Tuesday, December 30, 2008


Today is my 48th birthday. Wonderful. Happy Birthday to me. I'm so wonderfully wonderfully happy.

I have no money, yesterday my car failed its MOT and the day before, I finally split with my love, despite having had a really wonderful Christmas together. A couple of days later I found out just where I stood on her personal heirarchy (below something just as organic as me, even less animate but far more destructive) and it wasn't worth fighting for promotion. I am extremely bitter and upset about it and my ability to trust people has taken a real hammering. You can look the other way if it seems too personal. She claimed the person she fell in love with doesn't exist. He does, he's exactly the same, just more cynical as a sadder and more violent world unwrapped itself over the last decade. Unfortunately the person I fell in love with turned out to be a complete and utter fraud; a sham construct full of false artificially derived emotions. The unmasked reality became cold, distant and selfish, unable to understand the motivations and realities of a relationship. Time to call it a day.

I've been having therapy for a few weeks now and I've been taking happy pills. It actually transpires there's very little wrong with me that's unusual, just a rapidly diminishing capacity for dealing with being let down, dating from a couple of decades ago. I'm clinically depressed but I'm not a danger to myself or the community at large (you get assessed. Health and Safety). I did harm myself the other day but I was slicing an apple at the time.

However, there is always an upside - some people are worse off than me. I was woken this morning by my best, and most lovely of friends, AJ (whom I've known for exactly half my life as of today) "singing" Happy Birthday down the phone at me. She then went on to tell me that after nearly 47 years she's discovered one of her lady bumps is much bigger than the other (I could have told her that decades ago but I'm a gentleman) and that M & S don't make bras to fit them. Also, that because of a fractured elbow (incurred while slipping on ice during a previous phone call to me a couple of weeks ago) preventing her from driving to her parents for dinner, her entire Christmas day nourishment consisted of a Fry's chocolate bar. I actually thought she'd said fried chocolate bar but that would have been too much effort. We laughed heartily, our respective woes disappearing in the beauty and trust of a friendship that has never wavered.

(The title refers to a joke AJ and I have been running since we first met. When our respective domestic goings got particularly tough, we would make plans. It eventually came down to just picking the phone up, saying Singapore and spending the next two hours in the pub).

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

It's that time of year

I would just like to take this opportunity to wish everyone who is either a regular "reader" or who has stumbled drunkenly in by accident and witnessed these pathetic witterings, the best of the season. The season is winter, if you hadn't already noticed.

It has been an unusual year for me. I have experienced some highs and lows but I've also experienced some outstanding, selfless and humbling acts of generosity without which I may not have been typing this now. I am lucky to have such good friends, even if, in some cases, I have never actually met them. Such is the bizarre nature of the world in which we live. However, when you consider one quarter of the global population is about to celebrate the birth of someone they've never met yet profess to derive comfort from "knowing", maybe the modern world and its manners aren't so unusual (Dave, you have my permission to extend that if you start preachifying again). And a word here to friend Young Phil whom I have met a couple of times over the past two years, most recently last week. He has played a blinder, as have the Royal Mail. I will experience a noisy late December.

Happy Easter!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

This time next year...

As regular readers of this journal you will be aware that I am not among the wealthiest 99.9% of this great country's population. I am not even among the wealthiest 99.9% of Crewe's population and that's going some. However, I have a plan. I have set it out in the following letter:

Dear City Type,

I've got a cast iron system for making you loads of wedge. This is kosher, straight up. Honest, it really is. I realise that you've been kippered recently by some so-called financial experts and are probably a bit wary but you really can't go wrong with this one. Trust me.

Magic Beans. Easy - can't believe you haven't thought of it before. Anyway, I have some of these big boys and they're yours for a small consideration. Plant these, wait a few months and they'll give you a harvest of pure, 100% money. What's more, I have an inexhaustable supply of them. Send me a very large Jiffy bag full of £50 notes and I'll send you a bag of magic beans by return. This is the opportunity of a lifetime Would I lie to you? I've got an MBA! Look, I'll tell you what, send me the money now and I'll even plant them myself on my own allotment - saves you the bother. I'll send you the money when it's ready.

Look forward to hearing from you,

Honest Dick MBA,
PO Box 231

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Whatever you do, don't make it sound like Sergio Mendez...

Several hundred years ago, my very good friend Paul lent me "Roll 'em, Smoke 'em, Put Another Line Out" by Patto. I played it death for about 2 weeks then gave it back. I had no means of copying it at the time and shortly after, Paul moved away to somewhere called the "West Country" (he's still on my contacts on my mobile despite us only communicating once in over 30 years). Every couple of years I encounter a raging desire to listen once again to "Singing the Blues on Reds", "Loud Green Song" or "Mummy" (if you've ever heard that and laughed, you share my sense of humour and are my friend. Vicus, surely you are familiar? You were technically alive in 1971, after all) and although now Youtube does actually feature a few tracks, it's not the same. I really do want the album. You can hear a very low-fi version of the whole album on the website of their superb guitarist and vibes player, Ollie Halsall here but it's just not the same. Actually if you are students of the comic, you may be more familiar with Ollie Halsall as the main guitar, bass and keyboards sound of the Rutles (he didn't appear except as "Leppo", the Stuart Sutcliffe character in a photo). Incidentally, a fellow Patto alumnus, the drummer John Halsey, played the Ringo character, Barry Wom. Mike Patto died of cancer in 1979, he was only 36.

I had a lead on a copy a couple of years ago but nothing happened. You can get it on CD but the only copies I've found so far on a well known interweb shop cost absolutely ridiculous money - the equivalent of well over a week's income for me. If anyone out there, or you know of anyone who, has the vinyl and has one of those USB turntable thingies and can burn me a copy, I'd be very, very grateful indeed.

In the meantime, have some of this.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008


Sod the credit crunch, energy prices, Christmas, WAGS, X-Factor, wars, swearing, the self-important, the preening and the boring. A little bit of the magic died yesterday and the world is a poorer place for it.

Oliver Postgate

Some Jones the Steam

Wednesday, December 03, 2008


Walking through Crewe's vibrant and exciting town centre this morning my senses were assailed. Not by the smells from the exotic food stalls (Costa Coffee, McDonalds and Greggs the Bakers) or by the jungle rhythms of our very own Peruvian Indian pan pipe dance troupe (yes, we really do have one but they appear to have gone home), it was something altogether less exciting but very much more sinister. As I rounded the corner into Market Square, there, where Britannia, our beloved (and aroused. Am I the only person in Crewe to have noticed a certain tumescence in the detail of her bodice?) war memorial used to stand, was the above abomination spouting its disgusting propaganda at a volume that can only be described as fairly loud. What I did find heartening was that nobody walking past took the slightest interest in it. Pleasing also have been the stories from the last few weeks of Murdoch losing a vast amount of money. He must be on his uppers if all he can afford is a caravan holiday in Crewe in December.

You do all realise that as of the 14 May next year all the currently installed Sky Plus boxes will cease to work. Software fault. Yes. Really. I didn't make that rumour up at all.