Monday, August 27, 2007

What I Did On My Holidays (WARNING: ESSAY-LENGTH)

Well, then. I done had a birthday. I got older, which isn't so great, but people gave me presents, which takes the edge off a bit. I travelled down to the ancient city of Evesham, which after the recent floods has risen once again from the waves to strike horror and madness into the minds of men. I had an awesome birthday party in the antedeluvian bower of Matt and Gilly, with special guests Maria and Claudia. Gifts were recieved (including superb goblins painted by the Arnolds which you can see in the picture there), Pictionary was played and simply AMAZING birthday cake, created by Gillian, was eaten, booze was drunk and so were we. I also got awesome stuff off Claudia including an Ankh-Morpork City Watch wallet, which will keep my dollars safe from Thieves' Guild members, and a decent razor, so I can now slough off my terrible wiry growth of beard-matter without lacerating my face to such a degree as I resemble Marv from Sin City.

Returning to London, we spent my birthday evening at home eating more cake and drinking wine and opening more presents. By some freak cosmic convergence, my parents got me a City Watch bag. How cool is that? I also recieved plane-oriented giftingtons from brother, before frantically packing our bags for the adventure ahead.

Paris, then. If you base a children's book upon our experiences, then "Ben & Claudia Eat Cheese and Get Shitfaced" would be a good title. If, however, you are a pervert who delights in hearing the minutae of other people's holidays, I will now go into them in tedious detail. Highlights from the over three fucking hundred pictures I took can be absent-mindedly glanced at here.


The great thing about the Eurostar is that it leaves from Waterloo, which is piss-easy to get to from my house and constitutes the two-thirds-of-the-way-there point of my commute to work, so I am au fait with its layout and environs. Of course, this is no longer true as they've now relocated to bastard St. Pancras which is all the way over on the other side of town. Fortunately we went just before the transfer, so the trip over was relatively irritation-free, besides being sat in seats with about half an inch of window to look out of during the two and a half hour journey.

Got into Gare de Nord around mid day, minutes later having our first encounter with one of Paris' many transients, who are actually employed by the French government to ensure Paris retains its authentic Gallic vibe. We decided that we could totally walk it from the station to our hotel, and naturally we got rather lost, wandering along pretty backstreets for an hour and a bit until we got our bearings.

After collapsing in our hotel for a few moments, we ventured out onto the streets and decided to investigate Montmartre. Our investigation yielded the following information: A) it is pretty, and B) it is very vertical and slopey with gorgeous buildings, reminding me of San Francisco. Or San Francisco in all those films I've seen. We eventually gained the summit, and marvelled at the view of Paris and the Sacre Coeur. It is quite different to the standard Jesus-based religious buildings, actually it looks like a mosque from the outside. It's only when you venture in and see all the Christ schlock that you're reminded this place is all about the God that you don't get in trouble for drawing cartoons of.

Wandering back down into Montmartre, we passed by the carousel from Amelie and stopped into a restaurant for omlettes and drinks. The food was lovely, and they had spectacularly horrible toilets where someone had evidently been hit by a bowel disruptor set to Fatal Intestinal Deluge. Making our excuses and leaving, we wandered out of Montmartre and onto Boulevard de Clichy, suddenly finding ourselves surrounded by an astonishing array of sex shops, erotic museums and various other such knob-oriented retail outlets. To calm our nerves we stopped off at the Chat Noir and had drinks outside on the pavement. This is where I discovered the wonderful French custom of getting free bits of sausage with your drink. As Claudia is averse to eating dead pig arse-derived meat products, I helped myself to plenty of these throughout the week. Suitably refreshed, we ambled home past the Moulin Rouge, the first of several locations I was already sort of familiar with, due to them being featured in ancient Playstation shooter Medal of Honor Underground. I remember sniping a Nazi off the windmill. In the game, not on holiday.


