interesting job, one in the vague arena that may interest me - writing and researching - then I should at least look around.

The only trouble with that is a) sorting the well-paid wheat from the need-15-years'-experience chaff, and b) not feeling thoroughly worthless and deflated afterwards.

I've got the sneaking suspicion that deep down, actually, not that deep at all, I'm just lazy, or perhaps after reading ad after ad appealing to superhuman emotionless zombies, I don't feel worthy of applying. Plus, of course, I can't tell what half these jobs are actually about.

My problem has always been not knowing what the hell I want to do. I'm not particularly money motivated unlike a lot of people I've met, so a job in the City or finance has never appealed. That, and the fact that I have the mathematical nous of a table.

I studied media as a fresh-faced and optimistic whinger, and followed this pattern into my early working life. I worked as a runner for various post-production companies and ultimately wound up at the BBC where I tracklayed edited programmes for sound dubs. I always found it amusing that for something quite easy, providing you had the basic aptitude for it - and it wasn't hard to learn - they make you fight for the privilege. The BBC have many dozens of permanent editors of many years standing who had learnt the new-fangled digital equipment, and weren't about to be usurped by some wet behind the ears graduate fresh out of University. Therefore, keenness had to be displayed constantly; late nights, unpaid weekend work, completing the day job and cramming in brownie points with more work at the end of the day. I did this, and it became exhausting. It soon became clear that without a violently burning desire to do this for the rest of my life, coupled with the fact that the BBC weren't willing (and still aren't) to offer new staff permanent contracts, I was soon out on my arse and selling bags, via a 3-year stint at an exams board.

So now I'm here, bitching about it to anyone who will listen.

I could, of course, write all sorts of crap* and submit it to someone** while my soul continues to erode in the day job but until then, I will continue to scour the job pages for a job I've never considered doing until I see the ad.

Good old modern life.

* = I have no idea what 'all sorts of crap' comprises of.
** = And I have no idea who it is who'll want it.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Fame... Sort of

If you knew where to look tonight, the real me was on television twice today.

Firstly, I was in the audience of Mock The Week, clapping and looking bored, right at the front, next to the guy, the one with the hair and the shirt and all that.

And secondly, and rather oddly, I was interviewed on Channel 4 news in my living room. Lead story, too. It must've been a quiet news day.

Thanks in part to Little Bird, I have been trying to reclaim my bank account charges. British banks have been charging £30-£50 for going over your overdraft, even if only by a few pence. Over time, I've been charged around £600 for such infractions. The banks, they claim, have to charge this for administrative reasons, when the true cost is only a pound or two.

Bearing in mind that banks are squeezing people with no actual money of their own - those living off overdrafts - and you have a bunch of cunts treating their customers as cash cows. Nonetheless, some people have fought the suits and got their money back. As for me, I'm being somewhat of a chancer and not holding out much hope.

Thanks again to Which? consumer group and the nice lady I'd been emailing in my efforts to get these fines back, she'd asked me yesterday if I could spare the morning to be interviewed.

My boss didn't care. Neither did I. I took the morning off, and I ended up looking far far less attractive than I've ever imagined in my head. In fact, there's nothing quite like a cold, hard camera pointed at your sweating head, or capturing your lumbering gait as you walk like a Neanderthal with weight issues along a high street, chainsmoking in a hoodie (why did I wear that on film?), to make you realise why you can't get laid.

I wouldn't have sex with me.

Fortunately, very fortunately, I refused the segment producer's suggestion that I stand in my living room flailing Large Northern Flatmate's aluminium baseball bat around my head (to symbolise my fight against my bank), because I'd look like a cunt. I silenced the room with that statement. I also rebuffed his suggestion to symbolically and actually lift my weights, for the same reason.

The producer looked put out, but the cameraman backed me up.
'Don't worry, I wouldn't do that either.'

And so, as a comprimise, I was filmed walking outside my flat, stumbling, looking small eyed with nostrils a-flaring, smoking (five in succession for continuity's sake), and resembling a twat.

I'm frankly amazed that I've had sex at all.

