James, Sharon and Taylor Too


Tuesday

Pal George, he of our regular man-dates, has got us all guest tickets to see his uncle, singer of 90s indie gods James. They are playing the Academy, supported by Echo & the Bunnymen, self-proclaimed Best Band in the World Ever.

When we get there at 8pm, they’ve already started.

“This is the best fucking song in the world,” slurs Ian McCulloch as the glissando first notes of The Killing Moon drizzle down our spines. The class of 1984 are here in force, filled out and worked over by time’s cruel bullying. But before we know it, the Echo has faded, leaving just some weird Kabbalah cursing in the toilets and a lake of tepid piss traversing the cubicles, looking for something 30 years too late.

James’ appearance on stage summons up unheard-of acts from men I would cross the street to avoid. In comparison, McCulloch’s lairy bravado was just a childish front, and now the soft underbelly of a thousand blokes can wobble in lovely sentimentality.

The only way I can see the stage is from the far corner of the balcony. Here, the floor shakes with drunken stomping, and tipsy men gyrate with 12 pint grins.

I eavesdrop a text convo between a fan and his absent wife (perks of being tall).

“Has he told you to sit down yet?”

“Nah. He’s played our album though, and some new ones what are good.”

Our album. Bless.

These hard men are united by soft anthems, as Tim Booth wiggles his metrosexual hips, a luminary in loon pants.

With Just Like Fred Astaire, (which he sang at George and Demi’s wedding), Tim walks among his people like Ben Kinglsey as Ghandi, a forest of arms sprout cameraphones along his path. He is their skinhead poet, their Singing Counsellor who listens while they softly weep of neglected boyhoods and the hard shell the world made them wear. This is Rimbaud, not Rambo, and the mad jesters of Madchester recite his poems with chest pounding love.

This is an armistice on machismo, a peace corp of men wearing flower t-shirts. Sit Down vs. The Killing Moon: I never thought such an anthem of domesticity and inaction would win devotion over such thrusting, masculine yearning, but tonight I glimpse my part in the phalanx of the phallus and it is just like everyone else’s.

“It’s weird”, Tim tells me afterwards, “but our fans are different everywhere we go. In Mexico, it’s teenagers; in Greece it’s 30 something women. And here it’s big blokes.”

As we leave, I make the mistake I always do, and try to pat Tim on the back and get some sort of friendly validation even we’ve only met once. He doesn’t turn round.

"When I open my eyes, I want you to be gone"

“When I open my eyes, I want you to be gone”

Wednesday

I’ve been referred to a Mindfulness course by my doctor. Mindfulness is like Buddhism, without the silly Buddha bit.

I manage to be 10 minutes late to the first one today.

There’s about eight of us here, and we all say our names, to ease the tension. It so happens that the two women either side of me are called Sharon. I can’t help myself.

“I’m in a Sharon sandwich!” I blurt out, leaning forward conspiratorially. Both Sharons stiffen in their seats.

Oh no.
After a few seconds of awkward silence, one of the women running the group forces out a chuckle and says,

“Ho Ho, well done!”

The Sharons start to relax again.

"Don't get fruity, Sharon."

“Don’t get fruity, Sharon.”

Thursday

I can’t stop thinking about a practical joke involving a rubber glove, with one finger smeared with Nutella. It would fall out of your victim’s bag at a crucial point, like an interview or first date.

They might lick it to prove it wasn’t poo, but that would be even worse.

"I always carry the essentials"

“I always carry the essentials”

Friday

Why do really camp men always look like their faces are in a wind tunnel?

Saturday

Summer is here. We’ve had 1.5 hours of sun and already the air is choked with BBQs, and a boy has cycled past me in a zebra onesie with a zebra face mask. He looked right at me, the face of something symbolic. No idea what.

"Look into my eyes. No around the eyes, into the eyes."

“Look into my eyes. No around the eyes, into the eyes.”

There’s a man in the pub. He’s so average. I wish I was average. He’s small, and cutely proportioned and he has a normal length neck. He is so healthy & taut that even the skin of his inner ear shines.

Monday

I’m off to interview funny Welsh artist Bedwyr Williams for Flux Magazine. His gallery are paying for me to go by train to his studio in Caernarvon. I’ve spent all week trying to come up with questions. I’m bricking it. I’ve tried to think of some really serious questions. And I’ve got my usual childish, inane ones that right now I am embarrassed of.

