Wednesday, 10 December 2008

Adieu, adieu, to yeu and yeu and yeu

Welcome, welcome one and all! We come together today to celebrate a great pillar of our community and to mourn their passing from my life. Never sought yet never failing to provide succour, never critical yet always a bastion of integrity, my life has been changed forever and for that I will always be grateful.

So please, take a seat. Sit back; relax. And enjoy the Big Guardian Newspaper Love-In.

Like all the best lovers, the Guardian didn’t force herself upon me but slipped into my life unnoticed (NB a contextual clarification from the author: while no female has ever managed to slip him anything unnoticed – that being gross and very yucky – the author feels that the personification of the Guardian lends itself to an intellectually ruthless and emotionally detached 40-something woman, who secretly wears a tie-dyed bra and likes to give big hugs when no one is watching). Our liaison started when a work colleague informed me that free copies of that day’s paper were available from the Guardian office foyer and – being a consummate tightarse – I couldn’t resist.

Before I realised it the Guardian had become part of my daily routine. Where once I would hiss and spit at my flatmates over breakfast, I now avoided the need for human interaction by reading yesterday’s edition. At the office I would put the coffee on before nipping out to get that day’s copy, a snatched moment of indulgence before the day began. And at lunch I would pore over the crossword with my workmate in the park, always desperate to finish it in a shorter time than That Smart Bitch H. I never did by the way. I swear she has the OED chipped into her head (as in ‘microchipped’, not a bit taken out with the OED shoved into the bloody pulp of a hole, which would be more personally satisfying).

Then there were the perks of living next to a building full of warm-and-fuzzies. Some mornings I’d chat to the lady with the baby seat who chained her bike outside our office, and her friendliness made me feel like London wasn’t such a seventh circle shithole of bubbling putrescence. When my boss refused to pay for paper recycling collection I first had a little cry for the Amazon, then asked the nice security guard at the Guardian if I could lob my paper into their bins. “Of course mate! Be my guest.” And whenever they’d run out of that day’s edition and I attempted to pay for a copy, the front desk personnel would wink and tell me to run along and spend my 80p on sugarpuffs and bonbons. Sigh. Save me 80p and I will love you till the end of days.

Of course, the primary reason I revelled in the Guardian’s proximity was because of all the Hot Homo Tottie it attracted. Better still, it was Hot Tertiary-Educated Disarmingly-Witty Spandex-Pants-On-The-Outside- Planet-Saving Homo Tottie. In the quiet hours of the day between plastic flow analyses I would sit back and daydream of chance meetings… collisions between single-speed bikes that would end in romantically entangled limbs… the amusing shenanigans of muddled gluten-free salad orders at the organic deli… the rush of wind at the recycling point that whips a pile of shredded documents into the air before it comes to rest on laughing eyelashes and tousled hair. All it lacked was a pottery wheel and an 80s soundtrack.

Sadly, all this must now come to an end. The Guardian is moving its offices to a swish new building near Kings Cross and I shall lose a) my free paper, b) my daily perve, and c) well, ummm, my free paper. I can’t blame them. Their current building is a converted carpark, and while I’m sure the convenience of note-changing machines on every level and the ability to urinate in office corners is not to be underestimated, working within those dotted white lines must eventually get you down.

Worst of all, I have only recently succeeded in infiltrating the Guardian’s wool-knit ranks with my cunning spy, Mrs H. She is moonlighting as a freelance writer for their online service, when in reality she is assembling a secret dossier on its male employees. I have charged her with the task of ranking them according to their:

1. Attractiveness, using my patented 383-step diagnosis.
2. Liquidity, using a traditional hacking-into-the-HR-database technique.
3. Moral fibre, using a small African orphan.
4. Degree of homosexuality, using her own oops-a-piece-of-my-lunch- has-fallen-into-my-cleavage trick.

Mrs H’s early reports were most promising. Apparently even some of the sports writers like batting for the other team, putting a few balls in the back of the net, rowing up the Thames on Tuesday or shooting hoops from the 3-point mark. A sports writer who likes to touchdown inside the baseline is something of a gay Mecca, but the move to Kings Cross has put paid to all these dreams.

So I shall put away my Arsenal T-shirt with matching pinafore, dig 80p out from my piggy bank and face 2009 with a brave smile. I have loved the Guardian, and for those brief two years that I worked in the stinking alley beside her, I think she loved me too. Adieu! Adieu!

And when the wind blows through your shining new offices, and you turn and cock your head to catch the lingering perfume of piss, then think of me, alone, in Farringdon.

Saturday, 15 November 2008

The Emotionally Illuminating But Ultimately Dissatisfying Tale of One Sore Foot

Today I feel like a bit of a dick. A dick with a sore foot, in fact (if that is anthropologically possible). I find that rattling around inside the shrunken, flaccid cartilage of my soul are the rather unpleasant emotions of a bruised pride, an undirected disappointment and something that might be self-criticism. Or maybe that last one is just indigestion... it's a new one to me.

Now, I am vaguely aware that most people relieve their feelings of dickdom through self-flagellating introspection or – worse – conversations with other humans. Pah! Fools. The clever man leaves his hairshirt in the dirty laundry and splashes his self-loathing in glorious CMYK 72pdi technicolour all over the internet. Cheaper, and there’s none of that annoying feedback.

So let me begin by introducing the characters in my saga. First and foremost; me! Et voila! I will be played by a dashing fellow with the body of Daniel Craig, the brains of da Vinci and – with a nod to my many Christian fundamentalist fans – the Faith of Our Brother Jesus. Mind you, I’ve been thinking about this and Our Brother Jesus probably didn’t need to have much Faith, seeing as the fellow who decided if He got into the Big Pink Palace in the Sky was in fact Himself. Or at least, one Trinital third of Himself. Probably the third with his appendix and gall bladder, seeing as they are so much more mysterious than the other organs.

But I digress.

We have two other protagonists in this narrative, who for legal purposes we will henceforth refer to as Identity Protected Obsession 1 (IPO1) and Identity Protected Obsession 2 (IPO2). IPO1 will be played by a Spanish pirate working undercover for the court of Isabella and Ferdinand V, while IPO2 will be played by a space alien extra escaped from the set of Doctor Who.

I have known IPO1 for many years, ever since we worked together at university making confectionery for the unappreciative masses. We lost touch when I moved to the UK and didn’t reconnect until last year when he came to London... and came out. In hindsight it should have been obvious; his penchant for fitted boots, eleventh-hour rescues and parrots that squawked “Oh darling you are too much!” were all put down to the strain of living for years amongst toughened men upon the high seas. Who’d have guessed that in reality he just fancied a bit of seaman on the side (oh come on; I bet you couldn’t have resisted that gag either).

