Thursday, February 22, 2007


The worst and the best jokes I've ever heard

The Worst

Redneck 1: What's a yet?

Redneck 2: You mean a yeti?

Redneck 1: No, a yet. Like it says here in the paper, 'A woman was shot and doctors haven't removed the bullet from her yet.'

The Best

Paul McCartney is being interviewed in the wake of his recent divorce.

Interviewer: Do you think you'll ever go down on one knee again?

Sir Paul: No I don't, and please refer to her as Heather.

Friday, February 16, 2007


Shiny happy people

Once upon a time there was a little girl called Patsy. She lived in a neighbourhood just like yours or mine. Patsy was a very bossy little girl and nobody liked her. She wanted people to like her, even more than she wanted them to be scared of her.

Patsy’s daddy gave her a job one day. She was to be in charge of mending all the broken dolls in the neighbourhood. Patsy wasn’t a very hard-working little girl and had no talents, so Daddy gave her lots and lots of money to pay other children with doll-mending skills to do the work.

The children in the neighbourhood all brought their dolls to be mended. One day some of the doll-menders came to Patsy. ‘There are more and more broken dolls in the neighbourhood, and we’re becoming better and better at mending them,’ they said. ‘We need more money because it’s becoming more expensive to do it properly.’

Patsy didn’t like the doll-menders. She was very jealous of them. So she said, ‘I think you just want the money to buy sweets for yourselves. I’m going to start checking up on you.’

She asked her daddy for more money. Daddy was very busy fighting all the other parents in the neighbourhood and beyond, and he said crossly, ‘This is all you’re getting,’ and threw some money at her. Patsy took the money and found some bullies and paid them to spy on the doll-menders. The bullies complained that they had nowhere to rest between spying, so Patsy told them to kick the doll-menders out of the Wendy houses where they were mending dolls and to sit in them themselves. She also gave them lots of paper to make planes with to keep them busy. The bullies loved making paper planes so much that they decided to make the doll-menders make lots of paper planes as well. The doll-menders complained that all this paper plane-making wasn’t leaving them much time to mend dolls. The bullies laughed at them and threatened to hit them.

One day the children in the neighbourhood came to see Patsy. They were crying and carrying bits of their broken dolls. ‘The doll-menders can’t mend our dolls any more,’ they said. ‘They’re either too busy or they’ve died of stress or killed themselves.’

‘Liars!’ shrieked Patsy, stamping her foot. ‘This has been the best week ever for doll-mending!’ She ran inside crying and told her daddy. Daddy made sure that a writer for a friendly newspaper wrote an article about how ungrateful the children in the neighbourhood were.

Soon the doll-menders were all dead, in mental homes or abroad. The streets were full of the broken arms and legs and heads of dolls. Daddy sighed. Even he had to admit that his darling little girl had made a right balls-up of things. He called Patsy, who was sulking in her room (which was decorated very prettily with all the lovely things Daddy’s money had bought her).

‘I don’t think doll-mending is for you,’ he said. ‘I’m giving you another job instead.’

And so, the next day, Patsy stood outside her house and looked proudly at the collection of little boys and girls in shiny police uniforms who were already hiding cameras about the street.

‘This time I’ll get it right!’ she vowed.

(Etc., etc.)

Thursday, February 08, 2007


To the metal rocker

I’d sit, a moody, acned, unloved cur,
In murk of teenage bedroom, sour and bored.
But feet and blood and loins would start to stir
At your first jarring, howling, shrieking chord.
Your playing was so savage that I swear
There’d be smoke coming from the record player.

A life of excess was the one for you:
The swankiest hotel rooms you destroyed.
You’d drink and snort and smoke and shoot and screw -
Our moral guardians were quite annoyed.
And in response, you trebled the outrage,
Decapitating rodents live on stage.

At social graces, rancid phlegm you spat;
Contempt for hygiene you did naught to hide.
You smelled as if a syphilitic rat
Crawled in your grandma’s knickers and there died.
Your beard, a foetid, cheesy, greasy merkin,
A haven was for alien life to lurk in.

