Monday, January 31, 2005

  The great outdoors

One week horribly ill.

One week, holed up indoors behind curtains and under duvets.

One week, forfeiting social invites to do little but catching up on movie DVDs, reading, sleeping, and more than a safe dose of daytime TV.

One week, with little human contact but my own. Was it? Yes, it was.

So it was with no little excitement that, after one week, I'm invited out to meet someone I know for a coffee.

I excitedly pull on some proper outdoor clothes. Race downstairs. And out the door.

Outside, the world seems a curiously familiar yet slightly odd place. A young boy waits close by, but I realise this isn't so unusual: this is Sarf Landan. I walk the few steps to the cash machine, to withdraw the first money I've needed in over a week.

From the corner of my right eye, I detect the young boy hovering by my front door. From the corner of my left eye, I detect what looks like the young boy's parents shouting encouragement. From between my bossed eyes, I detect the screen screaming 'OUT OF CASH'.

Putting my card back in my cashless pocket, I amble back towards my door in front of which the young boy still stands.

Sure enough, from the young boy is emanating a torrent of piss which in turn is cascading against my door.

"Hey, mate!" I shout, pointing quite a lot, "I LIVE there!!"

The young boy, clearly rumbled and not a little embarrassed, quickly puts his childhood away (for it surely cannot yet be a manhood), pulls his zip closed and rushes off mumbling "Sorry… sorry!".

A trail of urine follows his shamefaced departure.

One week, and my first sight of the great outdoors is my piss-ridden doorstep.

It's good to be back.
Friday, January 28, 2005

  Norfolk by night (continued from yesterday)

"It's nine o'clock on a Saturday" I sing, at the top of my lungs, "The regular crowd shuffles in."

In fact, it's half-past-four o'clock, Saturday morning. And there's just the two of us in the room, as he pats me on the back to congratulate me on my unarguably well-delivered line.

"There's an old man sitting next to me" he bellows back, with a distinct glint in his eye, "Makin' love to his tonic and gin."

Frankly, I don't consider myself that old. Plus I'm standing next to him. And merely knocking off his Incredibly Strong Whisky. Nonetheless, I rest my hand on his shoulder to reciprocate the mutual appreciation.

"He says: Son, can you play me a memory?" I croon, "I'm not really sure how it goes."

"But it's sad and it's sweet and I knew it complete," he shimmers, "When I wore a younger man's clothes."

Building up to the chorus, we link arms (in a masculine manner) and sing in rousing unison: "La la la, de de da… La la, de de da da da… DA... DAAAA……"

Yet my singing partner is not Jonny B. For I am singing with ANOTHER MAN.

"Sing us a song, you're the PI-A-NOOOO MAANNNN" we sing, hugs gripping tightly like the longest-standing of friends, despite having met only hours earlier, "Sing us a song TO-NIGHTTT!"

Jonny and I hadn't expected the height-restricted, jovial, red-cheeked fella to join us so late at the Village Pub. (Not least because when we knocked his wife told us he was still at work so wouldn't be allowed out).

We reach our crescendo in perfect harmony: "Well, we're all in the MO-OOOD for a ME-LOWW-DYYYY, and YOOOV got us FEEEEELIN' ALRIGHHHTTTT!"

I'd be worried about waking the next-door neighbours, if the next-door neighbour wasn't Jonny himself, who'd had the audacity to retire home early after only a few games of pool and songs at the piano. I was glad my host's wife and children were sleeping upstairs, undisturbed.

Hours later, my head feeling concussed by the broad, sharp, intense daylight outlining the silhouette of Jilted Jonny greeting me with a mid-afternoon cuppa, I'm barely able to move in bed:

"I thought you'd get on," he says, shirtily, "I just didn't expect you to be singing DUETS."

I nod as much as my hangover permits, but hold on to the sweet memory of Short Tony and I hugging, emotionally drained, in front of the karaoke machine.
Thursday, January 27, 2005

  Norfolk by day

It'd been a while since we'd caught up properly and spent some quality time together.

My head feeling as clear as the daylight cascading through the curtains, I jump out of bed and bound into my Norfolk host's (connecting) bedroom:

"I thought you always got up early?" I breezily ask.

