I look across the peaceful fields of England and a calmness overwhelms me. Rolling through the countryside in a train to some beacon of urban grandeur – Stevenage say, or Taunton – I wonder how our nation can feel so cramped, so busy, when there are glorious grassy plains as far as the eye can see.
As I rumble through these ancient green lands with so many stories to tell, of lords and serfs, farmers and shepherds, men and women of toil and endeavour, I spy two people meandering across the verdant terrain.
The fury is immediate and profound. Golfers.
Continue reading Anything but clubs
You shouldn’t be here really. You should be on social media. Imagine what you’re missing.
Perhaps there’s a vital petition for you to sign so you can prevent the extinction of the pangolin without leaving your bed. Maybe a close friend of yours got engaged, the bitch. If you’re lucky there might be a link to a video that’ll explain how to improve your life in some small yet meaningful way.
By ending it, for example.
Continue reading Self-harm and Hamas
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