Once I realised that IPO1 was a homo I was faced with the terrible decision of whether or not to stick my tongue down his throat. Given that said tongue was attached to Daniel Craig, powered by a Renaissance brain and guided by 2000 years of patriarchal myopia from the Catholic Church I felt sure its incursion would be welcome. However I was still plagued with doubts. Would I ruin a friendship? Did I truly feel that way about him? And could I keep a straight face if asked to walk his plank?

It will come as no surprise to my readership that I managed to maintain this level of indecision for almost a year. Every time I met IPO1 I would experience a resurgence of tongue-to-tonsil intent, only to have my resolve chipped away at by over-analysis inbetween. As per usual, Superego was shitting on poor old Id.

Then – completely out of the blue – IPO2 landed his Warp 9 Hyperspace UFO in the middle of a pub in Shoreditch, emerging into our gathering amid a blaze of dry ice and cheap laser effects. With his faux antimatter pistol swinging provocatively from his hips he swung into a chair at the end of the table, ordered a pint of Galactic-strength Zooton juice and smiled as only a man wearing aluminium foil underpants can. I was smitten.

While other conversations came and went we whiled away the evening discussing his travels to the moons of Jupiter, civil unrest in the planetary systems of Cassiopeia and the impossibility of buying real estate in London. I found myself gazing fondly into IPO2’s three lidless eyes, breathing deeply of the ammonia gas that rose from his skin and thinking how wonderful it was to meet a normal, non-fuckwit homo in England.

Sadly it seems IPO2 didn’t feel the same way. As we stood at the pimped-up, blue LED ramp of his UFO he opted for a traditional handshake over a Klingon mindmeld, and my confidence evaporated faster than sodium metal in atmosphere. I attempted communication over the coming months but eventually had to admit that this spaceman was not interested in Earth lovin’.

It was a galvanising experience. I resolved then and there to stop being such a fucking limp-wristed, yellow-bellied, procrastinating fly larvae of a man and settle things with IPO1 once and for all! The consequences be damned. Hoorah!

My first opportunity was at a farewell drinks held for a friend a few weeks later. As luck would have it I arrived to find a seat available next to IPO1 so I bought him a pint of rum, suggestively brushed his cutlass off my seat, and proceeded to regale him with stories of my nautical derring-do.

I was halfway through a winner about falling into a stagnant lock when a flash of green fluorescence indicated that IPO2 had landed. Egads! I thought. Here’s an unpredictable narrative twist! IPO2 hovered over and slipped into the chair on my other side, thereby causing a characteristic HW mental meltdown. I managed to stumble through to the dramatic end of my nautical narrative (it’s a good one; I narrowly avoid a fatal crushing in the wake of a slow-moving, Martha Stewart-inspired wedding cake of a canal barge) before scuttling away to the bathroom to consider my position.

What I decided to do is of no import. Upon my return I found that IPO1 and IPO2 had shuffled around to be seated beside each other and were now deep in conversation. Yes, in my stupidity I had forgotten the first rule of Homo Loco; the time taken for two gays to get in each other’s pants is inversely proportional to the square of the distance between them when they are first released from their cages. In disbelieving horror I watched from the other side of the table as the pirate stroked the alien’s antennae and the spaceman fingered the Spaniard’s moustache.

And worse was yet to come. Snow had begun to fall outside, and it was into this “Bridget Jones’ Diary” inspired finale that IPO1 decided to leave. As he slipped out through the revolving doors IPO2 dashed after him, returning ten minutes later for his coat. A romantic tryst in the gentle snow of a London winter? Why why why hadn’t HW thought of that? Too incapacitated by thought, as per usual.

As I walked home I considered how my inaction and vanity had ruined me once again; truly, the best laid plans of mice and men had been eaten by the rodents and used as bog-roll by the men. To vent a little I gave a passing lamppost a good kick and – pleased a little by my own masculine emotional impotence – hurried home to nurse my foot and my pride.

Sunday, 19 October 2008

In memento memoriam

My dear, dear readership.

Read on with trembling lips and a moistened eye, for your loving narrator could so easily be no longer of this world. Life is such a wondrous gift that it is simple to forget that slack-jawed Death lurks around every corner, waiting for us to plug in the toaster's frayed electrical cord or confuse the brake pedal with the accelerator. This week I survived, but I shudder to think how close I came to the Reaper's scythe.

It all started innocently enough. Our rental accommodation has had a few idiosyncracies in the past; the Leaking Bath, the Smell Of Rotting Flesh Under The Doormat and the Boiler That Spews Forth Noxious Gases While You Sleep. I never notice these things until The Sister delicately points them out to me, at which point testosterone roars through my bloodstream, I don a rough flannel shirt and wield an unidentified power-tool into battle. Or she calls the insurance company. Whatever.

So it was with the Buckling Tiles In The Bathroom and the associated Alarmingly Bubbled Wallpaper in the kitchen below. The cursory glance of my professional eye established that there was water leaking through the wall cavity, probably from the overflow pipe above the boiler. I twirled my moustache. The Sister was impressed. This was one I could handle on my own.

Step one was to get into the roof via the trapdoor in the hallway. The first time I ever did this – balanced atop a bucket on a stool upon a chair – it was, well, a bit embarrassing. There was a fair bit of floundering, some ungainly waggling of the legs and a general exposure of inadequacies in the bicep department. Since then I have gym-bunnied up and so swung into the roof with the graceful elegance of a greased-up leopard. It was so hot I wished I’d invited people round to watch.

Disappointingly once in the roof it became apparent that there was a brick wall between me and the suspected Origin Of Leakage. I of course knew that this was going to happen, but like all good investigative handymen thought it best to eliminate all possibilities. There was definitely no water in this completely unassociated part of the ceiling cavity. Excellent. Right. Next.

It turned out that we had a second roof access point, this one in the boiler cupboard in the bathroom. Yes, that’s right – the cupboard that is large enough to hold a centralised heating unit and approximately 2.5 gerbils, as long as once of them only eats ever second day and they all breath shallowly. Yes, the same cupboard I had to climb inside with my clutch of Small Space Phobias before slipping through a hatch originally designed for an employee recreation space in Charlie’s Chocolate Factory.

Still, nothing is beyond a hardened DIYer such as myself, so with a bit of contortion I bent myself into the ceiling cavity. Inside this section the roof angled down sharply, creating a cosy triangular space that necessitated crawling. Crawling quickly became wriggling became dragging-my-dead-carcass-forward as I approached the suspected leak zone and the space narrowed. After such an ordeal it was therefore with some disappointment that I arrived at the spot above the Buckling Tiles, shone my torch around and found no evidence of damage, water or otherwise.

