Monday, 15 October 2012

The Magic Newsroom

I hardly write in this pissy little thing any more. There was a period there where I seemed able to sustain writing a blog at the same time as having a crystal meth habit. When the time came to choose between the two there was only ever going to be one winner. Now that me and meth have fallen out I'm back to this shit. The most powerful drug I know... bloggin'

I've bought a house! Well, not really. My girlfriend and I have made three mortgage payments on a house. This means that we own a portion of the pubic hair which was left in the toilet bowl when we moved in. In 2017 we will own the whole toilet.

I am now sat at my new desk in my new office. It's incredible to think that from this very spot I will write countless classics. Not today though. I'm tired.

Two years ago I wrote this post...

In it I described the difficulty I had with putting together a flat pack chest of drawers. The last three months or so has been that blog on a loop. My girlfriend is putting together a house and I am standing around trying to look helpful. One weekend I was left alone with the responsibility of painting a room.

Have you ever painted a room? It's fucking hard. On the adverts it looks like so much fun. Dulux advert = Roll a bit, kiss your pregnant wife, roll a bit more, dog runs in, roll a bit more, settle down to smile on a sofa, happiness. In actuality painting a room is horrible. If you're like me it's a weekend of stressing that you're doing it wrong, then standing back and looking at the great big streaks of uneven paint that confirm you have done it wrong.

As I painted that weekend I wore a football shirt and I baggy bleach stained pair of shorts. On the Saturday a hungover me nipped out to get a KFC. On my way back I bumped into my new lovely and definitely middle class liberal neighbour, KFC in hand. That was not the first impression I wanted to give. That picture represents a portion of me but not the bit I want my new middle class neighbour to see. Every day since I've strolled across our shared balcony wearing slacks and carrying a copy of Private Eye hoping to be spotted. This is the *real* me!

I've been listening to a lot of radio whilst ruining the walls of the house that will eventually cost me something close to whatever Chris Addison got paid for those Direct Line adverts. 5live and 6music have been the standards. Sometimes though, as if trying to get into the mindset of a painter and decorator, I've been listening to Magic FM. Why can't I fucking paint properly? That's it! I'm not listening to enough 10cc! For an hour or so Magic FM is great. Every song is sing alongable. It's like being on an enjoyable but tacky Mediterranean holiday with people you like but wouldn't want to hang out with in Britain. Like playing cards with your partner's extended family at Christmas. But you can only talk about traffic and the death penalty/sing along to Shania Twain for so  long. At some point you're going to have to go home, to where you really feel comfortable. This place for me is 5live which ironically talks about nothing but traffic and the death penalty.

My favourite thing about Magic FM is that they call their newsroom - the Magic Newsroom.

DJ: Let's go to Sarah in the Magic Newsroom.

Sarah: Today in parliament George Osbourne sawed Ed Balls in half.

I'd love to carry on writing but I have to leave the house again soon and was hoping to have a poo first. Sorry.

Monday, 24 September 2012

Kate Middletit

The Independent on Sunday just did a survey which asked people if they'd seen Kate Middleton's tits. They've been asking the same question for years. It's only this week that it became relevent. To be honest I found it a bit creepy when 20 something years ago they were asking it about the unknown 6 year old girl, Kate Middleton. Anyway, the results were as follows...

75% of people haven't seen her tits.
19% of people have seen her tits.
6% of people DON'T KNOW if they have seen her tits.

That must be one potentially forgettable pair of tits. My thinking is that that 6% are wondering as to whether Kate Middleton has a Kate Middle-tit that is essentially a Men in Black style 'neuralyzer'. This 6% have no memory of the royal rack but fear that they may have been brain washed by it's powers. Food for thought. Food for thought.

Moving on to less important matters - I just posted my American girlfriend's voter registration form to the U.S. This is as close as I will ever get to effecting an American election. Her vote will count in the vital swing state of Florida so I have have just changed the course of history. It's worth noting that she is a religious extremist with some pretty scary opinions on the rights of Capricorns so I'm not sure I've effected our futures for the better.

Actually, and I think I deserve a pat on the back for this, I have just carried out three tasks. I have, in this order... paid in a cheque, posted a letter, bought two sausages. This took a total of 1 hour and twenty minutes. Amazingly this was despite not being an elderly woman living in a 'rural community'. The bulk of my time was taken up by queuing.

HSBC made £14 billion in profits last year. Unfortunately this wasn't enough to stretch to more than one teller at their Camberwell Green branch. This was my third attempt to pay in this cheque. The first was thwarted by my forgetting that banks close at 4.30 so as to avoid the danger of allowing anyone with a job (not me) some convenience. My second was thwarted by me looking at a queue and deciding against it. On the third attempt I bravely stood in line for 25 minutes and avoided mingling with the 'plebs'.

The post office visit was uneventful but for another, quicker moving queue. People always say that us Brits are 'obsessed with queueing'. We're not. I have no queueing DVDs. I am not a member of any queueing clubs. It's just by far the most obvious way to organise a group of people who all want to do the same thing at once. In other (dirty) countries mobs gather in packs and push their way to the front. In such a society the small and weak are unable to post their radically right wing girlfriend's voting forms.

