My phone just vibrated in my pocket. Do I look at it? I don’t want to seem rude to the person currently talking at me about their brother’s redundancy package or their child’s croup but, as engaged as I am in that, the vibration could be important.
Someone might need me. Someone might need the help or insight only my baffled scowl could provide. There’s a chance I can markedly improve someone’s life by responding inanely to an urgent enquiry with a perfectly punctuated sentence containing far too many words, like this one. I’ll have to sneak a look.
Oh. It’s a thumbs up.
Continue reading The thumb
Times like these, a man needs a good laugh.
There I was, nursing what turned out to be an unnecessary guilty complex after a Thursday night went wrong. On the sofa, Saturday afternoon – there was no Friday – feeling sorry for myself and being glared at across the room as if my existential dread weren’t already the size of Dion Dublin’s cock. Yes, it’s Homes Under the Hammer. Self-flagellation. Which is probably a doddle for Dion Dublin.
The news comes on the TV. India and Pakistan continue their merry dance-of-the-soon-irradiated. There’s something to do with Hillsborough, like most days. Jeremy Corbyn storms past journalists shouting ‘Good morning and goodbye!’ like a senile Truman Burbank.
Surely the sports news can save us. It can! Look! Women playing rugby!
Continue reading The wooden spoon
You are a filthy paedophile.
You must be – why else would you be singing gaily along with every litre of lung capacity to a song about the delights of an 11-year-old girl? You’re doing an awful lot of ‘touching’ of a pre-pubescent teen – ‘reaching out, touching me, touching you’. Bill Wyman shakes his head in disapproval and Tom O’Carroll senses his time has come at last.
But it’s fine. You carry on parading your nasty sexual perversions in front of thousands of sports fans, each of whom is merrily doing the same in some kind of bacchanalian wankathon in a concrete bowl. I’ll slip out muttering that you’re all twisted ghouls and somehow making myself the killjoy in the process.
Because I really, really fucking hate Sweet Caroline. And apparently I’m completely alone.
Continue reading Touching me, touching you
There’s a baby on the Tube. Sitting in a pushchair, cooing away, dribbling down a rattle and grinning at strangers as though we live in a world where not every stranger is a rampant paedophile. It’s placid, it’s cute and it’s happy. Everybody loves a happy baby.
Then it coughs. And not the cough you’d expect from a human that size – the full hack, crackling like an old man 30 fags deep into a 50-a-day habit, with a pipe for pudding.
Continue reading Terrors of the deep
It’s not what you expect to see in Finchley. Borneo and Bangladesh certainly, North America but hardly North London. I looked out my back door this morning and saw a flying squirrel.
Well, a squirrel, flying. A squirrel I’m at war with.
Continue reading Becoming Margaret
The ‘comedians’ comedian’. So said all the pre-show hype.
It’s a tantalising thought: a stand-up comedian who can make other stand-ups laugh. His material must be so cutting edge, Stabby Sadiq must be worried someone might be about to steal some of his blame for 2018’s rivers of blood.
But that’s not what it means at all.
Continue reading The comedians’ comedian
“Come on, it’s fun!”
Listen, I’ll be the judge of what’s fun and what’s rigid sigmoidoscopy. And don’t think I can’t see the hidden message behind your eyes. You only want me to join in with this farce because you’re picturing me wheeling about the room like an epileptic in a ball pool.
I’m truly sorry but I’m going to have to do something I swore I’d never do. Hell has frozen over, water is running uphill and yes, that’s a flock of pigs up there. I’m going to quote Phil Collins.
I can’t dance.
Continue reading In the light of the disco ball
A couple of weeks ago I was on a British Airways flight to Italy. These days this involves a ‘short haul economy dining’ experience lovingly crafted by Marks & Spencer. Gone are the days of infinite free mini wines on the way to tipping a man in a gimp suit into a canal in some desolate European burgh. It’s now £2.30 for a ‘Twinings English Breakfast tea 12oz’ on the nation’s flagship carrier and oh how proud they make us all.
On this flight was a man with a desperate thirst for £1.80 worth of bottled water. You can only pay by card these days, ever since airlines realised that without the weight of a bag of pound coins you can fit an extra seat on each wing, so this man handed over his plastic.
“Would you like a receipt?”
Continue reading Cumbernauld and Shipley
When I was young, back when this was all fields, I vowed that I would never be one of those people who stopped caring about things.
Old people would tell us we really couldn’t change a damn thing, but we knew our generation was different. We walked down streets wearing wristbands that said ‘Make Poverty History’ and just knew we’d save the world. All we needed was a few people richer than us to give up their money first, then we’d maybe start chipping in too, once the student loans were paid off and we’d had a nice holiday and a couple of kids, and obviously they’ll need money for a house and to be honest these people should probably be helping themselves before they come to us for handouts but the point is we cared.
Old people just gave up, but we’d never do that. And I can honestly say I have the same politics as I did in 2005. I don’t squint warily at brown people and my investment portfolio stretches no further than the two cans of Guinness I left unswallowed in the fridge last night. I want more than anything to leave, but the last thing I want is to Leave.
And yet, with the tragic inevitability of the toast landing jam-side-down, the old people were right.
Continue reading The afterwank
I passed my driving test 23 years ago. I started driving so long ago, Arsene Wenger was in charge of a Japanese team with a name like an Austrian mountain troll and Henri Paul was still alive. I miss Henri. We all do.
I’m neither good at driving nor bad at it; I’ve never won a race and I’ve never knocked two people off a tandem. Generally speaking I can sit behind the wheel of a car and know, with a reasonable degree of confidence, how to make it move forwards, backwards and side to side. But I do have one question.
What the fuck is the handbrake doing down there?
Continue reading Death by Playmobil