Thursday, April 30, 2009

Women and Anger, Flu and Fish

W & A

I have anger management issues. I don't consider it that bad because I'm ruthlessly in control of them.
But I am angry.

Having said that, I'm also quite happy, a thin veneer of contentment that looks like a seething tide of resentment to everyone else.

I thought I should consider professional help last week, when I was queuing up at the bank. I was stood away from the vast main queue, in the Business Customers Only lane (just myself and the chap in front, as opposed to the main queue's twenty.) Both of us stared at an empty seat, preferring that to aggravatingly slow-moving main line to our left.

Five minutes of seat staring later, I began to get restless. This was exacerbated when a man walked in and decided to start his own queue, bypassing myself and the guy in front of me. I stared at the back of his fat, bald head as my nostrils flared.

'Keep calm, keep calm', I intoned. 'He might not get served before me.'

That said, he might, and that must not happen. The queue is sacrosanct, and I was damned to hell and beyond if I was going to wait in a building for, now, 7 minutes, only for some chancer to wander in and get served after 1.

And then he got served. I was still standing behind the guy staring at the chair when fat, bald chancer casually stepped up to the teller.

'Oi!' someone yelled.
'Don't even think about it!'
'What?' he asked.
I yanked my iPlugs out.
'What do you think we're doing here?' I said, pointing at myself and the man in front. 'Waiting for a bus?'
'I only have to hand this over,' he yelled indignantly. I became vaguely aware of the main queue staring back.
'I don't care,' I said. "We were here first. Now get to the back of the queue."

As I turned round, I saw three more people stood behind me, people who'd arrived after fat and bald.

To my surprise and complete relief, he did so, muttering dark curses in his wake. The gentleman in front of me was thus served, while I stood at the head of the queue.

I was less pleased to discover the stunning black goddess who works there take the empty seat, presumably on the orders of a more senior teller now that the customers were beginning to yell at one other. I was flustered and my chest was pounding - truth be told, I hate confrontations - but I began to get worked up again as I watched her not call me forward any time soon.

I fidgeted, and tried to keep calm. I looked down and saw my tight black coat pulsate with the rhythm of my racing heart. I flared my nostrils some more and stared at the now filled seat.

The Goddess had a slight grin on her face. Motherfucker. She was randomly pressing buttons on her keyboard for as long as it took.

The guy formerly stood in front of me finished up and walked off, and I approached that desk. Turning round as soon as I got there, I watched Goddess summon over the person who had been stood behind me.

I clearly am the Antichrist.

I had a less angry but equally unpleasant lady rebuff a few days later. It had gone 5pm at work, and my colleagues and I are known to shut up shop and bring pints in from the neighbouring pub to sup at our desks in the final hour. Said pub is staffed by a rather stunning barperson from LA, all frilly hair and tight jeans and a figure sculpted by the gods.

And she hates me.

We first saw her at Christmas. We had a work's meal nearby and retired back to the pub where the less enlightened and rather sexist males of our party dribbled at her all night while I kept quiet, silenced mainly by their braying catcalls.

Ray, our office youngster and cockney scamp, was basically blind drunk, yelling at her face that she was rather attractive, which I noted she took with good grace. She then proceeded to serve other customers while Ray yelled to us that he'd like to bend her over and hang out the back of her.
'Ray!' I admonished as I felt my personality desert me. 'She can hear you!'

I have since been greatly amused on the occasions that I've gone back to that pub and barlady serves me in a manner that can only be described as hostile, giving me what I like to call the Beamscowl.

The Beamscowl is a very quick manoeuvre starting, as one would presume, with a glowing, radiant beam. She had this on her mug as she was walking away from a chat with her previous customer. Then she turned to face me.

Hello, scowl.

It was like I'd dangled shit from a pole and shoved it into her face. I am that shit.