My final task was a spontaneous decision to buy two sausages. On the adverts for Morrisons the butcher is a smiling northerner who snaps pork crackling all day saying 'Oooh! Would you listen to that!'. My Morrisons butcher was useless. I asked him what's in a Lincolnshire sausage.

'Pork' he said.

'Yeah, but they're all pork. What else is in it?'.


'Ok, two Lincolnshire sausages'.

Then it was my last queue of the day (that is unless there is a 10 deep queue for my toilet tonight - again!) - the queue for the self check-out. The self check-out is the best example I can think of of capitalism failing the consumer. No one *wants* to scan their own items in. It feels like I'm back in 1997 working at the Co-op. I thought I'd moved on from this. But a few years ago all supermarkets realised that they could save a shit load of money by getting their customers to do it themselves.

What this means is, once I've sucked the last bit of good will out of this industry (March 2013) and am forced to get a job, the only one for which I am qualified will be taken by a machine. Miserable and skint I will return to my girlfriend - only to find that the radical right wing government she elected has fitted her with neuralyzing tits.

Monday, 30 July 2012

Queuing for food at the Olympics.

Sticking with my theme of whinging about whinging (see previous post) I've been spending a lot of energy whinging about people whinging about the Olympics lately. It seems that the brilliant opening ceremony converted most of the stragglers and now only a few miserable bellends remain. A whole nation was waiting to be the first to point out how shit it was and quickly realised that it was in fact the greatest thing of all time.

Maybe it wasn't quite that. Some of it was fairly close to watching the chorus of a big budget musical but put all together I thought it was amazing. Yes it cost a lot of money but it made me happy and I'm not against a small portion of our taxes going towards making us happy. In fact why can't just have a perpetual Olympics? I can think of no logical reason why rowing would not be equally as exciting if it was on telly from now until the end of time.

So now that everyone's converted. Now that we're all settling down to watch the judo. Now that I have professed my evangelical love of the Olympics I think I'm entitled to have a slight moan about it. Just one tiny thing...

Yesterday I went to watch the football at Wembley. I saw two very entertaining games. In between them there was a 50 minute break. I spent that entire time queueing for food which I did not end up getting. I knew the queues were going to be long. I accept that. I'm no fool. I ged it, Wembley, I ged it. I knew that the staff might not be lightening quick. I've been to the O2 Arena and have discovered that the longer a queue, the more time sensitive the situation, the more moronically slow the staff will be. What I didn't anticipate was that after 40 minutes of queuing I would be told that they had ran out of food. Firstly, how do you run out of food? It was as if they were surprised by the rush. Surely they knew that we were coming. Secondly, why did they wait until the very last spicy fucking bean ciabatta had gone to tell the 500 plus people waiting that there was no food?

I then passed the information desk and couldn't help but do an impression of my dad, at Clarks shoe shop in 1989, and complain in an embarrassingly British sort of a way. I was told that, and this is true, the reason for the problems was that 'it's busy because of the Olympics'. This was said as if they were giving me information I might not be aware of. 'Thanks information desk, and what exactly is the O'lympics?'. 'Hang on, I'll see if I can find out'.

We then very foolishly joined another queue and there was an equally irritating situation in which no one covered themselves in glory. I raised my voice like the fat spoilt Westerner that I am and said things like 'It's not acceptable'. The staff slowly span around in circles like they were being operated by a bear who'd just been handed a playstation controller. Safe to say I walked away with no food.

Anyway, like I say, I am well behind these Olympics. Situations like this are not the fault of the Olympics themselves. They are the fault of a system in which seemingly vast swathes of people simply don't give a shit about their job. I have had plenty of shit jobs. I've written a blog about it. It's called 'Shit jobs'. No matter how shit those jobs were I always wanted to do them relatively well. Otherwise what's the point? Anyone who saw my work at the Co-op in the 97-98 season will remember I took pride in reducing long queues. Till workers of Great Britain! This is a rallying call! You may one day find yourself in long queue. Serve with the speed and efficiency with which you would like to be served. Or at least something approaching it. Please.

Monday, 9 July 2012

Andy Murray.

Just before we start I should probably give you a bit of a heads up - this blog post will probably be quite whiny. That is because it is the about the subject that makes me angrier than anything else and that is Andy Murray. Or rather people's reaction to him. I'm being honest about this as well. It makes me more angry than anything. More angry than the banking crisis, what's going on in Syria. More angry than anything. I appreciate that that's absurd but, you know, we're odd creatures.

By the way I realise that Britain's premier columnist, Charlie Brooker, has already written a piece on this subject today. Consider this a poor man's alternative. His piece is obviously also available for free from the Guardian website so consider this an alternative man's alternative.

