Life’s a game of three thirds…


Lisa smokes like a cooling tower. She’s convinced this wont be a problem in our utopian future. Do as much damage as you want and just replace the parts.

“I want a lung transplant, but I don’t want them to be too big,” she frets, “I’m already bloated enough.”


Lisa is coming to stay for the night while Dom is away.

“Shall we have a pamper session and get loads of chocolate?” I say with sheer abandon, clasping my sticky palms together in supplication to the God of feminine delights.

Esther looks me up & down, stony faced.

“What’s wrong?” I ask.
“Don’t I look normal?”

I was sure I was incognito as a normal bloke today. I was sure I’d got away with it this time.

“Normal. For an 80 year old man playing golf,” she qualifies, surveying my loafers, argyle socks, beige chinos, baby blue Harrington jacket and skipper’s cap.




Staggering back on the wrong side of town from a night out, Esther spots a tube of lippy and grabs it.
“That probably belongs to a prozzy,” I caution.
“Nah, it’s too expensive to be a whore’s,” she reasons, smearing it round her mouth.


A moth bullied Linda tonight. She was flat out on the bed in front of our giant prehistoric TV and it came hurtling at her, mistaking her glowing white belly for an obese light.

She twitched with annoyance when it impacted, half-heartedly shooing it away with a turgid paw. After a while of relentless buffeting, she took herself downstairs.

“No way am I watching The Mothman Prophesies.”


I’d quite like to get a tattoo. They seem like a good way of hiding puny white arms under a mask of rebellious alpha masculinity. Better than relying on speech, which I would probably get wrong:

‘I’m a naughty boy, sorry I mean a bad boy’.

Instead, a tattoo would proclaim;

I eat pain for elevenses.

Speaking of elevenses, Esther has formulated a diet for us. It’s called The Thirds Diet and it means that between us we only eat one portion of any given meal; I have two thirds and she has one.

A sample day in our diet:

Breakfast: One mini chocolate brioche for me, a half for her.
Elevenses: Most of a yogurt for me, scrapings for her.
Lunch: Two thirds of a bacon sarnie for me, crust & rind for her.
Afternoon Tea: Three pieces of cherry & chilli choc for me, one for her
Tea: One ready meal unequally divided into two.
Pudding: An almond Magnum: she gets the frozen top first; I get the half melted bottom.


My exp-pat cockney pal Alfie is accompanying me round the university degree show. We go to see one of my student’s work. Liz is very blonde and has combined wedding photographs with Photoshop unicorns and rainbows.

Alfie is good in these situs, swapping his barrow-boy patois for bourgeois dinnertable talk in a heartbeat.

“I like these. They’re very, dare I say, kitsch,” he says to Liz with a smile.
She’s not going to understand that. I want to nudge him and whisper ‘She doesn’t know anything.’
“Th-Thanks,” she says, trying to gauge if it’s a compliment or not.
“Yes, reminds me of Jeff Koons,” he adds thoughtfully.
Her face goes blank.
“They’re good” he translates.
I steer him away before she overheats.

My parents got me this. They assure me that fans thought Liberace was straight. ikr!

Alfie has got me a ticket to see the fashion degree catwalk show. He says he got it especially for me, but I know he offered it first to a girl and she said no.

As soon as we arrive, he transforms into a full-on diva. The seats are nearly full.
“We’re going to sit at the fucking front,” he decides, “we’re fucking VIPs!”
The front seats all have names on which aren’t ours.
“I’m having a fucking drink!” he strops.
“The drinks are only being served after the show,” an usher explains.
Alfie goes straight up to the bar and yanks two free from under the protective covering.
“We’re fucking VIPs” he explains.

The show is the best student one I’ve seen. A monster comes on at first with ten-foot arms and legs, glaring at the crowd. Then ten-foot tall amazons stride up and down parading their freakishly proportioned bodies. My god, what’s wrong with them? They’re not hunched over or sagging in the middle. Freaks.

At the afterparty, I have one of those moments. I’m introduced to one of the models and I look up at her.
Surely by now I will know how to speak to women? There will be no unattainables any more- adulthood is place of accepting our common humanity etc?

“Wow,” I murmur in an awed child’s voice. I’m not going to say what I think I am am I-
“You’re really tall,” I murmur as I gaze up, stupefied at her (and at me).
She looks over my head and walks away.

A little while later, our friend High Bri comes over. He passes the model and is a good 2 inches shorter.

