Fielding comebacks from Noel


“That’s a very Georgian beard,” a drunken artist said to me recently, and then when I looked like I might be about to thank him, he clarified; “That means weak.”

It’s a ruff not a beard, dumbass

I went away and thought about what I should have said. A few suggestions came to mind in the first 10 minutes:

“You, sir, are drunk and fat, and I shall be-” this is where I would falter and look at the floor – “weak bearded in the morning.”

No, Churchill couldn’t help me. What about:

“It’s not a beard, it’s pubes,” and as this sunk in, I’d add; “So, what you think is my body is actually my penis.”

That was too scary an image even for me. A month later, it came to me as I was having a shower:

“You, sir, have a Tudor physique.” And as he worked through his monarchical history, I’d save him the trouble: “That means morbidly obese.”

It’s so-so, I know. The best comeback I ever came back with was effectively handed to me on a plate. I’d bought some Prince-style high heel ankle boots from an ebay shop that catered to women with really big feet (men) and had just managed to make it to the bank machine in Spar before my night out.

“I like your shoes, mate,” came a voice from behind me and I turned to see a ten-headed man-pack. “My mum would like them,” Head No. 1 added, “I’ll give you her number.”

His face fell as he said the last bit, the words drifting over the cold tiled floor towards me like balloons towards a birthday boy.

“Thanks,” I said genuinely. “But I’ve already got it.”

Game Over. He didn’t even pretend he was going to beat me up, he/they just nodded and left.

All Hail the Winner!

Mostly though, while everybody else is on twitter-time, bouncing ideas around as fast as they can think them, I’m still posting my ideas by pigeon mail. Only the other day I was trying to sing a love song to Esther but I couldn’t remember the words:

Me: ♬ You’re the something something something of the something something, oh baby, oh baby… ♬

Esther: I like that, is it Steve Martin?

Me: No, it’s Stevie Wonder, I just can’t sing.

I’m well jel of the way stand up comedians can riff endlessly on the spot like action figures with longer than normal pull strings on their backs. Noel Fielding is a prime example. The other week I asked if I could interview Noel as he was passing through Sheffield on his solo tour. His PR asked me for my number and told me he’d be ringing me at midday on a Thursday for a 15 minute interview. Ringing me! Unfortunately, I had lots of students booked in that day, so I swiftly told them all to jog on so I could have a 2 hour gap just in case, you know, we became BFFs. Finally, at 5 minutes to 12, after having emptied my bowels and bought a cappuccino to sip as I was talking to him – no biggie my casual slurps would say – I received a text: ‘Really sorry but Noel has cancelled all interviews today’. Arsecockles! Three hours later, I got another text saying he could ring me at 6 if still convenient. Well, I’m still not going to say no, am I? The next half an hour was a frantic scrabble to keep up with someone who’s mind is a rhinestone-studded random idea generator, where every other line is a comeback to himself: Noel: Hello, is that Sheffield? Me: Hi Noel…I mean, is that London calling? Noel: (giggling) Yes, this is London calling.

Me: Do you mind if I record this? Noel: What, for training purposes?

Me: Ha, no I’m not a very fast writer…

Noel: Is it so you can touch yourself listening to me later?

Me: Haha, (silence as I actually consider it) erm, can I then?

Noel: Ooh I just dropped my contact lens and it killed a passing flying ant… Me: Oh (taking it half seriously) – you’d better pick it up. Noel: No, it was actually a bottle lid, it landed on a small boy’s face… Me: (Giggling) erm… I guess with celebs the smooth stone of their personas is created by the social encounters that flow over and round them every moment of their waking lives. I guess once you give up the idea that you’re ever going to be left alone, you can start having some fun… Or as Johnny Rotten put it when I asked if it was him:

It’s Farrrrrquharrrrr Farrrrrtybottom. I’m here, I’m ready, I’m free!

One day I’ll think of the perfect comebacks and I’ll ring the buggers up to tell them…

Me: You know that time you said that thing…

Them: No. Who are you?

Me: Well what you said was…Hello? Are you there? Come back, I know what to say now!

It seems I’m the Prince Regent of Comebacks.

