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.

Delete as appropriate: Boring and/or Ugly 11


Dec 22nd

Another nookie-less night. In the morning, Esther says, “I was horny last night from watching The Walking Dead. But then you showed me your bum boil.”
I ignored the necrophiliac overtones, and just thought ‘Goddammit’. It’s really sore you see, and I wanted a second opinion ‘Does it look normal? Is it cancer?’ The window for sex was slammed shut in my face. Can we play doctors and nurses?

We trudge down to Lisa’s. She is flustered. Just before we arrived, Dom was in the bath and Lisa had just picked her spots in the formation of

(1) a unibrow,

(2) a beard, and

(3) a moustache.

Quite fetching, don't you think?

Then Dom’s manager, Barry, knocked on the door. Lisa had to answer with her bright pink facial hair, let him in and make a cuppa. Then she scurried back upstairs.

Xmas shopping for the insane: Lisa and Esther’s grandma wants them to buy her some ‘Round-to-its’. Apparently they are plates that you buy when someone says ‘I just haven’t got around to it’. So far, the search has come up blank. Whoever gets this prezzie is going to be thrilled.

Esther cut my hair last night. Now I look like a gay US marine. Every time I take my hat off, it’s to the internal soundtrack of ‘he’s in the army now’, serenaded by Muscle Marys descending from helicopters into the arms of winking Naval officers with pert salutes.

Devo has started to demand Lisa to vacate his favourite chair next to the radiator. He goes up to her, and walks in a circle and sits down. First of all, she got up to let him out. No, he was still there. He had climbed on her chair and made himself comfy. She pushed him off and he did his dance again. She stood up to get him some food and he hopped up again, curling into a tight ball. “He wants my bloody chair!” she realized. It’s the best, warmest seat in the house, and if you get up from it, it’s gone.

We popped into NatWest today to ask why I’m not a millionaire yet. Esther had a rare glimpse of belongingness in the bank while she waited for me with Goldie. A downs syndrome woman came over and grinned ‘it’s a doggy’ ‘She’s a bit shy’ replied Esther. ‘She’s a bit shy’ echoed the woman, and giggled. If only all conversations were this easy, then I’d be able to socialize properly.

Dec 24th


It just said on the news that to combat snow, trains will be fitted with skirts, which they can blow warm air underneath. This sounds like some middle-aged CEO’s dirty dream to me. How kitsch. It’s the last remnant of a faded masculinity that was happy with a flash of knickers. Today’s bloke demands hi-def tits n ass as the *bare* minimum.

Risque circa 1962

The girls go to collect the turkey for Roney’s butchers. It’s massive. It won’t fit in the freezer, so they try to put it out in the garden in a big plastic box. You don’t need a freezer in this weather. “But what if someone nicks it?” says Esther. “Let’s put it in the shed!” Weasel and Kung Fu (their names in babyspeak) are Esther and Lisa’s parents. They stride purposefully into the garden, parent mode turned up to 11.
“No!” shouts Lisa, “There’s dogshit everywhere out there, watch your step!”
The main problem with dogs you see is that every morning without fail, they need to be let out into the garden to empty their bowels. 365 days a year. That’s a lot of shit, and the longer you leave it to pick up, the more daunting it becomes. Surely something will eat it all? Nope. It sits there forever. Nature is wank.
“Well I can tell Devo is getting all the right minerals,” says Weasel, studying the rancid piles.
Esther’s family are natural physical comedians. I would pay to watch them. The simplest things take on Kafkaesque complexity.

“The door’s frozen shut” says Esther, “Let’s prize it open.” She puts her boot on the wall and pulls. Only after a second pair of hands join in does it finally jar open.

“Right, now we need some bricks to put on the box” shouts Esther.
“Ok”, then the frustrated sound of straining muscles happens. “Gnnnnng!” Weasel groans, her teeth clenched in effort.

The best example of anyone ever making this noise is Arnie in Total Recall when he get’s sucked out onto the surface of Mars and his eyes pop out…

The teeth-clenched straining echoes down the terrace. “The bricks are frozen to the ground” she shouts and laughs in an out-of-control way. They are starting to get hysterical.

“Is there anything I can do for you?” says Weasel, once the turkey has been defeated. “Yes. Commit me” answers Lisa.
Her mum heads upstairs to go to the toilet “Don’t let Devo up your bottom” yells Lisa after her.

