Friday, July 30, 2004

My wooden floor is finished!!!

It’s lovely. So... wooden.

Certainly better than the nanotechnology-thick carpet that was previously laid directly onto the concrete screed. That was always somewhat chilly.

It means I finally wave goodbye to the Cheerful Builder today.

Back on my own during the day. Which is good in a way, as I’ve got bugger all work done for weeks, nor have I had a chance to read any blogs. For all I know, all sorts of things could be happening. If you all could post a very brief summary of what you’ve done since May then this will save me a lot of trouble. Thanks.

Don’t fret about the Cheerful Builder. I’ll probably refer to him again occasionally, and I’m sure he’ll shortly be appearing in pantomime at a venue near you.

I’m waiting for him to arrive now. I feel like I should do something, you know, put balloons out or something, or make a nice sponge cake.

There are tears in my eyes.

But I had to write the cheque out eventually.

Thursday, July 29, 2004

The LTLP enjoys going to Ikea.

I do not enjoy going to Ikea. I would rather stay at home, driving nails through my scrotum whilst listening to the Stereophonics. It’s that sort of disenjoyment.

This would not normally be a problem. We have a modern relationship based on respect. If she wants to spend her spare time in Ikea then that’s fine by me. The stupid cow.

The problem with our two ‘not wanting anything to do with Ikea’/‘wanting to go to Ikea’ worlds is that there is sometimes seepage. This seepage takes the form of my non-Ikeaic day suddenly being invaded with bags of crap that she’s bought.

And just when I thought I’d won the battle to get her to stop buying unnecessary rubbish from there, the Government tells us all to stock up on candles.

Thanks, Tony.

We are all unprepared, they say, for an emergency. It’s because we’re all so used to be able to pop out for 24-hour shopping all the time.

Hmm. I suspect whoever wrote that hasn’t spent much time in this corner of Norfolk.

I’m not sure how I feel about the rest of the advice. Should the village be dirty-bombed I’m reasonably self sufficient. I have a gun and a plentiful supply of rabbits, and the Fray Bentos factory is local although, to be honest, I’d rather die slowly from hunger.

It’s this ‘turn on the radio’ thing that worries me. If I’m cowering under the stairs with the LTLP and three tins of beans, really the last thing I want is to flick on the radio and hear the cheery tones of Steve Wright going:

“Factoid – we’re all going to die!”

Tuesday, July 27, 2004

“Chinese herbal medicine first evolved in the mountains of ancient China as Taoist philosophers searched for the elusive ELIXIR OF LIFE.

Over the centuries they learned all the remarkable healing powers of carefully combined plants and minerals taken in Tao form.

The formulation is governed by Wood one of the Five Elemental Energies and contains the legendary elixir of life ‘He Shou Wu’”

As I lie in my relaxing bath I wonder:

Is this the most pretentious shampoo bottle in the world?

Around two quid from Tesco’s, if you want any.

Monday, July 26, 2004

My mother found a photo.

It’s of my Great Great Grandfather and his family.

He was born in 1855, so, by roughly guestimating his age in the picture, I’d say that it was taken in about 1890. I’m sure there are loads of boring things I could do on the Internet to verify dates and stuff, but for now just go with me that it was old. Very old.

She told me about this, and I was quite excited. I’ve got quite interested in ‘family’ lately.

Then I pulled it out of the envelope.

It took me a couple of seconds to focus before I recoiled in horror. Had I been in a film, I would have leapt back several feet, breaking a priceless Ming vase in the process, but for now you’ll just have to make do with a simple recoil.

To put it delicately, my Great Great Grandfather, Great Great Grandmother and their two kids, one of whom was presumably my Great Grandfather/Mother were... well... that it to say...

They were not exactly lookers.

People didn’t used to smile for photos in those days, which might have accentuated the negative (ho ho), and of course there was a certain amount of fading. However, as my head swam and I clutched the offending image in disbelief, I had to admit to myself that not only were my ancestors not the beautiful yet hardy frontierspeople that I’d imagined, but that everything that I had previously read about evolution was wrong.

