Spain: Gay clones, rubbish graffiti, and a ‘private’ pool

Day 1

We touchdown in thick drizzly clouds. My iPhone told us it would be a sunny 24°C here. My iPhone lied.
The stag party in front rises in pitch.

“Whose idea was Barcelona?” one stag crows. “Fucking chump!”

Spain smells of sickly sweet granny talcum powder mixed with strawberries & cream boiled sweets.

There’s lots of cute lost in translation graffiti saying things like “SPERM” and “mixed media.” The clouds start to clear, and there are parakeets. And palm trees. And youths with mullets. The food shops are called SUPERMEERCAT (well, almost) and the announcements on the Metro sample Electricity by OMD. I’m starting to like this place.

We’re renting a private villa with a swimming pool, so Esther can hide from the world in style and minimal clothes.
We’ve been contacting our villa’s owner via email.

“Check in is from 6-7pm. Ring my son Sergio from airport if you want,” he’d written, “he speaks good English.”

Me: “Shall I ring Sergio?”
Esther: “No, he’ll be there at the villa at 6, he’s expecting us.”
Me: “Are you sure we shouldn’t ring him?”
Esther: “Yes.”

We get a train to Sitges, the nearest town to the villa. The entire population is made up of gay clones with big beards and shaved heads.

Coincidentally, I have exactly the same hairstyle.

“Where are all the fem gays?” I think aloud. I’m getting dizzy from all the testosterone in the air. It’s all bears. And no goldilocks.

There’s a man wearing a t-shirt that says “Bear Construction” on it.
Another man has a picture of one on his.

We have a coke on the strand and watch the waxed abs of the sea and the endless hairy abs of the bromancing bears in the briefest briefs I’ve ever seen.

“It must feel nice for you here,” says Esther, “being fancied.”
“Maybe. Is it a relief for you,” I say, “not being stared at.”
“I guess so. It’s like I’m invisible. I imagine if we were here for a while I’d start to feel really ugly.”
Truth be told, I feel like a minibar in a room full of fridge-freezers.

"You there!"

“You there!”

We watch a younger Spanish man with an umbrella. He starts chatting to a big hairy man who could eat him up. The big man laughs and pats his shoulder, squeezing lingeringly. It’s like watching a lion toying with a hyena. They walk on a bit before the big man heads off in a different direction.
The umbrella man walks back and loiters against the sea wall.
Two older, chunkier men stop near him and he starts chatting to them.

“I think he’s a rent boy,” Esther says.
“How much for a threesome?” I voiceover.
Another couple joins the convo.
“How much for a fivesome?”
They laugh and then move on.
“Too much.”

“I wonder if the umbrella is gay code for ‘For Sale’?” muses Esther, “Oh look, this guy has got an umbrella and a jumper over his shoulders. I wonder what that means.”
“He wears a condom?” I say.

About 5.30pm, we get a cab to the villa which takes us up and up through the hills, past desert scrubland and coniferous sprawls and mini chateaus and crumbling postcard farmhouses in 80s Ralph Lauren colours.
It costs €27.

We’re getting a bus back.

As we’re early, we sit with our food shopping and rucksacks at the end of the road and wait.

“Do we look normal?” Esther says.
“I don’t know.” I say. “I never know.”
Bang on 6pm, we go and ring the bell.
No one comes.
We wait.

The beer I had in town is making me dance.
“I have to wee,” I say.
“Hold it in,” hisses Esther, looking at the villas around us, “please.”
“I can’t. I’m going to go up that hill.”
“Well, be quick.”
I walk until I think I’m out of sight. But I can still hear Esther’s stern voice.
“Hurry. I don’t want you pissing against a tree to be the first thing they see!”
My wee seems to go on forever, but finally, I run back down.
We wait.

Neither of our phones work here.
It starts to dawn on me what’s happening.
I’m going to have to go knocking on villa doors.

“Go and knock on all the doors,” orders Esther.
She watches me disappear up the road.

Dogs are going mental in every garden.
I choose a house where kids are running around outside.
When I ring, three tiny children open the gate with their huge guard dog.
They talk fast Spanish at me.

“Habla Inglais?” I ask.
They look at each other.
“Where are your parents?” I ask.
They babble at me cutely.
“Father and mother,” I say, raising my palms, “mama and papa?”
“Mami et papi?” says the boy.
“Yes, mami et papi,” I say, “can you get them?”
I point at the house and then at me.
The little girl twirls her fingers in the guard dog’s hair and stares blankly. The dog starts to lick my fingers.
“I’m sorry,” I say, walking away, “I don’t know how to say goodbye.”

They chatter to each other, staring after me down the road.
“I think there’s a phone up the road,” Esther says, “I saw it on Google StreetView.”
She’s been virtually up and down these roads for weeks in preparation for the holiday.
So we walk in single file up the tiny hard shoulder because there are no pavements anywhere.
There isn’t a phone, just lots of unfinished concrete and breezeblocks and signs with the Olympic symbol on.
There are acres of vineyards and white pine forests, and the few villas are all new-build holiday homes with interiors that look like kitsch pre-industrial cottages.

