Tuesday, November 30, 2010


It's been snowing in Manchester. Not the deep and crisp and even sort of snow. Just that typically-English light dusting, just enough to make it treacherous underfoot. People walking down Deansgate like so many Lego men. That sort of snow.

A bunch of us were crossing Lloyd Street when a middle-aged pig on a bicycle heaved into us all, shouting: "Get out of the way you fucking morons!" Which was a bit much given that most of us were halfway across the road before he'd even got to the junction and turned right into the road. He was a bit taken aback by the pedestrians' volley of well-meaning advice, though most of it would have been anatomically impossible, even with the best-greased of bicycles.

Sunday, November 28, 2010


I'll be glad when I can take this moustache off at the end of the month. In some lights it makes me look as if I'm going prematurely grey.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

New balls please

The dress code for The Gabba press box this week states: "Shorts are okay but collared shorts must be worn and no thongs."


The swimwear section's the most eagerly-awaited part of Test Match Special.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Barren wastes

Me and my muse appear to be having an estrangement at the moment. Which is unfortunate as I've got a ton and a half of stuff needing to be turned into deathless prose, most of which is, unfortunately, work-related. There are project outlines to sketch out; a couple of training plans; some presentations and a couple of articles, hopefully for publication. Which is all usually just fine, I can just jump in there and get it all done in next to no time, in between swearing at telephones and drawing rude things on people's newspapers. Except that I can't. Over the past few months the well has been running increasingly dry and I really don't know why. The ideas are still there and I can still come up with one or two sentences or phrases that will hang an argument on the bannister but actually writing them all up coherently is definitely a serious struggle lately. Given that I am, essentially, an ineffectual dreamer this is a bit of a blow. Being able to share a vision with people who have drive but less imagination is my sole defence against the charge of fecklessness. I have no easy answers. And I have a difficult relationship with reality in the first place. There's no actual antagonism, it's just that we share so few frames of reference we find it difficult to connect amiably. But I wouldn't like anyone to be cruel to it; I like to see it dressed up and looking its best for the occasion.

Must try harder.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Kamera Kapers

Martha Raye in Hellzapoppin. Great fun.

Sunday, November 07, 2010

Secret ingredients

I've been tagged (agh!) by that Scarlet Blue. (I blame EmmaK.) The question is: what is my secret recipe for a perfect partner? Actually, the literal question is "what is my secret recipe for the perfect man" but self-praise is no recommendation. So I'll concentrate on a perfect woman...

  1. She must be able to cope with being surrounded by books. Quite a lot of books. By any objective measure rather too many books, but she wouldn't say so.
  2. She would need a love of old black and white movies. At the very least she would be delighted by a Pabst double bill or a season of RKO horror movies.
  3. One of us needs to be able to drive. It isn't me.
  4. She would need to be able to cope with the fact that for all the talk and blather I am, allegedly, one of the world's most uncommunicative men.
  5. Freckles would be nice.
  6. She would be able to remind and coax without my deciding I was being nagged.
  7. I have views on the heptagon formed by a woman's nape, shoulder girdle and spine...
  8. ...and the jugular angle of a lady's jaw.
  9. She would be a good cook but would allow me my moments in the kitchen.
  10. And she would laugh easily at the daftest of things. We would giggle uproariously at the small ads in the paper.
There we go. Any of you who fancy having a go who haven't already been tagged, well consider yourself tagged.

Friday, November 05, 2010

Something for the weekend

I like how Durex now has a range of condoms labelled "Extra Large," moulded for a really snug fit for The Insecure Gentleman.

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Like you do

I once had cause to throw a rose into the English Channel. You don't need to know why, it doesn't take a lot of scratching of my surface to uncover a rich seam of cloying Victorian sentimentality. Any sensible practical person would have gone out on a boat or ferry and dropped the rose off into the briny somewhere along the way as they leant against the railings. Being neither of these I decided it would be a good idea to take a walk along to the end of a very long breakwater. In a south-westerly gale. Half an hour later, what was left of the rose managed to land in the water and the job was done.

A lad should know his strengths. I have a facility for turning high melodrama into low farce.