Saturday, February 17, 2024

Put on your best pants, Major Tom

What the glitterati of mid-Somerset are wearing this season

Met my old friend Shelley for lunch on Friday at the Sheep and Penguin - I wore my finest pant and my Hong Kong Phooey T-shirt. 

I dress to impress.

It's rather akin to Vogue cover photos, where on the inside cover of the magazine they even tell you what perfume the model is wearing. ('Model' is a word that never looks right to me on the page - how about 'Moddle'?)

Hence knowing I have the McLaren of pants on and a highly sexy T-shirt - whilst never revealing said garments - is like wearing under armour before a rugby match. 

Like Clark Kent wearing his Superman outfit underneath his corporate suit.

I felt invincible!

These most fragrant of pants are my under armour, my scent, my most gussetted treasure.

My special occasion pant.

I can feel you gloating.


Damn I wish I'd bought more of the same.

I am also using beard oil to curl my magnificent whiskers (for I am the most pubic man in Wells). 

I can't wait for my whiskers to turn white as this will make me (even) more sexy.

I get the eye from the old ladies these days you see. My key demographic has changed.

Dementia Towers

Maybe we are all demented here. Dad forgot the surname (that's 'Last Name' to Millennials) of the guy opposite who's lived there for 50 years, and then forgot to put the carrots on.

It may just be tiredness.

I've often said I have dementia in a 10' radius. Come within my aura and you too will see; you will forget things which remained hitherto unforgettable. 

But, if we all have it (or early signs of it) where is this going and at what rate?

It could be like The League of Gentlemen, or The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Although I see the latter Leatherface family walking their horrible dogs on The Bishop's Fields now and then, so they're already taken.

Like all these bridges, I shall cross them when they arrive 'neath my feet.

Food for thought though.

What I'm watching

Watching YouTube too much. But these are good things to subscribe to:

The Lincoln Project - Trump hates these guys. If you want any more reason, they make commercials to absolutely ruin him, often in answer to the ones his team have made. They are doing an invaluable service.
NRL - The greatest rugby tournament in the world is back next month. No kick-tennis here.
Vlad Vexler - London-based Russian philosopher and all-round intellectual giving his views on what's really going on with Putin and Russia, what their motivations and intentions are.
Netflix: biographical docs on Orson Welles, Quincy Jones, David Geffen. All really good. 

Televisual Offal

The Masked Arsehole - filmed in RetardoVision for the freshly lobotomised. 80s one-hit wonders and drug-addled soapstars who no one can remember and when unmasked everyone goes "Oh no - it's them!" but actually they don't have a clue who it is, because they've long been erased from everyone's' collective brainage for evolutionary purposes.

You can tell the budget goes on the panel 'talent' rather than the singers.

Utter, utter, utter shite.

"Take it off! Take it off!" chant the masses: the type of people who clap and miss.

And then on BBC breakfast they're interviewing Tiffany. Now if you don't know who Tiffany is, she was a teen popstar in the 80s who performed at shopping malls (those large derelict structures in middle America) and drew huge crowds, and had a hit with "I think we're alone now." It turned out her mother had forced her to perform and in an act of rebellion she posed nude for Playboy. 

Now why did I remember that?

Anyway, there she was on The Masked Anus - 40 years on from her fame - and everyone is acting surprised to see her. The reason they're surprised is because they haven't a clue who she is. And then - THEN - she is being interviewed on BBC Breakfast on Saturday morning.

No one bloody cares!

It all goes to prove my theory that the human species has peaked a few generations ago and we are now on a fast rewind back to our primal bollock stage.

Remembering Pronouns

2 teacher friends have recently told me of separate incidents. 

One, where at the end of a long term they called a pupil by their previous female name - cue sharp intakes of breath from the rest of the class. Having known this pupil by this previous name for 3 years and then having to adopt their new chosen name, it was an understandable brain slip. I mean anyone who knows teachers appreciates how exhausted they are at the end of a term, right?

The second was in D&D and one child called a biological female 'her'. Cue more sharp intakes of breath. Bear in mind that last year 'she' was a 'they', and now wishes to be referred to as a 'he'. It's very difficult to keep up with all this and for most part take it seriously. Most of us don't want to offend and are happy to go along with it, but we all secretly know that he is blatantly a she.

My solution to teachers when they are trying to avoid splitting the class up into boys and girls and avoiding modern sensitivities is this: 

"Vaginas to the left - penises to the right."

Done.

And no one will get offended at that!

I have already invoiced the Department of Education 30 guineas for my consultation services.



Thursday, February 15, 2024

Sensible post about shirts

Sleep

Yes. That. 

Dream tons, which according to my sister and Robert Winston is a sign of good quality sleep. 

I'm certain bad quality sleep over the years contributed to my condition.

Nevertheless, I woke up this morning (thankfully) after erotic dreams about an old flatmate (female). 

My bedroom was like a scene from the Hangover movies.

Pillows everywhere except the bed, duvet halfway up the arse and books and iPhone on the floor. I'm glad I have the whole bed to myself or I'd be guilty of assault and battery.

Thankfully no ladyboys anywhere. 😬

Been really busy of late. Even putting together a complicated piece of flat-packed furniture (a wardrobe with drawers and doors) which took 3 hours (if Ikea is Lego this was the Technical Lego version) took it out of me. I was knackered: just slumped in a chair watching TV for the rest of the day.