I read later that the Olympics were in Barcelona in 1993. I guess everything around here was built in a hurry for that, and the builders left in a hurry when the money and tourists sloped off.

Eventually, I ring the children’s doorbell again, planning to mime a phone and say “mami et papi” until they go and get them.
A woman’s voice comes over the intercom. I think it’s a video one, and as I try to talk into it, I imagine my shaved head and wispy beard looming on the monitor.

“Hola?” she says warily.
“Hola…habla Inglais?”
“Non,” she says definitively.
“Erm, telefono por favor?”
Silence. “…Una momenta.”
There’s a heated discussion behind the gate, then a chavvy man answers in a vest.
“Hola,” I say, trying to smile innocently, doing the phones4U sign, “telefono por favor?”
I show him the email from the man, pointing at the No Signal sign on my stupid phone.
“Una momenta,” he says, closing the door and restarting the heated debate in loud whispers.
Thankfully, he reappears and keys the number into his phone.

5 minutes later, Sergio is here.
10 minute later, we’re alone in our new house.
It’s massive, with 7 bedrooms, all of which are locked apart from ours.
There’s a pool out the back, and a chicken coop, and a spiral staircase, and a vegetable patch full of massive green tomatoes.

On the first night, we get massacred by tiny mosquitoes with stripy legs.
Esther spends the first of many nights scratching meatily at her calves and moaning.

Day 2

After running around the place like fools, discovering the pool is freezing cold, looking in cupboards and drawers (especially the ones with a big sign on that says “PLEASE DO NOT TOUCH THIS”), we have a 2 hour-long brunch on the wicker chairs overlooking our olive tree grove, before going for an afternoon nap. A siesta.

“Have you realised how my daily routine is perfect for this country,” says Esther.

I’m snoring away when I hear something heavy hit the pillow.
My eyes flicker open to see that something scuttling past my head.
Before I know it, I’m out of bed and across the room, back against the wall.
I appear to be moaning.
“It’s only my hand, silly!” says Esther giggling, “I was just trying to pull the duvet up over you. Sorry.”
I look around the room suspiciously.
“Are you sure it’s not a tarantula?”
“No, it was my hand.”
I come back to the bed and check under the pillows.
“It was my hand!”
I still don’t trust her, so I get up and go for a walk.

There are no pavements anywhere. I walk up a bank and into a field of lush crops. Massive butterflies lurch up from baked mud in every direction. I give up trying to chase and photograph them, and cut through the woods.
The only things that grow here are sinister succulents with evil leaves as high as horses and as tough as fascist epaulettes. Soon I’m surrounded by scratchy, vicious plants. I’m in my shorts.
I want to be back at the villa, not tearing my shins through bush bullies.

I make it back to the road and try to find a short cut.
The only people I see are a woman in her 50s wearing a shocking pink trackie top under a Hoxton facelift, talking to a small chubby boy. It sounds like she’s either interrogating or propositioning him.
They stop and stare, slack-jawed.
I prepare to say “Hola,” in a friendly, probably camp way.
They turn their backs on me, so I keep walking.

"Offensive pastry"

“Offensive pastry”

Back at the villa, I play with the massive TV.
There are over 2000 TV channels.
The only English one shows back-to-back Friends.
The rest are German.
There’s one with German girls singing folk songs to boys on horses.
There’s one with a dirty old man in a flat cap shouting at the camera as topless girls primp and pose behind him.
I watch Twilight in German for a while. What an unsexy language it is. If only Bieber and One Direction were German, they never would have made it over the border.

Later, I rescue a big grasshopper out of the pool and in return she lets me photograph her. She knows how to work it.

Esther spends half an hour lowering herself into the water.

“Oops, I’ve done a wee,” she says halfway through. She hasn’t even got her bottom fully under yet.
This is why I hate sharing her bath water. She usually only tells she had an accident in it afterwards, with a cute grin and a little “Oops, I forgot.”

When she’s fully in the pool, she screams.
“What are those?!”
There are 2 water boatmen swimming around in there. I don’t know how the hell they got in there, seeing as they can’t fly.
“They’re coming for me!” she yelps.
“Don’t be silly, they just want to be your friends.”
“No! Get them away from me!”
I watch and laugh.

Day 3

Sitges again.

We go on the beach, where there are no less than 4 topless women and the rest have string bikinis. This isn’t even the nudist beach. All the men are topless too; tanned, and hairy.
I suddenly realise how Celtish we are. Pink, with belly tyres and no muscle definition.
After a few minutes, Esther gets grumpy.
“I’m going over there!” she says, stomping off towards the road. “I want to go back to the villa, I hate people.”

Back at the villa, Esther watches my attempts to swim.
“Is it imperative that you spit while you do it?”
“Yes, if I don’t want to drown. Why don’t you teach me how to do the breast stroke?”
She shows me. It’s not what I meant.

“Oh I get it,” she says after several more attempts, “swimming requires co-ordination. That’s why you can’t do it.”

