Category Archives: daily observation

No. 75: Learn Important Things about Life from Downton Abbey

 As a flancer, escapism is everything. From boredom. From endless Loose Women. Mainly from feelings of being as vastly unfulfilled as a Little Chef chef. And so anything that escorts you from real-life into a world of excellent hats, special Socialist soup tureens for ink and cow pat and looking astonished when a woman declares she’d rather drive a tractor than be the ugliest daughter of three is welcomed heartily.

Downton Abbey is ace. It looks nice, it sounds nice and I bet it would smell nice too. Except maybe now all those rotting soldiers are cluttering up the drawing room and demanding a ‘tuck’. It also teaches us things that are very important.

(1) Whatever is happening in your life, there is a servant somewhere going through the same hell

Which is a relief, of course. They obviously don’t have someone to put their necklaces on for them when they are too immobilised by grief to do so. And of course, they still have to make eighty nine beds up by 6am when they want to die of misery. But this, people, is a comment on how some things are experienced by everyone in the world, rich or poor, upstairs or downstairs. Things like love, jealousy or gentle revulsion at O’Brien’s deeply unsettling fringe. This rule is not applicable to putting on the wrong diamonds, turning down a proposal by a Duke or getting a hole in your hunting tweeds. But this just goes to prove another rule. Which is: we get that humanity is a universal experience, but shit is way shitter if you get dumped and promptly have to scrub fish soup out of an evening gown.

(2) Unrequited love is brilliant

It’ll give you something to do (that isn’t pester the broadsheets for a commission) for ages. And you always end up together apparently. So stop fretting, Mary, Matthew will eventually realise that Lavinia Swire is only really twelve years old next birthday (and a ginger to boot) so he’ll be back in your arms before you can say ‘here, you can have my virginity, the Turkish fellow didn’t really count because he died halfway through.’ It takes literally months out of your year. And gives you a good reason to cry all the time. Flancers, take note.

(3) War is fine. You get to come back loads

Which is a great relief. There we were thinking that if you got sent to the trenches that was that. No return for you sonny, until you get shot in your smoking hand (Thomas) or suffer shell shock and promptly cannot handle cutlery without shouting (Mr. Lang). Not so! It appears you may still get to skive off loads  like Matthew Crawley who appears to be  shipped back from France for dinner at least once a week. Who said soldering was hard? Shut up, Lang.

(4) Orchestral swells mean something very good or very bad is happening

 If only they were around in real-life to help out. No more confusing of indigestion with realising you really ought to marry someone you thought was an unrefined prig, or to alert you to a person or persons attempting to bring about your demise via a bar of soap. Not when you have fifteen violent stringed instruments sawing away to indicate ‘SIGNIFICANT’.

(5) If there is dinner to be served, it must be served by a footman

Or you are no better than an accountant.


No.74: Put Off Doing Something Until It Becomes A Crisis

From calling off a wedding to having a poo, there’s nothing like a brazen IGNORE to allow initially insignificant business to escalate into full blown nightmare, just to give your day (by which of course we mean life) purpose.

Deadline of three months? Drink coffee and watch Only Connect until you suddenly realise you have 37 minutes in which to research, interview for and write up a 2800 piece on the history of the Lathe for Machine Tool Weekly (and if you’re wondering why you’re doing this in the first place, see post No.31). There is no better way to imbue your extraordinarily dull commission with all the immediate magnitude of a haemorrhaging eyeball.  Every PR you frantically telephone will hear the rabid urgency in your voice and the assumed significance of What’s Going Down Here will blow up like ankles on a long-haul flight.

Because urgency is acutely catching, people. Others want in on the sense-of-purpose gig.  Lathe-experts are literally being physically hefted out of their beds by ruffians employed by PRs for specific from-bed haulage purposes and onto the phone to offer last-minute Lathery comment because this situation is now SERIOUS. An APB goes out on all (three) Lathe-operator organisation websites. Emergency Lathe-spokespeople are mustered. Families of Lathe-operatives risk starvation as machinery lies abandoned, such is the stampede to contribute before time is up! Soon, forty-six people are swept up in your shit storm. And loving every moment of it.

At pains to further labour this point, which of these conversations is more interesting?