I've also been prepping White Plume Mountain for DMing to kids this week in Pilton, organised by my friend Katy from Edspired Tutoring

Everything is still doable - but it's taking it out of me. It just serves to remind me that in no way would I be able to work full-time anymore. 

DMing for Kids

It's half term and for the last 2 days I've been DMing for a party of teenagers who went through the legendary White Plume Mountain - a bonkers funhouse dungeon from 1981, which I've mentioned numerous times in previous posts.

The first thing to say is they were really nice people. By the second day they were thinking more about strategy and working with each other rather than on the first day when they acted as individuals. 

I had to rejig their characters around as they were pretty under-optimised. But with that done and some general advice about spell combinations, they went from being at the edge of a TPK (Total Party Kill) to triumph but it was still enough of a challenge for them to be fully immersed in it all.

They enjoyed themselves (apparently), and I'll look forward to DMing them next time, but I have to ask myself -  in the voice of a corporate trainer from Basingstoke -  "What are my learnings?"

  1. Have a Session Zero. This would be a pre-game session on-line to flesh out the characters and discuss roles and strategies within the group, and to ensure they haven't done anything daft in the character generation.
  2. Insist on character generation being done old school - analogue. With DND Beyond, you can just click and print out a character sheet. That's okay, but when you generate a character level-by-level with dice and pencil and paper, you know the character far better. The high level characters generated had way too many abilities  - I likened it to making a choice in a restaurant with a menu that runs into pages. Just have 4-5 choices in any situation marked out - quickens the game and makes it far less frustrating for everybody.
  3. Run a lower-level adventure. Plenty of good one-shots to be had with a heavier role-playing element than WPM, and lower-level characters have fewer options - see menu analogy above.

Where's me pills??

In Wells one has to - apparently - give the Health Centre 5 days notice before the prescription is available in the pharmacy. In Kingston it was only 2.

I'm not quite used to this yet.

I will run out on Monday. I have picked them up earlier before, so I'm hoping they'll be there on Saturday morning. 

In fact, being a born worrier and now fixated on things like this (partly probably due to retirement and not having anything particularly to worry about, but mostly due to FTD) I think I'll call the practice to see if they can hurry it up.

Not having Sertraline for a day is...inadvisable. I may turn into Mr Hyde...and I don't want that.

Nor does anyone else.

Not finding solace in televisual delights

Amazon are now putting dreadful commercials into their programming every 12 minutes, unless you pay another £3 a month on top of your Prime subscription. 

Monsters.

Netflix are due to start the same scheme. I realise there was an actors' strike but there is very little decent programming on either at present. So little that they've even started pushing awful 70s and 80s sexploitation films onto the Prime platform. 

Rubbish.

So after watching an Orson Welles documentary, I then went back to my customary YouTube options - 
  1. Boxing
  2. What's Trump said now? 
  3. Dungeons and Dragons
  4. Other
So I went to other and started watching music clips, which I have neglected to do for too long. 

It was great. I began with the Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band then sublimed (as one does) onto Heatwave and 70s British Disco which often had a heavy West Indies influence. 





I always thought Heatwave was an American band. In fact the 2 lead singers were Americans but the keyboard player and main songwriter was a guy from Cleethorpes called Rod Temperton who'd had a job filleting fish. 


That's him on the keyboards.

Anyway, he eventually went on to work with Quincy Jones and wrote songs for Michael Jackson for Off The Wall and Thriller, and hit songs for other people throughout the 80s and 90s, 

Apparently (I'm quoting from the wonderful Gilles Peterson) after Lennon and McCartney Rod Temperton was commercially the most successful songwriter Britain has produced.

How cool is that?


Characters

Definition being distinct individuals who don't follow trends, are eccentric and amusing.

There appear to be fewer and fewer these days. Of my friends, David Bowles and Martin Duncan-Jones were characters. 

Of the people I admire, many can be defined as mavericks/characters: Zappa, Viv Stanshall, Ivor Cutler

When you needed raw sex-appeal to be a popstar

There don't seem to be any anymore in the pop world: just products. 

I don't have anything against them.

It's just that I don't have anything for them, either.

It's my belief that in an increasingly bland and homogenised world we desperately need some characters.

That's all.














Tuesday, February 6, 2024

5th dan Stupid

 D.I.Y. O.D.

 I can’t stop! It's like a disease.

Clearing stuff up, painting, sawing, painting again, cleaning, ironing, fixing, drilling, injecting, and buying more stuff. 

Too much stuff: Nerys's window sill replacements.

Then blasting Matt's alley and trimming Kate's bush; that's 2 jobs and a half.

From being almost catatonic in my inactivity I am now so restless I have to tidy or clean everything I see in front of me IMMEDIATELY.

It's driving Mum nuts, not that it affects her. And she wants it done because she can't stand mess. She just hates the thought of any 'upheaval'. 

They're all telling me to pace myself but I'm just on a mission. 

It won't last forever I tell them - just go with it while it's there.

Sorted Dad's music room and storage efforts, cleared the garage of shite, and the lock-up, bought more stuff to decorate, bought a new orthopaedic pillow because of my neck and shoulders aching - it's even affecting my thumbs now! 

Painted the crap half of my man cave and put those shelves up AND made the walls good.

A few plants and some books should do it.