As I doggy-paddle up and down, I realize that men spend their adult lives finding someone with the right voice for their conscience.
So now, as I go about my daily business, Esther’s voice keeps up a helpful and authoritative narrative that stops me from feeling too lonely or too carefree.
‘No!” it says, “think what’s likely.”
[It’s only recently that I realized there is philosophical precedent to Esther’s catchphrase: Occam’s Razor holds that the most probably explanation is usually the correct one. I’m not going to tell her, it’ll only go to her head.]

Later, I find a dead water boatman in the chlorine filter.
“There were 2 in the pool,” I say, wringing my hands, “Where’s the other one? Have I killed its partner?”
“Don’t be so silly,” says Esther. “Name me one insect that mates for life.”
I can’t.

I think of spiders, though they’re not insects, then I remember that the females eat the males after sex.

It’s always the case that the things you hate the most are most like you.

After ten minutes of searching, I realise there are actually 4 water boatmen in the pool. Thank fuck for that- the other one was just a gooseberry.

There are 4 eggs in the chicken coop. The chickens are staring at me, so for something to say, I show them what’s in my hands and say “thank you.” But then I think I was rubbing it in their faces that I stole their babies.
“Well, they shouldn’t have let them go cold,” I think to myself. I don’t feel any better.

Day 4

It’s hot and Esther is snoozing, so I decide to have a naked swim. I look all around, checking for telephoto lenses or giggling children, then whip off my jean shorts and boxers.

As soon as I hit the water, my penis and balls shrivel, like a timelapse shot of how a grape becomes a raisin.
Oh well, no-one’s looking.

I do a few lengths before I hear a loud noise, and look up to see all the shutters shoot up on the one villa that overlooks us, the villa which is only half built.

"Don't look, it's pointing at us!"

“Don’t look, it’s pointing at us!”

It must be the estate agents showing people round.

Shit shit shit.

I tread water in the deep end, trying to pretend I haven’t noticed.
Then a woman comes out into the garden talking on her phone.
I start to get annoyed.

It’s a private pool – I can swim naked if I want.

I look down at my child’s penis.

I do my version of the breaststroke for a few lengths, making sure that I turn with my bits concealed, belly down.
After 4 or 5 lengths, I’m knackered and starting to get hungry.

Dammit, I want to get out.
There’s only one thing for it.
I manhandle my bits until it’s an acceptable size, but then it keeps on growing, so I have to flounder around in the cold water till it goes down again. It’s so cold that it starts to shrivel instantly.

I heave myself up the ladder and into the sunlight, imagining that I’m Phoebe Cates in Fast Times at Ridgemont High.
I walk leisurely over to the decking area and slowly put on my shorts as if they’re an afterthought.

Ridgmont High

Day 5

I go for another walk while Esther lazes in her airless mosquito-proofed room (towel rolled up as draught excluder; windows shut tight). I pass a gang of local teenagers in a beer garden. All the boys have shaved temples and a longer Mohawky bit on top, with a curly rat’s tail at the back. Proper trailer trash.
They make funny noises when I walk past, so I grit my teeth, that thing handsome men do in films that makes their jaw muscles stick out, but in my face only produces a kind of sunken slump.

Unlike the nice, innocent graff of Sitges and Barcelona, I’m starting to see anarchist As and swastikas around here, on the semi-rural unfinished surfaces.

"Death Fucking Master!"

“Does it say ‘I love tourists?'”

According to Google, this one says either:
“Death fucking master”
“Fucking loved to death”
”To death male prostitute loved”

I’m going for the second one, it sounds quite sweet.

Everywhere is so dry, all the riverbeds are barren and it’s making me thirsty. I can’t stop thinking about getting a cold coke from the trailer trash bar. I wonder if the mullets are anarchists or Nazis, and which one is least scary.
I give in and walk back to the bar.

As I’m walking away guzzling the ice cold brown poison, I realise with acute embarrassment that I’m wearing a vintage “Enjoy Coca Cola” t shirt.
I must look like a rubbish walking advert.

"Enjoy Coca-Cola"

“Enjoy Coca-Cola”

After afternoon tea of white chocolate-dipped Orios, we watch The Purge. It gets my dander right up.

“Torture ‘em,” I scream, “feed them their own ears and such!”

Esther remains impassive. She knows not to indulge my adrenaline fantasies. And she saw me cry when I accidentally killed a mosquito last night.
Adrenaline and testosterone are such afflictions. It takes ages to calm down after seeing men hit men on TV.
I keep getting the desire to watch Jason Statham movies end to end. It always goes away when I start watching one.

Day 6

While we wait for the rickety minibus to Sitges again, two police cars screech up next to us. A man and a woman get out of the closest one. He ignores us, but the woman says “bon dia.”
She has blonde hair plaited at the back and is very imposing.
“She’s impressive,” Esther says, “blonde and handsome.”

They stand at the junction and stop every black car that drives past, with a harsh whistle and authoritative hand gesture.
Esther & I cower by the wall, feeling like we’re in the middle of some sting operation and a mistimed smile could get us arrested.