(a) I switched the iron off and went to Tesco


(b) I thought I’d leave the iron on until I’d returned from Tesco. And unpacked the shopping. And written a sonnet. I  burnt the house down and am now as homeless as …well, the two people who live with me, actually. Except the one that died of his injuries.

Ladies, isn’t it just vastly more satisfying to shave your legs when they look like something pulled from Mumford and Sons’ plughole? Leg shaving is a faff and doesn’t feel necessary until it starts feeling *medical*. 

On a daily basis, leg shaving can never be classed a bona fide crisis situ until you are in a taxi with a recently-met Handsome Young Man  you spontaneously decided it would be ace to have sex with. You’ll suddenly remember that bristling beneath your 40 denier is the sort of thatch that would give Richard Keyes’ forearms an inferiority complex. At this point plotting how to discreetly dehair or incorporate keeping your tights on into some hot sex stops being vanity and starts being a character-building situation to be passed onto the grandchildren. Anyway, your soon-to-be-naked comrade probably isn’t noticing that behind your pouty, sexy exterior the words: ‘fuckfuckfuck I seriously hope he’s got a Bic lying on the sink or his ex left some Immac knocking about’ are going on, as he at this moment is urgently planning how to hide the Nicklebackrecords he left on the side before going out this evening.

Nickelback: crisising all over your record player

People in soap operas have long understood the power of the last-minute, crisis-engendering reveal. If you can avoid sharing the fact that you used to be a man from your 19-stone, balding mechanic, Australian fiance until, say, the honeymoon night, things prove way more invigorating than if, at the end of date two, you decide to divulge the  information that a Serbian doctor rather than your DNA provided you with your vagina .

Important information. This practice of crisis-generating avoidance is not ever applicable to: administering mouth to mouth, injecting Insulin, addressing your financial situation if you are the country of Greece and turning off Robbie Williams.

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No.73: Feel Big love For Gary Barlow

Gary Rachid. Hang on. No... Ah whatever. He's LOVELY.

Most of us vagina-ry masses (and quite a few of the penis-toters too for that matter) are spending quite a lot of time currently doing this. It’s excellent, that’s why.  He’s not Simon Cowell for a start which basically makes anyone brilliant. And if your criteria for fancying someone is also ‘they’re not Simon cowell’, then you’ve probably been single for about as long as this blogger.

FFS, who cares that GB once took drugs?  Kelly Rowland once shat herself you know. Ok, so she was 5 days old, but the press* don’t seem to be able to stop themselves from separating a past event from its present relevance by means of a rational criteria based on time, age, common sense or plain human decency. Probably because it’s more fun their way.

‘Everyone with a fanny and some people with a penis love Gary Barlow!’

‘Ohdearmeno. We can’t have that.’


‘…Because…look over there! An albatross with a vicar in its mouth!’

‘wha – ?…Oh it must have gone. What were we saying?

‘Dunno. Slice of toast?

‘Ooh – lovely!’

So what does this mean, besides that fact that you can distract anyone living and breathing with the promise of toast? What this means is that the minute a human sets foot on English entertainment soil, success stops inspiring praise and starts being considered a good time to start psychologically beasting them.

The English seem to have the social group mentality of Ted’s father, police captain Logan,  in Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure and praise means you get SLACK and TOO BIG FOR YOUR BOOTS and YOU MUST  be destroyed within 3.5 weeks for your own good because do you know what success means in this country?! It means you’ve FAILED. So give it up, loser! Or go to America immediately (except to Ted’s dad’s house) where they like success and that sort of caper. The poofs.

The rise and rise of Barlow Hotness (do not use this phrase out of context in case someone thinks you mean Ken or HEAVENS FORFEND, Deirdre) has brought with it a parallel experience for many women. And that is the experience of fancying someone that your mum and your grandmother fancy as well at the same time.  Thanks to Gary, women of 16 and women of 79 have a shared love that isn’t (a) being grumpy, (b) being selectively deaf and (c)  screaming at figures of authority whilst covered in food.

Gary also eats food, has some transferable skills, has a fluctuating metabolism, doesn’t seem mental at all and you know he secretly hates Robbie. He’s a normal human being on all the 5 Internationally recognised counts.

It’s hard to work out why Gary is suddenly so very lovely. True, he’s nicer than an X-factor beanbag camply repeating the same sentence until you want to scoop your eye out with a melon baller (Walsh), a person that just tucks their hair behind their ear whilst holding a pen (Minogue), another person made of card (Cole) or someone so smug that if you licked them they would even taste of smug (Cowell).  But then again, maybe he bought a bag of handsome at Lidl and ate all of it. Which is my favourite answer.