'Why?' I've oft pondered in those bleak, lonely moments at four in the morning, 'am I actually considered lower than the drunk bloke in the pub making sexist comments, even though I was the one who told him off???'

Perhaps it's for these reasons that I'm back in touch with my lovely New Yorker ex-girlfriend - that, and because I miss her.

I was treated to a bizarre lesson in time differences last Monday, when we emailed around midnight London time. I said I was off to bed. She said she was out to 'party'.

When I woke up, I switched on my computer and fired up my email. She'd just got home, drunk, and decided to call me for the first time in years.

That was a strange one, waking up on a weekday before showering for work, to take a call from someone who'd spent my whole sleep-time getting bladdered.

F & F
I am sick and tired of hearing about this global piggy pandemic. I've barely recovered from the financial fistfuck we're all in.

I was cynical about the mass-media news before. Now I'm out-and-out disgusted. Yes, it's serious. Yes, we should be alerted to it. But the media the way it is, it's fast becoming the End of Days, and it's bringing me down.

All I can think about in the years to come, if any of us are still solvent and alive, is that 2009 will be remembered as Armageddon. I'm still waiting for the newsflash that four cackling horsemen have been spotted in the sky, probably above Romford.

In an interesting aside, my Mum called me today. It appears that my stepbrother has been holidaying in the eye of the storm, in Cancun. And in keeping with the hurricane analogy, he's been so close to the action that he actually had NO IDEA ABOUT THE PANDEMIC.

And if anyone has any faith in our government and their bullshit promises that the UK is phenomenally well prepared, you may be interested to know that my stepbrother landed in London where all the passengers had to write their contact details down - on the back of their sick bags.

They were then told they would exit the plane into a holding bay where they would not come into contact with the any other people.

Cue their walking into the airport and smashing heads against every departing and arriving passenger on Earth.

But my favourite part is the fact that my surly and miserable stepbrother is currently locked in his house for a week. His mother had to deliver shopping to his front door, and call him to open up once she got back into the relative safety of her Honda.

And finally, fish. My beautiful, sexy new suit, all ready for Jimmy's wedding on Saturday at which I'm Best Man, has been hanging up in the neutral smell of my hallway, far away from the nicotine playground that is my bedroom.

Imagine my surprise this evening, as I walked up the stairs to my flat barely even near our front door, I smelled the telltale stench of fucking haddock. My Large Northern Flatmate chose to stink out our gaff through the medium of dead aquatic vertebrates, while my beautiful sexy new suit sucked it all up.

It's currently in Large Northern Flatmate's room, hanging up near the window. It now smells of cheap Adidas deodorant, and despair.

With a hint of pussy.

Monday, April 27, 2009

End Of Days

Is it me or are Fundamentalist Islamists pissing themselves laughing right now?

First the world economy collapses up its own arse, then that same world is under threat from a porcine flu pandemic.

My boss is buggering off to Japan again, tomorrow, in fact. This means a), I have to run his company into the ground by myself again and b), I have to take a break to rush down to Southampton and humiliate myself via the medium of the Best Man speech.

And to top it all off, I've got to manage a new French intern (male), who will arrive on my birthday, no less.

I have bought a nice suit though.

Oh my god, this blog is turning into one of those 'What I had for lunch' diaries.

Normal service will resume, one day.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Youtube Friday

Cute, and slightly funky...

Expensive, and slightly violent...
(click the red high quality HQ button, and expand full screen for maximum effect)

Monday, April 20, 2009

Stag VIII: Jimmy/ Canterbury

My Stag season's over and as far as I can tell, no-one'll be getting married any time soon. Handy really, as if anyone else wanted me to be Best Man, I would admit myself into the nearest hospital under the Mental Health Act 2007.

I've had 8 stags in the last year and a half, been best man thrice, spent a grand total of Aaargh, and had a harder time planning this than if I was personally responsible for organising the recapture of Dunkirk with a pencil, a wristwatch, and a turn of the century pocketmap of Wales.