Finally, the ‘Plana’ minibus arrives.
“Quesilla dos billete a Sitges” I say in a rubbish accent. I’ve been rehearsing that the whole time we were waiting. The busdriver grunts and I just say “Sitges” until he agrees.

We look a right pair. Esther has to hold her period-swollen boobs while I cushion my cake-filled moobs as we lurch over endless speed bumps and up and down hills.

Luckily, it seems that only old women and young girls use public transport in Spain.

I read in my Lonely Planet guide that most Spanish housewives are on the dole. And that Spain has the lowest fertility rate of any country in the world. There’s something weird going on here.

Sitges is snided with chunky clones again. Some are so tanned they’re nearly black.

We see a gay guy on his own, wearing a t-shirt with moths on. The kind I would wear.
“An MIT gay,” Esther says, “poor thing.”
We watch his lonely trawl along the strand for while and wander off. There’s one vintage shop in Sitges, and we spend about an hour in there trawling through stuff.
We end up spending about €40 in there. As we leave, I try to sound more Spanish by lisping.
“Grathee,” I lisp, “muthas grathee”. It feels very weird to deliberately do what I’m scared of doing accidentally.

Today’s matinee is Lars and the Real Girl. I take great pleasure in seeing The Gos looking frumpy.



“He’s always smirking,” says Esther, “it’s really annoying.”
I also realize that Talking Heads are the best band that has ever lived. What a noughties think to think.

When Esther opens the door to the outside toilet, a gecko scuttles from behind a plantpot and hides under the hose pipe holder. I spend half an hour trying to shove my phone up there to take flash photos (nothing shows up on them), and banging it with the pool skimmer to make it run out. Nothing works. I end up believing it was never there in the first place.

“Wildlife is just too wild,” I moan, “I’m fed up of trying to see birds who don’t want to be looked at, and trying to catch butterflies that don’t want to be touched. I’ve had it with nature. The mofos can come to me from now on.”

Our evening film is Branded.
The actor’s face makes my jaw ache. I’ve only ever had this before with Rooney Mara. So attractive it hurts.
His deep black rock pools for eyes. His ability to grow a thick beard overnight.
I can’t bear the idea of Esther drinking him up with her eyes, those bumps and caverns in his bone structure where desire lurks like lizards.

“He makes my face ache,” I admit to her, “he’s too good looking.”
“Yuck,” says Esther, “he looks like a skeleton.”
“B-but his cheeks…”
“Sunken like a skull. Disgusting.”
Well alrighty then.

"Meet my brother, he's older and fatter"

“Meet my brother, he’s older and fatter”

While Esther goes out for a fag, I turn the overhead fan on full, trying to recreate that scene in Apocalypse Now.
I find that if I flick my eyes quickly from right to left, I can momentarily pick out an individual blade from the blur as it passes by. Of course as soon as I realize this, it becomes almost impossible.
I try whipping my whole head round to see if that’s better but it only makes me sick, so I try imagining I am a paraplegic and can only move my eyes. They roll around like marbles in a plughole and start to ache.
My whole body has gone rigid with effort. This isn’t making me relaxed and ready for bed at all.
At this point, I notice a spider, which was once over Esther’s side of the bed, now over mine.

“Keep to your own side, fucker,” I snarl, hiding my terror. It doesn’t.
Esther comes back and sees me staring up.
“If you don’t stop looking at it, I’ll turn the light out and then you won’t know when it’s coming for you.”
“But I read that they climb down in the night and drink from the dribble at the side of your mouth,” I say in rising pitch.
“In that case it will already have done that every night this week, so get used to it.”
I lie in the dark, waiting.

Day 7. Last day.

Esther: “I dreamt I took the police exam and failed, and then I cried and said, “I’m mentally ill, you have to let me take it again.” And then I failed again.”

Then she says those three little words. The ones that fill me with terror.
“Let’s make lists.”

“Come on,” she adds, “it’s what helps ill brains.”
My brain isn’t ill, it’s normal. Mental illness is a normal response to the world.
“I keep thinking how if I fast forward a week,” I tell her, “it will be me sat somewhere else; then another week, me sat another place, and so on, forever.”
“Healthy brains don’t think like that, “ she says, “they just get on with it.”
“I wish I could infect healthy people with my worry,” I say, “see how they like it.”

We get presents for the folks. I get a wind up donkey that hops with its back legs. It’s for my parents.
When we get back to the villa, we wind it up. When I look up, Esther has a funny expression. Oh no, I recognize it.
“I really want it,” she says in her baby voice, “please, we can get your parents something else…”
There’s no point arguing.
“You bugger,” I say, “What the hell am I going to get them now?”
“We’ll find something,” she says, winding it up again, that look passing over her face like a butterfly of innocence. “I’m going to call it lavabo.”

It’s Catalan for washbasin.


On the plane back, there are two girls behind us are saying Jimmy Carr things but without any irony, like:

“I’d love to sleep in a shack.” And

“I love monsoon floods, they’re so refreshing.”


