Sunday, 29 July 2012
"Are you watching the Olympic opening ceremony tonight"? I asked the pale, overweight shop assistant in the computer store last Friday.
"No" he said to no great surprise. He didn't look like he enjoyed sports other than ones that involved looking at a screen and manipulating his thumbs.
He isn't the only one not looking forward to it. There has been some bad feeling in the UK in the build up to the Olympics with the recession and people losing their jobs and being told that money is scarce. Spending billions on a sporting event is bound to upset some people.
Nevertheless it is hard not to get swept up in the excitement and I was in front of the telly with a bag of crisps and a bottle of champagne at 21:00 to watch the opening ceremony.
At first I wasn't sure it would work but thankfully they pulled off something unique.
Men in top hats body popping, hundreds of kids jumping up and down on glowing beds while women dressed at nurses from the 1940's danced around them and pogoing punks with papier mache heads.
It reminded me of those dreams that one has when ill and running a fever, all weird and unreal.
It wasn't the only surreal thing on British telly that week. I was baffled at seeing Michelle Obama on a football pitch kicking a ball into a goalmouth. The goalkeeper was Spongebob Squarepants.
Not something I was expecting to see, ever.
Now that the actual Olympics have started the surrealism should finish and we can get on with the sport.
Hang on, I'm watching womens beach volleyball being played on a patch of sand in the middle of Horseguards Parade in London while the Benny Hill theme plays in the background.
Welcome to Great Britain.
Monday, 23 July 2012
I've tried to avoid commenting on the phenomenon that is Fifty Shades of Grey but so many women I know have read it that I can't resist spouting off about it. In my local supermarket there is a stand full of the trilogy, right next to the Get Well Soon cards. Buses and trains are full of commuting women reading them and getting funny feelings in their lady parts. Suddenly erotic literature is mainstream and not something to be furtive about.
Perhaps this is partly to do with it being an almost exclusively female phenomenon, women are asking each other if they have read it yet and if the answer is no they lend their friends their own copy and refuse to say anything about it as though there is anyone left that hasn't heard that it is full of sexy bits.
It is as though women have only just discovered porn. Men tend not to read these books as we have all been reading and looking at porn since we were teenagers so forgive us if we seem puzzled at the commotion.
I've just been on holiday and Mrs Van Helsing borrowed all three books from a friend who, like I said, wouldn't tell her what they were about. We were only on holiday for a week but she read all three and managed to re-read the first one again before we came home. If we weren't hiking, driving or messing about on boats she had her head in the books.
I'm ashamed to say I started feeling a bit jealous and unwanted. Is this how women feel when they know their men read and look at porn? I put down my Tom Clancy and tried reading one but found it to be much like a Mills & Boon with better sex scenes.
I'm not complaining about these books at all, I think what is happening is a good thing. Suddenly women are talking about erotic literature and no-one seems embarrassed or ashamed to say they enjoy it. The fact that it is prose and not pornographic pictures or films means nobody is being exploited in real life. The characters may be exploited in the stories but we all fantasise about each other in different scenarios. It will be interesting to see if this fizzles out or more books from other authors are given the same mainstream status.
I'm off to convert the spare bedroom into a Red Room, I wonder if you can buy suspension racks at B&Q?
Tuesday, 17 July 2012
I'm back after a hiatus and as I sit here typing I realise that I don't know what to say. Usually my posts follow a single theme that I try not to stray too far from but today I'm sat looking blankly at the wall like a cow staring at an Xbox, no comprehension at all.
I could talk about the holiday in Devon I just returned from. How I saw Dolphins leaping alongside the boat from Lundy Island or the hikes along coastal cliffs and through mist-covered forests.
I could talk about my temporary new job as a police dispatcher, I have been seconded from my department to fill in at the Divisional Control Room due to a lack of manpower and it is one of the most stressful things I have ever done. I have just completed my first seven day set of early and late shifts in this role and I think this maybe why I feel as beat up as I do.
Maybe I could tell you about how one of my cats has suddenly started eating my toenail clippings for some reason. Or how the build up to the Olympics in this country is being ruined by the huge amount of hype the corporate sponsors like McDonald's and Coca Cola are throwing around. I'm pretty sure Olympic athletes don't use any of these products.
Maybe I'll go on about how excited I am regarding the Judge Dredd film due out in September. I've read the comic since I was a kid and the new film looks a lot more promising than the awful Stallone nightmare.
Unfortunately I can't go into great detail about any of these things, I just don't have the mental wherewithal to engage with you in the manner you deserve. Even as I type this I'm thinking about a chair in the kitchen that I have been putting off repairing. Some manual work would be more suited to my mind set right now.
I just wanted you to know that I'm back and business will resume as before. Now I'm off to fix a chair. Where the hell are my tools?