Tag Archives: fury

Mooing in defiance

Trump got elected. It’s not hugely surprising. Poor people responded to their unhappy situation by voting in a man who plans to cut taxes for the rich. Uneducated people voted for a guy who will make it far, far harder for the average child to get decent schooling without parents who rob banks. It turns out people are stupid. Shocker.

A couple of years ago I probably would have been spitting feathers about it all. But there’s no rage for politics left in me. All that’s left now is to laugh.

This truly is the crowning glory of human achievement – the setting up of a system so confusing to the layman that they willingly truss their own hooves and leap onto the cart to the abattoir, mooing in defiance at the man with the bolt gun. If you can’t laugh at that you must be a Mrs Brown’s Boys fan.

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The pride of Tom Daley

Recently I endured the painful experience of being forcibly pinned down by my best friend.

He isn’t usually given to violence, or sexual deviance with older women but, in his defence, he had discovered me throwing the contents of my handbag at the television. On reflection this was probably quite a disturbing sight for him. He had recorded several episodes of his favourite programmes on the Sky box and was in imminent danger of not having a screen to watch them on – again.

He didn’t seem particularly surprised to find me in such a rage. This was probably because he’d presumed that I had been watching the Chelsea match and was suffering from a serious bout of indignant rage following Diego Costa’s late winner against West Ham. I wouldn’t normally give a shit about West Ham’s result but I had placed a small wager on them winning the league this season (lunacy I know) and anyway, I fucking hate Diego Costa.

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Shot, beheaded or barbecued

I have to admit I don’t generally keep up with the news. It’s not that it’s too depressing – the truth is, I’m too depressing, and the news just can’t keep up with me. It just constantly reminds me how much better everyone else in the world’s life is.

Unless, that is, you’re unlucky enough to be getting shot, beheaded or barbecued by ISIS. This is a terrorist outfit that simply must win PR firm of the year, or it’s all a big fix, since it’s got every media outlet in the west doing its recruiting for it. There now surely can’t be a single person in the west that isn’t aware that despite sounding like a trustworthy car hire firm, these are the last people whose car you want to get into.

What I have understood about ISIS is that they want to establish a caliphate, or Islamic state, where their particular version of what God, who may or may not be Santa Claus, may or may not have said to someone 1,500 years ago, will reign supreme. The obvious first step to achieving this goal is to wipe out the group of people whose beliefs most closely align to theirs, but who differ on certain technicalities, such as whether to throw overarm or underarm when stoning people to death. After that, they can take on the really big job, which is killing everybody else in the world. Okay, sounds perfectly reasonable – where do I get my membership card?

Politicians are desperately try to stem the evil tide. I heard David Cameron on TV calling it a ‘death cult’. Sorry, Dave – a ‘cult’ is a phenomenon or movement with strictly minority appeal – like the Conservative Party for example. Current estimates have ISIS membership at around 200,000 (though not all of them filled in their census forms on time), while the Conservative Party is reckoned to have around 150,000 members these days. That means that significantly more people would rather die in the desert than join the Conservative Party. What an endorsement. Has anyone seen George Osborne lately?

Well, who can blame them really? It is, of course, all about a search for meaning. And the meaning is: killing people is really fun. Nobody who’s played Call of Duty would argue with that assessment. Who wouldn’t want to have a go on an M79 rocket launcher, when the alternative is standing in a queue in the Jobcentre Plus with your P45 job launcher, to be asked by an even bigger failure than you exactly how many call centre positions you’ve applied for this week?

Well, I’m just keeping my head down, on, together, whatever – I’m basically staying as far away from those mad bastards as possible, and if I have to claim asylum in China eventually to escape the screaming hordes of global retribution, then so be it. Anything is better than Tory Britain.

A weird, dehydrated sort of grey

A man sneezes into a woman’s face and, instead of apologising, buries his head back in his book, ignoring her murderous stare. A bawling child cries for more chocolate at a decibel level that makes my kidneys plait a noose out of my intestines and prepare to step off a chair. And a selfish boy sits on the floor taking the space of five people with his splayed out legs and fucking book bag. Bet none of the books in that fucking book bag are about common decency. Bet there aren’t any shittwatting books in it at all.

Where am I? No, not an enchanted forest or a fairy tale land where dreams really do come true but on the 7.40am South West train to London Waterloo, where talking squirrels get slowly suffocated to death by the crowd and dreams go a weird, dehydrated sort of grey.