4 or 5 (I forget) car-loads to the tip, and counting.

About to buy plants next. Btw - I have almost zero interior design skills, so I've Ikea'd the shit out of everything and borrowed Jacqui's colour-schemes. Perhaps making a little version of what I left behind in Kingston, possibly as a comfort thing?

I've found getting down to read quite difficult. I've read the paper but not really any of my D&D stuff, which I'm finding a little concerning.

Spammed Twice!

Got spammed the other day. I got a reply from Ted (HIMSELF!) of Nerd Immersion (unsurprisingly a D&D channel on YouTube). It even used his N logo and told me to speak to him on Telegram. So I made an account and he asked me how long I'd been playing, what I liked about his channel and told me I'd won a Sony Playstation. I was elated.

He then showed me some terrible pictures of a Sony Playstation in a carrier bag and said I'd only have to pay 40% of the shipping. 

Ah. I see. 

I sent a message to his actual email account and said I'd done so. He got quite angry with me then and said I'd no longer be receiving the gift and had insulted his generosity. 

It wasn't Ted at all!!!

Funny. But my initial excitement was enough to put my logic circuits offline. He nearly had me too.

I actually love spam. I really do. Here's one I got earlier which I replied to underneath. 



I know, I know; should have been 'shall", not 'will'.

Yes, I am wonderful.

D&D Update

Thursday D&D session was a dud. Katy came in early (for her) and brought an entire 2' square tray of sugary stuff. Caramel, chocolate Wombat poos, and other delights.

So while that was going on they were exploring the dungeon. Someone touched a skull which then animated as the ghost of a jester killed years ago having insulted the King. 

It was immune to virtually anything and DM's are told in the text to role-play it as a major annoyance. Well I ramped that up to 11 and played him in the style of Tony Clifton.



It went down really well (I saw Luke getting annoyed with me) as I insulted all their characters and started singing "I will survive" very loudly.

Then the sugar kicked in and everyone was so loud and laughing non-stop - I had to call a stop at 10pm as it was impossible to run anymore. We had slipped into the realm of Chaos.

So next week is massive: 4 big sessions of Dungeon Mastering and 2 sessions of playing in 5 days! 2 of them are going to be spent on my Wells group and 2 DMing for some teenagers in Pilton Working Men's Club - 2 x 5 hour sessions. 

I had to have a DBS check to make sure I'm not a paedo. Well I'm not. Okay? And the government agrees with me.

'I AIN'T NO PAEDO'. There's a t-shirt that needs printing.

Body Aches

Spine, neck and thumb pain - should get it checked out. Rolling a ball on my back over the knots of muscle by my shoulder blades, lying down on a neck pillow-thing to cure my neck problems, Yoga stretches (just some easy ones) and an orthopaedic pillow on its way. 

On the good side I’m losing weight…but sometimes my stomach seems to inflate. Bought powdered Huel - enough for 2 months. I know that once I stop taking it my weight will come back on a bit, but I drink about 3 of these things a week anyway. Much cheaper to buy the powder and make the drinks myself.

This bloke came up to me...

I was walking the dog (Tomos) the other day, and suddenly I could sense a face looking at me. I turned to look and there's a man almost running along side me staring at me. 

"Did you say something to me back there?"

Okay - he either wants a shag or a fight. And he doesn't look the fighting type. Especially with that idiotic hat.

"No!" I replied, incredulously.

"Oh." 

And off he walked to his silver Toyota Yaris. 

Who does things like that? Obviously he does.

Saw him at Waitrose today. Pointed him out. 

Bloody weirdos.

Project Little Ted

My favourite soft toy was Little Ted. I feel incredibly guilty as - like in Toy Story - I rejected him at a certain age and then he was packed away somewhere.

He was the best of the soft toys I had. I loved him. And I'm actually feeling proper, real, genuine guilt about how I've treated him.

It may be he died of a broken heart or he was given away to someone or thrown out. I need to find him to atone for my awfulness.

I'm going up to the attic now.

Wish me luck.


Wednesday, January 31, 2024

I was Baron Munchausen's stunt double

Activity

I shook off the dust and got out of my slumber. 

Suddenly I was young again.

Shelves. Put up 5 of the buggers around the house; made the walls good (enough).

Secured a wobbly handrail badly installed by shoddy builders. 

I secured the bracket for Ben's punchbag which had come loose from the wall. 

Cut the grass in the back garden for the first time in 2024.

Cut the grass in the front garden. Got a foul smell on my fingers. Had to use Swarfega, surgical spirit, fairy liquid and a scrubbing brush to get rid of it. Maybe a fox's scent?

Helped a mate move his furniture around.

Ebaying and Facebook-Marketing old stuff.

Got odd-jobs coming up. 

Going to paint my desk wall Radicchio much to my Mother's consternation.

All this activity galvanised me and I felt energised! I worked all day Friday and Saturday. Couldn't stop.

Today I hardly did anything. 

DOGS

That was after walking Tomos of course. I see a nice lady with a tiny dachshund called Snoopy. The way he yips and does a little shimmy when he's bossing her reminds me of Chip. And I've seen 2 Sealyhams in Wells too - obviously I stop and speak to the owners who are surprised I recognise the breed, and I show them photos of little Stanley.

God I miss the dogs.

