Saturday, October 31, 2009
Or unhappy, if you happen to be a blood-sucking ghoul with a penchant for human flesh (and weird taste in clothes).
On a lighter note, I'm happy to report that my cerebellum is no longer functioning with the synapse-pumping power of one of these babies:
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
Sometime in June, I reckon July, August, September and October got together to discuss the future like cross-dressers relishing the luxury of a pantomime.
August: Why don’t I take October this year?
October : Great! And July can have September!
Now the summer’s over, the time has come to recalibrate the central heating in readiness for the chills of November. Assuming we don’t get December. Or January.
As ever, I’ve been way too enthusiastic with my anti-cold tactics, whizzing every dial up to max just in case the water pipes freeze or passing mammoths demand somewhere warm to thaw their mighty trunks.
So, instead of rising this morning with a spring in my step to rival a gazelle pumped full of amphetamines, I slithered from under the duvet having performed a 180 degree turn inside my own skin like a boil-in-the-bag ready meal. As I sit to type, my skin has the consistency of gravy licked by a slavering St Bernard, my head feels fuzzier than Sean Connery’s blow-dried chest, and I swear, if I’m called upon to do anything difficult today, I’m guaranteed to do it badly.
So, so glad I’m not a heart surgeon.
Or a wasp.
Today, I’d make a crap wasp...
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
It’s funny how things turn out.
My recent excursion to Hastings/Boulogne wasn’t terribly exciting in terms of hot Norman-on-Tourist action — though the weather was warm enough to melt a Cornetto and I did manage to insult a couple of anti-Darwin campaigners dressed up as gorillas.
Lucky, then, that I invited you (my glorious readers) to prod me in some sort of direction for this blog post. A pre-emptive strike muchly worthwhile in retrospect.
Sadly, cats and phallic vegetables didn’t thrust themselves upon my attention in sufficient numbers to warrant much of a mention (OK — the courgette team won 3-0), but I think I have everything else.
As it happened, we weren’t in Hastings itself, but next door, in Rye. For those of you who have never been, Rye is a small picturesque village whose streets exude Englishness like Britney oozes kickability. We saw lots of Japanese tourists scooping it from the gutter and drizzling it over their heads till cries of “tally ho” burst from their lips and they sped off to hunt a fox.
Down by the quayside there were more antique shops than you could shake a genuine Victorian shooting stick at, so Famille Whirl headed inside to look for bargains.
I love these places.
Filled with spoons you haven’t seen since you were three years old, odd rusty implements (purpose unknown), armless mannequins, saucers from long-since-shattered tea sets and brazen displays of golliwogs — all hung/perched in a perfectly random tangle, waiting to be upended by your elbow (or offspring). The best part is playing the game of Find The Shopkeeper. Is he behind that pile of Dandy annuals stacked on the Egyptian sarcophagus? Under the picture of the dogs playing snooker? Or is he the woman you mistook for a cushion who is now taking £20 off an old bloke for a tin whistle that doesn’t work?
Anyhow, that’s when I saw them, the helmets.
And then this one...
Having accidentally sat on the proprietor (and muttered, ‘ghastly, ghastly fabric’) I knew I’d robbed myself of the opportunity to try on any number of these magnificent bonce-cladders, and I had to wait till we dropped in at Bodiam Castle to avail myself of further photo opportunities. As ruined castles go, Bodiam is remarkably intact, and we explored its battlements and turrets like small fleas on a castle-shaped dog — only with a less incredible size:leaping distance ratio (and no innate ability to lay eggs).
Our long slog round the castle's crumbling interior was rewarded with a National Trust gift shop, complete with ice creams, Knit Your Own Family Tree sets and a lacklustre Morris dancing troupe whose pedestrian routine only became interesting when a lone wasp took a fancy to their handkerchiefs.
Inside the shop, I found this!
And within seconds, all manner of fantasy scenarios presented themselves, from the rescue of a damsel in distress...
...to mortal combat with an evil knight clad in the mangled remains of two articulated lorries, and his fire-breathing credit-crunch-discounted dragon pets...
...and a BAT!!
I’d love to say that I battled fastidiously with all the foul beasts the National Trust could sling at me, hacking to death every 300 Piece Jigsaw Of A Horse, Interesting Pot Of Yorkshire Marmalade and Tartan-Style Beard Warmer that came marauding my way, but the woman behind the counter put paid to my adventures with a wearily dismissive incantation that robbed me of my strength
“Oi, pack mucking about you grett apoth.”