I hate this place more than any other place in the world and I’m throwing Jimmy Savile’s house and abattoirs into the mix for comparison here. Because not only do I basically have to crowbar my nose out of someone’s armpit twice a day, every day for the foreseeable future, but I’m having to pay escalating ticket prices to do it. Prices that mop up a quarter of my wages after tax. It’s not like we can just hop on another train line and chuckle at the idiots using the other system, their faces pressed against the train window in an effort to siphon the last bit of air that might exist between the molecules of the glass. No, our train system has been monopolised, and us as train commuters are on our knees, looking tearfully up at the shareholders while they unzip their fly and whisper ominously, “While you’re down there…”

Because, according to BBC News, that’s where 90% of the operating profits are actually going – straight into the pockets of overfed shareholders. You would have thought that after a series of hikes totalling over 30% in the last three years they’d have enough for even the priciest bottle of orphan’s tears or whatever it is they drink, but is enough ever really enough? Look around, this gaping void between rich and poor is growing wider and soon it’ll swallow all us oiks up, burping out a couple of our astonished hats for good measure.

Signal failures on a daily basis, overcrowding, general delays and poor carriage maintenance are one thing (or rather four things) but our continuing tolerance of it is quite another. Why are we putting up with this? Brazil didn’t. Hundreds of people took to the streets last year after a 9% rise in bus ticket prices, from 2.75 reais to 3 reais. That’s the equivalent of a rise from 70p to 80p in the UK. Thanks to the uproar created by the people, the government reversed the increase.

Yesterday, after a series of delays that left me late for work despite leaving the house half an hour earlier than normal, being crammed into yet another armpit and losing my iPod during the journey, I arrived at the office semi-combusted from an internal and wholly impotent sense of fury. I was incensed and expressed my disapproval in a very British manner by pursing my lips and inaudibly muttering “shitfuck” at regular intervals. I searched for protests and demonstrations about the shoddy, overpriced travel systems in London and couldn’t find a thing.

In fact, my online Google search for justice unearthed a snowstorm of shitty comments from people who have the luxury of not having to use the trains for work. Comments such as ‘Those who use the trains should pay for it not the general taxpayer who can not even afford to use it’. Oh, right, yes that’s fine because I don’t currently pay tax. As a rail user, I’m completely exempt from all forms of payment into the system. In fact, when I go into a shop I only need to pull out my monthly railcard for all the shop attendants to come running at me from every corner and start piling the finest silks and myrrh into my smug, over-laden shopping basket.

What planet do you live on? It’s the same god-forsaken rock we’re all currently clinging to, right? Because sometimes, I’m just not sure.

Flint

Hate is a nasty, base emotion, but perfectly natural when you’re confronted by the worst of humankind. Years ago I used to play a version of what’s now called Football Manager on the computer, and whatever team I managed I’d buy Teddy Sheringham, put him in the reserves and fine him a week’s wages every single week. No football for Teddy, no money for Teddy, and never-ending meetings of hilarious moaning from an imaginary version of the man who I hated more than any other at the time.

We move on from childish things, though Sheringham’s still a bastard (I saw him in person a couple of years ago going into a bar in Chingford, dressed all in white like a stoat-faced Elvis). New targets of hate are lined up and knocked down, either in real life or in glorious dreams of fury and revenge for whatever crimes these fiends have committed. And nowadays I have one target who I hate far more than any other, for whom most of my rage is saved.

I keep my hate for this person contained quite well and it generally manifests itself only in shouting obscenities at the TV. Not for me the type of grim trolling becoming all too common in the 21st century, whereby rape threats are issued to anyone who speaks out against rape, and it does always seem to be rape. Who’d have thought internet trolls would learn to enjoy a heady mix of sexual brutality and anonymity? The majority of people online are such outgoing, bubbly people; none of us saw that one coming.

I debated writing this piece, as vitriolic abuse of an individual is not something I tend to go in for, but wrongs must be righted and exceptions must be made. This person has committed an offence of the type that affects me more and more as each day goes by, and a growing pain inside me can be directly attributed to her.

Yes, at this point I admit that the target of my hate is a woman, but that’s quite irrelevant. This is not some disgraceful misogynistic attack on a woman in the public eye for something related to her being a woman; this is about something anyone, male or female, could have done.

It’s a politician, but it’s not a Tory as you might assume. She belongs to the party the realistic part of me hopes wins the next election.

