Monday, April 28, 2003

Holy jokes

Whilst it isn’t updated that much, I love this site, it mirrors the comments we make when we watch the Hollyoaks omnibus on Sundays. Although at no point does it say “I don’t know why I’m even watching this, I’m going to have a bath”.

If you don’t watch Hollyoaks there’s been a serial killer plot running almost as background noise for months. Will Davies is the investigating police officer who’s infatuated with his partner Drew, although she slept with Ben, Will’s son. Ben continues to have a love hate relationship with Izzy the posh DJ (whose eclectic style veers from acid trance to the Waterboys to drill and bass to SClub 7 (RIP) with every new tune). Izzy’s last boyfriend was Café owner Tony, who she split with after he accidentally asked two people to marry him. Tony recently got involved with sunken-faced laundrette owner and older woman Helen whilst she was married to Mr Cunningham. Helen is rather hotly pursued by younger men and was recently obsessed over by Bombhead who once went on a date with Abbey even though she is now with Lee. Izzy, meanwhile, went out with Dan Hunter, but split because of his self-destructive streak (which turned out to be diabetes), Dan now goes out with Debbie. Izzy is currently on the verge of an affair with Christian. Christian’s past conquests includes Jodie who slept with Gay Nick when he thought he was straight, more recently she had a brief flirtation with Max. Max barren love life didn’t preclude him from snogging his half sister Mandy, who briefly went out with Adam who is confined to a wheelchair after a car crash. Adam, has now embarked on a simpering smiling relationship with Becca, who once slept with Matt when he was on a break from his now fiancé Chloe.

Adam's final year college project is a Big Brother pastiche The Fish Tank, one of whose contestants is the aforementioned Christian who after his appearance is being obsessed over by reformed self-harmer Lisa, this has put undoubted strain on Lisa’s relationship her boyfriend Cameron. Lisa’s self harm was appeased in part though, not totally through poetry and music, her problems were appeased wholly when she became old enough for the producers to let her wear bikini without inviting accusations of paedophilia, then all her problems were conveniently forgotten. Lisa got very close to Norman who had an unnaturally close maternal relationship with Sally who is married to Les. Lisa’s emotional outlet of music and poetry ended up with her shacked up with gothic Christian rock singer and Kilmarnock fan Brian. Who had been going out with Zara. Their relationship was irretrievably damaged when he slept with Steph Dean, who slept with ‘evil’ nightclub owner and former England footballer Scott Anderson. Anderson’s was alleged to have raped Beth Morgan, who embarked on an empathetic relationship with OB whose recently become infatuated by Roxy, yes, Roxy who he met on the Internet. Roxy has recently been murdered by Toby in a psycho sexual attack inflamed by Ellie, his girlfriend who has embarked on many relationships, including aged landlord Jack and Ben who slept with Drew, whose infatuated by police inspector Will Davies.

And that my friends is the worlds first Thirty Six Sided Love Polygon.

Saturday, April 26, 2003


I feel ashamed by what I’ve done. I don’t even know why I’m putting this in such an open forum. It’s so hard to articulate it face to face to people I know, people who have a certain view of me, well, I’m not the person you think I am.

I’ve had a moment of madness, seduced into something I never wanted to get back into, I’m in a very bad place. Rather than you finding out yourselves, as you inevitably will, I wanted to try and explain myself.

I try to analyse how I got into this situation, maybe I was tired of the same old same old. I needed something new and exciting, something harmless. Perhaps a quick screw so nobody gets hurt.

And it’s so easy to get into, you just pay your money and it’s there, on a plate, anything you want, whether it’s something conventional or something a little out there, rubber, binding, anything. If you want a themed room, they can do that for you, all your fantasies satisfied.

Then you get home and you take stock of what you’ve done, but you try to live with it, and you get in deeper and deeper and you feel so dirty.

And dusty.

That’s right, we’re doing DIY again.

Wednesday, April 23, 2003

The Catfather

We have very needy cats. Peanut is a white cat with her head and tail dipped in ginger. She was the runt of the litter and quite evidently needed to be a bit canny and bold to survive. She is now gregarious and a bit of a bully. She will follow you around and ask to be stroked with a screeching miaow; if we go out into the garden she will push you out the way so she can get out first. She doesn’t know her place.

Waddle is a big floppy black and white cat who runs away from everything and morphs and distorts when you stroke her. She has uneven splodges on her face; it makes her look a bit autistic, which seems very appropriate.