Drained of all my incredible superpowers, I hopped aboard a Eurotunnel shuttle bound for Calais, fearful of what grim fate awaited me...
(To be continued...)
Thursday, October 15, 2009
The rain in Spain may fall mainly on the plain, but in England, it seems, it hides away for six weeks behind serial panoramas of bright sunshine, and then, on the day before I set sail for Much-needed Weekend Break Land, bursts from the heavens like a dirty old man’s penis protruding from the flaps of his shabby overcoat.
Thanks to your suggestion in the previous comments trail, I am, however, prepared.
See you next week...
Sunday, October 11, 2009
I’m away next weekend — a short trip to Hastings and Boulogne to recreate the magic and mystery of 1066 (and stock up for Christmas at Auchan) — and, rather than simply turn up, have something happen , and then return to Blighty to write an amusing retrospective blog post, I thought I might do something of a pre-emptive strike (in the style of George Bush dealing with people he didn’t much care for) and invite YOU, my wonderful readers, to POINT ME IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION.
What shall I go looking for?
What sort of things shall I photograph?
What ferocity of mule shall I clamber atop as I shake my booty in the All Kent Big Butt Mama Mule Rodeo Sweepstake, dressed as a woman?
This is not so much a competition as a complete and utter waste of time, and I shall bear all/none of your suggestions in mind, depending on how inspiring I find them.
Let me be your eyes and ears; your nostrils, tongue and liver.
And yes, I’m open to poetry.
I promise to deliver...
Friday, October 9, 2009
You know that tedious moment when you pull a bundle of warm clean laundry from the tumble dryer and begin separating out the things to be ironed from the hotch-potch of stray underwear?
And you bundle up the socks, one-two, one-two, one-two?
And you come across a lone slip of hose, tucked away at the bottom of the pile like a lost (and floppy) boomerang?
And you can’t find the matching sock anywhere?
Sock Down! Sock Down!
Monday, October 5, 2009
‘What did the big chimney say to the little chimney?’
‘Ha — I know this one! You’re too young to smoke.’
‘Fast forward a little.’
‘Everyone’s heard the joke right at the start, but later on is when it gets really interesting.’
‘Interesting? Aren’t jokes supposed to be funny?’
‘Hey, this is about smoking. Not a laughing matter. Thousands of people die from smoking-related illnesses every year.’
‘So why the chimneys?’
‘It’s just an illustration. They’re characters. Helps to get the kids onboard, you know, like Ronald McDonald.’
‘Do you mean the Ronald McDonald who lives down my street who’s kind to old ladies and never has a bad word to say about anyone, or the Ronald McDonald whose fatty, salty, processed garbage has contributed to the biggest rise in clinical obesity since—’
‘Okay. Bad example. What about Batman?’
‘What about Batman?’
‘He doesn’t smoke.’
‘You don’t know that for sure. If he’s clever enough to conceal the Bat Cave from the whole of Gotham City, he’s got to be capable of sneaking a crafty fag in the Bat Closet, surely?’
‘And this is the Bat Closet from which comic or movie, exactly?’
‘You’re missing the point.’
‘I don’t think so. You’re saying Batman is a smoker, right? So prove it.’
‘OK. In issue number...657 — the one from the late 70s where he’s against...the Joker...and...I dunno...the Pelican! — he ducks behind a wall on page five just as Robin finishes off some hoodlums in his fey trunks.’
‘That’s when he has one. A Winston.’
‘So where’s the closet? You’re telling me his secret smoking closet was right there behind the wall? Ha! Even if this was a pre-planned ambush on the part of the caped crusaders, I find that hard to believe. Surely Robin would have spotted it? “The Bat Closet: Robin KEEP OUT”?’
‘Robin, if I may remind you, is not the most astute of sidekicks. He probably mistook it for a shed.’
‘OK, you win on the cerebral prowess of the boy wonder. But a shed? In a Gotham City alleyway?’
‘Now you’re jumping to conclusions. I never said what was behind the wall did I? Could have been the Pelican’s back garden—’
‘Ha! In which case, how did Batman erect his shed-like closet without being spotted, huh? If it came as a kit, it would have taken him ages to put up; all those nails, and all that hammering. And if it was a prefabricated structure, he’d have needed a crane. Not the easiest thing to sneak into your arch-enemy’s back garden, is it? So how did he do it?’
‘He’s Batman, dummy.’
‘You said. But that doesn’t make the Hulk an opera singer. I know Batman’s got a utility belt, but that’s doesn’t make him superhuman.’