*Not all press. Lots of them are lovely. Like CC, WR, CM, ME, HB and the like.

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No. 71: Get Your Hopes up. About Anything.

Rejection and disappointment can’t even be referred to as ‘large, unavoidable parts’ of flancer life. It would give them a pointlessly disproportionate amount of column space.  A bit like saying ‘Crikey, breathing, eh? My week is literally riddled with it.’  It’s a given. IT. IS. Pointless.

Nope, for flancers R&D are par-for-the course. The day-to-day. The NORM. Once, in the early days, dismay at their omnipresence may have been given supplementary airtime, back when enough Reality hadn’t yet occurred to usurp  positivity and optimism. Which, once dispensed with, left holes that were swiftly and expertly plugged by cynicism and pint glasses of rose.


The work is out there. Somewhere. And thus, hope can never truly die for the flancer – it simply languishes in a hospice surrounded by undrunk Lucozade.  And as any scientist that has placed electrodes on a rodent knows, the eternal promise of possible reward keeps intelligent life forms endlessly anticipating them.  Although it is arguably much easier overall to eventually obtain Red Leicester from a maze than obtain a commission from The Guardian Life&Style section. I know. I’ve tried.

Let’s stick with the laboratory analogy. The bell is traditionally Pavlovian and ironically it is with this that flancers associate with potential reward.  Email, front door, telephone, mobile: excitement ensues because all of these bells could mean WORK or MONEY. Or that you are a Labrador.

Hazards include:  the microwave, someone on the telly ringing a bell, your budgie’s mirror toy, the local landlord calling time (if you have phenomenal batlike audio capabilities)  or a person going past on a bike wishing to alert pedestrians to their presence. None of which mean work but will set off hope fuelled adrenaline and possibly the need to cry afterwards.

When it is one of the former, however, there will be much whooping and running out to the shed to see if there is a rifle you can fire into the air like an Afghan rebel. Or failing that, a car you can drive to the local Tesco car park for the executing of tarmac-burning joy donuts. Or perhaps a hairy mammal you can sacrifice on a fire to the Goddess of Professional Interest who has been too busy washing her hair and watching X-Factor lately to stop by much. She should by all accounts be omniscient, but The Goddess of PI just prefers directing her infinate attentions  away from you and at her leave-in conditioner and Gary Barlow. Which is fair enough really as he was always in charge of the boring end of the Take That stick and deserves a bit of Divine interest. Yay!  

Unfortunately for him, this is all made up in my head. If you’re reading Gary, sorry.*

Barlow: Only interesting to made-up, preternatural Divinities. And his accountant.

But  within seconds your hopes are shattered. Rather like Gary’s were just then. The doorbell  will have been that mad woman in all the mascara who owes your dad money because her mother backed her mobility scooter over the dog. The ‘phone was your nanna who thought she was phoning the hospital for a repeat prescription on her diabetes tablets (hours wasted due to her deafness and that deeply ingrained suspicious nature of the elderly convincing her that you were not her grand-daughter at all but a deliberatley obstrictive receptionsist. ‘Because the NHS are like that’.)  The email was notification that ‘@hotpants99  is now following you on twitter!’

And the person going by on their bike didn’t have a commission for you either. You checked.


*These somewhat eccentric examples of epic celebration are not definitive and may vary from flancer to flancer

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No.70: Help a family member

When there’s nothing else to do except eat and cry your way through your perpetual lack of employment sabbatical, it’s sometimes a relief to do things for other people that would usually make you go ‘JESUS H. CRUMBS CAN’T YOU SEE I’M BUSY!?!’

Right about now however, even Stevie Wonder in a backwards balaclava can see that you haven’t been busy for about 18 months and so assisting in your father’s removal of rotting leaves from the conservatory guttering and backing his car into the garage offer a welcome escape from listening to politicians talking about how ‘disgusting and unacceptable’ the London rioting is. And other variants on the words ‘disgusting’ and ‘unacceptable’. This is why they are doing absolutely nothing. All their physical energy and time has been channelled into ferreting through Thesauruses 24/7.

‘How about ‘we cannot countenance?’

