Saturday, 29 May 2021

Journal Buddies


Welcome to a warm South Manchester where the weather has finally improved and we are preparing for a week of sunshine and warmth. It seems that summer has finally arrived. We are currently in day 441 of the restrictions and vaccinations are progressing in the UK at pace with over 70% of adults having had at least their first jab and over 40%, like myself, now fully vaccinated.

We are about three weeks from the date that our Clown Prime Minister, a man who doesn’t know his arse from his elbow, has earmarked for lifting all restrictions.

Sadly we have a problem that may make that date slip. The Indian variant of the virus is now spreading in a few places, one in particular – a town called Bolton that is about 20 miles away from where I am at the moment.  Infections are high there but thankfully the pressure on hospitals isn’t too bad, the only people who are patients are those who haven’t been vaccinated yet.

I am keeping my fingers crossed that infections will ease again and that by the end of June we will be fully free.

Let’s answer some silly questions from Sunday Stealing.

1. When do you feel the world will stop?

I think the world will keep turning until something catastrophic happens, like the sun exploding or throwing it’s toys out of the pram to go supernova. Or perhaps if a huge asteroid smashes into our planet and knocks it out of it’s orbit to send it spiralling into the sun. I know two things about this. First of all, although I plan to live forever, I won’t be around to witness such events. Second, it won’t happen for billions of years. I think we will all be fine. 

2. What is your personal motto?

Life is fun. Enjoy it while you can.

3. What is the greatest gift you ever received?

I would probably say the gift of life itself. I am here and that is thanks to my parents.

4. Who is a leader who inspires you?

I am not inspired by any leaders because no matter how good they appear to be, they have arrived in their position of leadership treading on people on their way to the top. I don’t trust any of them.

5. What irrationally annoys you more than anything else?

James Cordon. For some reason he totally irritates me to the point where I refuse to watch any shows that have the unfortunate and dubious pleasure of him being the host or being a guest. America – you can keep him.

6. What small thing can always bring you a bit of joy?

My two cats. They are not small now though. 

7. What is your favourite thing to do on a lazy day?

I like to read book, watch a bit of TV listen to some music or write down some thoughts in my terrible freewriting journal. Or perhaps write a blog post.

8. How often do you take risks?

I am quite risk averse so rarely. Usually if I take a risk I have to really think about the pros and cons of doing so in order to decide whether the risks are acceptable or not. Sometimes they are but mostly they aren’t.

9. Write about your happiest memory.

I have lots of happy memories, most of them from before this terrible pandemic. There are too many to single out just one (as I am a naturally happy chap). 

10. How long do you think it will be before we see a female president?

In the UK and worldwide there are and have been quite a lot of female leaders. In the UK we have had Margaret Thatcher and Theresa May as Prime Minister, both of whom were odious people that I am glad to see the back of. I am quite impressed by Jacinda Ardern, the New Zealand Prime Minister. We could do with somebody like her in charge over here. 

As for America, I tend to watch their political antics from afar but the impression I get is that it will be while before they elect a female president. They came close with Hilary Clinton I guess but instead chose a corrupt orange goblin instead, something that still amazes me to this day.

Hopefully they will get one sooner rather than later and the fact that there is a female vice president is a good thing.

11. Do you think it’s important to be part of a community?  Why? Why not?

Yes indeed. People need to cooperate and communities can bring people together.

12. What piece of modern technology are you most grateful to have.

Everything that connects me to the outside world, like my smartphone and my laptop.

13. Do you feel anonymous on line?

I felt quite anonymous as the Plastic Mancunian. I was hoping to stay completely anonymous until a determined person at work discovered my blog. Consequently there are people who know who I am and read the rubbish that I write. Since then, I have let slip a few choice snippets about myself and popped a few photos on the blog too. It’s fine – although I am tempted to reinvent myself as a totally anonymous blogger again. That said, of course anyone who is determined enough can track anybody down – so it may be pointless.

