Thursday, December 13, 2007

It’s quite quiet here. Tucked away in a little tree-lined street near the centre of the city. Two minutes away from every pub there’s ever been. Five minutes from a man who thinks he’s Jesus.

He’s not Jesus, he’s not even called Jesus. Parents don’t tend to be that cruel if your mum’s not a virgin.

‘I’m Steve…I’m fucking Steve’ he’ll shout and noone has any reason to doubt his sincerity. But when they ignore him, when noone can even muster the tiniest flicker of polite interest; then he’s Jesus. When he addresses the traffic; when he wanders out into the middle of the road, arms outstretched, eyes skywards. When he talks to Vauxhall Novas, his disloyal metallic flock with alloy wheels and unrepentant beeping. When they take him away.

And that’s what makes it quiet. When Steve’s gone and the streets are refilled with mortgages and semi-skimmed milk, motionless bus-stop standers and an unenthusiastic three-point-turn.

Friday, November 09, 2007

‘Snob!’ That was the accusation ejaculated at me. Me Matt, man of the people, defender of the working man. And why was this nasty remark so viciously lobbed at my fantastic face?

A couple of times a week, one of the women from the office canteen will wheel around a trolley full of different snack based opportunities to purchase at your desk. I fancied a cup of tea so bought one. That’s the kind of snap decision people like me feel entirely comfortable with making.

Two minutes later, a colleague who I rarely talk too, wandered past my desk with a face so incredulous, I took a picture of it and wrote the word incredulous on the back of it.

‘You paid money for that tea?’ he asked looking directly at the tea I paid money for

‘Yeah’ I said answering his question with the word ‘yeah’.

‘You can get tea free from the machine!’

‘I don’t like the tea from the machine.’

‘Snob!’ he said disgustedly walking off like a pocket-sized Liam Gallagher.

That’s right I’m so fucking upper-class, I live in a fantasy existence where people drink tea made by the method of having boiling water poured into a cup containing a tea bag. That’s my lifestyle. It’s all like that, and don’t think it ends there.

I wear shoes, even though the office floor is carpeted. I wear pants even though I put trousers over the top of them. I urinate in a urinal even though I’ve got an empty drinks bottle sitting on my desk. I’m so over-paid, that twice a week I buy a cup of tea from the woman with a trolley for 35p. That’s 70 pence a week I blow on my hedonistic lifestyle.

Not that his snob comment bothered me at all or anything, then again, what did I see my angry socialist colleague drinking the other day? Fucking mineral water, that’s what.

‘Snob!’ I commented as I walked past.

‘Water’s different to tea isn’t it. Don’t try and pretend they’re the same’ he replied.

I wasn’t trying to pretend water was the same as tea though it’s pretty fucking similar if you boil it and lob a tea bag in it.

I walked away thinking I’d won the argument, he stood there thinking he’d won it. That’s the great thing about arguments. Usually both people win and the other person loses.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

"Ding-dong” The PA system comes alive, “Can Kate from the Mobile Phones department please go to the Mobile Phones department.”

This is Monday night at ASDA, and Bristol is throwing lumps of everything into trolleys packed with lumps of everything .

A short angry looking near-pensioner lady in a green jump-suit pushes past me quickly with her trolley, ushering her partner along with frantic head-movements. “Whatever happens I really need to get some butter!” she announces as if something's about to happen to cause this task to become an epic challenge.

“Well get some butter then”, comes the disinterested but startlingly logical reply from a disinterested but startlingly logical looking husband.

“You’re the one who spreads it on your toast,” she responds in a tone that indicates she believes spreading butter on toasted bread is the deviant act of a sex offender.

“Not all of it I don’t!” comes an overly-hostile and rather disconcerting reply.

And off they go, the trolley trusted forward, a woman with unnecessary purpose. A women with butter safely wedged into her trolley. “Shall we get two loafs of bread or one?”.


“Don‘t be stupid Brian!”

My turn. I’m staring at thousands of types of spread trying to remember which one I got last time, and if I liked it better than the one I bought the time before that, which I don’t remember the brand of either. I decide on Flora. But do I want ‘Flora’, ‘Low-Fat Flora’, ‘Low Saturates Flora’, ‘Low Height Flora’ or ‘I Can’t Believe it’s not Fucking Flora Flora”? I close my eyes and grab the first thing my hand touches: A rather portly lady in her mid-forties. I apologise.

Next aisle. A girl in her late teens stood next to her trolley, a toddler screaming in the seat. “You can’t have those” mum insists whilst an outraged young girl strains at a tin of Transformers shaped spaghetti.

