Friday, 15 May 2015


I got my hair cut today. Actually, I got all of my hairs cut - at least the ones on my head anyway. I don't enjoy getting haircuts which is why I only do it about once every two months. That means I have about three weeks of relative confidence in my head followed by two weeks of 'I should probably get a haircut' followed by three weeks of avoidence of mirrors. How often do most men go? Whenever I'm in a barbers I find it difficult to tell the difference between the men who've just had a haircut and those who are about to.

Here's why I don't enjoy it... for roughly twenty minutes you are forced to look at yourself go through varying stages of unattractiveness whilst a stranger prods at your personal space. That seems fair enough right? I'm not one for conversation either. Everyone else in the barbers seems to be having a right old good time - nattering away like breakfast DJs. Me and my hair dresser meanwhile look like we're in a difficult marriage.

Once the haircut instructions have been sorted it goes like this...

'Day off work today?'




I don't know how to get it past that point and have no real desire to do so. What should I say?

'Well, kind of. I'm self employed you see so almost every day is a day off should I choose it to be so. What's actually happening here is I'm using the need for a haircut to avoid writing the novel I started last November but am making slow progress on because I'm finding myself going into dark areas which are forcing me to confront the worst aspects of my personality. Later on I'll most likely write up our conversation in a blog which will make me feel like I've done something but will ultimately take me no closer to achieving anything of real consequence'.

'Do you mind if I use the clippers on the side here?'

'No, go ahead'

On a positive note, I think I've cracked what my standard haircut is. I'm going for what I like to call 'normal' and until hair loss forces me to change tack, that's what I'm sticking with.

I'm taking some Americans to watch a 20/20 cricket match tonight. That should be fun. I'm intending on loudly telling them the wrong rules...


Then if anyone tries to correct me I'm going to shout...


Wednesday, 6 May 2015

I Can't Drive.

I can't drive. This year I will be 35. Hang on a second. Sorry, I just saw that last sentence and had to yell at the wall with tears streaming down my face for fifteen minutes. 35! This was very much meant to be a blog post about my relationship with driving but I may just have to rant about this whole turning 35 prick of a situation for a couple of thousand words. I mean, who is responsible for this? Am I supposed to just sit here and take this kind of treatment? There's a packet of biscuits on my desk. I've eaten two. I might as well eat the whole lot. Enjoy my last few years, eh, before I'm bundled into the incinerator for the good of the nation.

Right, driving...

No. Hang on. Election tomorrow. I will vote for any party who will pledge to freeze the ageing process. Not taxes, not energy bills, not train prices - fucking time! I want you to freeze time and I want you to do it now. Can we not put some kind of quango together to work on this bitch? You can argue over the top rate of tax all you like but no one seems to be addressing the real issue which is the fact that we've all got death running towards us at ten million miles an hour.

I realise that if you're older than me (perhaps a grandchild has just shown you how to use the internet) this is a little irritaing. Sorry. Just because you're further along in the decaying process than me it doesn't mean I can't complain. Can the people of Greece not complain just because the people of North Korea are worse off? What? Yes, I'm okay. Of course I'm thinking rationally. That was a totally measured comparison to draw. I'm fine. Honestly. DON'T TOUCH MY FUCKING BISCUITS!

Driving. Yeah, can't do that. But you know who else couldn't drive? Jesus Christ. I'm in good company. Why can't I drive? Combination of a few things. I didn't have much (any) money in my teens. Any Americans reading this may be surprised that money was a factor. Unlike in your country, we don't just hand over $50 and a smile for our licenses. You have to take proper lessons and that costs a bit.

Then I went to university, where not only did I not have any money but at no stage in those three years was I sober enough to legally drive a car. Again, Americans - I know you all think nothing of driving with the wheel in your right hand and a margarita in your left but we're a little more uptight. Think Jeffrey the butler from the Fresh Prince of Bel Air.

Since University, I've lived in London where driving a car is completely unnecesary and only really an invitation for people to ask you to help them move house. Fuck that.

So there's my excuses. The truth is though that I'm terrified. In five years of Craft, Design and Technology at school, all I made was a bread board. Essentially, I picked up a piece of wood that looked like a bread board, took it for one trip round a jigsaw, and called it a bread board. I don't trust myself with heavy machinery. Would you feel safe with me prowling the roads (and most likely pavements) in a ton of metal on wheels? Nah, mate. Didn't think so.

And so, here I'll sit for the next half of my life, watching you lot drive around you planet killing MONSTERS.

Friday, 1 May 2015

I Faked Whooping Cough

It's 23 years since I spent seven weeks pretending to have whooping cough so that I could watch the World Snooker Championships and coverage of the 1992 General Election. It started with a bad cold, possibly a throat infection. I had a bad cough - there's no doubt about that. My mother took me to see the GP and upon learning that I hadn't been vaccinated for whooping cough* he mentioned that as a possibility.

I took two key facts from that consultation - 1) Whooping cough can last for up to three months and I should stay away from school as long as I have it. 2) A sure fire sign that I did have whooping cough would be if my coughing fits developed a 'whoop' noise as I took in breath.

I went home to work on my 'whoop'. In the days before internet, it was impossible for me to find out exactly what a 'whoop' sounded like. One thing I did have in my favour was that it was impossible for my parents to find out too. As long as my 'whoop' sounded plausible to a novice then I would be okay. Did my 'whoop' sound plausable? Listen mate, I was just a few years away from receiving an A* in GCSE Drama - of course it fucking did.

So this became my life for a few weeks. In exchange for a few exaggerated coughing fits a day and a bit of home work, I was free to do what any eleven year old home from school would do - watch political coverage on TV.

This is where my obsession with politics started. It's not ideology I'm into by the way. Not even issues really. All that stuff is way too hard. If you think you know what the fuck we should do with the NHS I would suggest that you are misguided. It looks like we'll soon get to the point where we can keep people alive until they're 150 as long as we spend £10 million a week on their drugs and they promise not to move. AND THAT'S A FACT!

Dealing with the actual issues involves moral dilemas and compromises and the odd clear conviction. Like I say - too hard. What I'm into is Cameron forgetting what football team he supports or Andrew Neil ripping a series of middle managers a new arsehole or the ongoing adventures of Grant Shapps. Stuff that doesn't matter. I like arguments I have zero chance of losing because I'm simply watching them.

That's not to say I don't pick sides and it's not to say that I don't care. It's just that, as with my well documented love for Neighbours, I'm happy to buy into the day to day bullshit narritive served up to me. This morning, for example, Cameron slipped on a Freudian and said this was a 'career defining election' before correcting himself with 'country defining election'. That'll be fun for a day. People will load it with lots of conspiracy revealing nonsense. It's funny. It's not important but it's funny. To me.

Anyway, the throat infection I suspect I did actually have cleared up and then I was left having to muster up entirely manufactured coughing fits. In time, they lost the enthusiastic energy of earlier performances and after seven weeks I was bundled back to school. My well informed John Major and Roy Hattersley quips didn't go as well with my classmates as I would have liked. It would be another four years until I touched a girl's boob.

*I think that my mother would like you to know that I wasn't vaccinated becasue of some crazy Daily Mail induced paranoia. Apparently there was a dodgy batch going around our area at the time. If you're into getting high on that sort of thing, there might be some still availible on the black market.