What my torch did land upon, however, was a protuberance lurking in the shadows behind an old chimney. In the unwavering light it appeared a sickly grey-yellow colour, measured a foot in height and width, with an oddly contoured convex surface. It appeared to have oozed onto to the brickwork and had a curiously organic appearance. It was also next to my head.

Now, it is a little known fact that most gay men are also secretly sci-fi geeks; we just hide it well beneath a veneer of glamour and camp tunes. Think The Rocky Horror Picture Show, Russel T Davies’ new Doctor Who and those slimming lycra outfits in Star Trek. Yours truly is no stranger to sci-fi geekdom, so upon confrontation with the Thing In The Roof my subconscious chose this selection of tidbits for my viewing pleasure:





The bit in Alien where the beslimed pod splits open and the juvenile spawn attaches itself to the unfortunate’s face, inserting a proboscis down his throat to implant a parasitic embryo.


Down my throat.

Laying eggs.

Egg sack.

The bit in Arachnophobia where the unfortunate comes upon a huge, webbed egg sack in the roof of his barn that splits open and thousands of baby spiders spill out.

Splitting eggs.

Thousands of spiders running over my face.

Thousands of spiders crawling into my mouth.

Spiders all over my body in a confined space where I can’t move to brush them off.
Spiders biting my flesh in a confined space with a parasitic spawn sucking my face where I can’t get out.

Can’t get out.

Get out.

Get. Out.


I’d like to say that my exit from the ceiling cavity was calm and dignified, that there was no backwards slithering or wimpering. I’d also like to be able to say that when the rational part of my brain stated “I’m sure it’s just some kind of expandable polyfiller – you should poke it to find out” I didn’t laugh scornfully. There’s a lot of things I wish I could say. Sometimes we stare Death in the face and simply find ourselves lacking.

So I have decided that the Buckling Tiles In The Bathroom and the Alarmingly Bubbled Wallpaper are, after all, a job for the insurance company. They can send a disposable employee around to investigate the problem while I sit patiently beside the entrance to the roof, quietly waiting with a Lemsip and a blowtorch.

Sunday, 31 August 2008

On the street where I live

I like the street where I live. It’s a little piece of East London that survived the bombings of WWII, a row of honest brick terraces squeezed between council blocks and tenement housing. I love its authenticity. If you squint you can imagine Jack the Ripper disembowelling a prostitute next to the chippy, or perhaps Dick Van Dyke skipping along the rooftops with a penguin in tow. Or, best of all, Jack cutting off Dick’s head while Mary P and the children sigh with relief.

Our neighbours seemed to have survived from the same era too. Eighty-plus Julia lives next door and we share a low garden wall; she calls me “sweet’eart” and visits her brother in the next street. Jimmy and Joyce are on the other side so I talk to them about the garden, and their daughter Charmaine lives two doors down. Jimmy likes to pop across the street to have a chat with Bill most evenings, a boisterous fellow who shares a house with his wife and seventeen bikes. He repairs them and sells them on again. In fact, the people are so wonderful it sometimes feels too good to be true, like I’ve fallen asleep and woken up in 1952.

I was intrigued to see what would happen, therefore, when a clean cut gay couple moved into the house opposite ours. I first noticed them when – with my usual sense of foreboding – I pulled back the morning curtains to see what stinking turd of a day the English climate had dumped on us this time. Much to my simultaneous delight it was not only sunny but there was what can only be described as Quite The Hottie emerging from number 21.

Further surveillance from my bedroom window over the coming weeks established there were, in fact, two Hotties in residence. Well, one certifiable Hottie and one Fat-Or-Fit?; I would need to invest in a pair of binoculars to confirm the latter. They cycled to work separately - leaving at 0813 and 0840 respectively – had a penchant for Thai home delivery on Tuesdays and were fastidious about separating their recyclables from their household waste. All very interesting but it didn’t give me the information I needed; i.e. how to engender a casual, spontaneous meeting.

A chance reading of texts on the psychology of the criminal mind soon gave me the answer I needed; the hunted needed to become to hunter. The gazelle needed to run to the leopard. The mole to burrow to the garden fork. And the rabbit needed to pop by at the fox’s place, possibly for an afternoon carrot soup with celery scones on a Laura Ashley platter.

Well, obviously, nothing could be simpler. Gay men are like bloodhounds. We can sniff each other out at 60 feet across a gyrating dancefloor, drawn by the top note smell of crisp, ironed underpants blending with tones of hair wax and dirty thoughts. If I’d noticed the boys in No. 21 then it was certain that they’d noticed me.

I suddenly became very absent-minded. I’d come back from the gym, turn on the bedside light and change without drawing the curtains. Or I would realise my heinous error just as I reached my underpants, requiring me to stretch semi-nude for the curtains and causing everything to flex in an alarmingly attractive manner. On my worst days I would even be so silly as to drop my towel en route from the shower, flashing a sculpted buttock before it was whisked decorously from view.

Amazingly, my plan bore no fruits. I thus had to conclude that either 1) I’m not attractive enough to cause complete strangers to abandon the norms of social behaviour and break down my front door in a mad haze of passion, or 2) my neighbours are both afflicted with a terrible vision impairment. So sad, how disability can affect those so young.

Then, amazingly, salvation came uncalled for. I pulled back my curtains one morning to see the postman knocking on the door of No. 21, a brown box tucked under one arm. When he couldn’t raise anyone he rang the doorbells of numbers 19 and 23 but without success. It wasn’t until he began to write out a “we called but you weren’t in” note that I recognised my chance. I pulled on some trousers and a shirt and burst through the front door in the nick of time.

HW: [casually sauntering across the road] “I say, hello there. Are you trying to deliver that to number 21?”

Postman: “Yep, they’re not in. Just left ‘em a note.”

HW: “Oh, don’t worry about that my man. I can take it for you. Quite the little community we have here, always helping each other out, doing our bit wot. I take post for these chaps all the time.”

Postman: “Oh, ta. But I’ve left ‘em a note, about it being at the depot ‘n all.”

HW: [breezily] “Never mind, can’t be helped. I’ll leave them another explaining this silly misunderstanding. Just give me the…gnghh…package…let…it..go. Hrrrmph…there’s…a…good man.” [HW wrests the box free]. “Right, be off with you then. Toodle pip.”