“But I want them” comes the well thought out argument.



I admire the mother; a lesser woman would extinguish this screaming cycle by pushing the trolley away from the object of her daughter’s attention. A lesser woman would have decided that this was an unwinnable argument. Not this lady. If it’s going to take a thousand “YOU CAN’T HAVE THEM”s to emotionally crush this two year old big-shot, then I am in no doubt this lady’s in for the long-haul.

There’s another announcement over the PA. Kate’s still not made it back to Mobile Phones.

Kate’s not coming back.

Kate’s found there’s more.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Popped to the toilet whilst in a bar on a Saturday night and it’s time to wash your hands: Got to turn the tap on…YOURSELF. Actually use energy from your own body to dispense water...the indignity! Then you have to summon the strength to push your hand against the dispenser to release that clean gooey fresh smelling soap gooey goo. If you're still able to stand you can again activate the tap, this time to swill your hands. Sounds hard work so far? Hold onto your desk, cause this next bit might just blow your bollocks off: An energy sapping four second walk to a hand-dryer!!!

Yes this whole process does not cost you anything financially, but with only 190 calories in each of the four pints of lager you've had so far, this has surely been a reckless expulsion of valuable energy.

At least this is what someone thought. Sometime, I don’t know when and I don’t know where, somebody saw this as a gap in a market. And that’s why, sprinkled throughout bars whose names begin with the word “Bar”, toilet attendants stand poised at their sink, ready to make the whole arduous process of achieving clean hands an effortless yet financially burdened process.

But the rather damning truth is that I’ve never, in my whole life met anyone who has been glad that they are in a bar that has a toilet attendant. Never been in a pub where someone’s come back after going for a piss in an attendentless convenience looking completely knackered, complaining that washing their own hands has completely wiped them out and that they’re going to have to go home early to have a lie down.


You’re a target the minute you enter their lair. “Hello” he says mouth smiling, eyes fixed like an eagle on a rabbit. As the only ‘customer’ in the room at that moment, I abandon any thought of using a urinal. I’m not up to the challenge of going with someone staring at me intensely, manically tapping on a squeezy bottle of soap singing “Freshen up, freshen up, you really gotta freshen up.”

I hide myself safely away in the furthest cubical, knowing I have to stay in there for an amount of time that would justify its use over a urinal. I weigh up my options. I can’t just walk straight out. I may just of got away with that if I’d used just a urinal, but coming out of a cubical; well that’s doubly wrong. I have to wash my hands.

Why should I not wash my own hands? Why should I put up with being forced into the service of this person; compelled to place a pound coin on his stupid angry saucer for fifteen unwanted seconds of his mis-placed labour. I wont. I'll sanitise to my own rules. I shall produce the cleanest pair of hands in England with my own sweat and toil.

I throw open the cubical door, stride confidently towards the unoccupied basin. “Freshen up?”, I ignore his plea. My naivety means I think that I’ve beaten him. Soon I realise I haven’t. A flash of movement and he pulls out his final card. His finger primed on the trigger of the cheapest fragrance in England. The nuzzle aimed directly at my face. “I’m not afraid to use this thing,” he informs me his smile sharpening, “we either do this the easy way or the Slazenger Sport way.”

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Good evening this is the ITN news at half-ten. Get ready for the ride.

“One hundred and sixty five mile winds in Mexico” the newsreader announces. I make that five miles an hour more exciting than dull old one-sixty BBC.

Now reporter Neil Connery’s reporting from Cacon, Mexico. He’s out in the storm with arms waving erratically, screaming at the camera as the water pounds down on his half-bald head. “Water falling from the sky“ he explains to all those unfamiliar with the mechanics of rain. “It’s bad, but it’s not as bad as was feared.” he concludes, the disappointment in his voice barely disguised. Bored of this now. Let’s switch to BBC 1.

It’s Piers Morgan interviewing Abi Titmuss on ‘You Can’t Fire Me I’m Famous‘. She’s learnt so much through her experiences her hair’s now brunette. Venessa Feltz pops up to make a comment to the camera that doesn’t particularly make any sense and Piers tells Abi that shes makes the same excuses as a prostitute. Abi explains how all the people watching her private sex-video on the internet makes her feel violated and degraded. “It makes me cry every time I talk about it” she adds wiping a celebrity tear from her celebrity raddled face. “The DVDs been watched than Paris Hilton’s and Pamela Anderson’s put together” she adds, apparently not realising that this boast may lead some viewers to question her earlier distress.