‘Nah.  Boris used that yesterday.’


‘Too coarse.’

‘Beyond the pale?’

‘I LOVE it.’


I digress. One of this bloggers favourite things to do when otherwise doing shit-all, is help out in her sister’s excellent hairdressing salon. As luck would have it, she owns an old-school-still-offers-perms type salon as opposed to those shiny chrome-and-house-music heavy ‘studios’ called ‘KUTZ’ or ‘STYULZZZ’  where all the aphonic staff are given pay rises based on a pout and weight loss sliding scale. And can only cut your hair so that you look like the drummer from an emoband.

Directional: but ridiculous on a 3-dimensional human

Sweeping up bits that have been shaved off other people is satisfying and slightly sickening at the same time. Like squeezing out ingrowns from your bikini line or sitting though a whole episode of ‘Police, Camera, Action.’  But better than that is What Old Ladies Talk About. One, a 68 year- old woman, feared getting fag ash on her i-pad and  her online Solitaire habit (“I only smoke menthols though dear, they’re not so bad for you, are they?”). Meantimes,  her 74- year old husband – renamed Mr Teak due to his year round Menorcaised hue – is bemoaning how long it regularly takes to load his Facebook page from behind the latest copy of Reveal.

The one-liners you catch whilst passing through en route to the kitchen for yet more tea are superb. Honestly, you couldn’t make them up (and believe me my dear readers* – I haven’t.)

‘Oh yes, the end of her nose is fake. A Jack Russell bit it off’

 ‘There were 4 lesbians in here last week. It wasn’t as glamorous as it sounds.’

Lady 1: ‘He’s my best mate you know.’  Lady 2: ‘Except that time he sent you a text , saying he wished you were dead.’

‘She fell in the gap between the bed and the wardrobe.  Paramedics needed a sling to get her out. She was there until 4am. Literally wedged.

‘My grandad drank all the Sambucca and started harping on about his sex life’

Lady1: ‘My mate did this tattoo for me at home.’  My sister: ‘Ooh lovely. It’s a flower!’  Lady 1: ‘No, it’s a red indian’s head.’ My sister: ‘…would have been my second guess.’

And so on. I was especially fond of the fierce middle-aged woman that worked the Debenhams perfume counter and saw off a serial flasher by squirting his nob with CKOne.  ‘I hope it stung’ she snapped from underneath a magnificent crown of highlight foils.

Add to this the chap with 5 strands of hair and a crush on the junior stylist who pops in to book in a trim once a week and then runs away when anyone speaks to him. Oh, and the man who regularly pops by wearing nothing but a tee-shirt. Even in winter. Much to the concern of the ladies who – despite the fact there’s a bloke there with his John Travolta swinging free – care only about the pneumonia risk.

Once he’s back off-of his holidays (and so on), David ‘extra from a televised Jilly Cooper adaptation’ Cameron could do with visiting the nation’s hairdressing salons for a bit of policy inspiration. Therein lies the sort of  blue-sky thinking you’d pay middle-aged men who would like to pro-create with a whiteboard, tens of thousands of pounds a year for. The London riots, the NHS, care homes, the death penalty (most wouldn’t hesitate to erect makeshift gallows for the teenagers continually kicking their footballs against the side of the garage during Emmerdale), how to manufacture dog poo bags your finger won’t go through. All of it is covered amongst the roar of dryers and Radio 1.   

Actually, they should scrap the whole Tory party and just move my sister’s clients into parliament. Food for thought Mr Rupert Campbell-Black,  food for thought indeed.  And at least they’ll all have Newsnight-ready ‘dos.


*I am aware this plural is a little optimistic.

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No.69: Gut Your Purse

Might as well. The only other thing left to do is try to find an innovative way of hiding the hole in your opaque tights (an old colleague of mine used to colour in the exposed skin with a black felt-tip) or clean the hairs out of your brush (not a euphemism).

Unfortunately, most of what comes out of your purse will be pretty damning material evidence for the prosecution in the ongoing;  ‘you’re actually spaffing it on elevenses!’ vs ‘no, really, I am poorer than a church mouse’ trial.  It may also conclusively demonstrate that in the last month you actually had enough money to put a deposit down on a flat. But now Starbucks and the bank where Heat and Reveal put all their money are in joint possesion your  deposit. You can forgive the mags (you have to, they might commission you), but you always knew Starbucks were bastards.

