Thursday, 13 April 2017


Colleague: You're an artist, ent ya?

Me: Uh, yeah?

Colleague: I'm thinking of getting a tattoo.

Me: Ah, well, I'm not a great fan of tattoos. But I've had people ask if I can design ones for them. What have you got in mind?

Colleague: I'm thinking of having a back tattoo: The Golden Gate Bridge.

Me: Jesus Christ.

I'm thinking that to do this successfully, you've got to render, in smudgy ink on saggy middle-aged flesh, a shitload of mathematically-precise engineering detail. It will have to be enormous, in order for the detail to be clear.

I'm about to verbalise my reservations, when he says:

'-And the Statue Of Liberty.'

I say: 'Icons from two separate coasts, isn't that - ?'

'-And a quarterback from The Miami Dolphins, maybe with a ball flying out...'

'What's the underlying theme?'

'-And a helicopter, flying around the Statue Of Liberty.'

'It seems an odd mixture of imagery.'

'And a map of America, with the flag on it -'

'You must love America.'

' -And a map of Italy and Sicily.'

'Oh, I get it, is this places you've - '

'And portraits of my kids faces, up at the top.'

'I'm really not sure about the level of detail required, and if it will all fit in.'

'It's places I've been, with the wife and the kids.'

'What does she think about this?'

'She doesn't know. And I don't care.'

'Is it wise to get something this crammed with detail, when you're not even going to be able to see it?'

'I don't care.'

'I'm not sure the wife would approve, your whole back being covered-up like that.'

'I don't care. Anyway, she hates tattoos.'


So I'm lying in bed with man-flu, re-reading the miraculous tome 'Homicide: Life on the Killing Streets', the book of true-life reportage around which the TV series The Wire was based. 

Unfortunately, I hear a knock at the door. And again. 

There's a rather emphatic quality to it, that prompts me to get out of bed and go to the front bedroom window for a view of the street. 

I look down and bloody typically, I see a UNIFORMED COP. 

Like any battle-hardened denizen of Baltimore's worst housing projects, I instinctively duck out of sight. I do a quick inventory-check in my head: 

'Have I murdered anyone lately? Threatened anyone? What about those close-calls on the bicycle the other night because I was in a hurry to get some cough sweets before the corner shop closed?' 

I close the file on that and open the one labelled 'white-collar crime': 'Have I attempted to manipulate the LIBOR? Swindle the Americans by selling fictitious Triple-A rated housing bonds?'

Only when I gave myself the all-clear did I answer the door, by which time the officer is three doors down, and having no luck, as is the norm in these neighbourhoods where life is cheap and there's a cooling corpse with a dumbfounded expression laying sprawled out on a curb, at intervals of every half an hour.

I go: 'What's up, officer?'

He goes, 'Did you see anything suspicious in this street on the night of the tenth?'

I go: 'What's the date today?'

'Erm....The thirteenth.'

I do a quick calculation and conclude that my commute ended at 11pm again, and so therefore, I would have missed the incident.

'What happened?' I ask nervously. 

He looks at me gravely and says, with a completely straight face,

'Three cars were egged on this road that night.'

Monday, 2 January 2017


Me: Bloody hell, I didn't know John Cassavetes was in The Dirty Dozen.

My mom: Who?

Me: That guy there.

My mom: That isn't John Cassavetes.

Me: It is.

My mom: Is that the black chap?

Me: No. That guy on the right.

My mom: That's Ty Hardin.

Me: That is not Ty Hardin. That's John Cassavetes. I've never even heard of Ty Hardin. Wait a minute. Are we talking about the black guy or the white guy?

My mom: The white guy.

Me: It's John Cassavetes.

My mom: It's Ty Hardin.

Me: HAVE YOU EVEN HEARD OF JOHN CASSAVETES?! Woah - look who it is! That bloke on the right is the guy Al Pacino shoots in the throat in the Godfather.

My mom: Who? - Him?

Me: No. That guy. The one on the right.

