Friday 30 September 2016

Half-eaten Kebab

Have you ever been drunk?

I have – quite a few times, but thankfully not in recent years. Don’t get me wrong – I do like a pint or two but these days I tend to take it easy so that when I do drink I know I can wake up in the morning feeling reasonably fine.

Sadly, in my youth I was easily led and I thought that I was indestructible, especially when it came to the demon drink. I was rarely so drunk that I couldn’t remember anything but I have been in that position in my youth.

When you are in such a terrible state, weird thoughts go through your head, the biggest one being “I’ll be fine! I can handle another pint!”


If you are drunk, that is the thought that you should totally dismiss because deep down you know for a fact that when you wake up in the morning your head will feel like Satan himself is hitting it with a lump hammer, your mouth will feel like you have just eaten the contents of a vacuum cleaner bag and your stomach will feel like it is about to explode in a tsunami of half-digested food.  If you have the strength to crawl to the toilet your entire world will spin like a demented spinning top and you will almost certainly be uttering the Hangover Mantra which is:


Of course when you are in the throes of alcohol-fuelled ecstasy, you have lots of bad ideas. Logic doesn’t seem to enter into your thoughts. If you were sober then you would almost certainly say to your brain “You want me to do WHAT?? No bloody chance!”.

But when you are drunk, your response is “WHAT A GREAT IDEA!!!”.

Before I go on, there is something that any foreign readers must understand. Pubs and drinking are a massive part of British culture (and to a lesser extent Europe too). For example, when I have been to the US, I have been amazed that hanging out in a bar for an entire evening seems to be frowned upon – certainly more so than in the UK where such behaviour is commonplace.

So what good ideas have I encountered when drunk that are really terrible ones?

Have another drink

This is bad because, as I said above alcohol gives you the illusion of indestructibility. In this state you think you are utterly fine until the first light of day brings you back to reality with an enormous crash.

Go for a curry

Indian food is massively popular in the UK and drunk guys will flock to Indian restaurants after a night out because they think that it will satisfy the alcohol-fuelled hunger. Now the problem with a post-drink curry is that first of all Indian restaurants offer even more booze to add to your already saturated brain but worst of all, the bravado of being drunk means that you will almost certainly select the hottest curry on the menu because you think it is a fantastic idea. It isn’t because a hangover with a curry nestling in your stomach is not a good idea. Remember, a really hot curry burns twice; once on the way in and once on the way out.

Chat up a woman

I have fallen foul of this “good idea” many times and have been ritually humiliated. Worse, on one occasion I was out with workmates, including a female friend of mine. While in a pub, she started talking to a lovely young blonde woman who happened to teach her daughters ballet. Sadly, my mind told me to complement this vision of beauty. I walked up to her, in front of my female friend and a lot of workmates and said (I am not making this up): 

“First of all, I’m not coming on to you at all. But having said that, can I just say that you are ABSOLUTELY GORGEOUS!!” 

Thankfully, she took it in good stead and said a polite “Thanks” before blanking me out completely. What followed was a tirade of abuse and piss-taking from my work colleagues and, worse, from my female friend who later said “What the phark are you on?” I am still reminded of this even to this day and it happened about twenty years ago!

Buy a kebab

 If you don’t go for a curry, you go for a kebab. Britain is filled with kebab shops, some better than others. When sober, I would never have one because I prefer healthier food. Yet when drunk, it has almost become the law. Kebab shops in the UK are filled with drunk people from around 11pm to much later and I am amazed that people know what to order. One of the problems is that your average kebab is huge and you are incapable of eating the entire thing. This has three possible consequences (and I have seen all three). 

Number one: you leave the half-eaten kebab on the sofa and crawl to bed, only to see it the following morning when your stomach is too delicate to deal with a now rancid stinking half-eaten mess. 

Number two:  Put the half-eaten kebab in the fridge to be finished off for breakfast. This is so wrong because the last thing you want to see when you go to the fridge to get a can of coke to help your hangover, is a half-eaten kebab stinking out your fridge with half-eaten fries that you felt you couldn’t do without. 

Number Three: you fall asleep while eating the kebab and wake up three hours later with your head resting in a mound of spicy meat, fries and rancid salad covered in spicy sauce.

