Monday, December 31, 2007

New Year's Grieve

10 hours of 2007 left, and I'm not at all sure what I'm doing, or what anything means anymore.

I'm tired and achey, I'm currently existing on a 12-hour sleep to 12-hour vaguely awake ratio, and my New Year's knees-up options are speedily vanishing from view like an attractive girl I've just said hello to in a nightclub. I had the option to spend tonight at Hippy Dave's gaff but I a) never got round to confirming this with him and b) have a feeling he's buggered off to another part of the country anyway, so his house would be locked and empty if I did actually make it down there.

Furthermore, Large Northern Flatmate is going for a meal with his ladyfriend tonight.
Other chums are skiing in France.
Others still are at said houseparty with Hippy Dave, somewhere not in London.

I am considering not going out at all, and seeing in the New Year at home, alone, and in front of the TV. After all, that's pretty much all I've done for the last few weeks anyway.

I shouldn't care. New Year's Eves are absolutely shit anyway, an overrated excuse for a time-specific pissup that transcends age, race, religion and class, yet always seems to disappoint. In an effort to have the Best New Year's Eve ever, I've hung out in London ~ Utter shit; I felt bad for tourists who assume that our capital caters for hordes of party animals when in actual fact the powers-that-be like to dissuade anyone from doing anything, when coppers out in force resent having to deal with millions of drunks, and restaurants, bars and clubs charge whatever the fuck they like.

Edinburgh was more interesting. They've somehow managed to rebrand the whole affair as Hogmanay and make out they invented the whole fucking concept. As a result, Princes Street becomes a carnival of merrymaking and mass-snogging, or at least did about ten years ago. When I travelled up there two years back, the whole street became ticket only and lacked the spontaneity and excitement of my first visit. It also seemed to contain a large number of Scottish Chavs (Neds, I believe they're called), wearing nought but a t-shirt and jeans and trying to look blasé and indifferent as they casually caught hypothermia.

New York was better. I went during the 1998-99 New Year, on a boat somewhere. There was a free bar all night and I was amused to note that I seemed to be the only person there taking full advantage of that. I also remember thinking that it was far colder than Edinburgh had been. In fact, Christmas in New York is fucking freezing.

Other New Year's have been spent at friend's houses, or else curled up in a foetal position under a table, crying and gently rocking myself to sleep.

And so, once I work out in what pathetic, drunken manner I am to see in another cruel, useless, uneventful New Year, I can embark on my resolutions, my pointless and frequently similar recommendations for yet another 12-month waste of time.

So here we go...

Resolutions ~ 2007 Vs. 2008

1) ~ (2007) Quit smoking
1) ~ (2008) Quit smoking
2) ~ (2007) Cycling, Swim, Exercise, Diet. Consider joining a gym.
2) ~ (2008) Cycling, Swim, Exercise, Diet. Consider joining a gym.
3) ~ (2007) Quit my job for a better paid, more creative career.
3) ~ (2008) Quit my job for a better paid, more creative career.
4) ~ (2007) Finish creative endeavours, and do something with them.
4) ~ (2008) Continue with creative endeavours, and do something with them.
5) ~ (2007) Have sex
5) ~ (2008) Have sex
6) ~ (2007) Get work in New York.
6) ~ (2008) Buy a house in London, or as near to London without bankrupting myself.
7) ~ (2007) Be a less regretful and guilty whinging bastard, and become a more happy and positive whinging bastard.
7) ~ (2008) Just do Numbers 1-6 and that'll be more than enough for me.

So here's to 2008. Quite frankly, if I can lose some weight and stop smoking, it will have surpassed all 2007 at a stroke.
In fact, it will have surpassed my entire existence on this spinning fucking orb of pain.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Humbug II

Christmas ended on a poignant note. I travelled up to North-of-London for my sister's 40th birthday party on Sunday, and crashed at my Mum's until finally traipsing back to my shitty flat last night.

