There comes a time in every man’s life when he asks himself “now that I have partied at Keith Richards table, jammed with Mick Taylor and chased Mick Jagger up a flight of stairs…is my work here finally done?”

…and so, after 17 rollercoaster years of “having it large” in that there London town, it is with mixed emotions that me and the Kat woman have decided  that it’s time to wind down this particular party and head for the hills.

Yes, that’s right folks….I’m coming home.  London is a great place to live life to the full, but it’s a crap place for starting a family and the the constant hassle of working your arse off every day just to keep  a roof over your head can become rather overbearing at times.  We figure it’s time to take our foot off the gas (a little bit)….and put down some roots, because apparently, I’m not a teenager anymore and it’s really about time I considered popping out a couple of ankle biters while I can still run up a flight of stairs and wipe my own bottom.

So let it finally be known, that on January 31st 2013…we’re moving back to Scotland!  We’ve found an idylic 18th century cottage about 15 miles west of Edinburgh with a gorgeous garden (Koi carp in the pool!), 3/4 of an acre of private woodland, a separate art studio/office and best of all….a workshop that I am going to turn into a fully functioning recording studio/rehearsal space!

Oh….and there is the small matter of taking over the business that also comes with the house.  Somewhat unbelievably, we willl also be running a Cattery!  We’re gonna be crazy cat country people….with two chickens….henrietta and pricilla.

I know….crazy the coconuts.

Weirdly we’re also keeping our jobs.  I’ll be continuing to do design work for my clients in London, but without it being my only source of income, and Kat will be working 3 days a week for her current employer, but on different aspects of the business that can be done remotely.

The rest of the time we’ll be cleaning up cat shit, making a racket (NO NEIGHBOURS!!!), painting pictures and generally doing things we enjoy.

So I’m warning you now, people of Edinburgh.  I bore easily and will require regular beer related stimulation….especially at the weekends!  Looking forward to seeing you all again.

And people of London – the hardest part about leaving the big smoke is leaving you guys behind.  It’s been an absolute pleasure.  On the plus side….our new home is only 20 minutes from Edinburgh Airport….and I’m expecting to be popping down whenever the urge strikes.  So you’ll be sick of me again in no time.  Also…open invitation to come stay anytime you want….we have many bedrooms.

Here’s a couple of pics of the new pad.

workshop

 

workshop  – this will be renovated into a very groovy recording studio/rehearsal space

studio workshop

car port and view of art studio and recording studio out buildings

rear patio garden

the back garden….and view!front cattery2

cattery – outdoor penscattery

cattery main building and sun trap

art studio

art studio/office

Right….with that finally out of the way, I shall bid you all a cracking new year….I’m going to pour a stiff drink, put on my rolling stones belt buckle and take a couple of super hot chicks out to the blues kitchen rolling stones party in Camden, where I will eat my own body weight in ribs before partying like a loony for my final new year in London……for a while anyway.  Well…it would be rude not to eh?

mwah xx

This isn’t really a blog post…but I just love this explanation of how early man might have come to the conclusion that there is a bigger and better version of him out there…so I thought I’d share.  I would urge you to read the whole text or listen to a reading of the whole text using the links below.