The weather was beautiful, so we decided to go up the Eiffel Tower, which we were dead set on until we saw the queues and decided we would rather not spend this gorgeous day waiting in line with screaming American teens. This turned out to be a wise move, considering how rubbish the weather was the rest of the time. Instead we wandered around taking photos like the tourist scum we truly were, eating liquorece, and trying not to stare at the huge guns being sported by the French soldiers sauntering around the gardens. Seriously, everyone is packin' a strap in Paris, apparently even the traffic wardens. I swear I saw one policeman with a goddamn Dirty Harry six shooter strapped to his leg. No wonder there's so little trouble on the streets. Sauntering down to the riverside, we had cheese and little bottles of wine on a floating café, then walked down the river, marvelling at the Napoleonic pomposity of the bridges. We crossed the river a few bridges down and took in the Grand Palais (Big Palace) and the Petit Palais (Little Palace), where we discovered a bronze statue of my homeboy Winston Churchill, replete with an engraving of the famous "we shall never surrender" speech. I was so caught up in patriotic fervour, I spent the next few hours running around and neck-punching every German tourist I could find. Eventually Claudia caught up to me and administered my Special Medicine, which calmed me down enough to visit the Place de la Concorde without even screaming "WHO WON THE BLUDDY WAR THEN, EH HEINRICH?" at any children.

That may have been fibs.

Passing through the Place Concorde, we looked at some fountains and the Parisian equivalent of Cleopatra's Needle (ours is bigger, fnarr), then went through the gardens towards the Louvre. There we saw the shittest street performer of all time. It was a bloke dressed up like Tutunkhamen, with gold mask and robe, standing on a box, and his "thing" that he did when you gave him money was to... lean forwards, slightly. He could have at least had the decency to flash people.

We approached the louvre, passing through the mini triumphal arch, just one of the many bits of grandiose Napoleonic bling-architecture in Paris. This one was apparently adorned with various trophies from Boney's victories, but he had to give them all back after he was deposed. Haha, loser!

Leaving the interior of the STAGGERINGLY ENORMOUS Louvre for a later day, we wandered onto the Rue de Rivoli, which features the single most intense concentration of shitty souvenir shops in any city on the planet. Seriously, the whole road consists of nothing but these places, each one selling exactly the same stuff as the last. I purchased some tat for The Folks Back Home and a sno-globe for Claudia which would later explode in my bag, soaking the other gifts and covering them in glittery "sno". Arse.

Before going up the Champs Elysee, which is STAGGERINGLY LONG, we stopped into a restaurant where Claud ate a steak so rare that it had its own knife and was actively fighting back. It provided sorely needed energy for the walk up that seemingly endless road, which eventually bought us to the top of the Arc de Triomphe, and its spectacular panoramic views of Paris, which gave us a good impression of how stupidly far we had walked. And plus I also saw a guy down on the road get busted for speeding!

Descending, we got on the Metro home. A few words on the Metro: it is awesome. It travels ridiculously fast, so services are very frequent, and the whole experience is a lot more rough 'n ready than the Underground. Pretty much everything makes a loud noise, from the doors to the seats to the trains themselves, and plus some of the trains have really huge wheels on! Cor!

Back at our manor, we went on a mini pub crawl, had vodka-and-oranges, and were served by an amusing waiter who added exaggerated sound effects to everything. Which was nice.

Crawling into bed, we were woken up in the wee small hours by the very odd pair of middle-aged ladies in the room above us. There was a very thin ceiling between our room and theirs (so thank Christ they weren't a pair of newlyweds), and every morning at about 3AM they would barge into their room, apparently roaring drunk, and proceed to spend the next hour or so throwing breezeblocks at eachother and playing ten pin bowling with 18th century seige artillery, whilst cackling like demented witches. To make things worse, every time they used their bathroom, a high-pressure jet of water would surge through the exposed pipe in our room, making a deafening WHOOSH. Our sleep was not the best.


Rain, rain, go away, you're fucking up our holiday. In contrast to yesterday's glorious sunshine, wednesday's weather would have put Wales to shame in terms of soggyness. For serious. Fortunately our Thing for the day was lunch on board a glass-topped river cruiser, and this was superior. A smorgasboard of foody goodness was dropped in front of us, with delicious salmon, plates o' cheese and lashings of wine, all to the accompaniment of a singer beltin' out show tunes and pointin' out places of interest as the boat ferried us up and down the river. The only downside was the rain obscuring our view of some things as it poured torrentially onto the windows. It was interesting, and I saw a few things I'd never heard of before, like the national library and the extremely funky miniature Statue of Liberty, given to the French government by the American community in Paris as thanks for the full-size one, back in the days before freedom toast. There's also a fullsize replica of the big golden flame from Lady Liberty's torch, standing right outside the road tunnel where Princess Di cashed her chips a decade ago.

