Sunday, October 23, 2011

This week I have mostly been: Registering for Movember

It’s been a while since I’ve returned to this blog. I have received many emails, text messages, tweets and even the rarest of things nowadays, handwritten letters of concern. Where have you been Spod? What’s been happening? Are you still alive? How do you expect us to survive without your life enriching tales about drunken Swedish Elks?
Do not concern yourselves, I’m back now, and I’m about to explain the reason behind my hiatus. (By the way, I didn’t actually receive any emails, text messages, tweets or handwritten letters of concern, I’m pretty sure my Dad is the only person who reads this blog and even he wasn’t that bothered that I hadn’t written anything).
The reason behind my hiatus is that I have reached a turning point in my life. As a modestly fat over privileged middle class man (I look a bit like a younger John Motson who’s lived on a diet of Guiness and twiglets) I felt it was time I did something positive for society instead of just complaining about its ills.
When I was drunk once I made the outrageous comment that I would like to dedicate my life to charity, to helping the people less fortunate than myself. It was pure coincidence that a homeless man was slumped on the side of the street as I said this, someone who had been chewed up by modern society and spat out, forced to live on the filthy, malodorous streets of London, and as I passed with my girlfriend he said.
‘Can you spare any change please sir’
And I gave my stock homeless person response without thinking
‘Sorry mate, I haven’t got any change’
The worse thing about this was that, not only was I lying, I did actually have change, I was in fact carrying the most amount of change I’ve ever carried in my life, I was carrying approximately £100 worth of change in a plastic carrier bag. The change I’d collected from my daily expenditures over the past few months or so. I was taking it to be changed into crisp £20 notes at the Coinstar machine at Sainsbury’s, which I’d go on to spend on frivolous items such as beer, Nando’s fillet burgers and Converse trainers.
So obviously my claim that I’d like to dedicate my life to charity was a hollow one. I remembered this story a few weeks back and I was pretty disgusted with myself. When I think about it, I don’t do anything for charity. I don’t even donate any money to the Salvation Army man who collects at Gosford station every Wednesday, even though my Grandad was in the Salvation Army for years and played tuba in the brass band (the character of Harold Bishop in Neighbours was based on him).
So I decided not to write anything on this blog until I came up with something positive to write about. Some way I could do something good for my fellow man.
So I’ve decided to grow a moustache.
Some people run Marathons, some climb mountains, but I’ve decided, along with thousands of other men, to grow a moustache over the month of November for the Movember campaign.
The aim of the Movember campaign (You can find out more here) is to raise funds and awareness for men’s health, specifically prostate cancer and depression.
As a man, and as someone who has family members and friends who have suffered from depression in the past, I thought this was a good charity to start contributing to on my quest to be a better and more selfless human being.
I plan to make myself look like the camp cowboy from the Village people to raise some much needed funds for this charity and nothings going to stop me, not even the outrageously sensitive skin on my upper lip.

So have a read about the Movember campaign and see if you're interested. If you're feeling saucy you might even want to donate some money. Here’s a link to My Mo Space page if you do want to donate to me personally.
I'll be putting some pictures on there to chart the progress of my facial fuzz and I’ll also be posting updates on my journey into Freddie Mercuryville here.

So lets do this together people, man, woman or child, remember, shaving and waxing is the enemy. The soup strainer is king.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