Enjoy the Genius that was, Douglas Adams…

“Where does the idea of God come from? Well, I think we have a very skewed point of view on an awful lot of things, but let’s try and see where our point of view comes from. Imagine early man. Early man is, like everything else, an evolved creature and he finds himself in a world that he’s begun to take a little charge of; he’s begun to be a tool-maker, a changer of his environment with the tools that he’s made and he makes tools, when he does, in order to make changes in his environment. To give an example of the way man operates compared to other animals, consider speciation, which, as we know, tends to occur when a small group of animals gets separated from the rest of the herd by some geological upheaval, population pressure, food shortage or whatever and finds itself in a new environment with maybe something different going on. Take a very simple example; maybe a bunch of animals suddenly finds itself in a place where the weather is rather colder. We know that in a few generations those genes which favour a thicker coat will have come to the fore and we’ll come and we’ll find that the animals have now got thicker coats. Early man, who’s a tool maker, doesn’t have to do this: he can inhabit an extraordinarily wide range of habitats on earth, from tundra to the Gobi Desert – he even manages to live in New York for heaven’s sake – and the reason is that when he arrives in a new environment he doesn’t have to wait for several generations; if he arrives in a colder environment and sees an animal that has those genes which favour a thicker coat, he says “I’ll have it off him”. Tools have enabled us to think intentionally, to make things and to do things to create a world that fits us better. Now imagine an early man surveying his surroundings at the end of a happy day’s tool making. He looks around and he sees a world which pleases him mightily: behind him are mountains with caves in – mountains are great because you can go and hide in the caves and you are out of the rain and the bears can’t get you; in front of him there’s the forest – it’s got nuts and berries and delicious food; there’s a stream going by, which is full of water – water’s delicious to drink, you can float your boats in it and do all sorts of stuff with it; here’s cousin Ug and he’s caught a mammoth – mammoth’s are great, you can eat them, you can wear their coats, you can use their bones to create weapons to catch other mammoths. I mean this is a great world, it’s fantastic. But our early man has a moment to reflect and he thinks to himself, ‘well, this is an interesting world that I find myself in’ and then he asks himself a very treacherous question, a question which is totally meaningless and fallacious, but only comes about because of the nature of the sort of person he is, the sort of person he has evolved into and the sort of person who has thrived because he thinks this particular way. Man the maker looks at his world and says ‘So who made this then?’ Who made this? – you can see why it’s a treacherous question. Early man thinks, ‘Well, because there’s only one sort of being I know about who makes things, whoever made all this must therefore be a much bigger, much more powerful and necessarily invisible, one of me and because I tend to be the strong one who does all the stuff, he’s probably male’. And so we have the idea of a god. Then, because when we make things we do it with the intention of doing something with them, early man asks himself , ‘If he made it, what did he make it for?’ Now the real trap springs, because early man is thinking, ‘This world fits me very well. Here are all these things that support me and feed me and look after me; yes, this world fits me nicely’ and he reaches the inescapable conclusion that whoever made it, made it for him.”

Makes perfect sense to me…and there’s more…a lot more.

To read or listen to the whole thing….clicky the linky.
http://www.biota.org/people/douglasadams/

So, in a futile bid at reinventing nostalgia in the most innapropriate way, “The (new) Marquee” opened in a cavernous multi-storey club in Leicester Square.  As it somewhat unsurprsingly turned out, it was a total disaster and lost a lot of total f*cking idiots a lot of money when it fell on its arse as soon as it was opened.

Saying that…I was intrigued to have a gander.  So when I was invited to a friends gig on one of its multiple floors, I decided to check it out.

Not being the worlds most organised man, I inadvertenly found myself in the familiar situation of running late for the gig (AGAIN)…and when I did arrive I was properly dying for a piss.  I mean…that was my be all and end all…I could barely walk…I was pretty much holding it in with my fingers.

So…we get in the doors and discover that the gig is on the 3rd floor.  I hoof it up the stairs, say a quick hello to the band, (that wasn’t hard…there was pretty much us, the bar staff and a couple of very underwhelmed tourists in the 400 capacity, multi-level cyber cave) and then swiftly enquired about the whereabouts of the bogs.

Turns out they were on the 5th floor.

Yay!

So I run (as fast as a man holding his penis can) up the two flights of stairs and see a single door with both a wee man and lady sign.

Bit odd.  But hey…I’ve seen Ally McBeal and I’m down with that.

I walk through the door note with no small amount of surprise that there is a man to my left selling lollipops who wants me to give him a pound so that I can have a piss with a clear conscience, but am suprised to note that on the right hand side of the door is also a woman pulling the same stunt.