So on second thoughts, I’ll take Tay’s advice and shake it off! 

Those Pesky Time Flies


"A late 20th Century torture device"

Esther found out that the Japanese earthquake has made our days a few micro seconds shorter FOREVER because it made us spin faster on our axis. Now she can’t stop thinking about this lost time.

“What if the next earthquake knocks us completely off our axis and we go spinning out into space?” she quivers.

“Well then, I guess we’re all fucked” I reply. No, I don’t actually because she’s the boss and such a quip would be considered insolent. Instead I comfort her with logic.

“That will never happen, I’m sure they would tell us etc”. At this point you conspiracy theorists will be sniggering at my naivety. As I have already told you, I think the man is misunderstood, and I enjoy the feeling of his/her big overprotective/oppressive arm round me. Oh how I wish I’d had a big brother to wrestle some sense into me. And to compare penis size with/ experiment with mutual masturbation. You know, the usual time-honoured family escapades.

“How many micro seconds are there in a second?” she asks

Google tells me there are 1 million.

“Oh, that’s rubbish” she mutters. “I don’t give a shit anymore”.

Real life always disappoints. Nobody discovers their junk is worth millions on Antique Roadshow. You don’t get model scouted on your way to Tesco. Getting high only leads to plummeting lower. Weird stuff that does happen is never the amazing things, always the mundane or sinister or depressing.

Thus, Lisa has become too scared to walk Devo in the cemetary in case the Polish man proposes. She has been forced to take affirmative action to point out to the overfriendly Pole that she is a taken woman.

He found her on facebook, and last week she agonised over a message that would put him straight. “I have a boyfriend” was all she could think of saying.

Unfortunately it only made him defensive. “I have a girlfriend too, of course” he wrote back. “Why should that stop us from meeting and talking?”

Lisa and Esther decided instead to avoid the park around the time he usually bumps into them.

"Goddammit, why isn't he looking at your beaver?"

I got really jealous the other week that he fancied Lisa and not Esther. “Why doesn’t he want you too?” I asked. “Maybe you’re not attractive enough” I thought. Fucked up as it sounds, I keep needing to know my girl is pretty to other people in order to have proof of my own attractiveness.

“You’re weird” says Lisa when she overhears me.

“Fuck off and get counselling” is Esther’s understandable reply.

A few days passed, and the girls managed to miss the Polack, thinking that maybe he had got the message and has backed off. Nipped his European openness in the bud so to speak, slapped a restraining order on his free spirit.

Today though, he finally caught up with them. He went aggro, singing raucous Polish songs to himself and throwing sticks at their heads, yelling “You should have safety helmets, hahaha”. He had replaced the behaviour of a lech with that of a sociopath.

“At least he had to stand further away to ‘accidentally’ throw sticks at us” Esther reasoned.

Is it better to be murdered than raped? Better to offend strangers than to have to pretend to be their friend? Better to throw sticks than to invite ridicule?

Adam Ant once went to his local for a quick pint, only to be bullied by chants of “ridicule is nothing to be scared of.”

When he could take no more, he slunk off home and returned with a gun in his hand and a righteous glint in his eyes.

Poor Adam. He’s just like me, but famous. He likes to rant and get naked, and he can’t take any flak.

He’s welcome round mine any time. I really want to ask him how to apply eye shadow convincingly.

Today I dared myself to walk round Topman with a pair of purple glasses with flip-up shades, flipped up proudly. I managed a quick circuit of the men’s bit, then fled down the stairs, pretending to multitask on my fone so I didn’t meet anyone in the eye.

This is phase one of operation ‘pompous, public and proud’. More to follow. Ridicule is nothing to be scared of. No pain no gain. Or, as Rihanna sang, “sticks and stones may break my bones, but chains and whips excite me”.

"I meant it metaphorically"

 

Kung Fu Fighting


Kung Fu (father of Esther, Lisa, Carmen and Bella) popped by to take the girls to visit their granny. She lives in Rotherham, a most dreadful affliction.