There are two things that people frequently say about Andy Murray that really wind me up. One is that he is rubbish, or at least not that good, at tennis. He is. He is dead good. He is, and has been for a long time, the fourth best at tennis. I would really love to be the fourth best at anything. If I was the fourth best at blogging then you wouldn't already be thinking about giving up on this post and to my right you would be able to see more than 29 'members'. There are only three people better than Murray at tennis and they are three of the best people EVER at tennis. It's like being the fourth best in your class at writing when Shakespeare, Dickens and Orwell happen to be in your class. No shit - that actually happened to my cousin!

To be fair not as many people say he's bad at tennis anymore. The only people who do don't really watch tennis. Of course there's nothing wrong with not watching tennis (there kind of is) but it means you can't really have an opinion on who's good at it. I'm talking about the sort of folk who don't know that there are loads of tournaments other than Wimbledon (of which Murray has won 22) and that Wimbledon is just one of four Grand Slam tournaments (in which Murray has been a runner up 4 times).

I told you this would be whiney.

The thing that really gets my blood boiling (literally - massive problem) is when people moan about Andy Murray being miserable. Paradoxically these people tend to be miserable. They are the same people who complain about the Olympics. Murray, as we have established, is dead good at tennis. If you wish to be entertained by tennis then I recommend watching him. If you wish to be entertained by a smiley face coupled with shimmering wit then I recommend coming to watch me play tennis at Clissold Park some time. My serve, however, is shit.

Here's the thing. I don't even think Andy Murray is miserable or boring. I think he's got a dry sense of humour and when he's AT WORK he's kind of just THINKING ABOUT TENNIS. I know he has a monotone voice and clearly can't be bothered with the interviews but that's fine by me. Do you remember H from Steps? He was enthusiastic in interviews. IS THAT WHAT YOU WANT?

Because, for a few years now, I have found myself defending Andy Murray I have grown to love the man. I really bloody love him. Creepyly so, you could say. I always well up at the end of Wimbledon finals but I think if I hadn't been in company yesterday I probably would have done a serious blubber cry. Look, can we all just raise a glass to Andy Murray? To Andy Murray! Thank you!

Couple of quick additional things. On Saturday Serena Williams (whom I also love and would consider it a challenge and an honour to attempt to, with her consent, penetrate) gave an interview about the illness and depression problems she has had. She was asked about her lowest point. She said, with great emphasis, that she could remember 'When things were really bad once spending A WHOLE DAY on the couch'. Serena, I have spent an entire decade on the couch. Beat that.

Finally, moving away from tennis and into the dark world of narcotics - my urban, street wise upbringing taught me that weed (cannabis, hashish) was always sold in imperial measurements - 'eighths' and the like. Thanks to my connections on the street it has now come to my attention that weed (marijuana, green stuff) is now sold in grams. They've gone metric! I like the idea that drug dealers are explaining to their clients that there's nothing they can do and 'it's all down to the bloody E.U bureaucrats in Brussels!'.

Thanks for getting through the bit where I was humourlessly going through Andy Murray's career stats.

Monday, 18 June 2012

Fat Sally

At the moment I have quite bad eczema behind my ears. Eczema is the weediest of conditions. Asthma comes in a close second but the prop that goes with it gives it an edge. An asthma sufferer at a party can always pull out an inhaler and people will think 'This guy is different, interesting, vulnerable, I'd like to get to know him'. Pull out some steroid cream and start applying to the back of your ears and people will move away and judge you if you use the same fingers to pick at the nibbles.

I feel sorry for fat, ugly kids in American teen comedies. Not the characters - the actors playing them. If you play a nerd or an arsehole (all I play) then there is always the chance that in real life you are cool and nice (I am neither). If the sheer unattractiveness of your appearance is the punchline to a joke - 'Who wants to put their weiner in Fat Sally?' - then there's no hiding the fact that you yourself are fat and unattractive. That can't feel nice.

The actress playing Fat Sally (let's call her Ruth) is 14. For as long as she can remember Ruth has been bullied for the way she looks. She's sought solace in food and this has made things worse. She goes to drama class and a supportive teacher gives her the confidence to participate and it turns out she's quite good. In the rest of her life she feels humiliated and shies away from attention. When she acts she feels liberated and able to express herself. Unshackled by her baggage, in drama class Ruth can be whoever she wants to be. Her parents are pleased to see a more confident Ruth at home. They discover a local drama group and take her to it every Saturday. Ruth is given the lead role in the group's new youth theatre production and puts in a brilliant performance. Her parents are so proud. A local talent agent gets in touch and offers to represent Ruth and get her some auditions. The agent says that 'Ruth really has something'.  Ruth's parents tell her that as long as she continues to work hard at school then they will support her in any way they can.

Ruth is excited. Just six months ago she was the laughing stock of the school and that was all she was. Now she has another life in which she feels empowered and there is a very real chance that she could actually become a professional actor. At night she lays in bed thinking about the world of possibilities that have opened up for her. She doesn't have to be Fat Ruth anymore.

Over the next month Ruth gets 11 casting meetings. She auditions for the roles of Fat Pam, Fat Pat, Fat Sarah, Fatty Patty, Fat Debbie, Fat Claire, Fat Denise, Fat Kelly, Fat Rose, Fat Michelle and Fat Sally.