There’ll also be a 2nd class stamp. Everyone has one somewhere. One that cheekily escaped the franking machine, gleefully ripped off the envelope in that  state of gleeful-ness that skint people express whenever they think the Goddess of Luck has popped by for a bit (she also leaves half a packet of cigarettes on top of a slot machine sometimes. Or places a miserable student on a till who is so lethargic they can’t even effectively scan the barcode on a packet of turkey drummers. Result!)…sorry, back to the stamp thing – yeah, you’d have spent about  37 seconds wondering how to get it off the bit of envelope it’s stuck to. Then abandoned the whole caper and gone for coffee. With those thieving, flat-stealing, life ruining, bean-roasting fuckers at Star-bastard-Bucks.

Other detritus may include a bus ticket from 1990, a Computers For Schools Voucher (see post 61 and now the second most useless piece of paper after the Euro note.)  And probably a flancer shopping list written in a pen you stole from a betting shop:  





Which has about as much point as Kerry Katona’s  daily to-do list:

Get up

Poke tongue out at a pap

Go to bed

 But making lists is a necessary part of flancer time wasting life and therefore must be done.

There may also be a mysterious receipt for over 90£ and you cannot for the life of you remember what it was for. ‘Smith & Co.? Who are Smith & Co?’ This dilemma will completely immobilise you for 5 days. ‘What on earth did I spend £94.50 on?’ You will wonder aloud until everyone in your household wants to slap your stupid, bemused face. ‘£94.50?’ It’s a lot of money. What was I thinking? What was that for? £94.50?’ and so on, like your nan when she gets on one about where she put her glasses down in March last year.

Oh, there will be no money in your purse whatsoever.


No.68: Take offence at a variety (all) daytime TV presenters

To be a good daytime TV presenter, one must genetically possess that heady, provocative cocktail of ‘come, I would never hurt you’ smiliness, deep, deep cold-hearted ruthlessness and high-risk, pre-luncheon drinking fiendage. Not all, but some. *smells the lawsuits*

DTTVPs are dangerous. Unfettered, they roam the TV networks before 15.00 like demonic overlords dressed in smart, rumpled casual (him) and anything by Coast (her). They have nothing to fear. Everyone watching is in a conscious guilt coma of work avoidance, reefer-fug or are laundrydrunk. Their blindingly-lit studio kingdoms of inoffensive cookery slots and interviews with multiple-birth mothers are safe from interference. They can say what they like. Well, they can’t say ‘fuckflaps’ but they are somewhat free to flirt in the borderlands of passive-aggressive rudeness and unbridled patronising behaviours.

One such flirt is DTTV Sofa Czar Richard Madeley. Watching him interview anyone was like watching a scene from Cracker, the hapless suspect (AKA: interviewee harrowed by some life misfortune that was promptly usurped in it’s ‘worst thing ever’ status by Madeley’s relentless bullying) being asked a question. And then Madeley firing another at them from his cocksure, I’m-a-dad-who-wears-a-hoody-and-once-saw-Snow Patrol-live slouch. And then another and another whilst promptly answering for them before the synapses  in their brain have even begun to fire the requisite neuron. Richard, this is not Probing Interview Technique.  It is being a douche.

Judy sits on smiling. Because she knows she has replaced his hairspray with vaginal deodorant.

But everybody seemingly in their right mind adores them.  Mums particularly. But this maybe because they’ve been so bored they started licking the Persil washtablets.

 ‘Ooh, but that Lorraine Kelly’s lovely,’ says your dad who you daren’t argue with because you owe him 2 month’s rent. So you nod non-commitally, whilst cringing as she soaks her guests from a well of condescention deeper than Jabba the Hutt’s  Sarlacc pit.

Another offensive presence is that Kyle person, who thinks that because he spends his life paddling in the footbath of society’s genepool he’s somehow allowed to wield a Paxman/Ceasar  complex, dispensing rudeness from atop his  moral high-ground to the scum and their 36 children, but suceeding only in demonstrating the huge absence of self-awareness of a man who is scraping the bottom of a barrel he actually constructed himself.

Kyle: Set phasers to 'scum'

But he’s at least better than Kilroy.