‘He was in league with The Riddler when he did it.’
‘Exactly. The Riddler. Maestro supreme of the perplexing conundrum. God knows how he did it, but he did.’
‘Batman? In league with The Riddler? Waitaminute...’
‘Have you read issue...482?’
‘You said six hundred and something!’
‘It was a reprint.’
‘Okay...okay — but having a concealed closet in the Pelican’s back garden doesn’t make Batman a smoker!’
‘His life’s a wreck, remember?’
‘So’s mine. But that’s no reason to blast off twenty a day just to get by. Or thirty, if I’m stressed.’
‘Hang on. Is that whisky I can smell on your breath?’
‘Georgio Armani, actually.’
‘And I was only joking.’
‘Fine. Can we get back to the two chimneys? I’m keen to go home and slash my wrists.’
‘Okay. So you get the joke at the start?’
‘Big chimney. Little chimney. Yeah. Hilarious.’
‘So, then the little chimney asks the big chimney why it’s too young to smoke—’
‘Spare me the line-by-line account. Cut to the chase.’
‘Okay, so as the big chimney is lying there in a pool of blood—’
‘What pool of blood?’
‘I’m cutting to the chase. Like you asked.’
‘So, he’s just coughed his lungs up, right? But he still manages to speak—’
‘Because he’s a talking chimney — a concept no more ludicrous, folks, than a closet—’
‘Shut it. He’s trying to make a point about the susceptibility of childrens’ lungs to the evils of nicotine. It’s a passioned plea, delivered as he’s literally choking to death. In the end, the kid sees sense, and saves the big guy’s life by performing an emergency tracheotomy with a biro. It’s a testament to the wisdom of mankind; a triumph of reason over habit, and all you’ve done is trivialise it.’
‘I trivialised talking chimneys?’
‘Yeah, that’s right. Ronald McDonald, remember? It’s a gruesome, hard-hitting message — all this lung cancer, emphysema and shit — and sometimes the world of metaphor reaches out to people more readily than brute reality.’
‘World of Metaphor? Is that a theme park?’
Friday, October 2, 2009
Why has the hoover broken? It’s Friday. I need it to work.
Whirl collapses in the armchair, clutching at his pinny like a maiden in distress. A maiden imprisoned in some lonely tower. By a ferocious dragon.
Geoff has been moulting all Summer, and every day, my living room carpet has needed two or three decent vacuums to prevent the whole household choking to death on furballs. And Son of Whirl, with his digestive biscuits and no plate has contributed to this sorry scene in his own inimitable way, dropping crumbs onto the carpet’s furry surface like a Lancaster bomber full of glue-sniffing teens with ASBOs.
Whirl waves his feather duster at the hoover like a wand. Pleads with it.
‘Useless object! A lame 70s cop show knows more about suction than you, you Champion of The Crap!’
‘Not my fault,’ the hoover says with a wheeze. ‘You never clean out my filter.’
‘What the hell are you talking about?’
The hoover turns in a circle on its tiny wheels and points to a small flap on its side with a finger-like loop of its flex. ‘In here, stupid. It’s like a sponge, only thinner. You take it out and wash it in the sink, like pants. Probably black as burnt toast by now...’
Whirl leaps up. ‘I do NOT wash my pants in the sink!’
‘Somebody does,’ the hoover says, wryly.
Holding the hoover at dusterpoint, Whirl wheels the wretched thing into the washroom, and there, on the drainer — My God! — a pair of neon blue skimpies that would shame a Soho prostitute. A Goldilocks and the Three Bears moment ensues as Whirl inspects the lewd motif on the gusset.
‘Too small for me,’ he mutters, ‘And too big for Girly of Whirly. And Son of Whirl may be stupid, but even he wouldn’t be seen dead in these.’
‘You had the mother-in-law round for dinner last Sunday,’ ventures the hoover.
So now, one emergency has blossomed into another. What began as a small maintenance nightmare has swelled, like a rat inflated with a bike pump by a cruel and wicked child, into a scenario with the direst of implications. In less than two days time, I have to walk my family into the jaws of Lingerie Death, there to eat a full Sunday Roast (and possibly a Walls Viennetta if Son-of-Whirl has done all his homework). Mother of Girly of Whirly is closet now — but what if she outs herself? Leaps onto the table between the spuds and the cruet and tears off her slacks to reveal an immodest thong? With lights? And a picture of Clint Eastwood from Dirty Harry?
If I suddenly go quiet on you all, it means the worst has happened...