Oh, and I'm also on record as having said that banks will spend more on lawyers sorting the mess out than they will on saying 'We've overcharged you, have it back.'

That's bollocks.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Non-Blogging Guilt

Nearly a week too. And with a whole lotta nothing to report. Just several days of being...

Rudely awakened by radio, having not slept enough.
Danger Cycle.
A quick Swimwash.
Work. Stress. Answer phones. Wonder where I went wrong.
Cycle home.
Stay up too late because I want to, dammit.
Bed past midnight.
French fucking neighbour wakes me up with his music.
Do nothing.
Phone council in the morning.

Repeat daily.

I would ideally like to add to the mix...
Eating healthier and stop eating Simpsons promotional Kit Kats.
Visiting a gym at least 4 times a week.
Stopping smoking altogether.
And finally, getting some kind of fucking clue as to what to do with myself.
Women, for now, can wait. Because of course they're all forming an orderly queue and getting impatient.

So as a change of pace, I went to see the filming of Mock the Week tonight. Being intrinsically shy, I was apprehensive enough just being in the audience, so I guess that's one possible career move - Stand-Up Comedian - out the fucking window.

I knew this half-hour programme may actually take three hours to film, so I wasn't let down as it dragged on. And on. And on, to the point where I started to feel less stupid about clapping like an automaton, and actually began enjoying myself to a very small degree.
Haven't got much to say about the programme though. I don't watch it as it is. It's not Have I Got News For You, after all.

Walking home from the BBC backwards (I was keeping an eye out for a bus), I noticed that Shepherd's Bush is particularly unpleasant when you're stone cold sober. It's not that nice when you're drunk either, if I'm being honest.

And in that walk home (I walked so far I decided to renounce the bus) I was accosted by two aggressive bums for money, watched a hideously paralytic man collapse on the pavement (his confused friend standing over his prone body gave me a suitable reason to keep walking), and grimaced as a women strapped into gurney was loaded into an ambulance as the Police took statements.

There. This is what happens when I'm feeling forced to update my blog. Happy?

And as an addendum, something very surreal may happen this week. I can't say what it is just yet, but it's odd. And may involve me 'outing' myself.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Desperately Seeking Serotonin

My boss had a good old fashioned yell at me today. I haven't had one of those for a while. The one good thing about my job - and the same thing that can also make it rather depressing - is that it's a tiny company, just me and him sometimes. But generally we get on pretty well, more as friends and equals than Capitalist Pig/ Wage Monkey.

I suppose my boss had a reason to rant today. His two-year-old had kept him up all night so he was perpetually ratty. Plus the phones didn't stop ringing and the Internet continually cut itself off. But it was the scrawled message I'd shoved under his nose after he'd finished yet another call that made my boss explode:

'Customer wants to know where his fucking bags are. He's heard bugger all for two weeks.'


I had the painful thought today that although I work hard in my job, I could always work harder. It's a normal response to finding it all rather dull now, and then it occurred to me that perhaps I'm just lazy by nature and everything I'll do in future will also be shit and poorly paid and actually I'm just a bit of a cunt.

I have been religiously cycling to work and swimming each morning though. It's the only thing that's been lifting my spirits and preventing me from scouring East End pubs for a reactivated Hungarian revolver so I can play Russian Roulette with a fully-loaded cylinder.

Also on the plus side, I've completely given up smoking since returning to Blighty, using a clever little aid called a cigarette. By popping a lit one in my mouth and inhaling the fumes 8 to 10 times a day, I find it completely cures my nicotine cravings.

My one glimmer of hope on today's Dead End horizon however, was receiving my first set of photos from Spain; all the thrills, spills, and laughter, captured forever on little 6x4" images of fun.
All I got were 24 pictures of a burnt Stegosaurus sweating in a shirt, next to my tanned mate.

Among these holiday photos were pictures of my Mum's walking cardigan, Baxter. He barks at doorbells and pisses on floors.

Here is Baxter.




Compared to me, Baxter looks like George Clooney.

Oh good. Now some Russian teenagers are leaving anti-Semetic comments on my blog.

