Tuesday, October 29, 2002

Ain't that sweet?

Ed’s getting married to the lovely Bey next week, what with it being on the other side of the world, unfortunately we’re not going to make it. We were only invited to the evening do anyway, and 23 hours on a plane and 12,000 miles seemed a hell of a long way to go for a bit of YMCA and the Grease Megamix. He’s an avid reader of my Rufflin’ ways so here’s a touching opportunity to say: -

Good luck old bean, and to your fragrant wife to be. May your Turkish/Germanic/Anglo/Australian futures be furnished with all the happiness you deserve.

Thursday, October 24, 2002

Leaving doo

People have started to realise I'm leaving. I am not senior enough to have it announced officially, nor do I consider myself popular enough to announce it myself - that is usually the domain of people in the post room or call centre or people who have been with the company for less than six weeks, for some reason. Nor have I been here long enough to deserve an official doo, nor short enough to sneak out with noone knowing. Inevitably people are asking about my leaving doo. I hate leaving doos, it's like cashing in your chips at the end of a night in the casino. You could invite half the organisation thinking they might be interested in seeing you off and then three turn up. These three people ultimately represent the net gain from your endeavours. Barman, one 'half empty' glass of lager please.

I've weighed up my options, and come to the conclusion that whilst I've probably worked with a good 40-50 people in the organisation. I'm likely to keep in touch with no more than two or three as friends, I may email another 5 or 6 with my new contact details. The rest I will largely forget, and they'll forget me. So my leaving doo is to be low key with people I want to spend time with, is that too much to ask? This strategy brings its own pitfalls, then people start asking why you're not hiring the Millenium Dome and inviting the whole world and asking if I have no friends. If you say you have got friends you sound desperate, if you say you haven't got friends, you sound desperate. You're not allowed to do low key things.

There are many complicated dynamics surrounding my leaving doo, not least that I moved jobs internally just three weeks ago, and I have been told categorically by my old department boss that there won't be another collection or card from them. I'm not looking for a present or even a card, but to categorically tell me that no more generousity (that's a £2 and sign a card type of generousity) will be given is a little disheartening. And, of course, though I really like my new Pod Buddies I've barely got to know my new department so I don't expect them to be interested.

This leaves the people I have aquainted with only from time to time, at arms length. The people who will come if they have nothing better to do. These people will be busy. So I see no point in disheartening myself with leaving doos, I don't think I can handle that kind of rejection.

Monday, October 21, 2002

Made me laugh anyway

From: DJ Yoda's How To Cut And Paste

Number 1: The Star Wars pastiche

"My name is Oobedoo Skedoobee, I have the silliest name in the galaxy."

"What's your middle name?"

"Scooby Doo"

"Oobedoo Scooby Doo Skedoodee?"

Number 2: The Jimmy Cricket Gag

"So there I was having my breakfast, Snap Crackle and Pop... which was strange because it was kippers"

Wednesday, October 16, 2002


When I was about 12 we used to play cricket on the “Helicopter Pad”, a circular clearing in an overgrown bramble on the edge of our estate. It was hardly, if ever, used to land helicopters as far as I could tell. Possibly because there weren’t any multimillionaire helicopter owners living on our estate of family sized new builds and maisonettes. With the distinct lack of chopper activity we used it because its edges served as convenient, though rather short, boundaries.

During one particular game, as I reached my quadruple century with my 37th consecutive six Jeremy, a kind of Gonch Gardner character produced from his pocket the last of the highly illegal French bangers he had brought back from a family holiday.

The application of these bangers had become more elaborate and ambitious as time went on. A loud bang in the middle of a field was no longer enough of a rush; we needed more ‘edge’. For example one time we lit one and rolled it down an alleyway making the bang louder and also offered, if we were really lucky, the chance to mutilate an unsuspecting dog walker coming up from the other end. Another time we embedded a couple of bangers in a cowpat. It was cool.

It was only a matter of time before we moved to blowing up wild animals.

