Friday, January 25, 2008

Contraband

What follows, what I have just discovered tonight, is too good - or bad - to be true, but in my heart of hearts I have an awful feeling that True it be.
I feel sick.

I also feel down. It is the annual global shitty season, the period a few weeks into a new year when people have become accustomed to being back at work, people who've got fatter, more inward-thinking, and are now very cold, at least in this hemisphere. And I've been obliterating my oft-regurgitated resolutions to not smoke and to weigh less, by smoking more and exerting a heavier than normal gravitational force on the UK, so that's been fun.

Last night, I got to help Large Northern Flatmate attempt to extract our sodding mouse from our shitty rented living room at midnight. I had been standing alone in a towel and a vague fug of bemusement when I looked down at the floor and saw the fucker staring back up at me (The mouse, not Large Northern Flatmate). We managed to trap it under the sofa when it made a break for it and ran over my foot, under the closed door of the kitchen, and behind the washing machine where it stubbornly refuses to leave, like a bent politician in office.

I then decided to phone my lovely ex-American girlfriend to say Hey! We've seen a mouse, on her answerphone, because I'm desperate. In the 24 hours that has passed, she hasn't replied. Something tells me she never, ever will.
So that's the end of that; finally meeting an attractive, intelligent, and decent girl who freely admitted that she loved me worryingly early into our crapulous long distance relationship, thereby scaring me off like the shallow, fragile, pathetic one-dimensional male arse that I am, forcing me to call the whole thing off before I really hurt her, only to hurt her anyway as I hid in blissful peace 4,000 miles away while she went through the rejection, the pain, and the self-loathing until she finally achieved acceptance and rebirth only for me to re-enter her life during the now normal (for most women) Me-hatred stage.

And that's just rubbish. At least I'm trying to desperately and pointlessly stalk keep in touch, like the shallow, fragile, pathetic one-dimensional male arse that I am.

But that is not the point of this post, not by a loooooooong stretch. Mouse and Ex have no bearing on what was revealed to me tonight, and are mere incidentals. What I discovered was truly the stuff of movies, folklore, and moral fucking minefields.

As I commit this to the World Wide Web, I realise that this will leave the realm of 'Gobsmacking Family Incident' and become a tenuous friend-of-a-friend story. But I digress. This will remain a very real cliff-hanger, a What-Really-Happened?

Either way, I could vomit.

Today is my Mother's birthday, my sprightly 67-year-old, wheelchair-bound, bottle blonde old dear who shat me out into this world like a chicken laying a fat brick, 33 godforsaken years ago. I had travelled up to her bungalow in Just-North-Of-London London to pay her a surprise visit and furnish her with a digital frame I've spent the better half of a week filling full of old pictures and - oddly - an Aerosmith MP3 that she really, really likes.

She loved it. Feelgood points: 10 billion.

Later into this evening, my Mum's old friend turned up, freelance agent to the stars. Vacations in Florida. Thinks everyone's gay. And during our discussion, she talked about Nothing To Declare, a Living TV show she's rather fond of. She described to me this airport reality show, the stories, the tales of nervous, twitchy people being sniffed at by dogs and ultimately being arrested for massive drug possession.

So I swore her to secrecy (fairly large mistake), and revealed my vaguely related story of buying Class A drugs amid hordes of policemen in broad daylight.

'Well you know about that, don't you?', she replied, pointing up at the ceiling.
'What?' I looked up.
Still a ceiling.
'Oh my god, you don't know!'
'No. What are you talking about?'
'Well your mother obviously hasn't told you for a reason.'
'Told me What??'
'About 18 months ago,' she began, 'about a year or so after they'd moved in here, they had a guy in to look at the light fittings.'

This makes sense. Mum is in a wheelchair and my 70-year-old stepdad is a stranger to light fittings.
And not walking like a penguin.
And not being deaf.
'Well, this guy is up a ladder,' she continues, 'when he sees this package hidden at the top of the cupboard.'
'A package?'
'So he brings it down and shows it to my Mum and Stepdad. "Is this yours?" he says. No-one knows what it is, so they open it.'

