Thursday, 28 July 2011

The most sexist place left in society is around a pool table.

Below are the beginnings of a post I wrote whilst slightly drunk in a hotel room a couple of weeks ago. I consider it an unfinished masterpiece and feel it is my duty to release it. If I die before it is completed - like Speilberg completed A.I for Kubrick - I elect George Orwell to complete this blog. That is assuming he doesn't die first. What?! He has?! How did I miss that? In that case I designate the responsibility of completing any unfinished works in the event of my death to Gaby Roslin....

I'm in the Holiday Inn Express Cardiff City Airport and my career has reached a nadir. I'm not sure I know exactly what nadir means but I'm prepared to say that I've reached it. Earlier on this evening I did a gig at the Barry Memorial Theatre and it was pleasant enough. As a young boy who was so desperate to perform that at the age of five I voluntarily did a talk in assembly about the pillars of Islam (true) I never dreamed that I'd get this far.

I'm starting to appear sarcastic aren't I? In this instance I'm not. I mean it's not a nadir (whatever that means) but it's been lovely. I'm on my own. When I arrived at the Holiday Inn Express I decided to have a drink in the bar downstairs. I usually do this when I'm away. Hotel rooms are essentially just fancy bedrooms and I don't really do anything in bedrooms except sleep and MAKE LOVE.

So there I was in the bar downstairs with a pint of Caffreys. Beside me I had a copy of Tina Fey's Bossypants (which is brilliant) but being a prick I was embarrassed about it because there were builders around. The builders were playing pool and I decided that I wanted a go. Guess what? I am fucking brilliant at pool. I mean really. To a builder I probably look like I'd rather stick a pool cue up my arse than pot a ball with it but I am honestly really good. I

And there I stopped. I remember that I was worried that, being drunk I might regret posting. I think it was alright. I wonder what I was about to say with that final 'I' that made me stop. Perhaps the 'real me' was coming out and I was about to unleash a tirade about immigrants. Anyway, I did beat the builders at pool because I am, indeed, brilliant at it. That wasn't just drunken bravado. It's a source of great pride for me that I am good at pool and I love surprising people with it. Lots of men seem astonished that someone with no muscles and the gait of a bi-curious teen can beat them. They forget that pool is a game of skill not braun.

The most sexist place left in society is around a pool table. My girlfriend is very good at pool (when she's not on the crack pipe) and the way men handle it is incredible. If she plays a male stranger they nearly always start by giving her advice. This is before she has even done anything. Then when she plays a couple of good shots they make a point of saying 'good shot' quite loudly but clearly believe in their heads that it was a fluke. Then when she eventually beats them they lay on the praise a little too thick as if she's just done the impossible. "Fifty years ago the world saw it's first talking woman but never did we think we'd see the day when someone with a vagina could create the necessary angle required to pot a ball".

Many women play into the sexist atmosphere around a pool table. Of course, plenty of them are shit at it but there is no need to act so helpless. There is something very 1950s about the way they giggle and defer to the be-testicled for advice. It's not that hard of a game. Just work it out for yourselves, ladies. And if you really can't do it then maybe I could give a private lesson some time. At my place. Nekid.

There a two things that strike me about this post. First, the story in the original one about me giving a talk about Islam is genuinely true. I will have to tell you about that sometime. The other is that although I flatter myself to say so I think my two favourite phrases in the history of this blog are included within this post. They are; 'the gait of a bi-curious teen' and 'be-testicled'.

Thank you for taking the time to read this.

Thursday, 21 July 2011

Visit to the doctors.

When I was 21 I thought I had a lump on one of my testicles. At the time I was in a play and we were in the States (United, of America). After a couple of days of touching myself I decided that it definitely was a lump - a small one - but a lump nonetheless. After speaking with the tour manager (I always kept him up to date with my testicles) I decided to wait until I returned to Britain before seeing a doctor. About a week later I was back home and the lump was still there so I set about booking an appointment. I didn't have a doctor though so had to go through the ball ache (ha!) of registering. It wasn't until about 3 weeks after originally noticing the lump that I actually saw the doctor.

On the morning of the appointment something horrible happened. The lump wasn't there. Do I cancel the appointment? No. It was 8 in the morning. I hadn't been up before 11 for weeks. The chances were, I figured, that my lump was keeping the same hours as me. Once I was showered, dressed and at the surgery the lump would know what was up and make an appearance. Sat in the waiting room, I desperately wanted to know if it had awoken yet but stopped short of feeling myself in public.

