25.01.17

I have genuinely enjoyed Facebook, right up to this moment, but I have always been quite impulsive, and today I have deleted my account. I will be posting ideas, thoughts and narcissistic self-promotion here on my website regularly, as well as sending out occasional ‘come to these gigs', or 'buy this album' emails to my email list, which you will be on if you send me an email (see contact page) saying you would like to receive them.  All this might mean it becomes harder to promote certain things about my music and gigs - but I'm gonna just foolishly dive in and take that chance. I hope our conversations will continue. I almost posted this on Facebook, but I couldn't think of a single thing lamer than posting an 'I'm leaving Facebook' post  on Facebook. Anyway, I'm not on Facebook now, so how could I, you idiot!? :-)

Well, I send you lots of appropriate levels of affection, depending on our relationship.

Best regards

Gus

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Norwegian artist Pål Angelkår has made a version of my song Lifeline. It has got some great reviews and was one the songs of the week as chosen by Aftenposten newspaper (second best selling paper in Norway.). That all makes me pretty happy. And I must say I love his version. It's made me fall back in love with the song. Not that I ever hated it... just that after playing it so many times the edge had kind of come off it. It's back now. Thanks Pål! I look forward to hearing the rest of the album.

 

If you want to make something sound more important in English, use the French. A shitty meeting can be elevated simply by referring to it as a 'rendezvous'. Cooking can be improved with the epithet 'cuisine'. Similarly, f@@k-ups can be minimized by calling them 'faux pas', or fait acompli'. We don't take much from modern German, although Schadenfreude is used occasionally. I find it interesting that as much as us English enjoy seeing others fail and suffer, we don't have our own word for it. Does anyone know the French for 'Facebook Post'? Enscription de Livre a visage? Sounds be'er, don't it!?

 

Ten minutes walk through blackberry lined lanes and I'm in a remote downland valley. I've escaped from a POW camp, and this is enemy territory. The sheep watch me walk through their pasture the way we would watch a giraffe walk down Regent Street. Late summer light is fading, and I need to spend the night out here before a rendezvous at twenty two hundred hours tomorrow. The guards will be searching. The wind-bent juniper copse high on the slope would provide cover, but would be too obvious. If I were searching I would look there. That's how I need to think: where wouldn't I look! The middle of this vast wheat field? But I risk leaving a track in the wheat. A fighter plane passes low, confirming that the middle of a field would also leave me vulnerable from the air. I settle upon a hillside hedgerow. A sparsely vegetated boundary fence, a hundred yards from the path. I hope the pungent wild thyme will mask my scent, or at least confuse the hounds. I can see both directions along the track. I am vulnerable to approach up the escarpment behind, but i asses that to be unlikely. Thankfully I have some ginger biscuits in my rucksack, there is a pub just 45 mins walk away that does amazing food, and this isn't enemy territory at all. I am just a happy forty six year old child.

 

Enjoy the experience of a chain coffee-shop at home:

Make a half decent coffee, then add a gallon of slightly off milk and place in a waxy cup with a tub of cream and a table spoon of brown ('coz it's helfier, innit') sugar. Throw a tenner in the bin, wait 15 minutes outside your toilet for a wee, wait 15 minutes to get online, then pretend to be doing important work-related internet tasks while checking Facebook and feeling too old for all this.

 

If you visit a house where children live, and it's spotlessly clean and tidy, you can be pretty sure the grow-ups have been running around 'like blue arsed flies' until literally the moment you knocked on the door. If you are observant you might find a sieve behind a cushion or a piece of Lego in the fridge.

 

Usually when I read, I underline bits I like: I'm old fashioned. Then I pick up the book off the shelf years later and skim through the underlinings. This morning I picked up The Age of Absurdity by Michael Foley. Four underlinings:

1. The great achievement of this age is to make fulfillment seem never easier, while actually making it more difficult.

2. A sensible work strategy might be 'surrender to the task but not the taskmaster.

3. A child knows intuitively that the busyness and babble of the Big Ones are absurd, but grows up, is sucked into the babble and forgets about enchantment.

4. Nietzsche often walked for six to eight hours a day, and had some of his best insights on these walks.

 

The office of national statistics calculates it takes an average of 3 minutes* chatting to a white British person in West Sussex, before they bring up the subject of immigration.

*I may have made that up.

 

In my humble opinion, if you want to know how good an Italian restaurant is, order the following:

Green Salad; Spaghetti Napolitana; Glass of house red;Tiramasu, Espresso; Grappa.

Only if they get these deceptively simple things right, can you trust them with the more complicated stuff. This is god’s food remember.

 

You know the draw in the kitchen? The one with the 'welcome to your new home' card from two moves before this one, and the strange caliber batteries you can never find but need for that thing, and the half eaten packet of polos from 1989, and the pop-up street map of central Hamburgh? I sometimes feel like that same 'pick n mix’ miscellany of debris is present between the articular cartilage and meniscus of my left knee.

 

Drove for two hours across Switzerland today in 38c heat in a car without AC. Windows down, no shirt, hair everywhere, Betty Swallocks, could barely hear the radio... It was like the seventies!

 

I was on Brighton pier and someone asked if I could take their picture. No problem. But as I held the camera I had a very strong urge to just lob it into the sea. Not far, just a little underarm over the railing. Sometimes when I see someone running, I just want to tap their trailing leg so it hits their leading leg. I have no idea why these casual misdemeanours appeal to me so much.