What I'm watching

I watched programmes on the history of Welsh rugby in the 80s - not a great time, especially after the golden decade that preceded it. Then I watched a Netflix programme on Andy Warhol's diaries. Rather a tragic figure, old Andy.

It was a bit too gay porn, even for me.

Prior to that I'd gorged myself on Giselda on Netflix, which was based on the story of a cocaine crime lord (or rather, lady) of Miami in the late 70s /early 80s. She was so ruthless she eventually controlled the scene in the whole city.

The incredible Sofia Vergara plays the title role. We all know her as a comedy actress, but she is astounding as the ruthless Griselda. 

It's a brutal series but very very good. I wouldn't be surprised if she gets an award for it.

There's nowhere left to go

I don't get out of Wells very much.

I would go to Glastonbury, but it's rubbish.

I would go to Ikea, but I will go mad and kill people.

I will drive Dad to the hospital in Taunton as no one else can. Other than that, Taunton can just disappear of the face of this flat earth for all I care.

What a crap town.

And I can't face a busy city (obvs not Taunton) with all those lights, noise and movement; somewhere dark and quiet is preferable.

I shall end up living in the woods in a hole.

So anyway,  I got my Ikea stuff delivered here. So much easier. 

New games stuff delivered too. Waiting impatiently for Kickstarter stuff to arrive. One book is 5 months late already.

IT'S CHRISTMAS!!!!!!!!!!

Tourettes 

Shouting out occasionally. In the house, in the street and while walking Tomos.

'NO!' Telling a memory to stop.

'MY BOTTOM SMELLS!' Is there a bottom that doesn't smell, occasionally?

'BUTTS!' More obsession with arses.

'MY WINKLE IS SUPER!' I'm trying to pep myself up here.

Give me a break.


Wednesday, January 24, 2024

It's an existence, really

America

Of course we had our fair share of religious lunatics in Britain. But then we kicked them out as they were spoiling our fun, like banning the theatre and Christmas. 

They ended up in a place they called America. 

That was in the 17th Century.

In their absence we had The Age of Enlightenment which a lot of them seemed to have missed out on. Basically we learned about the equality of man, scientific practice, reason and other groovy stuff. 

It dragged us out of the mire of superstition and belief in the supernatural of the medieval period and into the modern age.

Or so we thought.

In a recent poll 24% of Americans identify as Evangelical Christians. They think Trump is a Christian. Some actually think he is the Messiah. 

I can't think of anyone further removed from the Son of God than the narcisistic, lying, raping, tax-avoiding, insurrection-encouraging, pussy-grabbing adulterer that is Donald Trump. The only man to have ever lost money by owning a casino.

An American influencer, earlier today.

Many evangelicals believe in the literal word of the Bible (of course they still cherry-pick the same old shit, and ignore other bits like that stuff about stoning your neighbour if he eyes up the Mrs) and if you don't agree with them that makes you BAD. 

You hate God; you hate people. That's it. Along with some choice quotes from the Old Testament.

I'm currently weening myself off arguing with stupid American fundamentalist Christians and their weird antediluvian world view on YouTube. Watching Trump's nonsensical and increasingly bizarre and rambling speeches, his deluded supporters, and the smugness of the Democrats,  the war in Ukraine, the hideousness the poor people are enduring in Palestine, I just need to come up for air, as shallow as that may sound.

Gaming

Well, I don't play Baldur's Gate 3 anymore. 330 hours of it has put paid to that.

However, I am still running D&D on Thursdays in Wells, and they are going through the archlich Acerak's dungeon, level by level. I think they were rather shocked by the traps in there so they will now have to put their thinking caps on as they proceed every inch or their characters will be snuffed out...

On Wednesdays I'm playing Larry's Temple of Elemental Evil on Roll20 which is great. Proper old school adventure written by Gary Gygax himself, so if the Thursday lot think 5E adventures are tough, they would be in for a shock with this one. The probability of TPKs (Total Party Kills - where all the players would be wiped out) were significantly higher back then. The game could be brutal.

In modern 5e D&D (its latest incarnation) it's actually quite difficult to die. I guess kids get attached to their characters (we did back in the day too but didn't seem to matter so much then) and if you play (which modern gamers were brought up on) games like Call of Duty when you die you get respawned a few seconds later. This is what games designers have to deal with. 

Weekends 

Bored, quite frankly. Missing my buddies at The Willoughby. The sights, the sounds the smells. 

It's such a buzz though - seeing everyone and the atmosphere, plus oodles of pints of glorious Ranmore. So good. 

It's great to get stuck in, in-person, with your character or running a game, where everyone is SO into it. I'm currently pretty listless at weekends but I intend, in the next couple of months, to be going back to London on Sundays to play. 

We occasionally slot in the odd weekend session in Wells in addition to our Thursday sessions. It's great because people who work are a little more alert during the day and we play for up to 5 hours rather than the 3 1/2 hour sessions we do on Thursdays. You get so much done.

There's not many people about in January either. That's just a thing. Rubbish time of the year isn't it?

"Yes Geraint."

Tiredness

So annoying to be tired all the time. The moment I charge into any task or job of work I'm yawning like a mouth-breather a couple of hours later. I want to accomplish things and beat myself up about not being able to. 

I'm so ineffective at achieving things these days. Takes me forever to get round to doing stuff.

Lists. Lists are the answer. Shelves to put up, railings to refit. I least I know how to do these things but what's stopping me is the disease: I find it so difficult to get off my arse and do these things. 