“Ha, that girl is even taller than you,“ Dom says with Record Breakers glee.

“No she fucking isn’t,” says Bri, going back over and straining to show that he is, in fact, marginally higher.

“I win,” he shouts in a voice unintentionally like golem.

Life would seem to be about small victories played out on the epic battlefield of human activity. There is no ultimate victory, only desperate deeds done in semi darkness, with the vague hope that you’ll have time to eat your pot noodle or have an orgasm before the next blow falls.
Or something.


“I want hot dogs for lunch today. What’s a portion?” I ask Esther.

She raises her eyebrow. Of course, how could I have been so insubordinate?

“I’ll decide,” she says in a no-messing tone before adding, “Jah will provide. And decide.”

I’ve never realised how must Esther sounds like a rasta…

“I googled ‘sad rasta’ and found NOTHING. I give you this instead: a rasta dictator, aka Esther.”

Don’t mention the war!

To celebrate his four score and ten years (and counting), we organized a get together for my last remaining Grandad.

I never remember if he was in the airforce or the navy. Turns out it was both. He was in the Fleet Air Arm (FAA), the airforce branch of the Royal Navy.
To cover my balding patch, and as a wink to my aged ancestor’s past, I wore a Sea Captain’s cap from our East Anglian boating hol.
“You outrank me!” said Grandad in his FAA blazer, and I was going to make a joke about out-camping him too but then I remembered the £90 notes Esther had made for the occasion, superimposing his cheeky face over the Queen’s, her coiffeur and crown peeking out at the top.

There were 80 guests: cousins he’d not seen for 40 years, secretaries who’d worked for him 30 years ago, a 20-piece brass band and one single, room-filling, Phoenix Nights style throwback DJ.

It seems Political Correctness was the only person not invited.

The DJ jokes about “the Jew’s table!” who haven’t paid up, and Mum orders Dad to go and have a word with him, giving him chance to escape the clutches of his brothers who have pummelled him with questions (he usually manages to avoid all contact).

Other highlights include my gay Verger Godfather coming onto me:

Him “I used to be able to lift you up, now look at the size of you!”
Me “Shall I pick you up?”
Him “Chance would be a fine thing!”

For the rest of the evening, he came over periodically to take my photograph under some pretense or other.
“You’ve got a lovely smile” he’d say, and snap away.
When it came time for the 400th family photo, he elbowed Esther out of the way with the line

“You’ve been replaced by a younger model!” (he’s nearly twice her age).

It must have taken a herculean effort to plan and choreograph the party. Guests had been summoned from far afield and from the dim and distant past, and a brass band, my g’dad’s favourite musical tipple, arrives halfway through to play.

“Are you enjoying the band?” I ask him.
“One of them’s out of tune” is all he says.

Grandad has laid out photographs of his youth and young manhood on a table for the purple rinses to reminisce. You never get to see your Grandparents as peers, but there he is, instantly identifiable in each photo by his grin, like a provincial Frank Sinatra. After the performance, a trombonist comes over and points to a photo.

“Ooh I remember him!” she says with animation, pointing at a photo.

I look at which family member she’s aiming at.

It’s Hitler on the front of a wartime newspaper.

“My parents used to hide me under the table so he couldn’t get me” she explains, as if he were the family dog.

I imagined the air raid siren going off and her parents whispering “quick he’s coming!” and this frightened girl with a quivering kiss curl listening from her table fortress for the sound of a mustached murderer creeping past the window.

“I know where you live”

During the national anthem (yes really), Esther’s irreverent balloon-waving causes an old chap on the table opposite to point and sternly act out a more jingoistic effort. The enthusiastic demands this approved arm-waving required cause her elbows to flick out, knocking her half a lager & lime over the table of relics (the photographic ones, not the guests). A rescue party is sent out, and after frantic swabbing, the photos are rescued.

Finally, it’s time to get a lift with gay godfather back to Grandad’s house. “Ooh, lovely” G’dad exclaims as Esther helps him out of the car, and she thinks, I’m not doing much, before looking down and realizing he can see right down her top.

Happy Birthday indeed.

What if God was a Happy Slapper?

Gary Glitter has found God, and is releasing a cover of Joan Osborne’s ‘classic’ What if God was one of Us? Here’s a taster of his revised lyrics:

What if God was one of us?

Just a paedo on the bus?

Trying to make it with your only son?

