Friday, December 01, 2006

Work Wang

Sorry for the lack of postings of late.

Some fool has employed me for 2 weeks so I’ve been a bit busy.

I work on and off as a freelance media type slacker. So work has the habit of turning up when it’s least expected.

This latest job sounded pretty good on the phone. However when I turned up for work the next day my fee had been ruthlessly (cleverly) slashed in two.
This is the point I should have had my wits about me. I was sure that I was confirmed the previous evening on the phone for double the amount. Now, in this business if you get confirmed and then the ‘employer’ says that they don’t want you to work. You get the fee you agreed to work for, with out actually doing the work. Wayhey, quids in.

Or so you would think…

But being in my current position, asking for a cancellation fee would do me no good in the future. Would you employ some one for future work if they held you over a barrel with a loaded laptop to their heads? I think not. Also, I’m sick of smoking roll ups.

So I agreed to work for half the fee. Apparently the work load had been halved too. Sounds pretty fair? Yeah right!

So, I’m now working like a paper boy on Saturday and maybe Sunday.

I promised my self that when starting this blog I wouldn’t talk about work or other boring day to day typical blog stuff.

So, I’m off to eat a sandwich then watch some TV. Oh dear it’s raining in London

(For humour bypass drones, the last line was a joke…)

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

I’m A Celebrity. Get Me Out Of Here!

More like: Am I A Celebrity? Get Me On There!

In recent years I’m not ashamed to say that I have secretly enjoyed watching the celebs being put through horrific encounters with horrific creatures.
One of the reasons I enjoyed it so much was the fact that I sincerely hated every last one of the fame hungry scum.

Who could forget ‘mum of the year’ Kerry Kat-cokehead being force fed kangaroo balls? Or the ridiculous Peter Andre being covered in biting insects.

Great fun.

Not as much fun as punching them in the face, but it was a start.

So, I tuned in again this year. Hoping for another helping of car crash TV pie.

Foiled. Or rather the casting director / producers had fucked it up royally.

During the first 10 minutes the only words to spout from my mouth were “who’s she?” “who’s he?” “who’s that?” “what is this?” “we must be on the wrong channel?”

Seriously, some of them don’t even scrape into the Z list. I mean, where was Richard Blackwood? Andi/Mandi Peters? Not even that old cow from This Morning?

Now i’m not the type of person to give in with out a fight. So I tuned in a few days later, intent on some sort of viewing pleasure.
There was another (cough) celebrity being brought into the jungle. Now when these types of shows do this they usually bring in a real coup of a celeb. Think Jimmy Saville on Big Brother.

Who could it be?
Only Dean ‘shagger’ Gaffney!

I had to turn the TV off. It was that or throw it out the window. When Dean ‘Shagger’ Gaffney is the most recognizable person on a reality show made up of celebrities, something is going very wrongbad...

Monday, November 20, 2006


I went to a pub quiz for the first time in years the other day.
It reminded me of my first year at university in the lovely Stoke on Trent.
Those of you lucky enough to have visited the ‘Knightsbridge of the Midlands’ will no doubt know what an utter utter hole it is!

When I was 18 and didn’t know any better it didn’t seem so bad. After all I had just escaped Scunthorpe. What is it they say? Out of the frying pan, into the fire…

Some one should certainly have burnt down my first student house share. To call it a shit hole would be insulting to Grimsby. Luckily I was sharing with a good bunch of lads. But what with lads being lads, we never cleaned up. Especially those who had been looked after by their mummies for eighteen years and didn’t even know what a toilet brush was! A visitor to the house could have easily mistaken us for a load of French exchange students.

So, to The Bell And Bear! Every Tuesday with out fail. 7:30pm on the dot.

Looking back it’s amazing I/we had the balls to venture to such a pub, let alone drink in it.

It was situated in an area called Snow Hill. Snow Hill, as I was to come to learn in future years, was the bad lands of a bad city (technically not a city. Five towns, as any good Stokie will never bore of bending your ear over) To say it was a little bit dodgy is a fair analogy. For some reason this never put us off. We merrily skipped all the way there, as we knew what was waiting at the end of the evening…

Most people who have been to Stoke will tell you that the native’s males all look the same. Begby from trainspotting crossed with Ben Kingsly in Sexy Beast.