Her name is Caroline Flint.

Just typing the letters enrages me. I see her smug mug leering at me out of the TV and I want to throw tea cups, CDs, my laptop, this little dumbbell I have here to tire out my pigeon-like arms, anything I can find, at the screen to stop her talking, because if we let her talk she’ll wreck all our lives.

Ask Ed Miliband. In the last couple of weeks there have been stories about his dodgy leadership and there she is on the news, giving him the type of lukewarm support that will allow her to say she’d always backed him but now he’s gone she’s contemplating throwing her clown hat into the ring. I was in Cyprus for a week, rarely watched the TV, but somehow she managed to find me there to shriek something along the lines of “Haaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahahahahahahaha you’re all fucked and I love it!”

You may by now be wondering what exactly this ghastly harridan has done to make me this furious. I give you this, from her Wikipedia page:

During her tenure at the Home Office, Flint embarked upon a campaign to prohibit all sales of magic mushrooms in the UK and reclassify them as a Class A drug. Flint pushed through the bill despite a lack of calls for reclassification on the part of the public, challenges to the scientific material used to justify tighter regulation and objections from Peers and MPs such as Dr Brian Iddon, plus disputed use of a scientific study by Swiss academic Dr Felix Hasler.

To some people it may seem odd that just a decade ago you could get magic mushrooms sent to you in the post, eat them and get high as a monkey, all within the well-marked boundaries of glorious United Kingdom law. I started doing just that in around 2002. My first experience changed me, broadened my view of life and relaxed me more than anything else had ever done. The after-effects lasted for weeks, and there were absolutely no down sides other than a realisation that ambition is a waste of time. I found a batch every few months to be just the tonic for an increasingly inquisitive mind, and given how often and how foolhardily I drink, it provided me with a form of extraordinary equilibrium.

And then came Caroline Flint.

I mentioned ambition, and this fucker had it in spades. Finding herself in the Home Office, faced with overly strict drug laws which allowed little scope for the type of Draconian whip-cracking she needed to make a name for herself, the Wicked Witch of Westminster’s gaze came to rest on the humble magic mushroom. A handy story emerged of a man high on shrooms jumping out of a hotel room in Manchester and, ignoring how many drunk idiots break their necks falling down stairs every week, she declared mushrooms were the new Satan, and banned them.

Drug laws are insane, any brain in a jar knows that. How things that grow naturally in a forest can be illegal is unfathomable, but when one of those things is causing no harm and a hateful politician with eyes on the prize decides to ban it for the headlines, well, the people who enjoy it can be forgiven for directing hate towards that politician, and praying for vengeance.

Hate is a terrible emotion and needs to be boxed up, stored safely for when no other emotions remain. To find that Wikipedia paragraph I had to put her name into Google, which presented me too suddenly with images of the woman and now I need a new monitor.

My poor, aching brain is getting to the point where life’s complications, its futility and finality, are weighing me down like an anvil dangling from the testicles of a man who will do anything to get on TV. As my mind deteriorates I can point to one single piece of government legislation as the only thing stopping me reversing the slide.

Dreams of what might have been. If only we could find a way to ban Caroline Flint, it would be flowers and rainbows for everyone.

The best way to dispose of a body

Everybody knows the best way to dispose of a body is to feed it to pigs. Or so I wrongly thought as I mused on the latest topic of fucking idiocy my office pod sisters embarked on.

For once they’d bounced onto a subject I could contribute to. Stupidly I‘d jumped in without thinking. You see they hadn’t thought about it at all. Their tiny bubble heads had never contemplated the horrors of life, or what exactly you would do if you one day flipped and smashed one of their empty heads through a glass door, severing an important artery.

I am not a violent person. I may exude the aura of violence, but you have to; it protects you if you’re prone to a less than sugary outlook on life. I frequently sit and watch crime drama or real life documentaries, on a constant search to work out what makes a person do that, or try to solve a mystery. It is pure coincidence that as a result I know many ways to kill a person. Everyone should know the basics.

Not if you stick your head in the ground and shout “Kim Kardashian’s exercise tips” apparently. Sigh. Oh you pretty things.

There are things every person should know. If you cut people up, don’t flush it. Acid won’t destroy it all. Burying things in a basement will cause a stench. If you meet a guy on Craigslist who sounds too perfect, he’s almost definitely a psychopath. Never wall up a cat unless you want to go mad and kill your family. Avoid hotels in isolated areas. For God’s sake, rub the lotion on your skin. Oh, and never take a knife to a gun fight.

