Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Cheap thrills

Some people love to play the poor card. ‘I am skint’ they say, before cosying up to someone else’s girlfriend rather than pay for their own.

They are bad debtors. 'I’ll sort you out at the end of the month when I get paid.' They have bad memories. Five weeks later…you are still waiting. They all have 'pay as you' go mobiles and never make calls.

On eBay you will find them trading as hopeful salesmen. They hawk secondhand boxer shorts and used trainers. You can almost imagine their startled horror and bemusement as the clock ticks down and there are no bids. ‘I would have bought that’ they think. But they wouldn’t.

Their feet become leaden when they enter pubs or bars….they gently fall to the back of the pack without anyone noticing. They are always the last person to buy a round. Sometimes they miss the round. They never buy two rounds. Ever.

They shouldn’t be anyone’s friend, but they owe a lot of people money. So we stay in touch….until they sort us out at the end of the month.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Things fall apart

….he almost flies past the bus stop, a jagged leaf on the breeze, grey boxers, three-quarters showing, rude boy in white, youngish geezer, good looking council, gets plenty, probably, purpose straining his sinews, angry cry poised in his lungs, target not immediately obvious, suddenly stops, a pear-shaped woman in a blue tank top, over-sized shades, older and mismatched, shoving her pushchair like a secondhand piano, suddenly stops, he leans in angrily, pushes his jaw right up to her face, she doesn’t flinch, his mean whispers inaudible, brief and nasty, he suddenly pivots, flies back past the bus stop, to his life more desirable, you’re not a dad you’re not even a man, she yells after him, he does not glance back at his medusa, his past, she pushes the baggage of their love forward, the only way she can, in the opposite direction….

Sunday, June 22, 2008

The bump of the dice

Scrambled eggs in a New York diner around 10am, long after the Wall Street rush and the tide of cell phones to ears and Italian suits immacolato, draining the black coffee refills too quickly without considering the gut, thoughts turn to home, the mess back there, confused like spilled spaghetti, lying misdirected and tangled.

Nearby a derelict in a red woollen hat, pulled right down to his eyebrows, a dead ringer for a 1977 Richard Pryor, opens the doors to a Broadway McDonalds for every visiting and departing customer, his easy charm soothing what could appear an aggressive panhandle. A dollar or more earns a “God bless you and America…this is gonna be your lucky day today...I can feel it.” No dollars earns a smile and no judgment. He is in all senses cool with the game, however unexpected the bump of the dice.

The hot dogs are sizzling early and there are plenty of takers, heartburn riskers and Weight Watchers dropouts, waiting in line with rumbles in tummies and rumbles in minds, yellow taxis swim through all obstacles like deep sea shoals darting this way and that, and it’s on to the next stop, for all of us, wherever that may be…..

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Bare facts

If no-one wore clothes there would be less lies. Push-up bra manufacturers would be among the first to go bust.

Extreme diets would be impractical. Over-skinny girls would no longer be the secret of their mirrors or boyfriends. You’d find one hiding behind every lamppost waiting for the pavement to clear.

Women would never drop keys. All men would carry newspapers. And there would be more truth understood in churches than ever before.

Monday, June 9, 2008

When 4 x 7 equals nothing

They make sure you don’t get it at school. Sat in rows of four by seven being taught by experts in their second choice career. Malleable drones, having your ability to think for yourself erased and made redundant like Betamax. Your questions are not the answers the OCR Examination Board is looking for….so get in line or fail.

Ten years later those 20k-a-year jobs are still 20k-a-year; the details of your emails and texts are retained for ‘your own safety’; politicians step right in unison, the house keys of their subsidised London homes jangling in their pockets.

People complain on phone-ins, usually buoyed by prejudice rather than solidarity; their revolution ends as the radio presenter cuts them off in mid-flow or their girlfriend replaces her earphones….their wife replaces her earplugs.

The illusion of freedom persists until you stand up and hit your head on the glass ceiling.

Stand up.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Nun the wiser

Where I grew up, good-looking women were like tornadoes; you hoped one might arrive to improve the scenery, but they never did. Local men were therefore forced to aim low…a peroxide blonde with a dirty laugh from the local council estate received much the same attention as Giselle strolling around St. Tropez in a day-glo thong.