Now I'm sat on a chair in front of a doctor. 'What's the problem?' he asks. When people walk in do doctors try and guess what's up with them in their heads? They must do. 'I think I have a lump on one of my testicles' I say. 'Bingo!' he thought to himself. At this point I actually just really hoped I did. 'Ok, well I better have a check, pull your trousers down for me'. Oh, ok, this quick? No pre-amble? Can't we at least get to know each other a little first? I like movies, good food and long walks by the sea. How about you? You're putting on a glove. Right, ok.

In his room there was a curtain. He didn't suggest I stood behind it. So, here I am in the middle of his surgery, my jeans around my ankles and, yep, it's happening now, he's feeling my balls. I look over his shoulder. The blinds are open. Someone walks across the car park.

'Which one was it?'

'The right one. My right'.

Being fresh out of the theatre I nearly said stage right.

'I can't feel anything'

Well, this is embarrassing.

'I think it's a bit further back?'

'Right.... no, I really can't feel anything'. He looks me in the eyes... 'There's nothing there'.

At this point I should give you an idea of his tone. It wasn't a sort of 'looks like you don't have anything to worry about' tone. It was a sort of 'how dare you come in here without a lump on your bollock?!' sort of tone. I think he genuinely thought that I just really really wanted someone to feel my balls. To be fair, I actually did, but not under these circumstances and not a 50 year old Asian man. I pulled up my trousers and thanked him for the most humiliating two minutes of my life. And then I left. There was no... 'come back if you think you have one again' or 'oh well, better safe than sorry'. There was just a very firm... 'Goodbye'.

The lump never returned.

I realise that in my last two blog posts I have written about having a poo and now my testicles. I'm sorry. I will try and keep the next few posts above the waist.

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

I was on the toilet.

As I mentioned the other day - I'm obsessed with this phone hacking malarkey. If you're not then don't give up on this blog just yet. It takes quite an interesting turn. Yesterday was a big day for me. I prepared for the committee hearing with the Murdochs like it was a World Cup game. I got up early, excited, and started to watch the build up. As the event drew closer I pondered when I was going to have my shower - I shower daily (!) - I worried that if I timed it wrong I might miss out on a pre-match interview with one of the players.

The actual hearing itself managed to be enormously exciting and terrifically boring at the same time. Jimmy Murdoch provided most of the boring moments. His long, entirely meaningless answers helped drag things on to such a point that I couldn't hold in my much needed shit any longer. I'd unwisely had a pretty significant burger the night before and am not renowned for uncomplicated digestion. Not wishing to miss a single moment I took my laptop into the toilet with me and watched the live feed. After about 5 mins or so (I'd set aside a good 15) I heard a massive commotion coming from my telly in the living room. With my (not quite) live feed having a delay those of us having a shit (me) were in the dark. It really was like the World Cup now. It was like I'd gone to the toilet, heard a cheer from a nearby pub and realised that I had missed a goal. The difference here is I had no idea what I'd missed.

Once the 'pie throwing incident', as it will forever be known, hit my toilet laptop screen I was still none the wiser. Some of you will remember that at that stage it was unclear what had happened. I quickly tried to wrap up my excretion (not like that) and ran into the living room. I frantically rewound my Murdoch provided Sky Plus and tried to work out what had happened to the old charmer. My twitter feed filled up with people asking 'What happened?' interspersed with Jedward thanking their German fans. Then the oddest thing happened. Marcus Brigstocke retweeted Michael Legge asking 'Is that Fergus Craig?'.

Wh-wh-what?! Now, bare in mind, having rewound my telly I'm still watching the past. How have I suddenly been drawn into this hacking scandal? I guess it was bound to happen at some point. Should I resign? I reset my TV to 'the present' and see a man in handcuffs with what I at the time assume to be paint on his face. Two things cross my mind - 1. Oh, so it was just some bellend making a 'point'. 2. Two comedians with over 80,000 followers between them think I look like that bellend. They think I look so like that bellend that they think it's worth pointing out to their followers, the majority of whom, no doubt, don't know who I am.

What I'm still not sure about is did they actually think that was me? Confidence in my own appearance tends to fluctuate - this week I was feeling fairly good. When my twitter feed filled up with other people calling him a 'fat twat' that confidence dropped a little. I'll take it on the chin. The extra weight I'm carrying will soften the blow. I'd like to think that I would have chosen a nicer shirt. Neither Legge or Brigstocke knows me massively well (no one ever will) but I'd like to think they wouldn't expect me to do such a thing. If nothing else, I'm far too lazy.

