3 Reasons Why Being A Gamer When You’re Old and Broke Is Awesome

The older you get the more likely it is that you’ll end up in some sort of relationship, you’ll meet someone and build a life together, and odds are one day you’ll wake up and there will be a tiny human jumping on your face demanding they watch Peppa Pig. This happened to me a few years ago, and then it happened again, and again. It’s estimated that raising one child until they’re 18 costs somewhere in the region of £230,000, so eventually you realise that if you’re going to spend £50-60 on a game it better be worth it! You might only be able to buy one game every two months and if that game ends up sucking that means you’ve ruined your childs chance of a University education for nothing. But it’s not all bad news, because if you do it right…

Gaming can be ridiculously cheap

When my PS3 died I thought my gaming days were behind me, if I can barely justify spending 50 quid on a game there’s no way I can spend £400 on a PS4, or triple that on a gaming PC, plus games to play on it. So I spent some time playing games from the app store, I put up with ‘micro transactions’ and waiting for ‘energy’ so I could press a button which allowed me press a button, which opened even more exciting opportunities to stare at the screen while my energy refilled.

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Let me know when this starts being fun!

There’s only so much of this I can take until I have to face the fact that I’m going to have to pay for a game, but that’s when I realised that if I was going to pay for a game I was going to buy a decent one. My PC isn’t even close to being top of the range but I felt confident it could handle a game that came out nearly 20 frikkin years ago, so I got onto Steam to check out ‘Thief: The Dark Project’. To my surprise I managed to score Thief 1, 2, and 3 for a tenner!

If you compare that to the price of Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare which can cost up to £60 it’s a no brainer, in fact for the same price as that one game I managed to buy Thief 1,2 & 3, Hitman 1, 2 & 3, Dungeon Keeper 1 &2, Half Life 1 & 2, GTA: San Andreas, and had enough for a couple of beers and a bag of Dorito’s.
And that’s a whole lot more bang for my buck!

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Twelve Year Olds Don’t Play Twenty Year Old Games

“I remember when all this was 32 bit fields”

I don’t want to s**t all over modern games, I know that there are some great titles out there, but the one thing that puts me off most of them is their insistence that I must enjoy multi-player. When I started gaming it was something I did on my own, I would buy into the world they had created for me and allow myself to become absorbed. If someone else wanted to join in, they were generally a friend of mine, and were physically in the room with me, playing with the Wotsit encrusted spare controller.

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But now it’s like modern developers of games and consoles alike think that everybody wants their game interrupted by foul mouth twelve year olds.

Multi-player can be a great experience, especially when you can get a bunch of your friends together, but when you get older, it gets harder and harder to set aside time when all of you can do anything together, let alone play games. For instance I have been trying to organise a night out with one friend now for about 2 months! 2 months! If I’m not skint, I’ve got to look after the kids, and if he doesn’t have the kids, he’s skint! So trying to get a group of 5-6 people, all using the same consoles, at the same time, playing the same game for a reasonable length of time becomes a feat so insurmountable you might as well try to kick a dead squirrel over Mount Everest.

So with a modern game you have two options, spend £60 on a single player campaign you can finish in a day, or put up with being called a ‘fag’ by someone you can’t even punch in the back of the head when they start to win.

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They Have Been Making Great Games For Ages!

This might come as a shock to the ‘Yoot’ of today (that’s how kids talk right?) but they have been making great games for decades now. GTA: San Andreas, Hitman, Splinter Cell, System Shock, Half Life; what have they all got in common? They’re all really f**king good and really f**king old games!

All those games cost a fraction of the price of one modern game, so even if you end up spending a fiver on a game that ends up sucking, it’s not the end of the world. This is by far, the best thing I’ve found about digging into the past of gaming, you can afford to experiment more, it’s like there’s a gold mine of old games from your memory just sitting there waiting to be played.
That’s the reason I started gaming in the first place, it wasn’t because I had nothing better to do, it’s because year on year, developers kept making brilliant games. Just because they’re old doesn’t mean they stop being fun, or intriguing, or mesmerizing, and that’s why being old and broke is awesome if you’re a gamer. It’s because you’re old enough to remember games from you’re youth that you loved, and can love again, and because for a fiver you can discover something new, even if it’s old.

3 Reasons Why You Should Start Listening To Russell Brand

Ahh Russell Brand, Comedian, Actor, Dickensian (I’m going to pretend I know what that means for the duration of this post), we all know the name, we know the ‘Brand’ (in both its meanings), and we know pretty much all there is to know about his past. But it seems that people these days are a little quick to judge good ol’ Russell and I’m here to tell you why that might be wrong, bear with me, I’m going to tell you…. Now.

He Is The Answer The Left Has Been Looking For

My readers will know that I’m all inclusive on this blog, I don’t care about your ethnicity, sexuality, age, or political leanings, all I care about is page views, because I’m a narcissist. But I’m a lefty; to the point that I don’t understand most of the views of the right, that’s not to say that those on the right don’t come up with good ideas, I just don’t understand them. I don’t understand why ideas of nationality come before inclusion; I don’t understand why ideas about personal financial stability come before social responsibility and I don’t understand the how the value of tradition trumps the value revolution, I just don’t. I don’t want to rubbish your ideals if that’s something you hold true, if it is then that’s cool, your ideals your problem.

