Sunday 30 August 2015

The Wedding Planner

I’ve been trying to come up with a suitable title for this blog post about weddings and reluctantly come up with The Wedding Planner for reasons that will become clear.

I say "reluctantly" because the title reminds me of the film of the same name which is one of the worst films I have ever seen and it has coloured my judgement about any movie starring Jennifer “Jenny From The Block” Lopez, a woman who, as far as I can tell, is just famous for her booty which basically means she has a big arse. Her songs are terrible and her acting is worse. I have yet to see a movie that she stars in that doesn’t make me want to swear constantly.

I think I am a better actor than J-Lo (let's face it YOU probably are, dear reader). Mind you, I wouldn’t  want to take her place in that movie even though I could probably have been more convincing in her part than she was. I would have to draw the line at pretending to be romantically enthralled with Matthew McConaughy, even though I would probably have made the movie more enjoyable.

Similarly Matthew McConaughy have slipped past my radar as a result of that film but he has redeemed himself with Interstellar - an excellent film I have to say. I could certainly have played his part in The Wedding Planner and, yes, I would take one for the team and star as a romantic lead with J-Lo. She may be a bad actress but she’s not bad looking.

Anyway, I’m not here to rant about the movie or daydream about being filmed in a clinch with J-Lo.

I want to discuss a form of peer pressure that once again is being exerted on me.

My friends and colleagues have recently tried to plan my wedding.

Before you ask, the answer is:

“No! I have no intention of getting married in the foreseeable future!”

The problem is that recently, people seem to be trying to marry me off.

First, on a trip to Abu Dhabi earlier this year, the friends we were visiting started to mention weddings. I sat down at a meal and started talking to a female friend and inevitably the conversation turned to marriage. I had nothing to do with this. I was simply asked, “When are you going to marry her then?”

Thus followed a conversation during which I was made to look like a total cad. In her eyes, I should get down on one knee and ask my beloved for her hand in marriage and I am a blackguard for not having done so.

“Just marry the woman,” she kept saying as if I were some sort of movie villain.

The fact that I have been married before is irrelevant. She and her hubby are very happily married and she cannot grasp the concept of being in a wonderful relationship without being married.

About two months later we went to Bologna with a group friends, two of whom, D and S, were also unmarried. Their relationship had been blossoming for almost as long as ours and pretty soon the conversation came round to marriage.

D told me that he didn’t want to get married and although he hadn’t ruled it out, he was happy to carry on living the way they were. On the other hand, S confided in Mrs PM that she would love to walk down the aisle with D but that he was reluctant to.

Mrs PM became a wedding planner and told D that he should marry S.

Fast forward a month or two and S announced that the two of them had got married in secret with a tiny ceremony and only family present (I don’t think D wanted a big party).

We were shocked. I asked D later:

“I thought you didn’t want to get married?”

He told me that S had simply asked him outright and he had agreed.

Of course, since then, this group of friends have been openly asking us when I am going to make an honest woman of Mrs PM.  And, yes, they are all happily married.

Fast forward to last week. A work colleague had been reading this blog with a view to enjoying a bit of banter at my expense. Of all the things I had written, he homed in on one thing, and it wasn’t the embarrassing rants that leave me exposed to ridicule.

“Why do you call your missus “Mrs PM” in your blog when you’re not married?” he asked, sensing blood in the water.

What followed was a very uncomfortable conversation with him and other colleagues about my impending wedding that isn’t actually going to happen.

Fast forward again to last night. Another female friend has recently started a relationship with a very loving guy. They have been together for six months and he is very romantic. He told her a while ago to pick a holiday in Europe.

“We can go anywhere,” he said. “Close your eyes, take this pin and I’ll get a map of Europe. We’ll go wherever you put the pin down.”

She did.

When she opened her eyes, she saw that he hadn’t put a map of Europe down at all. It was a map of Venice, a city that she had always wanted to visit.

That’s where they are now.

And last night, she changed her status on Facebook to “engaged”.

Yes, this romantic guy had taken her to her favourite city and proposed.

I am delighted for them and I applaud his ingenuity and the way he planned to pop the question.