The Duty Free trolley is selling a perfume called Urban Decay.
What’s going on?
This ranks along with The Health & Postcode Lotteries as something life-sapping and depressing made into something money-sapping and depressing.
Someone is having a cosmic joke. Well, I want in.

Here’s what my perfume is going to be called: Slum Smells for Infidels.

"Still Live with Horse"

“Still Live with Horse”

Dayglo bunnies, misfits and male whores.

"United Bunnies of Bennetton"

Govinda calls me and Esther naughty rabbits. I think it’s because our usual facial expression is ‘hunted and manhandled’ and I have a fluffy white tail.

Apparently there’s a new trend for dyeing your rabbits different colours. I have often wanted to do this to Linda and Goldie but haven’t dared. It’s always better to wait and watch someone with less morals doing it first. This is what I did with sex and black pudding.

We spend a lot of time watching other people doing stuff we wish we could but don’t want to get caught. It’s called living vicariously. Or living bicuriously. Apparently, God created us so he could get his thrills from afar and feel and see what we did. He liked the whole procreating bit, but he was allergic to apples and nearly died when Adam and Eve gobbled them all, which really pissed him off. The rest is his-story (as told on Jacko’s album of the same name).

If I was going to tell my story, it would probably be a montage of clips from Me Myself and Irene, MTV and Misfits.

The climax would be the Misfits Manifesto, which sums up my ethical principles:

Best speech ever?

It’s the Howl of our generation. If I still count, being 30 n all…

"Generation Y Wear A Belt?"


“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.


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

“Waa-” Abrupt silence.

2 minutes later.


“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 12

"Hmm, I LIKE that picture"


I was sat on the toilet, looking in a fashion magazine today, and I saw a face that was so attractive I stopped weeing. A clear thought made itself known to me: “I want to cut a whole in her lifesize mouth and stick my willy through it”. But then Esther needed the loo so I couldn’t do it.

Michael Caine makes a funny crusty:

What do I believe in? I believe in me. I can believe in you, but only when you’re there.

Nothing else.

"I believe in whatever's in my belly"

Actually, no I believe in cups of tea interspersed through the day. And Goldie’s wagging tail on her way to the park. And, the smell of my own farts. And the affection Esther gives me when she forgets to be grumpy.

Everything else can jog on.

"I am God's Daughter"

I am trying to write an essay about how great Lady Gaga is. But the more I try to work out why she’s great, the less great she seems. I started off thinking she was a townie slut, then suddenly I got her last year, and I loved her. 2 things:

Telephone is the gretest video ever made.

Paparazzi is one of the best songs ever.

But her album is mostly filler, and she’s only great because Madonna and Prince are past their best, and Jacko is dead.

She’s only great by default. Until the next psycho-extrovert-pop-god. But I’m getting on a bit now.

"I'm still here!"

PS this is the first post I haven’t tagged as ‘PORN’ in a desperate attempt to get lonely men to bump up my viewing figures. Let’s see what happens…



Militant in Meadowhall

"I just don't know who I am anymore"

Just got back from Meadowhall. I wanted to buy some self esteem at any price. But all I got was half price narcissism and 33% extra free self loathing. And some socks n that.

I saw lots of people who I can only describe as consistent. Chavs, Emos, wannabe WAGs, Goth-Lite, Emo-Chav. They all knew who they were (on the outside at least): they had the uniform sorted out, no mistakes.
In comparison I feel like a style Frankenstein, with odd bits from different eras stuck together, with no conception of a whole. I want a fucking uniform.

"I'm a vewy angwy young man"

I have tried being militant but it always goes awry. I’m really jealous of Christians and Young Socialists and Goths who can turn off their brains and follow a code regardless of how ridiculous and/or anachronistic it is.
First I had a rule that everything I bought that wasn’t food had to come from a charity shop. This meant that I became obsessed with Help the Aged’s special book and record shop. I used to go nearly every day and finger through the vinyl in the hope of spotting a record from the infinite ‘must have’ list in my head. This was compiled from overhearing middle-aged men talking in the pub, and from middle aged men writing in The Guardian.
I would buy a record, let’s say ‘The Clash’ and take it home, my hands shaking in trepidation. Here was a cultural relic; a touchstone, and I could feel the angst of a generation fizzing under my fingertips. I’d put it on and brace myself- I’m enjoying this, I’d tell myself. This is a GOOD album. Other people say so. There are more of them than me. I can picture them all, rocking in agreement.
So here’s my shock confession. I hate the Clash. I don’t like reggae so why would I want a shitty white boy version of it. Plus they have no style. The Sex Pistols win hands down, for their ugliness, ambition and also their pop. Write a proper song Strummer! Oh wait, you’re dead.