Back to ITV and it’s ’Bouncers’. A documentary following a night on the door of Blackpool’s top nightclub.

Bouncers premise seems to be three distinct sections repeated over and over again throughout the show. First section is drunks shouting drunkenly at the camera, “Middlesboroughhhhhhhhhhh!” Next is various members of door-staff explaining to camera how drunk the people that come to the club are. “It’s not a family atmosphere anymore” laments one older bouncer harping back to the days when apparently Mum and Dad would bring their precious younguns along to “The Syndicate” for a couple of Vodka and Redbulls.

Finally we see the customer/bouncer interaction. People being refused entry, swaggering wildly and making intelligent pithy put-downs at those that block their way. “You’re plastic!”

Bouncers standing calmly; carefully reminding the drunk that they’re drunk by telling them “Look mate, you’re drunk.”

And the television can’t take it anymore.

Friday, August 10, 2007

There’s no other shop like Debenhams. Well actually there is. And while you could now argue that the first sentence, while short and, in an almost drunken way, beautiful, has lost a great deal of its initial integrity, it sort of still says what I want it to. Debenhams has its own smell, its own wit, and a big enough selection of men’s clothing so as to make visiting any other clothes shop ever, totally unnecessary and, in actual fact, rude!

What makes Debenhams different in my opinion (recently voted the seventh most important opinion ever by readers in the March 2007 edition of Opinion magazine ( a magazine for people with opinions.) ), is its ingenious staffing policy. Whilst there are the normal positions that every department store offers, Debenhams has a couple of tricks up their sleeves to ensure you purchase:

Take trying on clothes for example. You’ve just tried out an item. You’ve done the five minutes of staring in the mirror arching your body around like an inebriated aerobics instructor and you’ve finally made your decision. They don’t fit properly, too baggy…maybe bright ‘yellow’ jeans are just never going to be ‘me’. But then on exiting the changing room you come face to face with a transformed changing room attendant. Gone is the welcoming smile and baffled acceptance of your need to try on a garment first. Now, a fixed intimidating stare, a person in a purple blouse looking into your soul. “Are they OK?” they say, an enforced lightness in the tone totally failing to hide the underlying menace.

Already you’re too uncomfortable for a straight pithy utterance of “No”. For me it’s the memories of last time I used such a response; the garment angrily grabbed, removed from the coat-hanger and then re-hung in a long tortuous ceremony know as ‘properly’. An assembled crowd watched tutting to the rhythm of a rain sodden Saturday afternoon. For those moments, those long hate filled moments, I was the humiliated scourge of high-street fashion; the one who wasted everyone’s time.

‘I ummm….they don’t really…fit me’ I manage, my eyes looking so far down I can see that Earth has stopped rotating.

These days I always say I love whatever I‘ve tried on, even wiping away a fake tear of happiness as I quickly make my exit. I walk back to the place where I originally picked up the beige waistcoat and stealthily re-hang the garment in its original position. And I know I’m not the only one. You only have to look around the great store at the amount of clothing that’s been forced clumsily onto hangers to realise that many before and after myself, have been permanently broken by the eyes of a retail devil.

The more innocent side of Debenham’s staffing inventiveness are the ‘clothes-starers’. About five members of staff per-floor who’s job, it appears, is to gaze lovingly at various garments. Pupils fixed, they run their hands down the arms of shirts and blouses, eyes then closing slowly to savour the moment. Sometimes a line of clothing will be struggling to sell and the starers are quickly redeployed to do their magic. The seeming sincerity they display is breath-taking. People fight to get their hands on the golden pot of clothes at the end of this purple rainbow.

I’ve simply scratched the surface of the Debenhams, but that’s all I could ever hope to do. It’s probably not actually real.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

I’m going to Hell apparently, so I’ve been told. Told directly, not by someone shouting or screaming at me, but by someone who actually doesn’t want me to go there. So I’m headed there, not because I’m a bad person, but because I don’t believe. I don’t believe that Jesus is the son of God, and also part of God, along with the Holy-spirit, who is also part of God, as of course is the Father. Three of them, all distinct and at the same time all one God. You can see how difficult it’s going to be for me qualify for Heaven.

And I know I sound like I’m taking the piss, but I really don’t know how to start believing, which I sort of want to do if it means I have the opportunity to avoid being thrown into an eternal fire. I do try, and I think I sort of did believe a bit until I bothered to look a little closer at the whole religion thing. Then I found that I really couldn’t, which is sort of the opposite of what’s supposed to happen isn’t it?