We found out not much later that he was, indeed, a comedian - a comedian who now has 16 times as many twitter followers than me and is therefore 16 times as funny.

In unrelated news I woke up with this song in my head today...

Sunday, 17 July 2011

Let kids swear.

Get this! My girlfriend is watching the Crystal Maze. She's foreign (America or Mexico I think) so has no childhood memories of the show. This means that she is able to see past the ridiculous clothes and enjoy it for the puzzles. Yeah, puzzles! My bitch love dem puzzles!

When it comes to the look of the show the Crystal Maze has dated horribly. They're all wearing these brightly coloured yet still somehow faded jumpsuits. Also, every woman seems to have the same permed haircut. At the time of course we didn't notice this. I guess every woman in our lives in 1991 had the same permed haircut and we accepted that as what a woman's hair looked like. By 1996 the Crystal Maze already looked dated. Would a 2006 episode of the Weakest Link look dated to us now? I suspect it would. Just a little bit.

This is my theory. At every stage in time we as a people think we've finally cracked fashion. We think what we're wearing is ridicule proof. But think about what you're wearing now. If a photo is taken, will you be embarrassed about it in 5, 10, 20 years time as you sit in your silver space suit? I am currently in my pants (Calvin Klein, actually) with a blanket over my legs to keep them warm so I'm not sure I fit the experiment. My embarrassment is 'in the now'. But what about the plain brown polo shirt I'm wearing. It's so conservative and 'normal' that surely that won't look odd? It probably will though. They'll be something about the colour and the collar that will be so... 'Oh my God dad! I can't believe you actually fucking wore that!'.

In my vision of the future I have kids and it has become socially acceptable for children to swear. Ah, now there's a point worth side tracking into. Why don't we just let kids swear? If we are personally offended by swearing then fine. But if we ourselves swear all the time and don't really see what's wrong with it then why won't we just let them do it. It's one rule for us and another for them. There's a good reason why parents won't let their kids drink - it'd be too expensive - but why not just let them say 'fuck'? It's a cheap, safe way for them to enjoy themselves. Kids fall off bikes and break their bones all the time. I've never heard of a swearing induced injury. In fact it probably makes them safer. If you were a peodophile (just imagine it, don't do anything) would you go for the kid innocently riding his bicycle or would you go for the one shouting 'fuck off wanker!'.

This video represents what I actually want fatherhood to be like. If you can see past the prejudices about Americans from the South that I imagine my readership has then you might get the heartwarming feeling that I do. I have now watched this video 5 or 6 times but not in a creepy way...

Thursday, 14 July 2011

Festivals and camping.

I'm going to a festival tonight. Luckily I have a lift back to London otherwise I'd have to stay overnight. I hate festivals. Well, no, that's not true. I'm just not built for them. For a start I don't like camping. I point blank do not get it. No one has ever been able to explain the appeal to me. If you have the means and the opportunity to sleep in a bed and with a roof why would you choose to do otherwise?

Admit it. Camping is shit. Any task in a tent is a massive ball ache...

'I need to blow my nose. Where's the tissues?'

'Get the torch'

'Where is it?'

'I think it's by my feet'

'It's not there'

'It is, in the bag'

'Which bag?'

'The one by my feet. The little one'

'Right. Got it. Where's the tissues?'

'In the big bag. In the side pocket'

'Not there'

'Maybe in the front pocket'

'Right... Oh fuck'


'They're soaking wet'

Added to that I am the sort of person who struggles to sleep under normal circumstances. Under a centimetre wide canvas with strangers talking two feet either side of my tent I find it impossible. The only solution I've found to this problem is to get drunk and pass out. The problem with that is that you get to sleep at 3am and at 5am the sun decides to shine. Suddenly the place that was freezing cold two hours ago is boiling hot. Now you're awake in a cramped, sweaty cocoon with some fresh insect bites and a full bladder. So you go through the enormous rigmarole of putting on your trousers (putting on trousers will never be harder) and walk to the toilets. There there's a queue and a powerful stench of other peoples piss.

So no, I do not like camping. I am told that by a lake and a natural beauty spot it's much nicer. Still, it strikes me that the fundamentals are the same. I'd much rather be in an en suite hotel by a lake and a natural beauty spot. Even without the camping I don't really like spending three days at a festival. Now I like music as much as the next man (unless the next man is Steve Lamaq) but three days of it in a field feels a bit much. When do we get to just have a nice sit down? In a chair? A proper chair? With a telly in front of it?