I notice this is a very odd toilet.  It’s all modern and minamilist….and that the two sour faced con merchants appear to sitting rather too close to the action.

There is a single door that I assume is the only crapper.

I notice that the urinals really are quite swish though…more like long troughs made of flint.  If I’m honest…they’re a bit on high side…but still…really rather zen.  Just not sure what all the metal features are for.

So…being a man of the world and having no issue whatsover with unisex toilets….I walk over to the urinal, whop the chap out and start pissing for Scotland.

It is only once the flood gates of hell have been unleashed that I begin to look more carefully at my surroundings, and more to the point, the abject look of utter disgust from everybody else in the room.

My brain starts to churn.

“Bit odd that they’ve got taps in the urinal….wonder why that is….quite a lot of them as well…..what are those f*ckers looking at…..bit rude….oh…hang on…why would you have taps on a bog….oh…my….lord…..I’M PISSING IN THE SINK!”

And I was.  With some aplomb.  Couldn’t stop it either.

So now I’m pissing like a racehorse in the posh unisex sink part of this stupid bloody posh twat toilet and I can’t stop…but I feel compelled to engage the two horrified toilet attendants (and other patrons) in coversation.

“Well this is awkward”

*death stare*

“I don’t normally do this sort of thing you know”

*death stare*

“easy mistake though eh?  Looks a bit like a bog.”

*death stare*

Finally I finish, give it a shake and get the f*ck out there (making a big deal about running one of the taps first)  with as jaunty a, “I’m really sorry about this…I’ll just go now and we’ll pretend this never happened” as I could muster.

And do you know the worst part about It was?

I was stone cold sober at the time.

I never went back there.

Now I’m not one for superstition, hocus pocus, flights of  fancy (don’t mind them actually), or indeed…mumbo, or jumbo.  But, a year ago, a little budhist monk gave me a “lucky bracelet” that I’ve been wearing “religiously” (oh, the irony) ever since. You know….just in case.  Now here’s the thing…I’ve been having a bit of a shit year…(apart from all the fabulous holidays of course…and I did win a tenner on the lottery)…and just the other night, I looked down at my “lucky bracelet” and thought “what a load of shite”….and took it off.
And then….last night….I TOTALLY PARTIED WITH KEITH F*CKING RICHARDS, RONNIE F*CKING WOOD, ANITA BLOODY PALLENBERG, ETC ETC ETC ETC!

I’m not even bullshitting you.  Shall I begin?

So…it’s 4.30pm and I’ve resigned myself to the fact that I’m not going to the Rolling Stones premiere of Crossfire Hurricane.  No worries…I’ve booked fancy ass seats at the Islington Vue and me and my buddy are gonna head down there and enjoy the show anyway.

*ring ring*

The phonecall I’ve been waiting for arrives….you shall go to the ball!  Just get your arse down there….like….now….and pick up your tickets.

40 minutes later, me and Rod (who can’t quite believe the news) hit Leicester Square, all bushy eyed and brightly tailed.

“it’s alright mate…we’ve got time for a quick drink, the Stones won’t turn up until just before the show…we’ll wait for that and then hit the red carpet at the same time.”

*SCREAMS – FLASHING LIGHTS*

“oh…they’ve arrived then. My bad.”

Figuring we’d pretty much missed our opportunity for a hob nob, we hit the pub for a couple of liveners before the big event and then did the whole red carpet thing.  Please see attached, my “award winning” photographs of Rod….a man who needs to realise it takes my camera at least 5 seconds to take a photo and should really hold his bloody pose!

bloody papparazzi…

hold the pose! Too late…

So…we get in, find our seats, order too many beers and settle in.

It’s all very whoop de doo….oh look, there’s Liam Gallagher talking about pinching Keith Richards bum.  Oh…there’s Jerry Hall, being mental.  All that jazz…and then (after we’re made to sit through two Amex adverts…pff), The Stones arrive!  Please see another one of my “that’s a printer!” photographs, below.  You’ll notice I’m not the only one who fancied a quick snap.