 

There’s never really any need to do such a thing, but if I had to pick out only one fifties rocknroll recording, it would be Roll Over Beethoven by Chuck Berry. Lyrics, guitar, vocal, shear relentless rhythm, not taking itself too seriously, but rocking like a MF. “I got the rockin’ pneumonia, I need a shot of rhythm and blues…” Beat that!

 

Before I had a couple of small children living in my house, I rarely found a sieve behind a cushion in the lounge. Now when I crash down on the settee, shattered and bruised, sapped of all my love and hope (until 6am tomorrow), I just place it down on the side table without even taking my eyes off whatever shit telly I can muster the energy to look at.

 

Given the revelations that keep pouring out of that era like puss from a rancid wound, a decent title for a history book about the late sixties to late seventies might be: From Psychedelia to Paedophilia.

 

Lego do some amazing sets. How about 'Kennedy Assassination'. You get a Book Depository, a Grassy Knoll, a Motorcade, JFK, Jackie, and Oswald figures, several onlookers wearing dark glasses, a Cuban and an American flag. You get to create the events however you want - just like they did at the Warren commission.

 

Thankfully summer seems to have returned to the British Isles... For a few days I thought I was gonna have to retire the the reggae compilation from the car for another year. Music is contextual. Listening to reggae in the cold rain is like playing 50cent round a campfire, or using John Denver in a gangster film (actually that would be quite interesting! A bit like children singing in a Hammer Horror film. I can imagine 'you fill up my senses...' as a body is put through a wood chipper or whatever.)

 

Sat in the morning sun with a strong black coffee and natural yoghurt with honey for breakfast, to give myself the feeling of being on a Greek island. To enhance the experience, I’m thinking of not paying my taxes or contributing to my state pension. (*Ouch!!! Just kidding folks. Peace. Actually, if fault lies anywhere, it might be the process which allowed certain countries to join the Euro in the first place. But, I don’t claim to have any f@@king idea about it. Who does?)

 

When I start an airline, it will be called PigAir. The planes will be pink with little snouts painted on the nose cone, and a wiggly tail on the rear end. The oxygen masks will be designed to look like little piggy noses. The posters will say things like 'Pig off somewhere else!'

We will serve only bacon butties, and

all announcements will be preceded by a piggy snort. The pilots will speak in deep texan American drawl like the guy that goes down with the bomb in Dr Strangelove, and say things like 'here comes some turbulence - squeal like a pig! Yeehaa!!" On arrival everyone will be given a Percy pig sweet to suck.

 

The way the bears are strewn around my living room this morning gives the impression there’s been a drive-by shooting in Toy Town. Perhaps Lancelot or Guinevere (Arthur’s bears) got involved with some ‘bear-no-goods’ at the last picnic. Perhaps Iggle-Piggle, not known for his tact or modesty, was larging it up with stories of fame and fortune in some whisky bar last night, and some bad bears didn’t take kindly to it.

 

If you are in a queue behind me, then presumably, given you have joined a queue, you are familiar with the basic principle of queuing. Therefore you know you will not be served until I have been served, and I will not be served until the person behind whom I am queuing is served. Being closer to me, will not get you served sooner. By standing a few centimetres back, you are less likely to accidentally bump me or my rucksack or my calves or my arm, and I won't deliberately take longer to be served, or mentally plan your execution.

 

An imagined early stage songwriting process:

"And she's climbing a ladder to... No. Erm. (Head scratch.) And she's buying a staircase. No. (More head scratching.)

Stairlift?"

 

Another letter in the style of viz comic:

Dear editor,

My misses quite likes to watch TV chefs effing and blinding and coming up with interesting flavour combinations and that. But when I made her a coffee omelette with an onion ice-cream the other day, she refused to try it. Once again it's one rule for band-wagon jumping, self-importance-inflating, bottom-of-barrel-scraping, running-out-of-ideas, over-paid cooks; and another for the point-missing, how-hard-can-it-be asking, fancy-ourselves-a-bit-at-cooking, hyphenating rest of us!

 

British Airport Authority Guidelines to proper airport behaviour and mental processes:

1. Hate everyone else - they are the enemy. That includes staff, other passengers, children, your own children. Everyone.

2. Be judgemental. Look at what people are wearing with disdain. Imagine them laying those clothes out last night thinking it was the most appropriate outfit for traveling in today. Don't hide the disdain on your face, they are the enemy remember.

3. Don't just judge their clothes. Judge their fumbling, their lack of planning, lateness etc. Do not stop judging until you have deemed them completely unfit for travel.
4. The only exception to the enemy rule are people who look vaguely Middle Eastern - do your best to fight your fear-fed prejudices. You don't want these thoughts, but you can't help it. You know it; they know it... Leave it at that.
5. Check the departure screens every 7 to 12 seconds. Remember - the enemy are watching.
6. Enemy classification/identification:
A) Person with guitar = layabout who thinks themselves cool.
B) Person in suit at oyster bar = f@@king arsehole rich business bully snob.
C) Large same gender groups = Stupid drunks with not an independent thought between them. Slags.
D) Cabin crew = high class whore or homosexual.

Enjoy your flight!

 

I enjoy the subtle, and deliberate, irony that the shelf I put up, on which I keep my spirit level, is slightly skewed.

