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Archive - May 2009
Hello again. Marion the friendly archivist here. I heard you might be popping by, and I can't tell you how excited I am to see you. It's like a horse chewing oats down there, it is. I'll just wait for you in the back office while you have a quick look at the content from May. Don't be long, now.

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TFTD (31/5/9): The second glass of brandy was, in retrospect, a mistake.

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TFTD (30/5/9): More tales from St Turds Grammar School for Boys (see May 24 for tiresome explanation).

The headmaster’s study at St Turds. The headmaster is sitting at an enormous antique desk. He glances up as I knock and enter. He takes the pipe from his mouth and frowns.

HEADMASTER:    I suppose you’ve seen what’s in the library?

ME:
                     Yes sir. It’s absolutely chonking.


HEADMASTER:   
Indeed. Have you any idea who might be responsible?

ME:
                    
I hope you don’t mind sir, but I took the liberty of poking it with a lolly stick. It appears to contain garlic, which would suggest the culprit is a foreigner.

HEADMASTER:   
Hmm. Interesting.

An hour later

HEADMASTER:   
Mr Hernandez the Spanish master has confessed to everything. The police are on the way. Well done, boy. Would you care for sherry?

ME:                    
Thank you sir. I knew you’d get to the bottom of it.

HEADMASTER:   
 
Oh, that’s very good.

Laughter. He fondly ruffles my hair again, twisting a lock of golden hair slowly around his finger.


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TFTD (29/5/9): This is a picture of the World’s Greatest Hat.

hatIt is my hat. It protects my bald spot from sun, rain, hail, lightning, and sinister mind-reading government beams. Many covet the World’s Greatest Hat. But it belongs to ME. 


bootThis is the World’s Greatest Boot. Admire its robust leather construction, the daring Cuban heel, and the unyielding metal rivets that fasten its precious ring. But do not touch it. For it is MY boot. It belongs to me. 


 Three Immutable Laws govern the destiny of the World’s Greatest Hat and the World’s Greatest Boot.

1. They belong to ME.

2. They must NEVER be worn at the same time. This is of the utmost importance.

3. When, in the fullness of time, they are donated to the Museum of Charles Williams Artefacts, the hat and boot MUST be kept in separate glass cabinets on opposing compass points. Full instructions will be issued to the Illuminati ultimately responsible for their safe keeping, for all eternity.

TFTD (28/5/9): Young man. Pull up your trousers. Nobody wants to see your pants.

wedgie

Now look here, son. Don't say I didn't warn you. Either you pull your strides up, or I'll come after you with a fucking big crane and give you a wedgie you'll never, ever forget.Okay?

 

TFTD (27/5/9): So I did a spot of gardening yesterday, which led to a couple of hours in Accident & Emergency. I was expecting A&E to be a fast-moving spectacle of heart attacks, crash victims, and roaring drunks trying to punch nurses.

Disappointingly, it was polite and well-ordered. It was full of relatively normal people looking bored, mildly anxious, and embarrassed.

Nobody looked the least bit unwell, although a couple of us were pressing bloody cloths to cuts, and one was limping. I assume all the others had pieces of fruit wedged up their arses. Yes, that is the most likely explanation. A&E is full of them, apparently. Like Carmen Miranda's hat up there, it is. 

 casualty
 God, how embarrassing. But at least she hasn't noticed where I accidentally fell into the fruit bowl while hanging curtains, naked.

TFTD (26/5/9): The only non-white face in our entire 800-strong school belonged to the son of the local Chinese take-away.

Wey Lung arrived at the height of the Bruce Lee craze, so his every step was plagued by boys jumping out at him in the corridors, waving karate-chop hands and screaming hai-yah! As it happened, Wey Lung was a big lump of a boy and really was good at martial arts, so nobody ever dared to actually karate-chop him.

I’ve always thought the Chinese and the Welsh share a great affinity, since we’re the last two nations on earth about whom it’s okay to be racist. This is slightly unjust, mind. The Chinese are famously the most xenophobic people on earth. The Welsh have never, to my knowledge, committed genocide in Tibet. In fact, our biggest crime appears to be our habit of “jabbering away in Welsh” whenever someone English walks into a pub.

