Monday, March 31, 2008

News Flash!

I am no longer funny!

If ever I were. And now may have to stop this silly thing-whatever-it-is.

Those waiting for any elaboration upon the subject of the dreadful ‘J’ may have to wait FOREVER!


I am At Work.

As I take my job very seriously, I am reading the local newspaper. As are several of my colleagues. There is a news item regarding a very pleasant – by all accounts, and there are lots of them – local man who had tried to prevent some youths from being a terrible nuisance on his street and who had been killed to death for his trouble.

My local paper is filled with such tales.

I read it, and can only think that the sub-editors have let themselves down.

The front-page headline on the subject reads ‘Death of Mr. Nice Guy’.

It could have been better, I think.

How, ask my colleagues. What would be the more effective headline?

Me: ‘No More Mr. Nice Guy’.

Absolutely nobody laughs.

Many look horrified.

I quit.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Dark Days.

It's banality more than anything else. And still is.

The thing with long-term insomnia is that you don’t really feel anything anymore. You go through your days and to all concerned you appear to be a normal person. But you’re neither happy nor sad, excited or bored. You’re just THERE.

And don’t get me started on the memory loss or the general feeling of unreality. Or the six-foot high spiders that aren’t really there. They scared the shit out of me.

No. It was the whole Not Really Feeling Anything that got me.

Except Anger. It was the only thing that got through, that made me feel alive.

So thank God for people like ‘J’.

Some time ago I worked for an idiot, on an idiotic monthly publication that didn’t really exist. Said idiot had an alarming habit of employing other idiots. The idiot level once got so high I wasn’t really sure if any of it was real.

Idiot Boss: Hi Tired. This is Jason. I’m sure you’ll all make him ‘feel’ welcome.

Jason: You can call me ‘J’.

Me: What?

Jason: I said you can call me ‘J’.

Me: Really?

Jason: Yeah.

Me: [Laughing. I foolishly thought he was joking.] What? Like ‘H’ in ‘Steps’?

Jason: [Deadpan] Just ‘J’.

Oh God.

His jeans were so over-designed they must have been the work of an OCD epileptic, his hair would have worn Vidal Sassoon to the quick and I’m sorry but there is no way on God’s earth are you losing you door keys when they are attached to your belt with a two-foot long bicycle chain.

Not what I’d have worn on my first day but who am I? Did I mention the jeans were white?

The very fact that this absurd cockerel even exists is starting to re-invigorate me.

And then he started talking.

To be continued.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Spiderman Part 2

Me: Go on then. I doubt I have but let’s get this over with. What is a Spiderman?

I had to ask.

To recap.

I have foolishly entered into a conversation with a man ten years my junior. Which one should never do; it’s ultimately depressing. But for some reason I felt compelled to match his absurdity, even in the knowledge that the idiocy of youth will eventually defeat me. I can’t win. I watch Newsnight and enjoy Radio 2 for fucks sake. I know I’m dead in the water as I look at his goofy grin and his young eyes sparkling with delight.

God help me he makes me think of my son. My nearly- three year old son who experiences many mundane things as if they are small miracles.

Thug: Aye. Reet thun. Ya knaw when you’re whackin’ off like?

Me: [sigh] I suppose.

Thug: Aaaaye ye dae like! Ah can tell.

Me: Can we just do this?

He’s virtually dancing with delight. Again I reminded of a small child. Albeit one slightly simpler than my son.

Thug: Aye alreet Grandad. Ah knaw yuz is hankerin after a Worther’s Original so's Ah'll be quick. So you spunk it all oot reet, and you’re wonderin’ what ta dae wi’ it?

Me: OK then.

In many ways I admire his delight at the new-found wonders of the world. He lives in a constant state of excitement akin to a fourteen-year-old who has found a copy of Razzle in the bushes on his way home from school.

Thug: Reet then, so ya gans up to your lass, and flick your wrist and fling a fistful of spidey-web reet in her face and ya gans ‘Spiderman! Spidermaaan!’

Me: Right.