I grimace in precognitive shock. I know what's coming, mainly due to the fact that we'd been talking about drugs for the last half hour. And before anyone has any other ideas - it ain't mine. This package was news to me.

'So they open it up.'
'And?'
'White powder. Solid white powder. Cocaine.'

I frown. 'What?'

Where I stood was not the place of my childhood, but my folks' new home. My Mum moved out of their old house and into this bungalow only a couple of years ago.
I begin to feel giddy. 'How big was it?' I whimper.
My Mum's friend makes a 30cm gap with her hands. 'About so big, all wrapped up in cellophane.'

For a full year, while I helped my Mum move in - Jesus, even when I had crashed there for 3 months while I was between houses - a kilo of cocaine had been stashed in my mother's kitchen by the previous dodgy owners. Street value, I surmised, was about £50,000. Call it €67.000 if you will. Or if you prefer, $100,000. In fact, if I may, it was AUS $112,000, 708,000 South African Rand, and a very pleasant sounding 3 million Thai Baht.

That, I yelled on hearing the story, was a down payment on a house.
And a really good party.

I could have sold it. All.
Nay, I would have sold it. Most.
Call me a bastard if you will, but as God As My Witness, I would have sold that fucking cocaine - the majority of it - at a reduced rate to some scumbags I know, and kept a happily sizable chunk for myself and some close personal friends.

But my Stepdad is more Daily Mail than I.

'I'm not having that in my house,' he said panicking, and flushed the lot - all 20th of a million pounds - down the toilet and into the drainage system of the home counties. And so scared were my folks of the whole un-be-fucking-lievable incident that they told no-one and allowed a full year and a half to elapse before I got wind of this.

I spoke to my Mum who confirmed everything, then pissed on my 'I could've sold it for you' fire by declaring that lives would be ruined if I did.
Damn that woman's morals.

So, Happy Birthday, Mum.

My mouth remains open wide with shock as I type. I have grilled my Mum in earnest to discuss exactly what she saw. It was a large, tightly wrapped, well sealed package containing nought but a huge brick of solid white powder, vast and hidden from view, the words of - admittedly - a near-pensionable Jewish woman from North West London whose only point of reference is Lethal Weapon and Hill Street Blues, leading me to surmise that this could well have been a very large parcel of gak hidden in her kitchen.

It sounds utterly fucking ridiculous but this hidden package, the threatening people who visited my parents during their first year in their new home looking for the previous owners... I don't know. I really don't know. Is anyone that stupid to leave a kilo of class A's behind and not even come back for it? That, to me, is the only mystery. But it's no secret that the previous owners were a cagey, middle aged, secretive and eager to leave couple who told my folks they were emigrating 'somewhere' and left no forwarding address.

Even I am in two minds as I commit this to Blog. But I veer towards this final assumption... it was probably, not possibly, but probably a kilo of pure uncut cocaine stashed three feet above my close family's heads for about a year.

I'd've nicked that.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

7 Things I Approve Of

Jesus, I really need to get in more. Girl dates London from the excellent and updated every ten minutes Girl Dates London has slapped me on my virtual back and yelled 'Tag, no returns!' or something, and expects me to come up with seven things I approve of.

Currently, I can't think of one. But here we go nonetheless, making it up as I go along - so forgive me when one rambling, ill-conceived thought leads violently obviously to the next...

One ~ Late Friday afternoons. I've used this self-same gem in another tag (my favourite F's), and it's pretty unbeatable. Saturday is fine, but it's only a day away from Sunday, plus if you're anything like me, you'll have done nothing all Saturday and will be bored shitless when you traipse out guiltily come the evening. A late Friday afternoon however, is rather splendid; Work's nearly over, there's all that weekend in front of you, and there's a certain electricity in the air, unlike Gaza at the moment.

Two ~ Music. It simply can't be beaten in the 'Reaching Inside Our Souls and Plucking Us In The Emotional Orifice' stakes. I've written countless volumes of crap, from this vaguely readable blog to less impressive attempts at scripts and novels, and none of them can provoke such strong feelings of joy or sadness or empathy as a simple Beatles tune in such a quick period of time. And music is so varied too. House music, Rock, Rap, Easy Listening, Classical, even their modern counterpart, the film score. All brilliant. As Gottfried Leibniz said in his famous work Nouveaux essais sur l'entendement humain, 'Music is the bollocks' (which I think is also the name of a progressive house track by Danny Tenaglia.)