It began somewhat regrettably. Jimmy, the stag, phoned the day before to ask if he needed to bring his passport.
'Erm, no', I told him. 'We're staying in the UK.'

We often surprise one another by lying, but in this instance, it had been the truth. If we went abroad by plane, his attendance wishlist would have been halved. If we went via the Chunnel, we'd have gained just the one person, a Large Northern aerophobe. Even if we stayed in Britain but went too far north, we'd only be able to add just a couple more cash-starved attendees.

The only destination that would draw everyone was southern England and, seeing as we're almost all from the south, it was hard to know where to choose. In fact, you could say organising it was a COMPLETELY THANKLESS TASK.

When we got to Victoria station on Friday morning and met up with Phil, Jamie and Jim, Phil informed me that he'd just seen a man in a gorilla suit walk past. Looking at Jim standing there in his jeans and a Jimmyshirt™ made me realise I should've made more of an effort to humiliate him so, using my amazing new iPhone, I tracked down a nearby party shop and got a cab for a frantic, last minute dash to buy a camp hat and Village People moustache.

Regrettably, I didn't think to call first, which would've helped as I would've realised before hailing an expensive London taxi that it was closed. So instead, as the cabbie drove me back to the station, I called Westy, a to-meet-us-there guest, and asked him to buy anything on his way up.

Despite our attempts to prevent Jim from finding out where we were headed, a ticket inspector announced it about 10 minutes in. Jim looked crestfallen. The day before he thought we were going to mainland Europe. Now he discovered it was a market town an hour and a half outside London that he'd been to before.

On the plus side, he had no fucking clue we'd be going to Canterbury - mainly because no-one thinks it a good stag destination apart from me.

On arrival, we checked in then headed to the city centre for a river tour which had been rained off, so we went to Nandos instead where I got the shits. We then wandered aimlessly while resentment simmered in the heads of the other four lads. Westy met us en route with a well concealed if inexplicably irrelevant pirate costume (an overpriced wig, a plastic eyepatch, and a moustache that didn't stick), then we made for an alehouse where I was yelled at for playing with my iPhone again. It was around this time that I realised it's far more enjoyable to experience a night out when I'm not 'in charge'; one where my associates don't hurl abuse in my direction because the pub isn't good enough, or lacking in pool tables or atmosphere.

When Paul, our second arrival, joined us, we hailed a cab to Whitstable and continued drinking, downing tequilas, jumping up and down on their pebbly beach, and eating curry late into the night in an empty restaurant while Jim's memory abandoned him and back in our hotel, Phil wrestled me to the floor and attempted to smash my iPhone. It occurred to me as I went to bed that the following day's early start in a brewery wasn't the best idea as people struggled to not throw up in the midst of a room stinking of boiled hops.

We missed the train to Faversham anyway. Phil had puked upon waking and took his time while Suki and Dave, the planet's most self-righteous human who chose to wait 6 weeks only pay me the day before after repeated nagging in a frustrating re-run of Barcelona, had joined us to walk slowly to the station.
I'm still not sure why we didn't take cabs.

When we got to the Shepherd Neame brewery (late), I was mortified to find a dozen or so strangers waiting for us so the tour could begin. It didn't help that we were ushered into a corner to watch a ponderously slow promotional film about the brewery, one even worse than this.

There was something painful about the whole experience, of us racing to miss trains for a destination I'd told very few about, as I sat next to Large Northern Flatmate - a man best described as a 6 foot tall toddler - who sat there deadpan and licking an icecream he'd managed to acquire from somewhere.

The monotone, uninspiring drone of their Chief Executive squeaked out of the speakers, the only sound in the otherwise oppressive silence of the room, while I doubled over, snorting and crying with laughter that got worse the more I attempted to stop, acutely aware of the strangers scowling at me and of the eight gentlemen with hangovers I'd forced out of bed so they could sit in a room to watch a corporate video.