We are going out for a meal with them in a couple of weeks so I anticipate once again that the conversation will once more turn to the wedding that Mrs PM and I are not having and yet more accusations that I am a heartless monster for not wanting to pay a fortune to seal our relationship with a little bit of paper.

Even my own government chip in occasionally, citing the importance of family values in their pompous way. In their eyes, people should get married and remain married, despite any problems the relationship may have.

It’s all a bit hypocritical because most of them are philandering aresholes.

So for everyone out there who seems to want to marry me off, let me just say this.

Please stop planning my wedding for me. 

I will get married if and when Mrs PM and I decide to and not before.

Also, I may just start referring to Mrs PM as Ms PM in future.

Sunday 23 August 2015

Unanswered Questions

When I think about things seriously, I mean really start to think, my brain begins to hurt with pain and despair at the state of the human race.

That’s why I try not to think too deeply.

Well – apart from yesterday when something prompted me to rant again.

When I rant, my addled brain spits forth questions about the unfairness and stupidity of life. And these are questions that I simply cannot answer.  Here are some examples.

Why would anybody pay £220,000 for a bottle of brandy? 

Yes – that’s right. A restaurant/bar in Manchester has one for sale.

Why would anybody pay £1600 for a six litre bottle of vodka with a light at the bottom of it?

I asked the barman who jokingly gave us two glasses and pretended he was about to open it for us. The light at the bottom made it look like a nice decoration for a bar but nothing else.

Why do women wear shoes that cripple their feet?

Mrs PM walks to a restaurant on the night out in here plimsolls and then pulls out her high heeled foot butchering shoes just outside and proceeds to hobble in clutching on to me as if she has severely injured herself.

Why do some 60 year old women wear revealing and tight fitting clothes that are designed for 21 year olds? 

A woman in a restaurant who would have looked okay wearing normal older person clothes, chose to wear one of those short, tight fitting dresses that revealed almost everything and left very little to the imagination. What’s more she was plastered in make-up, so much in fact that it probably took an expert interior decorator about three hours to make her look vaguely young. It didn’t; she looked ridiculous as she waddled to the toilet, her blubber hanging over the strategically placed “sexy” holes in the dress. Once seen, you can never unsee a sight like that.

What on earth is the logic of having a full length mirror in front of a toilet so that I can see myself pee?

In the same restaurant, I had a perfect view of myself as I answered a call of nature. Why? I ask again: “WHY????”

Why would anybody consider having a huge tattoo? 

Cheryl Cole/Fernandez-Vermicelli (or whatever her name is) has the most enormous tattoo on her bum. Why? What on earth is she going to look like at the age of 60?

How has Katie Hopkins managed to carve out television career for herself by being offensive?

Yes, that’s right! They’ve given Little Miss Nasty her own TV show finally!

What the flump were they thinking??????

Why hasn’t anybody exiled Piers Morgan to a remote island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean? Or to the moon?

He is STILL on my tellybox despite my protestations. I thought we had exiled him to America. Well apparently he pissed them off so much they sent him back! Can we send him to Australia now?

Who gives a flying flump about Kim Kardashian or any member of her family?

I am sick of people talking about these people. Stop talking about  them and they will go away.

What is going on in the head of Kanye West?

His ego is bigger than the universe, so much so that he recently declared himself the greatest living rock star on the planet. This after he had murdered Bohemian Rhapsody:

If he’s the greatest living rock star on the planet then I am a cat from outer space.

Why does my cat shit on my doormat?

Talking of cats, my fat lazy cat, Jasper, has recently started dumping his wares on our doormat. I think he’s trying to tell me something. We have had to start spraying the mat with Feliway – a kind of cat pheromone. It’s working but now …

Why do cats wait until you have cleaned their litter tray before immediately dumping their wares back into it? 

It’s summer. The cats should go outside to dump their wares but they are too lazy and prefer to use their trays (which I hate!!!). So there I am, like an idiot, cleaning the last disgusting mess only to find it refilled within seconds!

And why do cats vomit in the worst places?

Cats eat so much of their own fur that it congregates inside their gullets as a repulsive disgusting globule of semi-digested hair which they seem to love chundering up in the middle of my freshly vacuumed and cleaned carpet. Why can’t they go outside to do it? Of do it in the litter tray (I wouldn’t mind if I had just cleaned it).