"I is a WASTA"

Sheffield seems to be populated by Men Who Like The Clash. Everywhere you go there’s someone who’s personality was hard wired by White Riot or London Calling. It’s like some fucking Masonic society- get over it! Like Scroobius Pip eloquently said “ The Clash? just a band”

You wouldn’t have caught Paul Simenon, Strummer or the other one advertising I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter (it would have to be the bitter rival of Anchor, for old time’s sake). Some people say Johnny Rotten is a sell out- but that only means something if you’re still clinging onto the idea that punk can change the world- but after ‘I Wish I was A Punk Rocker with Flowers in my Hair’ how can you think the message is still getting through?

That’s like singing I Wish I Wore My Klan Outfit to the Notting Hill Carnival. How can someone get it so wrong?

“In ’77 and ’69 revolution was in the air
I was born to late to a world that doesn’t care
I wish I was a punk rocker with flowers in my hair”

What we lack as a generation is context. You know, that crucial bit of extra knowledge that makes everything make sense. The past has been reduced to a pick ‘n’ mix, a jumble of possible styles and causes you can choose to dress in. So it makes sense that old Sandi could lump hippies and punks together because Topshop does too. Who cares if one advocated nothingness and destruction (no future), while the other wanted a universal conscientiousness (a utopian future)? History has become a Sale Rail of symbols. Why believe in anything any more?

I’m basically a trash whore, a music pansy, a soft lad.

I made myself buy the so-called classic albums because I have no taste of my own you see. I am a vessel, filled by other people’s likes and dislikes. If I am asked about something I should know about, let’s say The Godfather I-III, I have to apologise profusely and take my red cheeks elsewhere. Or else pretend. But that gets me into trouble. To escape the tedium of shaking my head at the many things I don’t know about, I have taken to throwing a few “yeah’s” and nods in. But then comes the more detailed interrogation, sorry, conversation, where you have to say what bits you enjoyed the most and give an opinion about its worth. This is where I am left stuttering.

Jan 2nd 2011

Beast Claws coming atcha

Urgh. Got woken up at 8.30 by Goldie. She crawls commando style up the bed and whines while trying to stick her long freaky tongue in my face. The nightmare part is when her massive beast claws rise up over the edge of the duvet and scratch your face. A couple of weeks ago, we were snowed in, and I woke up to Goldie’s commando routine and the festering stench of a HUGE dog shit on the landing. Thank god for lino.

After cleaning it up, and the puke I did next to it, I finally fell back into a fitful sleep, vowing never to ignore her again.

So now she knows how to guilt trip me, and she uses it like a pro. I manage to go downstairs and let her out in a waking sleep state now, and then go back to bed. Today, I woke up at 1.15pm when the dreams got too loud.

Down the hill we go, to the halfway house for the chronically apathetic (Chez Lisa).

“Cleavage is back in fashion” Lisa says, reading Look, “Dammit”
Esther sniggers. They could both pass as men if it wasn’t for their outspoken hatred for them.

I’m bored. I have nothing to fear really. I am cushioned from war and extreme poverty and pain. We are brought up in zoo conditions- with no natural predators and a welfare state that cushions every reality blow.
So, we have to invent things to make us feel emotion- we become adrenaline junkies, getting high on self-set dangers, Base jumping, Parkour, Sky diving (though that’s a bit 20th century now), playing video games, hoovering drugs. Anything to break the monotony, to remind us that our body is capable of instinctual movement and the seemingly mythical fight or flight serotonin orgy.

Because going to war and actually risking death is just silly, we tend to enjoy acting out the fantasy of megalomania and bloodlust on games console. Here’s a list of the best selling Xbox games:

The top ten Xbox 360 games.

  1. Halo 3 (8.1 million)[24]
  2. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 (7.481 million approximately; 6.471 million in US,[25][26][27][28] 87,374 in Japan,[29][verification needed] at least 1 million in UK)[30]
  3. Gears of War (5 million,[31] may include PC version)
  4. Gears of War 2 (5 million)[32]
  5. Grand Theft Auto IV (4.356 million approximately: 3.29 million in US,[33] at least 1 million in UK,[30] 59,893 and 6,210 Platinum in Japan)[29]
  6. Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare (4.226 million approximately: 3.04 million in US,[34] 78,000 in Canada,[35] 54,742 and 53,722 Platinum Collection/The Best in Japan,[29] at least 1 million in UK)[30]
  7. Fable II (3.5 million approx. worldwide)[36]
  8. Call of Duty: World at War (3.35 million approximately: 2.75 million in US,[33] 600,000 in UK)[37]
  9. Halo: Reach (3.3 million in North America)[38]
  10. Halo 3: ODST (3 million)[39]

Every single one involves going around killing people. To death. In the most horrible ways possible. This is how most of us get our ‘reality’ fix- by finding something that gives us what reality can’t- a purpose. “Life is alright really because I must kill the enemy”. Perhaps a radical rewriting of Descartes is in order: “I pretend to be, therefore I am”.

"What ever shall I wear?"

It seems news has travelled fast about my ‘issues’. Weasel and Kung Fu got me a radio alarm clock with an outside temperature sensor. This is because “We know you worry about what you’re going to wear when you get up because you don’t know what it’s like outside. Well, now you do” they explained cheerfully. “Oh thank you” I replied, cursing Esther’s blabbermouth. All my hard work to look like competent son-in-law material down the frickin’ pan.