I scurried back to my lair with the Precious intact, and scribbled a quick note laced with the faintest whiff of innuendo.

Dear lads at number 21,
The postman tried to deliver a large package to you this morning but you weren’t in to receive it. Drop by when you get a chance and I can deliver it to you instead.
Yours, HW, from number 20.

I pushed it through their postbox and then rushed off to work. Arriving home that afternoon in a lather of excitement I found that disaster had struck; the Precious was gone. It wasn’t in the living room, or the kitchen, or tucked away under the stairs. It seems the Hottie had knocked and The Sister had failed to pretend to not be home, but had instead blithely handed over his parcel without eliciting so much as a polaroid in return. Unbelievable. You’ll notice she is not nearly as community-spirited as me but thinks only of herself.

There is, however, a happy ending. Three more parcels turned up for number 11 and the clever postman handed them all over to me. Thus I did eventually get to meet The Hottie and his Annoying American Whiner Boyfriend, who is definitely punching above his weight and should check his bike brakes more carefully. Urban tragedy can strike when you least expect it.

I am also now officially The Guy Who Takes Parcels For His Street, which has allowed me to meet Henry and his delightful girlfriend Sally, Mitchell and his dogs, and Fiona and her purple rinse. It’s lovely, and so are they. Every time I hand over an oversized parcel, and they realise that someone has taken their goods and not tried to resell them on ebay, I get a little glow of contentment. Life is fine here on the street where I live.

Thursday, 14 August 2008

Life In The Shadows [sniff]

Hi kids, I’m back. I’d like to say I’ve been too busy to write because Mr Right and I have been gallivanting around Italy together, holding hands as the sun sets over the Mediterranean and picking olive rind from each other’s teeth. Or perhaps we’ve been in France, where Mr Right played his lute to me on the steps of the Musee d’Orsay and I sang of autumn sun on the Riviera. Or at the very least I could tell you I’ve been getting some.

Sadly, none of these things are true. Instead, I’ve been pouring all the energy I normally devote to the pursuit of random strangers into “Bettering My Career.” I know, I know; how desperately dull. Do not fear however; I have not strayed far from the dark path. Indeed, my ambition would be better described as “Bettering My Career With The Long-Term Aim Of Saving The Planet Making Shitloads Of Money And Thereby Ensnaring A Higher Grade Of Husband.” Everyone loves a stinking-rich altruist.

For those of you who express surprise that I aspire to be more than a drunken narcissist who lives for the next public toilet touch-up I say "I had no choice." I am surrounded by over-achievers, workaholics and manic-obsessives. And not the nice turn-the-lights-on-and-off-16-times-before-entering-a-room type either. No, I’ve got the ones that make you feel desperately inferior.

The problem started in childhood with The Sister. Hampered by a severe hearing disability from age three, she could have chosen the path of dribbling incontinence, rocking in the corner and talking like “Dark Side Of The Moon” played backwards. Once she’d been tarred with the Disability Stick she could’ve sat back in a pool of her own saliva and waited for life to roll on by, and no one would have judged her for it.

But no. Instead she rises above it all, learns to speak perfectly, gets three degrees, has her first book published by Penguin and by the end of the year will be Dr Sister. She even dresses better than me. What a bitch.

Then there’s The Best Friend. I’m not so clear on the exact details, but from what I recall she was born into a troupe of travelling gypsies who fed her brandy from a goat’s horn and lamed her to make it easier to beg for money. Or was it badgers who raised her? Whatever. She was definitely born in a caravan. On the linoleum table in the kitchen-cum-bedroom-cum-garage.

Yet despite this she has clawed her way from working class vulgarity to aspirational Lady of Bath. Give this woman and inch and she’ll steal your whole fucking ruler. Starting as a humble secretary she worked her way up through a series of marketing positions, was paid to retrain, moved into a completely unrelated field and is now making more in her quarterly bonus than I do in a year. She lives in a Georgian manor and when she speaks it’s like soft rain falling on Norwegian pine trees. No more badger grunting for this one. No siree.

But there’s more. My friend The PopStar recently arrived in London from Australia, having decided that he wants to play with the big boys in the UK. He already has 2 CDs under his belt, sings/dances/choreographs/composes everything himself and found an agent within the first week of landing. Just looking at him you know he’s going to make it. He reeks of determination and oozes success like I ooze the faint smell of old bananas. Bastard.

By far the worst, however, is James vacuum-cleaner-magnate Dyson. For us product designers he is a bit of a god, having proven that by putting design, innovation and engineering at the heart of a product - and sticking to your guns - you can effect incredible change (for more details see my other blog: “Embarrassing Gushings Of A Design Slut”).

I used to work for Mr Dyson, and at a party recently found myself standing next to him at the bar. I’d been studiously sober all night, thereby ensuring my inner dance demon wasn’t able to programme “Flail ‘n Rail” into my discometer and embarrass me in front of my idol. I reasoned that if I did cross paths with Mr Dyson I wanted to be prepared. I would open my mouth and out would flow such eloquence that he would not only become aware of the depth of my admiration, but simultaneously be touched by my deep intelligence and perception.

Sadly I had judged the risk of meeting him passed and was knee deep in free vodka tonics when he struck up a conversation.

JD: “Hello HW, good to see you again.”

HW: “Scchh, Dysun, yrrr fantashic. Yrrr jst… jst ‘mazing you are.” Oh. Shit. HW, what have you done?

JD [stepping slightly sideways to avoid the risk of physical contact]: “Umm, yes. Thank you.”

HW: “Ssslike, vacuums ‘n stuff. Y’know. Sss ‘mazing.” Fuck. Look at him. He’s terrified of you. Quick, get out of here before you do any more damage.

JD [reaching wildy for a distraction]: “Ah, HW, I don’t believe you’ve met my wife. Let me introduce you.”

HW: Oh, bloody brilliant. “Plesssure. Heard shumuch ‘boutcha. Plesssure.”

Oh god. Get. Us. Out. Of. Here. No, don’t touch her! Oh mercy, is there no end to the carnage?

HW: “Right, mush dash. Shum dancin’sin orderrr. Yep, I feel like dancin’. Ta ta.”

And with that I slipped away into the darkness of the dancefloor and gave them my best electrified monkey routine.

Which brings us full circle. Thus is the spirit of drunken revelry cast out and I am reborn full of the passionate desire to Design Great Things! I will reshape the world through graft and personal sacrifice, and in my twilight years the drunks will fawn on ME for my brilliance. Perfect. All the better to give their bums a quick pinch.

Sunday, 1 June 2008

HW vs Fate: Part 2

This narrative is a continuation of the last entry. To read it first, please click here.