I am now no longer thinking about my son, except to hope that he never grows up. At least not into this.

What I am doing is trying to remember my early twenties, and the quiet nights in I had with my lady friend at the time. Oddly, Thug’s new-found past-time had never occurred to me as an effective way of spending the evenings. And if it had, I’m not sure how welcome it would have been. How times change.

Me: OK then. I’ve got some work to d-

Thug: Have ye hurd me impression of The Claw off of Inspector Gadget?

Me: No. Go away now.

Thug: Do ya knaw it’s true black people can’t swim? Their bones are too dense or summat?

Me: Not as dense as you. Fuck off.

I’m left in silence for a while. I do some work and try not to worry too much about the future of civilization. From the other side of the office I hear:

Thug: Ah divn’t knaw wits up with that Tired like. He’s a reet grumpy cunt at the minute.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Spiderman Part 1.

I have yet to decide if Thug Colleague is a dark evil comic genius or just a common-or-garden buffoon.

I despise him. His level of intelligence and humour is that of an ant.

And yet.

He has spun some kind of web around me. I am becoming like him. Slowly.

The more he inhabits my life, the more it is only some time until I become interested in football and mobile phones and internet sites dedicated to Holly Willoughby…

Whatever. I'm currently at one out of three. Which means I am sane.

But he nearly got me.

Two weeks ago. I am At Work.

I have just had an excellent argument with my boss.

She had informed me that I had to spend the entire morning being trained on how to do my job. I explained that I had being doing my job, in one form or another, quite successfully for eight years and would much rather just get on with it thanks. She shrugged and wandered off, leaving me to do Actual Work. Great!

Thug Colleague: Alreeet Tired like.

It seems my happiness is to be short-lived.

Me: Jesus. Fuck off.

TG: Aye. How. Have ye ever been on the bog havin a shit like and got a bonk-on?

Me: Seriously. I’ve got a client who reckons we owe him his entire annual spend because, well, because he feels like it and I’ve got a publication deadline NOW which I know you do not share and a new boss who isn’t sure what I do for a living and I’m not sure how to explain it to her. And you want to know if I’ve ever had a simultaneous erection and bowel movement?

TG: Aye.

Right. He’s really committed to the whole ‘eroticism of taking a dump’ thing then.

Who cares about my work troubles.

To get rid of him, the following dreadful exchange takes place:

Me: Right. Once. It was taking ages and my mind began to wander. Ok?

TG [Visibly delighted] : Ah I KNEW IT! YE AND ME ARE THE SAME TIRED! Even if you’re auld.

I’m not at all old. I don’t feel old (I do) and I will not let this whipper-snapper feel that I have suffered a mere erection on a toilet. Although we are definitely NOT THE SAME.

Me: [Bizarrely wanting to get the upper-hand in the whole shit/erection debate] Yeah? So tell me, have you ever become TRAPPED?

He looks at me in awe, and I know that I am lost.

Me: Oh yes. It got wedged under the seat. I couldn’t stand up for fear of it snapping off. I had to wait until it went away. It took fucking ages.

People are now looking at me.

Christ. What have I become?

TG: [Almost vibrating with delight] I bet you’ve given a lass a spiderman an’all!?

For reasons I cannot begin to explain I want to beat this thug, to outstrip his every monkeyface/dangerwank/shittybonkon story with one better just to prove to him that – what?

To be honest I don’t know.

And I’d no idea what a spiderman was. But by God I found out.

To be continued.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Conversations With My Grandfather.

It is a large house, but my Grandfather prefers to spend most of his solitary days occupying only one room of it. Being bloody-minded, it is also the smallest room, but it does boast the best view of his beloved garden. He claims he can actually see it grow throughout the day, despite being virtually as blind as a bat.

He is in his chair by the gas fire with a rug over his legs, Radio 4 murmuring agreeably in the background.

He is either 92 or 93, dependant upon the day you ask him.

Also present are my sister, Favourite Son and Favourite Daughter.

There is some chatter between my sister and Grandfather regarding the replacement toaster she has just purchased for him.