14. What is something you’ve always wanted to try but have never gotten around to.

To learn a new musical instrument. I am tempted to do so when I retire in a couple of years’ time. Watch this space.

15. What would life be like without the internet?

From a work perspective it would be bloody annoying. I remember the days when the internet was in its infancy and my desk at work was full of technical text books and manuals. These days I can look up anything on the internet and it makes my job much easier as a software engineer.

From a personal perspective it would be annoying because I use the internet constantly from learning Spanish to posting drivel on this blogs, as well as exploring the world, arranging travel (remember that - travel?), buying things, arranging my life and many other things.

Basically, as Americans say, life without the internet would suck.

Sunday, 23 May 2021

The Alternative Eurovision Song Contest - 2021

 


Greetings from a wet South Manchester on a day where I usually answer a few silly questions. Today I am going to do something slightly different. 

Last night out of boredom Mrs PM and I watched the annual European tradition that is the Eurovision Song Contest. Part of me hopes that one day this nonsense will just cease to exist; that Europe collectively will see that this ridiculous spectacle is, at 65 years of age, something that should be retired. 

Sadly, it looks like it is going to go on forever. 

We watched with total disbelief as 26 acts, including one from my own country, performed mainly dreadful songs in a spectacular stage show, with an audience that was there despite Covid-19 restrictions. The whole thing lasted for about four hours and was won by an Italian rock song. 

The UK excelled itself this year by coming last.

All the way through I asked myself “Why are you watching this, Dave?” but I was strangely drawn to it. I just don’t know why. The standard of some of the songs is dreadful, both the writing, the style and the over-the-top stage production and costumes. 

Having slept on it, I think that I have managed to put my finger on why it appeals to people. 

(1) It is so ridiculous that people watch it just to laugh at the songs and the acts performing them. One year, for example, it was won by a bearded woman from Austria.

(2) People have Eurovision Parties where they invite people round to collectively mock the show and play games based on who is performing and also try to guess which of the dreadful songs is likely to win.

(3) Predicting which countries vote for which other countries is fun – for example eastern European countries all vote for each other and Greece always votes for Cyprus and vice versa.

(4) There are a lot of mad people in Europe.

Five years ago, I decided to host my own Eurovision Song Contest on this very blog. Oday I am doing the same. Please don’t panic; I am not going to showcase 26 dreadful songs. 

On the contrary – I am going to showcase 9 brilliant songs from all over Europe, including (incredibly) Israel who also take part, as they have done for quite a number of years now, even though they are not part of Europe.

So, without further ado, I present to you The Plastic Mancunian’s Alternative Eurovision Song Contest 2021. I hope you enjoy the songs.

Ireland – Enya – It’s in the Rain

Let’s kick off with a beautifully haunting song from the incredible Enya, representing Ireland. 

Israel – Blackfield – Blackfield

Blackfield is a band comprising Aviv Geffen from Israel and one of my favourite artists, Steven Wilson. This is a beautiful song.

Poland – Riverside – River Down Below

Regular readers will know that I am a huge fan of Polish genius Marisuz Duda and his band Riverside. Here is another recent beautiful song from the band.

France – Jean Michel Jarre – Equinoxe V

Let’s step back in time to the 1970s for the French entry. This is a masterpiece from the great Jean Michel Jarre.

Norway - R√∂yksopp – The Girl and the Robot 

Here is a glorious bit of European dance music from Norway. I can take or leave dance music (mostly I choose to leave it) but I really like this song.

Finland – Nightwish – Slow Love Slow

Imagine you are in a smoke-filled jazz club; close your eyes and listen to this amazing song from Nightwish, a band who are normally purveyors of symphonic metal. This song is completely different from their normal fare – and real genre-crossing masterpiece. 

The Netherlands – The Gentle Storm – The Shores of India

Anneke van Giersbergen is one of my favourite female singers. She has a wonderful voice and here it is in full flow with a great song from The Gentle Storm.

Sweden – Opeth – Closure

One of my musical discoveries of last year is a Swedish prog rock outfit called Opeth who have been around for years. This is one of my favourite songs by the band.