My mom: Him?

Me: Yeah.

My mom: That's not him.

Me: What do you mean that's not him? Of course it's him!

My mom: It isn't.

Me: Are we even talking about the same guy? The corrupt cop?

My mom: Yeah. Winski or whatever his name is. This guy's old. He's too old to play that cop.

Me: No he isn't - the Godfather comes five years after this! I'm going to have to Wiki this just to prove a point.

My mom: Yes. Do it now.

Astonishingly, my mom was right about Winski. I'm flabbergasted by this because, whether she's watching a black-and-white film from the dawn of talkies, or a CGI-laden modern monstrosity, will always ask, 'Is that Shirley MacLean?'

No matter what era of film-making, it's 'Is that Shirley Maclean?'

No attempt at chronology or the quality of the film stock, or the fashions the characters are wearing, or if the wide-screen format dates it after the year 2000. 

'...Is that Shirley Maclean?'

Results: 1 all. I was right about Cassavetes.

The guy in this film is not Captain McClusky from The Godfather ( Sterling Hayden ). Even after cross-checking IMDB and Wikipedia, I'm still not clear on who this guy is.

'Wait a minute,' she says. 'Is that..?'

'No it fucking isn't!'

Monday, 11 April 2016


Yo. Put yas lil sis on.

Is lil sis there?

I talk to sis, lahk.

Yo. Can yoo corl me?

I spendin’ Easter wiv ma famlee.

S’wot ah sed: Ma famlee.

E's mah key worker.

De one at de Jobcentre.


Ah try ta get a appointmen'.

Mah appointmen'.

I want mah appointmen' wiv ma key worker.

E’s just wastin’ mah teym, man.

E’s just wastin’ mah teym, innit?

So. Hasim sed all she has to do is dat online bankin’ fing, innit?

I tol’ him ta let me knorr when it all goes keck, lahk.

Coz it’s easier, know wot I sayin’?

Maybe mah mom done dat. Coz ah don’t know ‘ow online bankin’ works.

It’s gonna say ‘Chantal’, innit?

Ahm on da treen.

Yo. I need da monnay now.


I tol’ dem, day put dat monnay in.

But she needs to contac’ dem, to see if da monnay when in.

Ma key worker.

No. I jus’ want him too corl me wiv a date.

I already tol’ dem.

When ‘e’s in. When ‘e’s actually in.

Das wot ahm tryin’ to say.

Ya sorted it aht nah.

Coz yoos fought ah wazzint gonna pay dat monnay, cha?

Das wot ah said n shit.

Woah, bruv.

How they gonna know?

Unless they got cameras in tha property, how they gonna know I’m there?

I wanna pay mah rent, man.

I wanna pay mah rent.

But they have’ta know I sacrificed tha rent for the par’ee.

So I pay another four’ee pahnds next week.

An’ de week after dat.

An’ when mah bro comes back to me, and says - 

‘yo tryin’ to take da piss, dude.’

When ‘e sez that, I can say -  

‘Mon, when mah bwoys come up, yah? I go dahn inna car and try a save monnay.’

Simple, yah?

Get a job, yah? Workin’, at least ya know ya gonna get ya monnay bwak, even if ah spend it, ya knorr?

Kayla’s got it in ‘er yard, innit?

So ah get mah stifficate on Wednesday, yah?

Yo, Steph. It’ll be easier when e’s at nursey.

If he’s at nursey, yoos can get a part-time job.

Steph, wah yoo listen ta peeple?

Wah yoo listen ta peeple?

You know dem African Caribbean peeple, dey strict, yah?

Dem African Caribbean peeple, dey don’t call it abuse.

Dey don’t abuse, but if yoo tark back...

Leyk, if yoo tark back to yer mom...

Dat’s why black men never tark back too yoo.


I’s in a restaurant, yah?

An’ this was a white lady, yah?

An’ she had this four-year-old, yah?