Your music, all bass, feedback, drums and roars,
Made my head ache as though wolves ate my brain;
Yet still, against the floor and walls and doors
I’d bang my head again, again, again!
My air guitar I’d beat and thrash and pick -
A huge invisible surrogate prick.

I thought I’d grown up and left this behind
(A fam’ly man am I now, and mature).
But of your heyday I’m oft put in mind
When this ‘Nu-Metal’ shite I must endure.
You’d still put these pretending twats to shame
Although you walk with aid of Zimmer frame.

So dust your axe off once more, and crank up
The volume on the amp to more than ten.
And let’s drink deep from metal’s rusty cup
Lest sacch’rine safeness rot our ears again.
Though others at our folly sneer and scoff,
Let’s bang our bastard heads till they fall off.

Sunday, February 04, 2007


Budapest: so much better than Prague

Food, music, architecture, bars, literature, hotels, friendliness, clean streets, nightlife, Jethro Tull songs, romance, prices, historical resistance to oppressive regimes, bookshops, quirky museums, relative lack of pissed-up British stag weekenders.


Saturday, February 03, 2007


A meeting of minds

'These Korean meatballs really are the dog's bollocks.'

Walking home from a public house the other night, having refreshed myself with a single pint of finest ale, I was accosted by a stumbling, malodorous denizen of the shadows. ‘Yer a good fuckin’ mate, pal,’ he asserted. ‘Can ya spare us a fuckin’ tenner f’ra cab?’ (For the benefit of my American readers: he was requesting funds to the value of ten pounds sterling to purchase the services of a local taxi driver. Despite the adjective, no sexual intercourse was being proposed.)

‘You’ll just spend it on more drink,’ I suggested; at which his bonhomie disappeared, to be replaced with a microcosmic representation of the ugly face of modern Britain. (No, I don’t mean this.)

‘F’fuck’s sake, just give us the tenner.’

I remained immovable; a point of principle was at stake, plus I had no money on me. Instead of knifing me he began to stagger away, muttering, ‘Yer a stupid bastard.’

Quick as a flash, I retorted with an adaptation of my favourite Churchillism: ‘And you’re drunk, but at least you’ll be sober in the morning.’

It hung between us for a beat; then he said, ‘I rest my case,’ laughed raucously and weaved away into the night.

Thursday, February 01, 2007


The haunted Mexican shithouse

Mexico! Home of the sombrero, one of the world’s highest murder rates, and the Dirty Sanchez. The little lady and I went there recently on holiday, and what follows is an account of a terrifying supernatural experience I had during the trip. At the end of the account is a 'comments' section where you can post messages of astonishment and sympathy, as well as the usual abuse and attempts at character assassination I’ve come to expect since I first exposed my then young and unblemished soul to the world of the blog.

Vampirella and I were having dinner one evening in a cantina in P-- , a small village near Oaxaca. I’d bought myself a poncho and was practising being Clint Eastwood in The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, though an English and therefore more awkward version. By this I mean I was leaning back in my chair with narrowed eyes, rolling a toothpick between my front teeth. Damn near swallowed the blasted thing when I hiccupped.

The atmosphere was perfect. The place was cramped, smoky, slightly grimy and packed with evil-looking locals with Zapata moustaches. A tone-deaf mariachi strolled between the tables, strumming aggressive-sounding love ditties and singing with much rolling of the tongue. He lingered leeringly over Vampirella, which I didn’t like. She’d obviously turned his head. She does that a lot. I mean it literally: she’s a physiotherapist and a lot of her work involves rehabilitating people’s neck muscles after they’ve been immobilised after accidents.

(I don’t mean to impugn the good name of Mexican musicians. Another night we were in a bar which featured a house band by the excellent name of Las Cucarachas. They did some truly wonderful covers of an extremely odd range of songs including Van Halen’s Jump and Every Day Is Like Sunday by The Smiths.)

