Monday, February 28, 2005

Things that are ace...

....number 1 in a series of..., err 1 probably.

Unashamedly inspired by Channel 4's seemingly never ending Sunday night Top 100 of anything that is remotely shite series, comes Watski's series of 'Things that...'

Following on from Fridays 'Things that aren't what they used to be....' is todays installment: 'Things that are ace...'

No. 1. When your boss takes you into an office and says that you can leave when you want to with the added bonus of getting paid up until the end of April.

Totally unprepared for this bombshell I heard myself talking too much in response. It was nothing like the 'thanks for the experience' rubbish that I'm also capable of spouting, it was more like 'oh, well I was planning on doing this and planning on doing th...' before I realised what I was saying and stopped myself in my tracks.

"What are you doing?" I asked myself "What's the idea volunteering to carry on work when you're being offered time off? Crikey, save that heroic rubbish for the CV and the interviews and get out of here, quickly. And don't speak again."

There's already been one spanner thrown into my prospective life of leisure though - no sooner had I ran from the building than an agency, who had obviously been watching this development, rang to organise an interview for me London. I'll have to get the gas mask out of the loft now.

That'll probably be the end of 'Things that are ace...' for the moment as things that are ace dont tend to happen with enough regularity for me to be able to write about one tomorrow.

Friday, February 25, 2005

Things that aren't what they used to be...

..Number 1 in a series of...., err 1 probably:


How rubbish is snow nowadays? If snow today were a man it would be described as a bit effeminate. I remember the days that snow came, stuck around for ages, bothered everyone, hospitalised a few old people, then got icy, stayed around a bit more, got a bit boring, then melted, then snowed again. Over about a 3 week period.

Now, no sooner has it fallen then it's melted, and if by any chance it does hang around for any length of time it's the slushy type that just gets in the way.

No sledging, no nothing.

I don't even know if I like sledging anymore as it's been so long since I got the sledge out of the shed that I don't even own the shed that my sledge is in now.....and my head's beginning to hurt just thinking about what that means.

It's bound to be a blessing mind as I'd probably get laughed off the slopes by the young kids and their trendy, must have sledges with sponsored logos, text talk and other stuff that I don't get, so regularly tut at.

I might parcel a bit up and send it back to the authorities and demand a refund on my council tax. I blame Thatcher. And globalisation has a lot to answer for.

Bloody rubbish snow.

Monday, February 21, 2005

Gone to the dogs...

It's been difficult to avoid any mention of the fox hunting furore over the last few days, since the law came into effect on Friday.

And more so if you planned to visit Melton Mowbray on Saturday to run a few errands as I did. Does anyone run errands any more, or is it just me transported back to the time of Topper, Dandy and The Beano?

Earlier subscribers will have noticed my view on all this in previous posts.

As if being caught up in the midst of the world record wax jacket wearing attempt wasn't enough, it's also been plastered all over the news this weekend - they've even had news helicopters following dogs and horses across fields.

That's not news. Beckham and his new offspring: now that's news!

I thought we'd done with all this. I thought this tiresome debate was all over. I thought common sense and democracy had prevailed. But no - it seems not. The landed gentry and their hired inbred oafs who have been used to getting their own way in this country for the last few centuries are back - and this time they've got, err, err, Wellies and red trousers?.

But watching it on TV news has given me other insights into it - firstly the very characteristically named Lord Farqhuar was interviewed. Seriously now, I thought people with names like this had been beaten over the head and run out of the country by Cromwell and his mates. A more compelling case for abolishing the House of Lords you could not find.

They couldn't have picked a person whose name is more indicative of the type of people that follow this ancient tradition, i.e, ancient traditionalists. They surely only interviewed him for the benefit of the parents of council estate scallies in Merseyside to point and stare at on Saturday evening TV and thank their lucky stars that their kids are out joyriding.

Secondly, it showed a hunt in action. Or more specifically, it showed a couple of hired hands with a couple of shovels digging 3 feet into the ground where a fox had taken cover after outwitting a couple of score of huntsmen on horses and a pack of rabid dogs.

It seemed at first that this fox had 'won' this round of the sporting contest.

'Dash and blast that rascal' you could almost hear Lord Farqhuar say as he lit another cigar with a £50 note.

Think again.

Old Foxy didn't bargain on Ug and Pug. With their shovels. And a pistol.

They dug down to where the heroic fox had taken cover, and shot it in the head. A more humane way of killing vermin, this may be argued.

But if this barbarism were a sport, as many of these cavemen suggest, then a typically sporting reaction to the setback of being outwitted by the clever fox would surely be to shrug ones shoulders, put the situation down to good old British bad luck, pay respect to the deserving old adversary who has surely deserved a second chance, and go off home and flog a servant or two, before returning the following day for Round 2.