 

Some film makers don't know when to stop with their credits. I would say, as a rule, they should stop at immediate family of the 2nd make-up assistant's accountant.

 

 

 

We were at a shitty history exhibit thingy today, when George asked 'who's that?' 

'Tartan Cumin' said Jenny.

No, it wasn't a Scottish spice, it was the legendary Egyptian pharo. I have giggled every fifteen minutes today, just thinking about it.

 

Don't stand near me if I'm operating (is that too big a term?) a hosepipe. For similar reasons, gun laws need to be very, very tight. Oh I know the NRA would say 'hosepipes don't wet people; people wet people'... but it is a lot easier to wet more people (and a lot more tempting!) with a hosepipe, than with a glass of water. So there you have it: my famous Hosepipe Theory.

 

Seagulls do an excellent nonplussed expression. They are rubbish at smiling though. I wouldn't want to play poker with one.

 

I'd like to think insects that do not share the same food chain might not be completely indifferent to each other, but rather give each other the nod as they harmlessly pass.

 

Scraped some bits of last night’s spaghetti Napoli from the high chair onto the lawn. A starling looked up at me from the lawn, and I swear it said ‘Man! They are some tasty MF worms!'

 

Garden centres should sell blue plaques that say things like 'Dave Ashworth, Joiner, lived here 1987 to present day', or 'Kayla Dawson, Logistics Operator, lived here 2013 to present day.

 

Over the last weeks, the concept of sharing has been discussed quite a lot with three and a half year old George. A bit too clever for his own boots though, he said this morning:

"You can borrow my toy screwdriver, and I will borrow your electric drill. Ok!?" 

Me: “No. That’s not -

George: "You’re very bad at sharing, daddy. No one will want to be friends with you."

 

I know this might sound a bit like a 1970's piece of stand-up, but I promise it has no gender bias. I happen to be married to a woman, but whatever gender she was would not affect this. In fact, anyone who takes this the wrong way and extrapolates what I'm saying to women in general is perhaps showing a higher level of sexism than I am, as evidenced by a preoccupation with nullifying any cultural gender stereotypes as proposed by feminist papers such as 'The Mad Woman in the Attic', which although certainly necessary in their time, might be deemed less appropriate now, depending who you ask. What a tightrope we walk! I've forgotten what I was going to say now.

 

Google translate useful mostly be can. Though expect don't perfection.

 

I think it should be more acceptable to change one's mind about things than our culture seems to dictate. I think it's unacceptable to change one's mind.

 

Cars run better when they're clean. So do computers. So do I.

 

Among the ridiculously large amount of email spam I receive on a regular basis, are ads encouraging me to get a stair-lift, make a will and increase my testosterone. What do those marketeers know that I don't?

 

I don't have good 'clothing memory'. I'm wearing a black T-Shirt today that I call my new black T-Shirt, but I just remembered I'm wearing it in a photo from 2008. Does a seven year old item of clothing still merit the label 'new' in David Beckham's wardrobe? I doubt it.

 

I'm going to say something controversial. Please know that it comes from a place of love, and a deep understanding of our shared, lifelong history. It is not my intention to offend. I say it with a spirit of reform in mind, and not from any accusatory standpoint. (Deep breath). I think Weetabix packaging is terrible. It is impossible to unwrap without crumbs going everywhere! There - I said it.

 

I don't ask a lot from a teapot. I don't need it shaped like a thatched cottage or a pot tramp with a robin on his shoulder. It just needs to be able to pour well. So many fail.

 

After putting baby Arthur to sleep, I put some oat biscuits in the oven, and while they were baking I went out to the garage and cut some timbers to length for the play house I'm building for the kids. Don't tell me I'm not a modern man.

 

Three books from a misogynist's shelf:

Belittle Women; To Shag a Mingingbird; Men are From Mars - Women Want Penis.

 

If I had a prosthetic limb business in Derry, I'd call it (drum roll) .. Legend Derry. If I had one in Limehouse I'd call it Limehouse Limbhouse. 

It's important to have possible future geographically specific business names ready, I think.

 

Before last night's gig in beautiful Bremgarten, we were treated to a gorgeous dinner in the garden of a top draw restaurant. I suppose I should describe the food - but instead I find myself remembering the toilets for this reason: after I had 'done my business' I noticed there wasn't any loo roll. I pressed the mystery button where the loo roll dispenser would normally be, and a quite high pressure jet of water proceeded to cleanse my nether region, followed by a warm jet of warm air, which felt like a sort of fart in reverse. I tell you something... It wasn't the worst feeling in the world.

 

Under the careful, sage guidance of Rene reuser, my number one guitar is now back to its best, and my number two has a custom neck. I have had the pleasure of the finest b&b's murifeld and brienz have to offer. And the next three nights I sing alongside my friend Jael, steered by my friend Mischu. I am a rich man by any meaningful measure. Thank you good people.

 

In the spirit of towns such as Three Bridges and Seven Oaks, some town names of the future might be Two Tescos or Seven Starbucks. Three Poundshops?

 

Idea for Tic-Tac ad:

Jose Mourinho in post match interview:

“In the end it was all about Tic-Tacs.”

Gabby Logan: “You mean tactics.”

Jose Mourinho takes Tic-Tac box from his top pocket and put one in his mouth and shakes his head.

 

My three year old son, George, seems to have a penchant for swingball. I've taken some grainy film of him playing, so they can show it during the rain delay when he plays in the men's singles final at Wimbledon.