God created the universe and the planet Earth, I can sort of handle that, maybe even consider attempting to believe it if it wasn’t for the following: He created human-beings, and now sits up there reading our thoughts, deciding upon whether we go to Heaven on Hell based on whether the brains He is wholly responsible for, decide that He and Jesus exist or not. This is totally fucking unfair!!!

The people who’s brain chemicals are capable of flying about and deciding that in fact, yes, it is indeed possible that Jesus was(or is?) the Messiah, have an incredible advantage over the unlucky ones like me, who, however I think about it, decide that it’s probably a load of old cock.

So I find myself in the position of not believing in God, being pissed off with God I don’t believe in, and facing the prospect of spending eternity burning in Hell. Fucking Wednesdays!

Sunday, July 15, 2007

I open the door and take a quick glance behind. Now this glance is only to check that there is no one directly behind me. It’s not some grand commitment to hold the door open for whoever might next come along. But whatever the intention of the glance, it can bring with it clumsy etiquette baggage.

The problem occurs when there is someone walking towards the door behind you at what is called middle-distance. That is they are stuck between two categories, these being, A) close enough so that it’s clear that I should hold the door open until they get there and B) being far enough away that I can move on and let the door close behind me without having committed any kind of social spunk.

Trouble is, it’s not always immediately obvious as to which category the person may be in. Often the second taken to ascertain this may have moved them from category B to the dirty cusp of category A. Uncertainty means I often just have to stand there and bare it. Now you may be asking ‘Why is it a problem to lose seven seconds of your life holding a door open?’ although your probably asking ‘What the fuck you going on about Matt?’, either way let me tell you. This assumes the person the door is being held open for is unknown to me, or at the very most a distant acquaintance. In this situation, holding open a door for someone for over five seconds puts undue social pressure on both parties.

One of the worst case scenarios is that I, as the holder of the door put unwelcome pressure on the person, who never asked for a door to be held open for them, to arrive quickly. The person may affect a clumsy mini-jog, as they feel it is only good manners to limit the time I am standing there. But this mini-jog will trigger a resentment in them, an angry flash in the eyes at me, the person who forced them to move quicker than they would want to. This makes me then feel worse than if I had slammed the door in their face or murdered their cat.

One option I call “Don’t Look Back”. I called it that because I‘m sad enough to have named options available to people when they open doors. Here you just stare resolutely forwards, your mission is to get through the door, all other considerations are brushed aside. This is military, this is focus. Open the door, don’t look back, go through the door. Yes you can hold out your arm behind you as you walk on giving the door an extra second of open if you sense that someone is very close behind you, but chances are that door may have closed in someone’s face. It doesn’t matter, you didn’t see that happen, and if you didn’t see it, it might as well not have happened.

The only real solution is to avoid walking through doors altogether. I know this sounds drastic and impractical but sometimes it seems in life there’s every need to be drastic and impractical. So until somebody comes up with a better idea, I’m not stepping out of bed.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Life in a box of chocolates

Forrest Gump said "Life is like a box of chocolates; you never know what you gonna get." Why do I mention this now? Don't expect me to answer that, I have no idea. I can barely remember my name or what my name is. Anyway, I've never understood what it meant. I'd never really spent any amount of time pondering it, although I'd always meant to set a side a week for intensive contemplation on the subject. And that week has just come and gone.

I’m pretty sure that Gump was wrong. Things were different in 1994, but the way people handle boxes of chocolates remains unchanged. With a variety box, people are all too aware of what they're "gonna get". Hours of staring at the chocolate key sheet ensures the only surprise they experience while chewing on the selection they arrived at after hours of careful deliberation, is that an "Almond Surprise" delivers no specific 'Surprise'. Maybe the surprise was intended to be the presence of the almond, and the makers assumed that people would still be following Gump’s just pick out a random one philosophy. How wrong they were.

It’s also true to say that most people don't like coffee flavoured Quality Street. To be honest you can't blame them, they taste of Mondays. So what is the point in them? Why do Nestle still nestle them into their distinctive cardboard box of lovelies?

The almost unanimous consensus on the nastiness of the coffee flavoured Quality Street has created a small sub-group consisting of the people that made the use of the word 'almost' earlier in this sentence necessary. These people have never stood out and rarely had much to say that anyone’s wanted to listen too. They’ve lived in the shadows of others who have hobbies and a nice kitchen. They may never have had anyone giving them the briefest glance of impressed amazement in there long beiged-up life. And they see their chance. An opportunity to be served up a thin slice of attention pie. Maybe even have a surprised exclamation of "Do you?" directed at them from those that usually look through them and into the sky. So after the general sigh that accompanies a chocolate information bulletin stating that all that there's left are 'the coffee ones'; these people stand tall, open their body language to a never before seen glory, and say, "Actually…I quite like them!" It would be a cruel company to take this opportunity away from someone, and even Nestle aren’t that evil.