The Bell And Bear was like a rat nest. Full of them. The quiz master/ landlord paradoxically didn’t fall into this sweeping highly accurate generalization. He was the spitting image of Roy Walker from Catchphrase. The spitting image.

We didn’t go for the quiz, or the knock off lager behind the bar, or the poisonous Rothmans air, or the surly locals itching for a scrap, we didn’t even go for the out-of-date oat cakes (Stokie pubs don’t serve pork scratchings. Just the local delicacy of the Oat Cake. To heinous to describe...). Oh no, the real reason we went was because Roy.

Every week with out fail he would read out the scores at the end of the evening on his more than adequate stolen PA system. Every week from the minute the quiz ended we schemed and racked our immature brains for a more insulting and shocking pub quiz name.

A few that I remember are: ‘OAP Jizz Lobber’, ‘I Love Cocks Up My Arse’, ‘Aunti Norma’s Gang Bang’ and my personal favourite ‘Full Rectal Prolapse’.

The funny thing was Roy used to read them out with out fail. What was funnier was his disgust as he realized what he had said. He never cottoned on and read the names properly before bellowing them over the PA.

We used to go for weeks and weeks. Well, at least until we had reached‘Full Rectal Prolapse 5’

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Hell Ride

For some unknown reason I no longer watch neighbours. I can’t put my finger on the exact moment I stopped watching it. You would assume it’s a life changing/defining moment that you would remember for ever. Like the first day at school, your first cigarette or the last time you were subjected to a Tom Hanks film (Road To Perdition 2002).

It used to be a life or death situation. Or at least it used to be for my Mother, who soon learnt that tea was served at 6:55pm and not 5:30pm.

It has been years since I last even casually tuned in. I can no longer say that I only watch it for the scenery. A phrase I first heard uttered by my childhood friend Paul’s dad. At the time I thought this was odd. Fancy watching Neighbours just to catch a glimpse of the Aussie out back? It took me a few years until my hormones had developed and I realised that scenery was a polite or male code word for tottie. At the time he was obviously referring to Kylie, by the time my hormones had gained fuitition, it must have been the era of Beth (Natalie Imbrulia). Now this is something I distinctly remember. A sort of ‘oh that’s what it means’ sort of thing. Like the time I remember calling my mum a twat, innocently thinking it meant idiot. The cringing feeling was certainly in the post two years down the line…

Being freelance, the average work a day slave thinks that for most of my time I take advantage by putting my feet up and watching the goggle box. Well, that’s not true. It’s actually quite tough. Bongs won’t smoke themselves!

That last part unfortunately isn’t 100% true. I do find it hard to resist the telly sometimes. The welcome numbing, that only Cash In The Attic can bring, is probably on a par with as a nice bag of the golden brown.

Now, Neighbours. I tried watching a bit today. All it did was bring back memories of a man I met on a boat. No, not that sort of boat. Besides, fairgrounds don’t have the Tunnel Of Love anymore. And besides, I’m not gay.

When I was a young scamp, ooh all over nine years ago. I was thirsty for adventure. Desperate to see the world. To feel the foreign wind in my hair and experience life in all it’s full glorious technoclour. So I traveled the hundred miles and went to Amsterdam.

It may not seem like far in these heady days of globalisattion. But believe me. When you’re nineteen and away from home on your own. Well, not your own, your mates are there as well. But at the end of the day if the shit hits the fan, you’re the one expected to carry the can (Not true if you’re my mate Nathan, but that’s another story) especially when you’ve got a couple of pink grannies in your back pocket, itching to be spent on the first mid altering substance to be found.

So, anyway that was Amsterdam. The same as a thousand other stories of debauchery. In a city where having sex with a three legged dog dressed as Christopher Biggins whilst off your chops isn’t really that shocking. Not even on a Sunday.