 

 

I'm wondering if I should do as the nice Swiss lady announcer says in perfect English, and 'treat myself to a culinary treat in the middle of the train.' On the British trains you get told: 'go to coach D if you fancy an overpriced, soggy sarnie and a powdery instant coffee' in garbled English.

 

George: Where does ham come from?

Me: piggies

George: yes I know. But how? How do we get ham from a piggy?

Me: do you really want to know? 

George: yes
Me: we kill them, and we take it from their bodies.

*There followed quite a long pause during which I was preparing myself for a number of outcomes. Then...*

George: can I have some more ham, please?

 

If you accidentally burn something when cooking, simply refer to it as 'char-grilled' and no one can complain.

 

I know it’s wrong - but there’s no actual law against spooning Branston pickle straight out of the jar and into your mouth, is there?

 

Top five things I vowed I’d never say to my kids but ashamedly, occasionally do:

1. Because I said so!

2. I don’t care what *insert school friend name* is allowed to do!

3. Please just stop singing for 5 minutes!

4. Because it is.
5. Do as I say, not as I do.

 

I absolutely loved living in bern, Switzerland. But yesterday as I pottered in our local park with my boys, looking up every so often to see an lbw appeal, or a square-cut fielded well and applauded, or a risky single off a defensive push causing alarmed shouts from the pavilion... I was reminded of something I have missed. It's not switzerland's fault that this stupid game is stuck somewhere under my skin.

 

Would i rather eat a sick dog's eye-bogey, or a bleedy plaster floating in a swimming pool? (Just getting ready for tomorrow's general election.)

 

Before you set about any Delia Smith recipes - make sure you have a few packs of butter ready.

 

I wish manufacturers of ordinary kids toys would spare a thought for tired parents and not make the battery compartments openable only with specialist, miniature watch-makers, diamond-tipped tools!

 

The meeting I hope took place this morning in the ants nest somewhere near our back door:

Chief Ant: "Gentlemen, I’m sure by now you are all aware that there is baby living in the big house, and he loves dropping sticky stuff on the floor. Well I’m sorry to tell you that there seems to have been an unholy, somewhat relentless amount of cleaning and scrubbing going on - our losses have been small but significant, and I want you to forget about it as a source of food from today onwards. The new tighter beading that has been fitted, and the quick index finger of one of the humans (rest in peace Bob, Billy and Sam)…

Congregation: “Ra ra ra peace be with them…"

Chief Ant …"combined with the hoovering (lest we forget Carl, Jim, Oli, Dennis and Scamper)

Congregation: “Ra ra ra peace be with them…"

“...have left any forays there untenable."

 

George: 'Come on daddy - let's get a snack and watch some telly.'

I think I can relax in the knowledge that he is on track to being an upstanding member of 21st century British society.

 

The office of national statistics calculates that on average a UK resident spends 38 hours per calendar year* on tasks such as trying to open stubborn plastic bags, or finding the end of the sellotape. (*i may have made this up.)

 

It's ok, if I go for a 56 mile walk this afternoon I can use up the calories I just ate at lunch.

 

A general apology to the people of France:

I know between 10 and 20 words of your beautiful language - but if you should be unfortunate enough to be in my vicinity, I am likely to shoehorn all of them into a conversation. I can’t pronounce them well, but I like they way they sound and feel in my mouth. I will not understand your response, and will look at you like a dog that’s just been shown a card trick. This affliction of mine is getting worse, buoyed by 5 seasons of Spiral.

 

How do you disable the 'sound like a baby crying' function on a dishwasher?

 

I love that italian bread - that chewbacca.

 

We tend to think of crows as being tough birds. That's all very well while they fly or stand still. But they walk like fairies! I think it's all a bluff - I reckon they're soft as shit really. The robin, now that's a hard bird. Big puffed out chest, scared of nothing. We've got that all wrong with the little snowy Christmas card pictures. I swear they carry knives.

 

I know you THINK you have better things to do tonight than come to this gig in 'Twickers'. But, studies have shown* that you don't. In a recent study of attractiveness 1000 people were asked to evaluate the 'sexiness' of a group of people. 99% of those asked found the people who attended folky gigs on Sunday evenings with doors which opened at 7.30 'incredibly attractive' or above compared to a control group who sat at home slobbing on the settee watching some bollocks on the telly. (*may not actually be true at all.)

 

I have a number of blind spots in my differentiation capacity. For example, I am unable to tell the difference between a cloth used for wiping floors, and a cloth for wiping surfaces. I am also unable to find it in my heart to care about any difference.

 

Cringey joke #435: 

Some swans are different to others. But that's a bit of a mute point.

 

If I started a central heating installation company, I would call it Bunny Boilers.

 

I took much pleasure in demonstrating to those 'Off-Road Vehicle' drivers (the kind that deal well with Tesco car parks), who were stuck in the mud at yesterday's lambing exhibition, that it's not all about 'what' you drive. "Cheers!" I called nonchalantly from my window as I slipped gracefully out of the muddy field in my very mundane Honda Civic. Choice of trajectory and speed combined with sensitive pedal work can make up for a lot. Consider my trumpet unapologetically blown.

 

If I want to Hoover the house dressed in my boxer shorts singing 'I Want to Break Free', that's none of your goddam business!