The first round of frozen margharitas arrived. At the table with us, for reasons of space, was a bizarre couple called Nick and Shelley, except she was Nick and he was Shelley. Shelley was a braying, toothy fool from London who did something or other in computers but seemed to be stuck in an eternal gap year at the age of 35. He liked to laugh halitotically and shout fark OFF! in response to everything anyone said to him. Nick was a ruddy, rawboned Australian with a faint moustache and a large Adam’s apple that made me wonder if she’d started life with one more Y chromosome than she’d now allow for. She howled like some Lovecraftian being at every joke Shelley cracked. (The jokes were myriad. The only good one was this:

What do you get if you cross a Jehovah’s Witness with an atheist?
Someone who goes from door to door for no reason.)

I can’t believe I just used the word myriad. Anyway: the food was served, together with beer, and Nick and Shelley became a little more bearable, or at least ignorable. I had delicious enchiladas with succulent chicken, rice, tomatoes, lettuce, sour cream, guacamole and salsa, with side dishes of green and red sliced jalapeno peppers hot enough to burn away your hard palate and expose your nasal cavity, and a big bowl of nachos slathered with melted cheese. Vampirella had the poncey vegetarian rabbit food she likes.

It was a while after the food had been consumed that I began to hear nature’s siren song. Now, it’s well known that a trip to Mehico isn’t complete without a good dose of rear-end action, and before the perverts among you get all hot and bothered I’m not talking about that. I mean the splatters, the tears of the brown-eyed monster, the fudge-tunnel express. But I wasn’t yet to experience that. (That came a few days later when I found myself atop a cold porcelain throne in a hotel room, my screams rending the night.) No, I was rocking back in my chair when I became aware of the effects of two margharitas and four bottles of Corona filtered through my kidneys. I excused myself and picked my way over to the restroom at the back.

The room was tiny, with a sloping ceiling that made it impossible to stand upright at the correct distance from the toilet. The walls were papered with pages from Playboy magazine, and I don’t mean the articles about cars or sports. The toilet itself was a foul, stinking hole. I began to feel queasy. I have no Scots or Irish in me and therefore can’t hold my drink very well (though sheep I have no problem holding, look you). Adopting an awkward, splay-legged posture with my back arched, I managed to stand in front of the bowl without bashing my head on the slope of the ceiling. I began to do the necessary.

After what seemed like an age, the flow dried up. I felt light-headed. There’s a phenomenon known as micturition syncope in which dizziness and sometimes fainting accompany the passing of urine, because of a complicated series of hormonal releases. It must have been this I was experiencing; it certainly wasn’t anything to do with the three martinis and bottle of Zinfandel I’d necked. My gaze hovered over the toilet until I spotted what I was looking for. The flushing lever, as is usually the case in toilets on the American continent, was low down, low enough that it could be pressed down with one’s foot. This pleased me. I had no desire to touch any part of that dirty bog with any uncovered part of me. It pleased me so much I paused for a few seconds, smiling. Then I raised my left foot while bending my right knee for balance, and lowered the foot on to the flusher. And it was then it happened, O my brothers and sisters, something so awesome that dread Cthulhu himself would have quailed before the majestic horror of it.

The toilet moved.

It swung slowly, almost ethereally, to the left so that my foot, descending on the flushing lever, planted itself in the bowl. I reacted to the sensation around my ankle – what was shocking was not that it was cold, rather that it was unpleasantly warm – by jerking my foot up again; in the process I lost my balance and banged my head on the sloping ceiling. Miss November clearly had implants but even so I hadn’t expected her bosom to be quite so hard. It was only my terror of landing with my head down the bowl that kept me upright enough to stumble out of the shithouse. I didn’t even bother to close the door after me – the toilet might be following me and I didn’t want to lose precious time.

Vampirella didn’t remark on my piss-sodden foot and ankle – I had just been to a men’s restroom, after all - but the apparently bleeding graze on my forehead did bother her. ‘I told you you shouldn’t have had that fourth Sambucca,’ she chided. I was about to protest that my physical state had nothing to do with inebriation and everything to do with a haunted, malevolent toilet, but I thought better of it. Why should she believe me? Why should any of you? The only person I’ve ever heard of who seems to have had a similar experience is Shane McGowan.

Anyway, despite all this, Mexico’s a great place. Go there. But catheterise yourself first.

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