I had spent that time in near-Watford sitting in front of a large TV while my Mum played online poker in one room and my Stepdad watched football in another. I could have talked to them both during those four days but, well, the opportunity never arose. Because my Mum has MS, she doesn't sleep very well at night and frequently doses off during the day like a narcoleptic crackhead. My Stepdad meanwhile is embracing deafness like an old friend, content to walk about in blissful silence until either myself or my Mum yells at him for the fifth time to ask if he'd like a cup of tea.

And under those circumstances, I should be more forgiving as to what happened on my last night with my family, but I can't. I was livid.

The three of us had gone to my Sister's house on Boxing day for our now traditional orgy of food. I quite enjoy it as it's the longest time I get to spend with my nieces, and get to pretend that we're a close family. I offloaded my last presents at the girls and my sibling, gave my brother-in-law a book which was quickly flung into some dark cupboard never to be seen again, and received a small voucher in return - a voucher, the gift that says 'I don't really know you very well after all'.

We stayed for a good eight hours, eating too much, playing Wii and generally feeling bloated and useless. When the time came for us to leave, I assembled the ramps for my Mum so she could exit the house in her wheelchair, and prepared my Stepdad's people-carrier, custom designed with a disabled ramp, fixing my Mum's chair to the car with special fasteners. I was still attaching the chair home when my Stepdad pressed the button to raise the ramp and close the car door on me.

'Hey!' I yelled. 'I haven't said goodbye to the girls yet!'
My Stepdad didn't say anything as he couldn't - or wouldn't - hear me.
'Nip out the other door,' my Mum said, 'and go back and say goodbye.'

Dutifully, I did as I was told, exiting the car and heading back to the house.

'What's the matter?' said my brother-in-law, panicking as he stood by the front door. 'What's going on?'
If I was being unkind, I could suggest that perhaps he thought he'd seen the last of me for another year.
'I haven't said goodbye to everyone yet,' I growled.
'Mng,' he replied half-heartedly.

I went back inside, I hugged the girls, I wished my brother-in-law's parents the best and passionlessly hugged my sister as if she was a lamppost I'd been dared into cuddling. The whole process took about one minute, and I walked back outside.

So imagine my curiosity as I walked, bloated and tired, the ten feet towards the car as it slowly pulled out into the main road.
'Must be eager to leave,' I mused.
I took a few more listless steps towards it, and the car suddenly took off.

'Wha-?'
I paused, a look of disbelief on my face. Then I broke into a painful run and yelled 'Oi!' as the car continued to the end of the road, turned left, and disappeared from view.

'Fucking idiots!' I snapped out loud as I took my phone from my pocket. I called each of them in turn but, like most people in their sixties and seventies who own a mobile, they keep them permanently switched off.

So I stood there in the chill, reasoning that they'd be back in a matter of seconds once one of them spoke to me and got no reply.

They weren't.

Grudgingly, I walked back to my sister's house, where everyone found it roaringly hysterical. My brother-in-law seemed particularly amused. Truth be told, I've never seen him so happy.

So I waited a bit longer. By now, I was fuming. Each passing minute was another 60 seconds in that car that they clearly weren't even talking to me. Surely they're not going to drive all the way home and realise that I'm not there? Surely I'm not so fucking unimportant and easily missed that they'll stop the engine, get out, and see an empty seat?

I was.

So forgive me if I take this personally, but you can keep the Family Christmas. Next year, I'm staying at home. Fuck it.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Humbug

So there goes another predictable Christmas, shuffling off just like all the others in recent years; going to my Mum's new house, sleeping on a strange bed, eating too much and developing an invincibility towards alcohol, playing a boardgame, and preparing for another unremarkable year with a two-stone flab surplus to undo and a vicious exercise regime to embark upon.

I got to this wet, just-North-of-London suburb (where I still am) on Sunday 23rd as my sister was having her 40th party which was odd, mainly because I got to meet a whole bunch of her friends I haven't seen for about ten years. They all appeared trapped in some kind of anti-ageing vortex, looking exactly as they did when I last saw them, or else I've aged too and I can't tell. I made a sterling effort not to get too pissed and offend anyone, although my sister got drunk enough to talk to me at the end to say we should keep in touch more often. I nodded in vague acknowledgment. The last time she made the same comment was in 1995, about 20 minutes after my Grandma had breathed her last and was lying about three feet away from us, not doing very much at all.