In these barren times, I was set-up (possibly framed) with a Catholic girl called Mary. “She really likes you,” said her friend who I was more interested in. “Meet her on the bench outside the Women’s Institute at 8pm.”

With few sparks flying between young Mary and I, the relationship was over before it started, but with no number to call I had to turn up in person to break the ‘bad news’. Just as I was about to leave late at 8.15pm, my mother presented me with a meal she had cooked in near-secrecy….I had no choice but to temporarily abort my plans and eat while she sat on the other side of the dining table nodding in approval.

At 8.45pm, I arrived at the rendezvous point expecting to find Mary long gone, but she was still there, sitting hopefully in a conservative blouse and pointy shoes, fiddling with a conspicuously large handbag (big enough to conceal a crucifix and holy water should the need arise). She smiled at me for the first and last time. “Sorry I’m late….but this isn’t working out…….” Three minutes later the date was consigned to history.

“Her parents are strict Catholics. She is only allowed to go out once a month. Last night was it!” explained her friend the next day. “Mary’s very angry. You’ve put her off men completely. She’s talking about becoming a nun and her parents have said they will back her all the way.”

I have been filling convents ever since.

Monday, May 19, 2008

The wrong bar in Cologne

Lust Doctor Memories 7: I am the hottest guy in the bar. The only other man under 50 is bucktooth ugly and almost Lilliputian in stature. He makes a whistling noise every time he talks, his sentences end with spittle rather than full stops. I am definitely hotter.

This dubious honour leads to attention. A tough chick with dreads comes over and asks me for some Euros…for the jukebox….she fixes her eyes on mine…there’s menace in there. She looks a fighter and I don’t fancy a fight so I give her some change. She says she is Brazilian and likes needlework, repairing dresses and other broken things. Claims her brother plays football for Belenenses in Portugal (I google him later and he exists, looks just like her with football boots and kinder eyes). She does a mad little dance, three inches from me (a lot of arm-moving) to a bad Snoop Dog tune and looks at me expectantly...until I nod my head in self-conscious recognition. There’s a lot of old men in there, drinking coffee, respectable looking granddad types, relaxed in their secret garden, away from their fraus. “Hotel?” asks a rough Turkish woman with too many miles on the clock. “I’m fine” I explain sheepishly. She looks dumbfounded at the refusal.

The tough chick keeps telling me this rough woman or that rough woman is interested in me and I should buy them a coffee to introduce myself. She keeps banging on about me buying coffee. I just sip my high strength beer and try to nod coolly at every weird turn the conversation takes ("It is I who makes the most fashionable dresses"), bat away the unwanted introductions until I finish my drink.

A hook-nosed girl with bird nest hair keeps checking me out and I find myself returning her gaze, double-taking, is she really that ugly and trading on her looks? It’s a flawed business vehicle, but who am I to tell her.

“I just came for a quiet beer,” I say to the tough chick as she tries to make the introduction.

“Yes,“ she says, “I can tell…. Would you like to buy her a coffee?”

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Do ya think I'm sexy?

Lust Doctor Memories 6: The Korean taxi driver hands me a microphone, cranks up his in-car karaoke machine and demands I sing Rod Stewart's "If you want my money and you think I'm sexy" or “no ride” as we speed down Las Vegas Boulevard to our destination, a low key boxing card at the Stratosphere. He is flashing his yellow teeth and talking about "sexy blonde ladies" while leering at the sea of silicone breasts outside…the taxi veers one way and the next as he grabs eyeful after eyeful…what a strange way to die this would be…singing Rod under duress in 114 degree heat….Tupac met his demise here, but not like this.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

I love those brave birds

Lust Doctor Memories 5: Yelena worked in an exclusive West End club that doubled up as a honey pot for wealthy, eligible, but near middle-aged men. Underneath the bar counter, she kept an extensive collection of magazines featuring every conceivable male hobby or past-time as she eavesdropped the conversations of the unattached and loaded.