"Today's an exception." he replies, explaining how he does usually get up with his hard-working scientist wife to make her lunch - unconvincingly.

The day starts suitably sedately, us continuing the previous night's conversation over muesli, before driving the few hundred yards to our first stop of the day.

"Morning, Village Shop Lady!" announces as the bell announces our custom. We strengthen our manly credentials picking out the best peppers for our evening meal.

"We're still doing dry cleaning!" she replies, somewhat perplexingly, before whispering, "I just wanted to let you know."

Peppers procured, we return to the car.

"What the fuck was that all about?" I politely ask, as if just having struggled to comprehend a surreal subtitled film.

"The Post Office have leafleted every house in the village announcing they're now offering dry cleaning, a service traditionally monopolised by the Village Shop." he patiently explains, "It's like the Glasgow ice-cream wars, I tell you."

The villagers clearly have some controversial decisions ahead.

We drive on to the safer environment Beer Farm Shop (yes - it exists) where we stroke our chins selecting an assortment of Old Les, Norfolk Gold and Brancaster Best.

Two old friends reacquainting, we move straight onto the windswept seaside for some cultural enrichment where, unleashing the barely suppressed teenagers within us, we find ourselves unable to resist wandering straight into the arcade. Realising after half-hour on the 10p grabbing machines that we'd always be just one go away from that big win, we quit at only a fiver down each.

Downhearted, we dine at a chippy, rubbish wooden short forks and paper bags making do for proper cutlery and plates like what you get in the City.

Eventually making our way back to the cottage, its warm comfort makes a contrasting welcome to the blustery outdoors, as we cement our friendship having properly rebonded.

Things are going splendidly, and nothing or no-one could come between us now.

(Continues tomorrow)
Wednesday, January 26, 2005

  A good deed?

Stepping outside into the cold for just a few minutes, I detour to do my good deed.

At the side of the kebab shop, before you reach the arcade, I make my way down their hallway.

Its dank interior resurrects memories of a drunken night from not so long ago.

Finding its door unattended, I push it open, ignoring the 'MEMBERS ONLY' sign.

A couple of dozen middle-aged Turks simultaneously raise their heads from the slapped-upon domino tables. The large barman looks at me with complete disdain as I proceed towards the bar unimpeded.

I hand him the couple of items of post.

"These are yours" I explain, "They were delivered through my door."

He grunts, I leave and return to my sickbed.

I wonder why I bothered.
Monday, January 24, 2005

  Unlucky man is unwell

Back very soon, hopefully.
Thursday, January 20, 2005

  Shock in the post

I'm pissed.

Staggering home, fumbling keys, unfrigging the lock, stumbling through the door, slamming it behind me, I'm bending precariously down to pick up the day's post.

I'm back in the room. My lounge, specifically.

From the sanctuary of my sofa, to the accompaniment of Bez snoring on late-night Channel 4, I open the day's lonesome envelope on autopilot.

It's a letter!

Alas, the letter's not for me: it's for my ex. Being well over a year since she moved out, only the odd '£5,000 Waiting For You!' junk mail, and the Screwfix catalogue, arrives for her now, so I seldom think to check before opening.

It's an interesting letter, though, so I read on.

"We have been commissioned to search for news of a certain Mr X, and would be grateful if you could take a few moments to consider the following."

I'm intrigued.

"The gentleman we are looking for would today be about 45 years of age. He married someone matching your name in South London in 1989."

Intrigue turns to shock.

"So far we have not been able to trace Mr X by our usual means."

I ponder what their 'usual means' might be.

"I believe that you are the lady he married and although I also believe you are no longer with Mr X, I am hopeful that you will be amenable to letting me know where and when I might be able to contact him."

The assertive tone of the letter leaves me in no doubt of the writer's conviction. The clip-art logo and inkjet print on lightweight paper stock convey the impression of a professional detective agency. And the second-class stamp on the enclosed return envelope convinces me this search is deadly serious.

I'm flabbergasted.

My ex got married at the age of 11, but never had the heart to tell me.