This week I have mostly been suffering: from the booze blues

The horror, the insurmountable horror…….
I can’t do it….I just can’t do it…………………….
There’s a taste in my mouth that can only mean a pestilent Badger with terminal dysentery spent the night in there…….but that’s impossible, how could I fit an entire badger in my mouth…….
Despair…..despair….despair……I’m staring into the unfathomable depths of despair……..
Condemned to a life of hopeless misery………………….Arrggggggggggghhhhhhhhhhhhhhh………..sob.
The incoherent babblings detailed above are just a snippet of the thoughts that were vomited out by my chemically unbalanced brain last Sunday morning.
What could possibly have happened to you to make you think such thoughts I hear you ask? Had you just discovered you had a terminal illness? Had one of your loved ones been in a terrible accident? Had you been forced to watch an entire DVD box set of Grey’s Anatomy with your eyes prized open in some grizzly Guantanamo bay style torture ritual?
No. It was none of those things which caused my brain to enter such barren lands of murky depression. It was a commonplace thing, something many of us indulge in from time to time. It was that most available and craved for substance which is a crutch to a lot of us in the western world:
Yes, I was a plaything of Bacchus on Saturday night, I was battered, bladdered, hammered, smashed, ripped to the tits, off my nut, sozzled, mortal, tight, drunk, rat-arsed and pissed.  I’d reached the enviable level of mental incompetence where I found it difficult to stand or talk coherently.
There are large swathes of the evening I don’t remember, I seem to have lost the natural thread of space time directly after the moment I lustily sucked on a slice of lemon after downing a tequila shot and only recovered it in the middle of a conversation about why historically carrots were purple rather than orange with a bemused taxi driver who barely spoke English. Where the intervening hours disappeared to is anyone’s guess.
The reason for this over indulgence is moot. This wasn’t the first time this had happened, but after the hedonistic party there always comes the hangover, the morning after, the post mortem, where every single snippet of the night before is analysed and judged, the tongue had been loosened by the booze, the inhibitions dropped, but now it’s over you find a little voice in your head begins to talk.
‘You really are an idiot aren’t you? What kind of cretin tells their boss that his breath smells of rotting fish guts?’
‘Why did you go on the dance floor and make such a fool of yourself dancing to ‘Wake me up’ by Wham? You looked like a wind-up toy suffering from Parkinson’s disease. You really are the most oafish imbecile on this planet aren’t you?’
But whose is this little voice that pops into your head the morning after the booze up? Who is behind this cruel vociferous criticism? Let me tell you, it’s that grim spectre of the macabre, (you never see him arrive but he always turns up when the effects of the alcohol have worn off),’ The Booze Blues’.
‘The Booze Blues’ is a terrifying beast, he can strike fear into your heart at any moment and turn you into a babbling, jabbering fool. When I awoke on Sunday morning he was there with me, forcing me to remember what a drunken shambling buffoon I was the night before, blowing everything out of proportion until I was struck dumb with despair and horror at the prospect of carrying out the most mundane simple tasks.
A Shower? Impossible
Cook Breakfast? Dear lord, the horror.
Get out of bed? Simply unfeasible
For me nowadays ‘The Booze Blues’ sticks around for a while, making me wallow in self-pity and loathing, destroying my state of mind, making things seem a thousand times more difficult than they are, making me want to blub uncontrollably at the drop of a hat, and to be honest I never want to hear from that vulture of human misery again.
A good friend of mine once said ‘Spod, there will be one day when you wake up after a night on the booze, and you’ll say to yourself, truly meaning it, I’m never doing that again’.
I’ve had that moment, it came on Sunday morning. Alcohol is a depressant after all and some people just shouldn’t abuse it, including me. In fact if it was discovered today it would immediately be classed as a drug too harmful and dangerous to be legal. Makes you think doesn’t it………………..yeah, really does make you think………….oh sod it.
Does anyone fancy a pint?