Something brilliantly life-changing had better happen spontaneously. I clearly won't have a hand in it.
I'm about as effective as a noble thought in Jeffrey Archer's fucking head.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Reality Check

I've unintentionally pondered a great deal on my blog; non-specifically wondering what the hell everything is all about - the Whys, the Hows, plenty of If Onlys. I've bitched and complained, or I've been fairly happy, but I'll generally be pining 'Where's My Slice'?

Then along comes something to knock the wind out of my sails and give me a bit of perspective.

On Thursday night, while I was enjoying my second night's drinking and getting nowhere sexually in Spain, back in London, a retired couple and their friends were leaving a restaurant about to head home. As they were crossing the road, some kid in a van, the selfish type I've had occasion to whinge about in previous posts, was having a chat on his mobile phone whilst driving, and driving fast. The road was empty as three of these four pedestrians began to cross. Then the van appeared, as the cliché goes, from nowhere, colliding into them at speed.

The man, a cheerful kind-hearted giant, was my cousin. He was airlifted to hospital only to die from his injuries some 24 hours later. His wife is still in hospital with broken bones all over her body. It will apparently take her months to walk again, and she will come through this widowed.

The driver, this kid, allegedly said to the police when they got to the scene, 'I've got a wedding to go to tomorrow. Will I be around to make it?'
Such a shame when your plans go awry. Perhaps you shouldn't drive like you don't give a fuck whilst having a chat on your phone.

Anyway, because my Dad has also been on holiday, nobody told him, and by extension me, until yesterday. So we've both missed the funeral.

So, apologies for this brutal reality check. Personally speaking, I'm fine, just angry. My cousin has died ahead of time and there are two further women in hospital, because some 24-year-old bastard just had to drive down a road at speed because he could. And I suppose he didn't care about being on the phone because 'Fuck it, so what?'
I guess because he'd never killed anyone before, he simply assumed that death caused by dangerous driving was something other people did.

I'd thought long and hard about whether I should blog about this. After all, this is my refuge where I can purge myself of stupidity, a place where I might - hopefully - make other people laugh.
But in the end I thought perhaps I could remind people to drive at a sensible speed in future, and certainly to please not use their phone whilst driving.

And of course, there's the other angle; Go out and live a little. Who knows what's around the corner?

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Back in Blighty

For Sale: One penis, unused. Disgruntled owner has no fucking need for it.

I regain consciousness on the sofa in a Spanish living room. A girl from Leeds is telling me to 'Pick oop the telerphern forra chat'.

I squint and try to work out what is going on. Nothing Man and I had returned from our last night out as sexual titans. It was around 6:30am when he flicked on to Babewatch TV then retired to bed.
I want to make that crystal clear: My associate is the one who tuned in to soft porn, not me. And it's a particularly insidious form of soft porn; young girls in nothing more than garish make-up and thick underwear, encouraging men to call an 0900 number to talk to 'them'. It is phenomenally sad. I am only marginally less sad as I will never call.

I was sat watching a woman pretend to convulse with pleasure as she attempted to tug her panties up to her chin while holding a phone in her other hand, or else she'd repeatedly slap her clitoris, or at least the clitoral region (if memory serves), as these channels can't show front bottoms, so all fingering is done through a fuliginous pair of knickers.

So I'm sat there watching her face of faux pleasure, and noting the rhythmic, almost hypnotic writhing of her hips. This is a perfectly non-unpleasant, albeit creepy manner in which to wait 'til 8am when I was to leave for the airport.

Except I fell asleep.

I wake up at 10am, the TV still tuned to Babewatch. FUCK.

I yelp. My plane leaves in two hours and I'm in my pants on a couch. Perhaps drinking and going clubbing all night wasn't the smartest thing to do.

10-second shower.
Bag fill.
Kick Nothing's door and yell 'I'vefuckingoversleptandI'vegottofuckingleaveimmediatelyandI'mfucked!'
'Mwungh?' says Nothing.
Run out into bright sunshine with a wardrobe on my back.

I head for the main road. No cabs. I demi-jog towards town, thumbing every vehicle for a lift to the nearest cab rank. No-one seems to want to pull over and win themselves a large panicky red man.

