Tuesday, 31 March 2009


I got back at half past midnight last night after an 8 hour journey consisting of taxi, plane, train, tube, tube, train and finally taxi again.

Thank you all for the b'day wishes :)

I actually went to work today as well. I think this officially qualifies me for god-like status amongst the mere mortals of my workplace.

Anyway, fings wat I lurnt this weekend:

  • Children, and especially teenagers, require a mute switch
  • Gaudi really was a bugalugs nutjob, though the world would be a poorer place without him
  • Camp Nou is shabby, and I'd frankly rather get changed in a train toilet than the Visitor's Changing Room
  • Teenagers in big groups are a problem only solved with a hand grenade
  • My subconscious reaction on losing my footing on an uneven wet pavement is to exclaim 'Oh, my word!' - proving that I am most definitely both English, and a child of the the 1860s
  • A siesta is a deeply civilised invention
  • Chillies, shallow fried and coated with salt, beat a bag of peanuts when it comes to bar snacks
  • Tapas rules
  • More pubs in the centre of Barcelona were showing the England match than the Spain game, despite the English one being a friendly
  • Google are (apparently) an evil corporation intent on taking over the world and stealing your thoughts
  • I would quite like to own a ferret, provided I can take it for walks on a leash
  • The inventor of the device that makes you talk like Donald Duck on crack deserves a painful, horrible death
  • A man gently playing a small kettle drum is not a 'man playing a wok' (could've fooled me on that one)
  • Walking along the street with your mobile loudly distorting music on loudspeaker is normal behaviour for a certain section of society I call 'shits'
  • The Spanish will eat anything with eyes

Pics tomorrow - including the recipe for happiness, the happiest looking cat, and a big wall.

Thursday, 26 March 2009


(Or 'goodbye' for those outside of England.)

Seeing as it is my birthday on Saturday, I'm doing what any sensible person with less money than an Icelandic bank would do.

I'm fucking off to Barcelona for the weekend.

So, behave yourselves while I'm gone.

I'll be back.

Sunday, 22 March 2009

This Charming Man

Overheard in a pub between a mid-to-late-twenties man and a slightly older woman:

"41? You're 41? Wow - you must have been stunning twenty years ago!"


Thursday, 19 March 2009

Breaking News!

I loaded the BBC News homepage this afternoon to be confronted by the most stunning and shocking headline I've seen for a long time:

Austrian Fritzl sentenced to life

Nooooooooooooooooooooooo! I had my money down on an acquittal! I mean, yes, some might say that seeing as he imprisoned his daughter for 24 years, raped her repeatedly, fathered 7 children by her and let one of them die and then had the audacity to plead guilty to all charges, that in fact such a headline could be filed under:

Stating the fucking obvious

What will we get next?

Scientists claim 'Earth is round'


Global recession caused by greedy wankers with too many Porsches

or possibly

Politician admits to never having told the truth

Huh. I want better headlines than that! I want to see (and one of these includes an actual headline - see if you can guess which one before clicking on a link):

Pope urges poor black people to get Aids and die. 'I vill complete ze fuhrer's verk' pontificated the Pontiff.

Disgraced Banker can keep massive reward for gross spasticity. Government claims 'we can only invent unjust laws against those with no money, so he gets off'.

Outrage as Minister claims that study into dying bees 'not a priority'. Brown flimsily claims that 'two wars and a recession kind of distracted me.'

French strike yet again. Sarkozy rejects as 'outrageous' opposition claims that his economic policies have forced ordinary French people 'to do work'.

America deports former Nazi for war crimes. White House states 'the only way to get away with war crimes in the US is to be Dick Cheney or Donald Rumsfeld. We're pretty sure he was neither.'

Mugabe makes plea for help. 'I've destroyed this country good and proper and now there's not enough money to buy me a new Mercedes for my birthday. Please send cash.'

Government discovers that borrowing vast sums of money with little income leads to a situation where you are 'fucked.'

Man paid a lot of money to 'predict the collapse of society' fails to look out of the window and gets it wrong by 21 years.

I'm available for hire as a headline writer at my usual email address :)

Sunday, 15 March 2009

Every which way but loose (wires)

I'm very proud of myself.

I changed the light switch in my bathroom.

While that may not sound particularly impressive to most people, with this particular light switch it's most definitely the crowning achievement of my year so far. Let me provide some background....