I retire to bed, inebriated and troubled by the child-bride secret she'd hidden from me for over six years.
Wednesday, January 19, 2005

  Watching the Directors (continued from yesterday)

I wasn't going to let CTSYMSAD's seniority intimidate me into rushing into her office straight away.

Oh no, for she must respect I'm a freelance moderately successful professional marketer.

I'll make her wait, I think.

So I lie:

"I'm a bit busy at the moment" I reply, tapping frantically at my keyboard, before grinning up from my screen, "In half hour, maybe?"

CTSYMSAD agrees, and I look back at the meaningless characters on my screen.

Last day of my contract, I actually have little to do for the half hour. Except anticipate her embarrassed apologies of Friday's drunkenness. Remorse at her divulging of office gossip. Regret over her flirty resting of her head on my shoulder.

Thirty-two minutes later (two more minutes waiting, see), I sheepishly tip-toe up to CTSYMSAD's office.

I knock on her door. I feel like the naughty schoolboy who's been called to the headmistress's office. I check my shoes are clean, and shirt buttons done up.

"Enter!" she says, in my head.

I open the door, which creaks, in my head.

"Morning Miss!" I say, in my head.

(But actually I just walk in: the door's open.)

"Hiya, Unlucky!" she greets me, "Thanks for popping by."

"Good birthday?" I ask her, chipperly.

"Yes thanks" she replies, before laughing, "Terrible hangover Saturday, though."

And that was it. That was the social niceties out the way. Because she then launches formally into briefing me on the 'quick brainstorm' she wants on digital marketing strategies. No further mention of Friday's drunkenness: The wine. The drink-spilling. The head-resting.

She doesn't want me for my body. She wants me for my mind.

We brainstorm, she thanks me, I leave.
Tuesday, January 18, 2005

  Watching the Directors

Rummaging around my back pocket, as I often do, I find a stranger's business card.

That's the trouble with favourite jeans: still wearing them Monday morning, Friday night's hazy memories are but a quick rummage away.

I'd had to work through Friday lunchtime. Causing me to miss the Cute-Though-Several-Years-My-Senior Account Director's birthday drinks. So it'd only been polite to offer her a swift one (drink) after work instead.

"Just the one," she'd agreed. "...lots to do tomorrow."

My mind a blank, my eyes gravitate towards the job title on the stranger's card: Director.

I sit back in my swivel chair, smiling smugly, impressed at my instinctively gregarious ability to so easily converse with not just one but two powerful Directors of the business world.

Slowly my recollection of our conversation returns:

"You drying off OK, now?" I'd asked The Stranger Director, to break the awkward silence.

I remembered how CTSYMSAD, several glasses in, had inadvertently caused The Stranger Director to spill his drink over himself and his (I assume) girlfriend.

Women are oblivious to the great male conversations that take place whilst they visit the toilet, so The Stranger Director and I certainly weren't sqaundering our chance:

"Yeah, thanks", laughed the The Stranger Director, pausing dramatically before asking, "You work locally?"

My eyes gravitate to the company name on The Stranger Director's card.

I am disappointed to find the name of a local café, then recall how The Stranger Director's polite conversation had transpired to be a mere ruse to hardsell me his company's services:

"The best sandwiches in Shepherds Bush Green" he'd assured me.

"I'll be sure to pop by Monday", I'd lied, filing the business card he handed me into my back pocket.

CTSYMSAD returned with The Stranger Director's Girlfriend, her swaying confirming I'd got her even more drunk than I'd intended.

Deciding to leave for the underground, CTSYMSAD had then proceeded to rest her head on my shoulder as the carriage belted down the Central Line.

My staring at the card is interrupted: "Can you come into my office?" asks CTSYMSAD sternly.

(Continues tomorrow)
Monday, January 17, 2005


Looks like abitcouncil's had a shite day.

Go over and cheer the obnoxious wanker up.

Back properly tomorrow.

Friday, January 14, 2005

  What's the world coming to?!

In my part of town, there's a local police station (you know - the one that helped me so much just when I needed them most).

And inside that police station, there's a reception desk, which is usually understaffed.