An’ this four-yeah-old sed to her mom, yah? - ‘‘Shut the fwuck up, I don’t wanna listen too yoo.’’

If that was mah kid, I’d twist its ears off, yah?

I’d teck away all its toys, lahk, yah knorr?

Yo. Steph?


I’s in de tunnel.

Fwuuuk. Dumb bitch.

Me meck ya pum-pum ‘appeh /

Me meck ya pum-pum creh /

Me meck ya pum-pum sing somm-teym /

La-la / La-la.

Yo. Steph? - Yoos there?

Ver’ black, I know.

Ver’ ghetto, man, ver’ ghetto.

Ay-ay-ay eye.

Ya don’t leyk monnay?.../

...An’ I jus’ wanna get friendly wiv ‘er /

Wanna get friendly wiv ‘er /

Ya see a big batty, where ya fine dat? /

- Can ah ‘ave a taxi, pleez?

Ahm goin’ ta Wellington Road, Handswerf.

Fank you so much.


‘Ey, big batty gyal, good evenin’ /

I c’n see dat ya chicken needs seeznin’ /

Big batty gyal, good evenin’ /

I c’n see dat ya chicken needs seeznin’.

Yo. I kwalled you, bitch.

Ey lahk yoo too.

I do. I do I do I do.

Baby, bend ovah n breck ya back /

Bring ya friend over n breck ya back /

De way she bend over n breck ‘er back /

Ah nearly fell over n broke me back.

Yo. ‘Ave you ‘erd ‘is bars, blud?

Iss not abaht guns n niggas choppin’.

Young G.

Is it choo?

That CB was at the faht, yesterdee?

Was CB's at the faht?

CB’s related to Saucer?

Was CB’s dere?

Yo. Was CB’s at de faht?

How could CB’s be at de war, if ‘e’s in jell?

Ah ‘erd ‘e was in jell.

We greynd so hard, inner London /

Buh’ widdout big batty I can't funcshun.

Yeah. ‘I’s ‘ere. No. Ah sed, I’s ‘ere. I’s comin’ inta Birmingham raht nah.

S’wot ah sed.

Where yoos parked?

Ah’m still on de treen.




Monday, 8 June 2015


I don't need to remind anyone how utterly f**king nuts the world has gone lately. And it seems to have coincided with the increase of widely available broadband and mobile internet around the world.

So, seeing as I haven't exactly been keeping this blog up-to-date due to sheer info overload, I'm going to try an experiment in writing down random thoughts that should - hopefully - coincide with what's trending at the moment.

1 ) News: 'Lesbian Couple, wrong colour baby, rent-a-womb', as discussed in The Guardian.

My response: Am intrigued by the idea of rent-a-womb. Do they have photocopiers and a view of the river?

2 ) News: 'Hidden suffering of animal tourism'. The Guardian.

My response: Put tigers in First Class.

3 ) News: The internet and how it interrupts work - 'This is the golden age of procrastination'. BBC Website.

My response: What do you expect when they put an interactive television and porn cinema into a bloody typewriter?

4 ) ...

Tuesday, 27 May 2014


With this open door immigration, I'm truly worried about Britain losing its identity.

I miss the good old days of when I grew up, and you saw NF for 'National Front' scrawled on everything. And my dear uncle, ( hugely successful businessman ) visiting Halesowen and being told by two old women outside Jackson's shop to 'bugger off back where you came from'. Oh yeah, I do miss that.

And I miss people's lovely sense of humour. Like last week, my mate attending Jobclub in Birmingham said that the guy in charge ( an old Sergeant Major ), referred to a Somali as a 'jungle-bunny' TO HIS FACE. Yes, this racist has a f**king job, and is being employed by a subcontractor to the government! This same outstanding citizen also said that when he was stationed in Northern Ireland, the army used to think nothing of breaking into shops over night, and stealing cigarettes and whatever else they fancied. NO WONDER THE IRISH WANTED TO KILL US.

