After meeting a terrific vending machine earlier this year, I was delighted to find another incredibly convenient retail experience in London’s bustling West End.
It has everything for the world of today: a cash machine, tobacco, something to do with medicine or adding numbers together, mobile phones, vaping supplies, and Internet Explorer.
Naturally, I went straight in, withdrew some cash, and spent it on an ounce of snuff, some medicine and/or maths, having a SIM card unlocked, a pint of blueberry sherbet vape juice, and a crap browser from 20 years ago. If you need me to pick up any of that for you, just shout.
This week, the trains are all having a well-earned holiday, which means that my commute has become almost impossible. I’m working nights all this week, so get around the travel problem, work have sent me on a well-earned holiday too, and have put me up in a three star hotel with approximately a billion rooms that is mostly filled with backpackers, tour parties of Americans in ill-advised shorts and enormous groups of schoolchildren.
My room is actually not too bad, but the hotel itself is intriguing for the industrial scale on which it operates and the odd things they have in reception. There’s a whole unstaffed supermarket, with fridges full of drinks and food and snacks, with self-service checkouts. There’s a whole range of middling bars and cafes. There’s an enormous soulless pub, facing on to the street outside, catering strictly to the foreign tourist market, that is literally called “London Pub”.
And just beside the lifts, there’s a vending machine for the essentials you might have forgotten when you packed your bag. Do you need to stock up on toothpaste or shampoo or painkillers or condoms or batteries or SIM cards or plug adapters or padlocks?
No? Well, perhaps what you’re missing is souvenirs to take back home, to give to your loved ones as a reminder of your wonderful time in London. Don’t worry, the amazing hotel reception vending machine has you covered there too. You can choose from a toy black London cab, a toy red London bus, a gold model of Big Ben or a gold model of Tower Bridge. Your nearest and dearest are sure to be thrilled.
I know you’re going to feel like you’re missing out, but don’t despair. I’m here until the end of the week, so if you send the money I’ll happily get vending on your behalf. Just let me know which classy souvenirs have caught your eye.
Hey kid, are you hungry? Do you need something to snack on before dinner?
What you need is a bag of Bamse Mums.
We take the finest things that sugar can produce and fashion them into someone that would make even a Smurf squint with glee.
Hidden beneath a veil of chocolate is something that up until writing this post I wasn’t quite sure what it was. It tasted like milk but it’s actually a marshmallow. Yeah, one of them covered in chocolate but also tasting a bit like a Kinder Egg. In the shape of a bear. Sort of shaped like a bear. In your mouth.
Trust me, with a packet full of these in your pocket, well, they’d melt obviously because it’s summer. They would melt into the sexiest confectionary you have ever seen or maybe not because they’re made in France but my sister sent some over from Sweden. Also nobody is impressed with melted chocolate unless they’ve got a hoover bag covered in holes for a brain.
English people probably don’t know what they are. They’re Bamse Mums.
Import some today and wonder why you bothered to do so in the first place.
I, like you, have a pair of feet (that is unless you’re Chris and you have three legs, or maybe four, I forget about that conversation in and around his shoe poem) and there is nothing that I wouldn’t do to protect my feet.
Someone invented shoes and the world rejoiced. From then there was some protection from the tiny little stones on that the ground, the acorns, possibly broken glass and even if someone has been a bit careless with their muesli. Oh, what a happy time it was.
But there was a catch. Each shoe was a one-way street; there was never a chance that the left shoe could be put on the right foot and vice versa. If you lost one of them then you had to find another that would fit. The unique shape on the foot meant that only a lefty would fit the left. People should have the freedom to wear what they wanted and that would never be the case.
Do you remember the old expression, “the shoe is on the other foot”? I see that as the future.
Imagine a shoe that could slip onto either foot. You’re no longer held captive by these prehistoric methods of yore. You’re so engrossed in that three bean salad podcast that you’re not even paying attention to what goes on where and, you know what? It doesn’t matter. My invention, the Neutral Shoe (no trademarks yet, please don’t steal my ideas), is pertinent enough to adapt to its surroundings, namely your foot. I haven’t drawn up the blueprints yet however I imagine the same sleek design from the heel to the long bit in the middle. At the end though, that’s when things get interesting.