Keef! Keef! Over here! Over here!

I’d like to tell you what Mick said….he spoke for about 5 minutes, but I was too horrified by his f*cking stupid trainers to pay much attention.

No! Mick! No!

Anyway….Mick’s ridiculous footwear aside (reminds me of the time I chased him up a flight of stairs only to discover that he was wearing a pink sweater round his neck…but that’s another story), it was all a rather good wheeze….and I figured that was that.

We watched the documentary….which was proper BO!  I don’t know where they found it…but it’s stuffed full of vintage, unseen footage of them in their prime and brilliantly edited.  Don’t f*ck about…go and see it.  It does rather gloss over the last 20 odd years of their career…but then again, nothing much of interest has happened in that time, so it’s no biggy.  It’s not a standard documentary either…I won’t spoil it for you…but it’s a bit cleverer than that.

Anyhoo…after a most enjoyable hour and half, we exit the premiere.  It is at this point that I realise I don’t know where the after-party actually is.  It sounds posh….hency why I have no idea where it is. It is suggested that I look up the address on my “smartphone”…..trouble is, my smartphone stopped being very smart quite some time ago and now it barely accepts a phonecall, let alone “surf the net”.  Apparently it’s me that’s the idiot and not my phone…but I beg to differ.

So…using my wits, I decide we should follow the expensive looking people.  Unfortunately for us, the expensive looking people we decide to follow are so expensive (princesses apparently) that they “don’t do walking” and decide to f*ck off back to their castle instead of face the humiliation of walking through central London.  I shit you not.

All is not lost though…we befriend a journalist from the Sydney Herald (Hi Ed!), who clearly knows London better than me and informs me that  Quaglinos (http://www.quaglinos-restaurant.co.uk/)  is “right next to The Ritz”.

Upon arrival, we discover that it’s not going to be one of those shit drink receptions.  This is almost spoiled by Anthea Turner being the only sleb we can see….but we don’t let it get our spirits down….this is a very plush pad.

Free bubbly in hand, we decide to work the room.

Oh look..an ice sculpture!

Oh look..cocktails!

Oh look…hot totty!

Oh….FUCK ME UP THE ARSE….KEITH FUCKING RICHARDS!

*I might have let out a little bit of wee at this point*

As Jimi is my witness….sat on a sofa, surrounded by A-listers and family was Keef….no VIP area….no roped off zone…just a couple of serious looking dudes keeping an eye on proceedings.

(I should mention now that I have absolutely no photgraphic evidence of the party because every time I tried to get my bleeding camera out, a really big scary man pointed at me)

Luckily for you…there were plenty of official photographers on hand to snap events for me….here’s one of me just out of shot.

I’m just to the left…you can’t see me…but I’m there goddamit!

So…where was I?  Oh yes….at first we were kinda hanging back.  Just catching a glimpse…expecting to be moved on at any moment.  But after a while, it became fairly evident that it was ok to hang around like a bad smell.  Nobody was moving anybody anywhere…the simple fact of the matter was….most of the guests didn’t know Keef was there.  So…we figured it couldn’t hurt to get a little closer to the action.

And this is how me and Rod….two of the biggest Stones fans around…ended up spending the whole night at Keefs table!  Did you get that?  The whole night…..at KEEFS TABLE!  I know I’m almost 40…but this shit just makes me want to squeek.

Obviously we played it cool….you know….men of world….meant to be there…

Aye right!

What we actually did was neck as many cocktails as possible and pinch ourselves repeatedly.

And then Ronnie turns up….with his very hot girlfriend.  Yippee!

He’s in fine form…still off the booze…running around cuddling everybody.  Next thing you know…he’s only bloody talking to us.  Well…to be fair, he was talking to the journalist from the Sydney Herald….but we were stood right next to him….so that counts!