 

There was a Python sketch, where someone answered the door and said "I won't shake your hand, I've just been putting a bit of lard on the cat's boil." 

I answered the door shortly after changing a bad nappy yesterday. The man wanted to read the meter. I said "I won't shake your hand, I've just been..." Then I started to giggle because I thought of the sketch. The guy didn't smile at all, so I tried to tell him about the Python sketch. 

"It's probably under the stairs", he said.

"Yes it is." I said.

 

At what age do people start feeling the need to hang plates up on the wall? I don't think I'm quite there yet. But probably not far off.

 

Further to my recent post about diseases making good names. Anatomical parts also seem to have potential: 'Cranium, stop hitting Tibia, I don't want to be late picking up Vagina from swimming!'

 

Online forms sometimes require a field to be entered twice. Presumably it's to check you didn't accidentally misspell a word or enter a number incorrectly. I suppose it would be defeating the object to just copy/paste it from the first field, then. What kind of an idiot would do that (!)

 

With some mechanical (and ethical) adjustments, kids' soft-play centers might contribute a decent amount of power to the national electricity grid.

Another thing re SPCs is that with all their padding and safety nets, I wonder if they give children a false sense of security. When they return to the real world, do they bounce into a wall expecting a soft landing, and end up poleaxing themselves.

 

"No it's not a Blackbird, George. Well it is a black bird... Bit that doesn't mean it's ... Do you want a biscuit?"

 

I recently heard the Prime Minister saying he would not go 'head to head' with Ed Milliband - but that he was only interested 'in having a masturbate'. Well although I admire the man's honesty, I can't help thinking that Her Majesty's government would be better served if he could stop pleasuring himself for one day.

 

I seem to have inherited the KtBL1 gene from the maternal side of my family. It has two principal expressions: 

1. I am driven to use Kleenex tissue box lids for bookmarks and list making.

2. I can’t resist popping a few sugar sachets into my anorak pocket from cafe table top condiment bowls (despite not taking sugar in my brews.)

On the other hand, I seem to have somehow trumped (evolutionary biologists, please feel free to adopt my technical term) the P0sHb011oX gene. The one that makes you automatically trust someone with a posh accent. Mine seems to have the opposite expression. Perhaps that’s a sign of the times... or perhaps because I have a borderline posh accent (depending on with WHOM I am conversing, and NOTWITHSTANDING the northern twang... yes there are posh versions of northern, ladies and gentlemen.) You see - I know how shallow that stuff is.

 

Classroom, Central Africa, year 2167.

Pupil: “Why did the doctors in the Glaxo-Shellbucks period only ever prescribe drugs? Didn’t they know about natural methods?”

Teacher: “There were plenty of studies that had discovered natural solutions to the major problems of that era, not just in medicine, but in environmental, transportation and other fields too. But until the great flood, they weren’t taken seriously, because they weren’t profitable. Especially in Europe, where the present day Tesco Sea is, and in North America, where the present day Algore Ocean is."

 

Pin this above your nappy changing table:

The Poofort Scale

(From hard to soft)

1 = Dry, pellet-like and virtually odourless. Although easy to clean-up, certainly not enjoyable for the little love to pass. Like pushing a snooker ball through a keyhole, I should think.

2 = squishy like playdoh or putty. Debris minimal, but do check the folds. Usually beef-burger shaped from being sat on.
3 = wet and quite smelly. Spread evenly about the whole nappy area. Colour may vary from red to yellow to beige.
4 = dig deep into your parental armour, this is really quite smelly. It's wet and wild. Every crevice is filled with stinking matter, some maybe be like baked beans, some like mustard, over bits might smell like off white wine. Wet wipes may not be enough. Have spare clothes at the ready - both for you and the baby.
5 = stand well back and say your prayers. Chaos awaits. The stink beggars belief, and the sheer amount and variety of waste material is hard to fathom from such a wee person. Wet wipes are not enough. Sound the alarm, run the shower, and call upon any help you can muster - neighbours and passers by. Burn all clothing that has been in the same room - and fight your own gag reflex with all your might.

 

Arthur, 9 months, with his huge thighs and pot belly, has the physique and posture of an Olympic power lifter. Gonna get him a strappy soviet vest and knee supports to complete the picture.

 

Manufacturers of battery operated, music playing children toys, seem unable to resist latin versions of nursery rhymes. And why not! You haven't lived until you have listened to Ba Ba Blacksheep 356 times a day, complete with timbale, five piece brass section, cabassa, etc.

 

You know the cliche about white van drivers being aggressive, sweary and lairy etc? They annoy me as much as anyone. But here's the thing - when I drive one, I get slightly more aggressive, lairy and sweary than I normally do. Hmm. I fight it, and I win. But it's in there somewhere. Has anyone else noticed that about themselves? There is a support group: Whitevans Aggravate Not Normally Known Excessive Rampant Swearing (WANNKERS).

 

No wonder Peter Rabbit became a rebel. His name is so 'out there' in rabbit terms. Flopsy, Mopsy and Cottontail are pretty standard lagamorpha names. But Peter is the Rabbit equivalent of Moon-Unit or such like.

 

'What's dying?' asked George, age three. Jenny and I glanced at each other, and she gave the nod that she would tackle this one. She explained in a beautifully motherly way, in appropriately gentle terms, the concepts of the circle of life. Seemingly satisfied, George took a breath, then followed up the first question with 'But how does that make a piece of cloth change from white to red?'.

