Monthly Archives: June 2008

Depressed Legwarmers

Dress: Have you kids been long in this wardrobe?

Legwarmers: Are you trying to be funny? One of us has got piles. We miss Bergerac.

Dress: You were swinging during disco.

Legwarmers: Cool. Were you a part of all that?

Dress: No, darlings. I’m in my 60’s.

Legwarmers: You’re looking good.

Dress: I’m a vintage piece.

Legwarmers: We’re old too.

Dress: You’re not labeled though, Honies. I don’t get out much but it’s always for a good time, if you know what I mean.

Legwarmers: Evenings?

Dress: Oh, yes. Taxis, champagne… compliments.

Legwamers: What, dry cleaning?

Dress: Please. Can you see me jumping into that claustrophobic little drum? Oh sorry, do you drip/dry?

Legwarmers: Don’t have to wake up in the morning. To be honest, we’ve started fantasizing about charity shops.

Dress: Never say the ‘c’ word. You’re being saved for a revival. Bide your time.

Legwarmers: No, we’re nostalgia, nothing more. You’re lucky. There’s lots of us in here. The snood hung himself with the piano tie last week.

Dress: Ooh, nasty. You never know. You might be passed down or…

Legwarmers: Fancy dress? Crafty cushion? Yeah, we see where this is going. We’d rather unravel completely. But thanks for the chat. Going to put our heads together with the sun-visor tonight and see what we can come up with.

Dress: You do that. Don’t despair now, Sweeties. There’s always acupuncture.

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Beermat wisdom 2

The only real tragedy is death.

We are the survivors.

We are still in the game.

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Son of Manimal

(click on image to enlarge)

Art critic: How is this piece the metaphorical offspring of ‘Manimal’?

Artist: It isn’t. It’s the actual offspring.

He’s the lovechild of Elmo and one of the zoo animals.

Art critic: But I thought Elmo was their opposite- in some way their captive.

Artist: There was an element of Stockholm Syndrome, you’re right.

But fundamentally, beasts are beasts. We all have the same animal urges.

Elmo did what comes naturally.

Art Critic: With whom? From the form, I’m guessing one of the horses.

Artist: Christ, I’m not going to do a DNA test.

Art critic: Probably not the panda though.

Artist: Look, son of manimal is a new kind of creature.

Sure, he’s got a body, four legs and a tail. But he’s also got a horn like a unicorn.

You’re not going to find markings like that on any animal, anywhere. Not even in Wales.

He is part myth, part reality.

Art critic: And he’s wearing what on his back right leg? An ankle bracelet?

Artist: Actually, it’s an electronic tag. Son of manimal is an armed robber.

He was never going to fit in with that kind of heritage.

But, don’t forget, it’s society that creates the real monsters.

Art critic: It isn’t a clay figure your son was making at his friend’s birthday party and which you hi-jacked, is it?

Artist: No, it isn’t.

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Vitriolic cheesemonger

Whoopedoo, first Sunday of the month, time for the Farmer’s Market.

Never any of you here, though, are there?

‘Sorry, got to pretend to be milking my cows while I drink beer in the cowshed. But the wife and daughter will bring along some soiled carrots.’

Don’t worry, Farmer Giles. I’ll get up at 3 in the morning, put on a phony white apron and drive my cheese 700 miles, to fill in the gaps. You take the week-end off.

The coriander pesto and huckleberry jam brigade will be right behind. Miss Lavender Soap Twisty Pants is sure to pitch up with her whale music too.

And here comes the Great British Public.

Haven’t you got anything better to do on the Sabbath, than squeal over a home-made pie, with your pathetic woven baskets? Don’t you have an oven at home? Got arthritis or something?

Look at you standing as far back from my table as you possibly can, to fork a cheddar sample, as if it makes less of a commitment.

What do you think I’m going to do? Seize you by the wrist and force you to buy some Somerset brie?

In my dreams I’ve paid a Big Issue seller to stand behind you while I watch you freeze mid-way between us, panicking at the thought of having to part with a precious £2 coin.

And bless your cheeky little children. Gosh, they’re so cute I hardly even noticed my profits were down last month because of all the cheese they ran off with in their little monkey hands.