So this story really begins (this time) on the way back, at Rotterdam Ferry Port. Tired and strung out after a week of teenage madness. Home seems like a godsend. Home seems very far away. Home seems very very far away. I still haven’t forgiven my cheapskate mates for insisting on traveling by North Sea Ferries. After a week of fun, 23 hours on a North Sea Ferry with no cabin, in winter, seemed like and was (believe me) a hell ride. The only plus point was that when we were out on the rolling high seas there was no uk duty. Yep, cheap drinks and cheap fags at the 24 hour bar. Sweet.

As we were just finishing off the rest of our supplies, some heavy duty silly ‘English boy skunk’ so called because locals didn’t need to get ridiculously stoned in order to impress their mates. We added our stubbed out joints to the already overflowing ‘cigarette bin’ and entered the terminal.

The night before departure was spent regaling each other with bravado about who was bringing what contraband back with them. I personally was bringing back some well researched and very expensive Charis, along with a couple of doses of magic mushrooms.
My friends were also bringing back similar and varied amounts of varying ‘soft’ substances.

Upon entering the terminal, our bravado disappeared. It was certainly brown trouser time.
Antonio, who’s sole purpose for the whole trip, if not life, was to secure some of the hardest most depraved pornography known to man (animal lover 4 and Dog Jiszm Nights, if memory serves correctly) was the whitest and quietest of our party.

Faced with a wall of Dutch police a quick discreet huddle was called for. We couldn’t go through customs with all this loot on us. In reality, getting busted was not that much of an issue. Well it was for Antonio. We all felt for him, but it was his dirty depraved choice to not only buy the filth but to have it in his possession on the return journey.

Being Holland, there was a toilet clearly marked before entering the customs area. Being Holland, it was packed. Full of wet behind the ears teenagers having flash backs to Midnight Express. Wait, that was us looking in the mirror on the way in.

So, my turn. Trap number three. Trap number two was full of the sounds of some one flushing something unflushable down the toilet. Trap number one was full of the sounds of some one flushing some thing up his (or her, it was Holland) nose.

Right. We’d agreed. Get rid of the mushrooms. No way was the precious Charis going down a bog. Would you put Audrey Hepburn on a bus? I think not!

No time now for lovingly and meticulously brewing up a vat of mushroom tea whilst listening to Pink Floyd. Not with some Scottish Shiteing cunt (I believe that’s the phrase) banging on the door wanting to get rid of his own booty.

It’s surprising easy how a handful of odd and vulgar looking mushrooms can slip down the gullet. Even with out a sip of Doctor Pepper to ease their passing.

So after an age of queuing up and after the non existent security checks we were allowed to passport control.

At this point, precisely before I needed to converse with the mustached cheese eating ‘I hold power to enter and leave my kingdom’ passport official. The feeling starts.

The feeling, as I call it, is a surge of energy that passes through the back of the neck. Just before the nape. It passes like an electric current through two muscles, which are barely recognisable (and thankfully) in day to day life, on the back of your neck. Tip your head back now and tense your neck. You will feel two artery’s (?) about 2 inches apart. No? Well next time you foolishly try some psychedelic substances, have a look.

For me, the feeling is the first sign that things are starting to change. The start of the trip. It can also be the sign of ‘thank fuck I’ve not been ripped off on these blotters’. When faced with leaving a country with a bag full of top draw. It is hell.

“ok sthankshyou shurs, hope you enshoyed Holland”

And that was it. No security checks, no searches. Not a latex glove in sight.

It was one of those moments that you remember for ever (not like stopping watching Neighbors. I’m coming to that…).

Walking quickly, not hurrying, not talking, up the gang plank. The excitement was building. Like a run away train. Once on board, in the semi private corridor of the ship, Huggs alround. We’d done it. We’d got one over on the system! More importantly, we were one step closer to home and we still had our dope!

Anyway, I could ramble on for ever as there are a thousand stories concerning that ferry ride home. What makes me laugh is once we had troughed from the peak of the fungus, we were sat around in the bar bored and dulling the pain with the import duty free alcohol. Actually that’s not funny, it’s quite harsh.