As the night rolls on….oh look, there’s Anita Pallenberg getting all cosy on the couch….there’s Jade Jagger…there’s that little bloke from the Stereophonics….etc etc.  Really quite the little corner we had going on.  And still nobody moved us on. Briliant!

It was very surreal….almost like I was watching it on telly.

Anyway…after a couple of hours, Keef decides it’s time to leave.  It is at this point that the most miraculous thing occurs.

Me and Rod are standing about 4 feet away from him as he exits his table….gawping basically….Keef stands up scans the room.  His eyes stop at us…he looks us right in the eye….points and does his famous “death throes” laugh!

He’s pointing and laughing!  At us! And not in a shit way.  In a good way.

And that, my friends…is why I’m never wearing that stupid f*cking lucky Buddhist wristband ever again….

Ok…so, picking up the story.  I’ve just played the worst gig of my life, I’ve got Panda make up on and I’m feeling like the prize berk.

Luckily for me things were about to get whole lot worse.

*I should point out around now that the timeline of this story will not be entirely accurate because I have a notoriously bad memory and one extreme incident blurred into the next one.  Suffice to say…everything I’m about to tell you did all happen at some point or another in quick succession. The exact order is not terribly important*

Right…where was I?  Oh yeah…so the gig from hell was finally over and our bedraggled bunch of inebriates began to wobble our way to the hotel.  My spirits began to lift somewhat when the head of our course squared up to one of the students for a bit of handbags at dawn action once we’d left the club.  Luckily for him though, the fight was broken up before “the student”….let’s call him Big Kev….had a chance to “give him a slap”.

Shortly after that, Big Kev and a couple of other “musicians” decided that a sing-a-long was called for.  It was all going rather well until a bucket of water was launched at their head by an Italian Mama who was less appreciative of their caterwauling.

Still…so far so good.  The squaring up, the water, and a few knocked over Vespa’s were really starting to take the attention away from my abysmal performance.

And then we got back to the hotel.

Everybody was in high sprits…and by that I mean…everybody was banjaxed.

An impromptu party was taking place in one of the bands bedrooms and me and Hud decided to go along and join in the fun.  As far as I recall it was a 4 bed room and there was maybe around 15 of us in there, jumping around and making a bit of a racket.  Nothing particularly unusual there.  In fact, because nothing particularly interesting was happening, we didn’t stay too long and headed back to our room to terrorize our OCD bass player instead, before eventually passing out for the night for a much-needed kip.

*approximately 3 hours later*

BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG! OPEN THE FUCKING DOOR YOU C*NTS!

It was the head of our college course….let’s call him Adam

“WHAT THE FUCK HAVE YOU PAIR DONE THIS TIME?”

Me and Hud peer out from under our covers and look at each other sheepishly.  We have literally no idea what we’ve done this time, but are perfectly prepared that we might have done “something”.

“THEY’RE CALLING THE FUCKING POLICE!  YOU COULD HAVE KILLED SOMEBODY!”

Now we’re awake

“HOW DID YOU GET THE FUCKING BED OUT THE FUCKING WINDOW IN THE FIRST PLACE?”

“…..er…..we’re in our beds Adam….been here all night (well…three hours anyway)…..what the fuck are YOU talking about?”

*silence*

“So if it wasn’t you two…who the fuck was it?”

It turns out, that after we’d left the party, things started to get a tad out of hand.  In particular, there were two blokes whose names escape me now, largely due to how utterly normal and unassuming they were in real life.  Seems that as the night dragged on, their inner Rock God’s started to emerge and somewhere between six and seven am they decided it would be a jolly good hoot to throw their wardrobe out of their 6TH STOREY WINDOW ONTO THE BUSY CITY CENTRE STREET BELOW JUST AS EVERYBODY WAS GOING TO WORK!

Unfortunately for them, the stupid wardrobe wouldn’t fit out the window, so instead they went with plan B.