This goes on for half an hour until I spot my first empty taxi.

'Aeroporto, pronto!' I yell, throwing my rucksack into his cab. Fortunately, the cabbie is a young guy and seems keen to be allowed to speed dangerously. In a strange way, I don't mind dying in a crash as I'm finally on the move.
'Soy Fernando Alonso, Formula Uno!' announces the cabbie as he swerves maniacally through lines of near-stationary rush-hour traffic.
'Si, Si, pronto, vite,' I reply, using as many words for 'Get a move on' as I can think of, regardless of what fucking language it is.
'Mucho traffico', notes the cabbie, which reminds me that Spanish is essentially English with O's on the end.

We screech to a halt at Malaga airport at 11:15am. My plane takes off in 45 minutes, and I manage to queue-jump in a blind panic, whizz through a mercifully short customs line, and board immediately.

To say 'I was sweating somewhat' would be an understatement. I can't imagine I'd sweat any less if I were taken hostage in Iraq.

And now I'm back in London.

Our last night, our Big Push over the top, was always going to be a big one. In fact, it's fair to say that for two single guys on their last night together in Fuengirola, staying in would never be an option.

We walked the mile into town, smelling fragrant and wearing our cleanest and most ironed of shirts (Non-white and non-100% cotton). In my pockets, a pack of chewing gum, some breath freshener spray, and a small vial of aftershave. Some lucky, lucky lady was going to get tongued into next week. The first bars we get to are the local Spanish ones, pleasantly Brit-free and with a nice vibe. We stop off for tapas at the best restaurant we'd found; buzzing and busy, although they'd always get our order wrong. We pop our food down with a couple of beers, Nothing allowing me the pork chorizo which he considered too raw for his liking.
'That's how Mozart died', he noted as I chose potential food poisoning over the shame of leaving a dish untouched.

We moved on to Modcafe, the pleasant pre-club bar which becomes a coffee and cocktail place midweek. We start with a pair of Gin and Tonics, then move on to Long Island Iced teas, a Dogs Breath, and finally a Caipirinha. Oh, and an orgasmo. Our inability to get drunk is still in evidence, although a strange thing begins to happen; we get drunk.
Perhaps it's the cocktails, perhaps it's my flying out in a matter of hours which creates a sense of mild naughtiness, but for the first time in the holiday, we begin to slur. Then gesticulate more often. Then laugh like drains.

Havanas. We are the only ones at the main bar, and I am pleased to see that the gorgeous barmaid with the full-bodied figure and the waves of dark hair cascading down to her chest is there that Monday. I feel a bit ashamed as for the first time, I am getting visibly drunk and swaying slightly, and I don't want her to notice. A couple of beers are had. I tell her I'm leaving on a jet plane tomorrow, and she beams a goodbye and leans in to proffer cheeks which I kiss. I feel very continental and a little bit in love.

Then we decide to go Guiri and make for the British cattle markets. We head for Tramps looking deliberately confused until a kid from Hull or Scarborough or Hastings hands us a free shot token. This works twice and we're now two schnapps and two beers further into the night. I am starting to feel merry. Some dancing and grinning in a dark tacky hell-hole. A cute blonde looks over. I look back. She looks over again.
Dammit, if only I had balls.
I go to the toilet. A Mexican gives me free cocaine. This is tremendously sordid and wrong. I head back to the main bar. In walks Not My Type lady with her friends, and Nothing Man and I panic a little. Almost instinctively, I turn to the cute blonde girl and say 'Hello!'
So that's how it's done.

Cute blonde girl is only 19 and, unusually for the British, had teeth braces which I found really sweet - and afforded me the chance to feel guilty about coming on to her. Then I'd told her I was 33 and that seemed to spook her somewhat and we didn't speak much after that. Later on I discovered that that fucking toad Nothing Man, two years my senior, told her he was 26, and she seemed happier with that false age gap.