The Great British Bake Off; what in the name of all that is SANE is this terrible cookery programme doing on prime time British television?

We are all mad in Britain because we watch utter garbage on television and become so obsessed with it that it fills the newspapers and in some cases it becomes all-consuming. We have terrible trailers for this show including one that was banned for copyright infringement, which had 80 year old Mary Berry singing a terrible version of the “Sound of Music”. This programme personifies the stupidity of some of my fellow countrymen who are infatuated with cookery programmes. Put the bloody thing on its own cookery channel  for flump’s sake! What’s worse, people actually complain at so-called funny innuendos that fill the show. People have actually written in to the BBC and complained about the overuse of the phrase “soggy bottom”.

Are these people for real??? I want to complain about the programme itself being so shit. Get the programme off the air before I rant myself into a mad seizure!

Why do people believe everything they read in the newspapers?

The Daily Mail and the Daily Express are the worst newspapers in Britain. They report stories full of scaremongery and have a deep political agenda that people are gullible enough to believe. Almost as bad are the celebrity obsessed tabloids who love to tell us tedious facts like Cheryl Cole/Fernandez-Ventagli (or whatever her name is) has had a tattoo that covers her arse and that we should worry about her because she has lost weight. We are gradually going insane – of that I am convinced.

Why don’t people just stop listening to crap radio stations?

I have listened to radio stations in the car with Mrs PM because we cannot agree on the music we can tolerate, so we search for some common ground and discover that we can both mutually rant about idiotic DJs and the same old dreadful old music that they insist on playing. Please God, give me a radio station. I’ll show them all how it is done and I promise that I won’t spend the time between playing shit songs with banal quizzes and inane uninteresting banter that is not funny and only appeals to morons.

Why does Mrs PM like such shit music?

Why can’t I brainwash her with my fantastic music after being with her for 17 years? There is no depth to Mrs PM’s music. All she listens to is dreadful music including Britney Spears, Cheryl Cole/Flaminez-Vampiri (or whatever her name is). She doesn’t even listen to the words. Even I know the words to the songs that she likes and usually they go something like this:

I see you on the dance floor and I want your love.
If you take me home tonight you can show me all your love.
You can take your love and give it to me all night long.
And then we can beat up the guy who wrote this awful song

Why is the weather in Britain so bloody shit?

Take Friday for example. In the middle of summer I walked about 500 yards from my hotel to take a ride on the legendary “Ferry Across The Mersey” and when I returned, God, in his infinite wisdom, thought I needed a 500 yard shower. I was absolutely drenched by the time I reached the hotel.  I would have been dryer if I had stood fully clothed in my own shower for three hours.

I only went out for five minutes!!

Okay – that’s enough ranting for now.

Thanks for indulging me again.

I’m off to watch the Great British Bake Off and count how many soggy bottoms there are.

Saturday 15 August 2015

Sunrise, Sunset

Image result for sunrise cartoon

There is nothing more relaxing that watching a beautiful sunrise or sunset. Manchester is covered with cloud most of the year so it can be difficult to see the sun at all, making it necessary for me to travel to far off exotic places to witness such splendour.

Nevertheless, I have managed to catch a glimpse of the sun rising and falling behind the horizon in my adopted home town.

I have captured a few nice sunsets and the odd the sunrise over recent years – mostly sunsets because catching a good sunrise requires getting up at the crack of dawn (something I prefer not to do on holiday).

I thought I would share a few with you. I hope you like them.


Sunrise in Manchester on a rare cloud-free day

Sunrise in Alaska

A beautiful sunrise in Port Douglas Australia


A very colourful sunset in Bodrum, Turkey

The sun disappearing behind a mountain in Majorca

Still in Spain, Puerto Banus

A sunset in Sorrento, Italy

A moody sunset in Cape Cod, United States

Sunset behind a fountain in Geneva, Switzerland
Another rare cloud-free sky in Manchester
A beautiful sunset in Santorini, Greece
A fantastic sunset in Victoria, Canada

I love a good sunrise and sunset and I hope to add more to my collection.