Ben had bought some very risqué playing cards. As a group, we were analysisng each card in terms of it’s filth factor. Remember, this was Amsterdam and after a week we had become desentisised to a triple anal penetration. So the cards were organized into the best being on top (not sure most people would use the word ‘best’ when looking at this type of card)

This process must have taken over an hour. Any passers by would have thought we were discussing neo Marxism. This was how seriously every minor detail was being taken.

Finally, the fifty two (and two jokers I might add…) were ranked in order of filth. Worst, or best depending on your disposition, was at the top.

We sat back to admire our achievement. Like the signing of independence, we all silently understood, some thing of importance had been achieved today. If I had a cigar, I would have lit it. Bear In mind I was a student, so I settled for a Lambert And Butler….

Now, who should come along? Only the old Aussie and his Sheila (his word, not ours) who we met at the peak of our depraved fungus enlightenment boarding the good ship P&O North Sun.

Mr Bush Tucker and his Sheila were everything the start of this statement suggests. Mr & Mrs classic old Aussie. I shit you not. He was wearing little shorts, white knee length socks, boots, a Steve Irwin shirt and an Aussie bush hat. Thankfully it didn’t feature corks, other wise my already melting mind would not have coped.

He was the classic chauvinistic old Aussie. As soon as he recognised us from earlier he knew we were men’s men. The Aussies man. The men who would drink beer before brushing their teeth.

“Aooogh ya playing cards? Rooight?? ”

“ Er yes, cards. Yes, we’re playing cards”

“Hey Shelia” (At this point I hadn’t worked out if that was the name of his poor suffering wife, or if he was just referring to her as a woman)
“You take your self off. I’m staying with the boys to play poker!”

He gave a look to us as if to say, stupid woman. I’m staying here to get pissed with my new pommie mates and play cards and talk about shelias.

Ben, handed the poisoned chalace to ‘Skippy’

“Oiy oiy! Hey Shelia, Bit of Blue. The old dirty playing card eh? You get your self off shopping. Don’t worry about me love. Ha ha”

He shuffled her off as we waited in silence. Each of us knew how long it had taken in our drug abused minds to rank each card in the order of ‘most rancid’ The first 10 cards were indescribable in depravity. I sincerely hope that as soon as we passed into British waters they self destructed.

The silence grew as Mr. Bush Tucker silently absorbed the unimaginable, the unexpected, the gut wrenchingly graphic ‘playing cards’.

It’s as if his legs recognised the dirt before his brain. They started to walk backwards, leaving his upper body in suspended disbelief. Mr. Bush Tucker fell against the wall as if faced with Nosfaratu himself. His hands scrabbling for the garlic and cross.

My head was about to explode.

The only thing which gave my throbbing heed chance to depressurise was the high pitched screeching laugh emitted from the culprit of the filth/card dealing, Ben, breaking down in a never before scene of ‘laugh in your face’.

This may or may not have had some unconscious affect on my brain, making me not watch Neighbors anymore but every time I see one of those old Lou Carpenter types it make me think of some poor girl with shite dripping off of her tongue.

Nasty. I don’t like to talk about drugs and I wont make a habit of it. As Pete Doherty said to the court.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Roll Up Roll Up

I have a love hate relationship with rolling tobacco. That is sometimes I love it and sometimes I hate it. Geddit?

It usually works out that I hate it about the time when my pockets are bulging from a nice pay cheque and I have money to squander (as soon as possible) on fine luxuries such as the precious Marlborough Lights, Finger Of Fudge’s or food from Sainsbury’s. At these rare and distant times I develop a snobby contempt for my ‘pikey smoking’ brothers, similar to which I can only imagine a Sloane ranger would feel whilst trotting down Streatham High Street.

Unfortunately work has been a bit slack of late, so my love for the rolled goodness has resurfaced.

That was until I had an awful flashback (probably not quite like the ones Dennis Hopper has…) to George The Demon Barber.

When I was 12 or so I had finally had enough of the ridicule and shame of yet another of my mummy’s attempts at hairdressing. I was on the brink of man hood and a man can’t have his mother cutting his hair. It was time to venture into the world of professional hair dressing. Of a sort…

It was a Saturday and my Mother escorted me to one of the two ‘gents’ barbers (is there such a thing as a woman’s barber?) in the local small town, Georges. Being in a northern town it was out of the question to go to a ‘hairdressers’. It was bad enough having my mum cut my hair, being accused of being a pouf would be suicide. What with another 4 years of school left.