Act 2: Scene One.
The curtain rises on a gilded hall in Mount Olympus. Several characters are clustered around a stone basin, peering into its depths. A fat man sits in the corner watching television, while an old bearded man dozes in the corner.

Enter Fate in lace gloves, layered black lingerie and lurid makeup.

Fate: “Ahhh, dahlinks, how are you? You missed Fatey-poo, no? Hmmm?”

All grunt noncommittally.

Fate: “Come, I see not vhy you need be so horrid. You like new outfit? Hmmm? Vat you think? Is not too hip and trendy, no?”

All continue to look into the stone basin.

Fate: “Vell, somezink is clear importantly comparing to poor Fatey-poo. Come, move your sack-of-bones butt Aphrodite. Vat you look at?”

Aphrodite: “Oh Fate, isn’t it wonderful?! We are watching the transcending power of Love as it draws two lost souls together into eternal bliss. Look, here on one hand we have the jaded and obsessive-compulsive HW, and on the other The Wonderhorse! See, already a silken cord of silvery light has formed between them and draws them to each other…”

Fate: “Pah! Is no silken cord, big-boobs-no-brain! Is London smog! You Greeks know nuthink! Is always swans bonking ze nymphs or getting up ze duff because god-as-golden-light come in prison window. Pah! Golden shower more like; you all bumsters and munchers I see you. Love? Pah! You lot see Love in monkey shit if hard look.”

Aphrodite: “But Destiny said it was foretold that this was the path for these two disenchanted souls.”

Fate: “Destiny schmestiny. Look him sleep there in corner, head on chest, snore like lazy pig. Back home ve leave in snow to die vhen get old like zis one. Eat eat eat and sleep. No use to anyvun.”

Aphrodite: “But if Destiny says…”

Fate (imitating Aphrodite in a singsong voice): “But if Destiny says… Pah! Vat he know about entertainment? Vis him is all Cary Grant and ze Kerr-witch; smoochy smoochy and oh! ve are kissink in ze rain and we loooove forever. Zis entertainment for dribbling fossils, not for MTV generation! Ve vant humpy humpy, tricksy vomen, bad men in ze Ferrari and Madonna! Zis not entertainment [indicates the stone basin]; zis laboskamy for already idiots.”

Aphrodite: “But Fate, what are you saying? We can’t intervene if Destiny has approved this life path. You of all people should know that.”

Fate: “Pah! You bleach ze brain with ze hair, Aphrodummy. Zere is goink on more here zan meets ze eye.” [Fate turns and addresses the fat man watching television]. “Karma! Oi! Fatty tub-tub! Be leviterating ze fat ass over here now! I vant be talkink to you.”

Karma: “Aw, c’mon Fate, Match Of The Day is about to start. Leave off will ya?”

Fate: “I vill NOT be ‘leavink it off’, like you cannot be leavink off ze pork scratchings and ze Asda specials, Mista Big-Belly Boombah. I need be checkink ze Karma Kredits, so be movink ze twin ass planetoids here now!”

[Karma reluctantly levitates – and with some difficulty – over to Fate].

Fate: “So. My old comrade HW. Vat his credit in ze Karma Bank, hmmm? Good, no?”

Karma: [sighs] “Well, to put it bluntly Fate, HW’s been a bit of a shit lately. He dicked around these two blokes a few days back – was a rude fucker to one, ripped into the self-confidence of the other – so he’s been drawing on his reserves heavily lately. Also deposits have dropped off since he moved to London. In fact, let me just check… [Karma pulls a dog-eared notebook from his robes]… Yep, his account’s in the red for once. It hasn’t been this bad since the 1986 fishtank-theft incident, and back then he had a Childhood Morality Dispensation Certificate. No such luck this time; he’s just being a rude fucker.”

Fate: “In ze red! Interestink. So, vat are you sayink Karma? Do ve be needink a talky talky to Mr C? He vould velcome giving HW a helpink hand.”

Karma: “Shit Fate, I dunno. I mean, Match Of The Day is starting; I’ll miss the highlights. Can’t we talk about this later?”

Fate: “No dahlink, I cannot be waitink until you reincarnate; I am needink ze answer now. Yes, or no?”

Karma: “Fuck. I mean, um, yes, I guess. I mean, it’s not clear…”

Fate: “Ah ha ha! Whoop-ze-dee! Danka Karma, you can be goink now.” [She turns to the wings]. “Chance! Mr C! I am be needink you. Chance!”

[A shadowy figure in a white and black cowl glides onstage. He speaks in a voice that resonates in the bones and dark places of the mind].

Chance: “Who dares call upon the ancient twin powers of Instability and Irrationality? Who claims to master the Realms of Chaos, to plunge into the depths of…”

Fate: “Ya ya Chance, be good to be seeink you too. Could ve skip the intro, no? Ve are beink in teeny hurry today. Good, good. Still runnink ze bingo game on Saturday? Good good. OK, down to business we go.” [Chance hovers over to where Fate is standing beside the stone basin].

Chance: “Be silent Fate. Your noise is as the bickering of harpies over the diseased souls of men. You seek to lecture me, foolish woman, when I already see the paths of infinite possibility stretching our before us. I know why you called me out of the darkness; we roll. We roll for HW… and for The Wonderhorse.”

Fate: “Ya dahlink. Roll ze dice for me. Ve don’t all be havink time to sit in ze darkness, being ze little bit creepy. Roll ze dice for Fatey-poo.”

[Chance indicates two die in his hand, closes his fist around them, a rolls in an extravagant gesture. Fate eagerly stares at the settling dice while Chance stares into the middle distance].

Fate: “A nine! Six and three! Is zat good or bad?! Chance? Chance! Stop vis the Uri Geller channel and be payink attently. A nine! Vat does it mean?”

Chance: “Nine. The Black Crow. It means… Pestilence.”

Fate: “Ha ha ha! Be eatink ze shit and dyink HW! Pestilence for you big boy! Whoopee!”


To pick up the narrative where I left off, the Wonderhorse has agreed to have dinner with me the following Tuesday. I am, to say the least, a little excited. I have booked a very cool restaurant in a converted East London warehouse, had my hair cut, and changed my underwear twice. It is 9:14am. Only 9286 minutes to go.

On Thursday night the weather turns cool yet I sleep with the window open as per usual, only to wake up with a sore throat. I have always been a delicate flower, so this is nothing to be alarmed about. Cycling home on Friday I get caught in the rain (yes, I am a Jane Austen heroine), and by Saturday morning I’m coughing up oysters of phlegm. I resolve to spend the weekend sleeping and nibbling delicately at toast but to no avail; by Monday I can’t even get out of bed.