The old executive functions are offline.

Do you remember when cars had manual chokes? A lot of you won't. 

I keep forgetting to pull mine out. The choke as well.

(Phnaar.)

Don't have to do all the chores in a day of course; just break the tasks down into smaller, more manageable (for the brain) chunks. Set myself achievable goals. 

All that bollocks.

Still, on the plus side I write my diary, write this blog, read the paper (less so though, these days), walk Tomos, play and run complex games, drive Dad to accursed Taunton for a checkup at Musgrove Park Hospital there and back with no problem, buy food at the supermarket, make food (now and again), wash the dishes, watch some TV, read a bit more.

IS HE NOT MAGNIFICENT?
That's my life at the moment. Could be worse. Could be working at a call centre or something.

Selling shit

This is also giving me something to do. I'm doing Ebay and learning as I go, but the fees seem very high especially when you're selling stuff for £10. 

Barely worth it to be honest. 

I sold a lot of camera stuff to an online company called MPB and they were great. On receiving the goods they even said I'd undervalued them and paid me £30 more! And being demented I'd left a load of other paraphernalia in the camera bag I sent, so they sent it back, and I'm reselling those bits and pieces at the moment. How good is that?

Facebook Marketplace - easy and local. Sold a table and chair to an old friend so just recycling stuff that's perfectly usable and can benefit someone else and I get a few Earth pounds in the process.

If you have any other ideas please contact me. I'm not a natural Del Boy.

I've got some DIY jobs to do for Nerys too.

Favourite zero or low-alcohol beers

I'm off the alcohol. I'm going to keep it up until I see significant weight loss as I am still a bag of tapioca.

Apart from herbal tea, this is what I drink in an evening.

Bristol Beer Factory - Clear Head - lovely hoppy pale ale. Ever so moreish. Available on tap in 2 of our local pubs.

Brooklyn Special Effects - nut-brown Lager, really pleasant with a sweet maltiness.

Heineken Zero - tastes like a regular lager with no bad yeasty aftertaste whatsoever as it's brewed as a regular lager and those clever Danes have invented a process to take all the alcohol out at the end. On tap in lots of places.

Leffe 0.0 - wonderful zero-alcohol version of their 6.6% Blonde. Perfectly balanced and delicious. 

Rant of the week

Other drivers. In Wells they dawdle or fanny about at junctions, everywhere they have to make a decision they just stop the car in the road and wait for their brain to get into gear.

Okay: I'm still a London driver with ZERO patience. I beep them when they're looking at their phone or having a quick tug at the traffic lights. 

That's all you have to do is wait for the lights to turn green. I am I expecting too much?

Don't answer that.

But no. They can find myriad other things. Maybe reading The Mail online (I'm not hyperlinking to that crap) to find out how large Kim Kardashian's bum is or how small some 'influencer's' brain is.

I love it that in this day and age ...well, I don't love it as a matter of fact. In fact I don't like it at all. What was I talking about?

Anyway, I don't like it at all that when people are in the wrong, going the wrong way up a road or cutting someone up by crossing into your lane, that it's never their fault. 

Slip roads entering onto motorways - how many drivers do you see who are just looking straight ahead and merging with the traffic without looking?

'Lots.' is the word you're looking for.

BLOODY SCUM.


Friday, January 19, 2024

And another thing...

Whimsical British films

Richard Curtis presents Bill Nighy and some posh actress from Primrose Hill who's in bloody everything in the feel-good movie of the year!

Well excuse me while I puke and shit myself simultaneously.

And writing down for the general public's consumption. Doesn't really work does it? And where are the black people in Notting Hill? And the Welsh actors in the above the line roles in Pride?

'Ugh! We don't want Welsh people in there! They're ugly and break things.'

We're capable of much better than shit like this. Withnail and I should have set the standard for writing and ambition. It seems to have been just an aberration.

It's the Simon Cowell effect of making everything a readily-consumable product with no surprises, no shocks, and no taste - the Mars bar ethos. 

Money-men control everything, looking at graphs and what does and doesn't pose the highest risk.

The result - complete inertia.

Utter 💩

Face like a Puffer Fish

Plastic surgery and lip filler - to the extent you look like you've got an anal prolapse on your face.

Voracious bottom-feeder

Duck face

Trout pout.

Eve Pollard said you either get old naturally or get old and look weird through having shitloads of shit injected up your bum and in your eyeballs. 

She didn't say the last bit. That was me. 

Give it to me, bitch!

Entitled children

The ones who appear in the car without saying hello, when you're picking yours up. You stop at their house. They get out and walk off. No, 'Hello Mr Davies.' 'Thanks you for the lift Mr Davies.' 'Goodbye Mr Davies.'

All that money on an expensive education and they weren't even taught manners. Then you meet the parents and it then begins to makes sense.

Entitled Adults

Parents of the above bastards. Entitlement seems to be a classless thing, but living in SW London for so long and having stepkids at selective and private schools, you ended up meeting these people.

I can feel them, judging me. I only judge on behaviour. It's amazing how even adults feel the pressure to conform socially - that they have to buy into a certain lifestyle and attitude in order to be accepted.

Black SUVs are a must - change every year for an ever bigger, ever 'greener' model. And have the smaller model for the wife. Drive the kids to school clogging up the roads even though it's only 15 minutes walk.