Three ~ Exercise. An inverse poisoned chalice, if you will. I hate exercise. It's rubbish. In today's age of well-practised laziness, exercise is a modern-day necessity to remind us that humans have to run on a treadmill in the absence of having to hunt anything anymore. Yet in order to reverse all that crap cheap food we (ok, I) keep eating, exercise must be done. And you know what? Do it, and you feel strangely good (afterwards).

Four ~ Food, mounds and mounds of bloody food, healthy and nutritional or, even better for the old guilt-glands, plain shit and fattening. I perpetually have the food horn. Plus food looks good and it never tells me to sod off and go harass another plate of food instead.
Count alcohol in this too. Alcohol is a food.

Five ~ Chums. Largely all cunts bar none (in my case), and not even there for you when you need them most (all the time, in my case), yet thoroughly bloody decent coves now and again - Cue fond memories in my head to a wistful accompaniment of Simon and Garfunkel. Happy days.

Six ~ Youth. Fucking amazing and yes, totally wasted on me when I was a youth, because I was totally wasted and unappreciative of the fact that a) my knees worked, b) I only had to jog up the stairs to lose a stone and, c) I was sooo much more employable aged 22 than I currently am at 33. Plus that was as good as I would ever fucking look, and I had strong firm abs too, from March 1993 to a bit later on in March 1993.
If only we could all be born aged 80 and live our lives in reverse. Now that would make life worth living. (Apart from the sight of all those foetuses giving birth to pensioners. That's just odd.)

Of course, I approve of the concept of Youth, and not youths themselves. Too late have I learnt that youth is utterly wasted on those twat-witteried fucksters with their ignorance and stupid fucking opinions and posturing and shit music and OH MY GOD I'VE BECOME MY DAD.

Seven ~ Life. I suppose it's pretty good, what with all of us being alive now, and stuff n' that, and being conscious, sentient human beings. It could be better, of course, but it's head and shoulders over the alternative; not life, which I would have to admit would be rather shit.

So that's that. I hereby take this tag and wait with trembling anticipation of what could be (no response), from the thoughts of, in no particular order, Peach and Vi and Han and Bitch and Nothing Man and Quote and Girl and Z and Will and Tokyo.

Right, I'm off for a wank.

Oh, I've just thought of a number Eight.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Burn On, Weigh In, Cop Out

Saturday.
I was sat alone in a cafeteria, earnestly reading the jobs pages as I waited for my omelette.

In doing so, my soul gently eroded like a tooth in a bottle of coke. I made a point to analyse every single available position, but I couldn't get my head around the job titles;
Communications Consultant
Brands Manager
Administrative Liaison Officer
Vague Form Undertaker
Energy Depleted Wage Monkey

I don't know what they mean. All I gained was the fact that virtually all of the jobs advertised came with a wage slightly or obscenely greater than my current one.

And they're all looking for the same mythic person; a dynamic, forward-thinking, youthful self-starter with boundless energy, ideas and enthusiasm, needed for some consumer-led creative partnership think-tank, or a public service operations hub. Whatever happened to shop or office?

Nothing makes sense anymore.

The ideal candidate will have worked for blue-chip companies, in successful start-ups, or maybe for Dr No in his secret Caribbean base, and is capable of forging relationships in all channels at board level, helping business leaders express themselves abstractly. They should be able to tease out key strategic issues and command blue sky policies whilst making businesses more successful through complete support packages in compliance, best practice solutions and modern tap.


It all ground me down into an ambitionless would-be tramp so naturally, I headed off to Central London and onto the Metropolitan Police's Career Bus, where I applied to become a Policeman.

"Why do you want to join the Met?" asked the Chinese PCSO.
"I want to help people," I replied honestly. "And because the pay's really good and I've run out of options," I added to myself.

I'd been there before. Not the bus, physically, but the signing up to become a Policeman. I tried about six years ago when I was unemployed and living in Willesden, and found myself gravitating towards the copshop on a whim, but I got scared off when the lady behind the desk wanted to take my details.