"'Waldo's New World Order' the radical feminist-lesbian alternative to Jim'll Fix It, never passed the pilot"

With each daughter he conceived, Kung Fu hoped the next would be a son- by the fourth girl, his ambition shifted to having a lesbian daughter. Unfortunately, he is still waiting for some closet-exiting. Had any or all of then been a boy, they would have been called Waldo.

Spare a thought for the schooldays of the phantom sons: the hope of his generation was never enough to change the basic meanness of human nature. Waldo is not a name that would ever be tolerated by school children.

Waldo is also frighteningly close to the surname of the tallest man in the world EVER: Robert Wadlow. When I started to grow past everyone else age 10, I used to obsess over his growth chart “this is something I can excel at!”. Unfortunately I stopped at his 8 year old height of 6’2.

"That's how to get girls: gravitational pull"

Kung Fu lived through the last great twin cultural traumas of free love and imminent Third World War. It was enough to drive anyone crazy (along with the dragons that he hallucinated in the fields nearby), and duly he began stock piling tinned food in the cellar of their Hebden Bridge home, along with his weapon of choice for protecting the stash; a mail order crossbow. After all he had to protect a pack of erstwhile Waldos from nuclear holocaust.

"Hippies only work as a Second Life avatar" Discuss.

His anti-Russian defence was only rumbled when Weasel broke the ‘only’ tin opener, and Kung Fu gleefully nipped to the cellar to fetch a brand spanking new one. Weasel took a look at what else he had down there, and found everything. Out went the crossbow and ‘slap’ went his cheek. At least they ate like UHT kings for a while.

Kung Fu is the biggest Captain Beefheart fan I have ever met; although in the wake of his death, everyone seems to have been into him, like, forever. Apparently Esther thought he was a genius poet, coming up with ridiculous and fantastic word combinations at mealtimes. It was only later that she realised these were all Beefheart lyrics.

I think it takes a genius to remember his songs, and also to oversee the viper-pit of free thinking daughters for so long.

As for Captain Beefheart, even Sly Stallone has come out as a fan. Such is the bonding power of peer pressure:

Devo Meets His Match


"You ruined my life you bastards!"

Life would be a lot more interesting if witches and vampires existed wouldn’t it? Buffy sort of ruined reality for me, I’m afraid. I should have become a delusional goth but instead I became a dismayed loner. Well maybe we don’t have to pretend anymore:

Lisa got back from walking Devo today and told us a wild story about some wild-cats. She had taken Devo to see a friend and on the way home Devo was suddenly surrounded by a street gang of cats, backs arched, hissing, and very, very, pissed off.

Lisa became more and more animated as she re-enacted the scene. The lights seemed to dim as she talked, like a candle-lit character in an Edgar Allen Poe story.

Suddenly she rears up, doing an impression of a psychotic cat, hissing like a rock’n’roll snake:

“HISSSSSSS!”

“WTF? Cats hunting in a pack?” we ask disbelievingly, moving closer as the room darkens around us.

It seems that they had wandered into the Sheffield Serengeti. There was 4 or 5 of them around him, and it sounded like the bushes were full of them, rustling and hissing. They were circling around Devo like a bunch of evil mothers and he was quivering like reeds in a gale.

His long legs and cheeky smile weren’t going to get him out of this one.

Suddenly remembering she had opposable thumbs and legs that worked, Lisa yanked his lead and dragged him past the mad moggies and they fled the scene. “OMG, that was some fucked up feline shit” Devo said (in a Brooklyn accent) when they had got a safe distance away.

“Stop talking, you’re a dog” replied Lisa.

I have to write a dissertation soon. I am considering doing the most self-indulgent, narcissistic, lazy thing ever: a blog about music videos and how they have shaped my personality. So, I would post videos that have changed the way I see the world or made me get ‘style’ (and then forget it again) etc…

I can’t decide if this is a sickening product of mental illness or a worthy way to spend time. What do you think?

BUGLY: Adult Nappies and a Manchild


"Hear Ye! Evacuate the library, there is a suicide farter in the building"

I finish work and head to the library. Oh no, I keep needing to fart, so I have to let it out gently, grab a book quick, and nip round the next aisle before anyone walks into the toxic cloud. Grab and run, grab and run. And my bowels seem to have no end of gas.