On Tuesday morning I ring The Best Friend in desperation. She advises me to stop moaning, take 6 Nyquil, a few vodka tonics and be the life of the party. The counter argument is that I can’t laugh without sounding like I’m going to cough up a seafood platter, so I ring up The Wonderhorse and cancel. He is most considerate and agrees to reconvene at the same time and place next week.

I can’t believe my bad luck. I have quite literally not been sick since 1996. What. Are. The. Chances?

Act 2: Scene Two.
The same gilded hall in Mount Olympus. As the curtain rises Fate raises her head from the stone basin. Karma is slumped in front of the television. Chance has disappeared.

Fate: “Vat iz zis!? Vat goink on?! Karma, you fatty rump of pig-maggot belly, “in ze red” you say. “Karma credits are kaput” you be claimink. Yet HW still datink the love-bunny Wonderhorse. How iz zis happenink?”

Karma (without looking up from the TV): “You’re talking to the wrong geeza honey. HW’s low on karma alright, but Chance is far from reliable in these situations. Maybe you should’ve asked one of the lesser gods for help.”

Fate: “Hmmm, maybe you have finger on ze nail’s head for once. Chance no good. So who should I be askink? Lady Luck? Ugh, zat snotty bitch up ze ass so far she is like Greek fudge packer working in navvy submarine. I could be askink Chaos for help? Ugh, ze filthy freak may be touchink me, and ze smell is like grandpapa’s undies zat ve found in ze birthing pen. I guess zere is Ironee, but…”

A sudden rush of wind causes Fate’s hair and clothes to whip around wildly and disturbs books, magazines etc in the hall. When it settles a muscular man in a gold suit and red cape is standing proudly beside her.

Irony: “Ah ha! It is I; Irony! Ready to dispense rain on your wedding day and good advise. Please, don’t take it! Already late? Well, this green light won’t be much use to you but have it anyway! I say, are you feeling the pinch of this mortal coil? Well then take this winning lottery ticket that you can never hope to cash in!”

Fate: “Ummm…”

Irony: “So was it you who called missy? What unique service can I perform for you? Are you holding a soup-drinking competition for ten thousand people? Sounds like you need a lot of spoons. Oh no, all I have is a knife! Or how about…”

Karma: [without looking up from the television] "None of those things are ironic, dickhead. God I hate Canadians."

Fate: “Oi! Be shutink ze gabbing hole, Karma. Now Ironee, dahlink, stop wavink ze gilded meat and two vege in Fatey-poo’s face and be listenink. I am needink a teensy bit of help with ze problem called HW. At ze moment is life all Beverley Hills 90210; I need you to give Fatey-poo a bit more Melrose Place. Okey dokey? Karma has given ze big thumb up, so be not holdink back, okay?”

Irony: “Righty ho! Off to drop a black fly in HW’s chardonnay! Or slip in a ‘no smoking’ sign into his cigarette break! Ha ha! Quake in fear before my sparkling wit, mortal!”

With a flourish of his cape Irony flies out through an open window. Fate sighs and returns to gazing into the stone basin.


In the week between the Abortive Date and the Start Of Something Beautiful I recover to full health. I spend a long weekend with friends in Devon, lazing around in a caravan playing board games and getting the sea air. I use this time to mentally prepare myself for the onslaught of Total Smug Blissdom. This mostly involves practising lines like “oh Wonderhorse? He simply adores me” and “we can’t decide between Eastnor Castle and Windsor for the reception; the catering is supposed to be ghastly at both.”

Upon my return to London I find a voicemail from The Wonderhorse that is a cause for some concern. It states that he can’t meet me for dinner the following evening, and begs leave to call me later to explain. When I get a chance to speak to him he is deeply apologetic and tells of how he was introduced to a friend-of-a-friend at the weekend and although he doesn’t normally do blind dates they really hit it off and now he only has tonight free to see him before he goes to New York and he felt sure I’d understand but now he can’t really meet me and hahahaha isn’t life funny and gosh is that the time he has to go .

Oh the gut-wrenching irony of it all.

Saturday, 10 May 2008

HW vs Fate: Part 1


As a regular on this blog, Fate has always been welcome in my life and her opinions on finding Mr Right have been taken with the greatest respect. Her world experience and deep understanding of the human condition lend her wisdom beyond her years and besides, she makes a wicked vodka jelly.

However, over the course of 2008 my relationship with Fate has steadily deteriorated to the point where we are no longer on speaking terms. My counsellor has advised me to be specific about my anger, so my issues with Fate can be summarised thus:

1) She is inconsistent in her cosmic interference in my life.
2) She has the dress sense of a 1983 Eurovision transvestite version of Amy Winehouse.
3) She’s a fucking bitch, and when it comes to Romance she likes to get on top in her best faux-leather chaps and remind me who’s boss.

Well, she can fuck the fuck off. This is war.

Now, I know that the last conversation we had on the topic of Romance ended with an agreement that there was to be no Active Pursuing of Men this year. This meant an enforced ban on speed dating, internet dating, nights out alone and subconscious flirting with strangers in toilet cubicles. I stuck to my word rigorously on this, but unfortunately the lavender stain of ManHunt ’07 leeched into the early months of 2008.

It was therefore not entirely my fault that one week in March I found myself contacted by two men I had emailed last year on a dating website, and one man who was a reliable friend-of-a-friend setup. Coincidence? I think fucking not. Even single-cell primordial slime with the barest flicker of sentience, with vision impaired by a love of humanity and a comedy eye-patch could see which bitch’s gnarled claw was at play here.

Having to juggle three men at once caused me to experience something of a mental meltdown. The friend-of-a-friend (FOAF) got in first so I arranged for drinks the following week. The first online dater was an American chap who had recently changed his online profile photo to show off a bit of buff flesh, so clearly there was no way I could turn that down. Damn these weak homo genes.

Option three - the second online dater - was slow to respond, but after a bit of banter emailed me from his work address. Armed with the company name I discovered that he is the owner of a successful health food chain, is a keen musician, looks good in boardshorts and is as posh as the Queen. God bless the Internet. I emailed The Best Friend and she confirmed that yes, he was out of my league and that yes, this made a nice change (she may or may not have said this last bit, but she was definitely thinking it). In her bizarro logic she also christened him The Wonderhorse.

With The Wonderhorse established as the favourite I decided the only course of action was to cancel the other dates. An attempt to implement this plan was hampered by my being a yellow-bellied invertebrate, so I landed upon a better option; cowardly duplicity.