Depending on the temperature they will both usually sleep on the bed. The colder it gets the closer they will get to us, Waddle will sometimes sleep between us causing her to take most of the duvet. Emma invites her under the duvet so we can retrieve what is rightfully ours. Waddle then overheats and disappears. It’s better than throwing her against the wall, which is what you want to do at 3am with an icey chill blowing up your pyjama trousers.

I woke this morning at 4.45 with my brain racing about the things I had to do today. Of course when I got in to do the things I wanted to do today my brain started racing about the things I wanted to do at home. Go figure.

Upon waking I turned over to see Emma fast asleep. Then in the half light I could see something else poking out of the duvet. Slowly I focussed. It was Peanut asleep between us, she was totally submerged under the duvet, only her head could be seen, and that was on a pillow.

I woke her up and she looked at me, I looked at her as if to say that she’d pushed it a little too far. She stared momentarily concluded that I had woken her for no reason, and went back to sleep.

Tuesday, April 22, 2003

DIY hell

Yesterday I joined the first wave of bank holiday DIY'ers at B&Q to pick up some Polyfillar and some varnish in an attempt to progress our two year kitchen project.

I say first wave because wave one is buying the goods required to make whatever it is you plan to make, this usually means buying far too much of the wrong stuff (Get four hundred gallons of white emulsion, it might be useful in drilling some holes). The second wave is returning to buy the stuff you forgot or the stuff that will fix your botch.

"I can't get this bloody stuff to work"
"Have you read the instructions"
"I don't need to read the bloody instructions"
"Look, it says here, apply paint with paintbrush, did you get a paintbrush"
"No I bloody didn't, why doesn't it come with a paintbrush’ Where are my keys"

Fixing the bodge means buying something progressively more dangerous than the thing you bought the first time you went in. For example, during the kitchen project we bought a worktop (potential dangers: Could saw finger off when cutting (no) or could drop on both feet when manoeuvring (YES)) We cut it to size only to find that when we put it in it was considerably shorter than we expected (repeat this mantra: ˜None of the walls are straight").

As a result I had to get expanding foam to plug the gaps. This required me to wear gloves when applying. These safety instructions are always overly cautious so I squirted it on, and spread it out with my gloveless fingers. Now, this stuff is what you might describe as a Liquid wall and as such it dries like concrete. It did a fine job of melding my fingers together. I had to sit for three hours with washing up liquid, baby oil, cocoa butter and anything would keep stop my hands turning into trotters. I saved my career as a pianist but managed to smell like a cheap hooker for days.

More recently, when applying gloss paint to the skirting boards I decided we'd get a better job done by stripping the old paint off. Whether you're doing DIY or not paint stripper is worth using just to see it in action. You apply it to the paint and nothing happens, then three seconds later the paint blisters violently and the noxious fumes fill the air. It's the sexiest DIY application on the market.

I used it wearing gloves as directed. Fine except the shards of paint kept dropping onto my bare arms causing my skin to fizzle and burn. Managing to burn enough holes in my arms for people to think that I was half man half Curly Wurly, Emma's dad went out and bought some new wood at a fraction of the cost and replaced the old crap in a matter of minutes.

Given the danger of this particular product I cannot be far from the DIY bodgers dream using an application that requires a facemask and chain mail.

Wednesday, April 16, 2003

Morning routine

My morning routine is a simple and well drilled affair, I wake up, go straight to the shower, come downstairs, iron a shirt whilst the kettle is boiling, drink tea whilst I watch the TV review on GMTV with Kate Garraway (WEY HEY!, a thousand more hits for me) and Richard Arnold, finish my tea, pick up my rucksack and make for the car. Stop the clock, forty minutes.

The eagle eyed amongst you will realise that whilst I have a smartly pressed shirt, I appear go to work naked. Interwoven amongst this routine, is dressing, almost every day.

I hate getting in the shower. It’s the point of no return, a surge of energy, sparked by our badly tuned clock radio, propels me to the bathroom. Once I’m in the shower I’m no longer allowed to be a sleepy lumbering beast, theory says in three minutes I have to be awake, alert and ready.

To lubricate my passage (WEY! HEY! two thousand more hits) is shower gel. It’s like the big lever Han Solo pulls on the Millennium Falcon to make the jump to light speed. It’s supposed to take you through the barrier into the world of the awake. Much like the Falcon’s flux capacita, every time I use it, it fails to live up to expectations.

