Love is…a pair of opposable thumbs

How to hide six photocopies of my fists from a work colleague who thought I nipped out of our meeting to use the loo?

That was this week’s dilemma.

I have an idea for an art project you see, and when the impulse comes I can’t help myself, so I went and pressed my fists to the glass of the copier and tried out different positions. It was at this point that I realised how long it’s been since I was in a fight, and couldn’t remember what to do with my thumbs. Then I went to reception and asked for an A4 envelope and put the copies in there.

“Sorry,” I said back in the meeting, “I had to pick up an important letter from reception.”
“No worries”, she said, “Hope it’s nothing bad?”
“Oh no,” I replied, “just some info that should come in pretty handy.”


Knuckle Club Sandwich

Knuckle Club Sandwich

Lisa admitted this week that’s she’s considering cutting her thumbs off. “I can’t let them touch my hand,” she says, “I have to sleep very carefully with the duvet keeping them apart. Then I wake up and they’re touching again.”

I for one am glad of my thumbs; I need them to be special at sport. I’ll explain. There’s a river at the end of the garden and on the opposite side it looks like someone has dug a pond out of the riverbed, with an edge made of big flat rocks. At around 5pm every day, the sun filters into it and leaves the rest of the river in shadow. For about a day, we had a baby trout in there, and held our breath waiting for it to dart our from under the rim.

Anyway, for the past decade, every time I have visited my grandad he’s given me a Nescafe jar full of coppers he’s collected in between visits. I’ve lugged this growing treasure trove between 3 or 4 house in that time. I’ve never been quite poor enough to bother cashing them in (the thought of how my fingers would smell after counting them out makes me feel sick). About a week after we moved in, Esther decided to use the pond as a wishing well. Before long Esther, me, Dom & Lisa were all tossing tuppences into the water, most of them missing. Was this ASBO-worthy littering or the birth of a new hipster hobby?

Being an only child, I had to throw differently to everyone else, by flicking them up and across with my poorly trimmed thumbnail. Anyway, now coins line the riverbed with twinkles of worthless gold. The failure rate for my technique was satisfyingly high, and I realised that my endeavours have to be impossible to be worth doing – if I can do it, surely it can’t be worth doing? This is a variation on the ‘I would never belong to a club that would admit me as a member.” And my latest run-in with a comedy compere:

I was forced to sit right under the microphone and so hid in the shadow of my porkpie hat, knowing full well there was no escape.

“Are you a hipster,” the Irish warm-up man asked, pointing rudely at my hat.

“I wouldn’t be a hipster if I was,” I said, feeling sick with my own logic.

He left me alone after that.


I thought it was the people on stage who were meant to get heckled by the audience, not the other way around. Just as they build up a battery of retorts, I will to. Here’s my latest put down, handily written on a table of my local pub when I found some chalk lying around:


Last night, I was trapped on the sofa by a sleeping Esther, next to a snoring cat. I couldn’t reach the remote and so was forced to watch Metallica at Glastonbury. Being made to endure a band I don’t like while twisted into a painful pose so as not to wake the critters I love is a very strange kind of happiness.

Love is…filling the negative space of your lover(s)

Love is…a beautiful still life made out of ugly objects

Love is…a story about characters who should never have met in real life

"Getti' smelly with Peter Petrelli"

“Gettin’ smelly with Peter Petrelli?”

Peace Out, Grayson Perry

So after my successful pursuit of Mr Cocker, I turned my attention on Greyson Perry, articulate arch-lord of the freaks and frock-wearers of the world. But it never happened. “Grayson isn’t taking any press until Autumn” came the definitive response from his PR. I couldn’t find the emoji for ‘Ooh, Get You’ and so didn’t bother replying.

Which is why when I bumped into him on Saturday morning at Sheffield Doc/Fest, I can’t be held responsible for my actions. If you don’t enlist me as a journo, you’re lumbered with me as a fan, which is never a pretty sight.

“Greyson!” I call as he glides by in his pyjama-like civvies.

“Yes?” He squints at my face, and shakes my hand when I offer it.

Why does he look so confused? Oh, yeah.

“Oh, you don’t know me. I just love your work.”

He pulls his hand away.

“Oh. Haha.”

Then he breezes off into the distance.

I realise afterwards that he only offered 2 words during our exchange while I emptied my mouth like a handbag and 11 fell out. He saw my dirty tissues & screwed up receipts and everything.

I imagine only a select few get to see inside Grayson’s handbag:

"Pull the other one, it's got bells on it."

“Pull the other one, it’s got bells on it.”

Talking of scraps of paper, Grayson’s talk made me feel much better. There were far worse freaks than me abroad tonight, especially the first person who stood up to the mic for the Q&A, who waffled on about making a piece of origami for Grayson and held aloft the smallest piece of paper I’ve ever seen.

“Yes, but have you got a question?” Grayson asked impatiently.

“Err, no, I just want to give you my origami.”

After an uncomfortable silence, he shuffled back to his seat, probably discovering that screwing up origami in shame just makes it into even smaller origami.

"Hello Grayson, I made this so you can talk to me whenever you want."

“Hello Grayson, I made this so you can talk to me whenever you want.”

Last week, they cleared the dead man’s house next door. We knew this because we were woken up to the sound of objects being lobbed lovelessly into a big open top van by two men. Thud, thump, and crunch they went, all bleeding morning.

“It’s like each thud is a lump of his flesh” said Esther.

My hoarding instincts told me to run round and grab armfuls of the stuff. My OCD warned me that each item would be smeared with the anti-vandal paint of death, visible only under moonlight. My OCD won.

It was the degree show this week. If I see something I like, I tell myself, I’ll buy it. In my head I’m a slimmer Saatchi, a Serota capable of smiling. Luckily for me, being penniless, there was nothing worth buying this year. Degree Shows can be summed up as:

  1. installations about childhood
  2. pornographic self portraits
  3. knitted vaginas

It’s always the same every year because self-absorption clings to the same reference points like cat hair to tights. In fact, the only good thing I can remember seeing was last year’s show, where someone paid a bouncer-cum-invigilator to stand in the way of their painting and block any attempts to see it, thus rendering it the only thing worth seeing and the only thing no-one saw  #wishidthoughtofthat

It reminds me of the greatest example of people going to see nothing I’ve ever heard. No, not Olly Murs, but the Mona Lisa after it was stolen:

When the Mona Lisa was stolen, people queued to see the empty space. Idiots.

More people queued to see the empty space than had for the painting. Idiots.

In other news, I found a lifesize dog teddybear in St Luke’s charity shop yesterday. It did something funny to me, lobotomised my adult bits for a minute. I’ve made up a new collective noun for this sort of feeling: An intervention of soft toys.

"Giant rabbit as border control"

“Giant rabbit as border control”

If I’d had a spare cuddly toy, I’d have probably offered it to the busdriver on Friday. Getting off last means that everyone before you has gone through the full vocabulary of gratitude:

thank you/thanks



nice one fella (for students who haven’t had their Southernness beaten out of them yet)

I can offer nothing more and so walk past him mutely. Of course, I realise now that mute people aren’t universally known for being rude, they can say thanks in their own way. Unfortunately though, the sign language for thanks looks like you’re blowing a kiss.

Next time, I think I’ll just do a peace sign.

"Ta, duckie"

“Ta, duckie”