My cunning plan with The American was to make myself as unpleasant as possible so that there would be no risk of him wanting to date me subsequently. At dinner I steered the conversation onto the Arab-Israeli conflict, and we had a fight about American international interventionism. Then we had a fight about racism in America. And then I made him pay for dinner. It was bloody brilliant. He hated my guts.

The FOAF was more complicated as I don’t want to offend the common friend. My solution was to call him while he was in France and leave a voicemail message explaining that it’s all terribly embarrassing and I’m so very sorry but over the weekend I met an old flame I’ve always fancied from OZ and now he’s single and we hit it off and isn’t it wonderful but terrible at the same time and would you still fancy a drink ha ha despite the awkwardness ha ha yes yes right must be off bye now bye.

And that. Was. That. Brush off the hands, push open the saloon bar doors, and ride into the sunset to meet The Wonderhorse without a shred of guilt. Genius.

A sinister cackle echoes from the darkness as HW walks offstage. The curtain falls. Intermission.

Wednesday, 30 April 2008

Baguette Etiquette

Day One: Arrival

Bonjour Diaree!
Ah France! Land of le baguette, le beret and le hotties. Our group of twelve has settled in nicely at le chalet – all of The Welshman’s friends are wonderful – and we are off to le pub to get pissed. Lady Welshman is helping me with my conversational skills so I will be using “Oo-ay le ‘omo-sexual, per favore” to order the beers. Am linguistic genius.

Day Two

Dear Diaree,
A most unusual night. Sharing a room with The Welshman’s investment banker mate who snores like there’s a shaved gerbil lodged in his trachea. Not a problem for this intrepid traveller! As usual came armed with selection of earplugs and eyemasks so felt very smug. Despite this awoke in wee hours to sound of frozen kittens forced through mincer. Turned out to be The Banker grinding his teeth. The poor bastard, it must be his job stress. I consoled myself with the knowledge he can buy himself new teeth with the money he makes in the time it takes me to take a dump. And as you know I am tres efficiendo.

Up on the slopes I discovered am snowboarding god. No surprise there. Lady Welshman and I wove amongst the little people like an alpine Torvill and Dean, though she refused to buy matching sequinned jackets. Bought two for me instead.

Day Three

Oh Diaree, how you shall laugh at this one, even with your my-father-beat-me-as-a-notepad cynicism.

After our winning day of skiing we all had a celebratory tipple and played Welsh drinking games into the wee hours. A Texan accent, a working knowledge of the numbers 1-21 in eight languages and a very silly hat and you’re away! I expect you would have scoffed and asked for a cup of camomile tea Diaree, but we were all a little bit crazy! Whoopee!

The Banker went home before me, and was happily grinding away in his sleep when I got in. I passed out in my bed, only to be awoken again in the middle of the night. The snoring again? No. The grinding you ask? No. A semi-naked man crawling between the sheets with me? Yes, that’s the one. I leapt out of bed like a steel-springed jackrabbit on speed and demanded a coherent explanation for this behaviour.

Snore. Grind. Contented mumble.

Yes, pity The Banker. The poor fellow can add sleepwalking to his list of nocturnal aptitudes. He must have gone for a midnight piss and felt the subconscious pull of my deep sexual attraction drawing him to me. Completely understandable. He’s just lucky I am not one of those predatory faggoti one reads about in le paper.

Day Four

Tragedy. After three days boarding my body is rejecting the obvious truth of my sporting talents. Awoke to crippling back pain, splitting headache and nasty chin zit. Apparently are related to my technique of falling over at high speeds and landing on a) coccyx, b) head or c) le hotties.

Pah! Pah! I replied to le Bodie. Too long have I indulged your demands for nine hours sleep, wrapping you in feathered doonas and lathering your surprisingly muscular contours in Neutrogena cocktails. Today I am in charge. You hear that Bodie?! Moi is Master! Quiver in le fear!

Back in bed by 3pm. Pain like childbirth in my kidneys. Consider may be birthing internally.

Day Five

Take notes Diaree. This is why mankind has evolved to become the dominant species on the planet; we use tools to solve our problems.

Problem: backpain. Solution: corset.

At the le pharmacie I mimed my way through old-man-escapes-from-nursing-home-at-mach-0.0003-due-to-debilitating-back-pain, and the nice salesgirl directed me in English to the sports bandage section. The discrete “abdominal support device” on the shelf unwrapped to resemble a gortex sarong but my god did it support my back. With my liver and intestinal tract in my chest cavity I was not only able to brave the slopes again but I looked like The Hoff doing so. Something for tonight on the town I think.

Day Six

Dear Diaree,
What a perfect way to end a perfect week! With a few more of The Welshman’s excellent boarding lessons under my (slimmer than usual) belt, Lady Welshman and I successfully navigated a black run! There was a slight hesitation when the run “ran out”, but once we’d realised that in fact the vertical cliff was the run there was no holding us back. I love love love skiing holidays.

One last night of carousing and drinking games followed, with all parties returning to their assigned beds. I’ve always thought there is a lovely symmetry in the number three so I was pleasantly surprised by another nocturnal interruption to my sleep. This one had nothing to do with snoring, grinding or inappropriate bodily contact, and everything to do with the gentle thud of liquid on imitation oak.

Yes, The Banker had gone for another wander and – as we all do from time to time – mistaken the wardrobe for a urinal. It’s perfectly understandable. One is porcelain, is mounted at waist height and has a sanitary drainage system leading to a sewerage treatment facility. The other is wood, has a door and leads to Narnia.

In the 32 seconds it took my brain to catch up with the situation the deed was nearly done. It took another 7 seconds to establish that The Banker was, in fact, sleepwalking and not just very lazy, and another 13 to decide that it was best for all parties if he stayed that way. You hear horror stories of people being woken from sleepwalking and frankly the man was armed. So I left him to shake himself off and calmly return to bed, and did the only adult thing possible; throw his towel on the floor to soak up the mess and run away to breakfast very, very early.

Day Seven: Departure

Ah, back to home sweet home Diaree. My bed, lots of normal cereal and a long hot bath. Still, as lovely as it is to be back I miss the Welsh crew already and suspect I am suffering from holiday withdrawal symptoms; I put on a beret and stuck my head in the freezer but it’s just not the same. I will just have to be strong and stick it out until next year’s season, and maybe ask the flatmate to piss in my wardrobe occasionally to soften the blow.

Au revoir! À l'année prochaine!