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On the left though it seems that we have a lot of different people, each with their own voice (as people tend to have), but it’s to the point that we seem a bit disparate, it’s like we haven’t got a single person we can listen to and say ‘Yep, that dude know the score’.
I think this stems from the fact that us lefties are actually a bit of a cowardly lot, we’re always so accepting of other people right to speak, our own voices get lost in the maddening crowds we’re trying to communicate to. Russell Brand however has the ability to cut through all this with his ‘celebrity’ status. He walks the same path as Bill Hicks and George Carlin, telling you upfront what’s wrong, and he says it in a way that those on the left can emulate, which is the corner-stone of change (in my opinion). In the same way that I write so others will read, he speaks so that others can do

He Is Too Easy To Dismiss

Because he ‘was’ an addict, because he is a comedian, an actor, a ‘long-hair’ a person who says ‘Namaste’ (c’mon dude who says Namaste?) he is easy to write off as another freak with high ideals that’ll never come true.

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FREE THE WEED! You know, if that’s cool with you bro…

But this is the reason you should listen to him, because people on the fringes of society are the people who know it best, in his book Revolution he talks a lot about the establishment and how to dismantle it, and how to bring about a new order (not a New World Order before the conspiracy nuts start hitting the comment section) of things.
The only reason he can do this is because he is not part of the established system, he is not someone who is in the pocket of an organisation that pays his rent and stocks his fridge. Owen Jones (Gawd bless ‘im) is an in-dismissed champion of the left in Britain, he rallies, he writes, he speaks, he does everything a good lefty should do. But at the end of the day, the Guardian writes his pay check. So he can write all he likes about how the media shouldn’t serve the rich but at the end of the day it is that media which fills his fridge with hummus, or nectarines, or pork pies or whatever it is he eats.
I’m not saying that Owen Jones is a slave to the media, but it’s like Bill Hicks once said about Jay Leno “everything you say is suspect, and every word that comes out of you’re mouth is now like a turd falling into my drink”.

My point is (yes I have a point!) that because he is given no credence by the establishment, he is the perfect person to dissect it. Just like the frog in your science class couldn’t dissect itself, so those in power (the establishment) cannot be the ones to dismantle it.

He Sounds Like He Cares

I’m not a guy who trusts easily, I mean if Russell Brand walked up to me in the street and said ‘You alright mate, shut your eyes, fall back and I’ll catch ya’

I probably wouldn’t do it. It’s nothing personal; I just wouldn’t fall back into the arms of some bloke because he looked like someone I recognised from TV again!

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He promised he was the real Mr T… HE PROMISED!

Similarly, I’m not a guy who will trust just because someone says they care about me, or care about my society, or the society of my children. How many times have you heard from New-Age bullsh*ters and snake-oil salesmen that they can show you the way? And all they need is your credit card number!

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Nuff said!

I’d like you to always remember that Russell Brand doesn’t have to do what he does to make a living! He could be doing YouTube video’s about, I don’t know, Hubba Bubba or Turtle sex (if like me you have the maturity of ten year old, for the love of God click that link!) or something else entirely.

But he doesn’t, he produces (almost) daily video’s that help people realise that the world we live in is not one we have to accept. I know that you can counter this argument with the fact that he obviously got paid for writing Revolution, but as he says within the confines of the book, he didn’t have to write it, he could have written Booky Wook 3! (Thanks for not doing that by the way)


Russell Brand has recently been shortlisted for World Thinkers 2015 by prospect magazine
His book Revolution (which you should read) is available here

3 Ways My Netflix Account Is Just Like A Failing Relationship

We’ve all been there, got ourselves caught up in a rush of excitement when everything is new and we’re having fun exploring what’s on offer. But what happens when the honeymoon period is over? When all those things that at first enticed you, just become routine and nothing is fresh? When you end up sitting for hours in the same room and you know you’re not enjoying yourself anymore; you’re just going through the motions? I mean, Breaking Bad was good and all, but what happens once you’ve watched every episode? What happens when…

It Starts To Cost More Than It’s Worth?

At the start of my relationship with Netflix, like I said, everything was new. I binged on The Thick of It and Breaking Bad, I gorged myself on The Office and Misfits, I was filling every waking moment with my movie mistress. But this week I realised something; you see I’ve been busy redecorating my house, and then Friday, I got a round house kick to the face with severe Man Flu.

Just imagine that Chuck Norris is the cold virus, and that other dudes face is, well, my face.

But it got me thinking about my first month with Netflix, back when I was still only flirting with the idea of fully committing to £6:99 a month, I thought we could make it last forever! I thought that there was no way this could ever get stale, this wasn’t like my brief stint with Lovefilm, this was different, Netflix offered me so much more. But now I see, that actually I’ve been paying £6:99 for a while now, and it just isn’t the same as it used to be, I’ve seen everything I wanted to see, and the new releases, well…

Every New Release Just Proves They Don’t Care Anymore

Through my pneumonia hazed eyes I casually flicked through the New Releases section, and what did I see? Saved By The Bell.