We moved on to the godforsaken London Underground nightclub. It was here that things finally got hazy. I walked off to chat to women. In the most part, they weren't too repulsed, but no good ultimately came of it, even though I was regularly retreating to the gents to spray holy fuck out of my breath with the unfortunately named Retardex. I gave a young couple a piece of chewing gum each, reasoning that if I can't pull, then maybe I could help others to instead. But my anti-Midas touch simply ensured that nothing happened for them but chewing. I danced like an angel. I vaguely recall some women ramming their buttocks into my groin which is a bit of a social enigma; do you hold their hips and sway with them? Or not touch at all? Or attempt to stick your tongue down their throat? I went with the hip tactic, but the women in question seemed to get bored of this, and moved on to place their buttocks into the groins of others.

I stop dancing and chat to Nothing Man. We lean against a bar. Cute blonde with braces is here and keeps a wide berth. Nothing Man says he's off to the toilet and to 'Wait here'.
Half an hour passes. I get bored of waiting, go to the toilet myself, then find Nothing in another corner of the club.
'Where the fuck have you been?' he bellows.
'Waiting where you told me to wait, you drunk.'

He is now irritated, despite having snogged one of the buttocks girls. He puts this down to his line: 'Can I have a kiss then?' when she made to leave. I wish I thought of saying something like that to someone, but the fear of hearing 'Not even if the fate of mankind rested on it' is too strong.

We leave the nightclub. I didn't want to leave, as it would finally set the seal on the evening, the holiday, and any chance of my pulling. Once outside, I suggest that we move on to Heaven's Gate nightclub, but Nothing Man is now vomiting onto his shoes, and I revise that stratagem to Going Home instead. I have a plane to miss.

So the holiday ends as it started: with no snogging and certainly not a shag in sight.
As Nothing is wretching tapas onto the floor, I take stock of my life; I am 33 years old. I have a career and a partner to find. I have a handful of wrongs to right ~ smoking, eating crap, not moulding my body into a nice, hard attractive package. But ultimately, life is good and we're all alive.

Nothing Man is crouched over his knees and moaning. I shout 'Dammit, the bloody holiday is over', and punch the nearest wall. The End.

My hand is still swollen.

Monday, July 09, 2007

Spain IV

My last day in España. Nothing has happened since my last post, unless sweating counts, in which case I´ve done a hell of a lot.
It is currently 39°C (102°F), and I´ve just returned from shopping at El Corte Ingles, a huge department store where the overhead recorded announcements are delivered in English by a professional voice over artiste, somewhat disconcerting for a shmancy store in what is a foreign country. But the good news is that I now own a new jacket, several tins of olives, and some chorizo sausage.

And tonight is the final night of my holiday. Nothing Man is of the opinion that we should buy some viagra to counteract any problems that may arise (or not, so to speak), but I can´t help feeling how wishful his thinking is.

Case in point: I´d brought along a pack of condoms for this trip. I may as well have brought tampons just in case I started menstruating.

I have 15 more hours left until I wake up and leave for grey skies, rain, work, and responsibility. And in those 15 hours, the Last Hoorah; Tapas, Spanish bars, then those godforsaken British discos. And I ABSOLUTELY MUST GET MY ROCKS OFF.

So please, visit your mosques and your synagogues. Approach your Vicars and Priests, your Gurus and your Chief Druids. Tell them that I sincerely, undeniably, unquestionably need to have hot, dirty, semi-anonymous sex with a virtual stranger I´ve met in a down-market club on the Costa Del Sol. This is vital to the good of mankind.
Affording me the chance to give or receive oral sex will have Israelis shaking hands with Palestinians.
Getting a full-blown shag will ultimately cause global terrorists to reconsider their nefarious ways.

And if my prospective ladypartner is really cute, and really really filthy and excitable and fun and engaging and is grateful to immerse herself in all sorts of depravity with me, the resultant orgasms will create shockwaves of love across the world, and touch all humanity.

Please pray for me tonight. The future of the world is at stake.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Spain III

...and the fun continues unabated from the only Internet cafe I could find open on a Sunday. It is still phenomenally hot, and I am thrilled to feel beads of sweat whizz down my back and saturate my dark green top. The Spaniards are currently keeping their distance.