You cannot help but be surrounded by murder, it’s a preoccupation. Could you be pushed to it? What would you do if attacked? Does that man shadow you as you walk down a dark street? Is that cabbie licensed? If you laugh at Man Utd’s entertaining decline one time too often, could it lead to spousal homicide? Be aware people, it could be you.

It astounds me that there are large portions of the community that really do not consider the wider world, those fringes where humans are pushed into moments of madness, right through to the more committed predatory beasts. The extremes teach us more about ourselves than all Piers Morgan’s Real Life Story bollocks. It is interesting, shocking, depraved, eerily logical and stupid.

Yet showing such interest or knowing about these things leads to sneers and fear. “You are such a Goth.” (I may wear black, but I am not a true Goth.) “You are a witch.” (Don’t believe in magic, sorry.) “You’re just weird.” (True, but for things you have no idea about.) “I bet you’ve killed people.” (Only in my mind, and right now you are being shovelled in the face.) The difference between me and them is that it may well take a lot more for me flip into actual violence as I know the many consequences and mistakes that will get you caught. If you know what murder actually looks like, well, you wouldn’t. It is a lot less picturesque than films would have you believe.

Oh yeah, and if I do flip, you’d better run. I always plan in advance.

This beautiful dance of retail mundanity

I fucking hate people.

That’s a lie. What I actually fucking hate is the response people give me when I ask them this deep, complicated, thought-provoking question: “Would you like a carrier bag?”

As an innocent shopper, you may feel bemused, confused and probably emotional at the fact this irks me so, which explains a lot. Because never in my life, before I started working in a shop, did I realise that this was such a complex fucking question. And after day after day after day of the same shitty, retarded responses from every type of shopper under the sun, I have had e-fucking-nough, to the point where steam literally pours from my ears and my areolae harden in rage before I’ve even asked the fucking question.

You walk around the shop, we exchange pleasantries, you ask a mundane question, I give you a mundane answer and we continue this beautiful dance of retail mundanity until BOOM, it’s time to ask the question. And you say:

“NO!”

In an offended, crumpled up, saggy faced angry kind of way. Why the fuck is my question so worthy of your fucking rage? Did I kick your child in the face? Did I tweak your nipples? Did I unknowingly think I’d asked you if you wanted a carrier bag when really I said “Do you finger small mammals?” No, none of the above. I asked you a simple question that I have to ask you and you’re so fucking offended your bumhole is tensed so tight the shit’s gone back up.

Or, it’s this:

“Hahaha erm yeah?”

In a ‘you’re a thick bitch of course I do are you blind?’ way.

Why the fuck would I assume you want a carrier bag? Especially as you’re only buying one finger-sized chocolate bar. Did you notice me ask you with a smirk on my face, like it was obvious you didn’t want a fucking bag? Let me turn this on you – why the fuck do you want a bag? You’ve not got anything to put in it!

Alternatively:

(embarrassed laugh) “Yes please…”

Why are you embarrassed? Have you realised your stinking carrier bag addiction is something to be ashamed of? Have you realised the environment is vomiting on your dirty, filthy carrier bag habit? Or have you never been asked this question before and you don’t know how to respond? Did I actually just ask you if you wanted a cheeky peek at my labia? Fuck me, get a grip!

Perhaps I’ll hear:

“No thanks, save the environment and all that.”

SAVE THE ENVIRONMENT AND ALL THAT. What the fuck is wrong with you? ‘And all that’? There are fucking massive whales being washed up on shores, looking all sad and whaley and that, with their stomachs full to fuck with carrier bags. It’s not a fucking joke! The environment isn’t an ‘all that’ you cunt. If you’re going to give a shit, do it with conviction! Don’t be so fucking blasé about the world your children will be living in!

Or there’s this:

“No, erm, yes, erm…”

An overly long period of time considering this difficult question. I asked you if you wanted a bag, not if you wanted a sex change/had an STD/if you would rather lose an arm or a leg. Man up.

And what about when we don’t have any bags to give you? Now that’s a fucking controversy. You have never seen such outrage and despair as in a person who does not have a fucking carrier bag to put their one chocolate bar in. The worst are the old bastards with their fucking souped-up trolleys who don’t even need a bag, they just like to ‘keep everything separate’. Fuck me, if you can’t tell the difference between your shopping items you should get to the opticians before you choke on an ornamental pebble thinking it’s a Werthers.