Exiting the boat, it became clear we had succumbed to the debilitating effects of the Gallic devil-drink. Heading vaguely in the direction of the Rodin museum, we stumbled along the riverside, singing the two lines of Beyond the Sea that we could remember, like proper lifelong alcoholics, as rain filled our booties.

We eventually made it to the museum, still very much having our slant on, and dried off somewhat as we gawped at sculptures. Unfortunately, with Rodin being a sculptor, most of his stuff was in statue form and displayed outside, so extra soakings were absorbed. We repaired to a café and sobered up with strong coffee, but the rain, now completely torrential, sent us back to our hotel at a stupidly early hour of the afternoon. It finally dried up in the early evening, so we went down the road to a great little café called Les Nivs, run by a big flamboyant red-faced Frenchman and his big flamboyant red-faced French wife, where we reinstated our binge with some lovely white wine and inane chattering. My last memory is running back through a fresh bout of rain, collapsing on the beds, and inexplicably waking up on the floor, roused from my sleep by the nightly artillery duel.

Day 4

Getting up and out nice and early (which, with me and Claudia, is usually just something that happens to other people), we made a beeline for the Louvre.

Pro Louvre Tip 1: Given the immense size of the Louvre, which makes the British Museum look like Lynmouth Railway Museum, it is wise to at least have a vague list of things you want to see, otherwise you will become hopelessly sidetracked. With this in mind, we decided to see the Egyptian section and Mona Lisa, plus any targets of opportunity we could hit on the way. Metro'ing our way there, we were surprised by the Louvre station, which actually has relics in it, some of them without any glass around 'em. They'd last about four seconds in London...

Pro Louvre Tip 2: Avoid the massive queues for the Louvre by taking the super-secret underground Ninja side entrance, accessed from Rue de Rivoli. We did this, passing under the giant pyramid (or "triangle" in Claudia-ese) and conveniently ended up in a prime position to go and scope some 2000 year old dead rich muthafuckas. When we tired of grave goods, we set off for the Mona Lisa, passing a section of the Apollo gallery consisting of completely hideous gaudy "blingitecture" with gilding everywhere and fucktons of marble slapped on the walls. It is decidedly Beckham-esque in there. We also passed by the statue of Nike (the Greek godess, not the fucking shoes), which was accompanied by a big sign saying "DON'T TAKE ANY FUCKING PICTURES" and about 700 people, all of whom were taking pictures.

It was the same in the Mona Lisa's room, which is like a goddamn Cairo marketplace. Being the most famous painting in the world, and because there are lots of cunt-wits who think The Da Vinci Code is actually a decent book, Moanin' Lisa attracts a fair bit of a crowd, and it is sadly somewhat hard to appreciate the lady when you only get a brief, fleeting glimpse of her as you are jostled along by a whole Mafia's worth of crazed Italian tourists. Shame really. Anyway, we managed to survive the scrum and went out into the Gods Room, gawped at some deities, made a visit to the gift shop, then departed for the Latin Quarter.

Now, Maria had informed us there was a really good comic shop on Rue Dante. We found it, went in, had a look around. It was pretty decent. We went out, and there was another one across the street. "Cool!", we thought, for it is a novelty to have two comic shops so close together, or indeed in the same town, back in the UK. So we went in that one, and it was better. We came out and saw there were two more. No, three more.

This continued for some time, until we had worked our way through all FUCKING THIRTEEN of the comic shops on this one street. Evidently they were owned by two competing companies, playing a sort of shop-based game of noughts and crosses. This was nothing but good news for us, and we purchased some fine, cheapo comix from these fine outlets. Claudia got a complete collection of Spirited Away comics and I got the first two volumes of Transmetropolitan for about half the price of what I'd pay for one in London. Bar-gin!

After that we went up the hill to the Pantheon, then down to Notre Dame. This was a repeat of the Eiffel Tower experience, in that we got one look at the queues and did a simultaneous "fuck that".