But between that reception desk and the outside world, there's a secure glass-panelled door, doubtless to protect staff from the horrors of the outside world.

And today, passing that police station, the protecting door was smashed, its shattered glass half-arsedly covered by yellow tape marked "DO NOT PASS".

It's a sad, sad day when even the local rozzers becomes an inpenetrable crime scene.

(And an even sadder day when Busted split. Blub. Happy weekends, all.)
Thursday, January 13, 2005

  Culture vulture

If 2004 was my year of rehabilitation then 2005 is my year of adventure (professionally, culturally and, hopefully, personally) and 2006 will be my year of consolidation (at two years older than Jesus ever achieved, it’ll be time to settle down again).

At least, that’s my vision, as is stands.

Professionally, I’m starting to win contracts, and already enjoying the variety of work they bring.

And I’m hoping these contracts start to bring in the extra moolah which I’ll need to fulfil my travelling desires later this year.

So I was pleased that the cultural void hitherto unfilled during 2005 was kickstarted by an invite from The Girl Who Told Me I Smelt (And Danced Badly). Clearly feeling comfortable enough to ignore my smelliness for a while, she invited me to join her watch a film. Not any ordinary, brain-numbing, factory-line blockbuster. No, a proper film, at over two hours long. With proper actors, playing proper intriguing characters, spouting proper compelling dialogue, interweaving in a proper twisting plot. A film with subtitles, no less.

We started badly having missed the first ten minutes. Who was he? What was he doing? Why was he there? The initial dialogue shed little clue. Who was she? Why were they talking? What were they saying? The fantasy scene which followed merely threw us off our tracks. Who were they? Where were they going? What was I doing here? But slowly, and surely, the subtitles disappeared as we immersed ourselves in the film. Proper characters, proper dialogue, a proper plot.

It was a pleasure. One which, before we knew it, was over. Despite the scrolling closing credits being in Chinese, we stayed long enough to Not Look Rude leaving. And as the house lights came on, we noticed the assortment of goaty-beards, students and Guardian readers.

I felt culturally enriched, readers.

“What the fuck was that about?!” I said turning to TGWTMIS(ADB), showing my appreciation, “Great, though, and I think I got the gist.”

(Henceforth renamed as) Culturedgirl and I spent another few minutes dissecting our respective misunderstandings of the plot at a late night bar.

Culturally replenished, I think I need to get pissed tonight to restore the balance.
Wednesday, January 12, 2005

  Under the cosh

“Having looked at the copy”, he said, “I don’t think it works.”

This much, I agreed with.

Though I contested much of the remainder of his email, I understood the thrust of what he wanted, and didn’t pay too much attention to his own attempts at rewriting.

After all, I’m a moderately successful marketing professional, used to sifting through what people say to find what they actually mean.

Or so I thought.

One week on, after commissioning an alternative expert’s advice, their absorbing the brief to sort the wheat from the chaff of the first draft, I deliver back what my colleagues considered to have come on leaps and bounds in terms of improvement.

I proudly forward back the second draft, going that little bit above and beyond by substantiating it with a robust rationale of why this different approach had been taken, whilst double-checking that the core of his initial concern had been addressed.

“I’d have to say I’m still not happy with it” he says, “and extremely disappointed that my comments have not been taken on board.”

Tuesday, January 11, 2005


Long-gone Christmas may be for most of us but not, it seems, for the management of Shepherd's Bush 'West 12' shopping centre.

Whereas I took my decorations down last week, as is customary, their tree and assorted decorations were still up at lunchtime today.

Don't they realise this is unlucky?

Monday, January 10, 2005

  Sold Out

2.50pm, Highbury Stadium, London.

Speedily relieved, I find myself in the big-branded queue for coffee.

I stand behind an obese man wearing a home shirt emblazoned with the words 'WE ARE GRRRR'. I assume the shop was out of the letters 'E', 'A' and 'T', but converted the sale on account of their surplus stocks of the letter 'R'. A small child joins the queue behind. His shirt is emblazoned 'FABREGAS'. This is more normal.

The queue shuffles forward.