‘Daybreak’ presents another interesting (read:enraging) facet of DTTV–  why do ALL  DTTV sofa’spouses’ consist of some well-dressed, slim, highly attractive woman and a man that looks like the offspring of a coach driver and a roadie? Would the opposite EVER be sanctioned?  Wouldn’t it be ace to see some telly presented by Eric out of True Blood plus a fifty something from the Liberal Democrat backbench?

Doubtless, Overlord Madeley would insist this had already been done in the case of him and Judy. Harhar. Whilst Judy just smiles and knows that it wasn’t fake tan in that bottle he was slathering all over his stupid face earlier this morning.

‘Loose women’ is ok – but too much viewing could bring about early menopause.  And at least they look like what real women look like (before going out on a hen night admittedly) as opposed to the majority of female presenters who are only marginally older than a foetus and posses similarly undeveloped interview skills. Phillip Schofield gets a pass however because he has aged gracefully and always managed to talk to a puppet whilst maintaining his dignity. Fern Britton gets one as well – despite the tattoos and GastricBandgate – because she looks like my mum.

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No.65: Visit the Corner Shop

For the flancer, ANY reason to exit the house is a viable reason.  The smoke alarm won’t stop bleeping because the batteries are low. A pigeon spontaneously catching  fire in the garden. An in-progress mugging that demands intervention – anything really that means you’re not sitting in front of that laptop deciding whether tearfully inhaling another crème egg before 8.30am constitutes a borderline emo-psychological eating disorder.

As most people don’t really know what to do with a burning pigeon* (or for that matter, what to do when standing between a youth wielding something they found in a toolbox and an old person who still hasn’t twigged that this isn’t someone trying to help them cross the road) the corner shop constitutes a safer option. A nice, straightforward getting-out-of-the-houseness that doesn’t give rise to third-degree burns or an eyesocket full of Phillips screwdriver.**

The Corner shop is a Godsend. It’s a journey short enough to  make in house slippers. There’s never anyone there you recognise and therefore have to communicate with (despite having lived in this area for ten years) so you needn’t put a bra on.  It also provides a quick fix of what you need so you can get on with your day feeling more alive, without having to get out of your Florence & Fred work wear (ie pyjamas).

There are only a limited range of essentials on offer, so you are also exonerated from the guilt of being a bad person who puts bad things into their ruined body because – hey – is it your fault if all there is here are E-Numbers, high fructose corn syrup, nicotine, aspartame and salt? Would a drowning human turn their nose up at a Tesco Value life buoy?   This is an emergency!

On second-thoughts, the Corner shop’s not really a Godsend is it? It is a Crackhouse.

Feral faced, teenage guttersnipes lounge around outside smoking joints and sitting on stolen bikes. Your paranoia heightens as you pull your outsize belted cardi even further around you and clutch your front door keys to your chest. You suddenly remember that you are braless under that 1996 charity fun run tee-shirt. You feel horribly vulnerable.

Once inside, to blend in, you shuffle over the peeling lino under the flickering strip lights. You feel dirty but excited. After all what choice was there? Tescos is at least a half hours drive away and that would mean getting dressed and removing the scrunchie. You slink past the ancient hair-dye, the long plastic tubes filled with Kiddie-Madness powder, the packets of Skips (only Corner shops still sell these along with Discos and spicy Nik-Naks) and toilet roll with a thick, grey layer of dust on the top.

The chilled counter houses what can only be described as items you might find if you go poking about in the local hospital’s amputee ward wheeliebins.  It is lit like a scene from a David Lynch film in which they hang someone up and do horrible graphic things to them with a Ladyshave and simply being near it is hugely depressing.

Your pupils dilate as they settle on that gigantic bag of orange-coloured cheesy snacks that glow in the dark – which you know are going to be like chewing wool –  and a treacle tart by some baked goods consortium that has Mr. Kipling up at night screaming. No, even a devoted Greggs fan would not touch that de-devilled treacle tart.

You pay, you leave. You hear Genesis playing gently on the corner shop radio.

No.  No-one must know of what happened here.


*Gordon Ramsey might.

**Unless you live in Clapton, E5.

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No. 64: Go To A Festival

The British are good at festivals because they were good at wars. We as a nation possesses the robustness of spirit required for excreting in a non-lockable plastic cabinet, seeing anything as potential bog roll and trying to get comfy in a puddle whilst people who have consumed an oil drum full of 31p cider caper about twanging guy ropes and bellowing to an associate who has passed out wearing a piece of plastic sheeting.