So I thought I would get all curled up with a nice glass of wine and take some time out to get all nostalgic, but when I did, I was horrified! What I thought was going to be a treat, turned out to be a cruel, cruel trick. I don’t know if you’ve ever heard of Saved By The Bell: Hawaiian Style, but let me tell you, it is literally the worst thing ever!

Even from here I could feel Google hanging its head in shame when I looked this image up! And yet it’s still only the second most awful thing Dustin Diamond has ever appeared in!

After ten minutes I had to turn it off, Netflix trampled on my memories, and as if that wasn’t unforgivable enough, I browsed through what else lay beneath that succubae’s glamour. Only to find a film so indefinably terrible that even Netflix’s own description is a slow descent into madness.

Kate goes back to Minnesota for a family visit. While lying in a hospital bed, her father Bertman plots revenge against a horse and puts her to the task. Then she has to deal with the rest of her family’s issues.” – Far North (1988)

What? What? Now I must admit I’ve never seen this film, I didn’t want to feed what had to be a troll! I mean, while who was in bed? Kate? While Kate was in bed? Her Dad tried to plot revenge against a horse? Why does anyone need to plot revenge against a horse, like the horse might see it coming? How smart is this horse? Also, not only that, but she then has to deal with the rest of her families issues! As if having a Dad who struggles to outwit a horse isn’t bad enough, there are other things to deal with! What like? Is her sister having some trouble with some neighbouring badgers? Is her Auntie in debt to a racoon? What the f**k is up with this family?

But I know what’s happening, Netflix doesn’t give a damn that I’m laid up with Meningococcal Meningitis, all it cares about is my £6:99. So this is when…

I couldn’t help but get the wandering eye

For Christmas I bought a Now TV box for the Mrs, it came with a 3 month free TV pass, and during our redocoration we swapped our dining room and living room around, this left us without Sky+. It seemed only appropriate that we set up the Now TV in the living room as a substitute, and then on Saturday, my case of Ebola really kicked in! I knew I could have powered up the Wii and switched on Netflix, but, I didn’t, maybe I should have, I don’t know. What I do know is, to my shame, I started my 30 day free trial of the Sky Movies package. I know I shouldn’t have, but it was just there, looking so appealing, I couldn’t help myself!

But now I have to make a decision because Now TV isn’t just going to wait around forever as I make up my mind, pretty soon I’m going to have to make a commitment, and I can’t see both. Netflix is comfortable, but Now TV is new and exciting, yeah it costs a little more, but I think it might be worth taking the risk. So what do you think? Should I break it off with Netflix? Or should I stick with it, Saved By The Bell or no Saved By The Bell?

Nick Clegg; Statesman Or Tw*t?

Imagine my delight as I finished my second glass of wine while watching the crucial Conundrum on ‘8 out of 10 cats does Countdown’ (or what I imagine regular countdown will look like once Generation X start collecting their pensions)

“It’s all about the two big, four small, bull sh*t”

and I found out that the Deputy Prime Minister, Nick (where’s my spine gone?) Clegg was going to appear on The Last Leg. It offered a double whammy of joy, firstly; Nick Clegg/Last leg, get it?

Secondly, I love to see politicians making absolute d**ks out of themselves, trying to be cool for the younger voters, and generally being lying squirming s**t bags.

So I poured myself another fat glass of wine in preparation for what I imagined would be the biggest train wreck since Macaulay Culkin!

But as it turns out, he actually did ok. For a spineless, quivering, ass goblin he  came off pretty well. I mean, he didn’t answer a lot of questions, I kind of understand why, but by the end of it I didn’t hate him! Which was odd, in some parts he was actually quite funny, and he was a good sport, I didn’t even hate him when he threw a grapefruit at a disabled guy.

That’s how this guy plays cricket.

Was it enough to make me want to vote Lib Dem? No, even if they boot that little haemorrhoid out of the party, I still wouldn’t vote for them. As George Bush said; “Fool me once… Shame on… Shame on you”… I forgot where I was going with this!

My point is, to a certain degree, we saw Nick Clegg last night, I imagine he had his very own Malcolm Tucker (that link is a million miles of NSFW by the way!) waiting in the wings ready to pounce with a tirade of abuse for the flippy floppy c**t during the ads. But at least for a change we saw that the people making the decisions are humans, just like us. I think that’s the real trick to getting the younger vote, people say that the young don’t care about politics, but from what I’ve seen that just isn’t true.

I think that young people don’t see humans running the country, they see politicians, just like we don’t see humans on a movie screen, we see celebrities. The world of politics might as well be set in the Marvel Universe for all the relevance we see in our daily lives, the amount of petitions I’ve signed, protests I’ve seen, Facebook groups I’ve joined, and all for nothing! The politicians just don’t want to know!

They either don’t care what we’re saying, or, they simply can’t hear us. Either way, we might as well be yelling at the Hulk to fist f**k Loki when watching the Avengers, for all the good it will do.

Pucker up bi*ch!