Now I was eagerly offering them voluntarily. I liked the idea; helping the wider community, not raging against them. Smiling. Assisting. Guiding. Maybe saving a life or two. Plus the uniform might help me get laid.

But ultimately, I wanted to be useful for once, to feel like my life finally had some damn meaning. (And the less said about my recent drug past, the better.) I was ready to forgo my old life for a new one, a better one.

Yes, this would definitely happen. I would become a PC, then who knows? Go undercover, perhaps? Get involved in serious crime? Join the vice squad? Or run around with a gun and a sneer? No, I don't like guns.
I could do it for a day though.

Then Ed turned up, surprising me by also signing up for the Metropolitan Police too - although he had that rabbit-in-the-headlights shock of giving the coppers all his details. Then we went and spoiled it all by doing something stupid like watching a Romanian film about abuse and abortion during the Ceau┼čescu era. (The film was more depressing than Schindler's List, and that's such an achievement, it won the Palme d'Or. Christ alone knows why. Because it finally ended, I suppose.)

Regarding joining the police, Ed had doubts. But I had none. I will be a copper, and I will never look back... until that night, when I looked a little bit forward and shat it.

I began by reading through the paperwork. Then I fired up the application CD, clicking with trepidation on 'Certain factors that may change your mind':
Policing is a 24-hour business.
Yes I suppose it is.
Dead bodies need to be checked.
Well someone has to.
Officers... have to cancel days off with little or no warning.
WHAT? Oh fuck.

Never mind. I'm doing this for altruistic reasons. I want to help, dammit. I'll never be a cliched sarcastic, disinterested copper. I'll be one of those laughing policemen of yore. Unless the situation's really inappropriate.

And then I read some British police blogs. I thought it would help.

PC Bloggs seems to have her heart very much in the right place, pointing out that human beings in their rich and varied tapestry can be pretty nice now and again. And then you discover that one's a convicted paedophile.

It never occurred to me that I may meet a child molester now and again, and common courtesy and the law would probably prevent me from repeatedly smashing their face into a wall.

Then I read Another bloody Grumpy Copper, who buried this particular career option deep into the ground. Grumpy Copper was a particular shock; a man angrier than me, and possibly made so by the one profession I was about to aim for. Everything seems to rightly piss him off; bureaucracy and red-tape come high on his list, as do drunks and having to care for the fuckers, and television phone-in competitions.
Yes it is fraud. Why didn't the law come down on them? 'Cos it was only telly?

Then it hit me: I can't do this job. I would explode. I would become the most embittered policeman in history, and that's saying something. I would rage, pout, squint, hate, judge, yell, point, rant. I began to see the world through a policeman's eyes, a world where everyone is bending the law to some extent. Where my desire to help, to assist, to prove I'm one of the decent guys gets shot to hell as I stand in the pouring rain on traffic duty, or someone calls me a wanker the day after I was running my hands down the still warm thighs of a corpse.

And all that's providing I actually get in and pass the drug test.

On Monday, I cycled to work a broken man, all my options thrashing and dying before me like a selfless thought in George Bush's head. As I took my usual shortcut through Kensington Gardens, I noticed fluorescent jackets ahead. At the top of the hill were two policemen, there to admonish at the cyclists flouting the 'No Cycling' rule. Presumably, park amblers have complained to the powers that be about these bastards - bastards of which I am one - who choose avoid a stretch of Kensington Road and the vans, buses, taxis and 4x4s who would sooner run you over than be stuck behind you. As a result, the police had been called in, six in total, patrolling the area.

I got off my bike, walked up to the top of the hill to the stretch where we could all cycle freely, getting scrutinised by the steely gaze of one of the officers as I guiltily panted past.

I have no idea what he was thinking; if he approved of spending his time in the cold preventing cyclists from cycling up a No Cycling path, if he wished he was elsewhere, or if he felt proud to be showing these damn lawbreakers that this 200 metre stretch of path was not to be ridden on.

Either way, I don't quite know if that's job satisfaction.

So, back to square fucking one, then.