Now! That's when! And Neighbours is on in 20 minutes! Fergus wins at life! Fergus wins at life! Fergus wins at life! Fergus wins... Chant it! Why aren't you chanting with me? Why?

Tuesday, 12 July 2011


I am obsessed with this phone hacking scandal. Obsessed. So obsessed that as I write this blog I am concerned that I might be missing out on valuable new information. I just went to get a sandwich and missed much of Andy Hayman's evidence at the select committee. By all accounts it was very entertaining and I am livid. Sure, they'll replay the best bits later on but I wanted to see it live... LIVE! Give me LIVE NEWS!

For as long as I can remember I have had a massive boner for news, particularly politics. That's right - as long as I can remember. When I was five I wrote a letter to Reagan and Gorbachev asking them to give up their nuclear weapons. My mum insists that this was my idea. They never got back to me but I like to think that my letter might have been a contributing factor in the slowing down of the arms race and the eventual fall of the iron curtain.

At school, when I was 10, we were asked to stand up in class and give a short speech saying why we should be prime minister. All the other kids offered things like free sweets for everyone and 'no more school'. It was a harmless little exercise aimed, I suspect, at introducing the children to the idea of democracy and public speaking. I declared that I would 'continue this government's path of privatisation'. Being in the Labour stronghold of Newcastle I obviously lost. God damn commies! My interest in politics really took off when I was off school for 7 weeks with whooping cough during the 1992 general election campaign. Looking back I genuinely think that I may have faked my whooping cough or at least it's severity so that I could watch the election coverage. Other kids bunked off school to sniff glue and steal Twixes. I bunked off to watch John Major take questions on weird phone in shows.

Here's the thing though. My infatuation with politics is on an almost entirely superficial level. I have very few political convictions, if any. I just enjoy the theatre of it. I like seeing smart people argue. My own opinions usually work like this - my first response to any political topic is to take the reactionary, usually left wing point of view. For example - anti-war, pro-immigration, anti-Murdoch. Then a couple of days later I start to think that lots of smart people think otherwise so in the interest of balance I look at things from their point of view and try to read things that support it. Before long I am utterly confused and don't know where I stand on anything.

When Thatcher left office we had a discussion about it at school. I realise it sounds like I went to a type of x-men academy for young politicos. This was actually the only other instance in which I remember us talking about politics. All the little Geordie boys and girls said things they'd most likely heard from their parents. They said that Thatcher was a horrible woman who had ruined this country and that they were glad to see her go. What with it being Newcastle and all this was the dominant opinion. Upon reflection, the chances are that a lot of their parents (and perhaps my own) lost jobs because of her policies. I, however, sensed an injustice. Who was going to stand up for Maggie? I stood up and said my piece. I distinctly remember feeling quite emotional and getting very close to tears.

'I think that she has done some bad things but she's also done a lot of good for this country and we should be thanking her for that'.

Two teachers looked at each other with raised eyebrows. I now know that they were thinking 'Tory parents eh?'. My parents weren't Tory. I was just a strange, strange child. I didn't even know what the good or the bad things were that she had done. I guessed that there must have been some good things and that I ought to defend her.

Now it's time for me to turn the telly back on and see where we are with this hacking shit. There are far more important things going on in the world but it has all the ingredients of my ideal news story. Pantomime villains, corruption and the pursuit of justice. Somebody has already said this week that it's like The Wire and the parallels are indeed, delicious. Sorry this blog hasn't been that funny. My brain is full of NEWS.

Tuesday, 5 July 2011


When I was at school I would always have a packed lunch. A friend told me a while ago that she always thought that it was called a 'Pat Lunch'. Most people's pat lunch consisted of this... cheese and pickle/ham on white bread sandwiches, a Club, a packet of Quavers, possibly a piece of fruit and a Capri Sun. Mine consisted of a soggy wholemeal sandwich, two pieces of fruit and a rice cake. Once I was in my teens that lunch was hardly ever eaten.

It was the sogginess of the sandwiches which made them most unappealing. They always seemed to be really flat too. I felt guilty that I wasn't eating my lunch. Every night I'd come home with the soggy sandwiches in my bag and fear that my mum would find out that I wasn't eating them. Then I would do something really odd. I would put them in the top of my wardrobe. That's insane right? Why didn't I just throw them away at school? Did I not understand the concept of rotting food and the resulting smell? Soon I did, as my bedroom developed a stench that went beyond the normal teenage boy's smell of B.O, hormones and misery.