Friday, September 30, 2011

This week I have mostly been writing: a letter to Carlos Tevez

Dear Carlos Tevez,
I’m writing to you now to offer my support in what has been an extraordinarily traumatic period in your career. The professional footballer has been much maligned in society of late, and you yourself have borne the brunt of the criticism this week for what was in my mind, a brave and courageous act. Other people (nasty people who you shouldn’t pay attention to) say this act was the act of a sulky, ungrateful, obscenely overpaid, arrogant oaf, who had thrown his toys out of the pram because he couldn’t get his own way, but I disagree.
I am of course, talking about your refusal to come on as a substitute during your teams defeat at Bayern Munich in the Champions League (your team is Manchester City by the way, I’m just reminding you as it may have possibly slipped your mind on Wednesday night, I often forget things, I forgot my house keys twice last week for example). With half an hour to go, the manager (the manager is Roberto Mancini by the way) asked you to warm up because he wanted to bring you on, he wanted you to turn the game around, to save Manchester City from ignominious defeat.
‘Go on Carlos’ he said, ‘Get in there my son and save the game’
And you said ‘I won’t, I won’t, I won’t, if you make me play, I’ll scream and scream and scream until I’m sick’
Now that’s a brave think to do, you’re making a stand and that’s to be admired, I mean, how does that tyrant Roberto Mancini (who does he think he is, your boss or something?), expect you, Carlos Tevez, to work under the conditions you’re expected to? Does he expect you to just turn in a great performance at the drop of a hat? After all you’re a professional athlete who allegedly gets paid a meagre quarter of a million pounds a week (by the time you’ve gotten up in the morning and taken your first shit, you’ve already earned more than I will in a whole year, I often think of this and smile), how does he expect you to just turn on the skill when you don’t play from the start of the game?
Would you ask Michelangelo to come in and finish painting your chapel ceiling when the other bloke you’ve hired has made a hash of it? No you wouldn’t. Michelangelo would just laugh in your face. And you laughed in Mancini’s face Carlos (well not really, you just looked like a stroppy five year old), and rightfully so.
I know your struggles Carlos, you’re homesick, you miss your family, you don’t like England because it’s cold and it rains, you don’t speak the language very well (you've been in England 4 years, 4 bloody years Carlos, what have you been doing with your time, surely you should've picked the language up by now? I moved to Australia from England 18 months ago and I've already picked up the lingo here), you do what you love for a living in return for great riches, adoration and acclaim, yes, yours is a heavy cross to bear indeed Carlos, I don’t envy you. From now on, I’m taking your example, if my boss asks me to do something and I don’t feel like it, I’m just going to tell her to get stuffed (I’ll be sacked obviously, maybe you can throw a couple of thousand my way to at least put some food in my families mouths in these times of economic uncertainty if this does happen).
Keep your chin up Carlos. I’ll be thinking of you
Yours Sincerely

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

This week I have been mostly thinking: like an Elk

The picture above is of an Elk if you didn’t know. But what kind of Elk is it? Well, I’ll tell you, it’s a drunken Elk, it’s a heavily inebriated Elk, in short, it’s a pissed up Elk that has gorged itself on fermented apples and fallen into a tree.
I laughed the first time I saw that picture and read the story about that Elk. There I was, on Friday morning 8.40am, slumped in my swivel chair in the office, staring down the barrel of another 8 tedious hours  of unstimulating ‘work’, giggling like a village idiot at a picture of a drunken Elk who had fallen into a tree in someone’s front garden in Gothenburg.
This would be the highlight of my day without a doubt. 8.40am and my day had already peaked; it was all downhill from here.
Then I started to think about that Elk. What could have possibly motivated him to seek the oblivion of drunkenness?
Maybe he was wandering through the suburban gardens of Gothenburg and happened to gaze into someone’s living room window. Maybe what he saw there made him despair at his existence; made him think that fermented apples were the only answer to his problems.
But fermented apples are never the answer are they? Unless the question is; what is Cider made from?
So what did he see when he looked through the living room window of that suburban house? We can only hypothesise but I would guess it was something like this:
He saw a Family, huddled around the warmth of a plasma screen TV, slack jawed and drooling into their dinners of processed dead cow innards encased in floury baps, staring at scenes of stupefying horror played out on the TV screen(or Jersey shore as its otherwise known) without a flicker of emotion or brain activity.
He saw a hunting trophy on the wall, an Elk head, and as he saw that Elk head looking down with its cold dead eyes on the whole sorry spectacle of the family, with mounting distress he realised that that Elk head, the hunting trophy, formerly belonged to the body of one of his closest friends.
So what were his thoughts when he saw this? We can only theorise but I would guess they were something like this:
‘Colin! No! Why have they done this to you? Murdered you and kept your head as a trophy? These unsightly, slovenly, grotesque, morally bankrupt barbarians are the pinnacle of evolution are they? They hold the fate of every creature on this planet in their hands? We’re doomed, completely doomed. I can’t take it anymore; I’m going to eat some fermented apples’
That’s what I assume the Elk thought, and let’s face it I’m probably right.
The great philosopher and alleged sex offender Michael Jackson once sang ‘What have we done to the world? Look what we’ve done’.
And when we do look at what we’ve done, when we really look, it’s hard not to be disgusted with ourselves. So we don’t bother looking.
I never wanted to look, I never want to look at the bad things I’ve done never mind taking a gander at the crimes of the entire human race, but when I realised we made an Elk so depressed that he wanted to get drunk enough to fall into a tree, that for me was the final straw.
So I decided to make a difference, to campaign for animal rights, to raise awareness about climate change, to poor every ounce of my being into making things right, I’m only one man, but I can make a difference, I can, I can….and then I had satellite TV installed at my house….. and I realised I could never be angry at the human race again…..I mean how could you despair at the tyranny of humanity when there’s quality programming like ‘Cake Boss’ on TV?