After gauging a measure of her target’s wealth and the nature of his interests, Yelena withdrew from her bar duties to take a conspicuous break with a mineral water and a carefully selected periodical. After a few flicks of her shiny hair, she soon drew attention.

“I didn’t have you down as a pigeon fancier?"
"Oh yes, my father and brothers used homing pigeons when it was so cold in Siberia and the telephone lines froze. Many of them die, but they always try to help us. I love those brave birds. When I first arrive, I sit in Trafalgar Square and it makes me happy remembering those times, sitting amongst their droppings."

Dinner was the minimum expectation though jewelry and indecent proposals were not uncommon, but the holy grail of marriage remained elusive for Yelena. Elsewhere hopeful young girls buy shiny belts and shortish skirts from Top Shop to fit into the scenery, but twinkle just enough. It might never happen for any of us, but in our own way we are all on the lookout for something better.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Carmen 13

Lust Doctor Memories 4: Archie had been dating Carmen, 13, for a week or so. Every day after school she would meet him at his office holding a Spice Girls lunchbox.

Mick, a co-worker and proud father of three, soon made his feelings known.

“Aren’t you concerned,” said Mick, shaking with indignant rage, “that your girlfriend is only 13?”

Archie thought for a moment.

“No,” he replied.

“I’m not superstitious.”

Tuesday, April 29, 2008


The wooden box looks too small to hold a woman of eighty-eight years and such a fearsome personality, but apparently it does. Just as the four solemn men lift the box from the hearse a small, grey aunt insists they replace it and move her tiny wreath on top in parity with my mother’s.

They’re all here; the flotsam and jetsam from one side of a family in name only, willfully dreaming of unlikely riches, the corned beef sandwiches (to follow) and the slower death of small talk.

My mother is the only person to cry during the service and that may be more than many of us receive or deserve. Just an afternoon back on the narrow streets of my youth, reminding me why I am somewhere else, not necessarily better, but different from here.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Saaarthsea Common (Football fanzine column circa 1989)

Lust Doctor Memories 3: "Got up at 7.15. Johnno and Billy came over and Johnno was hungover. Drove to services and had a piss and fry up at Happy Eater. This bird in a red and white striped uniform (decent jugs) gave Johnny the eye. He couldn't be arsed. Went to a boozer a mile from the ground at 11.10 and had six pints. Saw Beardo in there and he told me Minty had to stay at home. Funny, thought I saw Minty at services."

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

In The Know

Dean Martin knew, but if you asked him he just smiled and said, “Maybe kid, maybe.”

And Sammy Davis Jr knew, but he always shrugged with his usual jive “Don’t know nothing about THAT, man.”

Of course, Frank Sinatra knew, but he would screw up his eyes and shoot you a look that made you remember your place.

No-one said anything, but it was always understood.

And that, it seemed, was enough for everyone.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Free the Hawk Moth

Lust Doctor Memories 2: The bar is absolutely rammed, jam-packed with unofficial alcoholics and prettyish girls with not enough money to buy drinks (or so they say). One lass told me her male friends don’t ever let her put her hand in her pocket. I just smiled at her and said, ‘Try’. At home these girls delicate purses are filled with pristine notes and disorientated moths struggling for air, the Queen’s face the last thing they see before they black out, breathlessly, into the abyss.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Loose ends

On a Bank Holiday Monday those singletons of London not piggybacking on their coupled-up friends picnics or drinking themselves to a slow death on red leather seats in the capital's gastropubs can be found sitting badly on ergonomic chairs in front of high-res computer screens.

Their eyes straining to make out Times New Roman as they order themselves online gifts to fill the void or engage in truthless, tittle tattle in chatrooms with other lonely souls feigning self-confidence amid a vacuum of doubt. Keyboard warriors and hidden roses dancing an invisible tango.

And if no-one is out there they can always chat to I-God; the interactive deity based in Canada (clearly fearing global warming or a nuclear holocaust). Like most gods he is frustratingly cryptic allowing zealots to fill in the gaps as suits them best.

Asked to ‘define good?’
I-God replied: ‘the opposite of Evil’.