Because it always fucking rains at festivals. And as useful as it would be, it’s unlikely Gore-Tex will be in sponsorship talks with Reading any time soon. Not least because the organisers couldn’t be sure that it wouldn’t be mistaken for some new-fangled energy drink and create a health scandal the likes of which would have The Daily Mail in raptures of orgasmicly morbid delight for literally, years. 

As such, it is traditional to resort to the age old solution: ‘if everything else is shit – get smashed.’  Because the more hammered *you* are, the less likely you are to mind when you return to your tent after watching British Sea Power to discover that where your bed used to be there is now the Gulf Stream.

Toilet obsessing and rain moaning aside – but not *too* aside as this would remove all British peoples’ reason for living – Festivals are happy places. They remind us that working, eating and working again aren’t necessarily the only state of being and that you can feel surprisingly brilliant in the crappiest of situations if you are within dripping and filthy earshot of Guy Garvey. Everything is ok because you  can pass out to the strains of Arcade Fire.  You’ve woken up on a pile of beer cans with some hair missing but who cares?  Lemmy is 200 meters away husking painfully into a microphone.

So you've lost the sight in one eye and your kidneys have failed. It's ok. Elbow are on next.

 There’s something wholesome about it being perfectly natural to see three young men dragging a tin bath along behind then bearing the legend ‘PuSsy WAgOn’ which contains the most overweight of their friends asleep and covered in stickers. Or duct tape being used as clothing. Or a person with such mad-crazy sunburn he appears have been blowtorched whilst wrapped in a  scramble net.

Yes, happy even for women with a screaming bladder standing in the midst of five thousand people slightly distracted from whatever it is that Neil Tennant is singing because they wish more than anything they’d had a penis fitted before they arrived.   

Even if you’ve lost all your mates and appear to be listening to a man hitting a suitcase with a cucumber who calls himself ‘The Stratford Bed & Furniture Centre Band.’ And really rather enjoying it.

First rule of the festival: there will always be noodles nearby.

Second rule of the festival: If you’re not 100% sure – it’s generally best to decide that it’s  mud.

No. 63: Spend at least 3 hours deciding how to word an ‘Email of Rage’*

Sitting at a desk being eaten up slowly by dark hatred is a state not unfamiliar to the majority of flancers on planet earth.

‘I have no money. The bleeding milk’s off. The Broadband’s running slower than Adrian Chiles in a Herve Leger bandage dress. The Guardian loathes me and my pitiful ideas more than a Neo-Nazi child pornographer that lists their musical influences as Nickleback and Andrew Lloyd-Webber.’


Or the ultimate – literally the biggest pokey stick you can poke the rage monster with – ‘I’ve snagged my dressing gown sleeve on a door handle en route to the living room and all I can now do is stand here breathing deeply through the mouth trying to decide which item of furniture to insert into the cat first.’  

It is in such a state as this that the flancer will decide that now, clearly, is the perfect time to send that long overdue email to (a) the bank for charging them twenty-seven pounds to receive a payment from Venezuelan ‘Chat’ (see post No.31: Pitch To Someone Totally Random) which meant that your total income from that particular piece of work was £2.83 pence (b) the complaints department of whatever manufacturer was responsible for their bad-bad horrible useless laptop computer (c) a person that sent them a huffy email about something vastly insignificant about a month ago (d) the frontal-lobe donor that commissioned ‘Geordie Shores’.

They will sit at their computer. They will decide that today, the bank gets it. Then the computer won’t load Internet Explorer so perhaps Dell with get a roasting instead. But you can’t write in Urdu so this plan is scrapped. The cat limps nervously from the room, shedding footstool everywhere. Come to think of it, maybe a SIMPLE round-robin of ‘FUCK YOU ALL YOU BASTARDS’ would save time and energy, but then that could result in some sort of legal action or (yet another) police visit.

A vitriolic email of eye-bleeding proportions, dripping with sarcasm and riddled with hate is thusly written. It is three pages long. In the distance a raven screeches and a cloud passes over the sun. The flancer sits back, twitching, cruel fingers steepled like a Bond-Villain about to press the big red button…

…marked ‘Save as Draft’

Somewhere in the house, a cat yowls.


*not an emo band.