Sometimes the random albums you are compelled to listen to and review are just average. Sometimes the random albums you are compelled to listen to and review are life-changingly bad. Sometimes, though, the random albums you are compelled to listen to and review are not albums at all. There’s no particular artist, no particular style, no lyrics even. This is one of those albums.
People sometimes ask me: Chris, why did you move to Bordon? What attracted you to this small ex-army town in Hampshire? Was it the abundant woodland? Its proximity to the South Downs National Park? Being in easy reach of the picturesque and charming market towns of Farnham and Petersfield? Being within commuting distance of London while also being less than an hour from the coast?
It was none of these. What brought me to Bordon was enviable hilltop location on the borders of Aragón and Valencia in south eastern Spain, and its delicious red wines, a blend of 75% Tempranillo and 25% Garnacha grapes.
Look at you. I don’t need you.
You tell me to ‘keep you for when I need you’ but I’ve got news for you buddy, there will never come a time when I will need you.
I don’t need a Roman. I don’t think I’ve ever asked anyone for a Roman. It’s not as if I’ve been walking down the street in town and thought to myself, “ooo, you know what I could do with right now? A bit of Roman, yeah.” I’m not stuck at work trying to solve a problem and cursing the absence of a centurion to help me through a difficult time. You don’t find me arms aloft, shouting to the heavens, wishing a Roman would swoop along to sort out my bad diet and poor exercise regime.
You look confused and out of breath. Are you surrounding that house so you can lay siege to it or is this your home? It doesn’t look very Roman if you ask me. If you’re lurking about on someone else’s property they’re going to call the police. You look as though you’re taking a piss in their garden and hoping that nobody notices you. That’s not your house, is it, Roman? You wouldn’t have that many windows. You would freak if you saw double glazing or that burglar alarm started going off. Your primitive mind couldn’t cope with our twenty-first century ideas. Hell, I can’t cope with our twenty-first century ideas.
Tell you what, if I’m planning to try and conquer most of the known world I will drop you a line and ask for some assistance. Until then, I don’t need you.
Go away, shoo!
This is your timely reminder that wor Kev was famous well before he entered the fray of the ‘Beans.
Kev’s career started early. While the rest of us were lying on our backs with bottles and dummies in out mouths, he was out in the street rounding up the local cats in the neighbourhood to organise a delivery service to rival the Royal Mail. Dem kitties were strapped with all kinds of packages and sent out into the world. Very little returned but it gave the lad a head for business.
When he started primary school he saw potential, not for education but for racketeering. It was only a matter of time before he was patrolling the playground shaking down wimps for change and bottles of milk, no no, a sip was not enough for him. His empire stretched all the way from the swings down to the football pitch and across to the gates by the main road.
He grew tired of this though, it was all too easy. Kev wanted a challenge and he found this in amateur dramatics. There wasn’t a part he couldn’t play: Julius Caesar, Moses, Othello, Rhett Butler, Gary Wilmott, Bruce Forsyth, the list was endless. Success was around the corner and he could smell it. A local talent scout saw his production of Pinter’s ‘Waiting for Godot’ and immediately cast him in a new children’s television programme about a boy who made a fortune.
‘Matt’s Millions’ was based on the book by Andrew Norriss about a boy who writes a successful video game on his home computer while ill and off school, and earns over one million pounds for his troubles. Kevin, of course, played the lead role of Matt, struggling to deal with the trials and tribulations of a pre-teen swimming in money. Does he go off the rails, knee-deep in clunge and blow? Of course not, he’s only eleven.
Though it only lasted for four episodes, Kev took his role very seriously and prepared for the part as only a professional would. He organised a meeting with Alan Sugar and shadowed him for a few days followed by a week with Donald Trump, wiping fake tan off his clothes every half an hour. He went deep into everything. When the series finished he had to take a few months off from the business because he was convinced he was a millionaire and expressed open disdain for his parent’s house only having three bedrooms and no pool.
These days you’re more likely to find him sticking abb dabs into cable wires and various other IT-based activities rather than on the telly or stage. Though the world mourns the loss of a world-class thug, entrepreneur and actor it celebrates his ability to cleanse the soul of a computer or whatever it is that IT people do.
It’s important to remember that truth will always be stranger than fiction. I’m living proof of this.
When I first saw him, first heard him, I wasn’t really paying attention so his presence drifted past me without any kind of moment to speak of. It was only when I encountered him a second and third time that he began hard to ignore.