Jeremy found a slug making it’s way to the boundary. Matthew, a chubby lad who became anorexic when he discovered girls, sensed the fun and gave up his bamboozling spin attack to watch. I stood from afar with the bat, patting down bumps like the pros do. A banger was lit, they both ran and BANG! Mud, stones, and presumably slug parts went everywhere.

“Did you hear it scream?” said Matthew.

Today, eighteen years later, thinking about this episode, it has only just struck me that he was perhaps making that bit up.

Tuesday, October 15, 2002

Goal drought... old pro

After three goals in three games I fired a blank at 5-a-side last night. I’m trying not to let it effect me as all strikers rely on confidence. I probably need one in off my backside, and I’m sure the goals will flow again. My list of ailments doesn’t help. Whilst my slight groin strain is merely uncomfortable, the soles of my feet are very sore - I now realise that having different trainers for different sports is not actually a sports manufacturers scam, (I include fashion as a sport in this particular instance). Oh, and cramp resulting from eating Spaghetti Bolognese too quickly didn’t help.

To compensate for my poor performance, I’m startled for find myself using ‘experience’ to compete during games. I don’t have the fitness or speed to throw myself around the pitch like others do, but I’m finding I do know a few little tricks which help me keep up. I make sure my positioning is good, and that I always pass to feet. But a big problem is stopping the ubiquitous 18-year-old tricky little winger. In events like this I’ve learnt to employ ‘the touch’ – rather than try to scythe his legs off and see myself humiliated by his quick Cruyff turn with double drag back, it’s far more effective to jog up behind him and put my hand on his back. This is enough to panic him into a wild cross-field pass into a melee of players. Job done, that’s what experience does for you. I guess psychologically, the reason for his panic is that he’s thinking that I’m about to inflict a jarring tackle on him, or give him a good bumming, either way, for him it’s preferable to concede possession.

Monday, October 14, 2002

Pod buddies

Having recently moved onto the second floor I am sitting with at a new pod (i.e. four desks facing each other). To my left is Meg and my right is Claire. Nobody sits opposite. Like most people here, they run a scheme with a three-letter acronym.

They are quietly efficient and refreshingly devoid of pretence - thoroughly normal, nice people. Meg has a picture of Robbie Williams on her desk and saw Savage Garden’s singer live at the Weekend. Claire spent last Friday with ‘a bottle of Doctor Pepper, two bags of jelly beans and Fame Academy’ and is going to see Grease the musical with Lee from Steps.

I mention them only because this brief sojourn on the second floor has been thoroughly enjoyable. It’s a shame that within a week of moving I was offered a new job and will be leaving. I will miss Claire and Meg, little do they know how much I’ve enjoyed being their pod buddy.

Wednesday, October 09, 2002


Whilst idly exchanging emails with George, he suggested that I buy Uncut magazine this month for its Lennon tribute CD. He meant to say: -

“Ike and Tina Turner do Come Together, do you like Morcheeba?”

But something got confused between his brain and his fingers and it came out as and I quote: -

“Ike and Tina do me together. Do you like come?”

What was going through his sick and perverted mind to get it so, so wrong?

Monday, October 07, 2002

The bloke behind me

Backstory #1: - This season Oxford United have a home form like an away team, and away form like a home team. The scene: Oxford 0 Scunthorpe 1….

Bloke 1: - We should just ask the FA if we can play all our games away from home. Dump the ground, just play everyone away twice.

TBBM: - Yeah, but that would mean the fans would have to pay more to get to games.

JR suggests: This was probably an attempt at humour rather than a serious suggestion.

Backstory #2: - If, in the objective opinion of the crowd the referee’s performance is below expected levels of quality, a quaint old folk song called ‘The Referee’s a wanker’ it is sung thus:

The referee’s a wanker
The referee’s a wanker
The referee’s a wanker
The referee’s a wanker (repeat to fade)

During a rousing rendition, TBBM sings: -

The referee’s a wanker
The referee’s a wanker
The referee’s a wanker
The referee’s a bastard

JR suggests: Perhaps they should print the lyrics in the programme.