In one of the early Tom and Jerry cartoons, before they got rubbish, there’s a lovely bit where Tom pegs it at full speed round a corner, only to be hit full on in the face by a steam-iron, held by Spike the dog. Tom’s face, of course, flattens itself into a steam-iron shape as he blinks in confusion.

This was my Great Great Grandmother. This pitiful yet sinister steam-iron squashed face creature glared out of the picture at me like some mutant refugee from the Cursed Earth.

The children glowered from the front. Both had wide, stretched, frog-like mouths as if they’d been brought up for ten years in a Chernobyl wind tunnel.

The girl, aside from that, wasn’t too bad in a Christina Ricci-in-the-Addams-Family sort of way, but her brother seemed to have a head that had been moulded from papier-mache, not set properly and, perhaps, reversed over several times by a large Transit van packed with heavy furniture.

My Great Great Grandfather seemed human. That is to say that most of his face was obscured by a massive WG Grace type beard, so really it was just his eyes and nose showing. He seemed to carry an indescribable air of sadness about him, which is not surprising given his family circumstances.

So there we go.

I replaced the picture, my head full of wonder at my monkey-featured ancestors.

And how, in just over one hundred years, the miracle of evolution has propelled me to the other extreme.

Friday, July 23, 2004

I know writers are meant to struggle for their craft, but this is ridiculous.

The Cheerful Builder arrives in half an hour and I am sat here on the concrete floor base, the PC keyboard balanced on my knees, squinting at the monitor which is three feet away from me perched on a garden chair.

There is still wood everywhere, apart from in the kitchen, which is piled high with everything else in the world that I possess. I think it would be fair to say that conditions are still not 100% conducive to producing my daily diary. In fact, it’s a pain in the arse.

Anne Frank never had to put up with this.

To make things worse, we were attacked by another swarm of thunder flies yesterday. They are the tiny, tiny little annoying ones, no bigger than a speck, that appear from nowhere and end up everywhere. They generally land on anything that’s white, because they are stupid.

Unfortunately I was painting a door at the time. White, of course. I gave up in the end, because they kept landing in the paint and the door was ending up more specky than a BBC Micro (Model B) owners’ convention.

Do enjoy your weekends, everyone. I hope to have a desk back in here for Monday, and shall perhaps be a more entertaining read next week.

(insert really good last sentence here).

Thursday, July 22, 2004

Due to cheerful building activities, today's writing has been curtailed.

If you enjoyed Salvadore's posts whilst I was on holiday, he's blogging over at Unluckyman today.

Wednesday, July 21, 2004

The Cheerful Builder is back!!!

When your blog is getting a bit stale and tired, sometimes it is a good ploy to reintroduce a well known and much loved character.

This should arrest my recent alarming decline in female readership.

"Wotcha!" he says, poking his head round the door. Little does he know that he is the Harold Bishop of blogs.

He is here to fit my new wooden floor. This is good, as at present my house is full of wood. There is wood in the lounge, wood in the dining room. It is piled high, leaning against things, getting in the way, blocking doorways.

There is more wood than the front row at Spearmint Rhino's.

The Cheerful Builder's phone rings. The ringtone is the theme from 'Only Fools and Horses'.

I am concerned that he might have turned into a wanker.

Tuesday, July 20, 2004

I have forgotten somebody’s birthday.

No. That is not quite right. It’s not as simple as that.

Remembering birthdays is all to do with genetics and gender. I do not think it sexist to say that it is females who are programmed to remember to buy and to post birthday cards. It is something to do with evolution.

Presumably men were out killing mammoths and things so never developed this side of their brain, whilst women were tending the fire, tanning animal skins and generally developing their organisational sense.

Now we have moved on, and women can get secretarial jobs and listen to Dido, but their birthday card gender superiority remains. I truly do have respect for them.

So anyway, I did not forget as such. I knew it was his birthday, and have done for a while, but it sort of crept up on me and by the time it arrived it was too late to do the Ranulph Feinnes-like trek to a shop that sold anything that he might like. In the end, I was rubbish and did an emergency Amazon order. Did you know that 82% of Amazon’s sales go to blokes who are rubbish at remembering birthdays?

The thing is that I think I might have gone a bit over the top. After all, I have just dedicated a whole written entry to him.