Have you ever been in Asda when they’ve ran out of bags? My god the abuse they get is horrific. You can see them with their thousand mile stare, gazing past the sani pad isle, shaking in their middle aged sag, waiting for the next barrage of abuse. Honestly, you’ve never seen such emotion from people over something so pathetic. I have been told ‘it’s just not good enough’, I have been told ‘your shop will close you know, you can’t run without bags for people, it’s ridiculous’. That’s right, RIDICULOUS.

So I suppose, in a way, I do fucking hate people. At least people who feel it’s right to throw tantrums over their right to the noble carrier bag.

So next time you’re shopping and you’re about to approach the checkout or the desk or whatever, consider your bag situation. Is it too much to ask that you’re polite? Could you possibly even consider doing something really controversial like, bringing your own bag?

Get yourself together and fucking get your priorities right. Do it for the checkout assistant, do it for the whales, do it for the planet. For fuck’s sake, do it for yourselves.

A gift on your pillow

It’s been a long, tiring day, and I bet you can’t wait to get your head down for a nice long kip, ideally followed by a comfy Saturday-morning lie-in. I’m sorry that you won’t be doing this.

Earlier today I broke into your house and secreted a large, soft item between your pillow and its pillow case. At some point later this evening your head is going to be slowly lowered down onto something that was inside me just a few hours ago. First you’ll feel just beneath your right ear that something isn’t right, then you’ll smell that something is very wrong, and then you’ll be sick over every wall, pet and child in your house.

Honestly though, I don’t think you can hold me particularly responsible because as far as I’m aware, having watched your own recent antics, it’s quite all right for people to drop their shit wherever the fuck they want to, no matter how much it inconveniences anyone else.

I take great care in my filthy vandalism; not for me the squatting gamely over the pillow in the hope that what emerges is both well targeted and of the ideal durability and firmness. No, I’ve spent the last week eating beans, cabbage, curry, cornflakes, immodium and more than one large lamb doner with lashings of chili sauce, washed down with as much Guinness as my local publican could pipe into my face. I’ve done this to confuse my body into producing an array of stools so extraordinary in strength and texture that I could pick and choose the very best of them to Tupperware round to your place.

I followed you home, you see. I watched you eat that packet of crisps, lick each finger one by one and toss it to the ground where I assume you think it will either be picked up by a road sweeper that Barnet council very obviously have no money for under Cameron’s penny-pinched utopia, or simply decompose like I hope you’ll begin to after a giant coronary in the next few weeks. I tailed you all the way back to your little semi-detached home that I could tell straight away would be responsive to my PXS-05L 5 Piece Lock Pick Set w/ FREE Easy Picking Booklet. I shit, shit again, nodded sagely at my work and here we are.

I should have known what type of person you are when I saw the crisps were prawn cocktail. Prawn fucking cocktail. You sicken me.

Taking that packet with you really wouldn’t have caused you too much inconvenience. There’s a bin just along the same road in the direction you were already walking. If you didn’t want to carry it that far I could see you had pockets in those jeans and you could have put it briefly in one of those, between the various massive folds of blubber you’re evidently storing energy in ahead of a trip to Svalbard without a coat.

Instead you chose to simply drop it onto the pavement and carry on about your business, as clearly a number of others have done lately. There’s a flattened cardboard cup from a local coffee shop. There’s an empty Dr Pepper can, presumably yours since anyone who can eat prawn cocktail crisps is probably also a fan of the nastiest fizzy drink since Tizer. There’s a small plastic bag-type container, one of those bags you get in the mini cereal multi-pack boxes we used to eat as children. That one’s confusing.

People like yourself who think it’s fine to drop whatever they like wherever they happen to be standing should be forced to walk behind the weekly rounds of the recycling lorry, breathing in deeply every time another fresh load of paper and glass is dropped inside smelling more foul than it’s scientifically possible for paper and glass to smell. At the end of the day, covered in sick as you will doubtless be by this point, you’ll be given a packet of prawn cocktail crisps in a Pavlovian conditioning-style bid to make you understand that the rest of us aren’t here to pick up the shit you’re done with.

You are a selfish cunt of the highest order, but to prove even the lowest scum can be forgiven I present you with a gift on your pillow. Please accept what you find tonight as both olive branch and warning that the next time I see you dropping litter on the street I will add cider and Twiglets to my diet and all bets will be off.

