Sunday evening musings

I’ll be keeping this one snappy, largely because I have nothing notable to say, smallly because…well, no, the first reason is pretty much the whole reason. That being said, I have thought about the following things in the last unspecified amount of time:

1) Egypt. Damn.

That whole revolution thing is not going entirely to plan, is it? It appears that the attributes required to be in charge of Egypt appear to include “willing to kick the shit out your own countrymen with carefree enthusiasm”, which is a bit of a bugger really. A bit like in Syria the lack of action from the rest of the world is outright pathetic, presumably because Egypt has nothing of immediate value to plunder. Hopefully it’ll calm down after the elections. That might be a bit optimistic…

On the plus side, I firmly believe the continuing unrest in Tahrir Square presents a great opportunity for the BBC. They’re desperately trying to make Eastenders more exciting, from the look of the incessant ads their current strategy is to bring back the whole cast from the last 20 years. Fuck it, just move the set temporarily. Albert Square meets Tahrir Square. Tagline: done. I’d double my licence fee to see Phil Mitchell looking like a haggis and calling everyone around him a slag in a hail of tear gas and rocks.

While we’re at it, I think Songs of Praise would be much improved by the same move. And I’m a Celebrity, of course. Any other suggestions?

2 X-Factor is the crack cocaine of the television world

I’ve just watched a weeping man with a bizarre and can’t-put-my-finger-on-why resemblance to Matt Lucas be publicly humiliated and rejected in favour of a child with candyfloss instead of hair. I was gripped. I’ve been gripped throughout. I was gripped through the montage of last night’s show, even though I watched last night’s show. I willingly allowed Bryan Adams onto my television.

I’m addicted to something I hate and would normally chastise others for mentioning. Life is hard.

3 Mondays are a terrible idea

Maybe 5 years of being a student have made me a bit soft, but I’m becoming increasingly scared of Mondays. Which is odd, because I like my job and I like going to work, but on Sundays I always feel like Monday is waiting outside to bundle me into a van, beat me with a blunt object and eventually burn my shattered body on a patch of wasteland. There’s a strong chance I’m the only person in the world who feels like this, but it needs to be said nevertheless. I already yearn for the student days where a week was a novel concept and periods of time were strictly delineated by when we were getting plastered next and when the next essay was due in. Those were good times.

Night night.

God, these people look serious…

…was my first thought on arriving at the race.

My initial folly was to equate ‘Greenwich Park Mo Run 10K’ with ‘Fun Run’, and assume that I’d turn up to see a load of stupidly dressed berks sporting moustaches of varying hirsuteness.

But no. Whilst there were indeed moustaches of varying hirsuteness (totally a word by the way), the moustaches were invariably located on people who were in fact runners first and comedy moustacheers very much second. There were people doing stretches, comparing racing gear, one woman was actually doing yoga, and many were comparing their pre-race training regimes and diets.

“Well I’ve happened across a granola which actually gives your muscles a full workout. From the inside. And I’ve run 12K a day for the last year just to be ready for this.”

“Ha. Amateur. I ran to the moon last week.”

And so on.

My own personal training regime, espoused by many of my colleagues who’d also decided to sign up for said charity race, was a casual 3K on the treadmill a month ago and a lung-crushing 4K on Thursday night which genuinely left me considering an ambulance. My pre-race diet included, or should I say consisted entirely of, two pints of Guinness and a sharing pack of Pringles. Carb-loading like a champion.

For a while it looked like our corporate running team had really signed up for the wrong event, but then a rotund gent dressed as Adam Ant turned up and we collectively breathed a sigh of relief. It turned out the fun-runners were just being true to form and arrived nine minutes before the gun went off.

There are several things they don’t tell you when you;re running 10K for charity in Greenwich Park:

1) Greenwich Park is, in technical terms, fucking hilly. The utter bastards who set the route decided that we should run from the height of the observatory up top all the way down to river level, which by my rudimentary calculations is a vertical distance of four miles. Then they make you run back up it. Four times. One of the times isn’t even to get back to the top, because you had to run up the hill and then turn sadistically back on yourself and go back down. I made sure to give the smiling marshal at the top of this peak a suitably withering look each time.

2) 10K is, like, far. Certainly further than you’d otherwise ever conceive of travelling without some form of motor.

3) Your body is not your friend. I assumed that once it realised I was dragging it all the way round this course (Twice. Bastards.) that we’d generate a kind of Blitz spirit and pull together for the sake of staying alive. Wrong. My turncoat bastard left lung was trying to escape as early as 2K, leaving good old dependable righty with a lot to do. For some unfathomable reason my right shoulder decided it had better things to do around 7K, leaving me running like a drunken Quasimodo for a good portion of the race.