I doubt Beethoven’s friends would have been pissed off, had he written them special piano sonatas on their birthdays.

“That’s great! Thanks very much, Beethoven!” they would have exclaimed.

“You what?” he would have replied.

Likewise, there could have been nothing more flattering for people like Mona Lisa and The Laughing Cavalier to have their mates, the great artists, immortalise them on canvas.

So happy birthday, Unluckyman. I did not forget after all. I have given you the greatest gift in my possession.

I have given you the gift of blog.

Monday, July 19, 2004

Saturday. The LTLP suggested that we go to see ‘Fahrenheit 9/11’.

I was shocked. I had understood this film to be about America’s first special needs president, and to feature neither a Harrison Ford/Sean Bean/Arnie type action hero, nor any form of kooky love interest.

I checked the listings for the local independent cinema, the Fakenham Hollywood. But hard as I scanned, I could not find it anywhere. It was just not being shown.

This was puzzling. I thought about it for a while. And then felt sick to the stomach as I the truth dawned.

The cinema depends on the town council for licensing etc. And this is the town council that is funded by the County Council, that is in turn funded by the Treasury, run by Mr Blair and his powerful coterie of friends, including Mr Bush!!!

Truly this is one film that they do not want you to see.

This meant going much further afield to find a renegade outfit willing to make a stand for the little guy. Thus we found ourselves at the UCI multiplex for the matinee performance.

Even Halliburton’s tentacles do not stretch as far as Norwich.

I don’t go to the cinema much. The last two films I saw were ‘Shaun of the Dead’, which was good, and ‘School of Rock’, which was desperate. I don’t find the cinema experience awesome enough to warrant sitting through average movies.

I enjoyed ‘Fahrenheit 9/11’. Everybody likes having their prejudices confirmed, and it was nice of Mr Moore to make a whole film entirely for my benefit. It had big peaks and big troughs and was perhaps a better story than it was a movie.

I’d go along with Inspector Sands’s mini-review at Casino Avenue. And I'd add that the two most powerful scenes top and tail the film.

At the start, after being reminded of the bitter controversy and division of the US election result, we see again the angry demonstrations as the inaugural presidential motorcade is pelted with eggs.

And you guess that it would only be a fool and a bully who would go on to lead a government that wasn’t based on consensus and healing.

And right at the end, a passer-by confronts Michael Moore, as he films a bereaved mother in front of the White House. “This is a set up!” she screams. “It’s a set up scene!” She clearly thinks that the mother is an actress, demanding to know where exactly in Iraq her son was lost.

The passer-by was brave to interfere. And she was totally, utterly, completely sure that she was right.

Friday, July 16, 2004

I have a DIY crisis.

A year or so ago, I made a shelf for herbs and spices.

‘Made’ here is used in its most basic sense insofar as I cut a bit of wood to the rightish length and attempted to screw it on to the larder wall.

Unfortunately, the bricks forming the larder wall are as ancient and as crumbly as could be, so the drill took massive chunks out, melting it like cheese. By that point it was getting on a bit and I was getting bored, so I just belted the wood straight into the bricks with six inch nails.

They sort of held it. It was at a bit of an angle, but the jars balanced on there OK and it was out of sight behind a corner.

I felt very manly. I had made a shelf. Now I could easily get to my oregano.

Now I find that the shelf is sagging to what looks like thirty degrees. For the life of me, I can’t work out the physics that keeps the jars perched on there. Something to do with surface tension.

I think my next step will be ‘No More Nails’. If superglue’s good enough for Frank Spencer, it’s good enough for me.

If I’m honest, I’ve never been particularly practical. At our last place I had to take an inch or so off the bottom of a door, as it was sticking on a shaggy new carpet.

So I carefully removed the door and took two inches or so off. Just to be sure, like.

I then replaced the door, but it was still sticking. However, there was a two-inch gap at the top. It was kind of funny in a ‘throw oneself off Beachy Head’ sort of way.
But it provided a conversation piece when the estate agent and prospective buyers came round.

Thursday, July 15, 2004

Yesterday afternoon, on my way back from the village shop.