The last walnut

It’s important to get a picture of the setup in your mind for any of this to make sense.

The living room is compact, and space for something like a standard-size desktop computer, on which to try to work for a living, is limited. As a result it sits in the corner of the room with the monitor facing back into the room. If someone suddenly removed the computer but left me and my chair where they were it would take me back some 32 years to when I was banished, forbidden to look at my classmates for having told a lurid story about nose-picking to five-year-old Wendy Jones.

The way I have to position the chair means I can see part of my minuscule back garden through the rear glass door of the flat. I paid a premium of some thousands for a tiny garden in London, so that I could watch it grow with increasing hatred that at some point I’ll have to get cutting implements and/or the mower out of the shed. The shed, which I erected myself to some acclaim, is the main thing I can see through the glass door.

And, above the shed, a little old man who I would dearly love to hack to pieces with a bolo machete.

The setup involves me staring at the monitor for long periods of the day, when I’m not typing, because obviously I never thought typing would be a required life skill and never learned to do it without staring at the bloody keyboard. I particularly enjoy looking up to admire a lengthy sentence only to find I accidentALLY HIT cAPS lOCK HALFWAY THROUGH AND HAVE TO RETYPE IT.

When I’m looking at the monitor, the roof of next door’s extension is in my peripheral vision. It just sits there, as roofs do, inoffensively. And then whenever whoever lives in the flat diagonally up and to the right of me decides to go on a little expedition, his greying dome and little round glasses pop into the side of my eye and I look up and across.

I fucking have to. There was nothing there and suddenly there’s movement, so up and across I look. Maybe once every couple of minutes he’ll pop his head over the little parapet and my brain will think “What’s that?” even though it knows full well it’s a little old man searching in vain for a long-lost contact lens.

Every single time he’s in my line of sight for no more than a couple of seconds, and every time I see him he’s looking down – not at me, at the floor beneath him. Peering down, more accurately, at the floor which he will, fucking please, fall through at any moment. I can only assume he’s wondering if the extension’s roof is going to give way beneath him, walking around on it stamping and muttering “It’s going to break in a minute, it’s going to break in a minute” like the relative who comes round to break your previously intact belongings to prove how poorly made they are, and thus how cheaply you live.

The worst thing is I brought this on myself. A couple of years ago the side wall of that extension was covered with ivy which crept up and over the top. In a fit of misguided garden maintenance I stripped it all off. Later that day a little old man peered confusedly down into my garden for the first time, like a kidnap victim released blinking into the light, bewildered by the unfamiliar sights of a world that’s moved on about three decades while he was getting raped in the basement.

Two nights ago I apparently slept with my head at 90 degrees to my body and woke with a neck pain akin to that of the T1000 when he gets blown up in the metal factory at the end of Terminator 2, and making a similar screeching sound. Perhaps, just perhaps, the sudden urge to snap my head to the right could be fucking skipped, just for a day or two. But no, there he is, scrabbling around for the last walnut or Werthers Original or whatever old people drop through their decaying digits these days.

And as you can imagine it plays havoc with both schedule and lifestyle. Working without distraction is impossible, while a cheeky one off the wrist is now a terrifying race to finish before the head appears. I can now complete that particular task with hand movements like Neo out of the Matrix, and when it ends seconds later it’s with an image of a little old man with glasses in my mind.

There’s no happy ending to any of this. In the only successful piece of gardening I’ve ever done, the ivy now won’t grow back. The extension looks sturdy enough to hold him, no matter how often he tries to shuffle his way through to the room beneath. There’s nowhere to move the computer to, and I’m still stubbornly refusing to get a job, though it’s tempting to do so just to get this damnable pillock out of my sight.

So stalemate it is. Perhaps I could buy a thousand jigsaw puzzles and sit on the roof of the shed throwing the pieces one by one into next door’s garden, in the hope he’ll be unable to resist grabbing at one and falling over the edge to his death. And when you find me on my shed clutching that one final piece, unable to let it go, don’t forget to look up and give a little wave to the chuckling OAP who finally drove me to the insanity I’m fast realising is already irreversible.

An attempt to be a birthday cake

I don’t have a problem with fun, I really quite enjoy fun. But just as I am void of desire to punctuate that statement with a dreaded exclamation mark or a giant smiley face, I don’t feel the need to literally dress fun up.