Thankfully, I have grown up a bit and while I still drink, I no longer allow myself to have stupid ideas. That said, I have been known to indulge in a curry or a kebab but, thankfully, with a relatively sober head.

I’ll finish off with a song about a hangover from my collection. Check out the lyrics because they sum up most of the stuff I’ve said in this post.

Sunday 25 September 2016

The Ghost Hunter

Do you believe in ghosts?

I don’t really but I have had rather a spooky encounter in the past that could have been a ghost (I’m still not 100% convinced but you could judge for yourself – read about it here).

Maybe there is something in it – maybe not. My feeling is that if ghosts really do exist then at some point we all must have seen them or at least felt their presence. The house I live in is over a hundred years old and I am certain that at least one person must have died in it during that time.

Yet I have never felt, seen or heard a ghost in my house – and neither has anybody else that I have known of. In fact, none of my friends, acquaintances or work colleagues have had an encounter with a soul from the afterlife either.

If ghosts really exist then this is a weird thing. I read an article surmising that for every living person today, there are 15 dead people, which means that, potentially, there are 105 billion ghosts wandering the earth. Whenever we walk the streets of our towns and cities there are 15 spooks also wandering the streets for each of us.

I sometimes watch weird videos on YouTube featuring all manner of creepiness, ranging from aliens, to lizard people, ghosts to demons, yet when I watch supposedly genuine images of ghosts caught on camera, I cannot help but chuckle because, to me at least, they like elaborate hoaxes. I’m pretty sure that your everyday psychic would disagree with me, suggesting that not only have these spirits allowed themselves to be caught on camera, they are also able to communicate with certain special people, like a psychic, a person who claims to be able to perceive a different wavelength of reality and as a result can talk to ghosts.

They are lying, dear reader. However, I don’t want to drift into telling you that all psychics are charlatans (deep down you know that already). What intrigues me about the videos you see on YouTube is that they are very well done, so well done in fact that you can barely see the cracks in some of them.

One of the best of these videos is from my adopted home city of Manchester. The video contains CCTV footage from a number of cameras scattered around an office in the city and the security guards on duty flicking between the cameras as spooky things were happening.

Here it is:

Now I loved watching this and, almost as much, liked reading the comments on it. What struck me is that it was recorded on the night of 1st November 2012, that is Hallowe’en night. It is very well done and could, I think, convince anyone who is even slightly gullible. Since then a Ghost Hunter has debunked the film as a hoax.

What’s more interesting is the term “Ghost Hunter” because until I read that article, I thought that a Ghost Hunter was a figment of the imagination of authors and writers who wrote scary fiction about ghosts.

I am amazed that there is a Ghost Hunter in Manchester – in fact there are possibly more.

People exist who actually go out to find ghosts or at least deal with situations where people think they are being haunted.

While I love this kind of spooky nonsense, I don’t think I would want to go out in search of them, just in case I actually discovered that spooks really exist after all.

But if you had a heart of steel and fear is not part of your DNA, how would you set about becoming a Ghost Hunter?

First of all, you probably need the equipment. And it is not cheap.

Here’s an example of what you would need:

An accelerometer to measure even tiny vibrations in objects.

Video recorders and cameras (obviously – though I am not convinced that ghosts can be photographed), including special infra-red equipment to detect weird stuff in the infra-red spectrum.

Sound recorders to detect abnormal sounds.

Spectrum analysers to detect energy out of the normal perceivable ranges.

Thermal cameras to detect changes in temperature.

Various other essential equipment such as X-ray and UV scanners.

Obviously, you also need to be totally laid back, methodical, patient, confident and, most importantly of all, not prone to squealing like a little girl should you ever see an actual ghost.

Of course, if you can talk to the ghosts when you find them, that might be a bonus but, since nobody can talk to ghosts, that is just a little wishful thinking.

Finally, you have to have an open mind and not be, like me, a totally cynical sceptic.

I know that I may be mocking what could potentially be a fulfilling, if not totally weird career path and for that I apologise. To be honest, if there are any genuine Ghost Hunters out there, please leave a comment and I will read it with an open mind.