Charmless, social climbers who look down or don't even speak to prols because they are distancing themselves from anyone who who may be at a place where they may have come from and like the abysmal and utterly overrated Michael Caine, are social climbers.

'Don't act as though you know me!'

Things they expect

Geraint'll do it for a beer.

Oh really? You can do my accounts for a beer then. Or you can represent me in court for a beer. 

Can I have a half day of business consultancy for a pound?

Sorry I forgot you have real jobs.

The corporate anus.

FTD Anthem

Fronto-temporal dementia

Is quite the thing for me

Fronto-temporal dementia

Is where I want to be

You keep your Lewy Bodies

And PCA

I'll have Fronto-temporal any day!

Fronto-temporal Dementia, is where I want to be...

Continues ad nauseam until some random person decides to kill you.

Ideas for TV shows:

Barry Erstwhile and his Magical Tits

Celebrity That's my Prolapse

Cxxt of the Year, Live from Essex!



I just needed to get that out of my system.

I'm actually the sanest man in mid-Somerset.



Saturday, January 13, 2024

Moaning about shit. Well it is January.

Memories of a failed radical

If art college wasn't bad enough I went back a second time. This time just for one year in 2006, to do photography. It was actually one of the best courses I did as we were taught (shock horror!)...SKILLS.

This kind of learning suits me anyway. This is a Mamiya RZ67. This is how it works. This is how you put film in. This is how you take film out. Go and hire one and have some fun.

Thing is, I was 37 when I started that course. I think the age range was about 21 to late 50s. Made a lot of friends there.

There were some 'types' there. Some really talented snappers actually. I did it for a while but just ended up doing corporate events and that's not where I wanted to go.

One guy was an archetypal radical. He was about 24 - his dad was a senior person in the EU and his kids got free and unlimited education throughout Europe. That's a thing. 

Pete had a house and cameras which his dad gave him. He'd hang around the student bar. Us oldies would buy a couple of rounds. 

"Pete - your round. Pete?"

He was either nowhere to be seen or he'd shout:

"I DON’T HAVE ANY MONEY!!" 

But u have a house and 8 cameras. Why don’t you get a part time job?

"What and give in to the bourgeois hegemony and exploitation of the proletariat? Fuck off!"

He didn't actually say that bit. But words to that effect. He reminded me of Reggie Perrin's son - too lazy to get a job, always moaning at his father's selling-out and then asking for a loan to keep himself going.

This guy was a professional student. 

The house owning euro-student. 

A stereotyped middle-classed armchair radical.

The nearly arrested. 

Nearly martyred.

Nearly revolutionary. 

The fully trust-funded.

A typical walk with the dog

Snippets of life played back to me on random every morning. No chronology - and the links from one to the other are probably too embedded in my unconscious to ever know.

I'm a toddler at Bristol zoo. A giraffe cranes its neck down to examine me; its face in mine as I'm being carried. I burst out crying at the innocent animal as it invades my personal space.

Crossing Cenarth falls - I'm scared but my Dad's hand is there. It's so sunny and deafening with the crashing water.

After tobogganing my wellies are full of snow and my feet are freezing. I'm crying in pain. Why can't I have snowboots?

Charles Hawtrey as Private Dibble. Terry Scott admonishing him.

"It keeps my dangler warm!"

Random snippets of comedy sketches in my head. Harry Enfield saying "Faster you bitch!"

Fish and chips. Extra scraps please. Looks awful tbh.

Tan Ford Cortinas with a brown vinyl roof and square lights. 2000E. Coolest car ever.

Sexier than a Chrysler Avenger or a (splutters...) Vauxhall Viva!

Me copying Richard Ireland as he does the penny organ round the classroom and thinking I'm just as funny.  No one laughs.

Blue Tupperware full of old pennies.

Mint gravy with a cube of chocolate sponge. Yum!

Oooh, you little minx!


Hotwheels Racers.

Matchbox cars.

Corgi cars.

Dinky....toys?

Plastic Tyrannosaurus Rex.

Crunching through the crisp grass on frozen mud in the shade of a hedgerow. Not a cloud in the sky: long shadows and golden, blinding light.. 

Oh! I'm back in the real world. 

(Pat myself on the shoulder for being back in the present moment. Thank you Mindfulness!) 

Tomos is over there.

No one's around. Fairweather dog walkers.

Grumble. In the distance I hear:

"Willowwillowwillowwillowwillowwillowwillowwillowwillowwillowwillowwillowwillowwillowwillowwillowwillowwillowwillowwillowwillowwillowwillowwillowwillowwillowwillowwillowwillow.'

Some miserable Uncle Monty-alike in Nigel Farage burgundy cords bellowing at his dog who is 200 metres away and understandably ignoring him. 

Also can't believe his dog is a Saluki - you'd think it would be a pug or a bulldog.

Damn. Was that monologue in my head or broadcast? 

I see an obviously schizophrenic man talking to himself. At least we have strength in numbers.

Pleasant small-talk with multiple dog owners. Can they tell I'm a demented?

Tomos loves me.

Lower your expectations

I'm sure I've let people down. I know I've let people down. I've also helped a lot of people too. 

It's nice when people acknowledge it. It's very nice when it's reciprocated, or you get a gift.

But since I've retired I've passed jobs on and got nothing back. I'm stopping as of now. These jobs were worth thousands.