I have 20 minutes to get from one station to another in Warrington and I can’t resist going in a charity shop. Madonna is playing on the radio. I find a pair of big 70s sunglasses and try them on. About time for an Acid jazz revival, I tell myself. I get myself a red silk shirt too. When I get home later, I’ll realise that I was slightly delirious.

"Why ever not?"

“Why ever not?”

Bedwyr picks me up from Bangor station. Within seconds, I know the silly questions will work. He really reminds me of someone I used to know, but I can’t think who. Maybe this boy that we called Sexual Sam who played Thirteenth Floor Elevators on vinyl and I was sick in his garden after a bong.

Every so often as he’s driving, he turns to me with an impish Malcolm McDowell grin. We seem to get on pretty well. But then he tells me he’s already had people from The Times, Observer and Guardian to see him, with their witty anecdotes about famous people. All I have is a silly hat which I bought from Oxfam and now think was a bad idea. All the best material happens when we’re chatting on the way there and back- as soon as I turn on my Dictaphone, things go a bit stiff and formal.

But time flies and he drives me back to the station with only seconds to spare. “I’ll wait in case you miss the train,” he says, which means he gets to see my silly run where I have to pull my skinny jeans up every 3 steps of the way because my belt won’t work. Mine is the generation who can’t run anywhere.

Finally, on the train, I devour the pasta salad that I didn’t eat on the way in the hope that Bedwyr would feed me something interesting. I start reading the book of performance scripts that he gave me, and it makes me manically grin and choke on laughter, so I have to put it away. Still flush with the overfamiliarity of interview, I text him about laughing at his book, like he’s a drinking buddy.

He doesn’t reply.

Wednesday
The thought police have declared an armistice.

“Give up your most dangerous ideas,” they say, “and you’ll come to no harm.”

I can’t think of anything worth handing in.

Thursday
There’s a pair of gay ducks in the stream on my way to work. Sometimes a moorhen hangs out with them like a fag-hag.

I submitted a short story about Taylor Swift for discussion in my writing class tonight. It leads to the immortal line;

“You know the bit in your story that starts ‘She pushed me against the big tit…’?”

I may never beat this moment.

Friday
I’m so sick of walking Goldie in the park and hearing hundreds of birds who somehow manage to totter round the other side of branches when I look up. But I have a plan. If I can weaponize some rohypnol, I can fire a canister into the trees and take my time catching them in a net and ruffling their tummy feathers, before setting them back in their roosts.

I sit down on the grass for the first time this year, enjoying the sun
while Goldie eats grass like a sheep. I feel nostalgic, and remember when Russia used to be called CCCP. That was weird.

"Nyet! Not TCP, CCCP!"

“Nyet! Not TCP, CCCP!”

HONG KONG IV: Hang(zhou) Time!


Wednesday 7th (Contd)

I am in an episode of The Hills directed by David Lynch. In a world of short Chinese people in drab designer clothes and Communist workwear, DeeDee (Euro-vixen and corkscrew-curled fashionista) and Bruce (American-obsessed Scandinavian style-icon) tower above like retro aliens. In their arms is the cutest ball of fluff I have ever seen- Popo the living teddybear. They are a power couple in the style of Brad and Angelina, so I am going to fuse their names and call them BreeDee from now on.
After I fumble my way through hugs and greetings (I am feeling shy as I haven’t seen them for over a year, and I am sleep deprived and spaced out), Popo is scooped up from the floor and we hail a cab. A wide, flat landscape of utilitarian concrete blocks slips past the Toyota windows, and I am feeling very far from home. Amidst the overexcited chit-chat, Bruce tells me that a Western guy was made an example of and executed two weeks ago for having an itsy bit of weed on him. I want to turn the taxi round and go home. But the driver doesn’t speak English and Popo has reached across from DeeDee’s embrace to lay his manicured paw on me, so I’m trapped.

“What’s the gossip from Sheffield?” asks DeeDee excitedly. I can’t think of anything. Sheffield is boring, that’s why I’m here.

BreeDee live in a 13th floor elevatored apartment heated by electric blankets and a looming aircon tower in the corner. Central heating does not exist here, and I get wafts from the toilet of that ginger-spiced ditchwater I overdosed on at Harvey’s hovel. It’s time to crack open the beer and toast my extremest Easternness yet. BreeDee’s friend AJ, a cool club promoter/all round nice guy comes round to stare at their new pet (me).