Saturday, October 05, 2002

Scaryduck story

The winner of the Guardian's best UK blog competition was scaryduck.com, an excellent blog and well worth a read. Now although I am still relying on my traumatic testicles in ribcage problem to trigger significant growth in my readership, I fear the scaryduck approach may be more my style. It seems Mr Scary's strategy for a good blog is to tell largely unrelated stories about himself, so here's one that all my friends seem to love.

About 3 years ago my tortuous commute used to take in Amersham, Chorleywood, Chalfont and Latimer, Rickmansworth, Moor Park, then a long hop to Harrow on the Hill, Finchley Road, and finally Baker Street. It took an hour to travel about 30 miles, but I was able to enjoy a seat and a long read in the process.

One night Emma and I had an argument. I don't recall what it was about, but it was significant enough for us to cook our own tea. I raided the fridge to find a cooked chicken breast from the night before so I bunged it in the microwave with some beans and a potato, naturally slamming the door loudly enough for Emma to hear what I was doing.

The following morning, I was back on the commuter treadmill. I jumped on the 7.53 Met line train from Amersham as usual but after an uneventful 10 minutes we were ordered off at Rickmansworth because of a defect. I know that London Underground gets a slating for their inefficiencies but this was unusual. We were expected to wait for the next train into London, one which had a completely different set of stations on its route. Once re-trained, our journey continued. We passed Moor Park, and entered what was on my normal train a non-stop run right through to Finchley Road. I began to feel a touch unwell. This is not unusual, commuting generally does nothing for my health, I always feel tired and run down and anyway I occasionally suffer from an irritable bowel which requires me to sit on the toilet with a copy of Heat waiting for it to pass, quite literally, through my ringpiece... Something you maybe didn't want to know, but believe me, that's the trailor for Andy Pandy The Movie before the main feature of Scum starts.

Expecting the discomfort to pass I shifted in my seat. I stopped reading and stared out the window, hoping perhaps to enjoy the healing powers of the morning sun. But it got worse, I began to cramp up, we passed another station and the pain intensified. I stood up to try to alleviate it but it wouldn't go away, I began to bend double with the cramps, I started to break out in a cold sweat. I was panicking, not only about the pain, but the fact I was stuck on a train... a train that, to me, had a completely random set of stops. If my original train had not broken down at Rickmansworth and I had continued on my normal route my next stop would have been no less than 15 minutes away, I had to hope, nay prey, there was a stop. The train trundled on, and the discomfort and pain increased, the previous night's chicken was having its revenge. My body was rejecting its Salmonella based poisons through the only orifice it knew. At that moment, my body had no truck with petty social niceties and so I began to work out how I could discretely crap myself whilst standing on the train, how I could disguise the smell, and how I could walk with a vaguely normal gait once I got to Finchley Road.

Tube commuters have a heightened sense of awareness when it comes to detecting the brakes being applied. It allows them to kick and push people out the way in good time to see them off the train. The brakes were being applied, we were stopping.

Now my panic turned to what kind of station we were pulling into, Tube stations, particularly the smaller ones are not known for their facilities, very few have Duty Free, for example. Chances are that there would be no toilet, moreover, there may not be any Underground staff to point me in the right direction. The cramping was so acute I'd decided along time ago that if I could get to an inspector I wouldn't hesitate to go against my natural reticence to ask to use the staff facilities. Critically, though I needed to find a toilet.

We pulled into Wembley, and Wembley, was good. It's a large station with lots of people working at it, perhaps I'd be saved. I jumped off the tube and ran up the stairs towards the exit. The cramping seemed less intense, but that was because my adrenalin was pumping. My strategy was that by heading for the exit I was more likely to bump into a staff member, and if I didn't, I would be at the ticket office where I could ask directions, and if that failed I'd be near the exit and hopefully close to a café or flowershop with the requisite facilities. At the top of the stairs I saw an Underground worker. I asked him the way to the nearest toilet.

By some small miracle there was a customer toilet, situated under the stairs I had just run up. I ran back down, and if it were at all possible, began to relax. My muscles were exhausted with having to 'hold it in'. I was nearly there, NEARLY THERE.