UK – Steven Wilson – Follower

Of course the UK has to have an entry and I have selected one of my favourite songs from his latest album – a nice mix between dance and rock music.

And finally ...

I hope you enjoyed this little collection. They are far better had the 26 songs I had to endure last night. Trust me.


Saturday, 15 May 2021

Days of Gratitude


Welcome to another rainy South Manchester as the UK is being tormented by a slow-moving ridge of low pressure that is making the weather really (and annoyingly) unsettled. Couple this with day 427 of Covid-19 restrictions and the frustration mounts even more. 

Still, I am nothing if not positive and, having now had my second Covid jab, I am looking forward to a hopefully more enjoyable summer.

Shall we dive into some silly questions from Sunday Stealing

I think so – here we go.

1. Name something in the room you are grateful for.

I am actually grateful for the room itself. I am currently sitting in what we call “the back room”, which serves many purposes which I shall try to list here and now:

(a) It is known as the “Warrior’s Arms” and in the dark winter months of lockdown it became the second designated pub in our house. Now that the weather is getting better we tend to sit in the lounge (“known as the Black Cat”) because it is light and airy whereas this room gets less sun and is more cosy in the winter months.

(b) It has been my office for the past 15 months. Due to Covid restrictions I have been working from home and will continue to do until September when I will return to the office on a part time basis.

(c) It is my entertainment room or my “man cave” as Mrs PM refers to it (despite the fact she spends time here too). I have a PS4, a large TV and music from my laptop played through a set of decent speakers as well as the place where I write stupid posts like this one. 

All in all – a great room.

2. Recall a favorite memory you are grateful for

Off the top of my head? A wonderful, entertaining and eventful evening in Wan Chai in Hong Kong  in 2013, two days before Mrs PM and I travelled to Japan for the first time. We had such fun, starting with a wonderful Chinese meal, followed by visits to a few bars and slight over-indulgence on both our parts. I love Hong Kong.

Here are some pictures:

A little progressive rock

Mrs PM and her pet baboon

Let's all dance on the bar

3. Who helped you today?

Mrs PM gave me another lockdown haircut today and trimmed my beard. This may be the last time she does this because I may venture to the barber next time.

4. What possession makes your life easier?

My smartphone. When I am out and about or travelling or whatever, it is there recording my step count, providing internet access and all that entails, as well as being a backup Kindle and countless other things. I hate to say this but I would be lost without it. 

5. What’s the best thing that happened today?

We are visiting friends later today so that will be the best thing when I look back tomorrow.

6. Name something in nature that you are grateful for.

Oxygen. Without it we wouldn’t be here.

7. What painful experience helped you grow?

All of them. I like to think that you can learn from such experiences, as bad as they are at the time. 

8. What is your best skill?

I am very good with most technical things. I interact with computers as part of my career and am pretty good at telling them what to do. For example, yesterday I created two servers in the cloud and configured them both not only to talk to each other but to shake hands and generally get on with each other, having each other’s backs should one of them decide to fail or become ill. I am not mad enough to given them human characteristics – I’ve just done so to illustrate what I achieved. After all, really what I have done is made sure that a lot of ones and zeroes are in the right place out there in cyberspace. 

9. What person in your past are you most grateful for?

Everyone who has ever been or continues to be my friend or a member of my family. I am not singling out any one person as that would be unfair. 

10. What risk are you most grateful for taking?

Every time I have had the courage to do something that scared the hell out of me. I am not that brave but on some occasions I have taken the metaphorical bull by his horns and decided to go for it, sometimes against my better judgement. I am risk averse so every time I take a risk it is a big thing for me. And sometimes they have paid off – not always though. I won’t elaborate.

11. Name something/someone that makes you feel safe.

My burglar alarm, double-glazed lockable windows and highly secure front and back doors. Every Englishman’s castle has to have defences. To be fair, I don’t live in a dangerous place (quite the opposite actually) – but better to be safe than sorry.