Dom and Esther got me two items of clothing that I can’t even get over my fat ass. A pair of funky leggings and some gold jeans. Way to make me feel skinny guys. They are on the ‘Sleep Through 3 Meals’ diet. I am on the ‘A Pudding with Every Meal Diet’.


  1. Get fatter
  2. Write a book
  3. Spend more money on tat

At least I’m only likely to fail miserably at one of them.

Twenty Eleven

Hello. This is a new year. From here, it looks grey, cold, dead, boring and ugly.
A couple of hours ago, I became obsessed with listening to this song, and could not rest until I heard it:

It is perhaps the best song in the world and all others pale into insignificance when it plays. I suddenly want to become glittery and homoerotic when I hear it. It is about beauty and sex and decadence and the end of the fucking world.

Lady Gaga kept us all hanging on for her ‘big’ Twitter announcement on the stroke of midnight.

"Keys, purse, Fisherman's Friends? Check. Trousers? Oh..."

I will have gone off her by then.


And something else bugs me: In the press conference for JOANNA YEATES somebody said “She bought a pizza before she went home. Did she eat the pizza?”

Amazingly banal, and the police brushed it off, but I REALLY WANT TO KNOW.


It’s just really annoying that people think they can go around killing people, isn’t it? Who gave them the right. Goddammit. Nasty murdering types, got no morals or sense of decency.


You see, as a species, we are naturally anti-social schmucks. We want to go around murdering, raping and being general rotters to other people. Law and government has to try to put a cap on that. We have to suppress our APE traits and accentuate the CIVILISED, SMARMY TRAITS  that make us different from other animals. But the messy animal behaviour is constantly on the verge of spilling over.


But, to end in a more positive note, DNA tests have just proved that Richard Gere is a guinea pig.

Boring, Ugly and Ill as Sin

DEC 26th

Ugh. So ill today, like I’ve been drinking STRYCHNINE. My stomach is bruised. One nostril whistles like an icy cave on a mountaintop.
Esther goes to do family things, and I stay in bed. “Have you got money on your phone so I can text you and say ‘Baby, what are you doing now?’” I ask.
“Hmm” she replies. As well as being rubbish at Public Displays of Affection (PDAs), she is incapable of Text Affection (TAs).
I think ‘right, now I am going to find some real porn. This will cheer me up’. Halfway through a shower scene I feel really sick and have to go to sleep. The sound of sticky balls slapping against bumcheeks haunts my dreams, like some feverish jungle drumbeat that goes faster and faster as I am burned alive.

"Please can we at least hold hands?"

Esther goes to her parents for a family meal. After a couple of hours, she texts saying, “This is horrible. I want to come home”. This is as near to a TA as I’m likely to get, but I must not get excited. I text her back some alibi “I feel poorly and I need you to come back”.
An hour later, she’s back. “Jesus” she says, letting out air, “That was like being with the Royle family, only it’s not as fun if you’re actually there.”
“What happened?” I ask.
“Mum went crazy because she couldn’t find the special spoon she’d got to serve the trifle. She screamed ‘I can’t have any lovely trifle if I don’t have that knife’ and couldn’t be consoled”. Time to leave.

"I don't know what you're smiling at, you've just ruined pudding!"

I’ve just finished All Families Are Psychotic by Douglas Coupland. I don’t think I want to read anything by him ever again because he depresses the shit out of me. If you can’t be American, rich and happy, there’s no hope for any of us.

A sample:
Wade thought about his father. What would the world have to offer Ted Drummond, and the men like him, a man whose usefulness to the culture had vanished somewhere around the time of Windows 95?

Slit my wrists now please.

I believed the script I was handed. And then one day in the early 1980s I hit a red light in North Vancouver and ding! I understood that I was now forever in life’s minus columns and the plus column was over.

The only thing that makes me carry on reading is because it sounds exotic to a lower middle class British suburbanite like me.

Hmm let’s see what would happen if we transported it to, let’s say, Rotherham or Stoke on Trent. Here’s how the novel starts:

Janet opened her eyes. – Florida’s prehistoric glare dazzled outside the motel window. A dog barked; a car honked; a man was singing a snatch of Spanish song. She absentmindedly touched the scar from the bullet wound beneath her left rib cage.

Here’s the grime remix:

Tracey opened her eyes- South Yorkshire’s grey smog hung thickly outside the dirty double-glazed window of the Sally Army hostel. A dog yelped as its Big Issue vendor owner kicked it; a car revved and ‘music’ that made her bowels move penetrated the room; a crazy man was shouting the names of God’s favourite meals. She absentmindedly touched the half-eaten scab from the Tenants Super can slash beneath her third belly fold.

I have been floored by this LIVE AID ’85 documentary
I am actually crying now because I miss the optimism of Bob Geldof, who really believed that he could change something about the world with some bands.
Why can it never be recreated? Because we no longer have the optimism. We have gone from a ‘WE’ decade to a ‘WHO AM I’ epoch, a ‘WHY?’ era.