Weight loss: 3lbs.
Drink drunk: 3 bottles of wine, 1 pint of lager.
Cigarettes smoked: About 15.
Dreams shattered: Fifteen billion.

Fuck.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

RAIN

7:30am.

Bad rain.

Steady rain.

Constant, unrelenting, first rush hour of 2008 rain.

With steel resolve, I was able to leave my flat early, for it was a Friday, dress in loose clothing adequate enough to sweat in, and pedal off to work in the darkness. I had travelled approximately half a mile in about three minutes, and in that time, I had become saturated.

My shit cotton tracksuit bottoms were drenched and clinging to my thighs like a nervous child. Rainwater dripped off my cycle helmet and blinded my eyes. I gasped for breath as I stopped at the lights, applying pressure on the pedal when they turned green, and grimaced as I felt the squish of my socks as they'd sucked up all the preticipation running down my body and into my shoes.

And when I got to work, exhausted, brutalised ~ utterly, ruthlessly soaked from head to toe, my father called. He was and had been outside my flat for almost an hour, waiting to pick me up and take me to work on a whim because he had been working nearby.

And I'd cycled past him half an hour earlier, neither of us noticing the other.

Ergo: I am now drunk and chainsmoking.

L'chaim.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Please, Kill Me

Over a week spent cycling to work every day, then swimming, then cycling home - with ten hours no-time-for-lunch-or-any-other-kind-of-break stress in between due to boss being away and running everything virtually solo.

Total weight loss thus far: two fucking pounds. Normal for most people, not normal for me considering this is week two and I normally lose tons when embarking on a 180° lifestyle change. Fucking stubborn middle age.

I haven't smoked or drank this year (barring the fags I used up on New Year's Day, and a bottle of wine that was lying about the flat last Saturday) - and I don't miss either except, it has transpired, on weekends when I get twitchy and bored and feel I should be doing something big and rowdy and conspicuously expensive.

I have developed a twitchy left eyelid and a painful mouth ulcer because the boss is away in Japan - thus I am virtually running the company solo. His father, the MD, and another colleague are with me too, but generally they pass all calls and queries on to me anyway - even when I'm on other calls or with cuntstomers.
I will now be looking for another job in earnest. I simply ain't paid enough for all this.

This year, I've been tentatively looking at my novel, my magnus opus first draft I shat out last year with a view to re-writing it into draft two. But it's shit, awfully, awfully shit. I can't even look at it on the page as it fills me with regret and bile and angst - so there's goes my successful literary career.

My sparse communications with ex-American ladyfriend have hit an all-time low. Although it would appear that she doesn't object to me flying out to the States to meet her for lunch or some such shit, neither is she particularly overjoyed at the prospect in the slightest, causing me to evaluate why I'm even going there in the first place.

So I'm not.

I've taken the hint.

Eventually.

After almost a year.

2008.
All I have to do is change fucking everything.

And now to do some sit ups, change, and cycle to work.
In the rain.

Brilliant.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Embarrassing Memory #11: Embarrassing Memory Compendium II

God knows how I managed to allow these gems to slip from my subconscious for so many years, but I've just recalled two more utterly humiliating events. Lovely:

1 ~ I was sat at my desk at an inept examinations board in central London. It was a grey, average morning on a grey, average weekday, circa 2003. The job I did sucked, because I was then employed in Marketing – a.k.a. Basically Just Flogging Stuff, No Matter How Much It’s Dressed Up, where I would do whatever it took to avoid work in a slightly less nobler version of Oskar Schindler refusing to manufacture a single working bomb. In essence, my days were filled with emailing friends, then drinking heavily in the evenings.
That particular morning, I’d emailed Gay Rog to see how he was while another colleague, Monkey Dave, appeared at my desk to do likewise and go ‘ook’.

It was in this fug of dual greeting that I got confused. Monkey Dave began telling me about his evening the night before, something about foraging for berries or grooming his mate, when Rog replied. He wrote that he was “Super, thanks for asking”, which (obviously) put me in mind of the Big Gay Al song from the South Park movie.

‘Then there’s my reply,' I thought. ‘I'll copy and paste the full lyrics. Max response, zero effort.’

