Tuesday, 28 February 2012

My Oscar Night.

Once again I have allowed myself to get all excited by the hype in the build up to the Oscars and as they have neglected to invite me I decided to hold my own ceremony at home.
First I put on my suit and ordered a taxi to pick me up from my house, drive around the block then pull up at the bottom of my drive. Ignoring the driver's quizzical look I got out of the cab smiling and waving.  Unfortunately as the Oscars are shown live over here in the UK it's the early hours of the morning so there were no people to wave at, just a cat sat on a fence and fox trotting past.

'Hi, how are you', I said to the cat, ' My suit? Oh that came from Burton's Menswear. No my lovely wife won't be joining me this evening as she is getting up for work in a few hours and thinks I'm mental for doing this'.
The cat then wandered off, no doubt to interview another celeb.

I walked up my garden path, smiling and waving at the plants and made a grand entrance through my front door.  Inside was a lavish Oscar banquet consisting of Spam sandwiches (with brown sauce), a bottle champagne I'd got for ten quid after Valentines Day and  a bag of pickled onion flavour Monster Munch that I'd tipped into a bowl.
So then it was time to dim the lights, stick on the telly and let the award ceremony begin.

Two hours later and I'm pissed on cheap champagne and covered in Monster Munch crumbs. It had all gone a bit blurry and I was bored of watching people clapping and waving statues about and saying thank you.

Here are my Oscar highlights for the evening.

Christian Bale went through his award presentation looking like he wanted to punch somebody and spoke in  a weird Cockney accent, even though he is Welsh. Maybe he has done so much method acting he no longer remembers what he sounds like in real life.

Chris Rock's hair made him look a bit like Tetsuo from the anime classic Akira and during his presentation speech he managed to remind us once again that he is black. Congratulations on that.

Brad Pitt is still going through his surfer dude phase and Angelina Jolie looks like a ghost train skeleton in a wig and lipstick.

The whole thing was hosted seamlessly by Billy Crystal although for some reason his Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close gag fell flat. I though it was pretty funny.

I don't know why I allow myself to get caught up in the hype, the whole thing is a luvvie fest and I hardly ever watch the films that are nominated.  I would't get excited about a 'Best Heating System Installation' category at an award ceremony for plumbers so why care about the Oscars?

But for one night only I was part of the glamorous world of movie stars and all in the privacy of my own living room, until I changed the channel and watched Under Siege starring Steven Seagal.
He never got an Oscar.

Friday, 17 February 2012

The Lonely Salmon.

Oh great, a sudden and unexpected crisis of conscience. Just what I needed.
There I was pushing my trolley around a supermarket as big as an aircraft hangar.  Just another bovine shopper, grazing my way along the aisles being serenaded by bland pop music and heading for the refrigerated section where food that has been knocked down in price as it is going out of date resides. I noticed the shelves in this section were almost empty.

Then I looked at the bottom shelf and there is was.  A corpse.

It was a whole salmon lying on it's own and looking totally out of place.  There was a small amount of blood pooled around it's head in the shrink wrapping and I knew that no-one would buy this fish and that it would be dumped without ceremony in the bins around the back of the store. On the white shelf and under the glare of the electric lighting it just looked sad.

Don't get me wrong, I eat meat and fish and I don't go around assuming animals have the same emotions as people but it just seemed wrong all of a sudden.  This fish had been taken from whatever waters it had lived in, left to gasp it's life out in the open air only for it to end up on the bottom shelf of the knock-down bin where no-one wanted it.

I don't now why this feeling suddenly hit me when I saw this poor dead fish but I remembered many years ago when I worked in a car polish factory with a bloke who had a part time job in a slaughterhouse.  He used to come out with stories of using dead cow's udders like water pistols and spraying milk on his colleagues.
Or how sometimes pigs were still alive when they went into the flame jets that seared the bristles off their backs, or cows dropped alive into boiling vats because workers couldn't be bothered stunning them properly.