“What kind of music do you like?” he asks.
All I can think about is the last 3 songs I listened too, 30,00 feet over the Indian subcontinent.
“Tatu” I say
His face falls.
“Really?”
“And J-pop” I add
“Oh” he says, changing the subject.

My credibility is dead. I suppose what I just did was the equivalent of a Chinese guy coming over to Sheffield and saying he liked Irish Eurovision songs. I must remember that irony only works when the thing is taken out of context.

I have been provided with a lush airbed and am knackered, but Popo, who seems to have grown wings in the night, has other ideas. Every time I move or make a pre-snore sigh, he leaps elegantly out of the darkness onto my face before lapping feverishly at my ears with his ice-cold tongue. Eventually I hide myself under the duvet and the attacks cease.

Thursday 8th March

"Gently drizzle with smelly water until sodden. Leave for three months then serve."

It has been raining solidly for 3 months here, and the panoramic view of Hangzhou from BreeDee’s apartment is obscured by drizzle.

“Do you wanna try e-biking?” says Bruce
“I’m not very good with computer games”
“No, it’s like a moped but electric”

Hmm. My riding history is peppered with dysfunction and injury. I used to have a secondhand racer that I couldn’t get up on kerbs with; otherwise I used to borrow my friend’s sister’s bike which took the skin off my thumbs and bent my knees/masculinity out of shape.

“Go on then, but don’t tell Esther” I say. With my confessional impulses, it’s a more of a Note to Self.

An e-bike is basically a slow scooter that you can charge from the mains. They are all the rage in China where a generous third of the road is taken up with cycle lanes. Time to see if I can remember how to ride…

"Close my eyes and think of Chingland."

Battle armour at the ready: ironic hats (AKB48 for me; Russian furry with soviet badge for Bruce), camouflage ponchos, skinny jeans and fuck off boots.

“Oh and the brakes don’t work too great” he adds.

Oh well, what can go wrong in a cycle lane?

But this is China- and everyone is on a bike, moped or ebike. The lane is rammed with merciless speeding locals. I slow to let one past and suddenly Bruce is 100 metres ahead and disappearing in the melee. Shit shit shit!
I am going to have to grow some here. I speed up, overtaking, my bike wobbling with exertion.

Suddenly I’m flying!

Time to concentrate on the task. Everyone has stopped at the junction up ahead. I pump the breaks. Nothing happens. Oh my fucking God! Boots down; H&M plastic soles skidding, the friction nearly setting my feet on fire. Just in time, I slow to a stop.

Bruce points to the left. We are going across the road, through all the kamikaze minubuses and honking drivers. Oh god, I’m going to die. As I gather my wits, Bruce kicks off and glides across unscathed.

I am facing the wrong way and manhandle my bike to face his path. As I twist the accelerator, a minibus hurtles in front of me. The trouble is, and this is not something I learn easily today, as soon as you yank on the handlebar, the bike jumps forward like it’s alive. I find myself edging into the cars and trucks and buses which seems to be daring me to throw myself in front of them. There are tuk-tuks and ebikes and cyclists jostling behind me, honking. Their mini horns sound like melvined nerds compared to the horny bulls of the minibuses.

Bruce has disappeared from view. Unless I want to get lost in a megacity where no-one will understand my cries for help, I have to go NOW. The light has gone green, but that doesn’t mean much because people just go when they feel like it. I edge out, at first hesistant, then realising that the key to this is courage. I yank the handlebar decisively and weave across the road, aiming for the cycle lane opposite, making it and catching up with Bruce, who sits aside his vintage bicycle nonchalantly. His patience is going to be tested today, folks.

Finally we get to Westlake, which sounds like an American mall but is in fact a big wet lake.

There’s big group photo taking place, and I decide to do a Where’s Wally and stand at the back while Bruce captures my photo-bomb.

"Spot the lao wei"

I’m not very good at this game- clearly- half the front row spotted me straight away. Time to make like a local and zhou (groan)

We get a beer (this is an alkie’s holiday) and walk along the rustic wooden bridge, under the amused gaze of Chinese tourists, who have come for the rainy lake but find the perfect camera fodder in us, the freaky lao wai (Johnny Foreigners). Bruce’s communist badge was a particular hit, making girls giggle and old men grimace.