By the Fat Sally audition Ruth has lower confidence levels than she had a year ago. Every few days she sits in a casting suite with 20 other fat and ugly girls and then misses out on the role, not because she isn't good enough at acting, but because she's not fat and ugly enough. On the way back from the audition Ruth tells her mother that she doesn't want to act anymore. Her mother can see what is happening and feels awful. Saddened but realistic her mother says she's understands.

Two days later Ruth is offered the part of Fat Sally in a Rob Schneider movie. It's only a tiny part but she'll get $1500 and she'll get to meet Rob Schneider. She has never been more excited in her life. Her mother says she doesn't have to do it and reminds her how she felt two days before. Ruth doesn't care about that anymore though. She's a teenager and she's just been offered a part in a real Hollywood movie. Of course she's not going to turn it down.

So there's Ruth on the set of Get High School 4. She's in a high school canteen not unlike her own and she's abused just like before except this time there's 2 cameras pointed at her, an enormous crew watching and it goes on all day. They do 8 takes of the moment in which a tray of food is thrown in her face.

"Welcome to Hollywood" says Rob Schneider.

NB: I have never seen a Rob Schneider movie. I just thought his name worked well and I know he does comedies. If you're reading this Rob - let's go for a drink sometime. 

Monday, 14 May 2012

I played cricket.

I love cricket. Wait. Don't close your fucking browser. Just because you don't like cricket doesn't mean you won't enjoy this blog. Incidentally, why don't you like cricket? Oh. Your father was killed by an irate wicket keeper? Right. Well, in that case I apologise. I completely understand if you want to close your browser. Again, sorry. Yep. Bye.

Awkward! Yes, I love cricket. I love watching it and a lot of my favourite childhood memories involve me playing it. At night, before I go to sleep, I often picture myself bowling excellent deliveries. That is of course after I've had my customary 4 hour shagging session so, you know, I'm still cool.

Yesterday I played my first ever proper cricket game and it turns out I'm shit at it. I knew I wouldn't be brilliant but I didn't think I'd be shit. For a couple of years I played cricket every night after school and I seem to remember being quite good at it. I'm sure I was. I think I remember being reasonably handy with the bat and I distinctly remember taking a good few wickets. It was only yesterday when I was clean bowled on my third delivery that I remembered that 95% of that childhood cricket had been played with a tennis ball, a pile of bags for stumps, a twelve year old and an eight year old.

A few months ago a friend mentioned that he had played a couple of games for a cricket team. Quickly, I asked if he thought I could be involved. He kindly put me in touch with the team's hierarchy. Cricket is definitely a sport I can excel at, I thought. Now was the chance for me to show it. In the back of my head I've honestly assumed that had I gone to one of them posh schools what I'm always hearing about and had had the right coaching and determination - I could have played for England. Last week I found out that there was a place for me in the team for their first fixture of the season. Off I went to buy full cricket whites. I tried them on. Gosh, I looked good. I looked like a real cricketer.

So there I was yesterday morning taking part in fielding practice in Battersea Park. I looked around at my teammates. Hang on. Some of them look like they might be a bit good and that bloke just used some lingo I'm not familiar with. What's that? He's bowling overarm? Steady on!

The game began and after a fairly poor start from our team I found myself walking out to bat. One of the opposing team's fielders piped up with... "He looks nervous". Perceptive prick. The first delivery comes. What the...? The guy bowls quicker than the 12 year olds I remember facing! I hit it. Yes! I hit it! I mean, it's not gone very far but I hit it. Just a few minutes to get my eye in and I'll be off. The second delivery whizzes past me and I take a swipe at it that for all I know was five feet from the ball. Ok. Ok. Calm down. Focus. Third delivery... watch the ball, watch the ball. Yes. That's in the zone. The Fergus Craig hitting zone. I'm gonna belt this. Thunk. I'm out. Out and not proud. Embarrassed.

I spent most of the rest of the afternoon standing in the field. Every 20 minutes or so the ball would come near me and I'd do everything I could to look like a knew what the fuck I was doing. Most of the time I looked like a mum joining in a family cricket game. I pondered how I'd look back on this day. Hey! Remember that time I decided I was going to play cricket? You know, I went and bought a full cricket outfit. Will I ever be cool, mum? Will I?

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Ironic racism.

Sssshhh. I'm not really writing. I'm just pretending to write so that the man on the scaffolding outside my window thinks I'm writing. Last week I found myself in a situation where there was a man fitting a window in my living room and I was watching Neighbours on a television screen directly beside him. I think the testosterone deficiency I felt at that moment very nearly led my balls to shrink up inside my body and spit out a vagina.

Since I'm pretending to write I might as well actually write. Here goes. Prepare for something insightful...

One of my favourite pastimes is ironic racism. I first discovered it at about the age of fifteen.  Here's the idea... safe in the knowledge that neither you or the person you are talking to is racist you find humour in saying the most absurdly racist statements. At the age of fifteen this was as close as I got to taking drugs. The sheer thrill of saying something so outrageous and yet feeling that you could intellectually defend it was incredible. Faced with an offended black person I'm not sure I could have defended it actually...

