Tag Archives: iPhone

Holiday Beer Goggles

This is just great, look at this.  It’s so much better than the way I live my life at home and I know why: because it’s simpler and there are only 2 rings on the kitchen stove. Why do I think I need more? Mostly for resting another unfinished pot on, but you wouldn’t do that if you lived here. You’d just eat everything straight away and you wouldn’t eat so much because it’s more delicious and there would be no Fox’s biscuits in the cupboard.

And you wouldn’t eat Heinz and Hellman’s because you’d be so pure and carefree, the food wouldn’t need it. You’d just grow all your own veg and it would be ripe all the time and extra-nutritious and when you felt hungry between meals you’d basically eat nuts. And you would go hours- days- without even thinking about chocolate and, if you did, it would be the 100% cocoa solids type, which is the equivalent of picking the bean off the tree in an organic way.

And you’d have so much less stuff and bed linen. You wouldn’t have a drawer full of miscellaneous items (why would you ever need rubber bands here?) or a box of wrapping paper or extra bathroom wotnots because you’d just use the essentials. That’s why you’d be so happy and friendly to strangers.

And none of your energy would go into soft furnishings. You wouldn’t need cushions or throws and nothing anywhere on the floors, unless it’s a really practical rug for collecting the water off feet or an exquisite one woven in good colours. And another reason why everyone here is smiling is that they know you just need a few effigies of Mary the Mother of God on the wall or a locally-made ceramic plate and absolutely no photographs.

And you’d be uber-relaxed the whole time because people here don’t do admin. They don’t have car insurance or diaries or passports. In fact, I bet hardly anyone here has a bank account- you just wouldn’t need one.  Because say you went into the city to buy a floaty dress or some stylish sandals or to eat at a restaurant with delicious ancient recipes and white tablecloths and cold wine glasses, you’d definitely have enough in your beautiful leather wallet.

Everything you’d be doing would be so natural and simple and authentic.

And when you went to buy flowers from the market- which you would do every morning, with your long hair- you would just swap it for the passata you’d made or the singing you’d do for them at the Christening of their niece.

And you’d always be tanned and laughing because you wouldn’t have to remember family birthdays and if you did it would be in a really genuine way, where everyone celebrates by dancing till 1 in the morning under the stars; it would have nothing to do with ordering from Amazon.

And you’d be drinking local firewater but not so much you’d have a hangover- more a dizzy swirling of bees above the head, like in cartoons. Yes, hangovers would be comical here. You’d have a laugh about them!

And you’d mostly wear white and you wouldn’t need to go to the hairdressers and you’d never have to de-tox because you hadn’t been eating tomato ketchup or thinking dark thoughts.

And the days would be longer and emptier and you’d be full of energy and inspiration to pour into a creative project- a meaningful, single-minded one, like re-creating the anatomy of a bee using minute mosaic tiles hand-painted by an old master craftsmen in his charming, decrepit studio on the outskirts of the village.

And the kids would run wild and free and grow bleached hair. They’d never need to learn an instrument or stroke plastic toys and they’d stop being interested in computers because they’d be tripping along with sticks and hoops in the local squares, licking ice-creams all the time.

And when they got a bit older they wouldn’t get into any trouble; they’d just jump on Vespas with other good-looking teenagers and drink Fanta till 2 in the morning, cracking jokes and doing cheeky dances in their long shorts and plimsolls and knowing what it feels like to feel alive inside.

And ‘so long’ to Facebook because no-one here has ever even heard of the internet- you can tell. I think the stove-top rings and soft furnishings and Facebook are at the heart of what gets me down at home. People might think the swimming pool helps but I think that if you lived here you could strip it right down and pretty soon all you’d need would be an espresso machine and a lipstick.

I wonder if I could move my entire life here with no Facebook and be in one of those articles about people moving their families to the coasts of Guadeloupe and rubbing sand into their children’s body all day and night, in-between eating oranges and not looking at Facebook.

I wonder if I could leave every worry and fear right back there in that dishwasher guarantee direct debit standing order pile and start living a real life here, buying all my meat from large, cigar-smoking men in candy-striped aprons who’ve wrestled the animal to death themselves while smoking.

I’d never need to go to the doctor or sleep with the Vicar or pay taxes or argue with anybody ever and I’d hardly need an income because I’d be eating figs all the time and being content.

And it would be even better if I could get rid of the whole family and just live in a tiny apartment with shutters and walk around in leggings like Jeremy Irons at the end of Damage, where he manages to survive causing his own son’s death by carrying a string bag and eating comte.

So if I can shade the screen of the iPhone from this perpetual sun and when it has cooled down and is prepared to do more than make emergency calls, I am going to Google some local property prices and pretend you still get 4 Euros to the Pound.

And if it still seems a bit expensive and I can’t figure a way to get rid of the family and the creative project sounds like it might turn me a bit mental- albeit in a natural and authentic way- then I am totally and most definitely going to eat only fruit and yoghurt for breakfast every single day when I get home and only do Facebook at certain pre-designated times.



Filed under Mumbo Life, Mumbo Obsessions, Uncategorized

Census Form


If you don’t, we’re going to come to your house and arrest you because we know your name and where you live.

Don’t be a smart arse; there are lots of other things we don’t know that you need to tell us, about your house and its toilets.

And we trust you not to lie, in a way we don’t trust you to do anything else for yourself in this society:

1. Who lives in your house and how are they related to each other?

Ignore this if you’re a regular family with the same boring surname. We’re only interested if you’ve got some sort of messed-up situation going on. Maybe there’s a weird lodger or a menage-a-trois or, like, masses of people co-habiting in one room, that can give us some crazy Daily Mail statistic.