A car has drawn in by the side of the road, engine idling, the driver in the process of getting out. He spots me.

“Excuse me,” he asks, very politely. “Do you speak English?”

His accent is broad West Midlands. I am nonplussed. “Yes,” I reply.

“Great. Could you tell me the way to the windmill?”

“Just down here and turn left.”

“Thanks.” And he was in his car and away.


Wednesday, July 14, 2004

The LTLP has been away for almost a week now.

Yes, I know she came to the village fete. But due to holiday reports, that post was a week late. Bear with me.

She is at an Important Scientific Conference. It is very exciting, but I am here all alone whilst she gads around talking to men with beards.

I have taken advantage of her absence to reassert my masculinity. I have rearranged the order of the cutlery draw into a more logical sequence, and yesterday I bought a brand of toilet roll that we do not usually purchase.

As anybody who has lived under an oppressive regime will know, small acts of rebellion like this can sometimes be just as telling as the big ones. I only hope she does not execute ten villagers per fork as a reprisal.

The toilet roll is ‘embossed’ and was dead cheap. Hopefully she will not notice until she wipes her bum, and then it will be too late to take it back.

We spoke on the phone again this evening. She demanded to know if I was looking after myself, and I was able to reassure her, having just enjoyed a tin of delicious Heinz tomato soup for dinner. But although I’m used to being all alone during the day, evenings and nights are more gloomy, even though Kirstie was on telly earlier.

This insomnia is getting to me. When she goes away again you might all have to take it in turns to come to Norfolk and sleep with me.

It’s dark outside and totally, totally silent.

It’s only a small house. But it feels so empty without her.

Tuesday, July 13, 2004

Time was, Wimbledon would be on the telly and you’d look out of your window to see inspired children with improvised racquets playing in the street.

And this is why we have no world class players now.

All our promising youngsters have been run over.

Except Tim, of course. Now, I have nothing against Tim.

Granted, he is the Stereophonics of professional sport - terribly professional but unlikely to ever trouble the emotional half of the brain. Oh yes, and you want to punch his fans.

Tennis is odd, isn’t it? Millions of people tune in to Wimbledon, whereas in the whole of the United Kingdom there are precisely five people who follow tennis for the rest of the year.

I guess Wimbledon is both the big positive and negative. Positive because it raises a lot of money. Negative because you take one look at it and want to crawl into a big hole and hide underneath some tennis balls.

I have a plan for next year. That is, I am going to sneak past security and balance a big bucket of horse semen above Tim Henman’s dressing room door.

Then, as he staggers onto the court, dripping and blinded, and the crowd gasp in appalled shock and disgust, I’m going to stand up and shout at the top of my voice:

“Come on, Tim!”

(note to self – may not be practical. Will need to find somebody with a horse (male) close to the complex. Check logistics before committing).

Without even mentioning the Cliff situation, there are two reasons why Wimbledon makes my skin crawl.


And secondly, there is this whole concept of ‘People’s Sunday’. I was gobsmacked when I read about it and absorbed the sheer SMUGNESS and SELF-SATISFACTION of this. Let me get this straight. For one day, weather permitting, you sell tickets on the door to people who want to buy one. What? That’s it? This is what you’re so pleased about?

Which brings us back to the LTA and their hopeless and doomed quest to spend the Wimbledon cash cow on creating conditions for a new British champion.

Well most kids I know are better adjusted than that, and know very well that spending five hours a day practising topspin won’t bring them happiness and fulfilment - whereas an hour a week followed by a can of fizzy pop might be quite fun.

British kids lack a ruthless ambition and will to win.

And we should be proud of that.

Monday, July 12, 2004

We attend the village fete.

‘We’ being I, JonnyB, the LTLP, Big A and Big A’s brother, Little A.

We also take a small child, as insurance against people thinking that we’re a bit sad turning up in order to take part in Heath Robinson-style sideshow games.

It was all very enjoyable. Far more real than the too-good-to-be-true events they have on Midsomer Murders, and with a lower body count, the horizontal driving rain served to generate a good old-fashioned British stiff-upper-lip stoicism amongst the faithful.