But maybe there is hope, I know that last night we saw a failed politician appearing on a comedy show, it’s not much. But if more politicians were willing to step outside of their gilded cages and actually behave like the fragile, vulnerable, errable human beings they are for five minutes, maybe we can begin to have real discourse regarding the clump of dirt we all call home.

But you could say to me, “Oh, but Charlie you handsome SOB, politicians have been going on TV for ages.” and I would agree, but if you look at people like Boris Johnson, love him or loathe him, he is very popular. I think this is because of his seeming low tolerance for bulls**t, same with Farage, popular guy (sort of anyway) and apparently ‘Man of the People’. They both have one thing in common, they are fallable, and they seem to admit it.

Imagine instead if politicians didn’t just seem to be like that, but were actually like that. Imagine if instead of cover ups, and resignations, they held their hands up and said, “Yeah, I’m human, I f**ked up”. I know I would have infinitely more respect for that person, might even vote for them. Soley because I can see that they are just like me, which is what I want in a representative, not some styled, pre-packaged, spoon fed puppet, a real person, representing real people.

I think if we had that then, maybe, finally, we could begin to build a future that benefits everyone.

Je Suis Page 3 (Sort Of)

Yesterday we saw the end of Page 3, for those of you who don’t know, Page 3 refers to the British tabloid ‘newspaper’ (I use the term loosely) The Sun and its spread on page 3 of a busty topless girl, its been a cornerstone of The Sun since time immemorable. But after years of campaigning by Women’s Rights groups and activists of all kinds it has finally seen its end, sort of anyway, you can still access all the topless women you like if you subscribe to its new online version.

I was going to find a picture of a Page 3 girl but then my Mrs walked in, so here is another kind of tit.

Now I’m not going to sit here and say how upset I am that Page 3 has gone, because I’m not, I think its archaic and mis-representative of women, and actually does harm to the progress of women’s rights everywhere. That’s not to say though that I’m offended by seeing semi or even fully naked women, I am a great admirer of the female figure in all its forms, but I don’t think that it has any place in a newspaper in the 21st Century. I’m also not going to sit here and talk about the shocking way women are represented in the media in general, that’s another topic for another day. What I am going to talk about though is the right of The Sun to print whatever the hell it likes, regardless of our opinion.

I do understand that a newspaper has a moral obligation to print the truth, and we all know that The Sun can sometimes be a little ‘economical’ when it comes to that, but moral obligations aside. The Sun, just like The Guardian, BBC News, even you and I, live and operate in a free country, and we are free to write, print, or shout about, anything we want. If The Sun wants to print a full-page picture of a topless woman, who are we to say that they can’t? It’s not like these women are being exploited, they choose to pose for these shoots, they get paid well to do it, and as far as I’m aware they go into it with their eyes open. Their body is their business as far as I’m concerned.

But let me illustrate my point with a quote from Harriet Harman MP

“I’m proud to have stood with thousands of women who fought to see the end of page three and today I’m delighted its gone” – 20th Jan 2015

That quote came 13 days after the horrific mass shooting at Charlie Hedbo’s offices, a shooting that happened because a group of people chose to express their freedom of speech by printing a picture that gave offence. I’m not in anyway trying to say that the cowards who shot up Charlie hedbo’s offices and the activists who protested Page 3 are the same! I want to make that very clear, but you must be able to see that there is a parallel there.

Once the world heard of the attack we all stood together, Celebrities, Politicians, Muslims, Christians, Old and Young alike, all marching under the banner of ‘Je Suis Charlie’

and advocating that publications right to print what ever it wanted, and now, not even two weeks later we have people like Russell Brand saying.

“It’s good that page 3 has been dropped it was demeaning and daft. There’s a sentence I never thought I’d write.”

In France too, I saw a report of a sixteen year old lad getting arrested for posting a picture satirising another Charlie Hedbo cartoon, although the picture was in very poor taste, where was that lads right to print whatever he liked?

I think there are two ways to look at all this, one way is to just get all cynical and say, ‘Oh yeah, well, your only free to do as your told.’ I think this is a cop-out and is counter productive if anything.

Personally I think that freedom of speech is great, but that freedom must go hand in hand with responsibility, Nick Clegg said the other day,

“at the end of the day in a free society people have to be free to offend each other. You cannot have freedom unless people are free to offend each other. We have no right not to be offended.”

And while that is true, we have a responsibility to minimise that offence, it’s not good enough to say ‘this offends me stop doing it’, and its also not good enough to say ‘I’m free to say what I like, it’s your problem if it offends you!’. It’s everybody’s responsibility to find a middle ground, if you find something offensive, don’t look at it, if you are creating something offensive, you need to ask yourself why you’re doing it. And you have to be aware that some people won’t like it! Anyone with even a modicum of knowledge about modern Islam knows that by printing pictures of the Prophet Mohammed you are going to cause deep offence. I really hope that this goes without saying, but here we go anyway, THAT DOES NOT ADVOCATE THE KIND OF VIOLENCE THAT WE SAW THIS MONTH AT CHARLIE HEDBO! What we saw in France was a backlash so extreme that no one could have predicted it, but that being said, they had to expect a reaction.