So, Friday night was interesting. Knowing that the locals were by and large going to stay out all evening for the first night of their weekend, Nothing Man and I decided to make enquiries and go native, avoiding the gangs of Guiri Brits throwing up in the beachfront Discotecas and mingling only with themselves.

We started off in Havana, a nice modern bar with the gorgeous friendly barmaid, then moved on to Modcafe which in London terms would be a ´pre-club´ bar; funky music, cocktails, that kind of affair. In fact, this was working out very much in our favour. In these non-British bars, Gin and tonics and various other mixers were much more sensibly priced, plus the women were somthing else with the tans and the hair and the such-and-such. Stunning, in other words. I noted with interest that women over here make their interest known by staring back when eye-contact is made, a self-assured and unblinking poker face that is both exciting and terrifying all at once, mainly because I couldn´t tell if this staring at me was actually a come-on, or just a simple gaze at the wonder of God´s more hideous creations.

There was a pattern to this evening. Around one or two am, people began to migrate from the Modcafe to the next Spanish bolthole, ironically called O´Reillys. This place was a long cavernous pub/nightclub with a cool annexe at the rear. Nothing Man and I got our mixers and chatted in here, tears welling up in our eyes as we saw quite possibly the most perfect girl ever to ignore us. This place was very close to heaven. By 4am, O´Reillys too began to thin out, the crowds heading to a bar called Phama. Spain seems to have no laws regarding occupancy and fire exits as surly bouncers let a steady stream of t-shirted clubbers into this crammed, sweaty building that played Spanish hits. We were a little more out of our depth here, not being able to recognise the songs and forced against a nearby wall to peoplewatch. By 6am, still largely sober and not really that bothered about moving on to the final club in the area, we walked home via a burritto stand and chatted to some drunker Spaniards about Argentinian West Ham striker Carlos Tévez, for some reason. (My contribution to that conversation: Nil.)

But last night took the biscuit. This was the evening that signified that there´s more to life than a constant succession of boozing in a variety of bars.
The first mistake I´d made was to choose this night, Saturday night, as our pinnacle of fun. I had bought a new shirt of purest white back in London, and it was to be my ´Pulling´ shirt. Herein lies a rudimentary error on my part; my constant inability to appreciate that I´m not the kind of bloke that can just go out and pull, even if I´d quite like to. And it doesn´t help when the competition consists of more athletic, darker, swarthier men than I. Their toenail clippings are better looking than my entire head.
So I´m in this shirt, sleeves rolled up, lobster-burnt face poking out at the top. I am wearing beige slacks and smart brown shoes to add to the casual summer look, and I smell of musk and balm and slight desperation. Nothing Man is suitably attired, albeit in darker clothes. The first sign of trouble came 20 minutes into our walk to Fuengirola Centro: Some teenagers walking behind us wolf-whistled. We both felt awkward but ignored this. Some time later, they made kissy noises and we decided that we´d walked far enough ahead to ignore them. I now felt very rigid and formal, and noted with fear that virtually every other human was wearing a t-shirt and shorts for their night out. I was sweating liberally now on this very humid evening, and our non-stop walking hadn´t helped. Nothing Man pointed out to me that I was now leaking very visible spots of perspiration. On my front were blotches. When he checked out my back, he said I had managed to form an imprint of Elvis.
Damn this cotton rag!

I was now starting to get paranoid. We continued to walk, continued to track down a restaurant, but all were mobbed. Because I looked like I´d showered in my shirt, my ridiculously conspicuously smart and now wet shirt, I didn´t want to go near crowds. I wanted a rock to crawl under and hide. I talked of getting a cab back to the flat to change, this comment making Nothing Man acknowledge that this evening was as good as dead in the water.

