In the darker recesses of 2021, I once found myself on Twitter. I know. It’s been a hard year for us all.
I don’t know how I came to be looking at the feed of a man whose surname’s a mashup of two giant US companies I wouldn’t touch with a Zimbabwean dollar, but so it was I happened upon Dr Simon Ubsdell. I think it was around the time there was some slapstick fishing dispute in the Channel Islands. Thus:
‘Now Jersey. Eventually the Royal Navy will be tasked with defending a small boulder somewhere in the Thames Estuary. And so do dreams of greatness dwindle.’
Whether the country of my birth and current last known location deserves the word ‘Great’ is one of the principal dividing lines of our society. The perceived loss of greatness is an outrage to many, including Dr Ubsdell by the sounds of it.
Not to me. Who the hell needs greatness anyway?
Continue reading And so do dreams of greatness dwindle
Amazing fact: there’s no such place as Finchley.
There’s an East Finchley, a West Finchley, a North Finchley and a bit in the middle called Finchley Church End. There was a South Finchley once, but we don’t talk about that (dirty ‘Hampstead Garden Suburb’ splitters). But there’s no ‘Finchley’.
With all this time on my hands I’ve decided to create a country. It’ll include all the named areas of this wonderful segment of north London suburbia plus the parts of Mill Hill nobody wants and I, of course, will be king. Clearly if you’re going to make a country in 2021 you don’t bugger about with democracy and presidents and elections and all that – you install a family who will rule for centuries through the trusted mechanisms of serfdom, patronage and inexplicable, unearned loyalty.
Continue reading The Kingdom of Finchley
I know I told you I had a yacht and a big cock, and it turns out it’s an inflatable canoe and three inches on a warm day, but picture the sunny uplands.
Think of the carbon emissions we’ll save circling around Teddington Lock not the Bay of Biscay. Given I also can’t get it up, there’s no threat of making babies that’ll blame solar panels for causing Covids 37 to 43 and feed Twirl wrappers to dolphins. The fact that you weren’t thinking of the climate crisis all along says more about your priorities than mine to be honest.
I can say absolutely anything I want, and when the truth doesn’t quite marry up don’t think for a moment I’ll act contrite. This is the Age of Fuckallaccountability.
Continue reading A beach at Dieppe
It is my considered opinion that Stephen Fry is a disgrace.
Woah there, you can’t say that about a National Treasure oh but I can, I can. I have no issue with most of the things Stephen Fry believes and says. He seems politically sound, he’s just the right type of anti-religious proselytiser that I enjoy, he loves his cricket and he’s provided some splendid comedy over the years, not least a bafflingly underrated nineties adaptation of Jeeves and Wooster.
But he’s on Twitter, see, this fucking guy. And again, normally that’s fine – right now he’s doing a decent job of trying to raise the collective mental health, and doubtless his own, as the walls close in and the Sainsbury’s website shakes its head. But I can’t forgive him, and I can never forgive him, for his disgusting remark in September 2018.
It is my considered opinion that #therepairshop is far and away the best programme on British television at the moment.
You’re cancelled, Fry.
Continue reading Urns and trinkets
What one day resembles Utopia, the next looks like Uttoxeter. Turns out if you let people do whatever they want at home all day every day, their favourite new hobby is to moan they’re bored.
Certainly the things people are doing to try to fill time feel a lot like barrel-scraping. Take gardening, when it’s not cold as a snowman’s carrot outside, because a week and a half of quarantine has completely reversed global warming and we’re now a fortnight away from woolly mammoths setting up market stalls in Aberystwyth.
Continue reading Shake, rattle and roll
Let’s get this straight: when I’m Prime Minister, given basically anyone’s allowed a go now hahaha, the first new crime on the statute books will be tardiness.
I will trample a litter of newborn puppies to get somewhere on time. I don’t instantly want you dead if you’re late to meet me, but your first born are fair game. If we agree to meet at 7pm and you arrive with a “Sorry, I got caught up” at 7.50, I’ll have spent the 45 minutes since your grace period ran out thinking of ways to have you arrested for sex crimes.
But that doesn’t make me a hurrier. If I say I’m going to be somewhere at a certain time, I make sure I add a few minutes’ buffer to the journey. If I’m looking like being early, that’s why God made pubs.
I don’t spend my days hurtling about like a sheepdog on Ritalin. Which brings us to HS2.
Continue reading Wensleydale and the whippet
I have a burning pet hate these days. I become so infuriated I’m sure I often resemble a ‘gammon’ myself as my face turns a shade of beetroot, my blood pressure skyrockets and I struggle to maintain my cool and dignity. I absolutely detest arrogance, especially when the so-called achievements are exaggerated or didn’t even happen.
So many Brits believe they are better than any other nationality, and living anywhere other than the UK is akin to living in North Korea or some third-world country in Africa. I really can’t comprehend where this arrogance comes from and I have no tolerance for people who think and behave like us Brits walk on water and look down on all other nationalities from our ivory tower. I’m beginning to think we’ve become a nation of complete twats, convinced we are far superior to the rest of the world and that our tiny little island exceeds any other place on the planet.
Continue reading A shade of beetroot
My blood is boiling. Steam is blowing out my ears. I might just explode like Mark François was meant to on October 31st.
The reason? Hearing for the millionth time from some geriatric fuckwit who lives in Spain declaring he’s not an immigrant here, but an expat. Because clearly, as a British citizen living abroad, being referred to as an immigrant is an insult that puts us Brits on a par with immigrants in the UK. And everyone knows they only go over to get a free 6-bedroomed house, a mobile phone, a speedboat to smuggle the rest of their family over in and £2,000 a week in benefits.
Continue reading Idiota
War is hell. Women and children are under terrible threat and nobody’s doing a damn thing about it. Politicians seem powerless to stop it and outrage is everywhere.
Even those far from the front lines have their routines badly disrupted. But this is no ordinary conflict. This enemy is different – insidious, targeting the weakest in society, culling the sick and the old like a less cuddly Shipman. It’s an unwinnable war against a truly evil adversary.
Yeah, it’s a bit nippy out.
Continue reading Stay frosty
The round involved a board of photos of famous people as they had looked in the 1980s. Big hair, moustaches, Gary Lineker looking the same. And very clearly Steven Spielberg. It couldn’t have been anyone but Spielberg.
Up steps Steve, a civil servant from Poole in a shirt that the geese have been at. Steve used to be a national level trampoline gymnast. Tell us Steve: who’s the chap with the beard?
“I’ll go with…Jeremy Beadle?”
Continue reading Entangled in Elstree