I was vaguely intrigued by the party. A few of my sister's friends were 'single', I had been told. What I hadn't been told was that they're all older, divorced and more bitter than me.

I'd like a brand new car thank you, not an angry second hand model with kids.

Monday, Christmas Eve, was filed under wasted, a day spent walking about my Mum's bungalow being scorched alive by her central heating set to 'boiling mercury', and yelling over the sound of three unwatched TVs with the volume up full. My only respite was going with my Stepdad to the Tescos Metropolis in the industrial warehousing wastelands about five minutes away. It was heaving, of course, full of England's multicultural hues buying booze and pies in honour of Jesus, or Baal, or the god of Not Having To Go To Work For A While (unless you happen to work at Tescos Watford). I offered to buy my own share of food during the Xmas period lest my Stepdad be offended by the sight of me feeding my face from his larder. He agreed, so I bought a pallet's worth of crisps and made them all soup later that evening (my new leek, spinach and potato concoction I've only just learnt how to make.)

After contemplating suicide I decided on bed instead when, almost immediately, my Mum's cat managed to open the bedroom door - I'm still not sure how - so she could miaow at me for eight hours and keep me perpetually awake. Three times during the night I was forced out of bed to open the damn door, but I'd mistaken Miaow ("Open the door and let me out") with Miaow ("Wake up fatty, and tickle my chin.")

Christmas itself was its usual whimper. It was raining heavily as I exchanged my four presents with Mum and Stepdad in return for a calendar of my nieces on holiday, some decent aftershave, and a digital camera with French factory settings, and full instructions.
In French.

We then went on to an Italian restaurant full of Jews where my Stepdad recognised one couple, the woman of whom came over to spend an alarming amount of time stroking my back and shoulders despite us never having met before.

My Dad called later that evening to thank me for his presents and offer profound apologies on behalf of himself and my Stepmother for not actually buying me anything. So, I spent anonther small fortune on four presents to get nothing back.

Season of giving, my arse. I want my fucking book tokens.

I spent last night like I'd spent all the others; alone watching Family Guy back-to-back, or else a quite interesting documentary on the real Jesus, or a Charles Dickens documentary with Griff Rhys Jones, or Ross fucking Kemp on Gangs, or the Motorcycle Diaries, or Costa Del Crime, while I force-fed myself beigels and struggled to breathe.

And so to today. I have watched bits of a Merry Muppet Christmas and have now showered, spending the last ten minutes mopping up because the fucking shower curtain doesn't actually reach the floor. I will soon be off to my sister's where I can throw presents at my nieces (who greet me not with open arms excitedly yelling 'Uncle Fweng! Uncle Fweng!!', but are actually instructed by my sibling or humourless brother-In-Law to walk dutifully up to me with their arms to their sides while I give them enthusiastic hugs, a bit like gleefully hugging an eight-year-old steel girder.)

So that's that. I actually prefer the post-Xmas, pre-New year gap where I can go back to my flat with Large Northern Flatmate and compare festive stories of gluttony and guilt, whilst concentrating on the year ahead, another year where I attempt to,

* Lose weight
* Exercise like an army recruit and tone the fuck up
* Quit smoking
* Get a better paid, more interesting job
* Fuck

then get depressed because these are exactly the same resolutions as last year, and the year before that and the year before that, and I'm a complete fucking cunt who's good for nothing but bitching and weight gain.

Utter, utter, utter useless twat.

Ho Ho Ho, Merry Christmas!!!



Humbug.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Bloke On Sky News Who Acts Like David Brent

I do laugh from time to time, and here's one such thing that has tickled me, the Bloke On Sky News Who Acts Like David Brent. Doesn't look like him though.



And here's the other David Brent...

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Pup Idle

I have been doing nothing, and I was loving it.

Following one £100+ weekend blowout, I've spent the last few weekends purposefully living on Easy Street. Or Fat Avenue. Or Lazy Bastard Crescent if you prefer, watching dvds and not doing much else in an effort to save some money for Christmas.

