As I wait for my bus to work, an old lady hobbles along towards the busstop and I see a bus heading our way, a bus I don’t want but she might.

Oh no, I think, she can’t walk and look round at the same time cos she’s old, I bet she will be really sad when the bus goes past her.

“Do you want this one?” I say at her face, pointing over her shoulder.

She blinks her watery eyes, smiles.

“Do you want this one?” I say again, my voice rising in pitch because there are precious few seconds left to hail it.

She stops, flinches at my jabbing hand, her smile tightening. It’s almost too late, what the hell is wrong with her?

“DOYOUWANTHISONE?……Bus. Is. Coming. Do. You. Want. It?”

“Oh no, love,” she says with relief, “I don’t want the bus.” And she hurries on past.

A minute later, my bus arrives and I overtake her, replaying the conversation and thinking how maybe it sounded a little too much like a schizophrenic whose dominant personality was baying for blood, and whose submissive one was desperately pointing out possible victims: Do you want that one?

The following morning I’m on the bus again, late for work again, and watching an ambulance overtake us. They command such respect, making even lorries and white vans scurry meekly out of their way.

Sadly as a Study Skills Tutor, I am only the 315th Emergency Service, behind Dog Counsellors and even Pupa Unpickers in the pecking order (in fact, although technically my inferiors at 333rd, the Beak/Bill Brigade enjoy a rep I can only dream of – ‘My wife wants to divorce me, says I have a bill not a beak’. ‘Better call the B/BB!’ Those guys provide a vital service).



No, I simply stand no chance of getting anywhere any faster than anybody else. One day when essays are a finally recognised as a matter of life and death, I’ll flip on my sirens and shame these fuckers into the central reservation.

Perhaps if ITV’s The Bill had been called The Beak, it would still be on our screens and in our hearts. Sadly, it is relegated to a laughable memory of how naive we all were. We watch True Detective now, don’t you know. Even crime drama from the early Noughties is ridiculously outdated.

Take Murder in Mind, starring David Suchet as a married Headmaster who goes to the park and hooks up with a rent boy, played by James McAvoy with a truly bizarre West Country accent. Try keeping a straight face during this proposition:

It lead to this week’s in-joke in our house:

“It’s 30 for a bill,” I keep saying to Esther in Cornish, “100 quid and you get the full beak.”

“Can I try before I buy?” She replies.

“Peck it in,” I say.

"Tha's a beak man, I can tell"

“Tha’s clearly a beak man, I can tell”


A face off with Matthew McConaughey


Woke up this morning with a haiku in my head:

This dismembr’d face
Kept in my deepest pocket
Was not yours to keep

Checked all my pockets but everything seems normal. Must have given it back.

"I made a bag out of my ex's."

“I made a bag out of my ex’s.”


Since Goldie has gone completely deaf, the only way to communicate with her now is through pokes, prods and wild gesticulations.

In fact, the only tried & tested way we can get her to jump on the bed is through a rapid sequence of Sieg Heils.

It’s very unfortunate that our landlord lives opposite and can see through our windows. But at least they have stopped popping round uninvited.


I’ve never realised how surreal James Bond is. The casual sexism is clearly there to distract us all from the main event. Why, only yesterday Blofeld said to Jill St John’s bottom: “such nice cheeks…if only they were brains.” I mean, wow.

It’s a glimpse of Ian Fleming’s dark heart, his BDSM lust loitering like a cackling skull behind all that baby-oiled flesh. Which brings me neatly onto something else that’s been troubling me: Matthew McConaughey’s face.

Here he is in Dazed and Confused (1994):


And 21 years later in True Detective:


 It would seem that:

The future is just the present’s ugly selfie.

His transition from sex symbol to serious actor happened exactly when his collagen committed suicide and leapt from his face. But that face was always there, biding its time beneath, glimpsed under harsh lights or from the wrong angle.

Which reminds me of the unfortunate metaphor I used when explaining why I shaved my hair off to a severely depressed friend:

“I decided to push my hair before it jumped”

Interestingly, I just found out that Sean Connery wore a toupee for all his early James Bond roles because he started thinning from a young age. The man’s man’s man wearing a wig? This is as confusing as Esther’s summary of the Oscar Pistorius trial:

“As a manly athlete, it’s ironic that Pistorius’ defence is based on the fact that he screams like a girl


Today I asked the internet ‘how to stop your bald head shining’, as it has been bothering me how much I glow under artificial light.

This is the worldy wisdom Google threw back at me:

“Real men shine their heads up like lamps.”


The more comfortable I get with people, the more I allow my humour to pop out like a ventriloquist dummy from my inside pocket. I don’t think this is helping me make any friends. Today, in teacher training, we were separated into 4 groups and given a number from 1-4. Then we had to mingle.

“What number are you?” a woman said.

“2” I replied.

“I’m a 2 too,” another woman said comradely.

“Desmond Tutu!” I blurted out, ready to bellow with laughter if anyone tittered.

I looked round the table and everyone had become catatonic, just staring at the bit of desk in front of them. I thought better of shouting it again even though I really did want to. Finally, someone else said something about the weather and everyone leapt over themselves to comment.

I shan’t be doing that again. You know, being me.

"No, Vienna. Not funny."

“No, Vienna. Not funny.”