Instead we just walked around the outside and admired the pointy bits, before scooting across the bridge to a restaurant reccomended by Matt and Gill. This turned out to be the best restaurant ever. For a comparative pittance each, we got to dine out on wonderful food that woulda cost us £305167138196 at home, complete with as much appetiser as we could eat (big basket of sausages, big basket of veg) and - crucially - unlimited wine top-ups.

Several hours and about 800 pounds of food later, we staggered out, and got to go in Notre Dame after all, as it stays open at night while a documentary film about its history plays on a big screen. It's incredibly spooky in there at night, it's like the goddamn Mines of Moria. I snapped some drunken pictures of the Eiffel Tower's searchlight, and home we went.


Well, that's our lot. Back to Merrie Olde Engylande for us. We waited around on the main concourse at Gare de Nord before we figured out we had to go and check in, cos we're 'tards. Amusingly, we had to go through UK Immigration Services. I did my best Polish accent.

We actually had a window this time, which was a luxury. We chatted about what an awesome time we'd had and listened to music as pretty French countryside became pitch blackness became pretty English countryside with differently shaped pylons. Then it was Waterloo, home and the end of our Paris adventure. We were pretty bummed to have to leave, but it was surely The Best Holiday Ever, which more than made up for this.

I called my nan to thank her for providing monies for our holiday, and she asked if we "went anywhere near that bloody awful Eiffel tower?". I swore inwardly, as all but one of the souvenirs I bought her featured the damn thing. Bloody nans!

Right, I've got to go and make my room like like a sane person lives in it, because Jess will be sleeping on the floor up there. Wish me luck.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Confusion to Boney

I am writing this under considerable mental strain, as all I can see when I close my eyes is mountains upon mountains of cardboard boxes. I went to work yesterday, for the first time in Six Fucking Weeks, to help out with a huge delivery of produce housed in a 20-foot container. What should have been about an hour and a half's work turned into a whole afternoon, as the lorry carrying it was too large to get into the self-storage facility where we intended to stash its contents, so we had to hire a smaller vehicle, fill it with guff from the lorry, drive it to the storage place, unload it, go back for more, lather, rinse, and repeat. Today, I am aching in every part of my body, including some bits that I've never heard of before. I do not miss the boxes. Neither do I miss our new work-experience boy, a posho boarding school friend of my boss' son, who is an haw-hawing upper crust rugby shirt type. You know, the kind who will probably grow up into a banker or something, and finance his private yacht (which is crewed entirely by naked women) by precipitating genocides in South America. Like... so he can sell genocide insurance or something. Look, I don't know how these things work. I'd be doing them if I did.

A few weeks back, Claudia and I braved the floods to visit Evesham, where our little friends live. By chance, our visit coincided with the annual river festival, which featured people's boats done up like pirate ships and strung with Christmas lights and a flyover by a Lancaster bomber. There was also a market which included several stalls selling awful books where the author's name is printed in gold embossed capitals ten times larger than the book's title, a guy selling miracle spectacle-cleaning fluid, and various craft stalls staffed by gentlemen previously seen gracing the sex offenders' register.


After perusing the market for some time, we repaired to a Rough Local Pub and attempted to carry on a conversation over the noise supplied by a gaggle of uproariously drunk fortysomething gentlemen, whose number included, bizarrely, a very quiet and dignified-looking Sikh gentleman with a spectacularly well maintained grey beard and blue turban. We named him Captain Nemo, in honour of the famed science pirate.

"Tell the Gods that Nemo sent you!"

Returning to the river as dusk fell, we were treated to a parade of all the lit-up boats, with musical accompaniment from a child-friendly pop act whose lyrics made heavy use of the word "funk". It was all "let's get funky!" and "Evesham... funk!" which quickly became a catchphrase. They were the sort of band I thought only existed in the universe of The Beano.
Matters concluded with a superb firework display, and then we ambled home among the hordes of stumbling country chavs. Little over a week later, most of Evesham was underwater.
I must have left a tap running.