To be fair to Forrest Gump, he may be a little simple and not actually exist, but at least he'd just stick his hand in a box of Thorntons and shove in his mouth the first one he pulled out. Maybe his comment about life was based around his understanding that contemplating which chocolate to eat next, for extended periods of time, brought little more enjoyment than a random shove-the-hand-in selection. He wouldn't know that what he had in his grasp had an almond in it until he shoved it in his mouth and tasted almond. At which point he could quite rightly exclaim, "Fuck me - Almonds!"

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Aquafresh Vessel

I know when I need to buy a new toothbrush: When bristles are a distant memory and the minster for Pearly-Whites drops around because "he’s concerned about me". People have always told me I don’t talk about toothbrushes enough. I do find it a deeply personal area, but I shall somewhat attempt to redress the balance now. I can’t help but be baffled by toothbrushes. I do actively try to avoid bafflement, but bafflement comes so naturally to me, I always seem to be swimming against its tide. Drown.

I’m not even talking about electric toothbrushes, I’m talking about the calorie-burning manual variety. I shiver at the thought of getting involved with the electric ones. All that shaking and holding thick handles, it‘s not right. We should fear them.

And there I stand in Tesco Extra, a rack full teeth cleaning technology towering above me, asking me to give them a new home. I can only be confused, in fact sad, that things aren’t just a little bit simpler. Do I want to ’cross -stroke’, am I interested in ‘gum massaging’ (I’m not and I visited by accident and in fact I thought the pictures were quite tasteful), or do I want ‘ultra clean teeth that only come from Ultra technology’.

I look around desperately, and spot a shop-assistant; a young ginger with a superfluous Berol. “Can you talk me through some of these toothbrushes” I ask her, my hand raising slowly to my chin in eager anticipation of toothbrush sales-patter. She smiles nervously and carries on reorganising angry cans of deodorant into gangs.

A man in his fifties comes along and grabs at a brush, almost recklessly throwing it into a trolley full vegetables that almost certainly don’t exist. Such confidence, I presume, can only come with age and experience. Maybe in twenty years that’ll be me. I’ll coolly push my trolley full of organic cock along the toiletry aisle, wink at a passing Tescobabe before, with hardly even a passing-glance, scooping up a bad boy and looping that teeth-cleaner over my back into my trolley, letting it rest neatly next to an oberjober.

For now that’s just a pipe-dream, it’s a twenty-four hour supermarket, but I’ve been there so long they want to close because the twenty-four hours are up. I grab at a yellow one and slip it carefully under a bag of carrots. I look for the check-out person who appears never to have cleaned their teeth. I’ve done it.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Blair V Bowen

Lionel Blair's appearence on the 1980's best gameshow Bullseye. A legendary piece of footage by any standards. Obviously this is an early television outing for Lionel and he's a little unsure of exactly how the whole thing works. He has seemingly seen Jim before the start of the show and asked where the audience will be sitting, to which Jim has replied, "Don't worry I'll point them out to you as soon as you get on stage." As Lionel enters his fears immediately dissapate as he easily locates the audience and acknowledges them. Just as well, as Jim nearly, but doesn't, forget his promise. Audience located, it's time for business. The business of comedy:

Lionel Blair is determined to crack Bowen. And a lesser man than Bowen would have cracked under the barrage of sharp wit from Britain's favourite celebrity dancer.

Jim has held out though, and there's only twelve seconds of the clip left. Blair knows he still has one comedy gem hidden inside his odd looking head. But the line involves a pointing action, and with nervousness at a maximum after facing poker-faced Bowen, he is unable to hold his arm up to give one strong confident action. Looking at Jim for any sign that the great man is ready to subside into raptures of laughter, he nervously fires off two quick fire pointing actions at his comedy target. Has Lionel blown it with his unsure delivery, or is the joke of such high quaility it will nail comedy genius Jim Bowen against the wall of hilarity anyway?

On a side note doesn't the darts challenge seem just a little impossible. Lionel's obviously never seen a darts board before. And let's remember he is simultaneously providing comedy. I would imagine the meeting at Central Tv production went something like this.

"Shall we make ourselves look good by doing a charity round?"

"Fuck yeah, but let's not actually give away any money. How about setting a challenge where a celebrity who can barely hold the weight of a dart has to score 241 with nine darts?"