12. Name a challenge you have overcome.

Public speaking. I went through a phase of having to do training courses a few years ago. Some people perform public speaking for just a short while – an hour maximum – but for each course I gave, I had to do it for seven hours a day for five days. 

I have given course in England, of course, but also in the United States, Russia and China amongst others. The last one was about four years ago in Beijing, China in this amazing building:

I don’t have to do it now thank goodness because I hate public speaking, despite the fact I have done it so many times.

13. What small things are you grateful for today?

My cats, who watched avidly as Mrs PM cut my hair. I sensed that the question “What the hell is she doing to him?” was asked as they discussed the event. It was amusing watching them watch us.

14. What smell are you most grateful for?

The smell of bacon. We usually treat ourselves to bacon on Saturday and Sunday mornings either with a full English breakfast or just as a bacon sandwich. The smell of bacon cooking is one of the greatest smells on the planet and I have vegetarian friends who sometimes reconsider their life choice when they smell it. 

15. What is your proudest accomplishment

I am a humble man and I don’t like to boast. But there have been a few. 


Saturday, 8 May 2021

Musical Maniac

    

Welcome to a very rainy South Manchester on day 420 of pandemic restrictions. The weather outside is dreadful – cold, very wet and windy. I really hope that the weather improves as we approach summer. We seem to be in a cold spell at the moment with winds flying down from the north and lowering the temperature even further. 

The only thing to do is to escape into a bunch of silly questions from Sunday Stealing. The title of the post is Music Maniac and that is exactly what I am – but sadly none of the questions are about music. I will still answer them but I will offer a song at the beginning that you can listen to while reading. 

Don’t worry – it is not a progressive metal monster. On the contrary – it is a beautiful ambient song from the album Moon Safari by French duo Air (this one featuring Beth Hirsch)– one of my all time favourite albums. So press play, relax and (hopefully) enjoy my silly answers.

1. Five problems with social media

What an opening question. I could spend hours answering this. I will aim for brevity but I can’t promise anything.

  • People are over-using social media to the extent that they don’t do anything else – and it is not necessarily their fault. I am as guilty of this as anybody. In my case, I can sit there looking at my phone and not doing anything more useful – it contributes to my procrastination. I have decided to reduce my exposure to social media recently so that instead of wasting time on my phone I actually do something meaningful instead.
  • Relating to this, social media is a bit of an oxymoron because it can make people anti-social. I hate it when I am trying to talk to people and they decide to get their phones out. There are times when I want to say “Just put your phone down!” when this happens. To be fair, people around my age are less inclined to do that. I have an example from a year or two ago (apologies if I have told you this before). I was in a pub and on the table next to me were about five young people sitting in silence and all engrossed in the contents of their phones. One of them reached for his beer and noticed that he had run out. “Anyone want a drink?” he asked and his friends all placed their orders. The guy walked to the bar, returned to the table with them and then they all continued with their phones and not saying another word. I hope that’s not the future.
  • Some people are obsessed with the cult of celebrity or the latest political cause. Others are obsessed with themselves and spend all day posting about how amazing their mundane life is. I have a friend on Facebook who posts his “thoughts” on a weekly basis in a little video. I can understand it in a lockdown but he has been doing this for years. He also posts details of what he is having for his dinner and what he is watching on the TV. I’m not interested. I don’t want to live my life vicariously through him.
  • The concept of fake news has been born from social media. The world is going mad with it. People like Donald Trump rode this particular tsunami of misinformation and spread all manner of crazy propaganda. He’s not the only one guilty of this. Little tribes of nutters have appeared on social media including, to my everlasting amusement, the cult of Flat Earth. There are more Flat Earthers out there now than there ever were, thanks to bullshit spread as gospel. 
  • I hate trolls – or keyboard warriors as I prefer to call them.  These are vile people who prowl social media and post abhorrent insults to people just for the hell of it. The infest the world of bloggery too and I have had to deal with a couple in the past. As well as that all manner of terrible groups of people have found a medium to spread their hatred throughout the world. And this last point is arguably the most disturbing reason why social media has a problem

So much for brevity – sorry about the long answer.

