Sunday, June 27, 2010


I catch up with a friend who is a teacher. He tells me about having to look after his team at a cricket match.

"The visiting teacher was such a ravenous closet case," he sighs, poking away at a flapjack. "I wish he'd just come out and said 'Fancy a shag?', then I could have turned him down and got on with the afternoon. Instead he practically chased me round the pavillion. He sweating in the unusual places where only fat people sweat and he was all red in the face. It was repulsive. But he wouldn't actually get to the point. He'd just waffle on about liking a tight pair of shorts if you know what I mean, nudge nudge wink wink. It was awful."

It's weird how suddenly you're back at school remembering EXACTLY that teacher.

(update: lawks, how many typos? i have massive cold)

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Meanwhile in Europe

Bizarre story on You and Yours (yeah I know) about how UK people who've emigrated to Southern France have found it cheaper to get groceries delivered from Tesco in England than to use their local shop.

PRESENTER: "How do you imagine your local shop feels about it?"

WOMAN: "Well, perhaps they should be more flexible about their prices."

PRESENTER: "Surely they can't help the strength of the pound against the euro?"

WOMAN: "Hmmm."

This is going to fascinate me all day. You move to France to "get away from it all". And then you can't. Not even a tiny bit.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Lessons I should have learned by now

HIM: "You won't be all weird in the morning, will you? "

ME: "No. Wasn't planning on it."

HIM: "Good. I hate it when people go all weird in the morning."

In the morning, he goes all weird.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Pink Mince

There's stuff by me in the new issue of Pink Mince which appears to be a lifestyle magazine for men with lumberjack shirts and artfully-shaped facial hair. It's jolly good - there's even an article in which a man with sexy tattoos shows you round his palatial barge home. I'm fascinated by this article:

  1. I would like a barge. It sounds brilliant.
  2. The article doesn't mention if he belongs to any Gentleman's Ordering Websites. How would you describe your location without it sounding like a "meet your serial killer" advert? "Camden Lock Towpath, near the burnt out shopping trolley". See?
  3. Mind you, he does have very very nice tattoos. I bet he doesn't use those websites.

In other news, after months of being quietly busy, suddenly very little work for the next fortnight at least. Now, I've checked my online banking, done my sums, and I really shouldn't panic, not for months. But I am. Oh dear lord I am. What am I supposed to do? So far, I've been very lucky in that work's turned up like some kind of cosmic ordering system, but now... I dunno... I guess this means actually admitting that I am a freelance and somehow... you know... doing whatever it is that freelancers do to solicit work. Or getting a part time job to stave off the horror of sitting around the flat, reading The Arabian Nights and getting on the cat's nerves.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Hande hoch!

Last week, I went on a date with a visiting German. This is why I will be avoiding the inter-fiddles for a while. I'd forgotten that temporary cyber-husbands are weird.

For a start, he'd said he was athletic. By which he meant he needed a sports bra for his moobs. They were so low-slung I wondered if they were simply high-rise testicles.

We sat having a drink, making small talk, and sharing a bowl of cashews. He tells me what he's into. Turns out, he's into rubber and fisting. I decide I've had enough cashews.

I ask him why he's in England. He explains he's a scientist doing research into bacteria. "It is the bacteria in shit," he says, which just seems like turning your hobby into your day job.

So, I'm having a drink with a tubby rubber fisting fetishist scat scientist. Awkward. I've never been brilliant at making my excuses and leaving. So instead I talk about the cat. A lot. I chat about her incessantly. I even find some fluff on my shirt and show it to him. I offer to find him the pictures on my phone. I keep on and on about the cat until he checks his watch and says "ah, oh dear, I have an early start at 10 tomorrow. Must get some sleep."

And then he is gone. I go to pay the tab and discover it's only four quid. There's a minimum of a tenner if you're paying by card. The wonderful French barman shrugs gallicly. I smile, suddenly very happy. "Can I have six pounds worth of crisps please?" I ask.

I walk into the flat, arms full of crisps.

The cat eyes me, dryly. "Date not go well?" it asks.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010


Brilliantly, Quorn have brought out loads and loads of new things, including Quorn Fish Fingers, Fake Stake, burgers, scotch eggs, sausage rolls, and even Bramley Apple Bangers

Being more than a little artificial I'm addicted to it all. The only problem is... well, I feel like a sheep that's been eating clover. It's brilliant - it's kind of like an anti-diet. It's kind of "Eat Yourself Straight". After dinner, I swell up to the size of a bouncy castle and spend the evening farting copiously while stumbling around in a vast black t-shirt and belching.

In other news, I've just discovered instant miso soup and pot noodles. Pot noodles are brilliant (kebab flavour! pork rib flavour!). The other day I was sitting eating a pot noodle while reading an article about White House Banquets in Vanity Fair. It might, just might, be classy. But I doubt it.

Meanwhile, I am trying to mend a broken heart with a lot of ballet. Well, a ballet dancer.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Eurovison Prong Contest

"So," I say to Lee, "Have I told you about the Brazilian Lawyer?"

Lee rolls his eyes. "You realise there's a formula, don't you?"

What do you mean?

"Nationality + Profession, then some random detail and giddy clapping."

I go very quiet.

"Honestly, go check the shag rolodex that is your blog and you'll see."

Hum. Brazilian Lawyer, Czechoslovakian Punk Baker, Portugese Programmer, Romanian Rentboy. I'm really not sure what this means. Maybe I should try and learn a few more names, or just not ask what they do for a living. Or settle down. Or write about the cat more.

I go home. Some time later I sleep with a Polish Barista.