It curves around so it’s wide enough to fit either the left or right foot. Your toes are free to wiggle about yet it’s still snug enough to not feel as though you’re walking around in a pair of flipflops (nobody wants that). The Neutral Shoe will be a thing of beauty; not necessarily solving any of life’s major problems but there to offer a helping hand (or foot) when you need it most. Putting on a pair of shoes will be different and new at the same time.
All I need is five hundred thousand pounds and I can get to work. You have my bank details, gentlemen, and I look forward to seeing you all at the champagne launch ceremony in six to nine months time.
Do you have poorly-raised pork? Are you in receipt of rude chops or maladjusted mince? Are you berated by bad bacon and lazy lamb cutlets? What you need is the best in the business to teach them a lesson they’ll never forget.
Manners for Meat will take your ill-educated meat products and transform them into something you can show to mother and father at the next boating ceremony.
Leave your meat with us and we will put them through an intense yet fair training regime to whip them into shape.
No more crossed words. No more mumbling under their breath. No more ill-advised comments during luncheons and dinner parties. No slouching, no passing wind, no loud burps the likes of which could shake the top of Ben Nevis and drip snow on all the surrounding villages.
Manners maketh the man but they also maketh the meat.
Give us two weeks and we will put them through their paces and leave a lasting effect that will be seen for generations to come (or until your next Sunday dinner).
I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but it’s nearly Christmas. There are very few signs to warn you of its approach – it would be handy, for example, if everything you saw and heard in the media for the last two months had involved a Christmas related song, perhaps – but I have checked and it’s coming at the end of this week.
We all know what that means. There will be trees and presents and cake, and the law will turn a blind eye to breaking-and-entering offences committed by overweight bearded pensioners in unlikely red outfits. But where does Christmas come from? You don’t know, so prepare your thanks because I’m about to tell you.
Christmas is the eldest child of Father Christmas, born in December 1955 in Lapland. Father Christmas himself is, of course, the nephew of Zeus. After spending a happy childhood in the snowy reindeer-filled northern reaches of Finland, young Christmas left home and travelled to Liverpool in the hope of landing a role in Brookside.
The lack of an authentic scouse accent prevented that dream from becoming a reality, and a few years later Christmas was working in a branch of M&S where a toy sale coincided with the accidental delivery of too many frozen turkeys. The marketing opportunity was obvious. Parents were persuaded to get their kids some knock-off toys and treat themselves to a slap-up turkey lunch (pictured) by Christmas’s dad, whose booming voice and hypnotic catchphrase “ho” entranced the crowds at the Uttoxeter department store.
Today those traditions have spread far beyond Uttoxeter and the surrounding villages of Willslock, Dagdale and Spath. Now we can all enjoy the warm glow of buying some knock-off presents for each other and eating a type of meat that, at any other time of year, we’d avoid in favour of something that didn’t have the flavour and texture of teatowels. Hurrah.
In celebration of the big day, which is definitely some time this week but I’m not 100% sure when, please enjoy this Twitter thread of dreadful Christmas dinners. Thank you.
Back in 2018, on a website called Beans, a young man named Chris informed the world that if you ever needed to find where he was all you needed to do was write for a free factsheet to the following address:
Where is Chris now? PO Box 100 Pouring Beans The Internet
As he has recently changed addresses and disappeared somewhere where horses and drinks cabinets litter the streets and, quite possibly, the stables and corner shops too, I do wonder if this is still correct when trying to look at him?
The only reason I ask is because a recent internet quiz asked me if he was still “marketable” and I decided that the only way was to look at him and thus the only way to find him was using this fool proof method listed as a throwaway comment on a post three years ago.
If anyone can help then do let me know. I tried rigging up a GPS using a pulley system and very surprisingly it didn’t work.