I know I want a coffee. It is cold in the North Stand, open to the elements, in total contrast to the heat-containing atmosphere I normally occupy in the Really Crap Seats at the Clock End. But the food menu catches my eye: Smoked Salmon Bagel. Chicken Balti Bagel. Tuna Bagel. Muffin.

The queue shuffles forward again.

A man at the front of the queue argues about something. I can't quite make the conversation out, but from the dismissive look of the assistant, and wronged plaintive look of the man at the front of the queue, my sympathy firmly lies with the man at the front of the queue.

The queue shuffled forward, such that the man at the front of the queue is no longer in the queue. And shuffles forward some more. Etcetera etcetera.

I find myself at the front of the queue. "You want black coffee?" asks the assistant, presumptuously.

"No" I reply, "I'd like it white, please". I quickly survey the minute rolls shrivelled prune-like under the artificial light - as poor excuse for bagels as I've ever seen - and decide to leave it there.

"You can't" she says, contrarily, "we've run out of milk". This is rubbish, I think (as rubbish as our first half display), especially for a coffee stall, which relies on milk.

"Cappuccino?" she demands. I plump for cappuccino.

"Do you have a lid?" I ask, politely, as I part with sufficent funds to for the price of my overpriced cappuccino.

"Over there!" she points, beckoning me away. I force my way through the queue, finding myself a lid, which does not fit my cup properly anyway.

"OUT OF HOT DRINKS!" she shouts, beckoning everyone away (apart from those wanting overpriced bagels, or muffins). This seems particularly rubbish, especially for a coffee stall, which relies on hot water.

I make my way back to the terraces, and sip on my unlidded overpriced coffee, immersing my tastebuds in the boiled tripe with which Nescafe are apparently more than happy to associate their name.
Friday, January 07, 2005

  Out of luck

Five days.

Five fucking days!

That’s how long it take for my run of luck to last during 2005.

Admittedly, whilst most of those five days were consumed either vegetating, working, or generally minimising social interaction and thus the risk of unluckiness arising, five days is pretty fucking miserable by any year’s standards.

My elderly, helpless parents had been kind enough to scrape some cash together, after deducting funds for my Christmas meal, the Christmas milk-supply and the rodent fat they rely upon for lighting fuel, for my Christmas present. It's exactly what I wanted from them.

So I took the liberty of buying some obscure Canadian humorist DVDs from the USA. I charitably overlooked the fact this cost slightly more than they’d given me. After all, It was Christmas.

Twenty-one pounds, eighty-nine pence.

Twenty-one fucking pounds, eighty-nine fucking pence!

That’s how much ransom Customs & Excise slapped on my package before I could pick it up from the post office. Obviously diverting their attention after Brussels slapped their wrists for imposing illegal draconian measures at UK ports. So much for shopping around, utilising the global economy to its fullest potential. And Americans have the gall to say our humour doesn’t easily travel across the Atlantic.

Naturally, I’ll be invoicing my parents for the additional charge incurred this weekend. After all, it’s not Christmas any more.

Enjoy your weekends. I'll be staying in, watching my expensive DVDs.
Wednesday, January 05, 2005

  Buttoned down

"They're not pleased with you" I announced, somewhat snootily, sipping on my red wine.

"They're not?" she asked, somewhat disbelievingly, sipping on hers.

"Not at all. In fact my readers are rather unhappy with you." I replied, somewhat curtly, stopping sipping to accenuate my heartfelt disappointment.

Through no small amount of effort, I finally managed to meet OzGirl for a quick drink just before Christmas. And a very nice time we had too, thank you very much for asking.

"Do you always have problems with buttons, then?" I asked pompously, spotting my opportunity when she mentioned her habit of misdirecting emails.

Bemused silence, followed by "Not really... why do you ask?"

I slowly teased out the story: Of texting her the next day. Waiting (and waiting (and waiting (etc))) for her response which never came. Mutual Friend covertly supplying the correct number with all digits complete. Then her subsequent rather (aalmost rudely) slow responses to my subsequent contact.

Aghast at her obvious foolishness, OzGirl was humbly apologetic: "I'm so sorry, it was a genuine mistake", her reddening face a curious mixture of embarrassment coupled with the glowing satisfaction that she had not let the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity of meeting me slip through her careless fingertips. "I just wouldn't do that intentionally" she continued, protesting her innocence, "I hate people who do that."