Picture this; a cool Autumn day, the leaves blowing through the streets, people hurry past clutching under their coats. There I am doing the same as everyone else. I’m not going anywhere in particular because I need a little fresh air on my lunch break before I head back into the jungle. The air is crisp and fresh, a lightness on my tongue. Coming towards me is a man on a bike so I make sure to keep to the far right so he can get past. He’s wearing a hi-vis jacket and his mask is covering the entirety of his face; were it not for COVID-19 you would swear he was some kind of thief. He doesn’t say anything as you approach, only when he’s cycled past you does it happen. He starts rapping.
When absurdity hits, it is quite disorientating. That’s why I brushed it off to begin with thinking that this guy was shouting at someone or something else in the street. Only when it happened again about a fortnight later did it stick in my mind. I can never make out what he’s saying or at least not yet anyway. Usually by the time I’ve realised who it is, he’s already starting cycling off in the opposite direction, spitting rhymes like the best of them.
Does he do this all day? Is this his job, drive-by rapper? Is he practising for some kind of poetry slam tournament, one held where the people are on bikes and constantly move about? It wouldn’t make it any less interesting than your usual poetry slam tournament but hey it’s a little bit different. Does he only do it at me or does everyone feel the brunt of his lyrical wordplay? I can’t imagine he’s saying nice things, nobody ever walks past me and says a nice thing. The last time that happened was only a fortnight ago; a friend and I were walking back to his house and some kids on the corner, who were using their time wisely to twat a metal fence with a stick, voiced, “Melons!” as we walked past. Then they started laughing. I don’t have any melons so I can only imagine what kind of voracious insult that youth was hurling in my general direction.
It’s unlikely that you’ll ever be wandering around where I work however if you do and you see a tall, gangling-looking youth in bright yellow and navy blue tracksuit bottoms riding towards you, make sure you’re listening to what he has to say.
Chris is trying to fill a cookbook he’s inexplicably been given a publishing deal to write, so we quickly brainstorm some ideas. We suggest:
- Ham Sandwiches
- Fisted Eggs
- The Heart of Gammon
Pigs come in all shapes and sizes. They are natures gift that keeps on giving because no matter what happens to a pig, the results are always tasty. The pig is clearly held in such high regard because there are other animals who want to be a pig so badly that they’ve even changed their name to pig.
I bring you to the furry slice of nonsense that is the common guinea pig.
Look at it. That’s not a pig, but it’s called a pig. It’s a rodent with pig ambitions. You have to give it credit for trying because they’ve gone the whole hog (ding!) in getting to this point. Guinea pigs used to look like voles with a bad haircuts, now they’re domesticated and in addition to being a fine way of trapping Dr Zoidberg, they’re a firm favourite with small children.
I recently visited a farm near Skipton that had a fuck-tonne of the little buggers. The guinea pigs I’ve been used to in the past were squealing nervous things that wouldn’t touch you to scratch you and if you tried to get close to them they’d have a heart attack or run away. These farm guinea pigs were so desperate for attention that they were climbing over themselves to get to me. I’m a fairly popular person with both people and animals yet this level of appreciation is almost unheard of.
I spent a good deal of time petting these pigs and wondering if perhaps I have been wrong about guinea pigs all this time. They’re cute and absolutely no threat to me or my family. I could crush them all but would I really want to with cute little faces and lovely eyes like our chap above?
I’m not going to start eating them (I’m looking at you, South America) nor will I be purchasing any in the near future. Consider me a changed man though, one who would be happy to shake a guinea pig’s paw and offer him in for a cuppa and maybe some bacon (or ham) sandwiches.
Bridlington has a lot to answer for.
You know when people meet up and agree to do exciting things together in a different part of the world and then you pack all your stuff up and hop in a car to drive several miles (or hundred miles in some cases) in order to get to a place where you can all meet up before the big meet up and then you exchange pleasantries in someone’s dad’s kitchen perhaps chase the cats about a bit and then, when the time is right, you all hop in another car and start driving along the road that leads you to the place where the big meet up is going to happen and you look at cows as you keep going and the weather seems overtly nice and you crimsonly waltz up the M sixty something or other until you get to the coast and everything seems great and even though you’re as far East as you can go and the only entertainment is some drunken berks and possibly some bint with a piano in a social club that has about as much charm as a pubic louse and in the morning, with a glint in your eye and a song in your heart, you step outside to greet the world and finally FINALLY try to start doing all those exciting things and…
We’ve clearly been having too much fun. The world doesn’t want us to be about and so, without wanting to sound too bitter, we’re shutting this gin joint down.
No, no, turn around my friend, you’re not welcome here. You’ve been spoilt with the sheer volume of content dripping from our collective pores and someone has to turn the tap off. Maybe when you’ve come to understand that, much like Bridlington, occasionally things have to shut the fuck off these pages will once again be strewn (STREWN I say) with all the juicy content you’ve been clamming for.
For now, well, let me close this chapter on a very hackable and mostly quiet October.