Hey, get this - this time next week I will be in the most freedom-hating country in the world, also known as France. This is very exciting, as it will be my first visit. In fact it will only be my second time going to another country (not counting Wales, which is a swamp, not a country), because I am a pathetic shut-in. Mrs. Benneth and I will be going by Eurostar, which is great because A) it leaves from Waterloo, which is a twelve-second tube journey away, B) it terminates right in the heart of Paris, and C) it's not a plane. As much as I like aeroplanes, I am never too comfortable travelling in a vehicle which is effectively a thin metal tube full of extremely flammable gases, suspended thirty thousand feet above the world. Of course, I'm fine with travelling in a thin metal tube that hurtles at an obscene speed down a tunnel carved out of the bedrock beneath the god-damn sea.

Anyway, it will be great to see the City of Lights for the first time, in the company of my female accomplice. And it will be interesting to finally find out if French people really are the assholes they are made out to be. Not that I ascribe to the idea of boiling down the identity of an entire nation of people into a cop-out stereotype. No, I prefer to work on an individual basis.

You, for example, are a mingebag.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Arrested For Bloggery

I saw Nathan Barley on the bus to work. No kidding, this blowjob was the absolute living image of the Cunt. Expensive-looking hoody, self-consciously ruffled hairdo, badly faked "bloke voice" and - worst of all - a pair of gold-rimmed aviator sunglasses. This was on an exceptionally overcast and gloomy day, as well, further compounding his crime. He was even accompanied by a waif-like sycophantic girlfriend, one of those ones whose function is to look pretty whilst anorexically giggling at his hilarious comments - the worst of which was, upon passing the royal artillery HQ; "that's the army base. That's where they keep all the dead soldiers! Hawhawhawhaw!"

If there were any justice in the universe, there would have been a pair of drunken, lairy squaddies sharing the bus, who would have been only too happy to render him into mulch for such a comment. Instead, he got off unharmed, and went off to his astronomically high-paid job probably designing things like this:

Ah yes, the 2012 logo. A baffling jumble of visual and stylistic what-the-fucks, designed by a consortium of Hoxton fins, for the bargain bin price of £400,000. It is sure to go down in history as the most universally detested icon of recent times, besides the Swastika and possibly Frank Skinner's face. I've got to say that I agree with popular opinion on this one. Even though I don't have two shits to scrape together over any televised sporting event, least of all the month-or-however-long-it-is entertainment blackout that is the Olympics, I still think The Logo© is pitiful, brown-streaked man pants, and I will only become further intrenched in this position as it is inevitably jizzed over every vertical surface in the city over the next five years. This WILL be the case, as Sebastian Coe seems to have final veto over the thing, no matter how loudly the people doth protest, and, inexplicably, he thinks it's any fucking good. I might point out that Lord Coe is also a notorious paedophile, and has claimed culpability for both the Challenger and Columbia disasters because, in his own words, "I fucking despise astronauts". Which shows how much his opinion is worth.

Oh man, my brother got an Xbox, and last week I went round to his and we played GTA: San Andreas in two player mode for the better part of a day. It is stupidly good fun. Our afternoon's rough agenda was to go on a wild Hunter Thompsonesque journey to Las Venturas (the game's lawsuit-avoiding proxy for Vegas, baby), but this was hampered by our inability to resist bloodthirsty rampages on the way there, and the police affection that comes with this. At one point we managed to thieve a light aircraft from a nearby airport, flying over the heads of the Old Bill, only to be blasted from the sky when I foolishly flew us over a military base. Eventually we got there, and realised we hadn't actually planned this far ahead and didn't really know what to do, so we just caused mayhem until I was run over and killed by a tractor driven by a black Elvis impersonator. As you do.

Claudia is now officially Done With University, this very morning I finished helping her move out of her Cardiff student house. This is good for her because she is now back with her family at a stressful time for them, and good for me because I now definitely never ever have to go to fucking Cardiff ever again. I'll miss the place, in a way. The same sort of way you'd miss a disfiguring skin lesion that was fun to pick at. The place is a seething nest of anonymous 'modern' architecture populated by braying self-absorbed students, morose buzzcut scallies, and worst of all, Welsh people. Welsh people, whose one calling in life is to seek out people who are not Welsh, and inform them of their own Welshness, which said non-Welsh people are meant to be impressed by, on pain of being glassed with a shattered flagon of Brains - apparently Wales' favoured alcoholic beverage, which is ironic seeing as it is named after the one thing Welsh people do not have in great supply. Oh, I did NOT!

