I’ve been thinking a lot about death lately.
Well, ‘lately’. Since September 2018, when that skinny fucker with the scythe and cowl moved in next door, and proceeded to drill holes in the wall every few weeks in the form of some new and brilliant medical complaint. This month’s worsening cough and lump in my neck are presumably my neighbour’s version of a Ring security system pointed at my front door so he can make sure I don’t order too much from the pharmacy.
Being ill in some way nearly all the time, after 41 years of little more than the odd tree climbing injury, makes me see death – where it is, and where it conspicuously isn’t. Which is almost everywhere because wow do we do some job of avoiding it.
And by we I mean you. You’re never going to die, are you?
Continue reading When your left arm starts to throb →
It’s the look on his face as he’s swilling.
Round and round. Never quite reaching the lip of the glass. Round and round. Its holder peers nonchalantly at the smear left with each viscous rotation. The liquid gradually slides back into the bowl and slowly, slowly, a calm settles.
His expression is that of ecstasy delayed, like Sting a few hours in. He thrusts his beak into the glass and takes a massive sniff. Because he’s a wine buff, and he knows that the finest wine begins in the nose.
It doesn’t though, does it? It begins in the bottle, then goes to the glass, then your mouth, then your stomach. There’s a period where you’re not sure where it is, or where you are or why, and then it’s in the toilet and it’s suddenly Monday again. That’s the process by which wine moves from vine to sewer via the human body. Yet to hear a wine buff speak you’d think there was a nobility of archangels escorting wine through the nirvana of the senses, though they still have to fill out a lot more forms since Brexit.
Continue reading Five stars at Majestic →
I like to think I do my bit in the fight against climate change. I don’t leave lights on – the dark hasn’t scared me since I saw Johnny Depp sucked into a bed aged about nine. It disturbs people to see me in anything other than fraying black hoodies so I don’t need to order a set of new outfits from Bangladesh every other week. I’ve been cutting back on meat because I heard cows have worse flatulence than my 80-year-old stepfather, though whichever scientist declared that has clearly never heard dear old Merv after he’s been bell-ringing.
I don’t have a car, that’s a big one. And biggest of all: I don’t have kids. Don’t, shouldn’t, probably can’t now anyway. No urgent young voices demanding India cut their emissions but also please put cling film around my vegetables because the supermarket’s full of poor people and God knows where they’ve been.
So I’m saving humanity, one locally grown leek at a time. But I do catch the odd flight. And if you people start trying to stop me getting in planes, I will burn your fucking world.
Continue reading Call me Judith →
We’re still a couple of weeks from the result of the most heinous beauty contest since Simon Weston versus that lad from the Goonies. But try as we might to psychokinesis John Major back into the job, Lord have mercy on us all, we know who we’re ending up with.
Yes it’s Liz Truss, the most fatuous leader of a nation since Ukraine elected an actual stand-up comedian, and that went really well as we’ve seen. Liz has been pledging and promising all the things the electorate want to hear, the electorate in this case being a couple of hundred thousand blue rinse racists and red-faced landowners who smile wistfully at the thought of Liz nuking new ‘foe’ France as the best way to stop all these filthy Albanians coming up the beach.
Continue reading Liztopia →
One of the many things I hoard pointlessly like a senile squirrel is ticket stubs. I was going to count them the other day, but life’s too bloody long; there’s hundreds. Sweet Jesus, the amount of booze I must have both drunk and worn in venues across the country could refloat John Darwin’s canoe.
Factor in those stubs I’ve somehow shredded, accidentally set on fire or dropped in piss, plus all the e-tickets that exist only in Sundar Pichai’s brain, and it’s fair to say I’ve done my tour of duty. I know the game.
And the game’s changing. Not for the better.
Continue reading Terminal tinnitus →
Work, eh? Stressful business.
Is it, though?
Continue reading A man named Gavin →
I’ve lately had to accept that I’m quite limited in my entertainment selections. Much as I like to think of myself as a cultured man, I admit I’m prone to skepticism if something I’m watching doesn’t involve a vast catalogue of death and/or explosions. Or, er, counters being pushed over a ledge by a large machine on ITV, but never mind that.
I don’t often branch out into foreign language historical epics or character-based family sagas so it’s fair to say there will, inevitably, be blood. Right on cue there’s a new detective show on TV, name of DI Ray. I’ve not watched it yet but I anticipate wrapping myself in it like a blanket, familiar and smelling faintly of decay. I’d be confident in the big black chair if my specialist subject was crime thrillers, murder mysteries, police procedurals. It’s not difficult to become an aficionado since they’re all the fucking same.
We’re always told robots will one day write better stories than humans, but we must have crossed that Rubicon with cop shows years ago. The writers dribbling out the latest tales of ambitious constables and grizzled inspectors are so obviously thumbing the same book of predictable dialogue and worn clichés, it might as well have been written by a Gallagher brother.
Continue reading Death and/or explosions →
He lowers himself in balletically, with a calmness at odds with an angry world. Such grace belies his stature; the colossus caressing the lamb.
Meanwhile, an innocent man watches with the baleful gaze of a South Pacific islander peering at an incoming tsunami about to wash away his village.
A fat bastard just got into the swimming pool and I’m about to get a faceful.
Continue reading The blue unknown →
Withnail and I: bloody wonderful film. It ends with a quote I’ve had on my mind lately:
“I have of late, but wherefore I know not, lost all my mirth, forgone all custom of exercises; and indeed, it goes so heavily with my disposition that this goodly frame, the Earth, seems to me a sterile promontory.”
Someone told me that’s actually a line from a little-known Shakespeare play but I’d rather hear it from a pissed-up Richard E Grant than some bellend in tights.
It’s been on my mind because I have, of late, lost all my mirth. More clearly, I’ve lost the ability to laugh. And boy, do I love a laugh.
Continue reading Where laughter goes to die →
It’s back in the headlines and the debate is intense: masks.
I’ve held my fire on it up to now. I pick opinions on a case-by-case basis, not led by the nose by people I always agree with, like a cow that goes into that special shed because all his mates did and what’s the worse that can happen?
But it’s time to heal this red-raw split in the populace once and for all. I’ve picked a stance.
You’re all wrong.
Continue reading Transmissibility →