In the meantime, if I feel that there is a ghost in my house, I might just hire these guys:

Over to you, dear reader:

Do you believe in ghosts?

Have you ever seen a ghost?

Monday 19 September 2016

The Madness of Art

I read something on the internet last week and I didn’t initially know how to react. It is about a painting.

Here’s a summary of what I read:

The painting by Nua On, who made his debut In November 2013 following several years of development of his special painting style, begins as bold medium length strokes in many directions and has progressed to incorporate dabs of paint, using a sensuous colour palette of Winsor Violet, Lavender and Silver.

The painting was for sale at the princely sum of almost 500 American Dollars and with it, you get a Certificate of Authenticity together with a biography of the artist and a photograph.

Now when I read this, I thought the words were describing a budding new artist, trained to master his or her art and trying to make a living selling their so-called masterpiece to gullible pseudo-intellectuals. The painting itself was dreadful, a mishmash of daubs that would have had contemporary art critics, wetting themselves with glee and uttering nonsensical sentences to describe what was going through the artist’s head as the brush strokes were applied with words like:

Nua On demonstrates the inner conflict of the mind perfectly, fusing irony and metaphysics in a manner that represents the love affair of souls, destined to meet but finding themselves travelling apart in an ethereal medium of flame and liquid with only their thoughts of the emptiness of atomic division to hint at their ultimate purpose. As Socrates once said: Be as you wish to seem. I cannot elucidate these feelings more humbly.

I imagine that the naïve pseudo-intellectuals will rush to buy this mess at the bargain price offered and spend hours reading the inspirational story of the artist while gazing into his eyes on the photograph and struggling to contain their orgasmic urges.

But there is something I haven’t told you about this painting, dear reader.

It is special.

The artist looks like this:

I swear I am not making this up, 
Nua On is a fucking elephant!! 
I wonder whether the poor creature signed the back of the painting by dipping it’s enormous foot in a bucket of paint and slopping it onto the canvas.
I know that I have basically said that the painting is utter shit but, having been dragged around the Tate Modern in both Liverpool and London, I can safely say that it is actually better than some of the garbage hanging on the walls in those museums that was painted by human beings.
This is yet another example of how mad the art world has become. Everybody likes art but now what seems to have happened is that these nutcases are thinking even more outside the box in their quest to appear intelligent and cultured, praising pictures painted by other species and, presumably, trying to get into the heads of the giant wrinkly pachyderms that painted them.
To those pseudo-intellectual fuckwits, I have this to say.
The people behind this enterprise are really clever and I am amazed that there are pseudo-intellectuals actually thick enough to be conned into buying this shit.
There is always somebody out there trying to exploit stupidity and, to me, this is just another example.
It’s crazy. But it’s worse than that! Paintings by other creatures are available to buy.
I kid you not!
So what other these other animals paint?
I promise that I am not making this up. 
You can buy paintings by turtles, tortoises, snakes, skinks, cheetahs, tigers, jaguars, gorillas, orangutans, chimps, grasshoppers, worms, millipedes, sea lions, penguins, rhinos, hippos, dolphins and whales.
In the case of the smaller creatures that cannot hold a brush, they have to have their bodies or at least parts of their bodies, dipped in paint before making then slither or crawl along the canvas.

I would love to see what happens if a tiger suddenly objected to being forced to paint.

It also makes me wonder about copyright. Surely a painting is owned by the artist, not the person that is forcing the poor creature to apply paint to canvas in such a humiliating way. Could Nua On challenge me if I were to reproduce his art on my blog? No doubt there is a lawyer out there who would try to take me court, saying that his elephant rights are being violated and exploited by a ruthless blogger.
The more I delve into the world of contemporary art, the more amazed I am about how absurd it is. They never cease to amaze me with new conceptual ideas for the pseudo-intellectual community to preach about.
The madness of art is exploding exponentially.
Still, at least if you are a philosopher, you can be happy in the knowledge that your wise words will be taken completely out of context by a moron trying by using them to describe the thoughts of an elephant as he splashed paint onto a big slice of paper.
I’m not a philosopher by any means but I am thinking about starting my own contemplative genre of that discipline, dedicating my own words to help pseudo-intellectuals to gush over artwork created by humans and animals alike.
Taking this a step further, I might actually consider being the agent for my cats, encouraging them to dabble in the world of modern art so that I can exploit pseudo-intellectuals and make myself - er sorry - my cats very rich.
That may not be such a good idea because either the cats would rip my hands off or, more likely, Mrs PM would beat me to a pulp.
So, Nua On, you are safe from the challenge of cat art for now. But I will write a few quotes for the pseudo-intellectuals to use to describe your work. 
I can’t wait to read your biography!