What now? Well, I did what any rational person would do and took the sandwiches from the wardrobe and threw them from my bedroom window and into the bushes in our front garden. These sandwiches were now green and furry so I would retch as I did this. Picture it. I look hot don't I? Now, it's important that you know that the sandwiches were still in the cling film they'd been wrapped in. So I wasn't really solving my problem. There was now just a pile of cling film and rotting sandwiches at the bottom of our garden that would surely be found by my parents. My parents would have also surely heard the rustling in the bushes. Perhaps it frightened them.

This is where, as I look back, I realise just how fucking mental I was - I repeated this process for I reckon about 2 years. I continued to not eat the sandwiches. I continued to not dispose of them at school. Instead, I placed them in the top of my wardrobe. Then, once the stench became unbearable I threw them into the bushes outside my window. These are the actions of someone who is surely 0.01% away from being a serial killer. Amazingly, my parents never found out. Or if they did they never confronted me about it. Perhaps they were seriously worried about my mental wellbeing. That explains why most of my holidays were based around a strict programme of Electroconvulsive Therapy.

People are stupid. I guess I just expressed my stupidity in an eccentric way. Which, I suppose, makes me quite cool. That's right bitches! My spin on this story is now that it makes me cool. Real cool. Someone at work was talking to one of the ushers the other day. This is how the conversation went...

Usher: You're from up north innit?

Actor: Yeah.

Usher: Yeah, my mates are from up north... Devon and Cornwall.

Everyone is stupid in their own way. I have a friend (Christ, I've got a lot of friends) who went to see a mortgage advisor the other day. The mortgage advisor kept on saying 'We can borrow you three times your income'. BORROW YOU! It is her JOB to talk about LENDING money all day every day and she doesn't know the right word! How did this happen? Surely, you would have thought, that someone might have told her. At least I managed to keep my stupidity secret for 15 years. This poor mortgage advisor is wearing her stupidity every day like a badge. Everyone who walks into her office sees it like a giant corn on the cob stuck in between her teeth.

Then again, there's probably a fair percentage of people who don't even notice her error. Because, they themselves are stupid. My point is that we are all stupid. Cripplingly, shamefully stupid buffoons who do not deserve oxygen let alone the vote. Even the world's greatest minds (Hawking, Dawkins, Vorderman) must have secrets that match my sandwich story for sheer idiocy. Maybe not. Goodbye!

Friday, 1 July 2011

Tears of a clown

My birthday's coming up in three weeks. If you don't leave me a birthday message somewhere then I gonna be so mad! Right, here's a dangerous subject. Birthday messages on facebook. Every year I get a few and I am of course grateful for each and every one. I do, however, always get a couple from people whom I'm really not sure if I know at all. There's usually one from someone who I don't remember ever speaking to at school. Fifteen years later though they take the time to leave me a birthday message. I must stress that the thought is lovely but it's a little weird, no? Some people must leave birthday messages every single day of their life. I realise I will now get no birthday messages this year.

As long as I get some cards I'll be happy. That's another thing though. I find birthday cards a little weird too. Christmas cards even weirder. What purpose do they serve? I guess it's a way of saying that you want to wish someone a happy birthday/Christmas so much that you are prepared to go above and beyond the call of duty and put that sentiment into writing. In practice though it is usually done out of a simple respect for protocol. That is why I never give cards. I am a renegade. Once again, I have fucked myself over there. No birthday cards this year I suspect. I will no longer be able to weigh my popularity in cards.

Hey! Did anyone see Beyonce at Glastonbury? Wasn't she good at the singing and the dancing? I do really like Beyonce. I think her and Ronnie O'Sullivan are probably the two most talented people on earth and are missing a trick by not going on tour together. Seriously. They could alternate it - one night they'd play an exhibition match and then one night she'd do a concert and he'd come on and mumble like Tricky did on Sunday night. That was sad by the way. I used to love Tricky so much but he was shit. She might as well have brought Kevin Whately on.

Talent like that makes me quite emotional. Beyonce, not Whately. I don't cry at anything in my real life (because I am tough) but I do well up whenever I see someone being really talented and getting the respect they deserve. Whenever I see someone win Wimbledon, no matter who it is, when they lift that trophy I cry a little bit. I'm just so happy for them. It's like a weird little fetish for me. The only other thing I cry at is weddings on Neighbours. Honestly.

Here is a video of Beyonce shot by Jay Z on his iphone that I am unashamed to say made my lip quiver. This will surely test the strength of your music snobbery. Right, stop saying I'm not cool because I cry at Beyonce. I am! I am! I am cool! I'm wearing Calvin Kleins for crying out loud!