Mao’s regime is a serious matter, but only for those who remember it. For everyone else his ubiquitous Little Red Book and permagrin face are faintly embarrassing, like our Royal Family. Westlake looks like every picture of China I’ve ever seen; still water reflecting the jaunty angles of pagodas; a heron perusing its own shadow; flowerbeds seeded with ornamental cabbages (function over form at all times); a uniformed team of council workers raising and dripping a piledriver in spooky synchronicity. And a Starbucks slap bang in the middle.

The gap between rich and poor is huge in China. Every 1st world skyscraper is flanked by ramshackle 3rd world shacks. Gucci billboards look down on street sellers and labourers who snotgobble and spit as they go about their business. As in Hong Kong, the biggest industry is construction and the skyline is full of bamboo scaffolding and the ambient sound of knocking down and building up forever and ever until China is without end and penthouse suites have recompression chambers and a space view.

As we pose in front of a giant golden Buddha, hordes of tourists are drawn by the sight and snap away. Bruce stands with the confidence of a photogenic rock star, but I am awkward in the spotlight. We are exotic here; our height and old clothes and sallow complexions are anomalies.

"One of is a peace-sign pro. Clue: it ain't me."

I look even paler after BreeDee force me to watch Paranormal Activity just before bed, and I have to lie with my back to the kitchenette in case I see something move there. When exhaustion finally sends me to sleep, I hear a sound like cutlery being moved and sit bolt upright with the immortal words

WHAT THE FUCK!?

Which wakes BreeDee and Popo so they can have a jolly good laugh at me. It turns out that it had been Popo ringing the bell signalling to be let out onto the balcony for a wee. My nerves are shot.

Friday 9th March

Today was spent trying to find a Lolita Café that AJ mentioned. Apparently waitresses dress as Manga characters and debase themselves for your delectation. This is cultural curiosity, you understand, not perversion. This is a Japanese import, a land where men’s souls are broken on the brushed chrome of industry, and their sexual desire is regressed into child-worship.

I am becoming almost cocky behind the e-wheel, my AKB48 cap twisted to the side like a 90s street urchin, tipsy on the curiosity of locals.
We find the right street but the numbers are cut-off halfway along, and Bruce set off on his bike to find where and if the street starts again. I wait with the e-bike, plugged in and charging next to two old ladies pruning their miniature plants. After about ten minutes I have the jellifying realisation that should Bruce fail to return, I would be stranded in a vast metropolis where no-one speaks English, with no memory of where BreeDee live and no passport (back at the flat). The trusty e-bike would be my only friend in the world, and I sit on her soft seat forlornly.

I quickly hid the terror in my eyes when Bruce rounds the corner with the news that the street never carried on, and the Lolitas will have to remain a fantasy.

DeeDee finishes work at her fashion empire early and we go to Central Perk, an exact replica of the café from Friends. Upstairs, there’s Joey and Chandler’s room, complete with lounge chairs, and the girls’ flat with picture frame behind the door. The weird thing is that each room is full of Chinese twentysomethings who go silent when we walk in. I start to wonder if these are actually their private rooms, and we have just trespassed.

"My attempt to do hiphop hands leaves me looking like a spazz. Is that unPC? Well, so is China!"

Downstairs, the coffees are ridiculously expensive (£5!), and a pixellated screen plays endless episodes of Friends next to classic Chinglish graffiti in coloured chalk. This is kitsch from the other side of the screen.

"To be loved..."

May as well get our money’s worth- photosesh!

"America, re-imagined by China and enjoyed by passing Europeans"

Tonight’s dinner is at a Korean restaurant- I’ve eaten out every night on this holiday, and that’s the way Harvey and BreeDee live because it’s so cheap. Now I find out why- the food’s brought to you raw, and you’re expected to cook it yourself over a big hob in the centre of the table. There’s no point complimenting the chef, because it’s me (and I can’t cook)!

"We bring the food; You cook it!"

Westerners are still a rarity in Hangzhou, and they all go to one bar: Ellen’s. The walls and ceiling are covered in graffiti from Americans, Brits and continental Europeans. There is one toilet for the lot of us, and the place is rammed with drunken ex pats and TEFOL teachers by the time we get there.

BreeDee’s friends are a motley crew; the French Canadian happy-sad duo of Eddie and Jacques; Dutch-Chinese Harriet, Home Counties girl Claudia and her beautiful eyes, and Chinese-American Fran.