And, I’ll have you know, you are now reading the village champion of the knocking the skittles down with a cricket ball game! (Adults division).

And the raffle...

You will recall that many of you purchased raffle tickets, donating money to a charity box local to you in lieu of payment. I told you that I’d know if you hadn’t contributed, using my Derren Brown-like powers. So before I get on to the results, I have a small confession to make:

I do not have Derren Brown-like powers at all!

I was making that bit up! See – you could have got away with it all the time! I’m afraid my Derren Brown-like powers only extended to making you totally and utterly believe that I did have Derren Brown-like powers, and thus forcing you to pay up in fear of exposure.

You are like putty in my hands.

Anyway. The raffle went a bit like this:

Village Dignitary: (drawing ticket from big drum) And prize number one goes to... Fred!
Crowd Hubbub: Oh, Fred! Good old Fred! He got a prize two years ago as well! (etc, applause, nods of appreciation)
VD: And prize number two... Mabel, care of Doris!
CH: Mabel! Doris! (more nods, delighted laughter, ‘well deserved’s etc)

And the longer it went on like this (and there were a LOT of prizes), the more I really, really didn’t want to get to the following:

VD: And the next prize goes to...

(Pause, frown, peer over glasses incredulously)

...a Mr. ‘Cheeky Squirrel’, care of the ‘I don’t believe it’ blog.

(Embarrassed coughs).

(Angry murmurs).

Villager 1: What sort of a name’s that?!
Villager 2: Never heard of him.
Villager 3: What’s this blarg thing? (grabs pitchfork).

I exaggerate, of course. But I think it fair and just that none of you won. I’m sorry. But your charities have benefited and the village fete funds were boosted.

It leaves me with a problem, however. Because the deal was that I’d pay for your tickets at this end and then deduct the total sum from the first prize, before sending it on.

And since eleven of you entered at 20p a head, I’ve ended up quite substantially out of pocket.

It is often a mistake getting involved in financial transactions with friends, and I have lost out through basically subsidising your greed. We need to sort this out.

What do we do?

Friday, July 09, 2004

Thursday morning.

I wake, feeling like death.

It’s 9:45 – a three-hour lie in – but nobody has told my body, which is racked with an utter and inexorable tiredness. My stomach is complaining and I’m all shivery, even under the duvet. What’s more, my head is pounding away like a Motorhead fan using a pneumatic drill to dig up the road whilst simultaneously shagging Abi Titmuss.

I appear to have a hangover.

What I can’t reconcile is this: I did not drink much on Wednesday night. Three pints and a glass of red. That’s all.

I have a hangover after drinking three pints and a glass of red.


I am turning into a girl!

When I was at school, a man came to talk to us about the perils of alcohol. After the male sexual performance thing (many sniggers) he went on to claim that excessive drinking also stunted your maleness in a hormonal sense, viz it would turn you into a girl.

We went away scoffing at this do-gooder, but privately a bit worried.

So it is happening. I am turning into a girl.


It’s proving difficult enough getting it together with Kirstie Allsopp as it is! What chance do I have now?

I check the bathroom mirror. All seems ok – adam’s apple, slight stubble, normal-sized head. I did used to have flowing girlie long hair, but my current generic male crop remains.

Moving down, I can’t work out whether my tits are excess weight and flab that could be easily shed given a little effort, or tits, which would be more problematical.

I check to see that I am not growing a vagina, like in some weird David Cronenberg film. I do not appear to be. This is a relief, in many ways.

I think I might have been hasty in my initial diagnosis.

As a final check, I put on some Dido. It still sounds shit, which appears conclusive.

I go back to bed, fretful. I am not turning into a girl.

I am turning into a wuss.

Thursday, July 08, 2004

Jonny Billericay is unwell.

Wednesday, July 07, 2004

JonnyB’s holiday snaps – #3 in a series of 3.

Day three.

I step in some dog shit.

I think it was Plato who said that humour was in the misfortune of others. Might not have been. I think that’s a pretty narrow definition, and maybe Plato should have elaborated on the nob gag element a bit more, but if we stick with it then suddenly I’m the funniest man alive.

The LTLP certainly thinks so, keen classical scholar that she is. She snorts and hoots with mirth.