How to use your kitchen to help you choose a retro slang phrase for the day:


"Actually, you look more like cauliflower"

1. Lay like broccoli (Pretty Woman)

2. Make like a banana and split (©Vienna Famous 2010)

3. Like butter wouldn’t melt

4. You say potato, I say potato. This one only makes sense when spoken in different accents

5. You got any dough?

6. Peachy

7. You’re the apple of my eye. No darling, that’s a cataract.

8. Apples and pears. Does anyone actually speak cockney, or is it a myth made up for tourists?

9. Now we’re cookin’ on gas. A personal favourite, obviously predating the microwave.

10. My milkshake brings all the boys to the yard (Kelis). Sorry I don’t speak innuendo…

11. I should coco(a)

12. Honey pie

13. Something’s fishy around here

14. The milk of human kindness. Semi-skimmed? (See no.10)

15. Sweet like chocolate (Shanks and Bigfoot)/Sweet Like Tropicana (Dizzee Rascal)

Just you try it!

16. Let’s play hide the sausage! No, I have never used this one.

17. I’m gonna make mincemeat out of you!

18. Egg on your face, big disgrace (Queen)

19. Hey honey! Yes, sugar…?

20. Chocolate Rain

Boring and Ugly 10


Dec 17th

Esther spies the letter to Marina over my shoulder. “That’s shit” she scowls. She’s just jealous. At least my letter isn’t to Bob Mortimer like hers would be. She used to think she’d bump into him on the street when she lived in London, and they would fall instantly in love.

"Ooh look, there's a big issue in there"

We get to Lisa’a and find a Big Issue on the table. “You two can’t afford to buy the Big Issue can you?” I say incredulously. However, the latest issue of Look or ID often finds its way here. Priorities you see.
“It’s not ours, we don’t know where it came from”. Says Lisa with confusion. “It’s like god thinks we need it or something”.

Esther and Lisa were shopping in Rotherham Tesco for their grandma.

Esther has to go to the loo, and as she sits down in the cubicle, she hears two women talking rapidly in Urdu (or something).
Suddenly an angry Rotherham woman’s voice came from the other cubicle “Speak English for God’s sake!”

The women outside fall silent.
“I’m just talking to my sister, I can speak in any language I want, thank you!” The braver sister replies.
“Come on, let’s go…” says her sister diplomatically.
“No. I want to see who said that” she snaps, settling down for a wait.
Esther started to panic. They’re gonna think it was me! Shit, I’m going to get it when I step out, shit shit!. Her cheeks got redder and redder as she braces herself to face their wrath. She opens the door, and peeked out.
“It wasn’t me…” she quivers at the two equally red (with anger) faces.
“I know love, just go” says the angry sister.
Outside, Lisa was waiting. “Let’s just get the hell out of here” Esther said and they scurry away.

"Can I come out yet?"

Dec 20th

“Isn’t it nice to be sat in from the cold, with a cup of tea and a biscuit” says Lisa wistfully.

“So, life’s alright then?” queries Esther.

“No, I wouldn’t got that far”.

“Life’s shitty shit” shouts Dom.

“At least no-one’s watching” says Lisa. “We can relax. For now at least.”

Apparently, last night Dom returned home from a gig at 5am. “I’ve got a present for you” he slurs at Lisa. “What?” she says excited. Lisa loves gifts.
“A prostitute’s lipstick” he says, brandishing a tarty pink tube. “I picked it up just before I got in the cab”.
“Isn’t that what every girl wants?” he adds “to look like a prozzy?”
Lisa acts disgusted, but the next day she comes downstairs: “Do you like my lips” she asks coyly “I’ve put that lipstick on”. I swallow some bile.
“Can you catch AIDS from lipstick?” she asks, realizing what might have come free with the present. Let’s see; Herpes, gonorrhea, syphilis, crabs…a whole menagerie of alien bodies.

Coming Soon: Boring and Ugly- The Xmas Special

The Indecisive Dance


Aldo has a problem. It made itself known in Macclesfield library back in 1991. He was walking past an old man but he couldn’t seem to get past him. Aldo swayed to right and left and tried every which way to get past, but everything he did made me nearly fall into him.
He had discovered that he was a ditherer.
The man made a loud tutting (*Tsk*) noise and pushed past. Aldo’s dad, who had witnessed the scene, shouted with paternal rage: “Don’t you dare tut at my son!”

Cut to 2010 and Aldo still does the Dance. It can happen at any time and anywhere where people have to walk past each other. His girlf (Suzie) hates it. She can sense in advance when it’s going to happen and barks at Aldo “Choose a side!” as the victim comes into view.
But Aldo often changes his mind at the last minute, and straddles the path in confusion. He thinks “Surely it’d be better on that side, I can make it through that gap”. It becomes an Indiana Jones type situation, where he is rapidly running out of time to make his getaway. Past someone walking calmly towards him.
Although he is too big now to get the Tsk treatment, I’m sure that angry noise is echoing round the heads of the poor person trying to get past with their shopping, as he whirls like a drunken dervish.
He really is a loon.