Tuesday, May 23, 2006


I’m on my internet banking site. You have been pre-approved for a loan of £24,000. Click here to accept. Really? Have I? I don't remember ever asking for a loan of £24,000. Then I stopped talking out loud at my computer as it seemed uninterested in responding. If it had chosen to respond it may have pointed out that you don't have to ask for something to get it pre-approved. But it didn't answer so it didn't make that response so leave me alone you..you…anyway…

'So what is the problem with this?' you might well ask, or you might not if ignorance is the road you're driving your soul down. The problem is the most dangerous combination of things since fire and flatulence; the internet and alcohol. It starts off innocently enough. With small-fry drunken use. You've had a sack-full of Stella and in through your front door you walk singing the last song you heard, and it may be Steps. Just maybe. Look I’m not saying it will be but it maybe.

You slap the PC while you re-warm your Kebab up in the washing machine(non-colourfast cycle) and start browsing the Belgium version of Amazon. "Tragedy, when the feeling‘s gone and you‘ve can‘t and go on Tragedy. Because it's lovely like the sun. What’s this? Steps Greatest Hits for £7.99 La la la hey Jude. La la. Click Click. I have bought it now. I have bought that album what I've just bought called Steps. Yes now. I want my foooooooood. Oh it’s soapy….but it has retained its colour "

And so I end up with a Steps album, which, to be honest, wouldn’t have happened if beer hadn’t done stuff. But to be fair it doesn't bankrupt me, just made me slightly less of a person.

But imagine if this happened: "Tragedy, when the feeling‘s gone and you‘ve can‘t and go on Tragedy. Because it's lovely like the sun. What’s this? Steps Greatest Hits for £7.99! Just a second…What's that? Claire and H from Steps will come and play in my back garden for £20,000? Pre-approved loan of £24,000! I could buy a second-hand speed boat too!. Click Click. "

This is why responsible internet businesses should be providing sobriety tests for anyone wishing to purchase or agree to anything on-line. You should have to do some kind of obstacle course with a mouse pointer or complete Doom 2 on ‘I’ve got the biggest in the world’ level. Or maybe a Web-cam should verify that you can stand on one leg.

Last year 14,000 people bought Steps CDs while drunk. 345 people hired Claire and H for private musical performances under the influence and ITV commissioned Celebrity Wrestling.

Next time you decide you want a drink, leave the mouse in its house.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Beards and Bins at the BAFTAs

Sort of got the BAFTAs on in the background on the television for it is a program that can only ever be on in the background. Foreground watching it is not.

If there’s one thing actors are always desperate to do, is to make it clear that they are not actually anything like the characters they play.

David Tennant (Doctor Who), proves he is not really a time-traveller, pissing about the universe in a Police Box by sporting a rather embarrassing beard. He’s probably getting back to the theatre (which he really loves) appearing in a play written by a cat from Hull who has turned its life of fish-eating, bird-killing and looking peeved around into a successful playwright.

Worst of all is Martin Fowler from Eastenders who has decided to wear thick-framed glasses. Every shot of him, he’s there beaming away as if to say “Don’t be stupid, I’m not really Martin Fowler and here I prove it by wearing these glasses. Glasses that actors wear, not people from the East-End.”

And on the subject of award ceremonies, please stop nominating Catherine Tate if you’re never gonna let her win. It’s like they’re picking on her, winding her up. Next year they’ll invent an award called “Outstanding Contribution to Entertainment by Someone Named Catherine Tate”, and award it to Jonathon Ross.

Ross will afterwards comment that Tate was unlucky not to win.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

The Remains of Ribena

"They just decided they didn’t want them and dumped them there.” the mid-forties checkout-girl who must have been called Sue replied to the Security Guard in a voice so exasperated it made me want to take out a notebook and rewrite the definition of the word exasperated. The subject of this lady’s distress? Three big bottles of Ribena sitting just in front of the conveyer belt of her checkout.

The bizarre parallel universe that is the Sommerfield Convenience store near my flat continues.

The security guard who was quite rightly named Steve, himself unbelieving of the scene of, I repeat three bottles of Ribeena cordial sitting on the end of a shop check-out slowly shook his head. “I don‘t understand why someone would do that.” he solemly enparted as if he was looking at the body of a kitten that had been set alight by teenangers.

There then followed a long pause. Steve and Sue stared at the bottles unsure what their next move should be. They hadn’t signed up for this, this is not why they had joined the Sommerfield family. And because they never envisaged something like this would happen, they were ill-prepared to handle it when it did.

Finally Steve decided the only thing he could do was to take action. “I’ll take them back and put them on the shelf.” he said.

Sue shook her head once more, “You shouldn’t have to.” Her eyes rose up from the bottles and met Steve’s. Before Steve was just someone who threw out drunks or chased people that stole cheese. Now he was a more than that, he was a man that dealt with the horror of Ribena abandoning, and that made Steve a man Sue respected.

“When you’ve put them back Steve”, she whispered, provocatively playing with her dusty sticky hair, "...maybe we could get married, start a family. We could be happy, you and me Steve. Happy like other people are.”

Steve reached out his arms slowly but confidently and picked up two of the Ribena bastards. He winked at Sue and off he went to find the bottles home.

But because this was Sommerfield, Steve never could find where the Ribena belonged. Noone can ever find anything in a shop so randomly organised as to put yoghurts next to James Blunt Cds. Because of his dedication to Sue, he never stopped looking. His unwavering resolve to finish his mission of returning those boys home, ended in the only way it could.

Steve’s body was found in the Socks, Cat Food and fruits of a light green colour isle with a jar of Colmon’s mustard lying beside him. Steve had finally succumbed to starvation on day forty-two of his mission. How he had starved in a food-store noone knows, especially me who hadn’t thought of that till now, but fuck it. With his last lonely breaths, he had pushed his finger into the mustard and smeared the simple, although not quite simple enough to be believable “I’ll take your love with me Sue” in the peppy yellow sauce on the cold blue floor.

Sue continues to work hard, serving the people of Bristol with kind words and a cheery smile. But the bottle Steve never picked up still stands at the end of her checkout and when she catches sight of it as she swipes yet another tin of karma-sutra spaghetti shapes over the bar-code reader, a lonely tear falls onto the conveyer belt; and it sparkles in the artificial light until it disappears at the end of the line.