But no, after being dragged from its bolt hole and shot, the fox is then held above head height whilst the hounds yap themselves into a frenzy before 2 more amazing things happen.

Before I go into them I must say that I've actually got to the point where nothing about this sorry saga surprises me anymore, but the more I do see the more I just don't think that these people are actually from this planet.

Back to old foxy who is then thrown to the dogs to be ripped apart, not because he's still showing signs of life - not that he would after a bullet to the head and not because he's actually going to be eaten by them. It's purely for the benefit of him being ripped apart.

But whilst this happens, and I am honestly not making this up, a man who I believe to be the Master of the Hunt arrives and plays a little weird tune on his bugle whilst walking around the edge of this ripping frenzy - it's all he can do to resist performing a little court jester jig.

I'm sure any camera cutting away to the hunt followers would show them writhing on the ground in perverse sexual ecstasy, whipped into a trance by the mesmerising bugle. It was before the watershed though - maybe the unedited version was on later.

Absolutely mind numbing. And remember - we are led to believe that we are witnessing a sport. No wonder they react to it being filmed.

On the subject of being filmed - the pathetic, blithering, pacifistic, limp wristed anti-hunt sabateurs don't escape either. Have you ever seen a more wimpish selection of human beings?

You know the people who were picked last for all the playground sports teams? Well they all became hunt sabateurs. Blunt secateurs would be a more apt description, only less useful.

Dressed in army fatigues and black balaclavas. For gods sake, show your face. If you believe in something then have the courage of your convictions and stand shoulder to shoulder and look your enemy straight in the eye.

"No, I'm a pacifist" came the cry after one of them was 'offered out' by one of the web footed oafs.

Sod pacifism, give him a smack round the head with the first thing that comes to hand.

You'll feel a lot better for it I can tell you.

And eat some meat too.

Thursday, February 17, 2005

One in, one out....

The man opposite me had just received the phone call he had been waiting weeks for: the one that lets him know that his wife had just experienced whatever it is that women experience that lets them know that child is en route.

Within minutes the girl next to me had received the phone call that she hadn't been waiting for: the one that informs them that an elderly relative has passed away.

Ain't it funny the way the world works?

Tuesday, February 15, 2005


Bored of the old, conventional ways to waste money I've been on, what would seem to the untrained eye, a continual journey: searching for new and imaginative ways to lose one's cash.

As if I needed any new avenues to enable that to happen. I've got plenty of those running concurrently. I'm a serial money waster, the quicker the better it would seem. Usually down to laziness and being a sucker for a craze.

But anyway, I think I've hit upon something new: I've stumbled across internet poker.

For those unfamiliar with the finer details of poker: It's like being ambushed on a poorly lit sideroad whilst carrying the whole days takings.

The aim of the game seems to me to be dealt some cards then give everyone else your money. I think that's how it's played anyway - it's definitely how me and my new friends play it.

I get the feeling that there must have been some advert on the site before I got there that said something like:



Why can't the aim of the game to be to lose money as fast as you can?

Oh I'd be great at that then.

Friday, February 11, 2005

Brit of a mistake

I didn't watch the Brits. As much as I wanted to.

I am banned from going within 30 yards of any member of Girls Aloud, after that episode in HMV and the subsequent police warning, and being in front of a television when they happen to be on counts.

But I did notice whilst searching for pictures that Sir Bob had been chosen this year for the 'outstanding contribution for music' award.

It's an award that sounds good on the CV but the gloss will get taken off it slightly when he realises that Tom Jones and the Spice Girls were given the same award in years gone by and that they'd rather give it to Elton John twice before thinking of him.

A few weeks ago Sir Bob said that he was tired of being 'Mr Bloody Africa'. Well I have to say to you Sir Bob, if you are reading these inspirational pages - and it's understandable if you are, that if it wasn't for Bloody Africa then the only thing you'd be remembered for would be that weird trio thing with Paula Yates and Michaal Hutchence and songs about bananas, so thank god those Ethiopians came along when they did eh?.

The only outstanding contribution I can think of that the Boomtown Rats and Sir Bob have made to music in the last 25 years is that they haven't made any.

Definitely worthy of acknowledgement. Well done Sir Bob. Truly deserved.

Thursday, February 10, 2005


The mood had changed. The atmos was definitely less friendly than it had been a minute prior. It was now distinctly edgy.

With bank card held circumspectly between thumb and forefinger the previously friendly petrol assistant lady changed her viewing perspective, instead of looking through her glasses at me she had now bowed her head slightly and was looking over her glasses with eyebrows slightly raised.

I couldn't help but wonder whether she actually needed to wear glasses - I hadn't changed where I stood, she hadn't either. So why did she look over the glasses to get a good view of me when previously the glasses had done the job? I could save her a few bob by pointing this out....... if I cared.

I decided not to.