“Chinese people get so angry with me because I look like one of them but can’t speak a word of Mandarin” says Fran.
“My Korean girlfriend is giving me grief,” moans Jacques like a sad puppy, his eyes permanently latching onto drunk voluptuous girls.
“I play blind-guitar” says Jacques, “I get a call saying they need a white guitarist for a gig and I meet up with whoever else they have called up and on the way there we try to figure out if there’s any songs we all know how to play. One time we played at a fashion show next to a swimming pool, and all we knew was Amazing Grace so we stretched it out all night. They loved it.”
“They call me the white goddess” says Claudia, “because I’m 6 feet tall and blonde and they’ve never seen anyone like me. They stop in the street and stare.”

After my travels with Bruce, I can imagine how this must feel.

Our destination tonight is KTV, another Japanese import: private karaoke booths, hundreds of them in a gold and marble palace with all the taste and restraint of Liberace’s bathtub. It has its own supermarket, where you fill your trolley with cheap booze; our party (BreeDee, Eddie, Harriet and Claudia) um and ah about how much of what to get, before deciding on 2 bottles of vodka, cans of Fanta and umpteen beers.

“Whatever you do, don’t forget which room you’re in” warns DeeDee, “I did one time and I wandered around for hours before Bruce came to find me.”

The corridor stretches forever; each room looks the same, each one filled with drunken singing and childlike, uninhibited laughter.

Now, as I have said before, I do not do public singing. I don’t even sing in the shower in case someone hears.

I start to down vodka oranges like there’s no tomorrow.
Before long, the microphone is shoved in my face to the sound of Bowie’s Heroes. I love this song, why ruin it with my voice? The mic is passed to Harriet who looks confused.
“I don’t know the words,” she admits.
From nowhere comes the urge to croon, and I grab the mic and am thrust into the sweaty, undying love of being a hero for ever and ever. Bruce’s perfect key keeps me afloat while I ham it up, fist in air and voice going up and down like an impassioned yoyo. I look round and instead of horror, I see amusement and even pleasure.
Yes! I think, this is GREAT!

"The importance of being earnest"

Sadly, everything I sing after this point is only an echo of this triumph. My attempt to sing All the Things She Said by Tatu is especially diabolical, since I can no longer remember the words or how the song goes even though I have listened to it 5000 times.
We are joined by Bubu, radical art student and babyfaced sweetheart who currently sports a monk’s haircut and robes. She sings Chinese pop with single-minded passion and I want to adopt her as my daughter/sister/teddybear.

"KTV siblings"

I fall asleep instantly when we get back to the flat, Popo probably having his way with my ears as I lay like a corpse, smiling inanely at the joy of my first public singing in, like, ever.

I’m doing the beetroot workout


"surely not?"

After work, I head down to the gym. I avoid the treadmill like the plague because I have had to lather my thighs with vaseline to stop the agony of constant chafing. I am also being very careful about how hot I get- last time I went, I overdid it, and went to meet Esther and Lisa in Tescos afterwards. Along the way, I seemed to be the centre of attention. I felt like a guy from a Lynx advert, who has stumbled across the secret of universal seduction. I get the pansexual eye (girls, boys, dogs), and my ego inflates like a pull string dinghy, floating me along the street an erect penis’s height from the ground.

The problem is that although I think that I crave attention, if I ever get it, my brain melts and I have an ugly panic attack. I am starting to forget how to walk and to breathe when I manage to run into Tescos and find the girls.

I creep up behind Esther. I like creeping up on people. As Esther catches sight of the looming freak behind her, her face spasms in horror.

“Oh my god, you look like a beetroot” she says.

"Having exercised, I must go into hiding"

It turns out I had been waking along looking like a boiled lobster/sore thumb/busta blood-vessel comedy character, and that was the source of my allure. How disappointing.

I get to Lisa’s having escaped the gym in a milder hue of cerise.They must be in a good mood- there’s a cup of tea waiting for me. We all fall silent as we guzzle and read the trashy magazines lying around (Heat, Grazia, Look).

“What’s the point of donkeys?” says Lisa out of the blue.

“Some people just have fields full of them. What do you do with them?”

Nothing comes to mind.

“I spose you can stroke them” she reasons. Yes, that’s right. That makes sense to all of us, and we go back to reading.