Personally, I miss the good old days of AD 43. At least we could get a decent goddamn pizza then, seeing as we were being RUN BY ITALIANS.

So which Britain are we talking about?

Wednesday, 20 February 2013


The boss is sitting at his desk in the corner. He's distracted by texts from his current 'girlfriend' ( usually they're from Eastern Europe, who he's met at a bar at 2am on a Sunday morning ). He's trying to write her a romantic text.

Apparently his current amour has already taken to calling him by a nickname ( some variety of cuddly animal, which he refuses to disclose ), and his thumbs are furiously roaming his impractically small keypad in an attempt to keep up the repartee.

He turns to me: 'I need an animal.'

'What do you mean, you 'need an animal'?'

'It's for my girlfriend. I need a nickname for her.'

'That Polish girl - the one you don't even like?' I'm thinking: The one you're screwing because no-one who speaks good English would go near you?.

'Yeah, her.'

'What about 'wolverine'?'

'What's that? - Like, a walrus?'


In the office with a colleague ( Platinum blonde, tall, slim, large breasts - which she paid for from being on Deal Or No Deal ).

She goes: Are you still seeing that woman?

Me: What 'woman'?

Colleague: That Muslim woman?

Me: Yeah. ( Thinks: Here we go. )

Colleague: You're mad you are.

Me: Why?

Colleague: All the women in the world, and you go out with her. It's a right hassle.

Me: All relationships are a hassle.

Colleague: No, they're not. Mine isn't.

Me: You were crying your eyes out at work the other day, because your boyfriend left you. He said it was the 'final straw'. He left you because you have nightmares that make you thrash around at night, because you were bullied at school. You smashed him in the face while you were asleep, and he was angry enough to get dressed, ring a mate, and go and sleep somewhere else at four in the morning.

Colleague: I don't understand. What's your point?

Tuesday, 10 July 2012


Oh God.

Here I am again. 

On the train.

Doesn't anything ever happen to me while I'm not moving? I can't seem to move ten yards without some idiot trying to get my attention.

Alright mate? Where's Trinity Street?

- Never heard of it.

Alright love? Got any change?

- Sorry. I'm running for that train!

Oi, mate? You got a light?

- No. You got any vitamin C tablets?

Do you have any coins for this machine?

- Do I look like a bank?

It's been noted many times that travel writing flourishes because the writer is in a state of transition. He is neither here, nor there, and therefore, the extra-dimensional aspect lends itself to unique experiences.

Although, in my case, I have to ask, is there such a thing as 'Commuter Writing'?

I'm on the train home. I'm trying to read my book - Limitless, by Alan Glynn. It's the second time I've read it in a year, but the 'hit' ( you'll see what I mean if you read it ), isn't the same the second time around. I should have cold-turkeyed longer, then had another go in maybe a year.

Anyway, a bunch of attractive women ( if you like shrill, orange, Stourbridge types ) invade the seats across the aisle from me. The usual: Hiroshima skin-tones, bling, dyed hair ( jet-black or platinum blonde ) plus extensions, and that ubiquitous Selfridges shopping bag.

I turn up the Ambient Himalayas on my iPod, to try and focus them out. I get into the zone: I'm at windswept base camp. My sherpas are getting me an ice cold coke. Then instantly I'm teleported back to Planet Earth, because the women suddenly start singing their karaoke favourites:

'Oooh baby, do-you know what-that's-worth? / We'll make hea-ven a pla-ace on Earth - !! 

I do an Oscar-winning turn as the living embodiment of 'nonchalant', despite a good ten minutes of sonic barrage.

'Oops I-did-it-again - !!'

The CIA may want to try this the next time they have a suspected terrorist in custody. The skin colour of these chicks alone would trigger flash-backs of Guantanamo boiler-suits.

'I'm not-that-inn-o-cent - !!'

After a while, my glacial demeanor, has - I hoped - transmitted itself to their suggestible minds, and prompted them to lapse into a kind of semi-dormant, or vegetative state. 