Thursday, September 8, 2011

This week I have mostly been uncovering: an inconvenient truth

“Are you sure this is a safe operation David? I must admit I’m a little scared” said Michael as he lay on the operating table. He glanced nervously at the table adjacent to his. A motionless body lay upon it, covered with a sheet.
“Well, you can’t completely rule out complications with this complex a procedure Michael, but we have done several trial runs with animal as well as human subjects and I can assure you, it’s perfectly safe”
The consultant patted him reassuringly on the hand.
“This operation will not only give you a whole new body, it will completely rejuvenate your career. It will finally let you escape the baggage and unsavoury allegations of your past, you can start again, this is such a wonderful opportunity for you Michael”
Michael still looked unsure.
“This has all happened so quickly” he said, “I know it’s the best thing for me, but I wish I’d had more time to think it through. Has everything been prepared for after the operation?”
‘We are sorry for the short notice Michael’ said the consultant “but we only have a very small window of time for this kind of operation”
He pointed to the motionless figure on the other operating table.
“The host had reached full development and we needed to act quickly, the record company have arranged everything for you afterwards, actors have been hired to play your parents and friends, and a whole back-story has been provided for you, just try and relax”
“Will there be any side effects”
“Your new body may feel slightly unresponsive at first, and the brain transplant will leave a visible scar on the forehead for a while, you will have to wear a long fringe to cover it, but I’m sure you can cope with that’
The consultant picked up a syringe from a nearby table.
“Now, I’m just going to apply the anaesthetic, you’ll wake up feeling like a new man Michael, now count down from 10 for me’ The consultant removed the needle from Michaels arm as he began to count.
“10, 9, 8,.....” Michael felt the comforting oblivion of sleep begin to engulf him as the anaesthetic coursed through his veins.
“7, 6, 5.....” So long Michael Jackson he thought......
“4, 3, 2, 1....”
Hello Justin Bieber.