Catchy. And thought provoking. What if God was one of us? We are after all fallen, sinful and downright nasty compared to Mr squeaky clean upstairs. Original sin is a pretty shitty inheritance:

“Gee thanks mom and pop, I can’t have a car, but I’ve got a plot waiting in hell for me”

And if God was one of us, he’d be heading the same way.


I have just watched the Bible-bashing episode of GLEE (Grilled Cheesus), and it sickened me. Even the militant atheists (Sue and Kurt) felt the power of faith by the end. America can’t help but bring God into it, and then make him rape your face.

And who’s God huh? I’m sure there’s a few Muslims and Sikhs and Hindus etc at Glee school too, what about their gods? They may as well be damned atheists as far as the Christian Right is concerned.

Egg1 "I've found God!" Egg2 "No that's just my ass"

People only find God when they’re in a pickle. When your life turns to shit, you get so desperate that you will cling to anything. Even a God shaped floating shit.

But I don’t want to sound like Richard Dawkins (what a religious nut!). During my grumpy phase (still ongoing), my dad wisely said “you need some spirituality in your life” in a gently ‘you’ll see’ voice. Being a teenager, I blew a raspberry and stomped back upstairs to listen to Megadeth.

"Excuse me, where can I get those clothes pegs?"

However, the seriousness of adulthood has given me cause to think back about this possibility. But I can’t do it. Maybe nothing bad enough has happened to me to make me desperate to believe (but saying this makes me touch the God of wood)- or maybe it has and I just can’t? How bad does it have to get?

Maybe on my deathbed I’ll repent: Catholicism offers the best last resort. Do what you want, as long as you say sorry afterwards. Madonna and her clones make me want to get faithed up- the videos for Like a Prayer and Alejandro are hot. I haven’t seen a titillating Muslim yet, but I’m sure it’ll happen. If I were a Muslim, I’d think all women were prick teases, walking around and talking and asking for it. Yeah right.

If I were Christian, I’d think that sex was so important it has to be saved up. Talk about pressure. How disappointing when your adult body can only fumble like a naïve teenager. How shit if you can’t come- but God wants you to do it in the name of procreation. You’re a vessel of God; not so different from a Communist selflessly working for the greater good is it? How shit to defer your own pleasure for the chance of an afterlife that may never happen.

"Peace be with you?"

It’s not that I refuse to believe, it’s that I don’t know how. I went to a church one Sunday because I felt hungover and guilty about having spent money and had a good time. I accidentally dressed all in black that day, and together with my red eyes and boozey stench I got some funny looks. The vicar kept banging on about the anti-Christ and I’m sure he was looking at me. The discomfort continued when everyone suddenly started shaking each other’s hands. Oh god I though as it got to my turn: some prim bourgeoisie invaded my personal space to look into my eyes and say “peace be with you”. My fake smile trembled under their prolonged gaze. Get me the fuck out of here I prayed to the anti-Christ.

I’m not anti-faith. I just hate the way religious people can’t just think

‘I am happy and secure in my belief, and everyone else is welcome to their (non) belief’.

But no, they think ‘Heathens are abominations and must be forcibly converted even if we all die in the process’.

"Hell = A world full of Michael Keatons"

What they don’t realise is that if we were all perfect and faithful, the world domination that bible bashers bash their bibles for, religion would be obsolete.

Without the drive to convert, chastise, commiserate and coddle non-believers, what is there left for the god-botherer to do?

And without a punishment (hell), heaven isn’t a reward. It’s just the place that everyone goes. What’s the point of being good if you’re going to end up there anyway?

If everyone could shop at Waitrose, or if everyone was paid the same, what would be the point of any other shops or having a career, or being ambitious? Having competition relies on ambition, greed, and the drive to have something so someone else can’t have it.

"I'm going to scream and scream until I'm sick"

All these nasty, selfish traits that ruin the world are nicely encapsulated in the brain of an only child. I should know, I am one.

The only child never has to learn to share- and remains forever resentful that the world refuses to provide them with the attention they deserve, the sticky-fingered attention their parents gave them.

They may never come to terms with the fact that other people get stuff that they can’t have.

Esther often forces me to share with Lisa and Dom.

“But having this thing that you’re making me share is the only thing that makes me better than them!” I whine.

And if I am not better than them, I am worse. One or the other. The wheel of fortune: to be at the top, there must be poor suckers at the bottom. Pray it isn’t your turn next. All or nothing.

What’s the point of having stuff if everyone’s got it? You have objects so other people can’t- that’s my game. I would hate communism, unless I could work the system and become a dictator.