2. A place you would like to live, but have never visited

I would like to live in a Scandinavian country like Sweden, Denmark or Norway because the people are friendly and they are meant to be amongst the happiest places on the planet, something I could embrace with joy. Also, as a fair-haired man myself, I think I would fit right in.

3. Someone who fascinates you and why

This is a strange one. I am quite fascinated by the actor Tom Cruise. I think he is a great actor and I do generally like his movies (although he has made some turkeys). This isn’t the reason I am fascinated with him though. He has everything – looks, the ability to act, he does his own stunts and is the same age as I am – yet looks so much better. Sadly, he is a nutter. He is so deep in the world of Scientology that David Miscavige will do anything to keep him there and, given how successful he is, I cannot understand why he hasn’t realised that his “religion” has ruined his life.

Listen to this bullshit from 2004. 

I would like nothing more than to sit down in a bar with Tom Cruise and ask him about this.

4. Do you have tattoos?  What are they and why?

No, I don’t have tattoos. I would never have a tattoo.

5. A book you love, and one you didn’t.

I’ve recently read a fascinating novel by Blake Crouch called Recursion, which fascinated me. It is a mind-bending science fiction novel that needs a lot of thought to follow it. If you like movies like Inception and Tenet then you will love it. If those movies blew your mind into submission then it might not be for you. I loved them and I loved the book. It would make a great film.

I made the mistake of reading a free Kindle book last year that the first in a series set in a post-apocalyptic world with Zombies – there are loads of these out there. I thought it would be good – it was terrible. I finished it but I’m not sure why. I discarded it pretty quickly and I won’t tempt you to read it by giving you its title or author.

6. A fruit you dislike, and why

Damsons because they taste revolting.

7. Two words/phrases that make you laugh

“Bollocks” is a British word that I use quite often because I find it funny. It is a swear word but it sums up things perfectly in many ways. If you think something is terrible you simply say “That’s bollocks!”. If you think somebody is lying you can say “He’s talking bollocks!” – see what I mean? Perfect.

I also love the word “abomination” and use it regularly because it sums up my feeling that something is so bad that it simply should not exist. I chuckle inwardly whenever I say it or hear it. For example:

“White chocolate is an abomination.”

8. A quote you try to live by

“Laughter connects you with people. It’s almost impossible to maintain any kind of distance or any sense of social hierarchy when you’re just howling with laughter. Laughter is a force for democracy.”

Thank you John Cleese.

9. Something you miss

I miss my parents.

10. Three weird traits you have

I wrote a post about this last week. I will refer you to that. Here it is

11. What you wore today

I am wearing a shirt than makes me look like a lumberjack and a pair of blue jeans. 

12. Word/phrase you use constantly

“What are you doing?” – I say this to the cats when they are being mischievous.

13. One thing you’re excited for

The end of the pandemic – and I think I am in good company with 95% of the rest of the world on this.

14. Your feelings on ageism

I am an old git myself so I am against it. In the past I have seen a lot of ageism, particularly in the workplace, where people have been “let go” or simply not been employed because the powers that be have branded them as “too old”. 

These days, certainly in the UK, we are well on our way to severely reducing ageism in the workplace. Personally I want to retire but I would like to think that if I change my mind then I could easily walk back into another job based on my experience and ability and people wouldn’t see my age as a barrier. 

After all, the older you get the wiser you get and I have nothing but respect for people who have been on this planet longer than I have.

15. Three interesting facts about yourself

I have been to 36 countries – around 18% of the planet. I haven’t finished yet.

I am a (flawed) Roman Catholic.

I can play a trombone (though not for over 40 years).