Salvation came in the form of a dark, quiet restaurant, regrettably staffed by gorgeous waitresses who seemed concerned that I was about to die. A kindly woman at the next table took pity on me and offered me her ladies fan, an implement impossible to use in a manly way. I cooled off. We ate. I felt less stupid. We went to Modcafe, remarkably busier than the previous night yet still curiously easy to get served at the bar (In Britain, getting served in a crowded bar like this would be hell due to our heavy reliance on alcohol to make us talk to people.) Some women from the previous night were back again. Some staring. I noticed Spaniards chatting to one another whereas the only people stood in a corner ogling the other patrons seemed to be my companion and me. I also noticed that when the Spanish - in fact, continental Europeans full-stop - want to traverse a crowded bar, they do so by barging through them, shoving, elbowing, and slapping out the way, and doing so silently, moodily, certainly without a Perdon passing their lips. Several times last night we were the victims of such a barging, feeling largely indignant and offended and British.
And now, we were feeling the frustration of not being able to talk to anyone, not being able to interact with the women we recognised from the previous night, and not even sure that they´d want us to approach them anyway.

´We should know our place´, I screamed into Nothing´s ear. ´We should go down to the beachfront with the rest of the Brits.´ Nothing nodded in agreement, and we headed for the seedy strip of bars and drug dealers and Cockneys handing out tickets for free shots of vodka.

We walked along the front, past the police, and through the al fresco hellhole that is Old Town bar, a 15-year-old Ace of Base song screaming through their speakers. The women looked less tanned and more burnt, less classy and more weighty, less natural and more tattooed. Spanish teenagers seemed to decamp on the other side of the road, nearer the beach. This side of the road was barside and thus, British. A man with bloodshot eyes shook my hand and pulled me towards him, refusing to let go.
´You want cocaine?´ he said.
´Not today thanks.´
And with that, he dropped his price to around 35 pounds. God only knows what it would´ve been cut with; mints and crushed lightbulb, perhaps.
We turned left at the huge ´London Pub´ and walked towards the Discotecas. Some Spanish teenagers were stood outside looking moody and aggressive and keen to assert themselves on this little corner of their town which has become overrun by foreigners. One lad came out of nowhere and walked right into me, forcibly, shouldering me quite deliberately into my chest and walking off without saying a word. Instinctively, I patted his back and said cheerfully ´Careful, mate´, but the pat made him stop in his tracks and stare at me. I ignored him. At 33, I wasn´t about to get drawn into a fight provoked by an angry 17-year-old boy. I waited for a fist to strike the back of my head, but it never came.

Next to me, a nearby girl from somewhere like Kent offered us tickets for free schnapps but we declined. Nothing Man looked at the bars on offer, the same ones we´d visited when we first arrived; loud, British, seedy, tacky, and said ´Fuck this place. Let´s go back.´

I was largely indifferent myself. Not bothered if we went in, not bothered if we didn´t. And as we made our way up this road and back to our flat, a young girl was crouched on all fours to our right, making dry heaving noises.

'Fuckin' 'ell Amy, let´s just get a cab and fuck off home!', said one of guys stood over her.

Friday, July 06, 2007

Spain II

Like any addiction worth its salt (pornography, crack, pringles) I am in Spain yet tapping away on an internet cafe keyboard. I am staying in a marble floored house in the birthplace of this blog, Fuengirola, and life is good, mainly because my time is my own, I am not working, the sun is shining and I am, temporarily at least, a man of leisure.

It is bloody hot here. I have caught snippets of Wimbledon on the house TV (it has British cable) and have noticed with a fair amount of schadenfreude that several matches have been rained off because this UK summer is proving to be duller than a fiscal seminar delivered by Gordon Brown whacked out on Nightol.

Fuengirola by comparison is boiling; Deep azure skies, skin-bubbling sunshine, uncollected refuse cooking in the heat - it is paradise. And the women are stunning. My companion and I, the ever cheerful Nothing Man, have stuck mainly to Spanish bars and tapas restaurants, mingling with the locals (well, staring at their copper tans and fulsome breasts fighting their way out of their garish pastel coloured tops), and generally building up a vicious immunity to alcohol.

It gives me no pleasure to admit that last night we were completely unaffected by 3 beers, two vodka redbulls, two amarettos, two tintos, a gin and tonic, a rum and coke, and a pair of tequilla slammers that were given to us on the house because we were friendly Brits who were trying to converse in Spanish and not violent, tattooed guiris. We´d eaten quite wonderful tapas earlier on and, with two further beers at the classy and salubrious Tramps bar, we´d only spent 30 pounds.