If I can draw another parallel, people who read this blog will know that I censor my more colourful language, if I use the word c**t, I will asterisk the f**king s**t out of that c**t, that’s because although I am free to swear my filthy mouth out, I know that people may be offended by it, so I have taken responsibility to minimise that offence by way of self censorship.

So to bring this all back to my original point of page three, The Sun (as I said before) have moved their page three online, but that hasn’t stopped the activists from trying to get it banned all together. But maybe instead of pushing harder for the eradication of page three, maybe they should just be celebrating. They have achieved their goal! By page three moving online, only people who want to look at it can/will, The Sun has self-censored itself. Just like I do with my swearing. You can read my blog, and if you don’t know what c**t stands for, you haven’t seen an offensive word, if you do know what it stands for but it offends you, you can pretend I’m saying cost or something, and if you do know what it stands for, and you’re not offended, then you know I’m really saying Jeremy Clarkson.

A rare image of his face literally being crushed by the weight of his own ego!

Obviously this is far too complex an issue to be sorted out by little old me, but I just think that it’s a little soon to be celebrating the demise of Page 3, especially given the current contextual backdrop of the Charlie Hedbo shooting, and that we all need to have a really good think about what freedom of speech really means and how we can work together to minimise its ramifications.

3 Things I Learned From A Potato.

Yesterday I became jealous of a potato, it’s not something I’m proud of but hey it happened. Now potatoes, as I’m sure you are aware have had along history, from the humblest beginnings to becoming the most versatile of all the root vegetables, you can chip ’em, fry ’em, roast ’em, do whatever you want to ’em,

Look at them, sitting there all smug, ‘OOO I’m a potato, I’m a versatile and delicious accompaniment to any meal’ c**t.

but the variation that dragged the green-eyed Kraken from the depths of my soul, was mashed. I did eventually learn a thing or two from the innocuous vegetable though, things like…

It’s Not All About Likes! (But It Kind Of Is)

I suppose at this point I should explain why I got so jealous over a potato, I was going through my WordPress reader, looking at all the posts from fellow bloggers which I follow, good quality posts as usual. Then I spotted it, a post from an undisclosed person, a post that succinctly described the complicated alchemy that is the creation of mashed potatoes.

And when you look into the mash, the mash also looks into you!

At first I was relieved, I was glad that someone had taken the time out of their day to simplify the process for the layman, and then I saw that it had received 8 likes, EIGHT! For instructions on how to mash spuds!

This was how it started, I’ll admit, to my shame, that I was peeved, you see I had posted two days earlier (You can read it by clicking here if you want) and I was struggling to get views, and especially ‘likes’ which isn’t nice, but is part and parcel of the blogging game. But, you know, it got to me, see we writers are a bit of a funny lot, we tell the truth with lies, we’re generally introverted yet obviously exhibitionist, and we write for ourselves but need others to read it, because a word unheard is impotent, but a story untold is, well it’s nothing is it.

Philosophy aside, I never realised untill Potato-gate (I’m calling it that now, why do they add ‘gate’ to the end of these things? What did gates ever do?) how much page views etc actually meant to me, I came into this thinking “I’m just going to write whatever I want and if people don’t like it f**k ’em”.

But it turns out that really, just like everybody out there, all I really want is validation, is that a bad thing? I don’t know, but it is difficult when you’ve worked really hard on a post, spend two hours writing it, another hour editing it, and then scroll through to find that a “recipe” for mashed spuds and a stock image of the offending potato is doing better than you are.
but this leads me neatly on to the next section, here it is, it’s coming……….. Now.

Turns Out People Are Quite Nice Actually.

So I was just about to leave a sarcastic comment on the Potato Post (Instructions not clear… D**k stick in toaster! if you’re interested), but I thought nope, leave it, I’ll only have to end up calling this Potato-D**k-Gate or something and that will just open up a whole new can of worms. So instead I invoked the angsty teenager inside myself and took to Facebook, had myself a little rant, and then went to do the washing up.

But as I washed up, my page views crept up, and suddenly views had surpassed every other day this month, and it felt really nice. Bloody salt of the earth my mates are, every single one of those delicious buggers had a little look at my page, and it really cheered me up, I had people sharing me post and what not, it was good, and that’s when I realised…

Sometimes A Potato Is Just A Potato.

As the evening went on, I soon realised that I actually wasn’t angry at the potato, I was angry at myself. I’ve been a little lazy when it comes to this blog, I’ve neglected it and put sloppy posts up that I hadn’t really thought through or worked on. So the dwindling views and few likes that I was getting was actually just a reflection of my own attitude. It’s easy for me to give up, it’s even easier for me to slip into a trap of not really trying, so that when something goes wrong I can just brush it off and say, ‘Oh well I never really cared about it anyway’, but I can’t do that with writing.

When you have a passion for something, it takes work, and practise, and it means having to hone your skills to become better. Rome wasn’t built in a day and all that, did the Emperor give up when the first Death Star was destroyed? No, he went right on and built a second one! That might be a terrible example, given that the second one was destroyed by a bunch of teddy bears and a squid, but you get the gist.