At the bottom of the stairs I spied the toilets, I went in. I was about to blow, there was no holding it in, not a second longer. I opened the door and looked for the cubicle.... The cubicle.... The cubicle.

Where was the fucking cubicle? This was a toilet with two urinals and a hand basin. The only public convenience in the whole world without the facility to crap. And I needed a crap, in fact, there was no need, there was no want, I was having a crap. And if I didn't make a quick decision it was going straight in my pants.

So I was standing in the middle of a small deserted station toilet during rush hour. At any second someone could walk in. Making its way down my bowel was a package of poisons rejected by my body and, against all normal conventions I didn't have my trousers off in preparation for the impending evacuation. Without immediate action I was, for the first time in some 25 years, about to poo myself. What's more, I was about to poo myself with the sloppiest poo imaginable. Choices had to be made and risks had to be taken....

Urinal or basin, urinal or basin. One of them was about to get it.

I don't remember the rationale, but urinal it was, in one swift movement I undid my trousers, pulled them down, pumped into the urinal, lifted my trousers and walked out of the toilet. One. Swift. Movement. Five seconds after I had shat in the urinal of a public toilet I was standing waiting for a Met line train into Baker Street like nothing had happened.

I joined a busy train and had to stand. I was paranoid that people could smell me, but no one seemed concerned. My paranoia was soon surpassed.

By the cramps...

It was happening again it was like I was having unexpected twins. No sooner had I recovered from the first then I had to go through it all again. As it happens an Indian lady was standing in front of me, I'm not sure what her height was in conventional measures, but she came right up to my nostrils. Moreover, she had enjoyed a curry the night before. This was perfect in bringing on the symptoms in double quick time.

I was cramping, I was doubling up.

We pulled into Baker Street. On the South Side of Baker Street there is a toilet, but we pulled into the North side. I needed to go south, before, once again my innards reached their southernly destination. Adopting a face like I was late for an important meeting I bustled past people and ran to the toilet. I got into a cubicle, ahhh a cubicle, and bombed Dresden swimming baths once again.

I sat, exhausted, I was sweating, drained and more than anything looking down at my boxer shorts. I hadn't crapped myself, but the lack of facilities at Wembley followed by the running around at Baker Street had caused my buttocks to exercise what I can only describe at "The Cream Puff" effect.

The pants were to only victim of the horror, discarded in a skip outside the toilet. I vowed I would take a trip to Marks and Spencer at lunchtime. My torture was over.

But I never took a Metropolitan Line train again.

Friday, October 04, 2002

I am resource

I’ve just moved into a department that seems utterly disinterested in what I do, or where I fit in. This would be disheartening if it weren’t for the fact that I am largely in control of my destiny at the moment and the fact that when my boss introduced me to the rest of his department, he didn’t know everybody’s name.

Monday was 5-a-side. I notched again, making my tally two in two. I scored the first goal of the night, which made me hope for a hatful, but despite much showboating and shooting on sight I wasn’t able to improve on the tally. Despite also going to the gym on Sunday, I felt good on Tuesday morning. The only downside is that because I perceive warming up as uncool I subsequently pulled muscles in my groin with my first attempted sprint. Also, whilst in goal I took a ball in the goolies, and I now have a testicle rattling around my rib cage.

Perhaps it has become fully detached, and unbeknown to me I am about to embark on a painful realisation that I face life of impotence and sterility and that my burning desire for children is to go unfulfilled.

To which the resulting emotional pain would undoubtedly do wonders for the quality and level of interest in this blog.

As read in The Chap Manifesto

It is vulgar to know how the car works, but if you breakdown with a companion then you must express your ignorance with panache. When asked what's wrong reply "The engine has gone" then wave a finger in the general direction of the bonnet before saying "which I believe is in there somewhere".

Thursday, October 03, 2002

As heard on bargain hunt

Bargain Hunt presenter David Dickinson, the bastard child of Antiques Roadshow introducing a couple of contestants on today’s show: -

DD "And you're a full time mum?"
Contestant "That's right David, I've got Jessica, whose eight, and beautiful, and Paul whose six and autistic."

I believe David replied by saying “Isn’t that lovely!”

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