"Brilliant, they'd need nearly 30 points per throw, they'll never do it....No, just a minute let's really take the piss. Let's say 301 with nine-darts, but give them a 60 point head start 'Cause we know you don't do it for living'."

"Super, Smashing...'


Wednesday, May 23, 2007

All is gone..........

Sometimes I feel tired. Really knackered, not because I’ve done anything particularly strenuous or stressful just because because. And on these days I have no thoughts. I mean I can walk (lethargically) and mumble “Hello”. I can even just about scrape together a bit of what is called work. But there are no thoughts, the lights are not on and the bulbs have been removed.

It’s a curious feeling. I can see things happening, but can make no judgement on what they mean. Often I’ll wander into shops and buy things like toothpaste, get home and realise that I can’t push my flat door open as it’s already over-packed with Aquafresh 3. I’ll be unable to follow the plot of an episode of Neighbours, I’ll get confused by celery.

But I can lie back and enjoy it, as the actor might say to the…stare at the ceiling, feel all these little start-thoughts being born, bursting within a thousandth of a second in a hostile, sand-stormed brain. Simply nothing there, just a small crack in the ceiling…then it’s gone.

Thursday, May 17, 2007


I’ve decided to become a tabloid entertainment reporter. That is the decision I have made. My finger is on the celebrity pulse more than anyone I know. I'm always hanging out with Hawkes and Thornton. I am so damn perfect for this job. So here’s my first column. I call it BLING BLING, cause the kids get it right?


The five members of pop sensation Girls Aloud have been arguing over a buoy located just off the Blackpool coast.

“I saw it first”, mentioned the dirty looking ginger one, “There it was bobbin on top of them little wave things. I wanted one straight away.”

Girls Aloud are not the only ones to have been seduced by the latest celebrity craze; Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes have a buoy just off Southsea and Carol Vorderman was seen cosying up to one in Poole harbour.


Posh Spice is most definitely thin my sources have been telling me. She’s not fat.

SPOTTED Kate Bush stroking a dead cat in Leicester Woolworths.

SPOTTED Michael Parkinson hitting a southerner with a stick in Halfords.

On a slightly different note. Here's something for all those fond of moaning about political correctneess:

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

"Fuck Off! I'll tell you when I've had a fucking 'nough when I've had a fucking 'nough..."

Bank Holiday and Weymouth: There’s can be only one outcome. A whole town wading through a fermented Saturday. Every person, all ages and circumstances, joined together as a community bladdered, and it’s only just gone six.

This is wasted Weymouth. We’re all at it, they’re all at it, and the dirty sun casts shadows through the windows of the fat grockles walking past.

“This is my table “, says Ted pointing to a sign on the table saying ‘Reserved for Ted'. “They reserve it for me…for the football. Love the's God's sport aint it? Some people reckon it's cricket, but I know, I can feel it. It's football I love....One hundred and twenty grand a week he gets paid…” Ted shakes his head, his bending yellow finger pointing accusingly at Sky Sports, “…for kicking a football around. I didn’t get that in my day”

“Did you used to play football?”

“Worked on the Shop-floor mate, all my life…never any good at football. ”

And then the voice of the short bloke lost amongst his bouncing, posturing mates. “He walked past and I fucking swear to you...I fucking...I fucking swear to you he called me a wanker. So I said ’Oy you wanker did you just call me a wanker?’…fucking wanker said nothing didn’t he…wanker…so I said ’Oy you wanker did you just call me a wanker?…and he said nothing didn’t he…so I said ’Next time you call me wanker say it to my fucking face you fucking wanker’…and he said nothing didn’t he?….fucking knew he would...fucking wanker.’

They all laugh at him. He’s the funny one.

Three women past forty…(is that old anymore?)…stride into the pub…not used to their consumption…not used to a bank holiday. “Oh nooooooo….not fucking football!”

“Let’s go…come on Claire…let’s go…’ate football..” Proper women, hating football. And off the three wobble, out the exit in a confused huddle, unintentionally splitting into three directions as they leave before ten seconds later realising they’ve unintentionally split into three directions. Their briefly confused faces subside and they turn back to meet each other at the pub entrance, before triumphantly re-entering the same pub.

"Who's playing Claire?"

“Fucking Smirnoff Ice innit Shirley.”

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Rovers Kung-Foo Fighting

Always nice to see a bit of fighting. And there was a bit of fighting . The Rovers are playing Swindon at FOOTBALL ( a sport ) and there is a lot of random chanting and traffic stopping posturing. That’s there Saturday and even if I had just spelt ‘their’ properly, I still wouldn’t quite understand the logic of smashing windows in your own city to show how much you love its football team. That’s because I’m missing the deep under-current of football allegiance that only Bristol Rovers fans understand.