Did he mean Knievel? The opposite of that is a pedestrian in tan slacks.

Roll on Tuesday.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

All bloke party

Lust Doctor Memories 1: There are only guys at this party. If a Jimmy Sommerville CD starts playing I am jumping out the window...I don’t care how far up we are. Oh, there’s a girl….quite nice looking…seems to be enjoying herself….holding a baby. Doubt she’s even a girl. Oh really? Sorry, I just can’t wait 17 years for this party to get interesting. Thank you for the warm Hofmeister.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

What’s The Time Guy

Those within a five metre radius were acutely aware of What’s The Time Guy and his invasion into their body space. One could not ignore his blank, hard-boiled egg eyes, doughy face and hairless, melon-shaped head, the deliberate way he dragged his slovenly frame up and down Haverstock Hill on slow motion auto-pilot; a bizarre cameo appearance in the lives of those who were raised to look away.

The more savvy pedestrians would assess their escape route and instigate a subtle about turn or impromptu road-cross (often risking mild traffic and the enraged screech of 4x4 horns) or dive into the doorways of packed ethnic restaurants and ‘We saw you coming’ retail outlets to avoid uncomfortable interaction with the discombobulated mind of the man known by some of the local hip kids as ‘The WTTG’ (What’s The Time Guy) due to his habit of asking passing pedestrians the time despite the existence of an ostentatious dayglo watch strapped tightly on the chub of his bulbous left wrist.

His greatest thrill came by standing directly in front of his prey and allowing his blank gaze to wash over them in tranquil lunacy. Before his victim (often a single teenage girl texting or young mother encumbered by pram and limited in movement) could react he would ask ‘Could you tell me the time, please?’ Many recoiled or froze expecting the WTTG’s large, clammy hands to find a resting place around their neck or on their breasts; others toppled backwards with their cappuccinos into the eye of a brown frothy explosion or simply bounced off his blubbery frame as he refused (or was mentally unable) to give ground.

However dangerous the WTTG might be to the women of Haverstock Hill, his existence was derived by an undiluteable sadness; whatever it was that rested inside him and tortured his soul from within would never be tamed in this world by either touch or kindness until his timely oblivion. In his way, he knew and that was why he kept asking his question in perpetuity as, even faced with the truth, he had to make sure.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

The writer and the lover

“I just pitched a story about 24 hours in the life of a Victorian antique chair. It’s kind of like James Joyce’s Ulysses…but through the eyes of quality furniture. As if the furniture…wait for it…has feelings.”

“Sounds a-mazing,” drawled Tristan as the waitress lay down their lunch plates with a simple nod as if to underline a simple job done for apparently simplistic people. “What was the feedback?”

“They l-o-v-e it. Said my descriptive powers were a-mazing and that the sad finale in the auction room rendered them paralysed with emotion, plum-sized lumps in their throats. They apparently wept when it was discovered the chair was a 1970s reproduction and therefore worthless.”

“You mean despite its furnitureal hubris the 'antique chair' had no memory that it was a fake? Sounds confusing so it’s a powerful concept,” replied Tristan, successfully digging out a brown avocado stone with his fork.

“So how’s the love life this week? What was her name…Shona? Sharia?”

“Shindip, she’s Indian, even though I stated a preference for Caucasians at the dating agency, but they said they didn’t have that as a category so it was a racial lucky dip. It was hard work really. I felt like I was at a job interview when all I ever wanted was a temporary position.”

“I bet,” guffawed Hugo demolishing the Mozzarella first, out of respect for the buffalo who had grudgingly created it with a squat and a grunt. “Women in their late twenties become even more single-minded in their search for a mate…especially when they can get 50% of every damn thing. I should know. I wish my ex had got half of that herpes.”

“In-deed…so I tried to ditch and run.”

“Ah, what did you tell her you did for a ‘fake’ living?”

“Orange boiler suits.”

“Orange boiler suits? You said that?"

“As soon as I thought it wasn’t going anywhere. I told her I made them for the US in Guantanamo. Disturbingly, she seemed impressed.”

“What did she say?”