I hope you enjoyed them.

Saturday 8 August 2015

Pop Music Through The Decades (Part Two)

It’s time for another trip back through time, from the decade of my birth to the present day. Once again, I have trawled through my ageing brain, selecting a favourite pop song from every decade I have been alive.

I hope you like them.

1960’s – Ike and Tina Turner – River Deep, Mountain High

I love a strong female voice and, let’s face it, they don’t come much stronger than Tina Turner. When River Deep, Mountain High was released, I was four years old and it had such an impact that I actually remembered loving it at that tender age. Tina Turner’s voice never seemed to lose its impact and she was still working until around the year 2000.

She has a great voice and this is one of my favourite songs from the 1960’s.

1970’s – The Stranglers – Five Minutes

It’s time for a bit of punk rock, folks.  While punk rock wasn’t (and isn’t) my favourite musical genre, I cannot deny that there were some outstanding songs from that great period in the late 1970’s. The Stranglers, in my opinion, were more than just a punk band and changed their style to match the changing fashions in music. I have to say that I really love their early songs and Five Minutes was the pinnacle for me.

The song is hard, with slightly controversial lyrics for a chart friendly 1970’s audience. If you watch the video, it makes you think that the song is really five minutes long but in reality it only lasts about three and a half minutes. Maybe they were being rebellious, but I think that I would have made the effort to draw it out to the correct length of time.

But that’s just the perfectionist in me.

1980’s – Talk Talk – It’s My Life

Talk Talk are one of the most underrated bands of the 1980’s. When this song was first released in 1984, it barely made the top 40 in England. However, it was re-released in the early 1990s and reached the top 10.

I remember it from the first time around and I loved it. And so did most of the rest of Europe where it fared a little better on the continental mainland.

I love the first line of the song:

“Funny how I find myself in love with you”.

It’s My Life isn’t the only song I like by Talk Talk and I may expose you to a couple more in future posts. However, I have to say that this song epitomises the kind of pop music I love.

1990’s – Depeche Mode – I Feel You

I remember back in the early 1980’s when the charts were full of nice electronic pop songs, produced by squeaky clean pop groups, sometimes with weird haircuts and even weirder clothes. Depeche Mode were one of those bands; inoffensive and singing radio friendly and very catchy little tunes.

I started taking notice of the band in the late 1980’s when they created my second favourite pop album of that decade.

Why did I take notice? Because they evolved into something much darker and far more in tune with my tastes.

They reached the peak with I Feel You, which is arguably my favourite song by the band. I can’t fault it and it as close to hard rock as the band have been.

 2000’s – Kasabian – Shoot the Runner

Perhaps at my age, the pop music of the 2000’s seemed to be taking a distinct turn into tediousness and monotony, with the charts being dominated by rap and computerised dance music.

Fighting the corner for more accessible pop music were (and are) bands like Kasabian, who wrote and continue to write pop songs that have some appeal to me.

In particular, Shoot the Runner has a bit of a glam rock feel to it, which is evident in the colourful and slightly psychedelic video. With bands like this around, there is hope for us yet.

2010’s – Gotye – Somebody That I Used to Know

When pop music started to be driven by the accompanying video in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s, a part of me began to despair. It seemed that the video itself would become more important than the song -  and in a lot of cases this was definitely true.

I have always preferred to listen to music, not to picture the accompanying video in my mind’s eye as I listen to the words.

Nevertheless, occasionally a video has acted as a great introduction to a song as in this case.

I hate adverts and when there is a commercial break, I inevitably flick to music channels in the desperate hope that there is something new out there that is new and exciting and not being forced into our minds by those arses that are killing music.

On this rare occasion, the video intrigued me enough during that advertising break to actually listen to the song. I missed the resumption of the programme I was watching because of it – and I’m glad.

This is a well-crafted quirky little song with an odd but well-crafted quirky video.

And I may be a hypocrite – but I like it – and this is a rare occurrence with pop music these days.

Saturday 1 August 2015

What I Did Next Will SHOCK You!!!!

I am being bombarded with information and it’s totally my own fault.

I wouldn’t mind if this information was useful; most of it isn’t. Most of it is utter rubbish.