Come to think about it he looks a little like a potato too, smug c**t!

So from now on I am going to blog with renewed vigour, I can rebuild, I have the technology! Oh and in case you were wondering how to make mashed potato you have to;

1. Get some potatoes.
2. Boil them.
3. Add milk/cream and butter.
4. Mash ’em.

3 Things I’ve Noticed Since I Lost My Phone

A couple of months ago I lost my phone in a gay bar, it must have been picked up through the night and sold off or whatever, unfortunately though it left me phone-less, without enough money to buy a new one, and it completely shattered my opinion that the gay community were far too fabulous to ever commit such a heinous act.

Those pants are good for smuggling phones as well as budgies!

Since then I ordered a new sim card and put it in an old Sony Erikson I had lying around the house, however due to an un-avoidable accident (launching the phone at a wall while calling it a Twat is un-avoidable right?) I have been once again left bereft of a phone, save for my landline. But in the last few weeks I’ve noticed a few weird things, and I’d like to share them with you now, things like…

People Treating Me As If I’ve Contracted A Fatal Disease.

After week three of being without a phone I got a call on the landline from my Mum, she was worried because I hadn’t been replying to texts and because when she called it went straight to answer phone. I’m not going to get into the fact that even though she purported to be worried about me it still took her three weeks to call (Thanks Mo-om!), but when I told her that my phone had kissed a brick wall intensely and passionately she responded ‘Are you okay? What are you going to do?’ like I had just told her I had contracted Ebola.
My brother was exactly the same, telling me that ‘I had to get it sorted as soon as possible’, like I had caught Syphilis and if I didn’t get some antibiotics soon my face would fall off. It’s just a phone, this is the 21st century, there are a myriad of ways to get hold of someone, email, Facebook, MSN, the landline, you could write a letter, if you’re feeling particularly ornithological you could use carrier pigeon, it’s not like those 11 digits are the sole way of communicating is it?

I think it’s time we left this silly mobile phone business alone and went back to good ol’ fashioned Rambo Pigeons.

At some point I expect to be watching TV and see an advert with my family and friends impotently trying to use their phones to call me, and a well-meaning actor doing a voice over telling the good British public that ‘for just £11.99 a month you could sponsor a man like Charlie, and give him the freedom to be texted at any time of day or night, just £11.99 will give Charlie the tools to check Facebook anytime anywhere, please call this number today.’

For the record I would like The Doctor to do the voice over.

It doesn’t end there though because people also assume that you can’t complete the simplest of tasks without a phone, for instance, I have to be at work by 5:30am, and when my boss found out I didn’t have a phone he went into full panic mode, ‘but how will you wake up?’ he asked. So I had to describe to him this machine the ancients used to force themselves awake to tend their bushels of grain or whatever it is people did back in the days of yore, the Alarm Clock. Or Ye Olde Alarme Cloke, to give it its proper name. Its like phones have become such a powerful and multipurpose device that even the thought of something else being able to do the same job is total anathema to our minds.

But of course this isn’t to say that being ‘sans phone’ isn’t without its annoyances, such as…

Meeting People Becomes A Herculean Feat Of Logistical Skill.

I’m not talking about making new friends here; I’m not really one for meeting new people anyway, I’m talking about meeting up with the people I already know. For Instance when I was planning a trip down to my hometown for a weekend, I had to revisit all those skills I thought I had left in the 90’s, things like, pre-arranging times and meeting places, organising my time so that I was punctual (not an easy thing for me to do I can assure you), and writing phone numbers on scraps of paper so that I can call people when I inevitably fail at punctuality (My family staged an intervention when I was caught scrolling EBay for Filofax’s).

Did you know they still sell these? I didn’t.

The problem with all this is that I am plagued with single-mindedness, I can literally complete one task at a time, if I try any more my brain turns to goo and I’m left shivering on the floor in a pool of my own urine. Even when I’m cooking, I have to complete all my chopping first, then I do boiling, then frying, so trying to keep track of times, and numbers, and people, and trying to co-ordinate my day so that I am in the right place at the right time has left me smelling faintly of urine on more than one occasion, especially when you consider the fact that…

The Availability And Condition Of Public Phone Boxes Is Shocking.

Look I get it, the future is now, and virtually everybody in the western world has a mobile these days, this renders the humble phone box practically obsolete and other than Superman, junkies, and the occasional person in need of a good bladder emptying, who uses phone boxes?

Well, Me, that’s who!

When I’ve been out and about on my travels sometimes I’ve needed to call someone, and whenever I’ve needed to do this over the last few months first I’ve had to find one, time for some audience participation, when was the last time you saw a phone box? Can you locate it? Imagine it in your mind, now blow it up! Yeah, phone boxes have been disappearing at an exponential rate, so all those phone boxes you used when you were out of credit fifteen years ago are probably not there anymore.