Anyway, my team, the mighty SAINTS, maybe being bought by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen. Will it happen? Maybe. Am I excited The answer to that question has so little consequence to the planet Earth I can’t answer it. That the big bang all those billions of years ago has created a moment of such insignificance is startling.

You might have realised I’ve not really made any point. That’s not why I’m here.

On a completely different kind of thing, I was just looking at the BBC News website and found the most British thing I have ever seen in my life. The Kent Earthquake 'In Pictures' had this Gem:

I could ask why two people have sat themselves down on plastic chairs facing downwards on a one-way street. I could ask why a girl has joined them holding a cuddly toy with rediculously long and out of proportion legs. I could also question how the BBC think this conveys any sense of an earthquake. I could ask these questions, but there's noone really to ask them too.

Monday, April 23, 2007


'Obviously, the mental image of me, sat in the back of a Merc looking smug as I’m carted off to film in Soho annoys even me.'

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Every town has someone lying in the middle of the road

Sometimes two people decide they want to fight on the traffic island of Gloucester road. I don’t know how often these skirmishes occur as I’ve only witnessed one at this location. I’m thirty years old. So probably once every thirty years then.

It really wasn’t much of a scrap to be honest. There was sporadic shouting at first. Then seconds of crappy silence with the swagger of each limited by the space available between the two dark funnels of uncaring traffic. There was a lack of focus, two lost figures in the middle of a road with anger but nothing to say to each other. Must be time for violence.

Except there wasn’t really going to be a fight as such. I know I said there was but I didn’t think you’d read this far. Isn’t there something more constructive you could be doing with your time like painting a fence or letting yourself down?

It was a push. A simple fluid movement of the arms from the stronger man as his temper folded up his face into a dirty far-right leaflet. The other man had no answer, his balance lost, his face gave away his hopeless position before his shadow met his the rest of his body. A blue Corsa was going to be where the fallen man was and quickly had to change its plans with a swerve and an unnecessary blow of the horn.

“Fuck you George” said the standing man. If I was to give a mark out of ten to the competence with which George scrambled to his feet it would be a low four, but he was upright. Unsteady, but upright. He tried to say something back. Anything to diffuse his own anger, frustration and humiliation. His confused first sound was cut short by his opponent who made it clear that any hostility, whether physical or verbal, would be met with an uncompromising response.

My walking reached level with the confrontation just as George accepted his position. He turned away and walked on the pavement in front of me, his every step a stamp on the face of the Earth. He put his hand in his pocket and pulled out a Toffee Crisp wrapper and at that moment his whole body decided that it was now or never. That however pathetic it was, he needed to lash out. And if George was in no position or state to assert physical dominance over a human-being; if all he had to focus his rage on was an orange coloured chocolate wrapper, than that was the compromise that he had to accept.

George screwed up the paper, his eyes turned upwards. “Wanker!” he shouted and he threw that paper down as hard as he could.

The breeze caught the wrapper long before it got near the pavement. George watched silently, as it blew upwards into the sky.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Stars and Bollocks

I’m not one for witchcraft and magic. I mean, I’ll read Harry Potter if I’m drunk enough but I wont go around casting spells on my mortal enemies – I just haven’t got the energy.

I can understand why people believe in God, Jesus and Princess Diana but I’ve never really understood why anyone gives even a second of their time to Astrology. I know it’s a well worn path slagging this stuff off and I should be turning my attention to more obscure and difficult things to criticise like biros or toothpaste, but frankly I’m lazy and know very little about pens or mouth-hygiene.

One of the most irritating aspects of the whole Astrology thing is the way certain people lump you into categories based on your star-sign. ‘Oh you’re a Cancer, that explains it.’ Yes because I was born sometime between June 20th and July 21st, I happen to have just acted in that exact way. I complained about being short-changed in Woolworths or shouted at a cat. That’s because I’m Cancer. If I’d have been born in February I would have been happy to lose a tenner to a failing shopping-chain or would have tried to reason with a pussy.

Let’s say for a moment that there is some distant truth in the whole Astrology concept. Let’s say the position of distant stars in relation to our own earth does have some affect on whether I’m going to be lucky in love this weekend. Well in that case, why don’t the people who read their horoscopes look to see if they were written by an eminent scientist, a mathematician or at least someone with a big fucking telescope. Why do believers in Astrology trust their life-plans to a page near the back of the Daily Mail or Mystic Meg.