“Sounds profitable. You must be making a bomb. I told her we don’t joke about that…especially as our Business Development Manager looks like Richard Reid and wears Size 12 shoes. I told him, 'shave the beard or you’ll be cavity searched at every airport on the globe', but he thinks the chin fur makes him look distinguished. Well, let me tell you, no-one looks dignified with a gloved hand wiggling up their arse. Anyway, I'm taking her to the NFT next week.”

Friday, March 21, 2008

Domestic violins

It’s 12.30am and he is screaming and hollering like a loon in the moonlight. Earplugs are reached for and weary heads sneak under pillows, others make love louder and harder, anything to drown out the dreadful noise of the rowdy neighbours' late night domestic.

It’s a regular deal for them and everyone in yelling distance lets them get on with it as he is the sort of guy who could just turn psycho and follow you to work if you interrupted him mid-domestic. He’s lean and ripped like a middleweight, good looking until he opens his mouth to let the swear words form. His body almost shakes when he walks as if the hate inside is fighting to get out.

She gives as good as she gets. I’ve heard her before yelling out the window at builders. 'You bastards! I want my f***ing money. I want my f***ing money.' 'I want my f***ing' the council house mantra. Her emotional pendulum always swinging between rage and tears.

Usually ends up with the police being called (by the builders, bemused or antagonised) and her pulling the old weepy woman routine – though she is anything but. She asks her man to take the rubbish out and locks the door. Throws his clothes out of a window in the rain. Pisses in his drink when he is too hammered to notice (or so she claims). Slams doors all through the night to underline her rage. Munch's 'Scream' on a loop for eternity.

And so she and her man are strangely made for each other – equal in their shared bile and devilishment. We are just the poor sods who have to listen.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Doctor No

You better not contract the Ebola Virus on a Saturday. You won’t find a doctor anywhere. They are carving pheasant in rustic kitchen stroke dining areas, their perfect families looking on with expectant, hungry eyes. So don't fall ill at the weekend, your doctor always has something better to do.

Forget logging onto the internet and browsing the medical message boards for consolation – because, before long, you will be convinced you are about to die. Do not heed the warnings of international hypochondriacs…they will terrify you with their tales of medical malpractice and mysterious boils that go pop in the night.

It happened to Darrel from Maryland and it could happen to you. His right bollock dropped out of his hiking shorts while he was hillwalking. It was last seen heading south to Dixie pursued by three hicks in a blue Chevy pick-up truck. They don’t like strangers or stranger’s parts in them, there parts.

It’s Saturday night and you really don’t fancy waiting four hours in A&E with all the drunks and other hypochondriacs so you are going to have to gut it out until emergency surgery on Monday. Right now Death is sitting on your sofa, his skeletal hand rustling a packet of munchies as he peruses the latest Paris Match. He’s in no hurry, he can afford to wait a few minutes. You have just enough time to hum Jamiroquai’s…’We’re too young to die’ and send a few goodbye texts. Just don’t drink and dial. You may live to face the consequences.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Daft Vorder

Carol Vorderman can correctly identify a vowel or a consonant. She can also do times-tables to a very high standard. This means that when she says all your problems will disappear with a quick and easy £20,000 loan….you should listen!

She’s not doing it for the money. She’s doesn’t want to see people who have fallen on hard times slip further into arrears and destitution. She is here to help. Not got enough money for a cab home….don’t worry, Carol will….hook…you….up!

A loan solves everything! Just ask Gordon Brown!

[Telephone rings] ‘Managing Director of Northern Rock here….you know, the Geordie bank….got a bit of a problem, Gord.’ ‘Okay MD, you’re on speakerphone. What’s that, Darling?’ [High pitched voice, very excited, interrupts] ‘How about a loan! A really big one!’ ‘What a marvellous idea! Pay it back when you like! I love rescuing failed business vehicles.’

Hey desperate, or easy-to-con, homeowners! Don’t worry! If you own a house, you can be as financially reckless as you like! You should release the money that’s ‘tied up’ in your home. What’s it doing in there, silly? You should get lypo! Botox for the kids! Life’s magic with a loan!!!!