The coach journey was fun, as directly behind me were seated a pair of complaining toff students, who were apparently either annoyed by or terrified of absolutely everything in the world. When we were stuck in traffic for about 15 minutes, they complained impotently to the driver, as if doing so would make the make him remember that magic button on the dash that deploys the helicopter blades, so as to fly over the traffic jam. Later, when a coach full of school kids drove past and the kids waved and poked tongues out at people in our coach, they responded by calling them "little cretins" and wishing ASBOs upon them. That's right, they were intimidated because some six year olds waved at them. God knows what would happen if they were actually threatened, they may literally have shat themselves to death.

Today was Father's Day, so I decided to wander into town after my coach got into London, with intent of finding shiny gift for pa. My efforts were hampered by the majority of Westminster being closed off due to the Falklands memorial ceremony taking place. That's right - I, Benneth, was briefly inconvenienced just for the sake of honouring some mutilated war heroes. It's a sad testament to the treatment that cowardly, lazy blokes like me - who would last three seconds in the army - are given in this country. Anyway, I did get to see Cherie Blair's gigantic hat. It's the first hat visible from the International Space Station. She wants to watch out, or it'll get punched off by that Mr. Jerky character. Which reminds me, it's his birthday today. I point this out not because I particularly like him, but because this means he is a year closer to dying, whereupon I will inherit the key to his Sex Room, and I'll finally get to find out what's in there. I heard it's full of sex!


Thursday, May 24, 2007

Today was hot

I am going to partake in a true English passtime, and talk about the weather. It's behaving as it should again. Last month's sweltering heatwave was difficult to enjoy, as its early (and fatal, in the case of one poor London Marathon runner) onset served as just another reminder that England will soon be either a tropical rainforest, an icy wasteland, or will slip beneath the waves altogether, to join Atlantis. The following gloomy spell wasn't much fun, but at least it was normal. Now, however, it's MEANT to be hot, so it's ok. Today was, as a member of what I am informed is known as "The Working Class" would say, 'fookin' hot as'. This is fine, of course, for most people, but it presents a unique problem for me in that I have to go out and find some sunglasses, if I don't want my eyes to be burned out of their sockets and trickle down my cheeks. And also, I don't want to look like a cunt.
There's nothing wrong per se with modern sunglasses, it's just that they all make you look like a cunt. For me, they all fall into two categories. Category 1 consists of the needlessly streamlined-looking high tech shades for people like this blowjob, who probably still thinks The Matrix is cool:

Then you've got your category twos. These are more offensive still. They are the oversized bug-like sunglasses made popular by Celebrities© and sported by young women who want to resemble Paris Hilton, and irredeemable posing metrosexual arse bandits with immaculately ruffled hairdos and ironic baseball hats;

Right, he is actually wearing Aviators, but you can blame that on Google Image Search's spectacular failure to yield better results when I searched for "dickhead shades". Nevertheless, just look at this cum receptacle. His hat is made out a section of his nan's sewing basket. And his mouth is VERY SLIGHTLY OPEN as is the style with hipster types, because they cannot figure out how to breathe through their noses without fucking it up somehow. I bet he's also wearing a sweater that's too tight for him, and shows off his hideous little bloke-nipples. And I bet he thinks that 'beard' makes him look manly, although he would sheepishly cross the street to avoid any group of young tracksuit-clad men who paid approximately £80 less than him for their own baseball caps. Oh, and he probably owns at least three different shirts with clever mottoes that allude to his penis.
There is probably a category 3, but I can't see it because my eyes are scrunched up into a permanent squint. I bet it looks just as shit anyway. So basically I'm presented with a choice of either looking like a blowjob or a cum receptacle, or just going blind from the sunlight, in which case I'll be wearing dark glasses anyway. I don't know where to turn.
I bet this is how Jesus felt.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

A Collation of Happenings

Claudia visited, and it was very nice. She stayed for a whole week, which is a rare novelty amid the usual fare of fleeting three-day visits. It's been going that way for approaching four years now, so it's a cause for prodigious celebration that she is soon to be living in London, for to be doin' her Masters degree. We visited her new halls of residence and environs, which are nice enough despite the latter including Elephant & Castle. Fortunately there is a route from halls to buildings that neatly cuts out this scum-magnet entirely.