Except I'm suffering from premature elation. I've done too little - absolutely nothing in fact - too soon. The international season of excess, the conspicuous global two-week riot of obscene consumerism, gluttony, getting drunk with 30% less guilt and trying to undo all the damage later has yet to begin properly and already, eating crap in front of the TV now seems rather passé. I still have presents to buy, I've done zero fucking exercise for some considerable time, and I'm beginning to resemble a cunt.

And all this has dawned on me long before another fucking year hits me with its sudden return to work, worse weather, and the unceasing guilt caused by an unremarkable existence wasted in an orgy of apathy, unnecessary overindulgence, and hideously pointless self-examination twatting me sober like a crackhead's alarm clock.

I have one last week of work this year, and I resent going in. All calls at this time of year, all visiting customers, all directives from above, are pissing me off. And when freedom comes in four days, it'll be spent at my parents' house, sleeping in a strange bed. My only exercise will be opening the larder door. I'll lie in 'til 1pm. I'll get dirty looks from my stepdad. I'll remember that Christmas itself is overrated and a little bit irritating, particularly when surrounded by people who are either deaf or seven.

I'll get fidgety. I'll start to mourn the non-existence of a partner, and wish I could start enjoying the season through the excitable, lit-up face of my progeny being showered with presents I can't afford.

And in the meantime, general shit continues unabated.

I attended my work Xmas party recently, this year held in a large indoor arena with hundreds of other small companies. I somehow managed to achieve zero contact with anyone and, if that wasn't enough, was publicly humiliated by a hired dancer. Just as the dessert plates were being collected, the music was suddenly pumped up as a cute girl - part of the evening's entertainment - caught everyone's attention by dragging from an arbitrary table one random gormless idiot - me - to be hauled up onto the central dancefloor. Politeness dictated that I had to take it in good spirit, swing her about, then break off to perform awful 1970's disco stabs in the air.

Then she ran off and I realised I was all alone on a vast raised and empty dancefloor with 1,000 pairs of eyes judging me as I became officially too old to think I can dance anymore.

In other non-events, I have comitted Facebook suicide and deactivated my account. Most of my friends were in one virtual place and I was beginning to feel guilty for not popping in more often. Furthermore, the thought of having fifteen simultaneous and incomplete games of fucking Scrabble somewhere in the Internet ether was pissing me off.

But I did attend a fantastic and grown-up dinner party at a friends' house, replete with another friend's lovely newborn baby daughter who I got to hold whilst chatting maturely about mortgages or something equally fitting, while a very sweet teenager with autism rocked a lot and yelled frequently in the corner. Then I thought about the autistic kid's parents, how sweet they were, and how emotionally fraught it must be to look after him. Not long after that came thoughts of how sodding random and sad life is, so I ran off to smoke, then drink a Mojito comprised mainly of neat Bacardi, smoke some dope once the kids had gone, and went to bed next to a grey lizard and a box of wide-awake crickets.

In the morning, I made a four-year-old cry, trod on a shard of glass, and lost my phone.

Doing well.

Embarrassing Memory #10: The List

To all the female readers out there, Goodbye. To all the sad, misogynistic sexist males, Hello. There is no excuse for this. It is lazy blogging at best, intrusive and unnecessary posting at worst. What had begun life as a piece about how cheerful I am ended up - somehow - becoming this shameful list of some of the women I've slept with, fancied, or briefly snogged, and I am no longer cheerful but pensive, withdrawn, and rather shamed. This list is pathetic and I'm deeply, deeply sorry.

But not sorry enough to press 'delete' and go to bed.

All I can say is that I come out of all this far, far worse...

1) Emmeline, my first kiss. Someone told me she liked me. So I sought her out in a nightclub and snogged her as if I'd done it a million times before. If I stopped here, I would've been cool.
Sort of.

2) Diane, my first unrequited love, during my first year at University. 20, like me. Blonde and buxom, not like me. I travelled up to Derby and stayed with her and her folks one weekend. I drove her to a big club. I met her friends in the queue. Then I met her boyfriend, the one she'd never mentioned before, not even in passing. I spent the rest of the night alone in a corner making a lemonade last three hours while she disappeared to the toilets to get fingered.