2. What kind of house do you live in?

We want to know if it’s in the middle of loads of other houses all squashed up or if it’s attached to the one next door, like a Siamese twin.

Once you’ve told us, we’ll Google Map it to confirm you understand exactly how your property relates to the ones around it.

3. How many rooms are there in your house that you can actually use?

Don’t count the bathroom, kitchen or mis-shaped rooms. Don’t count the ones with shit in them or the old nursery you turned into a sewing room. Don’t count the stupid ones that property developers say are bedrooms but you can barely squeeze in a futon.

Just count the ones that are the balls of the house.

4. Was there anyone staying with you on the arbitrary night of April 19th, who usually stays somewhere else?

If so- sounds complicated but just ride with it- you need to go to table 2 and imagine that, for one night only, they are a person living in your house who will not be filling in their own form because on the night of April 19th they were staying with you.

Did you let them use your van?

Did they use the bath/shower AND toilet that is available only for the household?

Did they leave wet towels on the floor? That’s not crucial but it IS colour.

Speaking of which, if they were a person of colour can you describe exactly what shade, from the spectrum below.

5. Do you look after anybody who can’t look after themselves or help out in any way with Special Needs characters?

If ‘no’, then you really should, so don’t interpret the fact that you can skip the next 5 questions as a reward.

6. Do you work, or have you ever worked, for a living?

Now, don’t rush into this. Think long and hard and try to remember what you put down on your tax form. Ideally, the two should match up and then we’re all singing off the same hymn sheet.

Just to let you know, there’s going to be a Tax/Census Summer party where we’re going to take a bunch of forms to All Bar One and cross-reference them.

7. If a job had been available last week to start work in 2 weeks’ time at the place you worked 3 years ago, would you lie about your qualifications in the same way you have to us, in order to get it?

Yes, this IS a trick question.

8. Were you born in this country or have you recently arrived to freeload?

Oh, where’s your sense of humour?

Nevertheless, we’re hoping to dig out some of the stuff immigration have fluffed because the census has been going since 1801 and every 10 years 67.6% of illegal immigrants have been tripped up by it.

9. Can you tell us what flavour religion you are?

This need not be a reflection of how you were brought up or how you would describe your outlook. It’s nothing to do with whether you are trying to get your child into a Faith school or whether you are prepared to say God things in a church at Christenings.

It’s more of a stirring-up kind of question, to make the Vatican panic.

(And don’t you dare do what 390,000 people did in 2001 and enter ‘Jedi’.)

10. If you haven’t got an iPhone, how could Apple make you get one?

This is a new-wave question wholly unrelated to the fact that each member of the Census workforce is getting an iPod-shuffle.

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Texting is for young people who want sex with each other and need to arrange a time and place to have it. (Or Vernon Kay who wants it but is not allowed to have it.)

It suits them perfectly because it is a made-up language with lazy grammatical rules and they don’t need to fiddle around with those nasty little ink cartridges that stain your hands.

Pity the children of the 60s and 70s who have caught onto its coat-tails, like an embarrassing Mum wearing flares at the school gates. They know nothing of this world, even though their own parents are managing to Skype like bastards.

Talking on the phone is a risky business. It is fraught with nuance and the possibility of the other person Talking For Too Long or Raising an Unforeseen Topic.

Facebook is like cabaret and has rendered emails dry as a bone, not to mention steeped in zombie potential ever since a grubby spin doctor typed about it being a good day to bury bad news.

Texting gets you straight to the source on your own terms: intimate and impersonal, functional and frivolous, it’s the perfect conversation- one where you don’t have to listen, reply or disguise the contempt in your voice.

Even so, women can read more into a text than into the Declaration of Human Rights, eyeballing their phone incredulously, gasping, ‘How are you? What the hell is that supposed to mean? It’s taken him 2 hours and 43 minutes to reply to my last text. How the hell am I supposed to be?’

Regular texters develop a style their regular textees understand and aren’t offended by. It may be exclamation mark-heavy or brutally to the point but as long as they stick to it everyone knows where they stand. In this territory, a typo can spell trubbly and ‘c u later’ a vicious snub if it comes from the wrong mobile number.

That said, vicar texts are always creepy and capitals mean SHOUTING.

Phones too need to be compatible, as any jobbing Nokia scrambling the arse out of an iPhone missive will testify.

Every now and then, in the middle of a text orgy, one party takes it upon themselves to decide it’s silly to do all this texting- we may as well talk.


This changes the level of the playing field and exhibits an ETI (Emotional Texting Intelligence) that is wanting, making them the last person in the world with whom you would want a real dialogue.

Certain textual emotions are universal: the heart skip at the beep alert; the ‘chosen one’ feeling of a message flashing up in silent mode; the confusion resulting from a delayed text agreeing with something you sent outside Texting Real Time, necessitating a laborious scroll through the sent box.

Textual content, on the other hand, can be customised; several decisions must be made: capitals after full stops or lower case throughout- it’s a question of conformity; abbreviations (Wend for week-end) and textspeak (gr8) , a marker of age; use of smiley faces :), hahaha and lol, mental stability.

Predictive text is Simon Cowell: contrived, bonkers and unhelpful if you want to express individuality; funny if you’re pissed.

The most rewarding of the texting lexicon is the truncated sentence: ‘buying tomatoes’ transforms your Mum into a Wall Street trader while firing off ‘am outside’ could catapult even Nick Clegg into The Bourne Supremacy.

And the most controversial? The ‘x’, of course. Or the size, number, lack thereof.

It can re-appear in dreams as a punch in the face or a violation, start or finish a relationship and make a riddle of a post code.

Be afraid. b v. frAd.

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