Also we visited Hampstead. This was nice, but we sort of got lost immediately upon leaving the station. I blame this disorientation on Hampstead station's lifts, which precisely recreate the extremely uncomfortable negative-G sensation of reentering the Earth's atmosphere in a delapidated Russian Soyuz capsule. So we wandered, dazed, into Hampstead's residential area rather than the bit which has any shops from which to purchase fetching yet useless trinkets. This was not all bad however, because we got to see many different beautiful old houses that we'll one day be able to afford, when Claudia's plan to pimp my tender buttocks to the rich and famous finally pays off. On Friday we braved the hazardous train journey through Kentish hinterlands to visit my sister and her chap in newly-purchased house. This was good fun, we bled the charity shops dry of questionably-sourced goodies, went to the local Chinese (where Claudia made me very proud by actually nearly finishing her bowl of inditerminate vegetable matter in rice), wore a selection of my sister's bizarre hats, and met the strange cat which seems to have adopted them. Good times.

Claudia's gone back to Cardiff now. I miss the woman and the many strange noises she makes. There will be an evening of destruction, however, 18 days hence in picturesque Evesham, to celebrate the end of her exams, upon which she will forever evacuate Cardiff, and hopefully nuke the site from orbit. It's the only way to be sure.

Man, my front room is hella stinking of animal piss. Two theories exist to explain this; The first involves delinquent foxes liberally relieving themselves in the back yard. The other, slightly more far fetched theory is that my neighbour is actively encouraging his rottweiler to piss on our fence, thereby wafting heady waves of piss-stink into our house. It may sound paranoid, but it's exactly the kind of low-level passive aggression my family's been putting up with from the miserable cunt for years anyway. Still, I recently found out that his underage daughter has spawned the blasphemous offspring of some anonymous yoof, which is chucklesome. Hahaha, fuck you, other people!

Hey, the "rozzers" totally "busted" a cannabis factory in a house a couple of streets away from me! This is bad news for the local wasters, but great news for me, because now I can go outside without the heady fumes therefrom inducing altered mental states. It was so strong that sometimes I'd go out to do the shopping and end up in an involuntary trip, floating in the fathomless gulfs of some ersatz reality outside of Euclidean space, communing with unnameable polyhedral entities that dance blindly and eternally around the very centre of chaos itself. Which is not what you want when you're asked to enter your PIN number. Anyway, apparently it was this thick green cloud of dope-funk that led the police to the place, possibly having used specially trained Sniffer Hippies. It's great news for fans of inhaling oxygen! There were a few photos of the place in the local paper, and it looked like bloody Cambodia in there. I'd not be surprised if there were primitive tribes living in there, worshipping the grow lights. Also:

- I ate some after eight mints that were in the fridge, even though it was only ten past six. Come to think of it, they do not specify if it's 8AM or 8PM on the packaging. Anyway, some rules are made to be broken, and it's my prerogative to stick it to the Man.

- Some worthless blowjob set fire to the Cutty Sark. That ship has a special place in my heart, I used to play around on it when I was little and it's been a part of Greenwich for so long, which is why I hope someone finds the guy and "Cutties" (cuts) off his "Sark" (male penis!)

- Today I was on a packed tube train returning from work, and a metalhead-type guy next to me had his arms tattooed with basically the entire cast of The Simpsons. They were drawn in that slightly creepy, WRONG style that is the hallmark of all third-party Simpsons artwork attempting to look like Matt Groening drawings. A sweaty Nelson Muntz was grinding into my forearm, erotically! I left the train with half a boner.