3) Sharon, my second unrequited love, during my second year at University. I had no idea how to approach her as anything other than a friend, so I tried looking pathetic and desperate, which apparently I did very well. Then she became a lesbian.
True story.

4) Molly, the girl who would've popped my cherry but I felt nothing for. So I did the honourable thing and avoided her advances, finding her eagerness bemusing. This is me, after all.

5) Jo, my third unrequited love, during my third year at University. Really fancied her, and wasn't helped by living with her that whole year. Or drunkenly telling her I loved her either.

6) Sophie, my fourth damn unrequited lover. Cute, sexy, flirtatious, disinterested.

7) Angela, my first official girlfriend. My Mum liked her. Three years older than me and perfect in every way, apart from wanting to settle down and have kids immediately. Naturally, as my first girlfriend, I was hornier than Bill Clinton on Viagra in a brothel with Bill Gate's wallet, and simply had to move on. Angela, I now know in hindsight, was probably where I should've laid my hat. Had the most spectacular pair of breasts in Britain. Now married with two children.

I am now a fully functioning sex-haver. Kleenex could go bankrupt overnight.

8) Oona, first one night stand. Kept demanding that the duvet, constantly falling to the floor amid frenzied bouts of passion, be brought back over our sweaty frames as she was 'cold'. But it was a searingly hot July evening. Perhaps she was less cold, more very, very overweight and embarrassed.

9) Gwendolyn, fifth and final unrequited love, particularly if I have any say in this. Ladyperson, looked good, could've got somewhere, didn't.

10) Sally, sister of a friend. Brief snog in an Australian hellhole nightclub. She broke off from the kiss to demand a "commitment". Why, I don't know. I can't even commit to myself, not because I'm some kind of man-whore, just a twat.

11) Bunny, second one night stand. Had a gammy eye. Needed to use Vaseline, despite my self-professed magic hands.
I'm not doing myself any favours here.

12) Amira, my second official girlfriend, her unknown stranger if you ever asked her. Stunning French Queen of the Harpies. Any lingering bitterness you pick up here is all in your head. I'm well shot of that beautiful dusky temptress.

13) Kathy, third official girlfriend. Dated her for six months. Actually went out with her to do boyfriend/ girlfriend stuff about once. She was lovely. Hindsight's a bugger.

14) Marie, third one night stand. Bisexual Swede. Phenomenal night of pure unadulterated lust. Would have liked to have seen her every night until forever, but got the impression the following morning that she desperately had to go home as she had some wrists she needed to slit.

15) Thai Prostitute 1. Sincerely thought I was in a bar about to watch a famous Thai ping-pong show, and not actually in a glorified brothel. Cute girl sat next to me and began rubbing my thighs, which was a first. Her head was dangerously close to mine so I asked her *completely innocently* if she was allowed to kiss as, well, she was about six millimetres from my face. She replied by sticking her tongue down my throat which was fantastic and terrifying in equal measure, as I was now sucking about 2,000 cocks by proxy.

16) Thai Prostitute 2, almost identical scenario to the above, about 20 minutes later. Ran out of the club alone and back to my hotel to drink a bottle of Listerine and remove all my teeth.

17) Michelle, first fuck-buddy, but as we only had sex once at her request, technically my fourth one-night stand. American. Felt like I was in a porn movie when she started screaming generic sexual niceties. She asked if I would like to 'do her in the ass' but I said no out of politeness. Why? WHY???

18) Julie, fourth official girlfriend. Was a virgin.
Was.
Decided to overlook all our flaws as a couple to be mature and commit a little, then she dumped me after three months. I was gobsmacked and went through a 24-hour rejection period. Do you hear that, Julie? 24-hours!
Ah, forget it.

19) American Lady Friend, fifth official girlfriend. Brilliant. Cute. Intelligent. Funny. Same sense of humour, background, and pop culture references. And lives 4,000 miles away.

2007 has been a barren sexual desert of a year. And considering the above, I can't say I really deserve anyone ever again.

So, Kleenex are posting record profits.
I am getting crows feet when I smile.
My knees are killing me.
I need a support bra.

Come and get me, numbers 20 and up, for I am Man. Hear me belch.