Middle-aged porn on the tube

June 21, 2012 1 comment

Had a bit of a shock on my commute this morning. Armed with coffee in hand, I boarded the tube, and had just got my face comfortably entrenched in someone’s armpit (because the carriage was crowded. not due to any particular fetish for armpits) when it happened:

I was minding my own business, passing the time by reading from the ‘page’ of the kindle beside me. The owner was a rather round, short middle aged woman. With rather serious shoes and bland attire. The sort of person you might imagine becoming distraught at the thought of the neighbors having nicer carpets than they do (not that you should judge people as stereotypes, but I”m trying to paint a picture here).

Anyway, what could she be reading? The first paragraph is saw read:

‘Let’s have sex before we go’ he said. He might have been Silent once, but that was long gone. Now he was only keeping control of himself by the skin of his teeth. His hand reached around her and began to rub the warmth between her…’

Whoa! Ok, wasn’t expecting Before I could stop myself,  I found myself pondering the possible reality that London’s tube system is crammed full of the sexually-frustrated middle-aged, flocking to the rush hour crush for an excuse to press themselves against all those bodies…

Ew! Back on the bike tomorrow I think!


Lounge Metal

November 20, 2011 Leave a comment

Musicians cover other people’s songs for lots of reasons, out of admiration, out of laziness and sometimes as an experiment. Some songs can be reinterpreted in all sorts of ways and genres and still retain the same essence that make them great. It also helps if the work is done by a fantastic musician!

Recently I came across a wonderful example of this. Hellsongs rework classic rock and metal tracks using soft acoustic guitars and melodic female vocals. They have managed to transform Iron Maiden’s ‘The Trooper’ from a thundering cacophony of power chords, soaring solos and pounding drums to an understated, haunting acoustic folk number. Nice 🙂

Moving To London – What I Found There (Many Odds and Fewer Sods)

September 3, 2011 Leave a comment

So three months have passed since my first tentative steps in to the Big Smoke, what have I learnt?

  • Brixton is awesome. The Ritzy, with its gigs, quizzes and excellent selection of films is now my favourite cinema. At Hooternanny, I can only guess they thrust a bunch of genres in to a bag, shook well and deposited the results in random clumps amongst their gig list. With gypsy punk, big-band dubstep and afro-psych organ (no, I have no idea either) all catered for… for FREE! Always interesting on a Friday or Saturday night.
  • … and it’s not that dodgy. As long as your in a group… and you don’t wander off down any dark streets… and if you stay at home when people are rioting…
  • Don’t get the tube to work. ‘The daily grind’ has never seemed a more appropriate phrase. Even if you get a seat, the collective looks of misery from your fellow passengers are enough to put a downer on anyone’s morning.
  • … for some reason overground train commuters seem to have more positive demeanours. Perhaps its the extra vitamin d.
  • Rockaoke (karaoke with a live band) is the vastly superior way to massacre everyone’s favourite rock songs in front of your friends after too many beers.
  • When in a Soho bar, only getting a few coppers back from £20 even when the round only consisted of three drinks is not unusual. Though the bar-staff will usually have the decency to look embarrassed at your thunderstruck face.
  • My new housemate is not to be trusted when he suggests we go for ‘a quiet Friday pint’ (are those shots of absinthe?)

Posh Muesli and a Little Abstinence

March 13, 2011 Leave a comment


As a fully fledged consumer member of a ‘First-World’ country with a steady income I’m used to being able to get what I want and getting it now (or at least on Next Working-Day Delivery). Within reason that is, I’ve been foiled in my attempts to locate a spot within a few miles of my house that escapes the eternal hum of petrol guzzlers and still consider the price of the PlayStation 3 console to be a crime against humanity.

That’s right, life is tough. But a monthly night out at the theatre and the posher boxes of muesli are all within my reach (by ‘eck I’m becoming dreadfully middle class, I can’t stop listening to Radio 4 either). To be honest I don’t have a great deal of complaints. However…

Not Just For Wimbledon

A friend of mine is giving up alcohol for lent. Which has left me thinking about all the little luxuries I take for granted. How is a luxury still a luxury if it is available all the time? This is most obvious with food, supermarkets have long done away with the idea of seasonal availability. Strawberries, once a late summer treat can be picked up any Saturday of the year. Ginger, pepper, sweet potatoes, rice… all goods flown in from far across the globe in case we’re feeling peckish.

A little abstinence can only be a good thing. As well as hopefully allowing me to appreciate things a little more, it may even make life a little more interesting! So on the 13th of every month I am going to pick something to give up for an entire lunar cycle.

March: cook meals using only food that is traditionally grown in Britain.

Anyone else giving something up (for lent or otherwise)?

Who’s God is it Anyway?

March 5, 2011 1 comment

Religion is always a touchy subject. Everyone has some sort of opinion and it’s a sure bet for raising hackles or provoking impassioned argument. Paradoxically it seems that people never appear more certain about anything than that for which there is no proof at all.

Here is a comment I recently read online from someone who seems pretty sure of what they don’t believe in:

“If there were a God, I think it very unlikely that He would have such an uneasy vanity as to be offended by those who doubt His existence.”

Now what on earth makes you say that? Does the ability to create the universe suggest complete emotional security? From what viewpoint do you stand where you can so confidently make such a proclamation? Let us assume for a few paragraphs that a God of some sort does exist. What can we really infer from that? More generous still,  assume that this God of ours definitely created the universe (and politely ignore the chicken-n-egg style paradox of ‘How was God created then?’). Should the ability to create such things lead us to make any definite statements about our Builder’s personality? Its aforementioned ‘uneasy vanity’?