And so it was that those commuters lucky enough not to be standing directly underneath its path, saw a steel frame bed flying in a graceful arc through the early morning Italian sky and landing on the back of a small hatchback car parked on the opposite side of the street…..taking the entire back-end of the car out in one almighty crash (turns out the body was made from fibreglass).

Not content with that.  The Keith Moon-lites then proceeded to throw out the mattress, duvet and accompanying pillows….before….and this is the best bit…..finishing off the proceedings by launching their FUCKING HOTEL ROOM KEY onto the pavement for good measure.

After this bit of tomfoolery, they all went to bed….albeit with one of them curled up on the floor where his bed used to be, until the hotel manager arrived….brandishing a pillow and a room key he’d found on the pavement.

And then it got a whole lot worse…

but I’ll leave that for part 3.

*This blog post takes in one of the maddest weeks of my life.  A week many of us were fairly lucky to survive. A week that has gone down in folklore among students at Jewel & Esk Valley College and put a swift end (to this day) to any more “cultural exchange trips” the college had planned.  This is my account of the first 36 hours or so of that trip…before shit got really out of hand*

The year was 1992….I think….

It seemed like such a good idea at the time.  A cultural exchange trip between two colleges.  The brightest young musical talent Scotland and Italy had to offer, playing wonderful gigs in each others capital cities. What could possibly go wrong?

Almost everything, as it turned out.

Let’s start at the beginning shall we?

The place: Edinburgh Airport
The time: Some ungodly hour of the morning

And so it is, that a group of around 30 young Scottish musicians assemble sleepily, but excitedly in the airport bar in preparation for their impending 7 day tour of Rome and its surrounding areas. It is barely 8am, and everybody has chosen nice refreshing pints of lager for breakfast.

What happens over the next 14 hours or so is a tad blurry, but what memory I still have of the journey out to Rome involves changing airplanes, spending hours stranded in a strange airport getting absolutely paralytic until all 30 of us boarded our connecting flight in a state of some serious disrepair.  It felt like days!

But my overriding memory of the journey was the conversation I had with the (poor poor) woman sitting next to me.  I was determined to show her that (despite the horrific behaviour most of our group was displaying) not all of us were rude, obnoxious, loud pissheads.  So I made it my mission to improve her journey by talking to her.  Constantly.

*Of course, there was the small matter that…if anything…I was in a worse condition than anybody.*

Me: “Sho…what do you do for a job and stuff?”

Her: “I study the behaviour of apes in the wild.  I’m actually writing a thesis about their social development.”

Me: “Monkeys are great eh!”

And so it went on for next 4 hours or so.  I didn’t give that poor woman one minutes peace.  I could tell she hated me. I could tell that sitting next to me was like Chinese water torture.  It just made me try all the harder.  In short…she was a professor or something or other, and I was a moron, and I made sure that was a plane journey she would never forget.

When we eventually arrived at our city centre hotel, I think it was late…or very early….it’s quite hard to tell.  What I do remember was that we were all split into band rooms, which upset our bass player greatly because he suffered from OCD…..and I totally don’t.  This meant that rule number one, was that  me and Hud (I’ll get to him later) were not allowed across the invisible line that separated our half of the room from his, for fear we might move one of his shoes or wrinkle his pillow. (Thankfully he never found out what we really did to his pillow)

We made the executive decision to ignore that rule.

As I recall, the first thing I did when we entered the room was crack open my bottle of duty-free vodka and throw my only guitar, headstock first into the wall, creating a lovely headstock shaped hole next to the door. (In my defence I was merely trying to thow it onto my bed but rather overshot the mark)

Start as you mean to continue n’all that…

That very night, we were all due to play a gig in one of Romes legendary nightspots.  Word on the street was that Jimi Hendrix had played this hallowed venue and it was quite the hot spot.  The sound check had gone well and we all trotted off to the restaurant where we would be served all our meals during our stay.  Nice little place…just about big enough for 30.  Turns out all the food was free.  It also turned out that all the wine was free as well.  In fact, they had their very own vat of wine that they poured into empty bottles.  Lovely stuff.  Went down a right treat.  In fact…it went down so well, I think I drank around 3 bottles of the stuff before we headed off to the gig.