"No, no, you don't get it. You see the difference is I realise what I'm saying is racist and I'm not racist. That's what makes it so funny. No? Why aren't you laughing?"

Now, let me make something clear. There was a limit to how far I'd go with my ironic racism. I wasn't ironically voting BNP and ironically smashing up curry houses. I did probably go too far though. Many many teenage, usually geeky, boys discover the ironic racism high and experiment with it. I think what happens is that each generation thinks they've discovered it and thinks that they are so clever. The giddiness that this new drug gives them leads them into areas they should probably best steer clear of.

I went through a stage of making jokes about the holocaust. It just seemed like the most shocking thing I could possibly make jokes about and was therefore the funniest and most thrilling. The problem was that if you stripped what I was saying down it was difficult to find any irony at all. Although it wasn't my intention, all I was really doing was laughing at the holocaust. Not pretty.

I'm still partial to the odd bit of ironic racism but I think I have a much better understanding of it's power now. That said, that last sentence scares me; the admission that I still partake from time to time. It's fair to say that the posting of this blog will probably prevent me from ever running for high political office. It's pretty obvious that Cameron and Osbourne went through a bit of a cokey phase in their 20s but that's not stopped them getting where they are. But if there was a record of them admitting to racism, ironic or otherwise, they wouldn't have got anywhere. In a court of law irony, I suspect, is not a defence either. So should it be a defence in real life?

Fucking hell. I'm starting to sweat now. I'm finding it hard to defend ironic racism at all. I may have to give it up completely. What about my other vices? Ironic sexism, homophobia and cat murder? Do I have to give those up to? How does one ween themselves off this shit? Please don't ever take ironic rudeness away from me. Nothing gives me more pleasure than responding to a sincere compliment with a simple 'Fuck off'. 

Thursday, 19 April 2012

The embryo position.

Two weeks ago I left my agent and made an offer on a flat in the same day. I've had a twitch in my left eye ever since. This is true. I don't handle stress particularly well. I'm not the sort of person you'd describe as highly strung. When I'm nervous or worried my energy levels tend to deplenish. If I was on the titanic I would not be co-ordinating the lifeboats. I would also not be running around screaming. I would be finding a nice corner to curl into a ball and die.

When I was about 10 I was beaten up for playing the violin. The thing is I didn't play the violin. Have I told this story before? As most of you are crack addicts I doubt you'll remember. I was riding my BMX up and down the back lane behind our house. Two of my (neighbour)hood's bad boys approached. One was the baddest kid in school and the other one was one of those kids who was somehow associated with the school but hadn't bothered going for a couple of years. I found out recently that Cheryl Cole lived in the tower block by where I lived when I was growing up. Perhaps one of them was her smack enthusiast brother.

As I rode towards them they told me to stop. Now, I knew that this couldn't end well. We were from different worlds. At the bottom of my bed were the 10 books the local library would allow me to take out at one time. At the bottom of theirs were glue, used condoms and poorly spelt letters from their prison dads. Yet I still stopped. As a child I was always obedient to authority and I interpreted their menace as authority.

'Do you play violin?' one asked.


'Aye you dee. He plays violin'

'No. Not me. That's Max. He lives at number 16. I play the guitar'

This was true. You might say it was unnecessary for me to give Max's address but remember I was ten and scared. I accept that you might not want me in the trenches along side you though. I intend to send this blog to any military board that tries to draft me.

'He's lying. You do play violin.'

'I don't. Honest.'

'Get off ya bike'



I got off. One of them then pushed me and I knew I was about to be beaten up. I immediately got down on the ground and went into the embryo position while they kicked me on the back a few times. Not particularly hard I think. There were a few bruises but they didn't really go for it. Maybe they were a bit weirded out by my submissiveness.

I suppose it's quite a sad story. Not least because it reveals why the London Philharmonic has so few Geordie violinists. Every boy gets beaten up at least once though. I suspect Bruce Willis gave Haley Joel Osment a kicking or two on the set of 'Sixth Sense' just to teach him a life lesson. 'Haley ain't no name for a girl!'. The question is would Haley curl up into a ball or at least attempt to fight back a bit no matter how futile it was? Fighting spirit is a good thing, right? Even if you are an effeminate child up against the star of the Die Hard movies.

What I face now is not a fight. It's just a bit of stress caused by choices I've made. Choices which I think are good ones but involve risk. There is still that instinct to just get off the bike and lie down on the ground and close my eyes though.

Epilogue: When writing this blog I opened another tab to look for a word that incorporated players of all stringed instruments. I thought it would make the Philharmonic line a bit funnier. I failed. What I did somehow stumble on was a list of "viola jokes". Perhaps the lads who attacked me were just viola players disgruntled at the constant abuse. Look...

Yeah! Viola players are idiots! Seriously guys. This stuff is gold. I think I may have finally found my voice as a stand up. That's only Part One!

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Make of this what you will.