"That's reassuring," I replied, before divulging, "because my readers really aren't very happy about it."

A couple of wines in, I was sufficiently relaxed to tell her about you. (I hope you don't mind).

"I've replied slowly on purpose" she confessed in return, "thinking you'd taken so long to contact me in the first place."

Everything cleared up, we ordered another couple of glasses and wished each other a happy Christmas.

"I hope you'll give me the opportunity to clear my name with your readers", she pleaded.
Tuesday, January 04, 2005

  Taking the plunge

Aw, fuck.

It's still dark. First day back at work, I'd grown used to waking up to daylight again. And omitted to set my alarm. This annoys me.

I get up, and stagger my usual way to the bathroom. Cut myself shaving in the rush. Time only to wash, no shower. This disappoints me.

Remembering being unable to renew my expired travelcard last night, I log on to try again. This time, it works, but won't be ready til tomorrow. This frustrates me.

I rush out, to find it drizzling. Misery consumes the minds of my fellow commuters making their way to the station. We arrive to find yet more, queuing randomly to pick up their tickets. Picking the shorter queue for the machine, I fumble for some change before working out exactly which ticket I required. This disgruntles me.

Grabbing my Metro, and now running even later, I pile through the turnstiles to wait for the lift I've just missed. I descend - slowly - get one tube then change, noticing the resident 'Carling-approved' busker hasn't bothered turning up, to get another - packed, but I find my snug pocket of air. This winds me right up.

Ascending my destination station's escalator I stare bemused at the vapid London Underground 'don't block the escalator' poster. It's stupid. The lead character is dressed as a sink plunger. First, I've never seen anyone dressed as any plumbing-related accessory on any form of public transport, so rendering the advertisement immediately unrealistic. Second, despite the contrived hammy stares of the obviously cheaply-assembled stage school wannabes behind him supposedly intended to convey a witty cross-section of the city's varied passenger population, the plunger-dressed man is actually thinner (even in costume) than many real life obese people I see on escalators, leaving sufficient space to facilitate passing for the average man or woman, so rendering the advertisement's premise invalid. Third, to the apparent ignorance of the advertisement's obviously rubbish creative directors, the purpose of a plunger is ironically to unblock, so rendering the advertisement's overall message confused, at best, or worthless, at worst. This pisses me right off, as it's done many times before.

But I step off the escalator unhindered (perhaps the rubbish creative directors know something I don't) and, for no explicable reason, find myself happy to have a job, looking forward to the day ahead, and thankful for a break which for countless others has been so very different. This surprises me. But puts my petty grumbles in perspective.
Monday, January 03, 2005

  Unlucky Gold: Pissed and shagging

Pretentious Prelude:

Requested by ‘3rd Daughter’ Susan, aged 41-45, Australia and The Girl, aged 15, London – Unlucky vouchers on their way, etc etc.

Truth be told, I’ve never liked this post, but it seemed to register with readers so who am I to decline requests for it to be repeated? Nonetheless I’ve also taken the liberty of repeating another post based on a similarly half-baked theory which I was happier with, this one putting forward the hypothesis of ‘shag bingo’.

Happy New Year, all. Back properly in a few days. Promise.

Pissed Bloke’s Syndrome (9 April 2004)

Today I am suffering from the after-effects of what I call 'Pissed Bloke's Syndrome'. (I have yet to ascertain whether this is shared by females of our species, so seek feedback.)

Last night I met up with Ex-Boss and his friend Bookseller to see Sia, singer with coffee table muzak-makers Zero 7 at Camden's Barfly venue. Sia was ace. The boys were in good spirits.

But I digress. Let me explain.

Normally I pride myself on the efficiency of my change management skills. By this, I mean paying for things. I'm not one of those people who waits to reach the checkout before fumbling round for change. Oh no. That's tardy. And I cannot abide tardiness. In a sufficiently long queue, I will have time to sort some change, ready for the total cost to be announced. I buy cautiously, and strive to pay the exact amount, offloading as many loose coins as possible. It's a good system. Everyone's a winner. The merchant has a replenished float, able to cover a plethora of change-giving scenarios. Customers behind me benefit from this too, without enduring any undue delays. And I, of course, benefit from lighter pockets. It's slick. Fast. Effective.