Georges was old school. A little shop no bigger than a front room. Looking back now, it could well have been his front room. In we strode, slightly slowed down by the wall of cigarette smoke that escaped (probably for a breath of fresh air) as we opened the door.
The place was packed. Gents squeezed together on an array of cheap seating lining the walls of the shop. George stopped mid snip and turned to my Mum. “Gents only Saturday love, boys on week. But seen as you stranger, come sit sit”

George was Greek. Despite living in the UK for more than 20 years, he had yet to fully grasp the English language. He was a small wirery man dressed in slacks and an open neck shirt, probably the same pair he was wearing when he stepped off the boat to meet his Tracy who he met in Kathos ’72. His hair was the traditional curly mullet, albeit a little graying and nicotined stained.

I was starting to realize this was a mistake, but like the condemned lamb, we (or me) was ready for the slaughter. All that was left now was the hour wait with the rest of the gents.

As I acclimatized to the situation and began the patient silent wait, another new experience raised its head. The Daily Sport newspaper. Loads of them laid out on the coffee table in front of us. In fact that was pretty much the only paper George stocked. If David Dickinson had sashayed in, not only would he have been able to say hello to his long lost brother, but he would have been able to give a valuation as I’m sure some of them were collectors items going back most likely to ’72.

At this time I had hardly been exposed to The Sun and didn’t dare to pick up one of the porn mags masquerading as a daily newspaper. However after an hour of watching George in action on yet another poor sod, both me and my mum were merrily working our way through his back catalogue of Sports.

It was certainly an eye opener and the prospect of sampling the daily Sport every month was starting to grow on me. In more ways than one…

Just as I was engrossed with Dawn’s tales of hubby and builder sex roasting shame, what ever that was? George called me to the hot seat. Which literally was hot, as it had been warming the back side of every man in need of a short back and sides in a 20 mile radius since 9am that morning.

“Ok, so what we do?”
Crikey, I hadn’t expected this. I had never been asked how I would like my hair cutting. It just normally happened. Then I would be laughed at till it grew.

Whose hair would I most like to have? Images of all the great men passed through my mind. Selleck? Guttenburg? J fox? Magiver?...

With the eyes and ears of 15 men boring into the back of my head (through the over grown locks) I bottled it and asked for a trim. The question turned out to be futile anyway. George, like many northern barbers only knew how to do two types of hair cut. I was getting the Type 2. Just a trim.

And so it began. My first real hair cut. I had barely had time to mull over why George had two Barbers chairs, possibly Dickinson did pop in from time to time to help out during the busy times? Before it started. The barrage. I had been warned about the barrage from my Father and older brother. Both who were men and like all the other men needed their hair cutting from time to time.

The barrage was a series of questions disguised as a conversation. Like a policeman pumping an informant for information or more fittingly a Gestapo interrogation, obviously before the thumb screws came out…

What was unusual about George was his memory. His shop was always busy from dawn till dusk, 6 days a week 364 days a year. “ I no work Christmas. Family time. It’s nice”. It doesn’t take Stephen Hawking to work out that that’s a lot of men a year. Probably not as many as Freddy Mercury, but close.

George could remember every detail of every conversation of every man that he had ever interrogated.
As I was to learn in the coming years of being trapped into this monthly ordeal.

This super memory was unnerving. Not only was it unnerving he would also on occasion regal detailed stories and information of other customers lives. As quite a private young man, the thought of him discussing my life with some random bin man who had popped in for a trim was to be honest mortifying.

Bringing it back to the roll ups. George used to smoke like a chimney. A hair cutting chimney. I soon realized what the spare barbers chair was for. Resting his over flowing ash tray.

On occasion, when the spare chair was full of Daily Sports or extra stock of Bryl Cream. The ash tray had been known, to be rested on the customers lap with out so much as a “ do you mind balancing my ashtray on your lap?”

To be honest this only happened a handful of times, but as most men know a handful is more than enough.