 

Some people erroneously assume control of certain situations, because they think by being loud and speaking in a confident tone - everyone will allow them to take charge. As my cousin once eloquently put it "That's 'ow wars start!"

 

For reasons I don't understand, pictures of babies in sunny gardens make me think of the 1970's.

 

Don't get me wrong, I'm into the whole healthy eating thing as much as most. But still I was happy to see a packet of biscuits on the shelf which proclaimed in large letters 'Butter Buscuits Coated in Colourful Sugary Chocolate'. How refreshing! You're a biscuit - don't pretend to be healthy.

 

Some dishes on the menu of my Bob Marley Restaurant:

1. Stir it Up (Stew)

2. Dreadlock Pasta

3. Georgie's Cornmeal Porridge

4. Three Little Birds (quail three ways)
5. Iron, Lion, Fryin' (mixed grill)

 

Gun to my head, I would rather eat a stranger's poo than drink a stranger's wee. What can I say, I've been on hold for a long time.

 

My preferred path through the Saturday papers:

1. Front page - all stories including bits continued (annoyingly) on subsequent pages. 

2. Opinion on lead stories (how else would I know what to think!)

3. Letters (usually better written than the journalists' pieces)

4. Obituaries -( my favourite bit by far, especially the non-famous ones.)
5. Cover of sport section.. But usually had it already from 5live
6. Culture section stays for the week on the kitchen table.

 

There should be a law which compels magazines to print the page number on every page - including ads. Come on political parties, get with it, that's a real proposal for reform!

 

I think those racist Chelsea 'fans' should be shipped to Ivory Coast and made to work on Didier Drogba's plantation.

 

Let's say you ate your three-year-old's Kinder Egg while he was at nursery; I think it would probably be important to dispose of the little toy thingy quite well in order to avoid any unpleasantness later. Say.

 

Settling into our suburban way of life quite well. I do have to resist the urge though, to put the settee outside the front door and sit there in my dressing gown with a can of lager at 10am... just to shake things up a bit.

 

I'm confused. Is a celeriac a vegetable, or a person who has an intestinal condition?

 

We seem to be in the midst of a car headlights arms-race. Some of the recent models have very intense halogen(?) lights, which definitely makes them easier to see, but has the effect of making the other cars harder to see. Are there no laws where this is concerned?

 

George gets Disney wrong, and calls it Sidney. I sincerely hope there is someone somewhere in the world called Sidney Disney.

 

Tongue and Groove might be a good name for two Lesbian carpenters to call their flute and drum duo.

 

'The northerner in me' st. valentines special:

"Right - off to the garidge [sic] to buy some flowers."

 

'Whiny white boy' 

#432

What are those Cashpoint slow coaches doing? I'm not talking about the elderly or infirm. I'm talking about the perfectly healthy person ahead of me that seems to be doing all their banking business: setting up direct debits; checking payments in and out etc. Do that in a branch or at a computer. Cashpoints are for getting cash out. The clue is in the name.

 

More 'the northerner in me'.. 

#78

When the waiter brought me my burger and chunky fries, it was on a bread-board! 

The northerner in me said, "Has tha run out o' plates?!"

 

Is there a word for the feeling of anger, despondency, helplessness and disappointment that arises from dealing with a doctor's receptionist in their finest hour of inflated self importance? (To be fair I have been very impressed with our medical centre until yesterday when I was treated like a beggar.)

 

'The northerner in me':

#34

The carpet salesman says 'this high end carpet will make you feel like you are wearing slippers!'

The northerner in me thinks 'I'll save myself the money and by some bloody slippers then.'

 

Thankfully there are now two Claire's accessories shops in bern - one on either side of the same street. How we coped before the second one opened I will never know.

 

Gazumping is not an appropriate word for what it describes. It sounds too much like something Iggle-Piggle would do. We need a better, more anglo-saxon sounding word to express such a shitty thing, with at least an F a U a C and a K in it.

 

I wonder if all reindeer are as fickle as Dasher, Dancer, Donner et al? I mean, one minute Rudolf isn't allowed to play poker with them, and the next he's a hero of historic proportions.

 

Among the many reasons I love my wife, is the fact that despite her being in the royal ballet company for ten years, she still laughs when I put my thermal underwear on and do a stupid ballet impression around the flat.

 

A bloke told me recently, that he carries a cheap old wallet, and and Nokia phone with him, which he places on the table next to him in cafes and on trains, so that people don't sit there. It's been a while since I heard of anything quite so premeditatedly selfish. (Good idea though.)

 

I've never heard a dog say anything remotely like bow wow. I think we got that one wrong.

 

When Jamie Oliver says, "don't waste money on a take away kebab - make one at home like this ...", he should make it realistic by drinking about six or seven pints first. Then having a threatening group of lads stand beside him while he makes it, and a couple of scantily clad girls to sit on his front step - one throwing up, and the other in tears.

 

The minefield of language aquisition continues:

Do you want some avocado, George? It's really nice. 
No daddy. I want some 'ave a biscuit please.

 

If you ever get kitchen cupboards that have a (very bourgeois) cushioned closing mechanism, be careful you don't constantly slam cupboards when in other people's houses.