Except, at some point during the evening when I go out, my behaviour changes. Significantly. My obsessive sense for order gives way to recklessness. But I only become aware of this by piecing together pieces of evidence the next morning.

First, my bank balance is depleted by funds sufficient to bankrupt a lower league football club. Cash machine transactions verify that I must have been responsible, even if some appear from locations of which I have little or no recollection.

Second, my pockets are laden with coinage weighing as much as a small child. Pound coins. Silver coins. Copper coins. Some coins, inexplicably, from little-known foreign countries. This, you see, is Pissed Bloke's Syndrome.

I can only assume I press a secret button on the cash machine which only appears when you're pissed, which ensures cash is dispensed in notes of £50 or higher. Then use these notes, repeatedly, to buy miniscule rounds of drinks, insisting that all change be given in coins only.

Today is my sister's birthday. She wants money. For a tent. For Glastonbury. But I'm ashamed to hand over the shrapnel that's in my pockets. So will probably have to pop down to 'Poundbusters', to start the whole change management cycle all over again.

Jackpot! (28 May 2004)

“So, how are you keeping?” I asked the Ex-Boyfriend of a Friend of a Friend to break the (dry) ice at last night’s gig.

“Good, thanks” came the barely audible reply.

It’s great when you establish a connection, no matter now tenuous, between people you thought were unconnected among London’s 7-million+ population.

Particularly if that connection involves rudeness.

One drink-fuelled night, many moons ago, my friends were discussing exactly this. Laughter erupted as we nostalgically worked out people we could never imagine being together had, actually, been together. Rudely together.

So intrigued were we by this phenomena that I started jotting our findings on a scrap of paper.

Rules were quickly laid down: minimum criteria had to be a snog, identified by a dotted line between names; shag = continuous line; relationship (defined as minimum one week, or five shags) = continuous, bold line.

Before long, a complex sprawl of names and lines (combination of dotted, continuous and bold) was emerging from the blank A4 sheet.

Great pleasure was derived as we unearthed liaisons long forgotten by us, and probably them, and drew links between apparently disparate individuals. BINGO!

And so lo and behold the ‘Shag Bingo’ Matrix was born: one that would be returned to many times over the years. The scrap of paper made way for a chart, and the chart eventually for a powerful database.

“So, where are you working now?” I continued politely conversing with XBFoFoF.

“At Company X” he replied.

“Really?” I exclaimed, “You must work in the same building as my clients Ms Y and Ms Z!”

“Yes” he replied, his face suddenly turning ashen-white, before unnecessarily divulging “Actually, I’ve slept with Ms X.”

“REALLY?” I exclaimed again, this time a bit too loudly and high pitched, “I must email her to point out this connection. Hang on... this was since splitting with Ex-Girlfriend, right?” I asked.

“Please don't email her. But yes, it was since then.” he replied.

“Ah, but you would say that, wouldn’t you?” I persisted.

“No!!! I wouldn’t just say that. I was on the rebound, actually.”

“I must email Ms X to let her know that too.”

“No. Please don’t do that.”

“I understand. I’ll fax her instead.”

I returned home to add two more names to my matrix.

Shag Bingo!
If an unlucky man sold umbrellas, it would stop raining; if he sold candles, the sun would never set; and if he sold coffins, people would stop dying.
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October 2006
November 2006
December 2006

lucky dip
Bashed-out post
The great outdoors
First placement
Bashed-out post
Weekend's dilemma
Turn up for the books
Never discount it
Passport hell
Killing time
Helping hands
Quality time
Goin' Nunderground
In the country
Last night's first night
I winked at a girl
Pissed Blokes' Syndrome

from whence?

2005 tour
Galapagos Islands
Buenos Aires
ADDED! Colonia
ADDED! Montevideo
Lonely Planet's South America

ring things
«#Blogging Brits?»

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