I live in a top floor flat of one of many Victorian terraced buildings in my street. Note that by Victorian I'm meaning Queen Victoria's reign (so in this case something built about 1880). My particular flat was once part of the whole house. Sadly the whole house was owned by an Evil Demented Builder who 'self-converted' the house into two flats (one with the attic, one with the basement). Examples of the genius of the Evil Demented Builder include:

Putting the boiler in the kitchen
Getting the boiler to pump the hot water into a PLASTIC tank in the roof space.
Making this plastic tank holding boiling water an OPEN PLASTIC TANK
Letting this open plastic tank drain into another, smaller, OPEN FUCKING PLASTIC TANK
Letting this smaller open plastic tank feed the radiators

I'd estimate the overall efficiency of this entire process at maybe 4%. My gas bills would've been huge, if only I hadn't soon discovered that you couldn't have the heating on for more than an hour every 12 hours. I discovered this the day (a week after moving in) my brand new sofa was delivered. My brand new cream and pale green sofa (it was tasteful in the 90s, so there). My brand new sofa that was placed directly below the plastic tanks in the roof space the day I accidentally left the heating on in the morning before going to work. Of course the tanks melted and dumped roughly 100 litres of water straight through the ceiling and all over the sofa. Thank heaven for Scotchguard - the best £20 I ever spent.

Anyway, the point is that Evil Demented Builder was a twunt, and that Evil Demented Builder did the wiring.

Oh yes.

So when the toggle switch for the light in the bathroom (that's the actual bathroom btw, not the toilet, for the septics out there) went, I unscrewed the housing with some trepidation. Even after shutting off the electricity for the whole flat I was nervous, for Evil Demented Builder was also a colourblind epileptic with a fetish for bare wires. For all I knew, this particular wire was on the same circuit as the house two doors down.

So on Alfaman's advice (Happy Birthday btw) I went to B&Q to buy a new light switch and a circuit tester. The circuit tester was easy - they were expensive so I didn't get one - so instead I bought one of those little screwdrivers with a bulb that lights up when it's touching something live. They were cheap :)

Buying a replacement switch however? Hmmmm.

I found the electrical section. I found the bathroom electrical section. I even found the toggle switches for bathroom electrical section. Therein lay my problem. There was an entire section of these things, all with helpful cords to pull to test the action. I narrowed it down to the cheapo ones (I'm not proud) but even then I was presented with a choice of (outwardly identical) 1-way, 2-way, 3-way, 4-way and 6-way (6!?! I'm not sure I even know what a 6-way is) toggle switches.

Brilliantly they came in little plastic bags with the wiring diagram folded up inside. There was no way of knowing what the inside looked like (my only reference point was what the inside of the one on my ceiling looked like). I asked the advice of a passing B&Q salesperson whom was possibly more acne than face, and received the ever-so-helpful response of 'Dunno mate.'

Thanks. For. That.

I went home and stared at the ceiling some more. Then showered in the dark for another week.

The following Saturday (also known as Yesterday) I went back to B&Q and stared at the switches daring them to crack and own up to being the one I needed. After twenty minutes I gave up and bought a 2-way as it's my lucky number.

And it still is. Result!

Once I'd checked the power was definitely off, changing the switch took less than five minutes. So after three weeks of saving energy (quite a bit seeing as the fan which turns on at the same time as the light appears to have been fashioned from the engine of a Jumbo Jet) I'm back to normal. At least now I can identify which toothbrush is which in the morning....

Wednesday, 11 March 2009


I'm getting better. Well, a little bit. Honest. If you don't count the pseudo-superhero plate made from a mold in the background - that was filler in the last week while I was waiting for the kiln to fire.

Friday, 6 March 2009

Sieg Hiel!

Okay, blah blah, I've promised the funny work one for ages, blah, on it's way, blah blah.

Now that's out of the way, let's talk football. Not boring proper, professional football, no - let's talk sweaty locals kicking thin air and falling over football.

Yes, let's talk about me playing football :(

We recently played a football match between 'Big Department' versus 'Other Departments'.

It seemed fair.

It wasn't.

Average age difference between the sides = 14 years (note:- in their favour, the young bastards)

Average weight difference = 4 stone (note:- that's me on the left. I was the thinnest player. The guy on the right was either 8 months pregnant, smuggling a football or possibly a fat whale)

We lost.


To a side with 2 girls in it (note:- bugger off, they played in defence and the ball never got that far).

