Friday, December 08, 2006

  Wake up

Today's post is from a guest blogger. Not just any guest blogger, you understand, but nothing less than a genius. So much a genius, in fact, as to design the new logo for this fast-neglected blog. I thank him for this, and bestow him with virtual kisses by way of this thanks. Regular readers of London's 'Time Out' magazine will recognise themanwhofellasleep as a man who falls asleep, listens to what people say on the underground, and then writes about what those people have said underground when he is overground, and probably goes on to make a pretty penny off the back of this, though I do not know this as an absolute fact. Those who do not read London's 'Time Out' magazine, however, not even regularly, but who might have Googled him, or taken the trouble to search on Amazon, or camped and lived outside his house for a short while without him noticing, will recognise him as a man of good words and funny words and words what have gone into a book what I am plugging here today. Greg, though, for that is the real name of themanwhofelllasleep man, is clearly not making a pretty penny enough as is undertaking a 'virtual book tour' to promote his aforementioned book and has chosen the hallowed ground of this blog as one of the stops on his aforementioned tour. I do not understand why he chosen to do this, but am proud and privilged to give over my valuable webspace to him, in the vain hope that all twenty of you go out and buy his book so that he stays awake some longer. Enjoy.

So, for today only, themanwhofellasleep discusses the concept of 'unluckiness':

Hello everyone. This is Greg, themanwhofellasleep. I’m taking over Unluckyman’s blog today to shamelessly plug my novel, A Year in the Life of TheManWhoFellAsleep. It’s a good book and you should all rush out and buy a copy. But don’t go to WH Smiths. They never stock it, although they do have an excellent range of magazines. I’m not quite sure how WH Smith manages to survive, given that everything in Smiths can be purchased much cheaper in other shops. Still, they have cornered the lucrative newsagent-in-train-station-market, so maybe that’s how they stay afloat.

So, right. The book. Yes. It’s quite hard to write positively about it without coming across like an egotistical twat. So I will just say that almost everyone who has read it says that it is very good. It’s quite funny, and it’s the right size to fit into stockings this Christmas. The pages are all the same size, and it has a nice, firm spine. It’s not one of those books that falls apart if you read it in the bath. And the print stays on the page (not on your fingers) no matter how hard you rub it.

Right. That’s the book done. Since I’m here, I thought I’d write a bit about luck, given that this is Unluckyman’s blog. (He doesn’t seem that unlucky. I’ve met him, and it’s not like he looks like Keith Harris or anything.)

What is luck? I don’t really know. It’s not a fruit or a vegetable. It’s not God. It’s just… something. I asked my girlfriend, who is a philosopher, what luck was, and she said that it was complicated and that she could be wrong.

“It’s not like chance,” she said, nodding sagely and pointing out the fact that I am sitting in my pants, trying to write a guest blog. “You can control luck. You can’t control chance. Chance is a risk, whereas luck is like a calculated risk. If you bet on a horse and it wins, it’s not just chance, because you can research the horse’s form. Luck does not exist outside and beyond our actions. A mathematician might say differently.”

Sadly, I don’t have a mathematician at hand. However, I would say that some people are luckier than others. Lottery winners, for example. But I suppose I’m reduced to saying that we’re all lucky, because we’re all living in relative comfort in relatively good health (apologies if you are reading this in the Sudan, and the Janjaweed militia are approaching. You are probably not lucky and everything I’ve written does not apply to you). It’s like the Woody Allen line in Annie Hall, where he divides everyone into the Horrible (holocaust victims, people with terrible diseases) and the Miserable (the rest of us). We’re lucky to be miserable and not horrible.

I suspect that luck depends on context. And the context for bad luck is always good luck. When the tsunami struck Asia and hundreds of thousands of people died, it wasn’t bad luck because a) it was a chance freak of nature and b) everyone in the situation suffered equally. But when you’re walking down the street and a brick falls from a building and hits only you, then it’s bad luck because only you suffered.

Obviously, I haven’t really thought any of this through and I will regret my words when I’m caught in a tsunami and a brick falls on my head. What I would say is this; if for any reason you’re asked to call heads or tails, always choose tails. You will never win anything if you call heads.

And if you’re the England cricket team, it doesn’t matter whether you call heads or tails, you will still lose. That’s definitely not luck, it’s being English.
Thursday, December 07, 2006


"They're not letting him in!" squealed the Joe Pasquale-like voice of Dorset Boy's Joe Pasquale-like faced friend (his voice not normally Joe Pasquale-eque, except when squealing, so adding to the overall Joe Pasquale-ambience of the evening)

And a long evening it had been. It was raining inside, and the rain was battering hard on the roof of the converted Camden cinema, as we jigged among the teenagers. Joe returned to his mobile phone conversation.

"It's really easy!" continued Joe, "Just queue, and get in."

There was no reason why we were inside, our being at least double the age of everyone else in the queue. So less reason still Joe's friend being outside, his being a celebrity and all.

We had all been quite excited by the prospect of meeting Joe's celebrity friend. In a year of disappointment by our rugby, football, and currently cricket teams, outside stood an English athlete at the top of his game. An athelete at his peak, a World Champion, no less. A world champion therefore we were looking forward to meeting. But a world champion that was cutting no mustard with the doorstaff of this north London youth club.

"They're not letting him in!!!" complained an exasperated Joe Paquale back to us.

Dorset Boy and I look forlornly at one another.

For outside stood the new, undisputed, world champion of the World Rock Paper Scissors championship 2006, Mr Bob 'The Rock' Cooper. But outside, back from his Toronto award-winning exploits, Bob's fast-reacting hand movements meant absolutely nothing whatsover up against the jobsworth instincts of north London bouncers.

Bob's desperate calls of "Don't you know who I am?" fell on deaf ears.

David Beckham would never have been treated with such disdain.


Overcome injustice and recognise true talent in Bob's campaign to reopen the nominations for the BBC's Sports Personality of the Year by signing the petition at

Even if I didn't quite meet him.
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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