 

Tuesday, 4 May 2021

The Weirdo


I’ve called myself a weirdo on this blog many times over the years and I do so with my tongue firmly in my cheek.
The other day, Mrs PM said something that caught me off guard. 
“Why are you being a weirdo?” she said. “Just stop it.”
I laughed, as I usually do, but then after a minute or so, I started thinking – always a dangerous thing.
“Am I really a weirdo?” I asked trying to hide a slight look of concern on my face.
“Not at all, dearest,” she said with a small smirk flashing across her face. She probably didn’t even notice it.
But I did.
I was tempted to pursue this and then reconsidered. Instead, I thought I would discuss it on a blog post that is available for the world to see (which you could say is a little weird).
I did some research and looked up things that epitomise weirdness. I found one site that listed 34 things that you might do if you are a weirdo. I guess if you ticked all 34 then perhaps you really ARE strange; I ticked 13 of them. Here they are:
  • I enjoy storms
  • I quote comedy shows in my daily life
  • I feel nervous making doctor’s appointments
  • I have lots of playlists
  • I say “Living the Dream” when people ask how I am (usually when somebody says it to me to be fair)
  • I laugh or just agree when I can’t tell what somebody said
  • I call my pets by nicknames instead of their proper names
  • I rarely delete old texts and emails
  • I pretend I am in a music video or performing when listening to music
  • I respond to texts in my head but don’t send them
  • I refuse to let an arm or leg hang out of the bed in case something grabs me when I am sleeping.
  • I count how many hours of sleep before going to bed
  • I crack jokes during a scary film to ease the tension and make myself less scared
I am a “partial weirdo” according to that particular fun poll.
I decided to do more research and looked up other features of weirdos; here are some more, including things that aren’t listed:
  • I sometimes have to fight the urge to play my air guitar while walking in public and listening to rock music
  • I sometimes have to fight the urge to pull faces at serious people I see on the street or public transport
  • I sing openly in my car and nod my head vigorously in time to the music – and have been noticed – and don’t care
  • I struggle not to laugh when so-called experts are trying to tell me how to behave at work or trying to explain to me why a yearly performance review is in my interests
  • I like weird music
  • I dance according to the lyrics. At a Christmas party a couple of years ago, I almost shattered my knee-caps when dancing to “Like a Prayer” by Madonna
  • I laugh at figures of authority who are trying to tell me off. I served so many detentions at school because I laughed openly at teachers who were bellowing at me
  • I will always try to finish a book – even if it is utterly terrible
  • I hate metal scraping against metal or enamel, particularly at the dentist
  • I talk to the cats as if they are fellow human beings
  • I have written about 30 really strange novels in my head when trying to fall asleep
  • I am fascinated by vampires
  • I have weird hair and am always bleating on about how much I hate it
  • I like watching weird documentaries about aliens, UFOs and the end of the world
  • I do not follow fashion – only when Mrs PM intervenes
  • I can be outspoken about things I feel passionate about – which is something I am trying to curb
  • I drink real ale and go to beer festivals
  • I have a bizarre sense of humour
  • I am very self-deprecating
  • I have a weird beard
  • I am a total geek
Okay – so maybe I am slightly eccentric. Some people have said “Why do you have a blog and point out how odd you are to anybody who is bored enough to read it?”
I don’t know, is the true answer; I just enjoy it.
I am weird, I guess. 
And I don't care - is that weird?

Sunday, 2 May 2021

Navy Wife

Welcome to a dull but dry South Manchester on day 414 of COVID-19 restrictions. 

Rather than my normal preamble, let’s dive right into some Sunday Stealing questions. 

1. What was your proudest moment

I am guessing this is about my own proudest moment. I don’t know really if I’m honest. I’ve done a few things that I should be quite proud of but pride isn’t something that I really associate with. I am quite a humble person, or perhaps meek. I’ve overcome some hurdles is my life that would perhaps warrant a boastful outburst like attaining the qualifications to get to university and then acquiring a degree but these are things that a lot of people do. I’m quite proud that I have worked in and visited some amazing countries in my life, including Russia, China, Brazil, Vietnam, Japan, Australia, USA, Canada, South Africa – and I still want to visit more. I’ll say that.