On the upside, I tasted barley and found out what a mash tun was, plus no-one puked. We ended up in a pub after that, one with football that I would've incorporated into the schedule if I actually gave a fuck about it.

All bets were off by nightfall once we'd swapped a Westy for a Nick. I'd had my fill of being steadily abused about the lack of activities, criticised about the brewery, and generally considered inept (mainly by Dave if you're wondering, a man who shuns organising anything in his life but is extremely skilled in doling out extensive criticism. Hello, Dave.) Plus I was sick of beer. I was quite happy to let everyone just wing it, which we did. My Canterbury pub crawl was off; instead we grabbed a pizza and found a great bar /club that seemed populated by older, more forgiving women. Jimmy did press-ups, and was cajoled into wearing lipstick from the handbag of the nearest woman. Despite his initial protests, he kept his warpaint on all night.

As usual, it wasn't until the lights went up and everyone was forced out onto the street that it occurred to me to try and pull in earnest, but that boat had long since sailed. Instead we ended up screaming 80s hits in our hotel room til 4am whilst playing computer football and drinking Phil's vodka.

Jim called the following day to say he loved it. Frankly, that's all that mattered, even if we never went near a colossal cathedral that legend has it is bang in the centre of town.

Friday, April 17, 2009

1,000,000th Stag, Live

Follow my live Twitter updates on Twitter, obviously.

Should be interesting.

Actually, I doubt that.

(Sent via my iPhone. Get one. They make your life better.)

* * * * *

Burning off for my 600th stag weekend. Could go horribly wrong - i'm organising it.
11:01 AM Apr 17th from TwitterForiPhone

Took frantic taxi to party shop. Party shop closed. Now waiting on train bound for Canterbury. Even without silly hat, stag looks petrified.
12:01 PM Apr 17th from TwitterForiPhone

Straightest Stag ever. Being reprimanded for laughing and swearing too much on train by my oldest friends. Will prob all be asleep by 9.
1:12 PM Apr 17th from TwitterForiPhone

Stag's just announced he hates Real Ale. Might make tomorrow morning's surprise visit to a brewery rather awkward.
5:45 PM Apr 17th from TwitterForiPhone

Stag is fucked. We've reached the tired and emotional stage surprisingly quickly. Whitstable's more cockney than I'd like.
9:57 PM Apr 17th from TwitterForiPhone

Can someone please remove the 'party animal' from my room? He's asleep in here because the hardcore are caning it in his room.
1:50 AM Apr 18th from TwitterForiPhone

Marched 8 hungover blokes to the station where we watched our train leave. I got the times wrong.
11:08 AM Apr 18th from TwitterForiPhone

Most stag attendees want to kill me after having to endure what was essentially a two hour lecture in a brewery. No piss-up, as such.
4:19 PM Apr 18th from TwitterForiPhone

In a bar talking to a girl who's not recoiling. My largely coupled mates are hugely excited. A snog would be great.
about 23 hours ago from TwitterForiPhone

Party in our room. Expecting to get thrown out of hotel in about 10 minutes.
about 20 hours ago from TwitterForiPhone

The stag is over. Roomate/ Large Northern Flatmate snores while I smoke out of the window. Stag left laughing. Consider this a success.
about 19 hours ago from TwitterForiPhone

Slightly disapponted I didn't chat to girl with amazing bangers. Still good, despite the abuse.
about 19 hours ago from TwitterForiPhone

Just woke up, brain sore. Lying in bed talking to LNF; The last bar was full of women desperate to talk. Why didn't I realise?
about 13 hours ago from TwitterForiPhone

Mother of all hangovers on it's way. Could retarmac driveways with my lungs.
about 9 hours ago from TwitterForiPhone

I'm back, and rather ill. Head throbs, wallet on life support. Love the idea of never drinking, smoking or drugging ever again.
2 minutes ago from web

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

I Should Probably Go To Bed But My Bodyclock's Fucked

Oh yeah, I've got a blog.