We´re trying to have a day off booze tonight as tomorrow we aim to party in Marbella and Puerto Banus to stare at more gorgeous women who ignore us, and maybe revisit the ridiculously overpriced Eurotrash nightclub populated by hookers and golddiggers we visited last year.

Our first night here went quite well, with one young lady giving me perhaps the greatest single compliment ever slurred;
"I´d like to have sex with you - you´re quite attractive."
Bearing in mind that in the 10 months I´ve been blogging and - trust me on this - for the last 15 years, I have continually bitched about my lack of sex, this passing comment could, at least in my opinion, finally prove the existance of a benevolent interventionalist god.

However, she wasn´t my type.

I hate to dismiss this yet to be approved by the Vatican miracle with four vague words, but there we go.

How can I justify my actions? Imagine a horizontal scale of attraction. On the right is my Type: Beyonce, Kelly Brook, Halle Berry, Monica Bellucci, Tera Patrick. Curves, breasts, tans, Mediterranean, frizzy hair, womanly, pretty damn stunning, likely to see me as a walking incarnation of all they find evil and obnoxious about the world.
On the left is Not-My-Type; Extremely obese, dangerously thin, bearded, aloof, Neo-Nazi, desks, trowels, Men.

Being nice, as I refuse to slur a complete stranger, let´s just say that Not My Type lady had at least four of the above black marks against her, although it´s safe to say that she wasn´t a trowel.
I told her with a smile on her face that she should respect herself and not demand a shag from men she´s just pounced on, but she not unsurprisingly told me to ´Fuck off, then´.

So that´s that, a (non-sexual) orgy of clubbing, staring, eating surprisingly healthily, swimming, reading, doing 100 crunches and 50 press-ups a day, and excreting Luxembourg-sized amounts of sweat.

My god I wish I didn´t have to do things like work for a living in a cold, overpriced and miserable city. But in the meantime, there are four more evenings to enjoy...

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Spain

is where I'll be in 12 hours with Nothing Man.

As a general boring update because for some reason I feel compelled to, I am at my Mum's in slightly-outside-Northern-London. She is playing online poker and being guarded by a really ugly dog called Baxter who barks a lot and looks like an elf.

I, meanwhile, am using my Stepdad's computer with its unnecessarily huge 'I'm 75, you know' icons and semi-naked cartoon dancing girls, as he's a bit pervy. I have already checked Facebook and 'poked' friends, a pointless if addictive exercise in time-wasting. I have already 'Invaded Poland' with Paul, and 'Imposed Sanctions' on Martin. Sadly, 'Lube'and 'Felch' now appear automatically in blank fields on my Stepdad's computer as a result of further poking. I don't think Stepdad'll believe me when I tell him I was only felching Luke and Lubing Natalie. In an online sense, anyway.

In approximately 7 hours, a cabriolet will arrive to whisk me off to Luton, thence to the golden vomit and condom strewn beaches of Southern Spain. And although I will overdraft myself back to Germany c.1922, it'll all be worth it. Work today sucked harder than a Dyson in a black hole in a porn film, to the point where I wanted to throw something living at a wall (preferrably a customer) and scream at my boss that I'd had enough and wanted to become another government statistic at the local job centre.

But I kept quiet. I continued to answer unceasing phones, continued to get more work thrown at me, stayed late, then ran for the hills. Or more accurately, my Mums for goulash, a place of sanctuary where the TV is played at bomb-exploding levels, where the Daily Mail is considered a level headed liberal paper, and where Heart FM can be heard from nearly every room in the bungalow for NO FUCKING REASON!!!

Things are swell now, mainly my waistline. I haven't gone on that 3 week pre-holiday health trip as intended, so I don't feel particularly sexy. Nonetheless, I am hoping that pitch-black darkness and extreme inebriation will be my friend in those grim, grim bars of Fuenguerola.

Viva life! I'm off to attempt catching an STD. Adios.