On the upside, the Chinese have provided us with the greatest euphemism for masturbation (“Flying the Chinese helicopter”) and possibly the world’s best joke, the Chinese Dustman Joke. Talking of which, extensive research on the internet now reveals an obscene version which I shall call the Reverse Dustman, and which I repeat here verbatim, for purely academic purposes: 

A dustman is going along the street picking up the wheelie bins.
He gets to one house where the bin hasn’t been left out, so he knocks on the door.
Eventually a Chinese man answers. “Harro,” he says.
“Alright mate, where’s your bin?” asks the dustman.
“I bin on toiret,” replies the Chinese bloke, looking perplexed.
“No mate, where’s your dust bin?”
“I dust bin on toiret, I told you,” says the Chinese man.
“Mate,” says the dustman, “you’re misunderstanding me. Where’s your wheelie bin?”
“OK, OK,” says the Chinese guy. “I wheelie bin having wank.”

TFTD (25/5/9): In Llandaff recently I saw the saddest sight – at least, the saddest sight that doesn't involve Stuart Cable all alone, pretending to text. 

Two larky schoolgirls were perched by the side of the road, holding a hand-drawn cardboard sign that read ‘Honk if your horny’. They can’t have been more than 14 years old.

Even the builders driving by in their filthy vans seemed hesitant to honk (although they did, because if they didn’t, their DNA would catastrophically unravel, causing a sudden burst of gamma radiation, ripping a hole in the fabric of space-time, or something).

It wasn’t so much the stolen innocence, the tragic sexualisation of our youth. It was the girls’ terrible grammar that was so deflating. Which is why, in the end, I chose not to honk.

honk

Stuart Cable pretends not to feel deeply uncomfortable as a goose wearing strap-on horns, sent by God to mock him, mocks him

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TFTD (24/5/9): It's been noted that some of the jokes here are somewhat, ahem, lavatorial. This is true. I am deepy ashamed. But it is not my fault. The blame lies in my schooldays, spent at St Turds Grammar School for Boys.

The Great Hall of St Turds. All the boys are assembled. The headmaster looks grave.

HEADMASTER:  Now then. Which one of you boys left that chonking great floater in the common room lavatory?

The boys shuffle nervously while the headmaster drums his fingers on the lectern. The tension is unbearable. 

ME:            (stepping forward) I cannot tell a lie, sir. It was I.

HEADMASTER:  Congratulations, boy. I couldn’t have done better myself. Now come up here and accept this book token to the value of three pounds.

ME:         Thank you sir. I shall spend it on a log book.

HHEADMASTER:  Oh, that’s very good. (He fondly ruffles my hair)

Laughter. Applause


TFTD (23/5/9): If you’re full, that means you don’t want any pudding. Checkmate! My Vulcan logic defeats you yet again, small child. It’s great being a parent. You can uncork all that bullying and unfairness from your own childhood, and pour it onto the innocent heads of your own children. Go on, ask me if we’re nearly there yet. I will then tell you witheringly that we’ll be there two minutes sooner than the last time you asked. Gotcha!

caesar
Child:                   Do you know where my asthma pump is?
Me (superbly):     Yes. It is where you left it.

 
TFTD (22/5/9): Sorry to sound like Nigel Fucking Slater and everything, but if you live anywhere near an Asian shop, go and buy a box of mangoes, and make sure they’re the Alphonso variety. Nigel would probably rhapsodise about their intoxicating perfumed flesh, but I say only this: they’re fucking lush. And the season only lasts another week, so hurry hurry.


TFTD (21/5/9): I’m so glad the Court of Appeal decided yesterday that Pringles are actually potato crisps, which means they’re liable for VAT.

Last year, Proctor & Gamble successfully argued that since Pringles are made from only 42% potato (33% is fat; the rest is flour and, I don’t know, possibly heroin), they shouldn’t be treated like other potato snacks.

Why? Skips, Quavers, Wotsits and Monster Munch are classified as potato crisps. They don’t look a thing like crisps. Yet they pay their fair share of VAT. What makes you so fucking special, Mr Pringle? Oh, that’s right. You’re made by Proctor & fucking Gamble. You can afford the best lawyers. You can do what the fuck you like.