But then it happened.

'Is that Volume Two he's reading?'

Dear God. 'Volume Two'? That can only mean one thing... My book does have a similar colour scheme on the back.

'Ask him which book he's reading.'

Please. Leave me alone.

Focus on the book.

Mountain streams.


The brunette nearest me leans over and taps me on the knee.


'Which one are you reading?' she says '- Volume One, Two or Three?'

She is, of course, referring to the housewives' current favourite: Fifty Shades of Grey erotic trilogy. Every woman on the train has a copy. And those that don't, have disguised it by reading it on those bloody e-books.

'I do not read that shit.'


The blonde next to her leans around to join in: 'They're not shit...'

I look at the one guy in their group. He's either their nephew, or younger brother, or a cheerful homosexual colleague who works at their salon. Probably called Wayne.

I bellow: 'Two thousand years of erotic literature, and they have to read THAT SHIT!'

The brunette's jaw drops open. 'Oh...Emm...Gee. How rude!'

Blonde: 'I know. Oh-emm-gee.'

The crowded train seems strangely silent.

Sunday, 27 May 2012


‘Yo. Are you okay to talk?’

It’s my bro.

‘Yeah, man,’ I say. ‘But you sound like you’re down a coal mine. Are you on speakerphone? Because you know I might say cunt a lot..?’

I have to verify this every time I speak to him, after what happened a few years ago, when he called me from the car, and neglected to tell me he had a vehicle full of relatives.

‘Haha, yeah,’ he says, ‘let me try SKYPE. Call you back.’



‘That better?’ he asks.


‘So, what’s up bro? Been a while.’

‘I know. Hey - how’s the hurricane?’

‘Meh. The mayor feels like an asshole because of all the apocalyptic warnings he gave.’

‘Well, he was in a no-win situation, wasn’t he?’

‘Exactly. If millions of people got killed, his ass would be on the line. Now that nothing happened, they’re saying he cried wolf.’

‘Well, it was hardly his fault. So what did you do?’

‘I drove over to George’s house, and we shotgunned beers til three in the morning.’

‘Shotgunned? What’s that?’

‘It’s when you punch a hole in the bottom of the can, so when you drink through the regular hole, it pours straight down your throat.’

‘You mean there’s no glug?’

‘Yep, no glug. So you can get it down in one go. So we got drunk, and practised taking apart the AK and putting it back together.’

‘Jesus, you still have the AK?’

‘Yeah, baby. I got guns all over the house.’

‘I thought your mom told you to get rid of it?’

‘I read her the First Amendment, baby.’

‘And she was okay with that?’

‘No choice.’

‘So how much did you drink?’

‘Er...four beers and a bottle of wine. I took the AK in case of looters.’

‘Ha, you should have been here a couple of weeks ago..!’

‘Oh yeah, I heard you had riots n’ shit. How was that?’

‘It was pathetic. It wasn’t political rioting. They were rioting for TVs and snacks.’

‘You’re shitting me.’

‘Yeah, they weren’t even poor. One guy was a school teacher. Another was a bank manager. The oldest was eighty-five!’

‘Oh shit, that’s funny!’

‘I think some pundit on TV referred to it as the ‘Because I’m Worth It’ riots. They were even scheduled on the internet, and people were organizing car sharing and stuff. It was like, You can go home at four thirty today, as after that, there will be rioting.’

‘Haha. Unbelievable.’

‘Yeah, but get this: They jailed a guy for four years because he stole a white t-shirt from the Armani shop, after the riot had left. He felt guilty, handed himself in, and they still jailed him for four years!’

‘No shit!’

‘Yeah, and one girl stole a Pepsi got four years, and so did two schmucks who jokingly put up a riot event page on Facebook. And nobody turned up to riot! There was no riot where they lived..!’

‘Ohh, fuck! Jesus. That’s harsh..!’