Sunday, 10 February 2008

New Year, New Man

For those who have been with me since the beginning you will recall that at the start of last year I stated that 2007 was “The Year When Things Will Happen.” Well, I was right, but after a year of solid dating and man-chasing I have decided that 2008’s resolution will be to Calmly Wait And See. Here’s why.

We pick up the frayed string of this narrative after my usual Wednesday night public lavatory grope. After such an auspicious start to a relationship I had no choice buy to accept the Guardian Date’s offer of a three-course dinner on his 80-foot boat that Saturday night.

Awash with images of 80-foot Mediterranean pleasure cruisers moored in the Thames Estuary I disembark from the train at Strood. As I walk through the Morrisons carpark to the marina flashes of tanned skin and helpful smiles from the onboard staff pass through my mind. Even as I step across the mud flats onto the renovated dutch barge I continue to hope for a semi-nude Italian butler, but there is only an old cat to wait on us. And the rather lovely Date of course.

Dinner is amazing. The man sure can cook, and is full of interesting conversation to boot. Sure he’s older, but that simply means he’s very influential in his government job, can hold a rational debate and has a beautiful house. Boat. Whatever.

Dessert arrives, and more wine from his cellar. It is like eating cute little babies. As we finish he leans back in his chair, fixes me with those clear blue eyes, and embarks.

GD: “So HW, I have this friend who has a theory about gay relationships.”

HW: “Hmmm?”

GD: “He thinks they can be broken down into five categories.”

HW: “How interesting.” Let’s see; The Broken Streetlamp, The Randy Morning, The Drunken Fumble, In Stationary Traffic and The Cold Food Section. Or how about…

GD: “Yes, I thought so. He thinks they are; 1) Random Hook-up, 2) Just Dating, 3) Boyfriend and boyfriend, 4) Long-term relationship, and 5) Civil Partnership.”

HW: God, how dull. “Gosh, how interesting.” I wonder if there’s any dessert left?

GD: “Yes, I thought so. Anyways, so clearly we are not relationship type 1…”

HW: “Yeeees…” A sinking feeling accompanied by the screech of fingernails digging into the table.

GD: “And clearly stage 2 has been reached.”

HW: “Yeeeeees…” Adrenalin causes the legs to spring in anticipation and beads of sweat to prick on the lip.

GD: “I just wondered if we were at stage 3 yet?”

HW: “[NO NO GOD NO] Well, I think after knowing each other for [FOUR FUCKING DAYS] such a short period of time it would be [TOTAL INSANITY] foolish to [LOCK ME IN A CELLAR AS YOUR PLAY THING] rush it.”

GD: “Yes, you’re right. Fine.”

You see, after a year of dating so many not-quite-righters I had come to the conclusion that I give up too easily, that I am too quick to find an excuse to break up. Breaking up means not having to change or accommodate the needs of others, and I can be a little selfish at times.

So the Guardian Date was the one I chose to stick with. What’s wrong with being keen and committed, I asked myself. Isn’t that what I was looking for? Champ down on the Flight reflex and go with Fight for a change; Fight for Truth, Fight for Honesty, Fight for Love.

And some more wine. I definitely need that.

The Next Day.

As fresh-faced Dawn throws her silvery veil across Albion I am woken by the singing of birds across still waters, and feel the warm arms of a strong man holding me close. It’s hideous. I want to retch. Wait, I AM retching; heaving as my body attempts to dislodge the dehydrated llama turd that has been deposited in my mouth overnight.

In an attempt to disguise my convulsions as the pangs of love I roll over to identify the owner of the Warm Embrace. I am welcomed by a too-close-for-this-hour grin and the glazed eyes of new love.

“Morning beautiful.” Oh god, the retching again. Will it never end? And also, what a big fat liar. Beautiful? I’ve seen this face in the morning and there is nothing beautiful about the unidentified eye leakage, the blotchy skin and the KFC-family-bucket hair. Oh, and what’s that? Ah yes, we also have Pillow Drool this morning; some still wet, some crystallised on my cheek for later.

Wait, he’s saying something again… Oh fuckit, I can’t concentrate at this hour. Let him waffle on. Besides, I have bigger problems. Let’s see…

Wednesday: first date
Thursday/Friday: flirtatious texting.
Saturday: fancy dinner at his house with a side order of sex.

Fuck. I slept with him.

I. Am. A. Slut.

Up until this point I had managed to maintain a sense of dignity and proportion in all my emotionally abortive liaisons. I had rules, structures. Only Kiss On The First Date. Never Order Cumquats For Gay Dessert. Don’t Mention Growing-Up-With-My-Nine-Cousins- And-Grandparents-In-An-Isolated-Outback-Community Until Drink Has Slurred Their Speech. The Lucky Pants Are Reserved For Will Young. What happened to the man of dignity who once coined these rules?

Hang on, he’s talking at me again. In some strange language. What, it rhymes? Pillow talk in rhyme? Huh, two can play at that game. How about...

Jump out of bed and get me a coffee,
I’ll rip off your head if it doesn’t come promptly,
Bring it to me on a platter of gold,
Now scurry along and do what you’re told.

Oh! How I amuse myself. Wait! Here comes another, bubbling up from the depths...

Thy hand, it moveth towards myne groin,
It creepeth and seeketh my most sacred loins,
Desist! I resist thy insidious approach,
And express with a hiss myne deepest reproach.

Oh the hilarity! If only I could date myself, life would be so much easier. And think how hot the sex would be. Sigh. God, he’s still talking. On and on and on. Hang on, that’s not speech. He’s not talking, he’s spouting fucking love poetry! In bed the morning after date numero duo! Oh my god quick abort abort find something heavy and blunt that won’t leave a mark no no no it’s too late for that go for something sharp between the eyes like a knitting needle or a Renaissance dagger or an oversized tent peg what the fucking use is that brain an oversized tent peg you say why I happen to have one here in my pyjamas oh no what are the chances I’m naked you fucking idiot…

Stop. Breath. Breath and count to ten. Remember, you always run away. Give him a chance.


No, give him a chance. He’s just a bit keen.

I’ll remind you of that when we’re being hacked up and put through the boat’s “convenient sewerage grinder that empties straight into the Thames, permissible because we’re moored within its tidal pull.” When we’re a mixture of poo and brain protein floating paste the Thames Barrier I expect an apology.

Just breath for me.

Fine. We’ll stay for now.

Unsurprisingly it only lasts three weeks. I stick it out until after Christmas so as not to ruin his festive break at home… alone… with the cat. Not even I am that evil. But I couldn’t bear him carousing in the New Year with songs of new love and hope that springs eternal, so I dump him on the 27th.

May the Spirit of 2008 have pity on my blackened soul.