And I wasn’t the only one.

And so to the first big show.  The venue is packed. The vibes are good.  The first band has gone down a storm and it’s our turn next.  At this point I should explain that me and my mate Hud had very quickly thrown a punk covers band together for the purposes of making this trip. The idea being…we wouldn’t have to practice very much.  We’d recruited a couple of Metallica fans as our rhythm section and (much to their dismay) decided to call ourselves THE COVERGIRLS!

To be fair…we were pretty rubbish anyway…..but after 3 bottles of wine and whatever else I’d been chucking down my throat….we were UNBELIEVABLE!

And by that I mean…fucking awful.

We were due on in 10 minutes, so me and Hud (he’s the singer by the way)  retire to the toilets to put a bit of make up on….as you do.  Hud decides to give it some Alice Cooper style doll’s make up, while I…..well, all I can manage are two enormous black panda eyes.  Literally like a panda.  That was my look. BIg black moons around each eye. Idiot.

We totter on stage and it is fairly apparent from the first chord that things aren’t going well.  I’m holding my guitar, but I have almost completely forgotten how to play it.  Our rythmn section (bless them…and I really mean that) soldier on through our set….stone cold sober….while I spend most of the gig leaning against a post so that I won’t fall over, cracking out the odd chord here and there and whimpering some god awful excuse for a solo in whatever key took my fancy,  while Hud jumps around like a loony and basically abuses the audience.

At one point I have to sing a couple of songs….trouble is….I’ve forgotten ALL the words.  The song in question is C’mon Everybody by Eddie Cochran.  I figure nobody speaks any English so I can probably just make up the words as I go along.  Unfortunately this didn’t go exactly to plan either.  Such was my inebriation that the only words I could formulate at short notice were expletives….and so it was that I sang the entire song like this…..

“Well, I’m fucking up my fuck fuck and all the other fucks are fucked.  Think I’ll fucking fuck a fuck load of fuckity fuck.  C’MON EVERYBODY!”

Turns out everybody could understand that….inlcuding the promoters elderly parents….who were sitting in the front row….unimpressed.

Mercifully, after around 25 minutes of white noise, we finished our set with Hud (and I quote) screaming

“WE WERE SHITE! YOU WERE SHITE! WE WERE ALL SHITE!  GOODNIGHT!”

…at what was left of the poor audience before throwing his mic into the monitor (creating a splendid racket of feedback) and then launching himself across all the tables in front of the stage and straight to the bar while absolutely nobody clapped.

Hud’s moment of genius aside, I was mortified….embarrassed doesn’t even begin to describe how I was feeling.  The shame of my woeful, pissed up performance was overpowering. Plus I looked like a fucking Panda.  I found out later that people were taking bets at the bar to see how long I’d last before I fell off the stage. That’s not good.  So I did what any sane person would do, and ordered another drink.

Thankfully most of the other bands were great that night and even when one of the drummers fell asleep behind his kit midway through a song….he was quickly yanked off and replaced without much of a fuss.

To be fair…anything was going to be better than us.

At this point I was feeling pretty low…I was ready for the bollocking of my life in the morning and felt it was totally deserved.

Little did I know, that fate was about to hand me (and not a moment too soon) an absolutely stonking Get Out Of Jail Free card! A Get Out Of Jail card of such unimaginable magnificence that my piss poor, venue emptying performance would barely even be remembered 12 hours later.

And that was just the start…

To be continued….

I was having dinner with friends last night (I had a small side salad and some fries….no seriously, I really did have a salad…mainly because I’d stuffed a double cheeseburger down my gob on the way to the restaurant so that I wouldn’t have to pay for a full meal once I got there…crafty!) and one of our party was bemoaning the fact she had to sack somebody’s ass in the morning….my wife as it happens.  Don’t mess.