“I just had a really strong urge to superglue my lips together” says Esther, again breaking the intellectual silence. I think it was my brain telling me what I wanted to hear, but no, she actually said it.

“I thought the tube of glue was Zovirex. When I realised it wasn’t, I thought ‘what’s the worst thing I could do?’ and I have to stop myself from putting it on my lips”. It’s a traditional bloke joke, to want the woman to shut up. I briefly feel a sense of belonging by wishing it too.

I reach for my special Blog notebook. The girls notice, and figure out what I’m doing.

“Quick, say something funny” thinks Lisa aloud.

After a few moments of tense, brain whirring silence, she blurts out;

“I wish I could transform my body…into a frog’s body! Ha, then everyone would love me.”

She pulled it out of the bag didn’t she? However it all goes downhill from there, so I put my notebook away in disgust. I need an invisible pen and pad really, or to do some serious ethnographic shit to live in this crazy uncivilised world with the natives till they forget I’m there. Oh, wait…

"I was invisible till I got 3rd degree sunburn"

Onion rings and shameless things


"Please go away, I can't hold this fake smile for much longer"

Unsent Letter No. 3

Dear, Dear Carey Mulligan,

I don’t know what it is about you. The French would say you have a certain I don’t know what. Ever since I saw you as a schoolgirl in An Education, I have been in love with your cute puppy-dog eyes and your old woman’s face.

One question oh prematurely aged one. Why Shia Le Boeuf? You look too classy to eat (Heaven Forbid!) beef. I imagine you snacking on a ripe Gala Melon, with the sap all running down etc. I live round the corner from a fruit and veg shop, so keeping stocked up on them won’t be a problem. If I change my name to Vienne Aux Melone will that entice you back to the fatherland (we can play who’s the daddy if you insist)?

Yours

V x

Esther is cutting all our fast food menus up. Not as part of our diet, simply because she is bored.
“You’re going to make a mess on the floor,” notes Lisa.
Esther grunts, furiously chopping. “Argh, the agony of creation” she shouts in a northern bloke/Vic Reeves voice.
She has finished cutting and lifts her creation aloft, opening it out into…a long thin strip.
“You’ve done it wrong you dickhead” says Lisa.
Esther screws it up and rolls a cigarette.

When you live with a girl, their feminine mystique dissipates pretty quickly. I’m completely transparent, so Esther never had anything to learn about me, but she was stand-offish and cynical from the very start, like a mouth full of sour skittles fighting back as your saliva glands flood with lust.

Oh actually, I’ve just remembered that Esther said that she thought I looked like a model until I opened my mouth- then a pair of dopey rabbit-teeth poked through and I grinned like a village idiot. The illusion was shattered by my nerd personality.

"Please don't make me show them again darling"

When we were younger, me and my friends planned all manner of ways to get girls to notice us. Harvey went through his psychic stalker phase where he told me excitedly about a technique called ‘remote influence’ where you could get girls to do what you want by simply willing it through astral projection. He spent many hours developing this skill, but never got a girl to do anything for him, except look at him with pity.

My speciality was the unflinching stare of longing. I would stare brazenly at my object of lust until I caught her eye, and I mistook her look of panic for attraction.

I still refuse to believe that beauty should be met with subtlety. Surely the only thing to do when confronted with gorgeousness is to drink it up gluttonously? Yet everyone else I know swears by a demure half glance and then feigned disinterest. How anyone can tell anything from that sort of namby pamby body language is beyond me. I’m with the autistics on this one.

"I want you"

What is it with me(n) and mirrors? Ever since I felt the buzz from looking in the full-length downstairs bathroom mirror when my parents were out, I have been an addict. I would take all my clothes off and watch in the mirror as merely the act of looking made my cock hard. I would get turned on by own turned on-ness. At the very last second, I would have to run in and direct my upward protuberance down into the porcelain bowl to shoot my load.

Those last few seconds are the very heights of pleasure, but they have forever been associated with sudden responsibility- anal retentiveness takes over from penile attentiveness. Joy turns into mess.

I never understood in films how men could wank with a box of tissues. I need lube; I need something to stop the chafing. I’ve tried glycerine, Vaseline, yoghurt, soap and finally a well-placed shower head (common to both sexes I believe). But I refuse to rub my dry head with my slightly sticky hands, which harbour the few but proudly worn calluses of a lower working class man. I envy the worker, whose oppressed cock responds only to grating pain as an asbestos grip pummels the foreskin into bloody submission. Or so I imagine.