‘It’s because of the Olympics next year. Nobody has said anything to this effect, but I think the rioters played into the government’s hands. They got it out of the way a year in advance, and now no-one will dare to do anything during the Olympics. They’ve all been used to set an example, so there won’t be any protests or civil uprisings.’


‘Yeah. Anyway, so how’s things?’

A pause.

‘Well...there’s some problems with my employer’.

‘Oh shit.’ Not again.

‘Yeah. I’ve been told I can resign.’

‘What? You’re kidding me.’


‘The bastards. I'm sorry to hear that.’

‘Yeah. And I billed more hours than any other guy there.’


‘Yeah, so what with that, and getting testicular cancer, it’s been a fucking helluva time. In fact, I’m pretty sure it’s been the worst few weeks of my life. Which is why you haven’t heard from me.’

‘Oh, okay. Wait, back up – you’ve got ball cancer?!’

‘I thought I had. I found a lump on my testicles.’

‘What happened?’

‘I had it checked – it wasn’t malignant.’

‘I never check mine.’

‘You should, man.’

‘I kinda think that’s what a girlfriend’s for. They’re always down there, they should be having a look around, doing inspections. Running a battery of tests. It part of their job.’

‘I hear that.’

‘So what did they say?’

 ‘It’s fine. It was just the thing at the top of the ball, the – I can’t remember what it’s called. And there’s no history of ball problems in the family, either. Well, there’s been a few inflammations. The odd swelling. Maybe a blockage. But no actual tumours.’

‘That’s good.’

‘Yeah. Talking of girlfriends, how’s your girl?’

‘Great. How’s yours?’


‘Do you get to see her much, what with all your travelling for work?’

‘We get together on weekends. It’s great because my parents are away six months a year. So we get together and fuck in every room in the house. Well, unless there’s a hurricane, and she can’t get here. So yeah, on top of all I’ve been through, no pussy this weekend.’


‘In fact, get this: On the same day I found the lump on my testicle, I failed my accountancy exam.’

‘Fuck, you’ve really had a time of it.’

‘In fact, that isn’t even the half of it. Let me think. Yeah, June 24th, I’m asked to resign. June 30th, I fail the accountancy exam – by one point. Same day, there’s a lump on my testicle. In July, I’m trying to dodge a goddamn New York City pothole, and smash into a stand-pipe, destroying two wheels on my car, which then gets towed away. In August I discover that the people who want to interview me for a job, only want to interview me during my vacation. Then, during my supposed vacation, I get called into my current job to save someone else’s ass. Then, while driving across Virginia, I’m tracked by police air support, who stop me for speeding, and hand me a charge of misdemeanour.’

‘Fucking hell.’

‘Yeah, so apart from being broke and unemployed, I’m now a criminal.’

‘Haha, that’s fucking funny!’

‘However, the lawyer guarantees that if I hand them a bogus excuse like ‘defective equipment’ or something, and pay 175 bucks into the system, I can get off, no problem.’

‘Cool. Nice one.’

‘Tell me about it. But I’m amazed I didn’t put a bullet in my brain. And I have plenty of guns and bullets around the house. So to top it all off there’s a hurricane, and I’m denied sex. Normally, all I do on a weekend is drink coffee, make linguine, and screw. But no, I’m denied even that simple human pleasure.’

Basically, if there’s a shit-storm, usually my bro is at the centre of it. Generally, he’s an affable, unassuming, happy-go-lucky kinda guy, and I think a lot of people maybe forget he’s a grown man, who knows what he’s doing. Even I make that mistake, and no matter how much aggro he’s caused me in the past, at some point, I think people should treat him like a responsible adult, and cut him some slack.

‘So what are you going to do for the rest of the weekend?’ I ask.

‘There’s a bunch of asshole Italians across the road, having a party. They’re always getting rowdy, and I wanna keep an eye on them. You remember the big balcony outside our sister’s old room?’


‘I like to go up there, drink beer, and sit in the dark with my rifle. I’ll be waiting for one of those fuckers to step on our lawn.’