I realise people help me. Tolerate me. My Dad is the most generous person I know. He's helped hundreds of kids get jobs, driven people to airports (even if they didn't want to go) and used to cut the grass for the neighbours, amongst myriad other things.

In short he'd go out of his way to help people he barely knew. 

Then he got too old and there was the pandemic and lockdown. 

The grass-cutting wasn't reciprocated.

Back in the day that would have been socially unacceptable - that would have set tongues wagging. But the pendulum has swung the other way.

You do a good turn - like when I had the van and a neighbour asked if I could deliver a couch to her son in Chelsea. Yup - gave up my Sunday morning to do that. 

"Oh you must come round for dinner."

Well, lucky I didn't hold my breath.

It's easy to blame Margaret Thatcher for the selfishness phenomenon, but it was the 1970s (when I was a kid) that was known as the 'selfish' decade. Of course I was too young to notice. It must have been a cultural offshoot from the hippy movement - a movement I felt kinship with in my youth but one I've come to despise. 

Proto-eloi most of them.

Anyway, 40 -50 years ago everyone on our road - and probably your road - knew each other. 

That's a distant memory now. 

People started to put up their barriers and isolate themselves from everyone else. Buy a property, do it up so it's almost unrecognisable, put gates and high fences everywhere to keep out the zombie hoards but only the hedgehogs were affected.

After the country of Iceland became bankrupt I listened to a documentary about it on Radio 4. Icelanders observed that when neighbours became super-rich they isolated themselves, and that a good thing about being poorer is that people were at least talking to each other again.

People are just selfish.

If we acknowledge that we should lower our expectations.


Saturday, January 6, 2024

Threads and Drugs and Rock and Roll

Drugs

It's surprisingly easy to drink all the time. 

It's also surprisingly easy to not drink all the time.

I just can't find a middle ground.

I drank every day for months. I seem to have to do it until my body disgusts me. Belly oozing over belt, belt down a notch and still too tight. Saggy-middle, flabby, atrophying muscle. Ghastly.

I had my last drink on New Year's Eve. I had a Baileys: the guilty pleasure of many!

I've been alcohol free all week. I can already feel the benefits. Stomach no longer bloated, toileting (I won't - you'll be thankful to know - go into details) easier, concentration marred by cold on back-burner, but less hazy brain due to alcohol-freedom. 

Marvellous.

Here are my opinions (and I have many strong ones on multiple subjects as I'm sure you're aware) on some common drugs:

Beer: tastes so wonderful - myriad flavours - easy, complex, bitter, smooth, fruity, malty, hoppy, dry. The drug that tastes nicest of all. What a quantity a pint is! The perfect measure: 0.568261 of a litre.

Cannabis: any drug that makes it okay to watch the same episode of Neighbours twice in one day has to be bad for you. Disgusting sickly smell. The stuff kids smoke today is like heroin compared to the rabbit poo of yore.

Cocaine: have you ever met anybody who took cocaine who didn't turn into an arrogant arsehole? Overpriced (like Champagne) for city and media types to make them feel special about themselves. A drug to bolster one's low-self-esteem. Not to mention the cost in human lives.

Champagne: the most overrated drink of all time. Tastes like ass unless you spend upwards of £50 a bottle. People eat oysters, caviar, smoke cigars and eat other stuff that has the texture of snot and tastes of rock-pools as it's traditionally what the aristocracy gorged themselves on, so it's more about aspiration - 'eating-up' in other words - rather than imbibing it because you actually like it.

'Never go ass to mouth.' - Marilyn Manson

Cigarettes: leant a friend £20 to buy some cigarettes. The change was in coins - less than a fiver - for a packet of 20. For years you see people outside offices standing in the rain to 'enjoy' a fag. I last smoked 21 years ago. I'd given up for years and taken it back up. I still have dreams where I'm smoking. Shit drug - way too expensive and makes you a social exile. 

And if you’re a bloke it shrinks your weenus

Threads

I'm still trying to work out what Threads is. It's a bit like a free app version of Twitter/X (if you had to pay for it). Less toxic, fewer features and rather anodyne in its content.

Like Facebook with strangers?

My feed is oddly full of middle-aged women whose entire content is selfies: cleavage selfies, butt selfies, driving selfies and big hair selfies. 

Their posts often read like this: 'Successful Lawyer, humanitarian, nature-lover, athlete, vegan, art connoisseur, mom of 4 super-smart kids.'

If that wasn't enough their post is just full of pictures of them. Is it boasting or is it a deep-seated insecurity that yearns for our approval? 

What have we become in the 21st century?

I understand people are looking to boost their low self esteem but it's a self-fulfilling prophecy. Keep demanding love and receiving positive affirmations and you quickly develop a need and eventually an addiction for other people's approval...


Ultimately I don’t think Threads knows what it is. You can’t really define yourself by saying this is what you're not.

I’ll await a proper definition. 

How to alienate your electorate

So I look online and see lots of footage of Trump supporters being ridiculed and made fun of. And it is unbelievable. 

Yes they have bypassed any form of half-decent education, they are ineloquent at best, but their vote counts as much as anyones’. Surely the liberals need to appeal to them instead of berating them all the time for being dim?

After all, if I called you 'stupid', or where you come from 'a shithole' would you vote for me? The chances are certainly lessened.