The main source of this nonsense is my computer but there is an awful lots being beamed at me via my television screen. It’s almost like a drug that I can’t quite shake off. And believe me, there are people who are far more addicted than I am.

It’s starting to annoy me and, what’s more, my own stupid temptation to indulge in this crap annoys me even more.

You may be wondering what I am talking about. Let me explain.

One of the biggest culprits is Facebook, something I try to avoid, but often just open up to see what’s going on. I don’t know why I do this because the truth is I am not interested at all. Nevertheless, there  is a little demon inside me, urging me to have a quick look, in case I am missing out on something.

This concept is known as Fear of Missing Out and it afflicts most people under the age of 40 who have Facebook accounts. Anybody older than that, like me, should probably not ever have an account and should know better. Most of my close friends who are my age think I’m a fool for using Facebook. However, Mrs PM uses this cursed social networking site regularly and often remarks that so-and-so has done such-and-such and that I should take a look.

And then I’m trapped.

I read some banal nonsense about what people are doing and then I see it: the phenomenon known as clickbait, which are basically articles that are like tabloid headlines, sensationalised in such a way that it is difficult to resist clicking the link and reading the story.

The articles usually have been liked by friends or by other things I’ve stupidly liked. The headlines are similar to:

This man saw a woman being attacked. What he did next will ASTOUND you.

So you click the link and end up watching a shaky video with a man taking off his shoes and hurling them at a kid attacking a young woman. A lucky shot caught the kid in his nether regions and he eventually hobbled away.

Another example is:

Ten simple tricks that can save you thousands of dollars.


Eight things you didn’t know about heavy metal music

Twenty facts about cats that will SHOCK you.

A lot of these links are full of advertising and if you are dumb enough to click on them using a smartphone, you end up having to watch a thirty second advert for a product that you have no interest in whatsoever, only to eventually see the main article and curse yourself for wasting the minute it took you to read it.

The truth is that there is no fear of missing out. My only fear is being drawn into hours of reading stupid articles peppered with irritating adverts.

I am absolutely sick of it, but, like an incompetent moth drawn to a flame, I find myself clicking the link subconsciously and wasting yet more time, reading yet more drivel or watching yet another totally pointless video.

I'm a buffoon.

It’s not just Facebook. When I decide to research something for this blog – or anything else I am writing – I find myself drawn to links and, like Alice wandering down an endless rabbit hole, I descend into the bowels of banality, reading pointless information that will have no bearing on my life, will not contribute to my research in any way whatsoever and ultimately will end up in a box in my brain labelled:

Lost Battles in the War Against Procrastination

Another source of this crap are emails. People who actually enjoy dumbing down with clickbait send links to them in emails entitled:

 You simply MUST read this.

And being an idiot, I click the link, read it and curse myself once more.

It’s not all bad though. I use the internet constructively sometimes to research information, discover new music and add positivity to my life. I have learned so much by researching facts for my blog and to use in arguments with arses on the message boards I sometimes visit.

I just need to resist the clickbait.

Finally, I blamed my television earlier and I stand by that statement. I am trying my best not to turn into a couch potato but with so many channels available on my telly box, I find myself channel surfing and watching all sorts of rubbish.

I could be outside doing something interesting but instead I’ve spent fifteen minutes watching a show about an old couple who want to buy a house in the south of France, or a documentary about the development of Morris Dancing in Victorian England:

Thankfully, the sensible part of me screams:

"What on EARTH are you DOING?”

and then Bruce Springsteen pops into my head with this song:

It never used to be like this; useless articles that chip away at your very soul, pointless adverts that erase brain cells with their banality or meaningless television programmes that actually lower your IQ as you watch them.

Hopefully, you haven’t stumbled on this blog post as a result of clickbait – and I hope that there wasn’t an advert with the Bruce Springsteen video above.  If there was then I apologise for the wasted thirty seconds of your life.

There is just too much information out there, dear reader, and our challenge is to filter out the shit and find the nuggets, just like those old gold prospectors in Wild West. There are gems out there if you know where to look and can resist the temptation to read nonsense.

Anyway, time to wrap up now. I’m off now to do something amazing that will shock you all.

Click here to find out what it is.