 

I took George down off my shoulders, and rolled the football onto the grass of the small park which is surrounded by cafe tables. It was a sunny morning and the tables were busy with other parents watching their kids run around on the grass. I proceeded, first attempt, to execute a perfect 'Ardiles Flick'. The ball looped elegantly over my head and landed just ahead of me, and I was able to trap the ball nonchalantly under my left foot, turn and gently pass to George. I didn't look up, but I could feel the open-mouthed stares of several boys over the other side of the grass. There might be a god after all .

 

There's this Pingu episode where the kettle is whistling on the stove, and the phone is ringing at the same time. Pingu keeps heading for the kettle, then changing his mind and heading for the phone. He does this 3 or 4 times, then just sits down and bursts into tears. I can relate to that.

 

A Conversation.

George: "Excuse me, are you God?"
Charles: "No. You see my theory of evolution has shown that there is no need for -"
George: "Are you Father Christmas then?"
Charles: "Erm. Yes. If you like."

 

If you would like, for whatever reason, that I mentally plan your execution, here's something you could do: Sit window side of me on a flight, and constantly get up to get something from your pink wheelie case. Then huff and puff throughout disembarking, as if you are the only one who wants to get the hell off, even though the delay is caused by a mother who is obviously struggling, and doing her best with 3 awkward children.

 

I know it shouldn't, but seriously, if you click on a link and it doesn't work straight away - just press again harder and more aggressively, it seems to help. If anyone has any other tech-support problems, just send them my way.

 

Soon I will reveal my true identity to my wife: I am in fact a billionaire oil tycoon; schooled in etiquette, expert polo player and generous philanthropist. But for just a little while longer, I think I ought to test her love with my sluvenly, selfish, stupid charade.

 

A little game I play whilst going through town: if I see a group of more than four people (at a bus stop, or in a cafe, or on a bus, or waiting to cross the road, or smokers outside a building etc ) and none of them are on their iPhone, I get a point. If someone is reading an actual book I get a point. I don't have any points today yet.

 

Random hot and cold days - such is the time of year. Much congestion by our front door: walking boots and wellies next to flip-flops; rain-coats next to sun-hats and jumpers; sun-glasses and umbrellas hanging out of bags. Long may the transition last.

 

I'm sure this has been covered a million times. But I would like public toilets to have the standard 'Gents' and 'Ladies' silhouette emblems on the door. I don't always have the time or inclination to rake through my sketchy knowledge of ancient greek mythology, just to establish which pot I should be pissing in. If you must be clever, at least have the standard emblem somewhere on the door.

 

Left to my own devices, I can make a pair of jeans last quite a long time before I feel the need to put them in the wash. And I wear them almost every day. I was still surprised by today's cache as I emptied the pockets: tram tickets from as early as two weeks ago; an assortment of coins in three currencies; iPhone charger; 2 plectrums; one capo; a shopping list; a set list, a biro; and a half-sucked Fisherman's Friend.

 

"The Internet is ok as a platform for promoting things - but it's really better if you have a dick and balls growing out of your armpit or something like that. Then you can really find your audience. That's what people are looking for on here." Gus MacGregor

 

My passport is due for renewal, and I live abroad now. I hope I'm wrong, but I sense a rigmarole coming on. Some people are scared of spiders, or public speaking. I'm afraid of forms.

 

I rented a car recently and there was no hand-brake. There was just a button, and when I stopped for the first time, it locked on. I couldn't find the button, and it took me 7 mins to get out through the car park barrier at Manchester airport. Much to the delight of those in the queue behind me. Lovely group of understanding people: I asked them to keep in touch, but they just drove off like they were in a hurry.

 

Three observations about Luton airport:1. The ratio of space devoted to advertising v information is about 100:1 in favor of advertising. I think that's too much. 2. If you work there, Sunday morning 6am is probably known as the 'utter chaos' shift.3. The jolly orange of easy jet's livery, is in stark contrast to the manner of their ground staff. (Who can blame them, given the idiotic people they have to deal with!)

 

Had a disappointing cappuccino. Some of you might know what I mean; some of you won't.

 

I was standing looking at bunny rabbits with George at the zoo.

George: "Look, that one's black!" Me: "Yes. And it doesn't matter what colour they are, we love them all just the same."I meant well, but it somehow felt David Brent-like. A bit ridiculous.

 

Business names I wish existed but probably don't:BS Attorneys at Law (Specialise in liability claims)Road Kill Cafe (somewhere on the A34)Touchy Feely (catholic toddler play group, or party clown)2in1 (used auto sales)Soft Pawn (High street exchange centre for curtains, cushions, fabric, cuddly toys etc)Speadophile (sports shop specializing in swimwear)

 

Sometimes I pronounce the t in often, and sometimes I don't. I'm unpredictable like that.

 

I would like to hear people say 'I don't know' a bit more often. I mean, if you really know the subject because of a special interest, fine. But I think people seem to think it's week to say it. It's not; it's realistic. You can't know everything. This would also mean we get to listen more to the people who do know, instead of a copy/paste from whatever sound-bite they read most recently. Please forward this to a politician of your choice.

 

The first holiday town council to dress all its public vehicles as Thomas the Tank-engine characters will make a fortune from parents like me. Can you imagine all the diggers and buses! Please let it be blackpool.

 

German syntax, different to English is.

 

If you want to know how to get a 6-pack in 2 weeks, and be a better lover, buy this month's Men's Fitness magazine. And if you can't find this month's, just get any copy from the last 12 years, or any future copy, they are all the same as far as I can tell.