Ah, but a lot has changed since P&G hoodwinked the courts last year. We’ve discovered that the world’s mightiest companies - AIG, RBS, Lehman Bros, etc, etc - are run by greedy, incompetent crooks. There’s less public tolerance for letting big companies twat around with the law whenever they feel like it.

So Proctor & Gamble now owe £100 million of retrospective VAT. And it’ll cost them a further £20m per year in future… or rather, it’ll cost consumers, because they’ll simply whack the price up. Still, now we know that each Pringle is 33% pure fat, do we still want to eat them?

pringled
Why, what's wrong Mr Pringle? You've just been done up the arse by the taxman, while wearing a strap-on Pringles tube? Oh how cruelly ironic.

TFTD (20/5/9): Now then, now then. I’ve had a letter, from a young man… wait a minute, that sounds oddly familiar. Ah yes, of course. They're the magic words that, when spoken by a mysterious white-haired stranger sitting on a big shit armchair, made children’s dreams come true in the 1970s and 80s.

We all wrote to Jim’ll Fix It. Every one of us. “Dear Jim, please can you fix it for me to skate with Torvill and Dean. Or failing that, and for reasons that are not yet clear to me because I am 12, I would like to press my face into the t-shirt of Tiswas presenter Sally James. Please make it happen, Jim, or I will say that you touched me. Yours sincerely, etc.”

Jim never made my wish come true, the sinister, jewellery-jangling bastard. I never got to breathe in the powerful aroma of nylon, chest hair and cigar-smoke as he placed a big shit medal around my neck. Like the weightlessness of space, playing for Wales, and Sally James's tits, I will never know how that feels.

Anyway, I really did have a letter from a young man, although it was actually an email, and Nick isn’t that young any more. Nick makes some excellent points about the Canadian rock trio Rush (see May 17), not least of which is that it's my fault he likes Rush, because I made him listen to their 1981 album Moving Pictures in his bedroom when we were 16. Which I suppose is marginally more wholesome than smoking banana skins, or mutual masturbation. 

So I’m sorry. I take it all back. Rush, I now accept, are both excellent musicians and ideal role-models for adolescent boys. As the picture shows:

rush

Rush made me the man I am today

Nick likes Rush so much that he's seen them in concert about 397 times. Nick likes Rush so very much that he now has his own three-piece progressive rock band, called 25 yard screamer. http://www.myspace.com/25ys, who may actually be better than Rush themselves. I urge you to buy all 25ys's albums, dye your hair black, get a pentangle tattooed on your arse, move to Carmarthenshire, and become a groupie (NB: ladies only).

Amusingly, the last time Nick went to see Rush, he saw Stuart Cable standing outside the gig - all alone, and concentrating furiously on his mobile phone. Ha! A pattern is beginning to emerge, like a complex metaphysical argument from one of Neil Peart's lyrics, possibly involving a dystopian near-future society, witches, mice, computers, and gravity.

* Have you seen Stuart Cable all alone, fiddling with his phone? Let us know: billynomates@charleswilliams.co.uk   

TFTD (19/5/9): Bollocks. I’ve suddenly become invisible to Google. Does anyone know why this has happened? And how can I fix it? I used to appear on page 2, but now I’ve vanished to about page 2,905,937, behind every other Charles Williams on the planet, and several thousand people who aren’t even fucking called Charles or Williams. It’s not fair.

On the up side, while vainly - in every sense - trawling Google, I did find out about an American novelist called Charles Williams, who used to write crime fiction back in the days when chaps were forever getting tied to bedsteads by attractive women in pointy lingerie. The good old days, that’s what they were.

pointy

TFTD (18/5/9): I’m trying to incorporate some fartlek into my running. Fartlek is Swedish for ‘speed play’, which means you alternate sprints and slower running. It’s an excellent system, although fatally undermined by having the word ‘fart’ in its name, because farts are funny, as anyone who has been camping with me knows.

My own version of fartlek involves running much more quickly when there are attractive women nearby, and slowing to a gasping stop as soon as they’re out of sight. I don't know what I expect this to achieve.