I hop around, shouting ‘fuck’ a lot. I don’t know why I hop, as this is unlikely to remove the dog shit from my shoe.

Obviously I have worn the chunky-soled pair, with lots of deep yet narrow declevities.

There is no possibility of compromise between dog owners and people who do not like stepping in dog shit. The government must do something.

Typical Blair. Too busy bothering with airy-fairy metropolitan elite fads like passive smoking to do anything about the real issue of passive dog shit-stepping-in.

Well it is my human right not to be exposed to other people’s stale dog shit. It is disgusting. Many people do not go to parks any more as there is so much dog shit. So they don’t exercise, get fat and end up costing the NHS.

It’s all very well the government saying that it’s the only pleasure the working classes get, taking their dogs out for a nice shit. Typically patronising New Labour.

Well it’ll never happen. And if you want to know why you just have to look at the millions the Treasury rakes in from VAT on dog food.

Nice little earner there, Gordon.

So here are two solutions.

Firstly, provide concerned citizens with portable electric DNA testers, fitted with a prongy probe. (This would have to be disposable). These would be connected via satellite to a central database of doggy DNA.

If a match were found between some dog shit and a registered dog, the database would then send a signal to an electrical collar fitted around the dog’s neck. Or, even better, the owner’s neck. Three strikes and you’re out.

But my second point is more fundamental. Given the massive advances in genetic technology, I fail to see why we continue to breed dogs with bowels.

Scientists, eh?


Tuesday, July 06, 2004

JonnyB’s holiday snaps – #2 in a series of 3.

Day two.

For reasons of convenience, we remained at the hotel for dinner. Thus contravening the number one rule of fine dining – never, ever, ever eat in an establishment with the word ‘Hotel’ in its title.

And so we found ourselves perched awkwardly on a sofa at the edge of the dining area, tepid G&Ts in our hands.

The waitress was, I guess, the owner’s daughter. Mid-teens. Cheerfully informal, likeable, a bit scatty, probably wouldn’t last long with Gordon Ramsay.

“Would you like some wine with your dinner?”

We would, indeed, like some wine with our dinner.

“What would you like?”

I was a bit nonplussed. “What have you got?”

This was a tricky one. She desperately agonised for a few seconds. Waves of deep thought permeated across her confused face, as if I had offered her five grand and backstage passes for Busted in return for anal.

“Well... do you prefer red, or white?”

Ah. A binary choice. Probably white, we agreed. She brightened. “Oh good, we’ve got some Jacob’s Creek.”

I smiled and glanced across the room. Wine by the bottle was clearly an unnecessary extravagance to most of the diners, half of whom looked as if they’d be needing their food mashing up before service.

Wine by the glass is not my bag.

I don’t order my dinner by the forkful, I don’t order my wine by the glass.

Elgar celloed enthusiastically across the room.

And yes, ‘fruit juice’ was one of the options for a starter. It really was.

I’d love to continue being oh-so-superior-this-is-desperately-provincial-compared-to-Norfolk. I get so little opportunity. But you see...

The food was fucking excellent. Unbelievably so. Beautifully seasoned, well presented, prepared with fresh ingredients. Which wiped the smile off my smug face.

I ploughed my way through the cheeseboard, before we tripped off upstairs to watch the football.

Man, I am such a hot date.

Monday, July 05, 2004

JonnyB’s holiday snaps – #1 in a series of 3.

Day one.

Holidays mean freedom. Freedom of spirit. Meeting new people.


She spoke softly, with a Derbyshire lilt. She was nervous. I went into charm and reassurance mode. She relaxed.

Scribbling her name and phone number onto the only piece of paper either of us had. I read it again and smiled, folded it carefully, slipped it into my back pocket.

“I’ve never done this before,” she said.

Our eyes didn’t meet. We both knew that this probably wasn’t true.

I glanced down at the wreckage of my front bumper.

“I’m sure the insurance will be fine,” I said, kindly.

The LTLP rolled her eyes.