I realise I've left you blogless for a while. Did you even notice? Did any of you even think for just one second to check if I was ok? Did anyone ring around the hospitals? No. Fuck you. You're so wrapped up in your own pathetic little lives that you don't even consider how I'm doing. Now let me do this thing in peace. You can leave the room if you like.

To get me back to my worthy-of-more-readers flow I'm going to play an old game... random article. That's right! It's the game I played for a brief period last year which received absolutely no positive responses at all. Then why am I bring it back? They just remade 21 Jump Street didn't they? Boom! In this game I click random article on Wikipedia and tell you about what I find. Why can't you just play this game yourselves? Because you, and I feel awful saying this, don't have the wit that I'm about to bring to the table...

Right. Here goes. Safety goggles on. It's time to click random article...

Ok. So, I've got the Taobei District which is a district of the city of Baicheng which is in Jilin in China. Do we have any anyone in from the Taobei District? No? Ok. I have of course never heard of Baicheng (although I've just discovered it's bigger than Birmingham) or Jilin. I've just looked at a long list of China's biggest cities and Baicheng doesn't even make it in. There are a fuck of a lot of people in China. You know when you get on the tube at rush hour and you're all crammed up together? That is what I imagine leaving the house is like in China. No, getting out of bed. As soon as you are out of bed you are essentially on the Central Line at 8.30am. Of course, being so close together only makes things worse. It leads to a lot of accidental penetration which, in turn, leads to more people.

Right, that's China satirised. I don't think we'll be hearing from them for a while. Selecting new random article... NOW!

What we've got here is William Humble Ward, 2nd Earl of Dudley. His name is followed by no less than eight military honours. That kind of makes his middle name, Humble, seem a bit of a stretch. Born in 1867 WIlliam obviously went to Eton and obviously ended up a Conservative politician. If only Billy could see the changes since his death in 1935. Why, if he'd been born just 99 years later then he could have been Prime Minister no less. Boom! Can somebody fetch me the producer of Have I Got News For You please? Because I am on satirical fire. Interestingly in 1920 Humble's wife drowned (suspicious?) and four years later he married an actress named Gertie Millar. Gertie was from Bradford and the daughter of a mill worker. They got to fucking and their great grand daughter is the actress Rachel Ward who was in the the Steve Martin movie Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid.

I'll do one more but only because you really really want me to...

Alien autopsy is what's come up. Not the much acclaimed Ant and Dec film but the procedure itself. The whole article is about the hoax alien autopsy done by some bellend called Ray Santilli. Apparently the Ant and Dec film was based on his hoax which was believed by some other bellends for about 15 years until he admitted that it was bollocks. I've never seen the film Alien Autopsy but I'm suspicious as to how accurately the Geordie duo were able to portray the London based entrepreneur. Especially what with there being two of them and only one of him. Hats off to them for giving it a go though.

And hats off to you for reaching the end of this blog post. Tomorrow's will be better. As a reward for sticking with it here is Fred Willard being brilliant...

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Nunhead and The Cosby Show

Monkeys piss me off. They don't but I liked the idea of starting this blog with that sentence. Happy now? The real blog starts now;

My girlfriend and I are currently looking to buy a house. I say house, I mean flat. We're not millionaires. In London house buying is only for high court judges, world class surgeons and actors who can fuck their way into those Direct Line adverts. The fact is that it's my girlfriend who's really buying the flat anyway. Without her I'd probably be living a lie just to get myself a cheap bedsit at a lesbian and gay housing association.

We've lived in Stoke Newington for the last six or so years and would quite like to stay. That seems unlikely though. Our budget can only stretch to flats in Stoke Newington with a kitchen OR a bathroom when we're rather keen on having both. This has led us to look around. A week or so ago we had a look around Nunhead. Nunhead is a place I'd heard of but had no idea it was in London. I thought it was somewhere in the home counties. 'I, the Right Honourable Member for Nunhead should like to speak now'. It is in fact in Zone 2 and only half an hour from Oxford Circus. It is also a shit hole.

We'd bumped into some friends who'd told us they now live there and 'it was really quite nice, actually'. So, off we went to see an in budget flat and have a look around. We got off the train and walked out onto the high street which consisted of three fried chicken shops and a laundrette. What?! No Wholefoods!! Then we arrived at the street we might live on. The first thing I saw was two stray dogs clambering through the massive windows of someone's living room. I peeked inside to see who our future neighbours might be. There stood two men with their tops off drinking Special Brew at 11 in the morning. 'Hello!'. Next we saw another man standing in the street, in sandals, smoking crack and having some cider. One of the worries of moving to the suburbs and settling down is that you'll feel old but it was nice to know that Nunhead is a bit of a party town. After viewing the not too bad flat we had a look around the neighbourhood and my girlfriend asked what it was that made the area seem so shitty. I pointed out that 50% of the people we had seen were junkies.

This is where we've got to. Professionals in their 30s with fairly good incomes (once you average the two of us out) trying to convince themselves that the ghetto really might not be that bad a place to buy a flat. Are Americans saying that 'some parts of Compton are really quite nice actually'?