But it’s a different story with the bread, isn’t it? Falling over yourselves to dump cash at the unleavened, Rye, doorstep-loaf, Jesus stand. You don’t get fish magically appearing as well, you know? Just a mouthful of sawdust and an empty purse.

‘Is it organic?’ ‘Is it dairy free?’

No, shove it up your arse, I churned it between my toes.

And the lies you tell about ‘coming back later’ or- my favourite- ‘Will you be here next month?’

Let’s see. It’s in my diary for the next soul-crunching 10 years to sell cheese to cretins in a faux rural setting every week-end but I might die of a wasting disease before then or be imprisoned for asphixiating you with a pillow when you’re dreaming about moving out of your London postage stamp for a Better Way of Life in Snodgrass-on-the-Wold. Will you be here next month?

Oh good, here comes the bloke with the flute. Always look forward to that. Does he know he looks like a tool with that jester’s hat on? Does he feel like a tool when he drives home in his Nissan micra wearing it?

No, they haven’t been transported back to Medieval Times. They’re smiling out of embarrassment.

Why’s that woman looking so sad? Is it because she’s homeless or lonely or trying to find some friends?

No, it’s because she bought 2 avocados for a £1 at the first stall she came to and now she’s done the circuit there’s another stall selling 3 avocados for a £1.

Plus the chap is jollier, with rosier cheeks and also sells nice beetroot.

Life is so unfair.

So here’s a plan:

Why don’t you take the weight off your Birkenstocks and chow down on a slice of pizza from that curly-haired girl in the stripy apron?

Pop by the chocolate brownie stall next to me for a couple of dozen dessert samples.

Then load the Rye bread and avocados onto your Marry Poppins bike and cycle off.

You’ll be home in plenty of time for you Ocado delivery.

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Whodunnit?

Recently, we gifted one 5.30 a.m-rising toddler to a set of his doting grandparents, took the Citroen Picasso from 0 to 60 in 1.2 seconds and made off for a Week-end Break, with the intention of sleeping through it.

While the majority of media professionals are slathering on Cowshed products in the boutique rooms of Babington House we prefer to rub shoulders with retired gentlefolk at a Wolsey Lodge.

I spent a lot of time at my schoolfriend’s cozy Lake District version when I was younger and have loved the pants off them ever since.

Wolsey Lodges (http://www.wolseylodges.com/)are beautiful private country homes turned into elegant B & Bs, usually once the children have flown the ancestral nest.

They are run by the sort of posh people who drive an ancient bottle-green VW estate, covered in dog hair, whose doors they never bother to lock.

Felicity studied cordon bleu cookery and flower arranging in France and has a light hand with a soufflé. Clive is ex-Forces, shoots socialists and has a heavy hand with an anecdote.

They accommodate only a handful of guests and treat you like a long-lost relative which, given the incestuous leanings of the upper classes, is within the realms of possibility.

On arrival you are shown around various reception rooms where the only sound is the gentle ticking of an antique clock and the panting of the aforementioned molting hound.

Then up a sweeping staircase to a pretty bedroom with a carpeted bathroom, concealed behind a door, covered in Toile de Jouy wallpaper, and a freshly baked shortbread, reclining on a Royal Worcester plate.

From this base, you are encouraged to buy cheese from a farmer in the local market town or pace around one of several walled gardens in the area, although generally you ask for an extra pillow and request a wake-up call for pre-dinner drinkies at 7 pm.

Because dinner is where the fun starts.

Guests are not obliged to eat in but dine together when they do and after an entertaining encounter with a pair of game 80 year-olds a few years ago (‘We had a wonderful war. I wrote ‘Gawn to Paris in lipstick on the mirror and didn’t return for 4 years’), it’s hard to pass up.

On this particular evening the drawing room played host to the awkward herding of a group of individuals so socially, culturally and physically disparate as to make it the closest I have ever come to partaking in a murder mystery week-end.

Small-talking over colossal G & Ts it seemed a foregone conclusion that later there would be a black-out, followed by a high-pitched shriek, whereupon one of our number would be discovered, forehead slumped in the balsamic reduction, bleeding from a neck-wound inflicted by an heirloom pistol.