The Darkness, Jamelia, Dido, Travis and Ms Dynamite. They sure knew how to pick ’em for posterity!

Note to self: It’s one of the Mysteries of the World, Rowan Atkinson’s transformation from sexy bastard as Black Adder to sexless geek Mr Bean. Perhaps I too can go from the latter to the former?

We take poverty, disease and misery for granted. We have become ‘compassion fatigued’, brought up by the generation that had the last sense of purpose: a viable future. Our inheritance is apathy. There’s bad shit out there, but we can’t do owt about it. May as well get fucked.

I feel cheated. Did I ever believe in anything?
I used to love animals- but only to collect books about them like a colonial hoarder.
I used to believe in vegetarianism, and I was brought up to feel deep empathy for animals, our house was full of them. But I don’t feel that anymore. I can stuff my face with meat with only a tinge of guilt, not enough to put me off.

I feel love for every single band that sang at live aid. Such decadent faith and belief would be instantly cut down by the bitter chavs of cynicism now.
Fundraising has been hijacked- the ‘Live Aid effect’ is one of many styles available to ad companies to flog iPads or car insurance or Nokia phones.
People cared about the Falklands War, about the first Iraq War, about the future, about other people. Now we don’t give a flying fuck. We’ve still got some people who act all earnest- socialists and feminists and Tories. But underneath, everyone is status-driven but blank, vacant, inert like some suavely-jacketed potato. Bollocks.

The only answer is to refuse to answer, to say ‘no comment’.

80s pop is life affirming. Noughties pop is bitter, angry and botoxed.


One’s fun to look at and fun to hear, the other is kind of traumatic to watch, (though) fun on the ear. The cartoon shizzle injects some black humour into a prison-rape-murder movie. Don’t girls just wanna have good clean fun no more?


I’ve just taken 2 ibuprofen and 2 paracetamol now, so the wet cheeked inelegant gushing part of my illness should soon subside, and I will be able to feel no sadness or joy. I will become how I am at my natural state. Merely existing.

As I try to sleep, I can hear the pets snoring (Linda a high pitched nasal snort, Goldie an almost human ‘pufff’). I can hear Esther letting out long breaths of pent up worry.
I am left with the memory of 2 things from today in this darkened room. The sight of a skinny teenage boy with an unusually large and girthy cock, fucking a teenage girl in a shower where the water isn’t running. She looks like she’s sat on an uncomfortable fence waiting for the bus. I think I lost a bit of my soul watching it. The balls go ‘slap, slap, slap-slap, slap-slap, slap, slap’ against her arse and the camera zooms round from a balls-eye-view to a front view of this girl who is kind of unsure where to look. ‘Right’ she seems to think, ‘I’d better make out that I’m really enjoying this’ and she does the whole eyes closed, gasp routine. I get bored and fast forward the video-suddenly they are out of the shower, sat on the toilet and his huge cock seems no nearer to coming. Jesus. Why choose this location? It’s like fucking in a bus shelter or a bank queue- and all I can think is ‘why isn’t the shower on?’ and ‘Does straddling the toilet make either of them need a poo?’ These are non-places (Auge)- they look the same everywhere you go, they are purely functional, where we spend most of our time, but where we spend the least time personalising.
The sound of slapping testicles mixes in my head with the slow-mo footage of starving Ethiopian babies, their stomachs swollen in the ridiculous illusion of obesity, and their tear stained faces covered in dirt and flies. “Give me your money,” shouts a dishevelled Bob Geldof, slamming his hand down on the table.
Slap slap slap. Should I groan now? Ok, ‘aaah’ ‘oooh’. “Fuck this, pick up the phone now and give me your money” Bob growls.
I want to cry for the loss of innocence in both films- the faces in front of the cameras look strangely confused, as if asked to perform something embarrassing in front of a stranger.
What would Bob Geldof be like in bed? An angry young man, pummelling away until he’s satisfied, cursing you as a capitalist whore? Paula Yates could have told us.

"Wouldn't you like to know"

Not a Cure for insomnia: turned the TV on to watch Medium- about a woman who every time her heads hits the pillow is transported to some psycho’s head and has to save someone from certain death. A walking advert for staying up all night. We may all want to be good Samaritans, but if we were forced into the role permanently, we’d go apeshit in a short while.
The 80s had Miami Vice- the Noughties had Misfits. Is one more honest or truthful than the other? Was Miami Vice escapist fluff, and Misfits (and Inbetweeners) is the gritty, shitty truth of our times? Are they merely signs that we’ve plummeted from a time of sexy optimism to one of bitchy pessimism and sarcasm? Or that feminism and identity politics have deflated the masculine ego in culture, and it’s no longer believable to be so happy and full of yourself? Life is shit and you’re a chauvinist pig if you don’t think so?

The pain is lifting like steam from piss…


Answers on a stolen postcard please, I’m currently indisposed.