So once you actually find one (it took me half an hour to do this on one afternoon), you have to face the humiliation of searching through your wallet for the scrap of paper with all your numbers on, or dig through your Filofax depending on whether or not your family are Filofax Nazi’s who stop you from buying such an item (Thanks again Mo-om!!). Then you have to suffer even more humiliation by entering one, honestly, I’d receive less dodgy looks if I entered a sex shop wearing nothing but a tutu with I LOVE NIPPLE CLAMPS emblazoned across the front.
So you go through all of that, get your 60p to put it in the machine, and find out it only takes phone cards, so you find another, phone cards, and another, and another. It’s like BT one day just said ‘F**k it, no one uses these things anyway, let’s just make them phone card only then we won’t have to piss about with all those 20 pence’s.’ Then they all had a line of cocaine and went to lunch.

Like I say, I can’t really complain, I know that I’m in the tiny minority of people who don’t own a mobile, it’s simply not profitable for BT to keep operating payphones just so  I can call someone to say  I’m running half an hour late because I got distracted by a fairly amusing squirrel.

But one thing I can complain about is the utter bell end that I discovered (after wandering around Weymouth for an hour to find a payphone that accepted, you know, money and s**t) had got some bolt cutters or something, and clipped the receiver from the torso of the phone! Two things went through my mind, one, why would someone want the receiver of a public pay phone; do those things get a good price on EBay? Is there some kind of underground payphone receiver black market I’m un aware of?

Two, Why would anyone go to those sort of lengths to steal something so ridiculous it’s the kind of thing you might conceivably look at while drunk or something and go yeah, I’ll nick that. But in order to complete the task you would actually have to go home, find your bolt cutters, then come back, I don’t know about you but my commitment to a kebab can waver in the space of two minutes when I’m drunk, let alone my commitment to random acts of vandalism.

So yeah, these are some of the things I’ve noticed, but in many ways it has been nice to be without a phone. If I go out I know I’m not going to be disturbed, I’m able to be much more ‘in the moment’ with people because I don’t have the availability of distraction, but the time has come for me to join the land of the living and buy a new phone. I’ve ordered the sim card, now I’m just waiting for someone just like you to call 0800 GIV-A-FONE and pledge just £11.99 a month, please, call today, I’m proper skint…

In Response To ‘Street harassment: There are some things only a man can explain’.

Yesterday Katy Guest wrote an article in The Independent, trying to explain why men feel the need to ‘cat-call’ women in the street, and why 37% of female students have received “unwelcome sexual advances” and why “two-thirds of students were aware of “unwanted sexual comments”.

She seemed to think firstly that this was just a male problem and that the issue boiled down to something as simple as wanting to impress our mates, and that making unwarranted sexual advances towards women was simply about trying to look the big man. This is ultimately not the case I’m afraid, and it seems that actually, Katy will never be able to understand why some men feel the need to behave like this, why? Because she has a vagina!

I know that a lot of people will not like to hear that, but I also know that men aren’t the only section of society which make un-warranted advances. I have been grabbed, pinched, stroked, whistled at, called too, hugged and kissed by women who didn’t understand that those actions were making me uncomfortable. I however will not be presumptuous enough to explain the behaviour of the women who made me feel uncomfortable, because I don’t know what drives some women to act like that, what I can do though, is try to explain why some men behave that way.

(By the way, for anyone thinking that a man cannot be sexually harassed or for anyone who thinks its funny to harass a man. I urge you to watch the video in the following link. Why Rape Is Sincerely Hilarious * Please watch in full before commenting, it is not what you think!*)

It is nowhere near as simple as saying that we just want to show off in front of friends, although I admit that sometimes that may be a part of it, but there are many other important factors to consider. Things like social norms play their part, genetics and evolution play a major role, and a lack of education is an important factor. I’m not trying to defend the actions of the minority of men who make these advances, I want to make that very clear, but I do want to explain why some men behave this way.

Part of the problem is with our genetics, we are hardwired to look for sexual partners, when you see a guy ‘eyeing up’ someone in the street, it’s basically down to the oldest, simplest, and darkest part of our brain. It is the last vestige of the animal brain that still resides within us. It is the part of the brain that thinks only of eating, sleeping, defence, attack, and reproduction. Now most men are able to control the animal brain, we have evolved higher social functions in order to reign in our base impulses, this is what gives us our capacity to reason, learn, feel empathy, and not try to have sex with everything that moves. But, when we see a woman (or man) which we find sexually attractive, we are going to look; there is no two ways about it! We may not like it, we may not be proud of it, but it happens. It’s just the way we are.

It is also the animal part of the brain which is active when some men make advances towards women, and which makes them shout, and call. The animal is telling us to be an ‘Alpha’ in order to attract the person we find sexually attractive, for some men, being an Alpha means being the biggest physically (which is why a lot of men hit the gym to gain muscle, they aren’t doing it to wrestle tigers are they?), but for others it means being the loudest, and sometimes this manifests as ‘ORITE LUV SHOW US YER T*TS’.