I’m really hungry. ‘I want Subway’ a baby voice demands in my head. I get there and have my usual ‘6 inch meatball marinari, everything but the chilli’

“And what sauce would you like?

Here comes my catchphrase “What would you recommend?”

“Err, southwest sauce is what people usually have”

“I’ll have that then” I say, feeling like a frail aristocrat trying to fit in among the hardy hoi polloi.

As I wait, a couple come in. “Foot long tuna sub please” says the man gruffly.

Suddenly my 6 incher is looking rather pathetic. I get that toilet feeling, like when you’re stood at the urinals and either side of you out of the corner of your eye, it looks like elephant trunks are hosing down the walls. ‘Oh God’ I think, trying to stretch my ‘little man’ out further to compete.

I hope it’s all an optical illusion- ‘It’s coz I’m viewing mine from above’ I say to comfort myself.

"A sumptuous oatmeal baguette draped in salad leaves my good man"

Am I destined to be belittled my real men and their rough and ready ways? Am I a sickly, malnourished, asexual type who shouldn’t have made it this far if Darwin had had his way?

I take my droopy stump of bread and run to the bus.

Back at Lisa’s, Esther asks me “Did you get my text? It said “Ring me slave”. Well of course you didn’t, you would have rung me if you had”

She often does both her and my side of the conversation for me. That’s love for you.

“You should try being a dominatrix” I say, thinking wishfully.

“Oh no, that’d involve having sex” she scowls.

“Some dominatrixes don’t have sex” I say, my voice trailing off at the end. Why did I even suggest it?

“Yeah but the other person gets off on that” she adds “Yuck!”

“I just want an adult nappy so I can poo and wee myself” she confesses matter-of-factly. “And an endless supply of baby food”

“For sexual reasons?” asks Lisa

“Hmm…I don’t think so” muses Esther. “I just love the idea of shitting myself where I’m sitting. And weeing. And having someone else clean up after me and put on a clean nappy”.

I offer to make a cup of tea to escape. As the kettle boils, I see a packet of Easter Hot Cross Buns from Tesco. This makes me angry.

“I can’t believe that no sooner has Tesco got rid of its Christmas stuff, they replace it with Easter stuff!” I say sternly.

I suddenly feel like an old Sheffielder, saddened by the modern world. “There’s no time to bluddy breathe round ‘ere anymore” I say in character.

“Yeah, capitalism- it’s disgusting” replies Esther. Hypocrite. She’s addicted to Tesco ready meals. For the last 2 months she has refused to cook anything, and only gets us food that “takes less than 10 minutes in the microwave”. No wonder my time in the library was fraught.

We sip our teas in silence. Esther is scouring facebook.

“That’s a nice picture of ___” (name censored for diplomatic reasons) she says through gritted teeth. “Why is everyone getting prettier while I get uglier?” she thinks aloud.

"Finish me off like a real man"

Hmm, don’t get me started on prettiness. Sure it’s ok in an Oreo kind of way- yummy and addictive at first, but sickly half way through the pack. It’s all much of a muchness. My head turns at the sight of a pretty girl almost robotically, like my genes are saying ‘potential mate no. 34778 at 3 o clock”. But prettiness is deeply forgettable. Give me weird and kooky any day.

‘Better freak than geek’? Not necessarily, since freaks often dress like geeks. I was recently asked if I have a type. I’m still not sure.

I guess my type is too cynical and jaded to even notice me. I guess my type is Esther.

"Err I'm Vienna Famous and there's party in my pants. No-one else has come yet though"

“BUGLY” (Boring and UGLY)


I am handing in my Lady Gaga essay. I’m on the train. Everything is going smoothly so far- I caught an 85 bus which took me right down to the station, and there was no queue so I got a ticket in time for the train…

Now I’m sat on the train. A woman has parked her buggy outside the toilet and is screaming at her kids.

“Waaah!”

“Do that again and I’ll hit you on the hand very hard!”

“Waa-” Abrupt silence.

2 minutes later.

“WAAAAAAAH!”

“I mean it! SHUT UP!!!!” her shout echoes down the carriage.