If you do live in Nunhead and are offended I apologise. The chances are though, seeing as it's 4 in the afternoon, you've probably had a little too much to drink and it might be time for you to have a bit of a lie down. I'm sure there are nice lots of nice people in Nunhead and I'm sure there's lots of fun to be had, provided you stay in your house at all times and lock the doors. I just want to live in the house that the Huxtables* lived in and I don't see why I can't have it. Sure, the live studio audience would get annoying at times but can I have it? Please?

*Younger readers or bellends who never watched telly might not know who the Huxtables were. They were the family that The Cosby Show was based around. If my memory serves me right, they consisted of;

Cliff - the father. He loved jazz and wore silk pyjamas. He was a vagina and baby doctor.
Claire - the mother. She was a lawyer who was quite strict but attractive and caring. She wouldn't let her daughters wear make up.
Sandra - The eldest daughter. Kind of winey. Married a winey man.
Denise - The next daughter. Very sexy. Bit of a rebel. Married a naval officer.
Theo - The son. Enthusiastic but not academic. Loved pussy.
Vanessa - Second youngest. A little gawky and horse like. Drank bourbon at a friends party once.
Rudy - The youngest. Very cute until she reached the age of eleven or so. They solved this problem by introducing the even cuter Olivia (played by Raven Simone) who ultimately erased the memory of Rudy's early cuteness. I imagine that Keshia Knight-Pullam who played Rudy grew to despise Raven Simone.

I have done this all without the aid of the internet. You may now applaud.

Friday, 9 March 2012

Fanny partings.

A week or two ago I did a gig at Wrexham University. When I walked on staged one of the students said 'Urgh! Side parting!'. I wasn't aware that what I have is an official 'side parting' but was more shocked by her reaction to it. I felt like I was back at school. As regular readers will know and no doubt obsess about I lived in Newcastle until I was 13. There it was centre partings that got the abuse. In 1992 Geordie school kids called centre partings 'fanny partings'. The word fanny in this instance referred to a vagina and not as it does in the U.S a bottom or 'toosh'. So having a centre parting was the ultimate fashion faux pas and was considered equivalent to walking around with a vagina on your head.

When I moved to Essex in 1993 everyone had vaginas on their heads. There it was the holders of side partings who suffered abuse. There was a quick realignment of both where I parted my hair and how I thought. Frustratingly, no matter how hard I tried, my parting would always insist on gradually moving to the side. My head did not want to look like a fanny. Sometimes it would whisper to me 'I ain't looking like no goddamn minge!'.

In school life, fashion is very much based around small things like footwear, partings and how you tie your tie. This is because the uniform restricts where fashion can have it's evil way. At University it should be different. At Wrexham it wasn't because at least some of the students at Wrexham were thick. Sorry Wrexham. Your football team may have achieved an unlikely FA Cup victory against Arsenal in the 90s but your University is shit. In another moment the act before me mentioned a Welsh town. An audience member shouted 'Urgh! Gay!'. Apparently part of that town's name translates as the word 'gay'. I learnt this when the student said 'it mutates as gay!'. Not 'translates'. Mutates. Even if English is her second language (possible) she's still proper thick. Proper thick and at University.

Doing gigs at some of the country's less reputable universities has had a direct effect on my political opinions. From my, admittedly anecdotal, experiences it would seem that there are far too many people going to University. There appear to be lots of people with sub 90 IQs clogging up overgrown institutions. I appreciate this is a very snobby opinion to have. Especially coming from someone who merely has a degree in fucking Theatre Arts from a University with the word Metropolitan in it's name. Perhaps conventional intelligence shouldn't be a barrier to higher education. The thing is though, a lot of the students appear to have no interest in learning.

This blog post I should stress is not a policy report that I feel the government should take serious note of. It is perhaps unsurprising that the students at my gigs aren't studying whilst I'm onstage. They are after all witnessing the best comic since Freddie Starr and the closest this country has got to Richard Pryor. I do, however, get a very strong impression that some of these places are kind of unnecessary. There are 80,000 students currently studying for a BS in Professional Paragliding in the UK. Do we really need 80,000 more paragliders every couple of years? I just made that fact up but I think it makes a very good point.

In conclusion, I'll part my hair any fucking way I like thank you.

Friday, 10 February 2012

Meandering blog post.

I love football a lot and by that I mean I watch it a lot. I don't play it because of my pussy ass bad ankle. That and because I'm shit at it. I don't like to do things I'm shit at. This is why I haven't had sex in 9 years. I did, however play a lot of football at school. Every break time and lunchtime for 12 years I played football. In that whole time I think I touched the ball twice.

Last night I had a memory of the first time I played football at school. I was six years old and we were playing with a stone. I'm not joking. There were about twenty of us kicking a mid sized rock and I don't mean just kicking it about. We had an organised eleven a side game. If the rock went over a fence into someone's garden one of us would have to go over there... 'Can we have our stone back please?' This was Newcastle in 1986. Times were hard. If you want to do some research watch Billy Elliot. I think Newcastle had just the one football that year and I'm guessing Gazza had it that day.

