Friday, May 25, 2007



Does anyone feel like joining in?


It's a great film, The Shout (1978), by the way, with John Hurt, Alan Bates and Tim Curry. I've just watched it for the whateverth time and I heartily recommend it. Be sure to shout along to it!

Saturday, May 19, 2007


Attack of the GROLIES

The Accident & Emergency Department, Shipmanville General, four in the morning. My shift was finishing at nine, and as I’d been on my feet from when I’d started at nine in the evening until about an hour ago, you’d have thought patients would have the good grace to stop coming in or at least to wait till morning. No such luck. Sister Griselda, let’s call her, poked her head round the door of the mess, a rictus of glee on her grotesque features. (Actually, she wasn’t bad looking, but this is my story and the hell with ‘facts’, damn your eyes.)

‘You’re going to love this one,’ she cackled.

I considered having a tantrum but I’d already breached my quota for that week, so I tossed my polystyrene cup at the bin, forgetting it was still half full, so that the wall above the bin was left looking like a cell wall after a dirty protest, and followed her. ‘What is it?’ I asked. ‘A PFO? A PDE? A FUBARBUNDY?’ Those are, respectively, Pissed and Fell Over; Pissed, Denies Everything; and Fucked Up Beyond All Repair But Unfortunately Not Dead Yet. At that hour of the night little else tends to come in.

‘None of the above,’ Griselda grinned. ‘It’s a GROLIES.’

Oh Christ, that was bad. A Guardian Reader Of Limited Intelligence in Ethnic Sandals. I didn’t think I could handle it and began to weep like a baby but Griselda took a firm grip on my arm and propelled me into the cubicle, backing off and drawing the curtain like the backstabbing coward she was. Witch. The GROLIES was sitting up in bed and the first thing, the first thing she did was look at her watch. I’d probably breached some item of human rights legislation by keeping her waiting five minutes. I saw from her notes that she was 30 but she looked ten years older, which probably had something to do with the pigeon’s nest she had on her head instead of a hair style and the lines slashed into her face, the stigmata of the chronically aggrieved. An older man in his fifties sat by her bed, looking weary. Sure enough, folded beside her was a copy of The Guardian.

‘Hello, I’m Dr Eater,’ I said brightly. ‘What can I do for you?’

The GROLIES doubled over in pain and dribbled saliva into a kidney dish. After a time she sat up and said, ‘I need an X-ray.’

‘Please tell me where the pain is,’ I suggested.

‘It’s my appendix,’ she said.

‘Whereabouts exactly is the pain?’

‘In my abdomen where the appendix are [sic].’

‘When did it start?’

‘Look, I’m in pain, will you just send me for a fucking X-ray?’

I persuaded her to let me examine her abdomen, and asked if she would prefer her father to step outside. She stared at me in wonder.

‘He’s not my father, he’s my partner.’

I glanced at the man who nodded, eyebrows raised, as if to say What can you do?

‘He’s a lawyer, you know,’ she added.

Back and forth we went, I trying to go through the time-honoured process of taking a history, performing an examination and making a diagnosis, she demanding that I stop wasting her time and send her for the X-ray to which she was apparently entitled according to some Act of Parliament or other. I got the I know what’s wrong with my body better than you do spiel, and the you’re paid with my taxes so I get to call the shots lecture. Finally I’d gleaned enough to pronounce on what was wrong.

‘It’s period pain’.

No, no, it wasn’t. I listened while I was blamed for never having experienced menstrual cramps myself and therefore having no idea of what they felt like; then I endured a diatribe about my crass incompetence and impending removal from the medical register. So I did what any strong-willed, principled professional should.

I gave in.

I ordered an X-ray, an abdominal ultrasound, a slew of blood tests and urine analysis. They all came back negative, and the patient stormed out with a fistful of painkillers, most put out that she wasn’t iller than she was, and with no harm having been done apart from several hundred pounds’ worth of wasted taxpayers’ money.

I sound like a callous bastard with this story, and just the sort of arrogant, couldn’t-give-a-damn physician that you may have had the misfortune to come across yourself. I’m not normally like this. Please understand that these were special circumstances. The patient was a GROLIES. The GROLIES are everywhere, and they’re the offspring of an illicit and unholy congress between government and media. They’re characterised by ignorance, querulousness and self-righteousness in equal measure. They have right-wing counterparts in the as yet un-acronymed types who come to hospital clutching the Daily Mail. They’re what soon-to-be-ex-Health Secretary Patricia Hewitt would be if she were a patient. They’re enough sometimes to make me consider going to my employers and telling them where to stick their job, except then the next day the Halifax would be telling me where to stick my mortgage application, the gas company would be telling me where to stick my bouncing cheques, and Harry ‘Mashed Potato’ Reeves, the local debt collector, would be telling me where to stick my excuses. And probably showing me, too.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007


Lovely fags

I started smoking in 1988 when I started university. It was South Africa and the little bastards cost in real terms 45 pence for a pack of 30. What was I supposed to do, for God's sake?