That's all I can think of, at any rate.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

My Top 5 All Time Worst Possible Deaths

5 -Falling Out Of A Plane Without A Parachute

Give me a choice between staying on a doomed plane with a bomb on it or bailing out to fall thirty thousand feet to my death, and I’ll take the big bang every time. Not that being reduced to my component elements by a huge explosion is in any way preferable to, say, having a nice walk or eating a bag of crisps. No, certainly not, but it’d have the benefit of being QUICK. See, it might take you up to five minutes to hit the ground after leaping out of an airliner (depending on how fat you are or aren’t), and that’d be more than enough time for your adrenaline-soaked brain to grasp the true horrifying inevitability of your upcoming appointment with your selected deity, if any. And even worse than that, you’d only be able to scream like a girl for two or three minutes before you wore your vocal chords out. After that all you can really do is try and make the best of your remaining minutes, to try and take your mind off the fact that you are about to be effectively crushed by the weight of a decent-sized planetary body. A couple of suggestions for passing the time:

A) Pose like you’re sitting down with your legs crossed, impatiently checking your wristwatch and tutting at how long it’s taking to hit the ground. If anyone happens to film you on the way down, at least you’ll have a really funny video eulogy for your children to treasure. Although if you haven’t already reproduced, that last bit may be unlikely.

B) While you’re still quite high up, you can convincingly pretend that you are Superman and are flying around the world in order to reverse time to a point in the past where your Lidl coupons are still valid.

C) Conduct a meaningful scientific experiment, to lend some meaning and dignity to your death, by finding out if you can hear yourself fart over the sound of the thunderous wind.

So yes, all in all, I’d rather stay on the plane, then at least I get to cop it in the company of my fellow, screaming, vomiting, praying passengers. And who knows, there might be a lot of doomed desperation-sex going around, and you’ll finally get to lose your virginity. If you’re lucky it’ll be with a member of the opposite sex.

4 - Thrown Out Of An Airlock

I’ll admit that I have read conflicting descriptions of what’s meant to happen to you when you’re exposed to the hard vacuum of space without benefit of space ship, space suit, or space blanket, but none of them sound like much fun. Some sources (Total Recall and an episode of Space Precinct I saw when I was 10) state that your body, without a pressurised environment, expands and explodes as your blood boils in your veins. Others (the numerous space deaths in Battlestar Galactica) that the absolute lack of any heat would flash-freeze your corpse, leaving you frozen in an eternal rictus of horror for a trillion years. After that, all you’ve really got to look forward to is being recovered by alien spacecraft and placed in one of their museums, mislabelled as a “curiously shaped meteorite”. Thankfully, this has apparently never happened to any of our space travellers. It might not be much consolation, but at least those few brave souls who have died during space missions all did so within old mother Earth’s atmosphere. Apart from all those expendible crewmen in Star Trek, although apparently that was fictional.

3 - Zombified!

Now here’s a real Fate Worse Than Death. At least with all other forms of death, however horrible, you stay dead. Here though, you wake up as a walkin’, moanin’, undyin’ ghoul, doomed to walk the earth eating the flesh of the living until all your limbs fall off or you have your head stoved in by a plucky survivor with an improvised bludgeoning weapon. All in all, it’s not a smart lifestyle choice, especially when you consider the possibility that some semblance of your past personality might still buried away somewhere in your maggoty brains, able to witness the horrible things your corpse is doing to mortal folk, yet utterly incapable of stopping it. It’s not all doom and gloom though. Your shambling, oblivious and belligerant new personality will make you ideal recruitment material for London Underground’s ever-helpful team of customer support staff.

2 - Buried Alive

Another one that’s always struck me as particularly horrible. Being prematurely interred ranks pretty highly on my list of ways I’d rather not pop off. Afterall, what’s not to love about suffocating only six paltry feet away from unlimited supplies of lovely, precious oxygen, separated by a hundred weight of earth, in a sturdy wooden box? And with no room to bend your limbs (although in films, prematurely buried folk always seem to have cigarette lighters and enough room to flick it on so it illuminates their faces), there’s not much to occupy yourself with, leaving you no option but to try and headbutt yourself insensible against the lid of your coffin. The only possible hope of extricating yourself would be to know Master Pai Mei’s three-inch punch, with which you could smash your way out and up through the earth to freedom. However, unless you’re Uma Thurman, it is unlikely you posess this skill, and as much as I wish I was Uma Thurman, I’m not*. So I suppose I’ll just have to avoid graveyards and stay in the mob’s good books.

*This is why I do not spend all day naked in front of a mirror. Most days, anyway.

1 - The Bees

(A "shout-out" to intergroupie Billybullshot for the farting whilst falling out of a plane idea, and for instigating the meandering conversation that led to this post.)