Even though I love football I have found the way it's dominated the news in the last couple of days embarrassing and I'm someone who frequently watches Sky Sports News for eleven hour stretches. Many a time I've seen the same Mick McCarthy interview fifteen times in a day. But such blanket coverage feels very wrong on the proper news channels. Yesterday they cut away from Heather Mills at the Leveson inquiry to go to an FA press conference. I was momentarily angry. How could they cut away from real news for football nonsense? Then I remembered that what I was regarding as 'real news' was Heather Mills.

It seems obvious that the 'real news' going on right now is in Syria. But here's the thing - every time Syria comes on the news I turn over. That's right guys, I'm telling it like it is. You come here for the truth, don't start complaining if you don't like it. The situation in Syria seems so utterly helpless I've decided to ignore it.

Right, this blog post isn't going well. I've backed myself into a corner where I'm talking about ignoring Syria. How did I get here? This was not the plan. I blame the illuminati. They're always fucking up my shit. The other day the god damn illuminati made me leave my phone charger at home. God damn illuminati!

I'm a little out of practice with this blog. I spent last week filming a sit com pilot near Huddersfield. I wanted the pilot and the my performance to be as good as possible but for much of the time my main focus was staying warm. Actually we shot pretty much all our scenes outside in minus 'Christ, it's cold' temperatures so 'staying warm' wasn't an option. We never were warm. The ultimate aim was to 'approach warm'. I was creeping up on warm from behind but I never caught it.

What do you think the chances are of this blog post getting a movie deal? The plot seems to veer all over the place. There are no protagonists to root for. There's just this narrator character who seems to not know where the fuck he's going. Perhaps it something to do with the fact the narrator has only had a yoghurt for breakfast and isn't fully awake yet. Perhaps the narrator will now make himself some peanut butter on toast that he'll regret within minutes.

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Bowl of sausages.

A couple of years ago I went on an impromptu pub crawl with comic and professional German Henning Wehn. We ended up at a lock-in in what could only be described as 'a dirty fucking East End boozer'. People were smoking. I'm serious! They were actually smoking... in a pub! I have mixed views on the smoking ban. As a non-smoker and someone who likes wearing jeans for a fortnight I appreciate the fact that a simple visit to the pub no longer causes every inch of my body to stink of fags. At this point, I'd like to let my American readership know that every inch of my body ALWAYS stinks of fags. The unfortunate side effect of the smoking ban is that it means that people now stand outside for a smoke. I live opposite a pub frequented by Dalston type bellends which means that on any given night I have 30 smokers shouting about bellendia outside my window. I just invented the word bellendia because I don't actually know what those types talk about anymore. I was going to say The Strokes and then I remembered that that was 10 years ago. I am OLD.

Hi guys! Good to have you back for the second paragraph... here goes! So there I was in this East End boozer, a little drunk and actually enjoying the indoor smoking with a kind of nostalgia. Myself and Henning sat at the bar like real men. Then a cardboard bowl of warm, cut up sausages with ketchup was placed in front of us. Bar snacks! This was fantastic. Perhaps they had noticed my German friend and decided to welcome him. Who'd have thought that 70 years on from the blitz an East End pub would not only serve a German but feed him with one of his favourite foodstuffs? We devoured the sausages. Yum yum. 'I love East End boozers' I think to myself. Two minutes later the publican saw that the sausages were gone and everything changed...

'Those sausages weren't for you!'

'What?' We mumbled with sausage breath and ketchup round our lips.

'Those sausages were for that bloke over there'.

Oh. They were just resting in front of us. We look over to see an extra from Danny Dyer's latest film 'Shut It You Nonce!' Suddenly I'm not having fun anymore. The thing is he did put the bowl of sausages directly in front of us. If it was a baked potato then I would have assumed a mistake but a bowl of sausages... surely they were just giving us some bar snacks. I wasn't familiar with proper East End lock ins. I guessed that's just what they did. I was certain someone had put a free bowl of sausages in front of me before. Hang on. Maybe that was in Spain. Perhaps I should explain that I was a little too accustomed to the tapas bars of Salamanca and Seville. Maybe not. No worries. This was easily solved. We could simply apologise for our mistake and buy a new bowl for the gentleman behind us. If that didn't work then, heck, sausages for everyone!

'Oh. We're sorry. We didn't realise. We'll buy another bowl of sausages then. And here, get yourself a bowl of sausages on us.'

There. Panic over.

'Can't do that. There's no more sausages'


'We're out of sausages'.

Suddenly this had gone from a sausage emporium where sausages are handed out with abandon to a veritable synagogue. Now we were properly fucked. We'd made an error and now it appeared irredeemable. I considered ordering a taxi to the nearest 24 hour Tesco and grabbing some. They could hold my German friend as a sort of deposit while I did so.

The end of the story is kind of disappointing. Some of you want it to end with us turning it round with our wit and charm and joining them in an cockney sing-a-long. Most of you want it to end with us getting the shit kicked out of us. That's what you read this blog for - the violence. The truth is we just quickly finished our drinks and left with a little menace still in the air.

Thank you for reading my 100% true anecdote about a bowl of sausages.