[Concerned man fumbles in his wallet at a bar]. ‘I’m sorry I don’t have enough money. Wait, there’s Carol Vorderman! Excuse me, Carol, can you lend me a fiver?’



Sunday, March 2, 2008

Download Knightley's pancakes

DVD piracy has nothing to do with Johnny Depp mugging like Keith Richards and Keira Knightley pushing up her corset and hoping for the best.

If you download or purchase a pirate DVD you threaten the livelihood of billion dollar corporations. Thanks to you, the super-rich will no longer be able to buy townhouses in Hampstead or rent a small West Indian island for their wedding vows. It’s a terrifying thought.

If you believe the propaganda spun before every film, obtaining a pirate DVD transforms someone with time on their hands into a modern day Kray. All us squares who pay around £20 for a DVD (they cost about a penny to make) are forced to sit through some pretty laughable fear-mongering. You can wave your remote control all you want….the DVD does not permit you to fast forward.

One such insight involves a morbidly obese blacksmith (because pirating makes you fat) branding illicit DVDS with a hot poker. Is this how DVDs are pirated? I thought they just connected two DVD players with a scart lead. Looks dangerous. Let’s hope they have the appropriate accident insurance. Otherwise someone might call Injury-lawyers- 4-U.

Obviously you or I have purchased or rented our DVD so they are preaching to the converted. No self-respecting pirater would duplicate this drivel. Maybe the answer is to make DVDs affordable rather than labelling those who download or buy pirates as the next Tony Soprano (Subliminal message: Seires tsal eht daolnwod).

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

A five-step plan to keeping your man

1) Do not try to change him (you will find him unattractive should you ever succeed).

2) Remember most conversations take place at chest level (stuff your bra with bubble wrap and start popping if you need to grab his attention).

3) Leave the toilet seat upright at all times; for speed of use and in case of urination from distance (a necessity if he is watching football ‘between rooms’).

4) One pair of shoes looks like another. Just buy a pair and leave Hobbs/Nine West/Kurt Geiger before the dawn of the next ice age.

5) Don’t invite him to a Winehouse after-party. Ask if he would like any of Amy’s crack and he will say no.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Last words

'This vodka tastes a bit like paint thinner.'
'Why is your wife's head in the fridge?'
'Pass me more lighter fuel. Let's get this barbecue started.'
'The negotiations with the fundamentalists are going well. Oh look, they've sent us a parcel!'
'I strongly believe this cocaine is overpriced.'
'Let's happy slap that ninja.'

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Council geezer (overheard in West Hampstead barbershop)

‘You would not believe the drugs over there, man,’ riffs the council geezer. 'They got everything, coke, speed, meth, puff, crack, pills. I had a bit of everything over there, mate.’
‘How did you meet this Bulgarian....drug dealer?’
‘I saw a guy in a D&G t-shirt, but underneath the logo was printed 'I AM A DRUG DEALER’ in big ****ing letters. I was there pissing myself and this geezer come over to me and asked why I was laughing and I said your t-shirt is too much, mate.’
‘Actually, I am drug dealer,’ he told me. ‘The t-shirt never lies’. Serious. So he hooked me up for the whole time I was there with the bird in Sofia and I took everything that was on offer, man. It was a five star hotel but they hated the English people over there so we got a lift to Turkey for 500 Euros off this other geezer. No flights or anything so we had to take it. But [indecipherable place in Turkey] was the spot, mate. Mad weed over there, yeah?’
The council geezer’s mate leaves a tenner to pay for his pal’s haircut and they leave; the barber shrugs his heavy-set shoulders: ‘If he’d taken all those drugs he’d be dead, man.’