Now because of this fish I find myself considering vegetarianism. My wife has been vegetarian for 20 years and as such I eat plenty of vegetarian food so it shouldn't be too difficult.  Then a little voice in my head starts whining about how nice pork pies are or needing animal protein for my weight training in the gym or that my stopping eating meat won't stop cruel morons tormenting animals out of boredom before they kill them.

But we all sort of know this stuff goes on and we choose to ignore it because we like the taste, I just don't know if I can carry on being complicit in this.  So maybe I will give up meat, I mean I smoked for 25 years and managed to quit so meat should be a doddle.
What do you think.

Oh and if anyone thinks I am some sort of liberal, over-sensitive hippy they can fuck right off.

Friday, 10 February 2012


In the overwhelming blizzard of TV advertising that bombards our eyeballs in the run up to Christmas there are always adverts for perfumes and aftershave.

Weird mini-epics where skinny, androgynous people run up big staircases in floaty clothing while someone off-camera whispers the products name.  If ever there was a business that embodied the story of the Emperor's New Clothes then the fragrance industry is it.

The glamour is lost when you realise that many of these fragrances come out of enormous industrial units just off the New Jersey turnpike. 

Back in the old days when plumbing was a rarity and most people did not have access to running water then perfume was necessary to hide the stink.

These days many of us in the First World have hot running water and the option of showering every day, there is no need to wear perfume, just stay clean and stick on a bit of deodarant.

Unfortunately this is not apparent to everybody as a trip to your local comic shop will show you.  Wander past any group of young males talking about whether Thor could beat Wolverine and breathe in deep of the hormonal fog that surrounds them.  It’s like eating a sweat sandwich.

Expensive aftershaves and perfumes are no longer necessary which is why the adverts always come out in force before Christmas. They are a luxury item and serve no purpose other than to stink the place up.

Sorry this post is shorter than usual, especially when I have reached a landmark of 200 followers (thanks for putting up with me) but I am just about to drive south to meet an old friend and should have set of 15 minutes ago. Sod it, I'm off.

Thursday, 2 February 2012


Okay, so last post I briefly mentioned a run in with the American police.  A number of people have asked me to clarify this so here goes.

In 1989 I was working as a fork lift truck driver in a car polish factory and drifting aimlessly from one unskilled job to another. I had received some money in compensation when I was injured in an industrial accident a couple of years previously and decided I to get a three month visa and visit the United States. The plan was to land in New York and work my way across country to California.

So me and a guy I had worked with and who had been to America before landed in New York in February 1990, spending a week there before catching a Greyhound up to Boston, Massachusetts. We didn’t have much money so we were budgeting tightly and ended up booking in at the Boston Youth Hostel and going out for some food and beers.

Later that evening and with several beers under our belts we realised that we had no idea where our hostel was.  My mate wanted to get a taxi but I spotted a police station just down the street and said we should go there and ask for directions before shelling out for taxi fare.

So we walked into the police station and towards the front desk where a lone female officer sat.  I was just about to open my mouth when her eyes widened and she jumped up, dropping her hand to the butt of the pistol on her hip.
She drew the gun and pointed a finger of her free hand towards my friend who was standing behind me.

“Take your hand out of the bag slowly, sir”. She said.

I turned to look at him, my hands so far up in the air I nearly dislocated my shoulders.  My mate was standing white-faced, his hand inside the bag that held the guide book he was reaching for.

I stammered out the reason we were there until she relaxed and I was able to lower my hands. She pointed out the late hour, our long hair, beards and leather jackets and the smell of drink didn’t make a great first impression.

I pointed out that I had never even seen a real gun before and hers was the first and I thought it was going to be the last thing I ever saw.  I was a gun virgin.

Guns are a rarity in the UK and the only armed police officers are specialised firearms units.  For all I know people in the U.S. have guns pulled on them everyday and it’s no big deal.