Luckily I do most of my running along the Taff Trail, where attractive women seldom venture because of all the rapists, and joggers pounding up behind them, red-faced and wheezing like a tubercular horse, and scanning the river hopefully for corpses (see May 9 ).

fartlek pic

TFTD (17/5/9): Yesterday, in the Cardiff branch of Borders bookshop, I saw the saddest sight. Stuart Cable was sitting quite alone at a table stacked high with copies of Demons and Cocktails, a book about his life with, and sacking by, the Stereophonics.

Perhaps the crowds had already been and gone, but for the 10 minutes I was there, I didn’t see another human being within 15 feet of him.

Cable looked like the loneliest man on earth. He looked as sad and wretched as a man
sobbing over the limp body of a puppy, while sitting on the rubble of his home after an earthquake, knowing that his family was inside.

Cable fiddled with his phone with enormous concentration, as if he was really quite glad of the break from being hassled by fans, so he could send some vitally important texts.

I once went to Cable’s house to interview him. He talked enthusiastically about the works of Rush, to whom I used to listen when I was a younger and less well-rounded person.

Let us now read from the Book of Rush. The following is taken from the 1975 album Fly by Night, track four, By-Tor and the Snow Dog:

The tomb of Hades, lit by flickering torchlight
The nether world is gathered in the glare
Prince By-Tor takes the cavern to the north light
The sign of Eth is rising in the air...

Honestly, what a load of arse. I can’t believe I spent my adolescence listening to this shit.

cable

Stuart Cable waits patiently for something - anything, anyone, please God, save me from this torment. And waits. And waits. And waits. 

TFTD (16/5/9): I’ve just spent 20 minutes in hell. Or rather, in the Saturday morning queue at Somerfield, the tallest person by about three feet, and the youngest by 40 years.

Somerfield is always full of old ladies, buying cake. Old ladies love cake. If you ever need an old lady in a hurry, head for the cake aisle of your nearest supermarket. Moths to a flame, they are.

Actually, that’s not a great metaphor. Flames are invariably fatal to moths, whereas cake is all that keeps old ladies alive. That and biscuits. I wonder if old ladies, like moths, leave a kind of brown powdery residue on your hands when you pick them up? Almost certainly. Are old ladies combustible? They are so dry and papery after all.

Why are there so many of them here this morning? What mysteries lie in their big brown purses? Why, when the purse is so big, can’t they find it? Why do they forget their PINs? Why are their ankles so big? And why do they love cake so?

cake
More than kissing babies, more than bingo, more than Eamonn Holmes, more than small dogs, more than wheelie shopping bags. They love cake.

TFTD (15/5/9): The British asparagus season is one of the great events in the food calendar. It’s also the season of stinky wee. About 40% of people produce an enzyme that breaks asparagus down into foul-smelling sulphurous compounds, which make your wee smell absolutely dreadful.

Interestingly, a separate gene means that only a minority of people can detect the smell. I’ve got both genes. Lucky me. Still, better to know, I suppose. My cousin didn’t know about the asparagus thing, and was so alarmed by the stench that he went to his GP.

Oh, and I just checked on the internet and apparently eating sugar puffs makes your wee smell strongly of … sugar puffs.

honeymonster
Possibly the most embarrassing moment of my life - peeing next to the Honey Monster during the asparagus season

TFTD (14/5/9): Bono read his oddly compelling Elvis doggerel on Radio 4 last night. It was preceded by a warning that it contained strong language – to be precise, the N-word and the S-word: spastic.

Ugly words. I once wrote a piece in which I referred to Robson and Jerome as “… that pair of spazzes from Soldier Soldier,” fully expecting it to be subbed out. After all, the Western Mail subs routinely chopped everything else from my columns - punchlines, pay-offs, any random word crucial to the rhythm of a sentence, etc. This one time, however, my column went through verbatim. It looked awful on the printed page. I deserved to get into trouble, but didn’t (although I got into plenty of trouble for other misdeeds, more of which at a later date).