 

It doesn't seem to matter what you put into google: some porn will always come up. For example, the door from our kitchen to the terrace makes a squeaking noise, and the other day I saw next door's cat jumping madly every time I opened it. So I put into google: neighbor's pussy goes wild for back door action.

 

I would like designers of public loos, especially motorway services, to consider putting a small shelf above the urinals for keys, wallet, sunglasses etc. Maybe one above the hand-dryers too. Also, please put changing tables in the gents, not just the ladies. Also, please make the corridor leading to the loo wide enough for two adults to pass. Thanks in anticipation of a time when designers of buildings actually consider the function of the space they get paid a lot of money to create. Maybe I should build a page for myself: whiny-white-boy.com

 

Thanks to the guy who selflessly gave me his trolley outside Aldi on monbijoubrücke, when I didn't have a coin on me. Btw, I don't like this system of coin for a trolley. How about being able to do it with the swipe of a credit card; or a DNA sample?

 

A christian, ex victoria secret model, has started a god inspired fashion line. The clothes have bible quotes on them. Am i gonna go to hell for being a little bit turned-on by that?

 

I think the Dishwasher is mankind's greatest achievement. Sure, I can think of some ways to improve it (self-loading; self-emptying; self-remember-to-buy-tabs etc…) But nevertheless, they are indeed miracles.

 

Did my wife a favor: drank all the booze and ate all the crisps and chocolate in the house while she was out last night. See, I'm full of self-sacrafices.

 

The good people who clean the streets etc in Bern do an amazing job. They are respected by the other citizens, and perhaps that's why 8 out of 10 people say to me 'I went to Switzerland once, it was so clean!'. I salute you, from the steel toes of your work shoes, to the top of your 'business at the front, party at the back' mullets. 

 

Whenever I say potato, I say it in a jokey irish accent. I dont mean any harm, but I admit I wouldnt do it in front of a big irish bloke, so there must be part of me knows it's not cool. Unfortunately, George has caught my pathetic habit, and now also says it like that.

 

If the queen were to die of a heart attack (Gaud blesser I ope she don't), the official biography of her reign could be called Queen Elizabeth II: From Coronation to Coronary.

 

I've had to move seats on trains occasionally because the person sitting next to be smelt so bad. Today I had to move carriages. I felt bad, because I was pretty sure they knew. But I had to move before George said something beautifully honest like 'poo-ey!'.

 

 

Every time i send an email, I have this weird habit of going immediately to my outbox and reading the email i've just sent. I'm gonna try and quit. Where can I get help for this kind of OCD (outbox checking disorder)?

 

 

Sometimes I keep googling until I find the answer/outcome I want. Especially, for example, with weather and health issues. I'm thinking of starting a website called everythingisgonnabefine.com where you input the symptoms/location and it always comes up - 'don't worry, you'll be totally fine'; the weather will be excellent... Etc. Anyone want to put an ad there?

 

 

On a recent flight from the UK to Switzerland, I noticed there was a fly on board. A bog-standard fly (if you'll excuse the pun.) I wonder what became of it. Was it taken in by an ex-pat community (ex-cow-pat)? Or did it perish, alone in a world of strange languages.

 

I use the smiley face thing too much these days in texts and emails. Once you start with those things, you need to constantly use them or people think you're being shitty. A bit like the greeting hug and kiss in real life. I'm gonna go cold turkey and stop altogether starting from now :-)

 

 

Idea for porno plot: two ladies are sunbathing by a pool. A gentleman arrives to clean the pool. The ladies start putting sun cream on each other, but they don't notice the gentleman at first. The gentleman goes about the cleaning, pretending not to see them. The ladies eventually spot him and call him over. 'I'll get in trouble with my boss' he says. I can't work out how it should end, though.

 

 

I had one of the greatest moments of my life this summer. I was sitting in a warm beach bar, in the shade, bob marley playing, my son (22 months) dancing his little arse off. A beer on the table, so cold that the glass was white, and my beautiful wife looking radiant and belly laughing with the waitress about something.

 

 

There's a pregnancy-test brand called 'maybe baby'. I wonder if anyone taking the test who might be debating the future of the pregnancy has ever thought, in a juno-like moment of clarity, about the first line of the buddy holly song. 'Maybe baby, I'll have you...' Probably not.

 

 

I think it's amazing that ants and termites are not related to each other closely. They evolved almost identical behavior and body shape separately. Both species put us to shame with their industry. They don't sit around watching Telly, or posting on Facebook. Right, off to herd some aphids

 

 

I'm excited by the prospect if mo Farrah racing Husain bolt over 600 meters. I really hope it goes ahead. I also think there should be other inter-sport events. A sumo wrestler and a jockey competing in high diving, for example.

 

 

I think people should stop saying 'no offence, but...'. It's pointless. They can not be the one to decide whether the recipient is offended or not. No offence.

 

 

I was having quite a rubbish day with my whiny white-boy worries, then I saw a bad motorway crash, and it made me feel better. Not glad it happened or anything. Just perspective...

 

 

If I ever took the unlikely move of opening a George Harrison theme restaurant, here are some of the items I would put on the menu: All Things Must Pasta; Here Comes the Bun; Isn't it a Pitta; My friend Amy Newhouse-smith offered the following classic too: While My Frittata Gently Weeps; and my personal favourite Dumpling in the Way She Moves.