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

The War On Lego

A while ago I found some War On Terror fego in Asda, but the range you could buy was quite limited. Not any more thanks to The Kids Arms Shop.

Before perving at their Lego options, let's just check out the name of the store again, shall we?

Everyone still feeling good about themselves? Great.

Question is, what do I buy? Do I go for the Panzer Tank Set (suitable for ages 5+)?

Or do I blow it all out on the World Peacekeeper's Gift Set?

It does have a lot of guns.

So many choices.

Sunday, June 06, 2010

And we're back

Well, apparently things got a little hacky last night. While I was out and about in Glasgow, someone was fiddling with my gmail. Tsk.

So, if you tuned in and got a big advert for a sex bride or really white teeth, then I'm sorry. And, if I've sent you an email promising similar services, or even just announcing that I'm bored and would be happy to pleasure you by premium-rate phone number, then I'm equally sorry. Although I have got a six-hour train journey today and no special plans, so....

Two things.Firstly - Gmail's way of proving I'm real is, roughly...

1) Morning! Your gmail may have been hacked.
2) Send us your mobile number and we'll reactivate your account.
3) Don't forget to pick a new password!

Can you see the flaw there? I'm not Chloe from CTU but I can.

Anyway, Glasgow has been its usual lovely self. One highlight was staggering out of the Polo Lounge at "Too Old For This" o'clock and sitting down for a last cigarette by a police box. I think this is cool. Taxis think this is In The Way.

Two very pretty lesbians wander over. They are on their way home but one of them wants to make sure I'm okay. This is Glasgow. People do this.

"What's his name, sweetheart? Did he break your heart?"

No, I say. I am just sat here smoking before going back to the hotel. I am wary and from London. Why are they being nice to me? Do they want a free cigarette or some money or to sell me some of the drugs?

Pretty lesbian just shrugs. "Do you listen to Chris Moyles?" she asks. And then explains that he's shit. At quite some length. Then she and her girlfriend start yelling "Save 6music" a lot. I think I join in.

These are clearly my new best friends and wonderful people. Until one of them leans forward and says, "And I'm gay, but I would do that George Lamb in a heartbeat."

I go home.

Friday, June 04, 2010


So, yes, I've been abroad. It was nice, although clearly these days I don't fly well. It was nowhere near last year's spiking horrors of having to spend 24 hours flying back from Australia, but flying to Turkey not pleasant.

It didn't help that we had two security alerts. One was due to a false passport and a lot of suspicious luggage. I find this reassuring. Nothing says "we're not taking off until we're absolutely sure there isn't a bomb on the plane" more than being told to collect all your luggage and assemble on the tarmac while they empty out the hold.

The other security alert was on an internal flight. It was caused by a little old lady trying to smuggle five tightly wrapped packs of goats cheese in her hand luggage. Clearly, she'd never heard of semtex. Once the security staff had stopped shouting and ringing bells, they started laughing and taking photos of the x-ray on the phones. Bless.

So how was Turkey? Much the same, really. My Turkish is the same as ever (good in restaurants, hopeless elsewhere, and if you're hoping for a verb in a sentence then you'll be waiting a long time). But hey - it's an unusual skill to have, so I'm very proud of it. Even if I'm not very good at it. It's like making a mediocre creme brulee.

Not much happened really. Istanbul was its dumpy rude self. Cappadocia is still the most beautiful place on the planet:

Odd to think I've been going there for nearly 20 years. Every time they say "oh, tourism's ruining it..." and yet, it's still there, as magical as ever. Although this time we found a whole new underground city and a monastery, which made up for them putting really overweight-American-friendly superwide steps in the more popular cave churches.

Two lovely new things. One was trying out a night train from Istanbul. The guidebooks are all sneery about the trains, but the amazing assured me it was possible. And it was cheap and lovely.

The other nice thing was going to Safranbolu. It's an old Ottman town that they never really got around to knocking down in favour of something in peach concrete. It's charming and friendly, but the best thing of all was that they've turned a 14th Century caravanserai into a luxury hotel:

It was like staying in a museum. Amazing, but you'd occasionally find tourists in your bedroom. There was also the day when I stuck my trainers to dry on the roof and the Turkish government had hired the hotel to launch some kind of policy initiative. We hid in some caves while important looking people stood on our balcony chain-smoking and doing a deal.

We also went to the Black Sea Coast, which turned out to be very hot and not much else. A nice old man took us out in his boat so we could look at jelly fish and dolphins and watch him smack the brains out of several small fish with his shoe.

There were a lot of cats in Turkey, all trotting around with the quiet certainty that they run the place. It's like a benevolent dictatorship - they control the vermin and charm the tourists, and they also tell you how propserous a place is. Safranbolu and Cappadocia had plump sleek cats. Istanbul had bedraggled street mogs. We watched one eating bread. I was not allowed to pack any in my luggage.

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Old boy

Somehow, my old school has my email address. This surprises me, but means that occasionally I receive utterly random missives like the below:

Speech Day welcomed a good number of Old Stoics this year, despite the rain, and included a remarkable display of Old Stoics’ Classic Cars on the North Front

We have further great events over the summer, at which we would be delighted to see you:

12th June
Do take part in the Old Stoic Open Golf Tournament for the Bill Edgerley Memorial Cup.

13th June
Foden’s Brass Band returns to Stowe with master classes in the morning and a lively concert in Chapel in the afternoon.

2nd July
The Summer of Love with Donovan & John Illsley of Dire Straits – tickets still available.

Perfect. If I played golf, owned a vintage car, and liked nothing more than tootling Money For Nothing on the tuba.