I find this a fascinating question. Who knows what our deity’s agenda is? Even if some sort of prophet really has preached a Creator’s actual teachings why on earth should blindly accept everything that we are told? Perhaps deitys get it wrong too, or are not to be trusted, Perhaps it is an all benevolent fatherly type with a special interest in homo-sapein? Perhaps it has a more universal concern for its entire creation and is more bothered about the upkeep of the many galaxies that seem to have popped up like weeds everywhere? Perhaps it got bored millennia ago or gave this universe up as a bad job and started again somewhere else. The reality of things could be that our deity is feeding us a warped and contradictory system of morals that we’ve blindly accepted and now it is laughing at us as we mill around in utter confusion. Maybe the universe is a farming ground and when we die our souls (why not? Lets throw the existence of a mortal soul in the melting pit too) depart for an ‘afterlife’ where the All-Powerful feeds on our essence to sustain itself? Egad, people have believed wackier things.

It seems to me that in the case of religion ‘faith’ is not so much belief as a fervent hope that something is so. God is created in the faithful’s image. This of course is no reflection on the whatever truth of the matter there might be. Perhaps that is not the point though, the way I see it religion is not, and has long not been anything to do with finding truth. People turn to religion for reassurance. Perhaps they want to know that there is some grand plan, or that someone is looking out for them. Maybe they need someone to confide in? That the those that have wronged them will ultimately be punished? That there is something other than oblivion after death? Someone to guide their life choices and give them conviction. Or they NEED answers to questions they can’t otherwise find answers for. That we’re all connected as a single universal energy?

That is why there as many ‘God’s as there are believers and why people will never agree. Even if there was irrefutable evidence as to the [non-]existence of a creator intelligence it wouldn’t stop people believing what they need to believe.

Or am I totally wrong on this one?

The Times They Are A Changin’

February 28, 2011 2 comments
Come gather round people, wherever you roam…

Today I finally set in motion something I’ve been talking about since I left Uni (a worrying three and a half years ago now!). I handed in my notice at work, because in three months time I’m moving to London.

And admit that the waters around you have grown…

It’s taken that long for me to run out of excuses. If it wasn’t because I didn’t have a job (makes much more sense to go sponge of the parents for a bit), it was because I did (looks terrible on your CV if you only hold a job for six months before heading for the horizon right?). Then of course there’s the massive student overdraft to pay back (should sort that out while you have a reliable income!) *sigh* yeah I know I suck (haven’t even paid off the damn overdraft).

And accept it that soon you’ll be drenched to the bone…

Never stopped me moaning about wanting to move though. Don’t get me wrong, Southampton has been good to me and will always be home but… I NEED TO GET OUT OF HERE! Seriously, I can’t think of anything more depressing than reaching forty and living through the same old routine. There are only so many times a guy can walk in to the same pubs, cafés and peer through the meagre cultural pickings before his brain decides to lobotomise itself in self-defence!

If your time to you is worth saving, then you’d better start swimming or you’ll sink like a stone…

So off I go. A few weeks back I was visiting some friends up in London (quite probably half way through my obligatory ‘I should move to Bristol/Brighton/London’ rant) and they said ‘well do it then! Move here!’ and… I couldn’t think of a reason not to! Many thanks to the both of you for all the verbal prodding (and especially to Rach for not only translating my CV in to Professional-ese but also letting me know what I am letting myself in for)

For the times they are a changin’

So now there’s no going back. I have no job and no place to live in three months time. I’m moving to the biggest city in Europe and you know what? I can’t wait! And I couldn’t be more terrified! The times they are a changin’…


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I Don’t Mean To Make Fun Of My Co-Workers But…

February 25, 2011 2 comments

Actually I do. People who work in offices say the strangest things. After my first few years behind a desk I’ve come to the conclusion that they exist in an entirely separate universe where the normal laws of common-sense do not apply. Here’s a few stupid, entertaining or just plain annoying examples:

“I Literally Jumped Out Of My Skin”

Did you really? My god how horrendous! You can hardly tell at all, the scars have healed really well. Oh hang on what’s that? You mean you didn’t literally do that at all? Possibly you actually meant metaphorically

Loads of variations on this, in which people make all sorts of declarations they (literally) don’t mean. My favourite was made on entrance of a co-worker stating that a client had arrived early and they were ‘literally shitting themselves’, much to the amusement of the whole room (and to their confusion).

“Going Forward…”

Egad. The ultimate business speak cliché used by management trainees everywhere. Usually accompanied by thrusting hand gestures and a patronising tone. Really meaning “In some vague future time ” or sometimes “I don’t want to talk about that anymore, lets talk about this“. The more I hear it the more it makes my skin crawl.

Touching Base

As in ‘We should touch base next week’. Never been 100% sure what this means. Contextual use of the phrase might suggest meeting up in person? ‘Doing Lunch’? It also sounds abit like a euphemism for taking drugs or possibly even something to do with fondling each other’s bottoms. I may never know.

The ‘Showbiz Laugh’

Watch out for this one in salesmen or anyone else who deals with customers. In a bid to keep a [potential] client sweet it appears you must dutifully laugh at regular intervals during conversation. Especially when on the phone! Even if it sounds completely mirthless, soulless and as if the laugher had long lost their will to live. I always imagine that when these people go home they must be a little like Barbie at the end of Toy Story 2 (if you’ve ever watched past the credits!)

“I Don’t Want To Sound Rude/Harsh/Mean/Bitchy But…”

Ah but you DO don’t you! Or at least you’re not going to let that stop you saying something Rude/Harsh/Mean/Bitchy regardless. Do you think prefixing an unpleasant comment with what is essentially a warning makes it any less Rude/Harsh/Mean/Bitchy? I hear this one on a daily basis (literally :-p). A nice slight variation on this theme is rounding off such a comment with ‘Oh, dear old <INSERT ABUSEE’S NAME HERE>. [S]he’s great really’.

metaphorically was