Anyway, I thought I’d write my own Bono-style poetic tribute to one of my own musical heroes, Timothy Evans, the singing postmaster of Lampeter. Here’s a picture of him, taken from one of his CD sleeves:

timbo

I love this picture. He looks like he’s been caught short at a wedding reception and nipped out for a wee in the bushes. When I first saw this picture, I rang Timothy to interview him for a magazine. Obviously my intention was to take the piss, massively. But he was such a sweet man, I didn’t have the heart. Here was a humble pillar of his community, with a rather splendid tenor voice which he seemed rather embarrassed about, who turned down a career in music to stay at home with his mother, who breeds prize-winning sheep in his spare time, collects glassware, and runs the local post office. In other words, a thoroughly decent man who doesn't deserve to be ridiculed by some wisecracking smartass. Unlike Robson & Jerome, of course, who are... let me think what crass term the Western Mail would use. Chumps? Prats? Hmm. 

So anyway,  here’s my tribute:

 

timothy evans sells stamps
timothy evans collects cranberry glass
timothy evans once beat bryn terfel to top prize at
the llangollen international eisteddfod
timothy evans will tax your car when presented with a V10 form, a valid insurance certificate, and a current MoT
timothy evans lives near lampeter

timothy evans can supply travel insurance and foreign currency at competitive rates
timothy evans was close to his mother
timothy evans is your man for rod fishing licences
timothy evans cds are available from sain records, priced £12.71 plus p&p, or on itunes
timothy evans can say 'cashier number four, please' in Welsh
timothy evans is a champion breeder of torwen sheep

timothy evans will check and validate your passport application form for a one-off fee of £6.85

(continued for another 600 pages, somewhere else)


TFTD (13/5/9): The National Trust, in an uncharacteristic fit of community spiritedness, has given land to the people of Llandeilo to grow vegetables. So I spent yesterday rotovating and raking an allotment beneath a blazing sun in Dinefwr Park. (It’s not my allotment. I was just hired muscle.)

I’d never spent time on allotments before, but they’re amazing. Normal social boundaries don’t apply. Everyone stops to talk. Everyone’s lovely. It’s a heart-warming, life-affirming experience, even for someone as curmudgeonly and socially inept as me.

An old chap stops to chat about manure. A bloke of about my age makes traps for slugs. An attractive young woman waves to me as she steps into the communal potting shed. I wonder if I am meant to follow, but then I see her big ginger boyfriend, who is holding something heavy and sharp. (“Police hail hero who stabbed allotment sex pest with fork.” Oh, the shame.)

Anyway, we’re all scratching away at these virgin plots, all starting with the same ploughed clods, which within a month are already vivid reflections of their owners’ personality. There are the wild and free-wheeling, the pathologically tidy, the inscrutably labyrinthine, some with raised beds, others with scarecrows, compost bins, park benches.

I toiled happily all day, and got sunburnt – notably on my upper arse area, because I was bending down all the time. I’ve now got a perfect red ellipse in the place where slappers get the tattoo known as ‘arse antlers’ or ‘slag tags’.

antlers
I am invited into my daughter's school to show the girls the perfect ellipse on my arse.

TFTD (12/5/9): Eh? Peter and Katie? Tssk. Terrible shame. Shakes your faith in human nature, doesn’t it? [Answer: (tersely) NO.] My prediction, for what it’s worth, is that Katie will seek to rebuild her shattered sense of self-worth by getting the biggest breast implants the world has ever seen, the size of fucking  space hoppers.   

Heartbroken Peter will then attempt to win Katie back by having his own pioneering testicle implants, made of real space hoppers.

They see each other’s pictures in Heat magazine, and realise that they truly belong together. They re-marry, and the resulting photoshoot is bought by OK! magazine for a record £300 billion, and everyone’s faith in human nature is restored. Not that it was remotely fucking troubled in the first place.

Yes, that’s what will probably happen. Here's a picture:


A whole new world. Fashioned from space hoppers.

TFTD (11/5/9): My daughter has got chicken pox. She’s very, very pleased with herself.

TFTD (10/5/9): Hazel Blears is on the telly, posing in her motorcycle leathers as the viewers wonder how she could possibly fit her crash helmet over the mighty ginger helmet that is her hairstyle.

Nobody has sucked the teats of parliament more hungrily than Hazel Blears, but at least she has the decency to give News at Ten a frank and honest statement, which I will repeat verbatim:

“I can understand why the public hates it [the expenses system],” said Blears. “But when the system is lying there with its legs spread wide open, inviting me to fuck it hard and dirty, then it’s hardly my fault if I give it the full three-holer it is clearly gagging for, the filthy bitch.”