Friday, September 2, 2011

this week I have been mostly watching: The Money Masters

Let me tell you a secret. If you went to Fort Knox in Kentucky in the United States of America, the highly secure compound which allegedly holds 4578 metric tons of gold in its vaults.
If you went there, and by some devious means managed to fool all the layers of security and to get inside, and once inside you managed to open the vaults containing all that precious, but essentially useless, metal. You would be stunned, incredulous, as to your shock and horror; you would discover that all the vaults are empty.
But why? How did this happen you ask? Well, it’s because I stole it. Yes, it was me; using a scheme so ingenious it would put the world’s greatest criminal masterminds to shame. I now have every ounce locked in my garage at home alongside my home brewing kit….
That of course isn't strictly true, I don't have it, and if I possessed the majority of the world’s gold I’d hardly be wasting my time typing this drivel. No, if I was that rich, then each day I would undoubtedly (quoting the philosophical musings of that precision marketed pop strumpet Ke$ha) 'Wake up in the morning feeling like P Diddy')
I often wonder what it’s like to wake up in the morning feeling like P Diddy, to be a huge success story and exponent of the American dream, and I normally come to the conclusion that my brain would probably capsize within the hour, unable to deal with the attention and over stimulation.
But anyway, back to the gold, or lack of it, in Fort Knox, it’s not some kind of crackpot conspiracy theory that it’s no longer there, there is actually some evidence to suggest that the gold was used as collateral against government loans used to help the US escape the depression in the 1930’s, and the majority of it found its way into the hands of privately owned European banks which helped to fund Nazi Germany.
I discovered this by watching the incredibly long and equally compelling documentary 'The Money Masters'. The documentary was made in 1995 and details the history of money and the banking system from back in the time of Jesus to the present day. It describes in detail how the world’s money supply has come to be controlled by a small number of obscenely wealthy individuals who own privately funded banks such as the Federal Reserve in the US.
These evil men or ‘Money Changers’ basically control the planet through the use of ‘Fractional Reserve Banking’ and are able to increase or decrease the money supply as they please, thus creating depressions or economic booms at will.
There is seriously mind blowing information in this documentary (even more mind blowing than waking up in the morning feeling like P Diddy) as you discover the ‘Money Changers’ had a hand in causing such historical events as the assassination of Abraham Lincoln, the Great Depression, the Russian Revolution and the battle of Waterloo (from which a man named Nathan Rothschild ingeniously managed to manipulate the British economy) to name but a few.
The film also proposes a solution to the problem, to take away the power of the banks and let governments issue their own money, this doesn’t seem to be any nearing to happening though as the ‘Money Changers’ currently own the majority of the worlds media and can entice politicians with their filthy lucre.
My only criticism of the film is that the narrator William T. Still incessantly jabs a biro at the camera throughout, forcing each point home while dressed in a tweed jacket, but I’m sure we can all let that one go.
So watch this documentary if you can people, encourage your friends to watch it, together we can educate ourselves and stop this evil plutocratic empire. Only then can we truly rock in a free world.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

This week I have been mostly listening: to singers who can't sing

Now, here’s a question for you, if you found out that Friedrich Nietzsche’s theory of Eternal Reccurrence was actually fact, and we do live our lives over and over again in the same sequence an infinite number of times, would you watch the new series of X Factor?
X Factor inexplicably starts again in Australia next Monday, so if I sit down and watch it, according to Eternal Reccurrence I will inescapably have to sit down and watch it at the same time and place in my life for eternity. The stupefying blithering of the Quadrangle of mediocrity (or the judging panel as its otherwise known) of Ronan Keating, Mel B, Guy Sebastian and Natalie Bassingthwaighte will echo in eternity for me, and that is a truly terrifying thought.
It must be said that I spend far too much of my time contemplating the rancid boil on the buttocks of musical entertainment that is X Factor, and I always arrive at the same conclusion, a large portion of my favourite singers would never get past the audition stage of the show. Why, because they can’t actually sing to the X Factor polished gold standard.
Let’s take Dave Berman from the great but sadly defunct ‘Silver Jews’ for instance. His bored sounding monotone drawl wouldn’t cut the mustard in the X Factor world.

That was ‘Random Rules’ arguably the Silver Jews best song which features the greatest opening line I’ve ever heard. ‘In 1984, I was hospitalised for approaching perfection’
Then of course there’s Tom Waits, who sounds like he’s smoked every cigarette ever made in history. I love his experimental circus swamp horror blues but you can’t beat a Tom Waits ballad. This is from his classic ‘Swordfish Trombones’ album.

Finally, here’s a song from Wu Lyf, a British band who are making waves at the moment with their rabble rousing epics. This is my personal favourite from their debut album ‘Go tell Fire to the Mountain‘, it’s called ‘We Bros’. The singer doesn’t sing, he grunts incomprehensibly like a disgruntled ape dying from terminal flatulence.

All these singers plus many more (Bob Dylan, Kurt Cobain, Mick Jagger, Wayne Coyne, Neil Young etc.) would fall at the first X factor hurdle because they aren’t technically good singers, but they have something indefinable, something special that makes their voices distinctive, visceral and emotive, something it’s hard to put your finger on, if only there was a word or phrase to sum up what they possess....oh yeah, that’s right, it’s called the X Factor.