Between 1988 and 1993 I'd smoke anything. If it was tubular and went between my lips, I'd set fire to it. (Just as well I wasn't gay, eh? Ah ha ha haaaa!) Mostly it was legit cigarettes or cigars, pre-packaged ones or roll-ups. Sometimes - depending on if I was trying to get it on with some high-class earnest type of girl - it was revolting herbal stuff. More often it was that other stuff what you get in them Amsterdam coffee shops. Crack wasn't big in South Africa then, so I never ventured down that alley, and my brain thanks me for that even today.

I quit the nicotinic bastards in 1997 and apart from the odd relapse over the next two years have been celibate ever since. It's the best thing I ever did: my skin is smoother, my lungs are more elastic, my arteries are less clogged with sludge, my hair stinks less, I'll probably live at least three years longer, etc., etc., etc., blah, blah, blah.

But I still crave the little creatures.

Yum yum. You buy Winstons in a crinkly red and white pack, like the American packages, not like the hard cardboard packs you get over here in Europe. You're lying on an acid-white beach in Cape Town on an early December day, six weeks of sensuous Christmas summer holidays ranging ahead of you like a highway. Above you, the sky is a bleached bowl of pure blue. At your elbow is a six-pack of Castle lager. In your hand is the paperback you've been wanting to read for months.

You fire up. The flame rustles around the paper and then catches the leaves. They crackle at an accelerating rate as you suck the first drag deep into your throat. You're not looking to burn your trachea - that can be fun, but you want Camels or Marlboros for that - but something as soft as Silk Cut won't do.

Then the nurse comes and tells you there's a new non-smoking policy in this hospital trust and you start arguing and before you know it there's been a fight and you've been given an injection but at least you got a sly fag in, ha ha haaaaaaaaaa...
What are your favourite smoking stories?

Saturday, May 12, 2007


Because that's the kind of person I am

This is a shot of Donald Sutherland as he appears in the final seconds of the 1978 film Invasion of the Body Snatchers, a superior remake of the 1950s Red paranoia sci-fi classic. With this picture I have spoiled the ending of the film for you, if you haven’t seen it yet but had intended to. I hereby reveal a new art form, that of ruining a surprise twist or ending in a film with the use of a single still. One must choose one’s cinematic subjects carefully as by no means all twists are susceptible to this. The revelations in Seven and The Usual Suspects, for example, cannot be communicated using this technique.

Be sure to visit here over the coming weeks when I shall be spoiling your enjoyment of The Wicker Man, Don’t Look Now and The Crying Game, among many others.

Saturday, May 05, 2007



I return to the internet from a much-needed break in reality to find my mailbox bulging. What's wrong with you people? Don't you have lives?

Here's a sample of the drivel I've felt compelled to plough through for the sake of politeness. writes:

Dear Foot Eater

Where have you been?

Didn't you bother reading my post of 20 December 2006?

Genghis Khan's Fridge (don't you just love wacky, 'surreal' names, they're sooo original) writes:

Dear Foot Eater

Your a guy who nose how to pull the hot chicks. can you give me some advise about how to pull hot chicks cos i dont get any dates?

Sorry, Mr Fridge, I'm afraid I can't help you there. I gave up dating because I was fed up with having to get the Mace out of my eyes every time.

**n** Mc**** writes:

Dear Footsie

Although I come across on my blog as all liberal and PC and that, I have a recurring fantasy of you dressed in the uniform of the captain of an SS Panzer division. Might you consider dressing up like this and sending me a photo? Ta mate.

Do you take me Fuhrer pervert? (I crack myself up sometimes, I really do.)

O*d Knu*se* writes:

Ye bastard. Ye're nothing but a Sassenach bastard, ye bastard, ye. Ye bastard.

Not quite sure what your point is, Mr K, but thanks anyway, and I hope the stitches come out soon. writes:

Dear Feater

You're obviously a man of impeccable taste and profound wisdom. What should I stick on my iPod for my forthcoming trip to New York City?

Fudge, I'd recommend Blondie, Lou Reed, Television, Talking Heads, Ramones and the New York Dolls.

Mr Charles Strange writes:

Dear Mr Eater

You are quite clearly extremely well read and highly literate. I wonder if you'd care to comment on a matter that has been vexing my friends and me for some time now. In The Guermantes Way, the third volume of Proust's A la recherche du temps perdu, the behaviour of the narrator appears to foreshadow that of another later modernist protagonist. I believe that this person is Joyce's Leopold Bloom but my friends insist it is Woolf's Mrs Dalloway. Your thoughts?

Sorry, Mr Strange, I didn't follow any of that. Are there tits in this book of yours? writes:

yeh foot eater you tell im! whose he fink he is wiv all his ponsing about. yer a man of the peopel just like us. only fing is, why dont you sware as much as you used, i liked that, it was well wiked.

Remove your foetid presence from my consciousness at once, you revolting plebeian.

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