"I'll have 2 sore heads in the morning!"

How many onion rings can you fit our your cock/strap-on/mutant clitoris? I think this should be the new measurement to replace inches. Like horses are measured in hands, and engines are measured in horsepower.

I’m a 5 ringer (on a good day). How about you?

Mutual Masturbation starring Shaun Ryder and Kenneth Williams


Last Monday was apparently the “happiest day of the year”. It was Happy Monday, that celebrated day of old when Shaun Ryder woke up in his own vomit and decided to form a band. What a crock.

IMAO ‘the happiest day of the year’ only happens once a decade, when the Summer forgets to be so darn British and goes all out.

However illogically, most years just don’t have a best day, only lots of worst days.

Esther: "I'm out of here"

Me and Esther are moving house soon. This means downsizing, which means that Esther is going to get mean on my ass.

We start at the top of the house.

“We don’t need any stupid books!” she yells as I try to slip some into the ‘Keep’ box. “You can get books online now”
“But you can’t write on them or change them at all” I say falteringly. Why the hell do I want books?
“You can print them off” she retorts
“You might as well buy them if you’re going to do that!” Ha! I try to fault her logic
“Print it off then throw it away when you’ve read it. It’s so old fashioned to have books” She says scornfully.
I must work out more surreptitious ways to save my precious paper antiques.

“Old fashioned” really cuts me to the quick. My hip self image, with it’s jacket over the shoulder and ‘jazzy’ socks, starts to cry. Damn it.

I feel like Marty McFly being given a dressing down for his fashion sense:

Anyway why should I be taking advice from someone who only reads picture books?

I’ve got the girl of my dreams- and just like a dream, she’s pure illusion.

Our rules of interaction are:

  1. No caresses
  2. No kisses that last more than 1 second, with absolutely no trace of saliva.
  3. No groping or foreplay
  4. No sleeping naked
  5. No sex or it’s euphemisms: hanky panky, slap and tickle, how’s your father, rumpy pumpy etc

Plato would be proud of us. And Jesus. Shame they’re dead and I hate them.

We have a tea break from packing. In bed. Quietly, Esther gets under the duvet. I turn round, and before I can criticize she shouts

“No! No! No! No! Nothing is happening!” and buries her head under 3 pillows.

"Let's not bother moving house, let's just snooze"

Instead I watch the news. “Closing libraries will kill communities!” is the Liberal crusade of the week. Bullshit. Libraries are just full of mentally ill people who have nowhere else to go. Sheffield City Library has its own regulars: a man who sets up shop next to the Frank Zappa books and conducts a tea party with his multiple personalities, several people who pretend to read comics while they blatantly stare at normals over their glasses, people who try and have a shower in the toilet wash basin (one limb at a time). Oh and people who like to complain about the absence of porn in the video collection.

And then there’s the zero emission neo-hippies who come in with their fold up bikes and faint whiff of hemp, who hover like angry flies around the ‘Environment’ section and sneer at the materialists ogling the chick lit.
Where would these lost souls go instead? The public toilets? Charity shops probably, to get naked in the changing room or to repeatedly ask if any of the clothes are made with organic cotton.

Whenever I start to rant, I want a write a Manifesto. So far, all I can think of is:

  1. Bring back beatings for freaks. My dad used to be chased down the road for being a longhair. Now, anything goes and no-one gives a shit what you wear. I just wished people cared enough to want to hit me.
  2. Bring back Trevor and Simon: the gay Vic and Bob?

The thing that always pissed me off about accounts of the free-lovin’ 60s is that it was always so hetero. Gayness isn’t even considered; radical politics went with ultra-conservative sexuality. Boring. If you are really interested in deconstructing the personality and experiementing with non-normative ways of living, surely trying out same sex relationships is a no brainer? But no, it remained a taboo, and this is what makes me mad! Get over yourselves, you’re just a horny square trying to get unlimited booty calls!

Thinking like this made me wonder if I would enjoy gay sex.

I was discussing foursomes with my good friends Demi and George, and I realised that I am willing to have a penis up my bum, if at the same time I have my penis in a vagina.

And vice versa. Or some spit roasting; I do like KFC.

“Yes” George said, reminiscing, “I do quite like it with a finger up me”.

Whatever feels nice goes, I say.