In a bid to make her feel better about RUINING SOMEBODY’S LIFE….I said…“Oh don’t worry about it…I remember all the times I’ve been sacked.  He’ll get over it.”

Much mirthfull chuckling ensued from my fellow diners.  Turns out I was the only one to have experienced multiple sackings.

Who knew?  I thought that was all part of life’s great tapestry.

When asked to elaborate on my history of failure,  I was reminded of the first job I ever lost….and more importantly….why.

To cut to the chase, I was 18 years old and my mother was nipping my head about getting a job.

Any job.

JUST GET A BLOODY JOB MARK!

She seemed particularly smitten with the idea of me waiting tables or flipping burgers (or both at once if she’d had her way).  Neither of which appealed in the slightest. No. If I was actually going to have to work and stuff, I’d do it on my own terms goddamnit!

And so it was I got a part-time job (drum roll please) stacking shelves at my local DIY superstore for £35 a week!

Sticking it to the man!

It started off well enough.  I got my lovely red overalls and a was told to tie my hair in a bun.

Splendid!

Then I was given a sticker gun (COOL!), a trolley full of padlocks and a mission to stack as many shelves as I could in three hours.

After the first couple of days the novelty had worn off.  Stacking shelves was booooooring.  Clearly I was going to have use my initiative if I was to survive in this strange new environment.

And so it was that I began to devise cunning ways of going to work without actually doing any work.

Not as easy as you might imagine.

Here are a few edited highlights of how to kill 9 hours a week in a DIY store and get paid for it.

  1. Take your trolley of nuts and bolts and instead of actually stacking any of them….simply push the trolley slowly around the store in a zig zag fashion, LOOKIING LIKE YOU’RE JUST ABOUT TO STACK SOMETHING!  If you see your manager…stop the trolley and fiddle with your sticker gun until he goes away. If you’ve ever been shopping with a woman, this should be a doddle
  2. If you have been asked to clean up an attic area on top of the canteen room.  Simply climb on top of the roof…have a wee mooch about until you discover some cans of anti-freeze and (OH JOY!) a box full of tampons.  Now position yourself in a quiet corner of the roof and spend the next hour or so playing “shoot the tampon until it sticks to the wall”.  Eventually you will have made a nice blue lunar landscape collage that future generations of underpaid skivers will discover and be most impressed by.
  3. If you are lucky enough to have a skip full of old packing boxes out the back, and it’s a toasty sunny day.  Jump in the skip…flatten some of the boxes into a little cot and have a nice wee snooze.  Nobody will think to look for you there.  But stay alert…..I had forgotten that the skip was still in use and almost blew my cover when I was rudely awoken by a hail of cardboard boxes landing on my noggin.  Damn near took an eye out!
  4. If you have been asked to build a flat pack bench for display purposes.  Make sure you drag it out for 3 hours.  Just don’t expect your boss to be impressed by your efforts.  Apparenlty he could do it in half an hour.  Aye, right you are.
  5. If you’ve been asked to drive the company mini-van to the local tip.  Don’t forget that you can kill some serious time by taking it to an empty car park on the way back for a totally rad skid-athon.  Just be careful…those things tip way too easily.  Luckily they’re also light enough to push back up again without doing yourself a mischief.

And so, you can imagine my surprise and shock when I was taken into the manager’s office after 3 months of loyal service and told my skills were no longer required.

“I’m sorry…why exactly are you sacking me again?”, I enquired…incredulously.

“Well Mark…it’s like this….I’m sacking you for a lack of initiative. I don’t think you’re cut out for a career in this business. “ , he said with an inappropriate amount of smugness for a man whose sole achievement thus far was to climb the slippery slope of middle management in a fucking DIY store and look after twonks like me.

“And just exactly how much initiative does one need to stack a shelf?”  I huffed, as I was shown the door.

That shut him up.

Does this look like a man who is lacking in initiative?