This is one reason the MAGA crowd hate metropolitan liberals - it's their painfully aloof intellectual arrogance. We have a similar thing in the UK between town and country but to a much lesser extent. A mistrust, as though the 2 sides share the same language but an entirely different culture. The countryside being socially conservative, and the townies being socially liberal, but illiberal to the socially conservative. 

Social media gave us anonymity in towers of judgement where we yell expletives and insult and threaten people who disagree with us. There is no serious debate on social media. You pick your binary side (woke and anti-woke) and that's it.

The Rock and Roll bit

Not been listening to music recently, although I did see a marvellous clip of the wonderful Dick Cavett chatting with the great Oscar Peterson, which I then I watched again with Mum and Dad.

These days I do secrete myself away in my man-cave for most of the day as I can't abide what they watch. And I'd be too embarrassed to attempt to watch The Boys for instance, with them. So it's great when we can watch something we will all enjoy (and I won't feel embarrassed about).

Not rock and roll, but just great, great music.

 


Tuesday, January 2, 2024

2023 be damned!!

Lowlights of the year

The invasion of Ukraine continues in a First-World War-style meatgrinder-stalemate

Hamas butchers 1200 Israelis of all ages at a pop festival. Israel's reactionary government retaliates by flattening Gaza and killing over 10 times as many Palestinians

Despite him being a lying, narcissistic sociopath, Trump is getting more popular in the States and unless he is sent to prison in time, will be the next POTUS. Which of course will be a disaster not only for the US but globally.

Liberal democracy around the world is under attack from China, Iran, Russia and other half-witted regimes such as North Korea who sow misinformation on our social media, fuelling conspiracy theories.

The world seems to be getting even more stupid - ever more venal and corrupt politicians reaching either the wrong conclusion or just lining their own or their friends' pockets.

And they will be replaced by more of the same, as the people who should be our politicians have zero incentive to go into it.

So what's the bloody answer then?

One idea I feel very strongly about is abolish the post of Minister of Education. Every minister of Education who comes in says "I had a brilliant education - so everyone will have what I did" introduces another one-size-fits-all system, oblivious that most kids aren't academic.

As a result of Michael Gove's reforms English became a dissection class of fronted adverbials, which is enough to put almost everyone off the subject for good, when really a child's imagination is one of the most precious things in life, and as I've said before, the one thing that the education system pulverises.

Replace with a permanent committee of high profile educators and adopt a German style system (as Beveridge originally recommended) of grammar, technical and secondary schools. 

Stop trying to be a second rate China with this obsession with maths, and start being a first rate Britain. We're a really creative people in all aspects of life. After all, the wealthiest Chinese send all their children to Public schools here. Critical and independent thinking is what's needed, not a bunch of mindless automatons who have only been taught how to pass exams, instead of being educated.

And maybe abolish the internet. It's handy for the discussion of ideas and nonsense like this, but it's been fuelling stupidity and misinformation for 30 years or so. It's only effectively policed by totalitarian regimes, and it's just too easy to manipulate in liberal democracies.

I'm only scratching the surface here, but I should also stop NOW.

What about me???

In August I moved in with my parents who very kindly accommodated me. It wasn't as bad as any of us feared.

I've come to the realisation that I need to make a distance between my old life and new life, at least for the time being. I know time is a healer and certain enmities and suspicions that are harboured by both parties will gradually cool down.

I don't think it's worth the time and stress to talk over and over things we can't do anything about, despite the fact that modern life suggests this is the only way approach these things. 

When I have fallen out with people in the past and met them decades later, it's instantly water under the bridge  - it takes too much energy to keep enmities going for years at a time. And I spent years doing that with at least 2 people.

Saying that, there are people I don't want to see ever again of course. And some I wish were dead. And I have no qualms about that at all.

I miss the dogs and my friends. I miss being part of a family.

But I have made new friends here in Wells and reacquainted myself with old schoolmates.

Life for me is in the main, believe it or not, one of contentment. 

My Problem with booze

I've been drinking way too much. Drinking every night. I have a problem with alcohol. I can go without it but rarely do. The last time I drank was 3 days ago on the 30th.  In all, that day, I had 8 pints of strong beer: a UK gallon. I'm only small too.

A small Bailey's please.

So I think about going to the gym and getting really toned, but then I remembered I've had enough of gyms for one incarnation, so just walking loads and perhaps some swimming. I like flow-activities. Good for the brain.

I will have to stop buying booze at the supermarket. Get back into non-alcoholic beers. But only in pubs and bars.

So I guess that's my New Year's Resolution.

The boring bit about games

I'm really looking forward to playing RPGs 3 times per week or more. Katy's asked me to run a game for some teenagers in February on their half-term. I'm pretty sure I want to run the classic funhouse dungeon, White Plume Mountain.

1981 version


The session is intended to be a one-shot (completed in one session). That may be slightly ambitious with WPM, but it's full of puzzles, magic and combat. It makes no logical sense whatsoever - every room is entirely random - but if you can buy into this it's great fun. 

Like a D&D advent calendar.

I hope the kids like it - it's different to modern D&D as the new adventures are more focussed around a narrative.

I for one am loving being a player in Temple of Elemental Evil which we do on Wednesday afternoon/evening. It's so cool doing a Dungeon Crawl. It was also the second module (adventure) I bought in 1985. It blew my mind. It's great playing it.