It’s always called something like Sunshine Sunburst or is the fragrance of a far off paradise like Aloe Aldershot. I expect my skin to crackle and sparkle into life when the gloop touches it. I expect it to invigorate my mind, open it up to embrace the challenges ahead (challenges like, how to write 500 words about shower gel, for example). I want it to feel like I’m having colonic irrigation using Sherbert Abdabs and Semtex.

It never does of course, it makes no difference to my morning, it goes from orange goo to orange goo with a couple of bubbles to orange goo with a couple of bubbles making haste towards the plughole. I’m so disappointed.

Monday, April 14, 2003

Big boned

Emma, like all teachers, lives on a different time convention to most people. She will say things like, “Shall we go to Brighton on the last weekend of the spring half term” as though anyone knows when that is.

It’s day one of the Easter holidays and like the big meany I am, I have made it quite clear that if Emma is to start redecorating the hall (her planned Easter project) we have to have finished the 2 year old kitchen project first. This has spurred her on to great things, today she was out of bed before lunch time.

I got a phone call at one o’clock.

“The painting looks crap, the dentist can’t see me for three months, I phoned the council (about something complicated) and they said it’s not their fault, I phoned the cinema and their systems are down and you’ve had an email giving you information about penis extensions, I assume you didn't have anything to do with that?”

I laughed hysterically and a little too loud and denied it all, afterall, what do I know about cinema computer systems?

Saturday, April 12, 2003


For me, the last three weeks have been dominated by exhibitions, putting stands up, taking them down, standing staring blankly trying not to look bored. Being an exhibitor is a rotten job because you spend three days trying to convince yourself that this is all worthwhile, when all your doing is exposing yourself to the maddest people on earth.

First up are the people wearing slightly obscured badges, all you can read is that they’re job title says “…ing Di…” and you hope beyond hope that this means they are Managing Director. Eventually they reveal themselves to be a “Catering Dining Room Assistant”. They turn up on the first day and are queuing outside before the doors are open. Their boss has sent them to the exhibition because it’s a day out and cheaper than training and a pay rise. Yet despite this rare freedom, they fear they will be found out if they saunter in at lunchtime having spent the morning on Oxford Street. They look around listen intently at the to what your telling them, give positive comments like “That would be good in our company” then when you ask if they want to set up a meeting they cackle wildly, turn red and say “Ooh my boss wouldn’t like that” and shuffle off. But not before they take one of each piece of promotional literature you have. They wear beige anoraks and are laden down with promotional plastic bags. You later see them having a coffee and a flapjack fretting they won’t be allowed to claim it on expenses.

If you let your guard down you’ll find yourself turning and walking into a man invading your personal space by standing two inches from you. He will have a jet-black perm with silver grey sideburns. He is a magician/hypnotherapist/dolphin trainer who specialises in motivational and/or quit smoking techniques. He is about to sell to you. On your space, which you have spent in excess of £7000 to construct he spends twenty minutes convincing you he will help you give up smoking in seven days. Tell him you don’t smoke and he will insist he can help you start smoking in seven days, “or your money back”. He will always have a business card that says Flat 9a, Edgeware Road, which it will be above Carphonewarehouse.

Occasionally somebody apparently credible will come and talk to you. Sometimes they will reach into their pocket and before you know it you have a business card imbedded in your forehead. “Send me something to that” they say before disappearing off to maim someone else. Either that, or they will stop and ask what your business is about. “Well…” you say before they interject and spend an hour telling you that they’re doing something very ordinary “I’m recently redundant, er, an independent consultant who is specialising in helping people eat carrots” you nod “But I’m doing it a bit differently to most people” at this point your inner ear caves in and you can’t hear anything apart from “Revolutionary technique from America” and “Using computer simulations online”. All the while over his shoulder you can see the Bill Gates perusing your literature saying to his handmaiden “If I can talk to this guy I’m going to buy this for every single one of my employees and all my wives.”

At the end of long and busy show your mind turns to going home, and hey presto! the mad people turn up. Mostly they collect leaflets that they will sleep in. Others will draw you into a conversation, which is apparently making sense, until you realise they have teeth made of pegs, eyes that are different colours and ears growing upside down. Then the show closes and you cut them off mid sentence and turn and rip your stand down in a frenzy.

When you’ve finished and everything is packed up, you realise they are still standing there waiting for you to finish. Either that or you accidentally pack them up and find them back at the office running your IT system.

Friday, April 11, 2003

I'm so sorry

Having been super busy recently, I haven’t posted much up on the site. In a panic to appease my growing fan base (I’ve decided now to refer to all readers as ‘fans’) I posted an all too hasty note about the boat race. Rubbish wasn’t it?