Blears then smiled for cameras before taking a slug of Jack Daniels, wiping her lips on the back of her hand, smashing the bottle on the pavement, and roaring off on her Ducati, while shouting ‘yee-ha’, and pulling a wheelie, while pretending to spank the pillion seat.

blears
What's that? You don't like it any more than we do? Oh, I seriously fucking doubt it, Hazel. 

TFTD (9/5/9): I’ve just come back from a run along the litter-strewn banks of the River Taff. I thought this running malarkey was supposed to get easier, but it doesn’t.

I fantasize about having a really good excuse to stop running. Today I idly speculated how great it would be if I spotted a body floating downstream. I’d have to stop running, wade in and tow the corpse to the bank, and wait until the police came.

I wouldn’t try and drag the body out of the water in case I caused post-death trauma, which would displease Amanda Burton when she came to do the autopsy. Instead I’d tie the body to a handy branch with a handy piece of baler twine, found handily amongst the Himalayan Balsam on the riverbank.

The police would arrive, Amanda Burton would be very pleased with me, the killer would be brought to justice, I would get my photo in the Echo, again, and the victim’s attractive 27-year-old sister would sob inconsolably on my shoulder in a way that I would find, to my deep shame, to be ever so slightly arousing.

burton
There's an unmistakable whiff of  sexual chemistry in the pathology lab as Amanda Burton thanks me for my excellent work.


TFTD (8/5/9): I don’t know why the nurses’ pictures (below) are stacked up like that. It's because of crap free software KompoZer. Perhaps KompoZer, with its ridiculous Teutonic name, has no sense of humour, and wants to undermine all my jokes. Perhaps KompoZer is only meant to be used to design far-right websites. I bet the BNP use KompoZer.

Anyway, there’s a lot of Joanna Lumley in the news. I once interviewed her, in what’s known in the trade as a ‘round-table’ – ie, lots of journos sitting round a table with the celeb. Except there wasn’t a table, so we all sat in a tight circle with our knees touching, like a fucking sťance.

I sat next to Lumley, who flicked ash onto my trousers for the whole interview. She smokes Rothmans, a brand that fag sociologists identify with 1970s playboys. She probably smoked her first Rothmans while being backscuttled by a silver-haired Austrian aristocrat, on a yacht, in Monte Carlo, in 1974.

She was a rubbish interviewee, because she spent the whole time hamming it up as Patsy. And being a rubbish interviewer, I just sponged off the other journos’ questions, until eventually I plucked up the courage to ask her what she thought of the then-topical ‘It Girl’ phenomenon, since she was once herself one.

I’d meant it as a compliment – ‘It Girl’ as in ‘defining female character of her generation’: Twiggy, The Shrimp, Emma Peel, pudding-bowl Lumley, etc. But there was a sharp gasp from everyone else - including Lumley - for whom ‘It Girl’ apparently means ‘talentless gossip column slag’, like Tara PT and that wizened little posh slapper who absolutely sloshes with D-list jizz, and whose name momentarily escapes me.  

Anyway, an icy chill descended on the room, the ash-flicking became furiously intense, and I left the room looking like John Mills in Ryan’s Daughter.

What’s that Coma Dog? Tamara Beckwith. That was it. Well done, good boy. You want what... a pictorial tribute to Joanna Lumley via the miracle of MS Paint? But surely… oh alright, you persistent hound. 


You never forget your first Rothmans (FX: sound of ship's horn - hoooooonnnnnnk!).
What's that Coma Dog? Oh really. Well, have you any idea how fucking hard it is to draw with a mouse? Have you? No. Well shut up then.

TFTD (7/5/9): Nurses in Welsh hospitals have been issued with new uniforms today, making it easier for patients to identify which job the nurse performs in the dynamic, modern NHS Wales. So here's a handy guide:

 Fig 1. Bed baths, standing precariously on chair to reach down objects from high shelves, starching sheets, sexual harrassment by doctors, laughing at consultant's jokes, pouring brightly coloured medicine into very large spoon, fruity giggling.





 




Fig 2:  Enemas, injections, etherising, lancing, applying poultices and long bandages, restraint of patients, midwifery, slapping of hysterical women/children, hygienic removal of corpses.