Grandfather: I still don't understand. It had always worked perfectly until today. Very odd for it to just cease functioning like that.

Me: When did you buy it Grandad?

Grandfather: Well. Let me see. Your mother had just started high school ...

My mother is in her fifties. I feel we are some way toward solving the mystery of the non-functioning 'perfectly good' toaster.

Me: Christ.

I forget that he is blind and not deaf, and quickly make myself busy checking that the children have not fried themselves on the house's pre-war wiring. I'd get in ever so much trouble if they had.

Grandfather: I do worry about the money though. Was it terribly expensive?

My Grandfather has more money in the bank than he could possibly spend.

Sister: Only fourteen pounds Grandad. It's fine.

She is removing the toaster from its packaging.

Grandfather: Really? Well. I say. That is quite reasonable. Tell me dear, how do you think they manage to make them so cheaply?

Sister: I think they're made abroad Granded. You know, in countries where things aren't quite so expensive.

Grandfather: Ah yes. Of course. [Nods sagely] The Negroes.

I sigh and begin rolling my Grandfather his cigarettes for the day. He won't buy pre-rolled ones any more. Too expensive. Instead he gets a monthly consignment of black-market tobacco from someone my brother knows. I think this secretly excites my Grandfather. It makes him feel rogue-ish.

The toaster is given a test-drive, and thankfully my Grandfather approves of the result.

Grandfather: Ah yes. Perfect. Very efficient, our coloured cousins. I must resolve to buy more Negroe Products in the future.

He adjusts his blanket.

Grandfather: Is anyone else a little chilly?

Sweat is streaming from me and I cannot easily blink as my eyeballs are so dry. I do not know what to say. He turns to my sister.

Grandfather: Throw another peasant on the fire would you dear?

My sister turns up the gas on his fire a little.

I hear my children playing in his garden, as I did when I were their age.

He gazes, half-blind, out the window at his garden.

Grandfather: Thank you dear. Now. I wonder what the poor are doing today?

I hope he never dies.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

I Love This City.

It's looked after me. Provided me with somewhere to sleep for awhile. Made sure I always got fed (if I had the money), was happy that my friends were nearby. Took care of me for awhile, when I needed it.

But like any new foolish fling, the things that are initially endearing become a chore very quickly. And you wonder if you've made a mistake.

The city threw belligerent drunkards at me. I told them to walk. It threw overly-threatening crack-addicts pretending to be homeless so they could score at me. They too were given short shrift. It threw prostitutes at me in the early hours of the morning when I needed the bathroom.

The city was testing me perhaps.


Months ago.

I am having a cigarette.

Whilst I am at work. But it's o.k. I'd filled-out the relevant form.

Being the afternoon, the comatose/dead woman had been cleared away by the paramedics from the staff entrance so I was free to mill about without fear of treading on any dying/dead people.

Present are a couple of colleagues. Being in their twenties they have absurd hair, so I don't make too big a thing about them.

A Youth wanders past, yammering into a mobile phone.


He is wearing a tracksuit and yet does not appear to be an athlete of any sort.

In fact -in my experience - this attire at this time of the afternoon by a youth yammering in a barely articulate manner into a phone that frankly I'm astonished he could even operate is more indicative of a common criminal than an Olympic contender.


Pause. He is actually listening now, and I get the impression it is causing him some unrest.


More silence.


Youth wonders off in a petulant swagger of nylon.

Me: He's got a whole lot of face-smashing to contend with this evening.

Colleague: Yeah. He'll be worn-out after all that.

Me: He may need a sit down. Perhaps a cup of tea or something.

Colleague: There's only so many cans of whupp-ass you can open in one night.

Me: He's setting himself up for a fall if you ask me.

Colleague: Mmm.

Me: I mean. That's a whole lot of faces he's talking about there.

Colleague: Hey. That woman. This morning. Was she dead?

Me: Dunno.

The city and I split up. We had some laughs, but I just don't think we were compatible. You know? It wasn't her, it was me.
Go to newer posts