2. What is your favourite childhood memory?

There are too many to mention but one that sticks out is going to football matches with my old man. I used to walk down to Walsall Football Club and stand with my dad on the terraces cheering for the team that I still support today. We are rubbish but I still support them to this day.

3. Describe your dream vacation.

That’s easy – a first class trip around the world. I don’t think I will ever do this (unless I win the lottery) but I would love to fly out of Manchester to Europe, Asia, Australia, North and South America, Africa then back home via Europe, writing about all of my adventures on the way. Ideally this would take a year or two. In the meantime, budget permitting I will no doubt just pop to places then back home again.

4. Do you see yourself as an optimist, pessimist, or realist?  Why?

Generally, I am a realist but I can be both optimistic and pessimistic. Why? It depends on the situation and how knowledgeable I am at the time. 

For example, I am optimistic about escaping from the COVID-19 lockdown because the vaccination programme in the UK is lowering infections despite the easing of restrictions. 

I am pessimistic about travelling abroad this year because the places that I want to go to are still struggling and the UK policy to keep COVID-19 out of the country will mean that there are restrictions on travel for a few months yet. 

I am realistic about the possibility of travelling next year. I think things will change and I will be able to go to Europe in summer 2022 because, although they are struggling at the moment, I think they will get their act together soon.

5. What is something you wanted to do as a child, but never got to do.

I wanted to learn a better musical instrument than the trombone. 


6. What board game do you hate the most?

I don’t really hate board games but some were a little boring or just overelaborate. Cluedo for example was tedious but I still played it.

7. Describe the worst haircut you ever got.

I have had many terrible haircuts, from the crewcut that my dad made me have as a young child to the chrysanthemum-headed mess that I told you about last week. I also had a mullet in the 1980’s but contrary to recent style critics, I loved it. 

I generally hate my hair anyway – I can barely tolerate it now and it is probably fine for everybody else. Mrs PM will not let me grow a mullet again – what a spoilsport she is.

My mullet was just like this

8. What’s the worst job you ever had?

I was a postman while I was at university as a holiday job but the third time I did it, the post office asked me to sort out letters rather than delivering them. I loved delivering letters but I hated sorting them out. I started work at 2pm and worked until 10pm emptying bag after bag of letters and compartmentalizing them according to area. It was tedious.

9. What is one thing you want to be remembered for?

Being a nice guy and writing a blockbuster novel – it might happen one day (you never know).

10. On a scale of 1-10, what is the highest level of pain you’ve ever experienced?

I have been quite lucky with pain and never experienced anything truly terrible. Nothing specific leaps to mind but it can’t be more than a 4 out of 10 whatever it was.

11. What fashion trend do you wish would go away?

Anything that comes out of a fashion show. When I see some of the outfits that people parade in front of so-called fashionistas I inwardly cringe. Take a look at some of these:




12. What’s the weirdest dream you’ve ever had

I have weird dreams every night – specially if I have eaten cheese the night before. They are usually epic in nature, involving an elaborate storyline with the weirdness of my imagination running amok.

Talking of dreams, I love this line from Stan Laurel:

And that has happened to me too. 

13. What are 2 weaknesses you have.

I procrastinate though I am trying to combat this. Beer and cheese are also weaknesses – though not together – that would just be weird.

14. How would you spend your 100th birthday?

In the UK when we reach 100 years old, we receive a telegram from the Queen. By the time I am 100 years old, she will no longer be on the throne. If she is, then that would be incredible because she would be 136 years old. 

I want to receive my telegram from the reigning monarch and then get myself on the news and ask that monarch what he or she will send me on my 200th birthday.

I plan to live forever.

15. What food/drinks would you pack in a picnic basket?

Dips: Sabra humous, cheese and chive, guacamole, mild salsa

Dippers: Dorito plain corn chips

Green olives from Spain

Ham and cheese sandwiches with tomato and mayonnaise

Cheesecake

A bottle of Rioja and a bottle of Savignon Blanc