So while Dave rambled on and the ennui of being employed at a dump continued unabated, I unthinkingly typed ‘BIG’ and ‘GAY’ and ‘AL’, and clicked the first link that appeared. At work.

So imagine my surprise - and Dave's - when a big, fat cock filled my monitor.
‘Aargh!’ I screamed quietly, clicking on the little close-window button, a button that merely provoked more angry-cocked windows into appearing.
- Big bald man with large flaccid dick between his legs.
‘Erk!’ Close window, close window!
- Man with moustache tugging a gentleman in leather chaps by his arm... no, that's not an arm. Close window immediately.
- Large man fucking another man up the arse.

I stood up to yell, trying to block the monitor with my body as closing the fucking windows wasn’t having any effect. This made Monkey Dave very amused as he clapped and swung from the hatstand, so I switched off my monitor and walked up to IT, where I specifically asked for the head of department.

With a straight-face, I told him that I'd accidentally made hardcore gay pornography come onto my computer.

Regrettably, I wasn't sacked.

2 ~ Several years earlier. Let's call it 1999, because it was. I was in the bar at my television job, drinking with a colleague and a friend of his, a cute, sexy friend who I remember thinking looked a bit like Cat Deeley.

And God knows how but we ended up snogging at some point. And don't ask me what I’d said to get there, but somehow we ended up in a cab with her flatmate, and her flatmate's boyfriend.

Suddenly we're at their house, and things were going spectacularly well, although whatever was coming was pushed back for a more important glass of water and a girlie chat in her flatmate's bedroom - Not that I was a part of that. I was upstairs, lying alone on her bed with an erection and a tremendous amount of unspent energy.

So I waited.

And I waited.

Until I pondered how it was possible that I could go out one night, meet a girl, snog that girl, then be invited back to hers whereupon said girl would then vanish.

Something had to happen though; surely my presence in her bedroom was guarantee of that? But where was she? In fact, I began to wonder, wasn’t this all a little…rude? So I stumbled downstairs to where everyone was gathered, and bellowed, ‘Are you coming up, or what?’

I didn't have sex that night. In fact, I didn’t have sex with her at all. By the time she eventually appeared in her jimjams, I failed to entice her out of them so I passed out and started snoring instead. The next thing I remember was being woken up by her alarm clock; it was playing Madness, ‘It must be love’.

And so I went to work, while she feigned illness, and I never saw her again.

Even I think she probably did the right thing.

Friday, January 04, 2008

Now or Never

Cycled: Every day since starting work this week.
Smoked: Nothing since Jan 1st, when I disposed of my remaining fags by burning them (and inhaling the fumes.)
Eaten: Fruit, Veg, meat, and almost zero crap.
Swam: 12 lengths so far. Baby steps.... baby steps.
Snorted: Love.
Drank: Water, some tea, a coffee.

I am now back at home having done a day's work and cycled with steely determination in the wind and rain. I am about to shower and go back into Central London to meet up with my mate Rob, back in Britain for a brief catch-up after emigrating to Sweden last year.

Will I booze?
I hope not.
Will I smoke?
Not if I can help it.
Will being in the midst of half a dozen pissheads help?
No chance.

In the three days of 2008 spent back at work with no boss to help carry the load, I've decided I simply have to get a better job very very quickly.

So I've spent all day day-dreaming about a holiday.

In a couple of months, I may or may not pay a quick visit to Philadelphia to hang out with Large Northern Flatmate's old chum, Greencard Danny. I may then "nip over" to Boston to see Haggis (Oh, hello Haggis - may I see you in Boston?), and perchance have a cheeky beer and make him ponder the meaning of hell. I could of course then 'duck down' to New York, catch up with my mate Yank Jeff, and - oh - possibly look up my lovely ex-American Ladyfriend, as I think we'd both like to say hello.

This time I won't be crashing at hers, though. In fact, I'm rather looking forward to seeing her briefly, then moving on like a square-jawed hero.

Failing that, I could contact ex-Fuckbuddy Michelle who also lives in NY, to see if she's single and very, very desperate.