A line is drawn *glares*

Onto other things, the few members of the above team (who could walk) met in the pub tonight. We had a good long discussion about the contractor - and ex-colleague of mine - who got fired for gross insubordination/drunkeness/racial abuse/starting a fight/being a twat at the end of last year.

[Long story. Lawyers demand it stays as such.]

I stated that up until the episode in question, that the person involved had been 'ok, if a bit arrogant now and then'.

One of our footballers tonight seized on this in a moment of righteous indignation - "A bit arrogant!!! A bit arrogant!!! How arrogant was Hitler when he started?," he says, raising his right arm to shoulder height with palm flat in front of him, "This high?!?!," he exclaimed, raising his arm a few inches higher, "Or this high?!?!"


I don't think I've ever laughed as hard in my life as that moment (um, in public anyway). I think I wet myself.

I'm laughing at someone who throws a nazi salute by accident to prove a point that Hitler was bad. I'm not condoning the holocaust. Stop emailing me. If you think I'm being anti-semitic then kindly fuck off and die. Try and improve the world like a diseased buffalo on the edge of the herd that sacrifices itself to the lions to let the majority live.....

Thursday, 5 March 2009

Monica Lewinsky is back!

Meh, you've probably already had that on email. I'm lazy, sue me.

Monday, 2 March 2009

Football? What football?

I don't particularly wish to talk about football today after seeing my team lose the Carling Cup final on penalties yesterday. If someone really, really *wants* to talk to me about football today they will be dealt that expressive shrug and non-committal grunt that the french manage to sum up in the word 'bof'.

Lots of people have seen that shrug today. Bastards.

Anyway, to think of happier times let me relate to you the tale of the funniest thing I ever saw at a football match - if you don't count the five-way mascot brawl at half time during a game at my local(ish) team Bristol City.

You can read all about that here under the heading 'The Wolf and the Pigs - a Modern Tale'. There's even a link to a video of it should you doubt my veracity.

No, while this story also occurred at Ashton Gate (the home ground of Bristol City), it doesn't involve anyone dressed up as a pig. It happened while I was still at university, back in the distant past known as 'the mid-90s'. Someone had told a group of us that Bristol City were organising a sporting quiz competition. Being experienced quizzers (i.e. smart-arsed gits), five of us headed down to try and win some goodies.

Turnout was low so we were split into two teams.

My team of two finished second to the rest of our group by 8 points. We were over 100 points ahead of third place. Sadly, all we won were about 45 tickets to Bristol City home games - a team none of us supported.

It was at one of these free games that I got to see my first glimpse of Junior Agogo, which contrary to first impressions wasn't a board game for kids but was a new signing at the Gate. Junior was one of those pacey, tricksy wingers that are too good for the lower reaches of football but simply not good enough to make the big-time. He was also tiny. Weeeeeeeeeenie, in fact.

Seeing as Bristol City were not in the top division at the time the game was fairly devoid of quality until one of the big lulking centre-halves looked up, saw Junior starting a lightning break down the right - little legs pumping for all their worth - and launched it forward.

'Launched' is the correct term. This ball went up more than along. It went up so far that the roof of the stand obscured our view. It went up so far that no-one in the ground could see it anymore. This included Junior, who'd clearly been looking where he was running when the ball was kicked. As he ran along (on the other side of the pitch to us) he started frantically looking over both shoulders to try and see where the ball had got to, slowing to a jog and then a walk as he realised it wasn't coming in his direction. Finally he stopped with hands on hips in what is known as the 'double tea-pot' position of slight miffedness.

Then the ball came in to view. Briefly. Like a meteor descended from the heavens, like a thunderbolt thrown by a vengeful weather god, like a sodding great lump of leather travelling at subsonic speeds, the ball dropped from the sky in a flash.

Onto Junior's head.


We all heard the blow. We all heard the collective gasp as Junior crumpled to the ground. We all heard the sound of 15,000 people absolutely howling with laughter, home and away fans alike. I've never again been in a situation where strangers were hugging each other with tears of joy streaming down their faces. The laughter died a little as we realised he was unconscious and had to be revived with smelling salts, but when he staggered upright, took two steps and fell over again, the volume picked up again.

The game was forgotten. I couldn't even tell you who won. But I'll never forget the sight of Junior Agogo's face when the ball hit him. And I'll still giggle every single time....