I’m rather despondent in the face of forced and contrived ‘fun’. You know – community fairs, team bonding experiences, party games, fancy dress.

Fancy. Dress. That is where my main contention lies. Obviously there have been moments in life when I’ve fully embraced and actually enjoyed it, but that has been on my terms, decided at my own leisure, created with my own thoughts and creative ability. Not thrust upon me.

When this fun becomes ‘fun’, it’s usually as a result of some type of enforced wearing of a party hat or novelty devil horns. The quotation marks around ‘fun’ come to quite literally represent these devil horns. The ring leader of this enforced fun, thrusting a pair of devil horns onto your head in an attempt to demonstrate ‘naughtiness’, because ‘naughtiness’ is fun.

No. No it is not.

And do you know what else isn’t fun? When your invite to a birthday/hen/stag/party event comes with a command that everyone must dress in the exact same fancy dress attire.

Ever since I lost a fancy dress competition to a bunch of grapes, whilst I was stood on stage inside a cardboard box in an attempt to be a birthday cake, any fancy dress has been tainted with a tinge of trauma.

Because how could I not win that competition? We were at a high street’s 100th birthday party – why would a bunch of grapes win instead of a birthday cake? It didn’t make sense, and it still doesn’t make sense. And because that certainty wasn’t certain enough, I will now instantly recoil in horror at the very mention of the awful words ‘fancy dress’, because whatever I attempt will not be good enough.

Maybe you’d think that if we’re all forced to dress in the same outfit then there’s no competition. We’re all in the same boat, or the same costume box – strength in numbers, united we stand, or something. Nope, that doesn’t make it better. It brings to the surface the horrific memories of the group fancy dress moments that defined my childhood. Because when I wasn’t strutting across a stage in a cardboard box, I could be found in a homeless man’s second favourite belonging – The Bin Bag.

Along with my two sisters, once a year, I’d knock on strangers’ doors dressed in refuse chic. All three of us, wandering the neighbourhood in bin bags. Black bin bags. This was Halloween trick or treating for countless years – the bin bags, a bit of rope, a rubber nose and a plastic hat, made up the costumes for us trio of witches.
And it was a conflicting time for us, this childhood relationship with bin bags – because they were also brought out on Christmas day to contain our presents. Why is Santa using our Halloween costumes for our presents? What is all that rubbish doing in my Halloween costume? Why are you dressed as a bin, dear child?

As the years went on, my fancy dress attempts became more elaborate and desperate – I was soon led by creative intuition and began to raid charity shops for inspiration (via the bin bags left outside containing donations, of course). Little Sharon had invited me to her 10th birthday party and I had never visited a house so grand. The birthday party was fancy dress, and of course I deemed it appropriate to visit the local charity shop to purchase a tight PVC skirt, lacy black top, black ankle boots and to spray my hair green. No, I hadn’t shunned the bin bags to transform myself into a saucy witch of the night, I was a PUNK. As a 10-year-old child, a reclusive, nose-bleeding, bed-wetting, cat poem-writing 10-year-old child, I was dressed as a ‘punk’.

So here we are many years and fancy dress attempts later, on the verge of a nosebleed at the stress and outrage that I’ve been invited to an event where a costume has been enforced upon me. You could argue, after reading the narrative of a snippet of my childhood fancy dress horrors, that an enforced costume is a blessing in actual disguise, because surely there won’t be a group enforcement of the bin bag, and what could be worse than that?

I’ll tell you what can be worse than that – the enforcement of bulk-bought costumes. By all means, announce the theme and announce that it would be nice if we all dressed as a similar collection of characters. But don’t announce that you’ve got your hands on a pile of BULK BOUGHT costumes. A job lot. Grab ‘em while they’re hot, girls. All this material for one paaaand.

Because why, why, why, why is it necessary to extinguish the slightest glimmer of fun that does exist in fancy dress, that is the creation of your own disastrous masterpiece, by dictating that we must all wear the exact same garment? Purchased from an online industrial warehouse of ‘FUN’, and no doubt stitched in a Bangladesh sweatshop, wherein which poor building regulations and health and safety standards caused it to come crashing down, killing 256 girls and maiming another 167. Because buildings cannot be held up by ‘FUN’ alone, you know.

For the sake of human rights, and before the UN gets involved, please reconsider inflicting this upon us. For now, I shall dig out my old bin bag to become the apparent Anti-’Fun’ Witch that you probably now consider me to be.