Monday 12 September 2016

Guilty M'lud!

Whenever I return from a holiday or from a pastime that I enjoy, there is always a feeling of guilt deep down inside me that threatens to ruin the memories of the fun I have had.

It shouldn’t be this way, dear reader.

I blame politicians and control freaks
We need to stand up against this outrageous manipulation of our feelings as these people try to control us by pointing out the bad things in life.

Are you with me?

When I go on holiday it is like the steam valve on a pressure cooker has been released and the true me escapes into the world like dog let off a leash.

I eat too much, drink too much and sleep too much.

I spend my time either being lazy and relaxing or embracing new cultural experiences.

I make rude gestures at Mr Motivator, the corporate bastard who tries to dominate my life.

I ignore advice from governmental arseholes who think that they know what is best for me.

And when I set foot back in my own home, part of me feels guilty , even if I have only been away for seven days, because:

I have over-indulged on food that is going to make me fat and unhealthy.

I have drunk more beer than I should have with little regard for the consequences.

I have wasted part of the day because I went to bed at 1am, got up at 10am, having spent too much time sleeping and just lying in bed with a good book.

I have spent time on a sunbed reading or listening to music while watching the sea gently lap up onto a golden beach, when I could have (and in certain people’s eyes should have) been doing something productive.

All thoughts of work have been dispelled and I have dreamt about leaving and burning all of my bridges with Mr Motivator.

I have done exactly what I wanted.

The current guilt-laden culture of living really pisses me off. Why? Because ...

I am made to feel guilty because I have a full English breakfast on a Saturday morning. 

I am made to feel guilty because I choose to spend three hours binge-watching Sons of Anarchy instead of going outside to do something more active.

I am made to feel guilty because I want to go for a long walk at my own pace instead of killing myself to run a 10K race.

I am made to feel guilty because I leave work early to relax instead of choosing to stay behind for four hours listening to Mr Motivator’s bullshit.

I am made to feel guilty because I have an extra beer on a Friday night.

I am made to feel guilty because I sometimes want to some “me time”.

I am made to feel guilty for sleeping in at the weekend.

I am made to feel guilty not getting over-excited when I read the latest banal post on Facebook.

I am made to feel guilty because I choose to go to a rock concert instead of an opera.

I am made to feel guilty because I tell people why I do not like things.

I am made to feel guilty because I no longer send Christmas cards or Valentines cards. 

I am made to feel guilty for being happy.

I am made to feel guilty for swearing when I’m pissed off.

I am made to feel guilty for having fish and chips!

I am made to feel guilty about going on holiday.

I am made to feel guilty for not working hard enough by Mr Motivator and politicians who praise “hard-working families” without actually knowing how fucking hard people DO work.

I am made to feel guilty by refusing to give money to charities, even though I give money to other charities.

I am made to feel guilty for going out when the BBC hand over their entire Friday Night schedule to a charity telethon.

I am made to feel guilty for watching football. 

I am made to feel guilty about sneaking food into the cinema because the bastards try to rip me off with overpriced and oversized portions of crap.

I am made to feel guilty about having a big cream bun!

I am made to feel guilty for telling people “No”!

I am made to feel guilty for doing exactly what I want to do and not what other people want me to do to “fit in”.

I am made to feel guilty for playing video games at the age of 53.

I am made to feel guilty for spending my own money on things I want.

Well, dear reader, there are many reasons other things that people try to make me feel guilty about and to be brutally frank I’ve had enough!

I think I need to make a change and stick two fingers up to the establishment on certain occasion.

The fightback starts here!

I am NOT GUILTY M'lud!

Now PISS OFF and leave me alone!

Are you with me, dear reader?