As middle-aged women turn round in motherly concern, I decide it’s time to drown her out with some Kanye.

I had a dream last night that me and Esther had a baby. More of a nightmare really. I aged a lot that night.

“Was it nice?” Esther asks when I tell her in the morning.

“It was difficult” I say diplomatically. This banshee on the train settles it. No kids till I can stand to be near them in public. No kids till I have a personality transplant.

Why would anyone choose to be tested to the brink of sanity by screaming, puking, shitting sacks of stress? In my dream, Linda sat on our baby’s head like she does to me in the morning, and we had to rush it to the hospital.

Who in their right mind would choose kids over pets? You can’t legally pet your kids. You can kid your pets though (“cheese! cheese!” Esther promises Devo when he runs away. He comes sprinting back expectantly. “Like fuck” she mutters as he is shoved back on the lead).

"Erm, excuse me, I am a mouse. I am entitled to cheese"

I look out of the train window and think ‘If someone was sat here who cared about beautiful scenery, they’d think it was awesome’ As it was, I turned away in apathy.

The boy opposite me is tapping his foot at the same time as me. What are the chances that we are listening to the same song? Would it be weird to ask him? My inappropriate interest in strangers is going to get me in trouble. Curiosity maimed the human, as the saying goes.

"Excuse me sir, where did you get your hair dreaded?"

I’ve glanced around buses before and seen 9 out of 10 people with their faces buried in the same page of the Metro. Synchronise page turning- Go.

Then again it’s usually the Guilty Pleasures double spread because that’s the most likely place to catch sight of some rude bits.

This reminds me of John Cooper Clarke

I guess that’s what the Sun, Mirror and Sunday Sport are for.

Boring and Ugly: Slaves, Sweatshops and Stupid Comments


Still working on the bloody essay. Mid-thought, Esther texts me. “Ring me x” she says. What terrible thing has happened that means she can’t ring me? Is she face to face with a rapist?
I ring her. “Hello, I’m walking home with the wheelabout shopper and it’s really heavy, can you pull it up the hill for me?” she says, like butter wouldn’t melt.
Jesus wept. So, she texted me to ring her to get me to be her slave. That’s some convoluted colonial shit. The worse thing is, I did it, no questions asked…

"Thanks for the jeans, they must be really cool because people always call me 'cheeky' when I wear them"

Today I have been mostly wearing Primark skinny jeans, H&M socks and hoody, dad’s cast-off Irvine Welsh ‘FILTH’ t shirt, and T.J. Hughes undies. Only the best for me. Oh, and a clenched jaw thanks to Lady Gaga. That blind, one-armed child in the Primark sweatshop never knew I’d be wearing his creation. I should send him a Thankyou card with a picture of me wearing them. If he could see the fruits of his labour, he wouldn’t feel the pain so much.

It’s finally too warm to wear my leopard-print hat which has been my winter staple. I realised that I feel completely naked without it, and I will have to wean myself off it using smaller and smaller hats. In a month, I should be down to the level of a Jewish skull cap.

"Don't you wish your boyfriend was hot like me?"

Found a great Cary Grant quote before about being famous: “Everyone wants to be Cary Grant. Even I want to be Cary Grant.”

Imagine being a supermodel or famous actor, and yet you know that you never match up to the suave, articulate ideals you play on screen. How gutting would it be to be jealous of your own persona- “that bastard, he’s too flash for my liking”. That would never happen with me- I’m just not my type. I’d diss the me on screen so bad, he’d never want to leave the house again. Ha, that’d teach him. Me.

I love YouTube comments:

“she is a bitch FREEMASON hey rihanna i gota message for u u can hav the world to ur self but u are going to HELL!!!!!!!!!!! BRA BRA BRA” Not so much a threat, more a “So there” wimp out. And what’s with the lingerie?

and

“FUKIN FAT BITCH IM JAKIN OFF”. Someone needs the concept of flattery explained. And oversharing.

and

“her ass,pussy and tits are all i want! and i’m 13!” Hmm, what a man you’ll grow up to be…Or maybe he’s asking for her donkey, kitten and small garden bird??