Well I've just had five and a half thoroughly unproductive days off work and it's now 1am. I go back to work in a mere 6 hours, so let's write a new post.

I hope you've all had a pleasant Easter. Mine's been 90% spent watching documentaries about North Korea in my room whilst chainsmoking, and waiting for some kind of epiphany.

It came in the form of a vast, balding forty-something, also known as 'Large Northern Flatmate'. He knocked on my door some time around 2am this morning performing, I suppose, a kind of intervention.

For several months now, I have been locked in my bedroom where he presumes I've been writing my Magnus Opus. Instead of actually writing anything, I've obviously been doing the aforementioned docu-smoking. A lot. In fact, with so much time on my hands over Easter, it reached its nadir.

Things hadn't been pathetic enough so naturally, I turned to online gambling. That started a few weeks ago with a £15 bet on the Grand National which I lost; I put it on a 600/1 no-hoper that should've been shot before the race.

Anyhoo, I got the £15 back as it was part of a special offer to lure idiots into gambling (If your Grand National horse doesn't win, get your money back!!!)
Somehow, this made me descend into madness. I found myself placing bets on more horse races over the next few days, making a £30 profit and thinking I could double my income if I managed to always back the winner.

It's called gambling for a reason though. Within days I was doing things I'd never imagine I'd ever do; placing £20 bets from my overdraft on dogs I'd never heard of at a track that may or may not even exist (and losing).

I knew I'd fucked up, as shame had prevented me from even mentioning anything to my flatmate. Nonetheless, like some kind of mind-reading surrogate wife, he appeared and told me in very simple terms, as I sat in my room sheepishly trying to hide the Spider Solitaire/ North Korea video shame on my monitor, that matters were "Now or never."

I could go into detail, but I won't. It wasn't a telling-off, not that he was in any position to do so. He very simply stated the facts, that unless my hopes, dreams and sweetest ambitions were to watch everything about Stalinist Asian regimes on the Internet whilst reaching one million lost games of arachnid-based cards, I should probably grow up and change my ways.

So I wrote a chapter tonight. That felt good.

Other News:
One of our customer's accountants phoned up to yell at me a few weeks ago. To our collective amazement, he turned out to be a cousin I'd normally only see at weddings and barmitzvahs. He invited me down to see my family on Wednesday for passover, an annual Jewish festival I'd done my utmost to avoid now for about seven years. (That Jesus fellow's 'Last Supper' gig was one such passover do, which is why Easter and passover tend to arrive around the same timezzzzzzzzzz.)

So I take the day off work, travel down to the South Coast, panic that I'll do something socially awkward (I sweated a lot, and generally looked nervous and out of place), met all my fine, stout cousins who have grown into charming young adults, except they now look at me and think, 'Christ, I'll be married and finacially stable by the time I'm 34. Are you sure you're not employably deficient and gay?'

I then felt guilty as the following day I fended off repeated requests to stay the whole weekend. I may have offended them too when I said I'd love to return again, on the proviso that it's ABSOLUTELY NOT FOR ANYTHING RELIGIOUS AT ALL.

So that went well.

I wish the same could be said for the blind emailing I've been conducting with a ladyfriend of a friend of mine. Bless you Russ for setting me up, but the contact is petering out. I should've probably been more pro-active or some such shit, but I haven't. I've been a procrastinating cowardly tit and she's rightly given up.

But I do have a new iPhone. I thoroughly recommend them. They take the focus off the fact that your life is a dull sham, and things become temporarily exciting again. I was particularly pleased to receive the following text when the phone erupted into life on Thursday; 'Hi. Are you okay for golf tomorrow? Susan.'

Seeing as I don't play golf, let alone know anyone called Susan, I responded with 'Sure, a bit of golf tomorrow, perhaps some foreplay in the evening. Lovely.'

I love wrong texts.