Mutual masturbation might also be of interest (“Like this? Have you tried our other sexual favours?”). Apparently when Kenneth Williams first went to a gay bar, he was so excited that he ran down the street shouting “mutual masturbation” until the police were called.

Comeback no. 64: “Do you sit on someone’s face with that bum?” I’m not sure yet what context this will suit, but I’m convinced there is one.

I am Iron Man


This is my song of the day, “I AM IRON MAN…HEAR ME DITHER”

Esther and Lisa are babysitting their nieces and nephew tonight.

In order to last the night, I bought:

  1. For tea: Ham and Pineapple Stuffed Crust Pizza, Mr Kipling’s Rhubarb and Custard Tarts
  2. For general snacks: midget gems and apple doughnuts,
  3. For tomorrow’s elevensies: Danish pastries

Tonight is a perfect night to prove my worth as a human being. I can feed the pets, feed myself, watch TV and go to bed at a reasonable hour. Simple.

Everything runs smoothly until I get to Lisa’s house to pick up Goldie. I can’t decide whether to feed Devo or not. I just can’t decide. Indecision is me. After much thought, I ring Esther and ask her advice.

She says “Do what you think” and abdicates responsibility.

The trouble is I don’t think anything. I can’t procrastinate until Esther does it for me. I can’t pretend to concentrate on the conversation, knowing full well that Lisa and Esther will chatter on without my input. It’s down to me.

So I ring up Esther again. And again. Until she inadvertently makes the decision for me.

Job done.

Now I’m watching Being Human with a cat on my bloated pizza-stuffed belly, and a dog’s chin on my shins. Just right.

What would I rather be: a ghost, a vampire or a werewolf? No brainer- vampires get hot action and get to be history.

"Who are you calling history?"

I used to be obsessed with Coppola’s Dracula film- for a start it had my all time perfect woman Winona Ryder, who dumps uptight Keanu Reeves for sexy Gary Oldman as Dracula. I wanted to be him so much. I bought some blue sunglasses like his and I used to stalk around Sainsburys looking for victims. Once I mouthed his line “See me! See me now” at some winsome teenage girl and she looked straight at me as if spellbound.

"Yes! The rohypnol seems to be working"

Of course as soon as she saw me, she turned away in revulsion, but the moment had briefly been mine. It never worked again though.

Dennis Pennis is in this episode of Being Human. Best sleb name ever? It is for a fifteen year old; the age my humour stopped growing. Here he is winding up Jean Claude Van Damme…

I had a stroke, but you couldn’t reach


Here is a faithful record of the unfaithful dream that I had last night:

Our house was haunted. The sound of stiletto heels echoed down the hallway floorboards and I ran after them into the kitchen. But there was nothing.

"Oh Oh you're in trouble with Esther"

I became very scared, but then got distracted by finding a picture disc 12 inch by Shampoo from 2011. “Wow, they’ve reformed” I thought.

"How dare you surpass your 15 year love for me!"

Back to the goosepimples. I realised as I became more and more terrified that I was completely and utterly and clinically madly in love with a girl who wasn’t Esther. I felt a yearning like a koala for its favourite tree, or a chip’s desire to lie with mushy peas, or a sloth’s desperation for an extension on their essay. Intense.

Every atom of my being was involved in this sweaty lust and longing. Each pore became a mouth singing  ‘I love her I love her I love her’ like a million-strong microscopic boyband. Oh God, this feeling was worse than running out of pudding or some hellish comedown or even a year of Monday mornings lining up like happy slappers forever.

"Quick- she's falling in love"

I had the intellectual runs. Hot thoughts were spurting out of me like: She is the only person I’ve ever loved, the only person who makes me suffer a rapid succession of micro-strokes when I see her, starting in my eye and radiating down past my penis and into the ground.

But I can’t have her. I was mad with sadness, I started to melt like a microwaved snowman and I woke up with my face screwed into the pillow, tears mixing with the usual slobber in a pool that stuck my features into the expression of misery they felt.

Then I had to go to work and like with all dreams, the feeling faded and I found a packet of wine gums in my pocket and felt a bit better. Also my student told me about his visit to the Sistine chapel to see Leonardo Di Caprio’s paintings, which I greatly enjoyed. If only that was true.

But like my dream, it’s an impossible thing and I can’t waste my life wishing it into existence. And it’s a fatal mistake to take dreams as reality, as Marion Cotillard found in Inception