Fig 3:
Bed baths with happy finish, bending over to retrieve dropped items while holding finger to lips, being chanced upon in the supply cupboard, mouth-to-mouth, ATM.






Fig 4:  Disappointing male patients, embarrassing female patients, attracting speculative mutters as to sexuality.




Fig 5: Killing patients.

___________________________________________________________________________________________________

TFTD (6/5/9): As Home Secretary Jacqui Smith issues her list of 16 people banned from entering Britain, it’s time to compile a list of 16 people banned from leaving Britain, on the grounds that they’d do irreparable damage to our international reputation.

This is known as the Goody List, named in honour of the late Jade Goody, who is single-handedly responsible for the entire 1.2 billion population of India now believing that all British women are fat, vulgar and stupid. 

The Goody List
1.     Margaret Beckett
2.     All football fans
3.     Anyone with a nationalist tattoo
4.     Anyone with a Sanskrit word tattooed on them
5.     Anyone with a BMI greater than 30
6.     The Barmy Army
7.     Jordan
8.     Biggins
9.     Westwood
10.   Geri Halliwell
11.   Max Boyce
12.   Susan Boyle
13.   Gavin Henson
14.   Prince Edward
15.   Heather Mills
16.   ‘Wild Card’ choice, to be nominated by me in conjunction with Foreign Office

beckett

That's right, hand it over, you terrifyingly horse-faced freak


TFTD (5/5/9): A friend was on a BBC journalists’ course in London when the 7/7 bombs went off. As soon as they heard the breaking news, they immediately rushed to the nearest television and switched on… Sky News.

This is because, being BBC journalists, they knew that the BBC would be talking cautiously about ‘power surges’ for at least an hour after Sky had announced what everyone else already knew to be true.

 
TFTD (4/5/9): Come to think of it, I enjoyed some of my greatest showbiz moments at the Swansea Grand. The panto always starred Ryan and Ronnie, until Ronnie hit the bottle and Ryan went and died. Ryan’s catchphrase was this: “Never in Europe!” You had to be there, honestly.

Oh, and we once queued at the stage door to get Freddie ‘Parrot-face’ Davis’s autograph. It’s all been downhill since, really.

TFTD (3/5/9): Because I’m on the motorbike, I decide to take the scenic route from Llandeilo to Cardiff. Incidentally, a friend of mine swears that he once had this conversation with a thick ex-girlfriend in the car:

Thick ex:   Why are we going this way?
Friend:       Scenic route.
Thick ex:   Who’s Nick Root?

Anyway, the scenic route is not, it transpires, down the Amman Valley and along the Heads of the Valleys. Instead, it’s another endless pop-up parade of Welsh post-industrial shit-holes: Cwmllynfell, Upper Cwmtwrch, Lower Cwmtwrch, Ystradgynlais.

I remember hearing a joke about Cwmtwrch, during a panto at the Swansea Grand. This being the 1970s, it was a racist joke, obviously. I forget the details, but the gist of it was that a man from Upper Cwmtwrch needs to fly to Pakistan, but can’t find a travel agent who can sell him a ticket. Eventually, and after huge difficulty, he manages to get a single to Lahore. But when he goes to book his return ticket from Pakistan to Cwmtwrch, the Pakistani says (in a richly funny accent, of course), “Certainly sir, Upper or Lower?” The joke being that Cwmtwrch was over-run with Pakistanis. How the audience roared.

I can’t believe that was true, even in 1978. Or especially in 1978. Anyway, not today, it wasn’t. Just fat white trash in tracksuits.

 
TFTD (2/5/9): I went through a parental rite of passage earlier this week: I wrote my first sick note, asking for my daughter to be excused from swimming. It made me feel oddly proud, and very, very old. 


TFTD (1/5/9): Off to the Vulcan tonight. This is the pub where villains traditionally had their first pint upon release from Cardiff Prison, which is just across the road. And the Vulcan’s toilets, presumably, is where visitors go to shove drugs up their arse before smuggling them inside. Perhaps with the handle of a wooden spoon. I don’t know. I lack experience in these matters. 

 

Right, that's the end of May. Click here to go back to the Archive. You wouldn't want to keep Marion waiting, now would you?


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