Friday, July 02, 2004

The friend who got me invited to the book launch/spray painted model fest is a relatively new acquaintance. I’ve only known him a few months, but in that one action he’s leapt way up in my estimation. In fact, one or two other, more established friends should start watching their backs, because I’ve looked at the Opta Index stats, and quite frankly you’re falling behind in the category of inviting me to see women wearing only spray paint.

It’s like a new boy has moved in down the street and you suddenly find out that he’s got a Scalextric and a train set and Subbuteo and loads of Action Man stuff. And perhaps an older sister who’ll show you her bits for some sherbert.

As potential new best friend and I approached the prestigious West End venue, I noticed a strange sight in the street outside. A huge crowd of paparazzi were frantically snapping away at a naked woman lying in the street covered in tyre tracks. I was just wondering whether this was some kind of avant-garde Diana memorial when my friend coolly introduced me to Colin, the author of "A Bus Could Run You Over". The naked woman was page 3 lovely Anna Taverner (it took me long enough to visit the 7280 sites devoted to her, let alone link to them, so you’ll just have to type her name into Google yourselves) and the tyre tracks were, you guessed it, sprayed on.

That would be a great job – thinking of ways to link the launch of any product with a naked woman.

And just for Jezebel – I looked specially and her, erm, front garden was covered in a tiny thong. OK, so maybe this means that technically she wasn’t quite naked, but I’m not going to split hairs (though the thong looked like it was). It’s just the equivalent of finding out that the Scalextric is rally cars, not Formula 1. It’s still a Scalextric. I was still happy as the only previous launches I’d been to of anything had been for children’s television, so instead of naked women you get a bloke in a bear suit on Equity minimum. (I do hope that the agency never gets these bookings muddled up.)

And the celebrities in the club? Well, to be honest, I’m not great at recognising them. David Blunkett would have spotted more. Apparently there were some more page 3 lovelies there, but I seem to have been wasting my life reading The Guardian. Though perhaps all the famous people left after witnessing my special "Hey Ya" dance – once described as "a helicopter in distress".

It was good to be there with my friend, but, frankly, it was just like being in a normal club. Perhaps I should have tipped the toilet attendant to give me some cocaine. Or perhaps they needed an over-sized cartoon character to liven up proceedings. Who knows?

It’s certainly been a strange week. I was all set to write about going to buy some staples (there was a hilarious and long-winded "wrong size" issue), when suddenly I’m thrust into an alien world of women dressed only in spray paint. The question is, do I ditch my old friends and lifestyle in favour of glamour models and showbiz parties? Do I buy the Guardian or the Sun this morning? Perhaps the first thing I see when I open my curtains will make the decision for me.

A squirrel. I see a squirrel out of my window and my heart fills with joy. No one can see a squirrel and not be cheered. I know then that my life revolves around the mundane. The excitement of a pithily-worded letter of complaint to the council. The joy of taking your stapler with you to the stationer's to get the correct sized staples. The deep satisfaction of doing the Guardian crossword surely beats any short-lived thrill of seeing breasts on page 3.

Though if anyone sees a picture of Anna and the tyre tracks I’d appreciate a look.

(That's all folks - I'm handing back to JonnyB now. Thanks for all your comments.)

Thursday, July 01, 2004

Well, in a not entirely unexpected turn of events, the "spray paint"s have it. I didn’t even need Jeb Bush to fix it for me, though he was on comment standby with some fake names that he got from and the Florida electoral roll. Which are perhaps one and the same thing.

So, I find myself forced to go and rub shoulders with celebrities and see women wearing nothing but spray paint. The lengths I go to to find interesting things to blog about. I hope that JonnyB appreciates my efforts, but I’m slightly worried that I may be raising the stakes for him content-wise, forcing him into an ever more thrilling world of naked supermodels and designer drugs that you, his audience, will have a taste for hearing about by the time he comes back.

It’s a bit like looking after someone’s dog and feeding it expensive dog food. Then when its owner comes back, it won’t touch the cheap stuff any more.

I’m not quite sure what I will say if I find myself in conversation with a woman wearing only spray paint though.

"Are you wearing an undercoat?"

"Is it really that cold in here?"

"Whoops, I appear to have spilt white spirit all over you."

More tomorrow. It’s been emulsion-al...