4) It does matter what you wear. £6 trainers from Cornwall’s favourite Eurosceptic goods emporium simply don’t cut it. What they do cut is your feet, which I have now renamed ‘The Blister Brothers’. They’re going on tour next year with their hit song ‘Sorry to burst your bubble’.


5) Encouragement will not be tolerated. “It’s only a tiny incline, you won’t even feel it!” she shouted gleefully. She had good reason to be cheerful, as she was not forced to run up this beast (twice) and instead just had to stand there and watch people embarrass themselves. This ‘incline’ caused one colleague enough distress to make her jettison her breakfast at the top, which I now regard as a stunningly efficient move on her body’s part.

“Well, this Weetabix is only really weighing us down. Fuck it, get rid.”

Cheerful lady was in fact so counter-productive that another colleague wasted both time and oxygen screaming something along the lines of “YOU RUN UP IT THEN YOU SMILEY BITCH!”, a sentiment doubtless shared by the majority of us.

5) Victory is sweet. I didn’t win, obviously, but I did survive, and according to the official results I was the 59th fastest female(?) to complete the course. Which is news to me. I know my ‘tache isn’t stunning right now(pictures to come when you can actually see it on my face) but come on.

Does this look like the face of a man who is enjoying himself?

In all seriousness though, it was a great day, a great event and a great cause (The mighty Movember in case anybody hasn’t twigged yet). Many thanks to the organisers for putting the whole thing together and the Helping Hands team at work for getting some of us off our lazy arses to do something useful.

And so we come to the actual reason you’re reading this post. Little did you have an inkling, but now I’m going to ask you for money.

Go on. If not for me, do it for the Loris.



Boom! Screech! Odd rustling noise!

Are just some of the noises you’ll be hearing tonight all over the country as we collectively do what a long-dead terrorist never could and blow the living shit out of anything even vaguely explosive.

Seriously though, what is with the rustling fireworks? Rockets? Yes. Roman candles? Take or leave but I see the point of them. Massive, oversized bomb with ridiculous name like ‘The Omnikill 5000’ masquerading as a source of family entertainment because its staggering blast is accompanied by a hint of fuchsia? Heck yes. But the ones that screech into the night sky only to fade out into a noise like a car skidding in gravel? Not for me.

I imagine that the spirit of Guy Fawkes would hope that we’d have stopped ridiculing him by now, given that it’s been 400 years and the British collective memory usually only goes as far back as last week’s X Factor. He’s out of luck though, because we fucking LOVE burning stuff, apparently.

I love and fear November 5th in equal measure. Love because I’m a man and as such have a strange urge to go out and buy as much sparkly gunpowder-based fun as I can carry at this time of year. Fear for the exact same reasons.

“Yes, but how loud is it? Will it deafen next door’s cat? Excellent. No, I’ll pay cash please.”

It’s like being drunk and waking up with a cone in your room. Across the land, men will suddenly come to at around 6 o’clock having lost the previous 6 hours and with enough firepower in the back garden to get them onto the terrorism watch list for the next fifty years.

This frightening arsenal will no doubt be set up in the most hilariously inappropriate way, usually a) in a bucket of sand or my all-time favourite b) in a gro-bag. Some even more reckless fools will attempt c) propped against a bush. It’s these folk who usually make it onto the safety adverts next year.

When it comes to showtime, usually about 8 when the adults are comfortably hammered, the lead male will position the spectators at most ten of the recommended two hundred feet away from the blast zone (children at the front, “So they can see”. Ha. Fools. They’re simply a protective barrier.) and then the group will bicker as to who gets to risk life and face going to light the worryingly short fuse of oblivion.

If everyone survives this admittedly tense display without losing an eye, the show generally goes off without a hitch. There are oohs, there are aahs, there’s always one child who bursts into inconsolable tears every year (why would you bring them?). Then comes the bonfire.

The bonfire is always the least rational part of the evening, in a night characterised by a stunning lack of rationality. Firstly, every household firework night always ends up with a bonfire, and the person in charge always forgets to have anything suitable for creating a bonfire i.e. firewood. Old furniture is always the first to go, even if you quite liked the teak dresser and it still has stuff in it; it’s a noble sacrifice. When your prized family heirlooms are spent there’s only one option left.

The fence.

November 6th must be like Christmas for fence companies. A statistic I just made up indicates that one in three fence panels are ritually burned on bonfire night as mob mentality truly takes hold and even the village priest is necking vodka and screaming “FUCKING BURN IT YOU C***!” It wouldn’t surprise me if fence salespeople go door to door the next day, scoping out houses which smell of smoke and regret and greeting the bewildered and formerly respectable homeowner with the line, “So, how many do you need this year?”

Jeff had perhaps let too much of the fence go this year.

In short then, November 5th can be categorised as dangerous, violent, destructive, tortuous to small children and animals and financially punishing.

AKA it’s epic.