Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Life – a few observations

Here are four quick observations on our existence on this delightful plane of reality, based on recent experience.

When you throw up, it’s generally a meal you really like

Emily and I had gastroenteritis over the weekend. It was a wonderful experience, full of surprises and frenetic activity (primarily centred on the bathroom). As I was bent over the tired pink porcelain of our toilet, I was saddened that it was chicken sweet and sour that was being forced forth from my tortured gullet. This is because I really like a bit of sweet and sour. And. As I looked at it in the context of the toilet bowl, I knew I was going to be put off it for a long time. Possibly years.

People are predictably greedy

We’re moving into our new house on 10 February after exchanging a couple of weeks ago. Before exchanging, however, there was a brief flurry of drama when the people at the top of our chain pulled out. They’d pulled out because they got offered £20,000 more for their house. Greedy fuckers. I suggested to our vendor that I should go round to their property (the people at the top of the chain, not my vendor’s) with a can of petrol and burn it down. Then they’d have trouble selling it for more money! Oh yes!

He went very quiet and I realised I sounded like a psychopath.

Babies are dangerous

Lack of sleep leads to hazardous lack of concentration and responsiveness. A bus is about to hit me? What, oh, move? What, now? Bugger. Diseases are brought home, unleashed in the plague-pit that is known as ‘the nursery’. Yes, considering they’re here to add to the population, babies do a good job of thinning it out. Stanley is no exception. However, he does look very cute when he smiles.

We are all drones

OK, I’m a geek, but I watched a Star Trek Borg boxed set recently. If you’re not a sad sci-fi sad person like myself, you may need to have the Borg explained to you. They are a collective entity made up of cyborg zombies (drones) who shamble about mindlessly doing the business of the ‘hive mind’. Attempting to exit Farringdon station this morning, I noticed that the swarms of commuters had the same shuffling gait and vacant expression as drones. And, in a way, they’re all connected the cultural hive mind via their iPods or mobiles. All we need now is for Steve Jobs to offer us drill-grabby-pincer-thing arm replacements and we’re living in the Borg collective. Except we’ll still have to put up with above-inflation fare increases when we travel in and out of London. It’s a lose/lose scenario, my friend.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Ray Mears Hulk Hogan Wrestlemania Wild Food Photoshop Hell

I'm sure you'll agree my Photoshop skills continue to grow apace.

Thursday, January 11, 2007


It’s been a week of knackeredness since the last time I updated this blog. This is partly due to Stan getting his first cold. The poor lad couldn’t sleep because he was so congested, which meant that Emily and I didn’t sleep either. Add getting up at 6am to get the boy to nursery, attempting to keep our house in some kind of order whilst servicing Stanley’s practical needs, organising the purchase of our new home, plus the usual work pressures, and it’s an exhausting combination.

In fact, I’m beginning to see why our birth rate is declining – working and parenting don’t really mix in the UK. The cost of childcare, for instance, is scandalous. Putting Stan in nursery for 4 days a week costs roughly £200. I can’t imagine how a low-income family could cover the costs. No wonder people are dependent on benefits. If I were in a position where most of my wage was being eaten up by childcare, I’d be tempted to stay at home and claim benefits too.

Unsurprisingly, women are penalised most as parents. A recent study revealed that the pay gap widens after women become mothers. The disparity in terms of career progress also increases.

Of course, my mum was faced with this dilemma as a single parent when I was a kid, so I’ve experienced it first hand. I wonder how many intelligent, skilled women are still being trapped in poverty as she was.

Ohh, bit serious today! Don’t worry, I’ll get back to torturing chefs and venerating the mighty Ray Mears next time round!

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Celebrity Chefs, Final Solution.

The question

Having watched Nigella Lawson’s faux-erotic Christmas programmes and having ranted about Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall recently, I’m beginning to wonder about the cult of the celebrity chef. My question is this: are all of them insufferable arseholes?

The evidence

Firstly let’s think about Nigella. Apart from mimicking fellatio with a spoon and giving the camera come-hither looks, she’s unbearably smug and patronising. The subtext appears to be ‘you can never be as rich, sexy and talented as me, but let’s see if you can learn something here’.

She also two-timed her dying husband (the journalist John Diamond) with Charles Saatchi. Of course, we wouldn’t have heard much about that as she is close friends with that other member of the media elite, PR guru Matthew Freud.

Now let’s consider the case of Ainsley Harriot. Imagine living with him. Can you visualise anything more ghastlier than waking up to his gurning, camp countenance every morning, knowing that he was going to give you an over-enthusiastic, painful seeing-to?

Then reflect upon Anthony Worrell-Thompson, the fat, opinionated fag-peddlar (he’s spokesman for Forest, the Freedom Organisation for the Right to Enjoy Smoking Tobacco). Loathsome slug of a man.

Gary Rhodes, the spiky-coiffed 80s throwback. Egotistic cock.

Actually, the more I consider it, they’re all scum.

The solution

I’m not generally in favour of capital punishment, but I think a pogrom ridding the country of this culinary televisual malignancy is urgently needed. I suggest that we create a new reality television series named ‘Cook’s Cannibal Castaway’. I think the name is fairly self-explanatory, but the idea is this: we stick all celebrity chefs on a barren island with no food, but excellent cooking facilities. A grateful nation could watch as they descend into a kind of chef Lord of the Flies scenario, with a naked, pink Anthony Worrell Thompson strung up squealing by Gordon Ramsay and Heston Blumenthal, ready to be bled and slathered in one of Ainsley’s branded marinades.

By the way

I’m desperately hoping that the exception to the ‘celebrity chefs are tossers’ rule will be my hero, Ray Mears, who is making his contribution to the genre tonight with ‘Ray Mears Wild Food’.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Happy New Year to My Reader!

So the Yuletide season is over and we enter a new year of possibilities and hope. Or, as the cynical evil twin that lives in my head would put it: New Year, Same Old Shit.

I’m back at work, feeling very mellow and happily exchanging the usual “how was Christmas for you?” pleasantries. I know this will last precisely as long as it takes for some fuckwitted client feedback or a similar obstacle to be put in my grumpy path.

Mind you, I think working is preferable to house husbandry. This isn’t because I didn’t enjoy my time with Stan – I absolutely loved being with him. It’s primarily because at least I’ll be weaned off my addiction to David Dickinson’s Real Deal and Paul O’Grady.

Highlights of the festive period
  • Seeing the Mila, Frankie and Stan opening their presents
  • Stan scratching on his Leapfrog DJ Activity Centre
  • Christmas dinner – yes, we used goose fat on the spuds ala Nigella and they were delicious
  • Having a go on a Nintendo Wii –it was funny to see Emily’s competitiveness come out playing tennis against her sister, Lucy. It was like watching a cave woman having a fit – Lee (Lucy’s boyfriend) and I nearly pissed ourselves laughing.

Festive lowlights
  • Telly was shite – particularly Little Britain Abroad – the jokes have worn thinner than Matt Lucas’s hair
  • Washing up after aforementioned festive feast
  • New Year sales – the frenzied look in the eyes of consumers was extremely scary
  • The weather was shitter than the telly
New Year’s Resolution
  • Really get fit this time, honest