I was being held up enough as it was.

"I'm going to have to get authorisation" she had just said. Which is why I had time to ponder her viewing dilemma and possible solution.

"Ok no problem"

"The till has told me that I need to get authorisation"

"Yes ok, no problem"

I hadn't heard the till speak to anyone, but decided not to press her on this. Anyone who can hear tills talking is frankly capable of anything

"It may take a while"


"I'll have to ring the boss to find out how I go about it"


"I've not done one of these before"


I had the distinct feeling she was trying to tell me something.

"Look, shall I pay with something else? To save us all the trouble. Would that help?" I ventured, feeling as though I was trying to bribe some corrupt foreign official.

I could almost hear the whole building exhale a big sigh of relief.

"Well, that would be good if you could. It would save you some time"

A lot with the sounds of it.

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Peas in a pod

Belated congratulations to Ellen MacArthur (I'm sure this was the accolade she had waited for). If Tim Henman was a woman I think he'd look a lot like Ellen MacArthur, except he'd not be so good at winning stuff.

You know, I feel MacArthur and myself have a lot in common.

For a start we're both explorers. Of a sorts.

I don't expect everyone to understand what it is like to be of exploring stock, the draw of danger and foreign lands. It's in the blood.

Similar to her own travels, I too have to perform my own feat of personal endurance on a daily basis when navigating my way up and down the M1 to get to work. The difference is that I do it all on my own, not with the help of a team of experts - well I say on my own, I do have the help of 5live travel reports every half hour. It's not easy though.

But just because I don't have to avoid whales and stuff and put a few sails up and down doesn't make it any less of an achievement. Does it?

Maybe I should give B&Q a ring for a sponsored car or something. A drill might suffice.

And I also don't live too far from Cromford, where she was raised. I've been there, it's a shite hole, no wonder she went to the ends of the earth to get away, and happened to break a few records in the process. It's a wonder all Cromford's residents aren't in boats at the worlds end, up mountains or in space. It's no Mansfield.

Apparently she listened to Dido for the whole trip - to give her motivation. Good thinking. If I were stuck in a confined space listening to Dido then it would definitely give me the motivation to get to wherever I was going faster.

I'm only surprised it didn't give her the motivation to throw herself overboard and be done with it.

One of her sponsors, BT, have taken advertisements out in some of todays papers, boasting that they kept her in touch with the world.

Great for her. They can keep contact with a small boat as it circumnavigates the globe but can't pinpoint within 8 hours when an engineer will visit my house.

Not that good are they?

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Round the bend

I'm not religious and I don't believe in fate or psychics. Fortune tellers, palm readers and their like are all a bag of wind.

I'm very much of the opinion that life is here, now and all around you - there's nothing else, so get on with it.

That's all very well.

This cynical side to me doesn't fit well at all with my superstitious tendencies.

I don't mean the ladder or black cats kind of thing. That would be normal - or as much as walking into the path of oncoming traffic to avoid walking under a ladder is. I mean stupid superstitions - you know, the kind of things you would laugh at if reading on the internet about some Northern weirdo doing them.

As most football playing blokes have, I've been through stages in my life where I would wear lucky pants when playing or watching football.

Being me - I just took it further.

When playing football I would put my kit on in a particular order before walking out of the changing room putting my shirt on. I then went through a stage where I considered it unlucky to touch the football before the match had started - I'd be away in a corner of the pitch on my own warming up with various team mates firing balls at me in an attempt to get me to touch them, or a least trick me into kicking it back.

Many of my team mates said they couldn't tell the difference after the game had started though.

The most disturbing part of this sorry episode is when I then went through a stage, that I call my nutter stage, where I tried wherever possible to use the last but 1 cubicle from the right whenever going to the toilet.

God knows why.

What did I think was going to happen if I didn't do all these things? That the clouds would part and I would be struck by lightning?

Am I weird?

Friday, February 04, 2005

Something to hide

Taking into account the absence of an operating trolley in the vicinity it wasn't immediately obvious why the bloke in the car next to me also stuck in the morning traffic was wearing surgical gloves, although I couldn't see into his car where there may or may not have been one. Maybe Hasbro have started making travel operating tables, in which case may I take this opportunity to apologise to him for any slanderous thoughts.

I've thought about it and still have no idea what he was doing, or had just done. Or even what he was going to do. I was just glad that the traffic started moving again.

I decided not to stop at the services.

If you read about a strange murder in the Sheffield area, then I know just the man.

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Oooops I did it again...

Well, for the second time in less than a year I have resigned from my job with nowhere to go to. It's getting to be a bit of a habit.

The first time it happened I just got fed up and left - and everything turned out ok. Now I know not to be scared of it - the problem is that you become invincible when armed with this immunity and think nothing of doing it again.

Looks like I'll be going through this again over the next 12 weeks.