Sunday, February 17, 2008

I'll house you

UK bus stops feature in very few Hollywood movies. And for good reason, your local bus stop represents the routine and the mundane. The timetables are indecipherable and rarely kept to....the only people who understand them are older than Moses. But it's a good spot to sell life insurance.
'It just ain't the same nowa-days,' some toothless dear tells me at the bus stop while I'm squinting at the timetable in 6-point type inside the shelter.
'Wuh? Does this bus go to Havant?'
'It just ain't safe to leave your door open, love. Nowa-daaays.'
'I'm glad you're havin' it, dear.'
The silver generation love to tell us that you could leave your front door open and never get robbed in the good old days. Truth is, if everyone in 1943 left their door open burglars would not have the sheer man hours to rob more than a few houses. It is strongly believed that burglar burn-out was a major problem in the 1940s. 'Looting a house is a knackering business - drink Ovaltine and go back tomorrow.' - a public health announcement poster reads in the National Museum.
There was also nothing worth stealing. But the old folks won't listen when I try to tell them...they just smile and nod and turn down their hearing aids....while I try to remember if I locked the front door.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Raspberry McCartney

Most of you call it sugar....I call it white gold. Back in the day that's how the kids got high. Every break time, every lunch time, every end of school time, the ice cream man parked outside our gates and started peddling those sugary treats. Our pleasures were simple. Break a Milk Flake in half, stick a piece in either nostril and pour a can of Vimto down your throat in one go and you experience a euphoria, a giddy rush not unlike crystal meth while neatly sidestepping the psychotic behaviour and paranoid raving. Or so we thought. We were blinded by our sugary high, underestimating its grip and confusing the strange hallucinations that danced in our minds with lucid reality. We started to mess with our dealer....the silver-haired ice cream requesting an ice lolly that did not exist. 'Can I have a Raspberry McCartney, please?' 'What?' 'The Beatles ice must have sold me two or three last week.' 'Are you sure?' 'You sell 'em, mate.' The next kid asked for a Raspberry McCartney...and the next one....and the next one..and the next one. Our dealer got was buying...the addicts no longer got off on Vimto and double flake...he made half his living off the sugar junkies and teen ice cream fiends....but now his business was on the rocks and he started to crack under the strain.....'N-next week. I've been searching everywhere,' he stammered the following day. 'It's all right,' said the kid at the front of the queue. 'I'll have a Lemon Lennon instead.' 'I-I don't...' 'Okay a Mango Ringo?' 'N-n-no.' 'An Aniseed Harrison?' "Uuuuuh.' 'Sod it, we're going to The Spar.' The ice cream man never came back again. I like to think he's still out there...looking for Raspberry McCartneys...wherever they may be.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Gifting the unfairer sex

Love hearts fired into the skies by mini-cupids on a romantic weekend in Paris, miniature teddy bears holding 'I love you' balloons, flute after flute of inhibition-loosening champagne (cava, if you can get away with it), a charming potted orchid (for the senior lady) or a bunch of blood red roses (for the hot-blooded young nympho), racy lingerie (M&S does the trick), some Blahniks or Jimmy Choos (just get the right shoe size - 8 equals clown feet) , a mini-iceberg from Tiffany or 'vintage' jewellery as worn by that sentimental aunt......all are accepted graciously (or otherwise) on Valentines Day by the 'unfairer' sex.....but for the love of God...don't buy chocolate......its purchase almost amounts to a hate crime....she can buy it (on the down low), but you can't, my brother drop that Toblerone and put your hands in the hacky-sack with your Ferrero Rocher....a bit of blow football with those maltesers....and your love may live to bloom...for another day at least......

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Things to do in London when you're dead

Dream of long, dark nights of the soul, drinking wine (red or white, but never rose) with women of suspect virtue; decompose gracefully, smirk silently from beyond at the unpaid bills of EDF, British Gas, Thames Water, Camden Council,, Sky and Setanta, your landlord or mortgage lender and the will no-one ever expected; prop up the bar at any trendy nightclub or drinking establishment and marvel at how no-one recognises your deceased status and lack of conversation (a wannabe actress describes you as 'chatty'); go to the Emirates Stadium and sit in a corporate seat with 'le fans nouveau' and become known as the 'wild crazy man who sings all the songs'; stand for Parliament, win a seat and slouch in the backbenches; date a woman who reads celebrity magazines and refers to pop and movie stars by their first name; ensure all your conversations involve the subjects 'money', 'property', 'jobs', 'schools' and 'weight loss'....understand death and death in life are not dissimilar. Pray for a favourable reincarnation and start again......