Exchanging pleasantries through the exquisite centre-piece: a humour-lite auditor and his glamorous sixty-something wife, from Denmark; cardiologist Joe and his cuddly dental hygienist wife Peggy, from Ohio; a pair of unbelievably well-brought up young barristers, from Clapham; and us- a bit middle class, from the Bush.

What advice will Peggy (bank of bosoms under cotton jumper, chunky white trainers, becoming indiscrete after the second glass of Chardonnay) give to Ingaliese (botox barely set, fresh from the belly of Emporio Armani) when she realizes she broke the heel on her stiletto when stalking into the dining room?

How will our learned friends Rob and Andrea feel, bicycles stowed in the hall-way, when Gethin tells them I call cyclists ‘Lycra Nazis’?

How will I feel when Peggy tells me that Joe was once a semi-professional bike maniac, obsessively pedaling great distances and putting their marriage in jeopardy?

How will we all feel when collective embarrassment drives us to drink absurd quantities of Christmas liqueurs by the fireside and we leave with a greater sense of the underlying human urges that connect us than of the obvious differences that separate us?

Suffice to say the silver teapot rattled louder than the conversation over the home-made rhubarb compote the next morning.

Until Peggy tried to get to grips with black pudding and nearly caused a group vomiting incident: ‘Is that when dried blood is squeezed through testicles and preserved in the bile of a sheep’s bladder?’

Telephone numbers were not swapped on this occasion but no blood was spilled either.

Sometimes strangers aren’t that strange after all.

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Questions that would bring an adult sensibility to the Mr. Men books and ruin the reader’s innocent enjoyment of them: Part 1

1. In Mr. Chatterbox, Mr. Bowler has magical powers that enable him to fashion a hat which grows/decreases in size in proportion to the wearer’s propensity to talk.

Isn’t it a waste that he is still in the hat business?

2. At the beginning of his story, Mr. Greedy is fat but content and wakes up with a grin on his face from dreaming about food.

After he has been cruelly forced to slim down he looks wrong- like a buff Alexander McQueen, with a strained smile.

Is thinner always better?

3. Seeing as the Mr. Men are special and expend all their energy towards a particular character trait, do they have a limited life expectancy and, if so, does it depend on the trait?

For example, things could look good for Mr. Cheerful and more uncertain for Mr. Messy, whose body is a scribble.

4. Before Mr. Bump realizes his ideal job is as an apple picker at Mr. Barley’s orchard, he is let go from several jobs for being clumsy, including working on a farm, as a postman, as a bus conductor and as a carpenter.

What kind of carpenter in their right mind interviews a chap, wrapped in bandages from head to toe, who has a scroll for a C.V, and thinks,

I’d like to spend time training him with my hammer and nails’?

5. Once Mr. Chatterbox stops talking and Mr. Noisy starts whispering, do they spend the whole time bitterly re-living the memory of their personality castration?

For example,

‘Why are you whispering if you’re Mr. Noisy?’
‘Ask the fucking busy bodies in Wobbletown.’

6. In Mr. Grumpy, Mr. Happy tells Mr. Tickle to use his special, joy-giving gift to irritate Mr. Grumpy so that he will no longer be true to himself but a sickly imitation of Mr. Happy instead.

To do this, he takes advantage of the fact that Mr. Tickle doesn’t have any ears and assumes Mr. Happy is telling him to tickle Mr. Grumpy for fun.

Is it any wonder Mr. Happy is smiling, when he knows he is a fraud whose real name is Mr. Insidious Bastard?

7. At the beginning of Mr. Nonsense, some of the other Mr. Men make an appearance, challenging the ridiculous things that he gets up to.

However, they fail to get a rise out of him and have to give up, because he is too crazy to care and enjoys going nuts in Nonsenseland with his close friend Mr. Silly.

Isn’t it time we all learnt something from this story?

8. Mr. Funny spends all day being an entertainer and doing hilarious things like making himself a nice hot cup of cake.

These are the sort of people who are most likely to be depressed.

Would it be out of order to suggest he watch out for this, especially as he doesn’t seem to have any immediate neighbours?

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Answer to Riddle 1

Cleaning.

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