If planet earth was going to be hit by an Asteroid Armourgeddon style, would we get Russell Grant to design and build a space rocket to go and intercept it Or would we maybe turn to NASA? Actually strike that. I think I would put Russell Grant in a rocket and fire it at an asteroid.

Thursday, April 05, 2007


There’s nothing like a meeting at work. Not of course the high-powered, full energy ones that people on the television go to, but the slow meandering blame-games, with the same points repeated until we die. Everybody disagrees, noone changes their argument, yet still a plan of action is agreed. One which is forgotten as soon as the chair is pushed back and the attendants raise to their feet.

The middle of the meeting. Slap bang in that difficult baldly structured middle-act. Everyone’s made their points. And before they make exactly the same ones again, there’s a moment of tired silence punctuated with exploding sighs and beard stroking. That’s when my mind will leave. When it takes its twenty minute holiday in a place called Somewhere Else.

Who would win a fight between Jane Seymour and Phillip Schofield? Why is that newspaper called The Mirror. Is it because reflections are some how socialist? Maybe they're just less fascist than that giant ball of fire we orbit. Could there be any other reason for a chicken to want to cross a road other than to get to the other side. How aware would a chicken be that it was actually crossing something identifiable as a road.

That leaf on that tree. Has anybody in the entire universe ever stared specifically at that leaf. Am I first and only person to do so. Nobody would miss that leaf if it wasn’t there. But then again nobody would miss any of the other leaves if they weren’t there. But then if a considerable amount of the leaves weren’t there, they would ruin the look of the tree. So I guess that leaf should hold steady, make a stand.

“Look” I say, and everyone turns to me waiting for me to repeat what I said at the beginning of the meeting. But I can’t remember exactly what it was. I’m pretty sure Jane Seymour could take Schofield.

Saturday, March 31, 2007


‘Nice isn’t it’ said the man in Curry’s Digital as I stared at a television in Curry’s Digital. Those are the televisions you look at when you are in Curry’s Digital. Ones that are in there. It’s a limitation of Curry’s Digital. I might position a television outside the Curry’s Digital window so, for a nice change, I could stare at a television not in Curry’s Digital whilst being in Curry’s Digital. I probably wont though. I’d most likely have to use a power-source from Curry’s Digital to plug the television into. That would cheapen the exercise.

‘It is’ I replied with my voice.

‘Course it’s high-definition ready’ he continued with the obvious intention to banish any disgusting thoughts I might be harbouring that it wasn’t. There before me was a television that was high definition ready. It was prepared for high definition; bored of not being so; waiting for someone to let it be what it always wanted to be.

‘Digital to’ he said in a voice that missed off the second ‘o’ in 'too'. It was clear that this man was most comfortable speaking in a language of purely electrical equipment features.

‘I’m just looking.’ I said to ensure he was aware of which one of the five senses I was currently focussing on.

“Just give me a shout if you need any help” he replied. I doubted whether I needed assistance in watching something. Granted, my use of the phrase “just looking” was overly dismissive of the wonderful gift of sight.

And finally it came on. We were winning six-nill, away from home. Six!!!!

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Will the public drinking ban work?

England is preparing itself for when the ban on public drinking comes into affect on July 1st. Scenes of cold patrons huddled outside doorways, quickly sipping dirty pints, is set to become common place as it has done in Scotland.

Many English publicans point to the problems experienced in Scotland, where the public drinking ban has been in affect for some time now. Many have reported having to shed staff and facial hair in the wake of the ban on selling alcoholic beverages.

The suggestion is that many people visit the pub simply to consume alcohol, is a charge that Health Minister Patricia Hewitt refutes. "It's certainly an old-fashioned position to suggest that people go to pubs and bars simply to drink. In fact I believe most people welcome our stance on public drinking. From a personal view point, I think it will be nice for me to return from a night out at the local with my clothes not covered in my own vomit."

Hewitt also believes it will have a positive effect on the health of staff working in bars and clubs. "I've always thought it unfair that bar-staff should have to accept the effects of second-hand drinking. We're not saying that people can't drink alcohol in the privacy of their own house or whilst out driving in their own car."

When pressed as to what exactly second-hand drinking was, Hewitt reportedly ran away screaming that everyone's out to get her.

In the state of Los Angeles in the US, a public drinking ban has been in affect for three years. Most think it has been positive effect. State Governor The Terminator commented, "I was sent back by John O'Connor in 2029 to terminate Public Drinking in Los Angeles. See you at the party Victor. I'll be back! I'll be back!"