So what can we do to overcome the animal brain? Well education is a good start. We need to start teaching boys how to be men, or more importantly, how to be Gentlemen! Most men have only found out how to be men from the men we surround ourselves with, our father figures as children, and our peer group as teenagers, etc. Unfortunately the way women have been treated by our fore fathers (until very recently) has been pretty bad, women have been viewed as an underclass, or the pretty accompaniment, or a play thing for men. So it is going to take a bit of time for the real world to catch up with the progress that women have made by fighting for their equality. Most of the men my father’s age which I have met in pubs and through work have abhorrent views towards women, which go well beyond simple ‘Get back to the kitchen’ jokes. I remember being taught by an aging divorcee when I was 19 the four F’s. Find em’ Feel em’ F**k em’ Forget em’. This sort of societal sexism is not going to go away anytime soon unless we teach the next generation of boys what sexual equality really means.

I wish I knew a solution to stop this minority of men from making comments, making advances, and generally treating women as walking semen receptacles, but I don’t. All I can do is apologise for the men that do think that way, and assure any women reading this that we aren’t all controlled by the animal brain. Yes we may look at you and think ‘Oh my I’d like to have sex with her!’ But that is as far as we will allow our primal brain to carry us, the vast majority of men are far more interested in your minds, and not just your bodies!

Do Not Read This Post! (Oh, Go On Then, As It’s You)

Man, what a day, and it’s not even over yet! People who read this blog will know that I’m not usually the kind of guy to dump on everything, and get all angry and such, but I really need to have a bit of a rant today. Usually, if I’m stressed I’ll turn on the PS3, whack on ‘Killzone’ and blast some Helghan scum into smitherines,

Unless you can trell me what a smitherine is, EAT LEAD!

but Mr Playstation has decided to die on me, so that ain’t an option. I’d smash something up in my house, but my Mum has come to stay and I don’t really want her to watch me go all ‘Hulk SMASH’ on the fruit left in the bottom of my fridge.

Those grapes won’t even see it coming!

So instead I’m going to have a moan on here, and release it into the ether, so you have been warned, DO NOT READ THIS POST! It’s only going to get worse from here.

So first, I arrive at work, and as usual, everybody else has turned up early and outside my vans I have at least 30-50 packages waiting for me. It’s a bit annoying but what are you going to do? Then 3 hours later, I have 60 packages outside the vans, and another 40-50 waiting on the line ready for me to load up. Do I get any help? F**k No! All I get is one of the drivers b*tching at me that I’m ‘not doing it right!’

Well you know what Mr Driver whose name I can’t be bothered to remember, F**K YOU!

The other thing that has annoyed me today is the bloody heat! Man, its oppressive isn’t it? It’s like the sun has become Kim Jong Un and is trying to bend us all to his will through heat exhaustion.

You know what sun F**K YOU!

Then, I realised that I still haven’t renewed my Tax Credits. Which in itself is annoying. Why do they even bother to say, ‘You need to let us know if anything has changed, or if it hasn’t changed.’ It just makes no damn sense, if nothing has changed why do they need to know? And, if anything changes in the year we have to let them know, never mind the fact that THEY ARE THE HMRC! Do you know the one institution other than my employer who know how much tax I pay HMR-F**KING-C!


If HMRC don’t know how much I have earned in the year, then how do HMRC know how much tax I’m supposed to pay? Why have I got to call THEM up, to say what THEY already know?

It’s just HMRC f**king with people, making it so damn difficult to claim for these things in the hope that people like me will just give up and not bother applying, either that or hoping that people like me will destroy their phones while trying to get through to their “help line”

Speaking of which…

When I finally did get through, the moron on the other end of line told me I needed to provide 2 years worth of P60’s for me and the Mrs, so I tore the house apart looking for them, unsuccessfully. I tried to give an estimate.

So I hung up, looked for the P60’s, and found something that gave me a close estimation for the both of us, and thought, to hell with phoning them up I’ll do it online.

So I phone them up for a second time, got through the automated security questions for the second time, got through to an advisor, who was obviously on work experience from moronsville, dumbasf**kistan, who asked me for my post code, which I gave,

Previous address?

Address before that?

Sorry sir but…

Finally, after resisting the temptation to google the office in which she works, and flying to it using the super heated wings of flaming righteous anger which had emerged from my spine, then ramming the P60s and current address down her slack-jawed mouth. I gave her my old post code, which surprise surprise worked. They obviously hadn’t changed my address on the system, even though I receive all my HMRC letters to my new house, so really it was a case of the so-called governments arse not talking to its elbow.

They’re too busy trying to lick it!

So you know what HMRC F**K YOU!

Finally, I just had a row with the Mrs, I dropped the kids off at nursery, called her up (she’s away at the moment) and politely asked if she could send me another £20 as ‘our cupboards are beginning to look a bit bare and I’m seriously beginning to fear for the fate of the grapes!’

Too which she replied ‘What you spent all the money already?’

All the money? I replied. £70 in a week! Yeah, supplies are running low, guess what, food is f**king expensive these days, especially when the closest shops are a Co-op and a Tesco Express, have you ever tried to buy a pair of chicken breasts in either of those places? It’s cheaper to go to a plastic surgeon to buy a pair of people breasts!

So you know what food prices F**K YOU!

GRR, yeah, I think I got it all out, sorry if I bummed any of you out, but to be fair, I did warn you. So for an apology/reward for making it to the end, here is something to lighten the mood.