So to alleviate my fans, here are some snippets of conversations held throughout that day: -

Conversation number 1: - Russ and Sam are going to Canada on holiday

Simon “So you’re going Whale spotting?”
Russ (nodding in acknowledgement) “Visiting relatives…that’s not to say we’re related to Whales”
Sam “Although in a sense I am, because I’m half Welsh… and half Canadian”
Scott “Exotic”
Russ “Yes, but we don’t have water spurting out the top of our heads”

Conversation number 2: - Simon looks for his college colours

Simon “I haven’t seen anyone in my college colours (Churchill)”
Scott “Why do Churchill have pink and brown college colours”
Simon “Apparently it’s the first principal of the college, it was his wife’s favourite colours”
Scott “Oh right, like the colour of her dogs or something… er… one being a chocolate Labrador, and one having fallen in a vat of Immac”

Conversation number 3: - Tips for business luncheons

Mike “I’m having lunch with my new employers tomorrow, any tips?”

Responses included: - 

• Order just after everyone else does, or just before
• Don’t have noodles, sucking them up and having them slap your forehead on the way in doesn’t leave a good impression
• Don’t drink anything, although as they’re paying, you should drink as much as you can, it will relax you and loosen you up
• Wear clowns boots and a twirly wirly bow tie
• Would you like us to come and sit at the next table reading newspapers with eyeholes to give you tips and see how you’re getting on

Mike visibly shrivelled muttering something about being “nervous beforehand and terrified now.”

Wednesday, April 09, 2003

Eastbourne Poly, who'd have thought it

At the age of 13 I turned up to a maths exam without a calculator – the effect was catastrophic – my mark was lower than expected, meaning I dropped down a group for maths, meaning my GCSE grades weren’t what they could have been, meaning my A Levels suffered, meaning I didn’t get into either Oxford or Cambridge University and in a moment of teenage forgetfulness, my hopes of a rowing blue were scuppered forever.

To the people who know me, I hope your snorting your coffee out of your noses at the phrase “My GCSE grades weren’t what they could have been”.

Russ invited us to his club, I didn’t really like Russ until I found out he had a West London club, now I’ve found him to be one of the nicest people I’ve ever met. When he asked us to join him to watch the boat race, we were all over it faster than you can say “I’m 19, at Trinity College, I feel the need to wear a blazer, fedora and slacks.”

Although we watched just 12 seconds of live rowing as first the reserve crews, and then the proper race sped by our balcony vantage point, it was a fantastic day with friends, drinking (too much for a school night) and having a right laugh.

Whilst I could, and maybe will, elucidate further than this, I won’t because to say it was just great fun says it all really.

Sunday, April 06, 2003

Linhope corner

Rents in Marylebone are oppressive as it is, but in terms of rents paid per utilised square metre, the Linhope Corner has to be the most expensive real estate in the northern hemisphere.

Whilst the whole of Linhope is a chaotic nod to modern day consumerism, it is just one small corner of the living room that appears to be utilised with any great vigour. Usually my visits are brief, often starting at 3am after a night out, we will get in, Simon will survey the detritus of Linhope Corner and analyse who is currently in the house, and what has been going on there.

“Hmm, cigar, copy of FHM, TV control, half bottle of whiskey, Baz clearly went out on the spaz*, didn’t enjoy it too much, came home, watched TV fell asleep and is currently upstairs in bed, hmm the FHM is puzzling me… I concur that he’s alone.”

If I stay at Linhope, The Corner is where I sleep, it’s where the sofa bed is, and the widescreen TV which only plays Soccer AM and The Simpsons (oh, and Seinfeld now), and the copies of The Sun and FHM, and piles of change (ask Simon to do his ‘Barry’s Pocket’s Routine’), and the games consoles, and the blurry pictures and tokens of ventures past, and many other media related short term consumables.

Try moving everything you own into three-square metres of your house, that’s what it’s like. It’s so densely packed with stuff you can’t help thinking that perhaps it’s an art installation and that the actual living takes place elsewhere. On Saturday I went over to find, for the first time, all three of the residents sitting in Linhope Corner enjoying a lazy Saturday morning. Barry lounged across the sofa, Davis was slouched star shaped on one chair and Simon was geeking on his laptop in the other. Soccer AM was musing in the corner. Through some miracle of mathematics and particle physics they all actually fitted in.

*Linhopian slang

Friday, April 04, 2003

Wax lyrical

Whilst I can't think of any link between the two, wouldn't it be great if there was a song with the lyric "Geography is just like pornography."

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