The roll ups were always ‘Golden Vag’ with out filters. George wasn’t a pouf after all.

This is what the flash back reminded me off. George Stopping mid interrogation to breath second hand smoke over my hair. The smell of the chemical free rolling tobacco bringing back one of the most disturbing thing to happen to a young lad.
George for some reason never cut the nail of his little finger. I remember seeing it many a time flashing before my eyes as his scissors skimmed my fringe. Nicotined stained, long and ugly.

On one fateful monthly session George was explaining that if the hair above my ear was trimmed back from covering it, my hair wouldn’t curl into my ear hole. To demonstrate the point, with the precision of Eric Bisto on tournament day, he stuck his little finger with the 2 inch nail into my ear. I’m sure this lasted a fraction of a second, but sitting in the hot seat staring back at my own frozen reflection witnessing the finger/nail in my ear; it could have been an eternity.

What the fuck? What was that? What just happened? He just carried on as if nothing had happened. Maybe it didn’t? Maybe I imagined it? I knew one thing for certain. I was going to grow my hair. I was going to grow my hair really really fucking long.

Start Off With A Funny Story

Today I remembered a funny, but totally true story, which i posted on b3ta a while back.

As this is the first entry into the blog i thought i'd do a control c control v (thats cut and paste for all you shortcutphobes)

Remember the Total eclipse a few years ago?(where the moon covers the sun for a few seconds and it all goes dark. Really cool. No it is, really.

Aaaanyway, me and my mate Jam heard that the best place to view it was on the beach in a Cornish village called Falmouth. So we thought it would be cool to drive the 500 odd miles down there to get a better look at it (I know, i know)

Being northern dogsacks, we hadn't been down south much and the whole experience got a little bit too much for us. We started to act up and become the typical loud and brash northerners that we looked like. Mainly because it was fun seeing the look of contempt on the posh southerners faces and mainly because we were pissed.

Cutting a long story short. We went out the night before the eclipse to an out door restaurant. This was a novelty to begin with. You don’t get many out door eating establishments oop north. Well, not counting hot dog stands etc etc So, we ordered some grub and a few beers. They didn’t have any pies so we ordered some southern muck. Pasta or something.

Now the place was busy (due to the eclipse). So we settled down with our beers and enjoyed the view. Cue several beers later. No food. Another beer. No food. Another beer. What were these shandy twats doing?? We only ordered pasta! So, being reasonable chaps we complained nicely. They brought us out more beers for free (bonus). Still no food. Another complaint and they said that they had run out of pasta! So we re-order and get more beers on the house. So it comes up to the hour mark, still no food. Rather noisy complaint from us. More free beers from them. At this point we had had no food and had been sinking as many free beers as we could manage (all this on an empty stomach). Then we notice other people who ordered AFTER us being served with pasta!Right!!

Now imagine that scene from With Nail And I (in the tea rooms) but replace it with two very pissed loud northerners. “Fuck you we’re off. And we’re not paying for the beers cocker!” (or something along those lines). The waitress seemed quite pleased about this and cleverly made no attempt to stop us.Their food looked and probably was shite anyway.

The funny part of the story is when we got back to our campsite I had a few drags on what can only be discribed as a jazz cigarette. Surprisingly this sent Jam under and straight off to sleep. I on the other hand was left with a dilemma... I either needed to be sick or I needed to do a whoopsie. In my pissed mind I chose the latter. Which would have been fine if I was remotely near a toilet!

It was pitch black and I was in a field with 100 other eclipse revellers (really families exploiting the cheap English camping holiday). Here logic took over. I crawled over and squatted down behind Jam’s car and laid a three day old log which was desperate to escape. Exhausted and dripping in sweat, I collapsed in the tent. Come the dawn sun the only thing which cured my hangover was to watch from the tent as Jam went to retrieve some water from his car. Yep, you guessed it. He trampled all over the man egg in his bare feet. The look of recognition/ disgust on his face as it slowly dawned on him that his feet were cover with cack was priceless!

Some how I suppressed my mirth and blamed it on an imaginary dog that I claimed was hanging around the camp site. Which he believed!? (still to this day in fact. Bow-wow indeed)
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