Jesus Christ. I may as well throw £800 out of the window now, look at naked women on the internet through binoculars, and heatbutt my bedside table for a week.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Shot Down In 2008

New Year's Eve. No plans. A sudden opportunity to go out with Ed, who decided to rebrand himself as Clipper, the Gulf War One veteran. I became JD, a bitter copper out on a limb. Fuck you all ~ we're old men. (Besides, we were drunk and keeping our new names only to ourselves - and that's as sad as it gets.)

What riled me was as follows - and bear with me, I'm drunk and typing slowly.

We hit London. I hate London on New Year's Eve because it's shit; heaving pubs, nothing to really do, lots of coppers telling you where you can't go.

So we trip the light fantastic, have a few drinks, try to find the least busy alcoholic emporiums. We note a cacophony of young people, and an unusually high quotient of Chavs from the shires out for their first New Year's 'Up West'. We find a pub in Soho, strangely full of very attractive Japanese women, but that's largely irrelevant. But what pissed me off was a comment made by a young girl as her friends were leaving one particular pub. I was stood outside having a cigarette - my last, as I am about to give up forever of course - when one of the girls asked me for a light.

'Sure,' I replied, then followed this up with, 'So where are you off to tonight?'

Now let me set the scene; I was about to stay in this evening, my first New Year's indoors since I was a foetus, when I got the chance to go out. I was keen to do something, but not necessarily 'in the mood' to do anything. I was eager to mingle with people to celebrate the secular pinnacle of an annual fresh start, but old enough to not care too much. Sex was the last thing on my mind; after all, I was feeling pretty average and was quite happy blending into the masses.

But if there's one thing that annoys me more than anything, it's supposition, the assumption that I'm some twat with a cock who is trying to bone all and sundry.

Now lets make this crystal; I'm a single bloke. I'd like a shag. I'm not a criminal. And if you've read this blog in the last hour, that may be obvious. But neither am I a monster. I have morals. Sometimes, and with my own drab personality getting involved, I'm too preoccupied with my own shit to even think about actually having sex with an X-chromosomed life form.

Because sometimes, the fact is, I'm just bumbling about doing my own thing and not actually lusting after women 103% of the time. Generally, it's about 94%.
And I do so quietly, then go home alone.

So I stood outside this pub smoking a cigarette when this girl asked for a light. I duly presented her with a flame, and casually asked what she had planned for the evening. It was an honest, mildly inquisitive question that had nothing to do with furthering anything carnal or sweaty in any sense whatsoever. I could've asked the same question to a humanoid with bollocks.

And then her friend, a young, haughty platinum blonde, eagerly interrupted, snapping...
'Our boyfriends wouldn't like you to ask such questions!'

If she said it with any kind of irony, I could've forgiven her, but there was none. She was angry, and stony faced. I laughed it off, and told her I'd heard the boyfriend routine before.

And then they stomped off. And as they walked, slowly, imperceptibly, my smile became a frown.

'Boyfriend.'
How fucking dare she!

I wasn't being sleazy or inappropriate. I'd asked a question that she'd taken as a veiled threat. I've had the boyfriend shtick before and, once again, it stung. It suggested that I was trying to get into their collective pants when all I was doing was making polite conversation.

If she said it after five minutes of random chat, fine. She's drawn her own conclusion and she wants to make it clear to me and to her friends that she 'knows my game'.

But she interrupted to yell this out. The last time this happened, I was at a friend's party, chatting to a ladyperson. Her female friend who had been staring at me angrily interrupted to point out the girl's boyfriend.

Completely rude, totally inappropriate, and none of her damn fucking business.

This pisses me off to High Heaven. It suggests that these complete strangers know me better than I know myself because clearly, all I am is a sleazy, mucus propelled invertebrate only after a fuck.

God forbid I'm just trying to have a conversation.

They left, it turned 12am and some fireworks went off.

All I have to say is: Women! Give men the benefit of the doubt. Granted, yes - we may like a shag like the rest of humanity, but at least give us two minutes to establish the lay of the land before accusing someone of sleaziness via the 'boyfriend' medium.

Motherfuckers.

Oh, and Happy New Year.

And to celebrate, here's The Pit, courtesy of my new camera, where absolutely nothing happens barring typing this crap...